7 Ch-6 Training
In the Great Courtyard, Sir Loann was sitting silently on the bench. His face was completely emotionless and under the waning sunlight, it looked a bit melancholy. He sat there silently like a statue, but then, he spotted the pairs and his face became colder and stricter.
"You are late!" he spat the first moment he laid eyes on the huffing pairs. Felix and Aslak had ran all the way from the Great Halls to the courtyard at the fastest speed possible, which made them all sweaty and gruffy even before the training had begun.
"S-sorry… Master…" huffed Felix as he bent over to catch his breath. "Sigh…" Sir Loann sighed and stood up.
"Come," he said without even waiting for the pair to catch their breaths and started walking towards another side of the courtyard which was quite shady, beside the arsenal. Felix and Aslak were quite surprised and confused because in normal times, they would be awarded with a punishment for arriving late, not to mention the mistakes they made earlier that morning in the duels. But who would question this? Like obedient lambs they followed him to the shady region of the courtyard which was much colder during winter times. On the way, they spotted an weirdly fitted Knight armor lying at the corner of the courtyard, but since they could figure out any of it's uses, they ignored it for now.
Sir Loann picked up a large wooden Greatsword, which was kept in the arsenal and stood facing the pairs, without leaning on the white pillars which was behind him. He held the Greatsword in his two hands and said, "First and foremost, the mistakes of your previous duel with Aston. They are quite a few flaws in your dueling, some fatal and some minors. The most eye-catching fault is closing your eyes, but that can be ignored for now. The other fatal flaw is that, you don't slash using a Greatsword against an opponent wearing scale-armor. A scale-armor protects its user from downward slashes so you should do a pierce-attack. I'm still wondering how you couldn't figure it out after slashing so many times. Anyway, the minor flaws are your stances and footwork. I already taught you that you should move your feets in such a way that it reinforces your attack rather than flawing it. Look, I'm demonstrating it again."
Sir Loann held the Greatsword in two hands and Hap!! Sir Loann did a slash-attack by moving his right forward with a slight bend and the back feet supporting him. The pierce was clean and neat and there were no possible flaws in it, with the blade slashing diagonally, which is the most fatal slash one can aim for. It was followed by a pierce attack, which was quite sudden but the strength behind the attack was great. Even though Felix or Aslak weren't facing Sir Loann, they could clearly feel the air being punctured by the sudden impulse. It was vastly different than the crappy pierces Felix tried on earlier in the deal.
Sir Loann turned back and said, "Another point of note, you don't usually use a Greatsword to slash. A Greatsword is used to pierce and bash your enemies to a pulp without a morsel of regret. The armors of a Knight are too strong to be breached by simple arrows or swords, so you need something heavy enough to cripple the opponent in the armor. And that is the reason why Warhammers were created. But in the case of Greatsword, it can be used both to pierce an armored enemy in their weakpoints or kill them by internal hemorrhage."
"But they can be used for slashing, can't we?" asked Felix.
"Of course, you can, but what's the use to slash with it? The Greatswords are made very heavy to simply bash people to death, not to kill them by bleeding. You can obviously slash but the weight of the blade will make it too difficult and believe me, people who go about carrying Greatswords as big as doors in one-hand to slash people are nothing but idiots living in fantasy. It's futile to slash with it, even more so for heavier Greatswords."
"Then why are the edges of Greatswords made sharp? I saw uncle Aston use a Greatsword which was very sharp. Why is it so?" asked Aslak from the sides, while adjusting a bow, which kind of looked like a replica of a longbow but of much smaller size. He picked up from the arsenal and was already tweaking it.
Sir Loann took his wooden blade and pointed at Aslak with it's sharp tip right under his chin to catch his attention. He replied, "Because without a sharp edge, its no sword. A sword without an edge is no sword instead it would be called an iron stick or iron pole to bash people. But it's not and so it needs to have one. But on the view of practicality and objective, the real use of a Greatsword is to bash people. But then again, if you think from other points of view, only the bladed part of the Greatsword can slash INTO the skin of unguarded opponents, so its not completely useless. It's completely useless against Knights, but for people with weak armors, the sheer force of the Greatsword can penetrate deep into their bodies and deliver a fatal bow. Here, have a look at this."
Sir Loann picked up a big Greatsword, which had a super smooth blade edge with a bit of thickness in the middle of the blade. It looked sleek and light at first glance, but its sheer size, which was almost the 1.5 times the full size of Felix, made it seem deadly and ferocious.
He picked it up in one-hand and threw it like a stick at Felix. Felix tried to catch it with both of his hands without underestimating the weight, but the moment his hands touched the blade, a heavy gravity pulled him down and almost made him trip forward. "Help me, Aslak!!!" cried Felix, but before Aslak could do anything, he tripped forward.
"Ouch!" cried Felix. "Was that heavy?" Aslak asked midway and was replied with a glare. Felix picked himself up and tried to pick the blade too, but it was simply too heavy for him. "Just don't stand there idiot!!!" cursed Felix at Aslak, who immediately strode forward to help. With the joint effort of Felix and Aslak, they were finally able to pick it up, but it seriously looked like a polearm rather than a sword at their heights.
"That is a real Greatsword. Made for battle. Made to kill. Not a weapon for the weak-hearted, not to show mercy to others. Made to execute. With impunity. Remember it, both of you!!" he said seriously and took the blade back from their hands. Felix and Aslak looked attentively at him, because they knew that their teacher has entered his super-teaching mode and this is not a time to waste.
Sir Loann flung the Greatsword over his shoulders, took a pair of gauntlets but instead of wearing it, threw it at Felix, who caught it awkwardly. Sir Loann indicated him to wear it and he did so, but the gauntlets seemed a lot loose and were making terrible clacking sound. This was because there wasn't a chainmail glove or even a leather glove underneath it.
Sir Loann pointed at the gauntlets and said, "You see these pieces of hand guard? These are called gauntlets and like I said earlier, they are there to protect your hand. Other than protecting your hand, though, these gauntlets have many other uses. One such use for gauntlets to us is that we can hold the blade of the Greatsword without harming ourselves. Well, you can hold the blade without gauntlets but for now, it can protect your palm. Anyway, this has led to the development of the Half-blade Technique."
"Ah! That's the one dad was telling about!!" cried Aslak from the side, but he was stopped by Felix who poked him from the side.
"Ahem! I don't know what that idiot of your father has told you, but listen carefully now, even though you are not going to learn swordsmanship later. Okay, the Half-blade Technique," he held the Greatsword in both of his hands, basically the blade in both his hands and continued, "The Half-blade Technique is a technique used to poke or pierce your enemies. Before you say anything, let me finish, Felix. Yes, it's true that you can do a pierce-attack without using the Half-blade Technique, but the main objective of this technique is to increase your accuracy. As you can see, the Greatswords are very heavy to be accurately pierce your opponent's weakness, given they are wearing full-suit armor, which means that the weakpoints are much more guarded or hidden. So, instead of holding your greatsword by the hilt, its always better to hold it in two hands. There are advantages and disadvantages, but mostly advantages. The advantages are more accuracy and you can bash people with the pommel or the hand-guard of the sword. The disadvantage is that, an unskilled warrior is going to cut his hands on the blade. And if you consider it further, the reach of the sword decreases a bit, or in better terms, you need to become more personal with your opponent. You get it?!"
"Um… yea, but I wonder won't the hilt or pommel break if I bash with it?" asked Felix.
"Not at all. The hilt or the downward portion of any sword is always made strong, much stronger than the blade itself and it is quite common to use them to bash, instead the actual blade. The real problem with bashing with a blade is that, you can't dent the armor quite effectively with the bladed part and there is a chance that the sword might bend if its not forged properly. But with the pommel or guard, it can pretty much work like a Warhammer. Give it a try."
Sir Loann showed him a few piercings with the Half-blade Technique and then bashed using the guard. What was most important with this technique, wasn't how to pierce or bash, it was how to grip. Sir Loann griped the blade with both his hands by pinching the blade between his fingers and palm. This was the most easiest way to do the Half-blade Technique, with the other, more dangerous being gripping the blade. A far more dangerous option. After demonstrating a few times, he handed the blade to Felix.
Felix looked astonished at the blade being offered. He involuntarily took the blade but then said with a shaky voice, "M-Master… d-do you mean t-to p-practice with this s-sword…"
"Yea," replied Sir Loann quite frankly. "After all, from today this is going to be your primary blade for the next few months. You can't change it, unequip it or even 'forget' it. Along with that you need to carry it everywhere, like you did for the wooden Greatsword or else…"
"But I got the wooden sword just a few months ago!" retorted Felix in indignation. He wasn't unreasonable to be angry because the wooden Greatsword was issued only one or two months ago and at that time, it felt the same as this Greatsword was feeling now. Heavy! Extremely heavy and clumsy. But Felix didn't argue like other noble kids and trained diligently, only to have the blade changed to an even harder. A Heavier, deadlier and harder blade right when he had only mastered its weight, which was not even a tenth of all the things he could learn.
"Your blade will keep getting bigger, heavier and harder the more the time passes. These Greatswords aren't meant to train your REAL skill. They are only meant to get yourself accustomed to swords, Greatswords and how to use them at the most basic levels. When the time comes, I will give you your REAL sword, the sword which will accompany you for your entire life. And with that sword, you are going to learn the secret techniques of the Wardens, just like your father did, and his father and so on."
Sir Loann didn't pay any heed to Felix after that. He went to the armory and took another weapon, which was a longbow. He turned to Aslak and said in harsh tone, "Now, you piece of sh*t! Listen well or else I will put an arrow right through your head. You get it!!!!!"
"Yessir!!!!!" replied Aslak with a straight posture and with his fist to his chest. This was the usual greeting of a Knight to his superior and he has learnt it from his father, in order to flatter Sir Loann, but to vain. Felix observed them for a while, smiled at Aslak's cowardliness and then turned to his own sword. He felt very bad to leave the wooden Greatsword which he has just started mastered, but alas, he has no choice. He must do what his Master teaches and commands him to do.
"Now, listen good soldier!! You are an archer! A longbowman! And your duty is to shoot! To shoot at your enemies. Shoot to kill! Once and for all. Remember! You're an archer and your job is to support the vanguard as much as you can. You shoot to kill the enemy, not the friends. You don't shoot to impale others to surrender. You don't shoot to subjugate. Only the King, the general and the Lord has the authority to show mercy. It is the honor of the ruling and the commanding to forgive the sins of the enemies, even if there aren't any. On the other hand, you are a simple Knight, a simple archer, a simple pawn of the battlefield. Your honor and duty commands you to follow the orders of your superiors to do whatever he says to do. It is not in your duty or in your honor to forgive the enemy, it's … the Commander's. Remember. It's. Not. You!! So, you shoot. To kill! You understand that!!!!"
"Good! Now, look. This is a longbow. As you can see, the length of the bow is near about my total length and this, fortunately for you, this is one of the biggest longbows. Not the biggest, but one of the. There are much shorter but whatever! This longbow over here is made completely from Hardwood. The string is made from twisting linen and hemp together and you will notice this later, but it will elongate if it gets wet and will become completely useless. Avoid this. Other than the string, the elasticity of the bow is due to animal sinews and can bend pretty good."
He placed the bow on the ground and applied pressure on the upped limb, to just show how much it can bend. He then picked it up again and continued, "In order to use a longbow, you hold your hand here, it's called the grip, place the arrow neatly and pull the string. You must pull the string upto your ears to pack a good punch. An archer who can't pull his strings properly is no archer at all. You get it?!"
"Good! Other than this, there's nothing to tell other than practice. But in addition to that, I will tell you that an expert archer can pack a punch of about 180pounds or 81kg impact, a moderate archer can about 140-150pounds or 63-68kgs and an amateur can do about 100pounds or 45kgs. In layman's terms, an expert longbowman can pierce common Knight armor, a moderate man can dent and an amateur… well, he doesn't count. Infact, considering your age, I will give you a handicap—"
"For real!!!" shouted out Aslak excitedly, but contrary to his expectation, he was about to be disappointed.
"Hmhm!" replied Sir Loann, "All you need to do is master shooting 80pounds or 36kgs of impact damage."
"In simple terms?"
"In simple terms, eh! You see that armor over there," Loann pointed at the armor which was approximately located a 100paces away, the same odd armor we spotted at the beginning. It was an old Knight armor, a bit rusty but was fully equipped. It was made of purely steel and with a bit of polishing, would resume its former glow. Sir Loann pointed to this armor and said, "All you need to do is pierce this. Simple, isn't it?!"
Aslak looked at the pointed armor dumbly for a few moments and it wasn't only him. Even Felix was looking dumbly at the situation. Aslak shook himself awake and then cried, "Impossible—"
"No argument!!!" Sir Loann interrupted him.
"There is nothing impossible in this world, kid. All you need to do is practice harder and grow a backbone. And it's not like I'm telling you to master archery in one night. And don't forget that I haven't yet punished for all the mistakes both of you made this morning duel. Consider this as punishment and move on. Now! Onto your work!!!"
Sir Loann patted his head, turned back and walked away. Behind him, Aslak and Felix looked baffled and stood in silence. Long after he was gone, Aslak asked Felix with a blank tone, "Do you think Demon Loann hates me to the bones, dude?"
"More like love you to the bones." Replied Felix after thinking for a while.
"Go to hell—"
"I CAN'T HEAR ANY CRIES!! PRACTICE HARDER YOU IDIOTS!!!!!"