Training Day, Part I: Day 1 Jan 4, 2020 18:44:01 GMT -8
Post by Morgan Payne on Jan 4, 2020 18:44:01 GMT -8
January 1st, 2020
She knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She knew it wasn’t going to be a breeze, at all. Morgan had no idea what Connor MacNamara saw in her to suddenly go from someone she considered...well, she couldn’t call him an enemy. They’d never worked under the same banner. They’d never even shared a ring together. They had been on the opposite ends of many a dispute. Yet here she was now as his student. A man that she had only barely ever exchanged words with and most of them not kind, had suddenly reached out to her out of the blue with an offer. An offer to better herself. Not just as a person, but as a competitor. Morgan saw nothing wrong with her technique, really. Not until the morning of the new year when she arrived by way of William O’Malley picking her up from the airport and driving her to the MacNamara estate. It instantly reminded her of home in Asheville. Obviously the layout was different, but it reminded Morgan Payne very much of “The Castle” where she and The Collective all stayed.
Morgan’s doubt in her technique began to arise when she stepped through the front door and had been greeted by Connor, himself, along with an introduction to his daughter, Saoirse. Fifteen years old and a little spitfire. Morgan had to admit, she liked the kid even when she handed her a wrapped gift, declaring she heard Morgan liked reading; only for Morgan to unwrap a Lilo & Stitch coloring book. A play on the common misconception that she, Morgan, was dumb as rocks. She assumed Connor had told his daughter about the new student coming and insisted that she be given a “proper welcome.” It wasn’t until Morgan got changed - yes on the very day she arrived - and decided to square up to the teenager that she was made to realize she didn’t know shit compared to Saoirse. It didn’t take long, with Connor looking on in amusement, for Morgan to be put right on her ass with ease. She had a long way to go, indeed.
Training began, unexpectedly, with Morgan sitting in a room while Connor began instructing her on basic human anatomy. Bone structure. Nervous system. A beginning course on what made the body function and how everything added up. To say Morgan was confused as to how this mattered to her capability in a match or in a fight, would be an understatement. She didn’t see the point in academic lessons but here she was taking notes, labeling a little picture of a skeleton like she were in a high school classroom again. Labeling bones with numbers next to them. By the time she was finished writing, she could barely make any sense of what the hell was on the page with all of the arrows and numbers scribbled around the diagram of the skeleton.
Next came the beginning of what she had been told would be the focus of her training - physical conditioning. Again, it was something Morgan didn’t think she needed; arrogant and cocky as she was but again, she realized how wrong she was. Morgan was used to working with weights. She was even somewhat familiar with using free weights. She wasn’t used to how long he expected her to go; how long he expected her to push. She wasn’t used to doing so with a weighted vest of around fifty pounds on. When she thought she was done with a set, there came another set. Then another. Then another! Morgan worked until she felt like she was near fatigue before the cardio began. Instructions were simple. He pointed her to a direction and commanded, simply; “Run.” As she had nodded and reached to remove the extra weight from her body in the form of the vest, he stopped her with a firm but careful grip on her wrists and eased her hands away. He repeated his command and gave further instructions. There was a goal post in which she had to reach before she could even return to the house. All she had to do was run to it.
So...Morgan ran. She ran and ran and ran. She ran some more. Wherever the hell this lake was, Morgan felt like it was going to take forever finding it. Even as she ran...no...jogged would be the better word to use, it felt like the end point wasn’t getting any closer. Morgan reached the point where she felt like her body just couldn’t go any longer. Her legs ached. Her lungs were on fire. There were muscles in her body that hurt of which she was never aware she even had. To top it off, she was hungry. God, was she hungry. Connor wasn’t exactly starving her but she felt like her body had worked well passed the point where she needed to replenish what she’d burned off. Morgan stopped dead in her tracks and leaned forward, placing her hands on her knees and that’s when she heard it. She’d only ever heard howling on TV or in movies. It was always ‘cool’ or ‘neat’ then. To hear it in reality, however...something about it haunted her to her very soul. It was distant but too close for comfort. Especially since she could still see the house in the distance. Far but close enough to see movement in the distance. Getting closer.
Oh fuck. Morgan said inwardly when she realized what it was. At that point, she didn’t know how...but she felt a second wind arise within her. A second wind fueled by fear of the unknown. What was the intention of the beast making his way towards her from afar. The beast that was closing distance remarkably fast on four legs. It looked more like he was flying rather than running. What would happen if he caught up with her? Morgan wasn’t about to stick around to find out. Her legs ached. Her lungs were on fire. She hurt in places she didn’t know she could...but again she ran. Morgan pushed herself up to her feet and took off running again. She wasn’t about to look back and see how close the animal was. The massive wolf that she’d seen like a loyal companion to Connor from the time she arrived. Now, though, he was no longer at Connor’s side. Rather, he was gaining hot on her heels to that point that Morgan could hear his snarls getting closer and closer. She saw the goal post in the distance but goddamn it, she wasn’t going to make it! Not before the wolf - Lugh as he was known - took her down. She was running along a treeline near a patch of the forest on the estate grounds where she got a last second idea and juked off to the side. She had to zig and zag through the trees but that meant Lugh had to as well. Morgan didn’t get far before she heard the wolf getting closer behind her. Without thinking on the pros and cons, she made for a tree with a low branch and grabbed for it, using it to pull herself up off of the ground. She heard Lugh beneath her, snarling and she could have sworn she felt him snap at her ankle. She didn’t see it, however, so she could have been wrong. Morgan grabbed another thick branch above her and pulled herself up to get even higher and further from the large canine. It wasn’t graceful and it wasn’t pretty, but she got up there, straddling the branch between her legs and rested back against the trunk. Morgan heaved for breath and stifled the urge to go into dry heaves from how much she had pushed. She looked down at the titanic creature on the ground, circling the tree and looking up at her.
“The fuck did I do t’you, huh?!” She asked as if expecting him to actually answer. All she got was a growling bark as Lugh stood on his hind legs and pressed his front paws on the trunk of the tree. Morgan’s tired shoulders slumped as she leaned against the tree. How long was she going to have to sit there before the wolf lost interest and made off?
It wasn’t a question she really got an answer to as she lost the fight to not close her eyes. She didn’t know how long she had drifted off but when she opened her eyes, her body still aching, she sun had fully set and Lugh was still there. The wolf looked to be asleep at the base of the tree but within seconds of her awaking, so did he and immediately looked right up at her. Morgan could have sworn he was telling her, in his own way, “I’m not going anywhere, lass.” Yes, Lugh had an Irish accent in her head for some damn reason.
“Ya still there?! Cheese and fuckin’ crackers….” Morgan cursed in her hometown slang as she leaned back against the tree trunk. “Mmm...cheese and crackers….” That sounded amazing right now. Anything did at this point. What time was it? Please don’t say she missed dinner. The very thought made Morgan lean back more against the tree where she felt something squish in the back of her vest. Felt and heard it, like something wet. She didn’t want to know what it was but in the same sense...she did. Morgan reached back to the top of her vest and lifted the velcro flap. She slipped her fingers inside the hole where she figured was where one of the plates went but her fingers retracted when she felt something warm, wet and...fleshy. What the fuck?! Was that…? Wait a minute. She braved her fingers back inside the back of the vest and felt the material again. This time, grimacing in disgust at the unknown, she got a grip on whatever it was and pulled slowly. It came free with surprising ease. Morgan tightened her lips as she dared to bring what she pulled from the vest around to look at. To see what it was. Morgan stared at the sizeable slice of raw meat in her hand. That watery blood running down her wrist and fingers as she grimaced at it. She heard a soft whine beneath her and looked down to see Lugh looking up at her expectantly. Was this why he chased her so intently? Morgan groaned and held her hand out, above him.
“Is dis what’chu want? Jeez….” She thought about just dropping it to him but an idea came to her. She still needed to reach the goal post Connor had set out for her. Morgan chuckled to herself as she felt insanely smart, at least in her own mind. She knew just what to do as she gripped the juicy slice of meat in one hand and carefully lowered herself down to that first branch she used to initially get off the ground. It wasn’t that high. High enough for her to jump down and take off running, but first…
“Supper time, pal! Go get it!” Morgan flung the raw meat out as hard as she could once she was sure Lugh still had his attention on it. Like a massive hound of hell, the wolf let out an excited yip and took off after the bait just as she intended. From there, Morgan didn’t waste another second as she jumped down to the ground. She was reminded of the ache in her legs but at least her lungs didn’t burn anymore. It made it a little easier as she took off back in the general direction she came but kept a diagonal angle to where she was still heading somewhat forward where she needed to go. Morgan didn’t stop to see if Lugh was still digging into his treat she’d given him, nor did she even dare look back over her shoulder. She just grit her teeth through the pain in her leg muscles and ran. She ran and ran and ran. She ran until she finally reached that goddamn goal post stuck into the ground and held onto it to catch her breath again. She reached up and ripped the flag down, clutching it against her chest like it were some ticket to freedom. However, this was only the first day of the rest of her life and Morgan Payne knew it was only going to get more challenging. Telling herself she could do this, she looked down at the flag clenched tightly in her hand then up at the distant lights of the mansion. Morgan Payne began the steady jog back towards the house, knowing it probably still wasn’t a good idea to keep her instructor waiting.
To Be Continued….