Alcohol and knives–an excerpt

An excerpt from Quenching the Blade, book two of The Forging Legends.

“You’re pretty good with those.” Milo’s voice noted behind me.
“I’m very good with these.”
“You were very good in the match tonight, too.” He dropped down into the sand next to me.
“I lost, if you weren’t paying attention.” I threw another knife, the soft ‘thwap’ of it embedding in the wood less satisfying than usual.
“No one bests the captain with the sword.” Milo grinned. “You lasted longer than anyone else ever has. It was a good match. He taught you, didn’t he? The captain?”
I nodded and poured more rhum into my mouth, wishing it would sear my mind as quickly as my tongue. All my knives protruded from the post now, and I was too drunk to retrieve them again.
Milo rose unbidden to get them. “Your skill with the knives looks equal to your sword.” He handled the slender blades carefully has he handed them back to me.
“My skill with these knives is better . Your captain cannot compete with me there.”
“No?” He looked ridiculously awestruck by that idea.
I leaned back to drink more rhum. Oddly, over half-empty now, the jug felt heavier. “No one can compete with my knife skills.” I threw another knife into the wood.
Smoke drifted from the nearest bonfire, wrapping us in a hazy shroud while the moon traced it’s path above us. Milo watched me without saying anything, content to retrieve my knives again and again.
Draining the last of the rhum, the clay jug banged into my teeth, but the spicy drink and caustic smoke did their part to numb my face so I didn’t feel it.
“Have you killed people with these knives?” He broke the quiet, examining the naked steel of one knife in the fire’s glow behind us.
“Yes.” I took it and flung it into the wood again. The sound was softer now, the wood pulpy from its abuse tonight. “I’ve killed people with all my weapons, and with borrowed weapons, and stolen weapons, and no weapon at all.”
Milo stared at me, dark eyes wide, without saying anything.
I scowled at his expression. “But they all wanted to kill me first.”