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The Arts of War
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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Monday, 12th July, 2010 - 2:50 pm
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On earth, every culture has developed its own methods of combat.  Every civilization has had its own martial arts, its own rules of warfare.  What about cultures from elsewhere?  What do you remember?

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Claude

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Monday, 12th July, 2010 - 3:41 pm
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Let's see. This is something that's actually more our element, although our memories on combat details are still surprisingly vague for two people whose job that was.

Structurally, our culture had something of an equivalent to knighthood, being a feudal society with courts and fortresses. However this didn't mean aristocracy for its members. I think maybe because our land was rather thinly populated and small, there just was not such a large aristocratic class. And I guess they were few enough to have other options available than going to war. So theoretically, class-wise, anyone could get the training at court; practically there was of course a good deal of nepotism and favouring those whose relatives had done the same, or had court connections, etc. The education meant a privileged standing within the commoner class, not a rise into noble ranks and nothing like its own caste either. But it was an advantage, because you had your privileges, a high social standing, and cultural life was pretty much exclusively a matter of courts and religious institutions. So that was where you got to indulge in arts and cultivated life as much as it was available there. On the flipside you were at the beck and call of the royals, and were never really free unless you took your time and some detours outside at work, which was frequently done. The outside of castles and fortresses and towns was something most people were scared of and didn't explore, so you got away with taking a long time on travels and assignments. Everybody did it and backed up each other's stories. Self-perpetuating system.

 

Once your education was done, and you were sent out into “the real world”, there'd usually be more experienced people showing you the ropes, and there you encountered what was in effect a different culture and social group with its own rules – quite like I suppose soldiers among themselves usually are, and quite a long way from court decorum. The unspoken (and sometimes spoken) rule was that all the unseemly conduct would be kept out of courts and also fortress towns etc where civil people watched knights in connection with the aristocracy and were supposed to have something shiny to look up to or whatever. You'd put on a completely different act. The purely commoner-based towns further outside of the center and court influence were a different matter, and people tended to be quite alot more cynical there in general.

 

We don't recall too many fixed 'warrior codes' or anything like it… you basically did what worked and what the older people who were still alive taught you, as that promised to be effective. Again, court decorum and pretty tournament rules for entertainment were a world of their own, and you learned the real deal once you were officially done with education. Well, you weren't supposed to attack random civilians etc, the court liked its reputation untarnished outside (and maybe someone cared about the people too, who knows). Against actual enemies I can't think of anything that'd be forbidden or mandated, especially not when things were a matter of life and death in the middle of battle. And unlike some warrior cultures on this world, survival was regarded as a virtue from which all else could spring or not, whereas nothing could come from a dead person.

 

What one likes to associate here with knights, whether correctly or not… chivalry, protecting the weak etc… yes there was the factor, but I'll be cynical again and say it was more of a factor the closer you were to the court radius. A job requirement was to get image-conscious in certain regions. Further out…you did your job, for sure, and protecting structures and people was that job, but you didn't get too romantic and idealistic about it mostly. eg. we specifically remember several instances in battle of immediately protecting not the weaker persons in need around us but the actually strong and capable comrade we liked, and nobody batting an eye at it.

 

For technical stuff… I think so far the body we moved into is not informed enough to say specifics on fighting techniques and where to sort them in comparison to this world. Maybe with more memories coming in, maybe with seeing things here and there on informational media, although to be honest we don't care enough to research all of that. While we did enjoy the work, it's also obviously nothing that we could take up here again, so we can do more useful things with out time. Weapons were generally swords and variations of knives etc. The quality wasn't great, certainly not like the things we see here in books and documentaries about this world's past warrior high cultures. A sword would break on you once in a while and it was a normal thing; armor wasn't much to speak of; it was a cold climate, metal was still relatively rare and expensive, and well, would break a lot, cause our technology wasn't too advanced with that, so you rather wrapped yourself up in sturdier leather and fur things and hoped it'd be enough.

There was also a kind of combat magic in use here and there, but the two of us didn't use it nor learn it, that was for other people, and while we were around its users, we don't remember specifics enough at this point to say much about it.

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technobushi

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Tuesday, 13th July, 2010 - 9:45 am
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I don't think I'd know where to begin, personally.

I do know that I, for example, have no desire to pick up a sword or a bow or a spear, for example.  Regardless of whether or not I recall actually using those items (I did, with reasonable proficiency, and mostly in the life I recall being an elf).  They have no appeal to me, now.  I prefer instead to study and practice modern methods of combat which are actually relevant in today's world (my personal preferences are Krav Maga and gunmanship).  Nostalgia, to a point, is damaging and limiting.  I don't always think it is a lesson many otherkin have learned yet, who are too focused on past lives and glamorous elven forms to worry about their present, unhealthy, out-of-shape bodies and lives.

In the end it all boils down to this: If you are coming at me with a sword or a knife, and I happen to have my handgun on me, I think it is obvious who will be the victor in this situation.

I probably went on a tangent.  This was something I was thinking over for awhile, and this seemed the appropriate forum to express my thoughts.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Tuesday, 13th July, 2010 - 12:29 pm
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*grins* I don't believe I ever said memories involving firearms or other modern (or even high-tech) weapons/methods of warfare were off limits.  I just asked what people remember.  As for what it's appropriate to use today, I leave that to the individual, though I'll note that modern soldiers are still trained in the use of the mostly-obsolete bayonet as it is believed to increase their aggressiveness in combat, as well as their speed, strength, coordination, and accuracy.  Perhaps training with swords functions similarly.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Friday, 16th July, 2010 - 10:28 am
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So anyway, to go into a bit of what I remember on this stuff:

On Alorya the martial stuff was fairly medieval… swords, bows, polearms, etc.  I remember a martial art that I usually refer to as bladedancing, but that's really a misnomer… you could use a polearm just as well as a sword, or other weapons too.  I believe there were even unarmed variations.  For me, though, the memories of using a sword that way are the strongest, so they're what I've been working with to try to trigger more memories of how exactly it's done.  I remember movements (during solitary non-combat practice, seemed somewhat ritualized from what I remember) reminiscent of someone going through kata from this world's martial arts systems, but I don't believe they were fixed forms… (and I don't quite know how that works… my only exposure to martial arts in this life has been to systems which use sets of fixed forms as their basis).  I remember an emphasis on moving in curving motions, like tracing a sphere around oneself.  Attacks were slashes rather than thrusts for the most part.

From a more tactical level, I remember rangers on Alorya (of which I was one) operating in small units of between three and five, generally referred to as “hands”.  For the most part we were meant to remain covert… deal with problems before they became serious threats.  Most of what we dealt with was threats originating from off-world… from taking out small groups of vor'jen (most likely scouting parties, I would think) to confiscating off-world technology (there was a general ban on advanced tech on our world… I suspect this indicates either a serious technological accident occurred in the past, or we were hiding from something capable of detecting certain types of advanced technology.)  There was an ongoing war with the “dark elves” on our world, and the Rangers would sometimes become embroiled, but most of that feels like it happened for personal reasons… the capture of a loved one or fellow Ranger, for instance… while the bulk of the fighting was done by other groups within our military.  I believe much of the direct fighting between elves, at least in my lifetime, was aerial… we had a sort of mounted cavalry flying animals called gwairoch (skyhorses)… roughly similar to pegasi or possibly hippogryphs.  They were also used in fighting some of the flighted forms of vor'jen.

I feel strongly that there were rules of warfare, especially with the dark elves… combat was real, but at the same time brought in elements of “honor” that I don't fully understand.  Opportunities which could have been employed to take highly-placed enemies out entirely were not.  Covert attacks and assassination attempts were made, but somehow it almost has more of the feel of the Cold War than either side giving their all to win. Attacks on family, even in the context of the overall war, were intensely personal.  

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Rua Brithem
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Monday, 9th August, 2010 - 7:21 pm
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I was not a warrior in my Sidhe life, but I was witness to several battles. can’t remember much, but I do remember that the Tuatha de Danann were experts in guerrilla warfare and I’ve been told by someone who remembers being a warrior that energy work and shape-shifting were common tactics.

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