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.
“Oi, Aely, yeh got a minute?” Tarquin’s voice held no hint of emotion, though she thought she might see steam coming out of his ears any moment. She looked up from her armor repairs. “Ayeh, ‘Boss, wha’s th’ crack?”
“Bad shite. Cultists took out the better part ay the Medical Unit down on the lines. I’ve been…requested ta send a replacement.” The humorless grin on his face neither invited nor left any questions as to the nature of the request. “Yeh’ve experience as a proper medic, ayeh? Battlefield’n all?”
“Aye. Sev’ral years, t’ be fair. ‘s what I did back when we were fightin’ th’ Bloody Prince th’ first time. Take ye wan’ me t’ pack up?”
“Likely fir the best.” He was chewing almonds again, she saw – his odd substitute for cigarettes. Come to think of it, he’d had a cigarette in hand nearly every minute she’d seen him since arriving in the ‘Blight. “Gods only kennit wha’ kind ay equipment they go’. Government shite.” He snorted dismissively and spat almond husk into the snow.
She picked up the piece of plate armor she’d been re-lining with thick fur. “A’righ’ – I’ll report down there – prob’ly take an hour air so t’ kit out, bu’ I’ll be there well ‘fore nightfall. Owt t’ give me time t’ help ‘fore th’ push morrow.” She looked at him curiously, not entirely sure she liked the idea of facing … whatever … without the people she’d come to see as family. “Y’ sure I’m t’ join up, an’ nae be here?”
Tarquin looked at her for an inscrutable moment. “The wonderful thing ’bout war, Aely,” he said with blunt-force sarcasm, “is thit wir no’ sure ay sweet f*ck all. But orders bein’ orders – ” it seemed to physically pain the man to say that ” – yeh’d best be oan yir merry.”
The paladin stood up, unfolding her limbs and taking a quick look at the small pile of belongings and supplies she’d brought up to the Rider’s camp. “Fair enow, ‘Boss. Dinnae let ’em f’rget I’m down there, ayeh?” She nodded at him, and walked towards the stables.
“Aely,” he called after her. When she turned, the wry smile and the lines of anger were gone. “Find us after,” he said simply, “Or we’ll find yeh. Trust it.”
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