She drew her sword and began the set of drills. These had been the first thing that Master Gerold had taught her. She was twelve.
Remember: the sword is the beginning. The art of it is ancient. Everything else I teach you will follow from the sword. This is how my master taught me and how his master taught him and so forth, since time immemorial.
She switched to the next pattern, flowing smoothly through stances until she felt the calm core within overtaking the stresses of the day.
She sheathed her sword and came to rest, taking a deep breath and expelling it slowly.
She began her fire patterns with the simplest exercise: juggling. It had taken her over a year to master this – fire is an unforgiving teacher. Much like Master Gerold. It started simply enough, but as the motions became more complicated, sweat began to bead. When she first completed this pattern as a teenager, she was shaking with exhaustion and unable to go on. It was one of the few times her Master had praised her.
Next were the combat forms. Her actions became swift, decisive, and cold as 1… 2… 3… 4… combat dummies burst into flame. With a quick motion they were out and she was flowing into the next spell. A ring of fire burst outwards, igniting all six dummies at once and licking at the edge of the circle. Then they were out again. Time after time, flow after flow, pattern after pattern. She submerged herself in the motions.
Centered stance. Deep breaths. She was lost to the world, now, in a spell of the past more powerful than any wizard could weave.
She never noticed the quiet and still form of Gabriel watching from the entrance…