17 - Dog Days Are Over

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January 3, 1477

Monteriggioni, Italy

"You're sure you're ready?"

Ezio didn't answer right away as he adjusted his bracers; shifting the leather armor this way and that until it was situated comfortably over his sleeve. As she'd told him, he fit snuggly into the general outfit used by Mario's men, although it was a little odd seeing him wear the tattered garbs, consisting of a thin white under shirt settled beneath a bound vest kept close to his waist by a red sash. He wore loose pants with calf-high boots-all very different from his former noble attire or Assassin robes. She could tell he felt awkward in them; his face was set with sheepishness as he tried to be as comfortable as possible. It didn't help the clothes were a tiny bit too big, but none of the men were quite his size. They were either too big or too small. Luckily, Dea would be working on proper training and casual attire for him, but it would be a few days before he had anything he could really call his own.

"Yes," he sighed as he either gave up or was satisfied with his work. "I told you I need to begin. You do not need to coddle me."

Catherine raised a brow, grinning a little, "But you are two years younger than me. By all means I can coddle you."


"I kid, I kid," she snickered, but then paused to come over and grab his sash. He raised his own brow at the action, and she gave him a look before tightening it far more than he had. He grunted as he was jerked and frowned, expecting an answer. She gave it as she adjusted other things, "If your sash is loose, it'll be in the way and make your shirts too loose as well. It'll be better once Dea finishes your own set of training clothes. They'll be basically the same as theses, but fit you much better."

He gestured to her, "Why do you not wear ones like it then?"

She stepped back to check her work and was pleased. He would not be occluded by his attire. She didn't answer his question right away. Rather she made a mock notice of her white undershirt sleeves, giving him a "what? You mean these?" look. His pout made her laugh. She supposed it was a little unfair. Her vest was more proper-like, in a way. It was similar to what she and Ezio had worn in Florence, and she wore a proper belt now rather than a sash.

"Well, the boys' gear tends to be a little too loose in all the wrong places, so Dea made mine extra special. That, and she didn't want me to look completely like a man," she mused wryly before motioning towards the Villa's exit. "Alright, come on. It's time to start training. If you ever want to do the jogging beforehand with me, let me know. It requires waking up much earlier, though."

"Please do... although perhaps after I have become more accustomed to things," the young man mused in return as he followed her out the main doors into the early morning of Monteriggioni. The sun was barely above the city walls, though the sky was bright. The January air was crisp and cool; their training would bring much needed warmth until the sun could do it for them. Already men were out and about, stretching or having mock-bouts. Mario was never there right away-he tended to the city's watch and checked reports-but that was where Ottavio came in. He, too, was stretching, but keeping an eye on things as well. As such, he spotted them and happily clapped Ezio on the back.

"Ah-the nephew finally joins us! Mario has been eager to test your skills, but worry not-we'll start with the basics for you," the older man grinned contagiously. He turned his cheerful gaze to the redhead. "I may just have him start with you, little one."

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