An Inheritance of Stars

Confusion

Duel

Hienrick slipped into the shadows between two ceiling girders and paused to catch his breath. He was breathing hard and heavy, his mind whirling and concentration broken. Why did it happened? What was going on?…..How could he have killed his teacher, master, mentor, and most trusted friend? How could he have killed Lord Vindicare!

It had all started without warning; Lord Vindicare had summoned him for his scheduled training session. The room was dark when Hienrick entered, yet the darkness did not bother him. He moved confidently to the centre of the room, and took a meditative position; his master would begin the lesson in due time.

A sudden premonition caused Hienrick to throw himself flat onto the floor.; as he did, a blade cut through the air where his neck had been but a moment before. Rolling to the side, he gained his footing, though the room was still dark, he could sense movement directly ahead. Trusting to his body’s memory of the room, he dove to the left, and kicked off the nearby wall changing his direction abruptly. The sounds of knives impacting into the floor followed his movement and showed his instincts to have been correct. Without stopping to draw his own blade, Hienrick lunged towards his attacker. It was stupid to engage a swordsman in the dark, but speed was his only advantage. Twisting as he attacked Hienrick felt the edge of the blade separate his clothing, a mere breath away from flesh; he used the edge of his hand to move the sword arm out of his way, and aimed a lethal strike to his “assailant’s” throat. As expected, he didn’t connect; Hienrick grinned despite himself, his master was testing him hard tonight. This grin however didn’t last. As their movements continued, and the sting of an increasing number of cuts began to mount, Hienrick began to realize that this test was deadly earnest.

In a moment it was over. Almost before he had comprehended that this was no ordinary training session, his body acted from memory. He had drawn a sword from its rack on the wall, and guided his thrust along the side of his opponents blade, into his chest and through his heart; a classic one thrust kill.

As this opponent slid off the blade, the lights in the room came slowly up, as if programed to respond to the end of the fight. The blade fell from Lord Vindicare’s hand, and he sank to his knees. “This was the only way it could end, with the student surpassing the master.” As his slumped to the ground, his eyes never left Hienrick’s and his lips moved in a soundless whisper. Yet somehow Hienrick understood, “remember my teachings.”


Hienrick had made it to the station docks without being spotted. However he spotted an increased amount of covert security personnel and knew that the body had been discovered, and the hunt was on. He studied a traffic display from concealment, and could see that 2 ships were departing within the next 15 minutes, one to the Star Kingdom, and another to the Peoples Republic. Hienrick paused for a moment before pulling up the hood of a stolen cloak, and moved down the dock. He stopped by the entrance to the Star Kingdom’s passenger ship, and watched the remaining few people boarding. Striding forwards he cut through the line ignoring the angry muttering of the civilian he had bumped. Continuing onwards, he moved with purpose towards the Republic ship, he knew that he could easily get passage with the merchant vessel, he had seen the first mate carousing with some of the locals, it would be easy blackmail. Besides; the few drops of blood he had left on the ground in the docking line, and on the passenger he had bumped would send his pursuers the wrong direction…he had always wanted to visit the Foundling Worlds.

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Talib

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