Chapter 47: Nice to meet you. I’m Alan.
Patrick ordered the torches lit--night had fallen on Hahl. The apprehension in the room tripled, and understandably so. For one, sunrise was less than eight hours away, and for two, the Kingdom forces had no plan of action thanks to the puzzling behavior of Alan Marshall.
The middle aged commander grew animated over the last few minutes. There was an ever-present energy to him now, a confidence almost never seen from the man. It was then, Patrick realized, that Alan Marshall became a different being when he planned for war. He glowed with the light of a man doing the one thing in the world he was good at.
At least I hope he is, Patrick thought. If not, we’ll have died for nothing.
Patrick wanted to strangle the man. Who did he think he was, discarding hours of precious work? It would be one thing if he insisted on drawing a new plan, but at the very least kept Patrick’s for backup. But no, he’d shredded their only plan of action with an army practically at their doorsteps. It was beyond infuriating.
Seehara was the only one present--aside from Saerina--that didn’t seem to be disturbed in the slightest. The old treasurer sat patiently, jotting down costs, estimations, and loans required, all with a hand that shook from age rather than terror. Commander Duuhard, on the other hand, trembled, wearing a sickly expression of worry.
“How long are you going to make us wait?” Duuhard asked. “Gods, man, there’s little time.”
Alan was pacing back and forth with a delighted grin on his face. He swung his left finger in the air like a music composer. He bounced off the heels of his feet, as he turned around and paced in the other direction.
Patrick didn’t disturb him. He was the only chance they had now. That is, if he wasn’t insane, or stricken with some other mental illness. It had been years since Patrick had last seen the man command. Was he always like this? Patrick struggled to remember, it had been so long ago.
“Yes,” Alan muttered. “Yes, yes.”
Commander Duuhard sighed. “He’s been repeating himself for an hour now. Perhaps we should draw a new set of plans and have the man hung?”
Patrick wanted to agree with the commander, but shook his head thinking better of it. “Just let him be. My father once told me he has no equal. I’ll have to bet my life that my father was an honest man.”
“Or not a boastful one,” Saerith added. Ten of the lower sergeants present gasped at the Prince’s lack of respect and tone. It was a brazen statement to make from one prince to another, and of course, the men weren’t yet aware of Princes' growing disregard for formality.
By the time Alan stopped pacing, full dark had settled upon Hahl, thick clouds obscuring the moonlight. Patrick poured himself another goblet of water and prayed to Helena.
Please, he thought. Bless us with safety and victory.
The room quieted when Alan spoke. “Arrogant,” he said. “Very, very arrogant.”