Miranda met with Geoff, Francis, Judith and Patricia to discuss the attempted incursion.
“So, they’ve made their move,” Geoff muttered. “Hey, at least we won the first battle, right?”
“Course we did!” Judith declared. “I’ll bet half of them were frightened out of their wits to see our heroic vice captain swinging that massive blade of hers. Why, I remember the first time I saw it when…”
“Peace, Judith,” Miranda said. “We can’t call that a proper battle.”
“True enough,” Patricia agreed. “They were testing us.”
“I think they did want to kill as many as they could,” Miranda said. “But they certainly weren’t trying to break through our defences in order to end things right away.”
“In short, they’ll be back and the little princess needs our help,” Francis said.
“Sir Garnak, now is not the time for your petty baiting,” Miranda stated. “Right now, we need a more involved plan to hold the line while Max and the others get here. The first thing is to stop the workers from advancing further, at least for the moment.”
“Second thing is not to be baited,” Patricia added.
Miranda nodded. “When they retreated from me, they deliberately made themselves a tempting target by leaving some holes in their rear. Undoubtedly, they have some nasty traps ahead.”
“We can’t win if we hide here like a buncha cowards!” Francis declared. “Or is that your intent?”
“Miranda wouldn’t lose this war for us,” Judith said. “I just know she has some very well thought out plan to carry us through. I’ll wager that we’ll have this war won within the year, maybe even six months. Oh, it would be lovely to take victory that quickly.”
“Shut up for five seconds,” Francis said.
“Judith is correct on a few counts,” Miranda said. “I don’t know if we’ll win this war that quickly, but I do have a plan. We’ll just need the other units to make it work. Fortunately, the bulk of them should be here tomorrow and we’ll just have to wait on Max.”
“Typical, can’t make a move without the Captain,” Francis said.
“We shouldn’t do anything reckless at partial strength,” Patricia stated.
“Really, you are the most awful man,” Judith said. “Always trying to cause problems. Did your mother raise you to act like that? I’ll bet she didn’t. You just need to work on that attitude.”
“And now all the wenches are on my back,” Francis muttered. He glanced at Geoff. “You going to chime in too?”
“I believe the esteemed warriors in this company can handle themselves,” Geoff said. “Although I should warn you that if I catch you speaking with such disrespect towards the lower ranking Dames of my company, I’ll be forced to thrash you soundly.”
“You may be one of the twelve best fighters in Torla, but that don’t mean you’re better than me,” Francis said.
“Francis, that’s enough out of you!” Miranda said. “If we’re going to win this war, we can’t have discord among us. If you can’t either sit quietly or speak constructively, I’ll deal with you personally, Are we clear?”
Francis glared at her. She met his gaze with one of equal ferocity. There was silence as they stared one another down.
“Understood,” Francis agreed, looking away.
Artura sat down beside Courtney.
Courtney didn’t think much of it. Sometimes Artura just wanted to be near someone and she knew Courtney wasn’t going to get in on her case. That was when Artura spoke.
“You know what needs said,” Artura stated.
Courtney sighed. “You saw then?”
Artura nodded. “I understand. You have strong feelings. But you have to ask. How much will you give up for them?”
“It’s not that easy,” Courtney said. “I just… I just want us both to survive. So that… when things are over…”
“I do understand,” Artura said. “But right now she’s an enemy, and a strong one. If you protect her again, I’ll hold you accountable for any Amazon who dies by her hand.”
Courtney listened as Artura made her way elsewhere in the camp. Undoubtedly to go deal with something else or train some of the younger Hawks.
Courtney was somewhat taken aback. She wasn’t used to Artura talking that much.
Unfortunately, Artura was correct. As nice as her dream was, Miranda was going to be out there fighting for Torla against her sisters. As much as she wanted to say “she’s still worth protecting” Courtney knew she couldn’t say it to any woman who had a relative, lover or close friend who fell by Miranda’s blade.
She just had to hope Miranda could take care of herself.