The fog condensed into an oppressive blanket of grey. By the time the men returned to their camps they could hardly see beyond a few yards, the thick dew clinging to their tunics. Some units had difficulty relighting the fires that had burned down while they had been at muster, but by being persistent all the fires were eventually ignited. Once they were able to warm themselves around the fire, conversation in most of the camps turned toward the promised spirits according to custom, brandiwine for the Golden Rule’s Believers and honeymead for the Greenway’s Followers.
Lord Marshal Lester Bowen, the Master of Foot, was a few minutes late returning to the command pavilion, his expression clearly amused as he pulled back the flap and began taking off his cloak to dry beside a brazier near the entrance. The Grand Marshal and the rest of the Lord Marshals were waiting, cups already in hand.
Lord Marshal Marc Dellis, the Master of Horse, couldn’t resist a gibe at his long-time friendly rival, “What took you so long, Les? I thought you were right behind me.”
Bowen chuckled. “I thought I was too, but in the fog I ended up following one of the smiths. I thought I might be going the wrong way but I wasn’t sure until I ended up behind one of the armories. Had to laugh at myself for that. Once I realized my mistake and got re-oriented, I realized I’d gone almost 5 minutes the wrong way.”
Lord Marshal Ander Colson, the Rangemaster laughed. “Bowen got lost? That’s amazing!”
Lord Marshal Garrison Teague, the Siegemaster added, “What amazes me isn’t so much that he got lost, but that he made a mistake and realized it.”
Lord Marshal Kimbal Reese, the Bowmaster grinned, leaning forward in his chair. “What amazes me even more is that he made a mistake and realized it, and admitted it!”
The Lord Marshals burst into raucous laughter, color flooding into Bowen’s embarrassed face as he grinned. Even Grand Master Dunstan allowed himself a smile at his Master of Foot’s expense.
Still smiling, Colson turned in his chair to grab a tankard from a nearby table, setting down his own tankard of mead. “Have yourself a seat, Les. I’ll get your drink. I forget what you take, will it be mead or brandiwine?”
“Wine, thank you.” Bowen answered.
“Brandiwine for the Believer”, Colson answered. “Jarvis, you’re the Supplymaster. Get Bowen some wine.”
“Hey!” Jarvis blurted, chuckling. “You’re awfully generous with my labor!”
“You’re the junior Marshal, so I’d get used to it if I were you.” Colson explained with a wide grin. “Anyone ready for a refill while he’s at it?”