“Swords or pistols?”
Evening light set Queen Street’s Metropolitan United Church aglow. Tall maple and pine trees lined the walkway that led to the ornate front doors. A wrought iron fence enclosed the grounds. Earlier, grey clouds had threatened rain, but now the sky was clear. The air was still, making the summer night hot and muggy.
Edward nodded. Leonardo always chose swords. They stood seven paces apart, each eyeing the other guardedly but with an air of playfulness. It was not as if they were strangers. More than anything, they liked a well-played match between their groups.
The game started slowly and methodically, players moving up and across. Eventually there was only himself and Rupert on their side, and Leonardo alone on his.
“Rupert, call upon me when assistance is required.” Edward stood four paces over and signaled Rupert to make a move. He liked to lead from behind, never moving unless absolutely necessary.
Rupert rolled up his sleeves. Leonardo glanced over at the large, square clock positioned at the edge of the grounds. Edward’s suggestion of timing their play had instilled in them a new level of competitiveness.
Rupert lunged toward Leonardo’s crown. Leonardo sliced the air near Rupert’s face. Then, the fight ensued in earnest as Rupert advanced and Leonardo retreated and Edward stayed put. It was mesmerizing and the atmosphere concentrated.
“Thy form has much improved since our last encounter,” Edward remarked as Leonardo took a step forward.
“I give thee thanks, my friend. Your words bring inspiration.”
As daylight waned, the street lamps surrounding the Metropolitan lit up. The maples and pines cast shadows over the area of play. A sudden wind whipped through the trees and brought with it splatters of rain.
“It is becoming late.”
“Next time we must convene earlier.”
Rupert looked over at Edward, “Strike now.”
Edward adjusted his crown, picked up his sword and stepped forward. Leonardo stepped back. Edward then moved adjacent and with one quick move flung Leonardo’s sword out of this hand.
“And thus you are defeated,” Edward declared decisively.
Leonardo, his back against the iron gate, bowed his head.
“I thought I would win this time. I’ve been practicing so much.” Leo sighed.
“Your play was good, especially the middle. The endgame is often the trickiest.”
“So same time next week?”
“Yep. I know it’s late but I like watching the sun set behind the church.”
Ed gathered up the chess pieces and put away the timer.