Sword Practice

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 8: Repairs and a Rest; Pgs. 207-209

.     “As a longtime clerk of ships that sail the seas,” said Mr. Thrussell softly to Adrian afterward, “I have learned a thing or two about swordsmanship. I saw the way you handled your blade with Winton Northrup back on the supply deck. Winton is clever with a sword, and if he had been given another moment, the contest would have ended quite differently I fear. It was well you did not meet him alone.” He paused before asking, “Would you like a lesson or two?”
.     Adrian, eyes lit with wonder, stood for a moment without speaking. “Rather,” he said at last, “or that is, I would like to learn if I could.”
.     “It is just the exercise needed before breakfast,” said Mr . Thrussell. “Follow me down to the magazine, and we can lend you one of the duller swords for practice.”
.     The master gunner was now departing with the captain to meet those who were hired for ship repairs the previous night. There were already many who could be seen gathering on the shore, and morning sunlight was beaming down on them from the ship. The seagulls were out and about, and many were perched on the remaining yards of the Southern Moor. The cook had caught a few of them, and it was them that were currently being cooked for breakfast, though it was some time in the cleaning.
.     Some were still continuing to sing while others had left off, attending to other duties. All of the shutters to the weather decks were open on such a fine morning, and the gun deck was rather airy and fresh smelling. Adrian stood right outside the magazine as Mr. Thrussell rummaged through the armament to find a dull sword.
.     “I think this will suit you,” he said as he handed Adrian the weapon, hilt first.
.     Adrian played with the feel of it a little, testing its weight as he tossed it from hand to hand. Mr. Thrussell eyed him intently, and as soon as Adrian seemed comfortable with the weapon, Mr. Thrussell lunged forward with his own sword, eyes glinting, bearing down upon Adrian’s blade. No more had metal hit metal when Adrian’s blade was twisted out of his hand and a slight sting felt at his side as the clerk swatted him with the flat of the blade.
.     “I say,” said Adrian, “but I did not even have chance to move away.”
.     “It is a tricky skill,” said the clerk with a smile. “Now stand, like so, with sword point up.” He demonstrated. “Toller might tell you of the Scottish way, with hilt held high and sword point down at an angle. Yet these are not claymores, and we are true Englishmen.” He began to lunge in different ways and show Adrian how to parry and block his attacks.
.     Time and time again, Mr. Thrussell twisted Adrian’s blade away, yet the clerk was very patient in instructing his mistakes. Adrian was sweating before the ship’s bell rang for breakfast, and his arms were sore and aching. His sides were stinging in several places where Thrussell had taught him with the blade’s flat.
.     “You have learned something,” said the clerk. “I am not sorry to teach you, though there’s a great deal more to be taught. Tomorrow, if we’re not too busy, we can practice again.”
.     “Did it hurt much?” asked Adrianna once Adrian had stepped onto the main deck. The plates and dishes were just being passed out.
.     “No, or that is, not much,” said Adrian. He sat down tenderly.

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Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books, Young Adult, Historical Fiction / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

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