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Black Pebbles on Snow
Thu Dec 7, 2006 9:43am

She emitted a yell as the popping sound was followed immediately by a sharp and demanding pain in her shoulder before subsiding into a blithe, aching throb. "Burn me, did you have to be so rough on me?"

Dherem showed her a toothy grin, the Andoran man's shaggy red-blond hair falling into his eyes before being pushed aside once more to reveal a tanned and freckled appearance. Although he was another ten years Kat's senior, he looked a boy fresh out of the haystacks. "If you would have fallen properly, I wouldn't have had to do that."

"Bah." She picked up the lathes with her good arm, still nursing the throb in her right arm. "You did it on purpose to prove a point about that monster of a sword you're carrying."

"I happen to like my Shienaran broadsword. And I just proved that it's the more effective weapon."

Striding over the lathes that remained propped up against the wall, the bright golden morning sunlight shining warmly on the wood, she picked up another set of lathes, swinging her sore arm experimentally to loosen it up and try to work out the pain. The lathes were shorter than the usual ones, designed specifically for those who worked a pair of dual swords the way the Sei'Tar did. "Oh yeah? Come at me again, Dherem, I want to show you something."

Dherem charged with Low Wind Rising, a maneuver that she stepped back from just as his lathes turned and came down on her with Wind and Rain. The overhand blows were blocked effectively with short bursts of Swallow Takes Flight. Soft Rain at Sunset caused her to roll to the side and come up with The River Undercuts the Bank that he met with Black Pebbles on Snow.

As she came up, he attacked with Threading the Needle and her left lathes caught his with the Grapevine Twines. As he became embroiled in attempting to disarm her, though, she turned her right lathes into Black Pebbles on Snow and gave him a hard thump to the ribs, causing Dherem to grunt in pain.

"There, see? While you're concentrating on keeping both hands to one weapon, I have your only weapon locked to give me enough time to cut across with my other weapon." She stepped back as the Sei'Tar rubbed at his ribs, feeling a measure of satisfaction in seeing him bruised as well. "Point taken?"

He looked up with a smile and nodded. "Point taken. Now if you'll excuse me, not only are my ribs bruised, but my pride is as well. I'm going to go soak in the baths for a while and contemplate your ever so wise words."

Laughing, Kat watched the Andoran walk off, hand to his rib and replaced her lathes at the wall for when some other pair of Trainees would need them. Restless, Kat decided to take a turn around the Grounds and walk off some of the pent up energy she was feeling after the spar; for her sparring was like any exercise—she needed to warm up and cool down otherwise she was left with the frustration of all that energy and nothing to do.

A stablehand came running around the corner of the building at that moment, his eyes wide, urgency painted across his features. "Sei'Tar!"

Running through the list of names, she finally placed his face. "Neal, what's wrong?"

"An Aethan'Tar just practically ran over me getting to the stables, and he looks ready to leave!"

She smiled. "There's nothing wrong with that. They're allowed out into the city, there's no need to get so excited."

"No! He's packed for leaving Sei'Tar! Not a trip to Tar Valon."

With a quick nod of her head, Kat sprinted into the direction of the stables, coming upon the Aethan'Tar just as he was about to mount up on a horse. As Neal had said, bundles tied to the saddle indicated that he planned on going farther than an excursion into the city. Stepping forward before he could spur the horse into action, she grabbed the bridle with experienced hands, holding the horse in place. The animal seemed displeased with her interruption and strange fingers so close to a mouth probably ready to bite, but she'd been around temperamental beasts before and kept her feet clear of stomping hooves and fingers curled in to prevent losing one.

"Where do you think you're going, Aethan'Tar?"

The look in the man's eyes was vivid with emotion, evidently something had happened. Maybe a lover had spurned him, maybe he had just cracked under the pressure of the training. In any event, she wasn't going to let him just leave without explanation.

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