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Loor dismisses the useless thoughts and looks around. Curving gently inwards, the walls on either side of the gate are made of giant logs, with no corner in sight. A Dirt road runs along the wall on opposite sides of the paved main road. Shabby wooden houses with almost no space between them line both paths. Visible in the distance down the perfectly straight main road is a huge castle made of sparkly reddish-brown stone.

Having forgotten Gaea’s advice in her excitement and unsure what to do now, Loor starts wandering down the main road towards the castle.

And promptly falls flat on her face.

She hears one of the guards snickering behind her as she mutters under her breath.

“Stupid air…always trips me up.”

Red faced with embarrassment, Loor stands and again begins walking toward the castle.
While walking, she notices side roads curving away periodically from the main road. The first road she passes is made of freshly turned gravel and the houses on either side look cleaner and brighter than those near the wall. As she gets closer to the castle, the roads on either side get richer and richer. The next road is paved with common stone, and the one closest to the castle paved with that same reddish, sparkly stone.

That stone is really pretty, I wonder what kind it is.

Reaching the castle, Loor realizes it is actually at the center of a large, round, plaza. Merchants hawk their wares from stalls lining the rim of the circle. Some are sitting next to large squares of cloth randomly situated within the area of the circle, objects for sale lain out in a pleasing fashion on the blanket.
Looking around, Loor notices a road very similar to the one she came from spaced at even intervals around the edge of the plaza. Each one, from where she stood, seemed equally straight and pointed in the direction of the walls, almost like the spokes of a wheel. She spots a sign with a large picture on it near the entrance to the castle. Investigating the sign reveals a map of the city.

(Extremely rough depiction of map)

What an easy to remember layout!

Seeing “training hall” on the map reminds Loor of Gaea’s words so she decides to check it out. Just one problem.

Each direction looks exactly the same! Am I going to have to walk around the whole city before I find it?

Loor sighs in resignation as she realizes how much work this is going to be. Just as she is about to go trudging off on her search, she is startled by a voice from behind her.

“Excuse me”

Loor turns towards the voice to find a young elven woman. Immediately noticeable at a glance, bright blue hair frames light brown eyes set in a pretty, yet somewhat plain face. An unadorned leather tunic and dark green shirt is worn over a rather thin torso. Her long legs are covered by light brown, leather pants. She is wearing gold-embroidered, dark green shoes that don’t really match with the rest of the outfit. Two knife sheaths on a brown leather belt complete the ensemble.

“Would you like to join our party? We were about to go out to hunt some wolves and you look a little lost.”

“Sorry, I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“First day.”

The woman is quite surprised at this.
How did she get those clothes if this is only her first day? And is that a sword she has?

Loor begins to worry.
Why is she looking at me like that? Did I do something wrong?

“Oh, I’m sorry, never mind.”
The woman begins to walk away. Loor, realizing he can save himself some time, (and more importantly effort) rushes to catch her before she can get out of sight.

“Sorry, but do you know the way to the training hall? I don’t really know which direction is which”

The woman gets even more confused. To her way of thinking, someone should at least have to know their way around the city before they are able get new equipment.
“Just walk straight down that road until the merchant’s district. Take a right and follow the road. The training hall is the only stone building in that area, so it’s hard to miss.” She says, pointing at the third ‘spoke’ on the left.

“Thank you very much. My name is Loor by the way.”

“No problem, I’m Robin. Be careful, I’ve heard the instructor is a bit sexist.”

“Okay, I’ll watch out. Oh wait, which one is the merchant’s district?”

Robin stares incredulously at Loor.
How in the world has she gotten these items? She acts as if she’s only been here for a few minutes.
Pulling herself together, Robin says “The road with gray stone paving similar to the main road is the merchant’s district. The one made of sandstone is the noble’s district, the one with gravel is the housing district, and the one that is just dirt along the walls is the slums.”

“Ooh, thanks a lot! Wanna be friends?”

Friend request sent.

“Sure” Maybe I can figure out what she did to get all that stuff…

Request Accepted.

“Yay! Seeya later!” Loor waves at Robin as he walks off towards the road she indicated earlier.

Skipping down a road remarkably similar to the one he arrived on, Loor starts singing.

? "-Friend friend friend, I made a friend, friend friend friend, I made a friend…-"?

Clearly, he is not a composer.

Reaching the merchant’s district, (still singing under his breath) Loor turns onto the road as he was instructed. He notices a group of people standing outside of a large, stone building that he realizes must be the training hall. As he approaches, he notices that the group is composed mostly of crying women.

“Waaah! Why won’t he talk to me?!”
“He told me to leave before I even spoke! Waaaaaah!”
“He bodily threw me out! *sniff* WAAAAAAAH!”
“You think *sob* that’s bad? He attacked me *sob* with his sword!”

Loor walks up to the ‘happiest’ looking woman to find out what happened.
“What is going on? Why is everyone so sad?”

“It’s the swordsmanship instructor. He is soooo handsome, but he hates girls. Be careful if you plan to go in there.”

“Okey dokey, thanks for the warning.”
Finding (forcing) a path through the crying women, Loor enters the training hall. The room he arrives in is much bigger than it looks from the outside. The walls are lined with evenly spaced scarecrows interrupted only by a door at the far end. Ferociously attacking a scarecrow in the center of the room stands a tall, extremely good-looking elf.
His face is perfectly symmetrical and so beautiful it looks as if it was sculpted by angels. His short, messy hair seems to shimmer between silver, platinum and gold. His eyes are a ghostly, ice blue color and currently completely focused on what he is doing. Well-formed and perfectly proportioned muscles standd outlined against his clothes each time he swings his sword.
With a loud sound that almost shakes the air, the elf shatters the scarecrow he is attacking to pieces. Looking at it in disgust, he shakes his head. He looks around and notices Loor standing near the entrance. He smiles, transforming his face from the deadly beauty of a sword, to the tranquil, natural beauty of a rushing waterfall.

What the hell am I even thinking?!?

Loor quickly shakes like a dog trying to get rid of water. When he looks again at the elf, he is able to think rationally. By this time the elf has walked over and starts speaking.

“Hello young man! Are you here to learn the way of the sword?”

“Yes, I would very much appreciate if you could teach me how to use a sword.”

“Excellent! It’s been such a long time since I’ve had a proper student to instruct.”
The instructor walks over to a previously unnoticed weapons rack, picks up a long, sturdy staff, and returns.
“Before learning how to fight with a sword, you must master the basics by learning how to use a staff. First you must learn as much as possible about the specifics of your weapon.”
The instructor hands Loor the staff and waits expectantly.

“Umm, I don’t mean to be rude, but we don’t even know each other’s name. I’ll start, my name is Loor.”

The instructor looks startled for a moment, and then grins sheepishly.
“I’m sorry; I was so excited to have a student that I completely forgot my manners. My name is Rari, I am the weapon master of this fair city. Now please, examine your new staff.”

Loor quickly obeys, and looks closely at his weapon. The wood is a nice tan-brown color. Two slightly roughened areas are located near the center of the weapon. Black knots and whorls abundantly adorn it.
“Oh yeah! I totally forgot”

Innocence +1

“Examine staff.”

Wooden Training Staff Damage 1-1 Durability 20/20

A standard quarterstaff made of oak. Suitable for training as a beginner, but not much else.

Seeing his instructions followed, Rari grins.
Aah, so nice to be obeyed by a student.
“Okay, good. Now I will show you the three basic blocks, and three basic attacks.”
Rari plants his feet shoulder width apart and holds his staff in two hands. First, he holds the weapon above his head horizontally, his hands approximately two feet apart.
“This is called the high block; used to foil the high strike.”
At this Rari smoothly moves the weapon vertical and pulls the lower hand back, forcing the top of the staff down in a lightning-fast strike. Next, he holds his quarterstaff vertically in front of his body hands in the same position, feet still shoulder-width apart.
“This is middle block. You can use it to foil a middle strike.”
Moving his staff into a horizontal position, Rari pulls one hand back and pushes the other forward. The head of the staff swings around from right to left with enough speed to cause some damage.
“Finally, you have the low block; used to foil a low strike.”
Rari holds his staff below his waist at a slight angle for a few moments. He then flows into a vertical hold and pulls his top hand back, this time, while pushing his bottom hand forward. The base of the staff swings up to strike the air.
“Now you try, high block, middle block, low block, high strike, middle strike, low strike in that order.”

Loor attempts to copy the actions he just saw. His blocks look fairly good, and surprisingly, his strikes are even better. He didn’t even whack himself!

“Not bad at all. In fact, it looks as if you’ve been training for a week, rather than five minutes.”

Blushing, Loor starts to mumble a thank you, but realizes what Rari just said.
Doesn’t that mean it still looks pretty dang bad?

Rari, however, is smiling as if he really did just compliment him greatly.
“Continue practicing just like that for a few more hours. I will be doing a bit of training of my own, but will still be watching you and can answer any questions you might have.”

Nodding, Loor begins the sequence again as Rari walks toward a suddenly reconstructed scarecrow.
Wait…..Did he say a few hours?!
Sorry about the length, hard to find inspiration.

Can you figure out the instructor's 'secret?'


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