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1 Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:05 pm

Kestrana

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For a couple of months, the weyrling riders had been trained in the art of weaponless self defense. As some smart-alec had pointed out, though, if they ever did have to defend themselves, it probably wouldn't be against an unarmed assailant. Now that they had reasonable control of the basics of unarmed combat, they would be starting in armed combat - starting with staves.

For the first week, they'd each be using a quarterstaff. They were taught first a series of defensive moves, then a series of offensive moves, similar to what they'd learned in their previous self defense class; each move was given a specific number - the moves were numbered so that the defensive move would defend against the same offensive move. H'lee showed them how to hold the staves: about a foot apart around the center of the stave, with the left hand palm down and the right hand palm up.

Defensive Moves
1 - "Low block" in which the staff is held parallel to the ground, with both hands, just below the waist
2 - "High block" same as the low block, only the staff is held just above the head
3 - "Right block" in which the right hand pulls that end of the staff back toward the hip and the left hand moves forward across the body, putting the staff at a 45-degree angle with the left end at approximately eye level and the right end at knee level
4 - "Left block" same as the right block except that the left hand is at the hip and the right hand moves across the body

Offensive Moves
1 - "Groin strike (left)" in which the left end of the staff is swung upwards from the knee toward your opponent's groin
2 - "Head strike (left)" frequently follows a groin strike (left) where the right end of the staff is swung forward toward the head (and the left hand comes back to the hip)
3 - "Left strike (left)" where the left hand thrusts forward, swinging the left end of the staff horizontally toward your opponent; the right hand comes back to the right shoulder and that end of the staff rests against the outside of the shoulder
4 - "Right strike (left)" is similar to both the left strike and the head strike, in that the right end of the staff is swung horizontally toward your opponent, but the left hand comes back to rest at the hip instead of the shoulder

They weyrlings were paired off with padded helmets, similar to riding gear, to protect their heads from wild swings. "You can break bones with these, and I guarantee that if you do this right, you'll have bruises on your shoulders for a few days, but they'll go away as your muscles get used to it. And cracked ribs or wrists will teach you to hold the weapon properly and get your defense up!"

H'lee began running them through the four moves, 1, 2, 3, 4; he repeated the sequence over and over, slowly speeding up the tempo.

The "left" in the offensive moves refers to the dominant hand during the combination. The same maneuvers can be done with the right hand being dominant. I should clarify, "dominant" does not mean which hand you write with; in fact, it's usually the opposite. In this case, "dominant" means whichever hand is palm down on the stave.

It's been a few years since I worked with a bō staff, so I'm having to walk through these with an air staff (since I lost my bō somewhere during one of the many times I moved after high school). So bear with me. :-)

Pairings:
A'lo & Katarina
X'kim & Z'vier
K'so & D'rick
N'sir & K'let
Artemis & Fayble
S'nom & Ashendel

First Post: Pairing off and trying out the moves. Make sure to switch who's offensive and who's defensive.

Deadline: Saturday, Sept. 15
Next Post: Sunday, Sept 16
Posts to Pass: 3 out of 4




K'so
K'so was rather disappointed when he showed up for their weapons class and there were just 6-foot-long sticks waiting for them. He thought weapons meant knives and swords!

He fumbled through the exercises at first, trying to remember which move went with which number. The offensive ones were easy after a few run-throughs, each move sort of flowed into the next. Defensive moves were a little harder.

Then H'lee paired them up. K'so was paired up against the somewhat larger and undoubtedly stronger greenrider, D'rick. He also knew that A'lo would have loved to be paired off against the greenrider so he could beat the daylights out of him. So...K'so would just have to try to make it up for his friend, right? Riiiiight...

When his chance at offensive moves came, he laid into D'rick. Or tried to, anyway. He swung the staff extra hard, trying to at least conk the greenrider on the head, if not crack a rib or, what would probably be A'lo's favorite, give him something to think about about in his southerly regions. Of course, he didn't consider the fact that D'rick would get a chance at the offensive moves after K'so's turn...but he also figured that D'rick wouldn't be in any shape to retaliate - that's how over-confident he was.
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2 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:33 am

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A'lo

A'lo had done decently well in the hand-to-hand combat portion of their self defense classes. Quite frankly, he found the exercise and everything rather important... especially considering he STILL wasn't overly happy about his sister's condition.. or the fact that one of their group had put her in it. Regardless, he had never been paired with D'rick throughout the lesson, something that he often questioned in the silence of his weyr. Although, the answer usually came back with the idea that H'lee probably knew better than to pair an angry bronzerider with a guilty greenrider.

Patiently the boy watched as H'lee demonstrated what they would be doing with their weapons, a weapon that A'lo was somewhat sad to see had no pointy ends... although he was also happy because he would HATE to see his sister using a pointy object while she was pregnant... and starting to show more. As he listened and half watched the demonstration, he glanced over at his sister. She had been drinking her teas, so she didn't get dizzy, but she still was rather tired by the end of their lessons. And he knew that this lesson would be no different.

When it was time for them to practice and get paired off, he put his helmet on and faced Katarina, not entirely happy that he was paired with a woman, but figuring that he could control his swings enough to not seriously hurt her. Thus, he let her go first on the offensive, using his staff to block any attack he could see coming... sadly that didn't include one that managed to catch him in the ribs on his right side.... He winced at that and grunted that he was okay to continue.

When things were changed, A'lo did the best he could with attacking, and managed to land a blow on her left arm, pausing to make certain that she was okay.

--

Artemis

Artemis was happy to be learning self defence... quite frankly she was not exactly looking forward to the idea of someone possibly trying to hurt her baby. And while she didn't see something like that happening... it was a possibility of something that COULD happen... So, she was adamant about showing up to these things... even if she was starting to show her pregnancy. Everyone there knew what had happened by now, and she knew full well that it would mean she'd be held back.

As H'lee set about demonstrating these things, the girl watched interested in the happenings and wanting to make sure she understood how to do each part. When finally she found herself able to practive the maneuvers... she did her best and complained whenever the staff bumped into her belly because she hadn't been holding it out far enough. At least she didn't hit herself hard with it and so her baby wouldn't get hurt. When finally she was paired off with someone, she was thankful it was another girl. Fayble was a good person so she figured that she wouldn't have to worry about too many attacks to her abdomen. Not that she figured any in the room would go there...

When they faced off, she took the offensive first and was careful not to to do to much to the girl and so her swings were careful. She first did a head strike (making it painfully obvious) before going to a left strike and then a right strike. When she was done her round of attacks, she took a defensive position and did her best to block any attacks Fayble threw at her.

3 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:00 pm

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They had been given sticks. He was pouting, D'rick didn't want a stick! Sticks were for kids and he wasn't a kid he was a dragon rider in training. Even if he'd have to wait another turn to graduate. Not even a pointy end, and listening to the lessons he was only mildly amused by H'lee. Practicing he was quick enough to pick it up and soon weilding the staff with precision, though it did have some clumsiness to it and perhaps some over exertion here and there.

D'rick was more than happy to let out some frustrations and when paired off with K'so was slightly shocked at how -hard- he was hitting! The first few blows were feebily blocked (out of surprise) and sure enough he took one to the ribs grunting in pain. Determined not to let Art see the crap kicked out of him, he wisened up quick enough and was able to block a majority of the body blows, but still wound up a bit tenderized. His ribs ached, and he was almost positive the right side had a few fractures.

When it was his turn to return the blows the greenrider was quick to return the strikes with just as much (if not more) strength. He grit his teeth annoyed at the fact that the blue rider.

--

Fayble was listening, having been surprised they were even going to be allowed to bonk each other. Staffs or no she was a bit nervous about taking a hit, and was determined to master blocking. When allowed to practice she did so (though ended up bonking herself a few times). Rubbing her head she was surprised to be paired up with the pregnant Artemis.

"I can't hit you." She pointed out to Artemis. "Can we just say I lose?" She wasn't competative like that, what was the point when her partner was carrying a passenger full time and frowning she didn't know how to get around this problem. What if she accidentally hit the bump?! "But if I have to..." Sure enough when Fayble was finally instructed to swing as Art she swung very lightly (the taps wouldn't even welt or bruise) and was aiming for the arms, neck, and head keeping well away from the stomach. Which meant accidentally bashing herself in the skull, dropping the staff and yelping as it bounced off her toe.

"OW SHARDING WHERRIES!" She hobbled around trying to brush off the stinging shame.

4 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:37 pm

Kestrana

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The weyrlings spent the rest of the week practicing with staves, learning more complex maneuvers and forms. After a week of nothing but that, they found a change waiting for them. They still practiced with the staves, but they only took a few minutes to run through all the exercises.

Then H'lee handed them a new weapon: half the length of the staves, made of a special wood that was lightweight and cut so the "blade" end was loose and therefore, less painful when it made contact than even the staves were. They went through essentially the exact same set of moves that they had with the staves.

Defensive Moves
1 - "High block" is very similar to the stave high block, where the handle of the practice sword is raised and the point tilted across the body to block an overhead swing; the handle is at eye level with the point a few inches higher
2 - "Low block" in which the wrist of the arm holding the sword is rotated to swing the end of the sword down across the body; at the end of the swing, the point is positioned at about knee-level
3 - "Right block" in which the blade is held at about a 30-degree angle to the ground and lines up along the right side of the body
4 - "Left block" same as the right block except that the blade lines up along the left side of the body

Offensive Moves
1 - "Head strike" where the attacker's weapon reaches out and tries to chop down on the defender's head
2 - "Knee strike (left)" in which the blade is swung down to strike on the attacker's left side at the defender's right knee
3 - "Left slash" where the attacker's blade point starts on the left side and slashes toward the defender's right side at rib level
4 - "Right slash" is similar to both the left slash except that the point of the blade starts on the attacker's right side and slashes toward the defender's left side

After walking through the strikes and blocks separately, the weyrlings were again paired off to practice the moves on each other.

For those who don't recognize the description, the practice swords are based off the kendo shinai training weapon (picture).

Pairings:
A'lo & Fayble
X'kim & Ashendel
K'so & Katarina
N'sir & Z'vier
Artemis & D'rick
S'nom & K'let

Second Post: Pairing off and trying out the moves. Make sure to switch who's offensive and who's defensive.

Deadline: Saturday, Sept. 22
Next Post: Sunday, Sept 23




K'so
K'so was pleased that he'd managed to get some hits in. From the way the greenrider was favoring his side, it seemed he might have cracked some ribs. Unfortunately, despite how hard he'd attacked - or perhaps because of it - when it was D'rick's turn to attack, he laid into K'so just as hard.

Actually, it was harder than K'so had done, mostly because D'rick was larger and stronger than K'so to begin with. He blocked strongly, but not strong enough. The first five or six blows got through, or nearly through: a blunted blow one to the inside of his thigh followed by a solid conk on the head sent him reeling and the two blows to his ribs got through and sent him staggering back. He lashed out blindly with the staff, one-handed, as he tried to regain his footing and orientation.

----------

This week, he started out paired with Katarina. He followed the prescribed maneuvers as indicated by H'lee. When they were paired up, he let Katarina go first. He kept trying to put his left hand on the "blade" end of the and use it like the staff he'd used the previous week. This only lasted until the second time his fingers got pinched by a blow from the brown weyrling's practice sword.

His swings were sloppy at first because he wasn't accustomed to the way the practice sword weighed in his hand. But as they switched back and forth between defender and attacker, it started to feel better. By the end of the practice, though, his hands were cramped, his ribs stung from some blows that got through, and his wrist ached from the angle the practice sword was held at and the weight it put on the joint.
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5 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:58 pm

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A'lo

A'lo had been relatively pleased with his work the previous week, having survived the thing AND not harmed Katarina. This week, he found himself paired with another girl (and he was starting to wonder if H'lee thought him incapable against another guy...), but he said nothing. Instead he paired off with Fayble, holding his whapping stick and smiled at her. "Ladies first?" he offered her before preparing to defend himself. He would let her do as she pleased with him and he easily moved the weapon to defend.

In the end she landed a couple blows on him (I leave it to Fayble to decide which ones and where), before it was his turn to attack her. His blows, naturally, were tempered so that they wouldn't cause her any harm. He couldn't bring himself to use his full strength against a girl.. it was bad enough he had to attack one with a practice weapon. He did a couple strikes and slashes of each one, just practicing the moves and giving her ample opportunity to defend herself.

--

Artemis was rather shocked with her own pairing, and she was happy that her brother would be thoroughly distracted. D'rick was paired with her. Of course, seeing as she wasn't feeling all that well... a part of her DID want to beat him to a bloody pulp... but she couldn't actually do so. Instead she took her pregnant form and stood paired with her fellow weyrling. "Do you want to go first or should I?" she asked him.

Note: I will finish posting BOTH siblings or just Arty after Fayble has posted

6 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:59 am

Kestrana

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The weyrlings spent the rest of the week beating on each other with the practice swords, learning more complex maneuvers and forms. After a week of nothing but that, they found yet another change waiting for them. They still practiced with the staves and swords, but they only took a few minutes to run through all the exercises with each weapon before moving on to something new.

This week, H'lee handed them what appeared at first glance to be short sticks, about 12 inches long. Closer examination revealed that eight of the inches were tapered to resemble a knife, while the last four inches were rounded and grooved to encourage the user's grip. They went through the exact same set of moves that they had with the practice swords, other than their aim had to be altered slightly to adjust for the shorter "blades."

After walking through the strikes and blocks separately, the weyrlings were again paired off to practice the moves on each other.

Pairings:
A'lo & K'so
X'kim & N'sir
Katarina & Artemis
S'nom & Z'vier
Fayble & D'rick
Ashendel & K'let

Third Post: Pairing off and trying out the moves. Make sure to switch who's offensive and who's defensive.

Deadline: Saturday, Sept. 29
Next Post: Sunday, Sept 30




K'so

K'so found the practice knives somewhat disappointing. They were so short! He'd gotten used to being able to keep his opponent at bay with the staff and sword - after all, he wasn't that tall. The staff and sword gave him enough reach to keep the taller weyrlings away from him. He was at a disadvantage with the knife, and he was already dreading the sparring bout he'd have with D'rick before the week was out. They rotated through partners each day, the only exception being that A'lo and D'rick had not been partnered together. The bulge that was beginning to show over Artemis' belt was obvious reason enough for the intense distrust the bronze weyrling had for the green.

Today, he was partnered with A'lo. Well, at least he wouldn't feel like he was on the defensive the whole time this time, like he did when partnered with D'rick or that aggressive female brownrider. He was slowly beginning to accept that A'lo was "superior" to him, if for no other reason than he'd Impressed the bronze that K'so had been sure was destined for him, so he yielded the decision of whether to be on the offense or defense first to the other weyrling.

When he was his turn to go on the offensive, he started out swinging too fast, being used to the heavier practice swords, and his overhand strike smacked hard into A'lo's defending knife. K'so winced and withdrew for a moment, shaking his tingling hand. "Sorry, A'lo. These feel funny," he said by way of explanation. "I'll go slower next time." When the next cycle of "1, 2, 3, 4!" came around from H'lee, he started again, this time moving more slowly and not swinging as hard.
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7 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:03 pm

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A'lo

The weeks were starting to blur together for the bronze weyrling as he started to understand just what he was supposed to do. Quite frankly, he was slowly getting better at understanding what it was he was supposed to be doing as a wingsecond... and one day he would figure out the ins and outs of the job. Perhaps, he would even get to try being an actual wingleader one day instead.

Regardless of what happened, he was once more in weapons training... and shocked to find himself paired with K'so instead of a girl! Hurray! He was finally allowed to use a little more strength and try harder. He was always fearful of hurting his partner when paired with a female. It was probably why he ended up more bruised than either of his partners has.

When paired off, looking at the dagger he waited for them to be given the go-ahead, nodding to his friend to let the other go on the offensive first. He didn't overly mind going second on that part. Once the first strike was done, he shook his own hands as they stung slightly. "It's no problem. These things are weird," he admitted with a smirk before getting down to business and moving through the moves with his friend. In the end, he actually liked the feel and control of the smaller blade compared to the others.

When it was his turn, he went through the strikes on his friend. His moves were slightly more controlled than normal, although he didn't hold back his strength as much as he would have with his previous partners. Although, at one point he did use more strength then intended, "Sorry, this are nice... but they're so light that I almost forget that I can swing them harder..." he admitted to his friend with a chuckle.

Artemis

Artemis hated the weapon practices more and more as the weeks past. She already felt like she was a house... and as the weeks moved along she couldn't help but wonder how helpful it was for her to participate. Regardless, she hever complained about them. Just as she never voiced her complaints about anything else... she didn't want H'lee to look down on her for her letting her condition get in the way. It was bad enough she was a pregnant weyrling.

When she was paired off with Katarina, she was somewhat curious as to how things were going to go with this. Regardless, she went through the moves, thankfully with no real mishaps. Although, she did miss a block and ended up with a mark on her arm.

8 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:39 am

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D'rick had begun to look better, his tired look was matched with a steely determination, especially after being paired with the various people over the sevendays. Today being paired with Fayble, seemed a bit...Daunting. The girl was a bit out there still and would always walk around with that -vacant- smile, and mutter under her breath. It was hard to tell if she was talking to Deasirith or herself. Not like it mattered much.

Though when he was told to arm himself with this...almost shiv like instrument he frowned. It was small, and it wasn't that awesome at all. It felt almost natural in his hand though and he was surprised at had quickly Fayble actually acclimatized to it.

Indeed she whipped it around a few times, rotated it in her hand, and then dropped into her stance. The two of them exchanged blows, and it was quickly obvious that Fayble was more agressive, as D'rick was put on the defensive, ending up with a few good welts.

When it was his turn to be offensive he was quick to break through her blocks and she ended up falling on the floor with a yelp out as she bashed her elbow. He tripped over her and landed on her, and scrambled off the girl quickly enough.

"Sorry!" He stated with a burn of embarassment, she snarled at him and muttered under her breath again.

9 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:41 pm

Kestrana

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The fourth week of weapons training, they were introduced to a ranged weapon: bow and arrows. They still spent half an hour running through staff, sword, and knife practice first.

They traveled down to the training bowl; a number of bales of straw had been set up with paint on them formed targets downwind of the weyrlings. "You'll shoot with the wind this week, we'll teach you how to judge the winds for shooting against or cross them later."

Each weyrling was given a recurve bow and a quiver of half a dozen arrows. A Weyrlingmaster first demonstrated how to string the bows, then how to shoot them. Then the adults moved behind the weyrlings and allowed the youngsters to let loose. They walked along behind the lines, correcting an aim here, a stance there. They were not allowed off the line until all the weyrlings had fired their six arrows, then they were shooed off to go collect the arrows from the targets.

Fourth Post: Stringing your bow, firing your six arrows, and retrieving them from the target(s).

Deadline: Saturday, Oct. 6




K'so
This was not a fighting weapon, K'so thought as he struggled to flex the bow enough to string it. Hunting, sure, but not fighting. He remembered how little he liked butchering wherry and herdbeast for Qancith when the blue was young; he couldn't imagine himself hunting wherries to eat himself. That's what these were really for.

With a little help from one of the Weyrlingmasters, he finally grasped the idea of hooking the end of the bow over one ankle and behind the other knee to bend it and get the bowstring hooked over the upper end. Then he lifted it and stretched his left arm out, pulling the string back with his right, no arrow nocked at first. He let go and the string twanged unmusically.

In response, a Weyrlingmaster barked at him not to "dry fire" because he could break the bow. The bow was snatched away from him and examined minutely and a crack where the string attached to the top of the bow pointed out to him; every other weyrling was brought over and shown the crack as well. As if being yelled at wasn't enough, he was forced to endure the embarrassment of damaging a weapon the very first time he'd been given it. Of course, that would be a very effective deterrent against a repeat of the incident.

After he received a new bow and strung it, he carefully nocked an arrow and fired at the target. His first shot veered way off and sank into the side of A'lo's target. His second and third shots fell short and overshot. His fourth arrow stuck in the edge of the bale, just barely actually hitting the target. His fifth and sixth arrows thudded solidly into his bale, one near the top and the other about a foot up from the ground.

Because he'd had to wait for a second bow, he was the last one to finish shooting, causing all the other weyrlings to wait on him. When they were given the all clear, he shuffled across the field to collect his arrows, feeling ashamed. He retrieved the five from around his target and went over to A'lo's target to get his last one.
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10 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:54 pm

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A'lo

The young bronzerider had gone through the motions of practicing with the previous three weapons before he set them aside and picked up his recurve bow and his quiver. Once strung, he studied the weapon and glanced at the weyrlingmaster in time to see him demonstrate how to string it and shoot it. Once the demonstration was done... he moved onto his next step.

First he set about trying to pull the bow back, testing to see what the strength of the bow was. He wanted to see who well it worked and get a feel for the new weapon. Once done, he moved to grab an arrow and knotched it into the bow. It was slightly difficult to pull back, but he managed to get it, and hold it as he aimed down the shaft of the arrow... fired... and managed to hit the outside of the target.... sorta. The arrow bounced off it and fell to the ground.

The youngster glared at it for a moment before grabbing his next one, knotching it, and drawing it back. This time, he managed to draw it back a little further and aim. More careful of what he was aiming at. When he released, he yelped in pain and watched as the arrow sailed uselessly to land into the ground about half way to the target. "Sharding hells!" he cursed to himself, feeling his cheek which smarted a little.

~What was that? It hurts!~ the complaint entered his mind as the pain had managed to disturb his dragon.

~Nothing, you. Now shush!~ he grumped in return before aiming with his next arrow. This time he was careful not to put his face too close to the bow, and to keep his form as nice as H'lee's had been. Once he had managed to aim it as nicely as he wanted to, he released it and gave a woop of delight when it stuck in the target! A little off to the one side, and definitely not in the center... but it hit the target AND STUCK!

Feeling he had it figured out, he set about shooting the next three arrows. These three he followed the last steps and progressively got better, although he didn't hit dead center until his very last arrow. And even then, he was certain it was pure dumb luck.

When all were shot, and he was done his victory announcement to Rik, he walked over and retrieved the six arrows.

11 Re: Weyrling Lesson #3b: Weapons Practice on Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:01 pm

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Artemis was still getting rather annoyed at her condition from time to time. It was getting more and more annoying the larger she got... and quite frankly, she was starting to feel like a sharding house! Regardless, she maintained her lack of verbal complaints while at lessons. Instead, she took the bow and did much like her brother... she experimented with pulling the string on the bow and testing it. Once done, she grabbed her first arrow and watched the demonstration before she tried with her first arrow.

The first arrow, once knotched and aimed, was released and did two things. The string snapped against her forearm and her arrow planted itself in the ground about 5 feet in front of her. She groaned. This was not going to be a good lesson.

~What are you hurting yourself with?~ her green complained.

Artemis rolled her eyes, ~Accidentally hit myself with the bow string. I'll figure this out eventually...~ she responded to her dragon as she pulled back her second shot. This time she was careful to fix how she held the bow in relation to her arm before releasing a second shot... that made it about twice as far as the first.

With a frustrated sigh, she grabbed her third arrow... and repeated the process... but tried to put a little more strength into it. Finally the arrow hit her target... and bounced onto the ground. "Shards it all!" she cursed under her breath before trying again. The next couple arrows were much the same... with the projectile hitting the target but not sticking.

Her last arrow she had managed to put all her frustration into drawing the bow back and finally got one to stick... although not dead center on the target. Not that it deminished her feelings of absolute joy at it FINALLY sticking in the target.

Once done celebrating, she set the bow to the side and walked over to get her arrows, squatting down awkwardly to get the ones on the ground along the way. ~Ugh... I feel so fat...~ she whined at her dragon who merely snorted at her.

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