Remnant: Book Of Xiandol Chapter 4
Carlyle was the first to awake that morning. The cold hung upon the air like a wet garment. Over his thin trousers, he pulled over the long wool smock and a pair of thick, leather shoes. Outside the cracks in the wood paneling of the building, he could spot the gray of the first morning light through the cloud cover. From his walled-off room on the second floor of the hall, he exited and descended the stairs to the ground floor. The few members of the Consort, including the new recruits, were still asleep in the bunks at the sides of the building.
The captain pushed out the front doors. The cold air and wash of fog were strangely refreshing. His stop for the morning was the quartermaster, located within reach of the city’s gates. Only those in either the Guard or the Enforcer’s Consort were allowed use of a weapon, and the quartermaster was in charge of seeing to whom what was given.
Carlyle finally found his way inside the building just adjacent to the secured storage. Upon hearing the door slam under the force of the wind, there was a stirring from the floorboards of the next story up. The old man, likely of a similar age to the king, was wrapped in a ragged fur as he stepped down the stairs to the wide counter of the structure. “What is it, so early?”
Carlyle placed his hands on the counter, brushing off the cold from them one at a time. “Pardon my haste this morning. I must requisition an arm from you.”
The quartermaster rubbed at his eyes. “Ah, Carlyle. It’s that time of year, is it not?”
The old man fished around out of sight under the counter. His hands returned up top with a hefty key. “Come now. I’ll allow you your pick, as always.”
Carlyle waited patiently as the man folded up the hinged section of counter and stepped out. The two men headed back out into the cold, across the street to the thick walls of the storage room. The hefty lock upon the crossbeam opened without complaint from the key. Inside, the meager collection of racked swords reflected back dull light from the cast of the sun through the door. The captain stepped inside while the older man held the door. In the dim light, Carlyle gazed about at the blades and shields. His eyes fell upon a medium-sized arming sword, with dull edges and a haze of surface rust. In his hand, it weighed slightly less than his own personal sword but was still noticeably heavy.
“That one?” The quartermaster hummed as Carlyle brought it back outside.
“It will do.”
Carlyle nodded and allowed the old man to close up the storage room after his exit. “There are few things in this world that cannot be fixed or brought back to their previous glory.”
The quartermaster guided Carlyle by the shoulder back into his shop. “I shall have it sent to the forge for sharpening, and-”
“Not necessary.” Carlyle cut in. “I will hope that the recruit I am watching over will not need to use it.”
The old man hummed and returned back behind the counter, gazing over the shelves of tarnished leather belts and sheathes. “I see. I believe this shall do for him, then.” He said, flopping a bare belt and scabbard at the captain. “Will you be needing any armor today?”
“We have leathers, still, in the hall,” Carlyle confirmed. “Thank you, though.” He concluded, carefully placing the blade safely away into the leather holder.
By the time Carlyle had returned back to the hall, the chimney was already smoking with a freshly stoked fire. The new recruit with long, dark locks was at the pyre, attending to the charred logs while the others were still attempting to rise.
“Kensley,” Carlyle announced his presence, holding the weapon at his side.
Kensley stood instantly, holding the prodding stick at his side. “Good morning, sir.”
The captain shook his head. “Did I not tell you that you were valued for your ability to think on your own?”
“Then you may continue attending to the fire before doing silly things such as saluting my presence.”
“Yes, s- understood.” Kensley relaxed.
“Senior officer Bently-” Carlyle smirked and looked about. “May I trouble you to fix breakfast for us, once again?”
The thick man, still fixing his bedding at the far end of the room perked up. “Coming right up.”
“Perfect.” Carlyle sighed and took in the odor of smoke and the fresh warmth from the growing fire. “Kensley, before we eat, I wish to have you accept something.”
The long-haired man placed down the rod by the fire and folded his arms behind his back. “Anything.”
Carlyle tugged on Kensley’s shoulder, ushering him to the entrance, and further out the door. The recruit’s breath began to dissipate into wide clouds as the fresh air outside washed over him. The captain hoisted up the ends of the leather holster, holding the worn buckles outward. “Since you’ll be accompanying me outside the capital, I thought it wise for you to be properly equipped.”
Kensley swallowed hard and carefully took the leather equipment in his hands. He swung the long end of it over his shoulder and allowed his fingers to trace the end of the sword’s grip. “This is-”
Kensley tugged on the heavy blade and separated it from the confines of the hard, weathered leather. His eyes followed the twin edges of the arming sword, and the slight tarnish of the metal. Before speaking another word, he placed it back inside and folded the leather straps between his arms. “I am honored, captain.”
“It’s not quite like the wooden ones you’ve used in training, is it?” Carlyle examined Kensley’s wary look to the weapon. “You’ll get used to it. It’ll start with getting it cleaned up this day. I hope to depart tomorrow morning- with it, of course.”