The great cavern war part two - Macduff


"One never knows when a magic ring will be found." Replied Ticius "Even in a dump like this barracks." Gaius looked at his friend and remember all the stories he used to tell him about his father. Gaius a young boy of 18 and his friend was only 20. He wondered about all of the informal training and important guests Ticius must of grown up around. Gaius had conversations about growing mushrooms and breeding of lizards that you used for meat. Clearly this was not the stuff of legends.

Three other boys joined to the lineup outside the barracks and soon there were let in by an elderly gatekeeper. He was about 80 and was so worn out and tired that he did not even bother to wash his clothes. The barracks itself had three main areas of interest. The first was a large outside court yard used for training for normal soldiers. A little to the left was a places were mages could go and learn the craft of the wise. This also contained the kitchen. To the right was a series of small offices that handled more mundane issues where all the politicization and bureaucrats did their abysmal boring work of handling papers all day. Pretty soon a half drunk half asleep man stood up on a platform and began to tell a story about how they were the newest in a line of new soldiers that would defend the honor of king and country. It was painfully obvious that no effort at all had begun in preparation for this speech. The man then lumbered over to a bucket of water and drowned his head inside to wake him up a little. After the man woke up a little he looked over each boy and recognized Ticius.

This sorry excuse for a teacher pointed at Ticius and said "Go to the mage quarters don't even bother with the trial. The rest of you grab on the wooden swords and show me what you got." He then pointed at some blocks of wood and staw on a pole and said "Hit the straw dummies over there and lets see if you got what it takes."

What followed has to be one of the most pathetic attempts at training ever attempted by those who didn't know what attempted meant or how to spell it. The first boy picked up the sword held it in his hand for about 10 minutes looked at his immensely fearsome opponent and then dropped the weapon ran away crying all the way out of the barracks never to be seen again. The second boy fearing the demonic forces of wood and straw soon followed him. The crowning jewel was the third lad. This one was dressed in the same manner of Ticius. He had the name Alexander written on the back of his outer coat. This was the boys name in case he forgot it. It looked like the clothes of a noble boy would wear. His clothes did not fit him well because he was enormous even for a teen. The clothes looked like they would rip off of him any minuet. Maybe he was the son of someone half important. His actions however seemed to dispel this notion. He looked at the sword on the floor. Then he looked at the dummy and then at the teacher.

"What time is lunch" said the boy. "Go home and get your lunch and perhaps stay there" said the teacher in response. The boy soon left and the ground shook a little with each step. The teacher shook his head and said with a low voice "Brain dead, idioitic, troglodytes."
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No feedback? Ok I will just stop writing.

Friend, just pause in your writing, don't stop! To be honest, I know that this piece will take some time to reply to thoughtfully and the start of term knocked me on my backside.

Here are my first impressions, though!!!
- I appreciate that you've drawn this place, this group in decline, it makes me wonder about the glory days, about why people still come for training. Habit? Draft? Obligation? Trying to get out of a worse situation?
- the first line and I'm eating out of your hand!
- You make me think of the opening weeks of the Dragonriders of Pern and of Game of Thrones and I'm already waiting for the other shoe to drop.
- Some editing things, and i'm taking you at your word, MacDuff:
-- "remembered all the stories" past tense.
-- "Gaius, a young boy of 18, " set that description off with commas - and what's the verb here? He *was* only 18?
-- "must have grown up around" People say "must've", so it sounds like "of", but actually it's "have"
-- "was a place" typo
-- I would put a comma between half drunk and half asleep so reader's brains don't get confused returning to the word "half".
-- "wake him up a little"... "woke up a little" - since these come so close together, can you vary one of them without sacrificing meaning?

I'll do more paragraphs tomorrow.
The sorry excuse for a teacher paragraph - that's exactly what he would do, knows from too many trails that the mage won't be any good and then will get a pass because of magical talent.
-- comma after "quarters", I got confused there for a moment.
--apostrophe in "let's see"

The training scene has me really confused - did the boys not expect anything? not have any childhood exposure to whacking things with sticks?? Or! Oh, is the duty they would have if they pass so very dangerous that they ran now? So many possibilities are open!
I was trying to paint the picture of how incompetent everybody is. I probably didn't do this very well. There will be a fellowship and they will visit other places that are way more competent. It seems your my only fan and I love to be taken apart. Its the only way I'm ever going to improve.
Good! I'm glad I could start to poke at things -

You'll probably notice that very, very few people have taken the brave step of posting in this forum, so it might just be us for a little while. Tell me a little backstory about the boys trying to become fighters? Where are they from? What did they come for?