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9th July, evening; Looking innocent

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9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:40 am

It was telling that in the few months he'd been a soldier, he'd learned one thing above all else - if one wanted anything from the army, one needed to take it, because sure as the sun rose every morning, the army would never give it to one. Accordingly, Martin had, however reluctantly, resorted to thievery to get the various items he needed for his duties. If he could not get those items honestly, that was. Most recently, he had helped himself to several yards of blue wool to make up Rifleman Cotton's trousers.

Now, he was on a mission to find some white linen, hopefully enough to make up a shirt. Or, failing that, he'd settle for a shirt that was already made up. It would be easy enough to alter such an article. Especially for him. Assuming he could find anything that was suitable. One had to be very careful when on the hunt for such items around the Guards' camp. Martin had never encountered a group of gentlemen who were more concerned with their belongings and comfort than these. It made things very difficult.

The quartermaster's wagon was nearby, but after getting the wool from him a week ago, Martin was leery of approaching the man with another request for fabric. It was too likely word would get to Captain Blackwood, and then there would be trouble. Especially since the trousers made from that wool had been given to a man outside the regiment. Martin made himself walk past the quartermaster's wagon without a glance. He didn't want to steal anything again but there were few other options.

Or maybe there were. A laden mule was picketted not far away and looked to be unattended. That would have to do. Martin approached the animal with forced nonchalance and slipped his fingers under the flap of the nearer pack. His other hand patted the mule on the shoulder, to make it seem as though this was his own beast. Ah. There! His fingertips curled into linen and he drew the article swiftly out. It was out of sight into his breadbag in an instant. He scratched the mule's neck and muttered a word of gratitude to it before going on his way.

Now to get back to his captain's tent. Like as not he'd have to work swiftly to get the shirt altered so it would fit. Captain Blackwood would need this new shirt very soon, Martin knew. He wound his way through the usual bustle that was the company's part of the camp, glad for once to be back in such a familiar area. He passed Lieutenant Woodmarsh's tent and found himself scowling at the small canvas structure. The gesture was ill-timed, he realised with a sickened feeling, for the tent flap came open just as he drew even with that end of the tent.

He tried to squash his expression back into neutrality, but certainly he could not succeed in it. Not so quickly! Damn...
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:03 am

Woodmarsh was in the process of strolling grandly out of his tent when he nearly walked smack into a soldier passing by.

"Blast it all, watch yourself, man!" he exclaimed, giving the man an irritated glare, wondering who would dare to barge so close to his tent. Oh, it was that mousey little private. What was his name? Woodmarsh had never paid much attention to the men who served under him, so it was not surprising that the lad's name was escaping him. Something with a D seemed to ring a bell, though. Darling? Well, it sounded right enough. "In a rush, are we, Darling? Where are you off to so damned fast?"

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:15 am

"S-s-sir!"

Damn all his luck, it would have to be Woodmarsh himself! Martin came to a quivering halt, stopping so short that he nearly toppled over. "S-s-sorry s-s-sir. I was j-j-just going to C-C-Captain Blackwood's t-t-tent. S-sir."

Find a hole. Find a hole. Then disappear into it. Oh why did he think himself safe enough to come by this way?!
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:43 am

"Hmm, I cannot say much for your eyesight, Darling. Does this look like Captain Blackwood's tent to you? Well, I suppose one officer's tent must look much like another to a private," Woodmarsh scoffed. Typical of the common soldier. "So what is it that's got you off to the captain in such a rush? Needs his uniform brushed immediately, does he?"

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:05 pm

That was almost a perfect invitation to flee, but Martin had enough presence of mind despite his terror to recognise that he could not simply escape without answering the question put to him.

"S-s-something like, s-s-sir," he managed. "I-I mean, y-y-yes, he d-does. S-S-Sir."

Please just let him go on his way! The sooner he could get somewhere else, the better. Even if it did mean running for the captain's tent. That was not much of a refuge but it was preferable to being under Woodmarsh's scrutiny.
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:52 am

"Something like?" Woodmarsh raised an eyebrow. It was not a complicated question. Either Blackwood needed his uniform tidied up or not. Darling had replied in the affirmative, but it seemed as if he was unsure about the answer. He did not particularly care what the captain needed done, but the way the private was shilly-shallying around was odd indeed. "For God's sake Darling, what's got into you? Blackwood's not going to flog you if you forget to do his laundry, is he?"

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:07 am

Oh God. Was that even an option? Knowing Captain Blackwood, it could very well be. Hell and death. Martin had not yet been flogged, by some miracle, and he had no interest in enduring such a shameful punishment now.

"I-I-I don't k-k-know, s-sir," he managed, trying hard to keep his knees from quaking too obviously.
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:53 am

"Well I can't speak for Blackwood, but I would not order a terrible punishment for forgetting to do laundry. Only a dozen lashes or so."

Woodmarsh grinned at his joke, though he suspected the timid private would not find it very funny. Clearly the man had no sense of humour.

"Seriously Darling, if you're so concerned about the Captain's wrath, then get yourself to his tent. But I really don't see why you're being so evasive about it. Unless Blackwood's got you running some covert operation that you can't talk about...even to a superior officer."

He gave Darling a rather prying look at that. Why was the private skulking around his tent anyway? Had Blackwood sent him to keep tabs on things? Did the Captain think Woodmarsh was shirking his duties? Perish the thought. Of course he was shirking his duties. He was always shirking his duties. But damn it, he did not need the Captain knowing that!

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Sun May 12, 2013 11:55 pm

Oh Lord. A dozen lashes? Would he really do that? He already knew that Captain Blackwood had a fearsome personality, so it was very possible. He also knew, all too well, what the captain thought of him.

It was therefore no great stretch of the imagination to accept that the captain would have no qualms about ordering Martin flogged, even for such a trifling offence. Never minding, of course, the fact that he had stolen some other officer's shirt in order to make up for the lack in Captain Blackwood's wardrobe. That crime, if it was discovered, meant a flogging for sure.

"Y-Y-Yes sir." Martin checked himself, realising with a shiver what he might just have potentially admitted to. "I-I mean n-n-no, sir. It's n-n-not a c-cover a-anything. S-S-Sir."

Hell and piss and death, he thought wildly and was surprised with himself for such coarse words, even unspoken ones.
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Thu May 16, 2013 9:00 am

Yes? No? Maybe so? What was wrong with the private? Was his brain addled by drink or heat or God only knew what?

"Darling, I'm beginning to wonder if you even know where you are right now, let alone what you're doing." Woodmarsh shook his head. If Blackwood really was trying to keep tabs on him, then he had chosen a very poor spy. Speaking very slowly and clearly, he said, "I will ask you straight, then. What has Captain Blackwood ordered you to do? If it truly is only his laundry, then will you please show it to me, so I can be certain that you have no ulterior motives for your hurry."

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Thu May 23, 2013 1:00 am

Woodmarsh was more correct than he knew. That was, Martin was steadily realising that he most certainly did not know what he was doing right then. This was not a good thing. 'Not good' nothing. This was bad.

"I-I-I am to d-d-do h-h-his w-wa-washing, s-s-s-sir." Oh Lord, even his stammer was worsening. He had to get out of here before his ability to speak failed entirely. "B-B-But I d-do n-n-not ha-ha-ha... have it."
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:56 pm

No laundry? The private was supposed to be doing Blackwood's laundry...yet did not have it? Woodmarsh raised an eyebrow. The private's excuse did not have much credibility if he did not have any garments about his person. Yet he still wondered how Darling could possibly be doing any sort of covert activity for Blackwood when he practically stuck out like a sore thumb. Good gracious. Woodmarsh may have envied the Captain's ranking, but he certainly did not envy his incompetent subordinates. Thank heavens he did not have to put up with such lax behavior from Christian. If Christian was going to do laundry, he bloody did it, instead of skulking around and babbling foolishly.

"Ah, indeed? Then I pity Captain Blackwood, for he will never get his laundry cleaned if you keep standing about and carrying on in such an undignified manner."

Woodmarsh was getting quite tired of watching the private quaking in front of him, not to mention that he was beginning to fear the man's foolishness would start rubbing off on him if he lingered too much longer. And Woodmarsh certainly did not want to turn into a babbling imbecile. He was much too perfect for that.

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:05 pm

There. That was the opening Martin had been fervently praying for. He tried not to look too eager to be on his way, however, for fear that this odious lieutenant would detain him longer.

"Y-Y-Yes, s-s-sir. L-L-Leave t-to go a-a-about m-my d-d-duties, sir?" That had not come out quite as badly as he'd feared. Maybe there was hope yet.

That thought was proved false when a new voice, rather more firm and confident, cut into the conversation. "Lieutenant Woodmarsh, sir," Corporal Porter said in his light drawl, rendering a perfect salute. "Is this guardsman a-troubling yourself, sir?"
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:20 pm

"Ah Corporal Porter, how fortuitous you have arrived," said Woodmarsh, turning at the sound of the voice. Perhaps the corporal could make some sense out Darling's babbling. He himself was getting damn tired of trying to make head or tails of it. "Well, I would not quite say 'troubling,' but the private does seem to be rather confused. He keeps telling me he is to do Captain Blackwood's laundry, yet claims not to have it. So I have merely been trying to ascertain exactly what he is doing if not the Captain's laundry, though I have been unable to get a satisfactory answer from him."

In a lower voice he added, "If you ask me, I think the man's gone off his rocker...or been imbibing a bit too much. I'd advise you to use simple words if you hope to truly get any information from him."

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:15 am

Martin decided he did not like the way in which Porter was regarding him as the lieutenant described the situation. Of course, the corporal had never been kind or gentle in his treatment of Martin. Especially not when a perceived offence was involved.

"He's a simpleton, sir," said Porter blandly. "I know how to handle him though. Here, Guardsman. Where's the captain's washin' at if you're to be a-doin' it?"

It was best to at least try to make a calm answer even though he knew that to be entirely beyond him, in his present state of nerves. "I-I-It's i-in his t-t-tent, C-C-Corporal."
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:24 am

Woodmarsh snorted derisively. "And what sort of good does that do Captain Blackwood if you're here and his laundry is there?" He shook his head and turned to Porter. "See what I mean? Completely off his rocker."

Once again he thanked his good fortune that Christian was not foolish like this dolt.

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:11 am

"Indeed I do, sir. Make sense, Guardsman. You're addressing an officer."

Corporal Porter was looking at him as if he was no more than a pile of mule dung in the dirt. It was impossible to not feel defensive when under this sort of scrutiny but Martin was no stranger to containing his emotions in situations like these.

Well. Mostly.

"I'm g-g-going t-to d-d-do it n-now, s-s-sir," he explained.
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:15 pm

Good God, he had already heard this in several incoherent variations. Woodmarsh rolled his eyes. He was getting ready to simply tell Porter not to bother lest they both completely lose their minds trying to get any sense from Darling.

"So you have been saying, private, but that still does not explain what you are doing here. I cannot imagine that by now you have not learned the location of the Captain's tent. Then again, perhaps I can imagine that, the way you keep carrying on..."

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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Martin Darling on Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:56 am

"H-H-How e-else am I-I t-t-to g-get there, i-if I-I d-don't p-p-pass t-this way, s-s-sir?"

The instant the words finally made it past his lips, Martin knew he had erred. The knowledge made his knees, which were already unsteady, threaten to completely give out beneath him. Cheeking anyone, never mind an officer, was wholly out of reason. He would get flogged for it for sure.

"S-S-Sorry, s-s-sir. I-I-I - "

Corporal Porter's hand landed roughly on his shoulder, effortlessly silencing Martin's terrified stammering. "I apologise for this Guardsman, sir. He is not in his right mind."
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Re: 9th July, evening; Looking innocent

Post  Gareth Woodmarsh on Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:45 pm

"Yes, that is rather apparent, Corporal," Woodmarsh said, very nearly rolling his eyes yet again. Had Porter only just caught on to what he had been saying several times for the last few minutes? "I would recommend beating him, but then that might knock what little brains he has out of him and leave him even more of a blithering idiot. Besides, he already seems to have no idea how to go about doing the Captain's laundry. Beating him senseless surely would only make that chore impossible." He shook his head. "No, just get the oaf about his business so that the Captain can deal with him. Quite frankly I'm getting tired of his blathering."

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