Wordcount: 749 words
Summary: Please note, this is currently a very rough draft. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
Of Mice and Men
“They’re never going to get anything done.” Erwin complained, the group was sitting far enough away that they could not overhear, but the group had been talking for hours. They watched as Flame waded into the discussion, but things did not seem to resolve any.
“Well, it’s not like we have any say in the matter,” pointed out Jeffery. “They will make a decision eventually.”
“Or we’ll just sit here until whatever has taken over Two Beaches comes to clean-up.” Tom pointed out darkly. “Whoever is there has to know we’re not much of a threat. Not if those storms really were an attack. They’re probably sitting and laughing at us.”
“Or they don’t think we matter enough to worry about.” Erwin pointed out. “We’re not as helpless as that.”
“We should warn Pine Reach.” Winter kept an eye on the horizon. “They don’t know anything is wrong.”
“But what can they do?” Baron muttered. “They’re just as overrun as we are with the wounded. They will be lucky if they can defend themselves, much less come out and rescue us.”
“Well, we can’t stay here.”
They all looked over at May.
“What? We ca not.” She waved a hand at the assembled. “We’ve got wounded and sick and youngsters and we can’t stay out in the open like this if there are any other storms coming. Plus we can’t feed everyone for longer than it would have taken us to get there.”
“Which is tomorrow.” Dog pointed out, helpfully.
“So what do you think we should do?”
“You have got to be kidding!” Erwin objected. “We can’t just surrender, we’ve got to warn someone!”
“How?” May asked, calmly. “I say we surrender, and then if we get a chance, once we’re rested and feeling better—we un-surrender.”
“Ah, you can’t do that.” Pointed out Jeffery.
“Why not?” Asked May.
“Because you give an oath, you can’t just break your oath!” protested Tom.
“When has an oath won a war.” May looked at them all levelly. “If this is Wolf or Lion, then sure, but what if it’s not?”
Jeffery rolled his eyes. “Right, not sure you were paying attention in class, but that is all there’s.”
“What if it’s not, what if this is someone’s attempt at a new kingdom.” She pointed out. “We just finished going over in class how there have been multiple attempts to create new kingdoms.”
“Yeah, in the wastes.” Erwin said, dismissively. “No one’s ever tried to make a new one in the middle of an old one. Especially not smack dab in the middle of an old one. The wastes are not anywhere near here.”
“So let’s go surrender and find out.”
“Actually,” said Flame as he moved into their conversation. “That was my suggestion.”
“Yeah, but I bet you did not suggest un-surrendering after that.” Tom said.
“Well, no,” Flame frowned. “I don’t think you can unsurrender.”
“I can.” May said stubbornly.
“I can too.” Baron agreed.
“Regardless,” Flame cut them off, “I think it’s best if some of us surrender, to find out the situation.” He looked down at the fledgling group. “I was going to volunteer you, since you’re in the best shape and the least impressive. You have got the best bet of making it back if things turn out worse than we expected.”
“I don’t know,” Jeffery looked at Swift, “it took a lot out of him making it back here.”
“You were going to stay,” Flame said gently, “I would not ask that of you. The others are in better shape. They will hold up to a fight better as well.”
“So is that what they want?” May looked over to the still arguing adults.
“No, but since when have we done what they wanted?” Flame asked.
“True.” May said with a sigh, standing up and trying to stretch out the kinks. “So, battle plans?”
Erwin and Tom look at each other and shrugged.
“Walk into town maybe?” Erwin suggested. “That way we’ll look like less of a threat.”
“I could limp.” Winter offered.
“We should keep up a scout.” Dog pointed out. “Just in case.”
“We’ll go,” offered May, “we get up high enough and they might think we’re a buzzard.”
“I don’t look anything like a buzzard,” objected Baron.
“You do from the ground.” Jeffery pointed out. “When you’re up a bit all anyone can see is the wings.
“I am not a buzzard.” Baron muttered, but agreed to the flight.