Book 7 - The Crimson Storm - Chapter 29: Training to Learn

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

I hope everyone is having a good day and has had a good week.

 

Now about to start my third week of school, things seem back to normal.  Well, if normal includes being busy with a full college schedule of homework and such.  But it is nice to get back into a flow of things and know what to expect, yet be ready for anything that might pop up.

 

Without further adue, here is the next chapter.

 

I hope you enjoy!

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Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

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Book 8 - Conquest for the Truth is finished!!

 

Book 9 - The Mist in the Darkness

Coming Soon!

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

Proud Leader and fellow member of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

 

The Wedding

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3 

httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
I got 50,000 words in 30 days just over the span of 2 months XD.

(The subject is referencing the contest with my sister to get 50,000 words in one month.)

 

The Crimson Storm

 

Chapter 29

Training to Learn

 

         Since we have been going from the top down in the brackets so far, for the final two bouts, Father and Annabeth are first up.

         Father asks, “Are you up for this?”

         “Are you?” Annabeth counters.

         Mother then goes, “Ooo… Look at the back talk.”

         Father did not say anything else.  He held up his sword for “on guard.”

         Annabeth adds, “You do know that not all your opponents will do that in a fight.”

         “Yes,” Father says but then smiles.  “One has to be… On guard.”

         I facepalm, “Okay, now that one was actually bad.”

         “Why son?” father shakes his head.

         Annabeth shrugs, “You heard it from the pun master himself… He knows a bad pun when he sees it.”

         I start to say something, stop, then answer, “I don’t know if I should agree with that or not.”

         “Because she is your betrothed,” father quips.  “You best agree with that even if you don’t like it.”

         Mother looks at him and puts her hands on her hips, but grins, “You may have one more fight after this regardless of winning or losing.”

         Annabeth then charges father with her ax.  He was not ready, but an enemy will not wait for you to be ready.  A flurry of attacks and parries go off.  With one hand, father blocks, defends, and even counters every attack Annabeth can dish out.  The same can be said for Annabeth.  Neither one of them are close to getting a tag on the other.  After another minute, the two of them back up and formulate another plan.

         Mother encourages, “Get him, Anna.”

         Father looks up, astonished, but not really, “Whose side are you on?”

         Annabeth charges again and starts to attack.  I observe that Annabeth will do a heavy attack every third try when starting an attack run.  The two of them back away again before coming back at each other.

         However, this time, when her third attack is about to come, Annabeth pulls back which causes father to block farther than he wanted to and thus over swings.  As Annabeth pulled back on her swing, she reversed her direction and swung back the other way, hitting father squarely in the chest with the top part of her ax.  Father is pushed back, yet only his feet slide on the dirt.  He reaches down to go to a knee to steady and stop his slide back.

         A chorus of applause from the girls rain forth.

         Father then looks at me, “Can you believe these vikings?”

         I emphatically agree, “Yes I can.”

         Father took that the way I wanted him to, as if telling him, “Yes, I can see why they would want to see lose.”

         Father countered, “You just want to fight Annabeth is all.”

         As if not knowing exactly what he meant, I threw up my hands as if I was looking for something, “Whatever gave you that idea?”

         “Uh huh,” he nods.  “I see how it is.”

         Annabeth looks a little surprised that her move actually worked, but stayed ready for anything that might come next.

         She waits for my father to come at her.  This time, she only dodges and does not try to parry, unless father is close to tagging her.

         I commentate as if someone is announcing the fight to an audience, “This is exciting.  He’s got a sword, she’s got an ax.  One old veteran warrior against one beautiful and seemingly incredibly awesome young warrior.  The old veteran steps up… Swing and a miss!  Oh, another swing and a miss.  She cannot be touched!  She’s too fast!”

         “The veteran is getting frustrated at the opponent not cooperating, but why risk a parry or counter attack when you can just dodge the attacks?  Is the veteran is getting slow in his old age?  Has retirement been this unkind?” I am exaggerating a bit to make it fun as father is quite fast at attacking Annabeth, but Annabeth is quicker to dodge.  “And they back away so the old man can catch his breath and the young warrior can plot his demise.”

         This part I do not exaggerate because father is breathing a little heavier now.

         Annabeth and father go back at it and even quicker than before.  So fast that I cannot see exactly what is going on.  For a few minutes, this is still going on.  Before all of a sudden…

         Thump!

         Annabeth suddenly pulled back, father over swung again, but this time Annabeth swept her right leg taking out father’s legs and causing him to fall on his back.

         Annabeth quickly sticks her ax out over my father, saying, “Yield?”

         Sighing, he says, “Yield.”

         Annabeth puts her axe down and then hold out her right hand to help him up.  Father takes it and stands up.

         Father then states, “If that were a real battle, it would not have been over just because of that.  But because of the rules that Jarl set up, you did win.”

         “Oh,” I call out.  “So, it is my fault?”

         “Your words, not mine,” he states.

         Congratulations all around as that was a very well fought battle.

         Annabeth looks quite relieved, “I was so nervous for that entire fight.”

         “Why?” father asked.  “You are a good warrior with a sword or an ax.”

         “Well,” Annabeth explained.  “It was who I was fighting.  The Great Sigvald Mollerson the Mighty.  When I did come to Berk, I did learn what I could about Berk’s history.  And your name is mentioned quite a bit.  Then when Jarl and I started going together as more than just friends, while in our down time, he would often talk about you.  Then you come out of the wood work and make the entrance you did.”

         “It’s alright, Annabeth,” father assured.  “It is okay to be nervous, but no matter what you know about the past or current history of your opponent or how skilled they might be, as long as you stay in the moment and not give your opponent the reason to believe that you cannot beat them, then you will always have a chance to win in a fight.”

         “Thanks,” Annabeth smiles.

         Father gives her a side hug.

         Cazi walks towards me with her draggers, “I don’t often get to fight you.”

         I retort, “That’s because you don’t want to lose.”

         “Oh,” Cazi looks at me.

         “Watch it,” Annabeth comments.  “You don’t want to stir up the Cazi.”

         I smile, “Just imagine I’m Snotlout, then everything will be fine.”

         “I have my weapons,” Cazi states.  “Where is yours?  Aren’t you going to use your sword?”

         “No,” I say as I walk over to the weapon rack.  I grab a staff that is about the same height as me.  “I was going to change weapons.”

         Cazi did not know what to think or say, so, she just readied herself.  I just stood there.

         Cazi coaxes me, “Come at me, bro.”

         I oblige and start to swing my staff in full swings spinning from right to left then back left to right.  She deflects both off.  I finish with a thrust forward, which she dodges and reaches forward and tries to swing at me.

         She misses.

         Looking a little dumbfounded as to why that did not work, I intentionally left myself open for a counter attack to show her what would happen.  With my staff outstretched, she had to dodge out of the way, but when she wanted to counter attack, she was off balance and could not reach the length of my staff with only her daggers.  Had she been using a sword verses my staff and I had done the same thing, she would have had a chance to get a tag in.

         “When facing an enemy, you expect to have a sword,” I state.  “If they have the time to change weapons, they will put themselves in the best situation to deal with you as you attack them.  Even if your opponent is not as skilled with a staff as they are with a sword, depending on who they are fighting, a sword may not be the best pick for a weapon.  You’ve beaten several that had a sword, so I wanted to take your momentum away that you had from the previous matches and make you try and build it back up.”

         “You talk too much some times,” Cazi declares as she ducks under my staff.

         She rushes me again, going for my legs, I take a step forward and jump into a dive which I have to parry an attack by Cazi when she sees me initially dodge her.  I roll forward to recover and as I stand up, I do a reverse swing to catch Cazi off guard, getting in my own touch.

         But then some off the top of my staff breaks off.

         Cazi looks up and has the look of getting an idea.

         She rushes me with a fury of yells.  Cazi is running at me, so I swing my staff from right to left but stay facing forward to see what she will try to do.  She ducks and jumps up.  The only thing I can do to parry is to raise up my staff to block.  Bringing both of her daggers down onto the middle of my staff, she breaks it in half.  I did not expect that and so I lose focus for a second, yet that is all Cazi needed get a touch in as she is coming down on me, throwing her shoulder into me and “slicing” my side.  I am thrown back and skid on the ground for a few feet.

         “You okay?” she immediately asks.

         “Yeah, I’m fine,” I reply.  “Well played.”

         Tied at one a piece, I knew that this could be evenly match, because I did choose a staff… That is now two.  Basically, now it is daggers verses daggers.

         Cazi mocks a bit, “You gonna come at me?”

         I am about fifteen feet away from her, so I run at her.  Now that she does not have to worry about the staff, she prepares for an attack on her.  In instead, slide at the last moment, which she does react to jump over me.  I instantly stand up and return a right backhanded swing.  Cazi knocks it away.  She thrusts forward her right dagger which I deflect with my left half-a-staff, to the left.  Cazi follows up by bringing her left dagger in behind, which I duck down, and take my left half-a-staff, and knock Cazi’s legs out from under her.

         Yes, this gets me one more touch, but in the process, it breaks my half-a-staff in several pieces.  I am only down to one half-a-staff.

         “Okay, okay,” Cazi nods her head.  “I expected as much, but not that quick into my frenzy.  But look what it cost you.”

         “True,” I look at my right hand only holding one half-a-staff, that is basically a dagger so I will call it that.  “But I am up two to one.  I may have one dagger left, but I have one touch left before I win.”

         “Like that is going to happen,” Cazi laughs.

         Because I am close to winning, Cazi may be close to making a mistake in trying to make a comeback.

         Cazi comes at me again, taking both daggers and swinging them in on me.  I dodge back.  Trying to swing forward with mine, Cazi also dodges back.  Cazi again jumps up and swings down on me, but with only her right dagger.  I block it as I did before, but the same result happened… My half of a half a staff is now a quarter of a half of a half of a staff.

         Now with no weapon, Cazi lunges forward with her left arm.  I dodge, but forward this time, just in case Cazi had any other ideas.  Because I dodge forward, I throw my left shoulder into her but not enough to knock her back.  I then grab her left arm and flip Cazi up and over me.  She flips onto the ground which then causes her to lose her right dagger.  I scramble over to it and point it at Cazi’s shoulder before she can get up and recover.

         Instead of asking her to yield, I toucher her shoulder with her dagger, “Dub thee, Miss Defeated.”

         Cazi rolls her eyes and lets out a heavy grunt, “If losing was not bad enough, do you have to do a pun?”

         “What can I say?” I shrug.

         I went back and picked up my sword and Annabeth waited for me.

         Going back to her, Annabeth declares, “So, here we are.”

         “Yep,” I nod.  “You ready?”

         Annabeth grins, “Are you?”

         For the final bout, she and I both raise our weapons to “on guard” position.

         “Now,” Annabeth states.  “Don’t hold back, or do I have to insult your mother’s cooking again?”

         I chuckle as my mother inquires, “What’s that about?”

         “Inside joke,” I say.

         The bout then commences.

         Annabeth swings from right to left, which I deflect off to my right, she spins around again but comes from the opposite direction, I deflect it off to my left.  I counter and thrust forward, Annabeth dodges to her right and swings back from her right to left in a downward arc.  I step forward into a reverse pivot from my right to left to continue moving forward, swinging my sword in the process.  Annabeth dodges back and turns around in the process.  She then lunges forward.  I dodge back and turn from right to left in an attempt to sweep her legs out from under her.  Annabeth jumps up and into a swing down on her ax.  I jump roll to my left to escape, but as I roll, I swing my sword to my right, and clip Annabeth’s back right leg.

         We both stand up and back away from each other to regroup. We both take some deep breaths.  One thing to note is all of our bouts for the tournament have been back to back, one right after the other; because in battle, there may be momentary times where one can rest, but for the most part there is no rest for anyone.  Although, this is usually in a group fight, we are just dueling.  Duels have different rules and unwritten things one can do, it just depends on what is going on.

         Annabeth comes back at me and I join her in the middle.  A lot of the same things happen again, though I mainly defend attacks to see her current fighting style.  It is similar to how she did with father, every third to fifth attack or so, she will try to do a heavy attack, whether that be a swing or charge.  I intentionally get closer to her to bait her into doing a heavy attack to knock me back.  However, I do have to dodge a lot more because I am only a foot or two from her.  I slowly intentionally let my guard down for her to try a swing down.  She instead does a heavy attack swing down.  I make it look like I will try to block it, but at the very last second, I do not.  I step backwards with my left foot.  As if the ax took forever to nearly give me a shave on the front of my face, I continue the half circle but planting my left foot in the ground and twirling around back towards Annabeth.  I reach forward and tag Annabeth on the back.  We step away to regroup again.

         “You will have to get three consecutive tags to win,” I declare.

         “You may think that you almost have this won, but if I am mathematically still in this, I still have a chance,” Annabeth states; I sense a bit of sarcasm in that because we both know she has more than just the chance that I am not at three touches yet.

         Annabeth and I continue in battle.  In quick succession, Annabeth starts to come back.  Her first tag was after a swing to her right that she tried.  I deflect it to my left like I did before, but then she changed it up by thrusting the handle of the ax back at me, tagging me in the stomach.  Stumbling back a bit, I go on the attack a bit, but only because I had been on the defensive a bit.  When I did go on the offensive, turns out that Annabeth wanted me to do that.  Using the length of her handle, she blocks all of my attacks.  She swings up her right leg to try and hit me, but I dodge down… Right into the path of Annabeth’s ax that while she was turning, she used her ax to build up her momentum to do the spin.  I fall backwards to the ground to narrowly miss her ax.

         “Man, it is good to use these wooden weapons,” Annabeth smiles.  “I get to go full out with out worry of serious injury.”

         Annabeth and I go full at it again, much of the same things happen again.  This time, after a heavy attack from her left and down to right, she flips her axe around to use the handle to come down on my arms.  I had blocked to deflect the blow off to my left.  At the same time, she brings her right knee up to then sandwich my arms and make me lose my sword.  She rushes me but I hold out my hands to grab both of her wrists.  Annabeth jumps into me to knock both of us down and we roll around, struggling to keep her ax off of me and for her trying to pin her ax on me.

         Annabeth ends up on top of me with her ax handle nearly pinned against my chest, she demands, “Are you going to yield?”

         “You… Know…,” I struggle to say.  “I… Was about to say the same… To you.”

         “How could you do that?” Annabeth keeps the pressure on.  “I am the one that almost has you in a compromised position.”

         “While you where doing that,” I answer back.  “I already have you in one.”

         I shoot my eyes down to point out… I have my hidden wooden blade out.  I do not have it retracted out all the way, but I can if I want to.

         “I tag you and I win,” I declare.  “Yield?”

         Giving her a few seconds, she lets off her pressure and gets up, “I yield.”

         Switching her ax to her left hand, she offers me her right.  Taking it, she helps me up.

         Annabeth shakes her head, “I really thought I had you.”

         “I know,” I said.  “I thought you did too.”

         “Well,” Annabeth chuckles.  “It is good to have you win a couple so that our fights are at least competitive.”

         I smirk, “Thanks.”

         Annabeth shrugs it off, “Nah, no problem.”

         Everyone comments and commends us for a very well fought battle on both sides.   The day is winding down and we are getting close to turn in for the night.

         But before I do that, I ask the group, “I know that this was a competition, but I also had a point at doing this.  Did we all learn something today about fighting?”

         Elsa and Abbie chimed in, Elsa explaining, “We learned that if we work together, we could be a force to be reckoned with.”

         I add, “Teamwork.”

         Cazi came in next, “Based on what my opponent is doing, I need change my fighting style accordingly.”

         I add, “Strategy.”

         Hannah speaks up, “Don’t get frustrated with who I am facing.  If things are not going my way, the make my own opportunities; don’t wait for my opponent to slip up.”

         I add, “Patience.”

         Meen states, “While I may be good with mah pans, I need to be more creative with how I use them.  Doing the same things over and over again, may work on most enemies.  But the smarter ones will catch on.”

         I add, “Be predictable in your unpredictability.”

         Ali Clar inputs, “While I may have a handicap, that does not make me less effective.  I just need to use different ways to get the same result.  I was good before I was injured, but I have the same skills before as I do now.”

         I add, “Have the confidence in your own skills to face an enemy.  Use what you have to your advantage and practice it.”

         Dawn reluctantly joins in, “Never assume that I am better than someone.  While pride can be good in a few things, in battle, it could make me let my guard down and be my down fall.”

         “Like you said,” I repeat.  “Never assume anything.  Always be sure, but be ready for anything.  Cautious verses boldness, find the balance.”

         Garth chuckles, “Don’t make Dawn mad.  But seriously, no lead is never safe.  This also goes back to not making assumptions.  If you think you are in the lead, keep the pressure on to ensure that you keep the lead.”

         I add, “Keep fighting as if you might secure the battle with the next move.”

         Fira admits, “While I don’t believe in violence whole heartily, there could and most likely will come a time where I will have to defend either dragon or viking or both.  I need to prepare and be ready for those moments.  But then I can still choose to use this knowledge when it is necessary.”

         I add, “Practice to the point where it is second nature and you’re able to react and not question or doubt.”

         Hyrith comes in, “Better use my environment and know if I may trap myself or my opponent.”

         I add, “Awareness.”

         Explod explains, “Be the first to the objective to not have to worry about having a close match.  If the objective is completed first, then it does not matter how close they are if the battle is won.”

         I add, “Be assertive to secure victory while staying focused in the moment.  For some it may be to win over an opponent and for others it may be to secure an objective.”

         Dagmar simply puts, “Be wary of being trapped or baited.”

         I repeat from a minute ago, “Awareness.”

         Mother answers for what she learned, “Focus.  Don’t let past history or things distract myself in battle.  Instead of worry what might happen, focus on what I can do to protect what will happen.”

         “You said it,” I say.  “Focus.”

         Valkarik says, “When faced with an unknown enemy, do not give up any ground, but be ready at all times when the enemy tries to retaliate.”

         I add, “Be steadfast and endure.”

         Asvord states, “It is one thing to know where an opponent is at.  It is another to use the environment to my advantage in an offensive manner, just not defensive.”

         I add, “A combination of being focused, being aware, and being unpredictable.”

         Samantha describes, “Don’t solely lean on my strengths.  Fortify my weaknesses so they don’t become downfalls.”

         I add, “Don’t become single minded.”

         Father says with a chuckle, “Never fight someone more than half as young as yourself.  To answer your question though, there are patterns in fights, but don’t expect them to stay the same.  If it goes too long without something new happening, you be the one to change things up if things get in a rut.  If you get in a rut and if you are able, you can get yourself out if you put your mind to it.  Another thing for myself, what I just said I know already, but did not remember it until after the fight with Annabeth.  It is one thing to know how to do something, it is another to constantly put into practice.”

         I add, “Commitment and reliability.”

         Annabeth replies, “Don’t hesitate in finishing.  If something is not working as much as I may want it too or get something done, it may do more harm trying to make it work then regrouping and trying something else.”

         “I mean this as a way to improve,” I clarify.  “Don’t be too stubborn.  Vikings may have stubbornness issues, but not to the point where it will take longer than something else might.  In other words, be open to input and advice from all forms and directions.  The more you are informed of something, the more you can act upon more properly.”

         I continue, “The main point I was trying to make with this tournament is to show each and every one of us that there is something that we can always learn to be better at, improve, and grow.  For me, that is making sure I always have an escape route.  Secondly which helps with the first thing, don’t be solely focused on getting something done at the expense of putting someone else in danger,” I shoot a glance at Annabeth.  “Something may happen that would be best for the group, but am I putting myself in danger or a few others in danger.  If an opportunity comes to get something done one way, but could have a lot of complications from it, there could be another way.  Then make the decision to see the options instead of going with the first.”

         “We should do more things like this more often, but it does not have to be training each other in battle, it can be any number of things,” I finally finish.  “The whole point I am trying to make here, is that no matter what kind of situation we are going through -whether it be good or bad- there is always an opportunity to learn from what is going on.  If we make mistakes or fall, at least fall forward, that way you are still progressing.  But pick yourself back up and help those around you.  Every situation we are in can be a help to us and others, we need to help each other to stay focused and keep moving forward.”

         After that, we then clean up the place a bit, put the training stuff away, and then head back up to our huts.  Annabeth and I are the last to leave and while we walk back, I hold Annabeth’s right hand.

         We then all part our separate ways saying goodnight, go to our huts, turn in.

         While looking up from my bed at the starts I can see from the window in my room, the last thought I have before falling asleep is, “Everything is back to normal.  Well… Normal for us.”