Legal Theft: Mess and Manners

The camp was busy with people getting ready for dinner. For all the soldiers dragged their feet through the rest of their duties, mess was never shirked. Hardened women and men bent tenderly over pots of bubbling stew and scarred warriors sniffed as they chopped meager rations of onions and carrots.

Not everyone participated in the nightly ritual. Raith, Calder, and Aldo bent over their own campfire. Raith and Aldo had already settled in, pulling out a deck of cards and sipping some pinched wine, but Calder’s attention was elsewhere. He watched the soldiers cook.

“Should we help?” He asked. It took a lot of work to feed everyone, especially if people wanted something more than moldy bread and salted meat. A hot meal was a treasure on the march towards a distant battlefield, even more so away from one.

“Why would we do that? They enlisted and signed for that shit.” Aldo shook his head and dealt his compatriots their hands, passing over cards to Raith and then to their youngest, and apparently stupidest, member.

Raith gave Aldo a look. She’d been the one to let the teenager join them a year back, so far the kid had been an asset, good with a sword and even better at not stabbing and robbing the mercenary band while they slept. She shrugged at Calder, “We’re paid to fight, not cook. No need to take on more work as they’ll feed us either way.”

“I know.” Calder sighed and played his first hand. “Just thought it’d be polite.”

Aldo snorted, Raith smiled, and three settled down into the game until dinner was served.

Unlike some, I am a thief, a scoundrel, and a rogue. The first line of this piece was stolen from Bekah as part of the Legal Theft Project.