82 ~ Eorl Gray

Audrey Gray’s head snapped up at the sound of the Bell. Harbourtown was under attack.

Without missing a beat, the former bellica got up from her desk and began barking orders.

“Timothy!” she shouted, and her personal assistant appeared at her side instantly. “Send a detachment down to the Bell-pull – make sure whoever’s there is okay.” The man disappeared again, quick to do her bidding.

Next she found her Captain of the Guard, already heading to the barracks. “Deploy your women throughout the city – martial law is effective as of now. I want every civilian safe! Get the regiments ready for battle – send the Fifteenth on the merc ships; the rest to the town.”

He nodded shortly. “Payment for the mercs?” he asked, and she cursed inwardly. It was such a stupid system they had in Harbourtown! She kept on asking the Empress for something else, for her own standing navy that was not dependent on a monetary contract, but the woman ignored her every time.

“Promise them whatever they want – after we live through this. It’s an emergency. Harbourtown must be protected!”

The Captain nodded again and went to follow her orders. Audrey headed to her chambers, where she quickly donned her bellica’s armor. It had been a long time, but she slid into the leather mail easily, and strapped on her sword without fumbling. She grabbed her crossbow and went to join the troops.

As she stepped outdoors and headed down, to the harbour entrance, she saw the armada that approached the town, and the ship it was chasing. She shook her head. Trust Merry to bring trouble to my door.

The Fourteenth and Thirteenth Regiments were already in place, lined up around the harbour, protecting the entrances to the town. She went and stood beside Bellica Agate, gave the woman a nod, and readied her crossbow.

Attack my town, will you? she thought, looking at the approaching Vocan ships. A smile took her face. She’d not had a good fight in years. She’d have to thank Merry for bringing the Vocan scum in range of her arrows but only after scolding him for bringing danger to her people.

That could wait. Right now, the only thought that occupied her mind was spilling Vocan blood. The sea would be pretty in purple – and she was sure the sharks were hungry.

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