Revelations and Lessonby Lorna Appleby and Keon Christensen
"Words are like weapons, they hurt sometimes.. If I could turn back time, if I could find a way.." Katt sang Cher's song with her eyes closed, feeling the aura of the trees around here, a few curious birds listened to the strange song. "..My world was shattered, I was torn apart, like someone took a knife and drove it deep in my heart.." She finished the song, letting the notes from the guitar dance around the small forest before opening her eyes to see Dachend sitting on a log across from her, a strange look on his face. She wished just once she could detect his aura so he would stop sneaking up on her!
"What?" She finally said when it seemed like the man wasn't going to say anything. She picked at a piece of fuzz on her boots, she wasn't really in the mood to deal with Dachend this day.. She hadn't been much in the mood at all lately. Luckily the warrior seemed to have taken some sort of pity on her and was being gentler than his usual self.. Or perhaps it was his true self? Katt laughed at herself, why would he show her *that*? She was just a pathetic elf.
"Don't you think you've felt more than a little sorry for yourself lately?" Dachend finally said, his eyebrow cocked.
"Probably." Katt answered, she still couldn't bring herself to look at him. It wasn't as if she needed to, she knew every feature of his face, she knew how he moved, smelled and talked. What fascinated her so much was she still couldn't predict him, even guess what he was thinking behind the pupiless eyes.
"And why *is* that? I thought elves were supposed to be annoyingly happy and chipper. You're the most depressed Elf I've ever heard of." Katt couldn't read anything from Dachend's neutral tone. No shock there, she almost never knew where Dachend was leading or what he was getting at.
Katt shrugged. "Nothing important." She wanted to tell him, she wanted to reveal her darkest of secrets.. She needed to tell someone.. To have someone understand! But would he understand? Dare she take the chance on losing a friend who had come to mean more than she readily wanted to admit?
"Of course it's important!" Dracho'xian broke in, "If its bothering you so much that you're walking around in a funk for a few days it must be important to you. If it's important to you, it's important to us!" Dachend looked like he was about to say something, but didn't correct the sword.
Maybe the pair would understand, maybe they wouldn't hate her for what she was.. And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Katt shrugged again, letting out a sigh. The grove returned to the silence of the woods. Animals continued with their lives as the two-legs and the sword sat and waited each other out. Katt gave in. "Just thinking about my birthday, that's all."
"When is it?" Dracho'xian asked, Dachend remained silent. Katt sneaked in a quick glance, the tall man looked almost.. thoughtful.
"It was last week." Katt sighed, "Don't worry about it, Elves only really celebrate the century marks past a certain point.. After all it takes a certain length of time to get three hundred candles on a cake!" She laughed weakly. "Anyway, Kimiko and Ahlen came over and we played for a while, it was cool."
"So why's that got you down?" Dachend finally asked, seeming exasperated with the evasive and nonsensical answers.
"Just reminded me of home, really. Not Furrhold," Dachend winced at the memory of the chaotic town run by the Kitsune, "Watermark."
"Why has that caused a permanent crease in your forehead?" Draco'xian asked.
"Oh, Just thinking about step-father, and mother and stuff." Katt fiddled with her guitar.
"I've heard plenty about good ole Yer the lousy instructor, but I don't think you've ever mentioned your family." Dachend said caustically.
"What's to say? Step-father is the ruler of Watermark, my brother is the next in line, and my mother ignores my existence. As if ignoring me will make me go away. Step-Father left me to the care of his family and servants and my brother was my best friend until I came of age. Then he turned into a second Yeralanor."
"What about your father then?"
Katt looked frightened for a moment and then hid the emotion He seemed to want to know. Would he laugh at her and spit on her as an Elf would? "I - Well," she looked up and met Dachend's eyes for the first time during the conversation, shame filled her eyes. She hung her head again. She had to tell him, no matter what he thought of her afterwards, she still had to tell him. "My father was a Dark-Elf."
There was a moment of silence where Katt sat with her eyes cast down. She didn't hear him move, he was as silent as any of her kin, she just felt a finger on her chin. "So?" Dachend said rather sarcastically bringing her eyes up to his. Katt's heart was racing like a rabbit's.
"You mean besides the fact I'm a bastard child of an illicit affair with a Dark-Elf? You mean besides the fact that half my blood is that of an ancient and evil race? Besides the fact that it made me the most hated and despised person in Watermark? Not much." Katt pulled her head away from him and looked out to the forest so he wouldn't see the hot tears that splashed down her face.
"Let me see if I have the right picture of your life in Watermark as you've told it to me," Dachend started, trying to ignore the tears he knew were coming down her face. "You were left to the tender mercies of Yeralanor, who thought it best to beat on you and humiliate you at every turn because he could get away with it. Your family treated you like an unwanted and disgusting creature and the first person to give a damn about you was this Kitsune Dances With Credit Cards?"
"That's about it." Katt confirmed, still not looking back to Dachend. She could feel his warm presence beside her, she wanted to collapse into his arms and feel his strength. She hoped with every fibre of her being that he wouldn't care what her heritage was, wouldn't wonder if she was as dark as her father was supposed to have been, maybe even believe that she was a daughter of the light, not some grey faceless being in the void of in-between.
"And you think you deserved that treatment because your father was a Dark-Elf?" Dachend continued, Draco'xian being oddly quiet.
"Yes and no." Katt finally answered.
"BULLSHIT!!" She craned a bit as she felt Dachend stand up. "If you want to talk, fine, if not, don't waste my time"
"Dachend.." Draco'xian started, Dachend threw a vicious glare at the eye on his hand. Draco shut up.
"Please don't go, I just don't want you to hate me too." Katt whispered. Dachend was mad and disgusted with her, she guess she could understand it, so many others had been. She felt her heart starting to crumble, and tears once again threatened to surface. She had so hoped *he* would understand and not condemn her.
"Why the hell would I hate you? Because a bunch of shitheads with closed minds treated you like dirt? They are the revolting pieces of garbage, not you." Katt saw Dachend out of the corner of her eye cross his arms across his chest. Could he really mean that? Could he truly not hate her for what she was? Then why was he so mad? She just didn't understand humans sometimes. "Listen Katt, I have meet a couple of Dark Elves in my time and trust me, when I say that you ain't fuck all near like them. Compared to them Yer would be a real Prince Charming"
Katt bit her lower lip "I suppose that's true.."
Dachend groaned "Okay, let me spell it out for the slow ones. People can't tell that your pop was a Dark Elf" Katt sat silently, almost afraid of what Dachend's would say next, yet hope fluttered against her ribcage. "But you know" There was as low moan, she just couldn't start crying again, Dachend would *never* respect her if she kept on crying. Dachend sat down in front of her, there was a moment where Katt just looked at her feet, her heart pounding as she waited in agony for his answer. Dachend gently lifted her face with two fingers under her chin. His black eyes that normally were cold and untelling, a second glittering with sincerity. "Do I look like I care?" Katt lowered her eyes. She didn't know what to think, mixed emotions churned up inside. Was he just trying to make her feel better or did he really mean it? She thought she saw sincerity in his eyes, but she couldn't be sure.."Come on, don't tell me that you buy that crap your fucked up family is packing at'ya"
Katt shrugged. "Some days I believe them, some days I want to go back to Watermark and beat their smug faces in."
"So why don't you?" Dachend challenged.
"Like I could defeat any of them in any sort of combat. I mean, to humans I'm an average sword-fighter whose really fast and agile. To an Elf I'm a child playing at being a warrior. Tenris has been trying to teach me, but he just can't keep up with me and if I slow down then I'm not fighting as I would really.."
"So why not find a teacher who can keep up with you?"
"Only other elf here is Eric.. And he scares the .. heck out of me."
Draco'xian snorted. "Why not just get Dach to teach you? I'm sure he's more than capable of keeping up."
Katt looked hopeful for a heartbeat, then her face clouded over again. "I couldn't ask that. It would be a lot of trouble."
"Trouble - Shmouble. Not like he doesn't already spend as much time as he thinks he can get away with, with you." Draco'xian replied cheerfully,
Dachend hissed at the sword "Watch it"
"Everyone has to have a pet pity project?" Katt tried to bail Dachend out.
"If I were to have a pet pity project it wouldn't be you." Dachend contradicted. "That's why I have Draco'xian you know." A slight smile tugged at the Wu's lips.
"Hey!" Draco protested.
"Is for horses." Dachend retorted.
"And sometimes cows," Katt put in. She looked slightly happier. Maybe Dachend really *didn't* care her father was a Dark Elf. He seemed to be more mad at her family than disgusted with her. It was almost like a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders. Finally, *someone* understood! For the first time she felt the sun warming her skin instead of the cold grey dread of the haze she'd been in.
Suddenly a sword came rushing towards her head, Katt sprang backwards doing a flip in mid-air. By the time she landed her sword was in her hand. She focused on Dachend standing at the ready with Draco'xian in his hand. "Pretty good reactions."
Katt was sweating out of her fright and out of going from complete relaxed state to hyper-aware. She'd teach the warrior a lesson! >>Trees, friends, teach the human to respect the friends of the forest!<< She wasn't sure what the trees could do, but she sent along some of her strength to them, some of the energy of her spirit. "You'd get pretty good reactions if you got beat every day, too!" Katt retorted, trying to stall for the trees to make up their minds. The one problem with trees was they were a little slow to act.
"Probably. I'd also start beating back." Dachend was eyeing her, seeming to be waiting for her move. He felt something brush against his foot. "What the-?" Suddenly he found the vines of the ground around his legs, tightening quickly. He took a couple of swipes at the vines with Draco'xian, he then saw Katt move towards him with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
"You minx!" Draco'xian called to her, "I didn't know you had nature powers!"
"Neither did Dachend, apparently," She called back, ducking Dachend's blow and countering with her own.
Dachend blocked her sword easily, throwing strength behind it to knock her off balance. She went stumbling a few steps back. Dachend took a few more hacks at the tightening vines, at this rate he'd be a vine cocoon in no time.
Katt seemed to be studying the situation from a distance, waiting for when the vines to either immobilise the Wu and his sword or for them to become distracted in trying to get the vines off them. Dachend looked at her with a smug smile, then growled as the vines tightened slightly.
Katt grinned and with a jump up into the trees, her sword disappeared from her hand, she grabbed a branch and twisted around it a couple of times before letting go and landing behind the warrior, a swordpoint in his back. "Do ye give in ya scurvy human?" She mock growled in a lousy pirate impression.
"Nope." Dachend answered calmly, unable to turn around due to the vines, "You've forgotten one little detail that will become apparent very soon.."
Katt lifted a eyebrow "Huh?" Dachend looked over his shoulder "I'm a Demon Hunter fer christ sake, I get entangled by tendrils, vines, rob or spiderweb at least once a week. Don't you think I have developed a counter-measure for a thing like this?"
Katt first now saw that small white lightnings were crackling around his hands "Tou-chao bodyblow!!" roared Dachend and a geyser of dirt, shredded vines and small sparks of electricity erupted around him. The wind pressure threw Katt off her feet and when she looked up, Dachend grabbed her by the collar, hoisted her into the air and pressed the edge of his wristblade against her gut, but not cutting through. Katt could fell the sharp edge of the blade.
"OW!" Katt yelped.
"Hey ease down Dachend" added Dracho'xian.
Dachend withdrew the blades and sat Katt down. He was about to speak when a vine whipped around his neck "Gag?!"
Katt smirked, rubbing her neck slightly. "I think the trees are making their own opinions known. I didn't ask for that one." She dismissed her own sword and knelt down at Dachend's feet. He could hear her whisper to the vines which promptly fell away from him.
Dachend breathed in "I outta kick you ass hard for that trick. Interesting strategy though. One important thing you forgot 'Know your enemy'. You should have *known* that I could have developed a technique like that"
"Ah hell," Katt said, straightening up "you never talk about what you do"
Dachend cocked an eyebrow "Hmm, but you still made a fatal error. You must never hesitate, use the first chance to kill of your opponent, especially if he is better. It might be the only one you'll get"
"Sounds like someone's teaching." Draco'xian butted in.
"Maybe." Dachend turned to the hovering sword. "Got a problem with that?"
"Nope, not me!" He answered with a smug, over-innocent tone.
Dachend turned to Katt, "And you?"
Katt's eyes widened, "I would be very honoured."
"Honoured? Not for long you won't. 'Cause I'm not even gonna tell you when the first lesson is.. When it starts, you'll know."
Katt rubbed her stomach. "Er.. Sorry.. if we went a little hard on you" Draco'xian offered.
"No, we're not" said Dachend
"No harm done, just deflated my ego a bit." Katt wandered back to her guitar "I better go, I have several cars to fix, a toaster oven to put an AI chip in -- don't ask -- and a Mech to deliver." She put the guitar carefully in it's case and turned back to the duo. Dachend seemed rather intent on studying the trees over her head, Draco'xian was back within Dachend. "Thanks." She told the warrior, hoping her eyes would convey everything else. She then turned and fled into the forest as silently as a deer.
"When you beat the crap out of those assholes in Watermark I'll say we're even" Dachend finally replied, long after she'd gone.
Katt closed the hatch and secured it, then crawled up to the cockpit and punched a couple of buttons and powered up the engine. the whole tank rumbled as it came to life. She threw a few more switches and took hold of the controls "okaay... now you better work" she mumbled and activated the button for fortification, with a shudder that Tank began to rise from the floor, the threads splitting slightly so long claws could come out and grasp at the floor, a pair of big bird like legs came out from the side and back of the tank, and grounded themselves on the concrete securing the tanks position further. With a whine of metal and clicks of cocks and gears, the two big main barrels were pulled into the massive turret, while an even larger and wider barrel, emerged from the back of the turret. With a loud K-chunk and a hiss, the tank settled in itself and Katt looked at a smile on the many green lights that blinked at her. "Piece o'cake" she smiled and turned off the system.
As she crawled out of the tank she stretched and looked a the clock, a couple of minutes till and it would be 10:00 PM. It was already Friday and she had still not heard a thing from Dachend, she sighed. Nobody had heard a thing from the immortal for more than a week. She couldn't believe how much she missed the sarcastic immortal and his wise cracking sword.
Katt took of her cap and ran a hand through her red hair, she finally summoned the courage to ask him to try and teach her some sword work. He had agreed to teach her some, but he hadn't said when. Now it had been six days and he had just sunken into the ground.
Katt sighed and looked at the moon through the skylight "Oh well, it didn't hurt to hope" -and now I'll probably never see him again- she thought to herself. She closed her tool box and turned off the light in the garage and headed for her bed.
Katt felt something cold and moist touch her face and suddenly tighten. In a second she had returned to the conscious world, being torn out of her dream. Something moist and cold was covering her face and something was holding her body in place. She blinked her eyes and could see that what ever was on her head, it was white and slightly transparent.
Somebody was in her room with her. "Tenris!" she called out, a scared tone in her voice.
Fighting for a few long seconds she got her hand to her face. It had been her blanket that had been holding her in place. The figure in front of her hadn't moved, she groped at the thing in her face and pulled it of.
It was a T-shirt, soaking wet. She looked up and saw Dachend standing leaning against the door frame, in the door to her room.
"It's good morning" added Dracho'xian
"Fuck you" retorted Dachend.
"Go to hell" replied the sword
"Got a part time job there" countered the Wu
"Yeah right" Dracho added sarcastically to himself.
Katt gave a relieved sigh and yawned as her heart rate slowed "Morning guys... what time is it?"
Dachend looked at his watchless arm "First light is in an hour. Get into some clothes and get some breakfast, training starts at first light" he said.
Katt sat in her bed stunned, suddenly she heard Tenris's running feet "Katt are you all right?!" he called.
She didn't have time to call back, just then Tenris turned the corner and Dachend flipped his left hand, made to a fist. Tenris barely had time to get his own hand up to block the shot as he turned the corner. Unfortunately the blow hit Tenris completely off guard and the force sent him skidding backwards landing on his butt. Dachend walked past him "Morning" he said to the side and Katt could hear his voice as he walked down the hall "When you're both ready, I'll be in the grass field behind the garage.
Tenris rubbed his hand "What was that?"
Katt bounced out of bed "Dachend, he is teaching me, us I think, today."
Tenris watched the Elf bound down the stairs to the kitchen. "Do you remember what I said about my liking your friends? I do believe I lied." he called after her.
Katt yawned again and looked around, she was a night person, she wasn't used to seeing this strange thing called 'dawn.' The morning mist was lying short above the ground, the dew drops trickling against her legs and soaking her bare feet. The weak morning light cast a strange dream like atmosphere over the grassy field behind her garage, there were a couple of trees and some old out shot up mechas she hadn't been able to fix. It wasn't a garden, more like a jungle, the thin crass straws reached almost her knees where they were highest. Katt could fell the moist cold morning air against her face and when she blew out her warm air made small, very faint clouds of mist in front of her face.
Tenris looked around "Kattarina are you sure that this Dachend meant this particular field?"
Katt nodded "Yep, that's what he said."
"What took you so long, why do woman take such a long time in the bathroom?" said a clear, strong voice through the morning air. Both Katt and Tenris turned and looked at the silhouette that came towards them with the first rays of the sun, as if came over the horizon, behind him.
Katt smiled, Dachend was looking as sure of himself as ever, he was wearing his usual black boots and sand brown military pants, and the black short jacket, he had Dracho'xian slung casually over his right shoulder. His usual lopsided sly grin on his face, with a long straw in the edge of his mouth.
Katt looked at Tenris as he ducked the swing from Dachend's sword and tried to retaliate, but Dachend jumped out of the way, they eyed each other for a moment then Dachend charged. The two fought back and forth for a moment, then Dachend beat aside Tenris's sword and drove his knee into the other's gut. Tenris staggered back and gasped for the air that his lungs had been deprived of. He skilfully parried Dachend two follow up strikes and tried a counter thrust, Dachend pivoted out of the way and spun around to send a fist into Tenris's face with a high smack. Tenris fell on his side and before he could move Dachend had placed a foot on his sword hand and placed his own blade tip on the others throat. "You lose" he said calmly and stepped away. Tenris rubbed his jaw as he got up "You are very skilful Sir Dachend, I must admit that I have meet my superior with the blade."
Dachend made his trademark smile and said sarcastically "No shit kid." Katt had to laugh at the comment and the reaction Tenris had to it. Dachend then turned to Katt who had been sitting and studying the fight.
He took a moment and looked at the clouds, placing Dracho'xian who had the form of a Katana on his shoulder and his free hand in his pocket. Then he looked at Katt again "Get up, it's your turn now" Katt got up and summoned her sword. She took a defensive position and slowly moved in at Dachend, who didn't make a move.
"Don't beat me too much, k?"
Dachend's expression didn't change he just said flatly "I'll decide that, now show me what you've got"
Katt took a breath and looked over Dachend, why wasn't he taking a stand or at least looking like he was going to fight back? "Having second thoughts?" he teased, Katt tightened her grip and attacked, making a slash to his head.
*K-CHING* the blade was parried with an almost effortless expression. Katt tried again with a thrust and Dachend just stepped aside, another swing, dodged it. A cut to the legs, parried. Stab at the chest, side-stepped. Again and again she tried to hit him, but each time he just parried it or side stepped. It wasn't making it feel any better that he hadn't even taken his hand out of the pocket.
"Would you fight back!?" she then yelled in frustration and lashed at his head, Dachend bent back avoiding the blade. Going onto his knees. Katt thrusted at him and he just bent all the way down to the ground with his body, his lower legs bend in under him.
As Katt drew back to strike again, he pulled himself back up full speed, sword to the side and the other hand still in his pocket. Katt closed her eyes, expecting a headbutt of proportions. But he just stopped less than a inch from her head.
When nothing happened she opened her eyes to see and looked into his black eyes, giving a gasp of surprise as she realised what had happened and blushed slightly as she noticed that their noses almost touched. "Boo!" he said with a smile, placed his forehead against hers and punched through, throwing her of her feet and onto her rump. Hand still in pocket he placed his swords tip on her chest, just over the heart "You're dead Katt."
The sun had reached it appendix as they sat in the shadow of a tree and ate the food Tenris had brought along. Katt looked over at Dachend, who was sitting, back against a tree, with his eyes closed and a new straw in his mouth. "So...uhm how am I doing?"
Dachend sat a moment and Katt almost thought that he hadn't heard her, then he just stated "By my standards, you suck. You've got speed and dexterity and you really try to hang in there, but it really doesn't compensate for lousy swords work" he said, just letting it slip as if he was telling what he had for lunch yesterday.
Katt sighed "I know, I'm just a failure."
"No, you're not!" protested both Dracho'xian and Tenris.
Katt looked at them "Yes I am, I have been training for weeks with Tenris, for who knows how many years under Yeralanor but Dachend can still beat me without making any effort."
She looked over to see said demonslayer's reaction and just had time to see him pounce at her. Before she knew it he had spin-kicked her feet away from under her, spun around himself in the same motion and grabbed hold of her before she could touch the ground. Katt was about to protest, but he just placed a finger over her lips and said sharp "Hush! HUSH!! I don't want to hear that bullshit from you, if you have to whine at least have a reason for it will ya?" he lifted her up and turned his back at her.
"I guess I just don't have what it takes to be a swords fighter. I can't help that I'm not a natural like you" Katt said bitterly.
Dachend looked over his shoulder, even with out pupils the look drove deep into her. "Gimme a fucking break." he snarled
"Sorry." she mumbled, studying the grass in front of her. She just couldn't do anything right! Why did he even bother with her?
Dachend sighed and ran a hand through his hair, then turned to face her. "Listen Katt, when you justify your own abilities, think over who you compare yourself to. Me, Ahlen, Tenris there. If you had been training until you puked blood since the day that you were able to hold a sword, that would be one thing" he crossed his arms "but being abused by Yeralarno, living with the Kitsune and taking a hours or so swords practice once or twice a week. What the heck is that suppose to teach you?" he turned to Tenris
Katt had to be impressed at Dachend's abilities to slaughter her ex-teacher's name in different ways every time he used it.
"Tenris here has probably had some of the best teachers there were at his home and having the emperors rage above your head for failure is pretty good motivation. I have to admit that the kid really has some skill" he looked back at Katt over his shoulder. "Old Yer also got a good couple of years of training behind him other wise he wouldn't be a teacher"
Katt looked at Dachend walked a little back and forth as he talked, then he turned to face her and thumbed at himself "And me, heh, I know I'm a natural talent, the first time I held a sword in my hand it felt like I had found a piece of me that had been missing" he grinned "But natural skill isn't enough, this guy you're looking at has over five hundred years of experience in fighting with the blade" he looked to the side, crossing his arms, musing a smile to himself "I long since lost track of my kill list and I admit that I don't really meet that many people that I find a challenge any longer. But my weekly vote is about 5 people, that's 5 people I kill in fights were my life is sorta on the line" he looked at her with his head cocked slightly "not that I really learn anything from it anymore, but it keeps me sharp" he stood a moment, letting this sink in with Katt, then looked at her eyes again "so think a little over what you say before you lay that crap on me"
Katt paled as Dachend listed off almost proudly the amount of people he'd killed, her stomach rolling at the thought. She just didn't understand how he could be so *casual* about death, killing and hurting. She shunted it out of her mind, it was neither the time nor place to think about it.
Dachend sat down again and closed his eyes, Katt stood and looked thoughtfully at the immortal. But had he been trying to make her feel better about her swordplay? But why would he do that?
When lunch was finished Katt looked up from five-on-a-row game her and Tenris had been playing. Dachend had been talking to Dracho'xian, apparently they were discussing techniques. Then Dachend called her over, together with Tenris she walked over to the immortal and the sword.
Dachend stood up and looked her over "I have been studying your abilities and your greatest advantages are your nimbleness, speed, reflexes and dexterity. Plus you also have a advantage in that you are female. Most male fighter underestimate female opponents or let up on them out of chivalry" Dachend said with a smug smile "Okay, with you they might still fight all the way through anyway"
Katt smiled "And what's that suppose to mean?"
"You'll figure it out" Dachend grinned and looked a Dracho'xian "You take over you're much better at explaining than I am"
"I know" Dracho'xian replied smugly.
"Just get on with it, asshole" Dachend directed.
The sword turned to Katt "Okay, it's like this. We roughly know your best skills and weaknesses and so on, so the deal is to find the right technique for you.."
Katt cocked a eyebrow confused "I already know a few techniques, the ones mast--Yeralanor taught me, but none of them seem to work.."
Dachend slapped a hand onto his forehead, Dracho'xian sent him a nasty scowl and then continued "No, what I mean is, hmmm what can I use to explain.... oh yes. Have you heard of the renowned Miyamoto Musashi?"
Katt thought a second "Uhm, I think so.. Yes, I have heard of him, wasn't he was a great swordsman that lived a long time ago?"
"The best of his time" stated Dachend
Dracho'xian started again "Mushashi believed that the sword should be wielded by the one hand instead of two, taking his own swords in each hand, he founded the Nitoichi-ryu. He invented the whole idea of fighting with two swords and he developed the technique by himself. And as no other knew of the technique, no one could best him in it"
Katt stood a moment "So you want me to invent my own fighting style?" she said a hint of disbelief in her voice "I can't do that!" she almost laughed at the entire concept. Only a master could do such things!
"We weren't exactly think of you inventing your own technique. You don't seem to go well with the ones Yeralanor taught you. So it would be a better idea of using one that was a better fit for you."
Katt beat her arms out to the side "But what form of sword technique could I possibly be better at than the ones all elves use?!"
The was a amused glint in Dracho'xian's eye "You did say something about you being a good dancer, didn't you"
Katt went wide eyed "Well Yes.."
Dachend nodded "You have necessary potential for becoming a good warrior dancer"
"So what do you think?" asked Dracho'xian.
"You mean sword dancing don't you?"
"Why not?" Dachend countered. "Let me see what you can do and I'll judge the matter." He gestured for her to quit stalling and to start.
Katt sighed. "All right.. I have no idea of how you plan to get this to work, it's just something I stole from a book and did for exercise.."
"Just do it, already." Dachend said, leaning up against a tree with crossed arms.
Katt, blushing from roots of her hair to the tips of her ears summoned her sword and plunked in into the grass a good distance from the trio. She paced out five strides and called her sword to her, she placed a mark in the ground, then strode ten paces across, making another mark. She then proceeded to draw a circle in the grass. Dachend watched on patiently.
She placed her sword once more in the middle of the circle and closed her eyes, hands resting on the dragon's head at the end of the hilt. She breathed in and out deeply a few times and suddenly the sword was upright in her hands.
Katt danced with twists and turns, the sword and extension of her body, flashes of the sun catching on the blade. The rubies that served as the dragon's eyes seemed to sparkle with their own inner light as Katt mimed kicks, thrusts and parries towards an imaginary foe. The display a mixture of gymnastics, dancing and sword-play. Never once did her feet stay on the ground for more than a second, not once did her sword stop moving, her body moving fluidly and lithely around the circle. She came close to the edge of the circle a few times but she didn't cross it, her eyes still closed as she fought that which wasn't there.
The flight of the young elf ended with the sword once more in the centre of the circle and her panting softly. As Katt looked up, her three spectators expression was nothing of what she had expected. Tenris and Dachend's jaws were hanging and all three of them were staring in a mix of amazement, wonder and admiration.
Katt blushed and a smiled embarrassed "Oh don't look like that, I'm not that good.."
"No.... you're better" whispered Dracho'xian.
Tenris just whispered "Rarely have I seen such grace and elegance, Lady Kattarina."
Dachend his face back it usual smug, self-assured look sent her a smile and gave her a thumbs-up "bra-fucking-vo. I'm impressed" he sent her a acknowledging look.
Dachend lifted his sword and took a attack stance "Okay Katt, now just move like you did before. Fight with everything you've got."
Katt lifted her sword, her self-esteem having gotten a little lift, a smile on her lips. "You say that like I've got anything left!"
Dachend waved a finger towards her "Why do I have trouble believing that?" She then attacked.
With a flip of the wrist Dachend threw her to the ground, Katt quickly rolled to the side, but his blade still managed to whack her on the back with the flat side "You're dead. Okay, try again" Katt got up and tried again.
The minutes turned to hours and Katt fought like she had never before, but she could still not best Dachend.
Katt rolled over the ground "Get up and try again."
She gave a yelp as Dachend tripped her and halted his blade inches from her heart "You're just another corpse, at it again again"
Katt spun around, but Dachend wasn't there, then a sword point tapped her on the shoulder "Never assume anything, be sure of it. Now attack me again"
Dachend blocked her blow and pushed her away, throwing her of her feet "Would you get up?"
Katt jumped to a stand and looked at Dachend "Better be ready, here I come" he said.
Katt made a flip in the air, but as she landed behind Dachend she didn't strike, instead she made a backwards roll through his legs. As she got up Dachend had her by the hair and his blade on her neck "Good feint, but not good enough. Try again."
Katt hit the ground with a dull thump, Dachend flipped his sword in the air and caught it again "You're dead, again from the top."
A slap with the flat side of his sword Dachend hit Katt's wrist and she dropped her sword. The next second the tip was on her throat "I win you lose, get your sword and try again"
As the fighting slowly went on, Katt noticed that Dachend was getting more and more enthusiastic. Him pointing out what she did wrong and what to correct. Tenris coming with advice and tips with Dracho'xian cheering and complimenting when she did something good. Now this was real training should be like.
Dachend and Tenris shifted to spare with her and coach from the side and Katt was having the time of her life even though Dachend was a bit rough and put his finger on every fatale fault she made. He was a much better teacher than Yeralanor. Katt had a suspicion that he wasn't aware of it himself.
"Hey.." *pad-pad-pad-pad-pad-pad-pad-pad-pad-pad* in rapid succession Dachend slapped her lightly on all her vital points with his sword's flat side and ended with giving her a light twack on her nose tip with the flat back of the blade point "...you're not paying attention"
"Sorry.." smiled Katt and got ready "Okay I'm ready, are you?"
"I was born ready."
"No, no, no, *no!* Again from the top" Katt got up and brushed off her pants. Katt looked up in surprise when she felt the metal on her neck "You leave an opening when you get up from a roll, go at me again"
With a thump she landed hard on the grass "Get up."
"Ow!" yelped Katt as Dachend clapped her in the behind with the flat side of the sword, she rubbed her behind
"Whoops, it was too tempting a target" grinned Dachend, Katt blushed.
Katt pivoted and avoided the thrust, Dachend struck again and she narrowly avoided that too. But the third slash caught her off guard and Dachend gave her a slight whack on the side of the head "Again from the top."
Katt lost her footage as Dachend's foot connected with her ribs "Phff and you're suppose to be able to dance, again from the top"
It had been a full three minutes since she had been last on the ground, Katt could feel the sweat tickling down her back , Dachend waved the sword "Okay, attack me again"
Katt bounced over the grass, Dachend right behind her. She dodged a slash and caught a thin branch as she passed pulling it with her then letting it go. Dachend dodged under it and narrowly evaded Katt's thrust at his chest. He made a quick combo of blows and kicks, that only Katt's reflexes saved her from. In a last try she jumped at a tree and pushed off. Flipping through the air. But Dachend had jumped to greet her. A hand closed around her forehead and then a elbow slammed into her gut. With a gasp she landed on the ground, although Dachend had a hand under her arm, making sure that she didn't hit to hard "Nice try, but you'll have to do better than that. Come on, at it again"
And they fought on and on. Having a short break from time to time to catch their breaths and have something to drink.
"Wait" yelled Dachend and jumped Between Tenris and Katt, he walked over to Katt "You use too much energy on throwing the sword around without getting it anywhere. Here hold it like this" he moved in behind her and grabbed around her hands on her sword "Like this" he moved her first hand up to the hand guard of the sword and the other just down in front of the hilt. "And this..." he said into her ear, Katt flushed slightly, trying her hardest to concentrate on what he was saying.
The hours quickly passed and Katt had still not had a single successful blow at Dachend. She had a good deal of nicks and scratches. Dachend had hardly any visible evidence that he had been fighting for most of the day other than that he was sweating and breathing a bit hard. But he looked far from as tired as Katt felt.
Through he had at least dropped his short jacket and boots and was now fighting barefoot and in his black singlet.
Dachend thrusted at her and Katt evaded to the side, Dachend spun his sword around her's and then knocked it to ground, pinning her to her knees. Katt let go of her sword and jumped into the air. She *would* get the best of him, she wanted so bad to show him that she could fight back. Dachend smiled as he saw that Katt's blade was still caught against the ground -fatale mistake- he thought, then his eyebrows lifted as the sword vanished, then Dachend remembered and moved to the side.
Katt came over his head, calling her sword to her, the sword appeared between her fingers, with speed she didn't know she could muster, even through every muscle in her body called for mercy, Katt drove the sword backwards to get Dachend, every second she expected the tab of his sword and her demise.
It never came, instead she felt the unfamiliar feeling of the sword moving over something and to her horror the felling of how the metal cut through tissue and she heard a low groan from Dachend.
Katt spun around with the fear pounding in her heart and gasped as she saw Dachend, standing with his back turned to her. His free hand pressed against his side, blood running in a small stream out between his fingers.
Katt let go of her sword and ran up beside him "Oh Dachend I'm terribly sorry...I didn't mean to, I'm so sorry"
Dachend looked up from the wound as Tenris reached them "Is it bad?" the blond man asked the other blond man.
Dachend shook his head "Naah, just a fleshwound" then he turned to Katt, who couldn't bring herself to look at him.
"I'm sorry..." she said in very low voice, there was no answer "I won't do that again" she then added.
"What!! I'll whoop your cute butt if you don't, Katt!" Dachend said. Katt lifted her head and dared to look at Dachend, the angry expression that she had expected was no where to find. Instead the warrior was standing with a lopsided smile and stern look. "That was a beautiful move Katt, if you had timed it better you would have gotten me"
Katt smiled "Really?" Forgetting for the moment of success that 'getting him' with the sword would have been even more painful for the immortal.
Dachend's face turned sour "No! It was the worst stunt I have ever seen..." he then wacked her lightly on the head "..doh! what do you think?!" he then grinned. Katt smiled.
Dracho'xian then added "Remember Katt, let a move like this be your ace, don't use it offen" Katt nodded.
Dachend removed his hand from his side and looked at the cut, it was about a cm deep. Then looked at Katt "Hmm I think we should call it a day." Katt gave a silent sigh, she was sure she would have fainted from exhaustion if she had to fight again.
Katt stepped out of the shower and took a towel around her, she sighed with delight. It was amazing what warm water could do to sore muscles, it was a good thing she had been standing up, other wise she would have fallen asleep.
She dried her hair, deciding to leave it down for a change, then took on a pyjamas shirt, that was several numbers to large for her and walked out of the bathroom.
As she entered the garage she saw Dachend and Tenris sitting and talking, apparently Dachend was draining Tenris for information. She wished in good conscience she could eavesdrop.. ah well, she'd have to ask Tenris later what they were talking about. She coughed lightly. The two looked at her.
"Bathroom's available" she said
"Thanks" Tenris said and stood up. Dachend didn't even look after him as he left.
He was sitting, tightening some of the strapping on a spearlike weapon. First Katt noticed that he was sitting bare chested, still with bare feet. He had a bandage around his lower chest, that was a bit blood socked were the cut had been. Now there were seeping red fog into bandage. Katt walked over to him, with soundless footsteps. The concrete floor felt cold against her bare feet "Didn't you want to use the bath?" she asked.
Dachend sat a moment, then said "Already washed myself."
Katt thought a moment "Do I want to know how?"
"Isn't that just a little bit cold?"
"Quite." Dachend said and looked at her with a smug smile.
Katt sat down on the chair that Tenris had been sitting on "I'm sorry about that.." she said and looked at the bandage.
Dachend looked down, then mused "Naaaa no need to be."
Dracho'xian added "He needed a reminder sometimes that he isn't invincible"
"Stow your shit Dracho" Dachend said.
They sat silent for a moment, Katt pulled her legs up to herself, it was a bit cold out here. Dachend sat a moment, then said "You did pretty nice today, I have meet countless men and woman would have given up after all those knock downs."
Katt looked up at him, a small smile as her cocked her head to one side, "Well I'm told I'm nothing if not tenacious." She could have sworn she heard Dracho'xian chuckle quietly to himself. There was another moment of silence then Katt whispered "I just wanted to thank-you Dachend, I mean, for being so patient and stuff."
For a long moment the Demon Hunter didn't say anything. Then he attached the strapping on the spear and said matter a factly "It's okay, I had fun." When there were no answer he looked up and saw that Katt had drifted off to sleep.
He stood up and walked closer, all his senses told him that she was asleep, but he had a suspicion that she wanted to get back at him from this morning. For another 15 minutes he sat in front of her and nothing happened.
A smile pulled slightly at his mouth "Hey Dachend, you're not thinking about letting her sit here sleeping, do you?" Dracho'xian said.
Dachend was silent a moment, then answered "Nope."
"Good, she needs her beauty sleep"
Dachend stood up "That could be discussed.."
Gently he bent down and slid his arms around her shoulders and under her legs and lifted her carefully into the air. For a second he froze as the Elven girl in his arms moaned slightly and then with a sigh, snuggled close into his warm chest, a happy smile on her face. For a second Dachend's face was drawn back in a expression that could be interpreted as surprise, then a smile drew at the edges of his mouth.
Dracho'xian began to hum *I'll be the knight..* off key, but a growl from Dachend silenced him immediately. With silent footsteps Dachend walked through the living quarters of the garage and into Katt's room, were he gently placed her on the bed and covered her with the blanket.
He took the time this time to look around at the odd assortment of mechanical knick-knacks, collectibles and devices. Transformer toys lined the top of the walls on shelves, while a unicorn candle reared on the bedside table. A large crystal half-sphere sat on top the dresser that housed a hairbrush, some hair combs and a small dish full elastics. The only other thing was a can of oil.
The posters on the walls were blue prints of different mechs and power suits, she even had a signed poster of the famed power armour wrestler Miku by the window. A photo was half-stuffed in the bedside table from what he could see it was a picture of him and Dracho'xian -- where the hell had she gotten *that* from?
A sly grin formed as he studied the teddy in the corner of the bed, it was a small fox man with nine tails. He stood up and looked at Katt as she lay there in the twilight, a peaceful expression on her face. Her bangs of crimson hair falling down over her face, her calm breaths almost inaudible. As an afterthought he placed some tigerbalm on her bedside table, she'd definitely need it in the morning.
Dachend closed his eyes for a moment then opened them again "What am I going to do about you Katt?" he said very low to himself, then turned and left the room.
Tenris came back into the garage "Dachend? Katt?" There was nobody, he looked in Katt's room and found her sleeping there. But Dachend and his belongings had disappeared in the night.