It was still a bit from dusk still and it had been a warm day, so the training yard held it’s residual heat. As such, she’d removed her customary jerkin and folded it to oneside. Then, she had carefully folded her right sleeve back, and wrapped the van brace over her left forearm. The thick strip of leather positioned over her veins. Birds chattered in the blossoms surrounding the court and she turned sideways onto the target. A series of charcoal rings getting smaller and smaller on a boss made of plaited straw.
She lifted her left arm straight from the hip and pointed at the centre before nodding to herself and creasing the ground where she stood. With the bow stave warmed, she tucked the end under the base of her boot in order to bend it enough and knock it. The string looped over the end and settled in easily. The young woman took up her position again, checking her feet with almost religious precision and reached for an arrow. She ran it back from the staff to the string and moved bare fingers over the fletches, straightening them. More borrowed equipment, the fletches were battered and well used. The arrow shaft was no longer completely straight, and yet, it would do for practise and to build the necessary muscles in her arms, shoulders and back.
Sidelong again to the target she blocked out the birdsong, the distant chatter of other’s bashing each other with swords, shields and other weapons. Usually she would have joined them, but she’d trained in the morning, spent an afternoon in the city and now she wanted to reclaim some of her personal peace of mind. Archery it was.
The arrow and string were drawn back in a steady motion, she touched her thumb to her jaw and released. The string twanged against the brace and she smiled. She had learnt that lesson last time and the bruise from being string slapped had taken weeks to vanish. Elyna bent to collect her next arrow, knocked it once more, checked her feet and raised the bow. The arrow split the edge of the boss and hung, caught underneath the final twist of straw. She’d have to fix that before she left, or there would be trouble.
But she was here to practise. Right, she thought, closing her right eye. Head straight, shoulders parallel. Draw back… her thumb touched against her cheek and she released, watching again as the arrow flew. This time, it thudded more definitely into the boss, and not far from her original shot.
Another arrow was knocked and released, but this time landed on the opposite end. She let out a slow sigh. Well, there was a lot to learn, she told herself. She pushed her hair out of her face. She had hoped that the arrows were grouping, but apparently not. Footsteps caught her attention and she straightened before picking up the next arrow, turning. Surprised her appraised the man who approached, tilting her head to oneside.