Chapter 6.1 - In Training

Chapter 6.1 - In Training

A Chapter by Richard Linsley III

Erik wakes up, but finds himself back in bootcamp

    “GET OUT OF YOUR RACK T**D!” came the voice.  Erik slid off his bed and to the floor dodging any arms that would have liked to have thrown him down the hallway.  Almost by rote memory, he stood up at attention in front of his ‘rack’ as the head instructor continued his ranting and raving to the newly awoken paladin candidates.  The room was a long room with over fifty bunks made for the ever changing tenants of the castle he slept in.

    It had been just more than a month since he arrived at the Vale.  That was what everyone was calling it.  A specialized training ground for the candidates chosen to serve the Mistress of the Vale.  He spent the first week in a steep fever and shortly thereafter began training with this monster that they called a Master Knight of the Light.

    “You think this room is clean?!” screamed the instructor. “My pigs keep a better sty than this.  Drop and give me fifty!”

     Erik dropped to his hands and knees, and gave fifty quick pushups while hoping that the instructor wouldn’t look his way long enough for him to finish.  The instructor continued his ranting about the poorly made mattresses and dust that was found everywhere.  Each day it was something different that didn’t meet the instructor’s expectations.  It took them two hours yesterday to clean up the mess that was left behind by the instructor when he finished throwing things around the day before.  Today they were lucky enough not to have to do that.

    “Everyone on your feet, get your armor and get out the door NOW before I lose my mind!” continued the screaming.  Erik had already learned that this was no time to argue and grabbed his pack of armor that he set up the night before.  He spent two hours polishing that armor last night.  He knew what was coming.  Ten laps around the castle grounds followed by weapons training.  After weapons training he would be allowed to mediate to learn to connect to his deity that he would serve later on.  The first few days after recovery was the worst.  He almost gave up the first day.  The only thing that kept him going after all this was the thought of being accepted as one of the Paladins.  Now he only had to survive each day.

     Erik’s lungs heaved with each step.  Each step was becoming more painful as he carried the hundred pound pack above his head and ran around the grounds.  Each time he stumbled or lowered his pack while running resulted in more verbal abuse from his instructors.  Erik was able to withstand the yelling from the male instructors, but when the female instructors attacked him for his weaknesses it hit him harder than anything else could have.

     It was just then that he stumbled for not looking at his instructor instead of where he was running.  Falling face first into the ground he kept his armor pack above his head not letting it touch the ground.

     “What!”  screamed the Mistress Knight.  “Do you think this is nap time?  Do you think that the hordes of evil will stop just because you are tired?  They only want one thing; you and all others you might protect DEAD!  Now get up before I kill you myself and save them the trouble!  You are pathetic!”

     Erik stumbled back to his feet and slowly sped up his pace up the hill.  At the crest of the hill, the rest of the group was forming waiting on the last of the stragglers to finish their rounds.  The youngest of the instructors was addressing the group.

     “Today, I think it will be good for us to have a change of pace.” began the instructor.  “Armor on.”

     Looking at each other, the candidates disbelieved their ears.  Up till now they weren’t allowed to wear their armor.  


     Each of the young paladins quickly made their work of donning their armor.  Each set was different and always required the help of a second person.  When the group was finished putting their armor in place they stood in a line awaiting their next orders.

     The instructor moved down the line and addressed each candidate in turn.  The first candidate had a piece of loose armor. “Loose armor means death on the battlefield.  Your death on the battlefield means that your army will be put in jeopardy.”

     "Yes, sir." came the young one's reply.  The instructor looked at the first one in the line and asked, "What is the first tenant of the paladin?"

    "Uhm. Charity?"

    "Be more confidant in your answer." chastised the instructor. "Being shy will cause your people to have second thoughts about whether you are cut out to be their leader. No matter if you are right or wrong."  Stepping to the side he looked the next one up and down.  The candidate had not shaved that morning.  "No matter what the sorceresses think, bristles aren't that exciting.  The next time I see them, you will be sparring with me."

    "Yes, sir." the candidate swallowed his fear of having to fight with a master instructor.

     Stepping to the side again, the master instructor faced Erik.  Looking him over the instructor raised his voice to the group. "I will make a deal with you.  I ask one question of Squire Padrir.  If he gets it right, the armor inspection stops and we do something 'fun.'  If he gets it wrong, the armor comes off, and we do ten more laps around the grounds.  What do you think?"

     Quietly each voice dissented and agreed amongst each other as they debated whether or not to allow the newest of their group to decide today's fate.  With a final discussion they all nodded in agreement.

     “Alright then candidate.” Said the instructor with an evil smile.  “What is the purpose of war?”

     Erik looked at the instructor and fought himself for the answer. “The purpose of war is to force another political agency to bend to the political desires of the government you are fighting for.”

     “Well, well, well, well…” admired the new Master Knight. “Aren’t you all just a motley group of blokes?”  Looking down the line he checked their armor to make sure that it fit correctly.  On a few he adjusted the straps of the armor and gave the student a tap on the armor to help them remember.

     “Today we are going to do something different.  We will perform siege tactics on a fortress built in the lower glades of the vale.  Some of you will be protectors.  Some of you will be aggressors.  I will expect you all to act according to your roles.  Your assignments will be issued at the taskmaster’s office.  You are all dismissed.  Squire Padrir, stay behind for a moment.”


© 2016 Richard Linsley III

Author's Note

Richard Linsley III
This chapter is broken into 8 segments so far. This is just the first.

My Review

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It has been quite a while since I read your tale Richard, I am slowly remembering some of the things in it. This chapter worked well for me.

Posted 9 Years Ago

I'm happy to revisit this story, Richard. I'm impressed with Erik's courage and intelligence, certainly. You've done a good job of setting up for the next chapter. Great work!

Posted 9 Years Ago

Chapter 5 is still in editing. Will post as soon as I can.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on December 6, 2014
Last Updated on March 23, 2016


Richard Linsley III
Richard Linsley III

San Antonio, TX

A humble sailor with a story to tell. I'm a 39 year old dad of 3, and husband to the love of my life. Retired from the Navy after 20 years of hard work. Looking forward to some rest, and enjoying m.. more..