Of Swordsmanship and Seasonal Fruit

Off-duty Mess


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= This is the place where off duty soldiers and sailors can relax and eat. There is a small cookfire and hearth and a few tables set up nearby. On one wall is a dart board, and on a small table in the corner there is a chess set. Someone has left a pile of parchment with sketches of his fellow knights on another table. This is a comfortable, casual room. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


You can go: Out to the Northern Stairwell <S>

Contents: Hearth <LIT>.

Megren lies on her stomach in front of the fireplace, a book open in front of her and her ankles hooked against each other in the air behind her.

Haft sits with his boots propped up on the hearth in front of the fire.

Megren occasionally opens up a smaller book to take notes into.

Dar is carrying a stack of books that is almost tall enough to obscure his face. He heads for a table near enough to the fire to provide sufficient lighting and sets the books down with a dull thud. He peels one of the books off the top of the stack (it looks particularly dry) and opens it.

Haft turns his head at the sound and rapidly repositions his feet into a more dignified position.

Megren also glances up, and, seeing the newcomer, swings around into a cross-legged sitting position.

Dar frowns, appearing not to find what he is looking for, sets the book aside and chooses another, even thicker than the first.

Haft glances at Megren and shrugs.

Megren comments, “This one says to hold the grip like this,” she demonstrates with her hand for Haft to see. “But this one says like this.”

Dar turns the page before his concentration is broken. “Ah–dare I ask?”

Haft eyes her positioning.  “The first one’s for–oh, evening, Lord Dar.” He rises and bows.

Megren also gets up to bow before sitting again. “Arming sword grips.”

Dar shuts the book and allows it to rejoin its less illustrious brethren on the table. His eyebrow raises. “I see. That depends on which tradition one ascribes to–”

Haft says, “I prefer the former.  Gives you a more secure hold.  I think I’d advise that in your case where you might be up against an opponent with greater physical strength.  The other allows for quicker reverses, though.”

Megren nods thoughtfully. “That’s what I thought,” she demonstrates a slightly adjusted version of the same grip. “This is what Sir Darrin has me doing right now.”

Dar stretches his hands toward the warmth of the fire, abandoning what he was going to say in favor of listening for the moment.

Haft nods his approval.

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Megren says, “The other one is a little harder to move with.”

Dar glances to Megren. “You know-it does not surprise me that my brother favors that approach. But there is another option. One that book does not mention–”

Haft says, “You get used to it, but…” He looks back and waits for Dar to continue.

Megren glances up for the lord to elaborate.

Dar stands and, with a few long strides, makes his way over toward the hearth, where he selects the poker from among the implements. “Now–this is something which I have been saving to use the next time my brother wishes to spar with me. The book you are reading demonstrates a grip like this, correct? If memory serves–” He holds the poker just as the textbook recommends.

Haft says, “I’m not entirely sure a poker would be my weapon of choice in a spar, but to each his own.”

Megren wrinkles her nose at Haft and grins. “Yes, that’s the one Haft liked from the book.”

Dar’s mouth twitches very faintly. “Ah–when necessity dictates–I have seen a battle won with a frying pan, in point of fact.” He steps into a clear area and demonstrates a swing. “The problem with such a grip is that you sacrifice speed. Were this a true test, my enemy would have ample chance to strike my shoulder.” He swings again, more slowly this time, to show how the grip has left him open.

Haft hms.

Megren squints an eye. “Well, you always have to sacrifice something for another thing.”

Haft says, “Oh I don’t know…you can find cherries and rhubarb both in July.”

Megren furrows her brows at him like she doesn’t find this a great comparison.

Haft asks, “You don’t like cherries?”

Megren says, “Uh, cherries are fine.”

Haft says, “Good.”

Megren says, “Something for another thing isn’t the same as anything for anything.”

Haft asks, “What?”

Megren says, “I don’t have to give up my arms for my legs but I do have to give up the advantage of tallness for the advantage of shortness.”

Haft says, “You also get strawberries and cucumber in July.”

Megren squints at him.

Haft shrugs.

The fire flickers, casting dancing shadows all over the walls.

Dar changes his grip. “Indeed. One must always sacrifice, but not all sacrifices are equal. For instance, this other grip–the one my brother favors. What would you say is sacrificed there, Squire Megren?” He adopts the grip Darrin has been training Megren with.

Megren says, “Well, it’s more balanced, so you sort of sacrifice and gain both.”

Haft observes.

Dar raises an eyebrow at this explanation. “Diplomatic of you–but, despite my best efforts to prove otherwise, battles do not often wait upon diplomacy–”

Megren pushes her mouth to the side and waits for him to explain.

Dar adjusts his grip again. “So–without the polite answer. What is gained and what is lost? Guardsman Haft was correct when he said that certain grips are more suited for certain strengths. What did you note about this one.”

Megren says, “I… wasn’t being polite, Sir. As far as I know, that’s the reason for it.”

Haft says, “I can vouch for that, Sir.  She’s rarely polite.”

Dar replies, “Ah. More balanced, perhaps, but your next attack will not carry nearly as much strength.” His mouth turns very slightly upward at Haft’s remark. “So I have been informed. Of course, I rarely trust idle words–”

Megren blinks and drops her eyes.

Haft shifts, glancing at Megren.

Dar continues, “And from my own observations, Squire Megren is more than willing to speak truth to power when it matters. That is all I need to know.”

Megren pushes her mouth to the side and asks quietly, “The grip, Sir?”

Dar gives her a look. He clears his throat and complies. “Now this–” he demonstrates a third grip. “Is not in the book you have, but it will provide you with the flexibility to overcome both of the other approaches nine times out of ten.”

Haft eyes Dar’s grip.  “Depending largely on your opponent’s weapon.  I would hesitate to advise it when dealing with someone wielding a scimitar.”

Dar answers, “That would be the tenth time, indeed–”

Megren says, “Oh.” She nods. “Thank you.”

Dar extends the handle of the poker toward Haft. “And what would you advise against a scimitar, Guardsman?”

Haft says, “A mace.”

Megren wrinkles her nose at Haft, lips turning upward.

Dar hehs. “A hit. A palpable hit. A mace requires a great deal of natural strength, however–and without it, or if caught off guard–”

Haft says, “I’d strongly recommend /not/ being caught off guard.  With a sword though, for myself I’d use the second grip Squire Megren demonstrated.  I’ve got the physical strength that the blade is less likely to be beaten from my hand, and I’d want the versatility.  For her I’d probably recommend the first grip.””

Dar inclines his head at this. “Well put. With sound reason behind the choice. Those are both in the book because they are solid options.”

Megren shakes her head. “Actually, if I just get in close they lose most of their control.”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Haft asks, “You think so?”

Megren says, “I mean, it’s fairly basic swordsmanship, yeah.”

Dar sets the poker back with the other equipment, since Haft seems disinclined to demonstrate his own technique. “All the more reason it reqires focus.”

Haft says, “True enough.”

Megren says, “I wonder if there are any scimitars in the equipment room to train against.”

Haft says, “I’d not imagine we sent ’em back to Calormen with Rabadash.”

Megren hmmm with less certainty.

Dar replies simply, “There are. It will require my brother’s approval to go to Doel and request one, however–and an opponent with the necessary skills with a scimitar.”

Haft says, “I know where you can find one of those.”

Megren says, “Even perfunctory skills would help.”

Megren glances at Haft.

Dar inclines his head. “It is important to know what you may be facing.”

Dar also glances at Haft.

Haft says, “Tarkaan Chlamash is still a guest at Cair Paravel, last I heard.  I had the opportunity to spar with him on numerous occasions.  I should guess that you would need further training before you were to cross blades, but if Sir Darrin’s errands ever take him to Narnia, you might find observing him instructive.”

Megren says, “Oh.”

Megren says, “I wonder if Lady Aravis would ever have a go.”

Haft asks, “She knows how to use one?”

Megren says, “I heard she might.”

Dar raises an eyebrow at this. “It is possible–were she permitted to take the risk, I would imagine she might be inclined.”

Haft says, “I imagine she could commission a piece in wood if she wished.”

Megren mms, a thoughtful agreement.

Dar goes to gather his books together. “Well, that is a speculation for another day. You ought to approach my brother on the subject if you feel that way, Squire Megren. And it is past time I interrupted the mischief that my children are doubtless contemplating and saw to putting them to bed.”

Haft says, “Have a pleasant evening, Sir.”

Megren bows, and smiles. “I am sure Sir Darrin would like me to say you should give them each an extra embrace for him.”

Dar inclines his head in acquiescence. “Doubtless. When you see my brother, tell him it has been far too long since he has stopped by to see to that himself. Pleasant evening to both of you.”

Haft bows.

Megren says, “Last night /was/ ages ago in baby time.”

Dar’s mouth twitches at this. He squares the books away and takes his leave, stooping to pass through the door frame.

Dar walks into the northern stairwell.

Haft turns to Megren.  “I didn’t mean to make it awkward with him, saying you weren’t polite.

Megren shakes her head. “I know. He always seems to manage to find my rough spots, though I don’t think he means to.”

Haft says, “Yeah, probably not.” He reaches out to squeeze her shoulder.  “I got to get ready for my next shift.  I’ll see you for breakfast?””

Megren gives him a smile in return for the squeeze. “Sure, I imagine so. Have a safe shift.”

Haft nods and drops his hand, leaving the room.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s