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Part Two: Arrows!
Tue May 2, 2006 22:55 (XFF:

Despite Jield’s warnings, some of the trainees managed to slap the bowstring against their flesh somehow, some of them wearing the protection he’d given them and others, much more stupid and in much more pain, had tossed aside the pieces of safety equipment to the ground and had long since forgotten about it. Oh well, he thought, their loss! One last circuit around the class and he was ready to continue with the lesson, so he called everyone back into a group so they could all hear him properly and easily.

“Right everyone,” he said slowly, waiting for the dawdlers, “you’ve caught onto the stances well, and also onto the dry fire – some of you had a few problems but that will all go away with practice. These things are very necessary to learn, because it’s vital that you get the right technique from the first time you touch a bow, otherwise your entire game will be put off, and Archery isn’t known for its second chances, you can’t pull the arrow back, after all. I’m pleased to say that we’re going to now move onto firing with arrows at targets, so you’ll actually see how your aim goes, but before we do that I’m afraid I have a little bit more talking to do. It is important that you learn how to do things properly and safely before you do them to avoid injury to yourself or others. Like I said, I don’t want to be taking any of you up to the infirmary.

“You see behind me the targets, all in a row, and the places where you stand a little back from them; for fifty yards back there is a roped off path leading to each tunnel, you’re to say in your path, understand? Anyway, this is called the Archery Range, and down the end are the targets you’ll be aiming at. There are a few rules that you need to learn because you fire. First of all, you should never nock an arrow – that is, mount it in the bow – unless you mean to fire it, and to do so soon. The longer that an arrow is nocked, the greater is the chance that you will loose it, or your aim will be bad, and it will misfire and possibly cause some serious injury. As well as this, make sure you’re always facing the target you intend to fire on when you nock an arrow, pointing it anywhere else is a stupid thing to do and will warrant you to leave this lesson immediately; your full attention should be on the bull’s eye, the target and the arrow you’re firing, not off talking to you friends.

“Does anyone know what a ceasefire is?”

There were a few nods, but not the entire class nodded, so Jield jumped into an explanation.

“When someone calls a ceasefire you do not shoot again until it is cancelled. Any arrow in your bow is withdrawn immediately, and every archer retrieves his or her arrows from the target. You can call a ceasefire whenever you want, but be considerate to others who are slower than you, so don’t call them too much, understand?

“Now, onto the actual nocking of the arrow. There are three sets of fletching in every arrow, as you can see on this one I’m holding up now. When you nock the arrow, to make sure you nock it right, there should be one single fletching facing outwards, so that it looks like this.” He took up his bow and nocked an arrow from his quiver, pointing out the fletching, and then proceeded to nock it again so that there were two fletching facing outwards, “this is wrong. Don’t forget your index finger above the arrow, and the other two, or one, below. When you’re got the arrow nocked properly, you want to draw the arrow back, pulling it towards your until the bowstring has been stretched out as tight as it will go.

“Aiming takes a lot of practice, and I don’t expect many of you to be hitting the target straight away. In fact, this is all that we’ll be doing for today, the rest of today until evening, and then we will resume tomorrow morning. This means that you get lots of practice, and you will need lots of practice if you want to get bull’s eyes, believe me. Right, the actual aiming. You want to look down the shaft of the arrow, with one eye closed always makes it easier but it depends on you which eye you shut because some people can’t shut either eye. It’s hard to explain exactly how to do it, so I want you to adjust your own aim. You’ll have to take into account the wind and the sun, and when you think you’ve got your target in your sights just fire! Make sure that you remain still though until your arrow has really left the bow and is well on its way to the target. If you fall short of the target, aim higher, and if you’re over it, aim lower. The same is true if you’re too far left or right of the target, just push your bow back. That’s all I’m going to tell you about aiming, you can try to figure it out yourself, but of course if you need help then I will be here to help you.

“You’ll need new bows of course, so if you come over to me I will try and match you to an appropriate bow for your height and strength, then you can go over to the Archery Range. Do not start shooting until I give the word and do not shoot during a ceasefire. When you’ve finished a quiver – which you can collect with your bow – raise your hand until I notice you. When enough people have raised their hands, I’ll call a ceasefire, but really I’ll wait until everyone is done. Retrieve your arrows, return back and don’t start firing until I give the word. Right, who wants me to get them a bow first?”

OOC: Okay guys, the next part is up now. Because I’m nice, this lesson is still open and will remain that way at least until Part Three is up, which won’t be too far away. Because there is lots to do, adjusting your aim, and firing for the rest of the afternoon I want 600 words for this part, and then you’ll be right to move onto part three when it’s up. Any questions or problems, you all know the drill =)

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