Lord Ryne said, “We’ll have to work on that then.” They both stood up and went behind their house using the small gap between it and the barn. Around back was the hay target they used to improve their sword swings and bow shots. Falis’s father went to the hay target. The target was shaped like a man. Ryne pushed it from side to side. Ryne started slow, the hay man swinging back and forth on the rope that hung against the roof of the barn. Falis had actually hit the damned barn as much as he’d hit the target. It was obvious to anyone who saw the holes in the wall. When people asked who put the holes there, Ryne told them that archery was not Falis’s strong point though he’d never mentioned that when there was a lady present. He knew that would embarrass him. Falis appreciated his kindness. Several times Falis had even cut the rope with an arrow and even his sword. Every time he did this he always expected Ryne to get angry. But instead all the man did was grunt, grab a ladder and hang and attach a new piece of rope. Once when he’d first started Falis had asked Ryne why he wasn’t angry. His father had only said that it was a learning experience and he was aiming too high. When rope cutting did occur Ryne was quick to busy himself getting to work on fixing the rope. He hated to waste training time. Sometimes Ryne would raise the rope telling Falis that not every target was the same height. He would also add some bulk to the hay man or take some away.
Lord Ryne pushed the hay target side-to-side slowly. Falis hit nine of his first ten shots, then Lord Ryne increased the speed a little. This time Falis only hit three.
“Focus on your target boy,” Lord Ryne shouted.
The third time Falis hit six shots of ten. His concentration was broken by riders coming from the north-east along the road. It was several members of the king’s guard, two were sword masters. Many said that they were among the best swordsmen in Azmald. Blane rode to the left. He was a large muscular man that carried only a medium sized sword and a short sword. His close cut brown hair could not hide the two zig zagging scars atop his head. Falis had asked Ryne where he’d gotten them and Ryne simply said in service to the king. Ryne wasn’t one to tell stories and he often would give the bluntest information possible hoping that it would be enough to satisfy Falis’s curiosity. Lord Blane wore plate male armor with a dragon breathing fire on a lion engraved in red on the chest piece. His gauntlets were leather and surrounded with lace about the wrists above his unusually long hands. Blane was thick in the arms and wrists which made it more difficult to perform unarmed self defense on him. Often times when Falis tried to, Blane would throw him to the ground with ease. Blane was a fair man though and he never rubbed it in his face when he bested Falis. He actually showed him ways to help him overcome the man’s size. Falis liked practicing with Blane because he knew that he would learn a lot...