Gremlaw’s back hit the dusty floor, slivers of gravel slitting the flesh on his shoulder in another thousand places. He rolled backwards, using the momentum of the fall to flip over and regain his feet. He had spent the time since his briefing with Duke DeLarouge being slapped around and punched to the floor by the monster of a man called Dron, seemingly without much teaching.
“Again,” Dron ordered without any kind of inflection. Gremlaw, still winded from the punch Dron had landed just below his sternum, found himself unable to stand completely upright and held his hand out to signal a halt. “Your enemies won’t wait, boy,” Dron growled in the voice which was barely above a whisper, “They’ll keep coming till you win or escape.” The brute of a man advanced on the youth who backed off a few steps.
“Dron,” Gremlaw gasped, “Please.” The young man noticed Dron pull something from a pocket and saw a short yet mean looking club grasped in the ogre’s right hand. Cold rage surged through Gremlaw as he wondered why this beast like man felt the need for a weapon. Surely with fists the size of Gembrian ham hocks, he required none?
The alteration was not a particularly subtle event. Gremlaw’s rage burned through him, restoring his ability to breathe and he felt his consciousness shift; into the awareness of negative space. Dron’s form became a fainter outline against the backdrop of the world around him and Gremlaw’s eyes, or consciousness, highlighted the spaces through which he would be able to dodge.
In a marked change to other occurrences of this form of sight, time seemed to slow for the youth. He became aware of Dron’s movements, which appeared vastly slower than normal. Gremlaw noted the man’s arm, small club gripped in fist, as it was raised in a sharp arc of violence and brought towards his body. The young man examined Dron’s eyes which were flicking slowly between his own gaze and a point just to the left of Gremlaw’s chin.
He knew! Gremlaw knew where Dron’s blow was aimed; directly for his left shoulder! Darting for the triangular space formed by Dron’s now upraised arm and muscular side, Gremlaw ducked beneath the attempted blow and spun round quickly to jump on Dron’s broad back. With the blade of his hand, Gremlaw made a slashing motion across the bull neck of the man and dropped to the floor, backing off a few steps in case Dron had been angered.
The light breeze which swept a few leaves slowly across the ground returned to normal speed, as did the clouds, indicating Gremlaw’s state of consciousness had returned to normal.
Dron stood with his back to the youth as silence descended over the training ground. Gremlaw wondered what response he might receive from the vast man. Having no real frame of reference, even after three weeks of training, Gremlaw was unsure if it might be anger or indifference, disappointment or elation as Dron kept his emotions under tight control. If he had any.
Gremlaw waited quietly as his tutor turned slowly around, a solemn look upon his face. Dron looked Gremlaw in the eye for at least a minute before a grin spread across his face,
“Where did that come from, boy?” The big man asked animatedly, “I barely noticed you’d moved before I felt your fingers on my throat!”