The Patchwork Knight (Chapter 44)
I chose a spot near the mountain lake to train Rolf. It was peaceful and sat just off the side of the palace so that there would be no onlookers to bother us.
“I know you can handle a sword but you still have to go through all the basics. You will learn the way I did, and this was part of it. I will of course skip the cutting down of trees and hauling them up the side of a mountain.”
“Cutting down trees and hauling them up a mountain?”
“Never mind. Show me how you hold your sword.”
Rolf pulled his sword from it’s sheath and held it straight up in front of him. His grip was good, not too hard and not too soft.
“That is perfect Rolf. I guess they did give you some training. Now show me how you slash from right to left.”
Rolf began but it lacked precision. His blade would tilt and angle so that if he was slashing someone there was a possibility that he would merely smack them with the side of the blade.
“Ok Rolf. You need to practice precision with your slashing. I want you to make an interlocking loop when you slash. Watch how my wrist turns and twists so that the edge of my blade is always leading the way.”
Rolf watched intently and then slowly began doing the same motion. His blade cut through the open air with the edge.
“That’s very good Rolf. Now make the loop bigger.”
Rolf looked perplexed. So I demonstrated the same movement but instead of small slashes I crossed my body from low to high and then looping around to go the other way. Instead of leading with the blade I lead with my hand, so that the blade would slice along the path instead of hacking at an opponent. The blade began to sing as I moved the sword faster and faster. Rolf watched for a long time before he began to move his sword. I slowed my speed down and had him mirror my movement. Soon our swords were both singing in the cool mountain air. We were standing only feet apart without our blades ever touching.
Before I knew it, Sir Jacob, Sir Paljin, Sir Darius, and the Princess had gathered around and began mimicking our movements. I stopped and listened to the song of the sword. It was one continuous sound coming from all the swords. They all had a look of concentration on their faces.
“Pitre, what do you call that movement?”
“That is only a basic move Sir Paljin. My father taught it to me soon after learning the first movement so that I would know how to properly grip the sword.”
“We never learned that as a basic of anything else. I can see the benefit of it without you even telling me about it. It allows all of your blade to come in contact with your enemy. You would slice across their torso, and not hack and get your blade stuck. It is marvelous.”
“What more can you show us Pitre.”
“I’m sorry Princess but I was only going to train Rolf. I promised him as much, and this is only basics, you and the rest of these men are far beyond any of this.”
“I dare say you are wrong Pitre. It appears we have a lot to learn from you, and not just using the Euphoria to enhance our sight.”
“If you want to follow along with basics, I won’t stop you, but I’m sure you would have a better time watching the moss grow on the side of the cliff over there.”
“Go ahead then Pitre, we will follow your instruction.”
The rest of the lesson went on, and all involved seemed surprised by what I had to show as only basics. I had them do the interlocking loops more, and then taught them the proper way to block with the blade, once again leading with the hand, but using it to push the blade instead of slicing with it from side to side. They all moved in unison, even Rolf. He was better with a blade than I had thought. He had a natural talent. He never lost pace with those around him.
After a few hours of working on the basics, which I still didn’t understand why the Knights or the Princess wanted to do, I had them stop for the day. They all thanked me for the lesson, and went along on their way. All except Sir Jacob.
“Pitre, I would be happy if you could show the rest of the Knights these techniques. I know the King would be beyond pleased. We need to learn this so that we will be better when we face the enemy again. The King is already talking about expanding the Targen Knights, so that we will have a stronger fighting force to combat the numbers of the Raiders. He would reward you handsomely for this.”
“I need no reward. I would be happy to help the Targen Knights, and the King to defeat the Raiders. Becoming a Targen Knight is all that I ever wanted to be. I will do my duty and serve the King and the Realm, but I would prefer to be out there in the Realm fighting to rid it of the Mudwood’s infestation.”
“I’m sure you will get your chance, but until then, I will talk to the King about this. We have been wondering how we were going to train new Knights and have them ready in time for a large scale assault on the Kingdom, in order to take it back.”
Sir Paljin left Rolf and I and ran off in the direction of the Palace. He was going to talk to the King right away.
“You have talent with the blade Rolf.”
“That is what my instructors told me. They never showed me anything like what you just did though. It was all very simple movements that were meant to cause damage fast, but it was with reckless abandonment. The Mudwood can throw dozens of men at one of those from the Realm, so it was always get in and do as much damage as you could, and if you made it back, then you had to get ready for the next fight.”
“I guess efficiency isn’t a priority when you can through thousands of men at something. Your lesson isn’t over yet though. It’s time for a run.”
“A run? I thought you said we weren’t going to be doing things like that?”
“I said I wasn’t going to make you chop down trees and haul them up a mountain, I didn’t say anything about not running. Come now. We have to get down to the bottom of the mountain trail and back up before its time for the midday meal.”
Rolf looked defeated when I said this, but he joined along with me. I started off slow, but as the miles passed under our feet on the way down, I began to speed, up. Rolf kept up with me all the way to the bottom.”
“What are you two doing down here?”
“Sir Gorin, we are just training. I was showing Rolf how to use that sword of his properly.”
“I’m sure you could teach Sir Constant a thing or two, he really needs it.”
Sir Gorin let out a bellowing laugh and Sir Constance just looked down a little dejected.
“It appears that I may be teaching you all a thing or two. That is, if Sir Jacob gets his way.”
“What are you talking about Sir Pitre?”
I Then turned on my heal and began my run back up the mountain. I could hear Rolf explaining a little as I ran away from the Guardians of the Gate.
“He just taught Sir Jacob and a few others a few moves that they had never seen.”
“What is he talking about Pitre?”
“Come on Rolf. You want to get back before the midday meal is eaten by everyone. If you are late, you won’t eat.”
Rolf quickly sprinted away from Sir Gorin who was still shouting about what Rolf had just told him.
Chapter 45 coming Monday.