Could you tell us about how Shang training tends to work? Usually they start super young, but how formal is the training? What does it tend to look like?
Formal training is testing and then placement in appropriate classes by level involving different skills, including both physical and traditional academic ones. Make-up classes to bring you up to speed if you’re just a little behind. You advance depending on the master who covers each particular skill, so it’s a bit fluid. There are regular quarterly tests. There’s fitness training like camping and running and swimming and stuff like that. Basically you’re on the go from dawn until nightfall.
That’s pretty much it. The classes get more complex as you go on, and if you’re better at some skills than others, you’re advanced in those classes versus others. You have to do well over-all, or you’re not permitted to stay. You have to maintain at least your age-level in everything. If you can’t cut it you’re sent home.
If you lose interest or feel that you can serve better elsewhere, they might help place you somewhere. In a nobleman’s house as a guard, or working for merchants. If you show academic excellence, they can place you somewhere as well.
You might have a hundred students in the beginning of a class, and by the time you reach the top levels you have as few as ten. Students who were placed out in the field to get experience sometimes come back to teach as well. And all of this is before they get their names.
It’s only when the masters grant you your name that you’re considered finished, and even then, everyone comes back for a brush-up or to add new knowledge. Sometimes the masters will change your name if they feel you’ve moved up or in a new direction.
Is there anywhere in Tortall where there are riding schools that take horseback riding to an art. Thinking along the line of the Spanish Riding School. But also, bullfighting horses?
Not that I know of. There may be groups among the Players that do it, small groups. But it would be very expensive to fund a school of that kind, and in that period, the only customers would be really opulent courts that can afford to pay.
Yeah, it would be kept to the Players. They could only do it for a small number of horses, and they tend to be family-oriented. They might take on two or three trainees a year, but they would have to be ready to travel and learn as they went. And they’d train in the winter camps.