The ringing of our swords had not yet reached my ears when I felt his assault upon my mind. I divided my concentration between rebuffing his mental sorties, parrying his blade, and combating his footwork with my own. When there was stalemate in two of those arenas we battled in the third, until by some action one of the stalemates was broken, throwing us back into wild melee. My mental defenses were first to slip and I was stunned for a moment. My belly tightened for an instant and I gasped when the blue blade slashed white-hot across my arm.