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Parry, Riposte, Remise II, 26th early afternoon- Xmas 1677

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Fencing Hall


The enclosed area had windows in three of the four sides, which let ample light in. It seemed to be divided into two sections of roughly the same size by a number of black walnut bookcases containing titles by authors like Jerónimo Sánchez de Carranza and Don Luis Pacheco de Narváez from the “Verdadera Destreza” (True Skill) Spanish school of swordsmanship, as well as books by Achille Marozzo, Giacomo di Grassi, Salvator Fabris, Rodolfo Capo Ferro, and Francesco Antonio Marcelli from the Italian School.


In the first section, three circles of different sizes had been drawn in the floor, with all kinds of straight lines, and small circles drawn inside and around them. They were used for teaching what was known as the Spanish style, a system of combat tied to intellectual, philosophical, and moral ideals, a conservative system of swordplay using both thrusts and cuts.


In the second section, the elements of the Italian style were taught and practiced: the preference for certain guards, the preoccupation with tempo, the emphasis on thrusts, and many of the defensive actions particular to this style of swordsmanship which, besides rapier, also taught attacks and defenses with daggers, pikes, halberds, and bucklers, as well as the use of two of those at the same time.


Several artful displays of armor and weapons called attention to the walls. Six dummies were set up in each section for those who wanted to practice their stabbing and cutting techniques. Yet, more often than not the men gathered here to train with each other, or to observe others.


Here not just the courtiers practiced, but the troops of the Lifeguard and the rest of the Household Cavalry as well, since most of them were born into the gentry, those younger sons and brothers of the lords that vied for attention at the palace.


He strode into the fencing hall with his kit, and stopped to shift his shoulders about. The cold was bad for muscles, he felt rather bound up, working up a sweat with some exercise would be just the thing.


Chatham was due to meet him, meanwhile the Lifeguard performed some stretches, practised some footwork and lunges in the traditional style. Though their intents today was deviations from those styles, demonstrations of underhanded street moves, the sort that might get traditionally trained men killed.

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Turnbull wasn't the only Life Guard in the Fencing Hall that afternoon. Baron Dundarg and a handful of their more enthusiastic colleagues were testing each others' metal and working up a sweat, moving back and forth on the polished floor. Boot steps clicked and practiced swords met with a metallic sching.


The bout paused and Douglas turned, eye caught by the movement. Seeing the uniform of a fellow Life Guard, he saluted Ambrose with the rapier he held, accompanying the gesture with a nod.

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Seeing the higher ranked officer's friendly gesture, Ambrose's lips pulled into a quick smile and with a brief bow befitting the informal situation he then commented, "Than god for sport! All the christmas pudding might have the men rolling out of the barracks in the morning otheriwise!"


Not that Ambrose actually objected to a nice pudding with a helping of custard at all, but concern of men becoming lazy was the sort of thing high ranked officers angsted over. So it was that Ambrose was trying to say the right thing.


God knew he'd been stuffing his foot in his mouth from dawn to dusk since he'd arrived in London. Did I just take the lords name in vain, and on a Sunday? And he continued to stuff that foot in further.

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Ambrose’s cheerful exclamation earned him a chuckle from the big Scotsman. If there was one person at court unlikely to pay much attention to someone taking the Lord’s name in vain. “Indeed!” Douglas agreed, being a man who liked his pudding as much as the next. “Tis better tae work’t off than tae exercise that strange beast called ‘moderation’.”* It certainly wasn’t something that Douglas was well acquainted with.


He also wasn’t well acquainted with the other man, though he’d seen him about in the last couple of days. “Ye mun be new tae the Life Guard.” He observed. “I’m Cap’n FitzJames, Baron Dundarg.” He added, by way of introduction. He almost said ‘Commander of the Third’, but of course that wasn’t the case anymore now, was it? “Weelcam tae the unit.”**



* “Indeed! It’s better to work it off than to exercise that strange beast called ‘moderation’.”

** “You must be new to the Life Guard. I’m Captain FitzJames, Baron Dundarg. Welcome to the unit.”

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First he learnt that the officer was a Scott, his languid drawl being unmistakable, and a genial fellow too. “A man after my own heart." Turnbull agreed, "lets leave 'moderation' for the beancounters and pencil pushers. It were not moderation that returned King Charles to the throne!"


If there was one certainty in life it was that the kings men were just that - royalists through and through. While he was happy to discard his coat to practise, he wore the uniform with pride and conviction in the way of life he was sworn to defend.


"Thank you Captain." Ambrose smiled. Rank of Captain on land was different to upon sea, though likely enough as long a journey to attain. "And I am Lieutenant Turnbull, of the 2nd." There were times in the past few weeks that Ambrose regretted leaving his marine ambitions, he'd come so close to getting his own ship. But now upon land he was all at sea.


"I've scheduled to meet a Lord Chatham down here, do you know of him? We spared the other day, and he won by a whisker with a street move. I've an interest to go up against him again, regain my honor, though alas the ladies are not again present." after he'd said as much he wondered why he'd said it.

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Turnbull was right. Charles Rex’s court was a merry court, one of fun and frivolity, where things were meant to be enjoyed to the full. Clearly they were of one mind on that matter. “Weel sayed!”* Douglas acknowledged. Perhaps, in these days when the court seemed to be turning towards prudery – the influence of their Queen no doubt – a counter-revolution was to be mounted. The key, in the Scotsman’s mind, was not slipping over into tasteless vulgarity as the Merry Gang was so prone to do. If one was going to be vulgar, one should do so tastefully.


“A pleasure tae meet ye Lieutenant. Yer’ll be under Laird Langdon’s command thain.” He observed. It was better than being under Ogle’s at least. The lad might be a future Duke but he was still a pillock. Unaware of the other man’s regrets, Douglas considered that he’d got a good start.


“More poower tae parry, eh?” Douglas grinned at Turnbull’s regret that they lacked an audience. So Ambrose had plans to meet another, a Lord Chatham, for some sparring. “I haena haed the pleasure, nae.” He replied to the question. Another new face at court. “But if yer luikin’ fer some practice whit doesnae feature in ony trainin’ manual, I micht be able tae help ye.”** He offered.


“I haed seven yearn wi the Royal Scots.” He added by way of explanation. “Spent years fichtin’ the Dutch. Likely ye faced the same at sea.”+ If Turnbull had been in the Navy that long he’d likely been involved in the same war.



* “Well said!”

** “A pleasure to meet you Lieutenant. You’ll be under Lord Langdon’s command then.”

*** “More power to your parry, eh? I haven’t had the pleasure, no. But if you’re looking for some practive that doesn’t feature in any training manual, I might be able to help you.”

+ “I had seven years in the Royal Scots. Spent years fighting the Dutch. Likely you faced the same at sea.”

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Charles whistled merrily as he strode towards the Fencing Hall, uniform jacket folded neatly over his arm. The laudanum had begun to take effect and the freedom from pain had elevated his (already high) mood immeasurably. He was genuinely looking forward to fencing Turnbull again.


And I'm wearing proper footwear this time!


Charles smiled approvingly at his boots, wonderful, stable things that they were. There was no chance of turning an ankle, or worse, breaking a heel, in these!


Wodehouse always manages to find the best laudanum. Whatever I'm paying him, I should double it.

Entering the hall, he paused to cast about for Turnbull. He found the Lieutenant in conversation with another Life Guard, this one a captain from his uniform.


Tall bugger, too.

Never one to hang back, Charles approached without hesitation, beaming smile painted on his face.


"Lieutenant! Pleasant afternoon, is it not? My thanks for reminding me what an upstanding gentleman should be doing on a Sunday, incidentally. I had quite forgotten, can't imagine why."


Charles turned to the other man and gave him a friendly nod.


"Don't believe I've had the pleasure. Charles Audley, Earl of Chatham."

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But then again, why be tastefully vulgar when tastelessly vulgar was so much more entertaining - there is more fun in a parody than a serious drama. Too often people took themselves far too seriously.


"Moncks." he nodded, "though I've seen about as much of him as I have of Langdon, it's a rather leisurely position, compare that to risk of foul play or weather on the horizon." He'd almost hoped that there would be some drama at the Opera the other night. So far he'd essentially done nothing but been a representation of military presence at Whitehall. "I would like to imagine that we face some greater more insidious danger here, one we might gird ourselves for, and remain ever alert...?"


Was there? Douglas might know.


“Well, more that the ladies have since insisted upon reminding me of the loss!" he explained, though it was just one of those ladies actually, a flame haired strumpet with goading eyes.


"Speak of the Devil." Ambrose turned with a laugh, and smiled to Chatham, "Well I cannot blame you, what with the scurrilous company you've kept, we cant not expect a little of their decay to have rubbed off." It had been Ambrose note that reminded Chatham of the chore of church on a Sunday morning.


"Chatham, Captain FitzJames and Baron Dundarg," Ambrose begun rattling through the introductions, "Dundarg... ah." but halted as the complete run through was hardly neccessary in their informal setting, "this is the scallywag I was just telling you about. Learnt some nifty (or dreadful depending upon which end of the blade you are on), tricks in...ahh... Venice did you say?" he looked at Charles for confirmation.

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Monck’s company was the First, the King’s Own; the Second was commanded by Whitehurst. Whether the Lieutenant had his commanding officer or his troop incorrect, no doubt he’d find out shortly.


“Thairs allus threats tae the King’s life.” Douglas confirmed, hopefully allaying Turnbull’s fears of boredom. “An’ more tae his honour.” He added, thinking of his own adventures. “I’ve seen a fair bit o’ action in the unit, an’ hae th’scars tae prove’t. Sae be carefu’ whit ye wish fer.”* He added with a broad, if not entirely well-humoured, smile. Turnbull had an easy, likable sense about him, but what was he like when the chips were down?


Douglas nodded politely to the new arrival as Ambrose made the rather unorthodox introduction. “A pleasure.” He replied. “I’d like tae see that, if three isnae a croowd.”** He added, leaving an opening for the two men to keep their own company if they preferred.


“I micht e’en be able tae add a trick er twa tae the lesson, if yer int’rested.”***



* “There’s always threats to the King’s life. I’ve seen a fair bit of action with the unit, and have the scars to prove it. So be careful what you wish for.”

** “A pleasure. I’d like to see that, if three isn’t a crowd.”

*** “I might even be able to add a thing or two to the lesson, if you’re interested.”

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Charles laughed as Turnbull excused him his lack of piety.


"Ah, but is it not written that 'ye shall know a man by the company he keeps?'" Charles frowned. "Though that might be from Aesop rather than the Bible, now that I think of it."


Turnbull made the introductions and Dundarg added his pleasantries. So this was the infamous Fitzjames, seducer of royal mistresses. Willoughby had not mentioned the height. Or the title. Or the accent, so barbarously thick that Charles briefly wondered if the man was having a stroke.


He was right about the eyes, to give him his due, though I'd match my one against Dundarg's two.


"Likewise Dundarg." Charles gave Turnbull a sidelong glance and spoke with mock asperity. "But come, Lieutenant, give me my due. I am at least a rapscallion. You are correct however, on the origin of that maneuver. It was indeed Venetian."


Charles reached up and performed a minute adjustment to the fit of his eye patch (and thus bought time to translate Dundarg's speech into English) before continuing.


"I certainly have no objections. The more the merrier. Lieutenant?"

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The second was originally formed as Monks Own, now know as The Queen Own. Ambrose had muddled his Monks, for Douglas was right that the current Monk was head of the first (The Kings Own), and Langdon led the Queens Own, (previously known as Monks Own), to which Ambrose was posted.


"I hope you are right." Ambrose did not even bother to touch wood, such was his quest for some interest to life. He had door duty again tonight, a duty so demanding that might as well take up knitting.


But then Chatham was upon them - and their circled broadened to include a third. "Ha, then there is no hope for you I am afraid." he laughed with supposition that the Lifeguards were but another group of bandits.


"Gah, I forgot how important the correct 'title' is to you hob nobs. Rapscallion it is then," simmering down, he gestured towards a section of the floor that was becoming clear as another group of men finished up. "Come do join us Captain, corks on, but as ever reputations exposed." Ambrose commenced rolling up his sleeves.

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Language was a funny thing, and history another. Both could be the cause of great clarity or great confusion, depending on how they were perceived. Feuds had been fought over misunderstandings when they involved pride, but the better men could laugh about it over a pint, at least in Douglas’s opinion. His only thought was to avoid crediting Monck with anything he hadn’t actually done, which was everything.


Lord Chatham was obviously a man who had seen some action himself, if the eyepatch was anything to judge by. Indeed, they all seemed to be men of action; perhaps they could all learn from each other.


“Wi’ pleasure.”* Douglas replied to Ambrose’s encouragement, rolling his shoulders to loosen them, lest they stiffen. He was already warmed up, but more than happy to wait for the other men to do the same, intrigued as to what this particular trick of Chatham’s might be.


“Venice is the popular destination.” He observed. Chatham was hardly the only person of Douglas’s acquaintance to have been there. It seemed to be the place to go when one visited the continent. “The pubs an’ whorehooses mun be quite ocht.”** He observed dryly. Where you got visitors, you got those who catered to them.



* “With pleasure.”

** “Venice is the popular destination. The pubs and whorehouses must be quite something.”

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"Oh, my formal titles you may mangle to your heart's content, but I've worked hard at being a rapscallion and it vexes me to be undersold so."


Laughter bubbled in Charles's voice as he followed Turnbull to the piste. He laid down his folded coat and unbuttoned his waistcoat. After a moment's thought, he added his cravat to the neat pile and loosened the collar of his shirt. Turnbull knew he was no fop by now, and Dundarg knew he had beaten Turnbull. There was no point to playing the effeminate dandy.


Charles flowed through a quick series of stretches, whistling to himself as he did. It took him a moment to notice Dundarg's question. He laughed merrily before replying.


"Oh, it is indeed, Dundarg, and with good reason. I'll confess that I do not recall much of the pubs-" a wry grin gave heavy implication as to why that might be "- but every courtesan has a palace of her own and one cannot throw a stone without hitting one of them. The city is full of bravos as well, if one desires to sate one's other primal desires. They'll fight for any reason, or none at all. And, when one's body is sated, there are ample distractions for the mind as well. I should very much like to retire there."


Charles finished his warm-up with a quick lunge and straightened.


"Ready when you are, gentlemen."

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It was tragic really. The great military mind that Monck the dear departed had been, was now represented so inadequately by his son; alas how quickly a families reputation can turn to shit.


Dundarg's conversational talk of Venetian whorehouses came as a surprise, While Chatam's reply upon it did not.


Ambrose's blade sliced the air with a pleasant hiss sound as he casually replied, "I'd have thought you more the type to ruin a maiden or two, you were not cornered in an alley by a grateful brothel keeper inviting you back in, were you? It was more likely a particularly pissed off brother who taught you those moves."


How were they to spar? "First touched swaps out, rotating?" Ambrose suggested, meaning that they would have a single one on one match, and as someone was touched the other would step in. As initiator of this little grouping, practically host, Ambrose deferred to the other men, his guests, to go first. With a slight bow he moved to the side.

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"T'soonds like a place abody wuid ne'er tire of." Douglas observed on the subject of Venice, nodding in acknowledgement of Chatham's enthusiastic description. "Like Paris in some wa's, thou' I suspect t'may surpass't in others."* Perhaps one day he would be in a position to visit Venice and make a comparison.


The big Scotsman smirked at Turnbull's banter. It sounded like all three of them were men who had seen a bit more of life than just the inside of court. All the better, and far more interesting company.


Douglas was already warmed up, but he took the opportunity to stretch out his long legs as the others warmed their muscles. "T'soonds like a plan." He agreed with Turnbull's suggestion. "Since I'm th'interloper, ye twa meet first."** He said, offering to be the one to sit out the first bout.



* "It sounds like a place a person would never tire of. Like Paris in some ways, though I suspect it may surpass it in others."

** "That sounds like a good plan. Since I'm the interloper, you two meet first."

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Charles laughed heartily at Turnbull's rejoinder, flourishing his own blade.


"That one was a husband actually, I fancy. The brothel keepers were less grateful than you might imagine, though. The whores were pining for lack of me you see, and just wasted away in my absence, Echoes to my Narcissus."


Charles accompanied the outrageous claim with an equally outrageous waggle of his eyebrows. As much as Charles enjoyed elegant innuendo and intrigue, there was a great deal to be said for this kind of earthy, blokey banter and the easy camaraderie it engendered.


Charles nodded along with Dundarg's conclusions, blade still hissing through the air.


"To tire of Venice would be to tire of life. All of the human experience is there. Paris has something of its charm, I suppose, and a great many charms of its own- one is considerably less likely to drown, for instance- but the main difference, in my experience, at least, is that Paris hides its attractions behind a veneer of gentility, while Venice flaunts them."


They then ran into the logistical difficulties inherent in their situation, to whit, two into three does not go. Charles was briefly tempted to say that he would take them both on but demurred, mindful of his somewhat altered state of consciousness.


"Ah, but I'm the latecomer and, as such, courtesy dictates that I stand aside." He laughed. "Manners do overcomplicate things so, don't they?"

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Turnbull rolled his eyes at Chathams claim, and made a face towards Douglas. "Get your hand off it Charles." a quip that the Earl might not be familiar with, a quip that essentially told him to stop verbally fondling himself.


The sparring match found a complication in all threes gentlemanliness, deferring to the others.


"Well we could stand here arranging our teacups all day!" Ambrose stepped forwards, "You can wait Dundarg, I've a yearning to wipe the smug off Chathams face. Enough of your precious Venice, if it was as good as you say then why did you leave. Do us all a favour and return will you?" He performed the expected etiquette of dignified bow, then took stance, sword tip circling menacingly in the air towards Charles.


"I'll leave something of him for you to wipe the floor with Captain." he promised Doug with a wink.

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“T’was likely the face on yer coins they pined fer.”* Douglas quipped as Chatham claimed the brothel owners didn’t thank him for their whores wasting away for wanting. Rather than your own. Chatham’s face suggested he’d seen as much adventure as Douglas himself, though the Scotsman had managed to keep his scars largely below his collar.


Manners seemed likely to make the beginning of their practice difficult, until Turnbull made an executive decision. “Be my guest.” The Scotsman drawled with a smirk as Turnbull winked at him. “The floor cuid do wi’ a clean.”**


In fact Douglas preferred to watch first, it gave him a chance to see both men’s fighting styles before he faced them. Chatham had promised some more unorthodox styles and the Scotsman was interested to see what he had in mind.


“Whit d’ye say gents?” Douglas asked when the bout came to a close. “Which parts o’ Venice – er Paris – cuid we intraeduce tae bes’ liven up Whit’haw?” He asked his companions, thinking that with the arrival of the Ice Queen, court was really becoming rather staid.



* “It was likely the face on your coins they pined for.”

** “Be my guest. The floor could do with a clean.”

*** “What do you say gents? Which parts of Venice – or Paris – could we introduce to best liven up Whitehall?”

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"Oh, allow a man his illusions, would you gentlemen?" Charles groused good-naturedly, laughter bubbling in his voice. He arched an eyebrow at Dundarg. "Though I'll note that I never said it was my face they pined for."


Come to think of it, 'Get Your Hand Off It' would be an excellent title for my memoirs, should I ever write them.

Their conundrum was resolved by Turnbull in straightforward fashion. Charles grinned wolfishly as he picked up the verbal gauntlet.


"Wipe the smug off my face? You are entirely welcome to try. You might even manage it this time. After all, I am without my pretty heels to distract you. But I'll tell you what, Lieutenant, win or lose, I'll take you with me next time I visit Venice, and you can see it for yourself. It will be good for you- travel broadens the mind."


Charles gave the necessary bow and salute before coming en guarde in his customary relaxed fashion, limbs loose and springy. He felt the familiar exquisite stillness wash over him, that wonderful feeling when it seemed like he could reach out and balance the world on the tip of a finger.


Now, light and mobile, in distance only when we're attacking and then immediately out again. Feet never still, and watch for that change of direction.


Charles flowed forward, moving forward to just outside of lunge distance, blade flickering to threaten quarte then octave then sixte. Then he moved away, seeking to draw the Lieutenant after him. As he retreated, his guard narrowed, creeping inward and leaving his right shoulder increasingly exposed to a sudden lunge from Turnbull. The consequence, perhaps, of his informal fencing style?


It was a trap, of course, and should the lieutenant take it, Charles would replicate his winning maneuver from their first bout, albeit this time he would hopefully not be striking blind and, given his footwear, should end up in a proper crouch on the balls of his feet rather than sprawled on the floor.


And if he doesn't, well, we shall just have to think of something else.

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While Ambrose cared little for Charles' tout that he was narrow minded, it was a lackluster reply by his personal standards warranting ought but a pfft of breath in return.


"I'd like to say I'll miss you Chatham, farewells sound better that way." he commented, throwing his words towards Douglas with a wink, "a decade of traveling makes a man year for the home comforts."


While Ambrose had been taken out by an unconventional move on their first bout, that was not to say he was a restricted to fencing only within the accepted rules - a decade and more of sea battles had honed his skills, where the greatest art was reading the others true intentions. Swordplay was after all a game of deceit, today Ambrose deceived by allowing Charles to carry on in his false belief that he alone was the master of 'street moves'.


So while he stood in a 'proper' stance as provocateur, a juxtaposition of Charles 'sloppy' charade, his focus was sharp on his opponent's physique as much as the point of his sword.


But there was a lightness to the Lieutenants steps & a spark to his eyes as he stepped away from Charles opening move; a rather feeble gambit of a repeat of the setup for his previously wining defense. "Aha, you almost got me there Chatham." he easily lied, and altered their motion, pushing their circling anticlockwise, while the tip of his blade slid lower in a cliche textbook style.


Against this opponent he begun with faux naievity, baiting Charles into some rash move.

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The big Scotsman watched with interest as the two toyed with each other. The kind of psychological games they were engaged in was what fencing was all about.


The pair sought to distract each other, with talk of returning to Venice or taking the other there to visit. "Yer'll hae nae need o' the brothels thain."* Douglas drawled. The two men certainly seemed to enjoy the verbal sparring as well as the swordwork. Perhaps they were the kind who enjoyed sparring with other kinds of swords.


He mock-yawned behind his hand. "I shuid hae broucht a chair an' a drink."** He observed with a smirk, leaning against one of the hall's supports.



* "You'll have no need of the brothels than."

** "I should have brought a chair and a drink."

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"Just making sure you're awake, Turnbull."


The words were automatic, slipping unconsciously from his lips even as he sprang upright and opened the distance. His opening gambit might not have landed but it had not been a total loss, either. It told him Turnbull had learned from their last bout and it suggested that Charles had a limited arsenal of tricks and would perforce reuse them.


I would still prefer to have stabbed him, but I'll take what I can get.


Charles mirrored the Lieutenant's movements and let his own blade dip, point now completely off target. He could have his sword leveled again in an eyeblink, and there was sufficient distance between them to render the maneuver relatively safe. There was a degree of implied challenge and perhaps even a hint of contempt in the stance, and Charles hoped to provoke Turnbull thereby.


The earl maintained the circling for another two circuits before levelling his blade and feigning a sudden rush to see how Turnbull would respond. He did not expect anything terribly exploitable but uncovering the man's instinctive response could only help. That accomplished, Charles danced back out of decisive range, resuming his insouciant stance.


Come on Lieutenant. Just look how relaxed I am. It'd be a sin to let me get away with it...

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But Turnbull was not going to be tricked into making the first move again. "I should have brought a chair also." he replied to Douglas, challenging Chatham.


Switching direction of their tense rotation, he circled now clockwise, the tip of his sword flicked a few inches upwards a couple of times in a 'come and get it' motion.


"Or are you only competent in defence and not attack?" It had been Charles' desperate defence maneuver that had lost Ambrose the match last time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Why? Feeling the need for something to hide behind?"


The barb flew out instinctively but, despite the witticism, Charles was aware that he was in something of a bind. The vast majority of his 'dirty tricks' either directly killed or crippled the target or put one in a position where one had to kill one's opponent (and any witnesses) lest word get out about what one had done. This was inconvenient, as Charles rather liked Turnbull, and there were too many about to be certain of silencing them all. (The thought of winning cleanly was dismissed out of hand as contrary to the point of the exercise.)


I don't even have anything to throw at him. Handkerchief's in my waistcoat. All I have is my boots, stockings, breeches, shirt and...


...my sash.


Charles somehow kept the satisfied smile from his face, even as Turnbull launched further taunts. He matched the other man's circling with a relaxed, insouciant guard, spinning his blade in a series of complex flourishes. As his sword (hopefully) drew Turnbull's eye, his left hand, motion disguised by his body, loosened the knot of his sash.


"Actually Lieutenant, I was merely offering you an opportunity to show off for your comrades. Seeing as you have declined the invitation, however..." Charles shrugged and came on, blade flickering.




Just as he entered lunge distance, Charles's left hand tugged his sash loose and threw the cloth into Turnbull's face. Right arm and left leg immediately straightened in a lunge to septime.

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Chatham must have been distracted, "Gah, even your insults are weak today." Ambrose touted with a gruff laugh. Meanwhile he knew his opponent was not so dimwitted, which meant he was putting his resources into plotting instead.


Meanwhile though it simply grew tedious, waiting for the otehr to make an onslaught. "Never have I heard of a showing off as a method to win a battle." and then finally Chatham's onslaught came.


Ambrose responded, methodically blocking the initial parry that... seemed to lack true intent. Lacking that is, until his opponent tugged at his sash and attempted to throw it in Ambrose face. The attempt was desperate (perhaps the signature theme of Chathams style?) but unable to be done stealthily thus easily rebuffed with a swipe of the blade - revealing Charles attempt of a lunge.


With is own sword tip raised from swatting away the fabric, it was a quick gesture to now swipe down on Chathams blade, followed with a deft flick upwards in to make the touch.



OOC: will PM BG to ask for his diceroll/verdict.

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The sash ploy had been apparent. Ambrose swept it away easily. Any fencer would expect such an unorthodox maneuver to be followed by an attack, and this was no exception. Ambrose was able to swat the lunge downward and lightly touch Audley's arm on the uptake.

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"Ha!" Ambrose gave an ingracious shout with his success even as his form re coiled into primed posture, "although no swiftly lethal shot... now would be about the point that you'd pull out your pistol eh wot wot." he chuckled.


While a minor win, it was a win one the less, and savaged the Lieutenant ego no end.


Trooper Maurice appeared, and looking somewhat anxious signalled Ambrose -- the young man did not bother Ambrose usually, so it must be somewhat urgent.


"Err, excuse me Gentlmen, this looks important." Ambrose manner changed to consciousness and diligence in the face of duty, and taking up his coat, turned to give a bow to both men, "I hope to be back anon."




OOC: Carry on men, Ambrose shall be back.

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Douglas applauded the first touch in a sarcastic manner, big hands coming together slowly. "Aboot time we saw some bluid, thou’ naewhaur near enou’.”* He opined with a smirk.


In that moment a Trooper came hurrying up looking for Turnbull; some issue in the Second no doubt, if he wanted Ambrose specifically. Oh well.


“Weel that mak’s oor choice for us.” He observed. “Lets see some guts as weel.”** The big man suggested as he stepped forward and saluted Charles with his rapier.


The other man had clearly spent some time duelling on the streets and that experience was to be respected, but Douglas had battlefield experience, a long reach and a distinct lack of qualms where his own life was at stake. This would be interesting, and he relished the idea of an opponent with a similar approach to his own.



*” About time we saw some blood, though nowhere near enough.”

** “Well that makes our choice for us. Lets see some guts as well.”

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Charles gave Turnbull the courtesy of swearing as the other's riposte found its mark. He recovered and smiled at the Lieutenant.


"Traditionally, yes." He glanced ruefully at his fallen sash and flicked it away with the tip of his blade. "Knew I should have just kicked you in the groin."


Further conversation was delayed as Turnbull was called away on business. Charles returned his parting bow and switched his attention to Dundarg.


"Well, I'm properly warmed up now, and if you want to see the colour of your internals, I should be delighted to assist."


Behind the cursory banter, Charles was carefully assessing his new opponent.


Damnably tall, so slower to accelerate and slow to change direction. Catch him in transition.


Charles gave a salute of his own and slid into his own en guarde.


"Shall we?"

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