07.02.2013: Casual Briefing
Summary: Lacheu returns from a military exercise and runs into Lt Lady Aelewen Arboren doing the same.
Date: 07.02.2013
Related: None.
Llacheu Aelewen 

Arborenin Woods
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.

Evening finds the landscape below the towering trees to already be enfolded in twilight. Somewhere the sun is yet up in the sky, glorious and golden, yet beneath the over reaching canopy all is muted shades of greens and blues deepening into darker shadow. Here or there a rare dapple of evening light might make it through but they are far and few between.

Within this quiet murkiness a man has paused to listen to something coming over his headset. Llacheu is wearing his scout armour with his bow in hand. For the moment the suit is set to blend into the landscape so that while he isn't moving he's nearly invisible without thermal optics. Until he reaches up a hand to cut it off. At once the armour reverts to the House Arborenin colors with the House crest. That same hand reaches up to lift the front visor of his helm, "No," his baritone says low, "Come on in. Do it again in the morning after it's been moved." The voice is kept low as he looks back the direction he had come from himself.

Four figures simply seem to appear from the woods, at least to those who lack heat sensors. Rendered mostly anonymous by their scout armor the one at the front undoes her helm to show the somewhat worn features of Aelewen. She nods briefly to Llacheu as one hand reaches up to idly run through her hair "Evenin" she says simply in her rusty voice as the squad with her starts to disperse.

Llacheu shakes his head at something that comes over his ear bud, "It is, but also to see if you trigger it. If it senses your heat, it'll target you. Those fuckers will probably hear /you/ coming anyway, Stephenson." He almost laughs, "Sound off as each of you hit barracks and clean up your gear. Acanthus, out." The soldier slips his compound bow into the bow case and resettles it over his back with his quiver. Llac's rank insignia (Sergeant) is clearly marked on his armour, his helmet now tucked beneath one arm as he turns.

Ah hah, another group returning from exercises. He stops, looks over the woman carefully and notes her rank, "Lieutenant," and as he also remembers her face from among all those he had to study, most especially for the House he serves, Llacheu adds, "my Lady." and places his fist briefly over his heart to salute her.

"Just Lieutenant is fine Sergeant" Aelewen replies back with a brief nod. Tossing her helmet down casualy she perches her lean form on an upturned log and idly starts to unwrap her braid from around her head, letting it snake down the back of her armor "Been out on exercises?" she asks with a curiously raised eyebrow.

Llacheu continues to stand at attention until he's told he may do otherwise or is dismissed, "Yes, ma'am. Three times a week now, except when for scouting or other mission orders. Rotations are hopped up, lately." Of course. His own helmet he keeps tucked under an arm, the faint, tinny voice of one of his group sounding off as they reach barracks over his ear bud, reporting in as ordered.

Aelewen waves a guantleted hand at Llacheu in a casual gesture "At ease, Rangers don't tend to stand too much on ceremony. Hard to stand at attention when crawling through the undergrowth" she quips with a wry smile. Idly stretching her long legs out she glances up at him "You were standing guard at the last family meeting if I remember right"

It's not much like Arborenins to be too formal so he smiles when she gives the expected word. Llacheu faintly shakes his head as he shifts to stand more at his ease, "No, ma'am, Lieutenant. I was off duty actually, but I did stop in on things. It was quiet." He skims a hand through his lightly sweaty hair, "Was hoping they were to discuss information about the Hostiles, ma'am. Scuttlebutt's not dependable and the news … isn't always either."

"Instead you got the other preoccupation of nobles. Lines of succession and marriage" Aelewen comments as one side of her mouth wrinkles in a crooked smile. Cracking her neck from side to side it pops audibly and she relaxes a little more "Well I can confirm that whilst their camo is better than ours optically, they didn't think to cover up heat. So we might have to start issuing more IR sensors, if the coffers will stand it"

"That would be good, aye. Do they give off more heat than we do or less, Lieutenant? We've been practicing trying to mask our heat as much as possible. Cool mud, deploy smoke, keeping to thick cover. We've been issued a sensitive drone to target us if it can detect us before we can find and detect it. It seems a good exercise … at least while we are here, in our element. Might not be as useful elsewhere." Llacheu pays close attention to anything Aelewen might tell him about their adversary. Every little bit might help.

"Not so much…er.." Aelewen says thoughtfully as she sits up and tilts her head "They are different. All the mechanical parts and that. You won't mistake them for a human that is for certain" she says with an easy shrug of one broad shoulder. Her crooked smile returns as she looks around "I do prefer the woods, a lot less cover out on the plains. Not that easy to hide behind a blade of grass"

Llacheu gives a nod to that, "No, ma'am. I suppose them of the Vale, they know how to use the rolling land to it's full advantage and I gather distances can be misleading out there. Here though, it be what I know. Born 'n grew up in our mountains. A lot more mist 'n changeable weather up there, than even here." He lightly skims gloved fingers over his jaw, "Might be we can get briefed on their heat signatures? So we'd know'm when we see them, Lieutenant?"

"When we have more than one encounter to go on" Aelewen says with a shrug of her shoulders as she considers. Idly toying with the end of her silvery-blonde braid her eyes shift around to the woods around them with an automatic watchfullness, then up to the mountains "Interesting, you joined us rather than Peake?" she asks as her gaze shifts back.

The archer shrugs, "My family's served House Arborenin for generations, Lieutenant. I never much paid attention to boundaries as my folk would move around, scattered. I expect some of them are assigned to House Peake but I went where my father told me to when I enlisted and nobody told me otherwise, ma'am. So I'm here, now." Llacheu is relaxed, keeping his baritone low in volume and casually likewise watchful as is his habit.

Aelewen nods briefly, then quirks another crooked smile as she looks around then back to him "Oddly enough so has mine, but good to hear" she says as her face becomes more serious. She shifts position to sit up a little "How long have you served for?"

Llacheu softly, briefly laughs at her quip, "Aye, indeed you have, ma'am." Another tinny voice faintly comes over his ear bud, the last one reporting in. He faintly gives a nod to himself without opening his radio to make any reply and cocks his head subtly to consider, "Like every boy, I hoped to squire but my folk aren't wealthy or important, no influence with … you know, knights and nobles. So I enlisted soon as I realized I was being stupid, when I hit 20 years. Been in ever since and I'll stick with it, whatever comes." Llac must be around 30 now. He twists his mouth wryly, "Assuming Hostiles don't blow my ass up first, ma'am."

"Trust me, being a knight is overrated. Although my youngest does seem to have listened to me. Seems dead set on it" Aelewen says with a shake of her head, a faintly sad look entering her eyes "You stand there as the biggest target on the battlefield, atop a horse just to make it easier for a smart archer to shoot you" she adds with a faintly wolfish smile creasing her face.

This archer might look vaguely dubious but if so, Llacheu is wise enough to keep it mostly to himself. He's not yet experienced with any real combat. "I'd think it would be difficult to pierce a Knight's heavier armour. Maybe with a crossbow at close range. I'd think the horse might make for an easier target. Big pile of pissed off, hard to control when it gets shot up and goes down?" Perhaps the Lieutenant would know more about that than he. "What about Hostiles? Their armour really good?"

"You know what is really hard to pierce, Sergeant?" Aelewen replies, her rusty voice dry as a faint smile twitches her lips "Someone you can't see." She chuckles softly and shifts to lay back a little "Depends on the hostile, some are more heavily armored than others" she explains "But I only had a few arrows bounce off even the heaviest"

That coaxes a grin out of him, "Aye, indeed. Question is, are we better at not being seen, or are they? Thankfully, there is more to stalking than only seeing them. We will be tested." Llacheu gives a nod to what she tells him. "I have only seen images so far. We are eager to hunt them but must be patient until we've orders."

Aelewen leans over to idly pluck a blade of grass to chew absently as she considers "The scouts are new, or at least no-one saw them last time" she adds with a crooked smile around the blade of grass "We have bodies that are being analysed. I must poke at my sister to see if we can get some of the first samples. Although I suspect it will be one of the more technological based houses"

The Sergeant gives a slow, reluctant nod to her last part. "I heard these scouts are smaller? About what size, Lieutenant?" Llacheu asks.

"Smaller than the elite, heavily armored ones. Closer to average person sized. Although shorn of their camoflague they look almost nothing like us" Aelewen replies as she sits up again and gestures with her hands "They appear to have been custom built for scouting"

"I see," Which can't be good, custom built to purpose. "Also heard, they … cut up some of their captives. Do they try to make us into things like them or do you think they are trying to figure us out, how we think and work, Lieutenant?" Llacheu thins his mouth, "None of us would care to find ourselves fighting our rebuilt comrades but if we do, it'd surely be a mercy to put an end to such. I'd not want to live a thing, like that."

"Wasn't the scouts exactly. And no idea what they are doing. But I found some oddly cut up animals in the woods….and…" Aelewen pauses here and shakes her head slowly "…the vale…" trailing off she sits up, her face grim "I would say make sure you aren't taken hostage is the best advice I can give"

"Aye, yes ma'am." Llacheu replies grimly. "Do we know if the animals are connected? Scuttlebutt mentions Drakes but then there's … the Lord and Lady who went missing." Something crackles over Llacheu's headset. It gets his attention and he listens, then flips it on, "Received and understood. I'll be there soon as I can. Acanthus out." He turns it back off and shifts his helmet in his hands, "If you'll excuse me, ma'am, I'm wanted at Barracks. Inspection and I haven't cleaned up." So he's going to get his ass chewed out, possibly. Llac grins a little anyway, "Pleasure to speak with you and thanks, Lieutenant, my Lady."

Aelewen throws off a rather lazy gesture that might be something like a salute in a good light, if you were being charitable "Nice talking to you Sergeant. Take care" she says whislt levering herself up to her feet and then heading off to the House residences.

Llacheu returns her salute more crisply, then turns and heads back to barracks. He might get off all right, having been speaking with an officer. Maybe.

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