Ch20: An archer is only as good as his bow
The day training began with shooting the same dummies. The instructor was not content with anything below perfect. Every student received verbal lashings. Phayefine, who the day prior was the best of them all was not immune. Today though was different. He had a finely crafted bow strapped to his back, with a quiver of about two dozen arrows. Once he got back to the middle of the field, he instructed the young girl there to move aside.
“Remember,” he said loudly. “An archer is only as good as his bow.” With that he pulled an elven long bow, it was trimmed by craftspeople who knew and loved this type of weapon. He pulled an arrow from his quiver and quickly released it down to the dummy across the field. It struck the dummy dead in the center of the forehead.
“You can’t shoot,” he paused as another arrow flew off. “Unless your craftsmen,” another arrow flew, before the first had landed. “Know how to craft quality.” A fourth arrow flew off. The remainder of the arrows grouped an inch of the first.
He picked up an arrow from the girl’s cache and drew it. Just as fast the arrow came out and struck the chest of the dummy. As the girl turned to look back at him, he had his thumb placed square in the middle of his forehead, the same where his arrows landed. He sent the girl to retrieve the arrows that he fired. She returned a minute later having a hard time pulling the metal serrated tips from the dummies head.
“This is the best your army is going to get.” he held up the girls bow and a couple of arrows. “I would not put my trust in this.” With this, he threw the bow and arrows to the ground.
The instructor came down the line and stood behind Magdaline. Her first shot was still short. He knelt behind her after her shot. He motioned for the bow, she gave it to him. His fingers pointed towards the middle of the bow, she saw a line of two different colors, they were very faint.
“Here.” she strained to see the faint color change. “Here.” he shifted his finger. “And here.” he shifted it again. “The wood has shifted making your shots fall short.” he scraped his nail across one of the areas he was pointing at, scaring the wood on the bow. He laid it flat and pulled the string back. “Do you see?”
She looked closely at the mark he had made. It was only by a little, but the mark did not line up anymore. “Yes,” she said surprised.
“Go find the right bow for you girl.”
She bounded back to the armory. She looked at every bow she could trying to find the right one. Some she saw these lines, some she did not. She looked very closely at each one.
“Just pick one girl.” The attendant said, annoyed.
“It has to be the right one.” She said excitedly.
Finally, she decided on one and ran with it, and a couple of spare arrows for good measure. She set up at her post and drew back the first arrow. She could feel no difference between this and her first bow. She let the arrow fly. It was better than her first bow already. The arrow continued towards its destination. She watched and became more excited as it passed where she shot before. As the arrow landed, her heart sank. Now, it was ten feet past the dummy.
The instructor nudged her. “Try again.”