211/366 – Friendly Advice

Day 69 of 100 Word Prompts: Rain

Dylian stood in place nervously while the guard stood perfectly still, watching his every movement. A moment later, a second guard, this one an elf, appeared from inside and, to Dylian’s delight, the first turned and walked toward the door. His mind felt as though it were doing somersaults figuring out the best means by which he could get the guard to assist Rutag, the dwarf, and whoever he found along his way.

The second guard lazily strolled down the wall past the first, who said something to him as they passed. The second guard kept walking, shaking his head disapprovingly as he approached the area in which Dylian waited. The guard stood until he heard the bang of the iron door, signaling the departure of the first guard.

“So, what brings you here?” the guard asked, leaning against the wall as he ripped off a piece of jerky. “You look like you just got caught stealing something.”

“I spoke with Rutag, and he’s gathering men at the guardhouse soon to launch an attack against the Brotherhood. I came here to speak to the Captain of the guard to see if I could get him on board with the attack. That way we increase-”

“You came here because you started all this, didn’t you?” the guard asked, a wry smile spreading on his face.

Dylian opened his mouth to reply, but the game was over. The guard clearly saw through his rouse. He shut his mouth and nodded.

“It’s not really a bad thing, you know,” the guard replied. “The names Jaukin Lester, by the way. I’m kind of glad you did it. Captain has been going back and forth for days on what to do about the Brotherhood. Their numbers are significant out there, and he doesn’t want to weaken the guard enough that they can come in the city.”

“How did you know?” Dylian asked, “That I started this, I mean.”

“I’ve had that same face before,” Jaukin replied with a nod. “I’ve had it so many times, and gotten in a lot of trouble for it, too. But sometimes we have to make a move or risk losing everything due to inaction. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“That I should go talk to the Captain?” Dylian asked.

“No, that you should go get more people involved. Find the people that have reason to fight. Not the common folk around here, but the merchants, their private mercenaries, hell, even adventurers would be a welcome addition to the combat,” Jaukin replied. “Anyone that can effectively use a weapon is of value here.”

Dylian looked up and down the empty street. His mind bounced between what the first guard had commanded him to do, and the logic of this guard. If the Captain didn’t want to weaken the guard, maybe he could find enough people that he wouldn’t have to go that far.

“So, I should go?” Dylian clarified, pointing over his shoulder. “The other guard told me to stay-”

“Godrich is a little overzealous sometimes,” Jaukin replied with a shrug. “As far as I can tell, you haven’t actually broken any of the laws of the city. Why would I detain you?”

“Lying to the other guard?” Dylian asked.

“Did you lie, though?” Jaukin pressed. “What is the order of events here?”

“Rutag and I ran into each other, and I convinced him there was a militia meeting at the guardhouse to attack the camps outside the walls, then I met with Cluvir at the guardhouse, informed him that Rutag was coming, and he sent me here to talk with the Captain. From there, I came here, and,” Dylian paused, noticing the amused expression on Jaukin’s face. “What?”

“Go on,” Jaukin replied, crossing his arms.

“From there, I came here and told Godrich everything that had occurred,” Dylian finished.

“The only one I think you may have lied to is Rutag, who can handle his own well enough. In fact, he might be the only one that gets upset about all this. As I said before, the Captain hasn’t been able to come to a course of action against the Brotherhood, but I didn’t hear a lie anywhere in your story except when you spoke to Rutag,” Jaukin replied with a shrug. “The worst thing that’s going to happen on an official level is the Captain will tell you to piss off. But I think you may have bitten off a bit more than you can chew.”

“Why do you say that?” Dylian asked.

“Rutag is just the dwarf to call to arms,” Jaukin said with a chuckle. “He buys and sells weapons. You think that he doesn’t know nearly every fighter in the city? I think you picked the right person, though perhaps the wrong way to go about it. I thought of doing exactly what you’re doing, but the guard has been running double shifts and not giving any leave since the Brotherhood arrived. I haven’t had time.”

“So, what now?” Dylian asked, awkwardly patting his hands against his trousers.

“I’d say find Rutag, and lead him here instead of there,” Jaukin replied with a yawn. “If the Captain sees a small militia of creatures, heavily armed and ready for combat, he just might do something other than sitting on his hands.”

Dylian nodded and turned to walk away. Making a point not to look back, he made it to the next intersection where he needed to turn and risked a glance over his shoulder. Jaukin was gone, and he was alone in the street.

“If I were a dwarf looking for a fight, where would I go?” Dylian muttered to himself as he continued walking. He thought about Cluvir and Rutag, and the plans he had set in place. “To the guardhouse, then.”

Dylian practically sprinted the entire trip to the guardhouse, where he found six carts and forty men being addressed by Rutag.

“I’m telling ye, Gents,” the dwarf boomed, “he told me we would be gathering here. The others must be cowards, or late. In either case, we’ll get more kills than the-there’s the lad now!”

“Rutag,” Dylian managed as he reached the side of the cart, on which the dwarf stood. “The Captain isn’t at this location. There’s been a change of plan. He’s over by the main gate already.”

“You hear that, Men? Time to get to the gate,” Rutag boomed before offering Dylian a hand up to the seat of the cart. As they sat, Rugtag leaned close to him, “If I miss the start of this because ye gave me bad information, I swear on Heaven’s Forge that I will make ye regret flagging me down.”

“No, no,” Dylian said, waving his hands. “I swear the Captain is there.”

“Where are the other men that ye told me were coming?” Rutag asked as he snapped the reins, getting the horse to walk. “Are they with the Captain already?”

“No, there’s no one there yet,” Dylian said. He was pleased to see the dwarf’s shoulders relax a bit as the cart trundles down the road. “I couldn’t find anyone else either. How did you get this many people in such a short time?”

“I know a lot of people, Half-elf,” Rutag replied. “Never underestimate the friends a weapons merchant makes doing his business. These men make up only three of the companies I trade to, I would have gotten more, but ye said time was short.”

“I fear that it is,” Dylian replied, thinking of the warning Jaukin had given him and Godrich before him. “I hope that we are enough in any case.”

“Trust me,” Rutag laughed, “I don’t think the entire city guard could stop this group of idiots if they wanted to. The Brotherhood better have had a great last meal, because when we get outside that gate, there won’t be much left of ’em, if ye catch me drift.”

Dylian’s stomach settled as they rounded the corner to the main gate, and he saw the guard assembling. More than a hundred uniformed men and women of goliaths, elves, humans, dwarves, and even a handful of halflings stood in rank and file clusters. At the front of the group stood a massive goliath with plate armor, flanked by Godrich and Jaukin as they conversed.

“Rutag!” the goliath boomed upon noticing the dwarf. “Apparently, the word is that we are attacking the Brotherhood today. I suppose, when it rains, it pours.”

“That’s what I hear,” Rutag nodded with a smile. “I brought three companies unless ye want me to get more, but I think time is a matter of importance here.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” the goliath said with a chuckle. “Jaukin has told me that we have this half-elf, um, what’s your name, boy?”

Dylian faltered for a second, as he was climbing down from the cart. He looked up to see the goliath and Rutag looking down at him with amused expressions.

“D-Dylian, sir,” Dylian replied as his feet met with the street.

“Glad to meet you, Dylian. I’m Captain Lodestone,” he replied.

“Meet you?” Rutag repeated, looking from the Captain to Dylian. “Ye’ve never met the Captain before?”

“No,” Dylian said, shaking his head.

“Well, that’s what happens when we pry on gossip in taverns, eh lad?” Rutag laughed.

“Are you ready for this, Rutag?” Lodestone asked.

“I been ready for the last four-span,” Rutag replied, shaking his head. “If ye needed help, ye should have said something sooner. I would’ve gathered more men than this, and ye can bet your life on that!”

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