Sacred 2:Book 5 - Archery

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From Lore of Weaponry
Book 5


"A bow is like a cat. It has its own will that you can't bend In order to control it, you need to understand it first. And in order to understand it, you need to let it control you."
--- Seribas Whitelock, Master Archer

Archery, the Science

Bows are the perfect symbiosis of different materials. The flexibility of the bow-stave, transferring the acceleration to the string, which then passes it on to the stiff and rigid mass of the arrow, made of steel and wood. It is the inherent properties of the materials, which make the bow such a deadly weapon.

Interestingly, bows can be found in the history of every single culture in Ancaria. However, it remains unclear, which race or culture can actually claim to have invented the bow. Many theories are focusing on this question. Some historians even say that bows are an Orcish invention.

One of the oldest examples for archery was found during the archaeological excavation of an ancient Human cemetery. The burial objects in the graves indicated that it must have been an extremely wealthy village. However, one of the graves was different from the others. Instead of the usual amount of burial objects found in the other graves, it just contained three arrow heads. It took quite a while for the historians to figure out that in this particular case, the arrow heads were actually not burial objects, but the cause of death.

No other weapon in the history of Ancaria went through an evolution like the bow did. In ancient times, the bow was merely a weak and unreliable instrument, used for hunting small animals. But over the centuries, the High Elves and especially the Dryads have developed the technology to perfection, and created one of the most powerful weapons ever seen. Made of a special kind of magical wood called "Nyugharii" (Dryad: "Soul of the Forest"), Dryad bows are extremely precise and long-ranged. A well crafted Dryad bow is the only missile weapon in Ancaria that's able to penetrate the heart-scale of a Dragon.

Elven bows are usually made of yew wood. The typical Elven bow is longer than its Dryad counterpart, and almost (but not quite) as strong. But this downside is equalized by the fact that Elven arrows are commonly considered the best arrows you can get. The expertise of Elven smiths is still unrivaled, and the quality of arrowheads made of Elven steel definitely makes a difference - as thousands of Orcs can't attest to any more.

Archery, the Art

"Are you longing for perfection! Don't fool yourself. A lifespan is not enough to master the bow."
--- Seribas Whitelock to a student

It is the most efficient way to kill an enemy. Nock an arrow, draw the string, release it and watch the arrow find its target. Silent and with deadly precision, bows are able to kill at long distances, long before the enemy can even reach you.

But not so fast! It is a long path before this picture becomes reality. Countless hours of practice are required before you can call yourself an archer. Only the most talented will make the cut and become a master bowman. Archery requires a combination of physical and mental skills. High dexterity, sharp eyes, the ability to concentrate and good reflexes are all equally important.

Archery in Battles

An army of skilled archers is able to decide battles and entire wars. There are many examples in the history of Ancaria, where archers have been the deciding factor for a victory. However, just having archers is not enough. It takes some tactical skills to use them to their full effectiveness. Archers are generally weak as soon as their targets get into melee range. Therefore, protecting the archers is a key tactic in battles. It is essential to give them as much time as possible, because more time means more opportunities to fire arrows.

Archers in battle units usually wear light armor to keep them as mobile as possible, enabling them to avoid direct encounter with heavily armored troops. And even in siege situations, where most of the heavy armored troops are rendered useless, archers are a useful unit due to their ability to shoot burning arrows or take out single defenders from the distance.

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