With the fortress in sight, Butch slowly comes forward from his march-induced trance and slowly takes stock of the situation. Without a word, he passes off the yoke of the wagon and catches Drystan's eye. With a nod of his head, he indicates Sergeant Wyndshof's figure as it makes its way up to the front of the formation, and quickly matches the Sergeant's pace, slipping in behind him. Careful to keep his expression blank, he carries his spear at trail arms and does his best to stay covered down on Drystan, opposite his position. Flanking Sergeant Wyndshof, Butch comes to stiff attention and as the Captain approaches.
While they were torn to shit and ragged to the bone, and these were friendlies, you still had to keep up appearances. The reputation of the 7th now rested squarely on their shoulders, and he would see no disrespect be leveled against it due to their countenance.
Though stock still while the Sergeant and the Captain talk, Butch's eyes move constantly taking in the men of the 3rd. he notes the condition of their gear, the drills they undertake in the court, the thousand minute details that only a fighting man can care about. While only hours ago he was no better then them, a wide gulf of experience now separates the two units and he can't help but feel a rising contempt for the untested men and soft faces across the way. But he suppresses that feeling, because it isn't his place to express it. Instead he stands rigidly at attention, acting as the honor guard that would be needed if the Captain were alive. He isn't, but since the Sergeant is filling his shoes, the tradition must still be honored.
As the Captain's last words are spoken, Butch remains standing still. Some soldiers might have broke and ran to the courtyard - but the men of the 7th weren't the Captain's to command. The men of the 7th were Sgt Wyndshof's until someone made it otherwise.
Once the Sergeant gives the order to fall out inside the building, Butch moves vigilantly to the end of the formation and escorts the stragglers and walking wounded into the fort. Though they might be at the doors to the camp, that didn't make them safe and now would be a great time to attack, with the fort's doors spread wide and the defenders distracted by the new arrivals.
Once the heavy wooden doors slam shut, Butch can begin to feel something that he later realizes was his heart thawing out, and the return of hope to his breast.
|Hots and cots, woop woop! |