Elisabeth was always looking for an edge with Balthazar. She needed more ‘edges’ than he did, being the lesser skilled combatant in many ways. However, the problem was that her advantages were obvious, either to her opponent or the people around, and could attract unwanted attention. She was a practical, logical sort, and those types of things did occur to her.
During life-or-death combat, that wouldn’t be a consideration. At home, on the warm, orange sand of Haven? She would have used all the tools she had, not having to worry about prying eyes. But inside the Proving Grounds? It was a bit more problematic.
Balthazar, as always, had advantages. Watching him, he stomped his boot, and while Elisabeth wasn’t sure what that was supposed to do. However, in the preceding trills, she was sure something had, in fact, happened. The man closed the distance between them with unnatural speed, and before the mage knew what happened, he was very much in a position to do what exactly what the young woman knew he would, and didn't want. Hadn’t she taken every precaution? Something different was going on, but Elisabeth didn’t have time to figure it out as the strike came in, paralyzing her sword arm for a trill.
He could throw everything he wanted at her – and usually did. But the one thing he generally didn’t consider was that every time he showed her a different tactic, trick, ability, whatever, it made her more robust and resilient. It was for that reason and that reason alone that Elisabeth was able to hang on to her sword as his hit, moving out of range as quick as she could, retreating before he decided to do more damage than the young woman could quickly recover from.
Grinning at him, she rolled her eyes theatrically. “You realize that sometrial, I will find a counter to that damn ability of yours. Use it enough, and I’ll figure it out. Besides, if you wanted to surrender, you could just say so.”
The flow of a fight was a crucial detail that most overlooked. The problem with retreating was that one had to start the attack all over again, unable to use the momentum of battle to push them. Still, Elisabeth understood the significance of tempo, what it offered, and what it potentially could take away from one’s ability to win. That usually gave her a bit of an advantage over more common fighters. Balthazar, however, was not a common fighter.
Shaking out her arm quickly, sword still in hand, Elisabeth launched towards him, renewing her attack. It was fast and hard-charging, but a slightly different look than he had seen before from her, which stood to reason – he hadn’t sparred her in quite some time.
Lifting her arms a bit, she flicked her foot out, attacking with a kick to the stomach, but it would never land, nor was the kick intended to land – a feign – intent on distraction. Usually, when the hands left their guard position in front of a body, it was a mistake and clear opening to be attacked.
Elisabeth was counting on Balthazar to take the opening. If he did, she would immediately attempt to block with her sword, lock up his sword, and then strike with the kick as intended, pushing forcefully with her foot against his stomach to hopefully push Balthazar off balance.
If he didn’t take the bait, that was a different story.