Entries tagged with “QF15”.

When Rico Montel had first donned the blue and green uniform of the Varilyn Hierarchy’s armed forces, it had been a moment of inexpressible pride.

The burly mouse didn’t think he was unusual in that. He’d come from a humble background, a few steps from the streets, and still been given a chance to succeed; should he not be proud of his nation? And he’d trained and studied for years to pass the bar for a slot at officer’s college, and not only been accepted, but been at the head of his class; should he not be proud of himself?

He’d committed to enlisting in the wake of what had since become known as the Sterley uprising – a gaggle of pirates who’d had the notion to turn conquistador and caused five bloody years of fighting before their base of operations was finally tracked down at the outer limits of the Sterley system. He’d been much too junior to actually take part in the strike on that base – hadn’t even won an ensign’s stripe, still on his midshipman’s cruise, most junior of a wing helping to police the home systems – but he’d been in uniform long enough to feel some common ground with the soldiers who had gone to fight. He’d mourned their losses, cheered their triumph, and been once again proud to wear the same uniform as them. (more…)

It was a small wonder he hadn’t worn a groove in the floor.

That floor was good hardwood, topped by a thick rug which, given the prior ambassador’s lavish tastes, was surprisingly understated and tasteful, yet which still might be worth more than the entire home Nicolai di Casson had grown up in before the seminary. But he’d been pacing across both of them for long enough that he’d quite lost track of time by this point, and he was hardly a small man. Some part of his mind half-expected there to be a rut a hand’s-breadth deep worn through the wood by now.

This post was a comfortable one, and the people he’d been sent to treat with were decent, honourable folk, however bewildering the array of customs their populace exhibited could sometimes be to a provincial knight of Rendayn like himself. His peers at the negotiating table treated him with respect, his staff was dutiful and attentive, his host the King was friendly and approachable and shockingly willing to put up with Nicolai’s foibles and occasional gaffes – and that didn’t even touch on the court wizard.

So why did this spacious, comfortable suite feel so much like a cell?