The rain had lessened only slightly when the page came down the halls with his bell and instructions. “Leave your armor and weapons in your rooms. Trekking starts immediately after breakfast!”
Sarah gathered her clothing and readied to make her trip to the privy.
“Braving the rain Smith?” Reed asked as she headed for the door.
“May as well. Not like we won’t get soaked while trekking.” She grinned at him and the rest of Class B. Her group exchanged glances and Reed braved a look to Marcus who uttered but one word as he pulled on pants.
Sarah laughed as she left with an old song about mud and hippos running through her head. It was a bit ironic she thought as she changed. All those years laughing as her brothers complained about obstacle courses in the rain and mud. Now here she was about to do the same thing. How her brother Robert would have goaded her. Sarah smiled to herself as she left the outhouse.
The rain had already slowed down to a drizzle. Fresh and clean, it drenched the ground so that her feet left little puddles in the muck. Chancing a glance to the sky Sarah breathed deep and sighed. It was going to be a beautiful day before it was done. Sarah sprinted upstairs to deposit her clothing before making her way to the dining hall.
Finding Reed and company was much easier this time. The dining hall wasn’t nearly as crowded as yesterday. Sarah wondered where all the scouts were staying. She hoped it was in a nice dry inn.
“You don’t look too soaked,” Reed remarked as she took a stand across from him.
“Rain’s letting up,” she informed him, “In fact, I’d wager it’ll be dry by dinner.”
“That’s still all day in the rain.” London moaned.
“Half a day,” Sarah corrected smiling. “It can’t be dry by dinner if the sun doesn’t come out by noon.”
The metal sounded twice and everyone looked forward. Commander Josiah stood in front.
“Today’s the day we test your speed and agility. Eat hearty and eat fast. The next time the metal’s hit twice we’ll be splitting you into groups. You’ve got a lot of ground to cover today. Anyone not back by dinner will be docked points.” Moans ran through the Hopefuls. “However,” the Commander looked over the crowd with a fierce glare, “there are no points to be gained in returning first.”
In other words, Sarah thought, this isn’t a race. She looked across the room to where Marcus seemed to have gotten the brunt of the Commander’s stare. Somehow that didn’t surprise her.
“You all did me and your instructors proud yesterday,” Commander Josiah continued. “Keep it up and we’ll be boasting the best Scout class yet.” A hint of a smile played on the Commander’s face. “Good luck and may the Gods keep the mud from between your toes.”
He struck the metal and the chuckles that were running around the room turned into the Scout Oath.