Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Siege of the White Mountain; Vol. 2: Fields Running Red--Part 65

Brother Law regarded the armiger before him with weary eyes, while cursing the fact that his mask was now damp enough to make his face physically uncomfortable. “A goose, you say?” he asked quietly.

“Five gooses!” declared Sir Archimbaud angrily.

“Geese,” corrected the Flagellant. The expression on Sir Archimbaud’s face was enough to make Law happy he was wearing his mask, rain or not. “The word is ‘geese’.”

“Listen, you piddling little lasher,” snapped the armiger, “I have used ‘gooses’ for my entire life, as did my father, and my father before him, so if I say that five gooses have been stoled, five gooses have been stoled!”

“St--” began Law, and then shut his eyes. “Understood, sir. I’ll get right on it.”

Archimbaud gave his pudgy face a nod, and backed way. “Good. We’ve got to maintain discipline, you know. Order. That’s what an army needs.” He nodded again, and then stomped away, leaving Law to wonder how the man rode a horse. And then, with feet sinking into the mud, the Flagellant walked back to the great tent of his Order.

Strict and Cord were there, as well as Brothers Knot, Fist, Rule, and Cardinal, all enjoying a meal. Law took off his mask, and dabbed his face dry with his sleeve. “If I never see an armiger after this damned siege, it will still be too short a time,” he muttered.

There was a cheery laugh from his fellows. “Which one was it this time?” asked Rule. “Sir Gilbert?”

“Archimbaud,” answered Law, as he took his seat. “Asking about geese.” He shook his head. “No--no. Asking about ‘gooses’.”

There was more laughter at this. “One thing I never expected to learn,” noted Knot, “is that there were nobles in the world worse educated than myself.” He shook his head. “What do these buffoons do with their time?”

“Ride horses to death,” said Strict with a chuckle. He turned to Law. “So what exactly was he asking about ‘gooses’.”

“Five of them went missing from the armigers’ supplies,” stated Law.

The good cheer dissipated. Law watched as every Flagellant seated there shared a momentary bit of hatred for those stupid armigers who stuffed their faces, and yelled at everyone and insisted that they were always right even when it was clear they weren’t. “We’ll have to look into it,” said Strict at last.

Cord nodded. “But carefully. Taking our time. Making very certain we have the right man.”

“Naturally,” said Strict, enjoying another spoonful of broth.

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