Darvinin looked at his double scimitar and then gave it an experimental twirl. It was good to have it back. He'd been afraid to return to his apartments, the ones the High Provost had provided for him, so Leander the Elf had gone and stolen it for him. Too many secrets...
On the far side of the yard, Mistra slipped her arm into a buckler and drew her scimitar. "Ready?"
He felt himself settle into a fighting stance. "I hope so," he said, and moved in at half speed.
Mistra met him with a neat slice towards the center of his weapon, where his fingers gripped the hilt, forcing him to pivot aside. He brought the lead end up, but at this speed movements were easy to anticipate; this was just to get him back into that way of thinking, to remind his body of what it was supposed be doing. Mistra blocked with the buckler, and Darvinin twisted the scimitar to block with the rear blade as her scimitar swept in towards his head.
"Not bad," said Mistra, stepping back before he could try to slide around the buckler, and Darvinin took the opportunity to reset his position. "Three of four."
He nodded and increased his speed to three parts in four, and their blades flashed and crossed and slid aside. He was breathing harder than he should be, but he was out of training and still recovering from weeks of drink and despair. He stepped to the side, voiding Mistra's attack, but she stepped with him and continued around, sliding her blade past his. He could see it coming, tried to duck out of the way--
She stopped it a finger's-width from his face. "Hold," she said, and he went still.
Then her arm twitched, and the scimitar opened a line of blood on his cheek.
Darvinin stumbled back, panicking, trying to get the double-scimitar up before she killed him, the Provost had sent her and she was definitely going to kill him, and he couldn't even remember how to fight--
But Mistra just stood there, staring at the line of red near the tip of her blade. "You're a mess," she said, and turned away. Wiping the blood away with a cloth, she added: "And apparently so am I."
She turned and walked back through the stables and into the inn, leaving Darvinin standing in the morning sun, gaping after her.