Chapter 24 – Recommendation
With a clear mind, I headed to the recruit training fields. In these next two weeks, I was planning to focus their training on endurance training, as while they were all skilled and proficient with their weapons and mind their bodies were often what let them down, as they were unable to fight for long periods.
So right now, I was having them running around the academy in full gear, with their armour, primary and secondary weapons and shields, the lot. I was also running behind them and whenever I saw them slowing down, I would poke them with the blunt end of my spear and threaten to use the sharp end if they did not start running faster.
As we passed by the academy students, I kind of had a bit of satisfaction seeing the recruits being laughed at and suffering from running under the hot afternoon sun in full armour. Did this make me a sadist? I do enjoy acting as the tyrannical and villainess instructor.
After three days of acting like a sadistic instructor, it was finally, time for my knight exam. To be honest, this knight course is not necessary to become a knight. It is just that if you have gone to the academy, you are looked upon more favourably when you apply to become a knight. Whether it is the wolf knights or the royal knights both knight orders prefer candidates from the knight course. The same is true for noble families.
Those knights that have an education at the academy are considered as better candidates as officers in the army as well, because unlike normal soldiers they are literate and can count. Two very important skills that officers will need. Especially if you want to be a high-ranking officer.
My friends and I, as well as a few others from my class that believe they have the skills to graduate early were standing before Sir Lawson. We had all easily passed the written exam this morning. It was after all the exact exam we did at the start of the year, right down to the ordering of the questions. It looked like they use the same exam every year as well. I wonder how people still fail the written exam when it was something they were familiar with?
Nonetheless, the first part of the practical exam was about to begin. The first practical exam we had was horsemanship. Here were to hop onto a random horse and ride it around an obstacle course, while Sir Lawson would access how we went. Maybe it is because I am a goddess, but animals are usually, highly receptive to me. Animals like horses will often know what I want without the help of the rein guiding them.
As I was the first to go, I hopped onto the horse that Sir Lawson pointed towards. When Sir Lawson gave me the go-ahead, I started to have the horse go at a steady gallop towards the first obstacle, which happened to be a rather large log that was laid horizontally on the ground. I urged the horse to jump over it easy and continued onto the next obstacle. The next obstacle was similarly as easy as the first one and was a series of vertical logs that were placed near each other but would allow for just enough space for a horse and rider to pass through.
The next few obstacles were the same as these and just minor variations of them. But the last one was the one that made me slightly nervous. The last obstacle was to jump over a small burning log. Horses like most animals had an instinctive fear of fire, and even smelling the smoke can cause them to be afraid.
I had no idea whether this horse was trained to be accustomed to fire or not but even if it was not, I would try to calm it, and encourage it to do so. Hopefully, my status as a goddess was enough to calm it down and be willing to jump over the small burning log.
When we headed towards the last obstacle, I could feel that the horse was feeling scared and afraid of the burning log. I comforted it by stroking its mane to calm it down. Once it was calm enough, we were able to jump over the burning log easily. Turning the horse around I returned to Sir Lawson and the others while praising the horse.
Next up were my friends and they were also able to get through everything, with minor issues. Everyone else was the same save for one unlucky teenager that fell off his horse when it panicked. From his injuries, it looked like he would not be able to use his left arm for a while.
The next practical exam was the weapons proficiency exam. Here we would be tested on how well we could perform using a variety of weapons we were not used to. Particularly, weapons that are not in the best shape. We would start off by using a chipped and uneven sword and parry five hits from Sir Lawson. Then move on to polearms doing the same thing and move onto archery. The hardest of the tests for this section of the exam.
This was because we would be using a bow we had never picked up before. Unlike swords and polearms, it took more time to get used to a bow, particularly if that bow was not very accurate and worn out. These were the bows that we would be using today. We had ten tries to hit the target from ten-metres way.
My first two shots missed the target completely, but as I got used to the bow and made minor adjustments, I was able to hit the target. From my fourth shot, I was able to reliably hit the target dead centre every time.
While Anna only started reliably hitting the centre of the target from her sixth shot, she still passed and did very well. It was because Anna was not the most adept archer in our group. She was the worst at it, with Chandre being the best. Anna’s specialty was melee combat and she had excelled in that area of the practical exam.
The last practical exam was the unarmed combat exam. We had to take off all our armour and gauntlets that we had been wearing for the previous parts of the exam. Here we would go one on one against another examinee.
Once again, I went first and stepped into the ring. The rules for this match were simple. Body contact was allowed, and you could use any means to get your opponent out of the ring. A win could be gained if the opponent surrendered or was pushed out of the ring. Regardless of whether we won or not a pass would be given if we demonstrated proficiency in unarmed combat. In blocking, evading, and attacking.
My opponent was another student from my class. He was fifteen years old this year and his father was a wealthy merchant. As I knew him, I subconsciously went easier on him. However, I was still able to kick him out of the ring within twenty hits. But we were both able to demonstrate our proficiency and pass.
With all the exams out of the way, I head back to the canteen early for dinner. Having just finished an exam it was obvious that my friends and I would discuss how we went. While we all passed the exam and would be allowed to graduate early this year, we still had a lot we could improve on. Plus, we would still be students of the academy until the end of next week. Thus, we were still required to attend classes like the other students, or our exam results would be revoked. This was one of the rules I found strange and did not understand. But my friends and I complied with it anyways.
The next day was Friday and would be the last class for the week. On Fridays, we would have one of our most important classes. That was military logistics. it was a dull class for sure, but it was the most important nonetheless. As it was an elective many students in the knight class would overlook it. However, this was a mistake, especially if they wanted to become a commander or military officer.
After all, soldiers cannot fight on an empty stomach. Soldiers also cannot fight without weapons and armour. No matter the time, successful armies were often backed by capable logistical staff and personnel. It was in this class where we learnt knowledge the knowledge needed for an officer or commander to lead a capable logistic division.
The thing I learnt in this class would greatly benefit me when I become a battalion commander. Especially, now that we are going to form a new battalion without logistical staff members who have worked together before, or even being experienced in the role of logistical staff.
So, without anyone to rely on, my friends and I can only rely on ourselves, especially, now that Ingrid was pregnant. The chance that she would be able to oversee our battalion in the near future, was virtually zero. After giving birth she would also have to look after and nurse her baby if she did not want to use a wet nurse.
In military logistics class the next day. We learnt something that would prove vital for us. We learnt that it did not just involve securing and transporting resources but also the construction, development, maintenance, and operations of facilities. Were also a vital part of military logistics. the base and camps that we will be using in the future must all be prepared by logistical personnel. If such places were not prepared and maintained properly it could spell disaster for the deployed personnel.
Having learnt one of the most important lessons in military logistics, I felt much more confident in being able to lead this battalion even without the help of Ingrid and experienced logistical staff and personnel.
Leaving the military logistic classroom, I headed for my classes’ training ground as I wanted to ask if Sir Frederick had made up his mind, on whether, he wanted to become an adviser in my battalion. If he was willing to join us, it would poise to be a great boon.
The experience I lacked was not something I could make up for, with just instincts and determination. With his decades of experience on the battlefield, he would be able to advise me on many matters that I could not even hope to understand.
When I become a commander, it will not only be just my own life that is at stake anymore. It would be a matter of at least the lives of a thousand other individuals. It was also because of this that I was going to take my time, with getting everything perfect, and not rush into things like I was used to.
If I were to receive soldiers that were not up to my standards, I would also have to retrain them. The training itself would take up at least a year. Afterwards, they would also have to be placed in numerous field tests. Again, this would require time. By my prediction, we would take at least two years before we would even see a combat mission that involved confronting a disciplined enemy like an army.
Arriving at the training field I found that Sir Frederick was sitting on a bench sharpening his sword with a whetstone. Every time he moved the whetstone across his sword blade a distinctive shrill could be heard.
Seeing that I had arrived before him, he did not stop what he was doing but continued with his task. I also did not speak and interrupt him, I just sat next to him as he finished off his task. Once he was ready to talk to me, he would. During this year, I had gained a much deeper understanding of him.
He was usually silent and preferred it that way. He had his thoughts about how things are done and did not like people challenging them. The current situation was an example of how he preferred to stay silent while sharpening his sword. If I had started to talk and ignored his wishes, he would have just stood up to leave.
Once he had finished, he initiated the talk himself.
“I assume you want an answer on whether or not I will join your battalion?”
Turning his way, I nodded my head and replied with an affirmative.
“I will tell you my answer now, I have thought about it seriously. I am currently too old to actively be on the battlefield. I have spent my whole adult life on it. Moving from one battlefield to the next. I have grown tired of it. All I want to do now is train up the next generation of knights and stay with my wife until I draw my last breath. So, Princess Ayra, I am sorry to say that I will not be joining you.”
While I had prepared for Sir Frederick to decline my offer, I still had hope that he would join me. Hearing his reply, I could not help but feel disheartened.
Observing how I was becoming depressed. Sir Frederick proposed an alternative.
“While I may be too old to go on the battlefield I have nephew, who is my brother in laws’ second son. He is a bright young man in his late teens and has learnt under me all his life. I can guarantee his skills. However, he has offended someone he should not have. This has caused him to be demoted and denied the chance to ever rise in the ranks of the army again. But if he is transferred under you, he may have another chance and would be more than willing to support you to the best of his ability.”
After hearing about Sir Fredericks proposal, it became my turn to think hard about what I would do. I finally, decided that I would meet this man before I made my decision on whether I would have him as an adviser.