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End Game!
Thu May 18, 2006 03:09 (XFF:

The resonating twang of a bowstring split the silence of the yard. The sun was on its last legs and was slowly sinking behind the horizon. A soft pleasant breeze played across the young Aethan’Tar’s face, as he stood alone in the most western yard. His bare chest glistened with the sweat of hard work. Tain stood before a target, mind clear of any distraction, his feelings in tune with everything around him. After the lesson had concluded for the day, he had run all the way to the kitchens, to grab a loaf of bread and top up his waterskin, before retreating out here. He was beginning to understand the workings of the bow, slightly and was enjoying the thrill this knowledge was bringing him.

Finally, something I’m half decent at, apart from knives! he quashed the thought, as soon as it entered his plain of emptiness.

Taking several calming breaths, Tain began to move, slowly, deliberately. Drawing an arrow from the quiver strapped to his back, he levelled the bow, the best he could find in the armoury, on the target and fitted the arrow to the taut length of string. Taking another calming breath, he sighted his target, taking careful aim. A third breath, slow, calm and soothing, he drew fletching to cheek, paused a second, then released fluidly, closing his eyes as the projectile left his fingers. Light, how he hoped he wouldn’t show himself up tomorrow.

Light, I better not! he thought, gritting his teeth to stop them from shaking.

Slowly, shakily, he opened his eyes, blinking twice to clear his vision. Light, had he hit it? Taking a step forward, he nearly died. Had he hit it? He had done more than hit it. Standing perfectly, straight in the centre of the bulls-eye quivering slightly still, from the impact, was the arrow that had just left his bow. Taking a deep calming breath, he attempted to celebrate quietly, but found that he could not.

“I DID IT!” he shouted, dropping the bow and unbuckling the heavy leather belt, that held the quiver in place, before dancing off to caper around the yard. Light, if I can do that tomorrow, ill be set!

Tain was one of the first to arrive the next morning and was indeed one of the more awake attendees. Tain had been up since the crack of dawn, having spent his morning being instructed on the finer points of a spear and how much a practice one hurt, when you got hit with it fifty odd tiles in a row. Faoelin had been reluctant to let him go, as he still had not mastered the simple move the Arafellin Sei’Tar had given him, but she had seen sense straight away, when he had mentioned Jield’s name. She had also, strangely enough, beamed from ear to ear, at the mention of the tall, strapping Head Gaidin.

Wonder why! he grinned to himself and shook his head in amusement. Tain had not met many female trainees, which did not go moon-eyed over the mere mention of the man. It must be amazing to have that effect on women! Tain thought, sighing slightly as he pictured himself as the object of mass female attention. Mass female attention, that did not include knives in anyway, or any other sharp objects.

As the rest of the class finally appeared, Tain took his place in the line before the targets and began to practice like everyone else. He smiled constantly to himself as he practised. He was far from being the most promising Archer, but he was glad to see that he was not the worst. Tain watched with growing amusement as, time and time again, a man, shorter than himself but far broader, managed to fall short of the target.

Some people are more suited to the axe or the mace, than to a bow! Tain thought with a grin, before returning to his own practice.

It was awhile before Jield called a ceasefire and Tain had long since emptied his quiver. Dropping the practice lathe he had borrowed from the armoury, atop his pack, he collected his arrows from his target, smiling briefly as he registered his two personal victories for the day. He had managed to plant two arrows in the bulls-eye this morning and was planning on celebrating this fact later on.

Yes… more Archery practice I think! he thought with a smile, as he returned the arrows to the quiver and fell in with the other trainees.

Jield congratulated them on their progress before continuing.

“For the next and final part of this lesson, I will be testing just how much potential you’ve got, as well as give you a little break from the routine so far. Right, I want all of you to follow me across here to the Rough, please. Bring your bows, and your quivers, but you won’t be needing the latter.”

Tain smiled slightly as he followed the rest of the class. Faoelin had described the Rough to him. She had described it as a living obstacle course.

Not only do they plant the dagger right in the centre, but you are chased by a Gaidin and Gaidar, when you attempt to get it. Its like they want you to fail. Strange people! Tain laughed to himself as he recalled Faoelin’s words. Light, nothing pleases the woman!

Tain was buoyed up for this part of the lesson and he had, in truth, expected something like this to happen. He was itching to have the chance to prove his worth, itching to have a chance at besting the other Trainees. The way Faoelin had described the rough, seemed to be just the terrain Tain was used to. Platforms of different heights? A lot like buildings of different heights. Buildings, which he had scaled as a child and later on in life, when a sudden urge took him, to be up nearer the stars.

Just buildings Tain, your type of place! as Jield began to go over the rules, Tain began to prepare, stretching thoroughly and emptying his mind.

When Jield signaled for them to begin, Tain darted forward, seized a quiver on the run and pelted head first into the rough. Sprinting full tilt toward the centre, Tain did not slow or look for a spot to hide, he would know his spot when he saw it. Five minutes went by and Tain had still not slowed. As the bell rang, Tain opened himself to his surroundings, taking in everything. There! Just ahead was the perfect spot. Without slowing, Tain took a running jump, his boots landing heavily on the first raised platform, which made up a tower. Slinging the bow on his back, Tain pulled himself upwards, to the very top, but keeping low and hugging to the platform, to not give anyone an unfair advantage. From this height, Tain’s sharp eyes, managed to pick out two trainees, making their way slowly toward the same intersection.

This should be interesting! he thought with a smile, as both trainees rounded the corner at the same time, to come face to face.

Both reacted almost immediately, drawing and releasing the arrow they had had nocked. Tain almost fell off of his platform, he laughed so much. Both of the arrows had struck, meaning both trainees were in for a walk back to the start.

Two already! he smiled to himself one last time, before continuing his observation of the scene below him. Two less to worry about!

Drawing bowstring to cheek, he released, closing his eyes and willing the arrow to find its mark. Hearing a startled squawk, he opened his eyes in triumph. Tain had spotted the trainee making his way slowly toward his position and had, seeing no one else in the vicinity, had decided to handle it himself. The trainee glanced around to find his attacker and finding none, stormed off toward the exit. About to drop down and collect the quiver, Tain paused as a face appeared around the corner, just where the other trainee had been. Taking a quick peek, the trainee hurriedly ducked into the corridor, leading down to Tain’s hiding place;.

Come into my parlor, little fly! Tain thought with a wicked grin.

Leveling the bow on the man, Tain began to draw an arrow from the quiver, before forcing himself to stillness. Something was off! Why was the trainee looking so frightened? Was he being pursued? Sure enough, around the corner to the corridor, another head appeared, this one bolder and confident. Seeing the first trainee dash around a corner ahead, the man stepped into the corridor bravely, not even bothering to slink.

Cocky aren’t we? Tain thought, propping himself up on one knee.

As he shut out all outer interruptions and opened himself once more to the world, be fitted an arrow to the bowstring and leveled it at the man. Taking a deep calming breath, he drew fletching to ear and released, this time watching the path of the arrow, as it took the man in the chest, making him stumble slightly. Not even bothering to watch the man’s reaction, Tain turned toward the first trainee, just in time. For at that moment, the trainee, an Andoran woman he had met only briefly before, released the arrow she had trained on him. Rolling to the side, the painted projectile only barely missed him, as he rolled off the top most platform, to crash heavily into the one below him, on the side away from the trainee. Expecting another shot, he had his feet under him, ready to spring as far away as need be, to escape the woman. No attack came!

Whats keeping her? he wondered, edging closer to the side and peering out. He just caught a glance of the woman dropping her quiver and turning away, a red splotch on her back, before she left. Stepping out to watch her go, Tain had another split second warning as a shape unfolded from a platform down the corridor and made to fore at Tain. Taking a running jump, Tain’s feet collided with the ground at a run and he sprinted off down the corridor going the opposite way, away from the hunter.

The hunter becomes the hunted! he thought with a small laugh. He was enjoying this lesson and couldn’t wait to demonstrate his new skill to Faoelin.

OOC: Kill me off or let me win… Either suits me. :-) Thanks Jer!

  • Part Three: GamesJield Gaidin, Head Gaidin, Tue May 9 04:10
    Jield began to walk up and down the archery yard yet again, slowly pacing back and forth as he watched each trainee fire arrows at the target as they had the day before. It was now a new day, and... more
    • End Game! — Tain Aethan'Tar, Thu May 18 03:09
    • TreacheryRiani Aethan'Tar, Fri May 12 12:24
      Riani looked around. Yes, she was well hidden. Even standing as tall as she was – which wasn’t all that tall, of course, but still – her head did not quite touch the lowest branch; there was still a... more
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