The camp was not a large one, but it was well-armed, decently fed and the men were hardy, good folk. Alegna woke early, well before dawn to train and prepare for the drills ahead; she had expected, with her first day, for some men to resist being led by a woman.
So she had come early, prepared for the first batch of soldiers to dare comment.
She stood near some hastily erected training fields, waiting for those first roused by the dawn call to report. She wanted to see which men stood for her purpose as well. Who knew.
Perhaps they would prove worthy, both in the training field and in the battles to come.
It is first day in the armed forces and boy is he excited to get the day going. Aevar woke early, in fact earlier than the others assigned to his tent, so he is up and ready for when training will begin. Yeah the food was not that great but when you grow up poor food is food. As long as you have a full belly there is nothing to complain in regards to how the food tasted. He had no idea though that the woman who will be in charge of the training for the day is a woman.
Not that he would personally have a problem with it. But the other men might complain.
With a full belly and a mind geared towards whatever the day will bring. Aevar as quickly as possible put on his light armor. No need to go into training with full armor right? As long as he has his chainmail on he should be fine. It is not like they are going into combat any time soon. When his armor was on the teenager will walk out of the tent with his sheathed sword in his hand and his combat axe strapped to the back of his waist. Approaching the field he tied his sheathed weapon to his belt.
That is when he will see Alegna. But he will have no idea that she will be the one in command for the day. Unless someone superior to her showed up on the field. He will find himself standing there alone for a bit until one by one the other men reported to the spot where they were to gather.
One by one, more filtered in. As dawn slowly began its' approach, she stood and waited, face bare to the world but fully armored, her expression one of utmost calm. More men began to filter through, mumbling about the poorness of their sleep or the strain of waking up to early morn. Some eyed her but said nothing; others simply muttered, waiting to hear back or see their commander.
It was only when one man turned to her that she knew it was time. "Lady, do you know whether our Commander will be coming or not?"
She drew up tall, and didn't immediately answer. Instead, she walked to the center of the field, and turned to face them all. They were all in varying degrees of armor, mostly light pieces. She said nothing until the muttering began again, and then her voice cut through, clear and sharp.
"From now on, I am your commander."
A few laughs burst from the crowd, but she glowered at them. Each looked away when others didn't join. "You may call me Ser Ralik; and from here on out, you are in the army." Her eyes were cold, hard, and they glanced briefly at the boy Aevar, before moving on.
"A lady's gonna teach us how to be soldiers?" another voice popped up, and she suddenly drew her sword.
She leveled it at the man who had spoken, her face calm. "You there. You think you can't learn from a woman, knighted? Draw your sword, then, and let us see if you are fit to command in my stead."
For some reason, she wanted to look at the youth again; unlike most the others, he was somewhat tall, apparently, and held an axe. Perhaps she could talk to him later. The man blanched, however, but then nodded at the jeers of others. "Alright then," he replied, unsheathing his own sword. "I can fight a wo-"
He didn't finish the sentence before she struck, hard and fast, and he grunted in surprise barely able to block in time.
"Lesson one: stop talking," she barked out, then shoved his sword away, dismissing him.
Aevar swallowed as the woman announced herself as the commander of the group of soldiers the teenager is among. While the young man was curious to see what a woman is capable of teaching that a man is perhaps unable to teach. The youth may be curious but he could hear the men behind him say otherwise. Well perhaps this will be one of the lessons that the unruly men will learn from the hard way. He guessed that Alegna worked hard to get where she is at now. Though of course he has no clue about her life story.
Well one soldier standing right next to Aevar recieved a lesson about keeping his mouth shut after letting himself mouth off to Alegna. Ending with his sword being smacked out of his hand before he even finished what he was saying or leveling his sword. It appears that his time in this woman's branch of the army was finished with that as he was dismissed.
Another smart ass of a man though will approach with his sword drawn and level, "No woman will command me!" He exclaimed as he charged at the Centurion, swinging his sword horizontally at her to try to get a blow in.
Aevar could see the man was badly mistaken in two areas. His swing was too wide and second with him going right at her while swinging she can easily get well into the point of his defenses where he will not be able to defend himself. Aevar will not say anything though since he is in no such place to tell the other soldier. The attacking man will learn the hard way like the other man that was just dismissed.
If this keeps up the day may end with no training taking place unless the woman is so hard on the remaining men that she will train them during the night hours if need be.
She scowled, and when he blocked, effortlessly parried back the tip of his sword with the base of hers, blocking and leveling forward, then stepping into his open defense and body-checking him.
When he staggered to the ground, she slid his sword away from them, then leveled her sword at his neck, her face cold, a calm mask. "Lesson two: there are no men here. There are no women. You are a soldier. Now get up," she snarled, straightening.
"Anyone else? No? Good. From now until midday, you will be practicing in sparring drills with blunted weapons. One on one. Swords only, tomorrow will be shields." She stared at each one of them, and then when they started blinking at her, she pointed to the field. "you have your orders, dismissed!"
Before the lad could move on however, she came in his direction. "Wait a minute. Before you move anywhere, I'd like to talk to you," she spoke, but her voice was calm, no trace of anger. He seemed a level-headed youth, and despite the grumbling of the soldiers behind her she could whip them into fighting shape soon.
She had to, before the winter came. It would be key to keep them fighting lean and hard, and she wasn't going to give any of them the benefit of the doubt. She was a Centurion first, possibly ranked Legatus if she proved her worth.
But first she had to work with these men, and earn their respect. And you didn't earn it by getting soft.
Gabriel had arrived in Noria by ship, he had heard about House Ralik and their call to arms and he was hoping to gain some employment as a mercenary and earn himself some gold and glory. He did not care much for Noria, he was from the heartland of the empire after all, and as far as he was concerned Noria was not part of the Empire.
He arrived at the camp early in the morning and after some questioning by some of the soldiers guarding him, he was allowed to ride into the camp. He road towards the stables and hitched his horse before walking around the camp, looking for the one in charge.
To his surprise, it appeared to be a woman. Gabriel was intrigued and made sure to watch from a distance as he watched her assert her dominance and cement her position as a leader. He grinned as he watched the entire ordeal and when she had dismissed the men with the exception of one he walked towards her. He took off the hood of his armour and adjusted his sword slightly to make sure he did not appear like just some dishevelled mercenary, he was a noble after all and he carried himself like one.
He watched the woman until their eyes made contact and he gave her a small nod, waiting for her to speak to him.
Aevar could hear the men continue to bicker as the soldier attacking Alegna moved in. But they ceased when the man was easily brought down to the ground without him laying a single weapon or hand on the woman. It was more than just clear that none of the men had the necessary skills to go one on one with her. The teenager could not help but look behind him to see if any of the men were organizing themselves into groups to attack the woman.
His hand rested on the hilt of his sword as he looked. Not to join the men but to go to the defense of the Centurion. His hand will slide off the weapon as he saw that no one was.no daring to defy the woman. Some still bickered quietly to one another. Continuing to do so as they walked away from the scene to the field that she gestured for them to go to.
Aevar didn't have the chance to even wiggle a toe when Alegna spoke to him directly to stay. Now what did he do? Aevar nodded, "Yes, ma'am." He replied unsure of how to address the woman who is superior to him in rank.
Since his gaze was solely on the woman as he remained at attention. So he had no idea of the stranger who stepped onto the training fields. KillaReeDorian_Gray
She stared at the lad a beat, then nodded once in approval. "You're a strong sort. Head taller than most. What's your name, lad?" She smiled slightly when he called her ma'am, shrugging off the comment. "Just 'Ser' will do," she commented easily. He wasn't a mercenary, or a farmer perhaps... but there was promise. Much like her squire Abram, who stood off to one side, directing drills.
No man, nor woman would be exempt. All were welcomed here to fight under the same banner... but at the appearance of another, she met his eyes squarely. He nodded at her, and she crisply nodded back, trying to put a name to a face. High born, certainly, and already she felt a faint flicker of irritation. Just because he was dressed well and no doubt had a nice sword didn't mean she wouldn't hesitate giving him enough coin to be malleable to the cause.
He was clearly not a soldier. But she wasn't here to pander to noblemen. She was here to marshal together a fighting force, and it would happen whether any of them liked it or not. She was pleased someone answered her call.
Gabriel waited for a moment as she talked to the young lad before walking towards both of them, his questions were simple and he doubted she would talk to the young soldier long. "Apologies for the interruption madam." His Heartland accent immediately showed from the way he spoke. "That was quite a display I just saw you give, quite impressive. I assume you are the one in charge here? I heard about the call to arms and I have come to offer House Ralik my services, as a mercenary."
He looked towards the young soldier and gave him a small nod and a smile. "Hello, lad." He did not address him further, he saw no use in getting to know the other soldiers at least until he had taken the job.
He looked the woman over for a moment, his extra sharp eyes taking in every detail as he waited for her to answer.
Aever was about to speak when the stranger butted in to address the Centurion when she hadn't verbally acknowledged him. Which was a point against the stranger in regards to the teenager wanting to get to know him or speak to him. Aevar will glance at the man to acknowledge him but do no more than that. Seeing him was enough to tell the young man that this stranger was dressed.. to fancy to be a soldier. Who knows if he is even able to fight. He was probably the sort that would use his high status to put himself above the common soldier and wave off any advice or anything a soldier may say. At least that was what Aevar guessed from his smug expression.
The teenager looked back to his superior, clearing his throat before he spoke, "Aevar Glowsoar, Sur." He will respond to Alegna's question before they were interrupted. He had kept his posture at attention and his gaze focused on the Centurion. He wanted no business with the stranger unless Alegna commanded him to.
She nodded at Aevar, her voice calm, cool. "At ease, Aevar." She eyed him a moment... then hummed thoughtfully. "You carry an axe. How well are you at horseback, Aevar?" she asked him, hands on one hip, the other on the pommel of her sword. "I saw what you did back there; you show promise. With your sparring companion, I want you to use a blunted axe. Do that this round, and show me your best skills."
She then glanced at the mercenary. Slowly. Up and down, mentally tallying weapons, strengths, attitude and positioning. She merely raised a brow, then smiled. "Interesting. The work was posted not two days ago. What is your name?"
An innocuous question, it seemed, but she seemed intent to find out about this man. And keep an eye on the youth as well, though he was not much younger than she.
Gabriel made a small bow. "Gabriel Hawklight, at your service madam." He said with a charming smile. "Well I was in the capital when I heard about the work and I immediately took a ship to Noria, your camp was not hard to find and I arrived with my horse so here I am."
The man looked in his early-twenties but the more perceptive person would notice that his eyes appeared to be of a man twice his age and experience. He carried himself with confidence and walked with a surprisingly light step for a man his height. He did not seem at all intimidated or impressed by the soldiers.
He looked at Alegna for a moment. "You know I have spent three years in the legion, and I must say I have never met a female centurion, I must say it is very impressive. May I ask your name?"
Wait how did she notice the face he has been carrying around on his belt? She must have spotted it while watching him spark earlier in the day. Aevar shrugged a little, "I am honestly not sure of my horse riding skills, Sur. My brother used to sneak me to the stables he worked at to give me lessons until he was caught. That was quite sometime ago." The teenager would be lying if he didn't feel his pride swell in response to her words, which he kept grounded of course. The results will be bad if he let it take control of his mind since it would affect him in regards to his actions. He looked to the woman and nodded, "Yes, sur.".
He didn't have to go off to search for a blunted axe though as someone he didn't recognize handed one to him. Well that is one item off his to do list. But he was left wondering if he would be facing his sparring partner, Alegna herself or someone else.
Aevar stepped away from his superior to put some distance between him and the others so he can test out the axe. He gave the axe a mock swing followed by a second. It was a little bit too light for his taste. His own is a bit heavier than the one that he was handed. But he can manage with this one just fine.
Her brows slowly raised at this other man speaking. She merely looked at him for a beat... then whistled sharply. A man, standing alone, realized he was caught, and sheepishly jogged over. "Are you here to daydream, lad?" she commented, and he colored, looking down.
"Look up," she commanded crisply, and he did. She then pointed to Aevar, head tilted slightly. "You and he will spar. Grab an axe and start doing swing drills, but if I catch you standing still again that'll be twenty drills of lunge practice. Clear?"
He nodded, and she waved him off. "Dismissed."
The other young man jogged towards Aevar, muttering to himself. When he saw his partner, he hefted his blunted axe. "She's a wee bit sharp in the tongue, isn't she?" he commented, glancing back over his shoulder. "A real battleaxe, with nothing to soften."
She was thankfully out of earshot, but caught the dissatisfied look. She then registered the mercenary started talking, and her arms crossed. "A mercenary with military background, hmm... no, you wouldn't know the name I stood for then. Women Centurions didn't exist when I trained in Rhisoka."
Her eyes leveled at him, calm and assessing. "Nor Legati, I'm afraid. Alegna Ralik." She then eyed his sword and armor, head tilted. "If you're here to ride for House Ralik, you also ride like these men. I can't afford to serve nobles," she answered honestly, hazel gaze steady. "And I'd like to see that sword arm of yours in action." She nodded to one of the more veteran men training there; he was a few hands taller than her, merely toying with his sparring opponent. "No kills. Prove your arm, I'm curious."
Gabriel listened carefully and nodded. "I understand Ser Ralik, I do not wish to be treated as a noble if I wanted that I would have stayed in the capital and partied until I died comfortably in bed from old age, or liver failure." He said with a grin. "I for one am glad to see women in the legion, I've fought my fair share of men and women and I can say that both genders are equally good in combat."
Gabriel turned towards the man and then back to Alegna. "You should watch carefully, I'll have him on the ground in the blink of an eye." He flashed a smile before walking towards the weapon rack and taking a dull sword before approaching the man.
The man looked him over and scoffed. "You ready to get your ass handed to you rich boy?" Gabriel chuckled and raised his sword. He was left-handed by the looks of it. He put his other hand behind his back and took a defensive stance.
His sparring partner took a moment to asses his opponent and made some quick jabs to test out Gabriel's defences. Gabriel deflected all of them with quickness and ease which appeared almost supernatural. Annoyed the man kept jabbing at him, Gabriel quickly saw an opening and with speed side-stepped and swiped the man's legs out from under him and he fell hard unto his back, letting out a groan in pain. "Good effort lad." He said to him with a smile.
He walked back towards Alegna. "Shall we discuss the terms of my employment, ser Ralik?" He said with a grin.