Burials And Drinks

Who: Burial Scene has Morgenstern, Antonia, Byrd, Sidiqqi, Stryker and Tobias in it.
Where: Cemetary and later at Grenouille Bleu
Summary: Some lost soldier friends are buried and there's a calm and serene ceremony. After that, a few goes to get a drink together.

Cemetery

On the very outskirts of the town, is an enormous war cemetery where the dead of the Great War have been laid to rest. A small quiet chapel is off to one side in a leafy glade, but most of the field is taken up by rows and rows of white crosses, which gleam brightly in the sun, and with a more sombre shade in the light of the moon at night.
Canadian and British war graves dominate the collection, but there are also plenty of French, and even a small plot for the German soldier here.

Sidiqqi eventually walks into the graveyard, evidentally having taken the time to clear himself up. His uniform is still one suited for combat, but instead of a steel helmet, he's wearing a green cloth cap of some kind.

Morgenstern has also cleaned up and has put some real effort into it. He's standing with some other legionaires, and there's four simple coffins waiting to be lowered into the ground and white crosses to be put up once that particular grim task is over with. The poppies which have shot up from the ground is a stark contrast to the serenity, but it's also soothing; life goes on.

Byrd likewise cleaned himself up, as much as he could, before getting to this task. He's washed his face and hands, at least. His eyes are downcast as he moves into the graveyard. He doesn't have the heart to take a hard look at the coffins. He approaches the coffins, but stays a little wide of the legionnaires. As if reluctant to interrupt them.

Stryker comes walking into the cemetary, carrying his helmet in his hands. He's looking at his feet, not paying attention to the people around him. He walks in between the graves over to the crowd of people, and watches the coffins. He places the helmet at his feet and begins to stroke his forehead with his left hand as he just watches, and waits.

Antonia has shined herself up as well. She gets as dirty and as disgusting as some of these men sometimes, and even though she didn't get a chance to wash her hair it's brushed and pulled back. She wears a clean uniform that's pressed as well as she could press it, buttons polished, a ribbon pinned to the lapel bearing the Royal Red Cross. Her shoes she's cleaned off from mud and dirt, despite the fact that they'll be muddy again by the time she gets back to the church. She comes into the area and close to the ceremony but not too close, hanging back respectfully.

Tobias Farben decided against getting his bruise fixed up - it was, after all, just a light bruise, and there were far more people in dire need of medical assistance in the hospital than he was. So, he decided to leave the hospital and come to the ceremony in the cemetary. He cleaned himself up as best as he could, as best as one could under these tiring conditions, and moves himself closer towards the gathering.

Sidiqqi keeps his silence, lips closed as he watches the others mourn men he himself likely had never met. The Pashtun man doesn't even know their names, but nevertheless honours their memory with respect.
Stryker knows two of the men. Slowly, a tear drips out of his eye, and begins to roll down his face, but he doesn't wipe it a way. He just stands there, silent, probably thinking about the guys.

An old priest, obviously French, steps up and looks around to see if the gathering is done before he starts talking. He looks tired, probably having to to do this quite often; it takes its own toll on a man when doing so many burial ceremonies. He waits till there's silence and then begins speaking in French. Even for those not knowing the language, it is easy to figure out what he's saying if they've been to a burial before. His voice is calm and serene and warm.

Morgenstern glances around, noticing the familiar faces and it makes him feel content that the friends about to be buried get that attention. He then stands almost to attention and stares straight ahead as the priest speaks. The priest doesn't draw it out, and once finished he gestures for anyone who wants to speak to do so. Morgenstern steps up and clears his voice, looking at the coffins. "I didn't get to know them too well but I know enough to say that they were good, good men." He's not much of a speaker, but does his best. "Thatcher always complained about the frogs and yet he helped me back to the church when I barely could walk. Legrand was a crazy bastard but one of the best. Darwin and Royer… wish I had had more chances to talk to you." And that's all he says before the coffins begin to lower down. He takes out a bottle of whiskey and puts it on top of Legrand's coffin. "Here's that bottle I owe you. Sorry it took so long."

Antonia almost never speaks at these, except for the one recently where she'd been goaded into doing it. She watches Morgenstern's dedication without much showing on her face. The corners of her mouth are tense - neither completely blase' nor overly emotional. She could afford to be neither, not in her position.

Sidiqqi lifts his eyes as the flare disturbs the rememberance, frowning quietly as its shadows shudder with the Very light's sputters.

Byrd lifts his eyes off the ground when Morgenstern gets up to speak. He kept them down while the priest went on. He's not much on ceremonies, especially when they're done in French. But for the legionnaire's words he stands as tall and straight and respectful as he can muster. He nods a little throughout, especially at mention of Legrand and Thatcher. He doesn't weep. He just looks deep sad, and more than a little lost.

Tobias stands to the back of the assembly. He really didn't know the men being buried - he had only been here for a few weeks, a new arrival at the Arras front. Before that he was in Mesopotamia and other fronts throughout the war, and saw the same thing in each and every battle. This was no different, was not special. Maybe that's why Tobias did not cry. He just stares at Morgenstern, his hands folded behind his back.

Stryker frowns slightly, then takes a step forward. Softly, he says quietly, "I have someting to say. I didn't know any of the men extraordinarily well, but I did know Thatcher a little. He was always that guy on the edge, the guy that I, and many other people, looked up to when we first transferred in. I know he was a great man, and a great leader." he stops for a second, his voice getting a bit weaker. He then continues, "Thatcher taught me alot. We didn't speak much, but he showed me through his actions. He showed me how to fix up certain sections of a trench, he pointed out alot of places to fire. But more importantly, he showed to me why we're here. Thatcher was, and still is, a good man. May him, and Legrand, Royer, and Darwin, rest in peace." he says, stepping back, his voice still a bit weak. He's staring at Thatchers coffin, almost in shock.

Morgenstern looks up in some surprise as Stryker speaks. He listens attentively, his expression softening as much as his thuggish face can. He's nowhere near to tears but he's sad; he gives Stryker a nod of thanks, then steps back to watch the coffins disappear into the earth. It's not a long ceremony and the priest is already moving away to take care of the next one.

Antonia stands there, watching as those coffins are lowered. The wind blows a long strand of dark hair across her face and she closes her eyes, though they stay closed for a few seconds longer than they would if it were only the wind motivating it. She takes a slow breath and it straightens her shoulders as she tilts her chin up, looking briefly towards the sky.

Stryker stands there silently as the coffins are lowered. At one point, his hands drop to his sides and he looks down at the ground, by his feet. He doesn't say anything to anyone, doesn't even watch the coffins being lowered.

"I still can't believe Thatcher's gone," Byrd says as he watches the coffins lowered, looking half surprised when he opens his mouth to speak. But he keeps on with it. "Tommy seemed untouchable. I remember him going out on the line all by his lonesome to lay out the wire. To keep the rest of us from getting our arses shot off my the Jerries. Hell of a sapper. Didn't seem to have any fear in him. Legrand, neither. There ain't enough blokes like them on the line."

Sidiqqi lowers his eyes once more, keeping his head bowed in silent respect. He just stares generally ahead, not having any words to add. For a moment he adjusts the felt cap on his head, so it's covering more of his wine dark hair, then lowers the hands to fold them before his belt buckle.

Tobias considers ducking out of the cemetary. He didn't even see Rush's coffin, another fellow who died in his arms just a few days ago, during the wiring laying mission. He deserved a burial, too, Tobias considers, although he may have already had his own ceremony and Tobias missed it. Shrugging, Tobias continues to watch, knowing that many more burials lay ahead, including possibly his own.

Morgenstern grins at what Byrd says then, and he nods to what is being said. As the legionaires begin to filter back towards town, he remains there for a moment longer before he too turns to slowly wander back, looking at the familiar faces. "Well," he says, "back to work now then." He bends down to pick a poppie from the ground and he tucks it onto the lapel of his coat.

Antonia stays where she is as men start to file out, looking down at the raised mounds of earth, her hands folded lightly behind her back. Her back is straight, almost formally so, her eyes switching slowly between the gravesites and then around at the others in cemetary without moving her head. Another breeze rustles the hem of her skirt around her boot-clad ankles.

Stryker slowly begins to walk out once the caskets are down, still silent and to himself, looking at his feet. He places his helmet back on the top of his head and continues walking out, passing by graves, and dragging a finger along the tops of some. He appears to be deep in thought.

Byrd isn't leaving just yet. He stands in place, shifting uncomfortably on the soles of his feet. He licks his lips and approaches Morgenstern. He looks like he wants to say something to the legionnaire. But he can't find the words.

Sidiqqi finally turns, once the caskets are lowered by ropes. He looks for a moment towards the southeast, and finally starts to step towards the gate of the French graveyard. No words spoken as he passes.

Tobias notices several others starting to file out, now that the caskets were being lowered in. Time for him to leave, too, then. Casting one more glance back at the grave sites, he executes an about-face and walks back east towards the Rue d'Amiens.

Morgenstern looks up and offers Byrd a grin. "Nice poppies, eh?" he comments calmly, looking out over the huge cemetary. Noticing Byrd's problems with talking, he reaches a hand out and lays it on the man's shoulders, beginning to steer him off back towards town. "Let's go get a drink." He offers Tobias a wave, and calls at him. "Glad to see you're not too badly hurt." And finally, to the doctor, giving the woman a warm look. "Come along for a drink?"

Byrd nods silently to Morgenstern, shifting his feet to follow. "A drink sounds damn good right now," he comments quietly. He also lifts a hand when Tobias goes off. "Come along if you're up for a drink, mate. You, too, Doc. Drinking's always better with a woman along."

"Hmm?" Antonia's mind was somewhere else right then. She looks at the two men when she hears her abbreviated title, having to piece together a conversation that she was only vaguely aware had been happening. "Oh. Yes, why not. I did rather enjoy that wine." She straightens her collar and her sleeve cuffs.

"To Le Grenoulle Bleu then," Morgenstern suggests and leads the way out from the cemetary, walking with no especial hurry. The weather is nice and for once, walking doesn't seem like more work.

La Grenouille Bleu

Welcome to the town pub and grill, La Grenouille Bleu. It is a fairly open place, the fifteen or so tables are widely spaced, and windows make up most of two walls. As one might expect from the name, the color scheme revolves around blues and greens - and the remaining wall is half-covered with a mural of vaguely unhappy frogs on lily pads floating on a deep blue pond.
The chairs and tables are wildly varied, as they have been procured from several different sources, but manage not to clash too much with the prevailing colors. The bar itself is along the back wall. Its top is deep green, front blue, and the dozen stools simple varnished oak.

Stryker strides in, looking a bit paled still from the cemetary. He goes over to the bar and takes a seat. He places his hands on the counter, and watches them shake for a little. After a bit, he places them on his laps, and tries to ignore them.

Morgenstern comes in not long after Stryker, together with Byrd and Antonia. He joins up at the bar and secures a few stools for himself and the company. And a whole bottle of wiskey is ordered. "What do you all want? I get more paid now, so I'll treat."

Byrd follows Morgenstern in, still not quite able to look the man in the eye. Not after just watching another legionnaire buried. "Whisky, in any form you can get it," he says, sitting down next to the corporal. He's certainly not going to turn down the offer to pay.

Antonia is as out of place in here as she was the last time they dragged her out somewhere. She keeps fiddling with her buttoned cuffs. The order of whiskey is followed by her arching an eyebrow, as she rests her fingertips down on the counter edge. She looks up at Morgenstern curiously. "What is that you've got?"

Geoffrey steps into the local pub, ducking through the door, though he really has no need. Once inside, the Private glances around the darkened taproom and hrmphs a, "Crowded tonight." to himself before making his way towards a small table with a couple other soldiers sitting at it. He doesn't know them, but in these times, he doesn't need to. Sitting down, he raises a hand for the serving wench and gives a holler, "Beer!"

Seths walks in the bar, he seems to be calm, "I really hate night shifts…" he talks to himself and he walks twards the bar, "Something without alcohol, if jerries attack again, I want to be able to shoot them not shoot the moon." he says to barmen…

"Right then, gimme two glasses," Morgenstern asks of the bartender. He nods around the place, quite a few faces he knows after all. "Oh, whiskey," he explains to Antonia. "You want some?" This could turn out to be an interesting night if whiskey is being had by so many.

Byrd grins at Antonia at the idea of the doctor drinking whiskey. It amuses him. "Might want to stick to wine, love. Not sure you could take the hard stuff." He watches the others drift into the bar, offering a nod to nearby Stryker.

Stryker calls over a bartender and quietly asks for some beer. While he's waiting, he looks over at the mural of the frogs, and stares at it, deep in thought, probably thinking of Thatcher. After a while, the beer comes, and he slowly starts sipping it.

Antonia draws her head back slightly, raising an eyebrow at Morgenstern. Whiskey, goodness. She glances at Byrd, opening her mouth to say something, then she looks back at Morgenstern. "What does whiskey taste like?" She asks, at once both distressed by the situation and absurdly curious about liquor she's always been told is so vulgar.

Geoffrey finally gets his beer as the serving girl makes her rounds for about the thirtyith time this hour. The garrison's keeping the little hovel of a taproom busy tonight and it's beginning to show on the young girl. Sweat drips from her brow as she brushes the majority of it away with the back of her hand that's promptly wiped across her apron. She sets the beer down in front of Geoffrey. Luckily, by the time it got to him, it's room temperature, just the way he likes it.

Geoffrey is a hard-faced bloke from the east side of London. His nose has probably been broken as many times as the sun has shown on that destitute side of town. His hair is cut short, to barely meet regs, but his eyes are sharp and clear. A thin, pink scare traces it's way down the youngster's left cheek, likely the remnant of some bar brawl he managed to get himself into, and barely out of.

"One shot isn't going to kill her," Morgenstern says grinningly. Another glass is asked for and he takes the bottle and pours up for the three, pushing one glass over to Byrd and one to Antonia. He then turns to face the room in general, raising the shot in the air. "To the doctors and nurses!" he suggests, raising his voice to be heard. "The roses of no man's land."

"Tastes a bit like fire, love," Byrd replies with one of those crooked grin he seems to think are charming. "But it's a fine sort of way to burn." He takes the glass and raises it, face going serious as he toasts. "Here, here."

Antonia goes perfectly still as Morgenstern slides the glass at her, looking at it as though it might sprout legs, run back to England, and tell her entire hometown if she reached for it. She looks at the two men and then adjusts her collar with her fingertips before she picks up the glass. She sniffs it carefully and the mere smell makes her face flush lightly. She waves a hand by her nose and look at Morgenstern as he toasts, opening her mouth as if to protest. But she's too late. She looks back at the liquid. "Oh dear. Oh, dear…" And with that she does as thes Romans do, raising the shot glass with them. She keeps an eye on both, watching to see how they take down this ghastly liquid.

Tobias slides into the bar from outside. He had come over from the cemetary after the end of the burial ceremony, and was in need of a good drink to knock him out of his senses for a few hours. It had been a very, very rough day for the British soldier, one that he would not forget, no matter how much alcohol he drowned himself in today. He pushes his way past other soldiers gathered about, and when he arrives at the bar counter, he taps his hand down on the wood.

Seths takes a glass of coffee and drinks it slowly as he looks around, who is doing what, mostly people drink alcohol, he feels a bit odd as he is the only person drinking not alcohol, but he wants to be ready for battle when needed..

Morgenstern's eyes glitter a bit now. He's not forgetting his dead comrades but he's not one to mourn forever either. He puts the glass to his mouth and downs it all in one go, without as much as blinking. Then he takes the poppy from his lapel and holds it out to Antonia.

Byrd quaffs his whiskey like a pro, knocking a quarter of the glass back in one go. "Evening, mate," he offers to Tobias with a small inclination of his head. The Kiwi isn't as jovial as usual, either. Hard to be, when you've just seen four men go into the ground for all eternity. Speaking of, he turns to Morgenstern. The liquor has loosened his tongue a bit. "Look. I just wanted to say…sorry about your mate. Legrand. He…he was a good bloke. Braver than…hell of a lot braver than most of the men on the line." He's not going to say 'braver than me', but that's clearly the implication.

Antonia listens to their exchanges and manages a small smile. She still doesn't quite have anything to say about it all, not being quite on the level as them with the soldiers. So she looks back at the whiskey. Having seen both of them take it like a man, she attempts that too. And a second after she swallows the shot, the solemn moment of remembrance is effectively shattered by her starting to cough like the dickens, her eyes watering up.

Tobias takes the glass handed to him by the barkeep and raises it towards Byrd. "Evenin'," Tobias says, offering a smile to the fellow. He raises his glass towards the man, but then quickly brings it to his lips and downs half of it. He sighs and places the glass down, and looks back to Byrd. "Sorry about earlier, it was foolhardy of me," he says, referring to the incident earlier, back during the fight with the Germans.

Seths is calm and drinking his hot coffee, watching around mainly, not doing anything particular…
Geoffrey takes a couple sips of his beer before deciding to take it outside in the night eir. Picking up his mug, he heads outside.

Morgenstern refills his glass, listening to Byrd. He shifts on his seat, a bit awkwardly. "Thanks, Byrdie. But don't think about it too much, alright? Everyone here is a good man. And brave. We just do what we have to do, that's…" He pauses, and makes a vague gesture. "I don't think it's brave as much as so numb about it you're just going on routine," he murmurs. He swings hastily to Antonia and reaches a hand out to pat her back. "Burns, doesn't it?" Isn't he helpful?

Byrd frowns at Morgenstern's words. He don't quite agree with them. He shrugs, doing some more deep drinking, his eyes falling to the bar. "Don't think on it," he replies to Tobias. "'Least you made a decent account of yourself out there. Seen blokes do loads stupider things on the line. Done loads worse myself, come to it." He hunkers down over the bar to drink and broad about his shortcomings. Until Antonia starts coughing. Then he looks up, throws back his head and laughs. "Way to take it like a man, love! Ha!"

Antonia can't even respond, clapping her hands over her face as she nearly chokes on the whiskey. She leans forward a bit, coughing into her hands, and then straightens up as she closes her eyes and waves her hands at her face to try and cool her skin down. It's flushed bright red. "My /God/!"

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