Timber

As the last goblinoid fell, Remeck adjusted his grip on Roxanne’s katana and planted it into the ground, using it as an impromptu cane.  His left arm hung limply at his side, small trails of blood winding their way down and soaking into the fabric of his leather gloves.  And yet, the pain of his injury was nothing against the utter annoyance he felt over the outcome of the battle.  What had possessed him to ask to borrow weapons from Roxanne?  Even though he had left his spear behind at Balamb Garden, he was still carrying his own sword over his shoulders, not to mention his own set of combat knives. 

No, who was he trying to impress?  He had injured himself by not taking the fight seriously.  He should have simply started with his sword, the battle would’ve been quicker, cleaner.

His left hand spasmed as Remeck tried to clench it into a fist.  Andriel and Kerrin were right, he still had a long way to go to reach 1stclass.  Calming himself as best he could, Remeck turned towards Roxanne.  The first thing he noticed was the presence of a reed pipe, conspicuously left lying on the ground in the middle of the path.  The second was Roxanne herself lying slumped on the ground, apparently in a faint, her only apparent wound the one in her foot. 

First things first, Remeck slipped his knapsack off with a grunt of pain.  Next was his jacket, left in an undignified heap on the ground, then Remeck pulled off the glove on his right hand with his teeth.  Gingerly, he felt around the rapidly forming bruise, trying to identify the break point.  This was going to hurt.  Reaching into his knapsack, Remeck pulled out a pair of pale blue bottles – potions. 

Letting one bottle drop to the ground with a dull thud, he again used his teeth to uncork the bottle left in his hand.  Splashing some of the liquid contained within the bottle on his wounds he immediately felt the pain recede.  The rest of the bitter liquid he gulped down, closing his eyes as he felt a rush of warmth and energy suffuse his body.

Now.

 Remeck’s scream echoed dimly along the empty path and he sat huddled on the ground, clutching at his reset arm, shivering in the aftermath of the procedure.  Breathing deeply in an attempt to regain control of himself, Remeck quickly bound his arm in bandages from his knapsack.  Already the pain was a fading memory; such were the effects of the potion.  For a moment, Remeck contemplated taking another potion, as he rotated his arm, testing its strength.  It was sore, and would probably remain so for a few days, but it was serviceable.  Remeck decided against another bottle. Excessive usage of potions always led to unpleasant side effects.

Now for Roxanne.  Laying her out flat, he popped open the second bottle of potion and dribbled some on the knife blade, letting the miracle liquid slide down the steel to the wound.  After a few moments, Remeck gently pulled the knife out of her foot.  Binding the wound quickly, Remeck pulled one more item out of his knapsack, a tuft of down, colored gold, orange and red - Pheniox Down.  Lifting Roxxane by the shoulders, he cradled her head in his arms and crumpled the feather in his hands beneath her nose.  Immediately Roxxane wrinkled her nose as she got a good whiff of the strong spicy smell and unconsciously sought to get away.  Her eyes fluttered open drowsily, and focused unsteadily on Remeck. 

She had no time to react as Remeck immediately dumped the rest of the second bottle of potion down her throat.  Coughing and sputtering, she sat bolt upright and shoved Remeck away.

“Well,” Remeck stood and dusted his knees off, “that was a mess.”  Turning while scratching the back of his head, he felt his foot brush up against something.  Looking down, he quickly scooped up the reed flute from where it lay on the ground and examined it.

“Here.”  Roxanne looked up, still coughing a bit, but on a whole feeling better from the effects of the potion, and saw the flute being presented towards her.  “It’s yours right?”  Roxanne took the flute, unable to read the expression on Remeck’s face as he was still turned away from her.  With a sigh, he returned to his gear and began putting everything back on, still moody over the battle.  Returning Roxanne’s gear to her, Remeck took a moment to examine the remains of the battlefield.  That had been a relatively large scouting party.  Any larger and it could’ve been considered a full-fledged warband.  Coming this close to town; it was troubling.

Turning back around, he saw that Roxanne too, was back on her feet, her gear properly stowed.  She opened her mouth to speak, but Remeck quickly overrode her with a steady stream of admonishments to keep moving.  The town was just a little down the path.

***

“And that’s how it is.”  The militia captain half-turned to glance back at the rough palisade behind him.  The walls were simple sharpened logs driven into the ground with watch towers placed at intervals around the whole of the mid-sized town.  The men of Timbre, primarily lumberjacks and woodsmen were patrolling the perimeter.  A few were armed with swords or spears, armored with leather vests with steel discs sewn into them, but the vast majority were only wearing their everyday clothing, axes or hatchets clutched in their hands. 

Remeck frowned as he considered their next step.  He and Roxanne had made it into town without further incident, only to find that the town was completely under siege.  As they had entered through the hastily constructed wooden gates, a mob of gobllinoids had appeared on the path behind them causing a short ruckus before fading back into the woods.  There had been considerably more than just the two of them could’ve handled.  Roxanne had commented that it seemed as if the goblinoids were trying to keep them in.  Something that the militia captain had confirmed when asked.  The goblionids were generally allowing people to reach the town unharmed, only falling upon those who tried to leave.  Those that fled were inevitably dragged kicking and screaming into the woods.

“You’re thinking of following the other SeeD party into the woods aren’t you kid?”  Remeck blinked, refocusing his eyes on the militia captian.  “Well, that’s fine.  Don’t expect that just two bodies will make much difference at the walls.”  The militia captain cracked a smile and flexed one burly arm.  “We’re strong.  It’d be trouble to King Cecil and Queen Rosa if we weren’t able to hold this town on our own.”  Remeck grinned in response, hearing the unspoken pride, ‘we’re Baronites.’

Stuffing his hands into his pockets, Remeck nodded at the wall.  “Well, all things considered, we may do you more good out there then in here.  How did they get out?”

The militia captain turned away with a grunt.  “They slipped out in the middle of the night, during the goblionoid’s raid.  They’ll be coming tonight as well, so best rest up if you two are going to be heading out there.”  With a final wave, the militia captain wandered off.

With the captain gone, Remeck turned to Roxanne.  “Sorry for getting you dragged into this.  What do you think?  You’re still up for this?”

The End

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