You’re immediately greeted with the sensation of being smacked upside the head the second you press the Begin Quest button. Your vision blurs briefly as you shake the stars from your eyes, wondering what the hell just hit you.
“You know, I thought you were supposed to spar with a dummy, not BE the dummy, Knight!”
As your vision begins to return, you notice your surrounds have suddenly changed. No longer are you standing at a crossroads in a field; instead you find yourself in what appears to be a courtyard of some sort. The sound of clashing swords and metal slamming into wood fills your ears as you look around, seeing similarly armored individuals like yourself littered through the courtyard. Some are engaged with each other in mock combat, while others are preforming various tasks in full armor as their bodies get used to moving around in them.
“Come on, then! I’ll not have you sullying the name of our order with your clumsy sword work and shield skills!” Your attention is drawn to a stern looking wolf woman standing a few feet away. Judging by the scorn in her voice and the ease at which she scolds you, it’s a safe bet to assume she’s your instructor. The brown furred wolfess glares as you retrieve your dropped sword and turn to face your opponent.
She may call it a dummy, but the thing in front of you isn’t the kind you’d expect to see in a clothing store display model. The body of the dummy is simply a block of wood with small cuts here and there on it, while wooden arms made of thick sticks are coming out of either side. One hand wields a wooden shield, while the other carries a heavy looking stick. If you had to guess, that stick was probably the source of the smack you just received.
“You’re not going to let a piece of wood show you up, are you?” The only thing more insulting that your instructors voice is the cartoonish face drawn on the head of the dummy, showing a winking eye and a tongue sticking out in your direction. “Block its blow, then strike and get behind its shield!”
As you step into the arch of the dummy’s swing, the sound of metal grinding against metal catches your attention. Your wooden opponent begins to move as you hear this, its arms moving up and down as its body twists back and forth slightly. For something that looks so simple and goofy, there’s clearly some hidden mechanical workings underneath.
Determined not to be shown up by this dummy, you catch its first lazy swing with ease on the center of your shield. Your own counter attack is blocked, the sword making a solid, “SMACK!” as it crashes into the wood. The stick wielding arm pulls back as the body rotates, the arm moving a little lower. This attack you block as well, but your return strike is also thwarted by the dummy’s shield. It begins to turn back again, and you raise your shield in anticipation. Is it going to go high, low, or somewhere in the middle? As it turns out, it goes for option four.
“Again?!” Your instructor sighs heavily as you try to process how you just got hit upside the head again as you stumble backwards. The dummy did an almost instant 180 degree turn in the opposite direction, its weapon catching you off guard as it struck at your sword wielding side instead of the shield as anticipated. A slight growl of frustration escapes you as you see the dummy’s mocking face as it continues to sway back and forth. You have a feeling you won’t be able to walk away until you get through this, and a part of you doesn’t want to leave without showing this dummy what’s what. THIS time, you’ll get it.
Written by LunaMoonstone on 26 December 2016
Finish Basic Training