Gayl Rillas stood in line with the other elves waiting for Lord Edasseril to show. Like the others he had just joined Kyonin’s martial ranks and was immediately summoned to the grounds by special request by Navarre Edasseril. Gayl ran his hands through his dark hair out of nervous habit. They did not know why they had been summoned, but the Edasseril family had become well known through out Kyonin for their exploits and to be specially requested by one of them is a great honor. The sun was reaching it reaching its zenith when Lord Edasseril arrived.
They all snapped to attention as he made his approach. He wore simple clothes and a lose fitting cloak bearing the symbol of house Edasseril on it. Despite his common garb he still gave off an aura of strength and nobility. He was tall and very built for an elf with a few scares marring his features. He walked down the line shaking hands with everyone. Gayl stood a head shorter then the other elves so he had to look up to speak to Navarre when he approached. He shook Gayl’s hand and thanked him for coming. Gayl was surprised to find Navarre was very friendly and had a warm smile.
After greeting everyone Navarre walked forward and addressed them, his booming voice easily heard.
“I’m sure many of you are wondering why I have summoned you here. I have selected you to test out a new weapon developed by myself and my brother Lor’Athron. In time I feel that this new weapon will be crucial in the continued defense of our homeland.”
He motioned to his aides and they brought foreword a wooden cart bearing strange metal tubes. Gayl leaned foreword and squinted to get a better look as Navarre picked up one of the tubes and examined it. Navarre pointed to one of the men in line and asked him to step forward with his bow. The young elf obeyed and Navarre’s aides rolled out a target dummy. It was covered in simple yet sturdy metal armor. Navarre stepped up to the dummy and pointed to a dense and angled section of armor. “Try and pierce this section” Navarre asked. The young elf looked nervous as he notched his bow. Trained archers tried to avoid such areas and aimed for weak sections like joints. He took a second to aim and then fired the arrow. It hit directly where Navarre pointed and ricocheted off the armor leaving deep scratch. Navarre thanked the man and told him to step back in line. He then walked over to the cart and picked up a sturdy metal shield. He walked over to the dummy and tied the shield over its body. After it was secured, he stepped back and stood directly in front of the dummy and pointed the tube at it. Everyone held their breath waiting for Navarre to use the new weapon. There was soft click immediately followed by a thunderous roar.
A few men jumped in surprise and everyone’s hands shot to the sides of their heads, their ears ringing from the blast. Navarre lowered the now smoking metal tube and turned to them with a smile on his face. “Sorry” he yelled “I forgot to warn you these weapons are rather loud when fired”. A few of the elves became aggravated and actually started yelling at Navarre until they gazed at the target dummy. There was a large hole in the shield that seemed to go through armor as well. Navarre walked over to the dummy and turned it around. They all let out gasps as they saw a large bulge in the back of the armor. Not only had the weapon priced the armor and the shield, but it almost completely blew right through it. “We call these weapons guns.” Navarre told them. “When fired at close range, they can pierce even the densest of armors”.The aides brought the cart around and handed everyone one of the guns. Many of the elves handled them as if they were dangerous animals that would bite them if they handled them to roughly. Gayl was amazed by the weight of the weapon. It was small but weighed nearly as much as a short sword. He examined it closer and discovered that even though it appeared to be nothing more then forged metal and wood, it was beautifully crafted. A great amount of detail and design went into the weapon and he knew that it was truly forged by elven hands. One of the men asked if the guns were enchanted, a question that Gayl had been wondering. Navarre responded that the guns were not magical at all. “Just like any other weapon, anybody can wield a gun with the proper training.” He began to instruct them on how to arm and fire the guns. Many were put off when they saw how long it took to reload a gun. In the time in took to mix the powders and jam the round down the barrel, an elf could let off several arrows.
After everyone had their weapons set Navarre had several practice targets set up in front of them. They all took aim and on Navarre’s command they let lose a volley. Even prepared for the blast Gayl still flinched as he fired the gun. He was unprepared for how the gun actually jumped in his had when it fired. Even though it threw off his aim at the last second he still managed to hit the target. He looked down the line and saw none of the others had such luck. Navarre examined the targets and then ordered to aides to give everyone several reloads of powder and ammo. He walked over to the cart and pulled out a small hourglass. He instructed them to fire as many rounds as they could and flipped the hour glass over.
Everyone was scrambling to load and fire. Gayl’s hands were shaking so hard he almost dropped one of the bullets. He stopped and took a deep breath. These things required more finesse then arming a bow and he needed to be more careful. He armed his gun much more slowly and took a moment to aim before he fired. He adjusted his grip for the kick the gun gave and was much more accurate with his shots. Near the end he actually developed a rhythm and was able to load and fire his gun relativity quickly. When Navarre yelled for them to stop Gayl had hit his target several times, once near the inner ring.
Navarre strolled down and examined the targets. He turned and thanked them all for participating and asked that they return the weapons to the cart on their way off. Gayl turned to follow when Navarre called out for him to stay. Gayl’s palms began to sweat as he walked over to Navarre. Navarre was leaning against the cart cleaning one of the guns, his back turned to Gayl.
“You did very well. You hit your target more times then anyone else”
Gayl scratched his head nervously as he answered “Thank you lord. Just a lucky shot I guess”.
“One shot is lucky. Hitting the target several times requires skill. You have what the humans call a knack”.
“A knack my lord?” Gayl answered confused.
Navarre still had his back turned when he answered ”It means you have a inborn skill when using guns. The same way many elves are naturally capable with bows and long swords.”
“Lord, how can I have a knack with a weapon that has just been developed”?
“Good question. It doesn’t really matter though. What matters is that your good with this weapon and I want to recruit you for special training. In time I think guns will become a staple weapon in Kyonin’s defenses.”
As Navarre continued talking Gayl was becoming more nervous. Navarre was choosing him for some elite unit to defend Kyonin. It didn’t make sense? “Lord. With all due respect do really think that we need to equip Kyonins warriors with these new weapons? We have guarded Kyonin safely for centuries with out the need of such weapons.”
Navarre paused for a moment and Gayl became worried that he had said something wrong. Navarre turned and looked him straight in the eyes and whispered “Trust me son, you have no idea what horrors lay beyond Kyonins boarders”. He then smiled and put his hands on Gayl’s shoulders “That’s why I’m creating a special group of warriors to use these guns against Kyonins enemies and I want you to be a part of it.”
Gayl eyes were wide and he put up his hands up in front of him when he answered. “Lord. With all due respect I have only just joined the guard. If you are creating an elite warrior group you should go with someone more experienced. I don’t even really think I have what it takes to be a warrior. I actually prefer working with leather.”
“I don’t want someone more experienced. Seasoned warriors get stuck in their ways. You saw how some of your comrades handled the weapons. Kyonin needs to adapt if it is to survive, and I need warriors who willing to adapt as well. As for the leather working, you’ll be able to keep your boots in good shape. Trust me Gayl, you’ll be one of the first of something great”.
Navarre turned back to the cart and covered the guns. As him and his aides were leaving he turned back to Gayl told him that he will send for him as soon as he has found some others with the same “luck” that he had.
Gayl stood in the meadow for a moment, absorbing everything that just happened to him. He had joined the guard a week ago and he was already called in to wield an experimental weapon and was chosen by one of Kyonin’s heroes to become part of a new special unit. He sighed and put his head in his hands.
This was not what he signed up for.