Peacetime: 1

The Aftermath

May 2 2023 - Day 914

James woke up mournfully, the previous day was Nathalia's Ceremony of Loss, the previous day. James came downstairs from having a light breakfast. Sable attracts the attention of James. Noticing his expression.   Sable : Things don’t last that way for long things will be the way they were, like the time we met.
James : Thank you, Sable. [James smiles reassuring Sable]
Sable : Private James. Your first duty today is to take this clipboard [Sable hands over a clipboard of listed numbers] go check each of the rooms in House Lapin that are listed on the clipboard and check the status of the rooms. Note down rooms in which the door is blocked or locked.
Sable : Dismissed Woodwright. [James Salutes]
  James goes through the list of rooms and details down issues with each room. He can get into most of the rooms and that have issues with them. The higher the floor, the more issues.   On lower floors, the only issues were that of broken furniture such as a door to a cabinet door hanging off its hinges or an ornate table being broken into two halves. As James went up in House Lapin James noted problems such as damaged doors either door that have been axe marks or hanging off their hinges.   James made his way to the canteen he didn’t need to note much; a few tables were broken, it was the kitchens that were of note, equipment damaged. It would be some time before James would get his usual breakfast again.   On the top floors, the rooms had more structural problems. At the sight of this James shed a tear seeing his newer and only home in this state saddened him.   James made his way downstairs to a quieter than normal, lobby. James got the attention of Sable.   Sable :[Interested] How are things with House Lapin structurally?
  James hands the clipboard back to Sable shakily. He didn't like what he saw and he knew that this House would come under financial difficulty. Sable flips through the pages of the clipboard.   Sable :[Stressed] That bad?
James :[Sympathetically] I know, I will leave you with the ethical dilemma.
Sable :[Curious] What dilemma?
James :[Calmly] If we were to repair the outside of the House Lapin first, we may be seen as tyrannical.
James : But if we repaired their homes and businesses first we could be seen as weak and lacking political power.
Sable : What would you have me do?
James :[Shifty and trying to be brief] I shouldn’t really say as I’m not the Head of House Lapin. But I would repair the building and the people’s homes and business at about the same rate.
Sable : Thanks, James, I hope you realise the decision is mine?
James :[Respectfully] Yes, House Head, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  Jeremy comes over and disrupts the conversation between them.   Jeremy: Go fetch a broom and help us clean up, Woodwright.
  James fetches a broom and helps clean up the bottom floor of House Lapin. He puts books back on the shelves and generally helps out.   The rest of the day is helping out around the community ensuring House Lapin have a community presence in the community. James understood why House Lapin’s Members must be seen to be helping its community like they help House Lapin over the years.   James made his way to the main street that leads to the river docks of which trade was made. When James arrived he knew he would be here for some time.   A bricked house had fallen to rubble and was blocking the main road up from the docklands no other members from House Lapin were there. He would be the only one clearing the rubble. “I have been through worse,” James thought to himself as he shuddered, remembering how Dazzlikat pushed him off a bridge.   James set to work on clearing the road. Putting the bricks in tidy piles. During this process, a man who looked like he had the life drained out of him from a lack of sleep came to James.   Man :[Weakly] Have you got anything to eat I haven’t eaten in days?
  James hands the man a bread roll he saved for his break or lunch. The man weakly took the bread roll and walked off. As James continued with his duties, he made a mental note to check with other places. To see how other people were fairing.   Sometime later, James has made several huge piles of bricks and the road is cleared enough so that one single line of human traffic but with not enough space to get a cart past. James headed back to a high street to get food for himself.   He makes his way to the bakers and sees a lower amount of bread and assumes that it is later in the day as to not have a lot of bread left, he passes over a silver piece for a bread roll and he gets a hand full of copper and the bread roll. James bids the baker a good day and leaves.   Upon leaving the bakers James finds he is being watched by others as he leaves the bakers. James takes a large bite and attempts to go back to where he was working. Another man with light brown hair goes over to James.   Man :[Annoyed] You there, member of House Lapin, you realise we are hungry too, right?
James :[Defensive] Of course I do. I was the one of many who scouted out if you were alright and how things were for, the Leader of House Lapin.
James : I bought this bread roll as I gave mine to another person.
Man :[Irritable] And you thought you bought food from us instead of getting it from your headquarters, do you know how hungry we are!
James : Not until now, I didn’t know how you couldn’t support yourselves [The man rolls his eyes and James gets closer to the man and looks into his eyes.]
James :[Sympathetic] I will speak with the Head of House Lapin about the situation.
Man :[Threatening] Insure you do.
James : With words like that, why would I want to help you now. Others around you, yes. We are all hungry. I haven’t had a full meal since I got back, from fighting the undead how do you think I feel? [James pushes his head and his face into the face of the man that was threatening him] Don’t be like that again or we may not be there again to help you. [James pushes the man to the floor and walks off.]
James :[Shouts] I will talk with House of House Lapin. Be sure there will be news.
  A cacophony of voices rings out across the street, mainly saying they are hungry and worrying about their taxes. James continues to walk noting the issue.   He makes his way up to House Lapin and in through the entrance. James does a sweeping look at the first floor of the building. He doesn’t see Sable anywhere and takes a right and goes through the library making sure to look everywhere. Once he gets back to the entrance walking through the infirmary and passes the room where The Bass Gear is activated he makes his way upstairs.   Taking his old route to deliver supplies to Sable. He knocks on the door twice with his right hand and bangs his head against the door once. He hears Sable from the other side, to come in.   James walks in and bows his head and uses his right hand to cover his left elbow, showing something is wrong.   Sable : What's the matter James?
  James explains what has happened to Sable. Sable puts a reassuring hand on James’s shoulder and gives him a tired smile. James’s heart quickens and the inside of his mouth dries out as he feels anxious, that he has thrown away chances of being Sable’s Elite guard has ended.   Sable : It's understandable, what you did, James. I'm not angry with you. I've certainly felt the same, and more than once.
  James looks relieved. Sable looks over James’s shoulder and looks over in the distance. James can tell Sable is thinking about the war that ended recently. After a moment of Sable’s warm hand on James’s shoulder. Sable’s eyes meet his as she continues.   Sable :[Reassuring] But they don't know what we've been through. They didn't see it. All they saw was the Undead trampling their crops and eating their children, and where were we? They don't understand that we didn't have enough forces to hold them off here.
Sable :[Sullen] We needed to make a bigger army.[Sable looks are the broken walls of House Lapin’s Headquarters.]
Sable :[Reassuring] They don't know that we have suffered too, and they're desperate, and they don't know what else to do. [She looks back at James]
Sable:[Serious] We can't have them threatening us, though, so perhaps it's best that you acted as you did. I've already taken steps to purchase a large amount of seed and food to take us through the crisis.
Sable :[Calmly] Frankly, I've almost cleared out the treasury.
Sable : I have decreed posted to be made to announce I am cutting farming taxes, and increasing luxury taxes, to pay it back. All going well, in the Spring, I think I have an idea to help recoup the loss.
  James smiles at the positive leadership of House Lapin and Sable claps him on the shoulder.   Sable : You seem quiet in all this James?
James : I am, it’s often good to stay quiet over verdict and philosophy.
James :[Pleased] I am pleased that you are running House Lapin well [Sable gives recognition to James]
James :[Curious] Would I be the person or at least one of many people to hang up these posters?
Sable :[Reassuring] I’ll be sure to add that to your duties when the need arises [James smiles]
Sable : Carry on, soldier.
  James puts his feet together in a sign of military discipline and walks off and goes to his Quarters.  

May 3 2023 - Day 915

James gets dressed in a clean uniform and goes to the canteen for a light but not fulfilling breakfast. He makes his way back to the lobby and gets his orders from Johnathan to return to the docks to do what he was doing yesterday. He is given some rations for lunch. Jonathan dismisses him.   As James makes his way down the road back to the docks James notes that people are hungry. He notes this and hopes that the posters will be printed soon to be hung. The people around him needed hope he knew that for certain.   James gets to the docks and starts by, as he did yesterday, to make stacks of bricks and cobbles to clear the road some more this time, two more members from House Lapin help James and they clear more of the road now the width is wide enough that a cart can get through but something coming the over way would have to give way.  

May 6 2023 - Day 918

James comes down the stairs expecting to be given more orders to fix roads or to clear them instead, to the horror of James, Alistair awaits for him downstairs.   Alistair : Don’t worry Woodwright, weapons training is not on again until House Lapin is repaired.
James : Thank you for informing me, Sir! [James Salutes]
  Alistair looks at the upper sleeve of James’s shirt to see the insignia of James’s rank.   Alistair : Woodwright, when did you become a Private?
James : Sir, I got this when I got back from House Mollusca. From Sable.
  Alistair takes the box of posters from a nearby chair and pushes the posters to James abdomen, almost winding him. Jonathan puts a box of nails and a hammer on top of the open box of posters. Jonathan gives orders to hang up the posters around the place.   Johnathan: Woodwright, dismissed.
James: Thank you, Sirs. [James salutes and walks over to hang up the posters]

A Lapin Return

May 7 2023 - Day 919

James comes downstairs as a portal opens and the rest of the members of House Lapin come through the portal as he waits at the top of the stairs. For the portal to close. Once it does Sable coughs loudly to get the attention of her fellow members. As Sable speaks.   Sable :[Shouting] Welcome back to House Lapin, break into two teams. The first is to scout out the surrounding area and get yourselves acquainted with the local politics of what has happened.
Sable : The other team is to help clean up House Lapin and to repair peoples houses.
Sable : We have an event coming in two days and we can’t have the bottom floors looking this bad. [Sable say showing that there are beams on the floor of a structurally sound bottom floor of the Headquarters.]
  Others nod their understanding at his orders.   James moves a beam of wood off a desk in the library and moves it to be out of the way and so it can be used for future use as a guide of how big the beams are to be replaced.   He continues to tidy up the bottom floor so it looks presentable to visitors of House Lapin. He goes and finds what Sable said to use for the upcoming event in House Lapin and moves them to a place he knows he will find them for setting up the event tomorrow. James tells others where the stuff is and to not move them to make the set up easier and looks at the ledger they will be using.   Although he would not be using it tomorrow he would be told how much of an item to weigh out of each person coming he knew could do a simple role. He understood what Sable thought the same and gave him more of a role in setting up as to not upset him. James turned to the “Wo” section for sheer curiosity and looked down the records and saw no Woodwrights but saw a Woodridge before skipping his surname completely.   He looks across the record of the farmers with the surname “Woodridge” as a glimpse of what he would be given to measure, he is pleased that the measurement is on the scale of 100s of Grams instead of pounds and ounces.

The Farmers Handout

May 9 2023 - Day 921

After breakfast James heads downstairs to set up a table. With the ledger and a tipping scale with it weights in easy reach. James sets up barriers to make it obvious to the farmers that they cannot get into the library without going around the barriers without making it obvious they are trying to get around the barrier.   Sometime later, Michael stands next to him while he measures out what is required. James finishes weighing out 500g of wheat seed to a farmer of small lands. The next farmer gives his name and the pages are flipped back towards the beginning to get to C. James is told to weigh out 1.5kg of grain and add 1kg weight to the scale and begins to pour carefully. Once the amount has been reached but before James bags to bag it up for the farmer, the man flips the scale pan towards James spraying the 1.5kg at him. The man then goes over to the right side entrance door and punches it in anger.   James runs over to the man and grabs his right wrist and pulls it behind the man’s back and attempts to get the man’s other wrist. After attempting this for what feels like 2 minutes, James knees the man in the back of the leg, forcing him to collapse dragging the man into a safe place. James gets on top of the man to restrain him further. After some time, he stops struggling.   James : Our records show that with your wheat you can make enough for 4 large bread loaves enough to feed a family for 8 weeks so do you not want to help people.
James :[Serious] I really can’t believe that [James shifts the man so he can see the bridge] you see that bridge?[The man nods]
James :I was pushed off trying to protect you guys from the Undead Horde and got carried off to the states when I awoke I was far away from here. How do you think I felt?
James :Now do you want your wheat seed or am I going to use more violent options?
  The man nods and says he will take the wheat seed, James gets two recruits to restrain him. James measures out the wheat seed as others have nearly finished cleaning up the first batch. James hands the bag to the farmer.   James :Here you go I hope the harvest goes well for you.
  James allows the man to take the bag and to be released. The man says thanks to James shakily and walks off. Other farmers collect wheat seed and are a lot more grateful to James for helping them and he shows appreciation for that thanks. James thinks “Are you really thankful or scared of me?”.   No other issues occur, but a few notes of thanks that their houses are repaired or that their neighbours’ house is being repaired and they hope theirs is next for repair.   When the line begins to thin James swapped with another member of House Lapin and went outside to pick up The Brass Gear. James also strains himself forgetting how heavy it was so he sways side to side, trying to cope with the weight of the now tarnished Gear.   James brings The Gear to his Quarters and leaves it on his desk with a thunk sound. James thinks to himself “I really should get a display case made for you”.  

May 13 2023 - Day 925

After James comes downstairs carrying the heavy Brass Gear in both hands. Workmen pass James with a wooden beam on their shoulders and James gets out of their way so they can do important work to the Head Quarters of House Lapin. Sable notices him and walks to him.   Sable :[Intrigued] James, what are you doing with that artefact from the war, on your day off?
James : I am going to the carpenters to make a display case [James strains and shifts the Gear in his hands to be more comfortable] and have a drawer underneath for the paperwork for it.
Sable :[Curious] So it can be an exhibit for future generations?
James : Yes [James nods as if to agree with Sable on a point that was not originally his] and I want to be sure we can make another one if we need it as we as a point of pride on my point [James smiles].
Sable : Intriguing, I won’t hold you up anymore.
  James nods as if to want to give Sable a salute and walks to the Carpenters. Once there James talks about how he wants the box to look like and the finer details of it. Like the display for the Gear needs to be at a 45-degree angle for the gear to be looked at without getting up to look at it. Other details like how big the draw needed to be and if it needed to be lockable etc.   After the discussion, James arranges as with the Brownsmith to have Carpenter address the commission for House Lapin but in his name. All agreed and James pays for it and leaves, knowing that the display case will be arriving in House Lapin in 2 weeks.  

May 26 2023 - Day 938

James comes downstairs from having a substantial breakfast, he has someone wave at him for his attention and finds it to be Nicole, the Librarian of House Lapin. She hands James a box of roughly 25 cm cube although taller on one side.   James makes his way back up the stairs to his Quarters. James leaves the box on his desk and walks out of House Lapin and relieves one of the guards from their duty. James spends the next hour and a half uneventfully on guard duty. Upon his duty reaching 2 hours, a fight breaks out on the bridge across the river.   James :[James runs but yells] Hey stop fighting!
  James : Surely, we can get along. You can't be starved if you are fighting like that. What is this over?
  Before one of them can answer. One of the men, who has a black eye, falls over. James puts one of his arms around him and drags him back. James holds back flashbacks of the war as he drags the man back to House Lapin for treatment of his wounds. Once he gets further away from the other man he speaks in a way James thinks may start another discussion.   Man : What is this about? We were having fun!
James :[Reasonable] What do you know about fighting? I have fought the undead and survived through it and seen my comrades die in front of me. [James carefully lets the person fall from his shoulder and points towards where he fell off the bridge] and I fell off there to survive and fought for the living. Fight, you don’t know half the things fighting is.
Man : It’s only a piece of fun.
James : It’s only fun until someone gets hurt, you weren’t play-fighting.
Man : I didn’t hurt him that much!
James:[annoyed][examining the man’s wounds as he picks him back up] Not much it looks like you were trying to kill him, you gave him a black eye and he is unconscious. Not much really!
  The man repeats himself about fighting is fun. James carefully gets the injured man to the floor again and goes over to the man who is being defiant. James pulls him by the collar and to their faces meet.   James :[Angry] You want fun then! Ready yourself then.
  James pushes the man away so that he can ready himself for the fight. James takes his sword with his dagger and discards it, showing he will be equally matched with the man. James shows that he is unarmed, by waving his arms and showing his open hands.   James then indicates he wants his opponent to go first. They fight it is James that hits harder in places that will give bruising but the opponent will be fine in a couple of days this continues for another 5 minutes. James given the fact that he has military training knows where to hit someone to cause pain in the moment but no lasting damage. After the next 5 minutes, the man begins to lose the fight and begins to whimper and asks for mercy. James chooses not to, as the man falls backwards he lands on his hands and feet with his back facing the ground. As the man backs away from James. James's eyes go wild as if taken over by a wild animal who is finally getting a successful hunt to get some food.   James :[Wildly] Why should I give you mercy? This is fun, why should I stop?
  James gets to the person again and kicks him softly in the ankle as to allow his opponent to walk after the fight. James acts as if his possession of being a wild animal is over. James looks to the man who is shaking in fear. He looks like he is going to wet himself and James takes the cue to stop. James opens his hand towards the man to be allowed up.   James holds the man's hand kindly and brings him to his feet, so the man can walk   James :[Kindly] Do you get my point now, from earlier about fighting?
  The Man replies in the affirmative. James walks back to collect his weapons and gets to the man who had collapsed. James puts the man's arm around his shoulder to carry him back to House Lapin’s Infirmary. Again he holds back flashbacks of being in Japan and fighting the undead.   James makes it into House Lapin and goes towards the infirmary with the man in tow. Once there he is welcomed by the woman who helped him twice already.   Infirmary Attendant : James good to see you, I see this person needs help.
James : Yes, there was a street fight on the bridge.
Infirmary Attendant : What about his assailant? [James coughs up some blood]
James :[James wipes his hand on his mouth] He needed to be taught a lesson about when to stop and I scared him. [James looks down in remorse then looks back up again] By any chance can we have a chat? I think I might need anger management.
Infirmary Attendant : I think that might be a good idea
  James helps them get the injured man to a bed and they go into another room for a conversation. It is decided that James will develop a filter and will catch up each week until this is not needed.   After this conversation, James heads upstairs to his Quarters and opens the package from the Carpenters. James finds an ornate walnut box with glass viewing windows for the Brass Gear to go in the draw in the bottom stiffly. Revealing Dark Salmon Pink coloured felt with brass keys for the lock. James fetches the paperwork and puts it reverentially in the draw and locks the draw. He finds a string to tie the key to make a key necklace for himself and puts it on. The spare key takes away from his key and goes to look for Sable and hands her the spare.   Sable : What's this?
James : The box arrived from the carpenter, that's the spare key, I think you should have it.
  Sable honourably accepts the key and they go their separate ways.  

September 5 2023 - Day 1040

Over the past few days, House Lapin has been repaired and looks like it before it fell during the war. James leaves his Quarters and goes to have a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and fruit.   Jonathan : Good Morning, Private Woodwright, you are to go to the main street to patrol the streets.
James : Sir, Yes, Sir. [James Salutes]
  James marches out of House Lapin and patrols the main street. He gets to the top of the main street and looks down the street as he does so, he can see people look happy going about their business, some people greet him while on his duty and ask for directions.   James begins to feel content and that the storm in his mind and body has lifted.  

October 8 2023 - Day 1073

James comes out of his Quarters and follows his usual routine. Once he comes downstairs to await his orders from Johnathan, he is surprised to see Sable who seems pleased to see him.   Sable :[Pleased] Good Morning, James you might be pleased to hear that I have got word that Greg, from the lemon groves, will start delivering again.
  James was indeed pleased his face couldn’t hide it.   James :[Pleased] When will he make his next delivery?
Sable : Sometime this morning, would it be possible for you to stand outside ready for him?
James : I would be honoured!
  James waits outside 2 hours later while waiting with two other guards as he sees in the far distance a blue portal open. A faint figure with yellow accents comes towards House Lapin. As the figure makes his way it is indeed Greg and James’s face sculps itself into delight as Greg makes his way to House Lapin.   James : It's good to see you, Greg!
Greg : And to you, it's been a while. I haven't got any words for your collection….
James : Only lemons [James interrupts and they both laugh]
James : Come to think of it, why haven't you been delivering after the war when we all returned to our houses of service?
Greg : I have been, I haven’t been to yours yet. We couldn't tell you have been up and running and safe for a while. We were mainly delivering lemons to House Mollusca. ….
James : Because it never fell. [James interrupts again and Greg nods]
  As they go their separate ways, James turns to look toward Greg who has opened a portal back to the lemon groves, walk through it and the portal closes.   James : I wonder where you go, Greg?

Story Contents


The Ethical Dilemma was inspired by this video: Enderal Part 7 (38:29)

Cover image: Iron Tome by Misades


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