sareini: (creative)
Title: Riposte
Story: My as-yet unnamed Renaissance/Steampunk/magic universe Update: I'm now calling it "Stormborn", at least until I get a better name...
Colours: Fog Grey #4 (clear blue sky); Golden Globe #4 (I want to be alone) ( [community profile] rainbowfic ) 
Styles/Supplies: Graffiti ( Short Films ); canvas ( [community profile] rainbowfic )
Prompt: Bruises ( [community profile] allbingo )
Word Count: 722
Rating: PG for one moment of language
Characters: Talia; Iacopo; Dario (mentioned)

Tali sat on the rock with her knees pulled up to her chin, staring out at the sea with angry eyes. Both the water and the sky were particularly clear that afternoon, and so the blues of each seemed to merge together where they met at the horizon. Not that she cared at that point.

A gull landed near to her and hopped towards her, apparently curious as to whether the girl on the rock had any food. When Tali ignored it, the bird stopped a foot or two from her and… stared at her. From the corner of her eye Tali thought that it looked a little like it was judging her somehow. She thought briefly about throwing a rock at it and making it fly away, but then dismissed that idea just as quickly. That would be something Dario would do. Not her.

“Tali! Are you down here?” Her eldest brother’s voice called down from the hilltop that overlooked their private beach, and Tali knew that Iacopo would be coming down the pathway soon after it. His calling question was only a formality; he knew that this was where Tali came whenever she wanted to be by herself. Tali sighed and then sniffed loudly, wiping her nose on her sleeve in a most un-ladylike manner that would probably have had her tutors in fits if they had seen it. She didn’t care; she just didn’t want to show that she might have been crying.

“I’m here, Iacopo,” she called back, hopping off her rock and onto the soft, silver-white sand. The watching gull squawked briefly at her and hopped back a few steps, flapping its wings in a half-flight movement as it did. “I’m just… I just needed to think.”

“I guessed. I heard about what Dario said, and you know what I’m going to say.” Iacopo came into view as he finished coming down the hilltop path. He was carrying two pairs of wooden rondels, Tali noticed.

“I should just ignore him; it wasn’t too long ago that he was falling over his own feet and making terrible parries; he wouldn’t know a proper riposte if it came up and bit him on the arse?” Tali replied, not really smiling. Her brother gave a sudden snort of laughter, which he quickly choked off.

“Not quite the words I would have used, little sister, but… you’re probably right,” he conceded. He looked at Tali’s face and frowned. “Is that where he hit you?” he asked, gesturing with one of the wasters at the livid bruise across Tali’s cheek that spread almost to her left eye. Tali nodded sullenly.

“It’s not that he managed to hit me,” she explained quickly. “I can take that. It’s what he said afterwards. That I was just a useless girl who shouldn’t even be playing with swords. That all I was good for was marrying off and squeezing out babies.” Her eyes started to sting again and she wiped angrily at them before her vision blurred.

“Well, he’s right about one thing,” Iacopo told her evenly, eliciting a shocked glare from Tali. “Swords are not your weapon - at least not right now. You’re small and quick, little sister, and so we play to your strengths.” He offered her one pair of the wooden rondels. “You will do much better with daggers, I’m sure.”

Tali was surprised for a moment, but not too surprised that she didn’t immediately take the wasters from her brother. The wooden daggers felt light in her hands; lighter than the wooden sword she still swung so clumsily whenever she practiced with it. She jabbed at the air randomly with them a couple of times, a smile forming on her face. Iacopo, meanwhile, had taken up a defensive stance with his own pair of wasters, preparing to guard against an attack.

“Now don’t think I’ll be going easy on you, Talia,” he advised her. “If you don’t learn to get past my guard, you’re going to be going back to the house with several more bruises.”

Tali smiled even wider. “I’m not the only one who’s going to get bruised,” she retorted, before preparing to dart forward, daggers ready to test his defences and find an opening.

The gull squawked indignantly once more before flying off to find a more peaceful spot.
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