The next morning, at the crack of dawn the three of them rose and set out towards the arena or whatever that was. They walked through the kingdom, it was very different from Ashanti. It was smaller and had less buildings, and most of the houses were huts. There was not that much activity as most people remained in their houses. Also, there were not many religious institutions, as most people seemed to not believe in god. They would wake late and get about their activities, but there were not many market places and the roads were mostly empty as individuals preferred to remain in their huts.
The sun was rising as they walked towards the other end of the kingdom. Each one of them was immersed in their thoughts, wondering what sort of training they were going to receive today. Would it be rigorous and tiring? They had to learn fast and had very little time. They also had to move towards the kingdom of Ashanti as fast as they could lest the king got to know about an attack.
They soon came across an enclosed area. It was closed with a fence, and inside there were what looked like obstacles, and there was also a ring, and inside that the warrior battled against another. Both of them used wooden swords, and even though the battle was a fierce one, the warrior was easily in control. Once he noticed him, he stopped fighting and walked towards the trio.
“Today I will train Eris. Rogue, you and Aerys will practice with my man here. We will be observing your skills and assessing how much practice you need. Go get your weapons of choice from the armoury over there” the warrior said pointing at a hut behind him. Rogue and Aerys left to get their weapons while Eris stood facing the warrior. The warrior handed him a sword and was showing him how to hold it. “This is a wooden longsword. You can either use this with one hand or two. Make a fist around it and make sure you don't lose hold of it. Like this.” And the warrior demonstrated holding the sword. “In the other hand you can either use a shield. Some people also fight with two swords. Which would you prefer?”
“I think I could do with two” and the warrior handed Eris another one. “Now you will be using only these two swords till your training is complete. You should also use your powers to your advantage, like attacking people while you aren't visible or from up above. These powers will come useful when you're fighting the king. You have to realize you are one of the main pieces on this chessboard, and you have to make the first move. The question is what will you do?”
Eris thought. He could use his powers to fight, he could make himself disappear so that he held an advantage. But he couldn't use that against the king. The king could see him, and so Eris would have to use his flight to unsettle the king.
“The king can always see me, so I will have to use my flight as an advantage.” he said to the warrior.
“Maybe you will find out that you have more powers, because things never come in twos they almost always come in threes. Let’s find out your third power. But first, let’s get started with your training.”
“The first rule of fighting is never let the opponent see fear. However, scared you are, show that you are confident of yourself. Send out an aura that makes the other fear. Body language is everything, and never cower. Always be upright, and fight them with all the energy you have got.”
“Got it.” Eris nodded.
“Rule number two. Always treat the swords like they are extensions of your arms. Use them always, and never let them go. Once you lose your swords, you are letting your guard down. Always keep your swords to you, like you have your arms, during a battle you should have your swords.”
“Okay, but what If I lose them?”
“We will train you in hand to hand combat, so in case you use your swords you will have to use your fists. But remember, the sword is better than the fist.”
“To rule number three. Never underestimate your opponent. There is no easy opponent or there is no difficult one. There is a person opposite you who wants to kill you, and your goal is to not let him do that, so give your best all the time.”
“Alright.” Eris replied. Three rules that weren't that hard to remember. Don't show fear, don't lose your swords, and never underestimate your opponent.
Rogue and Aerys walked out of the hut with weapons of their choice. Rogue had two daggers in her hand and Aerys had a hammer. They were followed by a tall man who had two swords, the weapons Eris was going to use, and so Eris watched him closely.
“Yes you watch him closely, you will have to defeat him to pass this training.” the warrior said, and Eris looked startled. Surely that man was a seasoned warrior, how was Eris to defeat him?
“Don't look so startled angel, you will learn quite a lot in these next few days. You have a few powers yourself. Let’s see how well you use them.”
Eris nodded, hopefully he would be good enough to fight against the other person.
“We'll go onto the next few rules after we watch how your friends fight. In the meantime, it would help you to watch the man with the two swords fight. Watch his movements, and observe them carefully. Even though you'll develop your own style, it won't hurt to learn his.”
And Eris turned to watch Aerys and Rogue fight the warrior's spar mate.
Aerys walked up to the man, hammers in hand. His whole posture was threatening.
This fight was going to be fun. Eris couldn’t wait to see who won, he really hoped Aerys and Rogue were victorious, as this man seemed to be arrogant and Eris wanted him put down. Aerys was at a disadvantage here as the man could move fast. He was carrying two swords, and Eris was closely watching his movements and posture as Eris was going to have to learn from the swordsman.
The fight started of slowly, as both took their time to get accustomed to their opponent, but then the swordsman started attacking fast. Eris could make out Aerys’ discomfort, as Eris was sure Aerys had never fought a person wielding two swords before. Aerys mantra was block and attack, block, attack and take a step forward. Aerys was using his bulk to push the swordsman back, but it wasn’t making much of a difference, as the swordsman was quite strong and fearless himself. Eris hoped no one got hurt in this.
Eris turned to Rogue, who was observing the man with the two swords. She seemed to be analysing his movements and thinking about what to do next when she faced him. Rogue, Eris could tell was getting prepared. She was really intelligent, and instead of getting awed by the fight, she was preparing herself.
Eris turned back to the fight where Aerys seemed to be losing. The hammers were just too heavy and were slowing down Aerys’ movements. Aerys seemed slow and sluggish compared to the swordsman, and any minute he was sure to lose.
Eris was right. It wasn’t too long before the hammer fell out of Aerys hand and he had two swords at his throat. The battle was over, and the swordsman had won. He clapped Aerys on the back, “Well fought mate. You need to learn to use a different weapon in one on one battles. A hammer will do good in a war, but not in singular fights.”
Aerys shrugged and walked away, as Rogue walked to get her daggers.
“See, you have to be really quick with swords, and light on your feet because speed is one thing that helps win fights.”
Eris nodded, the swordsman quick movements had won him the fight, and Eris had to learn to be fast. Learning to fight with two swords also needed coordination, and Eris couldn’t wait to start.
Soon enough, Rogue walked towards the man with two daggers in her hand. Eris could see the man look at Rogue sceptically, as if asking her, “You are going to fight?” and in that moment Eris felt pure anger, and he knew it wasn’t something good to feel. He took a deep breath, he had to believe in Rogue. Rogue would defeat this arrogant man he was sure she would. Come on Rogue he prayed silently, as h watched her take her stance against the swordsman. Her daggers weren’t the small ones, but longer ones half the length of the sword, and she held them tight. Her head furrowed in concentration as she gave her enemy a deadly stare.
Thy got into battle, and they were evenly matched. The swordsman and Rogue were equally fast, Rogue even more so. She aimed above his waist, and he was struggling to block the blows. The swordsman was barely able to block her swift attacks, and Rogue was slowly winning. Any moment now she’d dispatch him. But to the swordsman’s credit, he was blocking every blow and had stayed of losing until now. Eris could see the fear in his eyes, as Rogue turned on her feet, manoeuvring lightly to get the swords out of her opponent’s hands. She quickly tripped the swordsman and place a dagger at his throat. “Checkmate” she growled, ferocity in her voice.
She had done it, Eris thought triumphantly. So much for underestimating her. She had proved him wrong, and stripped him of his arrogance.
“Well done” the warrior said clapping. “You have managed to defeat one of our best swordsman. That was impressive.”
The warrior went up to Rogue, “You should practice another weapon, you seemed to have a good fighting hand. How about archery?” he asked.
Rogue nodded, and the warrior went on “I want the three of you here tomorrow at the crack of dawn for the remaining of your stay here. We will start a gruelling session of training from tomorrow. You will be kept on a strict diet from tomorrow, and you will eat what I tell you, when I tell you. You will obey me; Cross me and you will lose your mentor. Understand that, and I expect cooperation. This is for you and not for me. See you tomorrow.” he said, dismissing them.
The three of them walked back, their stomachs rumbling. Eris wasn’t tired, but the other two was. They couldn’t wait to start training the next day.