Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Siege of the White Mountain, Vol. 3: Due to the Dead--Part 24

Marfisa Mongrane stared at the soldiers assembling before her.  "Mmm... that's odd," she noted.  "They seem better organized now than they did yesterday..."

"Fear is a strange thing, Marshal," said the Gali Khan softly.  "It can break a man, or it can make him find a courage he didn't not know was within him.."

"What about a woman?" said Marfisa with a slight smile.

The old man chuckled.  "Oh, yes, a woman as well."  The pair rode on aways--then Konstancy gave a polite cough. "If it would not shame the Marshal, I have a humble request to make to her."  He glanced away.  "Well, two, really..."

Marfisa shrugged.  "Hey, sure.  You know I think you're really, really neat as Kizak hetmans go, and..." She blinked, as she realized that the Gali Khan was looking at her with slight amusement. "Urr... right. I'll let you make your request."  She shifted nervously on her horse, and adjusted her armor's wings.

"Two requests," said the Kizak.

"Right," agreed Marfisa with a nod. "Right.  Two requests.  Right."

"My first request is that I, by the honor of my age and position, be allowed to lead the van against those men before us," said the Gali Khan, "in what promises to be one of the last great charges of the Kizaks, where all three Hordes are assembled together, to act as one."  A dreamy smile touched the old man's face.  "It is... a dream of mine.  From when I was a boy."

Marfisa nodded.  "That sounds... that sounds very reasonable."

"I thank you for saying so," declared Konstancy.  "You bring honor to my line, Marshal Mongrane, with your noble conduct, and honorable demeanor."

"Ummm, thanks," said Marfisa.  She turned her horse. "Well, I'm gonna go get ready to do the main charging thing when you guys in the van do the charging thing that opens things up for us."

The Gali Khan coughed.  "I did not say my second request, Marshal."

"Oh."  Marfisa turned back to face him.  "What is that one, Gali Khan?"

The aged Kizak glanced away.  "I... it is my understanding that your... ahh, 'warriors of chivalry'... they... when they go into battle... sometimes... that is to say... on occasion... they bear a... favor from a fair lady..."

Marfisa nodded.  "Yep.  It's a very noble, romantic thing, where..."  She blinked.  "Umm...  Oh."  She blushed.  "Right.  Ahh.  Yes."  She coughed.  "So you... you'd like... you want me to..."  She blinked.  "Urr... that is, you'd like me to give... that is I should..."  She gulped, and then pulled out a handkerchief from her side, and handed it to him.  "Right.  Here you go."

The Gali Khan took it, and with simple reverance, tied it to the handle of his sword.  "I thank you for this, Marshal of the Mongranes," he said, keeping his eyes averted.

Marfisa gave a rapid series of nods.  "I'm going to go..." She pointed over her shoulder.  "There.  Now.  Yep."

"Fair fortune follow you in the battle that lies ahead," said the Gali Khan as she rode away.

"You too," shouted Marfisa, as she retreated into the distance.

"I bear it on my sword," said the old man quietly.