A Little Bit of Discipline

by Leo M. Panther

Laying back on a roof Marto enjoyed the late afternoon sun like only a feline can. He was listening to sounds of the various people going about their business on the streets below.

But just as he was about to doze off a sound startled him. Now wide awake, he carefully leaned over the edge of the roof to look for the source but his attention was caught by the smell of the tasty treat Leanna had brought.

"Hmm, roasted rat," Marto said as he took the one his mate was holding out for him. "That certainly took long enough."

Leanna smiled slyly. "For some reason the shop-keep believed that my coins were smaller than they should be."

Both of them sat down.

"Shocking," Marto replied. "You'd almost think he doesn't trust us." Both laughed briefly.

Leanna looked at her love as he clumsily bit in his rat, burning his tongue. "What were you looking for just now?" She asked.

"Wuh? Oh, I thought I heard a drum," he answered in between trying to suck cold air over his burned tongue.

Leanna gave him a look of disbelief. "A drum? Why would that catch your attention?" She asked before carefully biting in her rat.

"It sounded like a military drum. Like the others I've been drilled to respond to that." Marto looked around again as the drum sound returned.

Ra-tam Ra-tam Ra-tam Ra-tam-tam-tam.

A group of soldiers led by a drum wielding sergeant came around the corner.

"A marching exercise." Marto commented without looking at Leanna.

For a few minutes both of them looked at the soldiers. The soldiers seemed more concerned with trying not to run in to the crowd than walking in sync.

Leanna lost interest and started caressing her love. Hoping to break the spell of discipline her mate was caught in.

Marto didn't respond to her though and seemed to grow more agitated by the minute.

"That's awful!" He suddenly exclaimed. "The sergeant is trying but they barely pay attention to him."

Leanna recognized that way of talking. "Oh no you don't!" She said grabbing his ear. "Today is your day off. You promised."

Marto started, "I know but I aaaaha..." Leanna pinched harder.

"You promised to spend the day together. No military stuff." She said with a snarl.

"I know but I can't just let this pass by." Marto, with startling feline grace, freed his ear and hugged his beloved so tight she couldn't move. "Love you." He planted a kiss, released her and jumped off the roof. Leaving Leanna flustered, holding two half eaten rats.


Meanwhile down on the street the sergeant had noticed the lack of attention of his squad. And that the civilians on the street weren't getting out of the way with any speed requiring them to weave through traffic.

Having just about had enough of this futile exercise he almost fell over when the lion-morph appeared in front of him. With what remained of his presence of mind he ordered "Halt!" and saluted.

"Lieutenant." He said still shaken by the sudden appearance of a superior officer.

Marto saluted back. "Sergeant, you don't seem to have much control over your squad."

"Sir, yes sir. These rookies were all flagged with lack of discipline. I thought a marching exercise would be a good place to start." The sergeant answered but growing annoyed at the idea that of all people, Marto would be schooling him and his squad on how to act with discipline.

Marto had turned away and inspected the soldiers who had been, quietly, discussing some of the more fanciful rumours concerning the lion-morph.

"Attention!" Marto shouted, standing as tall as he could, imitating his old drill-sergeant.

The soldiers didn't hesitate to follow the order but weren't paying much attention all the same. "So you are the latest addition to the Metamor army." Marto paced slowly in front of them, staring at each soldier in turn. "Pathetic! Some front line duty would change your attitude some, but before I send you there you need to learn to march in step." He finished that sentence with an evil grin.

In the back of the group a woman said. "What would you know about discipline? You're a freelancer, a rogue, almost a merc."

Instantly Marto turned to stare at the soldier making her freeze like a gazelle caught in a lions' ambush.

"Interrupting an officer like that usually leads to a few weeks worth of latrine duty or some brig time!" He bellowed at her. "Would you rather I use my rank to punish you or my freelance status to teach you to march and forget about your insubordination, private?"

The soldier just nodded, cause when she tried to speak she barely managed to squeak.

"Good," Marto began. "Marching in step is very important. It shows to friend and foe alike that you can move as one and most likely fight as one. On the battlefield one of the most terrifying noises you can encounter is an army marching as one." He paused briefly to check that they were listening.

"Now, like you I didn't believe this either when I was told back in basic but I tell you now. It is true!" A little more solemn Marto continued. "I had to learn this on the battlefield. Here's to hoping you lot are faster learners."

The soldiers didn't dare say anything.

Marto turned to the sergeant who'd been listening intently. "Your drum, sergeant."

"Wuh?"

"Hand over the drum," Marto said more sternly. "That's an order."

The sergeant didn't argue but looked at the lion like he was going to say 'seriously'.


After getting drum on right Marto turned back to the soldiers. "Now, I'm sure they tried the left/right lesson with some easy song. I prefer to teach with something more enjoyable. March with me and listen to each other's steps. Lag behind and I will step on you."

Ratatatamtam Ratatamtamtam.

With no warming he started playing and stepping in place to show the speed of the march.

"Forward! March!" Marto bellowed as loud as he could.

The squad followed but as they were unused to the speed they barely stayed in formation let alone walk in unison.

"Feel the rhythm and get ready for the song." Marto announced to no one in particular and started singing:

The golden sun is shining in the orange sky.
The sergeant here played drummer boy and no one here knows why.
We're marching over hilltops, through forest and through field.
And all of us are showing off with the weapons that we wield.
And we're talking and we're singing and we're laughing evermore.
'Cause behind the mighty mountains is the land of Metamor.

By now they got the tempo and were stepping lively but still not walking in sync. Around them bystanders started taking notice of the marching group, some were even following.

"Right turn." Marto ordered and continued the song.

I march in front and show all of you the way.
Some of you were men before but I truly couldn't say.
The curses all but changed us, of that there is no doubt.
Which is why some wear diapers and others have a snout.

And just as he finished the this part he heard the magic sound. They walked in step and keeping up at the same time. More people started following and several children or AR's mimicked the soldiers movements.

The reason we are like this is a wizard named Nasoj.
He is a humongous prick who spoils all our joy.
He sends his loyal minions to attack the Keep in throngs.
We cut them down with the help of Misha and his Longs.

By now the group passed the Mule and two musicians who'd been practising there for a performance later joined in with their flute and lute, improvising as fast as they could to match the drum.

The mithril sun is shining in the yellow sky.
I now play for drummer boy and no one here knows why.
We're marching over hilltops, through forest and through field.
And all of us are showing off with the weapons that we wield.
And we're talking and we're singing and we're laughing evermore.
'Cause behind the mighty mountains is the land of Metamor.

The marching squad had turned into a procession but Marto paid no attention to that, or the onlookers lining up on the sides.

We face lots of perils both demonic and divine.
Still we manage to get back in time for us to dine.
So let's string your bows and sharpen up your swords.
There is no telling when we'll face more Lutin hordes.

Our lord is Duke Thomas, he'll lead us all the way.
We'll swiftly rid the northern lands off Nasoj's evil sway
And when the war is over we will party through the night.
Drink the mule dry and come dawn moan, "The sun's too bloody bright."

The procession had almost returned to where it began. "Almost there all together now." Marto ordered at no one in particular.

The silver sun is shining in the scarlet sky.
I still play for drummer boy and no one here knows why.
We're marching over hilltops, through forest and through field.
And all of us are showing off with the weapons that we wield.
And we're talking and we're singing and we're laughing evermore.
'Cause behind the mighty mountains is the laaaAAAAAAnd of Metamor.
Of Metamor. Of Metamor…

The people cheered loudly as Marto ordered the group to halt and handed the drum back to the sergeant saying: "I think you can take it from here."

Then as quickly as the lion had appeared he disappeared into the crowd followed by a few folks who clamoured for an encore.

A few windows above that the Duke looked out a window and said with a smile. "I didn't know a parade was scheduled for today."

"There wasn't." The steward said while quickly checking today's schedule.

"Oh," the Duke replied. "Well it is good to see the people enjoying themselves."


Meanwhile in a back alley Marto had shaken off the last of his fans only to bump into an irate looking lioness he had left back on a roof when all this began. Impatiently tapping her foot she waited for him to start talking.

"Hey Leanna, uhm, I'm sorry but I had to do this and did I mention I love you." Marto said while giving her sad kitten eyes.

She wasn't having it. "Yes, you did say that but you still broke your promise. Ditching me just so you could go sing that silly song. Why not give them an encore with 'Feel the magic, hear the roar' while you're at it?"

"Nah, I wouldn't do that without the rest of the Pride." Marto kneeled at her feet and looked pleadingly up at his love. "Forgive me?"

"I'll forgive you," Leanna said while grabbing him by his ear again. "After we have gone shopping for a new dress."

"Ow, ow,ow. Yes, dear."

The two of them started walking down to the wards.

A lot more calmer she asked. "Ever regret not going into music?"

"Nah," Marto answered. "They don't put bards on the front lines. By the way where's my roasted rat?"

"I ate it, Sorry. Please forgive me." Leanna replied giving him the same sad kitten look.

"Unforgivable. After I buy you this dress, I'll have to think of a way for you to make it up to me." The grin on his face leaving little to guess what he had in mind.

"Ok, but I get to be on top this time."

"Deal."

Leanna's grin matched that of her lover's. "Good thing that was what I intended to do anyway when I planned this day." She kissed Marto and said. "I love you but you're such a goof sometimes."


The land of Metamor

The golden sun is shining in the orange sky.
The sergeant here played drummer boy and no one here knows why.
We’re marching over hilltops, through forest and through field.
And all of us are showing off with the weapons that we wield.
And we’re talking and we’re singing and we’re laughing evermore.
‘Cause behind the mighty mountains is the land of Metamor.

I march in front and show all of you the way.
Some of you were men before but I truly couldn’t say.
The curses all but changed us, of that there is no doubt.
Which is why some wear diapers and others have a snout.

The reason we are like this is a wizard named Nasoj.
He is a humongous prick who spoils all our joy.
He sends his loyal minions to attack the Keep in throngs.
We cut them down with the help of Misha and his Longs

The mithril sun is shining in the yellow sky.
I now play for drummer boy and no one here knows why.
We’re marching over hilltops, through forest and through field.
And all of us are showing off with the weapons that we wield.
And we’re talking and we’re singing and we’re laughing evermore.
‘Cause behind the mighty mountains is the land of Metamor.

We face lots of perils both demonic and divine.
Still we manage to get back in time for us to dine.
So let’s string your bows and sharpen up your swords.
There is no telling when we’ll face more Lutin hordes.

Our lord is Duke Thomas, he’ll lead us all the way.
We’ll swiftly rid the northern lands off Nasoj’s evil sway
And when the war is over we will party through the night.
Drink the mule dry and come dawn moan, “The sun's too bloody bright.”

The silver sun is shining in the scarlet sky.
I still play for drummer boy and no one here knows why.
We’re marching over hilltops, through forest and through field.
And all of us are showing off with the weapons that we wield.
And we’re talking and we’re singing and we’re laughing evermore.
‘Cause behind the mighty mountains is the land of Metamor.
Of Metamor. Of Metamor…

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"A Little Bit of Discipline", copyright Leo M. Panther