Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Siege of the White Mountain, Vol. 3: Due to the Dead--Part 16

The wind blew in the camp.  "Four more dead last night," said Brother Cord.

Brother Law nodded, unsure of what to say to that.  He'd heard quite a bit like this over the last few nights.  The worst part was that this was, in a way, good news.  Last night, they'd lost ten--the night before sixteen.  The fact that they'd lost so few... it could be seen as a victory over the Black Bitch.

Of course, there is the fact there are fewer people to die now, thought the Flagellant.  He shuddered, as comfort fled, and pulled his cloak around his shoulders tighter.  He and Brother Cord walked in silence for a while.  And finally Brother Law took a deep breath.  "So... what do you think this has been about?"

Brother Cord blinked.  "What... do you mean by that?"

"What I said," answered Brother Law.  "What have we done all this for?

Cord fidgeted awkwardly.  "It's... what we do..."

"No, no, not us," said Law.  He paused and scratched idly.  "Well--okay, yes us... but... all of us.  What are we doing here?  What has the point been?"

"The Great War..." began Cord.

"Is going to get lost damned soon if we're fighitng it like this," snapped Law.  "So far as we can tell, the Prince's entire plan has been to throw men at Montalban, and then throw more men at them, and then... a few more men.  And so as we sit here dying, the plan to help us is to send more men, who will eat what supplies we have left."

Cord nodded.  "Oh, yes.  It's pretty bad."  He sighed.  "But we took the coin."

Brother Law frowned grimly.  "That we did."  He put his fist to his chest.  "Loyal unto death."

"Loyal unto death," declared Brother Cord back.

There was a dry laugh.  The pair turned to see an older soldier standing there.  "Sorry," he said quietly.  "That... wasn't a scornful laugh.  Rather... surprised."  He gave a nod.  "It is good to see men such as you among us.  Men who remember the power of oaths."  He walked away.  "That's what keeps us all going, you see.  What we swear."

"Thank you, sir!" said Brother Cord, cheerfully.

"You know, he's heading... out of camp," said Brother Law quietly.

Brother Cord blinked. "Damn.  You're right.  Should we do something?"

Law considered it, then shook his head.  "Nah."

"Yeah," agreed Cord.  "I was leaning that way myself."

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