120 years after The Fall--more often written “120 PF” (Post Fall) is where this story begins. Let’s turn our attention to Lana, 31, and living alone at Willow Bend Sanctuary in southern Louisiana, Lana has known Willow Bend as home for the past fourteen years. Before this she traveled with her family in a caravan of like-minded folks. The fifty-odd people shared knowledge and learning wherever they went. Her parents taught unrelated subjects.
Todd was a fencing instructor. His grand-father was an Olympian from Canada--never medaled, but came in fourth during the 2016 and 2020 games. Made it to London in 2012, but was injured before the opening ceremony and was unable to compete. The injury was a blast out of left field. Al had been walking up stairs to attend a meeting and tripped. Broke his wrist and spent the rest of the time in the stands watching people he barely knew play games he wasn’t all that familiar with. If it wasn’t fencing, he didn’t have much time for it. After The Fall, Al passed what he knew onto his son, who taught Todd.
The demand for learning to use a sword was minimal for the first few decades after The Fall, but had grown with time. As ammunition became more rare, other means of defense became more used and respected. To win a fight with a sword meant far more than winning with a gun. There was skill in shooting, to be sure, but not the same as a melee weapon. Bragging rights and prestige were to be won. Todd had been in three duels, and won each.
Ran, Todd’s wife, was an art teacher. The name “Ran” was not what she’d been given at birth. She’d been named Rachael, her brother would tease her and call her Randy. Neither Randy nor Rachael stuck, but “Ran” did. Ran loved all mediums, clay, paint, pencils, rocks, dirt, a handful of leaves. She was all about making everywhere you go a little more pretty. She and her students would leave things here and there, signs for others that knew what to look for, that this was a way teachers had been.
At seventeen Lana decided to plant roots at Willow Bend. The caravan had been passing through the nearby town of Blue Moth on their way to Lafayette. They made a stop at the sanctuary to trade. Ended up staying for two weeks, and Lana said she’d stick around for another next five years. Made a commitment, right then and there, she wouldn’t leave for at least that long. Willow Bend asked for a minimum of six-months if someone wanted to stay. Classes lasted from one to three weeks and anyone at all was allowed to attend. The cost was two dollars and what help you could offer, three dollars if you chose not do any work and instead wanted to spend more one-on-one time with the sanctuary’s teachers. Most opted to work.
Lana, now 31, spent most of her childhood with anyone that could teach her about physical strength. Her mother was too “Head in the clouds,” and her father’s craft didn’t care as much about strength as agility. There’s no telling what set Lana down this path. Whatever it was, led to her being one of the most physically able individuals at Willow Bend. Everyone at the sanctuary knew Lana was, with no close second, the strongest woman there—with only a few males to surpass her.
If not eating, lifting weights, or practicing jiu-jitsu there was equal chance for Lana to be running or sleeping. There was little else she did. She found time to meditate each day, but it often wasn’t more than ten to twenty minutes. Many students would spend hours sitting, but Lana had other things on her mind. She wanted to improve herself, become a specimen of peak, physical prowess.