Supposedly the Maestro was the greatest warrior on the Lanfar estate. If you believed some, he was the greatest warrior in the whole region. Then again, there were few people alive who had seen Lord Albert and Lady Elise in battle, and most of them were thousands of miles away, out on the ocean. The Maestro was also very old. He had been the first Lanfar's bodyguard, and his friend. But that didn't mean he would let his friend's grandchildren get away with anything. Natasha and Valeria raced into the training hall, but too late. The bells had already begun to chime the hour. The Maestro looked at them disapprovingly.

The girls knew what was coming, and it didn't help to see Remington smirk. He hadn't wasted his head start, and had arrived, breathing heavily, moments before the bells began to ring. Before the Maestro even had to speak, the girls each raised one leg off the ground, and continued to stand, one-legged. They had been late enough times to know what the punishment was, and to know that the Maestro would tell them when to stop. There was little to do except concentrate on balancing, and to watch the Maestro teach.

Today, as every day, the teaching consisted of sparring. The Maestro was old-fashioned, and all sparring was done with longswords. The Maestro had other weapons of course, but he wouldn't allow any of his trainees to use them. If you asked the Maestro why, he would simply state "A good warrior uses whatever tools he has available. And a longsword teaches the movements as well as any other."

The girls watched, faces screwed up in concentration, as Remington sparred with the Maestro. The sandy-haired youth was fast, but his speed was his undoing, as his swing whistled past the Maestro and he lost his balance. The Maestro simply tapped Remington's prone form with the flat of his blade, white eyebrows raised slightly, perhaps with amusement. He spoke quickly and quietly to the boy, his clipped tones not reaching the girls, despite their proximity. Perhaps it was the acoustics of the training hall. The Maestro looked up. "At ease." The girls gratefully settled onto both feet, trying not to let it show that they had been seconds away from collapsing. This would not be an easy session.