Night in Marali

Rydelia Fayn opened the door and stepped into the small, smoke-filled office. The fire was burning brightly in the hearth, providing a much-needed respite from the blizzard raging on the streets above, blanketing the city in sheets of white. Her relief quickly melted away when she noticed that the other three were in the room already. Most unfortunate - it was not becoming of a Commander to be late, especially at this evening hour.

“My most sincere apologies, Mother Mei, Mr. Gray, Captain Quin – I was intercepted by Officer Thenson and his questions at the top of the stairs.”

“Intercepted, hah!” said Mother Mei in her hoarse voice, as she stood before the fire. “It is good that you are making yourself available to the troops, at such a dark time as this. You would do well to remember it.”

“My thanks, Mother Mei.” Rydelia took her seat, and took a look over the room. There was Captain Quin hunched over, already fast at work, beginning the meeting’s minutes. Then there was Mr. Gray, still garbed in black, sitting pensively at the end of the table, looking off to the side. The eyes of the man were heavy and gaunt, unusually so for a man that was a noted night owl. Then, of course, still standing at the fire with her back to the table, the imposing figure of Mother Mei.

“Now then,” Rydelia said, “Our one and only order of business today will be putting the finishing touches on this restructuring. I understand that this is an unusually late time to gather, so I will make this quick and painless, and then we can all get some rest.” It was a lie, of course. Well, the sleeping part, at least. Sleep had been nothing more than a fleeting memory ever since the crisis began. But she would be loath to allow anyone else to suffer the same. “To begin,” she said, “we have settled on Lieutenant Sharp as our final choice to fill the recently vacated position at Captain of the 4th Legion.”

“Ahh, Katriana,” said Mr. Gray. “I always had a good feeling about that one. A sound decision.”

“We are still determining Sharp’s successor,” Rydelia went on, “but of the Sergeant Majors in the 4th Legion, at least two seem to be suitable candidates.”

“Very good, Commander Fayn.” said Captain Quin. “But if you’ll pardon the question, Commander, what of the 1st Legion? Given the circumstances, don’t you think it’s about time we formalize that decision, as well?”

“The 1st… yes.” Rydelia thought about this for a moment. “Yes, it is about time, isn’t it? Armsman Nial’s handling of his administrative duties, as well as his rapport with the men, have been inspiring. It wouldn’t do to take that for granted. Captain Quin!”

“Yes, Commander!”

“Let the record show that Armsman Nial’s promotion will be put through today, and that he will be accorded forthwith the role and courtesies of Lieutenant. This will recognize his efforts, all the while allowing him to formally assume the role of Acting Captain in the continued absence of that Legion’s leader, Captain Ironwall. I shall preside over the ceremony myself, in the place of our new Major, as Goddess knows that wizard could use one less thing to do while he gains his footing… it all moves so quick.”

Mr. Gray sighed heavily. “As long as it moves forward.”

“Indeed, Mr. Gray. Now then.” Rydelia stood up. “Captain Quin, you are dismissed.”

Captain Quin jumped to his feet, and saluted. “Thank you, Commander. Marali Prevails!”

Rydelia returned the salute in kind, and looked on as the old Captain scurried out of the office, scribbling away at his parchment while he walked, just narrowly avoiding running into the doorjamb. The door closed firmly behind him, and Rydelia turned back to the table.

“Mother Mei, Mr. Gray…” She paused, noting the distant rumblings of the blizzard above growing louder and louder. “I must reiterate again my gratitude. I believe it is by no accident that you have both returned to us on this fateful year. If we are to weather this dreadful storm, I will need you both. Only if we stand together will Marali truly prevail.”

Rydelia regarded the two of them. A ghost of a smile played at Mother Mei’s lips, while Mr. Gray continued to stare blankly into the fire. Rydelia saluted them both with as much confidence as she could muster, and turned to leave.

She walked down the halls with a quick, light pace. Her sense of purpose, her mission, had brought her incredibly far, impossibly far, in just ten moons. And now, out of nowhere, she was in a better position than ever before, a position to improve her home, reduce disorder, and bring Marali out of this time of crisis. But just how much would she have to sacrifice to make it happen? And who’s to say that she would even succeed? Her anxieties all swirled around her as she passed by the saluting guardsmen in the fort, making every effort to acknowledge each one. As she walked, the thought suddenly occurred to her that she still hadn’t made contact with First Scout Filp in regards to his proposal for the new training program for the rangers. Stifling a yawn, she made her way to the Office of the Scouts. It was shaping up to be another sleepless night.
Sign In or Register to comment.