At the guard’s headquarters Eldric Ruge led Alec into the armory. Much to his delight, his invitation to spar had been taken up. Alec had just shown up at his office blurting out, “You said you wanted to see me fight?”
“Yes, I did. Now?”
Alec nodded, “Now.”
So he had put down his papers and gone down to the armory to take up swords. Practice swords, of course. It was only a spar. They weren’t going to try and kill each other. He watched out of the corner of his eye as Alec handled some of the weapons. He would pick them up and look them over before placing back down in the same exact place. He looked completely comfortable here, among the steel and leather, more so than anywhere else Eldric had seen him.
The practice swords were all lined up on one wall of the armory. Eldric picked up one bastard sword and hefted it. It was the one he generally used. He glanced back at Alec, noting his slightness and lack of developed muscle. He knew from before that Alec used a longsword so he picked up and weighed several of the practice longswords before choosing one.
“Here,” he said gruffer than he meant to, handing Alec the sword. It was taken and swung around a few times, to test balance and weight. Alec then nodded.
“I was always good at picking out weapons for people,” Eldric said. Alec nodded again and smiled. Eldric lead him outside to the practice yard.
The practice yard was surrounded by the barracks, stables and Headquarters. A gate marked the fourth side of the square. A few guards were out practicing with spears, but they cleared out when they saw the captain coming out with the practice sword. Eldric stepped smartly to the center and drew a circle in the dirt. Alec stepped lightly into it, watching the captain intently.
“We fight until one yields. Fair?”
“Yeah. Fair.” He lifted up his sword in salute, to which Eldric returned.
The two of them back to the edge of the circle drawn in dust, Alec balancing on the balls of his feet. Eldric watched him. He knew that he was heavier than the boy and would easily be able to over power him, but he also knew that Alec was quicker than him and would be able to strike and retreat before he got a chance to attack. If he was trained properly.
Alec circled, staying out of striking range, watching Eldric, who kept him out and in front of him. Then there was a slight change in his posture and he darted forward. Eldric brought his sword up quickly and the dull blades clashed. He pushed forward, but Alec darted away again, not staying in range. Eldric did not give chase. He would wait for Alec to come to him.
Which he did, three or four more times, each time darting in and slicing before darting back out before he could be caught. His speed was much faster than Eldric had anticipated. The next time he did that, Eldric was waiting for it and when it did come, he parried and then thrusted hard. Alec danced out of the way, but barely, Eldric noticed.
“You don’t have to be with him,” he said, following Alec now, not letting him run away.
“Be with who?” Alec asked as he defended himself.
“Lorac.” Eldric said, watching for Alec’s reactions as he spoke. “I know he’s your mentor, but that doesn’t mean you have to be with him.”
Alec didn’t give any reaction except for a grunt as he ducked under an attack and stabbed at Eldric who twisted out of the way.
“I’m not with him,” he said after a moment.
“Aren’t you? Everyone seems to think you are.”
That comment earned a wild strike and let Eldric take first blood. Alec backed away, putting his free hand to his side where the sword had scored against him. It was a light scratch, nothing more. It would have been worse if the blades were sharp. He gave Eldric a sneer.
“First blood to you then.” He saluted with his sword and then dove back into the fight. Eldric barely got his sword up in time, and a few parries later he was bleeding from his arm.
“If you aren’t with Lorac, then what was that at the play?” Eldric asked, hoping to get another strike. He didn’t. Alec was staying more focused this time.
“We… we aren’t together, together,” he said, “I mean…”
“You haven’t had sex yet. Not that it matters. No one’s going to touch you.”
“I don’t want” and he sliced hard, nearly shaking Eldric’s grip on his sword, “To be touched by anyone.”
Eldric pushed at him now, driving him hard, taking advantage of his heavier weapon and larger size. “Not even Lorac? You seemed to enjoy it at the play.”
“Why do you care?” Alec snarled, as he tried to keep up. He was holding his own, Eldric noted, even with the distractions.
He smiled at Alec, “Because you are a mystery. And I want to know how you think.” With that he managed to knock the practice sword free of Alec’s grip and push him down. Alec rolled out of the way and scrambled for the fallen sword. Eldric reached it first and kicked it away before stepping lightly on Alec’s hand. “Yield,” he suggested. Alec glared at him sullenly. He pressed the point of the sword at Alec’s neck and raised his eyebrows.
“I yield,” Alec finally said, though he was definitely not happy about it.