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Strong language in parts. It's an extract from a long fic I wrote about my character Tathar and his longtime friend Athan turned lover. Tathar's an elf, and at this point he's 60 or so. Tathar is notorious for disobeying orders because he thinks he knows better, and this time is the last straw. Wrote a while ago, old work
At first, his voice was calm, almost friendly, as if the current situation humoured him.
"So what's the excuse this time, Son of Findecano?"
The Captain whirled around to face the young soldier, his persona immediately altering to that of rage. The soldier continued to stand upright and to attention, his blank eyes staring forward, seemingly unfazed by this dramatic display. The office was full of papers, but his hand was placed on one in particular, in the centre of his cluttered desk. He held it up, striding around to bring his face close to that of his inferior, brandishing the parchment as if it was some sort of weapon.
"Another request for dishonourable dismissal, this time from the General's second in command no less! Tell me now! What the hell is your explanation?!"
"Sir, Do I have permission to speak, Sir?"
"Do not get fucking cocky with me, I want your fucking explanation so you'd better give it now, and no more arsing around or I might just let this one fly past the General this time"
That threat hit home. But the only sign that Tathar allowed the Captain to know that it did, was a faint flicker of nerves sheen across his dark eyes. But the Captain was not in charge of interrogating prisoners for nothing, and he smirked, moving back to his desk.
"But the answer is yes. Speak now. Amuse me."
"Sir". He couldn't resist giving a slight nod, a thank you for his request being accepted, which made the Captain's face twitch with rage, but he remained silent, quite eager himself to hear another of this young man's fantastic and far fetched excuses for disobeying orders
"We were told to go South around the back to ambush the enemy, but I thought that was a bad idea because there was a forest on one side that had not yet been scouted and it was likely we would be ambushed ourselves and sandwiched between two armies if we did go Southwards. So I told the men about this and a couple agreed with me, and we went North, th-"
"Stop. Stop. This is where I would like to input some things"
"Your predictions were right, weren't they? The rest of the army went Southwards and were ambushed from the forest. By... how many of the enemy, if you remember?"
Tathar's face tightened. He had already gone though this humiliation, but he knew Captain was aware, he just wanted to see him squirm. He swallowed, forcing himself to keep his voice level and polite. "Five, sir"
"And why were they there?"
"They were five men from the main army who were taking a piss, Sir"
"And what did you and your men discover when you went in the opposite direction?"
"That it was blocked anyway and we had to go back"
"And when you got back?"
"The battle was half done"
Every nerve in his body was ready to lash out and strangle the man in front of him. "Because one of the men in my group was of higher rank than me, he was in charge of some foot soldiers like myself, his men who were left behind were confused by new orders that conflicted with the old plan from Alatheri and they were massacred by spearmen"
"And Sir Alatheri himself?"
"Was shot by an arrow because when we arrived back at the main army we were unaware of an incoming shower of arrows about to be fired and were too late to protect ourselves"
"but you got out unharmed and alive, as always, obviously?"
"No General's second in bloody command made sure that I was made aware of the exact seriousness of my misjudgements" It had meant to aggravate the Captain, because Tathar was angry now, his teeth bared and his glare like a blade of ice. But the Captain merely chuckled nastily, knowing all too well of his desires, and not at all ready to give him the satisfaction of having them fulfilled.
"Did he now? And the other men?"
"Kicked fuck out me when superiors weren’t watching"
"Ah.. hahaha". The Captain smirked broadly, settling himself down on his chair. Leaning on his elbow, he gazed up at Tathar, looking thoughtful. "What to do with you then. I can't keep you in the same division, you'd just get picked on. There's no other division that will take you, every other lieutenant in charge of a division wouldn't take you, you've been kicked out of three already". He sighed, shaking his head at him. He wanted to do this slowly, agonizingly so. Because he could see it in Tathar's eyes, the true terror, his heart on the edge of breaking, and all he had to do was say a couple of simple words and sign a paper. It was by vote, but if the General was under enough pressure, he had to agree to the dismissal. The Captain didn't care if the 'Dishonourable' part was removed, although he deserved it. As long as he was out of the army. Ever since he had been a boy, he had been a trouble maker. It didn't matter if he and the General were best friends, or more, as the rumours suggested; The General had a duty, and it came before everything else. Yes, the Captain had made his decision. He waved his hand at Tathar, a signal to get out, returning his attention to papers. "You will receive a written document of your dismissal later this week. You may not attend training. You may not converse with any of your former comrades on military matters. Good day"
Tathar was frozen. He opened his mouth, then closed it, shocked. No. This couldn't be happening. This couldn't be..
"THIS ISN'T FUCKING HAPPENING", He shouted at the top of his voice, slamming his hands on the desk. The Captain didn't look up from his papers, and his voice remained level, but a smirk was still visible, extracting joy from Tathar's agony. "I said Good day."
The man was finally fully matured, and despite his young age he looked every part a general. He was broad and strong underneath the light, comfy robes he wore when he was conducting lesser duties in the City, and his hair was the same as always, cut and swept back from his handsome, angular face. His golden eyes, when in public and when he wasn't looking at Tathar, had a constant screen of cold seriousness, that belied a force to be reckoned with at the slightest disobedience. Despite that, he was an incredible fair and friendly General for the most part, and would often talk and joke with soldiers while supervising training. He would always stand near Tathar, the other had made him promise not to show any obvious signs of affection for one another in front of the other men. As much as no one would dare question or scorn their relationship now (at least not public ally) because of Athan's rank, Tathar was still uncertain about being open about it, and the man was happy enough to let the younger have his way for now. Athan made sure to leave before Tathar started to fight himself, just incise watching the other move got the better of him. The speed and the grace and the power, the look in his eyes when he won, god, it made him weak. Tathar was his weakness, every aspect of him. But at least he was his only weakness, despite how much it branched out onto several things.
And now, the need to discuss certain things with him created such an urge inside him that today he had opted out of going to the training. The key reason for that was that Tathar was not going to be there. Even if he could do nothing to change the decision that was already half made, Tathar needed him. Sometimes Athan was unsure whether the army came first in Tathar's priorities, or if he did. But he wanted to be there and be a shoulder to cry on for Tathar, if he wanted it. Athan paused outside Tathar's door, sighing. He would never admit to wanting that. Tathar was the type to curl up in a ball and let despair consume him, without seeking help at all, just because he was stubborn and didn't want Athan to see him break. His mouth filled with so many things he wanted to say, he knew he had to say them, even if they were unwelcome.
He didn't need to knock; Tathar's quarters was as much home to him as his own was, he even had several of his personal effects here such as clothes and armour. They had lived not five minutes away from each other before, but now it was more like half an hour walking pace, longer for Tathar, who had to be stopped and checked along the way.
Although Athan and Tathar had never known in their youth, Tathar had grown up in quite a poor section of the city. The corridors and the houses were not kept so well as else where, and it was more crowded. This was were those who were poverty stricken lived, the criminals, that sort of crowd. Athan's family had been slightly better off, as they had been moved to another set of quarters in the Halls next door when Athan's father had died. But thinking back on it now, Athan could not feel slightly guilty, for not realizing. Findecano, Tathar's father, had no other way of attaining wages other than the army, but he had a young child to take care of and no wife to help him, as well as no other income. The state wouldn't help pay if he didn't work, and he wouldn't ask for money anyway, like Tathar, Findecano was proud and stubborn. That meant he wouldn't ask Tathar's substantially older brother and sister for money either. Athan now realized why Tathar would often stay at his house overnight. Findecano wanted him to be in a house with a fireplace. But they were hardly slums, of course. They were perfectly liveable, although most of the rooms on the outside had some damp (Tathar's was thankfully not one of them) but that was all. There was no vermin, and the community spirit was strong. and besides, Tathar's place here was hardly a big sob story now; much of the younger soldiers lived in this part of the city because it was cheapest, and it meant they could spend more money on everything else. Tathar had only recently been forced to pay rent, as before he had been an orphan and much of his expenses were paid by the state. But when he had come of age all that changed.
Tathar and Athan's coming of age had been quite different. Athan's had come first of course, and it had been spent almost entirely out in a quiet part of the forest, accompanied by Tathar, wine, wine, wine, a change of clothes and some blankets. A few weeks later Athan had been promoted to General. He would treasure the day of his coming of age for the rest of his life. Tathar had never been so kind or affectionate, it had been all hugs and all sweet kisses. Perhaps it was because he knew that in a couple of weeks, he'd have to share his lover with the kingdom. They hardly ever had spare time for each other now, except for special festivals and at night when they organised to be together.
Tathar's had been one big party, as was the norm. His social life had not suffered the way Athan's had, although he was still labelled as 'the quiet one' despite the fact he was much louder now. He was a bit of an enigma to the women, especially on his coming of age day. Athan was not able to attend (because affairs such as this did not appreciate intrusion from people you were forced to respect) but he'd heard enough rumours to know that some bets were sent flying. Bets to kiss other men. It was all a big laugh at first, until Tathar had of course thrown in his money. And got it back thrice as much and got to make out with a couple of old friends. It was all in good fun, and luckily no one had suspected anything. Athan had been secretly furious, but he pretended not to care, and even feigned amusement at these antics. It did seem that Tathar felt degree of guilt about him finding out. Usually the other would fast get bored of all the physical cuddling (at least while he was awake, while he slept he was almost constantly clamped onto Athan like a blonde limpet) but that night he’d allowed Athan to snuggle as much as he wanted. And that was enough to encouragement for forgiveness
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