Public — Waterday
????, Fire Season, Season/Illusion Week
Fire Season/Illusion Week/Water Day/Morning in the camp of Esrolian Free corps. [[[s02:session-44|Session 44]]]
In the morning Xenofos with assistance of Lenta seeks one of the troopers of the Greens who was present on the ill fated purchasing trip couple of days ago. Together with Venlar they ride out towards Swenstown and the village “not far”.
Sorala comes a bit late to the morning ceremonies and looks pretty haggard.
Irillo and Barnropos arrive before ceremonies are over.
Varanis steps through the morning ritual to greet Yelm. She moves with deadly grace. At the final salute, she grins up at the sky, before turning to greet the others.
Sorala rubs her eyes after the ritual and nods to the two men.
“Good morning, milady, have you broken your fast yet?” asks Barnropos.
“I have not. Never before greeting Yelm,” she tells him.
“Good morning to all of you.”
“There is some yesterday’s beef left if you care to join us?” he continues “Or we can come to talk when you have eaten…”
Rajar wanders past scratching himself and sipping from a tankard. The dew glistens on his beard and robe.
Varanis waves at Rajar, trying to signal that he’s welcome to join. “I’m happy to have breakfast with all of you. We have a busy day ahead.”
Rajar smiles and waves back at everyone. “good morning everyone. Today is a good day for us to face the devil and die in heroic glory. Or just have another beer. Whichever.”
“If someone is going to write history of this enterprize he will no doubt have to mention that we faced such dire adversity that we had to drink water.” Irillo answers with a smile.
“I brought a lot of beer to avoid that” Rajar bellows.
“I was thinking of some competitions, big man. So that we can see what we’ve got here. I was thinking that we’d split them into smaller units and then set them to competing against each other. See how they get on.” She adds, “We can’t March anywhere until we get word from Boldhome. If we’re lucky, Berra might have orders when she returns.”
“That… You have not eaten yet. Do you mind if we are rude and talk business despite that” Irillo asks Varanis.
“Not at all, Irillo. Like I said, we have a lot to do. Let’s get some food and talk while we eat.”
Remains of beef are presented with a few pieces of hard tack and water on a fireplace outside the old stead.
“Right. When you were doing the rounds, we used the opportunity and talked to people on same occasion.” Irillo explains. “And then we spent most of the night trying to figure out how a division could happen.” Barnropos and Sorala nod. Both of their eyes betray a night of very little sleep. All three look eager and nervous.
Varanis politely accepts the food and nibbles. When Irillo finishes speaking, she gives him a nod of encouragement.
“You saw yourself that cooking fires have what, five to ten women or men around them” he shakes his head “well maybe you did not because everyone packed around the fire you were on. So that is natural group. Usually guys with similar backgrounds too. But they would be too small to do much on the field.”
“So we thought that by putting couple of those groups together we could have those smaller units you wanted.” Sorala adds.
“That sounds excellent. A really good starting point.” Varanis’ smile is warm and approving. Her eyes gleam in anticipation.
“Friends and family fight harder when together” nods Rajar “but when the bodies start to pile up that is also harder”
“That is true, my friend. Spoken like someone with a lot of field experience.” Varanis turns back to the others. “You’ve all met Rajar Chaosbane. He’s a formidable warrior. He will help me see what the strengths and weaknesses are of our troops. Be aware, while I’ll ask him to oversee some of the games, he will not join most of the contests himself. When Rajar fights, it goes badly for his opponents.”
Rajar nods. “I do not play at fighting. but it is good that you train. Hearths fighting together is good. But switch each hearth’s place in the line often so all are used to working together and that loss does not all fall in one family if you can. Battle is eternal and all must be tested”
Barnropos seems restless, almost interrupts Rajar, but remains silent until he takes a swig and then starts quickly.
“So we started with counting cavalry. We have twenty Greens, fifteen of the Racers and then the Vingans. Greens and Racers can each form a unit, they have trained together. They can also work together pretty well. The drill is not the same but it is similar enough.”
“But us Vingans, the twelwe of us, have not trained the same way.” Sorala notes. “We can ride, but it has been more a way to get to the battle quickly then the preferred way to fight.”
“I tend to dismount after the charge” says Rajar.
“Better not to fight on horseback then. Trust me.” There’s a rueful look. “I have a few ideas, so listen up.” Varanis lays out her plans for various competitions. Some of them are things that will show off what some of the groups are good at, such as horse and foot races. Others require different types of units to work together, such as a flag capturing contest. Still others are demonstrations of strength and will, such as the ever popular trench digging race.
“Do we have a single spade in the whoe outfit?” “asks Henalda brusquely, when arriving ” and I think you can forget idea of Babeester Gori digging… Wounding Sister Ernalda is not our thing.”
“The infantry then” Irillo continues ” They come roughly half from the city and half from countryside. City boys have a bit better armour and equipment in general. What country lads have better are slings. About thirty of them have slings. They could naturally form one group. The other half can from a unit in the shieldwall about thirty strong. The Sarli lads number about thirty – they are the biggest single group of city boys. They could form another unit in the shield wall.” He is picking up stones from the earth and forming a line as he speaks “The other half – also thirty strong has more spears so they too could form a part of the line” He has formed a line of three big stones, adding more as he speaks. “So three units to shieldwall, one of slingers. Two of cavalry and Vingans riding to battle. The eight Babeester Gori together to smash through where wanted. Eight units in all. What do you think?”
Varanis stares at Henalda. “So, you think the farmers wound Ernalda as they plough her fields? And you’d prefer to shit on the surface of the soil and risk inviting disease spirits? Don’t make shit up to avoid hard work.” Her voice is cold.
She turns to Irillo. “Those are very good suggestions.”
“Let’s set up some targets too, for the different projectile groups. I assume that many of the cavalry can throw javelins? Any others? Let’s do some precision testing between javelins and slings. Are there archers?” She looks to Henalda to ask, “Are there any good axe throwers among your contingent?” Having rebuked the woman moments ago, Varanis looks to have moved on already.
“Some carry throwing axes too.” She looks at Varanis coolly. “What peasants do with blessing of Barntar is one thing, they placate and delight her with seed. I fight. With an axe.”
“So we’ll want targets for the axes too. Rajar will have fun with that.” Varanis ignores the rest of what Henalda said for the moment.
“What have we got that could be suitable targets?”
“We used bundles of faggots for javelins the other day.” Irillo muses. “Maybe cut down a tree and use a stump for axes.”
Barnropos looks around the fire. “Should we gather all the commanders and present this division as a plan now, milady? We thought we would first discuss it with you before taking it to everyone? And then we will need to have everyone around and actually do that division?”
“Yes, let’s do that.” She takes a last nibble of her breakfast and tucks the rest away for later.
The morning progresses in a bit of a blur. Under Varanis’ watchful eyes, the troops are rounded up and sorted into eight smaller units, each with its own leader. It takes hours to get them truly sorted, but at last it is done.
The Vingan climbs onto the boulder beneath the banner and waits for silence to fall.
The speech Varanis makes demonstrates Vinga’s love for her, and her loyalty to the Prince. She is in turns fiery, animated, and almost loving as she appeals to them. She praises them for their courage and their patience. She challenges them to impress her with their ability to work together. She demands that each one of them recognizes their kinship with those who stand by their sides. Soon they will march, but first they must show her that they are worthy to fight in Kallyr’s name.
Shouts of Varanis, Varanis echo from the mountainsides, competing with the banging of the weapons on shields.
Esrolian volunteers have made plans during the night and present them to Varanis in the morning. She starts working with the troops.