By HM Queen Anna
Ever since Destin started training me in swordplay, I’ve been taking assiduous notes on the history and schools of our kingdom’s martial heritage. I was never a particularly fighting girl (although I’d take an arrow for Elsa any day), but with my new responsibilities as queen, the general wants me to also prepare for war, in case diplomacy fails – and knowing self-defence can’t hurt either. I had no idea Arendelle had such a long history of swordfighting styles.
Bjørn, “The Bear”
The Bear school is the oldest of the four disciplines, a two-handed style adapted directly from the Viking art of fighting with an axe. It focuses on defence and sheer physical endurance, wearing out the enemy until there’s an opening for a “one-kill counterattack” – a crushing death blow that the practitioner must train for many years to deliver. Despite its brutal focus, the counterattack, known in the school as the “Bear Swipe,” requires impeccable timing and focus to pull off.
The Bear was mastered by my grandfather, who I guess took pleasure in the frightening reputation of this style.
Hest, “The Horse”
The Horse school is another ancient style that was developed for infantry fighting in formations. It balances offence and defence with a one-handed sword and shield. Attacks, parries, and blocking are always performed with the sword and shield. It’s minimalist but extremely effective, especially since it introduces the techniques of using a shield, something that other styles lack.
My top general, Destin, is an absolute master of this style, and he was responsible for codifying it as the standard fencing school for all soldiers in the army.
Rev, “The Fox”
When heavy armour fell out of fashion between duellists, agility and finesse became prioritised. The Fox school teaches a creative and elegant style partially inspired by fencing techniques from Continental Europe. It’s a one-handed style using skilful evasion and footwork to exploit the opponent’s mistakes and openings. It’s perhaps the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing of the styles.
It was practiced by Father as a hobby – it’s a flashy style favoured by many of the jarls and nobles that want to look “hip” and “cool” at other European courts.
Ulv, “The Wolf”
The Wolf school is a highly advanced, two-handed style that demands both strength and agility. It relies on intense aggression and unpredictable attacks to overwhelm my opponent before they can mount a real defence. It’s been described in the training manuals as “graceful malevolence,” with a deeper immersion in your intense emotions.
General Mattias is training me in this style because he thinks my personality and lithe body type suits it, but warns me it’s also the most exhausting form. I admit that Ulv’s twisting acrobatics and ferocity has led me to collapse at several training sessions already. But Destin assures me that at its highest mastery, Ulv is truly terrifying.