Return of the Troops (Part 1)

As the days moved forward Sarah fell into the rhythm of Martha’s daily life. Cooking and cleaning and tending the vegetable garden were the majority of the tasks. Sarah was, at last, sleeping over at Griffon’s house.

Though Moyther Mary’s words seemed to indicate the man had been taken care of, Sarah felt immensely better sleeping with the older boys. They offered a bit more protection, given that the eldest had already begun training for the standing army.

It boggled Sarah’s mind that Henry was only fifteen and in the standing army. She couldn’t imagine training to fight at fifteen. No, that wasn’t true. She’d already started her self defense lessons by then, but that was different. Henry was training to fight in a potential war. The very war that Jason had alluded to which her mission was supposed to help stop.

Sarah stopped her wandering thoughts and stood. She stared down at the patch where she was trying to get her herbs to grow. A week had passed and only the mint seemed to be doing well. Just like home. Sarah sighed.

Martha smiled as she walked past. “Have patience. I’m sure they will take.”

“If my father was tending them maybe,” Sarah stretched. She picked up the bucket that lay beside her and traipsed to the well.

“What I wouldn’t give for a hose,” she mumbled to herself.

A squeal from Martha startled her and Sarah turned around with the full bucket. A man had picked Martha up in a giant hug. Sarah carefully avoided looking at them as they kissed their hellos; hellos that were soon interrupted.

“Daddy!” Ralph and Ryan called out excitedly as they raced to embrace the man’s legs.

Sarah smiled as she drew near. Scout Sergeant Bear had picked up his two youngest, one under each arm. Soon Trevor and Travis came streaking across from the barracks. They attached themselves to their father’s legs. He lumbered around the yard amidst squeals of delight.

If Bear was home, Sarah thought, then Griffon should be too and hopefully Jason with them. As she passed by them with her bucket Bear glanced at her. Looking back startled for a second time he looked her up and down with mild curiosity. Sarah felt her face flush under his evaluation and turned to the task of watering her herbs.

“Don’t tell me Henry went and got engaged without me knowing,” he rumbled.

“Good heavens no!” Martha chimed in. “She’s in Griffon’s care; sent over to help me.”

“To help you eh?” Bear mused, “She looks a bit like Phoenix’s Friend if you ask me.”

“Now Bear,” this time it was Griffon’s voice that responded, “she is an orphan and I sent her here to help Martha. She can cook ya know.”

Sarah stood up. Turning to face the group she found her flippant reply about being Right Here, caught in her throat. The two men were eyeing each other over the fence.

“Now Griffon,” Bear managed to disengage himself from all but his youngest child, who clung to his back gleefully. “If ye be implying that m’wife’s cooking ain’t to your taste…”

The two men put up fists and did a one-two at each other that was clearly for show. Ryan laughed hysterically from his father’s back. Sarah couldn’t help chuckling as she turned back to finish her watering.

“Boys!” Martha said, throwing her hands in the air. Sarah didn’t have to look to know that, despite the scolding tone, Martha was grinning.

“Now,” Sarah cleared her throat, “If I can get my herbs to grow I’ll teach Martha how to make my soups.”

“If you can get your herbs to grow,” Martha replied, “I’ll get you a position in the King’s Kitchen. Speaking of cooking it’s about time to check the bread.”

“Oh god, my bread!” Sarah had completely forgotten about it. You never knew how much you depended on something until you no longer had it; like running water and timers.

The End

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