The Fundamental Laws of Battle. Part 4
Lectures from the Imperial Warkhome Academy for Strategy and Tactics. A visit to Reto's Arsenal, by SUN, SON OF ZU 992 BF
In recent years our great Emperor Reto has led the Empire in a series of campaigns that have brought glory to our flag and blessed our warriors, those cherished servants of Rondra, with fame and renown. An iron scourge and a cold wind have swept across our lands, bringing renown to our noble young warriors. But with renown comes responsibility and we must never forget that victory is only granted to those who possess more than just a strong sword arm. Victory is won by the sword, the mind and the grace of Rondra. If willpower and energy are as one, then a warrior might even match the mighty Leuin. Invincibility comes from within, vulnerability from without. We conclude the theoretical training at the academy with a more practical aspect of the martial arts - a tour of the Imperial Arsenal. Indeed, with a tour of Emperor Reto's legendary arsenal!
The arsenal is full of innumerable weapons that have proved their worth in one of our Emperor's many campaigns. In its halls lie countless spears and swords - their dark gleaming metals rusted, polished or perhaps still encrusted with blood. Innumerable the axes, sabers and cleavers, discarded on the battlefield after some bloody melee that saw the end of many a poor devil. Some of the blades are bare, others clad in battle-worn scabbards, piled together like sickles in the meadow. Then there are the daggers, with their handguards of gold and silver, fencing rapiers, warhammers, knives, lances, pikes, halberds and scimitars. Anything ever made for crushing, stabbing, cutting and shooting a foe can be found here.
You will notice that the Court Scriptors have divided the collection into two main categories: Close Quarters Weapons and Ranged Combat Weapons. The first category is divided into ten sub-categories: 1.Daggers 2.Fencing Weapons 3.Axes and Maces 4.Sabers 5.Swords 6.Spears 7.Staves 8.Two-Handed Blunt Weapons 9.Two-Handed Swords - the tenth category is unarmed combat. In spite of its all too lethal outcome, the arsenal does not, of course, have any exponents relating to that tenth category... Ranged Combat Weapons, on the other hand, may be divided into three categories: 1.Crossbows 2.Bows 3.Throwing Weapons.
The Emperor's collection of Ranged Combat Weapons is so diverse and so vast that it will take many years to compile a full list of these exponents. However, a discussion of this matter will do little to broaden our knowledge of the subject at hand. The use of armor, helmets and shields, along with the art of building bows and forging weapons will be covered in detail in other courses at the academy. And keen-minded students will notice at a glance that the collection encompasses an incredibly diverse range of helmets, armor plates and shields.
As you well know, it can take up to 20 years to truly master a fighting skill. One can learn the basic techniques in half a divine cycle, but one will not develop any real expertise without at least 5-10 divine cycles of practice. A true master can kill with a single blow. These mighty champions are enormously important on the battlefield, as just one such warrior can slaughter several hundred opponents within the hour. A warrior, who is yet to master his weapon, will need to strike his opponent several times before it is defeated. If you are lucky, the first blow will cause such a mighty wound that one's opponent will seek to flee the field.
If a battle draws on for too long, the victor will emerge from the fray discouraged, frazzled and with weapons that are blunt from bloody toil. Those who do not truly understand the cost of waging war, will never truly understand what glorious prize may be won in battle.
Those who stride into battle without first learning the fundamental laws of battle will return exhausted and with sorry hearts.
This is the lesson that you must learn as you march through the halls of Emperor Reto's arsenal.