"The boy felt his mind whirling. He lay his hands on his knees, catching his breath. A quick glance in either direction told him the other students didn’t share his exhaustion. Stonemother! How in the hell can I compete? Already, his heart was throbbing frantically in his chest, and lances of white hot pain coursed through his shield arm. At his feet lay the offending tool, a shield cracked down the middle and splintered all across its face. The top half of his training sword lay across it, the handle somewhere behind him. He kicked the broken weapons to the side, and the young Second leaning against the wall quickly bent over and collected the wooden fragments, before returning to his post. The boy’s shoulders were at eye level for the Second, though he knew they were the same age. Primes were always bigger. The boy rolled his shoulders, trying to loosen up the knots that were forming there."
One of the primary advantages of the riddari is their incredible mobility. Rather than stop to feed themselves they would consume Marr milk regularily and fill out the rest with minimal jerky rations. They essentially travelled just as fast as the news did, and so the enemy never had time to prepare for their arrival. Is it a closely guarded secret that all Marr trained for riding are female.