Linfors reflected on the last few weeks of his service in the Watch and decided that things are not as one thinks they are before having experienced them; and, sometimes work is strange. In about a month of service, he and the other new recruits had been introduced to and eventually trained by members of the elite Company of the Spear. Wow. They’d even been given their choice of weapons – real weapons! – and given some training on them. Swords were far heavier than Linfors had thought. Jacen really liked knives, and was convinced that someday he’d be able to throw them. Osweald experimented with a few weapons, and grumbled a great deal. And the new boy – Cohen – refused to part with the massive hammer he’d chosen.
Weapons training…drinking and supping with the Spear…more interactions with the lovely and playful Holly…and then a hanging! Couple a massive, bug-eyed, crap-drawered half-orc, twitching in the wind with the reticent drunkenness of their knight, along with the death of the surprisingly popular tax collector, and the boys had more experiences to share than they’d expected.
That was, of course, before their first encounter with a manifestation of the fae, which almost killed them and the rest of the squad while on patrol. Nights in the woods were things to be feared, it seemed. And Cohen had really come through with that hammer – although the shower of green goo was almost enough to turn stomachs.
The trip into Hanlowell Keep was uneventful, and the reception warm – Cohen’s family was friendly, and his mother could really cook. Not like Granny Wyglen, of course, but still – the stew was very nice.
Linfors’ side ached ferociously as he shifted in bed. He’d had a lot of time to ponder the last few weeks as he healed. He’d garnered a personal visit from Command SGT Tollynger of the Hanlowell Watch as well as new acquaintances in here in the capital of the Western Reaches; sometimes his squad mates, and even made the unlikely friendship of a keep boy named Symon- who especially liked to hear the story of the green goo over and over again. He knew he needed the rest, after being knocked out and apparently had a rib or two cracked in the fight with the bandits, but he was bored and wanted to get back out on patrol with the others. Another day or two, the local healer told him, and he’d be ready to get up. His friends, in dark humor, made sure he awoke with the hand axe that had nearly killed him clutched in his clammy palms.
One month of service over and a week spent recovering in Hanlowell. Eleven more to go for the required service. If this beginning was any indicator, the rest of the year would be one for the history books. Linfors liked his companions. Osweald was taciturn, on good days, and yet reliable. Jacen was so…excitable…and courageous, hard-working, and shared Linfors’ interest in history, learning, and discussion. The new boy, Cohen, had fit right in, and really seemed to be not only knowledgeable about his faith – so rare – but also completely earnest. An honest man, informed, could do much good, Linfors’ father always said. And Cohen had really amazing hair, too – everyone agreed, from word one, that nobody’s hair stood up like Cohen’s did. Even after wearing a helmet, it stood! Maybe it was a mark of his faith. Hmm. Linfors would ponder some more as he healed.