Orestes whirled around, parrying the blows from his assailants. They had almost surrounded him now. Soon they would bring him down by sheer force of numbers. Trying to concentrate, he matched his opponents’ attacks, his blades blocking their blows. His breathing was calm as his mind recited the teachings of his master. “To strike at the enemy is not to kill him. To parry the enemy’s blows is in itself not to kill him. Every movement not intended to bring about the death of the enemy is wasted movement.”.
“Orestes!”, the sound of his Master’s voice boomed across the field. “Deny them movement! Push them aside! Drive them to place of their deaths! Where they see chaos, you must see patterns; where they see confusion, you must see purpose. Within the tempest is an eye of calm, find it!”
Orestes, pondered this, almost absentmindedly stepping back from the onslaught. A blow connected with the side of his head, sending him reeling, silvery slivers of pain piercing through his skull from his temple. He fought to control his anger. Lifting his blades, he drove his longsword in a wide arc, scattering his enemies while his short sword stabbed repeatedly, denying any attempts at stepping back into his reach. He spotted an opening. It was the bastard who had landed the blow! Orestes leapt forward, his rage giving him power as he rammed the sword into the exposed neck. His enemy staggered backwards, falling as Orestes’s sword connected again, his rage powering his blow. Orestes leapt on top of his helpless enemy raising both swords to strike….
There was an explosion of pain followed by darkness.
When Orestes opened his eyes, he saw his Master’s face staring sternly down at him.
“You are nothing but a disappointment!” The master landed a kick in Orestes’ groin. Ignoring the groan of his student, he continued, “There is too much of your grandmother in you! What are you, a common orc? You could have won, but instead you gave in to your rage. Striking out at an enemy that was no longer threat, ignoring those around you, ignoring the one that simply walked up behind you and gave you a little slap!” Orestes stirred, trying to sit up, while his master continued his tirade,
“Why did your grandmother’s tribe perish? Was it because they were weak? They weren’t, they endured great hardships. Was it because they were foolish? They weren’t, they were cunning opponents? Was it because they were cowards? They weren’t, they showed great courage against overwhelming odds. They perished because they acted on their passions, they perished because they mistook yesterday’s enemy for the enemy of the now. They perished because they struck without understanding why! They perished because they were, in the end, nothing but orcs, fuelled by hatred when they should have acted on duty. They had a duty to their living children, a duty to your mother, which they failed. Will you fail as they did?”
Orestes sat up, shaking his head. “No, Master, I will not. I act on duty, duty to the world and duty to the situation at hand. I know that all circumstances have their prescribed actions.”
His master turned his back to him. “I am done with you. Your duty and your nature are in conflict, only by leaving this place and going into the world can it be resolved. If you are successful, you will repay the debt of your ancestors to this twisted world, if you fail, you are just another orc. Now, leave me!”