Chapter 13:

Chapter Eleven: Whispers of the Blade

Beyond the Borders Volume 1

The wind was silent as Ryliah stood in a lustrous green meadow. Her eyes
were closed; her mind clear. The only thing she could feel was her sword
in one hand and the grass against her bare feet.Bookmark here

As Aryia was walking by she noticed Ryliah standing there. *What is she
doing*, Aryia wondered.Bookmark here

Like a flash of lightning Ryliah practiced her sword techniques, both
attacking and defending. *Holy crap she is fast with her sword*. Aryia
took note of how calm Ryliah was as she continued to practice. A few
minutes passed as she continued to watch Ryliah and became amazed by how
fast she was able to swing her sword. Aryia started to walk up to her,
hoping to get her attention.Bookmark here

“Hey Ryliah do—”Bookmark here

Before Aryia could finish her sentence she found herself frozen in place
as Ryliah’s sword stopped a millimeter from Aryia’s neck.Bookmark here

“Aryia! Are you all right?”Bookmark here

“I think I peed myself a bit.”Bookmark here

Ryliah sheathed her sword as Aryia fell to her knees. After a few
seconds Aryia finally stood up with the help of Ryliah as the two of
them walked through the forest.Bookmark here

“So, where did you learn to swing a sword that fast?”Bookmark here

“My parents.”Bookmark here

“Your parents must have been been amazing with the sword.”Bookmark here

Ryliah didn’t speak as the two of them continued to a clearing in the
forest. The sun beamed down as the two of them stepped out into the
grasslands.Bookmark here

“We have some time to kill. Anything you want to do?”Bookmark here

“Well, I did promise your friend Mari that I would train her sometime.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Entering the barracks Aryia noticed Mari was busy reading a book
entitled *The War of 166*. Aryia and Ryliah were met with stares of odd
looks.Bookmark here

“Hey Mari, its been a while.”Bookmark here

Mari looked up from her book and smiled.Bookmark here

“Aryia! I haven’t talked to you in forever.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, it has been a busy time for us.”Bookmark here

“Same for me. I have—”Bookmark here

Before Mari could finish her sentence the door flew open. Stepping into
the room was none other then Aryia’s former sergeant.Bookmark here

“Attention!” the sergeant yelled.Bookmark here

Everyone but Aryia and Ryliah stood at attention. Mari tried to stand to
her feet but was stopped by Ryliah. As the sergeant made his way over to
Mari he noticed that she was still sitting on her bed.Bookmark here

“Private Kozun, I believe I ordered everyone to attention!”Bookmark here

Mari slowly began to stand up from her bed.Bookmark here

“Sit back down Mari,” Ryliah said.Bookmark here

The sergeant’s eyes locked onto Ryliah’s. It was clear he was angry.Bookmark here

“And just who the hell are you tell my platoon what to do?!”Bookmark here

“I would advise you to be careful, Sergeant.”Bookmark here

A blood vessel looked as if it was going to pop.Bookmark here

“I would suggest we take this outside like true soldiers then!”Bookmark here

Ryliah laughed as she walked passed the sergeant.Bookmark here

“If we do, then I don’t want you to pull your punches.”Bookmark here

She pulled the straight sword from her scabbard and handed her sword to
the sergeant.Bookmark here

“If I agree to this you can’t say I attacked you for no reason!”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. There are plenty of witnesses to prove we are having a
friendly match.”Bookmark here

The two of them headed outside as the rest of the students followed.
Everyone gathered outside as Ryliah and the sergeant squared off.Bookmark here

“I feel a bit bad for all this happening,” Mari said as she turned to
Aryia.Bookmark here

The sergeant held the sword with two hands and took up a fighting stance
while Ryliah held her scabbard in one hand. Her stance was calm like she
was holding a rapier. Ryliah’s eyes scanned over the sergeant as she
noted his abominable stance.Bookmark here

“Mari, I expect you to watch and learn from me about proper form and
technique,” Ryliah said as she looked to her.Bookmark here

After a few seconds had passed the sergeant quickly rushed forward,
swinging the blade downwards. Ryliah blocked it as if the blade was a
toy, still holding the scabbard with one hand. With a flick of the wrist
she deflected his blow with ease. The sergeant tried the same attack
again only for Ryliah to dodge the swing like a ballerina with grace.
The blade hit the ground with powerful force, sticking into the grass.Bookmark here

Like a snake Ryliah twisted around the sergeant managing to get behind
him along with pressing her scabbard against his neck.Bookmark here

“I believe you would be dead now sergeant.”Bookmark here

“I am only dead when I stop drawing breath!”Bookmark here

“Don’t be stupid sergeant.”Bookmark here

The sergeant quickly tried to swing the sword around in an arc. Ryliah
dodged the attack with ease and after a series of complex grapples the
sergeant found himself disarmed and laying down face first into the
grass. Ryliah had her scabbard around the sergeant’s neck with both her
hands on the ends, in a choking‑like position.Bookmark here

“I could snap your neck in twenty different ways and kill you in as many
thirty,” she whispered into his ear.Bookmark here

Aryia, Mari and the rest of the students were awe‑struck by how Ryliah
was able to over power their sergeant with ease.Bookmark here

“Not to count I could break most of your major bones, easy. Now please
just give up sergeant.”Bookmark here

“I… yield!”Bookmark here

Ryliah released her grip on the sergeant as she got up. Mari and the
other students were shocked by the fight they had watched before their
eyes. As Ryliah made her way over to Aryia and Mari the sergeant stood
up, anger filled his eyes. With malicious intent he rushed at Ryliah
holding out the sword hoping to pierce her stomach.Bookmark here

At the last second Ryliah dodged the fatal blow as the sword entered
into her empty scabbard. Like a flash of lightning Ryliah grabbed the
sword and with a simple knife hand chop to the throat the sergeant
quickly let go of the sword.Bookmark here

As the sergeant fell to his knees coughing Ryliah removed her jacket
revealing her rank as a Second Lieutenant. The sergeant suddenly snapped
to attention.Bookmark here

“Ma’am, I had no idea—”Bookmark here

“Save it Sergeant.”Bookmark here

Ryliah turned to Mari and then back to the sergeant.Bookmark here

“Aryia and I have business with Private Mari Kozun.”Bookmark here

“Ma’am yes ma’am!”Bookmark here

“Good, now I believe you have a platoon to train, Sergeant.”Bookmark here

Mari followed Ryliah and Aryia a few kilometers North to an open field.
Ryliah stood there watching the horizon. A few seconds passed until
Ryliah turned to Mari.Bookmark here

“Based on how you think, I feel that you would do better with an estoc
or a rapier.”Bookmark here

“Aren’t those weapons more for speed and best used by people who are,
you know… fast?”Bookmark here

“Generally speaking, yes but a rapier can be useful in the hands of
someone that understands how to read an opponent,” Ryliah said as
unsheathed her rapier.Bookmark here

As she handed it over to Mari, Ryliah walked back a few meters and
turned to Mari.Bookmark here

“Now attack me.”Bookmark here

Mari was surprised to hear that coming from Ryliah.Bookmark here

“I couldn’t do that. Not with a real weapon like this. I consider you a
friend.”Bookmark here

“You will need to be ready Mari, no matter what. You may even need to
kill.”Bookmark here

“I just can’t do it, not unless my life depended on it.”Bookmark here

“So, you will only fight if you are in a life or death situation?”
Ryliah asked as she drew her gunblade.Bookmark here

“Y‑Yes.”Bookmark here

“Very well.”Bookmark here

Within a blink of an eye Ryliah had covered the five meters in less then
a few seconds. Mari quickly turned away in fear. After a few seconds
Mari looked up only to see Ryliah’s blade centimeters away from her
throat. The look on Mari’s face was pale.Bookmark here

“Mari, if I had been trying to kill you, you would be dead.”Bookmark here

Mari could feel her knees starting to collapse from the fear. Aryia
quickly ran over to her and grabbed her hands.Bookmark here

“It is okay Mari.”Bookmark here

Aryia turned to Ryliah with an angry expression on her face.Bookmark here

“Ryliah, that was too far.”Bookmark here

“Aryia, you should know that in war one needs to be ready. Anyone can
die any second if they are not prepared to the best of their abilities.”Bookmark here

Ryliah turned to Mari as Aryia tried to pick her up off the ground.Bookmark here

“Now, pick up the weapon Mari.”Bookmark here

“Ryliah I think—”Bookmark here

“It is fine Aryia. I need to get stronger,” Mari said as she picked up
the rapier from the ground.Bookmark here

Mari held the rapier like Ryliah had when she fought the sergeant.Bookmark here

“I want to learn.”Bookmark here

Ryliah simply smiled.Bookmark here

“Then your training starts now.”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Nearly three weeks had passed as Ryliah trained Mari in the art of sword
combat. Mari was slowly getting better as Ryliah continued to drill her
non‑stop each day. As the two sparred in the open training field Ryliah
looked at her watch.Bookmark here

“I think we can take a break now,” Ryliah said as she blocked Mari’s
strike.Bookmark here

Mari sheathed the rapier that Ryliah had made for her and sat down on
the grass. Ryliah sat down next to her, handing her a bottle of water.Bookmark here

“So, how did you become so skilled with the sword?” Mari asked after
taking a sip of the water.Bookmark here

Ryliah did not speak as she chugged half of her water. She finally
looked over to Mari.Bookmark here

“Hard work and practice.”Bookmark here

“Is that really it?”Bookmark here

“A good teacher also helps.”Bookmark here

“You’re a great teacher.”Bookmark here

“Thanks.”Bookmark here

“Who was your teacher?” Mari asked as she took a sip of water.Bookmark here

Ryliah finished her water and looked out to the horizon.Bookmark here

“My parents…”Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Ryliah — age seven — stood there in the presence of her father while her
mother — Yatorishino — sat on her knees off to the side of the huge
dojo. The dojo was a decent size with cherry oak wooden floors and walls
to match. Around the room weapons racks could be seen holding various
swords from short‑swords to long‑swords.Bookmark here

Alderamin drew his sword, a double sided blade with a saw‑tooth edge.
The blade was made of the finest herrirum and plated at the hilt with
silver thikerium. Ryliah drew her blade made of the more common but
high‑end aytheium as she held the longsword with two hands.Bookmark here

“Hold the sword with one hand child.”Bookmark here

Ryliah removed one hand from the hilt.Bookmark here

“Now, place your leading foot forward. Finally…”Bookmark here

As Ryliah placed her left foot forward Alderamin rushed forward, his
blade swinging for Ryliah’s left shoulder. With haste she blocked the
strike as the scraping of metal echoed throughout the room.Bookmark here

“Always be on guard my child.”Bookmark here

A flurry of blows soon followed as Ryliah struggled to block each
strike. Before long Yatorishino stood up, holding her rapier in her
right hand. With warning she entered the fight as Ryliah tried to avoid
attacks on two different fronts.Bookmark here

Ryliah dodged a piercing strike from her mother’s rapier but she found
herself unable to dodge the follow up attack by her father. His sword
forced the skin of Ryliah’s wrist to open as blood began to pour from
it. Ryliah quickly dropped her sword as she held her wrist.Bookmark here

Her mother and father sheathed their swords as the two of them looked to
their daughter.Bookmark here

“You have gotten better but you still need to practice my child.”Bookmark here

Yatorishino rushed off to gather some medical supplies as Ryliah stood
up. Ryliah looked to her father, disappointed in herself for failing as
her mother returned with a few medical supplies. As her mother patched
up her wound Ryliah looked to her mother.Bookmark here

“I am sorry mother.”Bookmark here

“There is no need to be sorry Ryliah. You did very well in your whole
week of training.”Bookmark here

Her mother placed her hand on Ryliah’s head and smiled.Bookmark here

Ryliah continued to train day after day with her parents until she was
able to defend herself from both of their attacks and land a few attacks
of her own. As time went on Ryliah — age fourteen now — headed out to
the capital to join the academy in Priserra. After begging her father he
finally agreed to let her head to Priserra.Bookmark here

After a few days of traveling, Ryliah had arrived at the capital. She
headed into the Recruitment Building, hoping to join the army. She
believed she was ready. Ryliah stood there in front of Sergeant Grant
and First Lieutenant Ikyru.Bookmark here

“I am sorry Miss Hartfell but you are too young to become a student of
this academy,” Grant said.Bookmark here

Lieutenant Ikyru looked over Ryliah as she stood there at attention.Bookmark here

“However, you should try to enlist once you turn sixteen. You could be a
talented soldier possibly,” Lieutenant Ikyru said.Bookmark here

Ryliah had a sad look on her face. As she headed for the door she bumped
into a small girl. Lylianna stood in front of Ryliah as her eye fixated
on hers. As Ryliah stood there she felt a slight uneasy feeling in the
pit of her stomach. Lylianna’s eye looked over to the soldiers by their
desk.Bookmark here

“Major Veltress, what brings you by here?” Lieutenant Ikyru said as he
stood up.Bookmark here

“I overheard that you were turning someone down.”Bookmark here

Lylianna walked up to the desk and looked over the two soldiers.Bookmark here

“Yes, this young girl here is too young to be in the army, ma’am,” Grant
said.Bookmark here

“So? My sister, Melissa and I are under the age of sixteen.”Bookmark here

Both of you were a special case Major and—”Bookmark here

“Then I will invoke the right to conscript her.”Bookmark here

The men were silent as Lylianna turned to Ryliah.Bookmark here

“What is your name?”Bookmark here

“Ryliah, Ryliah Hartfell.”Bookmark here

Lylianna looked down at the sword resting against Ryliah’s hip.Bookmark here

“Are you any good with that sword?”Bookmark here

Ryliah simply nodded.Bookmark here

“Show me then.”Bookmark here

The two of them headed outside. Ryliah noticed that there were two other
people with Lylianna.Bookmark here

“This is Melissa and that is Deadeye,” Lylianna said as she opened the
front door.Bookmark here

All of them were standing out front of the Recruitment Building as
Lylianna and Ryliah squared off. Lylianna unsheathed her dagger as
Ryliah drew her rapier.Bookmark here

“I would rather you attack me as if your life depended on it, is that
understood?”Bookmark here

Ryliah nodded.Bookmark here

“I will be doing the same so do not hold back,” Lylianna said.Bookmark here

*So, this is just like when I fought my parents*, Ryliah thought.
Lylianna readied herself for combat as Ryliah studied her stance. She
could tell Lylianna had a calm stance and it was clear that she knew how
to fight. As Ryliah continued to study Lylianna she could see the fight
play out in her mind.Bookmark here

Lylianna quickly rushed forward aiming at Ryliah heart. Ryliah blocked
the strike with ease. As she continued to block each strike without any
effort Ryliah soon found an opening. She struck quickly, the rapier
centimeters away from stabbing Lylianna in the side.Bookmark here

*Wait, what the—*, Ryliah thought as her rapier missed Lylianna. Without
a second to spare Ryliah found herself staring at Lylianna’s dagger.
Ryliah was thrown off slightly but quickly dodged the attack as she
jumped back to give herself distance. *How did she dodge that*, she
wondered. *There is no way anyone could have dodged that. It’s humanly
impossible*.Bookmark here

“Wondering how I dodged that?”Bookmark here

“You couldn’t have used any kind of wind magic. My only guess is to
believe that you have some magic that controls the senses or perhaps
metal.”Bookmark here

“That is a good guess but completely wrong. I have a question for you.”Bookmark here

“And what is that?”Bookmark here

“How many opponents can you face at one time?”Bookmark here

“How ever many you are willing to throw at me.”Bookmark here

Lylianna smiled.Bookmark here

“Very well, Melissa, Deadeye, ready your daggers.”Bookmark here

*I guess it is time I use that technique I learned*, Ryliah thought as
she unsheathed her other sword from her scabbard. Lylianna, Deadeye and
Melissa readied themselves as Ryliah changed her stance.Bookmark here

\* \* \*Bookmark here

Mari was impressed that Ryliah could hold her own against three people.
Ryliah took another sip of her water and looked at her watch.Bookmark here

“It wasn’t easy holding my own against all three of them. To be honest,
I thought I was going to die.”Bookmark here

Ryliah looked up to the sky.Bookmark here

“Anyways, I think we have had a long enough break. Lets get back to
practice,” Ryliah said as she stood up.Bookmark here

“Right!”Bookmark here

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