Result 12 – Part 6


The next morning, you’re woken by a knock at the door. It’s Ameronis and it’s already after 10 AM. She’s a little surprised that she woke you, and asks if you still want to go to The Warriors Edge. You’d forgotten about that for a moment, but you still want to go.

An hour later, after dressing and having a quick breakfast at the buffet, the two of you wander through Steel Haven, an industrial area near the canal, filled with old factories and warehouses that once processed, transported and stored, the aforementioned steel. Now, only a few of those are still active. The rest of been repurposed.

One such building is The Warriors Edge which is in a slightly quieter area away from the grinding steel mill that you passed to get there. Despite the industrial nature of the area, it seems a little more well-to-do than you were expecting, being relatively neat and tidy. “The Warriors Edge” is displayed on the building in bold lettering above a large painting of an armour-clad warrior brandishing a sword, which adorns the huge green double doors, big enough for carriages to pass through two abreast, though they are currently closed tight. However, a smaller door, set within one of the larger doors, is open, and you and Ameronis make your way through.

The Warrior’s Edge

(Ai-generated image produced using Stable Diffusion)

Now in the courtyard, you see a couple of men running past ahead of you, with figures visible through the windows beyond them and directly opposite you. Voices come from the doorway to your right.

There are several different buildings here with the courtyard stretching out of view to your left, and signboards a few feet in front of the doorway where you’re standing, catching your attention. One directs newcomers to the reception area and the other, slightly further away, has a series of announcements and activities jotted down on it. It’s a little difficult to make out, but you think you can see something about fencing, and some sort of meeting scheduled for 8 PM.

Ignoring that for now though, you follow the instructions of the welcome board and enter the building on your right where you see a reception desk near the entrance, and through a break in the screen walls that split the room, you can just about see a group of men watching a brawl, with one guy currently flinging another down onto the mat.

The lady at the desk greets you cheerfully, asking you if you’re new. You confirm this and say that you’re interested in attending the archery classes that you heard about the night before.

“Ah”, she says, “Teriss’ archery class. You’re in the right place but you’re a bit early I’m afraid. The archery doesn’t start for another 30 minutes.”

For a moment you’re a bit put out but she continues.

“But if you’re new here, there’s plenty of things that you can do and see in the meantime. We have a lot to offer here”.

You glance over at the brawling men, doing their wrestling or some kind of martial arts. This place is pretty big; who knows what other things they’ve got going on here?

“We might as well. What is this place?”, asks Ameronis, looking around.

“Ah, well!”, says the lady, clearing her throat in preparation for making a small speech. “My name is Serena and I’d like to welcome you to The Warriors Edge. We are a weapons and martial arts training and social club where members and visitors alike can train their bodies and minds and meet like-minded people. We offer a variety of classes, and people of all ages and origins are welcome to join. We have paid memberships, one-on-one classes and options for free use of our facilities and we frequently host tea house socials for members and visitors from the community. You can see what classes we offer over there” she says, pointing to a noticeboard with a series of posters on it. “Feel free to have a look or ask me anything you like and I’ll try and answer”.

Perusing the available information, you learn that the club offers lessons in swordplay, martial arts, and wrestling, aside from archery, and they have sessions dedicated to running, weightlifting, and general exercises among others. The club is popular with locals and nearby workers. Several of the trainers and teachers are experts in their fields with the former soldier and former wrestler, among them.

The prices are reasonable, with single classes starting at 10 Cogs, with various membership and package options. Aside from that, there is an option to simply access the space and use the facilities such as the running track and the training dummies. They are also open most days from 10 am to 8 pm.

Seeing as you still have some time to kill, and if you’re interested in potentially joining the club, Serena suggests having a tour of the place and visiting the tearoom. You and Ameronis agree and Serena pulls a string on the wall nearby, ringing the bell in some distant room. A short while later a scrawny young man emerges from a side door. Serena motions to him.

“This is Milo”, she says before turning to him. “Milo, would you be so kind as to show these ladies around? They’re considering joining the club.”

Milo smiles and asks you to follow him. Walking through the reception, he takes you past the first training area, allowing you to pause briefly to watch the men, a dozen or more of them, as they take instruction from Gideon, the former wrestler. Burly and looking every part of the gentleman brute, he is now retired but still teaches his skills to members of the city guard for use in self-defence and restraint techniques. Here, he offers members the chance to experience what it’s like inside the ring, as well as giving them the opportunity to build up strength and blow off steam. He also offers periodic boxing classes and Milo shudders at the thought of being boxed in the face by Gideon in a real fight.

Moving on, you pass through another currently empty training room, with a floor covered in padded mats and walls lined with mirrors. The next room is for storing equipment; mostly dummies, mats, some rope, and lots of heavy iron weights.

Beyond that is the tearoom, directly opposite the entrance of the facility. It is a large room with a large fireplace and is filled with benches and tables. It’s surprisingly brightly decorated and has a vibrant atmosphere, which is slightly at odds with the relatively gritty rough-and-tumble appearance of the rest of the buildings. There are quite a few people in here, chatting and drinking tea, and eating sandwiches, slices of cake, and small pieces of meat from a larger piece being rotated over the fire.

Milo leads you back outside where you follow the painted lines on the ground that denote the running track. The men you saw running earlier run past you again and you realise they’re doing laps. Around the corner of the wide carriage thoroughfare, you see the section of the yard that has been transformed into the archery range where a few men are busy preparing for the upcoming class, moving targets into place. Beyond that, pressed up against one wall, is a fairly terrifying-looking scaffold with a variety of textures and coverings intended for climbing.

You pass by another door which leads to the swordplay training room. Peering through the window, you see a large, spacious room, with markings painted on the floor and racks of real swords decorating the walls. At least 10 people are in there, practising in pairs.

You can hear the sound of metal clanking coming from the next building, which turns out to the a small repair centre, where a man works on repairing some dented metal armour. On the other side of the room, a small market table is set up to display the items they sell; a handful of training gear, clothing and accessories. They also offer simple metalwork repairs. They don’t have a master blacksmith, but if you have something metal that needs sharpening or fixing, then Ed can probably take care of it for you.

The next building offers changing areas and storage lockers for members to use, and the last building is currently unused and locked. You step out of the door here, walk past the entrance and end up back in the reception where you started.

So far, this place seems pretty interesting, so you’re curious to see what the quality of the classes is like for yourself, but, with only 10 minutes left until the archery class is due to start, there’s no time left to stand and watch one of the other lessons. There are a few other people in the reception now, signing in for an upcoming class. You and Ameronis opt to just pay for a single class now rather than a membership.

Ready to begin, you retrace your steps and join the others who have already gathered at the archery range. There are 11 of you in total, with a few more men than women, with ages ranging from an older teenage boy, to a couple of elders, around Ameronis’s age. Some of them stand around doing some basic stretches whilst others like you simply wait and watch.

While the other two are gone, the third man who was preparing the area earlier now stands off to one side and watches as a woman approaches; you recognise her as the lady from the jamboree.

“Good day everyone,” she says. “I see we have quite a few new faces here today, so for those of you who have not had the pleasure of being here before, welcome. I am Terris, the archery instructor. For the rest of you. Welcome back. Your continued commitment to mastering this ancient practice is noted.”

“Now to our newcomers. You join us on the path of patience and precision; a journey of discipline. Today we will be going over the fundamentals. Whether you’re experienced or just starting, the basics must never be forgotten. They are the backbone of skill. We’ll start with some warm-ups, then move on to target practice, then we’ll finish with a little competition. Remember that every shot is an opportunity to improve, so let’s make each arrow count.”

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