Stretching out in the bed, her hand lazily searched behind her. She sat up, realizing she was alone. With a yawn, she swung her legs to the side of the bed. She picked the piece of bread from the tray and took a bite. Chewing it slowly, Silannah trained her ears on her surroundings. Everything was quiet. Hmmm, seems I’ve been left to myself this morning, she mused. With a small grin she reached down and loosened the brace on her left leg.
Shortly after, she walked out into the yard. Dressed in simple pants and a brown halter, she carried her long, slender swords. She stopped, resting her swords against the stone wall. Her fingers quickly worked the lacing on the leather brace, tightening it soundly to her leg. After a test stretch, her hands wrapped around the grips of the weapons again. Spinning each in turn, then both together, she began to move through practice positions. Each time she attempted to shift or work a guard she winced. All right, I can adjust this. I just need to try a different maneuver set.
Planting her feet again, she raised her arms. Bringing the swords down together, she created long sweeping arcs, as she moved one way, then the next, she would falter. Hopping on her right leg a moment, she forced her weight back onto both feet. With a growl she stopped herself. She took a breath and started again, slower. She carried most of the weight on her undamaged leg, easing onto her left occasionally. Her moves were deliberate; calculated, but strained. Interspersed among grunts of exertion, were hissed curses when her injury made her movements less than perfectly fluid. Gritting her teeth in frustration, she began again.
Across the yard, a slender figure stood in the shadow of the storage building. He watched her move with a small smile written across his pale features, thinking, if this is her with an injury, I cannot wait to see her at her best. Sighing contentedly, Gilræn Greythorn watched the woman dance with her swords.
From the corner of his eye, Gilræn spotted another spectator. Over near the docks, peering around the smith’s shack, a tall, solidly built kal’dorei male also watched Silannah at her practice. He had the pale Silverthorn skin, but unlike Gilræn, he also still possessed the silver-white hair. He was outfitted all in leather, wearing a hammer on his hip. It seemed he had come to use the forge and had been caught unawares by the sight of Silannah practicing. His stance was tense, he seemed ready to rush forward at a moments notice. My half-brother, Ælithil. He’s going to make her very angry if he interrupts, thought Gilræn. Moving swiftly, he ducked back behind the storage building and made his way around the back to the smithy.
Ælithil watched his Shan’do move through her forms. To others she probably looked fine, but to his eye, accustomed to her usual fluid grace, she was off-step. He frowned, unhappy to find her out of bed. She should not be pushing herself, he thought. As if to prove his point, she attempted a circular double slash and her left leg gave out, sending her tumbling into the dirt. Alarmed, he made to rush forward and help her, only to be pulled back by a small but surprisingly firm hand on his shoulder.
“Brother, leave her be,” came a whispered voice. Whirling around, he came face-to-face with Gilræn, his older half-brother..and one of the ren’dorei.
Scowling, Ælithil hissed, “She is going to hurt herself. Aggravate her injury.” Shrugging Gilræn’s hand off, he began to turn.
“If you go out there and try to stop her, or worse, help her, she is going to use those swords on you.”
Turning back angrily, Ælithil retorted, “This is none of your affair, void elf. She is my Shan’do. You are only here on sufferance.”
Narrowing his eyes, the ren’dorei answered calmly, “Your opinion of me notwithstanding, I have become acquainted with your Shan’do rather well in the past days. If you would but think clearly, you would see I am right. She will not appreciate your attempt at gallantry.”
With a sour look on his face, Ælthil appeared to deflate a little, saying, “She seems to enjoy yours well enough.”
Gilræn smiled ever-so-slightly and replied, “She tells me I am a strange man on a near-hourly basis, so I would say she tolerates it more than enjoys it.”
Sighing heavily, Ælithil relaxed and turned his gaze back to his Shan’do. “I guess she’s not doing that bad, is she?”
“Given her ordeal, the fact that she is even ambulatory is a small miracle. She is very lucky that you found her, brother.”
Grimacing, the younger man said, “Can you just call me Æl? ‘Brother’ sounds like a title or something, it’s weird.”
Nodding deferentially, Gilræn replied, “Of course. And you may call me Gil.”
As the two spoke, Silannah continued her routine, finding a rhythm. A quick turn to the side sent her sliding again. This time she recovered before she hit the ground. It was sloppy, but at least she didn’t fall completely. Her attempts to remain upright however, caused her to drop one of her swords. “Damn it!” Her frustration was palpable. She bent down and retrieved it. At that moment, she spied them. Her nephew and Thero’shan, and her mate, Gilræn. Her face went hot. Unwilling to admit her embarrassment, she stormed inside. It didn’t take very sharp ears to hear her slam one of the chairs against the wall.
The two brothers stared silently, bemused, at the closed door for a few minutes. Eventually, Gilræn broke the silence, looking over at Ælithil and saying, “I don’t suppose you are still overcome with the need to facilitate your Shan’do’s sword practice?”
Shaking his head emphatically, Ælithil replied with a smirk, “Not a chance. She’s all yours.” With that he gathered his tools and strode away. Moments later Gilræn saw him fly away on a griffin, no doubt to find a more hospitable place to practice his metalwork. Gilræn, for his part, watched the door for a few minutes more, then decided to adopt his younger brother’s wisdom and fled, giving Silannah time to cool off.