On the Line Again

After the coronation, Major Kestel returned to the 202nd Regiment as the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion. Evans had been promoted to Sergeant to allow him more authority in the command of her staff. Polly was given a role as Major Kestel’s secretary. Major Kestel had also given Anna a job as her official tailor. Evans had made fun of Anna because he was doing her job 90% of the time, since Anna was in Medway, and Major Kestel was near the front. But now, the 202nd was back in the trenches. Back to the usual fair. Major Kestel at her desk, looking at maps, and Evans doing the paperwork. At least, as a sergeant, Evans got a desk.

Evans looked through the pile of mail for the battalion. He divided it up into a few piles. The classified updates on the war effort: To be read, immediately, by Major Kestel, then burned.. The family of dead soldiers asking for explanations: To be passed out to the company commanders. Personal Letters addressed directly to “Demetria Kestel:” Major Kestel would deal with them when she got the chance. And finally, everything sent to “Duchess Medway” was to be read by Evans. He had mastered the art of forging her signature and acted as her de facto speechwriter, so if it was a fan, he would type up a short letter that sounded like she wrote it and sign it with her signature. Almost no one wrote to “Duchess Medway” unless they didn’t know her personally. Except for tonight. Evans ripped open the letter and started to read. His knife clattered onto the table, “Demi… You’re gonna want to read this.”

“I have to turn in this annotated map in an hour and then I have to tour the lines. I really do not have time to read a funny letter.”

“Ma’am. Read this letter.”

“Ordering me around is wrong in so many ways Sergeant. Can you read it to me?”

“This is personal Ma’am. And Official. You want to read it yourself.”

“Fine Jim,” Major Kestel stood up, walked over, and grabbed the letter, “Are you happy now Ji…” Major Kestel squealed with excitement and dropped the letter.She hugged Evans and jumped up and down a bit.

Evans smiled and then asked, “One Question Demi. Why is the Lord Marshfield asking if you, the Duchess Medway, if his ‘Extra Son’ can get married to… you, but then it just says something about the Fair Lady Demetria.Can’t his son just ask you directly?

“Tradition. If this were the old days, you would have to ask your Lord if you wanted to marry your wife. So my soon to be fiance’s Lord asked my lord to marry. It’s just that I am my own lord, it is my duty to select who I marry.”

“So who is this guy? Sebastian something?”

Major Kestel smiled, “Sebastian Griffiths is someone I knew a little growing up. He is now working running one of his father’s factories, so he visited me a few times while I was recovering. And he was at the-” A shell burst close by and the dug out rumbled “-coronation.”

“So when are you going to become ‘Major Griffiths?’”

“Never.First off, he will get my surname, This will be a Matrilineal marriage, so he will be taking my name. And the marriage will be after the war, so I will not be an officer.”

“Good, I couldn’t get used to calling you by yet an…” Shells started to rain down more heavily and a few machine guns started to open up. Evans grabbed his rifle off the rack on the wall. Major Kestel put her sword on.

Polly ran down the stairs and saluted, “Major! The front lines being pounded Ma’am.”

“Very Well,” She turned to Evans, “Sergeant, fetch the Sergeant Major and Company Commanders. Polly, tell Regiment that we are ready to reinforce the front if necessary. And tell them our phone still is not working.”

Evans and Polly responded in unison, “Yes Ma’am.”

The two ran up the stairs. Major Kestel took in a deep breath. It was probably just a raid. Just in case, she checked the magazine on her sidearm and chambered a round.

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