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14th June: Building bridges of humanity

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Fri May 02, 2014 7:37 am

"Many men say so, few mean it." Was Estefania's quick reply before she gave Torrington a mock salute, nudged the sides of her mare and set her into motion. They rode off, kicking up some dust and dirt and disappeared quickly from view.

She was still torn as what to do. The innitial, poorly thought plan which her stubborness and pride and more so her want for a quick and simple decision, had concocted still appealed to the side of her, which did not want to waste time and possibly see the man killed in the meanwhile. The more reasonable side that was wrought with doubt as to her plan, wanted her to do as the officer suggested or even to return and call of the whole 'mission'.

Before however she could make the mistake and both endanger her own life as that of the engineer as possibly anger the later and his army for loosing him, she heard a high pitched whistle which sounded like a bird call and yet somehow less like a real bird. It was not the call that surprised her as much as how near she had heard it. She had expected them to be near, but far from being right in the 'neighbourhood'.

The call repeated itself and she pulled the reigns oddly quite relieved. She saw movement to her left with the corner of her eye and turned around, her mare still facing in the direction it intended to go.

"Where do you think you're going" The voice said, before the face appeared, sunburned skin, dark hair and equally dark eyes. With him appeared the second man rather easily recognisable as Emanuel. Estefania folded her hands.

++

In the village some of the Frenchmen had disappeared in the nearest houses, while there were still several that stood guard by the horses. These seemed much less relaxed but also perhaps more annoyed that they had to wait while others could possibly have found a nice store of drink somewhere.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri May 02, 2014 7:48 am

Since he had commited himself to one course of action now, Torrington saw no reason to waste any more time. As silently as possible, he approached the village in a wide arc, searching for anything stinky that could be used to produce smoke and stench. While he tried to keep as much as possible out of sight of the French, he also tried to walk quite normally and confidentially, as if he really belonged there.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Fri May 02, 2014 8:10 am

Next followed the conversation between Estefania and the band of men that she normally traveled with. It was no surprise that they were in the area. When she had left them that day, they were not far from the British camp, but would, as was discussed, also be about their own business later in the day. When she began the return journey in the company of the Engineer she had thought them still occupied and with the area being considerably large, doubted that she could ever have found them on time.

Well, all doubts in how to find them or what to do were now solved. She did not waste time and instead hurried to explain what was going on not too far from their present location. She mentioned the British officer that needed backup and also the note that was to be delivered to the army. She asked the man, who went by the nick name of Cavaleiro and was the one who gave most of the orders among them and made most of the plans, for permission to have Bernardo, one of the younger members of the group, deliver the message.

She insisted to come with them, though much less fervently as she had done earlier. Since the British officer wore blue, she did not wish him mistaken for a Frenchman. She knew she would not be in the front lines and did not argue to be.

The promise of horses actually convinced Cavaliero more to take on the endevour of assisting the British officer than the fact that he could become a prisoner.

Bernardo set off not too long after. The band had now only to make a good plan.
+++

There were some old rags that had been freshly washed. Some also lay abandoned in the basket. It appeared as if the lady who might have intended to take them to the river, dropped everything and dispersed when she heard that the French had entered the village.

There were even some farm animals scampering freely about and a dog barking not too far off. The French so far had not noticed the new arrival, and seemed more keen on discovering if there was a cellar that might provide them with some hard earned booty.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat May 03, 2014 8:57 am

Rags were not the best thing for his plan, but if he found nothing else, they would have to suffice. He collected the dirty ones and briefly considered catching a chicken, but running after an animal seemed to stretch his cover a bit far. He just hoped that at some point he would find some chicken feathers - not completely unlikely if the French were hungry.

He slowly worked his way towards a position he had pinpointed as the best to set his plan in motion and tried to pinpoint where Estefania would be now. If possible, he would wait until she was at least at the British lines. He reckoned that way he had at least half a change to hold out long enough.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Allhands on Sat May 03, 2014 9:09 am

Where the chickens had been resting, a few stray feathers could be found. Some were the very soft ones that might have been plucked as the animals cleaned themselves, but there were even a few slightly bigger ones. One or two covered in dirt and quite possibly bird poop.

The French were still distracted either by their horses, or by the houses which they entered. A few must have found a tavern or a pub, for they seemed to be quite loud and joyous about their discovery.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat May 10, 2014 6:23 am

Carefully, Torrington collected the stuff into his handkerchief. When the officer of the French outfit suddenly walked by, the engineer made even closer contact with the (quite smelly, even when not set on fire) mass when he had to drop to the ground to avoid detection.

He was fortunate enough to be able to understand a number of orders the Frenchman gave to a soldier (mostly dealing with the soldiers disappearing to plunder the houses), but was still very glad when he could move again and creep on.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Sat May 10, 2014 8:34 am

One of the soldiers waited for the Officer to head off in the other direction before he neared the place where Torrington had been creeping through. A friend of his called up to him and then with a wave and a laugh seemed to have cracked a joke.

They came even closer, chatting away quite merrily. That section had been checked earlier, when Torrington was not yet there and so gave the two a sense of false security.

While conversing, they did what all have to do, no matter whether a soldier or a camp follower, namely, began to relieve themselves having spotted no movement but finding the place a bit less in the open as the others.

++

Estefania followed the group of the irregulars as they headed in the direction of the village she described. The horses were good booty they did not want to miss getting. Hearing the number of men they were convinced that they would be able to realise their plan. Of course another messenger had been sent to find more volunteers for the endevour.

Though their leader liked even greater numbers to be used against the French, he decided that only members of their own group would be called for this. Part of the reason was the unwillingness of sharing the spoils.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat May 10, 2014 11:45 pm

If Torrington had not liked the plan before due to the many tactical weaknesses it had, he now began to loath it on a purely personal, probably unprofessional and previously unimaginable level. While he was spared the absolute worst, the impact was still mcuh too close for comfort, and some rather childish part of Torrington's brain resolved to rather die in the crossfire than to get captured by the French in an uniform soiled with ... that. Not to mention the smell.

"At least they will never suspect me being here now ...", he tought grimly, tring to see the humour of the situation. He had a horrible feeling that this might be one of the stories everybody found hilarious if he told them, and swore never to get drunk enough for that. Of course, they would only be hilarious if he actually managed to get out of this successfully - but thinking about the alternative was getting him nowehere, so he pushed the thought aside.

As soon as he safely could, he moved again, only daring to breath once he was crouching behind the dung heap he had decided to set on fire. The horses were kept on the other side on the village square, downwind and with an open street for (hopefully) bolting out of the settlement. The dung was also covering his own smell, he thought, still unhappy.

Methodically, he prepared his arsenal. The improvised glove grenades, the handkerchief which would be targeted at the officer's horse - hopefully the lead horse of the group -, one pistol, loaded, and, lastly, one pistol, unloaded, to set fire to the straw, and the means to load it afterwards. A quick glance to his watch confirmed that Estefania should be halfway back to the British lines by now. Taking a deep breath, he started to set his plan into motion.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Sun May 11, 2014 12:03 am

The gang had spread out through the village. Everyone knew where they needed to be and they have been told in great detail who was the officer that they needed to leave unharmed and how he looked. Estefania tried her best to describe him in such a fashion that there would be no doubt as the last thing she had wanted was to have the British officer killed, because of a miss-indentification.

She was not taking part in the first line of attack. She would still be close though. As they heard the first sounds and saw the smoke they waited for a moment more before springing into action. It was as if the whole thing had been agreed with the officer. He would start up the distraction and the irregulars would lead the main attack, bouncing the distraction in their direction so that he might be able to head for the horses.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon May 12, 2014 8:26 am

Waiting until a restless horse shook its head and made its harness jingle, he used his empty pistol to set fire to the dungheap. The stone struck a spark with a loud click, and while the straw (helped along by a bit of powder) began to burn, Torrington froze for a moment. Then he quickly reloaded his pistol and held a stick into the fire to have a match for his grenades.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Mon May 12, 2014 8:37 am

The irregulars had taken residence in several nooks and crannies, along the walls of the houses and under cover, where they could find it, awaiting the signal.

One of them, who had been for the longest while accompanied by Estefania until they heard the unusual sound of a click. They both froze and waited for a moment. The lady drew her neck cloth briefly to her face. They were close to where the fire was being started. A whisper exchanged between them then they, in a crouch, shifted position just enough that they could see the man playing with fire.

She gave a curt nod. That was him. She may have only seen his back, but it was Torrington. Not wasting a moment since her task was done, she disappeared, leaving the other irregular to approach the officer.

With her gone, the youth of maybe 18, and dubbed the messenger, crouched low as he moved carefully towards the officer, hoping to make enough sound to be noticed but considered not threatening, as he did not want to die either!
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon May 12, 2014 8:44 am

As soon as he heard the movement, Torrington whirled around and dropped into a crotch, aiming his pistol at the man sneaking up on him. He instantly reckognized the lack of uniform and weapon pointed at him, and took his own down a little bit, but he did not relax when he raised a questioning eyebrow.

Fearing that it might be a distraction, he kept his ears open and shifted a bit until he was sure his back was covered by a building.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Mon May 12, 2014 9:03 am

The youth raised his hands in a nonthreatening manner, though he did not stand nor straighten out. He did not want to betray their position by pretty much standing in the line of view for someone other than Torrington.

"It's alright." He began, now hoping very much that this man knew Portuguese. "I'm one of the irregulars. Segnora Lopes you know? We have taken possitions throughout the village." He indicated around them as if to point out different members of their group.

"We have come to assist." He grinned, ready to explain more - very quickly - if the officer decided he did not shoot him.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon May 12, 2014 10:09 pm

Unfortunately Torrington, whose Portuguese was still rudimentary, could not make out much of what the young man said, although he understood Estefania's name and irregulars and so had at least some reassurance that the newcomers were more or less on his side. Whether the rest was a plan of attack, or a situation report, or something altogether different, he was not sure though. Holding up a hand to stop the other, he whispered:

"Slow, please. I don't understand. You are irregulars? And here to help getting the horses?"

He used as much Portuguese as he could, but he had to use parts of Italian to fill the gaps, and repeated everything in English, just in case the other knew his language better than the other way around.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Mon May 12, 2014 10:11 pm

The youth studied Torrington for a long while then tried, best he could remember, to repeat the words Estefania had repeated to him several times while also holding out a very small bit of paper, crumbled beyond recognition, dirty in places and with a very quickly scribbled down points. He hoped that the two together would make more sense.

Clearly the paper did not have anything that could on its own make enough sense, because the boy could still have been caught by the enemy and they did not want the enemy to know either.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon May 12, 2014 10:32 pm

Torrington frowned, handed over the burning stick and took the paper. He realized that they had only very little time before the fire was big enough to have an effect, and if the plan as previously lined out was to be enacted, he needed to know more or less instantly, otherwise he would miss the opportunity.

As far as he could see, there was a decent number of irregulars in the village now, though. Setting the horses completely wild would probably not be too good an idea now, since they might come in the way of the irregulars or trample them. Sighing deeply, he quickly modified his plan. Signalling the lad to follow him, he showed him what he had prepared, and quickly sketched out that the boy should take over here, while he would sneak up behind the guard of the horses. He would knock him out (hopefully) and get on the officer's horse, then shoot the other guard, while the lad should start to use the arsenal against any French who might try to approach. He looked at the irrgular then, a raised eyebrow asking whether he understood and concurred sofar.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Mon May 12, 2014 10:36 pm

The youth blinked a couple of times, then nodded slowly. He indicated, this time in the dirt on the ground, what and whereabouts the others were and what they would do. Many of the cavalry would be covered by them, attacked by them and dealt with by them. Easy enough. Torrington's plan fit with that too.

He then indicated quickly what he was to do, as if to make sure he understood and then nodded. Torrington could continue with his new plan if he wished to. The boy would do his part.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed May 14, 2014 8:22 pm

Torrington studied the setup for a moment, making sure he understood as well, then nodded. He indicated where he would try to lead the horses to - just outside the village, where the Irregulars could instantly mount them. Quite possibly he was supposed to claim the horses for the British army, but the Irregulars were here, probably needed the horses themselves, and most likely would take offence at any attempt to "steal" the horses from under their nose. So Torrington decided that in the long run the British would profit more from a gesture of good will towards their allies than from a couple of French horses, and planned accordingly.

Then, with a last friendly pat on the young Insurgent's shoulder, he began to sneak away again, ready to try his hand at knocking out the first guard.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Allhands on Thu May 15, 2014 2:05 am

The youth nodded to confirm he understood what the officer would do, then indicated that he would tell the others.

He turned and disappeared as suddenly as he had come. Most of the others have settled into their positions ready to leap at the unsuspecting soldiers, when the signal was given. Some have already become somewhat suspicious of the smoke, though it apparently had not yet caused much alarm from those who had seen it.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat May 17, 2014 5:25 am

Since his plan depended on the youth being in place to launch the distraction in his stead, Torrington had to wait for him to reappear. He just hoped the lad would do it quickly, because the fire was becoming bigger and bigger, and might be spotted any moment. To be ready to spring into action as soon as the Spaniard reappeared, and to minimize the chance that he was accidentally spotted, the engineer decided to slowly creep to the building corner that would affort him a view of the place where the youth would reappear, but at the same time was considerably closer to the guard, but not in the line of sight if the guard should look to the fire.

Now he only needed to possess himself in patience ...

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Estefania Lopes d.Almeida on Sat May 17, 2014 9:12 am

The lad was back rather quickly, appearing as if from thin air. He had had the stealthy approach down to pat nearly and then, taking his position as he was earlier told. He nodded, a signal - should Torrington look in his direction again - that he was ready.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Sun May 18, 2014 8:41 am

Fortunately, the engineer had, so that he was able to nod back and then sneak forward without any further delay. Fortunately the French were tasked to make sure the horses didn't cause any trouble, not the natives, and so had their attention on them, so Torrington managed to proceed unchallenged. He gripped the barrel of one pistol firmly and approached the guard he had selected as silently as possible.

"I just hope Bella's Gothic novels are right and it is really as easy to knock somebody out with a pistol butt as they make it appear to be", he thought to himself in the split second between raising up from his cover and bringing the hard ebony down on the man's head.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Allhands on Sun May 18, 2014 4:42 pm

Whether it was dumb luck of Torrington that he had struck at just the right place, or whether he had used more force than needed and that caused the man to sag, could not be determined, however the end result still was that the guard sagged to the ground, with a fleeting expression of pain on his features.

The youth got reads to deflect any of the attacks coming from the French once they heard the shot or, in the case of Torrington, perhaps even once the man that was just turning to see what the sound was, to sound the alarm.
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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon May 19, 2014 12:49 am

Buoyed by his surprisingly easy success, Torrington raised his other pistol and shot the other guard just moments after he had seen him. Before the smoke had cleared, he had a boot in the stirrup and was swinging into the saddle. The officer's (Torrington still had no idea what rank he actually had - something he found rather unsettling) horse was nervous, and bucked, and for a moment Torrington needed all his concentration to get it firmly under control.

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Re: 14th June: Building bridges of humanity

Post  Allhands on Wed May 21, 2014 12:07 am

several of the soldiers heard the fire and came rushing out of the houses. A couple had been assaulted by the irregulars which seemed to have sprung out of the ground and were brought down before they ever had a chance to raise their weapons.

There were one or two who remained in the house, but even those would in the long run probably not fare any better. Two , which had been outside at the time, came rushing towards Torrington. The youth who was doing as Torrington ordered him, was doing his job rather amiably too.
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