One – Gage

Although they fought with the lightest swords from the armory, the metallic tapping as Gage dueled with his father reverberated off the walls of the bright stone room, sounding as if a great battle was taking place. Gage preferred to fight with heavier blades and armor, especially when his Uncle Seth was able to train him, but those bouts were very rare anymore. Two years ago, at fifteen,  Gage beat his father fencing for the first time. Over the last year he had beaten his father every time, to the point now that Gage did not even give his full effort to the melee. Without thinking he scored another hit with the dull blade and backed away, lowering his foil.

“Had enough?” Gage asked. “Leesey looks ready for a turn,” he continued, swiping his blade in the direction of the young girl with a long, blonde pony tail.

Leese was Gage’s younger sister, the middle child in the family. She was thirteen and growing tall very quickly. She paced anxiously along the wall watching her brother and father.

“Ready Daddy?” she asked in a lilting, teasing voice.

Gage knew she liked training with the lighter weapons and getting to spend some time with her father. He knew it wouldn’t be long before she was beating him regularly as well.

“Not yet, Leese. Let me finish walloping your brother,” Kelvin replied, breathing deeply and wiping the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve.

Gage turned back toward his father but waited a few more moments for him to catch his breath. His father was in his forties, and while he was in good physical shape, he just did not have the strength, stamina and speed that Gage had at seventeen years old.

Pulling his thin tee shirt away from his body, Gage had at least worked up a sweat from the physical activity. Finally his father nodded and they began to spar again.

Kelvin came at him with a renewed vigor and the cacophony of battle rang off the walls louder than ever. Back and forth across the room they battled and Gage was unable to score a hit and was hard pressed to defend himself against the renewed ferocity of his father’s attacks.

Chopping down hard when Gage had over extended Kelvin sent Gage’s blade hard into the floor and immediately attacked but Gage was able to jump back and block the attack. Something flashed in his peripheral vision be he couldn’t look away from the battle. Again Kelvin pressed him but Gage was able to maneuver him into dropping his blade enough to leave an opening high on the right side of his chest.

Gage thrust forward, hoping to tag his father and end the bout, but somehow it seemed as if his blade had grown a few inches shorter and he had to extend the thrust to make the contact. The few milliseconds needed to do that allowed Kelvin to riposte, sweeping up with his own blade in an attempt to knock it away. But his defense was just a bit slow and it was only enough to knock Gage’s blade into a higher line, aimed directly at his throat.

Overextended and slightly off balance Gage could not move the blade enough and it drove in.  Gage gasped in horror as his blade did not stop when it reached his father’s  neck but bit deeply into his father’s flesh.

Kelvin’s blade clattered to the floor, his eyebrows were raised high as he reached up and grabbed the chunk of metal protruding from his neck. Gage released the remains of his own foil and reached for his father as Kelvin dropped to his knees.

“What is going on?!” Leese exclaimed racing over to them.

Slumping forward, still clutching the embedded blade with bloody fingers, Kelvin fell into Gage’s arms with wide, unfocused eyes.

“Get help!” Gage choked out, barely able to speak.

Leese crashed into both of them and saw what had happened and let out an ear shattering scream that brought the world crumbling down on them.

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