Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chapter 96 - The Knight

 Ivan is happy to be back at the castle with his wife in his arms.  He is due to set sail in an attempt to locate the islands of Effenmont and Gastrobury the next morning.
 “I have missed seeing you all day.  What have you been up to?”  Chalyela asks.

“I have been asked to join a Fighter’s Guild.  The leader wants me to train his new trainees.”
 “Never mind that though,” Ivan continues.  “This is for you!”  He says holding out a red rose.
 “Thank you!” Chalyela says very pleased by her gift.
 Chalyela and Ivan share a passionate kiss.
 “I, Knight Captain Ivan, request your presence upstairs,” Ivan says in his formal voice.

“I shall grant your request,” Chalyela says playing along.
 “But what do you want with me upstairs?” Chalyela asks in a seductive voice.

“Well… I believe it tis time that our princess had a sibling.” Ivan answers.
 Upstairs, Ivan and Chalyela cuddle on the bed.  “Promise that you will return to me safely!” Chalyela whispers.

“Of course, I could not bear being away from you.”
 They crawl under the sheets and work on creating an additional heir to the kingdom.
 Ivan beats the sun the next morning.  Chalyela is still sleeping beside him.
 Ivan walks to the docks.  His ship is due to set sail at sunrise.
 Right on schedule, Ivan’s ship with its small crew pulls away from the docks.
 Ivan returns at days end.  He has succeeded in locating the islands of Effenmont and Gastrobury and has introduced himself to the territory leaders.
 Upon his return, Ivan goes straight to the castle to greet his wife.  Chalyela is glad to see that he is home safe from a successful mission.
 Ivan adds their new allies to the tactical map.  Archolia is one territory away from successfully forming treaties with each of their neighboring territories.
 Finally, Ivan visits Lord Jude back at the town square.  “I have made my decision!”  He announces.
 “I do hope that your decision is in our favor.  You have definitely passed the test and Blade Lukas’ improvement after  your training is amazing.  So what have you decided?”
 “I will join your Fighter’s Guild.”
 “Well allow me to officially welcome you to our guild under the title, ‘Defender of the Fighter’s Guild’.” Jude says in a voice that sounds very pleased.
Ivan’s rank is the second highest in the guild.  As a reward, Lord Jude hands him a heirloom piece of armor.  “Wear this with pride.  It has been handed down by my family for generations.  Now it shall go to your family.”

Ivan is honored to be a part of such a gifted group of fighters.

Chapter 95 - The Knight

 Ivan has agreed to spend time teaching new Fighter’s Guild recruit, Blade Lukas, a few pointers in sword fighting.
 Ivan can see Blade Lukas’ potential, but his fighting style is odd. 
 Lukas has speed and a forceful jab.  Ivan commends him on that.
 However, Lukas’ style is rough.  He reacts rather than plan his moves.
 “Blade Lukas, I can see why Lord Jude has chosen you, but your fighting style is off.”

“It is because I am no fighter.  I was a meat merchant.  I guess I learned a bit about the sword, because when you transport meat in a town full of starving peasants, you have to learn to watch your own back…”
 “Apparently Lord Jude spotted me fighting off a hungry crowd and thought I had potential.”

“Ah!  That makes sense,” Ivan says referring to Blade Lukas’ rough fighting style.
 As Lukas begins to walk off, Ivan has an idea on how to best train him. 
 “I just figured out what you are missing…good defense.  I think I will train you on how to use a steeled defense.”
 “First allow me to show you how to counter another person’s moves here on the tactical map.  Then we will try it on the dummy,” Ivan suggests before beginning a game of  military strategy with Lukas.
 After Ivan beats Lukas at military strategy, they decide to take a break.  Ivan heads downstairs to prepare a stew.
 Ivan’s energy is low after all of the training, so he drinks a flask of his special energy drink.
 The drink helps, but he still finds himself fighting sleep.
 Upstairs, Lukas and Ivan play another round of military strategy.  Suddenly Lukas understands the idea of countering an opponents moves.  “I think you have it!”  Ivan says after Lukas beats him.
 Back at the training dummy, Ivan continues to instruct. “OK, so the key is to mirror your opponents moves.”
 “Do not think about your blade, think about your opponents!  Move with your enemy…flow with them and you shall never be hit again,” Ivan shouts to be sure that it is ingrained in Lukas’ mind.
 Lukas practices the things that Ivan suggests.  “That is good.  Keep your focus,” Ivan encourages.
“Now hit with all of your might!”
“Very good Lukas.  You have improved!”
 “You are a fine instructor,” Lukas answers, “You really know your way around the sword.”
“It is easy to teach when the pupil has such potential.”

“Well, I really hope you will join our guild.”

Chapter 94 - The Knight

 Ivan returns to the town square once he has rested a bit.  He is ready to spar Lord Jude.
 Ivan’s first move is a whirling take down.  “What speed!”  Lord Jude compliments as he ducks out of Ivan’s reach.
 Ivan fools him with an unexpected blow.  “Wow!  You are even better than I thought!” Jude says as he falls to the ground.
 Ivan raises his sword into a steeled defense move.  Lord Jude comes at him, full force, but Ivan is able to block the effort.
 Ivan uses his firm stance to draw enough power to knock Lord Jude backward.  “Incredible strength!” Jude says very impressed with Ivan’s fighting skills.
 Jude takes a moment to recover before he gets up. 
 As Jude rises off the ground, he is able to land an expected blow.  Ivan is slightly unbalanced, but is able to regain control.
 Ivan and Jude’s swords swing in opposite directions.  Ivan prepares to land a mortal blow that he hopes will end the sparring match.
 He maneuvers with perfect precision and Lord Jude finds himself sailing to the ground once again.
 Jude, the master of recovery, jumps up and lands a quick blow to Ivan’s leg. 
 Ivan falls to the ground. Jude is fast, but not as quick as Ivan.  However, his endurance is unbelievable.  Ivan has exhausted all of his stamina on this tough opponent.  He kneels in defeat.
 “You are even better than I originally thought.  I hope you will consider a membership to our guild,” Jude says.

“You have certainly given me much to think about,” Ivan answers.
 Ivan likes what he has seen so far.  The members of the guild are definitely skilled.  The kingdom might actually benefit from their presence here in Archolia.
 Ivan is on his way to the forest when he spots princess Adela standing very near the judgment zone. “I thought I ordered you not to come to the judgment zone,” Ivan says with concern in his voice.
 “You said not to go to the forest or the mines…” Adela begins,
 “You  said nothing about coming here.”
 “Why would a pretty princess like yourself want to be here where we send bad people?”

“I was curious.  I wanted to see the beast.”

“Please do not come here again!”
 “OK father,” Adela says and walks away to explore another part of the kingdom.  Ivan is not convinced that Adela will stay away.
Ivan heads to the forest for his daily patrol.  With an inquisitive daughter like Princess Adela, he is more determined than ever to keep the kingdom safe.