“Can we get started already?” he asks.
“Just a minute.”
The sergeant unlocks the door, and inside there’s a small pool of swampwater and a few boats hanging on the walls.
“This is the boat training area. It’s deeper than the training pond, since the boats need it, but you’ve had enough swim training now that you should be okay if something goes wrong. Now, we’ll start with something simple – the rowboat. Tenth, help Marshall get it into the water.”
Tom Tenth mutters something under his breath and points to the rowboat. It’s just barely big enough for the two of you. You help him pull it off the wall and guide it to the water.
“Tenth, you get in there first and start rowing. Show Marshall what to do. Marshall, I trust you’ll be watching closely.”
You do. You watch as Tom Tenth lifts the oars and the boat moves backwards. It seems that’s how it’s meant to work, though, as he soon does a lap around the pool.
“Now, Marshall, you take the oars. If you’re having trouble, just ask Tom for advice.”
You get in and take the oars. They feel heavy, but you soon get a sense of how to lift them. You row, and find yourself retreating from Sergeant Greenwoods for a bit.
“Veer left!” Tom shouts. “We’ll hit the edge soon.”
“Oh. Ah, I missed that part,” you admit. “How do I turn?”
“Look, when you row, you’re making a current that pushes the boat in the opposite direction. If you’re going to turn, you’ve got to row harder on the side you’re turning away from. So row on your right, and just hold steady on your left.”
You try to follow his advice, but you find it awkward. Still, the boat does seem to drift left, and with a little more work, you manage a whole lap.
“You’re not very good at explaining this, Tenth,” the Sergeant says. “Still, Marshall does seem to have gotten the general idea.”
“I never wanted to babysit this rookie,” Tom Tenth grumbles. “I just row the damn boat, nobody said I’d have to explain it to someone. Anyhow, are we done here?”
“For today, yes.”
“Good. I’m getting out of here.”
He storms off, and you suppose that’s it for the lesson. The sergeant starts leading you towards the next class.
You wonder what it could be this time.