His voice was thunderous in the high ceiling room.
“We’ll show those demon scum! This little revolt of their will be their last!” The general slammed one meaty fist on the table, several goblets tipping over from the shaking. Dark wine stained heavily marked maps red. “Those dirty buggers should be grateful we let them live at all!”
“Here here!” Some men clapped while others raised their goblets in praise.
The general nodded at his men, clearly pleased with his speech and their reaction. He turned to a general sitting on the left of the table. “Now then, Captain Archibald?” The man looked up. He was a short man, round and with wispy whiskers that made him look rather like a mouse.
“Yes General? You have orders for me?” His voice was high and squeaky, just like a mouse. His hands fiddled with a piece of paper. His goblet was one of those tipped over by the generals earlier exuberance. He eyed the spilled wine regretfully.
“I want you and Captain Guran to take your legions to quell this annoyance. Such a show of force should be enough to squash whatever hop or ideas those little shits might have had.”
“Yes, General Capalan. I shall ready my men to leave at first light.”
“As will I, Sir.” Captain Guran was the youngest man sitting around the table by a good ten years. He lifted his goblet, newly refilled by a servant and downed it. He had already gone through several re-fillings. At least the wine was watered down.
“Excellent, I trust you will have no troubles with this little problem of ours?” The general eyes his captains, his cheeks reddened from wine. His fine blue lined jacket was stretched tight across his belly, the gold buttons straining.
“No problem at all General,” Captain Archibald squeaked.
“Shouldn’t take more than half a day.” proclaimed Captain Guran.
“Excellent, most excellent. Then I call this meeting of the Royal Calderon Army concluded. You are dismissed.”
The captains stood as one and bowed to their general, fist over heart.
General Capalan nodded and practically waddled out of the room, his lieutenant-secretary scurrying behind him.
I blew the ink dry on my notes from the meeting and snapped my folder shut, other lieutenant-secretaries doing the same in our little line along the wall.
“Come Lieutenant Ros, we have work to do!” General Guran drained his goblet one last time and strode out of the room, his long legs moving him forward quickly.
My eyes narrowed in annoyance and hurried after the man. When would he realize not everyone was as tall as he was? I hurried out of the room after him while General Archibald vainly tried to wipe wine off some papers. To save the wine or paperwork I had no idea.
“Must you drink so much, sir?” I asked when I caught up to him in the corridor. Long blue banners emblazoned with the hammer and fist of Calderon flapping along the walls. Someone had opened a window and let a draft in.
“Of course I do Ros, have to keep up appearances don’t I?” He ran a white gloved hand though his dark, slicked back hair. “Besides, my tolerance is much higher than any of those idio–.” He was interrupted by a loud belch that echoed down the corridor.
“You were saying?” I asked, eyebrows raised. He at least had the sense to look sheepish.
“I don’t think the bean soup from lunch agreed with me.” He patted his stomach.
“Whatever you say sir,” I pushed my glasses back up my nose, damn things were constantly slipping. We passed down a flight of sitar to the main level and made our way to the barracks where the soldiers of the 4th legion were stationed.
I opened my folder and reviewed my notes from the meeting. “They did not give us much time to prepare, and now we will have to deal with Captain Archibald’s legion as well.”
“You worry far too much Ros, we will be fine. I have full faith in you.” The taller man grinned down at me. Despite his claims to a high tolerance, a flush spilled across his cheeks.
“Shouldn’t it be the other way around sir?” I muttered under my breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing sir, just calculating the speed we will have to move at in order to reach our destination.”
“Ah, very good.”
We walked into the barracks, men jumping up from card tables, beds, and even the floor where cards and books were scattered to salute their officers, fist over heart.
“At ease men,” Captain Guran smiled at his men as they relaxed, some sitting back down at their table and picking up spilled cards. We were close in the 4th legion.
“Do we have new orders General?” Piped up one man, a corporal named Harold.
“We do, our orders are to travel with Archibald’s legion to put down this new revolt in the south.”
“When do we leave sir?”
“As soon as you lot get your gear and horses together!” His orders were said with a grin.
“Yes sir!” The men saluted and the room became a flurry of moment at the men moved out to gather supplies and ready horses and wagons. Soon Captain Guran and I were alone in the room.
We headed towards the back of the room where two closed doors sat. One led to my own private room, the other, to the Captains. We entered the captains room, locking the door behind us.
“It will take us at least half a day’s march to arrive at the location. But we will have to move faster than that if we want to arrive before Captain Archibald’s men.” I set my folder down on the captains desk. I scowled at it. It was covered in papers again. I had just organized it the day before. The man would lose his shoes if I didn’t keep track of them.
“It’ll have to be.” I opened a small drawer that was almost hidden on the side of the desk and pulled out a small round mirror, it’s edges were lined with the curling script of demons.
“Well then, contact them and let them know now’s the time. Time for our little rebellion out into the light.” He smiled and poured himself a glass of water.
I stared into the mirror, releasing the strands of magic that wrapped around myself. I smiled as bones shifted and hair lightened until the face of a demon stared back. I smiled at my Captain.