It had to be the hottest day of the year. If you looked out past the dirt of the practice yard you could see the grass wilting in the oppressive heat.
Riku sat on one of logs which lined the yard and leaned on the wooden practice sword and sweated along with the other students. His arms were covered in welts where he’d blocked shots from the other students. He mulled over how much better he’d have to be when they switched to real swords next term. Without armour on you couldn’t afford to be careless, you couldn’t afford not to be good.
At this point a year and a half in he didn’t feel he was good enough. This was also reinforced by the Master at Arms with his constantly blunt assessments. They consisted of swearing and his name, so he knew he’d quite a ways to go. Mikel, Thovin and Nikos didn’t get sworn at by the Master at Arms at this point. As the three best students they were envied by the other twenty students, and enjoyed the status.
This status might have been higher if anyone of the three had been the best, but the skill level in all three was so even that the top position changed week to week. Now in the classroom studying the texts and memorizing the spells, along with the other requirements of Magus…well Riku knew he was better than the other students. In this he was certain, the class work and mental preparation came easy to him and it wasn’t the struggle the combat training was.
The problem was a Magus had to be good (if not great) at both and your ability to carry yourself on the field of battle would dictate how long you’d live. Slow with the sword and quick with a spell would make you just as dead at the end of the day. A smart man is just as easy to kill, brains can’t blunt the point of a spear. However, the perfection of marital and arcane training is a wonder to behold and Riku hoped he’d improve enough to bear this out.
He was snapped out of his musings by the Master at Arms who yelled at them to reform in pairs and resume the drills they’d stopped minutes before. Mikel who’d been sitting closest to Riku came over and partnered with Riku. Riku shuddered inwardly, and got a bit of a chill even through the heat of the day. It was clear it was going to be a painful day.