A chorus of “Yessirs” chimed from his men, and three squads formed, then marched out of the camp and disappeared into the fading light.
The commotion in the courtyard drew a crowd of labourers out of the workshops east of the yard. Curious faces twisted into saddened ones as the workers ran towards their wounded friends. The dozen labourers grumbled insults and spat at the guardsmen jogging past them.
“The incompetence of your men has cost me workers. Again.” Hector Alphon, the master builder, moved to stand in front of Sanders, his finger outstretched and pointing at Roderick.
Hector’s blond queue fell to the base of his neck, and it took all of Sanders’ will to not reach out to grab it and drag the master builder away. If there were any other builder in the world equal to Hector’s talents, Sanders would hire him in an instant. In fact, Sanders would hire any builder with half of Hector’s abilities. Instead, Sanders was stuck with Hector, brilliant and stubborn, determined and inexhaustible, and much-needed.
“My men aren’t incompetent,” Roderick said. The general’s voice rumbled in a bearish growl, and he sucked in air in preparation for a tirade.
Sanders put a hand on Roderick. “I was there, Hector,” Sanders said. “The attack was fast and over before the guardsmen could respond.”
“I cannot complete the task you set before me if my workers are too terrified to do their jobs.” Hector turned to Roderick. “Your soldiers need to soldier.”
“There are injured that need a boost in morale,” Sanders said, nodding in the direction of the barracks. “See to them.”
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