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Date Posted: 22:26:05 12/27/02 Fri
As the day drew on, Cirad eventually began to stir.
He stretched and began to grope for his clothes, shivering in the chilly air. Last night’s watch had been almost unbearable. The icy wind had penetrated through all layers of clothing and the snow had made it difficult to see. There had been little point of anyone watching at all last night. A vast army of Orcs could easily have crept up to the city without being seen.
Cirad moved over to look out of the window. He stepped carefully over the piles of clothing and weapons dumped randomly in the limited floor space. He really should think about moving them at some point, but not now. Couldn’t be bothered.
The snow lay in thick drifts across the courtyard. Footprints had already marred the fresh layer, scooped hollows and splattered remains suggested a snowball fight had taken place earlier.
Still, things couldn’t just come to a halt because of a few inches of snow. Where would the king be if his warriors didn’t train daily? Cirad pulled on a few more layers and buckled his sword around his waist. He stepped out of the door and locked it behind him. Finally he adjusted the dial on the door so that it pointed to “Training Ground.” He took pride in the fact that his men always knew where to find him. That was the reason why he kept his room in the soldiers quarters.
The training ground was full of warriors throwing snowballs, building snowmen and thrusting snow down each others necks. Cirad watched in disgust for a moment. These were the king’s fighting force. Brave, strong and ready for battle.... as long as there was no snow around obviously. He sighed heavily. It would take more than one man to resume proper training. Besides, although he disapproved, he knew not to risk losing his popularity amongst the men by destroying their fun. Training would obviously recommence tomorrow.
Cirad stood alone on the edge, deep in thought. What could he do now? He could return to his room and train alone. Or he could go home.
He felt a slight twinge of guilt when he realised his last trip home was almost a fortnight ago. He returned to his room to replace his sword and adjust the dial on the door. Then he started out into the city.
It didn’t take him long to find his way through the dirty streets. His house was on a narrow street, the tall buildings looming up on either side. He opened his front door and stepped inside.
Iorleth looked up from the bread she was kneading, a smile spread over her face.
“Cirad” she exclaimed joyfully. “So you decided to grace us with your presence!”
Cirad smiled wryly as he removed his cloak. He decided not to give his wife time to start another barrage of complaint and swept her into his arms instead.
“Good to see you again” she whispered into his shoulder. She turned her face to the little girl playing with a rag doll next to the fire.
“Briora, have you got a kiss for your Daddy?” she asked.
The toddler shook her solemn face vigorously, backing hastily away towards the bedrooms.
“She’s scared of you!” Iorleth laughed breaking away from her husband’s embrace.
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