I Got My Buck

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Herman sat at the fire, obviously enjoying its heat. When Wili sat beside him, he looked over at his friend. "What's tomorrow going to be like, I wonder. I hear these Swedes have some help from that Grantville place."

Wili twisted the stick he was holding. "I once met a man who claimed he'd been in Grantville. Don't remember his name; called him 'New Guy' the way we did everyone 'til they survived a couple of fights. Horst brought him over; said they'd been together with Tilly at Breitenfeld; that he was 'solid.' Do you remember Horst? With him that was as much praise as you could hope for, so we made room at our fire. He seemed to know what he was doing; claimed a space for his blanket and went to work on his pike. Don't remember him saying much 'til someone said that the Swedes we'd be facing the next day came from somewhere called Grantville. It was the first I ever heard of the cursed place."

Herman took a sip of beer, then dunked a piece of bread in his stew. "So, what did this 'New Guy' have to say about the place? I've heard all sorts of rumors."

Wili shrugged. "He didn't say anything, at first, not 'til it was certain that the rest of us knew nothing about 'em. Then he said, 'I've been there. They may be fighting for the Swede, but they're not Swedish; they're some kind of English or Scots, but the town is in Thuringia.'"

Lucas, who was doing his usual imitation of a log on the other side of the firewood, interrupted. "I don't believe those stories about them being wizards. And who cares if they're Scot dogs or Saxon pigs? Is this a mercenary unit? How good are they? Where have they fought?"

Wili shrugged again, even though it was impossible for Lucas to see it. "We figured that it was a good thing when he told us that, to his memory, they didn't hire mercenaries. After all, no town militia was going to stand up to a veteran unit like ours. But he disagreed. He claimed to have been the last survivor of a screw up when the squad he was in got separated from the rest of his company."

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