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4th June: Visitations

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4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:38 am

The whole day felt like one ages long journey. But.. he was feeling better. His fever had gone, he was more aware and although he was heavily medicated with one thing or other,he was feeling better than a few days ago. Or perhaps, this was the reason itself.

He had slowly gotten used to the idea that all that he saw around him, was not just a mere hopeful illusion, but that it was real. He was safe, and he delighted in hearing murmurs of conversation outside. Not for its content but for them being in French. At one point he may have heard Portuguese. It was female, it was screaming, though he was not sure whether it was real or something he had dreamt up in his worse state.

At present, he was merely staring at the side of the surgeon's wagon. It had stopped sometime ago. The reason did not matter as long as men were not in a hurry betraying them being in danger. Slowly he struggled to sit up. He should really not have attempted this at all. Not so soon after being found. He winced at the pain from his thigh, back, arm..., which were still dulled out by the laudanum he had recently received. Maybe, if he tried real hard he could shuffle, crawl, or move in some form or manner to see what was going on outside? It was worth a try.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  outis on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:56 pm

Montreuil hobbled Rosette, the sturdy mare who pulled the wagon, leaving her to graze on the early summer grass. Bertrand had not yet returned with water, so the surgeon set about gathering materials for a fire. There was plenty of scrub around for tinder and he managed to find a sufficient quantity of larger branches to feed a proper blaze for a short while. Crouching down, he separated the tinder from the fuel and, finding that several of the branches were not quite dry, took a knife and began to slice off the damp bark.

A noise from the wagon caused him to turn. He could not see the patient from his current position, but long experience had taught him to assume the worst. His invective, however, was forestalled by the sound of someone approaching.

Turning again, Montreuil recognized Kerjean. "Come to see if the rabid little mongrel is still among the living?" he demanded.

"Yes, sir."

The surgeon jerked his thumb in the direction of the wagon. "And tell him, if he doesn't keep still, I'll ****ing hogtie him."

Paol tried not to smile at that. Nodding instead and mumbling an affirmative, he made his way over to the vehicle and hesitantly poked his head around one of the doors which opened at the back.

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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:14 pm

He heard a sound of someone approaching moments before he could see light shed into the wagon and there, also a face appear at the door. He looked alarmed at first, then relaxed into a small, sleepy smile. He recognised the Frenchman.

Waiting for a few moments to see if the surgeon was following suit - something he nearly expected - he saw the lad was alone. "..You can come in." He indicated carefully with the arm whose shoulder had not been injured, though even then it was a very slight wave, the skin on his back still a good reminder to keep it slight and simple.

He tried to judge whether it was morning, day, evening or night by the amount of light. Perhaps asking would have been simpler, more accurate. He still wanted to get up, and now he could ask this man for help. He may have hated being dependent of others, but every so often pride needed to be replaced by what was convenient, possible.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:53 am

Paol glanced skeptically at the dimensions of the wagon and smiled. "I think I will stay here, thanks. You are," he paused, recalling the French word, "recovering a little?"
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:52 pm

"Yes, thank you." Étienne shifted on his bed. He wished to have some fresh air, and take a glimpse at the comforting sight of the outside world, the scene of a French camp all around him. The soldiers in French uniforms going about their business, their officers doing their own.

"Could you be so kind, mister....." He tried to recall the name, but much of the past few days was a blur and his mind was still struggling to sort through the mess. ".. and help me to stand outside..." As seating himself comfortably was still not an option. Leaning on the side perhaps he could do, but he wondered if he would not soon find himself lying down instead. "Just for a little while." He smiled faintly, again trying to remember what had gone on since his arrival here.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:57 am

"Best to keep still. I don't think he was joking about tying you up. Here," he pulled the double doors of the wagon open as wide as they would go. "You can see outside at least. And the name's Kerjean. Paol, if you like."
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:04 am

"He means well. " Though he still wished to go out, he would have to be satisfied with the view Paol offered him, through the open doors of the wagon. "Thank you, monsieur Kerjean, Paol. Company does wonders to the mind." He shifted where he was, even this position tiring him quickly.

"I am.." Had he introduced himself before? Real name, false name? He touched his forehead with his hand, tapping his forefinger against his temple. "...Saint-Hilaire..Étienne. I am in your and.. your fellow men's debt." He spoke slower than he meant to, but articulated each word well.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:56 pm

It felt odd being addressed as 'monsieur'. Nobody ever called him that, except maybe Montreuil, and he usually reserved it for censure. Paol shook his head. "It weren't nothing to do with me." Truth be told, he was just glad he'd managed not to do the lad any serious damage hauling him out of the woods.

"Where are you from?" he asked, changing the subject.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:27 pm

"I am from Paris. My residence had been there for the most part." He respected the want for a change of the topic of their conversation though he disagreed with Paol's idea on his role in the retrieval.

"And yourself? " He asked studying Kerjean's uniform. "Your accent is somewhat distinguishable." This was said solely as an observation, his voice still tired, but kind. Paol was not the 17th. Étienne assumed that his own present residence was in the camp of Kerjean's regiment, the 86th and was quite possibly correct. It was pleasant to talk about the trivialities. Business and present state of the fighting was to be reserved for later.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:52 am

Somewhat distinguishable, Paol thought with amusement, that was putting it mildly. At least if others were to be believed. "Bretagne," he said, in answer to the fellow's question.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:43 am

Yes, it did make sense. Saint-Hilaire bowed his head carefully, the movement light and slow. "Honoured to meet you, monsieur." He spoke softly.

"What brought you into the ranks, if I may ask?" He inquired finding the position quite tiring. He was unwilling however to lie down fully again, or to avert his gaze away from the entrance where he could see Kerjean, but also behind him, the camp.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:26 am

Paol smiled uncertainly, torn between amusement and embarrassment at the formality with which the boy addressed him. The question, at least, was an easy one. "Conscription. A bit over nine years back." Nine and a half, nearly; it had been winter when he left and it was summer now, or would be before long. After a slight pause, he returned the question, "You?"
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:49 pm

"About four years ago. Maybe five." His head did not agree with making the correct calculation. "I beg you to pardon me on this undecided answer. My mind still needs some... sorting." He smiled faintly and rubbed his hand against the left temple, pressing in gently then rubbing again. His good eye opened again, to look at the other man. He seemed to hold his head at a tilt, his blind side turned away from Kerjean, his good, straight at him.

"Do you aspire for promotion in time?" He asked. Some men did, some preferred their position. This man was about 5 years his senior, that was clear, and he had yet not been more than a soldat. Not unusual, but it raised the curious question.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:29 am

There was an awkward pause. "Sorry," he said, his face flushing, "What does 'aspire' mean?"
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:00 am

"Would you like to be promoted? What rank would you like to hold once the war is finished?" Saint-Hilaire explained, not teasing the man, or mocking him but simply explaining as he was asked. He pretended not to see the redness of his cheeks, and spoke in a simple, friendly manner.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:20 pm

"Oh." Paol shook his head emphatically. "No."
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:27 pm

"Is there a particular reason that you do not wish to rise in ranks?" He could not see his inability to speak proper French yet, as something that might hinder his success, should his heart be brave, his mind set right and well skilled in bringing forth brave acts while fighting.

If his language had been the problem, then persistent training in the ways of grammar and speech was all that the man needed. But if he had felt shy against enacting authority on others, it was something that was much harder to alter.

The conversation, in which he tried not to force his mind into too much speculation and thought - hard to do, when he had not been a light infantry sous-lieutenant for not thinking at all - was making him feel more at ease. The company was friendly and pleasant, as much as it was unexpected. "Have you and the men placed bets on whether I may live or not?" He asked innocently, and looked rather amused by the notion. He would have thought it possible. Men were strange beings after all. Even the French.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:53 pm

He shrugged. "Dunno." He had never really thought about it. He knew his chances of promotion were slim to none, and he had no desire for the additional responsibility, so it was a moot point.

St Hilaire's second question caught him entirely off guard. "No. Why—" he broke off, regarding the younger man with a puzzled frown. "This is no more a game for us than it is for you," he said at last.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:49 pm

"It is not, perhaps." Saint-Hilaire agreed, traces of amusement slowly ebbing away from his face and tone of voice. "But should you have done, I would not have held it against you." He spoke honestly. "I would only have asked to have a share in the profits." His tone was light again, as if trying to make light of the situation that had nearly killed him. What else could he do? Cry? Weep at his loss? Depression could have made him give up, and that would have been his certain death.

"I am sorry If I have startled you. I did not mean it as an accusation." He smiled. "Might you have something on you, that is possible to drink?" He was thirsty , albeit not for the common water.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:22 pm

Paol reached for his canteen. There wasn't much left after a day's march and he had not yet been able to refill it. He offered it anyway. "It's just water."
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:49 pm

Water. Étienne felt somewhat disappointed. He had hoped for something stronger than that. Not letting this show on his face he nodded and took the canteen.Uncorking it, he gave its content a few small gulps. "Thank you." He murmured and lowered the canteen. There was very little left and he regretted taking even so much. Was there a river close by that the canteen could be refilled in?

"Is there anything you are wishing to ask, Paol?" He held the canteen back to the man. This action though had stretched his wound and the young man gasped in pain and curled on himself - which stretched another wound, making this ache worst, next.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:11 pm

He took back his canteen hastily. Hell, now he'd gone and made things worse. "Shall I get the sawbones?" he asked in concern.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:36 pm

Saint-Hilaire's breathing was rapid and shallow. He shook his head slowly and gazed at Paol. "No. It's.. going to ease up." He was embarrassed at the display of emotion and hurt even if he had very little to be ashamed of.

"The sawbones will have both our heads." He managed a pained smile. "And while I don't... " He winced, though he was slowly trying to relax back into his previous position. "..mind the loss of mine..I would prefer you do keep yours." Very tenderly he adjusted the fabric that had covered his neither regions and eased himself some more to the side.
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Paol Kerjean on Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:16 am

"I can handle Montreuil," he replied with a faint smile. "You sure you don't want me to get him?"
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Re: 4th June: Visitations

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:18 am

"Yes. It will ease. I've only strained it, the skin is not.. yet as flexible as I would hope it." He smiled. "Do you have any siblings?" It was a question that went in a completely different direction but it was something normal, something the man missed.
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