Story for the Day: How Bryeison Broke the Latrine P1
The latrine is a character in itself in the series-- it's a place of peace for many of the denizens in the castle keep, but what many in Alasdair's time don't know is that there used to be another latrine directly behind the barracks. It's now gone, and here is how it was destroyed.
Their First Captaincy gained, their ears freshly pierced --much to Draeden’s discomfort, though he admitted the silver ring did look famously—their new ranks duly celebrated, Bryeison hauled Draeden back to the barracks and tossed him into his bunk. Draeden fell instantly asleep, clung to his pillow, and snored with open mouth, flagellating cheeks, and whistling exhalations. All Bryeison’s mirth was in seeing the prince so happily unconscious; the night of high revel and insobriety had done well to quiet Draeden’s complaints, and once the sting of the needle through his ear had been got over, the drinks had hardened him to the lingering twinge and had allowed the prince to be as prosing, as ravenous, and as voluble as usual. Garrulous as Draeden was, once the first few drinks had done with him, his speech had soon slurred, his eyes grew heavy, and though there was much still to be eat, when Draeden began talking of vanquishing beasts and remarking on Bryeison’s becoming blue eyes, it was time to enjoy all the pleasures that a drunken sleep could provide.
The sonorous drone emanating from Draeden’s open mouth as he clung to his pillow supplied Bryeison with endless amusement: he pulled a feather from his own pillow and watched it lilt against Draeden’s strident snuffs, placed his finger between Draeden’s parted lips and wondered how deep he could go without causing Draeden to rouse, and set one of the washing cups at the corner of his mouth to act as a collection for Draeden’s drool. He was forever bemoaning his sopping pillow and forever refuting himself as the cause of it; here, however, would be proof of his slavering habits, and once Bryeison had made the cup a tolerable support, he stifled his bellowing mirth and slipped away, taking his laughter and diversion to the battlements. He sat between the merlons above the front gate and watched the sun make is gradual ascent, glorying in the lasting sting of his piercing, enjoying the warming sensation thereof, and laughing to himself, thinking of how much Draeden had writhed and squirmed before the needle had even touched him, and how proud and complacent he was once the silver ring was dangling from his ear.
Their first day of their new captaincy training promised to be exhilarating, bringing with it all the supernumerary joys of broken bones, sore muscles, aching joints, visits to the infirmary and armoury, casting orders at their new regiment, and so eager was Bryeison to begin his first day in his new office that he went to the training yard early and tied ten halfweights to the flat of his blade. He practiced his strikes and thrusts and lunges until his arms and chest were sore and accustomed to the adjustments he had made, and once he was able to perform his movements without difficulty, he returned to the armoury to add more weight to the wide fuller. This ritual of building his tolerance and his strength continued until recruits began rousing from their bunks and taking their formations for the morning roll. All who came to the field were disposed to pay Bryeison respects upon his promotion, and though everyone nodded and bowed and gave their acclamation, not everyone was pleased to see the Varrallan giant made First Captain ahead of others.
Bryeison knew he should be making enemies of some, for he was aware of the suspicions that he must cultivate as the fondling of the king and as Draeden’s constant companion. The cerns who should be part of his new regiment must be livid that he had been chosen above those who were many years his senior, but he ignored the sharp glares and went to the latrine before his long day of officiation was to begin. As he sat between the confined walls and enjoyed his peace and privacy, amidst the various insalubrious sounds he overheard a conversation between two of the cerns in his regiment.
“This is hardly fair,” he heard the first say. “We’ve been in orders two years longer than that giant, and this is his second promotion.”
“Not to mention he and the prince were promoted the day they officially began in the ranks,” said the other. “That just isn’t done, but when your father is the king, I suppose you can have anything you want.”
“The royal brat never even strikes. So what if he is impossible to hit? If he cannot land his sword, he’s useless in a fight as far as I’m concerned.”
“And the odious giant cannot dodge to save his skin. Of course he can return a hit, but what’s the point of learning evasion if you’re just going to stand there and accept every blow? His complacence annoys me, and if I have to hear the prince’s stomach gargle one more time, I’m going to retch.”
“He eats like beast. At this rate, he’ll eat the country dry by the time he’s General.”
There was a humph and a scoff. “That won’t be very long. He need only ask his father, and he’ll be General tomorrow.”
“And another word will make the giant a commander. If they deserved the positions, I would have nothing to say for it, but Suillibhan, the old git, could not have agreed to promote them without some royal incentive.”
Bryeison had heard enough: had they only insulted his abilities, he should never have suffered to move from his position, but that they had spoken slanderously against His Majesty, that they had accused their king of extortion and wrongful treatment was more than his conscience could endure. He could have done without the comments against Draeden, but these aspersions were nothing compared to the treasonous remarks against their commander and king. He had just done and stood from the seat, and after calmly replacing his fauld and lifting his galligaskins, he placed his ear against the wall, felt the cracks in the wood for any weakness, closed his eyes, inhaled, and with utmost composure slammed his fist through the wood. A few yelps rang out from the other side of the wall, but his fingers wrapping tightly around the throat of one of his victims silenced half of the commotion. He felt his captive’s body flail and his blunted nails claw at the enormous hand suffocating him. A fiendish grin, a gathering of strength, and with one great heave, Bryeison thundered through the latrine door, breaking it off its hinges. A jerk of his left arm as he marched forward, a loud and prolonged crack, and Bryeison wrenched the wood from its frame. He stormed toward the field with booming steps, with his hand closed tightly around his victim, with the broken wall of the latrine round his forearm, dragging his prey toward his commander, who was just come down from the commons to see what all the commotion was about.
“I see ye found yursel’ a-sommat,” said the commander, impressed to see the latrine splintered, and even more impressed to see the wall attached to Bryeison’s arm. He motioned toward Bryeison’s prisoner. “Who that ye got there, Cap’n?”
Bryeison looked down momentarily. “MacMillian, Commander.”
“Aye, that chokin’ blue bastard looks like MacMillian ahright.” The commander leaned down and shouted, “Lad, are yis gettin’s a mouth fulla shite on ye?”
MacMillian made a few unintelligible burbles and grabbed at the fingers clasped around his throat.
“He said that His Majesty bribed you to promote Draeden,” Bryeison explained, “and that I was promoted because I am friends with the prince. I brought him here to have that claim contradicted.”
The accusation was enough to make Suillibhan’s mustachios uncurl. “Lad,” his rasping voice rumbled, his face colouring with furious anger, “this here giant ‘o a man just shite-kicked ye from inside the commode. His arm went through wood and he took the wall with him. Ye dunnae even have the strength to break from his grip. Gae’on with ye, lad. When ye break a door down with naught but yur stride, then ye can have a mouth on ye.” He humphed and gave a firm nod. “CreNaCille!”
“Yes, sir!” Bryeison saluted.
“Right! Give this lad sommat to shite hissel’ about, and dunnae go easy on him. Was there ‘naebody else who’s gainsayin’ ye, lad?”
Bryeison looked round for MacMillian’s accomplice, whom he believed to be another cern in his regiment, only to find him mysteriously absconded. “No, sir.”
“Good.” The commander gave a dismissive wave. “As you will, lad. I dun wannae see that arse-fodder back here ‘less he has to visit the cleric. D’ye follow me? Aff with ye, lad. Right! The rest of ye ‘arf-wits fall in line!”He turned toward the rest of the amassing troops, and Bryeison was allowed to exact his punishment as he would.