“So, the question is what to do until the Captain arrives,” Roderick stated.
“The question is more who to do it,” Miranda corrected him. “What we need is to scout around the Amazon’s base to give us a better plan of attack. The issue is getting close enough.”
“We couldn’t send a large unit,” Patricia noted. “We’re looking at two or three people at most.”
“Then I’ll go by myself,” Alexander stated. “I’m confident in my stealth abilities.”
“Fool,” Janice muttered. “You always feel mislaid confidence.”
“Well, if three of us went I imagine we could manage,” Judith stated. “Why, I’ll bet three of us ladies could pass as Amazons if we took some time to make ourselves some nice costumes. I’ve seen what they fight in, I could sew…”
“Stop,” Janice stated. She looked at Miranda. “Scrying magics?”
“Don’t work,” Miranda stated. “They’re either using magics of their own to block it, or they’ve got some leech stone around their camp.”
“I do think Judith’s right,” Roderick noted. “A woman would have a better chance. You couldn’t go, Vice Captain. Your face is too well known.”
“I’ll go,” Janice said. “Alone.”
“Are you that confident?” Miranda asked.
“My chances are, I believe, the best,” Janice said.
“All right,” Miranda said. “I’ll allow it, but I want you to take a wand of Phasing. Just in case you need to get out in an emergency. You’ll leave tonight and report back in the morning.”
“So, when are we doing our big offensive?” Frederick asked. “Tomorrow?”
“Our orders were to hold out for the Captain,” Roderick reminded him.
“But we shouldn’t just sit around!” Frederick declared.
“We won’t,” Miranda stated. “We’re going to build up some fortifications around this area, make it a proper base of operations. That way, we’ll have somewhere to fall back to if our offensive doesn’t go well. With this many troops, we’ll be able to work on that and keep watch for the enemy.”
George entered the tent quietly. “Don’t go over the information again on my count,” he said. “Young master Grut can tell me what’s been decided.”
“Me?” Alexander asked. “Well, I don’t mind.”
“We were just about done,” Miranda stated.
“Well, I only have one little thing to add,” George stated. “I would like Sir Garnak assigned to my unit. I believe it would be humiliating for him to have to work alongside his own troops.”
“Suspicious,” Janice muttered.
“Well, it’s no more than a horrid man like him deserves,” Judith began. “You should have heard all the awful things he said to us. I’ve never been so…”
Miranda held up an arm, cutting her off. “I know you have your reasons,” she said. “Consider him your second until such a time comes that he proves himself again.”
George bowed. “My thanks. Now, come along and explain what’s been decided for me, Young Man.”
Alexander sighed and followed him as everyone went their separate ways.
A falcon landed on Cassandra’s windowsill. It had a message tied to its legs.
She opened it and read through the contents
I have successfully persuaded the faeries, centaurs and dryads to join our cause. They require a week to gather their forces properly. The new centaur queen has requested that I accompany her to oversee their preparations. With your permission, I will do so and return with those reinforcements.
Cassandra smiled. She quickly wrote a reply, sent the falcon on its way and called her generals together.
“So, we’ll have our allies in a week,” Rose muttered.
“Surely, we aren’t going to sit around in waiting until then,” Rachel stated.
Cassandra shook her head. “We are going to continue mounting hit and run attacks against the enemy. The more we whittle their forces down, the better.”
“I believe waiting may be prudent,” Susan argued. Her golden eyes met Cassandra’s gaze. “I do not fancy losing more troops than we have to.”
“I understand your objection,” Cassandra stated. “However, I believe it would be erroneous to quiet and allow them to ascertain that we are waiting for something.”
“Were they to catch wind of our allies they would mount a full offensive and try to wipe us out before they arrive,” Rose added. “I dislike losing our Sisters as well but her majesty is correct. Maintaining regular attacks is the only way.”
“I withdraw my objection,” Susan stated. “Just be careful out there.”
Cassandra nodded. “Tomorrow, the wolves and eagles will engage the enemy. The hawks will provide support for their retreat. Rose, Ivy, I’m trusting you both to fight cautiously and withdraw before they can strike with large numbers.”
“We’ll be in and out before they know it,” Ivy stated.
Cassandra nodded. “Then, take the rest of the day to prepare and rest. Guard duty can be divided among the rest of us.”
“What is this rubbish?” Francis demanded. “You toying with me, Old Man?”
“Not at all,” George stated.
“Then why do I have to follow your orders?” Francis asked.
“Would you rather follow the young lady who was promoted to your position?” George countered. “Or, perhaps, the vice captain?”
Francis hesitated, thinking about it.
“This may be the best arrangement for you,” George said. “No one will think anything of a younger member of the elite being asked to act as second in command for the most senior member.”
Francis deflated. He didn’t like it, but it was the best he was going to get until he could speak with Maximilian.
“Don’t underestimate me,” he muttered. He took his spot by George’s side.