Bryn rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck in preparation. The boy across the room, for boy he was despite his massive frame, at not more than sixteen summers, scowled at him and raised his blade. It was wicked, curved and serrated, but the boy held it in an unsure grip that said to Bryn he had little, if any, experience with it. And more importantly, he had seen a glint of fear in the boy’s eyes. Bryn smiled. This fight was already won.
He tossed the ball in his left hand up once and caught it, never taking his eyes off the boy. Try as he might, Bryn’s opponent could not take stop from flicking his eyes towards the movement. That was all Bryn needed. He threw the ball across the room, and the boy raised his arm up to deflect it automatically. Bryn scowled as he crossed the room in three long strides. This boy was not only young, but stupid as well. That was a rookie mistake, the kind that got men killed in the games. That ball was made of stiffened pigs batter, like the kind used in children’s game. It wouldn’t hurt someone in armor, like the two of them were. It almost disgusted him how easy a kill this kid would be. Almost.
He had his own sword, a stout broad sword held in both hands now that they were both free, swung down, but the boy surprised Bryn, being quicker than his muscular arms would suggest. His curved blade was up instantly, blocking Bryn’s blow. The two stood there for a moment, pushing their blades against each other, and Bryn could see himself in the shine of the other blade, his scarred bald head and broken nose above a sneer that would cause the most hardened veteran of war to question attacking him.
Then the boy surprised Bryn again. He stepped back a pace, dropping his blade as he did so, causing Bryn to step forward off balance. Before the boy’s blade could complete a swing, however, Bryn continued to fall forward, rolling on the floor several steps away from the other man. He stopped considering him a boy. He may be inexperienced, but this man knew how to fight. Bryn smiled again. This might be a challenge.
He stood in time to block a charge from the other man, swinging his left arm around and punching him in his unprotected left side. The other man steped back a step, but kept his guard up. Not well enough, though. Bryn slammed his massive blade into the curved one, again and again, pushing the other man back until, at last, he slumped against the wall, and Bryn got a good slash against the man’s sword arm. He dropped his blade, and a look of surprise and fear crossed his face before steeling in determination to see his fate through.
Bryn smiled again. This time, it was in satisfaction. He dropped his own blade and grabbed up the other man in a rough bear hug that caused the younger man to exhale in surprise.
“Well don, son!” Bryn said. “Well done. We’ll have you trained up for the games within the month, you’ll see.”
“Thank you father,” The young man said, and he smiled at Bryn. It was almost as terrifying as Bryn’s was, including a few missing teeth from brawls he had been in. Almost. Once combat training was done, Bryn thought, he would have to teach the boy about intimidation.