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Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

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Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:44 pm

They were a band of nine by now. Two had been caught just a few days ago, one had disappeared without trace, though his body was later found in a dismembered state. They buried him, though much effort was made to make it a hasty grave, no less than five remained on guard with still too few weapons among them. They all knew it would not be enough to protect them, not untill they could rejoin the fleeing army and hope that for one reason or other the fortunes of war would have changed again. For the moment it looked rather grim.

Hushed voices sometimes broke the silence, yet for the most part they walked, hunched low, taking a less comfortable path, and yet the one more concealed. They were hungry , having not the time to take food when they had fled the town and even now it seemed that not even the animals were present or at hand. Not that they could waste precious time and ammunition to hunt, nor that they could fire at all without drawing attention to them and muskets, well they would have been much less accurate as they'd have hoped anyway.

Saint-Hilaire gazed at his men, a motley bunch now. Dirty, muddy, with not a hat between them. They've carried the stolen clothes with them, though now they had more use to lay their heads upon the rolled up fabric, than to wear them as distraction. They could not speak Portuguese. Not enough for a native to not see right through their ploy. Tired perhaps some men questioned their efforts and reasons for escaping. The last that had done so and fled on his own way though had been found in such a state that many were only the more eager to return to their regiment.

"..We'll rest." The lieutenant spoke and motioned for small enclosed array of trees, trunks and roots. There were some stones ready to be sat on, and amongst them the mud. It was cold, they all felt the sensation bite into their limbs, yet they could do nothing to warm themselves. Lighting a fire could have proven dangerous.

"..You two..'ll be standing guard." He picked two of the men he would have trusted most not to doze while on their post. He felt the hunger, just as they and neither had eaten much.
Atleast they hadn't gone without water. The latter seemed to be in abundance coming from above, so that one needed not even to reach a river's side to have drunk a good few glasses of it.

Few words were spoken, for they were tired and the morning had only begun. He'd tried to hold the right course and hoped that during the night they have not come of it. Good guides would have been a blessing, yet there were none and those existent would be quite unwilling.

Just so carrying the thought he heard a sound that came not from his men and so they all dropped low, listening carefully.


Last edited by Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Allhands on Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:11 pm

The French had passed there a while ago and they were only expecting the British to follow. They've hid away when they heard of the first approach. Had hid what little food they had and most was still out of sight, unwilling to loose all to the hungry soldiers. They weren't as some, who had much to spare, or others who would loyaly have sold their daughter to their 'savours'. They were just common people, who made a living of the land. The very living which was now disturbed, as poor as it was anyway, by both the French and the English, and in ways it had been helped by the army in the past that was there longer.

So returning with a pouch of food, carried upon her back, was a young lass, accompanied by her brother for no other reason but that it was quite unsafe even with the first wave of soldiers gone. She wore clothes that were of a timid colour, soaked to about the height of her knees, covered in mud, her face obscured by a sort of scarf, traditional for her region. It covered most of her hair and face, allowing only a little - for her to glimpse through -.

They were watchful of their surroundings though knowledgable of the land as far as they have walked themselves. Glancing at each other they halted. They both listened and were ready to bolt, or fire - as the man was armed - at the moment's notice. A soldier could proove a danger indeed, even if it were a British, yet even more so , if it were a French. The talk, hushed whisper, went on in Portuguese, before the two began on their way.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:03 pm

"That looks like a girl." One of the men had whispered to the other, and was abruptly silenced by the hand, raised by the lieutenant. He shrugged and grinned. They could let them pass and hope not to encounter them out in the open. For a paranoid mind, they could as well have been a lure to bring them out. For a less paranoid one they could proove to be an opportunity they best not miss.

Saint-Hilaire heard a low rumble that reminded awfully of thunder were it not so quiet and so close. He tilted his head to the side and saw the source of the sound. Helplessly his subordinate had looked back, before he'd dropped his gaze. They listened again, though what sounded as loud to them as a blast of cannon was dully drowned in the noise of their surroundings, the crunch of feet against pebbles which came in friction with one another due to weight, the dropping of raindrops that had collected on any given leaf.

They waited and then two men were given a signal to begin moving ahead of the pair. That left with them seven more and the officer. Another two had been sent in the opposite direction and were to cross the road when the opportunity was there. Those were all four of the light infantry.

Upon the signal they had come from the sides of the road.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Allhands on Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:06 pm

As the two came from the front an earpiercing cry of a woman was heard. It was not because there was harm done to her, but rather it was out of fright. Her companion had raised his weapon to fire at the attackers, when a pair of hands siezed him from behind. Another wrenched the firearm from his hold and drew it back to strike at his brow. He'd missed and the man squirmed out of the hold, just to be gripped by a second pair of hands.

The woman did struggle and offered a resistance of a true spirit of such a native. Her mouth though was covered soon, and as more kicks were received by one other of the soldiers she was atleast dragged from the road, her belongings scopped up and the man coming soon after.

He was unconscious which seemed to have distressed the woman greatly, thinking he was dead. She bit the arm of the soldier that held her, bringing a rain of curses to his lips. Twisting away she was siezed again, and then released at the lieutenant's orders for she went no further but to the man that lay with blood drying at his brow. He was breathing. She turned and boldly, an act probably, she spat at the floor infront of the French officer. She spoke in Portuguese, which left the men unmoved, not understanding.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:46 am

The patience was wearing thin with the soldiers, and though a pretty lass was in their midst they knew they could not allow themselves a laugh too loud or much of anything with their trophy. Some if not all were more interested in the bag she and he had carried, which was full with food intended to last them a few days. It was a sure manner to cut short the trips to the place where more was stored away.

When she looked about to raise her voice her mouth was covered and her head tilted so she could see a blade, a bayonet's tip, press against the man's neck. Saint-Hilaire pressed his finger to his lips, in what he hoped was an understandable motion. "You'll be quiet, or we will slit his throat." He spoke in French, calmly and coldly.

It was a little later, with the pair bound and gagged, that the food was distributed and some returned to the bag for a later time. "Your house...?" A French soldier asked, his eyes glaring icily at their prisoners. He, as many others, knew what the Portuguese did to the French that were left behind wounded, and felt no pity for either of the two.

It was no use. He drew the picture on the floor, parting mud and grass. The girl turned away in defiance, and then a muffled yelp escaped her as a hand was drawn across her face and a dark bruise began to blossom there.

"This.. You take us."
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Allhands on Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:07 am

Persuasion, if it could be called so, did have the men at the humble abode that was the Portuguese house, if house it could be called. The man remained tied up and gagged the woman, lay in the room next to the one that held the male prisoner.

Saint-Hilaire felt tired, though not as hungry as before. His men equally, needed rest and a dry, warm place. Already most were asleep, or dozing just where they've sat or lay down. Leaning against the door frame, the lieutenant observed their surroundings through the window to his left.

Not too long after, he too had been half asleep.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:09 pm

[OOC: Right, I hope this is ok in all the senses of the word. ]

Hunter had tucked the map away a while ago. It was time they turned around and took their planned, and rather meandering, way back to the army: they were expected no later than this evening. The guide seemed to agree for he stopped his horse.
"There, I recognise the house," he pointed to the somewhat dilapidated building in the distance. "I believe our task is done." He paused and added thoughtfully: "Perhaps, Captain, we could stop there for a short time. I know the family." What the guide really meant is that he was hungry and annoyed at Hunter who did not let him breakfast insisting instead that they push on as soon as the sky became not quite so dark.

"Yes, why not," agreed Hunter easily, now that they had time to spare. He touched Firebird's flanks and both men rode on towards the house.


Last edited by Captain George Hunter on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:03 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:27 pm

The man ordered to guard had a rather strange dream. There were sounds of horses, at first they seemed to be many, a whole valley of cavalry and yet he could hear only a pitpatter of a few hooves. Would he not have heard the approach like thunder, feel the earth tremble beneath his feet while he and his men would have to form square?

A fly landed on the tip of his nose and rubbed its small front feet back and forth, with a distinct look of one preparing to feast. He swatted her away and was about to turn, before he realised two things. He should have been on guard and the sound that he thought he heard in his dream was real!

"Sir! .." His eyes had been opened sharply as he scampered to his feet. Not only had he fallen asleep but slid down and rested in such a position that now the whole side of his body ached at different angles.

Saint-Hilaire jerked his head up. The other guard had been shaken away by the sound as well. "Horses." The French officer cursed. Certainly not their own. "How many?" He moved to the window to steal a glance through it. He could only see a part of the road and he noticed a man on a black horse. Behind him at a distance there was another man on a brown coated animal.

"Two, so far as I see." It was a confirmed number by two of the men. "Very well...no uniforms?" Saint-Hilaire murmured and distanced himself from the window. "Untie the man, he'll answer the door. We can't have them running of to alert the others. Tell him that he shall better cooperate."

With that the rest of the Frenchmen were moved into the other room, staying by the girl. Should the man do something the girl was certainly the first to feel the consequences. Saint-Hilaire exchanged his uniform's coat with a simple civilian one and then approached the door, his prisoner under careful scrunity to the left of him. There was still a chance that the two men might turn, but he was not one to guess.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:42 pm

They approached the house and dismounted, the guide leaving Hunter to hold their horses' reins as he went to knock on the door: who knew, with the French in the area, locals might not exactly take kindly to a stranger appearing on their doorstep.

For some reason Hunter felt uneasy as he watched the guide knock and wait for response.

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:47 pm

The door opened slowly. It showed a pair of men, one with a bruise forming where he had been struck, but the cut had no longer bled and it was well hidden from view. The man smiled nervously and greeted the Portuguese man, recognizing him.

" What... what is it?" He asked, glancing at the officer behind him who looked polite and well mannered and smiled, nodding to the man with a graceful incline of his head. "Come in." The house owner was made to say at the slight nudge from the French officer.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:05 pm

The guide was not a stupid man: he wouldn't have survived in his chosen "profession" if he was. He hesitated on the doorstep.
"Alberto, it is good to see you again. Is your sister at home? Why don't you introduce me to your friend?"

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:15 pm

Alberto felt a mixture of relief and yet he was anxious for his sister was still in grave danger in the other room, perhaps gagged or unconscious, he dared hope that the Frog held his promise in keeping her alive.

Saint-Hilaire kept emotion from creeping to his face, though he felt irritated that the stranger did not come in but remained at the doorstep and his friend outside on the horse where he could flee at the moment of danger and then they too would have had to run. He did not understand however what the two men were talking and perhaps relied greatly on the fear with which Alberto had been instilled.

Still he observed the man's expression with the corner of his eye, for any a betraying factor. Now the man was hesitating. What had he been asked for he knew that a voice rising some, no matter the language, would still indicate a question.

"This is.." He smiled. What he would dare might, if he misjudged the Frog, backfire terribly: "not a fellow that you think he is." He paused and smiled to the officer as if to confirm he was still playing his game. "There is others of them." He was not sure if any a word would be similar to one that the man would understand, so he tried avoiding those that were sometimes similar in a language.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:26 pm

The guide followed Alberto's queue and beamed at the young man standing beside his friend. "He is not? How interesting?" Still smiling he gestured at Hunter. "Let me introduce my friend. Ah forgive me, we will have to tie the horses before I can do so, " the guide tried to walk back non-chalantly to Hunter as if indeed about to tie his horse. He looked at the English Captain wanting to mouth words of warning as he approached, but it was obvious that the man already suspected that something was deeply wrong.

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:36 pm

"What did you tell him?" Saint-Hilaire inquired the moment that the guide had been out of earshot. The man blinked at him, as if not understanding what he had just asked and was encouraged to speak - his French butchered, and nearly inexistent. Sign language might've been a better choice. The officer felt suspicious when the guide turned to go. He might not have known the language but the subtle changes, such as an almost relaxed and joyous expression that Alberto now possessed were unnerving him. His refusal at a response had the man's doubts only confirmed.

He cursed the man harshly in French and shoved him out of the way. A pistol was drawn, earlier owned by the Portuguese man, and aimed at the guide. He fired, smoke bursting out of the barrel and a bit at the pan, as the ball went flying at the back of the guide. Quite at the same time he called to his soldiers, one rushing in with a musket. "Shoot the other one!"
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:45 pm

The guide went down with a startled cry. George knew that he could run, the men obviously had no horses, but in a moment's weakness he let go of the horses reins and slapped them both hard on the rears. He was not sure what the guide's horse would do, now that she has bolted, but Firebird would not go far.

As soon as the horses bolted he stepped calmly forward, raising his hands in the gesture of surrender and addressed the Frenchmen, for it could only be them:

"Now, now. There is no need for shooting me. In fact I think I might prove to be quite useful to you. Just let me see to my friend here."

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:51 pm

The few weapons that the French had been able to collect were trained on Hunter as he approached. Fingers were placed at the trigger and were ready to squeeze till Saint-Hilaire stepped forward and ordered them to halt. "Who are you?" He asked as he and four of his men had left the house, the remaining four standing guard of Alberto and of his sister.

The young officer was pleased to see that the new arrival did speak French. "You may see to your friend.. but do not attempt to run, or else you will be dead." He made no attempt to hide how certain and serious he was of that threat. "Take him to the house." He then ordered, his eyes trained on Hunter and then briefly to their surroundings. Good horses had gone! The damned horses they could have used.

"And you shall come with us."
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:56 pm

Hunter crouched over the guide and inspected the wound. The man was lucky, only his shoulder was wounded. Hunter helped him stand up and only then looked at the young Frenchman.

"I will come with you, do not worry. However, my friend and his friends will stay here."

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:01 am

"Bring him into the house." The Frenchman snapped, and as two soldiers had come to relieve Hunter of the heavy burden, he went to stand to his side, to walk inside once the path was cleared for them.

"I shall decide what fate befalls those." He hesitated for a moment. "..Do you know the area?" As much as he would have preferred not revealing the reason that they have stayed longer than intended, they were indeed in a great need of something that could point them in the correct direction.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:06 am

"I must admit I do have some knowledge of the immediate area. It is a great pity you've scared the horses with your shooting and they carried away the maps in their saddlebags." Hunter grinned at the Frenchman and leaned a little towards him. "I think I should warn you that when you are deciding the fate of my friends, you should consider the fact that my memory will become very bad should you choose to hurt them or take them with you."

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:13 am

Saint-Hilaire glared at the stranger, who clearly decided to play his cards well. "I shall.... consider your offer." He spoke through his teeth gritted. His hands have relaxed from their fists, and beneath his fingers moon shaped marks remained seen, where he had squeezed his hand with such a force.

"IN." He snapped at his men, who stumbled out of the way, a little surprised. He relented and nodded towards the door where the girl had been held. "In there... let him tend to the wounded one. " He listened to the sounds coming from the other room. "And make sure that... the girl is not harmed." He turned his glare back to Hunter then. "..How well do you know...the land? I swear , if you lie, you will have hoped to be in the place of your friend here... or dead." He leaned closer to the man as he spoke so, his eyes flashing angrily at him.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:18 am

Hunter's grin only got wider as the Frenchman's temper flared.
"Why don't you calm yourself a little and tell me your name so I know how to address you and then we will discuss our business in greater detail."

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:24 am

The aloofness and boldness of this character had done little to calm the Frenchman's temper. He had a real nerve to grin when his life could well end in a moment that it took to strike his organs or slice his neck. And yet he dared do even more. Suggest, in a patronizing tone, that he should calm himself!

Saint-Hilaire breathed in harshly, and allowed himself not to speak till he was at peace with himself. It was so close that he might have wanted to strike the man only to bring that smirk from his face and make it known that it was not this stranger, who was to set the pace or the rules.

"...My name is Saint-Hilaire." He spoke, debating whether he ought to omit his rank. It could have been obvious enough though that he was in command, how others had done exactly as he ordered.

"And I shall be obliged that I should hear your name as well, and your purpose of coming here. How many others have followed you?" He wished not to realize that the moment they were to leave, they all would be surrounded and forced to give themselves over to the enemy.
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:28 am

"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Saint-Hilaire. My name is Hunter." George gave the Frenchman a slight bow. "As for the rest... Well, since I've seen more or less seen what force you command, I will tell you that no one's followed us here, we came quite alone. As for our purpose you can see well enough that the man you've shot was simply visiting his friends. Not everyone in this world has a sinister purpose, my friend."

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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Étienne Saint-Hilaire on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:36 am

Étienne gave a nod of aknowledgment to the bow given. He observed the man silently, trying to read his expression more than he did his words of French. His name clearly suggested that he was not of a Portuguese background and could hardly have been an innocent civilian, could he? Ah, he had seen the number of his soldiers. Observant then?

"And you have come with him?" He arched his eyebrow, sounding quite unconvinced. "For what purpose? Has he feared coming on his own?" His voice was sarcastic. "You own maps.. my..English Friend." He believed he had made the right guess to appoint him such a background. "I would suspect that your duty is far less.... innocent."
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Re: Following the French - 25th Morning, Afternoon, Night

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:55 am

Hunter tugged at a lock of his hair. "If he did fear coming here alone, don't you find it was more than justified? His friends are held prisoner, he himself is wounded. But fear not, my duty, like yours, is innocent, and it is to serve my country, my French friend."

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