Ashford Vignette #8 (2019)

“Cameron, hit me.”

Balanced, knees slightly bent, Cameron Wyche looked at his instructor.  She stood a few feet away, relaxed and not even in a guard position.  A simple baton held in her right hand, tucked under her arm.

“Now, Cameron.  Yes, with the sword in your hand.”

Live steel?

She was crazy.

He was half again her size and had twice her reach.

Still, she was the instructor.

Cam shrugged and moved forward, keeping his feet under his center.  He led with the two feet of sharp, high carbon steel between himself and his opponent until the last moment.

The heavy blade rose and swung on its descent, turning into a diagonal cut that would split Master Axelrod from shoulder to opposite hip.

He felt his blade batted aside as it fell.

Somehow, Cam managed to catch the flick of Axelrod’s wrist that sent her stick whipping around toward him.  A s long as she stayed back, he could recover, the baton was short and couldn’t reach . . .

A sharp pain erupted at rib level.

Suddenly, Cam found himself staring down a foot of shining bronze and a few feet of ash.

In an instant, the spear was gone and the baton was back under Master Axelrod’s arm.  She turned as if nothing had happened.

“What is the lesson, class?”

“Don’t assume anything, Master.”

Sitting by his friend, Ram, Cam shook his head.

Ram grinned and whispered, “Don’t ever attack an elementalist warrior who has a stick, bud.”

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