[ Read this in Dutch ]
This novelette is also contained in the short story collection Mashup – A Collection.
Nico the Mage took his family, his heritage, his freedom. Now, captured and cage, Markus’ very life hangs in the balance. To kill time, he tells his life’s story to Barno, a passing Automaton horse.
As he got up and grabbed his sheathed sword Tomaz was laughing. He seemed off guard and had his back to me. I jumped off the haystack, one hand around my scabbard, the other on my hilt, unsheathing the blade as I landed. This time, at last, I almost beat Tomaz to the draw. But he wasn’t Swordmaster of the Keep for nothing. With incredible speed and dexterity, he dodged without looking around, correctly predicting the direction of my attack, and drew his own sword in time to parry my second attack. Locking my blade under his for a second, he looked me in the eyes and grinned.
“Not bad, young Master, not bad at all!”
I flicked my wrist, freeing my blade, and our exercise resumed under Father’s approving eye. After another hour, Tomaz’ greater experience and endurance began to tell. I signaled end-of-training and withdrew to one of the embrasures in the curtain wall to watch Tomaz work with the guard, demonstrating some techniques for fending off multiple attackers at once.
Then the breakpoint came, and nothing was ever the same again.
More information about this story can be found on its own page.
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