Chapter 14: The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

 
With the extra help coming in, Caedmon moves from area to area, checking work and helping pull trees into position.

Besides the buttressing of the barricades, rows of
Branches of trees laid in a row, with the sharpened tops directed outwards, towards the enemy.
abatis' are put in place, serving to stop incoming charges.

Coming up to Alelip, he smiles and gestures to the interior of the barricades.

"Things are coming into place. If you don't mind, can you take charge here and cut down these trees into some '
A portable frame (sometimes just a simple log) covered with many long iron or wooden spikes or even actual spears. They were principally intended as an anti-cavalry obstacle but could also be moved quickly to help block a breach in another barrier.
chevs'? We can move them as needed to fill in gaps in our barricades.
", he asks his superior, detailing the method used to make the constructs.

Alelip nods, and says, "Absolutely," and begins to work on doing so.

After a few minutes of working, he looks up from his work and looks around, seeing three of the townsfolk nearby working on a tree. He motions to them and says, "You three, come here and help me cut these trees down to size," and then proceeds to describe what exactly they are planning to make with the logs.

As the sun rises nearer to its zenith, Rives's stomach makes the rather loud announcement that not only had he not eaten breakfast in his haste to get out to the horses, he had not bothered to eat dinner the night before and it was high time for... something. With a sigh, Rives twirls his make shift staff a few more times before stashing it in a dark corner of the stable and heading around to the inn, in hopes of finding something to fill his stomach.

Seeing the chaperone setting to work in the kitchen he asks, "Marin, what are you up to?"

Caedmon had paid close attention to the defenses directed by Lieutenant Wyndshof at the watchtower, and before long he has created a fair replica here in Old Badenshore--at least, over about a tenth of the landward perimeter. It will take several more days of hard work to fully surround the nearly empty town. At the very least, the effort has gotten the three score men in town some much-needed exercise. Now lunchtime is about to roll around, as announced by the general increase in surliness among the militia and the occasional grumbling stomach.

In the meantime, Alvin has shown Marin and Rives his favorite fishing hole, in a little cove off to the east of the docks about a hundred paces. Without the efforts of the local fishermen, the waters are teeming with trout that practically leap onto hooks at the slightest provocation. In under an hour, the trio has caught enough fish for each pair of men to share one. Now it's just a matter of getting them cleaned and cooked.

"Hey Rives, just the person I was looking for" replied Marin with the baskets full of fish "I'm preparing some lunch. Everyone here seems that really needs a real meal. C'mon help me cleaning all this and we'll roast them, or you can help with all those potatoes and onions" she pointed the two piled of vegetables "Is not much, but more than what we've been having and it'll help everyone for the afternoon training"

"Alvin, start cleaning all that fish please, but save the heads. We'll make some soup for the night patrols"

"I think I'll take the potatoes" Rives says, distastefully eying the flopping fish in the basket. Those look a bit too wriggly."

Alvin smiled as they fished, happy to be on the same page as some of the new recruits. He looked at Marin as she talked about cleaning the fish, though. Edward had always cleaned his own, but Alvin was used to eating them raw, and often whole, eating around the parts that weren't as satisfying. "I, uh..." He wasn't sure how to approach this, didn't necessarily want to appear too much like a strange, animal savage. "Edward usually does the cleaning...I can try, but I'll be a bit...crude, I guess. Sorry." He tried an innocent, sort of rueful grin, but he guessed it just looked like he was baring his teeth. He was still pretty poor at human relations. Fishhead soup did sound good, though, if not quite as good as raw fish itself.

"Well," Rives offers, "You could take the onions. They always make me cry."

Caedmon takes a moment to wipe his brow, gazing around at the work being done. It was coming around; but he frowned at all of the area still unprotected. If the Gnolls came, it would not deter them at all. He could only hope that the concealed trench of pitch across the road into the town helped enough to save some of the militiamen when it came time to flee across the water.

Finally, the scout finds Alelip, letting the man finish his work before updating him on the construction.

"We will need several more days to surround the whole town. I do not think the Gnolls will give us that long; but at least we have some barriers to keep behind when they charge.

What do you say we break for lunch and then start on the weapons training someone mentioned?
", he asks his superior with a tired smile.

Marin just nodded as she started beheading and cleaning the fish, setting the heads and spines apart for later. She didn't have much practice, but she quickly caught up and really, it wasn't so bad.

While Alvin and Rives finished the vegetables, Marin took the fish and brought them to the backyard, where she found a bug metal tray.

"I need fire, and hot stones" she tought remembering one of the meals in the main camp. the hearth was still warm, so she started reviving the fire. As a couple of men passed by, she asked them to bring stones big enough, and put it in the hearth. It was a slow process, but soon the inn was surrounded with the smell of grilled fish, sizzling in the tray. As more people started to get closer, atracted by the smell and hunger, she directed them to various tasks, like setting tables, boiling water for the vegetables, etc.

More than one looked at her strangely and started to complain, but she just scowled

"I you don't want lunch go ahead. I'm trying to help so at least cooperate. Unless you think you can finish this by yourself. I'm under no orders of cooking"




 

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