Courtyard > Basic Movement Skills

Welcome, apprentice. The lifestyle of a Keeper can be physically demanding, and it is here that we train your body to reach its physical peak. You will be taught how to move with grace and confidence, how to jump impossible distances and climb nerve-shattering heights. When you are trained in our fashion, you will perform inhuman feats and leave pursuers standing in awe. Thus it is to be a Keeper.

To pass through this world, unseen or otherwise, you must first learn to move. Of course, any fool can move as nature intended, but you must learn to move as a Keeper. To begin with, we will discuss the difference between the three forms of movement: Walking, Running, and Creeping.

The first form - walking - is obvious, and a Keeper does so much like anyone else. We Keepers practice patience and calm, however, and our movements should reflect this. When you leave this courtyard, you will walk with purpose and dignity - not appearing to be in a hurry nor slow enough to hamper others. This is done not to cause envy or wonder in others, but to maintain the balance between the two extremes. After all, we must master our own balance before we can maintain the greater one.

The second form - running - is also fairly obvious. As a Keeper you will learn to run with catlike grace and agility, moving with inhuman speed and balance. Of course, we Keepers are only human, and we sometimes require assistance in unlocking our "superhuman" abilities. To move beyond the possibility of sheer muscle, we offer the speed potion - a draft which will accelerate the body's production of adrenaline to near-dangerous levels and allow one to move as a blur. Be warned, however. As Keepers, we cannot discuss movement without also considering the subject of stealth.

Whether one walks or runs across a surface will have a direct impact on how much noise one makes. Running across a marble floor, of course, makes far more noise than walking across the same room would. And that brings us to the final form of movement - the one that makes the least amount of noise.

Creeping is an essential skill for a Keeper, and it is one of the things that sets us apart from the average commoner or athlete. In addition to speed, a Keeper learns to slow his or her movements - sometimes to a mere crawl. By moving while crouched, a Keeper not only minimizes the chance of being seen by others, but also lowers the point of gravity so that weight does not shift as easily. This allows an individual to move across surfaces with less noise - a valuable ability for a Keeper.

Practice these movement skills for a short while, and then we will move on to the next lesson - mantling and climbing.

Before you can master mantling and climbing, we must first discuss jumping. Anyone can jump, of course, but you must learn to do it well. Throughout our time together, you will learn to gauge distance and speed, timing your jumps accordingly. This is something you can only learn through experience, so best we get to it.

There now - feel better? I'm afraid you're starting to look a little winded. Well, at any rate, we'll move on. A basic skill needed by any Keeper is how to climb seemingly impossible heights. I'm afraid it's no large ability - it's merely a combination of jumping and mantling, and learning when to use which. What? Oh, yes. I suppose an explanation would help, would it not? Mantling is the ability to grapple onto an object and pull yourself onto it. Once you've learned this ability, you should be able to grab just about any edge and pull yourself over it. To mantle onto something, jump when near it. You will then grab the edge and, if successful, haul yourself over it and onto whatever it is you're trying to reach. This includes ledges, crates, ladders, etc. Now, let me present you with a bit of a challenge. In which of the following scenarios would you be able to climb all the way to the top?

Give up? The answer is -- all of them. That's right, it's possible to climb to the top in all three scenarios. Some are just harder than others.

  • The first scenario is "Long Tom's Wall" on Markham Isle. Oh, yes - such a place really exists. It may look daunting, but it's really just a matter of mantling up one rock face after another until you reach the top.
  • The second scenario is the obviously simple one - grab the ladder and climb until you reach the top.
  • The last scenario is a bit tricky. This area is part of the mansion once owned and renovated by Constantine. After the Dark Project incident, the mansion was purchased by one of our agents so that we might study it further. To climb in this room requires a combination of rope arrows and mantling. And that makes this one the trick question, doesn't it, since we have yet to discuss rope and vine arrows...

As I mentioned above, we Keepers are only human, and it is only through a combination of our physical skill, intellectual reasoning, and superb equipment that we reach the unreachable. As a Keeper, you will have access to rope arrows, and possibly even vine arrows, that allow you to scale heights that would otherwise be impassable. Simply fire the arrow into a wood or other pliable surface, and the rope will uncoil before you. Vine arrows will also allow you to cling to metal grates or other porous surfaces. Rope-climbing is nearly identical to mantling, and should be an easy skill to master if you've already conquered climbing. A note, however - if you wish to mantle onto a ledge once at the top of the rope or vine, you must remember to fire the arrow at an angle so that the top of the rope actually reaches the edge you are attempting to reach. That is an archery skill, however, and will come later I'm sure.

Now we should discuss a topic closely related to climbing - falling. After all, what goes up must come down, right? Not necessarily, but the principle is sound. If you are not careful, you will definitely find yourself falling - perhaps even to your death. The above average agility and reflexes you will have gained here may help minimize the damage from a fall, but even those will not save you if you fall from a sufficient height.

It is for this reason we developed the slowfall potion - a concoction which decreases one's mass, thus decreasing the pull of gravity on a falling body such as your own. The alchemical properties of the reaction are not that important to understand. What is important to understand, however, is that this potion will make you move, and fall, much slower. The effect will only last for a few seconds and may not protect you from damage altogether. If used properly, though, a slowfall potion will decrease or even negate the risk of harm during a fall.

So, remember, apprentice - you can jump, mantle, or climb to just about anywhere that's humanly possible. Many areas will always be inaccessible to you despite your skills and equipment. Such is the way of life, and it cannot be changed. It is only through experience and experimentation that you will learn what you can and cannot do. Next we will discuss swimming - a decidedly important skill if you should find yourself in water.

There are many in the world that have, for one reason or another, never learned the art of swimming. You, however, are a Keeper and learn it you must. Now, do you have any previous experience in this area? Good, good. The fact that you have knowledge of it, however meager, will make our lesson here that much easier.

Now - lesson one. You are not a fish. You must breathe. If you are underwater, you must therefore come up for air. The recommended method of determing how much air you have left in your lungs is to watch the amount of bubbles rising to the surface. Fewer bubbles means less air. Allow me to demonstrate...

Notice the longer I stayed underwater, the less bubbles were seen. You must learn to pay attention to your air supply, for when you run out of air you will begin taking damage. Death will follow very soon after. The only way to replenish your air supply is to rise to the surface or perhaps find an air pocket somewhere underwater.

Now for lesson two. You can be a fish. Yes, I know what I said before, but there are exceptions to every rule. Although you will learn here to expand your lungs and decrease your oxygen use, you will still eventually run out of air. However -- there is a solution. A supply of breath potions will allow you to stay underwater for longer periods of time. In fact, with a limitless supply of potions I suppose one could stay underwater indefinitely. Not that you'd want to, of course - you're no Kurshok! At any rate, this will allow a Keeper to travel through depths that no human should be able to withstand.

And that pretty much concludes our lessons on movement. You have learned to walk, run, and creep like a Keeper. You have learned the nuances of jumping, mantling, and climbing, and you've also learned the basics of swimming. If you'd like to go over archery or combat skills, please speak to one of the other instructors in the courtyard. Good luck out there, apprentice.

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