Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012: [Pargons Of Virtue: book #1] Day #8

Enjoy my rough notes!

At last, the preparations were finished. I knelt in front of the altar. I closed my eyes. I breathed deeply. I inhaled. I slowly exhaled. I inhaled. I slowly exhaled. I repeated. I repeated.

Not even half a minute later, a smile emerged on my face.

The babbling of the brook changed from a noise in the background to a song of peace that filled my ears and my mind.

The moon light was perfect. My eyes were closed, but I could see the bright light through my eye lids, and just knowing that it was there made me feel like I was being embraced by a bright comforting force.

I felt an internal sensation return to me. I did not realize how numb I was up until just a moment ago. As the sensation grew inside me, I felt an energy. Perhaps it was not an energy. Perhaps it was a zeal that I once had when I first became a paladin; a zeal that pushed me to endure, so that I could fulfil whatever mission had been given to me.

The light of the arcs filled the canyon quite a ways.

My mind was clear. Everything that occurred is just history. It was meaningless.

# # #

I heaved my armour out of my locker, and the metal pieces clunked on the floor. I have done this thousands of times since I was issued it by the order, yet I still find myself using my back.

I first put on my shin guards. It was always easiest to do it while fully the rest of my body wasn't girded with armour, because it was easier to bend down. I shoved my foot through, and tightened the internal straps to allow ensure that every part of the metal stayed well away from my delicate flesh. I did likewise to the other shin guard.

Next, I shoved my feet into my boots, which went over top of the shin guards, and came up to the bottom of my knees. Rugged leather, titanium bindings, air pocketed cushioned soles, and high grip rubber soles made this the ideal footwear for the most hostile Canadian weather. I loved the way that these boots bent so easily.

Next, I put on a vest, which was snug, light, and breathable. Although traditional vests were made of rugged cotton, which was very similar to denim, this was was made high tech spandex and nylon. It had dangling straps, and all of it was built to keep the breast plate fully suspended from the body, in the same way that a bicycle wheel kept away from the hub, even though it functioned in a tight synchronization. The straps were supposed to keep an average of three centimetres of space between me and the armour.

Next, I strapped on a utility belt. Already fastened to the belt was a gun and holster, hand cuffs, collapsible baton, notepad and pen, a flash light, and a spare pouch. Despite how crowded it was, we still found room for our canteen, and five magazines of ammunition.

The gloves were like hockey gloves, in that they had a thick protection on the back, and a good leather grip on the inside. Many of us had smashed glass without damaging ourselves. We did have some explaining, when we returned to the armoury, since we weren't supposed to use the these to smash anything at all. The gloves were issued with metal protectors for the back, but we rarely needed them. Therefore, I hung the metal protectors on my utility belt.

Next, I hung my helmet off of my chest.

This was considered standard light duty issue for day to day work.

I carefully placed the rest of the equipment back into my locker. I would not need my shield. My sword was unnecessary, also. Used than my shield, it was my favourite piece of issued equipment, because of the craftsmanship that went into the quality: the quality of the functionality; and the quality of the art. The handle had a beautiful jewel at the butt. It was blue and opaque, when not in use, but when the sword was used to pronounce righteous judgement, it glowed beautifully. It glowed dangerously too, in that we had to close our eyes to avoid any eye damage. Although the functional parts were crafted by the best precision machines and factories, the artistic embellishments were done by hand. As part of our basic training course, we took a field trip to see first hand the creation of these holy swords. I remember seeing an artist using a magnifying glass and microscopic tools to write our ten commandments into the underside of the guard—in calligraphy. I was so proud to receive an official sword, that was customized for me, and branded for the order where we would be posted for life, at the graduation of our basic training. Until then, we used practise swords. The only distinctions that those swords had were the dents, the scuff marks, and the serial numbers.

# # #

I pulled on my denim uniform. It was treated with a chemical that helped to disperse light, so that it would be easier to not be seen. Shininess attracts way too much attention.

I put on my leather boots, which were water proof, and they had such great grip, that we could sprint on slippery ice without any slippage. I laced them up.

Next, I put on my bullet proof vest. Despite being three centimetres thick, it had extremely good breathability.

Next, I put on my tactical vest, which had pouches on every single part.

When not in use, we hung our helmets on the front left of our vests. Although not an intended us, when hung this way, they made useful arm rests. The helmets had a Roman soldier helmet influence. There was the brow on the top front, the side protection, and the flap at the back.

# # #

I had such a bitter sweet feeling in heart. I and the men that I trained with for the last four months were going their own ways back to their orders, and we would probably never see each other ever again, unless our orders had common missions, or if we happened to cross paths when off-duty.

When I first unpacked at the end of the spring and shook hands with them, I never expected to build a bond or a respect for them. As far as I was concerned, we needed to graduate, and these people were just students that I cross paths with.

Now, there were my friends.

I put on my ceremonial uniform. The tunic collar was what my parents called a Mandarin collar. It just stood up, and did not fold over, like the regular dress shirt collars. I stared into the full length mirror; my order badge at my left shoulder of my deep blue tunic. My hair was gelled down, and my thick hero's moustache was gelled to the sides. I loved these paladin uniforms. Not only did it drive the women nuts, it also demonstrated clearly the beauty of an uncluttered uniform.

“Ready guys?” That was our student leader. At every moment, there was a student appointed with the task of wrangling up the students and passing requests and commands between the instructors and students.

I took another quick scan, and met everybody downstairs at the entrance to the shacks. We formed up.

The instructor, who was waiting for us, barked, “Platoon! A-ATTE-E-E-ENTION!”

We stomped into attention.

“To the right, RI-I-IGHT TURN!”

We turned and stomped our feet in perfect synchronization, as if we were networked robots.

“By the left, QUI-I-ICK MARCH!”

Left foot first, right foot, left, right; we went. After four months of practise, we had much to show off.

We arrived at the edge of the parade square, where we would demonstrate our drill skills, and be ordained to serve as paladins.

The ceremony went by fast.

“Private Smith!”

I stepped out of formation and marched myself up to the general. I halted. I saluted. He saluted back. He put his hand down first. Then I put mine down. I stepped forward. I shook his hand. We turned for a quick camera snap. He then clipped my new badge on the right side of my chest. It was pretty hard to keep the stern face that we had been trained to maintain. The thought of this shiny new badge—my shiny new badge—brought a small smile to my face. I think that the officers understood.

I shook his hand again. I stepped back. I saluted again. He returned a salute, and put his hand down. I put my hand down, and then turned myself around, while in the march, and went back to my place in the formation.

My father was not alive, so he could not clap for me, but I trust that he would have. He tended to be a very supportive parent. Also, my mother was there, and having any parent be there was more than enough.

I relaxed. I watched the rest of my fellow students join me as an official paladin. I felt like an old teenager up until the receiving of the badge. After I got back into formation, I felt like a young man, and I saw the others in the same way. We were not just teenagers looking for a job. We were men who were sanctified, that is we were set apart. We were holy men ordained to do holy work.

The last student fell back into formation, and the general barked, “Platoon! Attention!”

We stomped.

He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present to you...our newest paladins!” He started clapping, and the audience did likewise. The cameras flashed, and the people—especially the young girls—cheered.

The band started up with a rousing hymn, that raised emotions of strength, morale, and triumph.

The platoon commander barked, “Platoon! By the left, QUI-I-ICK MARCH!”

Left, right, left; and we were off, with our rifles in our hands and against our shoulders.

The crowds clapped lightly. I suspected that they hesitated, because they were not familiar with holy order etiquette. Now that I thought about it, I realize that I was not sure if they were allowed to clap. Then again, what could the holy order do? Arrest them for clapping?

Just before we marched past the general, the platoon commander barked, “EY-EY-EYES RIGHT!”

As we marched past the general, we turned our heads and made eye contact with him, and we did it, while still keeping track of the person in front, so that we could maintain our synchronization.


Next, we needed to wheel around to the centre of the parade square. Once there, we split up into three groups. The left rank veered off to the left. The centre rank kept going straight. The right rank veered off to the right. The centre rank had to slow down a little so that they would be even with the fronts of the other two ranks. When the outer two ranks got near the edges of the parade square, we veered back towards the middle, but instead of joining the centre rank, we crossed each other, and the centre rank passed through it all. We then continued a little ways, and then joined the centre rank, so that the left rank became the new right rank, and vice versa.

The hardest part was saved for last. We wheeled around to the back of the parade square. When we were fully parallel with the front, we turned while marching, and marched forward to the general. While doing it, we had nothing to guide us, other than practise, because we could not use our peripheral vision to know if the person beside us was at the side or lagging behind.

We halted a few feet away from the general. He saluted us.


We stomped.

“By the left, QUI-I-ICK MARCH!”

Left, right, left; and we marched around the corner, and then turned again to the centre of the parade square.

“Platoon! Halt!”

Step, step, stomp: we stood still.

“To the right, RI-I-IGHT TURN!”

Stomp; we faced the front of the parade square.


Step, step, stomp; the front rank step forward, and the back rank backward. We spread ourselves out so that we could we fall in and out of formation, as we are called.

# # #

John said, “That's pretty cool stuff. I think that I want to do that.”

“Even if you never stay in long enough to make a great impact, you'd still be wise to join. It would toughen you up, and give you something to be proud of. There is something really special about marching drills that really takes a commitment to train oneself.”

“Cool. I'll look for a web site, after I leave.”

“Last week, you asked about my badge,” said Tom, as he reached back to his night table. He opened the drawer, and pulled out a piece of metal that represented the glory and hard work of being a paladin.

“Coo-oo-ool.” As he held it in his hands, he noticed that it still shone with perfection. He rubbed his finger along an edge that caught his eye. “Hey, what happened here? Did you drop it?”

“I never once dropped my badge. I did get down on the ground real fast and I did fall, though.”

John nodded. “You mentioned a time when you used...actually, it was Reed, who used his sword. Did you have a time, when you used your sword? And I'm not talking about poking somebody, or something short and quick like that. I'm talking about fighting, where you needed swordsmanship.”

# # #

I pulled out my sword, and it rang in perfect middle C, and I immediately blocked above my head. The demon had swung down with both hands. It was just in time, because his sword was about a centimetre away from my head.

I swung upwards, and then downwards to the centre of mass. I swung down, then circled up, and then down to the centre of mass. I stepped, and then thrusted. I then did it again, but by stepping first with my back foot, and then my front foot. I swung down to the right, then wound up with the sword above and behind me, and then stepped forward, and swung down and up.

He tried to block, but my sword cut clean through his bracer and his wrist. His hand landed a few meters away.

I stepped back to a safe distance, to begin a new attack.

The end. Thank you for reading!

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