Author Topic: Heading home  (Read 2413 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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Heading home
« on: February 04, 2006, 02:45:19 AM »
Captain Wilson fought back tears as she slipped nimbly out of the modest dwelling, pulling the door closed as swiftly as she could behind her, without slamming it.  She cringed as something heavy hit the other side of the wood, the endless string of slurred abuse accompanying it audible still.  Swallowing the lump in her dry throat, she took a wavery breath and moved off down the path at a modest pace, wanting to be as far away from her father’s building as quickly as possible, without being too obvious about it.  She didn’t think it would benefit her father or herself to be recognised as his daughter but it wouldn’t do to run.
   
   After she’d turned a few corners and was back on the main path leading towards the Innerkeep’s southern gate she slowed down, her mind doing the racing instead.  Her father had been particularly drunk this Worship Day, and she of no mind to tolerate his brittle words after seeing Dagger approach some dark skinned, exotic-looking strumpet after service (what the consequence of Dagger’s approach had been were lost on her, as she had exited the temple before them and had gone on about her business so as not to attract any unwanted attention on the way to the poorer section of town).
   
   She’d grown impatient with her father, disgusted by the slovenly way he chose to live – she’d spent an hour tidying the house – and exasperated with his determination to aggravate her.  Or so it seemed.  He knew she wasn’t interested in hearing tales of his glorious guarding days or the special beauty of her mother, but on he rambled regardless, until she was forced to request his silence.  Her prompts for information about his life now went unanswered and he became ill-tempered, cursing her intrusion on his life, her superior attitude, her fancy clothes, her face, so like her mother’s…
   
   So she’d told him he’d do better getting some air, even in the snow, and letting go of a dead past.  Dead past.  Those were the words she’d used and they’d been a mistake, by Talon.  He’d slammed his mug down, shattering it, shoving at the furniture and at her when she went to pick up the pieces, eventually throwing all the large chunks at her – and anything else within his reach on the table, especially the posy of winter tulips she’d brought – while he ranted about how ungrateful and evil she was, how she didn’t care or understand and didn’t deserve to be living.
   
   Thus, here she was; crunching miserably through the snow, unable to enjoy the loveliness of the clear sky and lack of snowfall when there was nothing but jagged shards inside her.  Eventually she ran into people moving about in the centre of the Innerkeep, most on their way to and from worship services, and her expression blanked, firming into a mask despite her turmoil.  She tried to stare downwards to pretend she needed to watch where she was going, but as a public figure she was recognised and forced to look people in the eye when they addressed her.  She nodded and offered the hint of a smile to all but kept on walking, not interested in engaging in conversation.
   
   One person, however, did not respect her business-like bustle and decided to waylay her.

LoneWolf

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Re: Heading home
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2006, 11:33:33 AM »
"Afternoon, Captain," Jedd bade cheerily.

He stopped in front of her, smiling. He was on his way to a dice game and hadn\'t expected to run into anyone he knew going this route.

"Have you been to worship yet? I am heading down to the temple now to get it out of the way. Feel free to come along."

He hoped that she had already attended the morning services so he could be on his way.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Heading home
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2006, 06:25:38 PM »
Her initial, polite smile faltered slightly at his words.  He was heading to temple now to \'get it out of the way\'? She found it an odd turn of phrase… though intriguing. She knew some who felt this way about attending formal services but none who would voice their feelings so boldly (and rarely at all without qualifying the statement as the expression of a desire to worship alone, rather than in an organised, impersonal manner... supposedly).

And it was a bold declaration considering her position in the castle\'s hierarchy of power and her rank as his boss; a superior who he\'d only begun working in close quarters with a mere moon ago. Jedd as an officer was someone she’d welcomed into the upper echelons of guard society warmly – taking her number of Lieutenants to six – but Jedd as a man was not someone she knew anything about. She was aware that he was Lillian and Jeddidiah Montgomery the socialites’ son, that he came from a very rich family and that he didn’t fit the elitist mould, but none of that was even intelligence gathered in conversation. It had come from Lieutenant Frederickson gossiping with her (he was a major supplier of information). She could only assume that Montgomery knew as little of her as she knew of him, which was why his comment had struck her so.

   
   “Lieutenant, good afternoon,” she responded, eyeing him thoughtfully.  “Thank you for the offer but I have already attended temple. I like to go early on and leave the rest of the day open… I’m surprised you don’t feel the same way, since you obviously see the task as such a nuisance.” She raised her eyebrows innocently, anticipating his reaction to her weighted observation.
   
   In truth, she didn’t particularly enjoy temple services – though the program at the Sanctuary was never as deep or foreboding and infinitely more enjoyable – but she would never say such a thing out loud. She wondered if perhaps Montgomery would prefer to be rostered on, on Worship Days, if he wanted an excuse to sidestep the formality.
   
   Generally Initiates and Weapons Guards walked the castle grounds on these days and although it was accepted that they would be unable to attend service around their shift, it was expected that they would do their damndest to try – or that the rostering Lieutenant would split the shifts accordingly. Turning up in uniform was never frowned upon and there were always many choices of mass times… but she knew some of her men negotiated specifically for Worship Day stints. She’d always assumed it was because the workload was lighter with such a subdued air about the place and everyone’s focus turned towards the Gods and their place in the world, but perhaps she’d been wrong…

LoneWolf

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Re: Heading home
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2006, 09:02:19 AM »
Technically he had already been to temple services. Twice in fact. The first time was an actual visit to the temple for the early morning session, indeed to get it out of the way. He didn\'t dislike the service itself, just all the formality. In fact, he was just as devoted to Talon as the next guard, having come to respect the power death has over life in the end. The second visit, however, was a nice cover story as to why he was 15 minutes late for his meeting with Lieutenant Frederickson. They were to discuss why Old Man Parsons was losing chickens again, among other things. The dice game to which he had actually been earned him a few silver, for which he offered to buy the Lieutenant a drink later that evening as an apology.
 
"Oh no, it\'s not a nuisance. I just thought you might have been too busy today to have gone yet, is all. It\'s good to hear you have had some time to yourself. What brings you out this way on such a nice afternoon?"
 
Deciding that the dice game could wait, he thought that an informal conversation might help him get to know her better. She was his boss after all . . .

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Heading home
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2006, 10:10:21 AM »
Her eyes narrowed defensively even as her lips slid into an indulgent smile. Not for him to know was her business in this - or any - part of the castle.
 
"Well, as you say, it was such a pleasant day that I thought I would take a walk and check how the boys were handling it. Perhaps you\'re not aware, but I am obliged to take every Worship Day off, even if I don\'t wish to. Something to do with appearances or some such rubbish. Personally, I just think it\'s a day the powers that be think I won\'t be in their face, hassling for some change or other," she offered bemusedly, chuckling slightly as if he were a trusted confidant. "I also wanted to be sure there were no preparations for interference underway before tomorrow - you were briefed on the timing of the procession, I believe? No problems with your selections?"
 
It would be Montgomery\'s first time witnessing a Prince\'s ride on a Oneday as a Lieutenant. Captain Wilson was personally responsible for training the Heir to the throne and she regularly took him out of the grounds for cross country rides on Onedays to build up his stamina or work on his archery or any number of weaponry tactics he wished to improve upon. This was a challenge to co-ordinate during Full Hunger Moon, so it didn\'t happen as regularly as she would have liked - everything in the castle had to be just so for a swift ride directly from the palace and out into the countryside, with a small escort that would not betray too greatly his young Eminence\'s presence, and heavy snowfall hindered their progress enough to make it impossible during the majority of the season - and the morrow would be the first time in many weeks. Certainly the first time Jedd had been in an organisational position as he was now. His role had been to nominate and double check the swarm positioning of the four guards accompanying Wilson and the Prince at close quarters, and liaise with Frederickson, who would head the outer perimeter squad (the guards who would ensure no assassination attempts were made from a fired arrow\'s reach).

LoneWolf

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Re: Heading home
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2006, 01:03:08 PM »
His eyes widedned slightly as the realisation of what she had said set in.
 
"That\'s tomorrow? Yes of course it is." He rubbed his hands together as he spoke, trying to think back on who he had selected for the ride. "Eoric, Thorne, Tobias and Robert. I feel they are up to the task, even though Thorne and Robert have not directly been a part of it before." He tried sounding confident of his selection, but his expression gave away the fact he was hoping for some assurances. "I am again to meet with Frederickson this evening to finalise the arrangements. Once this is done I will meet with you to relay all the details?"
 
All thoughts of the dice game were gone. His organisation of this first important assignment must be flawless. The last thing he wanted was for the Captain to regret her decision to promote him.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Heading home
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2006, 06:19:04 PM »
Her mouth opened and closed a few times before she managed to get any words out.  He seemed surprised by the fact that the event was nigh! By the Gods, what had he done while on duty yesterday? She didn\'t hang over her lieutenants\' shoulders every second of every day; she expected them to follow the instructions she gave out every morning at six of the clock and come to her when they needed clarification or assistance... not the next day or even three days later, and certainly not on Worship Day!

Her jaw set grimly and the casual conversation turned instantly serious; there were lives at stake and it was time Montgomery was made aware of it.

"Lieutenant, I don\'t expect to dally with your feelings about the men you\'ve chosen, I expect you to know! I expect that you have taken the squad through their paces, step by step, left the stables and taken horses to the palace and picked up a mock Prince a half dozen times by now! I expect you have walked the route, run the route, cantered the route, galloped the route! I expect that you know the weaknesses and strengths of your men and have chosen specifically those that will answer my needs succinctly.  I expect that you have searched every drainpipe and every gutter between the palace and the tent pitch, that you know by heart every bump in the road that could cause a horse to falter, every wall, door and pile of garbage that might provide cover for someone dedicated to ending the Heir Apparent\'s life!  I don\'t want to hear that you are still finalising details on a Day of Worship, or bothering Lieutenant Frederickson with your tasks!  I should have heard about your insecurities three days ago when I assigned you this duty, not now when the mission is to unfold on the morrow like clockwork and there is no way to stage another dry run in front of the whole damn castle as they lay about the place, doing nothing!" she seethed, spitting her words through gritted teeth, getting closer and closer to his face until their noses were crammed against each other for the latter half of her diatribe. Her hands were clenched inside her warm pockets and she fought the urge to grab him by the ears and scream at him.

Passersby would have heard every word - especially those punctuated with particular venom - but she gave no thought to that. It was her right to dress down her men anywhere she damn well chose and this was nowhere near the first or last time it would happen. Generally she may have been more lenient on a yellow guard, for their reputation was essential, but Montgomery was not in uniform, so she allowed him to feel a good portion of her wrath. Had they been within the guardhouse, she would have said more. As it was, she forced herself to take a breath and stepped back, looking the rigid man over with a dark frown of disgust.

"I understand you\'re new to the position, and still learning the ropes, Montgomery, but you are never to simply sit on your concerns.  They will not get solved that way. As soon as you have a question, ask it. As soon as you think of a problem, voice it. There is no shame in communicating clearly, as long as you demonstrate that you have actually used your brains and are not simply shovelling shit my way in an effort to dazzle me with fumes."  Her voice rose considerably as she stared him down and yelled at him, snapping to attention, "AM I MAKING MYSELF CLEAR?"