(1866-08-06) Morning Regimen
Morning Regimen
Summary: Jonathan begins his work as temporary taskmaster for the Black Fox cavalry. Lorelei grudgingly assists.
Date: 1866-08-06
Related: Takes place the day after Two Moments.
Jonathan  Lorelei  

Black Fox Company Training Yard
See scene set
6 Aout 1866

Jonathan t'Maren isn't one to waste time. The very night his sister departed on her journey, he had a note delivered to the quartermaster, one Mistress Lorelei Asheflour. It reads, in its entirety:

"I will await you at the practice field one-quarter of one hour after sunrise."

And at a mere ten minutes past sunrise, that's where Jonathan can be found, wide awake and more than ready to face the day. He's dressed for a fair degree of freedom of movement - sleeveless vest, pants rolled up almost to the knee - with the rest of his gear unceremoniously placed in a bundle on the floor. Arms are crossed over his chest as his eyes wander back and forth across the presently empty training field. He's waiting for something, but he doesn't seem in any particular hurry.

Empty? Clearly he's not looking hard enough.

Said Mistress Asheflour received the note. It was an expectation of his, it seems, that she should be capable of reading it. Thankfully the family she'd been fostered in as a child had taught her that learning was something worth devoting time to, even if they couldn't teach her how to read themselves. It was the one thing that had made her this shy of being the perfect fit for her job when she first came to the Company, but she picked it up quickly under careful instruction. Yet another thing to endebt her to her Captain…

Sitting cross-legged on the dirt off to the left of where Jon's hunkered down is the requested quartermaster-archer-Couvieri army knife awaiting discovery. Her long, dark, scraggly hair is pulled back rather delicately away from her face in a long plait that hangs down her back, curving to match her spine. Her bow's at her side with a quiver, though the knife never leaves her person, it would seem; there it hangs from a belt on her hip, the tip in its sheath gently pressing against a taut muscle of her outer thigh as she scrunches over to pull her knees closer to her chest with her arms. Finally, when it appears she won't actually be noticed, she rises to full height in one fluid motion.


Absence of knowledge aside, it's not all that often that Jonathan t'Maren is surprised. This morning, it seems, is one of those exceptional occasions. She's here early - a very good thing - and she's done a good job of not being noticed. When Lorelei gets to her feet, though, the knight is slow to actually /show/ his surprise. A moment's pause, and then he turns to one side, greeting her with a little nod.

"Good morning, Mistress Asheflour," he addresses her, voice calm. "I see you received the message without issue." In Jon's mind at least, it was a given that she'd have been able to read it. What good is a quartermaster who can't read? "A pity, that more of your men do not share my early-rising habits." Something to be remedied, that. "But you are here, at least, to start the day's regimen."

Her? Wait, a memo must have been lost somewhere, because she's not starting anything those daft sleepyheads might embark upon. Appearing to bristle slightly at being addresses thus Lorelei blinks, maybe a little too long even, and finally opens her eyes again to regard her Captain's interim replacement with something resembling distaste. "Hmm," she replies, not so much grumping as thinking aloud. Jon receives a quick once over, pitch black eyes going up and down before there's another blink and the archer is moving, rigid but purposeful and at a reasonable speed, toward the outbuilding a few yards away.

Upon reaching the building she bends and ducks, reaching around the side to grab…a rather large mallet? Then here's the pitch: it's a curveball, clearly, as Lorelei hoists the hammer up over her shoulder, turns slightly and takes a few steps forward, then hauls off and swings the mallet as hard as she can. Its head slams into the gong there, setting off a massive, echoing clang all throughout the camp. It's jarring. It's obnoxious. And in thirty seconds she repeats it once before dumping the mallet, turning on her heel, and returning to join Jon in the middle of the field.

Jonathan's eyes follow Lorelei as she scurries off to hit the gong, and he's not too proud to likewise look her up and down. The efficiency with which she does so gets a little approving nod. And then…

CLANG. Well, Jon's already awake, but that will do nicely to wake up the rest of the men. Eventually. In the meantime, he keeps his attention on Lorelei herself. "The sooner we begin doing /something/," he continues, "the more quickly they are likely to join us." And without further ado, Jon is off and running, and he moves at a rather fast clip, circling around the training yard. There's not so much as a gesture for Lorelei to follow, but the expectation that she'll do so is clear regardless.

Blah. Shoulders tense as he reciprocates. There's a distinct difference between determining how one is armed and checking someone out. Lorelei was distinctly not participating in the latter activity, but try explaining that in such circumstances eh? If she's beside him, albeit with a rather wide berth that's nearly as wide as she is tall, he'll be obvious if he looks at her. Good. Lorelei likes obvious. It makes things that much easier.

As if on cue, some recruits then begin trickling out of the barracks in varying states of undress and disarray. The pub, it seems, was busy again last night; nearly half of the men now showing are rubbing their dark-circled, bloodshot eyes. The other half is tying on pants or shirts or, for the super industrious, some form of leather protection against whatever drill their substitute teacher is going to put them through. Lifting a hand from her side, Lorelei counts heads. She's dissatisfied, huffs, and hauls herself over to slam the mallet on the gong twice more.

Fortunately for Lorelei, Jonathan's style is not at all subtle. He's not checking her out, exactly, but it's evident that he has more than a passing interest in her body - though, of course, that's likely merely the interest a physical trainer has in the body of a trainee. He has a need to know, after all.

By the time recruits begin to trickle out of the barracks, Jonathan is running at full speed, not even breaking his stride as Lorelei slams the gong twice more. Whenever he's within literal shouting distance of a recruit or group thereof, he does just that, snapping for the men to keep up as he blazes past. "Move!" Those who are slow to follow get a disapproving glare or a gesture to hurry up.

This time, she stays by the gong. Anyone who doesn't make it out afterward will receive some sort of punishment, and it'll likely wait until Esyld has returned. Just you wait until your mother gets home, junior…

There's a post near the gong that Lorelei finds inviting and so, with her effects about her, she leans against it, arms crossed and eyes narrowing as she watches the sheepdog attempt to herd the group. Some are following him, sure, but others are still waking up and not really moving. If lightbulbs had been invented yet, there'd be a little metaphorical one hovering over her head now, though; grabbing her loose items and shimmying up the pole to the roof of the stable, the archer knocks an arrow, takes aim, and begins firing at the lazy recruits. Move indeed.

Now, /that/ is the sort of thing Jonathan likes to see. If it gets them moving, excellent. If a man gets hurt here or there, well, this is /combat/ training for /combat/ soldiers. No sense going easy on them. And so he keeps running, and shouting, and increasing his pace even further, smiling to himself as the men struggle to keep up.

This goes on for the better part of an hour, Jonathan setting the pace around the training yard, the Black Fox mercenaries following as best they can, and Lorelei rather helpfully sniping at the stragglers. When a good portion of the men are at the point of collapsing from exhaustion, he gives another order - though he doesn't stop running to do it. "Archery targets, Mistress Asheflour."

Lorelei's used to working, even if it's not entirely as it should be, as one of a pair. She's not important enough to be noticed by those who notice Esyld, and she's not unimportant enough to do common fetching. That, though, she will do if it's being done wrong and verbally correcting someone would take too much work.

That is to say: every time.

And so now Lore aims at the few recruits who've stopped running and are doubled over, hands on their knees and complaints on their lips. Her last few arrows whoosh past the remaining runners to land at the quitters' feet, drawing their attention. When they undoubtedly look up and toward her in shock and frustration, she nods in the direction of the barn where the targets are stored overnight. "Fetch," she shouts, projecting her voice much farther than her spindly frame seems capable of.

"Those who are still standing, get your gear." That's Jonathan's voice as he finally comes to a stop. He's broken a sweat, of course, but he doesn't seem at all worse for wear despite the rather vigorous run - his breathing is still normal, and he moves just as easily now as ever. "Those who are not, find your feet in the next /ten seconds/, and get your gear." The officer's snap in his voice is unmistakable. "Form a line."

Once at least most of the men are in position, the Knight continues, "When battle is joined, you will /not/ have the luxury of giving up. You will be pushed to your breaking point and beyond, and you will push back still. If your hands are not steady and your wits are not about you, you will die."

In mere moments, Jonathan has his bow in his hands, and he fires off a shot at the nearest target. It hits the bullseye, just inches off dead-center. "Any man who cannot hit his target," he snaps, "will be on half rations for the day."

Of course it hits the bullseye. With a heavy sigh, Lorelei's eyelids flutter shut. She leaves them there, closed, for a few moments as her ears pick up the slack and hear the recruits complaining, huffing, and sloughing their way into line. There's the sound of wood clacking against wood as they attempt to knock their arrows, or as they end up knocking into one another. Eyes oopen once more, so looks down again just in time for the pcloud of arrows to move, much like a flock of drunk birds, toward the targets. Some hit, most don't, and none others hit the bullseye. There's one that comes close. Muttered swears can be heard as the last arrow in Lorelei's quiver is whipped out, hit swiftly against her hand and the bow, and loosed into the air.

It whistles softly as it flies, with great speed, durectly into the feather end of Jon's bullseye arrow. "She wouldn't starve them," the quartermaster chides, glaring at him before making her way down from the roof.

"Should count themselves lucky that I give them anything at all," Jonathan replies, taking a step back as the recruits try their luck with the targets. "Dead men require no food. I mean what I say." To his credit, though, Jon isn't an especially cruel taskmaster once the exercise commences. He makes his way up and down the line, occasionally offering a word of encouragement or an approving nod, even helping a man steady his aim.

"Keep shooting," he adds, loud enough to be heard, but absent the snap in his voice. It'll keep the men occupied for long enough for him to have a word with Lorelei. "Don't tell me that Captain Draven is going soft with them," he says. "Even this is gentle compared to what we were put through in Bloodfield."

"Soft?" Uh, did he notice his arrow's cloven in two? Lorelei's distracted from the conversation, such as it is, by this disturbing fact. Clearly he must have seen it. Cool as a cucumber, she looks up at him, the small difference in their height most apparent when they're here side by side. She shakes her head. "She has her ways," is all she offers back, choosing to look at that worm on the hook and swim away, gills intact.

As Jon makes his way in one direction down the line of recruits, so Lorelei does in the opposite, walking between these 'archers' and their targets — even as they shoot. First she's low to the ground, then she hops up, missing each and every shot as she collects the arrows and brings them back, round after round, to be used again. On her third or fourth pass past the interim commander, she adds (perhaps belatedly), "This isn't Bloodfield." It's true, and it's said quietly and resolutely. And, even with this resolution and confidence, Lorelei's nicked by an arrow across the back of her calf the next round of collections she makes.

Looking between the recruit who's gotten her, the wound, and the ground, she glares. "Higher, fool." There's no limp as she walks back to deposit the collected arrows.

"No, it certainly is not." Jonathan lifts his shoulders in a shrug as he likewise makes the rounds among the recruits. "Some of them are impressive shots, however." There's no 'given the circumstances' added. After all, the whole point of the exercise is to judge them /in spite of/ the circumstances. Battlefields are not so forgiving, after all. "Though none quite so impressive as yours," he adds, offhand, tilting his head toward the split arrow.

Perhaps he'd have more to say, but he's distracted rather immediately by the arrow that nicks the quartermaster in the calf. He turns to upbraid the young man who fired it… and soon finds that the glare in his eyes is enough to have the Black Fox in question looking like he may soon soil himself. "I daresay," he mutters, "that you may want to try /not/ aiming for the target. More likely to hit it by luck than by skill."

On that note, his eyes wander off to follow Lorelei. She's not even slowing down, and that gets an approving nod.

She does slow down, though, once that batch of arrows is delivered. Jon's comments go unresponded to as she steals off to the side and, pulling a wad of the back of her tunic forward, rips a piece off with a rather loud scratching noise despite her better efforts to keep it all low key. Her half is swiftly wrapped and patted, and the red that'd been soaking her leg begins to soak the cloth instead now for a time before it starts to dissipate. Gotta get a bandaid, afer all. Infections slow you more than the initial injuries do.

Looking up at the sky, then, Lore sniffs, rubs her nose with the back of a free hand, and frowns. "Near midday," she offers, somewhat obviously. Maybe we should feed the recruits.

"That it is." By now, nearly all of the recruits have hit at least one shot. The few who will be on half rations have long since resigned themselves to it. "Mess hall, lads," Jonathan shouts, simply enough, and he's met with a halfhearted cheer… one that abruptly stops as he adds, "Pick up your gear first. No lunch for any man who leaves his things out of place."

As they shuffle off, he turns to face Lorelei directly, giving a little nod. "Perhaps over lunch, we ought to discuss plans for the afternoon." Is that just a little smile curling his lips? It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it thing, but odds are good that Lorelei didn't blink.

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