The Art of Swordplay

Written by Eruantien

longsword_fencing

A longsword match between two men. Image // Fechtbücher (Commons)

“I’ll draw them,” murmured Garidth to Kurvello. “You lead the others further in.”

“Take the heat off you when they realise we’re already inside the keep?”

“Would be nice,” Garidth nodded to his brother and the others, and strode out of the undergrowth to the front of the gate house. Lowering his buffe to reveal his face, the young knight raised his longsword and his voice: “All glory to the true lord of Janakholm, Kurvello Karvelson! Let any who deny his claim come forth now and challenge me, Sir Garidth of Corlyn; or hide forever behind the skirts of your mothers, like that snivelling boy who calls himself lord!”

Two came forth and Garidth could see a third hovering in the gateway, only half armoured. The other two – wearing maille and open-faced helms – drew their swords and closed on Garidth. Garidth couldn’t help but smile as the words of his old tutor echoed in his ears, “if someone attacks you with his blade in a standard grip when you are in full plate, then he knows nothing of the True Art”. His blood singing, Garidth launched his attack, thrusting hard at the one to his left, but the man’s sword came up in time to glance the thrust to the side. Against the Hämähäkkan’s expectations, Garidth continued his push and quickly whipped his steel-clad left fist forwards in a straight jab, smashing into his opponent’s face. Already turning as the stunned man stumbled back, Garidth blocked the second soldier’s overhand strike with his right vambrace. Garidth couldn’t help but let out a grunt of discomfort as the heavy sword bit into the steel, but before the Hämähäkkan could recover his guard, he swung his blade towards himself and caught it in his left hand. Without pausing, he slammed the pommel into the bridge of his opponent’s nose and fractured his skull. The man dropped. His first opponent began to gather his wits a moment too late as Garidth’s sword got behind his knee and took his feet from under him. Garidth immediately thrust his blade down, two-handed, at the maille protecting the man’s throat. Steel rings split beneath the blade’s tip. Garidth paused for a moment to catch his breath, and withdrew his sword as the third member of the gatehouse came out.

Garidth eyed this new combatant; clad in brigandine, the way in which he held himself was different from the other two Hämähäkkans he’d fought. Unlike the others, this one had adopted a half-sword stance and had solid plates on his arms and legs complimenting the brigandine and visored helm. Garidth found himself suddenly wishing that he hadn’t lowered his buffe earlier; there was no time to secure it back in place now.

Blood dripped from the tip of Garidth’s longsword as he gripped it halfway down the blade. Continue reading →

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