ICYMI: Charge of the Lyte Brigade Chapter 4

Forgot yesterday was Thursday until about 11:56. Ergo, forgot to repost last week’s chapter in time.

So, I completely spaced on it being Thursday yesterday — in part because Thursday is, like, the one day of the week I actually have something on my schedule, and also because Thanksgiving Monday being a holiday really messed up my sense of this week.

All of which means I forgot to re-post last week’s chapter before publishing this weeks. So, here it is, for the benefit of those of you with flash photography who may have missed it, Charge of the Lyte Brigade Chapter 4:

Chapter 4

Copyright 2022 J.B. Norman

“So,” Melisa tells the Lyte Brigade as she surveys her surroundings. “Nice place you’ve got here.”

Nolan suspects that she is not being entirely truthful. She probably hasn’t met with many other guilds whose headquarters can boast of being home to the best fish-on-a-stick in Porthaven. Probably because most guild Captains don’t run their guilds out of their parents’ inn. And most guild Captains don’t have their moms peeking out of the kitchen spying on them.

He’s worried she’s going to come over and remind him to pack a sweater. On the other hand, she shoots him an eager thumbs-up whenever he glances in her direction.

Nolan is optimistic that the Lyte Brigade is on the verge of getting its first-ever job. Between the six of them, he’s sure they can convince Melisa to hire the Lyte Brigade for this job.

The members of the Lyte Brigade are all crammed together on one side of their table. Matilda and Nolan are awkwardly sharing one chair. Pela is sitting on Falcata’s shoulders, inwardly enjoying a rare moment of tallness. Tancred chivalrously allowed Amara to have his chair and is standing behind the others, trying to peer over or around them to participate in the conversation. Thus far, he’s mostly just been able to keep sight of Melisa’s furry ears.

Admittedly, Nolan isn’t entirely sure what he’s supposed to do at this point. Does he talk first? Does he let Melisa talk first? Fortunately, he doesn’t need to worry about it for long.

As usual, Amara takes the lead in the conversation. And, as usual, the other members of the Lyte Brigade know better than to prevent her from doing so. His ribs still hurt from the times she jabbed him with an elbow whenever he tried to talk during their first meeting with Melisa. Nolan has just been smiling and nodding along with everything Amara has said so far.

“Nolan and I have informed the rest of the guild about the situation, Professor Grevling,” Amara is saying. She smiles across the table at the Wilderling woman. “We’ve also made it quite clear to the others that you’re a badger.”

“I like you already,” Melisa says.

“So, you’ll hire us, then?” Pela asks eagerly from her perch on Falcata’s broad, tanned shoulders.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Melisa warns. “Amara says you’re all up to speed with the situation. So, what I’m wondering is, how many of you have experience with bandits.”

Falcata raises her hand without hesitation.

“And I suppose I do,” Amara says. “If you can call hitting a bandit with a tankard experience.”

“I fought a goat once!” Pela interjects.

Six pairs of eyes all shift sceptically towards her.

“What?” she asks defensively. “When you’re as small as I am, goats are big. It’s like one of you guys fighting a horse!”

“Was it a bandit goat?” Melisa asks from across the table.

“Of course not,” Pela answers. “Just a big, mean goat. See, I was helping out on my uncle’s farm and one of the goats decided it wanted to eat my hat. So, I, uh, fought him.”

“Did you win?” Matilda asks her guildmate.

“I did. I got my hat back and everything,” Pela answers proudly.

“So that’s two… ish of you with combat experience,” Melisa notes.

“Yeah, but Falcata’s an Amazon. She has to count as, like, nine people,” Pela insists.

“You must be a new guild. You’re all so eager,” Melisa says.

“Thank you?” Nolan answers.

“You do understand what you’re getting into, right?” Melisa asks.

“This isn’t going to be just some field trip. Bandits are dangerous. They’re not going to go easy on you just because you’re a bunch of rookies.”

“We’re ready,” Nolan assures her. “We can handle it.”

Melisa stares at him gravely. “Yeah? You sure?”

“Yeah,” Nolan answers with a nod.

“Yeah!” Pela says eagerly. “I can’t wait!”

“We’re with you, of course, Captain,” Amara says, putting her hand on his shoulder.

“And I guess somebody has to make sure you come back to Mom and Dad in one piece,” Matilda says.

“I am not afraid of bandits,” Falcata says.

“Quite right,” Tancred says. “Let’s give these bandit louts a proper thrashing!”

“Right,” Melisa says. “Consider yourself hired.” She extends her clawed hand across the table.

“We won’t let you down,” Nolan vows, reaching to shake her hand.

“I hope not,” Melisa replies. “But don’t worry, you won’t have to do all the work. And if it comes down to it, I’m pretty good in a fight.”

Awesome!” Pela says. “You can fight half of them and Falcata can fight the other half!”

“I’ll need a few days to finish getting ready. Do whatever you need to get yourselves ready, too. I’ll come by again when I’m ready to head out,” Melisa says.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Nolan says.

“Yay! I’m so proud of you!” Nolan hears his mother exclaim happily from the door of the kitchen. “Nolan, honey, don’t forget to pack a sweater!”

And, of course, this week’s chapter, Chapter 5, can be found right here:

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