Anger welled in Jono as he swung at his opponent but to his dismay the blow went wide, the man side stepped with ease. Spinning upon his heel he slashed in a wide arc, an amateurish mistake but the usual red haze of his anger curtained his eyes and blinded him to tactics. Once more the attack was evaded, the older man shock his head in a sad, disappointed way. Again the younger male lashed forth but this time the swords arc was blocked by his opposites own and in a blurring motion Jono found himself starring at blue skies. It took moments for him to collect his thoughts and a few longer before he saw what happened in his minds eye, the red veil lifted and he let out a shuddering sigh.

“Did I not warn you about anger and combat?? The speaker was invisible to Jono but he knew who it was, his tutor. Lying there he pictured the man, big build; not fat or muscular as you would expect but big. His jet black hair was pulled back tightly over his head and bound in a single knot at the back, the ponytail fell down his back to almost the centre of it. Deep blue eyes, the colour of the sea when angered was set in the pockets of his oval face. A long pointed nose under which drooped a moustache, the two prongs on the black facial hair lay either side of his mouth; the mouth – soft in shape but housed a tongue so sharp it could flay the skin off a man twenty feet away. Lestatar Malfoy was his name, master of arms for Jono's father; and his teacher. “Up boy. We do not have all day.? Groaning the younger man forced himself up, first sitting then standing – with a little wobbling. Retrieving his weapon Jono took up the combat form that had been drilled into him for the past few months; left leg forward, right leg behind and twisted slightly; arms straight with both hands on the sword , the point aimed at his opponent's heart. With a brief nod of slight approval Lestatar took his own position.

The two stood waiting, watching the other for a sign of movement or attack. Minutes ticked passed, still the stand off continued Jono's green eyes were locked with Lestatar's blue, tears formed at the corners as neither blinked; not wanting to give the other that split seconds chance. Jono's vision blurred as the tears welled up and finally he had to blink. As he did, the opening was there and it was taken. Moving like a coiled snake his tutor lashed forwards, his strike aimed at his pupils throat. Snapping his eyes open Jono froze in fear and shock for moments before his training gliding into action. His form quickly moved into a defensive posture, the attack was countered as if it was natural for him. Before the sword master could once more bring his weapon to bear Jono pushed his advantage, attacking at his opponents open side he expected his blade to find flesh. This was not to be as once more his cunning opponent dodged the attack, with a smooth spin upon his heel he now faced the overextended Jono. Once more the young nobleman felt the touch of the weapon, even through all the padding they wore there was still an acute stinging sensation.

Sighing deeply he stood once more, an almost resigned look crossed Jono's features and for once his tutors iron features softened.

“Jono. I know that feeling, it seems like you lack the ability to defeat me. Yes? Wrong, inexperience is where you fall down. The time we face one another and spar, you do well with guidance but when put to the test on your own you are lost. You try to do what you see is right but fail. And I am not talking about your fighting alone. Life effects our being even when we try not to let if, there are things our minds do behind the scenes. You may believe that you have repressed them but truthfully you just threw a blanket over them – they are there in the background. They try to push themselves to the fore of your mind, they want the attention that you cannot give and this is distracting.

This is a downfall of all, and combat requires the uttermost concentration and these things that vie for space in your mind make your concentration and thus you fail. We need to rid of these thoughts and emotions, to do this we need no sword or weapon. But something harder to wield. Something that used wrong will break you and hurt others but used right will give you the strength needed. I talk of trust. Trust must be given willingly and only to some, yes you may trust many but that is giving them the benefit of the doubt. Understand??

Jono nodded and Lestatar continued;

“You may think it sounds silly or womanly but trust is there for everyone. Why trust people at all? For do they not screw up and break under such a burden we place upon them? They do. But not always on purpose, sometimes trust is broken by silly things, forgetting things or never knowing they were there. Trust is a strong feeling or emotion, to place your trust in someone it to tell them they are important. These people you your closest, your friends who are there to support, protect and guide you. But such responsibility can be taxing, to have someone who needs you that much and sometimes it can be often – if they are in a 'bad place', can be draining. All need space and time for themselves, we cannot take all that they have and take it for ourselves.

Lestatar sighed deeply and with he deep searching eyes looked at Jono.

“Do you trust me, boy? Jono, you need to speak with people. Foolish it may seem at times or like it does nothing but those older and more experienced with the ways of life and love are the ones who are there for you. If you talk, I will listen. Do you trust me with your burdens??

Looking at the older man, into the deep blue eyes Jono saw passed the warrior and the teacher; he saw passed the man and the father until he saw what mattered. The core. He saw, or at least glimpsed, the heart of his tutor and his protection crumbled. He saw a caring there he had never seen before, it was not the love of a parent or the protection of a guardian or even the loyalty of a servant. He saw the caring of a friend. A true friend. His knees buckled and he collapsed to the ground. For moments nothing could be heard but the whisper of the wind and the rustling of the leaves, then the gates opened.

“I hurt people. I do not mean to but I do. I lack the ability to see them and hear what they are truly saying, I hear words and their voice. Not emotions or the truth. I trust too much and expect the same in return, my heart is for all to see and all to touch but too many times does it get squeezed too tightly. But my trust is often misplaced, never where it should be and not returned by all. I am slow, Lestatar. I lack the ability to speak my mind or help, my life is in tatters and my mind whirls with possibilities that will never come to pass.

I try, I really do. I am there for people but they do not come to me, it hurts. I use to think I was impossible to understand but now. Now I am all to easy, my mind is lax and problems happen due to my own stupidity.? Jono turned his pleading eyes upon his tutor. “Help me Lestatar. Help me, guide me and watch me. I cannot do this on my own.?

“You can. And you will but you need help to get yourself running. I was once like you, but a friend of mine said something to me; 'We are your holding hand, We are your pillow, your receiver your cuddly toy. I feel your pain' He never said where it came from, other than he would only tell me ' Black Sheep'. The point is, there are people out there like this, they care. Find them and you have a friend for life. But be warned, they are not a toy to be tossed about with. As hard as they look, they maybe more fragile that you. Look after them and they will look after you. There is always someone to watch, guide and protect you. One day they will be gone – but you will never be alone.?

Jono glanced up and saw the proffered hand, gripping it around the wrist he was pulled up to his feet. Looking the man gripping his arm likewise in the eyes, Jono saw it. He was not alone, friends were there for him and he will be there for them; when the time comes. He will be there. His mind cleared and as the two fighters took their positions once more and as they stepped into defensive and attacking positions again. It was not the younger man who felt the kiss of the swords edge, this time it was an older voice baying in pain.