On the way, she peeked down one of the arched windows, down the braids of ivy curling over the jutting window sills of lower levels, down to the golden brown fighting ground roasting in the sun. The snap of wood and clangor of steel met her ears from far beneath where the prince practiced his
The saber crafted out of an alloy of steel and iron hung in its peg, waiting for her as it did every day since her coming three days ago. She snatched a shield at random to couple with it and headed down the ground.
The princess approached the prince from behind, her feet as soft as snowfall. Just as she approached near enough, he spun around to face her and slid his own blade through the looped handle of hers, not even grazing her fingers curled around it. He is magic, she thought, his sight more powerful even in blindness than most mens’
Miraea pulled back her sword and made to bring it down on his left forearm. He parried the attack lazily. Deftly, she spun her sword around and landed on the ground, legs straddling straight in eaither sides and made to grab him from beneath. He hopped away from her blow and brought down his own sword over her navel. She sucked in her legs and rolled away, bringing up her saber to match his next blow.
And then she began to dance: and he fought; and she did both. She dance with her sword, moving in unexpected arcs and spontaneous steps. Blindfolded still, the prince managed to catch all her surprises with a kiss of his blade. She stopped a moment, her eye brows raised in amazment.
“ You are wonderful, I notice. No one has humbled my sword this much before,” the prince noted.
“ It’s you I must eulogise, prince. There was none in my father’s land who could defeat me in this, save the king himself and his commander” she remarked.
“ But I haven’t defeated you, princess,” he replied, “ not yet.”
Then he yanked his blindfold free and brought the tip of his sword beneath the hem of her gauze veil. She snapped at his sword and threw it off course.
“ Not yet,” she smiled elvishly, “ I won’t be
Her veil was a symbol of her honor and strength. Back in her own state far south, o
The prince grinned, “ Then I must respect that. After all, your loss is mine as well.”
Then his blow came on her, unforeseen, grazing the side of her shoulder. She skipped back to avoid his impending attack and raised her own to answer him. For about an hour they soaked in the sun, Amber droplets winking their way down their faces. In the end, she found herself panting, on the ground.
“ You’ve learnt a lot in a lot less time,” he granted her at last, “ though you fight in a queer fashion, delicately feircefull, each blow seducing my sword to loose itself.”
She smiled, “the art is unique to my land. And yes, I have taken the pain to master it as quick as I could. Still, you remain unwon by any yet.”
He nodded at the ground, so slightly that even his still shadow on the sand didn’t notice it. Then he looked up, hopefully.
“ How about my father Miraea? How far has he been won over?”
Miraea tilted her head, considering. “ He does want me in the court, I believe. And he likes me in his leisure time, especially when I am armed with my eukelele and voice. He says my songs take him back to a distant land where he had met your mother.”
The prince nodded. Then, gathering his sword and shield, left her alone in the ground.
To be continued…
© 2019 Sahana Narendran