• Graded • The Beginning

Day One of Dominion Training

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Kydrel
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Arch 713, 3rd Trial of Ashan
It had finally begun.


A sense of excitement filled Kydrel, a feeling he knew was felt by the other nineteen students standing huddled in the cave. A general murmuring filled the cavern, none sure what to expect but all enthused at being accepted into the Dominion school. They were all on their way to serving in some of the most esteemed roles in Athart. The only thing holding them back was the long two year climb to graduation…


The sudden disappearance of light from the mouth of the cave, caused a hush to fall over those assembled. Kydrel craned his neck, trying to get a glimpse over the wings of the others and see what was stirring up the group. A figured blocked the light, the silhouette cutting an imposing figure. Its' wings shook themselves out before retracting and settling behind the Avriel. The shadow strode forward, stern features finally coming into view.


Dark red feathers covered the Avriel’s wings, intricate designs decorating the man’s armor as he marched toward them, hands clasped behind his back. He had already begun speaking before having even reached them, not wasting time. There was a clear, no nonsense demeanor evident in his voice as it echoed through the cavern, commanding their attention immediately.


“My name is Swordmaster Hawrek, I am ahead of this facility along with Spearmaster Cree who is not here presently. You will refer to me as Swordmaster Hawrek, and nothing else. Understood?” There was a jumbled concession of agreement.


“I said, am I UNDERSTOOD?


The crowd of new recruits chanted together, somewhat half haggardly but still semi-understandable, “Yes Swordmaster Hawrek!” He nodded once.


“Good. Let us begin.”


--


The orientation went on for what felt like an eternity. Kydrel was beginning to feel his attention wane when one of the recruits standing next to him, leaned in.


“For a battle hardened warrior, Swordmaster Hawrek sure seems a little long winded, wouldn’t ya’ say?” Kydrel glanced toward to the source of the whispered voice in mild surprise. A short, excited looking Avriel stared at him, a smug look on his face. He seemed completely unworried about being heard making jabs about their superior. Kydrel arched an eyebrow, acknowledging him, hoping that would suffice as an answer, before turning back to listen.


The other warrior-in-training would have none of that. He nudged the black winged Avriel, trying to get his attention, continuing to whisper fervently.


“The names Vyndar. I’m itchin’ to get started. What about you? I’ve always wanted to be a part of the Overguard. Job looks like a cake walk. Hangin’ out all day, lookin’ like a badass. Ladies will dig it. What about you? What are you wanting to do?”


Kydrel sighed inwardly, glancing sideways again at the chatterbox. He was certain the Swordmaster would hear and they would both get in trouble. But apparently the trainer was too absorbed in his speech to notice them. Kydrel decided to answer, if only to keep the chatty Avriel quiet. The last thing he needed was to drawn the wrong kind of attention to himself on the first day.


“Kydrel. Don’t know yet.” He lied under his breath, just loud enough for Vyndar to hear. He had no desire to share that information with a stranger. It wasn’t that important, but he valued privacy. If he took the time to reflect on it, he might realize he didn’t trust people. But he pushed those stray thoughts away. He needed to focus.


They were finally released, and Kydrel caught the tail end of the Swordmaster’s words. They were told to go to the armory and pick out their weapon of choice. One of the recruits raised her hand.


“Excuse me, Swordmaster Hawrek, why would you give us weapons before training us in their use?”


“What, afraid you might hurt yourself?” Hawrek replied, eyebrow cocked, an edge of mockery in his voice. A wave of muffled laughter filled the air and the recruit flushed red, dark blue wings covering her face slightly, whether in anger or embarrassment, Kydrel couldn’t tell. The Swordmaster continued, after the laughter faded.


“The question is valid, however. You will not be issued an actual weapon made of steel. Instead you will be given a wooden replica of exact weight and size to mimic your choice. You will have to learn how to fly with the added weight until it becomes an extension of you. Might as well get used to it now, it’s just going to get worst as we advance. Your wings are going to have to strengthen and become accustom to carrying a lot of weight. But I expect you all to be at the top of your game, regardless of how sore you are. The weak fail, after all.”


Kydrel resisted the urge to ruffle his feathers in excitement. For whatever reason, it irked him to allow others to know what he was feeling and thinking. In spite of that, he was still thrilled to choose his weapon but also a little nervous what the added weight would be like. Realizing the group had started off without him; the Avriel shook the thoughts from his head and made his way after the group to the training armory, deeper into the cave.
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Arriving only a few moments after his peers, the Avriel stared in stunned awe. Rack after rack of replicas and actual steel lined the walls, every style represented. Avriels spread out, each picking up weapons and talking, the room buzzing with excitement.


Kydrel moved forward, eager to get his hands on what would become his new means of combat.


Clawed hands ran over the smooth materials delicately, admiring the craftsmanship of even the copies. He settled on a long sword, picking it up and turning it over in his hands, getting a feel for it. He grimaced. It didn’t…feel right. He placed it back in its rack and frowned.


As excited as he was, he had no idea what weapon he wanted to train in. Staring at the many shaped objects, his mind withdrew, returning to his time of “isolation”.


The image of a deer, its head smashed in floated in front of him. Blood covering his hands, a piece of broken antler lodged into his side painfully. He only remembered bits and pieces, glimpses of his sanity. That was his first faint memory. He remembered waking up next to the dead animal, bloodied rock in hand, the means of the animal’s death. The sense of victory and satisfaction he felt after killing it still rushed through him. Bludgeoning the creature to death, the sense of power it gave him. It still gave him a thrill thinking about it.


The memory sparked an idea.


Snapping out of his thoughts, the Avriel cast his gaze around the room, looking for a specific style of weapon. Finding it, he moved over to them, anticipation quickening his movements.


Rows of flails and hammers lined the wall, each more intimidating than the last. Kydrel picked up a two handed hammer and grunted at the exertion, almost falling over in surprise, underestimating the weight of the top heavy weapon. He grimaced, wrestling to get it back on the rack.


No, that wouldn’t do at all.


He moved to the next set of objects, an odd looking handle with a spiked ball attached by a chain. The Avriel picked it up gingerly, the chain clanking loudly as it uncoiled. The ball swung at the end, bumping into his shins uncomfortably. The thought of learning to use a weapon that had equal opportunity to injure himself as well as his enemy didn’t appeal to the Avriel. He set it back down carefully.


He sighed. He knew he was on the right path but none of them…gave him confidence.


To the right of him, a row of maces lined the wall. Picking one up, he extended it in front of him. Short. Not enough reach. Kydrel growled in frustration. There was always something.


“Here. Try this.”


The light voice startled him, so absorbed was he in his own world. He jumped slightly, turning with a slight scowl. The blue winged Avriel who had been belittled earlier, stood a few steps behind him, a Morning Star held in hand. She offered it to him.


Kydrel stared, amber eyes narrowing slightly, trying to get a read on her. Slightly shorter than himself, the woman stared right back at him, glacier blue eyes flashing. Delicate features lined with dark blue feathers framed her face, an almost challenging expression on her face. She had backbone, he could tell that much. He placed the mace back down and shifted his gaze to the weapon in her hands.


Almost two and a half feet of hardened wood, topped with a fist sized ball adorned the end, smooth knobs of wood protruding across its surface. She held it comfortably in both hands. The woman arched her eyebrow, waiting for a response.


Kydrel finally reached out to take it from her. “What is it?”


“It’s called a Morning Star. Most maces and hammers are used against armored opponents. It dents the metal, jamming it into flesh, wounding and immobilizing them. Not the best weapon against unarmored enemies though. Not like a sword. But the Morning Star,” She gestured towards the weapon he held in his hands, prattling off information as though it were second nature. “Is great in that regard. Not only can it crush bones and armor, it can rip and tear into flesh with the spikes.”


He blinked at her.


“Uhhh, okay. You seem to know your stuff.” He said straight faced. A slight grin came over her serious expression, a little bit of pride creeping into her voice.


“Well, you have to know that kind of information. Never know what kind of enemy you might come across. You need to be able to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. If you know their weapon of choice, you’ll know how to defend yourself against that type of weapon and the style they will most likely use.”


Kydrel nodded slowly, actually finding himself listening.


“So do you know how to defend yourself against this?”


For the first time since they started talking she looked slightly less certain of herself. “Well no, not exactly.” She finally managed to mask her hesitation, replacing it with a more confident tone. “I’m in this school aren’t I? Obvious I can’t no everything.” A edge of hostility was caught in her voice. But she realized it and tried softening her words. “I can guess the theory behind it though. You just got to think logically.”


The dark winged Avriel turned his attention to the weapon in his hand. Extending it in front of him, he felt the weight. It was still top heavy but not uncomfortably so. He’s arms would definitely need to get used to holding it in one hand. It’d definitely take some getting used to. He raised it over his head and slowly brought it down as though attacking someone in front of him. He liked the reach. Much better than a mace.


Something clicked and for the first time in a long time, he actually smiled.


The blue feathered woman in front of him seemed to come to an impasse, as though debating on how to react to his display of emotion. Finally she grinned back at him. “My name is Asirewyl.”


"I'm-"


“KYDREL!” His name rang out through the cave, heads turning at the loud disturbance. The short, boisterous Avriel from earlier, came hustling through the other students who were mingling, two wicked looking steel daggers in hand. He stopped in front of them, flushed with excitement. “Check out these sweet knives I found. Can you imagine how epic they’ll be in a fight? Thrust, stab, left right, stab stab.”


He mimed fighting, forcing Kydrel and Asirewyl to step back as not to get cut. He stopped, breathing heavily, eyes alight with excitement. His gaze shifted to meet the woman’s next to Kydrel, noticing her as though for the first time. His smile faltered and he instantly grew awkward.


“Ohhhhh. Heeeeeey. Uhhhh. What’s up. How are you. I’m good. Thanks for asking.” He held the daggers limply in his hands, shifting restlessly, looking up towards the ceiling. He was about to open his mouth again when a trainer spotted him with the weapons.


“HEY! YOU!” The large Avriel glared at him, pushing his way through the crowd. “Training weapons only! Put those back!”


Vyndar tore his attention away from the rough cave wall and grinned. “Whoops, gotta go! See ya around!”


He dove back into the crowd, disappearing from view.


“Friend of yours?” Asirewyl asked drily. Kydrel rolled his eyes and grunted.


“Hardly. He seems to think so however.” He didn’t know why Vyndar felt the need to harass him. There were nineteen other students to befriend. Why did it have to be him? He knew he didn’t put out a friendly vibe. He was a loner. He didn’t enjoy company. But at the same time, he found himself not hating Asirewyl’s. He was about to ask her what weapon she chose when Swordmaster Hawrek entered the cavern, cutting off his train of thought.


“Alright, listen up. By now you should have chosen your weapon. If not, well, looks like you’re going to get real good with your fists. Won’t do you much good against steel but that’s your loss.” He stared at them, hands clasped behind his back.


“Form up. We’re going to see what you folk can do.”
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The Swordmaster took the class to the entrance of the cave and one by one they leaped off the edge into the sky. Kydrel looked at the Morning Star in his hand and back toward the mouth of the cave into nothingness. He’d carried items before while flying but never for very long. He didn’t know where Hawrek was taking the group or for how long they’d be flying. He worried he wouldn't be strong enough.


Grunting in irritation at his cowardice, he switched off the part of his brain where logic ruled. Kydrel sprinted forward and leaped.


Wind instantly whipped at his body as he plummeted towards the ground far below. Beautiful jungles stretched as far as the eye could see, the city of Athart just off to his left. The cave he left sat near the top of a tall pillar like hillside, much like the Forest of Stone was designed after. He felt gravity gripping the added weight in his hand and he grimaced, knowing his next action might hurt a little.


Kydrel eyed an updraft and just before reaching it, snapped open his wings. Angling his body upwards, he hit the draft and flapped hard. The extra weight in his hands was noticeable, but not as unbearable as he thought. Pleased with himself, he cast his gaze around for the rest of his class. Spotting them overhead, circling the top of the hillside, the Avriel beat his wings hard against the air, shooting towards them.


A few bits later he was circling the hillside, the others having already started to land. A clearing had been made at the top of the incredibly high mound, all trees and brush having been cleared, leaving a large stone platform. His wings had begun to ache, the extra strain starting to show itself. He allowed his feet to drop as he drifted towards the ground, landing behind all those already assembled. Kydrel shook his wings, before furling them to rest alongside his back comfortably.


Three more trainers stood next to Hawrek, just as intimidating as their counterpart. The Swordmaster gestured one of them forward. The trainer stepped to the front and addressed them curtly.


“Welcome to your first day. By the end of it, the only thing you are going to want to do is pass out where you stand. Our job is to break you. Once broken, we can rebuild you. We are here to create warriors. You are here to obey and learn. Only the strong survive. If that’s not you, leave.”


No one stirred, a deadly silence covering the group.


He nodded. “Very well. Line up in two rows facing each other. I want to see a wingspan distance from the person next to you.”


The next few bits were filled with jostling and curses as everyone fought to organize themselves. Finally, everything was sorted and everyone turned to the trainer expectantly, awaiting their orders. A knowing look came over his face and he said one simple word.


“Fight.”


Everyone stared in startled silence, confused looks crossing the majority of the Avriel's expressions. Kydrel looked across to the other row, seeing the recruit wielding a battleaxe in one hand, bright green eyes almost glowing as they locked with his. A small smile danced across the other Avriel’s lips and he twirled his axe.


Without hesitating, he struck.


Kydrel barely had time to react, still uncertain about what they had just been told to do. Were they crazy? He knew it for a fact that the majority of them had no idea how to fight, much less armed with weapons. Wooden, but still. People were going to get hurt. But he didn’t have any more time to dwell on those thoughts because his opponent’s axe was swinging down towards him.


Kydrel instinctively lifted his morning star overhead, catching the head of the axe on the shaft. He wasn’t prepared for the strength behind the blow and was almost bowled over, barely managing to knock it aside before his own weapon smacked him in the face.


He stumbled to the side, glaring at his opponent. A scathing remark came to mind but didn’t have time to open his mouth before the axe came swinging towards him again, this time coming as though to cut him in half. Instead of blocking it, Kydrel leaped backwards, hoping to have a better result. He felt the wood just miss his midriff by a fraction.


This time, he went on the offensive.


The dark winged Avriel growled and swung low and wide, aiming for the green eyed warrior’s knee. If he could knock him down, the loss of mobility would make for an easy target. Kydrel’s morning star felt unwieldy and awkward in his hand as he tried to attack. He knew it wouldn’t be balanced like a sword but he wasn’t sure how to compensate for the top heavy weight. The strike was poorly aimed and his opponent was able to kick his leg back, the spiked head missing.


Kydrel felt the weapon carry past, causing him to over extend, the momentum making it extremely difficult to pull back to protect himself, a weakness that was quickly taken advantage of by his foe. A foot slammed into his exposed side sending him tumbling to the ground. He sprawled out awkwardly on his back, wings crumbled under him.


The green eyed Avriel quickly sprung forward, battleaxe being brought up to swing. Before he could, Kydrel lashed out with his foot, trying to kick his opponent. He missed but succeeded in keeping the warrior in training at bay. Before he could move forward, Kydrel rolled and scrambled to his feet, covered in dust. Frustration riled up at his lack of skill and his face flushed with embarrassed. He lifted his morning star at what he assumed was a ready position, yellow eyes flashing.


“Okay. Let’s try this again.”
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The two Avriel, eyed each other warily, both weapons held at the ready. Kydrel could feel his heart thrumming in his chest, adrenaline pumping through him. His arm was starting to burn from holding his weapon upright. He already knew he was going to be sore the next day. But he shook off the thoughts away, he needed to focus.


Kydrel felt the morning star pulling at his right side, making him feel off balance. He shifted his stance, widening his legs and planting his right foot slightly in front of his left to compensate for the weight difference, trying to feel out a better way to hold himself. It felt a little sturdier and he hoped it would give him a better defense. Kydrel bent his knees and stared down his opponent challengingly.


The challenge was accepted as his opponent lunged forward, axe shaft held across his chest in both hands, aiming to knock the dark feathered Avriel back. But this time Kydrel was ready.


He side stepped as his rival charged him, letting his weapon swing downward like a pendulum. The green eyed Avriel, saw the incoming strike but his momentum kept him from stopping in time. The morning star head drove straight into his stomach, knocking the wind out of him in a whoosh, sending him doubling over.


A rush of excitement flooded Kydrel, a direct hit filling him with a sense of victory. He realized he needed to use the weight of his weapon to his advantage. He needed wider swings to give his weapon momentum, though it slowed him down. That was the sacrifice of his weapon of choice, though. Something he’d have to get used to. Or get faster at.


Copying his opponent’s attack a few moments before, Kydrel planted a foot on the concrete and slammed the heel of his other foot into the Avriel’s side, knocking him over as he gasped for air. He went sprawling.


Kydrel sauntered over, an open smirk crossing his face as he stared down at his fallen opponent. He pointed his weapon down at the Avriel, a sense of pride filling him at his success. It felt good, beating the one who embarrassed him earlier.


“Surrender.”


His rival gasped for air, laying on his back. He looked up from the ground making eye contact with his victor and grinned through his pain. Kydrel frowned, instantly annoyed that his opponent, whom he clearly beat didn’t act defeated. It didn’t take long for him to figure out why.


Before he had time to realize his mistake, his competitor kicked his foot up, in-between Kydrel’s legs, slamming into his manhood. His eyes widened in shock and pain, instantly dropping to the ground next to the other Avriel.


He gasped as agony swept over him. He slowly looked over at the green eyed opponent and grit through clenched teeth.


“You…bastard…”


Finally catching his breath, the Avriel had the gall to laugh. He pushed himself upright, looking over at Kydrel and grinned openly.


“It’s called a low blow. Sometimes you gotta fight dirty to win. And that’s all that matters, no?” He got to his feet, dusting himself off before offering a hand to Kydrel. “You can call me Elayan.” A hint of mutual respect lurked behind his eyes but the arched eyebrow portrayed amusement, covering it up slightly.


The pain starting to recede, Kydrel begrudgingly reached up, locking forearms with Elayan and was jerked upright onto his feet. He moaned under his breath, the pain still present but a dull throb in the back of his mind. He straightened, trying to keep a blank face, masking his pain.


“Kydrel.” He looked at Elayan, unable to help himself, feeling a little impressed. “You’re pretty good with that axe.”


Elayan shrugged off the compliment. “Ehh, I picked up a few things here and there. My family has been pushing pretty hard to get me into the Overguard. So I’ve had a little training. Apparently not enough though.” He said ruthfully, reaching down to scoop up his weapon. “What about you? Got your eyes set on a faction?”


“I’m not sure yet, I’ve always admired the Shadow Wings. Not constrained to the towers. But just as dangerous.” He clamped his mouth shut, suddenly realizing he had unwittingly started opening up to this complete stranger. Suddenly uncomfortable at how easily Elayan had gotten him to talk, Kydrel reached down to pick up his morning star. He was saved from having to continue their conversation by the trainer calling a halt to the duels. The dark winged Avriel turned his attention to the recruits around him for the first time since his fight.


Everyone looked pretty battered. More than a few favored one side, a few even openly bleeding but overall, everyone seemed to have survived their ordeal. The trainers rallied everyone together and the one who spoke previously stood in the circle.


“All of you have a long way to go. Some fought well, others didn’t. You have gotten a glimpse of what battle is like. You now know what it’s like to fight without training. How fear can easily take over and rule your actions. Indecisiveness and hesitation can be your downfall. There is no time for second guessing, you have to trust your instincts. You have to rely on your training. Without training, you are nothing. Tomorrow we begin drills. Dismissed.”


Elayan came up next to Kydrel and punched him in the shoulder. Instantly recoiling from the light hit, Kydrel glared at him.


“What are you doing.” He said flatly, amber eyes flashing in warning.


Elayan held up both hands defensively and laughed. “Whoa, calm down there. It’s just a greeting. No need to get testy. I was just coming up to say I enjoyed our fight. Sparring partners tomorrow?”


Kydrel eyed him, uncertain of his intentions. He seemed laid back and easy mannered, a sense of confidence that hung around him like a cloak. Kydrel had to admit, it was a good match. He hadn’t forgotten the way he was embarrassed earlier though. But tomorrow offered another day for payback.


A small smirk crossed his face.


“Yes. Tomorrow then.”


They parted ways and Kydrel looked out across the platform to the rest of the Avriel present. He caught a glimpse of Vyndar beaming and chatting loudly with a few others, seemingly oblivious to the black eye he sported. Kydrel shook his head bemused. If they allowed the cheeky Avriel to join a faction, he couldn’t even imagine the headache for his superiors. He figured he’d get a good idea over the next two years however.


A familiar shade of blue caught his eye and he shifted, catching sight of Asirewyl unstringing her bow. She grimaced as she tried to bend it, grabbing her shoulder in pain. Apparently she didn’t do so well in her fight.


Kydrel hadn’t expected to interact with people. Obviously being in a school with others involved he would, but he hadn’t expected to enjoy some of their company the way he did. He was used to being a loner. That’s how he’d always been. Preferred it that way. But now he wasn’t so certain.


Maybe the next two years wouldn’t be so long after all. But it was only day one. He still had a long way to go.
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Come and get your Loot!

(There's plenty more where that came from)


KYDREL SEVNIUM:
Skills:

  • Discipline +2
  • Observation +2
  • Socialization +3
  • Melee Combat +2
  • Tactics +2

Knowledges:

  • Basic
    • Location: Dominion Orientation Chamber
    • Location: Dominion Armory
    • Location: Dominion Training Grounds
    • Dominion Head Trainer: Swordmaster Hawrek
    • Fellow Trainee: Vyndar
    • Fellow Trainee: Asirewyl
    • Dominion Training Begins Immediately
    • Fellow Trainee: Elayan
  • Specific
    • Vyndar: Annoyingly Outgoing
    • Asirewyl: Inquisitive and Logical
    • Elayan: First Opponent
    • Swordmaster Hawrek: No nonsense
    • Dominion Armory: Every weapon Imaginable
    • Dominion Training: At Least 2 Arcs Long
    • Dominion Training: Choose a weapon or fight unarmed
    • Flight while carrying a weapon: Not that bad after all
    • Weapon Selection: Morning Star Feels "Right"
    • Dominion Training: Your Weapon is not your only Weapon
    • Dominion Training: We Break You and Rebuild You
    • Combat Basics: Know Every Weapon's Capability, To Know How To Defend
    • Combat Basics: Cheap Shots Are Acceptable
    • Combat Basics: He Who Hesitates is Dead
    • Morning Star: Not Just for Swinging

Loot:

Sorry, not a loot-heavy type of thread.


Injuries:

Nothing debilitating, but many bumps and bruises. Will probably cause a misstep or two in next trials' training.


Comments:

It's to be expected to receive a number of knowledges at the outset of a training regimen.
This will diminish as the the things you first learn become things you practice.
PM me with any comments or concerns :)
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