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Turn 4 - Arrival at Waterfort

 

Pomp and ceremony fell by the wayside when it came to arrival at Waterfort. Muirne wanted to wait for the rest of the troops that would be arriving on the same day, such that Fionn could have a proper escort, a show of strength for the troops stationed there. Fionn and Sadhbh were having none of it. Neither of them wanted to delay getting to the lines and getting to work. So Fionn’s first visit to a new city of his own side was as something of a stranger. The gates opened for them as they approached with many units exuberant that Sadhbh had made it for the battle. He was a whisper, a shadow, ironically invisible beside a master scout. The first person to actually greet him was Diarmuid. Diarmuid was tall and lean with dark brown or black hair. His eyes were red, with a tinge of gold in them. In a lot of respects Fionn was reminded of Sadhbh, both seemed capable warriors, built mostly for speed. But while Sadhbh seemed like she was on edge the entire time, ready to fight or flee at any moment, Diarmuid just seemed at ease either he wasn’t worried about fighting or was oblivious to it.

 

“All hail our future Rí” proclaimed Diarmuid as he approached. Causing an immediate response of “Hail Rí Fionn!” from the gathered units, Sadhbh included. Fionn had to keep himself from saying it too.

“Thank you for the welcome Chief Warlord, there is much that needs to be done I’d like an appraisal of a few plans” Fionn said, trying not to look at Sadhbh. He failed.

“Hahaha, not sure you can trust your own regent? Don’t worry Sadhbh’s loyalty is to the side, so loyal she’d let it fall just to make sure the new Rí is ready for it” Diarmuid’s jest was more than a little pointed.

“Go choke on your spear, Diarmuid” Sadhbh’s response was near instant. Diarmuid just laughed.

The conversation kept a very light hearted atmosphere as the four of them walked towards the briefing room. Even Fionn couldn’t help but joke or tease with the others, it was a strange experience.

 

As soon as the briefing room doors closed Diarmuid’s smile faded like the morning fog in a sunny hex. Sadhbh also shrugged off her more jovial attitude like a damp cloak. Muirne remained mostly the same while Fionn was left confused. Diarmuid must have seen the puzzled look on Fionn’s face as he felt the need to explain that the joking session was for the sake of morale. Everyone knew they were in a dire situation, but there was no point in beating the units over the head with it until the battle was due. Which would likely be next turn or the turn after. Reports were filing in that the army was a turn away, but there were signs of auxiliary units a little further afield. Scouts were unable to confirm but the enemy could have twice as much to call upon in the fight. It would make any stand impossible, no matter their preparations. It was to these bleak predictions that Fionn proposed his no doubt reckless plan.

 

Sadhbh was the first to speak up “It’s clever, very clever, but do I don’t think it’ll be enough or even if it would be they might not attack next turn”.

 

“I believe that is why Fionn wants to put yourself and himself in the hex. Present the two units that they most definitely want to croak as bait.” added Diarmuid.

 

“Look the high hoes have been doing work up river with the barricade like I asked. If we can trap the bulk of their forces in the river, screen yourself and myself from the archer contingent they have and hold the line, we’ll have this.” Fionn argued. “With the scrolls I’ve been able to make so far it should be enough to tip the balance in our favour.”

 

The table was littered with the scrolls made by himself and Muirne over the last three turns. Muirne’s scrolls were secondary, a binding contract that they should be able to use to help with relations with Cronnaught and scrolls for singamantic changes. This would supplement the efforts that everyone else would go through in order to turn the tide of the fighting.

 

“Alright, let’s do this then” Sadhbh sighed.

 

“Excellent I’ll prepare my speech for the Titans” quipped Diarmuid as he sauntered away from the table. “‘Oh great and mighty Titans, I did croak because my ruler decided it would be a great idea to stand in a river and hope it wouldn’t wash me away. No I didn’t croak the enemy, nor was it heroic, but it was my duty!’” He paused at the door to look back at everyone. “Let’s make history” he said with a wink.

 

As Fionn turned to follow Sadhbh grabbed his hand. “I’m sorry, about the whole ruler thing, look if this goes well tomorrow I’ll pass the crown over to you. If it doesn’t go well, then I guess we’ll all be croaked.” Her expression had softened and she looked almost vulnerable.

 

“I know you have your reasons for holding back, let’s just get through tomorrow and we’ll work the rest out from there” Fionn replied, pulling his hand away. He wasn’t sure what he’d do with Sadhbh after he got the crown. At level six she would be a good Chief Warlord, though Diarmuid had a certain charismatic flare that worked well with the units. Tough decisions lay ahead.

 

****

 

A few hexes away from Waterfort, but still well within the Limestar’s hexes the high hoes were working tirelessly. They had arrived at the river Sure last turn and begun to work. It had been slow at first, but this turn the party had started in full. Rhymey was leading the stack in a song of drinkin’ and buildin’. Most high hoes didn’t enjoy buildin’ as breakin’, even if it meant they could do some extra drinkin’. To make matters worse they were ordered to drink as little as possible. They might be breakin’ before next turn and their alcobombs would be needed for breakin’. Even still Grumpy was taking sips every now and again. She didn’t care about orders like that.

 

High hoes were barbarians, called in for grunt work on the Island. Until Limestar had tricked them. The previous Rí and the Chief Signamancer wrote up a deal with some tricky clauses. Grumpy had thought she was getting a good deal, until it turned out that she and her units were in a self renewing contract, minimal upkeep. She very much didn’t want to croak to leave it, her only hope was that Limestar fell and they didn’t go down with it. Best she could do now was occasionally push the boundary of her orders. She took another sip. As the liquid slid past her lips she couldn’t help but smile. It burned in a good way, like nothing else did. She could feel it slip into her stomach and bubble away. Not long after the bubbles hit her head and she felt better. “Come on hoes!” she shouted “This river ain’t gonna stop itself.”

 

She slumped onto the side of the river and looked at the work they did. It was unnatural, but it was working. The river had slowed down on the southern end fairly significantly. Soon they would get the order to start the destruction and then the fun would begin. She sipped her alcobomb again. It was harder this time, she could feel the order tugging on her arm as she pushed against the compulsion to obey. It was only after she assured herself that the wall they made would come down even without her alcobomb that she was able to sip. She giggled to herself as she looked at the wall. It was good constructions but it would definitely never hold against their best bomb. It has cost Limestar a lot to pop their favourite little concoction. Grumpy looked over her shoulder at the bomb and smiled. It would be good to set off a Jägerbomb again.

 

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((I would like to apologise for anyone that was enjoying this and let down by my sudden not posting. Truthfully I've had a busy few weeks and had a lot of difficulty figuring out what to post. This post is shorter than my others but the next part is a lot larger and I couldn't work out a good break between them that would flow well, so I delayed putting this up when honest I probably should have done so two weeks ago. The next post will be very soon, probably before anyone has even read this.))

 

Comments

    • Salvage

      Do not stress yourself about deadlines or speed. People will enjoy your story as it comes, when it comes. It is better to do justice to your tale (and life) than to pressure yourself into mechanical work. 

      Love the High Hoes.