Prepare for Pain–Basic Swordsmanship for Dreadies

”Trousers,” Rendra hrmphed to herself as she headed towards the room she’d been directed to for the class, “Why do they feel so.. indecent?!”

She had been very happy to hear that they were going to let some of the Adepts and Acolytes train in weapons, and had jumped at the chance to learn something about it. After all, she had hoped to become an Assassin initially before they realized she could channel and shoved her in with this lot. Even if the young Acolyte had come to terms with being able to channel, she took it to heart that one shouldn’t depend on that ability… ”Even if it means feeling a little indecent,” she continued to grump to herself as she approached the room the class was to be taking place in.

A couple of other Acolytes had lined themselves up along one wall outside the room, so she wandered over and joined them. A few were conversing quietly with each other, but as Rendra had thusfar managed to not get to know anyone that well in and amongst those training in the Fortress, she contented herself to wait. Which wasn’t terribly long; a voice shortly called out and bade them to enter.

As she stepped through the doorway, her eyes widened slightly; she didn’t know what was really different. There was nothing special about the room she could see; windows looking out into the strange sky of the Blight near Thanka’dar, which was always a bit disconcerting.

As she lined up where the instructor had pointed, she spent a moment looking at the man who was to teach them the sword – a plain man trying to look fierce; he didn’t strike her as anything in particular. Nor had Rendra seen him around the Fortress before, but that could mean anything; the Fortress wasn’t exactly a small place, so it shouldn’t surprise her if there was someone she’d not met yet leading one of her classes.

He spoke again, pointing at someone on the other end of the line, “My name is Sevrud Randra, and I will be teaching you how to not kill yourself with those blades you hold in your hands. First order of business, I want you to all hold out your dominant hand and tell me your names. Starting with you.” When it was her turn, she held out her right hand and announced her name, “Rendra Harella, sir.”


19 June 2008

Rendra patted her pinned back braids and listened to their mysterious instructor, or sir, as he deigned to not share his name. ”A bit rude that, but then, people here are a bit odd,” she thought to herself as the man started explaining that they would be using practice lathes instead of bare steel. ”Probably wise that, though; some of these people look as if they’ve never even picked up a dagger to cut their own meat!”

Their instructor showed them a few moves, and Rendra nodded along; she vaguely comprehended the point he was trying to make, but had a feeling it would make more sense once she got into it. The strange man noticed the nodding, stopped, and turned to the group and instructed them to pair off with the person next to them, gesturing for those who were confused. Nodding again, Rendra turned to her assigned partner.

A bit taller than her, and a bit slimmer, the other woman looked like a bit like the Domani tramps that passed for merchants she’d seen in the streets around Tanchico, “A short Domani, perhaps.. kind of pale too, but she could just be ill?” The young Taraboner had no real idea; she’d not really taken notice of any of the other Adepts around the Quarters – they were just other people, and as long as they kept their distance, she was generally content.

Rendra gestured towards the lathes, and started walking towards them. As he other woman followed to pick one out, Rendra introduced herself, “I’m Rendra.. you are?”

“Rebecca,” the taller woman offered as she took a lathe, and said no more.

Nodding, Rendra did her best to emulate the parry stance the teacher had shown, making sure her right hand was the hand closer to the ‘blade’. Holding it before her, she experimentally moved her lathe to a block position, noting how her arms (and especially her elbows!) moved as she slanted her practice blade one way or the other. She noted Rebecca doing the same, and spoke, “Did you want to try a spar, then?”


14 July 2008

She stood there, posed and waiting for a response. The taller woman, Rebecca, appeared to be staring off at the distance. Raising an eyebrow, Rendra opened her mouth to speak again, but fell silent, “Maybe I should just pummel this hussy if she’s going to be inattentive,” she thought to herself, gripping the practice lathe more tightly.

Her mind made up, Rendra’s muscles tensed as she struck. To her surprise, Rebecca came out of her seeming stupor enough to parry the blow. Eyes narrowing, Rendra struck again… only to be parried again. As focused as she was on trying to strike the other woman, she didn’t notice the half-Domani girl’s change in stance, and yelped as Rebecca’s lathes swished towards her. Shifting backwards, Rendra managed to only just miss getting whapped as she got her lathe up in time to block.


28 July 2008

Glaring at the taller woman, Rendra’s stance was probably beyond sub-par as she did her best to keep from getting hit. “What is the matter with this insane woman?!” she thought, wincing as another blow landed.

Neither of them were that good, obviously; they were just learning, but this Rebecca character seemed like she was seriously out to kill the poor Taraboner woman. Rendra’s own swings were becoming more erratic to match the taller woman’s strikes, and her arms becoming leaden from being forced to continue through motions her body was unfamiliar with.

Her eyes widened slightly as Rebecca continued to press her; the other woman’s face was contorted in a grimace of concentration that the shorter woman was unaware of matching. Her breath was coming in laboured gasps as she strove for reach, to actually hit the other woman. Oh, she managed a few strikes, though not as many as the taller woman.

Rendra growled; a shriek escaped between her teeth as she attempted to advance on the other woman… someone needed a good braining, and it wasn’t going to be this Taraboner that got one!

Put yer Dukes up, Hussy!


August 12, 2008

Growling, Rendra has most happy to drop her weapon and grapple with the slightly taller weapon.  For all the Taraboner wanted to learn the sword, she was already most familiar with pounding someone to a pulp bare-fisted!

So intent she was on trying to rip the other woman to shreds (and obviously, vice versa), it was an extreme shock when someone’s practice blade slammed into her back, causing her to shove Rebecca into yet another trainee.  In short order, they were all on the floor; the severity of the bruising and pain started to become evident to all in the class as they stopped moving and turned their attention back to the instructor.

He had fetched his sword, this sir, and sat cross-legged in front of them.  It seemed that the pummeling wasn’t enough, and now the masochist expected the lot of them to shift around practicing drawing and re-sheathing their swords!  And to demonstrate it back to him!

Moving stiffly along with his demonstration, Rendra could understand what this sir person meant; if you couldn’t get your blade out in time, you might as well ask to be cut down in a sword fight.  So she followed along assiduously, and did her best to demonstrate what she’d learned… stiffly, true, but at least she was making the effort.

Even so, it was a great relief to be dismissed; she had a date with a hot bath and a nap.

Reading/Writing Class for Dreadies (OPEN)

Poking her head out of her chambers, Rendra eyed the bit of paper affixed to the wall. Eying the man at the end of the hall, she raised her voice to call out and ask what it said, when he suddenly announced, “Attention all Acolytes! I, Dreadlord Michael, will be starting a class to teach reading and writing for those who have never learned and those who wish to improve. Everyday after breakfast in the North Library I will hold a two hour lesson for those interested. This will be a month long class with a test at the end.”

Blinking at the man, and the flier on the wall, she muttered, “I can only to be hoping that he wasn’t fool enough to put up fliers for a class to learn how to read… who would tell us what they said?!” She went back into her room, and closed the door behind her.


Still, the young Dreadlady-to-be was happy to have caught the announcement; in spite of her extremely common background, Rendra had always thirsted to know more… not that anyone had had the time to teach her, especially not her family! So it was with great pleasure she found herself in the Library the following morning, looking around the room idly. “I… I’ll be able to read all these books, if I did want to be reading them,” she thought with a small smile, somewhat oblivious to the other students filing in.

It wasn’t until several other pupils had settled in that Rendra turned her attention to the man in the front of the room. He was the same possibly daft fool who had put the fliers up in the Acolyte halls – “Thinking we could read them, perhaps… how some people take their skills for granted!” He looked to be a kindly, doddering old fool; sort of how one would stereotype any generic older shopkeep to look. Of course, appearances counted for nothing here – all had sworn their souls in service to the Great Lord, so the only guarantee was that they all had something go ‘wrong’ in their pasts to lead them to this path.

But still, the young Taraboner had to ask the question that was on her mind, “Michael sir,” she called out, her face hardening slightly as all the eyes in the room turned to her, “Why did you put up notes in the quarters if this is for a reading and writing class, if those of us that have come here can’t read yet?!”


19 June 2008

Rendra bit back annoyance when their instructor held her with the Power, but the glower quickly went out the door with his backhanded compliment. ”He has a point though; I really should watch what questions I ask around this bloody madhouse,” she grumped to herself, smoothing down her latest and prettiest dress. It was a lovely deep blue that complimented her skin and was cut in the style of the Tarabon upper classes, and she almost felt nobility in such garb, even if it was only a very fine wool.

Almost yelping at a sudden pinch, Rendra jerked her head up. “Do I need to dance your hands like a puppet, girl? Do as instructed!” She was chagrined to notice that Michael had already started putting shapes on the board. She quickly reached for her quill, almost upsetting the ink pot in her haste and reached for a sheet of parchment. Having dunked the quill in ink, Rendra was having a difficult time figuring out exactly how to hold the bloody thing! Ink dripped from the quill onto a corner of the parchment as her hand hovered; her mind was working to comprehend the shape. Slowly, she started scritching it out; the shapes were very blotty from the excess of ink, and shaky from the woman’s lack of experience, but were kind of close to what was engraved into the board.

Her sullenness over the reprimand faded as the lesson continued; she was still putting either too much or too little ink on the quill, and so the letter-shapes ranged from splotches to hen-scratch and everything between… and all wavery. Michael stopped by several times, and gave her pointers, but it was still very slow going until she had something copied well enough to pass muster. “I think, child, you are going to need a lot of practice,” he said to her with a small smile as she continued her efforts while other students began to leave, “But you’ve already stated that you’re completely new to this, so we shall be patient; take your things back to your chambers as instructed, and make sure to put a few hours into this every night until the next class,” he further instructed, and gestured to the door.

Nodding, Rendra carefully stoppered the ink bottle; she prayed to whomever was listening that it wouldn’t muss up her fine new dress! Once that was done to her satisfaction and stashed in her belt pouch, she quickly gathered everything else and headed off; there was many a thing to do for this student Dreadlady, and now she had to find more time for this!


14 July 2008

Rendra entered the classroom feeling slightly more confident than when she had left it the week prior.  Although time had been short, she had practiced as much as she possibly could, even forfeiting sleep to some degree to work on scribing out the letters painfully by wan candlelight.

“It almost is like drawing a bit“, she thought to herself as she settled into her chair.  Smoothing down her skirts, she arranged her writing materials and settled in to listen to Michael’s lecture.

“Today we’ll start with simple words then have a quick review of your letters and sounds. I want you all to come up one at a time and sound out each letter from your own writing and then turn in all your papers you wrote on. We shall begin those reviews as soon as I have finished today’s leeson. We will do twenty words today and Rendra, you shall go last.”

She started to open her mouth to protest all this singling out, but some hint of prudence clamored through and kept her silent.  The young woman knew very well that she was probably having the hardest time of it, and that perhaps the teacher was only trying to give her a little help by seeing how everyone else in the class handled it.


The review of letters and sounds went well enough, and before the young Taraboner woman knew it, it was her turn to read the words on the board.  She had taken special care scribing them out; thinking of it like drawing helped immensely.

Handing the paper to Michael with her work from the week before, she turned her attention to the board and began to sound out the words, “K… Kat… do.. dog… mmm.. maan…”

Rendra felt drenched in sweat from the combination of being the center of attention and the concentration required for her to make the sounds make sense together.  By the time she had stammered out the last word (t..t-eee), she was quite ready to sit back down again.