A Holy Knight's Tale Chapter 1
Test of Skills
By Crystal Zeal
The knight-in-training stood there, sword in hand. Light brown hair fell in curls around her shoulder, while deep blue orbs were narrowed at her opponent. While she was only seventeen, her opponent had to be at least four, if not five years older than her. Her training master had confidence, it seemed, to let her fight a full Knight of Pluto. The young man was grinning awkwardly, sword wrapped tightly in his left hand. The girl's training master stood between the two.
"Beatrix of Alexandria. This is your final test. You are to prove your strength against Sir Adelbert Steiner of the Knight's of Pluto. If you best him, you are fit to enter the Alexandrian Army. If not, you will train for another year, then go up against another Pluto Knight. Are you ready?" The training master asked, looking down at the girl.
"Yes," she replied firmly, eyes set on her oponent.
The man nodded, and said, "Salute, then begin." He backed out of the ring.
The two saluted each other with their swords. Beatrix lunged in with a slash to the man's abdomen, which he blocked and countered with a thrust. She sidestepped the attack, slicing at Steiner in an upward sweep. The Pluto Knight defended with a lateral parry, and sent a low sweep to the girl's knees. She jumped up, evading the attack, and aimed an attack to the top of his chest. He ducked, slashing in. The attack almost caught her in the side, and Beatrix stumbled back. Steiner took this time to lunge at her with a downword arch. She raised her sword, on one knee, and came body-to-body with him. Persperation was dripping down her face as he wieghed her down. Tucking her sword in, Beatrix rolled to the side. She jumped to her feet, unaware of the thrust that came and burried itself in her left shoulder. She winced, grabbing it, and stepped back.
The young knight sheathed his sword, a triumphant grin planted on his face. Beatrix did the same, glaring at him.
"First Blood. The winner is Sir Steiner of the Knights of Pluto," proclaimed the Knight Master.
The girl limped to the outside of the circle, dropping to her knees as she got to her spot. Bandages, ointment, and a pale of water with a cloth inside were next to a pack. She took the cloth, wrung it out, and dabbed her bleeding shoulder.
Steiner walked past her as she started applying the ointment. He leaned down, whispered, "Females are only fit to be foot-soldiers, not full Knights of Pluto," and strode off, an air of arrogance about him.
Beatrix clenched her teeth, wrapping the bandages around her shoulder. She tore it from the roll, and tucked the end into a layer. The girl looked up to see her knight master looking down at her.
"Beatrix of Alexandria. You shall train another year, before fighting another Knight of Pluto. This year is yours to train. You have passed all of your classes, now it is up to you to become stronger. You will placed under former General Rallinton. I believe that he is the only one who can help you reach your full potential. Report to him first thing next morning."
"Yes, Sir," she replied, standing up. She saluted him, and he strode off.
A girl around Beatrix's age walked up to her, holding out a phial. "It's all right, Beatrix. You'll become a Knight next year!" She said to encourage her.
Beatrix took the phial, and drank down the green contents. She felt instantly stronger.
"Thank you, Adeline. But this was my second time trying to become a Knight," she replied, handing back the phial.
"But Beatrix, you yourself said that you weren't ready the first time. And you got Sir Steiner this year! He's the best Knight there is!" Adeline exclaimed.
Beatrix laughed without humor, and replied, "It seems as if Master Oakbridge is trying to keep me from becoming a knight. He is a rather discouraging fellow."
The two finally reached the dining hall, and grabbed trays. While Adeline grabbed only soup, Beatrix also got lots of bread, beef stew, an apple, and salad. Seeing all of this, the girl giggled while her friend took a seat.
"What's so funny, Adeline?" Inquired Beatrix, starting to eat.
"Well, from what you grabbed, it would appear as if you haven't eaten in days!"
Beatrix smirked, and swallowed the bread that she had been chewing. "I'm famished, "she explained, "And I'll need my energy for this afternoon."
Adeline arched an eyebrow, looking over her friend. "What's this afternoon?" She asked.
"The start of my new training," was all the reply she got, before Beatrix began to eat again.
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