Flashback Try not to Quiver

Erick remembers his first lessons in archery.

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This shining population center is considered the jewel of The Sylira Region. Home of the vast majority of Mizahar's population, Syliras is nestled in a quiet, sprawling valley on the shores of the Suvan Sea. [Lore]

Try not to Quiver

Postby Erick Barnett on October 11th, 2016, 3:44 am

72nd of Fall, 509AV
The Bronze Woods, Just outside Stormhold, Syliras Region
10:14AM

SNAP!

Erick let out a sharp cry, dropping the bow as he shook his hand out. ”Petching hai, that hurt!”

Nearby, Sera Eliza Goldmane let out a sardonic chuckle, casually resting against a tree with her arms folded in front of her.

The young squire shot her an injured look. ”What’re you laughing at?”

”You, boy. I’m laughing at you.” She pushed herself up off the tree and bounded across the short clearing to Erick, standing next to him as she examined his handiwork. When they had first arrived to the clearing that morning, Eliza had used a knife to carve a simple target into the side of the broadest tree. Not a single arrow had found the mark yet, arranged in a wide circle that impressively enough seemed to include not only the ground in front of the target tree, but every tree next to it.

Eliza whistled, narrowly resisting the urge to burst out laughing again. ”Quite the eye you’ve got, Erick. I certainly feel sympathy for anyone that happens to be standing next to your target.”

His cheeks burning slightly, Erick quickly stooped and snatched the longbow off the ground, letting out a sigh. ”I don’t get what I’m doing wrong.” His patron took a step back, her arms folding in front of her again as she nodded curtly to him.

”Alright. Go on, show me your draw.”

He brought the bow up, hesitantly pulling another arrow from the quiver and nocking it, hearing the audible click as it locked into the bowstring. He began to slowly pull back, holding the shot a moment.

”No, no, no.” She waved her hand, and on command, Erick relaxed the bow as she stepped around, picking her own bow up and quickly nocking an arrow. ”Look at my bowhand.” The boy peered as instructed as Eliza continued. ”You don’t need to hold on to the thing for dear life. Let it rest just so, on the webbing here between your thumb and index finger. The rest of your hand should be relaxed.” With a quick head motion, she indicated to Erick to step back, and he promptly did so.

The hollow twang of the bowstring as it snapped backwards reverberated through the air, followed by the oaken thud of the arrowhead as it slammed into the target. It wasn’t dead in the center, but it was at least inside the lines - more than Erick had managed to do yet.

Eliza motioned to Erick, and he nodded, stepping up to the line Eliza had drawn in the dirt and preparing another shot. As he did, the Sergeant-Knight stepped behind him, using her hands to gently adjust the position of his arms. ”Remember, don’t hold the bow drawn more than an instant. The longer you hold the shot, the less accurate you will be. Draw, mark, and release. One motion.”
Last edited by Erick Barnett on October 11th, 2016, 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Erick Barnett
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Try not to Quiver

Postby Erick Barnett on October 11th, 2016, 3:46 am

There was another sturdy wooden crack as the arrow was released, making quick contact with the tree - but well above the actual target circle, showering small fragments of bark onto the exposed root gnurls below.

”Well…” Erick lowered the boy, glancing over to his patron. ”At least I hit the right tree this time…?”

”Aye, over two feet too high. How many eight-feet men do you think we’re likely to come into contact with, Erick?”

The young squire let out a sigh, nodding solemnly. ”Right. I’ll keep trying.” He retrieved another arrow from the quiver, and nocked it, holding it in a relaxed stance as he eyed the target.

As he pulled the bow up, reading to draw and loose, Eliza paced in a small semi-circle behind him. ”Remember to relax. Don’t grip the bow too hard. Feel the angle of the wind and adjust the shot accordingly.”

The boy took a slow, deep breath, feeling the air fill his torso up from the top all the way to the bottom. As he had been instructed to do when they had first began that morning, as he released the breath in a slow, controlled push, he drew back on the arrow, the bow emitting a low groan as he took just a half-tick to make final adjustments to the shot before releasing.

THUNK!

A small smile parted his lips as he turned to Eliza. The arrow had landed inside the bounds of the circle. Sort’ve. She nodded politely.

”Well, that is an improvement, I suppose.” She took a step back, shrugging apologetically as she continued. ”...Or just dumb, blind luck. I’ll say we’re done for today once you can get… Let's say… Five in a row on target, eh?”

”Five… In a row?”

Eliza nodded, her golden bangs slipping loose of her bun in a few places and straying waywardly into her eyes. ”Yup. If you miss a shot the count restarts.” She returned to the tree she had been leaning against earlier, sitting against the base of it now as she retrieved her waterskin from her pack. ”I’ve got all day. And so do you. So get to shooting.”
Eagerly, Erick turned back to his target. Another long, steady inhale as he brought an arrow from the quiver and secured it to the browstring, closing his off eye to help focus his sight down the wispy plumage that made up the fletching. A slow, steady exhale through the mouth as he drew back, taking just a moment to adjust the shot before releasing.

The squire watched in dismay as the arrow leapt forth from the bow, sailing cleanly past the target and vanishing somewhere in the forest.

”Oooh,” Eliza let out a contented sigh as she finished a long drink from her waterskin, tucking it back into her pack. ”Tough break. Back to zero.”
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Try not to Quiver

Postby Erick Barnett on October 11th, 2016, 3:47 am

Muttering dejectedly to himself, he barely could hear her as he plucked another arrow from the quiver. Focus. If she can do it, so can you.

”Remember, keep the arrow between your index and middle finger.” Eliza spoke casually through a mouthful of trail rations as she watched him. ”Three fingers on the string, and breathe. You remember how to breathe I imagine?”

Erick could feel the strain of the longbow’s draw weight across his body as he nocked the arrow and pulled it back. A gust was blowing cold winds from the north, and the Bronze Woods whispered to him from every direction. He nudged the bow slightly to compensate, quickly releasing his fingers from the string.

The shot buzzed through the air momentarily before digging into the bark of the tree - about a foot beneath the target. Erick groaned, lowering the bow as he turned helplessly back to his patron.

She was already on her feet, bounding back over to him. ”I think I finally identified the problem.” She had her own longbow firmly in hand, and nudging Erick to the side, she stood at the line, nocking an arrow and drawing it back, her eyes darting over to her young ward. ”See, I always form a straight line with the shaft and my arm, bringing the fletching right to my cheek.” She let the string go lax as she turned to face Erick directly. ”I’ve noticed you keep bringing it to… Wherever. You’re all over the place. It’s going to affect where your shot goes.”

”So…” He began hesitantly, bringing his own weapon back up and nocking an arrow to draw. ”Always bring it to the cheek?”

Eliza shook her head, stepping aside to let Erick back to the line. ”Exactly where isn’t important. Most archers will use the cheek or chin, but use whatever point is most comfortable for you.” She promptly took her place at a distance against, leaning back against the tree to observe Erick as he prepared another shot. ”I’ve even seen some Knights use their ear as the anchor point. The important thing is you use the same spot, each time.”

With another shot ready, he pulled back, trying very intently to keep the spot he drew back to steady. After several bells of this, however, the the strength needed to keep the string pulled back seemed to have grown exponentially.”Nng… It’s not easy to keep it that steady, Sera.”

”It gets easier. Like I said, you don’t have to draw to the cheek. It’s the same deal with swordsmanship, I can give you the basics, but you have to own them to truly start on the road to learning. Do what works for you. Just make sure the tip of the string is at the tip of your nose.” She paused a moment, watching him as he relaxed the bow a moment. ”And try your best not to....Quiver, Yeah?”
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Try not to Quiver

Postby Erick Barnett on October 11th, 2016, 3:49 am

Erick could hear his patron chuckling to herself as he reached back over his head, feeling the soft brush of the feathered shafts. Delicately he coaxed it from the quiver, carefully securing the nock on the bow string as he stared across the clearing at his target. Two arrows in the circle. One his, the other Eliza’s. Her words still buzzed through his mind like a cloud of bees. Slow, steady breaths. Back straight, spine aligned with the hips. The longbow groaned softly as he began to draw back. Arrow between the index and middle finger. Bow resting between the thumb and index. He felt the tip of the string gently brush his nose, and took a moment to note the wind. It had died down for the moment, and so no adjustment was necessary.

The boy’s fingers released, and the arrow was away. He cursed under his breath as the shot slid directly past the tree, missing it by less than an inch. But it was on level with the target this time. As he drew another arrow and readied it, he glanced at the tree and noticed the light swaying of its branches. I guess I was wrong. It doesn’t take much wind to petch your aim right up.

The wood of the bow creaked yet again as he drew it long. Same spot as last time. He had brought it right to his chin, and he did so again this time, Eliza’s words still heavy in the front of his mind. He shot a quick glance at the tree branches again to get a better feel for the wind, adjusting the bow ever so slightly as he released his fingers yet again.

The hearty thunk as the arrow connected with the tree instantly brought a wide grin to Erick’s face. ”Ha!” He quickly spun, glancing over at his patron expectantly.

Eliza took a bite from an apple. ”One,” She muttered nonchalantly with her mouth half-full.

Disgruntled, he turned back to his target. It was a little pathetic, he had to admit. The ratio of hits to misses he had accomplished could likely have been done similarly by a blind man based off sheer luck. He glanced down at his hand, wincing as a sharp stinging sensation ebbed up and down his fingers.

”Don’t worry,” He glanced up as he heard his patron must have read his mind. ”You’ll grow callouses. Most Archers do.” She lifted her own hand up to demonstrate. ”That, or you’ll go get one of those archery guards, like a petching child. Either or.”

Erick gave a quick nod, then returned his gaze back to the tree. Just four more, and I can go home and give my damn fingers a break. He was ever mindful of the deep burn in his muscles now. The pressure needed to pull the string back had seemed like nothing before, but now he had to resist the urge to wince with each draw. With another arrow nocked, he carefully made sure his feet were roughly shoulder width apart, posturing up in preparation to draw and release.
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Try not to Quiver

Postby Erick Barnett on October 11th, 2016, 3:51 am

”Make sure you keep your eye down the shaft.”

This gave the squire pause, and he shot her a quick glance. ”I thought I needed to keep my eye on the target.”

The knight seemed bemused by his response. ”You can do both, right?”

Again, he nodded. It was hard to keep his breathing steady as he had been instructed, as he found himself inevitably grunting and groaning with the force needed to pull the string back. The tip of the string brushed against his nose, and with a somewhat shaky exhale, the released the string, letting the arrow rush across the clearing.

THUNK!

Despite the sharp pain that had been running up his arm, the shot had found its mark, just barely landing inside the circle. Erick grinned, a surge of energy running through his body. This isn’t that hard. I can do this! A hand shot up behind him, pulling another arrow from its leathery home as he deftly nocked it and raised the bow in the same motion.

He could feel the small rush of windforce as the feathers flew from between his fingertips as he released the string again.

THUNK!

”Ooh, back to zero again. Tough luck.”

Erick slowly turned to Eliza, motioning to the tree as he panted softly. ”What? That totally counts!”

The Sergeant-Knight was on her feet immediately, bounding over to the tree. She knelt down by the target, right where the arrow had landed, and pointed to it. ”Nope. You’re on the line. Not inside it. Shot doesn’t count.”

With an exasperated sigh, Erick set his bow down, retrieving his waterskin from his pack and emptying it greedily into his mouth. After taking a moment to walk around the clearing and retrieve salvageable arrows from the ground and trees surrounding the target, Eliza approached Erick, carefully putting the extra arrows back into the quiver strapped onto the boys back.
”You know why that shot didn’t land, right?”

Finishing with the water, Erick shoved the skin back into his pack, glancing up at his patron. ”Because I’m terrible at this?”

She must have found this funny, because he response was in an amused tone. ”No, Erick. I mean yes, you are terrible at this, but just look at where that shot landed.”

Erick turned to peer at the tree. It was right on the line, on the bottom of the circle. ”And?”

”Your gripping the bow too softly.”

He had to resist the urge to scream. ”...Okay.” He lifted his bow, drawing and nocking an arrow and turning to her. ”You said I was holding it too tightly before, though.”

She nodded, reaching over with her hands to delicately adjust his posture. ”Yes, gripping with too much force will impact the angle of your shot. But not enough and you lose power on your draw.”

”That,” Erick began as he briefly shook and stretched his drawing out. ”And we’ve been at this for bells.”
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Try not to Quiver

Postby Erick Barnett on October 11th, 2016, 3:55 am

Eliza patted him on the shoulder, causing him to wince. ”Suck it up, champ. I told you when you first asked me about becoming a knight that it wasn’t going to be fun.” She moved back to the side of the clearing to give him room, continuing to speak as he readied another shot. ”The grip on the bow should feel natural and comfortable. Just try not to think about it too much.”

Don’t think about it too much, huh? Eliza had initially described the action as “Draw, Mark, and Release.” That simple. It never seemed that easy when he did it, though. Constantly he found himself having to make minute adjustments to his posture, to the way he was holding the bow. He closed his eyes a moment, holding the nocked arrow loose in the bow as the focused on quieting his brain.

He could feel the soft winds, sending small bumps up and down his exposed skin. Slowly his eyes opened, and they fell naturally onto the target. The Target. He stared at it intently. No distractions this time. No nagging voice in his head telling him his grip was off, or his feet were too wide, or that Ye gods, my fingers hurt. Just the target. He trembled ever so slightly as he pulled back on the fletching, exhaling slowly as he nudged the bow to the right ever so slightly, adjusting for the wind.

The bowstring rattled, stinging his hands as he released the shot. He was rewarded with the resounding, flat crack as the arrow flew in a neat arc, and connected inside the circle, reasonably close to the center. He winced, lowering the bow and flexing his fingers to try and work the pain out of them.

”Back to one. That was a pretty decent shot, Erick. Keep it up and there won't be a tree in the Bronze Woods that doesn’t fear your mighty bow.”

Erick momentarily eyed the wry smile that had crept onto his patron's face, before reaching up to retrieve another arrow. Just me, Eliza’s abnormal sense of humor, and countless arrows. It wasn’t really how Erick had imagined he would be spending his days as a Squire.

As he nocked the arrow, he groaned, trying to keep his thoughts focused and positive. Least it beats cleaning the stables.

The motion would eventually become natural, or so he hoped, but for now, it still took some conscious effort. His grip relaxed but firm, his feet a little less than shoulder width, the bow itself perpendicular to the body. The tip of the string touched his nose, gripping the string with the arrow between his index and middle fingers, his pinky unused. He released a long, steady breath, releasing his grip on the string and watching as the shot sailed clear past his target, slamming into another tree just behind it.

The boy grimaced, as he once again lowered the bow. This is going to be a long day.
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Try not to Quiver

Postby Dove Brown on March 11th, 2017, 4:57 pm

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Erick Barnett
Skills
  • Weapon: Longbow 5
  • Endurance 1
  • Bodybuilding 2
  • Observation 3
  • Socialisation 3
  • Meditation 1
Lores
  • How to draw an arrow
  • Always draw to the same point
  • Remember to breathe
  • Draw, Mark, and Release
  • Watch branches for wind movement
Miscellaneous
  • Shield points: +5 (training), +1 (patron)

Comments: Nicely written. Please remember to note inactive seasons on your CS, even though you don't have to pay for them. Otherwise, enjoy your grades
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