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Chapter 14: The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

 
Seeing Alelip enter the room, Marin almost scowled, but managed to keep an indiferent face

"Yes, Sir" she replied curtly, before serving him some and cotinuing her eating in silence, not even trying to make conversation with the Corporal. As he and Sir Edward stood she acompanied them in the tour, focusing on the work to do instead of her anger. It would take a lot of time, and seeing the others alive for her to forgive Alelip for leaving them to their fate.

The request of help from the knight got her thinking, and she nodded with a small smile. "I could help you with that, Sir Vellios. I'm not strong enough to help with the barricades and defenses and I fear I would be more of a hindrance than help if I try to help in that. But I can be a decent sparring partner, for being self taught. And I certanly could use some classes" she commented in her usual quiet voice, at least around the noble. She didn't know why she tended to be a bit more soft manered around him, but it was sure that he was a bit intimidating, though not so much without that armor of his.

As she finished, she looked both men in the eyes, really not daring to get her hopes high, true teaching would be awesome!

The young lads whom Caedmon addressed look doubtfully at the tools, then back at the hardened face of the woodsman-soldier who had directed them into action. Grudgingly, they take up the saws and spade and get to work, but it's slow going.

After an hour or so, Commander Zane comes by the area and sees the trio lolly-gagging in their efforts. "Will! Galt! Vern!" he shouts their names loudly enough that he could probably be heard in Oakhollow. "Get your arses in motion before I kick 'em there. You get an order from a real soldier, it came from me." The boys look suitably abashed and set to work with more vigor than before.

With the militia moving with more gumption than before, Caedmon nods at Zane and begins securing the tree to the tall pines. Satisfied that his part was done for this particular trap, the ranger checks on the work of the others, helping them haul the cleared trees back to the barricades and pointing out area where they can be used to reinforce the walls.

"Once we get these secure, we will cut stakes and sharpen then, planting them in the ground to break the charge of the worgs and such. If we get this done in time, I will take you gents over and teach you a few maneuvers so that when the Gnolls come, and they will, you don't die inside a minute.", he relates to the locals, hoping the thought of dying would spur them to work a little harder.

Alelip considers the request, then nods his head approvingly. "Yes, I think we could use the help, given the number of men and," he looks at Sir Edward as he says this, "the number of trainers. I know I can't keep track of 60 or so by myself, and even with Sir Edward it would be difficult."

He pauses for a second, then adds, "Given your skill with the bow, perhaps you and Cademon can also instruct those who are interested on archery, as well."

"As they use crossbows I don't know how helpful that can be" replied Marin arching an eyebrow "but I'll try"

"Calm yourself, he still is your direct superior"

"Indeed, there is much to be done, including training the men to be ready for battle," Edward agrees. When Marin speaks, he blinks with surprise. It wasn't that he intended on excluding her from sparring practice; rather, he had legitimately not considered that her staying to fight might entail her training with weapons. Still, he was doing his best not to look out-of-step, so he tried to recover. "Ah, um, yes, Miss Marin. I suppose we could use your help, too." Struggling to regain his composure, he simply says, "Very well, Corporal, I'll see you and your troops at noon."

After returning Alelip's customary salute, he scans the village. It looks as if the Iron Heart woodsman actually has some idea how to make the village more defensible. He may have just found what he'll be doing with his morning. Walking over to where Cademon is working, he greets him pleasantly. "Good morning, Soldier. It seems you have some experience building defenses. I can gather a detail of twenty men, plus myself, to assist you if you'll agree to show us what we're doing." He's always been proud, but he can take direction when he needs it, and he has to admit he is far out of his element in building woodworks.

Caedmon pauses in his work to wipe his brow as the knight approaches. He had never mixed with the noble folk and was a little surprised that the man approached him as an equal. If he had come bearing commands, he would have been on his ass.

Still, he seemed decent enough.

"Greetings, Sir Knight. Please, call me Caedmon.", he says with a smile, holding out his hand to shake the other man's.

Looking around at the others working, he nods, "The more the merrier. With another score of men or so we could get these walls into decent shape and maybe even dig a trench of two to slow advances. I was told there is pitch aplenty and so if you would like to lend a few men here and then oversee the trench line from the most likely direction and layer it with pitch that would be a great service."

He would get a few more mine to reinforce the walls and the knight would have his own command and task. It would work out well for everyone.

Rives relishes the peace and quiet of the stables, but quickly finds himself out of tasks to do. He frowns, not particularly feeling like rejoining the others, where they might ask questions. It was times like this that he and the other lads working in the stables would find the broken handles of pitchforks, shovels, and rakes and spar. He'd seen the pile of cast of tool handles earlier, but quickly tried to ignore them, but the thought kept returning. He'd always been good with the improvised staff in his hands, and could routinely best even the biggest of the stablehands, but when they made him use a shorter 'weapon' he often went home badly bruised.

Rives sighed as he walked over and looked at the shafts. Despite the short spear and sword he'd acquired, he was of little use with either of them, as the scar on his arm reminded him. If those were all he had to defend himself with, he might as well run off to the north now, as he knew he wouldn't last much longer than any of the towns folk. But that stout oaken handle there look about right, he thought as he picked it up and deftly twirled it. A smile came to his face as he lightly danced a few steps with the 'staff' in his hand. Now THIS felt as right as anything in the last few months.

Alelip chuckles, looks at Marin and adds, "Well, you can at least help them with their aim. The straw targets that we saw earlier were not particularly encouraging."

After the tour is complete, Alelip grabs a saw and heads out to where Cademon is, and begins to assist with the clearance of the woods away from the wall. While not work that he was particularly well suited to, given his leg, he could at least clear the branches that he could reach on the ground, as well as the trunks, stumps, and roots, and let those that were more mobile work on the branches that were above ground.

Nodding, Marin salutes and as they go for the defenses she thinks waht to do with her morning. Thinking on the breakfast she grimaced at the reations and an idea popped in her mind. A real meal would to great to these men and her own teammates, or at least as real as it can be.

"Ok, I'll need some help foraging, and cooking, I can't do this alone" she thought, going back to the inn, where she saw the strange man out of the stables. "Rives would be able to help, and... ok, if he's defending the town he must not be a bad person"

"Excuse me, sir" she said coming closer to Alvin and shrinking back just a liiitle bit when he focused on her "Uhh I... Do you know any good places for foraging and maybe some fishing? I... want to surprise everyone here with a good lunch and.. I'll need some help... uhh.."

Suddenly everything seemed so silly and she wished Rives were here, maybe the two of them could mae something.




 

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