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28 May; Biscuits

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28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:50 pm

The routine in the evenings, when the army halted for the night, was simple. The regiment would fall out into companies, which would in turn fall out into messes. These messes would then get down to the business of preparing whatever they could find for food and settling down for the night.

Adam Starling seldom ate with his mess. He preferred to keep his own company. It was little secret that he was American, which set him apart even amongst the varied, motley collection of men that comprised the regiment. If it wasn't his nationality that lent itself to avoidance, it was his barely-trimmed beard and half wild appearance.

This evening was hardly different. Starling got comfortable in a dip in the ground, ignoring the men he was meant to mess with. He kept his rations to himself and supplemented them when he could with forays off the road. Foraging was no easy task out here, though. If there was any game to be had, the officers invariably laid claim to it first. The men were obliged to make do with the dregs, as always.

He fished around his pack until he found the thin, dry biscuit he'd filched from a corporal a day or two back. There was some dried rabbit in his pack somewhere too. These scraps represented the last of his stores. He had been unable to find anything more. Nothing that was edible anyway. This was no country for a mountain man. Not at all.

His stomach rumbled and he tucked into the meagre fare hungrily. Tomorrow he would have to go foraging again. Somehow.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:33 pm



After having refused the quartermaster's offer for his bag of small treasures earlier that day, Davy hadn't been quite able to figure out where to go with it next. A search for Pye had turned up nothing - he couldn't even find the men that Pye had named as his friends. He had asked a couple of the German-speaking riflemen, and all he had gotten was a torrent of incomprehensible foreign gibberish and gesticulating. The 60th had been a complete blank.

But regardless of that Davy was still in a high good humour. He had sold the buttons to one of the Portuguese, for a whole silver real - much better than Donnelly's price, though probably still less than they were worth, he suspected. Davy was sharp enough to know that a lad like him would get no better an offer, though, and it had been better than he'd hoped. With the real, he had been able to buy a whole rabbit off one of the lads in the 33rd, and a little sackful of grain to boot; he had the grain hidden under his jacket and the rabbit was dangling from his hand by the ears.

And Davy had some information to give Donnelly, too. Now that he had this grain, he could show it to the quartermaster. It was more than the man ought to have had. Only if Donnelly would be willing to keep his mouth shut about how he'd found out, of course. Davy would make him promise to do that before he would give any names, and then the quartermaster would have to look into the matter further himself. Davy was not going to get mixed up in it, and testify at any court-martials or whatever might be done with the lad. He didn't want the soldier or his messmates coming back for him.

He was so pleased with himself that he forgot to be as wary as he ought, and though he gave the fire belonging to Starling's mates a wide berth, he didn't notice the fellow half-concealed in his hollow. Whistling Blaydon Races, he tramped merrily right past Starling.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:24 am

The biscuit and dried rabbit didn't last long. Not when Starling was so ravenously hungry. He washed it down with some wine - his most treasured possession, what was left of it - and gazed with reluctant envy at his mess' fire. Those bastards shared amongst themselves. But they would, wouldn't they?

If he was of a friendlier disposition, he would join them. If he was even a little less prideful, perhaps. But Starling grovelled for no man. So he stayed in his little fold in the earth, sipped his wine, and resented the fact he was hungry and unable to do anything about it.

Or maybe he could do something about it. There was a dirty-faced boy approaching, a whole rabbit swinging from one hand. Now where, Starling thought, had such a worthless scamp come by such a fine treasure? Not that it mattered. What mattered was that rabbit was shortly going to be his.

He set his tin mug aside carefully and levered himself out of the dip in the ground with equal care. It was no trick at all to move without a sound. The lad was close enough now. Starling went forward quickly, one hand going immediately to cover the scamp's mouth while his other arm hooked firmly around the scamp's neck. In an instant, the Pioneer and his prey were out of sight in the lengthening shadows.

"I'll be takin' that rabbit, boy," Starling growled. "As price for your disturbin' a body's peace."
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:25 pm

Davy's good evening was abruptly shattered when out of nowhere a dark, massive figure lurched up out of a hollow in the ground and sprang upon him. The man's hand clamped down over Davy's mouth, dirty fingers digging into his face, and his other arm wrapped around Davy's neck. In a menacing, low tone, he snarled a demand. The rabbit. The rabbit that Davy had haggled over and risked his neck stealing for - which he had meant to bring home for Lucy, in the hope that she would forgive him for being out this late. That rabbit was for his sister, and no-one else.

He wouldn't let this man steal it from him.

Unable to offer any answer, Davy's response was nevertheless very clear. He threw the rabbit as far away from himself as he could, to keep the prize out of the way. In the sudden heat of his wrath, he was ready and willing to give it to someone else, so long as this man didn't get it - and so he threw it in the general direction of the campfire that was at some little distance from them, though it likely sank into the grass far short of his goal. Simultaneously, Davy peeled back his lips and attempted to sink his teeth into the hand that was covering his mouth, kicked for the man's shins, and then attempted to sag his weight downward and slip out of his grasp.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:47 am

This scamp was a slippery one. For the moment, Starling ignored the loss of the rabbit and concentrated on keep hold of the dirty little sod. The lad aimed to bite him, which didn't trouble Starling greatly. The kick at his shins, however, did. Maybe he should break one of this little bugger's legs to teach him manners.

"That'll do, you vile li'l rogue," the Vermonter growled, shifting his grip so he was holding the boy up by his collar. "Settle you down, or you'll not even be crawlin' 'way from here."
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  boots on Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:31 pm

Davy thought he was free for just a moment as the man's grip shifted, but he found his escape cut short by the hold that Starling still had on his collar. Starling hoisted him up, so that he had to stand on his tiptoes to keep from being choked by his clothing, and the fabric still pressed into his throat. He was still too furious to be frightened, yet, and he scrabbled at the man's iron fingers with his own hands.

"Ye're not gettin' wor rabbit, ye clarty brute," he snarled back. "Tha's wor rabbit. Ah worked hard for i' an' Ah'm not givin' i' up te ye. Ye thievin' sod, le' us go. Ah'll gie ye sich a byestin' as ye nivvor got in yer life."

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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:36 pm

A sound like rumbling thunder rolled up from Starling's chest. This pup, give him a beasting?

"Settle yer pluck," he said, his brief mirth gone. "Ain't lookin' to kill you."

Yet, anyway. He was not above such an act if forced to it, however.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:55 pm

"Ye're just lookin' te rob us," Davy fired back, incensed at the laughter. "Ye put us doon an' Ah'll hammer ye good, ye hoit."
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:54 pm

This was too much.

"Right then," Starling said and dropped the lad. "Have at't."
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:57 am

Davy felt the grip on his collar release all of a sudden, and his heels thumped into the ground. He realized in a split second that he could easily scarper away now, but he had challenged the man, and to run away would be to completely bury his pride, and - and - he'd take a whipping, if he had it coming to him, but he was not running away. Besides, if he ran, he'd have to leave his rabbit.

He whirled around to face Starling and square off. Somewhere in the back of his mind Davy was realizing that he really did not have any chance against the burly Pioneer, but he balled his fists and shook them at the man anyway, bravado coming to the fore.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:03 am

Starling rested his big fists on his hips, watching the boy work himself up into a fighting temper. It was little different from watching a cock prancing around, puffing its feathers up to make itself appear more fearsome than it was.

"Well?"
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:11 am

Davy's eyes flickered up and down the man, trying to size up the best target he could; he was a good deal shorter and a good deal smaller. Finally (after only a couple of seconds) he decided it was best to just go in for all he was worth and take what came of it. Nobody could say he hadn't tried to defend the honour of the 33rd, anyway.

He flew at Starling, his right fist leading, intending to pummel him however and wherever he could; he did not have much resembling a plan of attack.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:16 am

The attack came quickly, but not so quickly that Starling failed to anticipate it. He stepped easily to the side as the boy swung and reached out to grab the lad's sleeve. A sharp twist of the thin fabric to lock the arm, then seize hold of the waistband of his trousers. It was no work at all to send the lad tumbling top over toes using his own momentum.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:23 am

Davy had no idea what had just happened; the world went spinning around the wrong way, and he flew head over heels right past Starling without landing a hit. He landed on his shoulder in the grass, which was not nearly as soft as it looked, with a thump, and sat there dazed for a moment and his shoulder aching while he tried to work out what Starling had just done to him. Some sort of dirty trick, no doubt, but it wouldn't work twice!

He scrambled to his feet, and sprang for Starling again.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:26 am

The boy was determined. Starling would give him that. He met the lad's lunge with a half-closed fist, giving him a solid knock to the back as he again side-stepped. This was getting tiresome swiftly.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:33 am

Davy landed sprawled face-forwards on the ground, the wind knocked completely out of him. It took him a few more moments to recover from that, and at first he only pushed himself up to his hands and knees, spitting out dirt and bits of grass. He swiped the back of one hand across his mouth to clear it away. "Wha' the hell was tha'?" he growled at Starling, not quite ready to get back up and go at him again.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:40 am

"Hit you," Starling replied simply, gazing down at the lad dispassionately. He hadn't even put much power behind the blow, either.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:50 am

He slumped, the fight leeching out of him in the face of certain defeat and an enemy that didn't even care. "Bastard," he muttered. Then he picked himself up off the ground, really feeling the ache in his shoulder blades now. Might be he didn't want to fight anymore, but he wasn't going to just crawl, either. He'd given in to plenty of bullies before, like Miggsy when he'd drowned his kitten right in front of him, and Davy hadn't done anything about that. Or like Dunworthy who'd gone and taken their little stash of looted potatoes. He was sick of not doing anything.

Davy raised his fists again. This time he waited for Starling to come at him.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:19 am

Starling was of no mind to be obliging to the boy. It would take no effort to whip this little snot. Why should he even bother? So he simply stood where he was and regarded the boy blandly.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:32 am

"Well? Ye jus' gan te stan' there?" Davy challenged, shaking a fist at Starling and posturing, though he no longer felt like going at the man. He did not want to be knocked over again, by some casual movement that Starling didn't even seem to try for. When the man didn't react, didn't attack him, Davy dropped quickly into a crouch and swept up a rock from the ground next to him into his hand. It wasn't a fair fight, and so he was going to make things a little more even. In one swift motion, before he'd even stood up all the way, he had hurled the rock into the air at the Pioneer with all the force he could put behind it.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:28 am

There was to be no further conventional attack. The boy had learnt his lesson. Or he was reduced to relying on rocks instead of his fists to settle the account.

Starling lifted a hand, almost casually, to touch the gash underneath his beard where the rock had struck. The lad had a decent arm, he had to admit.

"That ain't no sorta fightin'," the Vermonter told the boy flatly.
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:37 am

One little stone went up in the air - but the giant did not come tumbling down; instead he barely flinched when it hit his throat. "I' isnae mair than wha' wor namesake did," Davy fired back, "a' Goliath an' aa', an' Ah've nowt else." He had shifted his balance, considering running at this point - simply abandoning the rabbit behind, and getting away to save his own skin.

But he didn't run yet. He couldn't help feeling that there was still some way to get out of here with the rabbit, and intact. He just had to think of it. "Look," he tried. "Ye're a reet big beg - tha' is ye're reet big. Ah'll mek ye a deal."


Last edited by Lucy Weaver on Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:33 am

Goliath? Starling almost smirked. He liked the sound of that.

"Deal?" Who the hell did this boy think he was? Trying to broker a deal after wasting Starling's time with this playing at fighting? Not bloody likely!
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Lucy Weaver on Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:12 pm

"Ah'll give ye part of the rabbit," Davy put forth, "an' - " He wasn't about to say Starling had better let him go; no! That would mean Starling had won. "An' ye'll show us hoo te de wha' ye just done, throw a body ower, leik."
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

Post  Adam Starling on Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:16 pm

Only part. Right.

"Nope." Starling shook his head. "Part of yon rabbit'll getcha only part of the lesson."
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Re: 28 May; Biscuits

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