As she wandered along the steel grey corridor of the Cadet’s Wing, a sergeant approached her with a letter. She saluted him. “Best to be quick. He’s waiting.”
It was a simple note from Sergeant Major Osmod himself:
Meet in my office. You are being deployed.
“Finally something to do!” She ran. The shoddy metalwork of the Cadet’s Wing gave way to arching roofs and open corridors, lined at intervals with ornate white columns and marble floors. The white stone that made up the rest of the Cathedral Fortress was originally a walled city for the lords of the Northern lands two hundred years ago.
Now the fortress housed all of the Cathedral Troops like a little armed city. The old architecture was preserved simply because they were impregnable and there was no real need to destroy the meticulously planned defences that have stood the test of time.
Aggie ran past the weaponry buildings and the soldiers’ dormitories, heading towards the main castle at the centre of the city. The guard at the tall metal gate saluted her and did not bother to check her identity. All of Cathedral Fortress knew her.
The Castle, as it is colloquially known, was built into the ground unlike a normal castle. The rooftops were reinforced with metal when the fort was converted but the insides were still full of sculptured balustrades and statues of old lords.
Aggie knocked on Major Osmod’s door, a large room that used to be some lord’s sleeping quarters. “Lieutenant Aggie. At your command.”
She heard a grunt of approval and entered. The room was covered in a lush red carpet, gossamer curtains fluttered in front of the opened windows. Aggie saluted the Major and tried not to laugh.
It was a queer sight to see a large severe man, who had a reputation of being as unmoving as a rock and a frown carved into the red hues of his face, sitting in a room that emitted an air of elegance. There was an ugly scar down the side of his forehead that cut into his hair which was mostly hidden by his military cap.
He had his gun leaning against the edge of the table which was a large light brown desk with sculptured sides featuring a scene of two elves roaming the woods. A bullet was lodged in one of the elves’ eye.
Aggie stood at attention a distance from the table as he picked up the piece of paper in front of him. “I’ve heard of your lack of progress as Lieutenant of the sixteenth platoon. What do you think of it?”
She should have guessed he would want to discuss this. An eighteen year old female failing to command respect from her own troops. Aggie stood even straighter. “I think I am doing a fine job for a Lieutenant my age,” she replied.
Major Osmod’s frown deepened. He stood up. “Indeed. For your age, yes. But this is unacceptable for a lieutenant of the Cathedral troops of Kith.”
He stood in front of Aggie and held the paper out for her to read. “I am dispatching you to be a guard. You will join the Pillier Contingent currently deployed at a top secret facility. It will be a better use of your physical abilities until you are of age.”
Something snapped inside Aggie. She snatched the paper from the Major and stalked out of the room, slamming the two hundred year old door behind her. The dispatch stung her pride. She was the youngest lieutenant in the Cathedral forces and someone others looked up to.
Even the sixteenth platoon admired her capability. It was simply because she was not smart enough in their recent simulation and the mission ended with casualties. Leadership abilities could be honed, couldn’t they? She crushed the papers and threw them across the hallway with a loud roar.
A passing soldier raised his eyebrow but did not say a word. Aggie wished he did, so that she could tackle someone to the ground.
Just before Aggie turned one of the two hundred year old statues to rubble, a voice boomed through the horn-pipe that was the army’s method of communication within the fortress.
The voice boomed, “Netherbury Command report to Thoren’s Way. Netherbury Command report to Thoren’s Way. This is Jay Carter. We have a date and you are late.”
She could not help the smile that grew over her frown. Aggie picked up her dispatch paper and stuffed it into her pocket. “It’s not a date, duff,” she muttered to herself.