So, that night after she had made sure that Lord Venora was comfortable and tended to, Faith went to train again with the silent guards. Damien watched and she had to admit that she wondered about him. He was laconic, quirky and really she thought he was probably a very nice man. But there was just something about him that made her a little wary. Of course, she recognised that she was very much missing Master, not sure where she was or what she was doing. She did not see the point of mentioning it to Lord Venora, but she had never travelled in this way before. The only time that she had done so was the journey from Athart to Rynmere, when Jamal had brought her home. That journey had been quite different, determined that she should not experience anything he did not wish her to, so she had sat on the floor of the carriage, been blindfolded when he deemed it necessary and really it was a memory of just being disoriented. So, she was out of sorts in the quiet and unassuming way that only she could really pull off and she got ready.
The silent guard in front of her adopted a basic stance and she did the same. Feet apart, weight evenly distrubuted and on the balls of her feet. Then, hands in the position she had observed, both arms bent at the elbow, right arm slightly lower and further back. Then, she attacked, aiming a blow to the silent guard's chin, which he easily deflected by raising his arm. However, Faith was surprised to find that she saw that one coming, and as he lifted his arm, she punched with her other arm, connecting with his ribs. Faith would have said that she was completely unskilled in combat, prior to all this training that she was doing, but in truth the combat in the slave school in Athart had taught her good instincts and that stood her in good stead here.
But really, instincts only took one so far and, as Faith's fist impacted his ribs, the silent guard used his
other hand to hit her, square in the chest. The blow was hard enough and well-aimed enough that she took off the ground slightly, stumbled backwards and on to her bottom on the flor and she looked up at the guard in some surprise. Then, Damien spoke.
"I would say it is worth remembering that you are not the only one with two hands. Always assume that your opponent is better than you and one trial you might live to be wrong" he said as Faith stood up. "Any damage?" he asked and she shook her head.
"Let's go again"
she said and she did. She attacked, he deflected or parried. Every now and then she got a blow in and when she started dropping her elbow, the silent guard kept attacking her there until she stopped. As she finally called a halt because she was too tired to continue, she considered what she had learnt. Balance, speed, accuracy - all of these were key, but she had to be three steps ahead, considering not just what she was doing, but what her opponent was. And it was more than that; she had to consider what her opponent was thinking about their moves about her moves. This was much more complicated than it seemed to be and she knew that the only thing to do was to practice, and then practice some more.
Quite how people could manage to be considering defence, attack, body position and all of it all in once was a bit beyond Faith at the moment. But it was repetition of movement that would build the muscle memory. When she had that, she reasoned, then she would be able to not think so much about the moves as just do
them. That would be useful to her. She thought about what she had learnt this night and she realised that she really had to start thinking about her opposition in the situation to come. Lord Krome, all of the people involved in this, they were trained and seasoned warriors. She was not going to out fight them. That realisation was difficult for her, because she hoped to do that, but she would not. So she had to out think them.
And she had to be more than they expected her to be. That might be her only advantage and so, sitting and rubbing salve on her aching muscles, Faith realised and finally came to the very real conclusion that she might well die here. Because once she became more than a faceless slave and was someone with any level of skill and no small amount of determination, she became someone to kill. So she sat, pulled her knees up to her chin and wrapped her arms around her legs.
And more than anything, she wished that Master was here.