“Then the crazy bastard says ‘Shit ma’ wifes gonna be pissed!’ Roarasaurus laughter echoed around the campfire, as everyone heard the story.
“Well anyway, cheers to ya’ Leon! That walls ours!” Patricks’ raised his tankard, along with the rest of the men
“Hear, hear!” The circle echoed.
Leon tried to raise his drink as well, wincing as his shoulder wound flared up. The spike was like an ice pick, going right between the chainmail links protecting the joint. While the wound wasn’t bad at all, not piercing anything important, it still hurt like hell.
Leon used a flaming stick to light his pipe. The herb helped with the pain a little, but that wasn’t what it was for. He mostly smoked after combat, it helped bring him down from his adrenaline induced fidgeting. It did make him hungry though.
“Patricks’ that old bastard, you’d never guess. Yet after every battle there he is, drinking and actually fun to be around.” Roger said, walking over to Leon. Taking the opportunity to raid Leon's pouch to fill his own pipe.
“Just celebrating is all. Ol’ timers like that don’t know how many fights they got left.” Leon replied with a shrug.
“Huh, never looked at it that way.” Roger took a drink before continuing. “ere’ I was just thinking he was just blood thirsty.”
“No doubt he is. Got to be at least a little, if you’re still still in the business at his age. Else he’d just retire by now.” Leon replied.
There was a long pause. Roger clearly wanted to say something, but didn’t know how to go about it.
Leon took a long drag off his pipe,letting out an overly long breath.
“Spit it out. What do ya’ wanna say?”
Rogers' eyes widened for a second, before a quick sigh of his own.
“Fine. What the hell was that, man?” Roger asked, scowling. “That was reckless, even for you!”
It was Leon's turn to be surprised, this wasn’t what he’d be expecting.
“C’mon it’s not like I’m a fresh recruit. I knew the risks, we needed an opening. So I made one.” Leon waved off Rogers' concerns.
“Exactly! You know better, and I’ll be damned if I let you widow my sister!” Roger exclaimed, gesturing in annoyance. “She’s too young for that.”
This gave Leon pause. He knew what he had done. His thought process had been to take as much enemy attention as possible. He had only thought about winning the battle, barely giving any attention to his own life. While it may have worked out now, thanks to his experience and quick thinking, it wouldn’t always. Sooner or later his luck would run out.
“You’re right. I’m sorry, I got carried away. “ Leon hung his head slightly, looking into his ale.
“It’s fine, I know ya’ thought it was best.” Roger said, sitting down next to Leon and placing a hand on his shoulder. “But you need to think of the future, life’s not one big fight to win. You have a home to go back to. That’s more than a lot of these guys can say.”
“Yeah, you're right. Thanks for covering my ass back there, I owe ya’ one” Leon said putting his hand out for Roger.
“You’ll make it up to me! Hell, when you do slow down maybe you'll pick up the language! Accent’s still shit!” Roger laughed, grasping Leon's hand.
They both had a good laugh, finally conforming to the atmosphere of the post-victory celebration. All around were cheers and laughter. Unlike the larger army camp, the mercenary company was allowed much more freedom to celebrate. Drinking, gambaling, men wrestling competitively. Some of the merc’s with wages left over, even took camp followers back to their tents.
It was the first real victory held since the siege began. Most were expecting a long wait, letting the town starve themselves out. Now it seemed the battle would soon be won, after they pierced the secondary walls into the keep proper. Which may yet take time to breach.
Though all the men present were experienced enough to take a victory when they could. You never knew if there would be a next.
Both Leon and Roger continued chatting, reminiscing on old exploits. Several hours passed and while the two made their ale last, some of the others didn’t. The noise started to die down and men were leaving to sleep off their drink. Some of the unfortunate ones had duty tomorrow, while anyone in the assault would be given time to rest.
Leon went to stand up, only slightly inebriated. He mostly smoked, so his mood was more mellow than drunk. His plan was to head back to his tent and sleep it off, only to be interrupted by Roger.
“C’mon man, I need to check on the watch. Make sure they're not slackin. Those kids always are.” Roger said, using Leon to pull himself up.
“What? The one time ya’ actually take your position seriously, and you drag me along?” Leon replied, shrugging Rogers' arm off his shoulder. Having to catch him as he fell.
“Had a bit much. Could use the help.” Roger slurred, grabbing Leon's shoulder again to balance himself.
“Never understand why the hell Cap promoted you over me.” Leon sighed, shaking his head in defeat. “Whatever, lets go Sergeant.”
They started walking toward the camp border. Well, staggering in the case of Roger. The camp wasn’t overly large, holding around two hundred mercenaries and twenty or so camp followers. The tents were all large ment for a semi-long term stay. Although they had only set up a week and a half, the ground was already dirt from constant foot traffic.
The men were prepared for a several month long siege when they arrived, not expecting the severity in which the Count wanted this town. After only three weeks or so, the count had staged no less than four assaults. Each of which he spent the lives of his men recklessly. It had come to the point where the seven hundred men originally assaulting the town had shrunk to five.
Even now with the support of The Gilded Spear mercenaries it had taken two more assaults before the first wall fell. They would have never accomplished this so soon without the freshly constructed siege towers.
Leon and Roger were walking the circumference of the camp. Every now and then they would meet with the sentrys posted around the camp border. Those doing their job properly would see the two well before they arrived. Those that were slacking, or had enjoyed tonight's celebrations against orders, didn’t spot the duo. They definitely felt the flat of Leon's sword against their sides, or anywhere else that seemed open enough for a solid slap.
“OW!” A pained yelp sounded from a figure slunched against a tree.
“Get your head out your ass! Just cause we won doesn’t give you the right to slack.” Leon said to the fresh recruit. Who was currently rubbing his bare arm.
“Yes, sir! Sorry, Sir!” The recruit said after seeing it was Leon and Roger, both of which were his seniors.
“What's your name again kid?” Leon asked.
“Ken’ Tithe, Sir!” The boy said with vigor.
“Look, Kenneth…” Leon began.
“That's not...” Kenneth mumbled weakly, quickly being drowned back out.
“Kenneth, look I get that this is ya’ first time away from Arotha, but you should have heard the stories about how fast it can all go to shit, right?” Leon asked, crossing his arms.
“Right, now Sergeant Roger told me to let ya’ off easy this time. Tomorrow you’re to report to Lieutenant Patricks. He needed some latrines dug.” Leon said, turning to walk back away.
Kenneth's expression fell. If Patricks was a hardass normally, then you definitely did not want to see him hungover. Leon walked back over to where he left Roger slumped against a tree, mirroring the young sentry.
“That’s right! Carry on!” Roger slightly slurred hanging off Leon's shoulder once again. Leaning closer he whispered to Leon. “Nice work! I know for sure we’d end up digging that hole in the morning!”
“I mean he did need to be punished for slacking…” Leon shrugged his shoulders before grinning. ”I just thought it was best to honor the timed tradition of giving your work to the new guys.”