Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 42
Thor couldn’t even take it all in. He tried not to. He just wanted to enjoy this moment. Now, finally, there was somewhere he belonged.
Kolk turned and faced the other boys.
“Okay, boys, calm yourselves,” he commanded. “Today is a special day. No more pitchforks and polish and horse crap for you. Now it’s time to really train. It’s weapons day.”
The boys returned an excited shout, and followed Kolk as he trotted across the training field toward a huge circular building made of oak, with shining bronze doors. Thor walked with the group as they approached, an excited buzz in the air. Reece was by his side, and O’Connor came and joined them.
“Never thought I’d see you alive again,” O’Connor said, smiling and clapping a hand on his shoulder. “Next time, let me wake up first, will you?”
Thor smiled back.
“What is that building?” Thor asked Reece, as they got closer. There were immense iron rivets all over the door, and the place had an imposing presence.“The weapons house,” Reece answered. “It’s where they store all our arms. Every once in a while they let us get a peek, even train with some of them. Depends what lesson they want to impart.”
Thor’s stomach tightened as he noticed Elden coming over to them. Thor braced himself, expecting a threat—but this time, to Thor’s amazement, Elden wore a look of appreciation.
“I have to thank you,” he said, looking down, humbled. “For saving my life.”
Thor was stumped; he had never expected this from him.
“I was wrong about you,” Elden added. “Friends?” he asked.
He held out a hand.
Thor, not one to hold a grudge, gladly reached over and met his hand.
“Friends,” Thor said.
“I don’t take that word lightly,” Elden said. “I will always have your back. And I owe you one.”
With that, he turned and hurried off back into the crowd.
Thor barely knew what to make of it. He was amazed at how quickly things had changed.
“I guess he’s not a complete creep,” O’Connor said. “Maybe he’s okay after all.”
They reached the weapons house. The immense doors swung open, and Thor entered in awe. He walked slowly, neck craned, surveying the place in a broad circle, taking it all in. There were hundreds of weapons, weapons he didn’t even recognize, hanging on the walls. The other boys hurried forward in an excited rush, running up to weapons, picking them up, handling them, examining them. Thor followed their example, feeling like a kid in a candy store.
He hurried over to a large halberd, hoisted the wooden s---t with two hands, and felt its weight. It was massive, well oiled. The blade was worn and notched, and he wondered if it had killed any men in battle.
He set it down and picked up a spiked flail, a studded metal ball attached to a short staff by a long chain. He held the studded wooden s---t, and felt the metal spike dangle on the end of the chain. Beside him, Reece handled a battle axe and O’Connor tested the weight of a long pike, jabbing into the air at an imaginary enemy.
“Listen up!” Kolk yelled, and they all turned.
“Today we will learn about fighting your enemy from a distance. Can anyone here tell me what weapons can be used? What can kill a man from thirty paces away?”
“A bow and arrow,” somebody yelled.
“Yes,” Kolk answered. “What else?”
“A spear!” someone shouted.
“What else? There are more than just these. Let’s hear them.”
“A slingshot,” Thor added.
Thor racked his brain, but was running out of options.
“Throwing knives,” Reece yelled.
The other boys hesitated. No one had any ideas left.
“There are throwing hammers,” Kolk yelled, “and throwing axes. There is the crossbow. Pikes can be thrown. So can swords.”
Kolk paced the room, looking over the faces of the boys, who stood rapt with attention.
“That is not all. A simple rock from the ground can be your best friend. I’ve seen a man, big as a bull, a war hero, killed on the spot by a throw from a rock by a craftier soldier. Soldiers often don’t realize that armor can be used as a weapon, too. The gauntlet can be taken off and thrown in an enemy’s face. This can stun him, several feet away. In that moment, you can kill him. Your shield can be thrown, too.”
Kolk took a breath.
“It is crucial that when you learn to fight, you don’t just learn to fight in the distance between you and your opponent. You must expand your fight to a much greater distance. Most people fight with three paces. A good warrior fights with thirty. Understood?”
“Yes sir!” came the chorus of shouts.
“Good. Today, we will sharpen your throwing skills. Canvass the room and grab what throwing devices you see. Each grab one and be outside in thirty seconds. Now move!”
The room erupted into a scramble, and Thor ran for the wall, searching for something to grab. He was bumped and pushed every which way by other excited boys, until he finally saw what he wanted and grabbed it. It was a small throwing axe. O’Connor grabbed a dagger, Reece a sword, and the three of them raced out with the other boys into the field.
They followed Kolk to the far side of the field, where there were lined up a dozen shields on posts.
All the boys, holding their weapons, gathered around Kolk expectantly.
“You will stand here,” he boomed out, gesturing to a line in the dirt, “and aim for those shields when throwing your weapons. You will then run to the shields, retrieve a different weapon, and practice throwing that. Never choose the same weapon. Always aim for the shield. For those of you who miss a shield, you will be required to run one lap around the field. Begin!”
The boys lined up, shoulder to shoulder, behind the dirt line, and began to throw their weapons at the shields, which must have been a good thirty yards away. Thor fell in line with them. The boy beside him reached back and threw his spear, missing by a hair.
The boy turned and began to jog around the arena. As he did, a member of the King’s men ran up beside him, and laid a heavy mantle of chainmail over his shoulders, weighing him down.
“Run with that, boy!” he ordered.
The boy, weighed down, already sweating, continued to run in the heat.