" Parry, parry…watch…watch…strike! “Yes!” came a single celebratory word while I watched my opponent circle around.
“Well anticipated, Princess. Your powers of focus and anticipation have improved a great deal.”
“Thank you, …”
“Shhhh…” Xander said putting his hand in the air. Both of us sensed the new comer at the same time, turning in unison weapons at the ready.
“Really Xander, swords…and that’s preparing her for battle, how? Even humans have progressed beyond that; though they wouldn’t have if we hadn’t slipped them the formula for gun powder,” Fallen muttered.
“Then you must come and show me how I error,” Xander’s tone gave no hint of the anger stirring inside.
My sword still at the ready, “Yes, Fallen. Come and teach me what Xander fails to.”
“But your highness, I would show you by challenging Xander surely.”
“It is my education and I have accepted unless you’re afraid a weak female will out perform you, take his sword.” I demanded.
With a smile Xander walked up to the younger man handing him the sword hilt first.
“If that is what you desire, it will be my pleasure,” Fallen said a smile ghosting across his face.
His movements were quick and sure advancing on me with a rapid assault keeping my blade in movement and my mind focused on defense. Before I realized it he had me backed to the edge of the ring where my foot slipped on a perimeter log.
Focus Arwen. Don’t let him unsettle you.
Blade in position I watched carefully as Fallen came at me again. His movements just as swift, but this time he was cocky. Giving an inward smile I expanded my focus to my surroundings as well as finding an opening. We easily fell into a rhythm of swing, deflect, swing, deflect until I ducked hitting him with the broad side of my blade in the thigh.
His smile broadened, “Well done little one, but how will you handle this?” and he was gone.
Standing quietly my senses searched for any sign of movement, a shift in the breeze, a disturbed leaf; nothing. Where is he? Suddenly a strong arm was around my neck pressing me into Fallen’s chest, his blade at his side.
“Marry me Arwen,” he said in a low growl.
Ugh, not this again!
My elbow slammed into his ribs causing a gust of wind to escape Fallen’s lips. Escaping his hold I backed up a few feet still facing him, sword pointing at his chest.
“Show me the mark and we’ll discuss it.”
“When are you going to stop living through the ancestors? They had their chance, now it is our turn to rule,” came his curt reply.
I parried right deflecting his advance. “The ancestors know what is in our hearts and if they haven’t marked you it’s because they know you’re dark in more than one way.”
“True, but we would rule well together. Me in the battle field, you home tending to diplomacy and the children,” his blade swinging at my legs.
“To be a kept woman would be a death sentence,” I managed before focusing on his bruising advance.
“Better to be a kept woman than abandon your child at a young age.”
His words cut me to the core. “How dare you,” I said advancing,” she was an honorable woman who cared deeply for people and for my father and me.”
Fallen went down with a hard thump when his legs were swept from under him, my blade at his throat. “It is too bad this is a training. I would so like to run my blade through you right now,” I spat out. “Leave.”
“Arwen I …”
“Have said quite enough,” Xander was between us guards on either side. “Her highness has requested your departure."