Page 215: The Soldiers Curse
The Soldier's Curse
Summary: A discussion on luck and it's place on the battlefield
Date: 18/Feb/2012
Related Logs: None specific, but Flint Camp and invasion of the Iron Isles in general
Einar Fenrir 
Flint Campsite, Seagard
A large cabin-style tent stands in the center of the small area granted, the light and dark device declaring it to be House Flint of Flint's Finger hangs just outside on a make-shift armour stand. Dotted around the main camp are smaller tents for the cavalry (who have to share tents), and for the foot soldier (they are stuffed into tents like sardines). There is a small but adequate holding area for their horses with a tent for the tack. In the center of their small area is a cooking fire, with appropriate cooking supplies.
Fri Feb 17, 289

It seems to be one of those rare, quiet moments in camp, but then maybe that's because anyone with any sense is already in bed, what with invasion of the Iron Isles in the morning. Einar is one of those still up though, either because he still has work to do or he simply can't yet sleep. He's sat in front of the dying embers of one of the fires, his cloak lying heavily across his shoulders, although he is alert enough to be glancing up whenever someone passes. Or maybe he's just looking for someone in particular.

Last night of 'peace' or no, there are still sentries to set in place, still Lords to check on, still whores to chase off with a gentle boot. Fenrir is making his rounds with the stolid patience of a professional, chatting amiably with various men as he goes. One might think that he is perfectly at ease, despite the fact that come dawn, he shall be loading one hundred fellow souls onto a makeshift fleet and sailing toward vicious battle. Coming upon Einar at his dying fire, the master-at-arms settles down into a crouch alongside him and smiles lopsidedly. "You ought to be asleep, Lord Einar." The chiding is gentle, fond even. "Nervous?"

Einar glances to Fenrir as he hears him draw near, but says nothing until the Master at Arms has. "I know Master Viiding," he admits, a faint smile crossing his features, "I just can't get my head to stop thinking long enough." Not an uncommon complaint for the lad really, although really not the best of timings. He turns back to stare at the embers briefly as he considers his answer to the question posed. After a moment he frowns slightly and makes his decision, "no, not nerves." He turns back to face the man and continues, "just an over active head I think." Sitting back a little and straightening himself he seems to have decided something else and asks, "Master Viiding, can I call upon your vast experience to help settle something for me?"

"Lad, if it's to do with a woman, I'll try my hardest, but.." Fenrir smiles faintly, then spreads his hands. "They're all a blasted mystery to me, eh?" This despite the older man's reputation as a lion in the bedchambers - perhaps more than a little overblown, come to that. He searches the squire's expression, then gravely inclines his head. "Seriously, Lord Einar, if I can be of service.. It ain't something you got to ask. By the oak, sometimes you remind me of your cousin when he was your age.."

Now that does bring an amused expression to Einar's face. "Have no worries, it's not to do with a woman. Nothing quiet so complicated as that, just war and soldiering." And who better to ask really, all things considered. "I was just wondering you see, where the balance is, between training and luck." The slightest of creases makes it's mark on his forehead as he continues, "I know that luck favours the well prepared, but there's always still that element of it isn't there? Lucky it wasn't you but the next man who took the arrow, luck that you happened to come against an enemy who was weak with a sword instead of one of their best." The crease could now almost be considered a frown when the shadows from the fire catch it right, clearly not just a casual thought exercise.

"My Lord.." Fenrir hesitates, sobering considerably as he studies the other man. Absently, his hand comes down to the horn-hilted dagger at his belt, massaging the pommel lightly. He stares into the embers for awhile before trying to answer. "Luck is the soldier's curse. You see, Lord Einar, we prepare for everything in order to defeat luck, like." He smiles a little bit, making a rolling gesture with one hand. "Here - look at it like this. You might be the weak swordsman some other man meets in battle. So we prepare, prepare, prepare, and we plan, plan, plan. Luck is the enemy. And it's my responsibility, like, never to make you or any other man under me depend on it."

Einar listens to the answer with the same intensity and concentration as he has many times over the years. He mulls the answer over in his head for a few moments before another question surfaces, seeking clarity. "But sometimes, only sometimes mind, it can be on your side? It's dangerous to rely on it but sometimes it can go your way?" For some reason, he doesn't seem to have taken much encouragement from the original answer, but then maybe that was the touching, intentional or not, of the raw nerve that is his skill with the sword.

"Aye, it can work in your favor sometimes. I've killed better men than me 'cos they slipped in the mud, or such-like. Lord Einar, listen to me - please." Fenrir is intent, fixated on the other man; drawing his dagger from the belt, he holds it up to the firelight, orange embers reflecting off the blade. "Put luck out of your mind. If it works in your favor, aye, fine - seize the moment and kill the bastard quick, before the wily bitch swings the other way." He twirls the dagger between his fingers absently. "But banish it from your mind, mate. All you need to survive a battle is the willingness to kill. A hard heart, a fierce will, and a good plan will serve you better than luck any day."

Einar watches the dagger as Fenrir speaks, there's just something faintly mesmerising about the way the firelight dances off the blade. Being told to banish luck from his mind brings his full attention back to the man in front of him though. Once Fenrir is through he starts to say something in reply, but then catches himself and drops he head a little before pushing himself to his feet. "Thank you Master Viiding, but I think you're right, I ought to be asleep." Shifting his shoulders slightly to resettle his cloak for the short distance to where he sleep he does what he can to put the thoughts out of his mind. He has his answer and while it might not have given the reassurances he was hoping for, he has it, and that is that.

Fenrir sighs slowly, spinning the dagger a final time before sliding it away. He rises to his feet, eyeing the younger man slightly awkwardly. With a brief smile, he turns to look out over the camp. "Lord Einar?.. You know what I love about my job?" He doesn't pause for long before answering the other man. "It's the way Lord Anders trusts me. And his da. They give me the finest men they have - like yourself - and let me ply my trade. Don't trust in luck, my lad. Trust in your Gods and in your Lord." He purses his lips briefly before continuing. "..And, Lord Einar? I've rarely seen a more willing lad, or a harder study. You're going to do fine. Now rest well."