Running the Shadows: Chapter One, Unfair Test.
“Ah, dammit!” Annika swore, pulling at the blindfold. “How'm I supposed to fight when I can't even see?” A moment later, she added, remembering, “sir.”
“You don't need to see.” Her instructor seemed unruffled as he looked down at her. “You should be able to hear my feet, my movements. You have to anticipate what I'll do.”
She climbed slowly back to her feet. “Yeah, well --”
“This test is not over!” he snapped, pulling the blindfold back over her eyes. “Ready yourself.”
The hand to hand fighting she had learned hadn't actually been that hard. It was far harder when you couldn't see your opponent, no matter what he said.
Tilting her head, she tried to listen for the sound of her instructor's footfalls. There was a quick sound behind her, and she struck out with a fist. Connecting only with air, she stumbled for a moment, off balance. Before she could recover, she was tripped again and lying on the floor. She pulled the blindfold up again, to cover her forehead.
“Why is this so hard, Cadet?” he asked, shaking his head, a grin playing at the corners of his mouth. “You do have ears, don't you?”
“Yeah – but --”
“Then use them! Listen and anticipate my movements.”
She bit back another curse, having learned the first time that cursing in front of Jaheira was not a good idea. Her current instructor, a man by the name of Valygar Corthala, could be even more strict at times. He was an intrusion expert, a sniper, and deadly with knives as well as hand-to-hand. Unfortunately, he had ended up as her instructor. It was odd, though. She would have thought it far faster to train people in groups. Yet most of her training was either on her own, or in small groups of three or four people. She wasn't even sure what exactly she was being trained for. Still, it was better than living on the streets, and for the moment, there had been no dangerous surprises, only unpleasant ones.
“Ready?” He asked, raising a brow above hazel eyes. She nodded, and pulled the blindfold back down, blowing out a breath as she did so. It would do no good to argue.
After two more tries, she finally managed to block a single blow. Unfortunately, she did not manage to block his second attack, and ended up being tossed to the floor yet again.
“Finally.” He pulled the blindfold over the bridge of her nose. “On your feet, Cadet,” he said with that same slight smile. “Now.” Once she clambered to her feet, he added, “You did it once. Now prove to me it wasn't luck.” Annika wanted to groan.
“How'd it go?” Imoen stuck her head over the edge of the top bunk and hung down. The two of them had been paired as roommates, and so far it hadn't been too bad. Even if the other girl did have an obsession with pink.
“Not good.” Annika replied, running her hand through her short-cropped hair. She could still feel the bruises. “The basic hand-to-hand wasn't bad. But this 'fighting while blinded?' I was crappy, and he knew it.” She scowled at the underside of the bunk above her head.
“Hey,” Imoen said, a grin on her face, “just be thankful you haven't had the technical courses yet. The instructor's nuts! He sent me out early 'cause one of his things started spitting sparks, and he wanted to fix it. Said he didn't trust me near it, that I might wreck it.”
Annika sighed. “Something to look forward to.” Turning over, she winced as her bruises protested. “Bloody hell.” She mumbled, realizing that she would have another lesson tomorrow. For half-a-moment, she thought about simply not going. Not likely, for if she didn't show, she'd end up back on the streets, and despite the fact of taking orders, this was far better then what she'd left behind.
Running The Shadows: Chapter One, Unfair Test
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