Joined: 03 Feb 2007
|Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 5:31 am Post subject: Midnight Meeting
|"Master Vihuela sent you too, eh?"
"Pardon? Oh, my, there's so many Here. What's going on?"
"I don't know. We're still waiting for him to show."
Creamy hands pushed the Elven woman farther into the room, and a smooth tenor pardoned itself from behind her. "Excuse me, Jacquelynne, but if you'll let me squeeze by, we'll get this little meeting started."
She stepped aside for the man to pass, his blue eyes sparkling even in the dim candlelight of the room. They were in the small main hall of the Darkstorm Castle Guards' barracks. They were all guards - except Vihuela - and they sat on benches around a table, only a few candles burning with a wood stove in the corner keeping them warm.
"Now. I Know you're all wondering why I tagged you for this lil meeting - so I'll get straight to the point. You're a helluva rag-tag group, guys." His eyes drifted from face to face. He knew them well. They were his friends. While many went to the Obsidian Tavern for companionship, he went to the Barracks and took his meals with the guards, trained with them, played cards with them late at night when there was nothing else to do as you sat on an uneventful watch.
"But I'm not just talking about us eleven - I mean the entire body of guards. Certainly - we're an assortment of wonderful, talented individuals - but as a team we're a joke. I think we all thank our various Gods before we go to bed each night, letting them know how thankful we are that nobody attacked us."
There were a few guilty grins around the table. Little offence was taken - Vihuela had, as usual, included himself in his judgement of the bunch, damning himself along with them.
"We need to work together. Have we Ever trained to work as a Unit?"
There was a little quiet pause.
"Or switched jobs? Morris, how long have you been guarding the front door?"
"Too long, Vihuela. I'm afraid I could draw a detailed map of the knots in the wood grain by now."
"And Tekla - you - what, like, really. Is the Only thing you do... do you only w... You sit. In the moat. Disguised as a shard of ice. You do an Excellent job of it... but that's All you do. Doesn't it get boring?"
"Boring is good... you're much less likely to get hurt."
"I suppose... but I think you need to be a little more... social. You're... twitchy."
There was a long silence, then Violet stirred in her seat. "So what do you suggest, genius?" It wasn't entirely friendly, but Vihuela ignored it. He had yet to get on Violet's good side - he was 'too chaotic' for her, apparently, and he frankly didn't care.
"I suggest a number of things... first and foremost of which is, and I know we have no 'ranks,' but we need to create Jobs. Don't like your job? Not a problem - we'll switch every, say, four weeks? And we need to train as a group. Starting as soon as we can. Just the eleven of us. I know, I know... some of you might think you don't belong here, and maybe you don't.
"However. You're here because I want to keep an eye on you. Reg. I don't trust you with anything flamable. You know that. And Arqtoth. I know the others may not think you fit in, no matter how hard you try. That's natural. You're an Orc. Which is exactly why you're here. If you Don't fit in by the end of this, these stupid, petty fights are going to keep us from working together. I'm sick of 'em."
He let his gaze wander over them once again. Virelai raised his hand. He was a soft-spoken Angel who carried a great deal of grace with his presence. "Vihuela... you make it sound as though you want me to be part of this 'team.' I don't-"
Vihuela cut him off. "Virelai, you just do what you do best. Only... do it with people instead of plants. I don't want a group of rowdy, gung-ho pumped up guards waiting for some poor fool to fall into their grasp."
The Angel just nodded. "Understood. I'll do my best."
Vihuela let his gaze drift over them yet again, eyes meeting each of theirs momentarily - Human, Elf, Gnome, Elf again, Angel, Dwarf, Troll, Orc, Human again, and an Elemental.
"And once we're working together... once we've learned all I think we can... you ten are going to go back to your fellow guards and teach them everything you know, whether they like you or not, because by gum, they'll damn well Have to."
With that, he turned around and disappeared back out the door. There was a moment of silence, and a pop of the fire in the stove behind them. The Dwarf finally broke the silence.
"Boy, I'm parched. Who's up for a beer?"
"I'm..." and the following jumble of noise saw an Elemental, an Angel, and an Elf go back to bed whilst a certain young Sorcerer produced a pack of cards from some unseen pocket.
"Never mind the beer - who's up for a game of cards?"