09 September 2005

The Question

The breeze eddied lazily, teasing gently at the grass and her hair alike as she looked her opponent and partner full in the face.

‘Are you sure you want to go on with this?’
‘This was your idea too,’ he grinned boyishly back at her.

She remembered why they were here, why their friends sat goggle-eyed on the sidelines. Both he and she were going to answer a question this morning, a very important question.

He was armed, by her choice, with a spear. She stepped out on the frosted grass bare-handed.

'Weren't you using your sword?'
'On you? Don't be silly. I believe you get to go first.'

He bowed to her, then started to ask his question. As the pair circled, his spear arced through the air, inscribing his question in the space between them.

A cool calm filled the morning air. She watched as he moved and remembered why they had come here. He moved with a polite grace that made her heart soar. Now and then, their eyes would meet and he would smile gently to her.

Sometimes he moved around the spearpoint and at others, it moved around him. He was a study of concentration and economy of motion. He was an awesome fusion of contradictions; gentler than the breeze at times yet a raging typhoon of energy at others. He was all this and more, but it was his smile that was most dangerous.

A ray of sun broke through then and illuminated him in full flight. The sight of him launched skywards, with spear fully extended and his breath misting in the cool winter air, burned deeply into her mind.

The spearpoint sang as he moved. He serenaded her in the voice of a spear as he whirled and spun. In his song was love, honor and duty. And a question.

It was her turn. Tradition required, demanded even, that the furthest she could go was to invite further inquiry. Her head bowed, she started by showing him an open hand and a closed one. Then she told him what she thought.

She started by showing him the prescribed defences to his every attack, adding a little flourish each time. Every bit as accomplished an artist as he was, she emulated his timing and inflections. She was also careful to let her amusement show while he kept his spear trained on her.

‘You would trifle with me?’ he asked.
‘How could I mock a man holding his spear?’

Carefully, respectfully approaching her, he smiled warmly. ‘Defend yourself.’

She read his technique and countered expertly, dodging and parrying every advance. Sometimes she let the spear pass overhead, sometimes she parried with her feet. Even as he showed her what he could do, she let him see just who he was dealing with. Through it all, she saw his smile grow broader and she blushed prettily.

Distracted, he let his spear linger for a moment too long. In that moment she made contact and she knew him. Everything slowed as her awareness permeated every fibre of the weapon. Her senses sped away to his hands and she blushed again when she felt him. Then she broke contact.

She knew as he flicked his spear away that it would swing forcefully back, so she was ready for him. It stopped, ringing, on a firm hand. ‘Would you take a woman by force, dear one?’ She wagged a finger at him. ‘You'll have to do better than that.’

Again he smiled. Again, he pressed his question. Again, she moved with the spear, shepherding it around her as he asked her yet once more. Its point never came close to the answer and yet, she would not let him pull away. Her hands expertly turned his question aside as she considered her reply.

'You do know that this finishes on my terms.'
She raised an inquiring eyebrow at him.
'Break the spear and compel the question from my lips.' There was that smile again.

She blushed furiously and didn't think that was funny at all, but she knew just what to do. There was nothing tentative in the way he had asked his question. There would be nothing tentative in her answer.

When she had him in exactly the right spot, she struck. In the space between two heartbeats, she plucked the spear from his hands and gently shoved him up against a convenient tree.

Setting the point of his spear against his throat, she told him, 'I won't break this spear, I won't break your heart. Ask now and you shall have my answer.'

Dedications: Three, really. First to viewtru.blogspot.com, whose mastery of the genre is undisputed. Then to the two people on whose Question this was loosely based. Thanks for the inspiration.


At 3:17 pm, Blogger Kancil Killer said...

Hm... since when my name became Ghostfaced KancilKillah?

I like it!

At 3:33 pm, Blogger plink said...

Hehe... WuTang Clan ought to have you in.

Not viewtru punya Wu Tang(lung) Clan la... the hiphop/hardcore people.

At 10:55 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read » » »


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