Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day Five-Hundred-Fourteen: Recruitment Drive

Whoa. THAT was a confidence boost, lemme tell ya. I kinda sorta feel like maybe we can possibly do this conditionally.

I posted the recruitment sign yesterday with two expectations:

- One, that I would get a small handful of people.

- And two, that people would add their names to the sheet by way of their agreement.

I did not expect enough people to fill our transport to capacity. I also did not expect those passengers to show up at my house to announce their participation in the trip.

The first was, unsurprisingly, Plato. I guess he doesn't count - he's already coming along, and he's been showing up every morning to help us work. I greeted him, he quacked, and we sat down to breakfast. (I try to eat at home, now.)

The door resounded with a second knock a few minutes later. Edmund stood outside.

"Greetings, Dragomir. / Have no jot of fear,;/ I'll cover your rear / from peril far or near."

I counted and grinned. "Six syllables on that last one, Ed. You're slipping."

He punched me on the arm and went inside, apparently to partake of my breakfast.

Three minutes later there was another knock. This one sounded distinctly grouchy, and my vigilant ears were rewarded when I opened the door and found Grylock standing outside, a boar at his side with a chain looped 'round its neck.

"Hey." He took a drink from his hip flask. "Goin' somewhere, eh? Hope you aren't thinkin' of leavin' me behind."

We've never been 'friends', per se, but I shook my head anyway. "'course not. But, uh, what's with the boar?"

Grylock patted the beast. "Always wanted a riding pig, ever since I was wee. Borrowed this one from the butchers'. Too fine a beast to slaughter, you know? Could come in handy."

The boar grunted. Now we need to make a little pen for it.

The exodus continued. Celine was next, and she offered he services of herself and her mother. This was good, as we needed at least Daena to come along, and I'd intended to talk to her later in the day. Harold appeared after her, though I had to turn him down, as the town needed its two leaders. Then came Morris, and the head Weekendist, the hunter with the fox, Jeffrey's old bannerman, a slew of old and beloved faces who all wanted a piece of the journey. I accepted the lot.

(Expect, you know, Harold. Poor guy.)

By noon we had a full contingent of people, and I had to take down the sign in the Beefiary. Everyone else who showed up past them went away disappointed, and by nightfall the visits had stopped.

Except for one.

The last visitor was none other than Lord Pagan. Pagan's been attending to the issue of defence, and has been personally training my father, now Captain Oswald, in tactics and leadership. I haven't seen either of them much in the last two weeks, and when I saw Pagan I expected my father to be standing beside him. No surprise, he was.

What I didn't expect was the man being led by my father, clad in chains.

"Good evening, Dragomir." Pagan nodded. "How are you?"

I tilted my head. This was half curiosity, half to furtively swallow part of an onion that was still in my mouth. (Dinnertime. You know.) "I'm… good… how are you…?"

"Hale and hearty." Pagan lightly thumped his breastplate. "But I'm not here for pleasantries. I have a special request from my long-term prisoner."

My father pushed 'the prisoner' forward a few paces. "Go on, maggot. Evenin', bastard boy 'o my loins. Libby still tight-lipped?"

Unphased. "Yeeeeep."

"Need to get her into bed. That'll open 'er mouth. I did breed ya with a penis, didn't I?"

That made me cringe a bit. "I prefer 'thinger', dad."

"Fuckin' hell, what kind of baby talk -"

"AHEM," Pagan loudly interjected. "We're not here for this, either. Go ahead, speak your peace.

I turned my attention to the shaggy-haired, ragged man standing before me. Sometime in the last four weeks he'd ditched his grey, smelly mantle and cardboard crown, but contrition still clung to him as tightly as it had when I planted my fist into his cheek.

"Hi, Jeffrey."

The old king nodded. "Hi, Dragomir. Nice night, isn't it?"

I nodded, head still tilted. "Y… yeeeeep."

"Yeah…" He shuffled his feet in the dirt, chains clanging. "Real… nice."

My dad whacked Jeffrey in the back of the head with one of his flailing wooden arms. "Man up!"

Jeffrey stumbled, looking more pathetic than ever, but the move did the trick. His request came out in a burst. "I wanna come with you!"

I hadn't expected that. "… what?"

Jeffrey shook his head. "I… want to come. As well. Too. Please. You… you can consider it… part of my sentence, if you like."

I cocked an eyebrow at Pagan. He shrugged. "I don't see why not. I have no idea why you're gallivanting off to the west, and I'm sure many of you will be killed. The risk seems punishment enough. Not to mention I'd like to reclaim the storeroom where we've been keeping him. It smells like yak breath, and needs to be aired out."

I thought it over for a moment. There were lots of reasons to turn him down. He's a criminal, he's weak, he's whiny, he's a coward, and he fired a cannonball at my daughter's head. I can't bring myself to be angry about that last fact, since Eve is nigh-indestructible, but still. The intent to kill was there.

Yet he saved my life. I haven't addressed it so far, not once, but Jeffrey risked himself to keep me alive. That earns him a chance.

"Sure." I reached out and shook Jeffrey's hand, even though he hadn't offered it. "Welcome aboard."

We have a crew. Now we just need to finish our new home… and set sail.


Dragomir the Wanderer


  1. Replies
    1. She's one of the background-NPC-commenter-persons. Ember. I throw in mention of her along with everyone else. (Speaking of which, do you want to be part of the background staff, J? You certainly comment often enough.)

      In other news, can anybody see what I totally forgot to draw in the stupid picture? I didn't realize what was wrong about it 'til I posted the damn thing, and now I find the omission too amusing to rectify.

    2. Sure, I'll be a random person~

      I have no idea what you missed though, sorry...

    3. Cool. Send me a picture or description of you, 'n what job you'd like to have, to

      As for what's missing, Grylock's a bit deaf.