16 - Training

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"What form is more natural to fighting?"

"Wolf," half the men gathered around me automatically answered. Some of the other half were unsure, and a few bright candles had caught on that this may be a trick question.

"Half-form?" One quarried.

"Yes, thank you," I pointed to the guy who's name I didn't remember. "You're right, half form would be the most powerful battle form. Unfortunately, the number of were's who can half shift into a useful form without hurting themselves is rather small, and even smaller are the number that can maintain it."

In fact, training to obtain a half form itself can be dangerous which is why it's generally discouraged. Not that any man here hadn't tried. There were probably a few among them that had obtained a successful half form; and a few with an unsuccessful one. To obtain a successful half form you had to have complete control over the transformation, the rate at which each part of your body transformed and how. Since transforming was like inverting your body allowing your innards to become outards, it was like trying to perform open heart surgery on yourself. When you fully shifted you could just let loose and trust in the power of the transformation to get you to the second form safely. To obtain a third form you had to throw away that safety belt, to control the power instead of trusting in it. It sounded all nice and powerful, but in reality the were*/human mind was not built strong enough to fully comprehend all the factors they needed to control all at the same time to control and pause the transformation partway into a successful half form. Most weres that tried ended up with unsuccessful half forms: legs with tendons that pulled against the joints, joints in the wrong places, eyes that viewed in side of their heads instead of the world outside. It was the stuff of nightmares. Worse, there were always one or two teens every few years to get trapped into this grotesque half form; unable to shift back one way or another. Nothing worse than walking into you're child's room to find...that in their place, to realize the only thing you could do to help your child was to help them cross over to the other side.

"So, let's suppose you have no half form...Which form do you fight in?"

There were a few more grumbling of wolf, and even more muttering along the line of 'why didn't I give them the damn answer already'.

"The wolf form is naturally better fit for a fight. It's much faster, has a low center of gravity, ability to minimize strike zone head on, muscles better coiled to attack most effectively, not to mention fangs. There are, however, downsides to fighting in wolf form. Any ideas?"


"Yes, perfect example. Although, head on human bodies are not best situated for fighting, with the accompaniment of a tool the human form can become infinitely more destructive. No matter what form you're in, a gun, or bomb, et cetera, is hard to defend against. The good point about the most destructive weapons is that they are best used from a distance of at least ten feet." In addition to being hard to explain to human police that might involve themselves in the aftermath of a fight. "Within ten feet you have the advantage on a gun. But what about other weapons? Against the knife, a wolf and a man may be equally matched, both guarantied to walk away with severe injuries, if they walk away at all. That's why were going to train you all to learn how best to attack someone armed with a knife so that you will walk away. Also," I paused here knowing they weren't going to like this idea, "You're all going to be trained to use a weapons, like knives and even swords, against a bipedal or quadrupedal enemy."

As expected, quite a lot of grumbling broke out at that.

"With in that ten foot radius that a gun is vulnerable against, a sword has the longest reach."

"I'd rip his throat out before a sword could do anything to me." A random adult-version-jock protested.

I sighed and waited for Gladrial to get control back for me.

He growled. Like, literally, growled until they shut up. I gave him a long blink before going to get my camera and wrapping paper roll. I tossed the camera to Gladrial, he knew what I wanted recorded.

"This is going to be our 'sword'," I brandished the wrapping paper and waited for the chuckling and lewd comments to die down. After which, I challenged the man who'd made the comment to demonstrate the initial lunge with me. He looked at Gladrial nervously before making his way before me. 

"It's alright, come at me," I encouraged him.

He shifted into wolf form and gave Gladrial one last look. Then, he lunged at me, I thrust the cardboard into his chest. It, of course, collapsed under his weight, and he was on me in seconds, his weight pinning me down, his teeth lightly clamped on my throat. I held still, cautiously. His natural instinct told him to bite down and throw his head to the side, tear out my throat. He fought it, but enough leaked through his shivering frame to cause light scrapes across my flesh. One of his fangs nicked enough to draw blood. Gladrial had him by the back of the neck in seconds, grip threatening to break the man's neck. The wolf's jaws opened slowly. As soon as his teeth were clear of my skin, he was thrown across the clearing, into the wade of warriors. I ribbed Gladrial's forearm, and smiled when he turned to look at me.

"Alright, now who do you think won that fight?"

There was a small but unanimous chorus towards the man still shaking off his throw before making his way back.

"Yes, it does seem like he won, didn't it." I nodded before motioning for the camera. It took me a while to connect it to the projector before I could play back the scene in slow motion on the side of the building.

"Now, we're while we're watching this I want you to think about what would have gone differently had I been holding an actual sword."

I took the moment while they all watched the slow-motion playback a few times to clean the scratch on my neck.

"Anyone," I asked once I felt they'd all either seen what I was talking about or given up on finding it.

"You stabbed him through the heart."

"Exactly," I gave the man a nod of confirmation. "Now, I'm not particularly skilled with a sword and still my opponent would be mostly dead by the time his weight hit mine. Someone with better motor skills than I could have avoided even that much. All without shifting.

"In fact, had I tried to shift to meet the attack, I would have been caught defenseless mid-shift and my opponent could have picked me off easily."

I gave them a moment to absorb it.

"Now, eventually we will get around to using guns, but until you have formal training we're going to avoid them so no one gets shot by accident. The last thing we need is friendly fire. Right now, I've got martial arts experts in hand-to-hand and weapons combat waiting to train you in single and group combat. They're human, but I hope everyone will show them the respect they deserve. While, at the moment, they could probably wipe the floor with you, I don't want to see any undo aggression towards our instructors. Any acts of 'payback' slash 'revenge' towards these guests are punishable under pack law."

We then proceeded to meet these experts and begin exemplary matches; where I was the first person for them to wipe the floor with.


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