“Swordsman,” Said Cedric, a rather small built man. He’s not short, his overall body mass is only small. “Give me your undivided attention, if you will.”
Every first year Swordsman brought their attention to Cedric, and through their initial expectation of him, they were sorely surprised. Most figured he’d be big and bulky, full of muscle and girth. Others thought him to be rugged and mean, like a pirate of the seas.
“That’s the legendary Captain Cedric we’ve been told about?” Questioned Anthony of Gem Guild. “Kind of a let down.”
“I kinda expected him to be, I dunno…more buff and handsome.” Shrugged Tina of Stone Guild.
“Guys, they do say big gifts come in small boxes.” Said Cole, a bit more optimistic than the rest of the first years.
“It’s packages, not boxes.” a second year named Gabe mentioned. “Nevertheless you three shouldn’t question Captain Cedric.”
“I wasn’t questioning him, merely a misconception of what I had thought he would be like.” Anthony said.
“Behold the practice dummies,” Cedric said, holding out his arm toward a line of wooden and stone practice dummies. “Using these bad boys you’ll practice some basic sword skills.”
A third year stepped up to one of the stone dummies, readied his stance, and within the blink of an eye he sliced across the dummy, effectively cutting clean through it’s left shoulder to its right leg.
Scattered applause sounded (as well as some female Swordsman giggling lovingly at his performance).
“And as Steven just demonstrated, with much practice, a swordsman can accomplish great things.” Said Cedric. “First and second years follow me.”
He led the group to an area surrounded with cloth dummies, each has a unique face drawn on their heads. Cedric chuckled. “Oh, Emmie.”
He turned to the group. “Your task is simple. Use the blade of your sword to cleanly remove the head of the dummy in one stroke.”
“That’s child’s play.” scoffed Anthony.
Cedric raised an amused brow. “Care to offer us a demonstration?” he asked.
Anthony, feeling big and proud, approached the cloth dummy and unsheathed his short bronze short sword. With all of his might he swung his blade toward the dummy.
The impact through Anthony off balance and he fell to the ground. His blade bounded after the first and second years. They all gasped, Tina cowered. The tip of the blade dug into the earth only a foot from Bay, to which he sighed of relief and passed out.
Cedric shook his head. “Moxie can only get you so far, Anthony. Who would like to try next?”
Tina had a swing at it. She was able to keep control of her stance as well as the sword, but the blade became lodged in the wooden neck of the dummy. “Oh, well that’s not good…”
“I just have to hit it hard…” Cole thought to himself. He approached the wooden dummy, which was staring at him with it’s crooked smile and badly drawn eyeballs.
It looked kind of freaky.
Grunting loudly, Cole swung at full force and whacked the dummy as hard as he could. After the neck remained intact he swung again. And again. And finally after the fourth swing, the neck tumbled to the ground.
“I-I did it!” Cole huffed.
“Nope.” Cedric said plainly.
“Whaddyou mean? I cut his head off!” Cole said, confused.
“No, you butchered his head off.” Cedric held the head of the dummy up. It’s wooden neck was as frayed as one could get a wooden neck to be. “Secondly, I said to do it in one stroke. It took you four.”
Cedric unsheathed his glorious silver blade. He came unto a group of dummies, and after a deep breath, cleanly cut all four of the dummies heads off swiftly. The cut was so clean that the wooden necks looked like they had been sanded.
“Wooow.” Said Tina with sparkles in her eyes.
Cole didn’t say anything. He was both astonished and felt out played.
“Big whoop. With that fancy blade of yours it shouldn’t be too tough to do it.” Anthony said.
With a motion of Cedric’s hand, all of the second years came unto a cloth dummy. All but one of the second years (the one being Bay,) cleanly and quickly cut the heads off of the dummies. They used bronze swords, just as the first years.
“I hit it as hard as I could,” Said Cole defensively, “but I wasn’t strong enough. It’s impossible.”
“Not if you do it right.” Cedric said. “You’re all relying on power too much. It’s about speed and precision, not how hard you can swing a blade.”
Tina finally freed her blade from the dummy. “But if you don’t hit it hard, than how could it possibly cut through?”
“Just trust me.” Cedric said.
Heeding his advice, Cole took his blade and approached another dummy. He swung fast and cut the arm off of it. “I got the arm!” he excitedly said, jumping up for joy.
“But he said cut the head off.” Anthony mentioned, giving it another try. Only he cut the lower half of the dummy, which made the entire thing fall on top of him.
Cole laughed and Tina giggled.
Tina tried once more and she cut the other arm off.
“Between the three of you, you’ve successfully cut everything except for the neck.” Cedric said, rather humored.
After many tried attempts, Cole was the first to successfully cut the head off of a dummy in one stroke. While not as clean of a cut, still a successful attempt.
“Very nice, Cole. Cut ninety-nine more heads off and you’ll be finished with practice.”
The three first years gasped in shock and surprise.
“NINETY-NINE? Are you mad?!” Tina suddenly shouted out.
Everybody except for Cole, Tina, and Anthony erupted in laughter.
“Just jesting,” laughed Cedric. “It’s recommended you fell five heads each, but regardless our training will be over in thirty minutes.
After recovering from the shock, the three began trying to fell dummy heads as quickly as they could.
By the thirty minute time up, Tina actually made it to the top with eight felled heads. Cole barely passed with five heads, while steamy Anthony only managed two heads.
Cedric blew into his whistle and said, “Excellent work, everyone! First years, be ready for more later today. Hey Bay, thank you for not mistaking anybody for a dummy this time.” He clapped his hands. “Training over!”