One Chapter Down...

Goal: 10,000 words.

Achieved: 3,160 words.

Though I might try to bang out another small scene or two later tonight.

“We’ll get him seen to, First.  We might as well bunk you all in the infirmary for now, unless you will need more permanent quarters…?” Adem said, cocking his head.

Kellan knew the officer was fishing for information.  “I expect the infirmary will be fine,” he replied.  “Valish can get seen to, we’ll roll the Twins into bed, and as soon as everyone is back in shape, well.  We’ll be moving on.”

As he spoke, Bear and the Twins moved across the shimmer of the gate, and emerged into the courtyard.  Daleb and Kosheb stopped mid-song and gasped at the change in temperature, and shook themselves like a pair of wet dogs coming in from the rain.  Bear grunted, and gently nudged them off to the left.

“Here, now, ala-ala. Off it is, to sit,” he said, nudging them with his shield.  Now that they were closer, Adem could see that their broad faces were flushed, their shocks of brown hair matted with sweat.  Brothers, he thought.  Relatives, at least.  Each had the same broad lips and flattened nose, set under wide, bloodshot brown eyes.  As he watched, their mouths opened and closed, and the one to his right gulped.

“Don’ feel good, Ber,” he said.  “Spinin!”

Bear placed an oversized hand on his shoulder, and gently turned him to the left.  “Which is why it is off with you, to sit,” he rumbled.  “The both of you, now, it is.  To sit, and to be waiting.  The Captain comes.”

“Ah, ah!” said the one on the left as leaned on his companion and they shuffled off.  “The Cap’n comin’!  Ber, you tell the Cap’n we did good, right?”  He patted at the arm Bear was using to steer him.  “You know we did good, right, Ber?”

Now clear of the gate, Bear lowered the two gently to the ground.  “The Captain is knowing you did good,” he said in a slow, even voice.  “I will be reminding him, for the sake of you.”  As he spoke, the two leaned on each other, nodding once, twice before their heads sunk to their chests and they began to snore softly.

Bear turned to Adem and Kellan, came to attention, and saluted.  Kellan returned the salute, and motioned to the Twins.  “At ease, Bear.  Have a seat and keep those two from falling over.”  He gestured at Adem. “Centurion Adem has said we’ll be bunking down in the infirmary, so you’ll be able to keep an eye on these two while they sleep it off.”

Bear nodded and slowly lowered himself next to the Twins.  As Kellan finished speaking, an older man in a plain set of brown cotton pants and a matching shirt strode over to meet them. He carried a large leather valise in his left hand. His hair was more grey than black, and cut short, as was his beard.  Bright eyes adorned with crow’s feet moved between the men and the gate, taking in the scene.

Adem nodded at him.  “Magi Dell.  Thank you for being prompt.”  He gestured at the standing stones, just as the last two men were approaching.  “Here come the last two.  Once they’re through and their Captain confirms all present and accounted for, close it.”

Dell nodded.  “Yes, sir.  The Commander has asked me to let you know that he will see their CO in two hours.  Said that should be enough time for them to get settled, get something to eat, and get cleaned up.”  He turned to the gate and stepped off to the side, the put down his valise.  As he opened it and began withdrawing various items, the last two men stepped through the gate.

Both Adem and Kellan came to attention and saluted.  “Captain,” said Adem.  “Welcome to Fregyr.”

The redhead in denim nodded, and returned the salute.  “At ease,” he said, “and thank you.”  His voice was a pleasant baritone, though touched with weariness. “Valish, go give Bear a hand with the twins.  First, report.”  Valish nodded, and limped over towards his fellows.

“Sir.  All present and accounted for.  The Twins have already fallen asleep, and Bear is looking out for them.  Centurion Adem has offered us room to bunk down in the infirmary.  Commanding officer will meet with you in two hours.”

“Good,” said the Captain.  “Centurion... Adem?”

“Yes, sir?”

“All present and accounted for.  Though you have ears, you already knew that.”  He gestured behind him.  “The gate can be closed at your convenience.  I wouldn’t recommend keeping it open any longer than you have to.”

“Magi Dell,” said Adem.  “Whenever you’re ready.”

Dell nodded.  “If you would move out of the way, then…” he said.  As they stepped off to join the other men, he began muttering in a sing-song voice, gesturing at the gate.

Prospero motioned to Bear, who rose.  “First, lend a hand with the the principes.  Centurion, if you can show us to the infirmary, a bed and a meal sounds good.”  He paused, and suddenly yawned.  “No, I lie.  A bed and a meal sounds wonderful.”

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