The clouds floated in the blue sky and disappeared in the trees. To the north a buck glanced in several directions before taking off into the brush, its brown fur becoming one with the forest. Butterflies danced above the spring grass bringing forward the end of the season as the flowers bloomed. Summer would come soon and with it, the heat. Cool nights would follow the day and the night sounds of the crickets and other living creatures would take their rightful place in nature. The grass would grow dark and would almost look blue reflecting from the night sky.
To the east in the village of Osgarn a boy called Falis by some, peasant by others danced upon the ground like a court performer as he switched from one sword form to another. The man striking at him drove aggressively forward, trying to off balance the lad in hopes of catching an opening.
Falis’s parents had died during a famine seven cycles ago. The only food his parents had left they gave to him and starved. It was horrible to watch them waste away while he ate. Still there hadn’t been much, even for Falis. After they’d died and the food ran out, the boy took to the road. He tried stealing from vendors on the streets but he was not good at it. He often got caught and flogged. Several times the vendors had threatened to kill him. After going to at least two dozen houses a lone man with a thick beard and brown trousers had welcomed him in to his home and fed him and let him live there. In exchange, Falis was to chop wood for the fire and train with Ryne in the way of the sword. Ryne Told Falis that when he was old enough he would take him to the King and have him join the army. It excited Falis to have a purpose.
Lord Ryne had trained him well. He could avoid his master’s strike with ease. One was high, and then the next would be low at his legs. Falis would take a step back as his master had instructed him many times. Ryne ran forward and swung at Falis’s head with the wooden practice sword. Each strike the older man threw Falis deflected with more difficulty. Ryne’s strikes were coming faster. Falis saw an opening in Ryne’s defenses and stabbed forward. The strike took Lord Ryne off guard for a moment and put him on the defensive. Falis charged forward even harder. He hoped to take full advantage of the strike. Ryne moved his feet fluidly blocking Falis’s attacks before he tried to regain the offense again. Both men swung the weapons above their heads and the wooden swords collided breaking Ryne’s in two and splitting Falis’s all the way to the hilt. Both men threw the swords away and Ryne swung at Falis. The boy grabbed Ryne’s hand and flipped him. Lord Ryne hit the ground sideways tucking his head in. The man grunted.
“Good lad, very good,” Ryne said. “This is the best I’ve seen you.”
“Father, we’ve been training for seven years, nearly every day. I was bound to pick up something,” Falis said.
“More than just something I expect, you’re nearly as good as me now,” Lord Ryne...