Luka checked himself in the mirror.  Everything was in its place, but Luka still had to get used to the new rank insignia on his uniform.  It was still hard for him to believe that he was the Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light.  He hadn't felt like this since he had earned his Heron-marked blade.

Lastly, he grabbed the blade itself.  It was a new sword - a gift from his parents on his promotion to Lord Captain Commander.  The blade was masterfully made by a blacksmith somewhere in Andor.  Luka pulled the blade from its scabbard and admired the craftsmanship.  It gleamed in the morning sun coming through the window of his chambers in the Fortress of the Light.

Luka strapped the sword to his waist and left his chambers to begin his rounds.  He firmly believed that it was good for the troops to see their Commanding Officer.  As he walked, he received salutes and the troops seemed to stand a little straighter as well as focused on their tasks more.  He returned the salutes as he passed, offering compliments as deserved.

This morning, he found himself in the practice yards, and the Weapons Master was working with some new recruits on their sword forms.

"Attention!" Illum, the Weapons Master shouted as he saw Luka approach.

The recruits responded immediately, and Luka was impressed with how quickly they were catching on.  All recruits stood at perfect attention, with only a few showing confused looks at why they had been called to attention in the middle of their drills.  They understood when they saw the rank markings on Luka's uniform as he joined Illum at the front of the group.

"As you were," Luka said to the troops lined up.  It was mostly made up of men, but a few woman were among the new recruits. Luka turned to Illum. "Carry on."

"Yes, sir," Illum said, and then turned to address the recruits. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have the distinct pleasure of having our Lord Captain Commander observe our drills this morning.  You will show the Lord Captain Commander what we have learned.  If he isn't impressed, then I'm not either.  Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, sir!" came the reply.

Luka wandered, watching as Illum called out sword forms.  The group acted as one.  Luka saw some issues that were usually addressed by Illum.  Luka didn't interfere.  This was Illum's session.  Overall, Luka was impressed.  Luka had worked with Illum during his time in the ranks, and knew his skills as a swordsman and a teacher.  This clearly showed in this batch of recruits.  Either they were a dedicated bunch, or the weak links had been removed already.  Either way, things were looking good for the Children's future.

Illum then called them to a halt and told them to get into partners for sparring.  There must have been an odd number of recruits, because one did not have a partner.  Illum moved to work with the young man until Luka raised an hand.  Luka signaled a sergeant who brought him a practice sword as Luka removed his blade.  The sergeant and Luka exchanged weapons and Luka took his place in front of the recruit.

The recruit was intimidated, and held back during their first bout, apparently afraid of hitting the leader of the Children of the Light.  As the bout came to a conclusion, Luka rapped the young man on the fingers with his practice sword hard enough to gain the man's attention, but not so hard as to cause damage.

"Holding back helps neither yourself or your sparring partner," Luka told him. "Bruises in sparring are good teachers.  If you see an opening, you will take it.  Understood?"

The young man nodded. "Yes, sir!"

As the second bout started, the young man definitely upped his game.  Luka easily met the young man's attacks - years of practice and experience had their place, but the young man showed promise.  Testing the young man's understanding of the lesson he had taught, Luka left an opening in his defenses, and the recruit noticed, choosing to attack in that direction.  Luka changed barely in time to avoid the blow as Illum called the bout to an end.

"Keep up the good work, recruit," Luka told him giving him a smile.

Luka moved to the front again, exchanging his practice sword with his own blade. "Call them to attention, Illum."

Illum did as ordered and the recruits stood before him at attention.

"Recruits of the Children of the Light," Luka said, addressing them. "I'm impressed by the work I have seen today.  You show great discipline and dedication to the cause of the Light.  Remember that work ethic, and you will help bring the Light to the darkest corners of our world.  I have faith in you.  Continue to have faith in yourselves and the Light.  Walk in the Light."

Luka nodded to Illum, who then dismissed the recruits.  This group would do fine - and as long as they were vigilant, so would the Children of the Light.
Vika Mathis - White Tower Novice
Luka Valindor - Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light
Ignis Caleum - Warder Recruit