“Gods they made a mess up here!” Aaron exclaimed.
Reed and Kirk let Sarah pass to join Aaron in the door. Her clothing was strewn about willy-nilly, including her spare binding strips. She groaned inwardly to herself and began picking the stuff up. The others came in after her to help.
“Never know when you might need a bandage,” she explained as Reed curiously examined her binding strip. Thankfully he shrugged and wrapped it into a ball before handing it to her. Thank God for her hysterectomy, Sarah thought, at least she didn’t have sanitary napkins, or whatever they used here to hide.
“Anyone find his armor?” Reed asked. Heads shook in the negative.
“Where in Vervell could he have hidden it?” Aaron asked looking perplexed.
“He said he’d have a tough time finding it,” Kirk stated.
“Not tough, trough.” Sarah groaned. “And Bennett said I’d best fetch it before it gets too soggy.” She shut her trunk and tied it closed with complex knot before turning to face the boys. “You guys go on to town if you want. I’ll go see if I can salvage my armor from the horse troughs.”
“You sure you don’t want any help?” Reed asked.
“Naw, I’ll be fine.” Sarah left the room.
“Good Luck,” Reed called after her.
“Thanks,” Sarah responded as she trudged down the stairs.
She walked around the back of the barracks, skirting along the road behind the vegetable and herb garden. The place was devoid of occupancy today and Sarah wondered if even the cooks had been given a half day. It seemed like there was always someone out in the garden. Grinning, Sarah thought of the young girl Reed was always trying to impress. Her grin soon turned to a grimace as she reached the stables.
There was no one about here too, which was probably a good thing. Maybe Sarah would get off without anyone being the wiser of this last prank. Slipping into the barn she closed the door quietly behind her. The smell of horses permeated the air and suddenly she was transported back to the Ranch days. A shake of her head cleared Sarah’s memories before they overwhelmed her. She had a job to do.
Fifteen minutes later Sarah had collected her thoroughly soaked leather jerkin and pants from the outside trough. She’d had to ease aside a couple of horses to get it. The armor now stank to high hell. There was no way she was going to be able to take the trials in this stuff.
Clambering over the fence to get out of the paddock Sarah thought hard. She’d have to see if the Armorer had more soap and oil for her to use. If, she thought, as she rounded the classrooms, he and his assistant hadn’t taken a day off too. Poor guy must be sick of her by now given the number of times Marcus had fouled her armor. She knew how to clean it, but she’d run out of the means to do so.
Sarah skirted a well and rounded the building. With a deep breath she knocked on the door. Please be there, she thought, not wanting to pilfer what she needed.
“Come in,” the wheezy voice of the armorer responded from within.
Sarah sighed. Leaving her armor on the rails of the porch she opened the door and went inside.
“Ah Hopeful Smith, ye stop by here so often I wonder if ye don’t fancy the trade.” Armorer Ned smiled at her.
Sarah grinned, “I could probably pick it up, but I think I’ll stick to farming, since that’s what I grew up with.”
“Suit ye-self,” the man shrugged his shoulders and set down his work. “What can I do ye for?”
“Well I hate to ask, but I need more leather soap and oil.”
“Ye armor been walking about and getting into things ye not want it to again?” Amorer Ned stood and pulled two tins from under his bench along with a cloth.
“Something like that,” Sarah responded as noncommittally as she could. “Thanks again.” She waved as she stepped back out the door.
“Ye ought to oil em under the Willow,” he called after her. Sarah turned back, loaded with her gear. Ned smiled. “I hear it brings good luck to those who do.”
“Thanks,” Sarah nodded, with a lopsided grin. Oiling her gear under the Willow tree might be good. Even if it wasn’t The Grove, there was certainly an appeal to the thought.