Carpe Diem, Page 36

“Hello there!”


“Thank you for coming in today.”

“Thank you for having me. It wasn’t by my own free will.”

“I know. I gave the order.”

“I wasn’t that aware my reputation preceded me.”

“It doesn’t. I just need recruits.”

“So you decided on press-ganging passing travelers?”

“Look, it isn’t an ideal solution, but it’s the one we have to work with. Consider yourself fortunate; you’ll be taken care of, fed, paid, and after you’ve finished your service, you’ll be free to go on your way again.”

“I’m elated!”

“Oi, be sarcastic with one one more time, and you’ll be stuck with latrine duty for the rest of your pitiful life!”

“Er, noted…”

“Now let me introduce myself. My name is Conrad, and I am the captain of the guard. Our liege, the baron, is having some problems with some rebellious farmers, and we are undermanned to deal with this problem efficiently. This is where you come into the equation.”

“Can’t your baron just hire some mercenaries to deal with common banditry?”

“It’s not that simple.”

“So you resort to press-ganging instead?”

“Enough of this! Report to the quartermaster. He’ll assign you your equipment, then you’ll report back to me for your first assignment. Dismissed!”

What a charming individual. He’s exactly the type of brute that you’d expect from someone in his position.

Well, it’s no use resisting or disobeying orders, given your current situation. Might as well do as he says. So, you leave the room and depart straight for the quartermaster…

“Where is the quartermaster again?” You think to yourself. The captain overlooked that crucial bit of information. Guess you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. So, you begin asking around.

The other guards are no help, as most of them have contempt for an outsider like you. Wandering around, you come upon a maid sweeping the floor and ask her about the quartermaster’s whereabouts.

“Greetings. Whereabouts can the quartermaster be found?”

“I’m not allowed to speak with guests.”

“Not even a single question?”

She simply ignores you and continues on with her task. Seeing as how nobody is willing to tell you where he can be found, the only option left to you is to meander around until you find him.

As you wander around, you get to learn the layout of the guard’s barracks, with its many different chambers and halls: small and wide, occupied or otherwise. And eventually, you come upon the quartermaster!

“You’re late!”

“Sorry, sir, I got lost along the way.”

“That’s no excuse! Come here, right now!”

“Yessir!” You move closer to the counter.

“You’re late, so you’re not getting your equipment that easily. You’ll have to work for it!”

Great, they’ve already started hazing me. You think to yourself. “But sir,” you say. “Nobody told me where you were. It’s not my fault I’m late!”

“I don’t care! Go sit on that chair in the corner!”

Sighing, you proceed to the chair. The quartermaster disappears into the back room. After a few moments, he comes back out again with a box of boots and a brush. “I want you to shine all of these boots!”

“Yessir.” He leaves you with the box and goes back into the backroom. Even though you have much better things to be doing, an order is an order, so, you begin brushing away. After a few moments, the quartermaster comes back out again with another box. He drops it right next to the other box. In it, is a full plate of armor.

“For sighing when I’m issuing you an order, you get to polish this armor as well. I want to be able to see my reflection in it when you’re finished, else I’ll skin you and make you into boots!”

This time, you don’t even make a sound. In your head though, you are cussing out the quartermaster and everyone belonging to his direct family.

An order is an order though, so you begin brushing away the boots. After you’re done, you polish the suit of armor. This takes up a majority of your afternoon. When you finally finish, the quartermaster comes back to inspect your work. He checks out the boots and can’t find any problem with them, so he takes the box into the backroom. He then comes out to inspect the armor, starting with the breastplate. As he is looking at it, he tells you. “I can’t see my reflection in it!”

You reply, “That’s because it’s dark in here. If you light up a candle, you’ll be able to see yourself.”

“Did I give you permission to talk back to me? I told you I want to be able to see myself in this armor once you’re done, and I can’t see myself yet. So you’re not done! Polish it again!”

You’re really starting to hate this guy… but you hate wasting time even more. So, you begin polishing the armor again, paying close attention to the details.

Once you’re done, the quartermaster comes back to inspect it again. “Hmm, this is shoddy work, but I’ll accept it. Wait here.” He takes the armor, takes it into the backroom, and brings you another box. “Here’s your equipment. If you lose it, you’re paying for it. If it’s damaged, you’re paying for it. If it gets stolen, you’re paying for it. Got that?”


“Good. Get out of my sight, and report to the captain.”

You take your equipment and get out of the room as fast as possible. While walking towards the captain’s office, you duck into a nearby, vacant room and put on your newly acquired equipment: a simple riveted mail shirt, a tabard with the baron’s coat of arms, a kettle helm that’s got a few dents in it, and finally, a shortsword that’s off balance. After you put all of your equipment on, you’re finally ready to enter the captain’s quarters.

When you finally reach them, you knock on the door. No one responds. So, you simply walk into the room, but as soon as you poke your head in, all hell breaks loose.

“You’re late!”

“Many pardons, sir!”

“You should have been here hours ago! This kind of behavior is unacceptable!”

“But sir, the quartermaster made me maintain some of the equipment in the inventory!”

“I don’t care. You had one duty, and you failed it miserably! Get out of my sight, and come back tomorrow morning. If you’re not waiting for me in front of my quarters before I get there, I’ll have you flogged!”

“Yessir! Understood, sir!”


And with that, you hastily leave the captain’s quarters. Tomorrow will be an even longer day than today it seems…