The Nusallean army made camp on the northern bank. Each man spread his furs. A light drizzle fell. Some constructed makeshift tents from their cloaks as they lit fires to get a head start on the rain. The scent of their meagre rations followed as afternoon merged into night.
Alone, by his fire, Traya put an edge to the Vindavian weapon he had claimed earlier in the day. He retrieved the bowl of vegetable soup he had fixed from the wild grass, and added a few mushrooms. A little flour and a potato from the supply wagons thickened it nicely. He still had half a loaf of dry bread in his pack. It was semi saturated from the rain. The soggy sections he added and stirred them into the soup.
Fires dotted the hillside overlooking the northern bank. The Vindavians did the same across the river. Would the war continue? It all hinged on the king. He might be satisfied with leaving the southmen on their side of the river.
He held the blade over the fire to see its edge. It looked keen. His features reflected on the flat of the blade were typically the same as any Nusallean. Black hair, brown eyed, with lightly tanned skin. His features seemed fine, giving him a gentle countenance; not the face of a fighter.
Another figure shifted on the blade’s surface as he resheathed the weapon. The king trudged into the light; water dripping from his long locks and a waterproof skin draped across his shoulders. He was dressed for warmth, shedding his mail hauberk and surcoat for homespun trews and tunic.
The king fidgetted, then crouched by the fire, pretending to warm his hands. After a few awkward moments, he stood up and began to move off.
“Well, goodnight then.”
“Goodnight, my king.”
He watched the king take a few steps, walking with drooping shoulders. Traya sighed. It became clear to him that his king wanted to talk.
“I do not have much to offer you, but you are welcome to soup and… water.”
The king looked up at the falling drops, making Traya wince over his unfortunate choice of words.
“I have already eaten, but would you mind if sat by your fire awhile?”
Traya tried to sound pleasant. One kindness he bestowed on everyone was to listen to them. Everyone wanted someone to care about what they had to say.
The king returned to crouch by the fire, staring into the flames.
Traya stole a few quick spoonfuls of his soup. He felt very uncomfortable getting into conversation with his king; him, a mere Ruscatron.
“You must be looking forward to going back home, my king.”
The king suddenly shifted his head at the sound.
“I… er, why?”
Why? “Well not that I have been to Caliet of late, but I have heard that the Queen is heavy with child. Surely you would like to get home in time for the birth.”