With Honor, part 6

With Honor

by Leigh Townsend

Part 6

Matthew glanced at Sergeant Graham and Sergeant Young as they dismounted outside the inn in Klais.  The two men had been his friends and colleagues, but now he was their superior.  Lieutenant Lewis had been surprised at how easily the two of them had given him their respect and loyalty.  Today they had been able to simply ride together as companions; now that they were in town Matthew once again had to take on a leadership role.

Lieutenant Fisher had confirmed that Matthew was, indeed, a Lieutenant now.  It turned out that his superior officers had been watching him with an eye to promotion for a while.  The company needed a full complement of officers for this assignment; his field promotion, and that of the new sergeant under him, would become official once they returned to the capital. 

The officers had all gathered to discuss their plan for breaking the bandit camp and capturing Golden Wolf.  The information the scouts had gathered had proven quite useful.  The Wolf Pack appeared unconcerned about an attack from the north, and had left that side of their camp unprotected.  The company would split into smaller groups, make their way north of the bandits’ outpost using a variety of trails, and regroup for the attack.

Their primary concern with this plan was being spotted as they headed north.  In order to make it less obvious, the officers had decided to travel in very small groups and to outfit every soldier with civilian clothing.  Many of the fighters had brought a set of their own civilian clothing, issued to them for scouting purposes, but several did not have anything other than their army uniforms.  That was the officers’ goal in the village today; to buy spare clothing from the villagers.

Tethering their horses, the three gathered in the road to discuss their approach.   Sergeant Graham headed west along the road, with Lieutenant Lewis and Sergeant Young turning south.  Young would start with the homes near the inn, while Matthew would continue on foot to the farther end of town.   As they began walking, a village girl walked past.  She smiled up at them as she said, “Sergeant Lewis?  What brings you back to Klais?”

“It’s Lieutenant Lewis now,” Young replied for him as Matthew looked at her.  Her green eyes caught him as they had when the two first met.   He barely heard her response.

“Congratulations!” she told him.  “You probably don’t remember me – “

“You’re Farmer White’s daughter,” Matthew replied.  The girl looked down and blushed slightly as he continued.  “I’m sorry; I don’t remember your name.”

Still blushing prettily, the girl looked up at him again.  “That’s all right; I don’t think I told you.  It’s Charlotte.”

“It’s nice to meet you again, Charlotte,” Matthew replied.  For a moment the two stood quietly, looking at each other.  Sergeant Young finally broke the silence.

“Charlotte, we’re here to purchase spare clothing from the villagers.  Do you have any recommendations on who we should talk to?”

The question pulled Charlotte back to the conversation.  She smiled again, this time at Sergeant Young, and replied, “Now is a good time to purchase old clothes; I’m assuming you are looking for something to fit an adult?”

As the two continued to discuss who in the village would have what the men were looking for, Matthew watched Charlotte.  Her smile was lovely and she was certainly attractive, but what caught and kept his attention were her eyes.

Even after they had acquired the needed clothing and were riding back to camp, Matthew could not forget those green, green eyes.

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