“Let’s find you a weapon first,” he said, leading her over to a small barrel. He fished through the collection, removing a wooden practice sword. “This will do nicely, I should think.”
Ludwig handed the weapon to Charlaine, who looked at it dubiously. The basics of holding a sword were simple enough, but how did she wield such a weapon?
“It’s all rather simple, really,” said Ludwig. “You can use the point to stab out, or the edge to slash if you prefer.”
“I’m fully aware of how a sword works,” said Charlaine. “I’ve been making them for some time. What I don’t know is the basic techniques.”
“I can help you with that,” offered Kurt. “It’s my job after all.” He moved in closer, trying to place an arm around her waist. She grabbed his wrist and twisted, driving him to the ground in agony.
Ludwig laughed at his companion's dilemma. “Where did you learn that manoeuvre?” he asked.
“My mother always insisted I should learn to look after myself,” she said.
“Stop,” begged Kurt. “You’re going to break my wrist.”
She released her grip, and Kurt rolled away to put some distance between them.
“Now,” said Ludwig, holding out a sword, “watch me and do what I do.”
He stepped forward, placing his right foot in front with his sword held before him at a slight angle. “This position,” he explained, “extends your reach and prepares you to react should your opponent attack. Now, you try.”
She did as he had demonstrated but found the stance quite uncomfortable.
“Move your leg back a bit, you’re overreaching. It’ll put you off balance.”
She corrected her stance. “Now what?”
“Now I'll show you some basic elements."
“When you became a smith, did you start by forging a sword?”
“No, I had to master some basic skills first. I can still remember when I made my first nail.”
“There you have it,” said Ludwig with a smile. “Consider this to be your first nail.”