School of Avant
|School of Avant|
|Proficiencies||Axe Combat, Light Bow Combat, Husbandry Art, Pathfinding Art|
|Race||Avanthar, Qússrakón Ailor and others deemed worthy by the teacher|
|Location||Ularen Pains, Daen|
|Origins||Ularen Pains, Daen|
The School of Avant is a popular form of combat wielded by the people of the Ularen Plains, originating with the Avanthar and later being taught to their cultural offspring, the Qússrakón Ailor. The School is centered around horseback combat, but also provides the skills necessary to engage in ground-based combat if a practitioner is left without a horse. The School’s signature weapon is the Avant Axe, a small axe meant to be dual-wielded, but this is also supported by a light bow training and other skills an individual warrior adds to their arsenal. The School also teaches pathfinding through a large variety of terrain, supplementing the guerrilla tactics the School is suited for.
The School of Avant was founded by the Avanthar as they first settled the Ularen Plains,abandoned the heavy weaponry of other horse-back Nelfin units and embracing a lightly armored, highly mobile military doctrine. The School gradually emerged over time in line with the developments in the Avanthar Race and Avanthar Culture. The Avanthar simultaneously developed the Avant Axe and associated techniques alongside their horse riding abilities, leading to a seamless combination of both skill sets. This allowed for later Avanthar warriors and School of Avant students to have the foundational skills down pat in a relatively short time. However, as the Avanthar expanded further across the Plains, they encountered the need for more ranged techniques along with pathfinding techniques to navigate the wild terrain. While the second was easily aided by the Genos of the Avanthar, the first took several decades to get right. First, the Avanthar made use of javelins, but they were deemed too cumbersome for the style of combat employed by the Avanthar, so they shifted to make use of bows that were gradually enhanced until the bows were small, flexible, and rapid-firing. Despite this success, the development time meant that for nearly half a century, the Avant Axe had been the sole weapon of the School of Avant, and it became favored in instruction going forward. Bows were also seen in most contexts as “less honorable” than hand to hand combat with the enemy. Though, as attacks out of the Wolond Walds have increased in recent years, along with raids by Pōlorcs, ranged weaponry has become more important for the Avanthar. The damage done to the Avanthar population in recent wars has been a blow to the School, causing it to become more inclusive than in the past, with some Avanthar abroad now viewing educating people in the form of combat as a way their society might survive if something as cataclysmic as civil war breaks out again.
The School of Avant is taught by Avanthar and some Qússrakón in any place they can be found. While this is most commonly the Ularen Plains, some teach the School in more urban settings within the Regalian Empire, or even in the arid lands of the distant Songaskian Masaya. The only truly consistent feature of the School is that only those deemed worthy by the instructor may be taught if they are an outsider (which is to say a non-Avanthar or non-Qússrakón). Additionally, those with “genetic potential” as determined by the instructor are also commonly accepted with the hope of someday incorporating them into the gene pool of the Avanthar.
Code of Conduct
The School of Avant has no strict Code of Conduct given the Avanthar resist written codification of their rules of engagement; however, the School of Avant is most easily said to reflect Avanthar ideals, with the concept of the stoic, yet teamwork-oriented warrior meshing with concepts of honor and genetics. Members of the School are expected to vigorously apply themselves to several tasks, from forming a real bond with their equine steed to seeking genuine camaraderie with their fellow warriors both in training and outside of it to develop teamwork.
The School of Avant has varying levels of learning and is similarly freeform just like its Code of Conduct. Generally, Avanthar (and allied Qússrakón) begin learning the School of Avant at the age of 15, and this is also considered the earliest an outsider can be taught the School. The people of the plains usually have caught and tamed at least one mount by this point of their life though, and, for outsiders, the first step in their education is to seek out and acquire a mount that they will bond with over the following few years. Once this has been accomplished, prospective students will begin to learn how to maneuver their steed in a number of positions. Once again, people of the plains often have a better grasp of these skills, and often finish this part of their training in roughly three months, while outsiders may take upwards of six to complete it. After this though, training with the bow begins in earnest. This takes between nine months to a year, and features archery on both ground and foot, with a heavy focus on the horseback component. After this stage of training has been accomplished, students begin to train in the use of the Avant Axe. Over another year, students in the School are trained in the handling of the weapon on the ground and on horseback, and engage in hand-to-hand combat with one another.
Following this, a further year is spent bringing all of the School’s training components together, with instruction on how to leap from one’s horse into ground combat, rapidly switch weapons while riding, and how to best defend one’s self from attacks from the ground while on horseback. Between each of these stages of education, education in pathfinding is also shared with the students, helping them to understand the terrain, foraging the necessary resources to survive in the wilderness, alongside teaching them about geography itself. Overall, these sessions take up between three to six months. Ultimately, the skills of the School take four and a half years to learn, which is the path most outsiders walk, but the Avanthar and Qússrakón Ailor commonly spend up to twice as long honing their techniques, and individually incorporating external skills like the use of a spear, daggers, or hand to hand combat. However, this is done on their own time and is not considered an official part of the School. Outsiders can do the same, though this is often harder as unlike the Avanthar or Qússrakón, where it is viewed as self-improvement or refinement, an idea exists that outsiders are resisting Avant teachings and are trying to bring back their forms of external combat into the Avant setting.
- The School of Avant frequently makes use of Casecabillas Stallions, the swift and powerful steeds of the Ularen Plains extensively tied into Avanthar society.
- Many surviving enemies of the Avanthar often have nightmares and suffer from Knight’s Syndrome after encounters with them. An infant crying, or indeed an Avanthar whooping and screaming, can often force these veterans to relive the dangerous situations experienced as a soldier facing pupils of the School of Avant, and trigger strong emotional reactions such as fear and anger.