Back in the present, A hail of strikes ecoed from the defense yard, in a training session between Master Grimme and his most distinguished pupil, young gentleman Valter Stare, the oldest son of the fresh food traders. The other students make out an audience, as this duel promises to be a spectacular show.
The distribution of boys and girls in attendance swings strongly in the favor of the boys. Their presence is mandatory while the girls themselves can choose whether these activities are in their nature. The fact that they are even given the opportunity would in the neighboring city of Budlanda have been regarded as extremely unconventional, and moving further north along the east coast it would be completely unthinkable. Here, however, the legacy of Estra's strong leadership still ring clear and the discrimination is therefore less pronounced.
Between the duelants, Stare is the more aggressive, driving his teacher backwards with powerful but still well-measured cuts. With impressive minimal movements, the teachers avoids the swings, and despite the relatively passive attitude, Grimme does not let himself be backed into a corner, instead he twists his tactical retreat in a circular pattern and utilizes the yard to his advantage. After a while, Stare, despite his good stamina, has burned much of his excess energy. In a frustrated over reach, the young student exposes a gap in his guard. With wiper speed, Grimme's training sword thrusts out, not against Stare's open side but against the protruding arm. Stare's left sword clatters to the ground and the audience's draws in an appreciative breath. The duel slows, the pupil shakes his hand to numb the stinging pain. While the teacher raises his sword in a admonishing gesture, then backs up in a guard pose.
The physical activities at the defense yard are complemented by lectures in other subjects deemed relevant by the Town Council, which also finance the activities. Today a far traveled merchant whos ship is currently in port has been invited to speak about the state of the world. He is now walking into the Yard accompanied by Vogan The Baker , who together with his brother share a vote in the Town Council. Stare tries to use their entrance to retrieve his lost blade, but the Master blocks this movement with stab from his side arm and measures a chop against the student's side with his primary sword. Out of balance, Stare is too slow to manage a parry with his remaining weapon. And can neither get away in time. He takes the wrapped training sword in the side of his chest. With a pained moan, the young man falls to the ground. Though he soon clasp his master's proffered hand and stumbles unsteadily to his feet. They quietly talk about improvements and adjustments from the duel while the other students come to show their appreciation.
Meanwhile, the trader is preparing for his lecture. It is wispered that the seafarer originates from the same region as Master Grimme, but the men can not present themselves more differently. Where the Trainer is a broad-shouldered and heavily set man seemingly carved from a block of stone by a not too detailed focused sculptor. While the trader is light and almost feminine. They have obviously lived very different lives in their home country. Where Grimme fought for many years for various Lords who deigned to pay his commission. A time that cost him an eye and part of his cheekbone. While the merchant's skin seemed free from blemishes and judging from his hands, he probably hadn't put in a heavy day's work in his life. However, when he began to speak, the first similarity between them was shown, a vowel heavy dialect that caused their speech to sound almost melodic. Something that fit the trader like a glove, but seemed to be misplaced in the rough warrior.
"It's hard for those living in warm, peaceful and fertile lowlands to really understand why anyone would choose to Fight their neighbors over a wind whiped and swampy island in the Sea of Storms, yet Hart and Fenvald has competed for the honor of preventing the heathen resurgence for generations. It is equally difficult for recent settlers to understand why some craggy rocks on a moor in far of Norrfold would be the source of an ancient war between noble tribes, despite the fact that life there itself is enough of a struggle."
He starts walking in front of his audience and on a turn, he picks up Stare's lost training sword, with it he begins to draw in the sand.
"I have been invited here to give you a picture of the world as it looks, and up until recently it had been a fairly well described picture of our northernmost regions. But these rivalries rooted in blood and soil has now been forced to be put aside for a greater threat affecting us all. A hoard of wild people pour down from Tundra in Kargamark, where we have previously only seen Muskoxe herders. Their giant leader preach about a vengeful god whose goal is the destruction of the Elenian peoples. These brutes will not care that you have chosen not to take part in this war on the day they barge into your soft life here. They will ravage freely through beautiful sparkling Cities and well-pruned orchards alike, if nobody stops them. As once before the Eagle's Standard must flow in the wind! Veterans now create a shield wall for your protection. It is up to you to do what you can for our mutual survival. Will you let the enemy tear through all that you hold dear? No! He must be stopped at the threshold, and be shown that he is not welcome here!"
He now drew a sharp line across the map he had already drawn.
"Our will is stronger than his and if we stand side by side against the cold wind, we will be uncrushable!"
He now raises a poster, where lists of names were drawn in columns.
"We will remain in the harbor for another two days and I will start taking signatures this afternoon in the recruitment to the defense against this threat! Everyone with a strong arm and good heart is honor bound to fight in the defense of those who cant. Also talk with your people, resources are also vital and a fleet of freight ships will follow in our wake to carry both the brave ones and all the donations to the war effort."
The speech had not been long but in the eyes of some of the students, a fire had now been lit. As he escorted the trader out of the yard Vogan threws an uneasy look at his son and then catchught the trainers gaze, Grimme slowly shook his head with a sad smile on his lips...