Having been born in a simple farming village, Rohl was used to early mornings where work would begin as soon as the sun began to appear. Despite this, he still felt exhausted when the sound of rousing mercenaries awoke him from his sleep. The camp was being disassembled and the men readied for the march and all Rohl wished was that he could have a lay-in. He was tired and in his defence, he’d had a stressful life ever since leaving Shrewsborough. A lay-in was well deserved but unfortunately would have to wait.
Even now as he wrestled with himself to get up, he could hear Ell preparing for the day ahead of them. After another five minutes of half-sleep, he finally gave up and began to ready himself for the march.
After a quick change of clothes into a simple white jerkin, he quickly gathered the rest of his belongings and secured them safely in his knapsack.
And as he did so, he noticed something different about Ell, whilst she had changed into her own simple clothes and travel cloak, she was also wearing some new leather armour with another set in her hand.
“A gift from the deaths brigands, meet me at the captain's tent when you’re ready. They want to march early and have the supply carts finish up here,” Ell said swiftly as she handed Rohl the armour and quickly exited the tent.
The elf hadn’t given him a chance to reply and so with nothing else to do he quickly put on the tight leather amour. It was a nice appreciated gift that protected his vital nicely. A gift he must remember to say thank you for. With the armour secure, he quickly sheathed his short sword onto its hilt.
With that done he picked up his collected belongings and after a quick check to make sure he had not forgotten anything he made his way out of the tent.
As expected, the mercenaries of deaths brigands company were rushing around the camp, most were either disassembling tents or helping each other strap on their bulky steel armour. A few stopped to bid Rohl a ‘good morning’ with one of them offering to secure his belonging sin the supply cart, an offer which Rohl accepted but apart from that most were too preoccupied with their tasks.
With the camp fully of bustling activity, it didn’t take Rohl too long to arrive at the captain's tent although he did have to dodge out of the way of some mercenaries who were attempting to organise the marching formation. Even as Rohl had passed by many of the mercenaries were already in position just waiting for the order to march out of the camps central entrance.
“Saddle up, our march continues soon,” spoke the captain from his mounted position, the majority of his lieutenants were with him just waiting for the company to march or finishing last-minute preparations.
Ell was waiting just a bit behind, a small selection of fruits gathered in her arms, it seemed they had missed breakfast and she had been kind enough to get them something. Well if she didn’t manage to eat it before he had mounted up next to her that was. His own horse neighed impatiently until he had finally sorted himself out and saddled up.
“Here, aren’t I gracious,” Ell spoke as she passed him two juicy green apples
“Very, your too kind,” Rohl replied as Ell smirked slightly in return.
“How come the camp followers are finishing up here?” Rohl asked out loud, his question open to any of the lieutenants who cared to answer.
“Practice, father likes to know they can disassemble it quickly should the soldiers have to march in a hurry,” Freya answered for him, giving him a gentle smile as she did so. Just as the day before she had left her helmet unequipped, leaving her long hair to flow over her armour. Although Rohl was sure that would change should the scent of battle appear in the air.
Tay and Rose dressed in their shining white armour appeared next, mounted on the same horses as the day before. Tay gave a quick greeting to the assembled leaders and lieutenants before positioning her mount next to Rohl and Ell. As did her more reluctant sister. With their addition, there was now twelve of them all mounted and divided into three equal rows of four.
“Sorry we missed you yesterday, we’ve volunteered as outriders in exchange for the horses,” Tay spoke honestly with an apologetic smile. Rose just ignored them and the conversations going on around her.
“No worries, I might join you outriding later then, I feel I should probably contribute a bit more. We can catch up then or when we arrive at Elmon tomorrow,” Rohl replied, ignoring Ell’s sigh and the appreciative nod of Reginald as he did so.
“That be nice, grumbles isn’t much of a conversationalist, give us a little heads up first, we have to take our armour off before we go outriding, it’s not the most stealthy,” Tay responded with a jovial smile whilst Rose just look dismayed, even her form had a slight droop to it. A reaction more suited to being told she’d have to march for a week straight not that Rohl might join them outriding.
“All ready captain!” called an armoured man from the front of the column, his armour clanked loudly as he rushed to his position just to the left on Reginald and slightly ahead of Rohl. The man gave a quick salute before reaching into a small leather pouch. A moment later his hand reappeared with a small white horn in tow.
The man took a deep breath and blew loudly upon the horn. Two more short blasts followed before he stopped. Once this had been done, the captain raised his left hand and lowered it quickly in a forward gesture.
At once the small mounted contingent Rohl was in began to ride, a slow trot to take them out of the camp. Behind them the men of the company fell in line behind them as they rode, the next day's march had officially begun.
And as expected Rohl was soon bored, the view of towering trees, wide open forests and majestic plans were a sight to behold but Rohl had seen most of it on the journey here and there was only so much sightseeing you could do. Especially when the wind had a nasty chill to it, its coldness completely negating what could have been a nice summers day.
The rush of the morning had left Rohl unprepared for the march, his belongings had been delivered to the baggage cart and he’d forgotten to remove his cloak before allowing his belongings to be taken. His tunic and armour were not great at keeping the cold out.
Ell seemed fine however, she had dressed more warmly and had her cloak wrapped around her usual white clothing and armour.
The sight of her riding in such apparel did give her a rather dignified appearance, on top of making Rohl’s heart flutter slightly. However, one small question burned in the back of his mind preventing him from focusing on much else.
Were her ears cold? Rohl could see them clearly peeking out from under the tops of her black hair, they were far more exposed than his and he was already feeling the bite of the cold. Still, he didn’t know too much about elven ears, maybe they were more resistant to the cold. Although if they were sensitive to being rubbed he doubted it was the case.
If there was one thing he did know, was that he was not going to ask. If he brought it up, odds were she would ask him to rub them to keep out the cold and that would not help Rohl’s image. Given the events of yesterday and the sparring back at Gleaton Morrow, his image had taken a hit. He was pretty sure he had heard one of the mercenaries joke about it before they set off but that might have just been a trick of the wind.
His thoughts had left him distracted and sort of staring aimlessly at said Elf. Her raised eyebrow and then look of superiority soon snapped him out of it as he pretended to have been staring out at something in the background, not that Ell seemed to have bought that.
“So you got any plans for when were back in Elmon?”
“I recall you asking about how to thank me for all my incredible work. I suggest you plan something for when we get back,” Ell replied with a sly smile.
It took Rohl a moment to reply, all he managed was a “Will do,”. His mind was too preoccupied with thinking what he could do in Elmon that Ell would see as a reward to come up with a better reply. It was not an easy task, mostly because he was kind of clueless about this kind of stuff.
There was only one person he could really ask for suggestions on the matter. That being Mr Kutcher. He didn’t feel comfortable enough asking any of his current companions, especially with Ell’s close proximity.
Still, there was always the classic picnic under the stars with gentle music that the people of Shrewsborough used to always fawn over. A possibility if his luck held out and they didn’t get attacked by monsters whilst picnicking.
“I can see your mind at work, so slow,” Ell laughed out next.
Rose snorted in laugher from his far side.
“Aww don’t be so mean to him,” Tay replied gently as her black horse neighed quietly as if signalling its agreement.
“It's fine really,” Rohl replied to her with a grateful smile. He appreciated the support but it wasn’t really needed, Ell meant to harm by it.
“Would you like to go outriding soon?” Tay asked
“Great, see you in five,” Tay replied as she gently guided her horse off to one side. Rose soon followed, using her reigns to guide her horse after her sisters.
“I'll wait here if you’re sure you won’t get lost without me?” Ell asked teasingly.
“I'll be fine, thank you,” Rohl responded with a slight exaggeration in his tone.
Ell just laughed gently before returning her focus to her mount.
Rohl gave her a small smile before he pulled his own horse off to one side, waiting patiently for Tay and Rose to return, wishing that Ell would forget about his embarrassing moments as he did so.