The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival HTML version

She sat down as Ben stepped onto the swording platform. He whipped his sword in the air a couple of times,
and then waited for the buzzer. He didn't appear nervous, but rather, confident.
His muscles rippled under the swording body suit, and his broad shoulders stood out in contrast to Xil's
physique. Ben's build was not typical of the athletes in this sport. Because of his muscular build he appeared to
lack the agility of the slender swordsman. This was another reason Lyil had not suspected Ben’s status as a
Grand Master Swordsman.
The buzzer sounded, and as the match began Lyil noted that Ben's quickness and finesse more than
compensated for his broad shoulders and stout chest.
Xil had made it to the fourth round of this tournament, which meant he was no slouch, but against Ben he not
only looked like a beginner, but also confused. All of Ben's feints, thrusts, and parries were deft and accurate.
Xil was on the defensive immediately and was continually backing away with little in the way of offensive
The match lasted less than a minute. Ben's point found Xil's chest and the electronic sensors in his body suit
registered 'kill' on the scoreboard. A buzzer sounded and the match was over.
It appeared there were very few who thought it would last longer than the first round, or even longer than one
minute. The crowd jumped up and started cheering. Some of them were waving tickets in the air. They had
obviously wagered on a short match, and now, those who wagered most accurately, within the fifteen-second
window, and on the number of thrusts, feints, parries, and rare maneuvers would be the big winners. It was a
good time for the Tarmorians. They got to watch a Grand Master and win money too.
After the cheering died down, the audience started filing out, hurrying off to the wagering booths. The
stadium was emptying quickly.
Still thinking about the match, which had just ended, Lyil sat down and looked at Tam. "In the two nights
that I’ve been out with Ben I hadn’t noticed that he was left handed."
Rand leaned forward. "He's not," he said. "He's right handed, but when it comes to swording he's
ambidextrous. He uses either hand equally well. Not even the number one Grand Master can use both hands as
well as Ben Hillar. The odds makers are saying, in two years, when the Galactic Games are once again
conducted, Ben Hillar will become the next number one Grand Master."
"What is he now?" asked Lyil. She didn't want to keep showing her ignorance, but curiosity got the best of
Rand stood up indicating that he was ready to leave. "He placed number three in the games,” he said looking
down at Lyil. And I’m sure that he will eventually be known as the greatest swordsman of all time.”
Lyil started musing. "If he's that good, then he'll probably win the tournament."
"I’m sure he will," said Rand. He looked thoughtful for a moment. "The odds makers are saying he will, but
the number two Grand Master is also in the tournament."
"The man who placed second in the Galactic Games? And you think Ben will win?"
"Yes," said Rand. "But . . . , well, you would have to have seen the match Ben Hillar lost to him at the
Galactic Games. Ben won the first two rounds, and it looked like he was going to win the match easily. Then
Zirnen pulled a trick out of the books which Ben Hillar had never seen. From the ground, lying on his back, he
thrust his sword up under Ben Hillar's left arm and into the ribcage. He had obviously been saving this trick for
a time when he was desperate—about to lose the match.
“Now the odds makers assume he's out of tricks and won't beat Ben again."
Tam tapped her foot a couple of times. "Excuse me for changing the subject, but don't you think Ben will
want to get together with you?"
"Of course,” replied Lyil. “He knows I’m here, since the usher told him I was using his box seats."
"It doesn’t matter that he knows you’re here. You better get down to his locker room. If he comes up here
he'll be mobbed by the throngs."
"I didn't know we were allowed in the back."
"Of course you are. He's a friend of yours."
"What about you?"
"We'll have a bite of lunch and meet you back here about 5:30 for Ben's next match."
Lyil asked an usher for directions.