You are not alone:
Bo pulled his sister into his arms, giving her the warmest, most Loving embrace he could muster.
“You are not alone”, he managed, softly.
He barely knows his Sister. She is new to Nobility, and has been through horrors that Bo could barely imagine. She had internalised the shackles of slavery. She had been through so much, and now Robbie had died, too.
Bo had been there. He, Serena and Lady Tam had made the charge to try to get him back. He had been too late. His leg had been broken. Bo had crawled through the dirt with his last ounce of strength to get back to the Imperials.
“Fred and I will look after you,” he added after another pause.
And Vitoria will look after him.
But who will look after me?
He tightened his embrace.
“Anvil Lance, move in to support the Barossas!”
Bo gave the order, his Company responded fluidly as over twenty of Dawn’s finest made their way towards the Jotun formation on the right flank. They had Ogres.
Bo noticed that Roderigo was down. Gabrielle was attempting surgery, but she was wide out in the open. An Ogre was making its way towards them.
With House Sepulchre on his left, Bo sprinted to cover his friends.
Yes, his mind rang as he moved, problems aside, these are my friends.
Bo extended his shield over the loving couple, adopting a defensive stance and digging in.
This may well be what True Love looks like, thought Bo as he prepared to receive the enemy charge. I cannot say I do not envy them.
The Ogre reached the young Lord and pressed its attack.
Bo held the line, but he knew things were tenuous at best.
He couldn’t quite remember what happened next. He knew there was an Ogre, he knew he and others from Anvil lance killed it. He knew they killed other orcs, too. He knew he gave 3 orders to charge and, eventually, the cumulative momentum accrued by repeating that most archetypal of Dawnish manoeuvres caused them to rout.
The dislocated hip, however, he remembered vividly.
With a cry of pain, Lord Bohemonde fell to the floor. Someone dragged him back to triage. He had no idea who they were. He felt like his body was on fire.
He was put next to Serena. She looked like she was in excruciating pain, too.
Marrowwort was administered by a man who looked like a Griminir.
Bo reached out and touched her forehead. She was in so much pain.
To his shame, fear stopped him from crying out her name.
Last night, she got hurt because of me. It was my fault. I failed her.
After a minute of this, she returned to her feet. Bo followed suit soon after. She went back to her family, Bo went to resume control of Anvil Lance.
Leaning on his shield as he walked, Bo made his way back to his people with more than a melancholy pang in his chest.
That’s us, I suppose, he mused sadly.
“If you will not fight them…”
Bo could understand Geraint’s logic and why he might feel offended by his stance on the “nobles” that had assaulted him the evening before.
There had been some violent disagreements over their Nobility of Spirit. Bo thought they had none. As if to affirm his words, the member of House Cordraco in question decided to headbutt him and call him a “fop”. Bo replied calmly, urging that the “sad little man” refrain from such puerile displays in the future.
Thank Loyalty that Ree, Flora and Colwyn had my back, he thought.
Bo’s more pragmatic, soldierly side knew he could crush Geraint easily in single combat. Bo had seen him fight enough to pinpoint his weaknesses – a dignity he extended to anyone he felt he might one day have to fight. That didn’t mean he wanted to, though. He did not want to humiliate his friend. Geraint had been through enough.
They were birds of a feather, in a way.
That said, the plans of these unmarried blood-cousins to fornicate on a battlefield, irreverently upsetting the social contract at the core of the Dawnish meritocracy, as well as their reductive and asinine geopolitical views, all threw their nobility of spirit into question, as far as Bo was concerned.
Geraint was doing his best to act in a manner befitting an Earl, but Bo could see the fear in his eyes.
A House like Cordraco, with so many composite parts… Geraint’s position must be rather… precarious at times.
Bo would await the punishment that Geraint would set them for their misgivings, then he would make up his mind.
Later that day, D’eon made a remark about Bo forfeiting the “moral high ground”.
As ever, thought Bo, my Earl fails to commit. How grindingly predictable. How very, very him.
Earlier that day, the Nobles in question had covered Bo during an extremely dicey situation with the Grendel.
They had failed to get to Robbie in time, and Bo paid the price.
Bo crawled through the mud, his leg was broken and he was barely remaining conscious in the face of extensive bloodloss.
They had patched him up, without so much as a complaint.
Bo respected that degree of dedication to one’s fellow citizen, even if the traditions of their House remained reprehensible.
At the end of all this, Bo duelled the Noble who had headbutted him. Bo won, despite another broken leg.
“I do not respect your traditions, but I respect you.”
That was, perhaps, enough.
Geraint looked relieved he hadn’t had to make a hard choice. Bo’s own train of thought echoed that sentiment.
Geraint has had to face enough tough choices.