Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The duel

Ilse’s was not sure the duel was a sensible idea, once the Lieutenant’s foils had been brought she realised that there could be no backing out. A broad square had been marked out and the troops gathered around to watch the contest. At first the protagonist slowly circled each trying to spot an obvious opening in their opponents guard. After several thrusts and parries Ilse realised that the Lieutenant intended to use his greater reach and weight to drive her into a corner. It was no time to play strictly by the rules. She carefully watched for an opening but none appeared and gradually her room for manoeuvre was becoming limited.

Remembering her tutor’s instruction to do the unexpected, Ilse switched her foil to her left hand. It was no longer her strongest hand, but it put her opponent on the defensive while he tried to counter the unusual pattern of her attack. She managed to work her way back to the middle ground before the Lieutenant understood the pattern of sword play and was then no longer on the defensive.

Swapping back to her right only gave a few moments respite and gradually she was being driven back into a corner. The shouts from the Dragoons had died down now, as she must have lasted longer than they expected. There were some shouts of encouragement from the Jaegers and she heard a low voice say “Don’t let your Father down!”

Ilse dummied a switch back to her left hand, but instead side-stepped and the Lieutenant thrust past her into the open air where she would have been. He nearly stumbled and quickly regained his balance, but not quick enough as Ilse had the buttoned point of her foil to his neck. “My contest I believe”

The Lieutenant smiled and dropped his foil and the Jaegers started cheering. Ilse asked “I presume you will now allow me to continue on my way to Welle?”

Of course, and will you be reporting to the city commander?”

“Yes, Colonel Kraut will have the best idea how to contact my father”

“And will you allow a couple of my men to escort, I mean accompany you”

“I have no problem with that”

“And may I ask who trained you to fence; it’s very unusual for a young lady to be schooled in swordplay?”

“That would be Herr Von Fecht”

At this the Dragoons started laughing, to Ilse’s puzzled expression the Lieutenant explained “Then my father has taught you well, fraulein” and bowed.

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