Otherplaces – Qolis, Training Ground of (A to Z Challenge, Q)

17 April, 2012

“If you have come to learn the way of combat, there are few better places to learn,” said the old man, who carried himself straight despite a limp.  “While you are visiting you must stay to the areas marked with this symbol.”  He tapped a round metal medallion marked with crossed hands with his cane.

“Why, sir?” asked the guest.

“Let me show you,” he stepped off the path, past a disc marked with a sword, into a small grove of neatly tended trees.  He had gone no more than three steps when one of the trees thrust at him with a smooth sword like branch.  He parried with his cane and counter attacked, rapping the tree soundly which caused it to stop attacking.  He limped back to his guest.

“To learn to be a great warrior, you must always be ready to defend yourself.  The school believes that and expects it students to learn that very quickly.”

Training Ground of Qolis

The training ground and martial school of Qolis began as a mad dream by a group of venturers who had decided to retire before one of their expeditions went horribly wrong and killed them all.  But as venturers their marketable skill revolved around mass slaughter and organized mayhem, not always the most marketable skills if they did not want to be run out of town on a rail.  But people always need combat training, noble, merchants or commoner, all needed the tools to defend themselves and that they could provide.

Qolis was a sleepy port town that the venturers had saved from the machinations of an evil cultist and an invasion of hostile fish men with minimal property damage.  So they were welcome to buy property, spend money and set up their school there.  It started small at first, training the Qolis militia and crews of the ships that sailed from Qolis.  When the Golden Salmon, a merchant ship, successfully defended itself from an attack by pirates of the Black Band, the school’s reputation was enhanced.  Young people, for the school accepted all, seeking to be warriors started to arrive and a company of mercenary guards, the Steel Company of Qolis, was founded recruiting its personal almost exclusively from the school.

The school has expanded over the years, covering most of the hill above the town.  Since there have been occasional threats against the training ground and town, a wall has been constructed defending both.  The training grounds are built in a mixture of styles with the building separated by gardens and practice fields.   Courses are scheduled in such a way that students must either run from class room to class room or venture through training grounds where they may be attacked at anytime by animated challenges.

These days, the training grounds are home to noble scions and runaways, children of mercenaries and sailors, all carefully segregated by age and gender.  Though all students are warned of the risks but are encourage to take them.  The training is eccentric, as are the staff whom are almost all retired venturers with a handful of ex-knights, reformed pirates and exiled monks for variety, but wide ranging and effective.  Most who survive to graduate go on to solid martial roles but the elite usually become venturers for a least a few years.


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