The clash of swords echoed in the quad as a muscled young man of maybe twenty years with cropped dark hair parried the blows of a slight and copper haired teenager. With all his intensity and speed, the youth would strike, and the older boy would parry or dodge, all with laughing eyes and a gleeful smile. Both these young men knew that this was an unfair match-up, and that for all the youth’s speed and clever feints, he would never do more than rattle the buckler of the older boy. Occasionally the elder youth would swing out, dangerously close to injuring the younger, keeping him honest and forcing his skills to become all the sharper. In matches like this, over the course of months and years, the youth had gone from being barely able to hold a wooden practice weapon to blossoming into a fine fencer. This was owed not just to his sparring partner’s great skill, but more so, to the patience and training of a master swordsman, who was even now overseeing their training. “The youth has turned out to be a fair fighter, Master Fraekryss”, the trainer said as he turned from the railing of the balcony overlooking the courtyard. “He might even turn out a master if he ever stops looking for shortcuts in those damn books you have him absorbing.” “The boys true gifts lie in the arcane arts, Swordthane. He studies sword forms chiefly for the discipline they impart.” “So you would deny him the opportunity to study swords if not for the discipline?” the old warrior harassed, knowing full well that that the older man had been a swordsman of no small repute in his younger and wilder days. “For all his potential, yes, but that he is rash and undisciplined. He needs the refinement and wisdom the martial arts impose if he is ever going to master his mystical energies,” the graying wizard responded deadpan, not allowing himself to be so obviously baited. “Aye and that is something the boy lacks… wisdom. That is why, in large part. I team him with the mute” the swordsman added. “In silence, he has little use for staid lessons, but he is a keen observer and makes careful and deliberate decisions at every turn. The boy in contrast, takes quick action and speaks enough for both of them… you couldn’t pick a better team.” “Well then, let us hope that the lads silver tongue doesn’t compromise the mute’s good judgment.” The mage replied dryly. The veteran sword master turned thoughtfully back to observing the combatants spar as he bit at his lip nervously, brow furrowed.