Arabian Knights
Author: Justin Carr

Chapter 4
The March

I was awaken by the clatter and thudding of boots , swords and armor
from downstairs. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my dagger, which I had
named blood-curse , and ran down the stairs. To my surprise I found
almost sixty men men donning armor and swords. I heard the wind blowing
and watched as one man, just entering the tavern, struggled against the
blowing wind to shut the door, then placed a large stone at the bottom
of the door so it would not blow open. I also noticed another thing ,
it was still dark out. I figured I had been asleep but one hour which
meant that it was still high night and would be many hours until the
rising of the sun. I looked about for a bit until I saw Olivious
pickpocket a man of his dagger. I walked over to Olivious and grabbed
him by his shoulders. “What in God’s name is going on here!” Olivious
stared at me for a minute then said brightly “ We march!” Curtis was
dumbfounded “ We march tonight, in the blinding snow and strong winds?”
Olivious nodded his head feverishly and replied, “ Indeed , tonight we
march!” I backed away from Olivious and ran upstairs to Lord Crispin’s
office. As I opened the door I saw Lord Crispin running about in a
frenzied manner, grabbing documents and talking to the three advisors
that were in the room with him. Crispin smiled when he saw me “ Are you
ready to march?” he asked excitedly. I stared at him dumbfounded.
“If I may lord, what in the name of saint Eli makes you think tonight
is the night to march?”
He smiled as if he had been expecting me to say that. “ Curtis, It
will come as no surprise to you that we are being watched. Leaving
under the cover of night this storm helps protect us from those who
would watch. No soldiers knew about this so that any that may be
traitors would not have time to prepare.”
I looked over at the three men staring at me, all holding books and
wearing spectacles.
“ Men will desert on the march to your ships, men will fall overboard,
ships will sink and many lives will be lost” I proclaimed.
“the men we lose tonight will be only a fraction of what we would have
lost , had we gone in plain sight.” He declared. And then he seemed to
remember something “ You failed to bring me one-hundred men”. I stared
at him in disbelief.
“I only had one night my lord.”
“it does not matter” he boomed “ As repayment you will serve in my army”
“that’s crazy!” I said “ I did enough as your recruiter I don’t want to
be your soldier too!”
“there you go with that disobedience again!” he yelled “ you address me
as Lord at the end of every statement and you will serve, or your blood
will stain this floor!” at this his body guard took a step towards me
and unsheathed his sword. He had done it again. Taken another man and
conscripted him into his army without the legal right to do so. But who
cared if a thieving, sniveling Peasant was taken from the streets,
London was in no shortage of peasants. And so I was conscripted into an
army with which I did not belong, by a choice that was not my own , and
all because I had taken the wrong alley on the way to buy my bow. Fait
is cruel.


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