Reigna marched to the center ring. “Attention!” she called, her breath turning to a billowing fog in the cold air. “Attention, everyone!”
The sounds of weapons clanging, of horses neighing, and of orders made, sounded out as the hundreds of men and women about her, struggled for a better view, but in due course, the crowd stilled.
“As your leaders have instructed you, we must all be in our best fighting form. An Oathtaker’s blade is a mighty tool—but is insufficient in itself. We will fight for Oosa—to protect its people and their freedom.”
She paused as the crowd whistled and applauded.
“We begin today, with sparring matches,” she added. “We’ll start with a review of the basics in various weaponry, but be advised that we haven’t much time, so let’s get the most out of what we do have.”
Eden whispered something in her sister’s ear.
Reigna nodded and then addressed the crowd once again. “Each company leader has arranged for your matches. When not engaged in one yourself, you should be taking note of good form. Each of you will depend on each of the others for information as to how to improve your skills. We are a team, but we can only perform at our peak when we are all at our personal best.”
The crowd responded with hoots, calls, and stomping.
When the sounds died away, she continued. “There will be a healer on duty at all times. Today, that will be Kayson. He is right there,” she pointed in his direction.
After the crowd acknowledged his presence, Eden stepped up. “My sister and I will engage with some of you from time to time. You’re to treat us as any other contender. Understood?”
Once again, the troops responded with whistles and applause.
“Very well then,” Reigna said, “let’s get started.”
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