Krinsala stood in a forest whose beauty would have best been described by a poet or story writer. He secured his fighting stance by turning his body to the side and forcing his back foot down on the soil beath him as if the Earth relied on its pressure to continue spinning. His sword was held in a black, leather sheath hanging from his hip, adding considerable weight to how Krinsala perceived his body in space. His left hand held the sheath steady while his right hand ached to move in front of his body and remove the sword in preparation for the fight. His training had taught him how to channel this energy and to concentrate instead on his breathing. Krinsala’s master invested significant time patiently teaching him how the body could trick the mind into becoming calmer simply by slowing one’s breath. He inhaled the forest air while treating the speckled hints of pine vying for the attention of his mind as an unwelcome distraction.
Today, there would only be the fight.
Standing underneath a canopy on the perimeter of the clearing, Krinsala’s body remained still, his eyes scanning for movements in the mist. His breaths remained slow and deliberate so as not to give away his location and he was grateful for all of the discipline his master had taught him. His master never strayed from the narrative that Krinsala was unique and that he would one day be the greatest warrior the world had ever seen. For a moment, Krinsala’s thoughts drifted to considering the difference between thinking you can do something and knowing that you can. This brief distraction was nearly enough for Krinsala to miss the subtle movement of thousands of specks of mist being pushed through the forest. When compared to how the mist behaves for a hare or a bird, Krinsala concluded that something large was navigating its way towards the clearing in the forest.
Appearing to make an attempt to confuse Krinsala, a shadow inched its way through the forest, its opaque outline betraying its location and determination. Krinsala gave his right-hand permission to cross over his torso and grip the black patterned cloth covering the handle of his sword. Krinsala allowed his mind to wander more freely and, before long, the outline of the creature was thick enough for Krinsala to be confident that he knew what he was dealing with. He tightened the grip on the handle to the point that his knuckles had gone white and, just as a spirit appeared out of the smoke of a fire, so too did the creature step out of the mist and into the clearing.
Krinsala exposed a hint of his sword’s reflective surface as he watched the creature start walking on his hooves, sniffing the perimeter of the clearing, it’s light grey horns contrasting against the dark, thick hair covering its body. It was not possible that the creature did not know that Krinsala was there, but, not only was it a creature of dignity, it had survived this long, knowing that rushing into a battle was the equivalent of signing your own death wish. When the creature was close enough for Krinsala to make out the individual hairs on its body, he drew out his sword slowly and completely and took a step forward into the clearing. Krinsala held the sword out in front of him, ready for whatever it was that was about to come his way. Staring deep into its soul without moving a muscle, Krinsala found the creature’s disappointment surprising. Knowing it was time to uncover what fate had in store for the both of them, Krinsala transition his body into a weighted stance. “It is time, Master, to challenge what you think you know.” Krinsala and the creature bowed ever so slightly before taking a deep breath and charging towards one another.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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