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June 2(?) - Foraging

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June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Paol Kerjean on Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:22 am

“Navarre couldn’t find his way out of a tent,” muttered Couture. “Remind me why we’re following him, again?”

Paol grinned ruefully and shook his head. Navarre did have a near uncanny ability for getting lost, but that somehow never stopped him from wandering off. It was a miracle he’d survived this long.

“How do we even know there were any cows?” Couture continued, “He’s nearsighted; he probably saw rocks in a field! Or trees. Hey, remember when--- What was that?”

“What?” Paol’s grip tightened reflexively on his musket.

“I thought I heard—“

“The only thing you’re goin’ to be hearin’ is kettle drums inside your skull ‘less you shut your mouth, Couture,” growled St Laurent, dropping back beside them, “Or have you forgot we ain’t the only ones in these woods?”
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  François Sevière on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:06 am

Francois woke up next morning and began sneezing. Soon his nose was running too as he wiped it often with a small rag. He knew that certain types of greenery seemed to bring this on but looking about he had no idea just what? At least some of Spain had been baked dry even in spring. He sweated a lot but hadn't gotten stuffed up or fell into sneezing fits.

Even more fortunate he had only had a couple of times on the long marches where he had encountered real trouble breathing, his asthma acting up. Once the officer had took pity on him and let him travel in a wagon, no one needed to be left behind to the depradations of the guerillas.

He was no sooner up and about when one of the corporals approached him with an evil grin.

"You...Seviere.....you're going to go foraging. Be a good lad and join up with Navarre, Kerjean, St. Laurent, and Couture. Hurry now!"

Francois nodded and reached for his musket and knapsack. Foraging was somewhat an art and certainly a necessity in the French army, he'd done this before. However he was glad he was going with some others who probably knew more about this land.

********

They had been tramping about for some time now and nothing. The others were beginning to have their doubts about Navarre. Francois just kept quiet, being the new soldier of the group. Then they paused. Something was ahead? Least Francois thought he heard something? So did at least St. Laurent.

Francois focused ahead of them, nerves taut, thumb ready to cock back the firelock of his musket just in case. Merde! They had hoped for food not combat!



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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Allhands on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:37 am

Fournier looked in the direction from which the sound must have come. He had not heard it and so could not find it as alarming as the young one, or the more experienced fellow, Couture. " Quiet. You're all natterin' like washerwomen."

He averted his gaze from them and scanned their surroundings as well for any sign of a human presence as of a settlement or something that might be more useful to them and the bellies that they might get to fill. He saw movement further ahead and thrust his thumb in the direction. "There."

A bird rose from the grass, but hardly of the size or type to be considered a comfortable meal. "...Ah.. ..nothing." He muttered relaxing his shoulders, and looking annoyed.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  outis on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:47 am

Couture made a rude gesture at Fournier, but remained silent. Momentarily. "Caporal—"

"Stow it, Couture."

Not to be dissuaded, Couture continued, "Why don’t we send someone up a tree? See if we can find these damn animals Navarre says he saw."

"It can’t be much farther!" Navarre insisted.

St Laurent rolled his eyes, but relented. "You. Sev—whatever your name is. Think you can climb that?" he demanded of the new lad, gesturing to a tall pine with low hanging branches.

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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  François Sevière on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:17 am

Francois stifled a sneeze then heard his name mentioned, well, part of it.

"It's Seviere," he pointed out sniffling.

The young man now looked at the tree the veteran indicated. A pine tree? With all those needles? Could the fellow have picked anything worse?

"I guess I can," Francois sighed then removed his shako, he just knew it would fall off anyway when he began the climb.

"Hold this," he then handed over his musket and backpack to a couple of the men.

"I just hope that bird wasn't scared up by a band of armed English or Portuguese," he whispered his worry then moved up to the tree.

He'd climbed oak and maple trees before as a boy but who climbs a pine tree? Nonetheless he didn't not want to disappoint these men so he slowly clambered upward. Halfway up he began to scan the locale, praying there were not English riflemen about what with him wearing his blue and white uniform.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Allhands on Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:37 pm

"There ain't no need to be crying. Boy." Seviére had been sniffing ever since he came to join this little group to find some feed. Well, he had not seen him earlier than that during that day, so he might have been sniffing like that even sooner.

He arched a brow as he ended with a handful of hat and musket, and saw his neighbour get to hold the third item in question. "You better hope it wasn't Portuguese. The English are on the run." He spoke with a relaxed air about himself.

"So. What is it?" Fourier looked up at the boy he had now dubbed a petite monkey. Up ahead , much farther and somewhat concealed by the trees and rock a few smaller shapes were seen. Perhaps the animals that their friend had mentioned, or perhaps just very shapely rocks. Further to the right of those there was something else. A figure lying, as if concealed. It remained on somewhat higher ground than where the small group of men stood. It did not stirr or move, as if lying very carefully in wait, with no intention to be found. It bore no uniform to speak of, just civilian styled clothing. But then, it was still rather hard to see it well.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  outis on Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:20 am

St Laurent watched the boy climb, one hand fidgeting with the lock of his musket. Their static position made the corporal uneasy and he was impatient to be off and moving again. “What can you see?” he demanded, raising his voice as loud as he dared.

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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  François Sevière on Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:25 pm

Francois squinted to try and get an even better look but that did not help. There was someone there he was certain but more than that he simply could not tell. Those down below were impatient. He glanced down and put one finger up to his lips, "Shhh."

Without going too fast as he certainly did not want to tumble out of the tree, he made his way down until it was a simple jump. Then he reported.

"Didn't see any animals.....but..." he paused and had to sneeze then though he made a point of covering his mouth, "sorry...l"

"But I did see someone lying out there. Now he could be lying in ambush or he could be sleeping, or even dead. But I am very certain I saw him...or...her>"

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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  outis on Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:38 pm

St Laurent cursed. Just what they needed. And from the direction the boy had indicated, whoever it was had the higher ground in his favor. Brilliant. "How far?"

"Alright," he hesitated a moment more, then continued, "Fix bayonets. Fourier, take the boy and circle left. Couture, Kerjean take the right. Navarre, you’re with me. Quiet as you can.” Whoever or whatever it was, his hope was to cut if off before it could make a run for it and potentially report their position to its friends. Assuming those friends weren’t already lying in wait as well.

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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Paol Kerjean on Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:42 pm

[ooc]Just FYI, if characters want to argue or whatever with St Laurent, I can move this post.[/ooc]
***

"What do you think it is?" whispered Couture.

"Don’t know." Paol judged that they had moved far enough away and shifted direction to arc back towards where the figure was alleged to be. Silence was impossible, even if one was preoccupied with watching one’s footing and Paol was far more focused on their immediate surroundings. Still, they were able to move with relative caution.

"You think it’s the Portuguese?" Couture continued in an undertone, "Or the English? Some kind of ambush? It could just be a corpse. Or a rock. A log, maybe. What if—"

"Jean-Mitchell..." Paol interrupted him gently.

"Right." Some men fidgeted when they were nervous; Couture nattered.

Up ahead, Paol thought he glimpsed something. It was hard to tell through the brush, but it wasn’t a natural part of the forest landscape, that much he was sure of. Motioning Couture to be silent, he halted, pointing towards the spot where the thing, whatever it was, lay. After a moment the other man nodded, bringing up the barrel of his musket. Paol followed suit and the pair started forward once again.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Allhands on Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:40 pm

"Come along, boy. An' keep your mouth shut. Can do quiet, can't you?" Fourier hoped the youngest of their group would not have his inexperience show at the worst possible moment. If he yelled or made a sound when he ought to have been silent... It was something the older veteran did not want to consider. What was more, just as any other man in the Grand Armee, he did not want to face the Portuguese, unarmed and a prisoner. Stories, sights, it was enough to make him give the young lad a stern look. Quiet, or else.

He gazed ahead, tightening his grip on his musket, bayonet already fixed. He took the path that was decided for them and walked at a steady, controlled pace. This was a job for the light, who were leaner, smaller than the men of the line. He muttered something under his breath. It was not a compliment to the enemy in sight, and was as quiet as he could make it without being silent. If this was one man, one Portuguese civilian, he could raise the alarm which would bring the rest after them. If they were surrounded, their approach towards this one might have been a daft way to walk right into a trap with it's small lure lying on the ground.

He skimmed their surroundings, searching for any other familiar shapes which would betray a human, albeit hidden. None yet. He thought he'd seen something then, but after a somewhat longer examination, he ignored it. It was a tree trunk, twisted at an arch. Nothing more.

He motioned for the boy to follow him. He'd only then remembered to check whether the lad was even there.

Up ahead the silhuette of the person that their young climber had spotted, moved. It stirred and its hand shifted forward, pushed its body upward somewhat with an abrupt motion. The wind direction changed. From where it had blown at their sides, it now came at them from the back. Even more reason to be quiet.

The movement that the shape had shown announced it alive and certainly human.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  François Sevière on Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:13 am

Francois nodded to the man's question about keeping quiet. It hadn't been him making the noise back there, Francois thought.

Slowly the young Frenchmen stuck close to the veteran as both gingerly closed the distance on their target...if indeed there really was a target. Then Fourier froze and Francois could see why. Movement......yes, that was definitely human. Francois hardly dared breath. He just prayed he wouldn't have to sneeze.

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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Paol Kerjean on Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:26 am

Cautiously, Paol approached the figure. It was a man, though without anything visibly military in his clothing to designate his alignment. A partisan, then, thought Paol, or a civillian. Though what a civilian was doing face down in the middle of the woods was anyone's guess.

For a moment he hesitated, scanning the surrounding forest, still half expecting it to erupt with musket fire, but all that he saw was Fourier and the new lad advancing toward them and, off to his left, he could hear St Laurent and Navarre. Dropping to his knees, he set his musket down and leaned forward, peering at the figure. It may well have been a corpse for all that it moved. Gingerly he placed a hand on the man's shoulder and turned him over.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Allhands on Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:38 am

"Non!" The hiss that came from his mouth sounded equally in terror as it did in angush. A hand bolted forward to shove Paul from him, his other held to bar any progress towards his face. This abrupt movement had him whimper in pain. He struggled against the ground and managed to turn himself back onto his side, shoving himself backward.

His breaths were heavy and yet shallow. His arm, that had earlier to valiantly attempted to defend him, was sagging back against his side. "Non.." There was a gaping hole where his right eye ought to have been, the wound still quite fresh. A dark bruise beginning to change from its original colour, was continued by a split lip. He could barely see with his other eye, which appeared there however and healthy.

So exhausted he was that it did not take him long but to sag wholly back against the ground. There he seemed to just wait.

"Paol? Is he?" The two came close now, and Fourier dared raise his voice to inquire about their find. A Portuguese man who had fallen asleep? If he was really that groggy....and there his train of thought stopped.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  François Sevière on Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:45 am

As Fourier advanced, Francois did so also, musket leveled and bayonet fixed. They'd spotted one for certain but what if more were about? Waiting in ambush? Francois felt very jumpy.

One of the other men, closer, touched the prone figure, rolling him over even. The man spoke but it was in French? As Francois drew closer he got a better look at the individual's face. Merde! The young soldier frowned. A wounded Frenchman? Or a Portuguese who speaks French? He looked to the rest of the veterans to see what they would do next.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Paol Kerjean on Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:42 am

Paol jerked back sharply, his hand closing around the barrel of his musket, but the blow he expected never fell. The man was not attacking him; on the contrary he seemed utterly terrified.

"Jesus..." he heard Couture behind him curse and silently concurred. Whoever the man was, he looked as though he’d been through hell.

"Des amis," said Paol hastily, holding up his hands to show they contained no weapons, “We are friends.”

"A little early to be making promises, Kerjean." St Laurent emerged from the trees and stopped beside him, gazing down suspiciously at the stranger. "What is he? Partisan?"

"Français?" Paol asked the man, "Porportu—"

"Português?" Couture, recovering from the momentary feeling of sympathy, demanded caustically, prodding the man’s foot with his bayonet.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Allhands on Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:06 am

Fourier cursed. He would not have wanted this on an enemy, or anyone. Perhaps to keep his mind off of things he chose to watch their surroundings for movement much more eagerly than before. It was because there still could be a different enemy out there, he told himself. An enemy who was not so incapable of fighting as this one.

It was yet to be discovered whether what they found was an enemy or not. "...Whoever did that to him..." He muttered and jabbed his elbow against the lad's shoulder. "watch t' trees, watch it over there. We don't want to be taken by surprise, boy."

++

So familiar were the words, spoken in French. And yet he knew better than to hope. At the promise that they were friends, French, he looked almost pitifully hopeful,at the word Português, he flinched as if receiving a physical blow to his being. "Non..." He began then as if learning to speak again, he picked each word in slow succession, fearing to show confidence and faith in something that might come crashing down like a deck of cards build with the poorest foundation.

"You...French ,...real." What cruel game could his mind be playing with him, should it have made all this appear and then suddenly it would again all be gone. He jerked his foot closer to himself, away from the bayonet which had prodded against it, and winced for this motion too had caused him pain. "Who..are you?"
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Paol Kerjean on Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:35 am

Paol frowned at the man’s broken syntax, but the halting speech could as well have been a testament to the fellow’s state of mind as his country of origin. He hoped for the man’s sake that it was the former.

“Yes,” Paol tried to speak reassuringly, “We are French. With the 86e. And you? You are French?”
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Allhands on Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:36 pm

"French.." It appeared the man repeated that word only to reassure himself. Only, when it nearly looked as if he was reassured, suspicion gripped at his mind and he stared at Paol blandly. Perhaps they were lying. Yet they wore a French uniform. But, they could still have been lying to learn more about him. To learn that he was lying to them, again, because he would have told the truth this time.

Should he? They already knew that he had lied. What would they have gained that they had not known of already. Unless they were a different group of men. But they looked so French and they spoke French.
Not that this had been something impossible for the Portuguese to do. He had not noticed how long he remained silent, mulling over whether to trust them or not. What else could he tell them. Right. He knew.

"French." He nodded and winced, then paused. "...Saint-Hilaire... " There he hesitated again. "Soldat." For now. When he was assured that they were indeed who they introduced themselves as he could be true. Even if he was wrong to trust them, he knew that his body could not take much more and at the very worst, he could die soon. That prospect did not look as terrible anymore. It would be a final relief. They could not follow him in death. They could not harm him when he was passed.

He gazed distractedly at Paol again. Had the man said something? He averted his gaze and saw the blurry, colourful shapes of the other men. Even for that he struggled to turn around too much. The smaller figure made him halt his breath. "...... voltigeurs? You? Are you?" And then for a moment his mind wandered again.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  François Sevière on Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:39 am

Francois nodded in agreement, "Oui."

Fourier was right, just because this fellow on the ground was incapable of doing them any harm did not mean there might not be others about who might be seeking to ambush the French. The Portuguese were beasts.

Though he wanted to hear more about what the story was with this man, his attention now focused on their surrounding terrain. Keeping his musket at the ready, he scanned beyond the small knot of soldiery to various trees and rocks, seeing if he could discern any other figures or even hints of movement.

Francois would be most relieved when they could get out of this locale and back to the main body of troops.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Paol Kerjean on Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:28 am

"Non. 86e de Ligne," Paol repeated.

Frowning with impatience, St Laurent crossed his arms across his chest, looking from the stranger to each of his own men. Navarre was keeping quiet, but beginning to grow restive. More than once since the beginning of the exchange, St Laurent had seen him fingering the hilt of the wicked looking, curved knife he'd acquired in Oporto. And Couture looked only too happy to discharge his musket. At least Fourier and the new lad were attempting to be useful.

"What's your regiment?" St Laurent demanded, the deepening unease he felt with the situation making his voice sharper than he intended.
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Allhands on Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:46 am

The man was about to open his mouth and betray the name of his regiment, only to notice a flash of light that reflected from the knife Navarre carried with him. It was enough to have him stiffen and quiet down.

When he spoke again it sounded dejected and forlorn."...If..you are Portuguese....then kill me. You've.. had enough...fun." There was some gravity in his voice, resolve, a mind being made. "If you lie.. if you lie to me..." he repeated and rested his head against the ground, the effort of keeping it up quite tiring. "...if you are not the 86e de Ligne.." He breathed in sharply. "...Then please, be done with it..."

He closed his uninjured eye and relaxed.

Fourier nodded, satisfied that their youngest was doing his job, and keeping his mind on the better things. "If you think you see anythin'.. you just warn us. Anything!" He muttered to Seviére and then glanced at their find." Shouldn't we just take him somewhere's safe for us to interrogate. As much as I like a decent natter ...I'd not want to meet the people who'd done it to him."

He jerked his head up then, thinking he saw movement that resembled something more sentinel than an animal. He lifted his musket ready to fire. He studied the same spot for a moment and his certainty that it had been human, begame less so.

"...Could jus' leave him here. He ain't our problem.." If he was not a French soldier, he could easily be left behind. He was not missed, nobody would know. And if they found him he'd be dead. Unable to tell.

Fourier decided to leave Sevier with the duty of sentry and approached the man. He nudged him with the tip of his shoe. "You heard this fellow here. St Laurent. Now you answer. No more stallin' n' beatin' about it! We're not t' ones who did it to you. We're French. And you better not lie what you are. We'll know."

Saint-Hilaire, as he had introduced himself murmured a very quiet: "Voltigeur, 17e régiment d'infanterie légére."
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Paol Kerjean on Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:10 am

"Navarre!" St Laurent reined his temper in with an effort, "Put that thing away. Couture, don't even think about it. Fourier—" He was about to tell the older soldier to shut the hell up when the stranger spoke, and managed to come up with a legitimate regiment at that. Finally. Christ God, it was like pulling teeth.

"That don't mean nothin'," persisted Couture.

"Couture, if he is a partisan (which I very much doubt) and thinks he will receive some kind of fair treatment from our army, then he's even more of an idiot than you. I wouldn't worry about it. Now. Nobody's killing anyone, got it?" He turned from Couture to Navarre to be sure his words had sunk in then continued, "Kerjean? Think you can find your way back from here?"

Paol shrugged, "If I keep heading southwest, I will hit our track eventually, no?"

"Right. Take Sevoir, there with you and get this poor wretch back to our lines. See if you can't pass him off on the 17e. He can be their problem, now."

Nodding, Paol returned his attention to the voltigeur, "I am going to take your arm, alright?" he said gently, "Just to help you up. Sevière, there," he indicated the boy, "He will help too."
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Paol Kerjean
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:38 am

"...Oui." He refrained from attempting to see where the mentioned lad stood. He'd see when it was time and he was raised to his feet. He could make an effort to try and walk some more, but he doubted he would get far that way. He jerked his head to attention again when he felt his arm gripped to help him to his feet. And he struggled to offer some help, gritting his teeth and curling his hands into fists, till his knuckles turned chalk white.

"Thank you." If he was safe with these men, he would do anything to help them move him with less effort. Even if it hurt. "..please..tell them to be careful. ..I... don't know where they are but...they must be close, should be....are we running or..advancing? Did soldat Desmarais reach you?He is of line, I think. Made prisoner at Oporto.. "
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Étienne Saint-Hilaire
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

Post  François Sevière on Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:20 pm

Fourier snapped at him then started to pay more attention to the interrogation, leaving young Francois to watch all the directions in case someone else approached. He did his best and fortunately did not see anyone or even any suspicious movement.
Though he kept watch, he couldn't help but overhear much of the conversation. To his ear, the man sure sounded like a genuine Frenchman though why he was in civilian dress he did not understand. Perhaps a spy?

Suddenly it seemed the decision had been made to send the poor wretch back to the encampment. Francois agreed until he heard St.Laurent butcher his name while suggesting he be one of the two taking the injured fellow back.

"Excuse me, but it's Seviere. Not that difficult," Francois spoke up for himself.

Paol began to help the man while Francois shouldered his musket so he too could assist. He nodded as Paol asked him to lend a hand.

Once they had the injured man up to his feet, Francois decided to engage the man in conversation.

"You say 'they'. Who is they? The Portuguese? And as for this Desmarais, I have no idea."

"Anyone else know who he is talking about?" Francois looked to the other veterans.

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François Sevière
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Re: June 2(?) - Foraging

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