07.06.3013: Archery Training
Summary: Aelewen trains Agnes in the use of a bow. Then they talk about life and love.
Date: 06 July 2013
Related: None
Aelewen Agnes 

Arborenin Woods — The Spine, Imperius
Tall, monstrous trees dominant the forests that take up most of the southern half of the Spine. Their trunks are like the legs of giants, and their dark bark is home to brightly colored moss and the broad steps of mushrooms. Natural light must filter down through broad leaves, casting much of the forest in a cool green glow. The forest floor is covered mostly in soft peat and rotting debris, creating a fertile bed for lush flora, which in turn become the habitats of diverse fauna. Nurse logs, hollowed snags, sink holes, and small forest caves adds layers of detail to the broad stretch of Arborenin woods. Toward the outer edges of the forest, the giant trees transition to smaller evergreens and firs, transitioning into mountain forests to the west and rocky beaches to the east.
06 July 3013

Well Agnes did mention archery lessons, and Aelewen does like to teach. So she offered the knight some training. Just in case of pride she gave directions to a clearing that is slightly out of the way. The sunlight shines down through the trees, casting dappled shadows around the fringes of the clearing. In the centre she has put targets at three different ranges, and across a tree stump she has three bows. Her familiar combat bow that she has carried for decades, worn with the patina of hard use. A very basic old fashioned wooden longbow, and a brand new, larger, combat bow with all the bells and whistles. The lady herself is idly stretching her long and lean form out, wincing as old injuries and plain old, old age catches some tender muscles.

Agnes weaves her way through the trees in leather breeches and vest, with a flowing blouse beneath the latter and a half circle cloak thrown over it all. Her boots make almost no sound on the forest floor. She has, at least, had training in the woods before. She ducks beneath a hanging branch most women wouldn't need to dodge, and raises a hand in greet. "Ael," she calls out.

Aelewen looks up from a faintly convoluted stretching pose, a smile wrinkling her tanned face as she straightens slowly with an exagerated groan "Cold mornings" she says with a shake of her head, then stalking closer to offer the taller woman her hand. Despite her complains she still flows smoothly from step to step "Good to see you up and about Agnes, how are the new ribs?" she asks with a faint frown of motherly concern as she looks her over.

Agnes clasps hands with Aelewen and she smiles. "A sight better than the original ones, I dare say. These likely won't shatter if they take a sword strike." She looks at the bows and grimaces. "You do realize I have absolutely no idea what to do with one of those. Treat me like you would a beginning squire."

Aelewen grips firmly, but doesn't try to match strength with Agnes. She offers a wry smile at her words "I thought that is why we should start somewhere out of the way. To protect stray passerbyes" the ranger adds a little drily, although she softens in with a smile "Alright, we will start with the wooden bow. Teach you the basics before we move to the modern bows once you have a solid grounding. And don't worry, despite rumors we are born with a bow in hand we Arobren do have to be taught" she adds with a soft chuckle.

Agnes chuckles softly, and there is no longer that terrible gurgling from her injuries. She moves to pick up the wooden bow, and the thing looks like a toothpick in her hands. "If I break anything, I vow I will replace it, Ael. Swinging around a sword or the like I'm a dancer. Delicate things like archery? Bull in a china shop. Or bear, as the case may be."

Aelewen slaps Agnes on the back and chuckles with a shake of her head "I doubt you can be worse than some I have taught. At least you acknowledge problems. Just between us two, too many of my house think they are the gods gift to archery from the moment they pick up a bow" she says with a roll of her eyes "Anyway just like any form of combat the first and most important thing is balance" she says as she heads up to a line "You want to be turned sideways. Unlike sword fighting you want your weight evenly balanced between ball and heel, knees slightly bent" she says as she demonstrates with slightly exagerated motions "You want to feel strong, feel the earth beneath and draw power…" she says her voice softening a little.

The Peake Knight mirrors what Aelewen does, changing her stance and shifting her weight to more evenly distribute it. "I'm born of the earth and live under it. Those of Khar-Mordune can always feel it," Agnes murmurs with a small smile. Nevertheless, she focuses until she feels truly balanced.

"Good.." Aelewen says as she makes a few small corrections here and there "…although how you live under the earth…" she adds with a shudder as she moves away "Just light melee fighting you need to keep your upper body firm, but not tense. Tensing too much throws off your aim. Now…" she says as she heads over to pick up the extra quiver and strap it around Agne's waist "Have you gained weight?" she teases with a faintly wicked grin as she belts it on, adjust it so the fletching is just so "Reach down to see if that is comfortable for you"

Agnes grunts. "The hospital food at Willowtree is better than the food in the Khar-Mordune barracks," she admits. "I may have put on a pound or ten." And been binge eating due to worry over marriage and such. She reaches for the quiver and gives a nod in the affirmative. "Feels fine."

"Don't worry, once you are back in battle they will soon drop off. Also I was teasing Aggie…" Aelewen replies with a crooked smile "…not everyone has a stick figure like myself. I swear my husband had wider hips." Chuckling softly she shifts to stand in front of the other woman "Okay there are a few special techniques with a wooden bow that I won't show you today. If you find the love for archery than all civilised people should have I will be happy to show you later.." she adds with another flash of a smile, although her voice is more professional sounding "Okay so you have your balance, you nock the arrow against the string, you will see that mark there. Now you rest the shaft on the arrow rest as so" she says, slowly and carefully demonstrating each motion with the smooth ease of long practice. She shifts a little to show the grip on the arrow "Raise the bow, and aim. Make sure only what you want to hit is down range. Draw the string back to your ear, check your aim, and loose" she says and with that she does so, the arrow arching out to head dead centre with a soft thud.

Agnes does as Aelewen asks. She checks her stance, nocks an arrow, draws, aims, and looses. The arrow bounces straight back into her forehead and the bow hits the ground, leaving her hands empty and still in position, and her looking the fool. "That could have gone better."

"I did mention hanging onto the bow" Aelewen says as she carefully fights off fits of laughter. Her lips do twitch however and she turns away to carefully compose herself before looking back "Don't worry Agnes. I mean remember when you first picked up a sword?" she says gently "Not easy was it? and hitting things with other things is a lot more natural to us than archery. Well…" she says as she flashes another smile "Unless you are born Arboren. Now let me get you a bracer as well, just in case" she adds, heading over to find a rather large one that she fits to the taller woman's forearm carefully "Now you need to release the string and the arrow at the same time" she says with a smile, then makes some other small corrections "ALright…" she says as she moves well back "…give it another go"

Agnes watches the bracer being put on and makes note of how to do it for future reference. This time, she manages to release string AND arrow, and it wobbles through the air for a few feet before thunking in the dirt.

"Much better" Aelwen says from some distance back, although now that the arrows are at least going foward she moves closer again "Okay, one thing a lot of new archers down is aim the point of the arrow at where they want to hit. Ignore the point" she says with a smile "Arrows travel in an arc. Use the aiming point" she says, nodding to it again "Put that on the target. Then loose smoothly. Okay now drawn and hold it, don't release until I say so"

The drawing and holding isn't any sort of issue for the muscular woman. Agnes doesn't even seem to strain at the pull and her arm steadies quickly as she aims with the corrections given. She holds the draw, waiting for the clearance to release.

"Nice to deal with someone who already has strong arms and shoulders. Usualy takes years to build those up in an archer" Aelewen says with a smile as she makes the appropriate corrections. She moves close to adjust the larger woman's stance, but she is all professional as she does "Now take a breath. Hold it, check your aim. Release" she says after another moment.

The breath is taken, then Agnes releases. This time it flies much truer, hitting the edge of the target at least, and sticking. "Well will you look at that. All those barns in the area best watch their sides," she quips.

Aelewen chuckles softly at her words, accompanying them with another slap on the back "Well at least now you aren't in danger of shooting your instructor. At least by accident.." the ranger adds with one of her crooked smiles "Now lets see you fire off a half dozen or so. Take your time, but don't over aim. Once you have your target, loose" she says, ready to offer more advice as the other woman shoots.

Agnes launches into the task with the stoic focus she exhibits in all war arts. She keeps going until she's doing it right. She doesn't rest, other than to sip water now and then. She is going to have very sore shoulders tomorrow. When she's managed to hit the circles on the target six of twelve shots, she pauses and looks to her instructor.

Aelewen makes the appropriate corrections, getting fewer and fewer with each shot. She nods with a brief look of approval "Getting better" she praises "Now I will let you use a bow we use in combat. You will find it a lot easier" and with that she takes the wooden bow back and pulls out one of the latest in fancy combat bows. It makes her smaller one look almost plain "This has pulleys and cams so it will lock into position one you draw it back. It can tie into an armor's HUD to offer you range, windage and a laser sight. The power is over double that of the yew bow, put the pull is a quarter if that" she says as she hands it over and demonstrates all the various bits and pieces and so forth.

Agnes looks at the compound bow skeptically for a moment, then back at Aelewen. "I'm not going to break this flimsy thing, am I?" she asks. She retakes her stance, and tests the pull, drawing it back. Her eyes widen at the ease of it. "Amazing," she admits.

"Normally I will let an squire practice for months with the wooden bow before moving them on" Aelewen says as she absently leans back against a tree and watches Agnes practice "Builds up muscle, teaches you how to aim without all the fancy tech. I think you may have a bit of muscle…" she quips with a glance over the larger woman and a grin, although in truth she has fairly large shoulders and arms for a mostly slender woman "And they are tougher than they look. Made from all the latest alloys and compounds. You can put an arrow throw a hostile from fifty meters at least"

Agnes tests that, nocking an arrow, drawing back the string against her cheek to her ear, and aiming carefully with what Aelewen has told her. She takes in a breath, lets it out slowly, and looses. It hits the target, and goes right through it and the hay bale behind it. "Nice."

"Advantage is you can hold your aim for longer with less effort. Aim is far easier, it automaticaly accounts for range with the sighting. And well there is a reason even the most anti-tech of my family goes to war with a compound bow" Aelewen replies with a smile. She hands over a more high-tech quiver that matches the bow "This holds twelve arrows, as you draw one, it rotates to present the next. Means if you bend sharply, or get knocked over you won't end up spilling your arrows everywhere"

"Brilliant. Where do you recommend I purchase a bow and quiver for myself?" Agnes asks, checking out how the quiver does the rotation with a look of wonder.

At that question Aelewen's smile broadens wide, flashing her bright white teeth against the tanned brown of her wrinkled face as she motions to the bow, that seems to be exactly the right size and draw for the tall woman "Happy Birthday Lady Sir Agnes" she says merrily as her blue eyes brighten a bit.

"What are you talking about? My birthday isn't for three months," Agnes protests, blinking at Aelewen in confusion.

Aelewen rolls her eyes just a little as her smile turns to something slightly exhasperated. But fondly so "Happy early birthday?" she says with a wry shake of her head "I meant I had the bow made for you by my families bowyer. It is a gift for all you have done"

"I cannot thank you enough, Aelewen. This is magnificent. I will try to do you proud by it, and at least wear down my opponents from afar before I go in and get a blade introduced to the new ribs," Agnes promises with a smile.

Aelewen leans up off the tree and heads over to grip her arm gently "You helped Edmund find the courage to become King Agnes. And I have an idea what that may have cost you" she adds softly with a gentle squeeze. She then pulls back, her crooked smile returning as she speaks at a more normal volume "Just promise not to shoot anyone in the back who isn't half machine" she quips "And next lesson will be in how to duck"

"Everything, Aelewen. It cost me everything. But I did what I had to for the good of all," Agnes murmurs, her eyes looking stricken for a moment. "I have given Trentin leave to find me a match," she admits. Letting her brother find her a husband means she has given up hope of being with Emund. "My heart is with my King, but I've neglected my noble duty too long."

Aelewen pauses a moment and then her motherly instincts kick in and she wraps a strong but comforting arm around the much taller woman "It is not always easy being a noble Aggie" she murmers quietly with a squeeze "Although I know the feeling. I came to care for him, but me and Ari were never in love. But we do what we have to…" she says as she lets go with another squeeze "And I will be doing the same to my own children soon"

"I find it odd, don't you, that your children will likely babysit mine, as I watched over yours?" Agnes muses, a little teary eyed. She has clearly been under terrible stress over this, but not spoken of it to anyone.

Aelewen gently guides the larger woman over to a fallen log dragged her to serve as a seat, and if she sits sits down next to Agnes "I am not sure any of them sing as well, I think they all got my voice" she says softly with a small smile that fades as she pauses a moment "I am sorry it came to this, duty is a fucking bitch at times" she says with a faintly bitter snort.

"It is. I only hope he finds happiness, Aelewen. He has so much hurt, and he's such a good man. He deserves happiness. He will be a good, kind, brave King, but as a man he has such sadness." Agnes wipes at her eyes with a handkerchief.

"Don't forget you deserve some happiness too" Aelwen says with a very faintly stern note in her voice, softened by a gentle smile and a squeeze on the other woman's shoulder. Her sharp blue eyes soften as they look out to the woods "Another odd thing, it was a clearing not far from here where decades ago a young Arboren girl cried on her sister's shoulder about loosing her love. And she wasn't half as noble as you have been to give it up"

"I don't even know that it was mine to give up, Aelewen. I feel like a schoolgirl with a crush. I doubt he even sees me that way," Agnes admits. "Why would he? Look at all the noble women around him. Beautiful creatures, as strong as I in battle."

"At the least you gave up hope Agnes. It is hard to lose your dreams annd…" Aelewen says as by habit she snags a blade of grass to chew on absently "…I think when you grow up surrounded by beautiful people day in day out most people learn to look beyond the surface. Although never having been one of the pretty people myself…" the weathered woodsy woman comments with a crooked smile "You have courage, strength and true nobility of soul Agnes. That is far rarer than beauty"

"Nonsense, you were gloriously beautiful in your day, Ael. Still are beautiful, just a little weathered around the edges," Agnes says with a sad smile. "And thank you. I am sorry to have broken down like that. I have been keeping it inside, doing the same old stoic bear routine," she murmurs.

"I was taller than most men with no tits or hips to speak of. And shoulders like a draught horse Although I always did have great legs" Aelewen admits with her crooked smile as she extends one thoughtfully, then offers a soft chuckle and gently hugs Agnes "Any time Agnes, you are practicaly part of our family"

Agnes returns the hug. thank you. I need to head out. I have packing to do still, before we ship out to the next front."

"Yeah I should start going over the plans with the Knight Captains and such. Might not make it for the big battle, we have something planned here" Aelewen says with a brief smile as she gets her way up, moving smoothly despite her protestations of old age "Take care, and remember to duck when you can"

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