Durrak sat in the smoothly swept courtyard, eyes closed and legs crossed, feeling the bones of the earth beneath him. The weapon he had begun to wield as an extension of his own arms was on the stone before him. It was twice his five feet in height with a razor sharpened bill and a broad point. They called it a gisarme, and over the last six months he had trained with it relentlessly.
“I have never seen one as old as you as immersed and dedicated to the craft of destruction.” He hadn’t heard the master of the school approach, but he did not move from where he sat. “Your drive cannot be a healthy one. A man of your age should be thinking of craft, croft and family.”
“No do be speaking to me of family Master Corrine.” He said, his voice calm and as even as the edge of the blade on the stones before him. “Twice now the gods do be choosing to give me a life beyond my fondest dream and twice they do tear it from these hands.”
“So you will instead choose to fight until there is nothing left?” She asked, leaning on her cane.
“I do be intent on finding these gods.” He said, breathing slowly and evenly. “When I do find them I do be asking them why. If the answer they do be giving no do be to my liking they do be answering to my blade.”
“Ah.” She said. “This is what I feared Durrak son of Storgar who was known as the Wyrmslayer. You are turning away from the true path of the warrior; that which is to protect the weak and uphold the tenants of your god, lord or discipline.”
“If that do be the true path of the warrior then yes Master Corrine, I do be turned from it. I did never tread upon it.” Durrak rumbled, still calm and quiet.
“You were a craftsman once.” Corrine said, “I can tell by the way you still admire work well done.
“With my own hands I did forge the weapon Storgar did use to slay the dragon and be dooming my people to destruction.” He said, almost in a whisper. “My skill as a craftsman of fine jewelry did be why thieves came to be burning my home and murdering my family. I no will be touching the hammer or tongs ever again and I do be asking Thraingaar why he did curse me with such a skill when we do be meeting.”
As he was finishing the words, the sound of displaced air sent him smoothly rolling backward, right foot hooking out to spin the handle of his gisarme into his hand as Corrine’s stick flashed out at his head. With a smile opened his eyes as he rolled to his feet, weapon in both hands. She was standing just out of range of a strike with an answering smile on her own face.
“At very least we have taught you how to be an effective warrior, even if you do not share our reasons for fighting.” She said, “There is little else I can teach you and I believe you will learn it eventually yourself. Remember that wherever you tread you will be carrying the honor of our ancestors with you boy. We have not taught these skills of battle to you in order for the fulfillment of selfish goals, but to make you a stronger, better and more honorable person. I truly hope that in time you will come to accept this.”
“That do remain to be seen.” Durrak said, the smile fading from his face. “If I do be leaving this school, I do be taking the name with me.”
She looked at him with a flat stare. “If you’re wishing to take the name of the school, then we’ll be meeting in the arena. I suggest you bring more skill than I have ever seen you show in the squared circle.”
“I do apologize Master.” Durrak said. “I do be taking your life this day.” He bowed low and touched his hand to his heart, mouth and forehead.
“The contest does not have to be to the death Durrak.” She said with a frown.
“I no do know any other way to fight with all of the strength I possess. I do be killing you or dying in the attempt.” He bowed again, “I do be sorry, it no do be my wish but it do be the only thing I am knowing how to do.”
“Well then.” She said, “I will show you what it means to be a true master.”
“I do be looking forward to it Master.” He said, bowing again. “I will be learning a final lesson one way or the other.”
She turned and walked toward the dojo, leaning on her cane as she went. “Perhaps. If you have the potential you will indeed learn a final lesson Durrak.”