There were many more protections Meck could put on the armor but he would save those for a battle situation. Some charms faded with time and would be better applied right before fighting rather then let them fade before they were needed.
“I’ll get dressed and take you on a tour of the camp.”
“You don’t have to do that. I’m sure you have better things to do.” Guilt swept through Meck for taking up the general’s time.
“Nothing more important than letting everyone know you are my wizard. I don’t want anyone trying to claim you or kick you out of camp because they think you’ve snuck in. That reminds me.” Anders turned around and opened his trunk. Meck heard the soft clink of metal against metal before Anders pulled something out then shut his trunk again. “This will let everyone know you are working for me.”
Meck leans forward to see the object Anders is holding out. A silver arm cuff with a coat of arms embedded on the front had the shimmer of antique metal.
“It looks like an heirloom.” Meck accepted the cuff. Because of the heat he’d worn his shirt with shorter sleeves so he didn’t have to push any fabric away as he pressed it over his arm. A flash of light had him jerking back. “What happened?”
Anders wide smile had a feral edge. “It marks you as pack and gives you your own protections. I figure if you are going to protect me, I am going to protect you.”
“Thank you.” His skin prickled like the energy before a storm, but soon it settled as whatever magic lived in the band merged with his own leaving a warm, soothing sensation.
“You’re welcome. We will be together at least until the war ends we should watch each other’s backs.”
Meck nodded. From what he’d heard about the soldier he’d worried the general wouldn’t consider him part of his team but the armband told him otherwise. “I appreciate that.” He made a mental note to send a message to Vedder. His friend had been worried about him.
The general clapped his hands together. “Now let’s see about that tour of camp.”
Meck followed Anders out of the tent and into the bustle of the camp once again. Striding through the groups of soldiers and other workers the general paused for no one. Meck easily trailed in his wake. Everyone moved to get out of their leader’s way so it took little effort to stay out of the crowd.
“This where I have my armor repaired,” Anders waved to the blacksmith who raised a sooty hand in greeting.
“I can repair your armor and weaponry,” Meck protested. He would defend his right to work.
“Will it cause weakness in the metal if you use magic?”
Because Anders appeared curious and not accusing Meck answered. “No. If I have to constantly repair holes or something it would be better for the metalsmith to do it but otherwise magic will add protections just fine.”
“Good.” Anders moved on, waving at the food preparation area as they walked. “These are the kitchens as you already know.”
Meck followed but didn’t comment. He wasn’t one to speak unless necessary.
“Here are the training grounds.”
Clanking metal and grunts filled the air around the cleared out field. Dozens of soldiers battled some with swords, others hand-to-hand. A few had targets set up to practice their marksmanship. Arrows covered one of the wooden targets in a tight cluster highlighting the soldier’s skill.
“That’s Pramoor, he’s our best archer. I’ve never seen him miss.” Anders’ eyes held admiration as he watched Pramoor take another shot.
They stood and watched archery practice for several minutes before continuing on. Anders worked his way through tents, identifying the ones for the officers and a few soldiers he thought Meck needed to know about. Meck learned where to send his clothes to be washed, where to wash himself if he didn’t use Anders bath and other necessities.
“How long have you been here?” Although well set up it didn’t appear to be a permanent facility.
“About a week. If things work out in our favor. The Emperor’s forces have bee tougher than anticipated.”
Meck sighed. He hated war. He understood the necessity of fighting an man who wanted to take over the entire world and set himself up as king but the death and destruction left behind no matter the victor made Meck queasy. It baffled him why so many would follow a half mad man in his pursuit of glory. What did they get out of it?
“What’s wrong?” Anders asked.
“I just don’t understand war. So many deaths. So much pain.” Meck trailed off not knowing what else to say. Proposing a pacifist agenda to a soldier wouldn’t get him anywhere but tired.
“War has no victor,” Anders agreed. “But if we don’t rid the world of Emperor Marris and his followers there will no freedom for everyone and that is worth all of the blood in my body to shed.”