From Sweden To Pen Clod

"From Sweden to Pen-clod"

Who: Llywelyn & Henrik
IC Date: May 1940
RL Date: Jan. 21, 2008
Where: Arras, France

What: Private Llywelyn arrives in Arras with a shipment of BEF troops. He meets the Swede, Henrik, and the two of them take a few whacks at the language barrier and talk of the state of the world.

Logger: Llywelyn

The Grid-----> > > > > THE GREATEST GENERATION < < <

Coordinates : 15 2

A fine example of a French town. There is little sign of war here, the buildings are all in good condition - very good condition in fact, as most of them have been newly built. The last war was not kind on this area, after all. It all looks peaceful, at least on the surface.

Sub-Rooms :

Town Hall <TH> West <W>
East <E> South <S>
North <N>

Llywelyn rolls into Arras, literally, on the back of a truck. And he's not the only one. The truck is loaded with BEF men, most of them new arrivals, ready to drive back the Germans just like in days gone by.

Past sunset, and most people who have someplace better to be aren't hanging about outside, watching the comings and goings of trucks, troops and bullets. But Henrik is sitting outside anyway, looking up with a habitual frown as another truck rolls into Arras. Blue eyes fix upon the soldiers as the british troops begin filing out.

The truck stops in front of the Town Hall and the soldiers are hustled off, Llywelyn just another confused cap milling around in the crowd of khaki. Their officers have hastily erected a center of activity in the hall, to get papers filed and men checked in. Llywelyn is told where to go by a harried sergeant. He readies his papers but he's not going to need them for awhile. He's at the end of the line, outside the hall, and looks to have a lot of time to kill.

Henrik regards the men of the BEF as the fresh blood files in to indulge the needs of military beaurocracy. Letting out a slow breath, the big foreigner stirs to his feet, and calls toward the last man in line- Llewelyn, in strongly accented english, "You speak french, Englishman?"

Llywelyn's cloudy blue eyes rove around the town of Arras, a faint smile coming to his face as he takes in the little homes and shops and meeting places. Though that smile fades when it falls on the BEF guns and military trappings that've been brought into the hamlet. Henrik's approach breaks him out of reverie. He takes a deep breath and answers, "Bon-jeer, Mishure. Polly-vu France-sase un petite…" No. No, he does not speak French. He stumbles through a few memorized phrases in a butchered attempt at it, though. His thick Welsh accent allows him to mangle the language in ways Henrik has, perhaps, never heard before.

Standing a solid six foot, Henrik has short cropped dark brown hair, a thick neck and a clean shaven, square jaw. Narrow blue eyes and an expression that naturally settles into a faint frown compose strong classical features. His nose and brows are a bit sunburnt, while a broad scar marks his brow and scalp, creating a gap in his hairline and snaking toward the crown of his head. Shoulders aren't unusually broad, though thickly muscled beneath an off-white shirt, rolled up to the elbows. Charcoal-grey trousers are loose over heavily muscled legs, bottom cuffs dusting the tops of worn leather boots that have long since lost thier black polish.

Henrik's humor is far from merry, but the british soldier's efforts at french provoke a short, barked chuckle, and a slow shake of his head. A wry smile lingers on his face long enough to observe, "Hell, English- you speak worse than me," in the british tongue. Crossing stout arms over his chest, he grinds on in stiff english, "News? English send tanks, planes?"

Llywelyn flushes, trailing off anymore attempts and French and chuckling along with Henrik. "I did try and practice a bit on the boat over," he says sheepishly. "Never did have a knack for languages, though, and French is harder for picking up than English." He's relieved to settle back into a language he knows, though he blinks when Henrik calls him 'English.' "My name is Llywelyn. Kendall Llywelyn. And as far as I know armoured vehicles are being sent. I don't know much, though. I just dig where the brass tells me to, and I've not even had a chance to start on that yet."

Henrik tosses his head with a light snort at Llewelyn's last words. Muttering a low phrase under his breath in a language unknown to Kendall. "Eh, english is mess of language. Big mess of french, german.. no damn rule. Think you people make up word as you go," he quips flatly. "England send many bullets, bombs for you, Kendall Lew- Lewel-len. Bah!" a dismissive toss of his head at the pronunciation of the welsh name. "You fight fascists with many bullets, tanks. You lucky."

Llywelyn gets another laugh at that. "I won't argue it. It's not the tongue I'd speak if I had a choice in it. And I'm no English. I'm Welsh." Whether the difference means anything to Henrik, it's clearly of importance to Llywelyn. "I'll not call myself lucky until I see what we're up against. I'm not even sure where I'll be assigned yet. Are you from this town, then?"

"Welsh?" Henrik echoes with a frown. "Irish not english, Welsh not english? Any damn Englishman from England?" Shrugging his broad shoulders, and uncrossing his arms, the man shakes his head, choosing to move on. "Not from here. Hell! Not french," he notes with a short-lived smile. It's certainly no french accent which corrupts his english speech. "Waiting in Arras. For boat, plane to Sweden. Will be waiting long time," he adds, lip curling with a moment's disgust.

"Only the unfortunate ones," Llywelyn quips softly, more to himself than Henrik, as to which Englishmen are from England. But he moves on as well. Henrik's answer prompts a sympathetic grimace. "I'd say you likely will at that. If I may say, my good Swede, you've chosen a poor time to come to France."

Henrik glowers for a moment, before returning in a deep, flat-toned voice, "Poor time. Poor France. I want that France getting what is earn, but now I get with- again," Irritation at his lack of the proper words is dismissed with another motion of one hand, and he regards Llywelyn again. "Bah! How wide is water? Maybe I swim," he adds dryly.

Llywelyn chuckles softly. "Not too wide, for which many aren't too grateful now, the way the Germans are moving. But men have swum it before, so perhaps you should consider it. I know a fine little inn by the sea that'd put you up, if you head north for the Isle."

"Just in case," Henrik rumbles with a small, brief smile.. echoing words he's heard a more fluent speaker use many times. "What is name of place? I go there and say 'little welsh, speak very bad french- he say I go here'."

"Penclawdd," Llywelyn replies with a laugh. He can't manage 'bonjour' but stuff like 'Penclawdd' and 'Llywelyn' rolls right off his tongue. "It's right on the sea, in the south of Wales. You could swim to it easily enough. My father-in-law keeps an inn overlooking the beach. I helped him run the place before…" He shrugs. Before he decided to go and do this, obviously. "Winnie…that is, Winifred, my wife…she'd likely let you have a room for free if you said I'd sent you. She has a soft heart, bless her."

"Pen-clod?" Henrik returns with an arched brow. "Not ask me to ever spell in your language," he requests dryly. The talk of wife, father-in-law, and life before the present are met with a steady, wordless stare from the big swede. "All would be different," he notes in a colorless tone, "If you all come in '37. Fascists beaten, France.. Poland.. Czechoslovakia.. Spain all be strong.. And you be back in Penclod by now."

Llywelyn grins at Henrik's pronunciation of his home. "Aye, close enough," he murmurs. But his expression turns somber at the last of those words. "I know little of the world, or politics, outside my own borders. I won't call you wrong. Perhaps help should've come sooner. But we're here now, and not too late yet to stop the Germans from taking this as well."

"Perhaps," Henrik echoes with a bitter note coloring his words. The moment passes, with another dismissive motion of his hand. "For France it is not too late. For the rest- Eh. Damned fascists must get beaten. There must be some.." He tries words in other languages, before settling on: "Justice?"

"Justice. That's the right of it," Llywelyn affirms. "Well. The British helped beat the Germans here once before. It can be done again." He sounds as if he truly believes that. But then, he just came off the truck. The line of soldiers reporting in has grown shorter, and Llywelyn is nearly up. "In any case. I should get to it. It was good speaking with you, Swede. What's your Christian name, anyhow?"

The optimism in Llywelyn's tone is met with a flat, unblinking gaze from the man who draws a breath to answer after several long moments, "Henrik Svensson. Stay alive, Kendall of Pen-clod. We talk again after."

"After, aye," Llywelyn said, offering Henrik a parting nod of his head before striding off to get himself reported for duty. The words 'Stay alive' served to dampen his optimism a little. But only a little.

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