It was another beautiful day in this rather comfortable corner of Crimea. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the sound of wood and wood echoed through the brush, as Crimea's greatest mercenary company, the Greil Mercenaries, practiced their skills. Today, the company's founding father Greil was sparring with his son, Ike. Ike was perspiring heavily, while Greil didn't break a sweat knocking him to the ground.
"Well, Ike… had enough?" Greil asked. Ike resumed his feet, and resumed the spar. Greil resumed not taking any of Ike's blows.
"Dad! Ike!" the serene call of Mist echoed from the trees, as Ike's little sister Mist made her way to the clearing in which Ike and Greil sparred.
"Ah, Mist!" Greil said, lowering his sword. Ike used the opportunity to attempt to land a blow, only to be countered yet again.
"Ike?" Mist asked, watching Ike fall. "Not again…"
Ike stirred, and sat up. He looked around, to notice Mist picking a few flowers nearby, humming the song that his mother used to sing. Greil, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen.
"Oh, you're up! 'Bout time!" Mist said, looking up from her task.
"So… what're you doing?" Ike asked.
"Oh… nothing," Mist said, blushing. "So, are you all right?"
"Yeah… I'll be fine," Ike said. He heard some heavy footfalls, and turned to see Greil walk up to the two of them.
"So, the little prince awakens!" Greil teased.
"Father! I can't believe you! You can't be so rough on poor Ike! Those practice swords are too heavy for that!" Mist said.
"If this is too much for Ike, he'll never be a mercenary," Greil said.
"But…" Mist started.
"Mist, I'm fine. You don't have to mollycoddle me so much!" Ike said. "Remember, I'm the older brother here!"
"Well said, Ike. Now grab your sword and get ready!" Greil said.
"Again? You boys are insane!" Mist said.
"Mist, I will land a blow. I will get one good hit in on Father," Ike said.
"That's a good resolve, Ike. But it'll take more than that to…" Greil said, before stopping. He had heard a noise, and it wasn't for another five seconds until Ike and Mist heard Boyd make his way into the clearing.
"Oh, hi, Boyd! What brings you here?" Mist asked.
"Nothing special. You said you were going to go bring back the boss, but you never actually came back," Boyd said.
"Oh, shoot! Sorry, I got caught up with Ike and Father," Mist said.
"Yeah, it wasn't a big deal. Titania solved the problem anyway. Besides, I thought I might get a laugh out of seeing Ike getting his ass handed to him by the boss. But… you look fine. What happened?" Boyd said.
"Nothing at all. Don't get disappointed," Ike said.
"You just missed it. Not even a minute ago, Ike was out cold," Mist said. Ike turned to Mist angrily, only to see her giggling cheekily.
"Well, Boyd… while you're here, you could be Ike's sparring partner. I think it might be better if he sparred with someone of his own skill level," Greil said.
"I understand, Fa-Commander," Ike said.
"Closer to his own skill? What a bunch of baloney. I'm ready, Ike… let's see you fight!" Boyd said. Ike ran up to Boyd, and landed a hit. Boyd levelled his axe, and cleaved down on Ike, striking a blow off Ike's left shoulder. Ike winced, and waved his arm around.
"You can do it! Boyd's got nothing, take him out!" Mist said, punching the air in excitement.
"Nothing? I… How am I supposed to respond to that?" Boyd asked. He swung his axe, and missed Ike. Ike swung his sword, and sent Boyd sprawling into the dust.
"That wasn't too bad…" Boyd said.
"Boyd, you're a loser," Mist told him.
"Shut it, brat!" Boyd yelled, and Greil raised his hand. Boyd instantly stepped away.
"Your swordsmanship was decent, Ike. It won't always be this simple… well, now you're done warming up, it's time for you to face me again!" Greil said.
"I was hoping you'd say that," Ike said, grinning.
"Ike, take this before you fight Father again. It might help," Mist said, passing Ike a small heap of herbs. Ike rubbed them on his shoulder, and felt his vitality return to him.
"Good idea, Mist. Always take the time to heal your wounds in battle, even small ones. By the time you think you're in trouble, it's probably too late. Remember, you can heal wounds, but you can't revive the dead," Greil said. Ike nodded, and charged at Greil. The two swung their swords in a perfect enough arc for both to get hit at once. Greil recovered first, and swung his sword. Ike parried it, and stabbed into Greil's chest. While Greil was thrown off balance, Ike spun to land one more blow. Greil found himself on the ground.
"Great job, Ike!" Mist said. Ike threw his sword down, and grabbed Mist before she could knock him down with the strength of her hug.
"Father, you were holding back, weren't you?" Ike asked, still trying not to fall over.
"If you could tell, that means you're improving," Greil said.
"You know… I wasn't-" Boyd started.
"You were giving your all, Boyd. Don't lie to me," Mist said.
"Bah," Boyd said.
"So, am I ready in your eyes, Father?" Ike asked.
"To join the company?" Greil asked incredulously.
"Boyd's fighting, he's on the battlefield. If I don't get fighting soon, Mist will beat me to the field!" Ike said.
"That wouldn't be difficult," Boyd said, putting his arms behind his head cockily.
"You do have a point, Ike. Tomorrow, you will commence work as a full-fledged mercenary. However, if I believe the job is too much for you at any point, you're back to trainee status. Buckle down, and work hard," Greil said.
"No problem. I'll catch up in no time!" Ike said.
"We'll see about that. Well, back to the fort. Everyone will be waiting for us," Greil remarked.