Armel stood, looking haggard, over the governor's desk. I approached slowly, and he looked up at me with astonished brown eyes. "It is impossible to get all of this work done!" he admitted, looking forlorn. "Colum should have never left."
"He would not have appointed you had he not thought that you could fill his place," I pointed out logically. "You were made governor for a reason, Armel."
"I was not." Armel let out a heavy sigh. "Women cannot become governors. I was the choice by default."
I was not looking forward to an argument with the new governor. "Is there anything at all that I may do to help?"
Armel nodded, looking grateful. "Just patrol up to where the prisoner of war camp is located. Try to see if any Confederates are running around. Do not attack them," he added hastily. "If you see a rogue one, report it back to me."
"I can defend myself against a Condeferate!" I protested, feeling insulted. A mere human against my supernatural strength? It was impossible for me to lose, woman or not!
The brunette man fixed me with a glare. "The Confederates carry silver bullets now, or had you forgotten that?" he snarled. "When you inquired for work, I assumed you would not jump at my throat when I gave you a job to do."
Swallowing hard, I merely bowed. "Yes, Armel." With a silent growl, I turned away and took my leave, heading toward the camp.
When I reached the area, there was an eerie silence over the land. I felt the cold breeze blowing against me - something I had forgotten due to being cramped inside all the time. We had been that way - the three of us - since Colum had departed a week and a half ago.
A sweet tune caught my ear. I had never heard anything like it. Was it a musical instrument that I had heard about, but never truly knew? Upon further investigation, I found that the noise was from up the hill. A Union soldier for the North sat there, playing a tune from what seemed to be his hands.
I was unsure of whether to approach or just stand and admire from afar. Would Union soldiers also have silver bullets? I balled my hands into fists in front of my chest and chose to do the latter, standing with the wind blowing against me.
After a bit, the soldier pulled his hands from his mouth and let out a deep sigh, staring at nothing. I studied him a bit more. If I chose to go up and talk to him, this would be the first time I would ever truly come in contact and immerse myself into conversation with a real human and not a werewolf.
He noticed me first, though. Running one hand through his short blonde hair, he waved with the other and seemed to want me to approach. I took a few steps up the hill, eyeing his gun. Did he know about me? Was he going to shoot me?
I finally made it all the way up the hill and sat down across from him. "Hello," I muttered, looking at the small object he placed beside him. It must have been what was making those beautiful notes.
The young soldier followed my gaze and laughed. "Haven't you ever seen a harmonica?" he asked, looking back up at me curiously.
I shook my head. Terms such as these were still new to me. "What does a harmonica do?" I hoped that I didn't sound as bad at English as I really was. I still had a somewhat-thick German accent, even after all this time.
"Plays music," the soldier answered simply, giving me another smile. He reminded me a lot of Colum. "You breathe into it, and out comes the music."
"That sounds like fun." I smiled a little. "Can you play it again, please?"
We spent many minutes like that. He played a song on his harmonica, and I swayed back and forth to the music. Both of us seemed to be content.
"What is your name, miss?" the soldier asked once the song was finished.
"Brigitte Zeigler," I answered, smiling faintly. "And you? Do you have a name?" I added, almost jokingly. Alois had always joked with me about how soldiers probably did not have names and were only made to fight.
"Of course I do." The soldier looked confused for a moment before regaining his smile. "I'm William Smith."
"It is nice to meet you, and thank you for fighting for the North." I recited with ease the words I was supposed to say whenever I met a Union soldier. Reluctantly, I stood up. "I had better be getting back to my home. It is almost sunset."
William stood up as well, quicker than I did. "You know, my regiment is not leaving yet." He fixed me with a smile. "I'll hope to see you again, then?"
I nodded and smiled halfway. Had I actually made friends with this human? "Of course you will. I will be here tomorrow." With that, I took my leave.
The half-moon was already shining brightly by the time I reached the governor's house once again. I smiled and pushed open the oak door, expecting to see Armel and Estrella greeting me with broad smiles.
What I found instead was Estrella sitting in an old chair, doubled over and holding her face. She seemed to be crying. Armel had his back against the wall, fearful brown eyes scanning a small piece of paper over and over.
"What is going on?" I dared to ask, stepping over to Armel to see the letter. Of course, I was unable to read it, but perhaps if I expressed my desire in knowing what it said, the new governor would read it to me.
Armel did not answer for a while. Finally, swallowing the lump in his throat, he turned to me. "Colum is dead."