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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Merchant with a Quarterstaff (Part 2, Retro)


Delfon
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Thirteen year old Jon Smythe woke before dawn, his friends trick of drinking a lot of water before bed worked perfectly yet again. Dashing to his chamber pot Jon relives himself, and then gets dressed for his morning exercise. Jon stretches each muscle carefully, holding each stretch for at least twenty seconds. Since he had started stretching in the morning a year ago, Jon can now touch his forehead to his knees, and place his hands flat on the floor beside his feet. Once Jon is limbered up he creeps out of his house like a shadow, careful not to wake his family or the house staff. Jogging down the lane way which leads to his family estates, Jon maintains a steady pace until he reaches the main road. Here Jon uses a low hanging tree branch to do fifty chin ups, then sprints as far up the lane way as he can before his lungs, and legs give out. "Half" *huff* "way" *huff* "finally." Jon sputters between heaving breaths. 'One of these days I will be able to run all the way back to my house without stopping.' Jon thinks to himself with determination

 

Finishing the journey back to his house at a walk so he can regain his breath, Jon thinks about what his Father had said yesterday at dinner, "Tomorrow you will train with the quarterstaff again, this time with a soldier. He won't be near as forgiving as Gaman was." Jon simply gulped, "Yes Father." as his reply. He had spent the evening going over everything that Gaman had taught him, from holding the staff, onto stances, through basic defensive posture, and lastly onto basic attack progressions. Jon had kept up his staff work, maybe not as regularly as he should have, but he had kept in practice. Mostly Jon had been focusing on developing his body, not to be the strongest or the fastest, but simply to be able to keep up with his father or his guards. It seems that later today he would find out from a real soldier how well he could keep up.

 

Circling around the house Jon collects his staff from the back porch, and moves out into the courtyard. Taking a few deep breaths to calm his mind, and focus himself Jon began moving through the staff forms Gaman had taught him just over a year ago. Jon moves through the familiar forms quickly, but carefully, making sure that each form is correct before moving on. After about twenty minutes Jon leaves the basics that Gaman had taught him, and enters into some of his own forms. The forms he created by thinking up ways people trying to rob a merchant might attack. He parries sword slashes, and sweeps away dagger thrusts. Anyone who truly knew what they were doing with a staff would call these forms primitive, or clumsy, but without a trainer after Gaman, Jon tried his best. 'I just hope I only have to fine tune these made up forms, and not have to relearn new ones from scratch.' Jon thought with a sigh as he wiped the sweat from his brow.

 

Heading inside Jon changes out of one set of practice clothing, washes away the sweat and grime from his morning exercise, and then puts on a second set of practice clothing. After he's all cleaned up, Jon heads downstairs for some much needed breakfast, double helpings of everything the staff sets before him. When his father came in, he joked, "I swear boy, you're going to eat us out of house and home!" The family gathered and ate breakfast together, chatting away familiarly. After breakfast Jon collected his staff and headed out into the courtyard again to wait for his new instructor.

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Zander had always made it a habit to avoid people with money to burn as they always seemed to have their noses in the air and Zander has a habit of freely speaking his mind which usually caused trouble. But the merchant who had approached him while he was on leave had offered an impressive sum of money to train his son to use a quarterstaff. Now Zander certainly preferred to use his two short swords more then a staff but during his years of training with The Band he had trained with and against just about every weapon there was. "Flaming morning heat!" Zander muttered as he made his way to the merchants home. It wasn't the heat that bothered him but the fact that he was extremely hungover from the night before and rose early from the bed he had shared with one of the serving girls at the inn he stayed though her name strayed from his mind.

 

The house he made his way up to was the house of a well to do merchant. He noticed a boy out in the courtyard. That must be...what did the merchant say the boys name was again. As he approached the lad was watching him. Zander seen the eagerness on the boys face as he crossed the yard...blood and ashes he thought what did I get myself into he thought. "Alright boy I am Sgt Zander Cross but you can call me Zander I assume your the boy for the training?"

 

"Yes Zander my name is...."he started.

 

"It doesn't matter what your name is boy," Zander cut in "once you show me some promise I'll call you by your name. Now grab that bloody quarterstaff and show me what you know."

 

Zander lean against the tree and waited for the boy to begin.

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Jon watched his trainer approach, taking note of how the man moved. He moved like a soldier, a man who knows his abilities, and who knows how to defend himself. He is also a bit of a jerk, "Alright boy I am Sgt Zander Cross but you can call me Zander. I assume your the boy for the training?" He shot the words out in rapid succession, with barely enough time to register what he had said before he was saying something else. Jon began to offer an introduction, "Yes Zander, my name is-" but Zander cut in, interrupting him, "It doesn't matter what your name is boy. Once you show me some promise I'll call you by your name." Jon nodded, accepting the roughness from the Sargent. Then he began his entire routine again from the beginning. Basic attacks, basic blocks, combinations, footwork, and a little reach work near the end. Jon finished up with a few of his own routines, still hoping what he came up with would work in a real combat situation.

 

As Jon worked on his forms, whenever he put a little extra power behind a strike he would grunt out a word, "My" "Name" "Is" "Jon." "Nice" "To" "Meet" "You." To get all the words from the sentences out took a couple minutes. Unless you were paying attention, you might have missed that the grunts were actually words, let alone that the words formed sentences. When he started to run out of material to show his new trainer, Jon dropped into a defensive stance to see what Zander would do. Also, to see if he caught that Jon had slipped in an introduction anyway.

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Zander smiled to himself. The boy had some spunk. He certainly needed some serious work but he had some bare basics down. Now the first thing he needed to learn was his footwork.

 

"Now then lets spar boy." Zander would make him earn his name as his mentors did him except the name he was given was much fouler. As soon as the boy reached his ready position Zander grabbed his staff swung for a high strike and halfway through pivoted to his right and snapped his leg out to catch behind Jon's tripping the boy to the ground.

 

"First thing we need to teach you is footwork. Footwork is the extremely important in combat boy. Without flaming footwork you'd be dead quicker then a Trollic would cook a little boy!" Zander exclaimed.

 

"Now My Name is Jon put that staff down and balance on one foot till I say then the other till I say until your balance and footwork...satisfy me. Zander remembered his training he thought it had been tough..harsh but after being on the battlefield, seeing death, seeing comrades die...taking life Zander knew life and battle were harsh...so you had to be even harsher. Memories were filling Zander's head, painful ones...after a moment he buried them back deep and Zander watched as the boy began, he had a look of determination on his face.....perhaps he could make something of him yet....

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Jon nodded when Zander suggested sparing, tightening his grip on his staff. He immediately loosened his grip back to the way Gaman had shown him to make ready for the coming bout. Jon raised his staff in the high guard position to block the incoming attack, but he noticed Zander's eyes glance to his feet for a split second. Too late to do anything about the attack, Zander's foot caught him behind the knee knocking off his feet. Jon landed hard on his back, air blasted out of his lungs. Jon rolled to the side away from Zander, using the butt end of his staff to help get back to his feet. Jon dropped his defensive stance when he saw Zander standing at his ease off to one side.

 

Jon first looked startled at Zander's foul language, then he only looked confused when Zander explained the importance of footwork, so he asked, "Zander, what is a Troll-ack?" Jon waited, hoping Zander would answer. He seemed to be preparing an answer, but he only offered more instructions at first. Jon followed those instructions, wondering how standing on one foot would help his battle prowess. Waiting, standing there on one foot, and then another Jon simply waited for Zander to either offer more instructions, attack him again, or explain more about Trollics.

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