• Solo • Sword Fighting for Beginners, Part 1

A small island with an active volcano, Faldrass is the home to Saoire's school and to the Faldrass Induk.

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Doran
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Sword Fighting for Beginners, Part 1

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Ashan 27, Arc 721

This here, the son of Ziell decided, as he approached the center of Hopetoun and let his gaze drift across the group of a dozen people that were gathered there, promised to be a most interesting experience. When Darius Baer, the leader of Hopetoun, a former student of his, had asked him if he would be willing to give his settlers some basic combat training, he had of course agreed. In his letter, Darius had mentioned that there were only a handful of personal swords, but he had expected that the rest would at least have some sort of other proper weapon.

One of the settlers, a woman of approximately thirty arcs of age with blonde hair that she wore in a thick braid carried a pitchfork though, one of the men had shouldered a hammer that looked like he usually used it for various work-related activities, there was a gentleman with some sort of walking stick that had a metal tip, and one of the settlers had even arrived empty-handed which made him wonder what he expected to be taught here.

Once upon a time, he might have made a less than favorable comment. Nowadays, he recognized that the settlers were doing their best though. For that reason, he decided to be optimistic and hopeful.

Those of them that did not have any swords of their own (or other normal weapons) seemed to have brought the closest things to a weapon that they owned, and what more, they seemed to be curious and eager to learn which was something that was far more important than already owning a sword. Swords could be acquired later on (which was something that he would make sure would happen before long, one way or another).

When it came to learning certain things, such as the proper footwork, one did not necessarily need to hold a weapon, and later on, the settlers would just be able to take turns, like Darius had suggested in his letter. It was, of course, not ideal, but he was determined to make it work.

With that thought in mind, the Mortalborn who was dressed in a sturdy black outfit that was appropriate for the kind of activities that he would soon engage in, his Grave Gold blade strapped across his back, greeted them. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen”, he spoke in a tone of voice that was calm, firm and polite. “Your leader, Mister Baer, asked me to give you some combat training. As some of you may know I was the one who taught him how to wield a sword. My goal for this lesson is to teach you the proper footwork as well a few basic offensive and defensive moves so that you know what to do in case of an attack”, he told them so that they would know what to expect from this lesson.

What he did of course not tell them was that he would make sure that they knew which end of the sword to stab the one that they were fighting with by the end of the lesson. That, he decided, was something that anybody that had a functioning brain would know automatically. Making a comment in that regard would be insulting in his opinion. It was impossible to confuse the tip and the hilt. As far as he was concerned, the unfortunately very popular sentence “Stick them with the pointy end!” was an entirely superfluous piece of advice.
Last edited by Doran on Thu May 13, 2021 6:42 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 584

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Re: Sword Fighting for Beginners, Part 1

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“First of all, I will teach you the proper footwork”, he spoke in a firm tone of voice and added, somewhat dryly, “I had a former student tell me that they already knew how to stand, thank you very much, and that there was thus no need for me to teach them that. The stance of a swordsman is different, and it is the foundation that we build upon. In certain fights, a good stance can make the difference between winning and losing”, he pointed out because that was something that needed to be said in his opinion.

“Please put your weapons down for now and start with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Take a step forward with one foot and pivot the back foot, like that”, he told them and settled into his stance, easily and smoothly which was the result of arcs of experience. Just telling them what they were supposed to do, he realized, was unlikely to help a lot. He needed to actually show them. “This will give you better balance. Now, bend your knees slightly. Doing so will allow you to move more easily and fluidly”, he continued, still in his stance, an let his gaze drift over the settlers as they tried to follow his instructions, some with more, and some with less success.

“Stand upright, and keep your body relaxed”, he told the young man that had come without a weapon which he did so immediately. His stance looked slightly better now, and the Mortalborn nodded. “If you tense your shoulders when holding your sword, it can slow down your reactions and render your moves less effective. Now, make a step forward”, he continued. “Don't watch your feet”, he told the blonde woman who had brought the pitchfork. “Look forward, at where your opponent would normally be. And now, make a step backwards, and another one.”

After the settlers had carried out his first couple of instructions with reasonable success, the Mortalborn had been optimistic, but as he told them to walk backwards, one of the men stopped all of a sudden and looked around in confusion, and another one nearly stumbled over his own feet. The man looked up for a moment, obviously embarrassed. Doran simply met his gaze and smiled at him reassuringly before he gestured for him to try again.

He would treat them differently than a group of military recruits, he decided, and be friendly, but nevertheless firm. The settlers needed to be able to defend themselves in the case of a raid, but unlike in the military, or in the case of someone who fought in tournaments, like himself, absolute perfection was not necessary. These people were farmers as well as craftsmen and craftswomen for the most part. The reason for a lesson and the background of those that you were teaching always needed to be considered.
word count: 481

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Re: Sword Fighting for Beginners, Part 1

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“Gather in groups now, please. I want each group to have at least one sword and take turns with it”, Doran told the settlers. Upon seeing the blonde woman pick up her pitchfork again, he added, “Leave your other weapons where they are. A pitchfork is, at least usually, better than no weapon at all, but to-trial we will focus on fighting with a sword.”

Having said that, he drew his blade which caused some of the settlers to stare as they had never seen such an exquisite weapon before. He did not care about impressing people, or bragging about the things that he owned – he would never subscribe to such an attitude – but as they seemed to be interested in his sword, he took a moment to explain,

“This sword here is made of Grave Gold, a metal that is extremely durable and resistant to water damage and rust. In most cases, a sword made of steel or cobalt is enough though”, he added. What he did not tell the settlers was that Grave Gold changed color when it was exposed to blood. Some swordsmen used their deep red blades as a warning to others, but he did not enjoy spilling blood and took no pride in it.

Spilling blood was something that could not be avoided sometimes, but it was nothing to be proud of.

His sword still appeared to be pure white, and it would hopefully remain thus, for as long as possible.

“I will show you how to hold a sword correctly now”, he explained and gestured for the settlers to come closer so that they would be able see what he was doing with his hands better. Some approached him a little more hesitantly, and some of them quite readily. Once they were standing in a half-circle in front of him, he raised his sword slightly. “As you can see, I placed my right hand, my dominant hand, near the guard, while my other hand is near the pommel. Furthermore, you can see that I have placed the thumb of my right hand on the flat of the blade. This is something that provides me with more control”, he added as it seemed as if some of the settlers were a bit confused.

“I want you to try and copy me now. I will spend some time with each group”, he informed them and did just that. It was, again, an obviously mixed experience. Some of the settlers, those that already owned swords, did better and learned more quickly, while others had very obviously never held a sword in their hands before and looked quite awkward as a consequence. One of the women held her sword comparatively correctly, which was a pleasant surprise, but she held it so tightly that her knuckles stood out, stark white against the rest of her skin. He watched her for a moment before he told her,

“Relax your grip a bit. Holding your sword in a vice-like grip is actually counter-productive and forces you to sacrifice flexibility, among other things. That’s better”, he complimented her and eventually gestured for her to hand the sword over to the next person.

“Don’t worry if this all still feels a little strange to you”, he finally told the settlers. “You will get used to it before long. Now then, I think that you all deserve a bit of a break now. I'll make sure that you will all have a weapon when we continue - a practice weapon", he added because it would be irresonsible to let them practice more than how to hold a sword correctly with a real sword during their very first lesson.

"And please let me know if you have any questions about what you have learned so far, either now or later on”, he finished, realizing that some of the settlers might be reluctant to ask, especially if they thought that the question was stupid. “I always appreciate questions.”

During their break, he would join the settlers for a little while, provided that they did not mind him doing so, and he would talk to them, in an attempt to get to know them better. He did not only want to teach them how to fight, he was also curious about them. There was something about this settlement and its people that spoke to him.

It was, he realized, a place that was full of hope.



The training continues here.

word count: 749

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Re: Sword Fighting for Beginners, Part 1

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Review Rewards

Name: Doran

Points awarded: 10xp

Knowledge:
Blades: The proper footwork
Blades: Placing the thumb on the blade allows for greater control
Teaching: Consider the reason for a lesson
Teaching: Explain what you’ll be teaching beforehand
Teaching: Explain why you are teaching something
Teaching: When teaching combat, a demonstration is helpful

Renown: 5 (For teaching a class in Hopetoun, being a positive, encouraging presence)

Skill Review: All Skills used appropriate to level

Notes:
Making sure students know which end of the sword to jab someone with is an important detail!

Doran's approach to this lesson was very well-conceived, I think. He can't really approach it like the military so he has to come up with another way, and Doran's way usually involves a lot of thinking and mulling things over. He takes a lot of things into account when he makes decisions - it's very Doran.

As with many things Doran does, the lesson is methodical, taking the students through things, step by step.

Intertwined between everything else is his own personal feelings. I enjoyed knowing that he wanted to learn about the settlers as well...and that he felt connected to Hopetoun. I thought that was a nice touch.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this review, feel free to PM. Enjoy your rewards!

Avalon

word count: 225
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