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Catching the Column

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Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:16 pm

[Having traveled from Coimbra, Friday morning]]


Jenny was exhausted. Maggie was exhausted. Joe was visibly exhausted, though he tried to hide it. How he could see a trail in the dark Jenny did not know, let alone trail enough for a donkey, and how he could find shortcuts was more than she could imagine. She was too tired to care. She had never, in fact, been more tired than she was at this moment. The donkey too was ready to drop. But Maggie was relentless, in spite of her pain. And they were close, very close. But why the hell was the column still moving? Why had they not stopped to camp?

"They haven't stopped," she muttered, though it came out sounding more like a whimper than she intended. "Why haven't they bloody stopped?"

"We must be nearly there," Maggie replied without much conviction.

"If only they would stop. We can't go on. I can't. Joe?"

"Can't stop," Maggie mumbled, sliding off of the donkey to give Jenny her place. As soon as she landed, she sat on the ground. That was a mistake. She knew at once that she would never be able to make herself get up again, not unless she had a long sleep first, right here. "You go," she mumbled. "Go tell them."

Now it was Jenny's turn. She dropped next to Maggie to see if she was all right, but it was impossible to rise to her feet again. "Joe. Go tell them. Make them wait for us." She knew that the column would do no such thing, but they had made it their joke ever since leaving Coimbra. "Tell them to slow down. Take Jessy. We'll be just a minute." Maggie was already asleep on the ground.

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Jenny Ross
Commander

Species : Camp follower, 60th Rifles
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Joe Newbury on Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:47 pm

His feet were like massive lead weights. How he was able to keep on the trail he'd found was impossible to say but the signs of recent passage of a large body of men were equally impossible to miss. Even a redcoat could have followed this track.

"Nearly there," Newbury grunted, slowing his stride enough to let the two women catch up. They couldn't stop moving, whatever they did, or they'd be finished for the night. "Maybe... I can catch them, I think."

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Joe Newbury
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:49 pm

"We'll stay here," Jenny answered drowsily.

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Number of posts : 1026
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Joe Newbury on Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:52 pm

The two of them had already stopped. Newbury paused, made a face, and
tightened his grip on his rifle. He didn't want to leave them by themselves, but he wouldn't be away for long. "I'll catch them," he said, and stirred his sluggish legs into a trot.


Last edited by Joe Newbury on Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:03 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Enter button errors)
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Joe Newbury
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:00 pm

With her mind already half asleep Jenny barely understood his intentions, but it was enough to satisfy her instincts. They would not have to worry now - Joe would take care of the rest of it. She mumbled a sort of farewell and curled next to Maggie, both of them too far gone to bother with blankets.

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Jenny Ross
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Number of posts : 1026
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Joe Newbury on Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:38 pm

Strangely, it was easy to keep up the trot once he got moving. Newbury moved almost mechanically, feeling distantly like he was simply on patrol. It shouldn't be too long before he was within hailing range of the rear scouts.

"Damn, damn, damn," he muttered to himself, pacing himself with each word. How the hell did he always get himself into messes like this?

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:04 am

Fandorin adjusted the reins. The 'local' garb was uncomfortable, but at least it helped him to blend it as much as it was possible for him. The horse walked slowly: even though he 'punished' Widmayer by sending him off to the nearest village for necessary supplies alone, he did not want to lose the boy completely.

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:09 am

Jenny was awake and alert as soon as she heard the sound of someone approaching. She sat up and looked around. "Joe? Is that you?" she called. She shook Maggie next to her. "Maggie, wake up. Someone's coming." She could hear the sound of a horse - probably not Joe, then - and the donkey next to them called out in response.

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Jenny Ross
Commander

Species : Camp follower, 60th Rifles
Number of posts : 1026
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:12 am

Fandorin stopped the horse as he heard someone calling out. A woman? And apparently an English one. But what was she doing so far from the rest of the army at night? He dismounted and walked in the direction where the voices came from.

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Maggie Cotton on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:15 am

Maggie sat up and pulled her shawl closer, feeling cold and suddenly frightened. Before leaving Coimbra, she had used some of her money to buy a knife. It was more a kitchen implement than a weapon, but she pulled it out now and gripped it nervously. "Who's there?" she called out.

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Maggie Cotton
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Species : Camp follower/sutler, 5/60th Rifles
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Location : following the 60th rifles
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:22 am

Fandorin stilled again. The voice that carried to him definitely held a an agitated edge. 'Cornelius Azevedo, miss' he called back in a sligtly accented English.

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:30 am

Portuguese. Probably one of those types who followed the army to gather lost and discarded items. Probably harmless, but...

"Our friend will be back any minute. He went to talk to the scouts. Joe!!! Rifleman Newbury!" Jenny was shouting at the top of her lungs. Surely Joe or someone else would hear it. And if not, the man would either be frightened off or, if truly harmless, might offer to help them.

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Jenny Ross
Commander

Species : Camp follower, 60th Rifles
Number of posts : 1026
Member since : 2009-01-22

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:38 am

George had been with rear scouts but had not wish to go back to the Staff just yet. He wrote further down the road they came by, ignoring the looks from a scout he'd been talking to that said that was perhaps not a good idea.

Firebird trotted gently down the road, the marching always made her restless and it was better she had a good run before he came back to the column. It was then that he heard a woman shouting at someone. Definitely in English, which ment that she was most likely one of the camp followers. George followed the sounds and soon saw two women being confronted by a man. The man turned to him and Hunter groaned inwardly: what was it with these pair of 'spies' that they kept appearing out of nowhere. He just hoped this one wasn't going to kiss him.

'Is everything alright here?' he addressed no one in particular.

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Maggie Cotton on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:45 am

Maggie jumped and cried out in alarm, having been so focused on the other stranger that she had not noticed the newcomer's arrival. But he spoke like an officer, an English officer, and in the dark she could see the glint of his gold braid. Thank God, they were back with the army again.

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Maggie Cotton
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Species : Camp follower/sutler, 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2337
Location : following the 60th rifles
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:46 am

"Sit down, Maggie," Jenny instructed, taking the knife from her hands.

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:50 am

Fandorin turned to Hunter.
'I was just passing by and heard these ladies. It is night and they should not be alone.' Hunter nodded grimly, then dismounted and moved a little closer to the women. They both seemed vaguely familiar: he must have seen them around the camp.

'Permit me to enquire, ladies, but are you with the army?'

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:56 am

"Yes sir. We're with the 60th rifles, Captain Vickery's company, with the 2nd division. Our friend went ahead to find somebody..." Jenny stopped, realizing that mentioning Joe might lead to a long and awkward story that was perhaps unnecessary at the moment. "This man just heard and came to see... Sir, she's hurt."

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Jenny Ross
Commander

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Number of posts : 1026
Member since : 2009-01-22

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Maggie Cotton on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:59 am

"I'm fine," Maggie protested quietly.

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Maggie Cotton
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Species : Camp follower/sutler, 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2337
Location : following the 60th rifles
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:01 am

'I see. Well, you really ought not be out here on your own...,' Hunter's voice trailed off, uncertain. He glanced at von Dorn, but the man's face was as inscrutable as always. He moved closer to the women and crouched by the one who was said to be hurt.
'What happened then?' he asked gently.

Fandorin took Hunter's abandoned horse by the reins instinctively.

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Maggie Cotton on Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:08 am

Maggie felt her chest constricting as he drew closer. "Get away! Get away from me!" she cried hysterically, shoving him violently in the chest.

"Maggie! Maggie, it's all right," Jenny exclaimed, dropping the knife to the ground (well out of reach) and putting her arms around her friend. "It's all right. We're nearly home now."

Maggie was breathing heavily, gasping for breath and sobbing. But she had realized her mistake, and she covered her mouth with her hands. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry sir!" she whispered, aghast. "I am so sorry."

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Maggie Cotton
Captain

Species : Camp follower/sutler, 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2337
Location : following the 60th rifles
Member since : 2008-08-02

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:14 am

George nearly fell back at the sudden cry. Even the horsed snorted in surprise. 'It's alright, it's alright. I'm sorry, I won't come any closer.' He spoke softly: judging from the girl's reaction he thought he had a pretty good idea what had happened to her. 'Now, your name is Maggie, yes? My name's George. Won't you tell me your friend's name?'

Fandorin moved a little closer with both horses: likely Hunter might need some help.

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:18 am

Jenny looked up at him warily, not out of distrust of him but out of concern for Maggie's reaction. "I'm Jenny Ross, sir. She's Maggie Evans. She was - she took an injury in Coimbra, and we've come from there today. We've walked all this way."

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Jenny Ross
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Number of posts : 1026
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:23 am

'Nice to meet you, Jenny, Maggie. You don't mind me calling you by your first names? You call me George too. That must have been a very long walk, but you ought not be here all alone.'

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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Jenny Ross on Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:27 am

Maggie nodded mutely and Jenny rocked her in her arms. "Yes, sir. We have a friend with us, a rifleman, who went on ahead. To send someone back for us. We were that tired," she added with a faint smile that he could hear in her voice. "Don't know why you make them march at night like this, sir."

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Jenny Ross
Commander

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Number of posts : 1026
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Re: Catching the Column

Post  Guest on Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:34 am

'Wish I knew that too, Jenny.' He smiled ruefully. 'But such is the army.' He paused. 'Do you want to stay here and wait for your friend?'

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Re: Catching the Column

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