The boy, tall and slender with shaggy sandy hair and a lopsided bloody bandage across his forehead, hesitated at the door of the drab canvas wall tent. A small white sign, hand-lettered HQ with red paint, differentiated that shelter from the hodgepodge of others, many makeshift, that lay shivering among the ancient tombs.
He entered the doorway, glad to be out of the brisk, frigid wind. Inside the tent, the boy paused until his eyes adjusted to the dim light.
A large wall-map dominated the right side; a neat cot and footlocker occupied the left. In the center, a fit clean-shaven middle-aged man sat behind a table littered with papers. Glancing up from reading, the man peered over the top of wire-framed glasses and motioned the youth closer.
“Can I help you, son?”
The boy carefully placed his rifle in a rack near the door and approached the table.
“Major Reynolds, I'm Nat Davis. They told me to report here. I brought fourteen people in from Regalia.”
The major sighed inwardly, reflecting on the boy's youth. He removed his glasses and said gently, “I heard the town had fallen. Can we expect more survivors?”
“No Sir. The rest are gone; only a few well-hidden ones made it.” He touched his bandaged head. “The Rymher thought I was dead, but I was only knocked out. When I came to, I gathered the living and brought--”
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