Chapter 7b: Watch for the Return

"Sa, sa." Giles emits the meaningless words while bobbing one hand palm down up in the air, "They'll be back soon enough, or we'll go to them. No need to get all prickly." The accouterments of the written word evidently interest the man however, as he leans forward, peering at the spine of the book.

"Whats that there? Got a book and you've been holding out on me Withers? You know what we think of greedy gits. Might as well be dwarves! Haha." His laughter echoes for a second at his own joke, but he doesn't let the thought derail his question as his eyes remain on Withers, gauging his response to the question and implication just as much as his actual answer.

Rufus Withers' fingers coiled around the spine of the book. "It was an empty book I found left in the footlocker near my bed. I just figured," he paused, contemplating his next words carefully, "I just thought it would be good to get what happened the other day down on paper."

The blone boy knew that his reply would somber the room more than his presence already did, but he hadn't seen a better answer to Giles question.

"Empty?" Giles doesn't wait for Basil's second sentence, his disappointment echoing in his voice as well as his facing. "Damn."

He shakes his head, looking off to the right of Withers rather than right at him as the boy finishes his thought. The chatter-bug is silenced for a moment, his face settling into a neutral expression rather than the exaggerations he normally utilizes. "Well. Never cared much for writing myself, not half as interesting as reading. But say you do that; you'll need to hide it good. There is some loose stones out by the north tower. Sheltered from the rain too; but that doesn't mean you shouldn't wrap it in oilskin anyways."

"You know", Nate chimes in from his chair, leaned back with his eyes closed and his hands folded behind his head,"If someone tells you of a good hiding place, there's already one too many people that know of it for it to be a good hiding place." Nate lets the statement hang in the air and puts on a smug smile, proud of his philosophical accomplishment here.

Withers gives the two soldiers a crooked look. "Why would I need to hide it?"

His fingers ease a bit on the book and vial of ink. The others are harmless, afterall.

"He's not hiding it from us, tch."

Giles shakes his head as though some offensive suggestion had been made before focusing back on Withers,

"One, the el-tee may not approve of a catalog of military maneuvers that could potential fall into civilian or enemy hands. Two, the offal-breath hyena-heads certainly arn't going to put in a library now are they?"

He moves one hand to his face, rubbing his palm along his right eyebrow and temple for a moment, closing his eyes, "So if we live, its a security hazard. If we die, its kindling. So either way, keep it hidden, ja?"

Withers loses any amount of friendliness he might have held at the table. His hands work diligently at the latch keeping the book closed. Once loose, the book seems to open on its own a bit, but only all the way after Withers allows it. He spins the book around so that Giles can see what's written.

The first three lines are a poetic prose, Withers' attempt at an eulogy. The next part of the page, and those following, are three columns each marking a space for names of those that have fallen. The book looks to be nothing more than a record of who Rufus Withers could remember with plenty of space left for those he did not know.

The blonde soldier now looks both annoyed and angry, "I hope you choke on that sense of accomplishment you've got going for yourself."

He stands, leaving the book and ink container on the table, and heads out.

As Withers opens the door to the refectory, there is a loud call from the sentinels atop the walls. "Riders approach from the north! Rest squad to the gate!" A split-second later, the call is nearly interrupted by another man's voice from the battlements. "Gnolls! Gnolls in pursuit! Rest squad to arms!"

OOCHere ends Chapter 7b. Chapter 8, Before the Walls, will begin shortly.

200xp for everyone. 50xp bonus for Rufus Withers, best characterization this chapter.

While Withers and Giles engage in argument Nate tries to keep up with them. Awfully touchy for a soldier he thinks by himself but he knows better than to say it loud. As the alarm sounds, he jumps from the table wordlessly, emptying his mind from the few thoughts he had spinning in it. With a swift move Nate picks up and readies his bow as he heads out of the refectory towards the supposed attack.


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