Ned spent days carving the blade and handle of a wooden sword until he was happy with its look. He was up early one morning, practising at the edge of the clearing around the cabin. Against a make-believe opponent, he swished the sword through the air. His footwork was improving. There were certain moves he had watched when Malaxian warriors attacked. He studied the way they went in for the kill and how the sword was held. And he had invented a few moves himself such as kicking a foot to unbalance an opponent and using the sword in defence while punching an adversary in the face.
Jorrin walked through the front door of his cabin, into bright sunlight. He stretched and looked around. Gira was cleaning some vegetables and he nodded in her direction. Merek and Fauder were still asleep. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of Ned playing. He watched for a moment and shook his head.
“That kid is hopeless.” He strolled over and smirked.
“What are you up to boy?”
“Umm… I’m practising sword fighting.”
Jorrin laughed. “Come on then, try your moves on me.” He picked up a stick and circled around Ned, who grasped his sword with both hands.
“You’re holding it all wrong,“ he rebuked.
Ned was wary of his father. Jorrin swiped his stick toward his son, who leant back. He felt air skim his face and straightened, then stepped away to keep some distance. Jorrin moved to box his son in. Once cornered, he would teach the boy a lesson not to be so useless. When he had Ned where he wanted, Jorrin smiled and lunged forward, striking Ned on the bridge of his nose. A seering pain shot through his face. Ned’s eyes watered.
“This is too easy. You’ll never amount to anything, boy!”
Ned could feel his temper rising. He breathed in and moved closer. Jorrin grinned as he saw blood drip from his son’s nose. Once he had beaten Ned to his knees, he would have a good breakfast. He moved in. The atmosphere was tense. But a calmness swept over Ned. He thought his father was overconfident. And that was a weakness.
Switching the stick to his favoured right hand, Jorrin kept a wide stance. In a lightning-fast move, he cut into Ned’s space and stabbed viciously toward the boy’s stomach. Ned reacted instantly and side-stepped, switching his stance so his right foot faced forwards. The stick missed as Jorrin propelled forwards. Ned dropped to a knee in a flash as Jorrin tried to turn. But the boy was quicker. He struck his father’s bare ankle.
“Oww!! You little…” The smile had gone as he limped about, cursing. “Come here boy! Now!!”
Ned saw blood gush from his father’s ankle. He would be in big trouble for this.