Conor Dillon – Beginnings Excerpt 12
I looked forwards with some trepidation to my weapons training with Black Michael. Shamus had told me how he, Michael and my late Father had been friends and comrades in arms, and that Michael truly meant the vow he had given me. I had never met anyone quite like Michael, and I admit I was overawed, even a little frightened by him.
Big men, in general are quite boisterous, But Michael was so quiet, almost like a priest, but some priest. The first thing Michael said to me, in that soft soothing voice of his, ‘Musket’s can kill, but the Irish troops don’t favour them, we use the butts to clobber the enemy, if you are proficient with a sword or a knife, they are a more useful weapon at close-quarters. Whilst you are fussing trying to reload your musket, someone will pig stick you with a sword or bayonet.’
‘ You, Conor, are an Officer and a Gentleman, or will be made so when we see your Father, so I will start you off with the sword, I’ll be gentle with you,’ he said smiling. He handed me a sword and said, ‘ This sword is really a little heavy for you, but using it will strengthen your wrist, it could give you the advantage in a prolonged swordfight, a strong wrist.’
We circled around each other like real adversary’s, I knew that to penetrate Michaels guard I would have to do something spectacular, but what?. ‘ Are you going to attack me, boy, or are you trying to teach me the latest dance steps,’ Michael teased, laughing at me. Then I remembered, I had my throwing knife in its sheath at the back of my neck, and Shamus, bless him had taught me to throw accurately with either hand. I scratched my head as I lunged at Michael, Whilst he was parrying my lunge, I drew my knife and threw it, not to hit him, merely to distract him and throw him off guard.
He dodged my knife, and the cut I had aimed at him never landed, He had grabbed hold of my wrist and was holding me suspended. He laughed and released me, ‘ I can see that devious wee bugger, Shamus has been teaching you some of his dodgy antics, but fair play to you, I have an idea that you could have hit me with that knife if you had a mind too, It was a good try, a lesser man would have fallen for it!’
(C) Damian Grange 2018