blocking moves, explaining the need for good defence before a student could even begin to think about attack. Vance listened carefully, but he couldn't shake the feeling he had disappointed his teacher. As he expected, when the lesson was over and the trainees had been dismissed, Durhan ordered him to remain behind.
'It has not escaped my notice that Merreck bears you ill will,' said Durhan, pacing thoughtfully. Vance did not answer. He had never ratted on a fellow recruit, and he would not start now. When Vance did not speak, Durhan continued. 'Whatever the case, incidents like today will continue. Possibly until you leave, or he kills you. You are both training to be Anla'shok, and this animosity cannot continue. You will therefore have to show him you are as worthy as he is.'
Vance didn't know what to say. He had done his best since his first day, but Merreck was simply too fast, too strong and too well trained. 'I have therefore decided that you will receive extra schooling in the discipline of the denn'bok. It is obvious Merreck has an advantage where this is concerned, possible due to his uncle's teachings, but I will endeavour to balance that. Then, when Merreck considers you his equal, your differences can be solved.'
'With respect, Sech Durhan, I think it will take more than beating him in combat to make him accept me.'
'I never said anything about beating him. Nor did I speak of acceptance. Satisfy yourself that if you give a good account in the combat circle, Merreck must treat you with the respect that your skills demand.'
'Thank you, Sech Durhan.' Vance didn't know what else to say.
'You will meet me here for one hour each evening. And before you enter the combat hall again, you will learn the proper pronunciation of "vakash'tuli". Repeat!'