Labyrinths of the Heart
(Swords & Salt, Tale 2)
by Lindsay Buroker
Copyright 2013 Lindsay Buroker
Yanko parried the attack smoothly, then countered by advancing and lunging with a quick feint before tapping the toe of the saber against his opponent’s chest. The miner muttered something in a language Yanko didn’t understand, but he read the disgust easily enough. The man dropped his sword and stomped for the exit of the training chamber. He had to push through men who’d come up to watch on their lunch breaks, men who shared murmurs—and traded money—in the aftermath of the sparring match.
Uncle Mishnal stood against the wall near the weapons rack.
Yanko tried a smile on him. “That was my fifth victory today. I believe I’m improving, honored Uncle. What do you think?”
“That these peasants and outlaws are all boast and no bite—they claim they have a knack with weapons, but few of them have shown any skill. It’s unfortunate the Turgonian got away.”
“Ah.” Yanko kept his tone neutral, trying to keep the disappointment off his face. Of course, he’d known he wasn’t facing great warriors, but he’d thought… at seventeen, surely it still said something of his competence to beat so many grown men, men who’d doubtlessly had to defend themselves at one time or another in their lives.