After a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage and fruits, we were called to the training rooms which had occupied our days before we were sent to see what Kraznir was up to. I worked on my sword skills which were sorely lacking while the others went off to study whatever they were learning on before our adventure began.
I assumed Little John was learning to lure bigger prey, things such as orcs and wargs, so to control them to follow his commands. If he could do that, it would weaken Kraznir’s armies.
Doughty was a warrior and hunter, already skilled. So what was he doing? I saw him head off with a master horseman, so perhaps he would use to combat with spears. That would be fun to watch, but my mentor allowed learning only one skill at a time.
I was given a wooden sword which felt childish after wielding a real one on our excursion, but I did as told. I worked on defensive moves, which I knew nothing about, until my arm ached and the nerves in my back sent waves of pain radiating up my spine.
The three of us met for lunch, a hearty stew accompanied by freshly baked bread. Little John was ginning hugely. “I can control those orcs and wargs now!”
“How?” I asked. “Can you teach us?”
He shook his head. “I pick up languages fairly quickly. So now I speak enough orc and warg to tell them what to do! It’s amazing!”
“How do you know it will work?” Doughty asked between bites of stew.
“I practiced in the dungeons with live ones! It was amazing. I told them to sit and they did. To stand, to turn, to stab. This afternoon they will be in the practice ring, heavily guarded of course, and I will learn commands for battle.”
“I worked with a sword,” I said. “I hate it. I’d rather learn more magic.”
Doughty shook his head then wiped his mouth from which stew oozed down his chin. “Magic is important, yes. But you also need to know how to fight so as to support the army in battle.”
He was right even though I didn’t want to admit it. So I didn’t complain when after lunch I learned how to ride with a spear. It was hard to balance while bouncing up and down, at the same time trying to keep the point of the shaft aimed at the heart of a dummy on the other side of the corral. I rode again and again, stopping only when permitted, but despite hard work and countless attempts, my skills never improved.
Feeling quite useless, I returned to the barracks for a bath and change of clothes, then sat in the common area waiting for my companions. None of them showed up, so when fatigue took over, I went to bed.