“Boss”, Zarah calls Cim that now, but she wasn’t the first one. The last time they were called “Boss”, it didn’t go well.
In the Seventh Wave, Simeon had been a scout, one of the Unconquered who spent more time lying in muddy ditches and deep puddles than they did a dry bed of any kind. He’d been good at it, good enough to get his own command and to lead them deep into Vallorn-claimed territory when Reikos fell.
Cim can remember it still: her voice begging him to hang on until they can get back to the surgeons; how few of them did get back, every word the surgeons said when they said the wounds would never fully heal and his army life was done.
Simeon went to war, and Cimeies returned. Different people, but both called “Boss” by those close to them. Perhaps this time it would go better.
Prompt of “Boss” provided by Liz.
The cards were neatly stacked, organised into separate piles and occasionally stamped with an inky mark that apparently made sense to the person who put them there.
Some of them were crammed with notes, others barely more than a header. They were each meticulously copied, amended, and filed in a particular place after being sorted. The fire blazed merrily nearby, fresh kindling curling within the flames.
A particular card, seemingly forgotten, has fallen near the fire, ashes smearing the ink and smouldering embers blackening the edges. It is stained with cinnamon spirit and some of the ink is blurred from water damage.
The work continues, however.
The prompt of “cards” provided by Liz.
There were always plenty of documents to collate. Diaries, reports, notations on strange things, notices from the Civil Service, the latest judgements from Anvil.
On the shelf sat a black bell, inscribed with a delicate pattern in gold. It sat amongst several other bells, none of which held any less significance and most of which were more prominently placed. The black bell rung, pealing softly, the low tones reaching across the room but not so loud as to be distracting.
Cimeies looked up from the document they were perusing – a copy of the story destined to be added to the Wall of Damata, though whether it was added before the Jotun arrived was another matter – and made a few notes before setting the Freeborn scroll aside and getting up.
There were other tasks to be getting on with, and their Sister was in need of aid. The ringing bell is plucked from the shelf, the motion bringing silence to the room before the bell is rung once. This time, no sound is heard in the study, and the bell is slipped back onto the shelf before Cimeies exits the room just as silently.
Prompt of “bells” provided by Clare.