This is Part of Angrethar, the story of The Battle for the Wrathgate from Aelflaed’s point of view. You can see all of the posts in this story on the Story Archives page, by searching for the Wrathgate category, or through this link.
“Uther’s Balls, Bert. I thowt ye… an’ Stratholme. An’ ye foun’ me here? … bloody hell.” She stood up, looking him clean in the face, eye to eye, before looking away.
“Aye, bloody hell’s about the size of it. Been through it once, looks like tomorrow we get to do it all again. How the nether are you here? Someone said there was a redhead just arrived at the medic camp, with an accent that’d put a Dwarf to shame. I thought it might be you. I hear you still talk like you’ve a mouth full of marbles.” He laughed, and the sound hit the fog and disappeared.
“Oi, an ye still think y’ve go’ better than th’ lots wha’ do. Y’great ponce.”
More laughter, and he reached out gingerly to touch her hair. “You look just like I remember…”
She peered at him, eyes glancing over his face. “There’s nae much th’ tow-headed seventeen y’r ol’ left in ye, thow. Ligh’, bu’ ye dinnae e’en look like y’rself.”
“I’m… not. Well, I am, but – it’s a long story. You haven’t answered my question though – how did you end up here? This place doesn’t seem to fit the likes of an up and coming Paladin.” His eyes found the jewel on her left hand. “… let alone a woman about to be married.”
“Tha’s.. well, tha’s a long story ‘swell, bu’ then ‘s been near ten years. F’r now, I’m here ’cause m’ Boss sent me, after th’ fecking Cultists took out half a camp ay Medics an’ Fordragon put a call f’r th’ independen’ camps t’ send a healer each. I’ve skill wi’ combat healin’ – ‘s wha’ I did f’r th’ armies fightin’ th’ Bloody Prince th’ last time. After allat, an’ a fair bit t’ myself, I’m up wi’ th’ Wildfire Riders, ap Danwyrith’s crew.”
He stepped back, eyes wide in mock surprise. “Oh you’ve taken up with /that/ band of ruffians and ne’er do wells, aye? I should’ve known. Even as a Paladin, you end up in trouble.”
“An’ th’ bes’ fecking trouble I’ve found in awhile, too. Better lot than th’ ones ye seem t’ have taken up wi, thow I cannae say I’d prefer th’ other option, given th’ circumstances.”
His face fell slightly, as somewhere in the distance a low bell rang, the sound hanging in the fog.
“And that’s for me, and my troubles. I’ll be on the line tomorrow. If you have any of the faith they say you do, pray you don’t see me until after this is over…” He trailed off, eyes flicking to the bandages and the medic’s flag on the tent before resting back at her face. “I can’t say I’ve much left in the way of Light, Aely, but knowing you’re here, that you made it… well, it’s something.”
Silence crept between them.
“I… aye… An’ Ligh’ go wi’ ye. E’en if ye dinnae recognize it.” She placed her hands gently against his forehead, murmuring a blessing. “Go wi’ peace, Bertrand.”
Closing his eyes, he turned away. She watched until he disappeared into the fog.
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