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En Garde, Little Man (Open) | Wednesday early afternoon

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Unlike the Northern Terrace, the enclosure known as the Eastern Terrace was not merely an expanse of stone. It was instead a more gentle garden, with the familiar geometric shapes in almost perfect symmetry that allowed for a protected stroll without getting lost. Its structure was reassuring and quite different from the wild park beyond the walls of the Castle proper. With its lush greens and neatly trimmed edges and hardly a flower in sight it was perhaps most suited for those in need of contemplation.

The terrace was enclosed by a half way wall, inviting people to lean across it while enjoying the farther view over the Little Park.


The Duke of Buckingham may have been...older in years...but he was renown as a premiere swordsman. Even at his age and with more girth to his lithe, tall figure, gentlemen were wary of insulting him for he was just as known for his history of (illegal) dueling. He had, in fact, never lost a duel. 


Today, however, he had not chosen an opponent to duel, nor even an opponent to provide much of a challenge for sparring. No, today, he had chosen entertainment value, exercise, and fresh air.


It was not the first time he had given Francis' little ginger ward the honour and privilege of crossing swords with him, but he generally did not find the entertainment overwhelmed the state of his patience (or lack thereof). That was to say, Tom did not frequently get the opportunity to be thoroughly pummeled by Buckingham. 


Not that Buckingham did not find the boy to have some skill for a youth of sixteen, but he was the Duke of Buckingham.


With a slick motion, the duke divest the lad of his practice rapier yet again, when the boy got brazenly too close, and gave him a nice elbow to the cheek for his trouble. 


The ginger went sailing onto his arse in the grass. "Dead again," he taunted. "You are going to be bruised from root to tip, darling little carrot, if you don't grow some regard and patience."


With a chuckle, he added, "My sister has more skill with a sword than you." True, but he also wished to keep said carrot annoyed enough to have to work through it with some intelligence and less foolish bravado. A good lesson for the young.


He encouraged the boy back up by the collar of his shirt and handed him back his rapier. "Again."

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  • 2 months later...

The ginger stumbled up, huffing and puffing, and took up his position again. 


There was some toying and some testing, and once again the ginger began an attack. Buckingham held back his chuckle and let the lad advance on him, parrying easily, and making the boy expend even more energy in the pursuit.


"Come now, are you even trying to land a hit?"


True, Buckingham was far taller, and so there was significant challenge, but Francis was also much taller so the ginger was no unused to a taller opponent.


The incensed youth, advanced twice in annoyance, and then lunged predictably. Buckingham made an easy move to the side and smacked the boy's other arm with his sword. "A one-handed future ship captain if you keep flailing this arm around...and a very bloody, messy stump in the interim."


Tom groaned and stopped, rubbing where the springy metal of the practice sword had welted his free forearm. 


Buckingham chuckled. "Breathe and ignore words. Your sword are your words in a duel, boy. That is all that matters. Let them taunt and waste breathe, keep your head and your silence. Talking betrays their timing, breath indicates motion for most unless they've learned to manipulate that as a tell."


"Yes, Your Grace," the lad replied, clearly biting his tongue.


Buckingham snorted. Carrot was very transparent. "More you wish to say? Be candid. You have my leave."


The ginger did not feel this was sufficient by the look on his face. That betrayed to Buckingham the boy did not want to say exactly what he was thinking.


"I don't wish to look foolish and badly in front of the Duke of Buckingham and that is making me perform worse..."


A bark of amusement escaped the duke. "How old are you, boy? Of course I think you are foolish, it's a given of your age. Concentrate and pretend I am Kingston if that helps. You are not a bad little swordsman. You are, in fact, very good. Kingston is a skilled teacher and clearly a taskmaster. I am baiting you. Do not take the bait. Mentality is just as important as your swordsmanship." He gave a nod and said. "Again."


(OOC - bumping this hoping someone joins ;) )

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