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Honesty is the best policy

Tags: Barlin,  Cork,  Riggle,  Louse

Short Summary: Lord Barlin arranges to address his new recruits in person. But as they say, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Cork, Diggle and Louse fail to live up to expectations
Date (real-life): 2011-05-03
Scene Location: Esgaroth: Training Yard
Date (in-game): October 3052
Time of Day: Unknown
Training Yard

  This large enclosure is surrounded by high walls and the yard is quite barren.
Archery targets are lined up near the south wall.

Obvious exits:
 Iron Door leads to Stockade.
 Archway leads to Bowman Street and Firespark Lane.


(Scene already in progress: Lord Barlin addressing the Greenshirt trainees)

Cork's chest deflates a little at this, and he coughs. "Well, we're missing one, sir, but he should be along soonly. Like I said, his grandmother took a turn for the worse last night, and he's all she's got. But, we're here and ready to be trained!"

The others do their best to straighten anew, and Riggle stares forward as he doubtless assumes a soldier should do.

     " Indeed..." The Cripple falls silent, leaning upon the cane around which his fingers wrap. His dark eyes flicker from one to the other, his gaze steely and uncomprimising; but alas, he gives a slow nod. " Then I should hope that this lad hurries along with due hasteness... Soldiery does not wait for the world."

 Eyes moving back to the sergeant, he speaks in a low undertone. " I had expected more, sergeant. I shall have to have a word with the recruiters."

The scuffle of running feet is heard outside, and then a small, scruffy-looking youngster dashes into the training yard, panting heavily. Sharp green eyes dart about - at the sight of Barlin said youngster gasps and tries to hide behind the rest of the Greenshirts. Whoever this one is, it's clear they are /much/ younger than the rest - a child, in fact, with a dirty face and hair tucked up under a shapeless brown cap.

As the youngest and latest of the Greenshirts arrives, Cork breathes a sigh of relief, and, appointed as the sergeant of the troop he salutes. "Here he is, Lord Barlin. Eager and ready to be schooled, I'm sure," he adds with a meaningful glare at Louse.

"What would you have us do today, sir? We've been itching to learn a trick or two with our weapons..."

     The Karath nobleman ignores Cork for the moment, although his eyes glint somewhat as the boy speaks. The meaning of this is quite unclear. Nevertheless, the Cripple lifts a hand and beckons to Louse; his gaze is stony and unrelenting.
 " Come, boy... Stand before me."

Louse nods vigorously at Cork's words, so that the cap slips a little. The youngest Greenshirt straightens it under pretence of scratching - actually, maybe it's not a pretence. There does seem to be something small crawling along the collar of the shirt.

At Barlin's words, the 'lad' takes a deep gulping breath and steps forward, straightening up. "Sorry fer bein' late, sir," the youngster offers in a lisping voice, the words accompanied by a gamine grin. "Youse wantin' us ta do somethin'?" The sharp green eyes are bright and eager.

     The old lord but studies him for a moment; his face is carved in stone, expresionless and hard. His skin, lined with age and hardship, crinkles around the dark eyes. " Why were you late?" He says quietly.

The other lads stiffen at Barlin's tone, and Riggle watches Louse with a degree of sympathy, though naught is said to interrupt the nobleman.

What a question. Louse's face reddens somewhat, but the child launches into an explanation anyway. "S'like this, see. I comed as soon as Cork 'ere sez, only there was this ..." The speech pauses as the speaker takes a deep breath. By the time the words restart, inspiration has come. "This ol' woman dropped 'er basket an' I had ta stay an' help 'er."

     " Truly?" The Lord Barlin appears quite unchanged by this explanation, face is hard as ever. He glances to the youths behind the youngest, considering each in turn before fixing the boy before him with a scrutinising look. " What was in this basket which had so much trouble carrying?"

Cork winces as Louse tells a story other than the one he has given, and stares straight ahead; moving nary a muscle further. Riggle merely trues to hide a grin,  which is not entirely a success.
"'Er dinner, course," Louse replies scornfully, getting into the stride of things now. Just in time the 'lad' remembers to add a belated, "Sir. Fish'n'bread ...'n eggs. Awful mess, t'was."

     " Ah, fish, bread and eggs..." The Karath lord says softly, scratching his chin, "... Dreadful shame. Well then, young sir, you must be congratulated for your kindness, must you not?" He holds the question in the air for a moment, allowing the receptant to decide whether it is rhetorical or not, before his eyes flicker to Cork.

 " Out front. Quickly."

The lads as one stir then, though sadly the same cannot be said for HOW they move. A shuffling hodgepodge of advancement ensues, with half of the six youths tripping over the other, though eventually they manage reform their rank with something approaching precision. Cork startes straight ahead once more, while Riggle steals an anxious glance to Barlin.

It would seem these lads need a lot of work.

It was a question? Louse grins from ear to ear at what sounds to one unfamiliar with upper-class irony to be true praise. "Yessir," comes the lisping response. The youngster's mouth falls open a little as Cork is called on. It does not occur to this youngest recruit to do anything as useful as move aside.

     " Auxillaries..." The Cripple says quietly, examining the small band with those uncomprimising eyes, "... What is the most important trait for a soldier to have? What single characteristic defines him?"

There is silence for a moment as the assorted youths consider this question, until one dares to venture: "His sword?"

"No, no," grunts Riggle, shaking his head. "It's his armour. Obvious."

"Don't be soft," argues Cork to the both of them. "He means, like, that thing that they carry with them. Comfidence, maybe, sir?"

All eyes return to the nobleman then to seek his advice.

Louse says nothing at all; merely gives 'his' head a vigorous scratch. Some days,  being a trainee Greenshirt is just no fun.
      " Not a sword..." He says slowly, "... Nor armour. And although confidence is important, lad, there is another of chief importance. I speak of honesty. For without honesty, there can be no trust... And without trust, and army cannot march."

 Now, his brow furrows slightly, the deep lines upon that worn forehead becoming ever so pronounced. " Honesty. To each other, and to your captains. Dishonesty does not simply effect one member of the regiment; no, it effects us all. And so when such dishonesty is found, all must be punished."

 " Does this make sense?"

The message is not lost upon the lands, and Cork most of all hangs his head; now inspecting the floor. Riggle however chooses to speak up, after a supportive glance to his friend. "We're sorry, sir. It's just, well, where we come from you have to use yer wits at a moment's notice, and it often doesn't pay to admit to too much."

"Yessir," Louse replies dutifully - and then, remembering the new policy on honesty, "I mean, nossir. Are ye sayin' ye don't wants us no more?" The youngest Greenshirt's lower lip quivers, just a little. Louse does 'woebegone' rather well.

     Apparently, the Cripple does not quite have the constitution required for 'woebegone' to take effect. He gazes coolly at the boy, an eyebrow cocking slightly, but then glances to Riggle. " Indeed. Well, I had better re-educate you. Here, it doesn't pay to lie, or to withold knowledge. If you were serving in the King's army and had lied to me, I would have every right to take your head for it. Remember that."

 He falls silent for a moment, brooding. And then, he gives a grunt. " To the docks with you. All of you. I have a task which requires your closest attention; and, of course, your must endeavouring labour."

Looking to one another soberly, the lands nod and then begin to file out of the Yard, headed towards the Docks.

Louse lifts a hand to itch at the back of a rather grubby neck; but this time, at least, the order is clear. "Yessir," she responds dutifully, falling in at the end of the ragged line of recruits and marching out of step behind the rest.
"Wonder what we's ta do at the Docks?" Alone of the group, this youngster seems quite cheery at the thought of an outing.

<OOC> Barlin says, "They'll be worked to their knees hauling boxes for about twelve hours, personally overseen by Barlin. But they'll all get their pay, and a bundle of food for dinner ;)"

Date added: 2011-05-04 08:29:34    Hits: 50
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