He stood behind Lauren and reached his arms around her, taking the sword from her hand and reversing it in her grip. The thing was heavy, the blade pointing downward now. "You'll need to raise your arm, and then stab downward." He demonstrated, bending Lauren's elbow back and raising her arm, and then letting it fall. The blade whistled through the air, cold steel shrieking. "Let gravity do the work, this sword is sharp enough, you just make sure that the blade enters where it should."
"Got all of that?" Oleander said, not yet letting go of her. He was a disconcerting presence. He was alive, vibrantly so, and Lauren could hear the beating of his heart, could smell the twin scents of lilac and old blood upon him. Other smells were there, subtler smells, smells of shampoo, and dogs, and sweat. All the while, Lauren could feel the beating of his heart in his chest, steady and constant, and could imagine the rush of blood through those veins. "Hold my hand and I'll boost you up."