The next morning, Darien and Adrienne got up early to practice their fighting skills.
They both drew their swords and clanged them together in greeting. Adrienne blocked Darien’s lash at her side and used her sword to push him backwards. Darien stumbled, but recovered quickly. He slashed his sword at Adrienne once again, and the blow to her sword made the arm that held it tremble.
Jacob, hearing the clang of metal, came up on the deck out of curiosity. He quietly sat in the background and watched, marveling at the skill this young woman had. She was the most incredible thing that Jacob had ever seen. No woman in the South could even come close to Adrienne’s skill, and she was also very beautiful. But she was so young, yet a woman-child. She could only be eighteen years old at the most.
Adrienne took the hilt of her sword in both hands and clenched her teeth. She swung her sword at Darien’s with such force that it sent his sword clattering across the deck. Adrienne put her sword back in its sheath.
“Bravo! Bravo!” said Jacob, standing up.
“Jacob—I did not see you standing there.”
“I am sorry. I did not mean to startle you.”
“Do not worry. Oh—Jacob, I would like you to meet my brother, Darien.”
“Well met, Darien,” said Jacob and bowed.
“Likewise,” said Darien and also bowed.
“You are quite a fighter, Adrienne,” said Jacob. “Where did you get your training?”
“From Cochran—he is with us.”
“Yes, I believe I have met Cochran.”
“It is hard to miss him,” joked Darien, referring to Cochran’s immense size.
“Quite,” said Adrienne and laughed.
“Do I hear my name spoken in jest?” said Cochran jokingly, walking toward the group.
“Never!” said Adrienne.
“All jesting aside, I need you to come with me, Darien. I think that we should replace some of our weapons. Especially that one,” said Cochran, gesturing to the sword that lay on the deck where it had fallen when knocked out of Darien’s hand. The blade was cracked.
Darien’s face turned a shade darker, and then he left with Cochran.
Jacob laughed. “You keep good company,” he said.
“They are my family.”
“What of your parents?”
“I never knew them. My mother, Dalia, was murdered by barbarians. I do not know the name of my father. He left before I was born.”
“As long as you have those you need now, the past is not important.”
Adrienne turned and looked out over the vast sea. After a long pause, she said quietly, “That is true, but the future is proving to be the most important of all.”
Jacob silently took Adrienne’s hand in his and looked into the distance. What lay there, he did not know.
Come back next Thursday for chapter 9!