May 31st - Negev
"Draw the target into you," Brigdha slid the nock of the arrow along the bowstring, her thumb flicking it gently as the long ash shaft came to a rest ready for the draw. At the other end of the training butts a quintain spun wildly: on one side a wooden shield peppered with a motley assortment of arrows and bolts, on the other an arm and flail connected by strong steel links. Two slender shafts danced at either end of those chain links, and between them a third now awaiting its deadly rendezvous.
The soldier's brow furrowed as he studied the Margravine intently. Kai was an experienced woodsman and by most standards a fine archer, but despite the evidence of his own eyes his mind refused to accept that such a shot was possible. He was not yet a toxophilite.
With a sharp inhale Brigdha drew her arm back until her fingers passed behind her ear, bending the seasoned rosewood into a deadly arc. Time slowed as the air stirred within her lungs, the subtle vibration of the taut string travelling through slender fingers, vision narrowing to a single moment in time. The Margravine tuned her will to the rhythm of the chain until it filled her senses.
When the shaft flew it was a kestrel taking wing, shrieking swiftly and surely through the summer breeze to claim its prey.
"This is the test Kai," Brigdha turned to her companion, handing him her bow stave and a single shaft, "pass and I will teach you all I know of the craft."