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Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns – Chapter 23

The next several weeks went by slowly for Devarius. His body was tired, but his endurance and strength grew stronger. Everyone in his party had assigned jobs, and several more ended up joining them in training. There was a job for every person in the Resistance. Devarius watched everyone worked hard. He learned that the Resistance was more than five thousand strong. Devarius could hardly believe there were so many. Not all five thousand were in Saefron, though. Many were scattered throughout the cities and villages of Kaeldroga, searching for other people to recruit.

They completed all the endurance and strength training. Devarius’s muscles ached all over. He didn’t know how he was supposed to learn weapons with how weak his body was. He stood in the courtyard, his eyes lingering on the pile of weapons stacked neatly in a pile. He wore his own leather armor now, brownish-red with a dragon skull decorating the breastplate, fitted by the city blacksmith.

Tynaer paced in front of them. He stopped abruptly in front of Devarius. “Are you ready for day one of your weapons training?”

“Yes, sir,” Devarius said.

“Good. Let me assume you have no experience at all … any of you.”

“I have a little, sir,” Paedyn said.

Tynaer raised a brow. “Do you now? With what?”

“A rapier. My father had me study fencing.”

Tynaer’s lips pressed together. “Good. Any others?”

“I am proficient with a bow,” Aquila said.

“Very good. Any others?” Tynaer asked.

No one responded.

“Very well.” Tynaer brushed his long black hair behind his ears. “Grab a weapon of your choice. You will face me with it. All these weapons are dull and shouldn’t pierce the armor we’re all wearing, but keep blows away from the face. There are different types of swords, axes, maces, and hammers. You should all find something suitable. I will judge your fighting style and tell you if you should change weapons to better complement it. Any questions?”

No one spoke.

“Good. I hate questions.” He unsheathed his broadsword. “Devarius, you first.”

Devarius groaned. He was always the first to have to do something, whether it was endurance training, strength training, or even now with weapons training. Since he was the unofficial leader of the ragtag party of new recruits, he was determined to have all the skills.

Devarius stepped forward to look at the various weapons. He grabbed a sword that appeared similar to the captain’s. It felt a little unbalanced, but comfortable in his hand. He faced Tynaer.

Tynaer bowed to him. Devarius returned the bow. As soon as he stood erect, Tynaer leapt forward, slashing his sword in a downward arc toward Devarius’s left shoulder. Devarius dug his right foot in the ground and spun left, dodging the sword by inches as he spun around. He swung his sword hard to the right just below his eye level. It met steel. He withdrew and slashed again, this time a swing from left to right. Steel blocked it again. They parried for several minutes, until Tynaer’s blade slid down Devarius’s to the hilt, and dipped back as Tynaer’s hilt smashed into Devarius’s hands. Pain surged through Devarius’s fingertips. His fingers flinched, and the weapon fell from his grasp. The entire fight lasted less than ten minutes.

“Not as bad as I thought you would be,” Tynaer said.

“Thanks,” Devarius said as he rubbed his left hand.

“Listen closely. First, your stance is wrong, you should not have both your feet side by side when you face an opponent, it gives you limited motion and stilted attacks. You fight right-handed, so I will assume that is your dominant hand. You should have your left foot forward, and your right behind, with your body turned so your shoulder faces me. This will give your strikes more control, but it will weaken your left side slightly. You can make up for that with different sword forms. Second, you should never let an opponent’s sword slide down to your hilt. It creates a severe disadvantage.”

“I noticed,” Devarius said.

“You’ll want to back off and reposition a strike, or use a flamberge.”

“A flamberge?” Devarius asked.

“Yes … a flame sword.” Tynaer walked over to the weapons and grabbed a blade. It was long, but instead of being straight, it had waves traveling from the tip to the hilt.

Devarius tilted his head and furrowed his brow. “Why a flamberge?”

“Flamberges are made specifically to battle other swordsmen. The curves in the blade create vibration against a straight sword. When an opponent slides his blade down against the curves, his sword vibrates, making it more straining on his muscles. Therefore, each time he slides his sword down the flamberge, he grows weaker.”

“Interesting.” Devarius wrinkled his nose. “What about a mix of the two?”

“What?” Tynaer asked.

“A straight sword until it nears the hilt, then waves to disrupt the opponent and cause vibration.”

Tynaer scratched his chin. “I have never seen such a blade. However, it does sound useful if you can become skilled with it. Speak to the blacksmith if you’re interested in him trying to create one.”

Devarius bit his lip and nodded.

Tynaer pointed to Paedyn. “All right. You’re next, fencer boy. Grab your weapon.”

Devarius stepped away, grateful for the break, and for the chance to think. He had an image of a blade in his mind. Half flamberge, half sword. He did think he’d talk to the blacksmith when he had a chance.

Paedyn stepped forward, inspecting all the weapons on the ground. He found a dull rapier, smiled, and picked it up. His grip tightened on the hilt as he checked the balance of the weapon. He frowned.

“It’s not balanced.”

Tynaer grinned. “We don’t keep our practice weapons in pristine shape. If you can fight with an unbalanced weapon, then you will only improve when you receive a balanced one. Are you ready?”

Paedyn shrugged. He stood sideways, his left foot forward, rapier in his left hand. He nodded.

“Left-handed? Interesting.”

Paedyn didn’t speak. He slashed his weapon in a backward arc, striking Tynaer’s sword. He immediately brought the rapier back, twisted his hand, and struck the other side of Tynaer’s blade. He continued striking back and forth, stepping forward as he did. Tynaer appeared caught off guard with the speed of Paedyn’s attacks. Paedyn pressed on, delivering strike after strike with such speed that Devarius had a hard time keeping track.

Sweat beaded across Tynaer’s forehead. His stance faltered as his left foot bumped into his right. Paedyn didn’t flinch at the opportunity and pressed forward, pushing hard with a swing to his left. He immediately retracted the strike, rolled forward, and slashed the rapier against Tynaer’s side. The captain fell to the ground.

Paedyn stood, grinning as he towered over the fallen captain. He slid the blade between his armpit to hold as he offered a hand. Tynaer’s brows furrowed as he accepted the hand.

“Impressive,” Tynaer said, brushing his shoulders off.

Paedyn grinned.

Tynaer sheathed his sword. He grabbed a cloth from his sash and wiped his face.

“I’m going to take a small break from swordplay. You.” He pointed at Aquila. “Show me your skill with a bow.”

Aquila stepped forward. “There are no bows here.”

Tynaer dipped his head, motioning her to follow him. He walked over to the archery range with her close behind. Devarius and Paedyn followed, both curious to see Aquila use a bow.

“Cease your arrows.”

Ten archers returned their arrows to their quivers. Tynaer stepped next to the archer on the far right, a pale woman with blonde hair.

Tynaer opened his hand, nodding toward her bow. “May I?” he asked.

She nodded, handing him her bow and quiver. He motioned Aquila to step into her place. The woman scowled at Aquila as she moved from her spot. Tynaer handed her the bow and a single arrow.

Aquila studied the target. It was a small circle target with several circles around a red center over a hundred paces away. Aquila squinted at the target for a moment. She stood upright, without tension as she flattened her back and dipped her chest. Her feet spread shoulder width apart and pointed perpendicular to the target. She nocked the arrow, using three fingers to lightly hold it on the string. Aquila raised the bow and drew the string. She aimed at the target. Her eyes focused as she took three deep breaths. On her last breath, she exhaled halfway, then relaxed her fingers to loose the arrow. Her hand moved back toward her shoulder along her jaw as the arrow soared forward. It struck the target a finger-width above the red center.

Tynaer raised a single brow. “Impressive.”

“I’m starting to feel really incompetent,” Devarius muttered.

Aquila grinned at him.

“I see I’ll have to step up my game,” Devarius said.

“Yes, you will,” Tynaer said.

Tynaer took the bow from Aquila and handed it back to the blonde archer. They followed him back over to the sparring field, where Tynaer put everyone into pairs to practice. After he tested everyone, he paired himself with Devarius.

“Can you handle sparring with me every day?” Tynaer asked.

“I look forward to it.” Devarius grinned.

“Is that so?”

“If I want to be the best, I’ll need to defeat the best.”

“Clever, but there are a few better than me.”

“Then I will defeat them next.”

“Cocky?” Tynaer asked.

“Determined,” Devarius replied.

Tynaer smiled. “Good. We need more determination to defeat the empire.”


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