Day 023: Draw, Notch, and Shoot
Summary: At the Delinquent Camp, a Grounder archer of dubious loyalties provides a different kind of shooting lessons to supplement the ex-C-led rifle-training.
Date: 12 June 2016
Related: Follows This is My Rifle, This is My Gun, and precedes Hot For Teacher
Cassandra Gideon Morgan 


Grounds — the Delinquent Camp

With the removal of underbrush and a half-dozen small trees, there is now a tiny clearing around the dropship. It has begun to fill with detritus from the ship, including all of the seating, padding, and removable plates or bulkheads.

Several tents have been set up within the clearing, set close together within the confines of the surrounding trees. A small collection of weapons sits under a parachute-cloth shelter by the door of dropship, open for community use. A three-holer latrine is set up downwind of camp in the prevailing breezes, and a rough wall stretches between trees at the edge of the clearing, dropship plates and felled tree-trunks stacked up and lashed together as best as the Delinquents can manage. There is a gate at the north end, a single panel that can be rolled aside at need.

The forest immediately surrounding the camp has been cowed into near-silence, but is still vibrant and green to a people used to stark metal bulkheads all around them.

23 Days After Landing

Gideon has found a small area of the grounds free from tents and, more importantly, randomly lounging delinquents. She has shucked off Kai's hockey jersey, and it rests over one chair, the red and white garment looking bright in the afternoon sun. She is certain that Cole will not appreciate this, but the thick wood chosen for this section of wall proves to make excellent targets for practice. She has pulled on her archer's gloves — the kind meant to protect her wrists and the majority of her fingers — and has fletched some new arrows. She is working at the bowstrings, tugging at them lightly to check for proper tension and waiting for her students to arrive.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cassandra=stealth Vs Gideon=alertness
< Cassandra: Success Gideon: Good Success
< Net Result: Gideon wins - Marginal Victory

When Gideon offered to give an archery lesson, Morgan's interest was kindled. And so he shows up at the appointed place and time, looking around a moment before he approaches the Grounder. "Hey Gideon. Thanks for doing this. Your help is appreciated."

Cassandra arrives as promised, the morning after rifle-training, to seek Gideon out. The Grounder is not hard to find; each time she hits her target, it sounds the all too-familiar whistling sound of her arrow sailing through the air, followed by the echo of a thud against the wall. The delinquent moves quietly, hoping to gain some advantage and impress the woman, but perhaps not quietly enough. "<In Trigedasleng> Good morning," she says when she's near, casting a sidelong glance at the medic when she sees him here as well.

The Trikru looks up as Morgan and Cassandra arrive, and she notches an arrow, but leaves it hanging lazily from her middle and forefinger, thumb poised up off the shaft of the projectile. She offers a vague nod to the pair, and her mouth quirks a bit when Cassandra offers a Trigedasleng greeting. "Do you know why we speak in trigedalseng?" She asks the girl, but does not wait for an answer, "so the Mountain cannot hear us." She chuckles then. "But, the scouts and warriors in the trees, they know trigedasleng, so you might be better served to speak in gonasleng." Though she doesn't really chide the use of the language — not really. In fact, she does look just a bit impressed considering how long it took Grey to pronounce Trikru properly. She nods slightly, rolling her shoulder. "Now, before I begin… a simple question… how do you plan to use the weapon? Is this a weapon for hunting, or for killing?"

Morgan nods over to Cass when she arrives, giving her a close look to see how she's doing and if there's any sign that her head injury is getting worse. When Gideon starts to speak, he looks back over then shrugs at the question. "Whatever it's needed for. Hopefully more the former than the latter but…" Who knows how long they'll be at war.

Hunting, killing, or… "Survival," comes Cassandra's answer, without a beat of thought. Entirely in the stubborn girl's nature to choose a third option, her face is impassive as she delivers it, hands tucked into her pockets. Her injury looks to be getting no worse, but it isn't yet better; standing so still, she needs put little strain on herself. Her eyes dart from Gideon's bow to her eyes, and she quietly insists, "I want to learn Trigedasleng. Gonasleng I already speak. It's as important for survival as learning to use a physical weapon is if I ever run into another Sonia. No use practicing what you already know."

Gideon just shakes her head at Cassandra's words about Trigedasleng, but she does not insist. She instead offers a slight nod of her chin. "For now, we will focus on ground stance… once you have that down, we can focus on how to brace so you can fire from trees and other perches. But, you cannot attempt a different vantage if you do not know the basics." She kicks her heel into the ground a bit, settling the foot into the soft earth. She then demonstrates a strong stance — her non-dominant foot forward, feet perpendicular to her target, and knees relaxed. "You want to create a firm root with the ground, strong, but also fluid. Movement will be key later, but for now…" She gestures them to mimic her stance.

Morgan nods at what Gideon says. "Stance. Same as with rifles," he notes as he checks out how she's standing and then tries to get in the same one. "Different though since they're used differently." Brought to you by the Department of the Obvious.

With another questioning glance at Morgan — a glance that might say, If I try this, will my head fall off? — Cassandra mimics the stance that Gideon indicates, and does for a moment look to be blinking away some dizziness. She doesn't nod her head, as that would make things worse, but her expression is agreeable enough towards both of their statements.

Gideon nods slightly. "From watching Grey, you will put more strength in your hips and legs using a rifle, and you will abuse your shoulder… frequently. Here, your strength lies in your arms." Then she draws back her bow, arrow neatly notched. As she does, she speaks, "See my pull arm?" She nods slightly to her right arm, which has pulled the strings taut. The pull movement was extremely fluid, drawing the arrow and string back until her elbow is behind her ear, fingers lined up at her jaw. "Seconds like to hug the string near their cheek, but that is how a fletching will cut on release. Keep it just back enough so a turn of your head causes the feathers to tickle, but not so far back that you cannot ensure a straight flight." She holds this pose steadily, allowing them to examine the way her pull arm holds strong on the bow, and her other hand braces at the grip, wrist angled just enough to keep the inside of her left forearm turned toward the bow.

Morgan walks around Gideon to examine the stance and grip from different angles, ducking below the arrow when he gets to the front. "Seconds? What are seconds?" He also pays attention to how she holds her head and where the muscles in her neck and shoulders are tensed before looking over at Cass and nodding. "You should be okay."

Cassandra is not built the way the ex-Cs are; she isn't strong like Grey and isn't robust like Stone. Her shoulders and hips are both compact, and so manipulating her centre of gravity and what little brawn she has to make an impact comes more easy and natural to her. Of course, she isn't holding a bow, and does not yet know the strain that can put on one's arms, but for now she manages to follow the instructed movements without the ungainliness someone more used to relying on muscle might. "Mochof," she says to Morgan with a fraction of a nod.

<FS3> Gideon rolls Archery: Amazing Success.

"A second is a…" Gideon thinks as she releases the hold, forefinger and middle finger bracing the arrow again. "A learner. A Trikru will choose a second to train. I became a second at twelve years of age. It is the way we pass down knowledge and experience… the way we train our soldiers, and our craftsmen… even our leaders." She then shakes her head a bit, focusing on the lesson. "In time, you will become fast with draw, notch, and shoot… but for now, we will go slow. Bad form will lead to more missed arrows, so perfecting form is important." She then resumes her draw, but this time it is fast and precise, and her fingers release the arrow the moment her gaze sights down its shaft to her target. It flies with the barest of whistles and lodges itself neatly in the wood. She barely waits to see if her arrow hit the target before she is grabbing another, and it is notched just when the other arrow thunks. She holds her pose now, again demonstrating her form. "Grab a bow, and duplicate my form. No arrows yet."

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Resolve: Success.

Morgan ahs at the explanation. "We call them apprentices. All of us were apprentices at about the same age you were. It's how we learn medicine, engineering, everything." He thinks about that a moment and nods. "Seems we have more in common that I thought." He watches the arrow speed toward its target and his brows rise. "Nice." Grabbing a bow at her instruction, he draws it, glancing over at Gideon a few times to adjust his position.

Something about watching Gideon fire that arrow so utterly smoothly, hearing it whistle, makes Cassandra flinch, if briefly. She silently takes in the Archer's form and then moves off to retrieve a bow, which she holds up nearby. "More in common than most of the camp thinks," she adds, once Morgan has spoken.

Gideon relaxes from her form, replacing the arrow in her quiver and snapping in her bow. She starts to move around Morgan and Cassandra, making form adjustments in firm, but not harsh movements. She helps rotate Morgan's wrist a bit, ensuring his forearm is out of the string so that when he releases he won't completely gnarl up his forearm. "We will have to fashion you some gloves."

"That would be great," Morgan says, moving with the adjustments to his position. Once Gideon's finished, he lets the tension on the string subside and drops his arm before drawing again and trying to get into the same position.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Archery: Success.

"From leather?" Cassandra asks, and her eyebrows perk up a bit at the mention of gloves. "We could do with armour. A helmet. Or… any kind of new clothes, really." She herself is wearing the same lavender shirt she came down in from Space, and hasn't changed it since. All the regular washing in the world can't get out the blood, sweat and filth it's been soaked in, especially since she hasn't left camp for the river since her more firm encounter with the Ground. (Specifically, her skull's.) She tightens her grip on the bow while Gideon makes adjustments to Morgan's stance, following that instruction from observation and perfecting her own with a critical eye.

"I don't know if I can provide you with that sort," Gideon says, almost cautiously. "I am not a leatherworker, nor do I fashion armor. But… we can probably find ways to make do with what you have." Her mouth thins. "I'm aware that you have collected from the fallen." Those words are said quite softly, but then she shakes her head a bit. She continues to make adjustments to their stance and grips, and she nods faintly. "Good," she says then. "It will take practice, and you will have to accept being slow at first. But allow yourself to be slow… do not let panic interfere, or your stance and form will suffer." She then offers up an arrow, one to each of them. "Notch and pull. You will want to balance the arrow on the rest, and place the notch in the tail into the strings. It will fit just snug enough." Again she demonstrates notching an arrow with her own bow.

Morgan glances over at Gideon. "Yeah." Not like they needed it. Neither did their own dead and he knows some made off with some stuff. And speaking of… "After the lesson, I'd like to ask you about some stuff." He takes the arrow and looks it over closely before looking at the bow to see how they fit together. Once he's sure, he does what she says: nocking the arrow then drawing the bow.

Cassandra's sword, collected from the fallen, rests at her hip. She sends her eyes between it and Gideon's, but if there is guilt writ on her face, it doesn't show. "We had to," she says, straddling the line between respect and stubbornness. Her grip slips on the bow this time when trying to notch an arrow, and she lets the string go slack, catching a break and loosely pointing the weapon downwards. "Why are you helping us?"

"Mmph," Gideon grunts slightly at Morgan's request, and she nods. "I will answer what questions you have… if I can answer them." Then she looks over at Cassandra, stepping up to help the girl notch the arrow. She doesn't answer the question at first, remaining in instructor mode. "If you look down the shaft of the arrow, you will be able to aim your target… but you have to maintain a steady grip. Then she exhales, looking at the girl. "Because I have invested my interests in your survival."

Cassandra spends 1 luck points on avoiding shooting herself in the foot (literally).
<FS3> Cassandra rolls Archery+2: Success.

Morgan eases the bow back to normal then draws it again a couple times, leaving the arrow nocked as he practices that part of it. The aiming is much like with a rifle so that part is the same. "This is harder than it looks. I don't think I use those muscle for other things."

There's a fine tempest in Cassie's gaze when she nocks that arrow with Gideon's help, condensed into a single death-stare of concentration which she levels down the wooden shaft and towards the wall. The scant muscles in her arms go taut, as does the bowstring, before she fires away.

The shot does not go straight, but sails to the left, where the arrowhead grazes the wooden wall and lodges itself at an angle towards its base, far from where she likely intended to aim. After a purse of her lips, she lets her arm go slack once more, then steps back and away from the Grounder. "My head is killing me," she says, echoing prior statements to that effect in both Morgan and the Grounder's presence. "I guess we're lucky our interests align, Gideon kom Trikru."

"You will need to focus on those muscle groups," Gideon agrees, nodding her head to Morgan. "But, just the course of practicing will help. You will notice that your fingers will numb slightly after the first few practice sessions… make sure to work your hands each night. You will need to strengthen your arms from shoulder to fingertips." Then she crosses her arms slightly, watching the two with a thoughtful tilt of her head. Her gaze follows Cassandra's arrow, and she nods in approval. "Good, Cassandra. You at least hit the wall." No, really, that's a compliment! "My first arrow ended up in the ground." She offers her a small quirk of a smile, and then her shoulders roll. "Yes, I suppose it is lucky." Though her voice is grim.

<FS3> Morgan rolls Archery: Failure.

Speaking of hitting the ground, that's exactly where Morgan's arrow goes. No doubt distracted by what Cass says since he then moves over to her. "Tilt your head back," he tells her, lifting one hand to shade her eyes from the sun and checking pupil response. "You should rest some more."

Tilting her head back without argument to let Morgan confirm that she isn't about to pass out, Cass releases a tension from her shoulders and then blinks her assent at the Med-Tech. "You reckon Cookie will let me have some extra rations? Doctor's orders," she decides, even if the doctor has ordered no such thing. Turning away, she sets her borrowed bow back down on the severed seat from the Dropship, and starts trudging back towards the hubbub of camp.

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