The Best Defense

“They’re here,” Commander Mirek shouted from the open tent-flap and woke the General from his fitful sleep, filled with dreams of loss and fear.  “They stole a night march.”

“No one would risk marching at night through that terrain, it’s suicide.”

“Obviously someone would.  That boy’s gamble saved us the effort of chasing him up and down the coast, so let’s finish this.”

“Wait,” the General hesitated.  “No, if they’re here already, we have to retreat.”

“What?”

“We will march for the fort right away.”

“And leave the catapults for him to fire against that pile of driftwood?  We’ll be lucky to make it there in time, his army will attack before dawn!”

“By which time, my army will be en route to the fortress, where we can withstand a siege for some time.”

“He’ll outlast us at the fort, and then we’re dead.  But we can’t flee fast enough to stay in front of him anyway, so it’s a moot point.”

“You have your orders.”

Mirek stormed across the soft dirt outside, pounded flat by countless boots and horseshoes over the last fortnight.  The first rays of light clawed over the horizon as he found the captain of his personal guard.

“The General has ordered us to retreat.  He endangers this army by giving such an order.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to stand and fight where we have fortifications.”

“I agree sir.”

“The General is a traitorous enemy agent who needs to be stopped before he causes any more damage.”

“I understand sir.”

“Afterwards, bring the officers to my new command tent, we have a defense to plan.”

“Of course sir.”

“You have your orders.”

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