Jari's Funeral

Erkki is scouting out where to lay the few mines they have, with the help of Vesa and Niko. He looks over his shoulder and grins at Antti. "Put them down north, towards the south and west. You'll see where we've started. Vesa can go help you, we got to do the mines later soon as we got someone who knows how."

Niko nods to Antti. He points to the north. "Back up that way," the small man says. We're blocking the approach from the road to the west and to this position. I'll give you a hand."

Erkki lights up a cigarette again and pokes at a frozen corpse with his skipole. Experimentally he pokes a bit harder, at the man's frozen eye. It's solid though, no squishing.

Antti has added another layer of the wire running between dead Soviet vehicles, blocking the road to the south. Periodically, he shrugs to better settle the rifle on his back, before looking up and asking of no one in particular, "Now what?"

Vesa checks around the other wire laid, tugging at it here and there and fixing it up. He looks back at Erkki in time to see the man poking at the corpse and looks down at the body for a few moments. Though he says nothing just then.

Niko shivers and mutters, "Let's go back into the trench. Ivan probably still has this road zeroed with his artillery from yesterday."

Erkki straightens up and moves away from the corpse, checking out the wire and the position at large. "I don't know," he admits with a snort. "Anyone seen Jari?" Jari Viinikainen went out on something a few days ago and hasn't returned yet. Erkki doesn't want to show it but he's getting worried. Jari is his only friend, far as he's concerned.

"I haven't seen him at all." Vesa crouches down near one of the bodies, noting a lump in the soldier's coat. He digs into the man's pocket, pulling a bit and causing the body to shift stiffly.

Antti shakes his head. "The Parabellum bullets are gone. Figure he picked them up for something or other. Will probably be back when he runs out." A shrug, and a pass of his eyes around the road running south..

"He took the Suomi? I think that was the only one," Niko says. He nods to the west. "Captured some Russian SMGs, but I trust them just about as far as I can throw 'em. Got some 9mm that came with it, too." The small man frowns and looks down the road to the east, "We get resupplied with more 20mm? Could have used an antitank rifle. Your brother got hit trying to molotov a tank."

Antti frowns and shakes his head. "All the russian submachine gun bullets are gone too. The ones I took off the dead Commissar. I figure Jari has them.. And no, I've seen no more 20mm shells. Still have the six left in the chamber, unless Isak decided to waste them," he notes dryly.

"I don't know, I think I saw Matti having the Suomi," Erkki says but he's not sounding too sure about it. "I got an idea of where he could've gone, I'm gonna go look. Anyone coming with me?"

Niko nods to Erkki. "I'll come. Gotta keep moving so I don't freeze. Need to eat more and develop a healthy layer of fat."

Antti shrugs again, "I'll go, if someone has another few bullets to share. Just grabbed a rifle on my way out of Pyyvaara."

Vesa finally digs out whatever was in the Russian's pocket, sliding it into his own and standing up. "I'll go with you, Erkki. Been pacing that trench all day, nice to walk." He pulls his rifle off his back, readying it just in case.

Erkki gestures towards the west. "We got ammunition there, don't take too much. I need to tell them we're leaving anyway," he grunts and skis westwards to explain their mission and get some ammunition.

Antti checks the rifle chamber, pops in three more shells before taking a handful more, and leaving the bulk in place.

South of Pyyvaara

Erkki explains they'll be gone for a bit, leaving a group of other finns to watch the road for now. He then heads eastwards, moving away from the road and keeping to the forest not far away from it.
Explaining just briefly why he thinks Jari has went this way, something to do with a discussed scouting mission south of Pyyvaara, Erkki leads them on what could just be a goose chase, in a desperate attempt to find his friend. However, closer to Pyyvaara they find the faint tracks of skis in the snow, of someone who went here alone. Erkki speeds up, hope recovered.

Niko huffs as he follows along behind Erkki. "Jari ever say why he went out this way?" the small man asks.

Vesa's expression lightens a little when he sees the ski trails, and he keeps following Erkki closely. "He's probably sitting at a fire somewhere close, eating a nice rabbit and having a smoke," he says with a grin.

"He talked about seeing if he could find some more civic guards, we've got some cabins in this area, so he wanted to see if there were any there," Erkki explains, gesturing eastwards. "There's a cabin not far from here, another 3 kilometres. Looks like whomever went past here was heading in that direction."

Antti keeps pace without much comment, eyeing the tracks and following along once Erkki leads on.

"Could be made by any man on skis," Niko says. He continues following Erkki regardless. "Might be nice to stop and rest at those cabins anyway, get out of the cold."

Vesa keeps a watchful eye around them as they ski, always alert. 'Any man on skis' could also mean a Russian creeping around.

Erkki grunts in agreement to that and slows his pace down slightly. It could be anyone having made those tracks. They fade away at times only to reappear, depending on if the wind has wiped them off or not, or if snow from trees has fallen down to hide them. They aren't seen for a long while, and then Erkki stops and squints up ahead, looking at something dark in the snow, a heap, a… body. He throws caution to the wind and skis fast towards it.

Niko frowns. "Careful," he hisses. He stops and unslings his rifle, crouching down. The small man's blue eyes dart around nervously. "Ivan might be afoot."

"Erk-…!" Vesa starts to say that as Erkki speeds up, but the man's torn away. He bends his knees and jams his ski poles into the deep snow, speeding up to try and catch Erkki's pace. It's only once he's gotten a little closer that he can see the heap and its resemblance to a human form, and he draws in a breath through his nose.

Antti eyes the heap briefly, but occupies himself with studying the trees in all directions.. keeping eyes open, and swallowing his own worry for his wife's brother.

Erkki isn't listening, he's sliding down a small hill and almost falls over, getting his balance back before he slams into a tree. Then he's next to the body, kicking off his skis so he can move closer, sinking down to his knees in the snow. He already knows though.

It's a rather sad scene. Jari Viinikainen has been shot so many times every drop of blood seems to have seeped out of his body. But what killed him wasn't that - obviously, he was first wounded and unable to move, he spent every bullet he had to shoot at the enemy, then when he was almost out and almost dead, rather than freeze to death or wait for the enemy to move up to his position, he shot himself.

Erkki stands there for a long moment, then he grabs Jari's skis and starts making a sled.

Vesa comes to a stop near Erkki, his breath stopping in his chest for a few moments as he sees Jari's body in the snow. He stands there frozen a moment before he crosses himself, eyes staying locked on Jari, and mumbles something up to God.

Niko looks behind him and sees the body. He slings his rifle behind a shoulder and skis down to help.

Erkki uses Jari's rifle and backpack and whatever else is available to make a makeshift sled, clearly intent on taking the frozen, massacred body with him. He gets it up and puts his own skis back on, starting to pull Jari Viinikainen out of there, so he can get his final rest somewhere else than this lonely, cold grave.

Antti can only look at the trees for so long, as the others murmer prayers, and assemble crude sleds, before his own eyes fall on the fallen Nimismies. A breath is let out and, "Perkele," is muttered under his breath. Stepping up to JAri's side opposite Erkki, the farmer goes about methodically collecting Jari's empty gun. Once Erkki starts moving, Antti moves as well.

Vesa finishes his short prayer, undoubtedly going to be praying more later on. He moves up next to Erkki, holding his hand out in a silent offer to help pull the 'sled' along.

Erkki accepts the help after reluctantly having to realize it's going to take him too long doing it on his own. He's not said a word since he found his dead friend. He'll be a big angsty for awhile, probably.

"At least he put up a fight," Niko offers, lamely. The small man asks, "Are we to take him to Pyyvaara, to camp, or…?""

Vesa says nothing still, grasping hold of the sled and adding his strength to the pulling. The sooner they can get Jari out of here, the better.

Erkki doesn't answer Niko. Guess it'll be a surprise where he's taken!

At the Cabin

The gang of four finnish irregular soldiers look like they've been outside for quite awhile, on their skis. Erkki is dragging a body on a makeshift sled, getting aid from the others. Getting up to near the cabin, Erkki stops and takes his skis off, moving back to the corpse and beginning to untie with cold, unnimble fingers. "Perkele!" he almost shouts in frustration, instead drawing his knife so he can cut the leather belt he was using to keep the corpse steady.

Vesa kneels down in the snow to try and help, and yanks his hands back as Erkki pulls the knife out. No illusions that Erkki wouldn't go through someone's fingers to get this done. He holds Jari's arm instead to keep the body from falling off as Erkki cuts.

Antti waits while Erkki swears and cuts the strap, stepping out of his own skiis and (once the bindings are loosed one way or another) lending a hand to moving what remians of Yari once the corpse is movable.

Matti is lying on a pallet, sporting several bandages. His leg is splinted, and bandaged - it still has red on the bandages, apparently not completely healed yet. He's stirring in his half-sleep, the pain of his wounds making deeper slumber impossible.

Niko steps out of his skis and moves a short distance away from them. "I'll start on a hole," the small man offers. He pulls his entrenching shovel out of his pack and begins digging, chipping away at the snow and ice to try to get at the dirt.

Arto is inside, getting more in to the habit of maintaining his rifle - the weapon has been neatly laid out on the table, the cleaning kit set out in perfect order. Upon catching sight of movement out the window, however, he stands up from his seat, finds his coat, and goes to stick his head out the doorway.

With the combined effort of Vesa, Antti and Erkki the body is untied and moved. Erkki doesn't at first know where to put the body, he's straining to lift it and doesn't really want help doing so, but in the end he just curses again and moves to lay it down where Niko has started digging, right next to where the grave will be. Then he two starts helping with the digging. It'll be a terse sort of funeral, no doubt.

"Hey!" Antti calls to Arto at the cabin's door, once the body has been set down near the grave in the making.. "There another shovel in there?"

Vesa is still respectfully quiet, though the sounds of his mumbled prayers drift in and out. He helps Erkki pull the body towards the spot and grbs whatever's out there that can dig, shovel or not, working on the frozen earth on the other end of the 'grave'.

"What shall we use as a marker," Niko asks. The small man pants as he digs. "It would be a lie if I said I knew Jari well. I didn't. So I don't know what he likes, when or where he was born, or who his parents are." He stops digging to catch his breath.

Matti frowns, staring at the door. Slowly, his face twists into a frown, and he winces, levering himself out of the pallet, leg stiff and straight. Grabbing the rifle leaning against a bead, he levers himself up, grimacing with pain as he limps towards the door. As he reaches the porch, he calls out, "So you found him, then." His voice is grim, and low. He wasn't expecting Viini to still be alive, and his voice reveals that he isn't glad that he was right, this time.

Arto stares at the small group for a few seconds, then slowly nods once to Antti and heads back inside for a moment. He soon re-appears, a shovel in one hand, and quietly goes to help with the digging. "We can make a cross as a headstone, at least," he states, although it's barely audible.

Antti taps Niko on the shoulder as the other man pauses. "Out. Take a turn again when another man tires," and with those muttered words, Antti will start to take over Niko's place in digging. Looking briefly up to Matti as his brother speaks up, he nods once, looking back to the dirt as they dig. "I'll go tell Aila once the hole is dug."

Plenty of gravediggers for Jari. And most didn't even like him. Erkki keeps digging in quiet, but at Niko's questions he squints at the small man. "Cross is good, for now," he agrees with his brother. He shovels away some frozen dirt, starting to sweat already from the hard physical work. He looks over at Matti and stares neutrally at his cousin for awhile, then explains; "Must've ran into a patrol. Was shot up, shot back, used up all his ammunition. He was badly off, would've frozen to death or worse, so… he used his last bullet and shot himself."

"Aila. Shit." Matti grunts this sourly, limping closer and looking at his brother. He doesn't envy Antti that job. He nods grimly to Erkki's words, murmuring, "He was a good soldier. Dying rather than letting himself be captured by the enemy."

Niko steps away to watch the others dig the grave. He nods to Matti, "I agree completely. Ivan would have tortured the cabin's whereabouts out of him, like what they did to Lametti." He glances at Jari's corpse and sighs.

"I'll go cut some branches down when I'm done, for the cross," Arto tells Erkki, absently. He struggles a bit as his shovel hits a chunk of stone, and crouches to pull the rock out of the ground with numb fingers.

"Yeah. Aila," Antti mutters without looking up. Striking the earth and leaning hard on the shovel to try and drive it deeper before wedging loose a chunk of hard dirt. Under his breath he complains, "Typical. Jari would'nt even wait for the thaw, to die."

Vesa is still digging on his end, wedging a shovel into the frozen ground. It doesn't go deep enough and he strikes the earth once before trying again, this time a little easier. His eyes flicker to Matti for a few moments, listening to what he says, then go back to the earth as he works.

Pentti has arrived.
Pentti arrives from the South.

Matti grunts, limping to one of the few coniferous trees in the area. He digs out his Leuku, and adroitly leans himself against the tree, so that he doesn't need to grip his rifle. And with some stiffness, and a good deal of grimacing and quiet cursing, he starts to hack at one of the lower branches.

Erkki lets out a sharp laugh at those words from Antti. "The bastard," he agrees, with that amusement of someone who misses a friend dearly and is remembering all the things he liked about him, the things that stood out, all those little personality quirks that made Jari Jari. "And now we're digging a grave for him in the frozen ground. He's dead and he's pushing us around." He doesn't stop digging though, suddenly grinning wildly.

Antti sniffs once and eyes Erkki, a faint grin tugging at his own typically sour expression. "Bastard," he agrees dryly. Calling to his brother he voices, "Hey! Matti. On the marker, make sure someone carves 'Renew hunting permits here'."

Niko shakes his head. "Another reminder that Russians do sometimes patrol these woods." He sighs again, then picks up his shovel to resume digging the grave.

Arto grumbles under his breath, "He probably wouldn't even thank us for it. He'd be like, 'why are you digging me a grave, you stupid sentimental bastards? Go do something manly like sit around and grunt at people'." He hurls a clod of earth at the existing mound.

Vesa sits back on his heels, digging at something briefly with his hands. Rock tossed aside, he looks over at the others, watching their reactions to this death. The teenager doesn't contribute his own, neither really smiling or frowning, just watching.

Erkki laughs again, looking at Antti and Arto. "Oh yes," he agrees with both of them. He chuckles again, mostly to himself, as if remembering something funny in the past.

"Well, if this is the only way to spite the bugger now that he's dead, I guess we have no choice." Matti mutters this ironically, hacking away at the branches with the long, broad knife. He glances at his brother, snorting, "He did love his hunting permits."

Pentti skiis in from the south, he stops a bit away from the ones on shovel duty, leaning on his ski poles as steam starts to rise from him now when he has a chance to cool off.

Antti mutters, "Probably would have wanted to be put in a tree so he could fall, and crush one more Ivan." Having done a vigorous turn on the digging, Antti lets out a long breath, and sticks the shovel into the ground ocne more before motioning one of the men waiting thier turn to take his place at digging.

Erkki steps aside to let someone else dig for a moment. He looks down at the corpse of Jari Viinikainen and takes out his metal flask. "CHeers, you maniac," he tells his dead friend and takes a sip. Then he passes the bottle around to anyone who wants it. Only then does he realize that they've got company and he blinks, staring at Pentti. "Pentti? Hey Arto! It's Pentti!"

Vesa smiles a little at Antti's comment, picking up his shovel again and getting back to work digging the frozen earth out of the foot of the grave. He glances at Jari's body as he digs, looking at the man's frozen face before returning his attention to the digging work.

Timo comes from.. somewhere closeby where he was doing.. something helpful. Really. He comes to view the grave and sighs, looking off into the trees, jaw clenching.

Niko glances back at Pentti, then at Erkki. He continues digging.

Arto accepts the flask from Erkki and takes a swig before passing it on, then looks up as Erkki mentions Pentti. And Pentti gets grunted at. Arto is going to do his best to make the funeral as sombre and grunty as possible, in Jari's memory.

Matti retrieves the necessary branches - rather bent and gnarled, but what can you do. It's rather fitting, in a way. He limps closer, dropping the branches, and staggering slightly… Quite clearly, he hasn't recovered enough from his wounds to really be working there. "You were a bastard, Jari, but you were a good soldier, and not a bad Nimismies at that. If there is a God up there, you're probably burning in hell. See you there shortly." And with these ceremonial words, he limps back into the cabin.

Vesa sticks his shovel into the snow, taking a break from the digging. He notices the branches Matti's left there and inches over in the snow to grab them up, looking them over. Probably with that carpenter's eye. He stands up, holding onto the branches as he starts rooting around for something.

Niko grunts a laugh at Matti's words. "Coming from a man who yesterday almost got his soul snatched up by the Almighty." Niko shakes his head and says, smirking, "How deep do we want this? Foxhole deep?"

Antti sniffs dryly at Matti's distinct version of a eulogy. A brief sidelong glance to Vesa as the apprentice gets the look of stepping into his element upon claiming the branches. He takes the flask when his turn comes and takes a short pull of the drink. "Deeper if we can manage," he mutters to Niko.

Timo moves to Vesas shovel, taking it up as the man wanders off. Grave needs digging and he's there to be helpful. "Deeper it is."

Pentti doesn't grunt back at Arto, just shrugs at his grunting. He greets Erkki back, who at least said something, "Got any cigarettes? I'm all out. Took me a while to get her." He slides in a bit closer over the frozen snow, eyeing the grave digging and the corpse.

Erkki is distracted by the presence of Pentti. "Viinikainen's dead," he tells his youngest brother as way of greeting. Erkki never was a favorite brother, so he watches Pentti with some suspiciousness. Still, he digs out a cigarette and offers it over. "Where you been?"

Vesa is headed towards the firewood pile that they had been chopping at the other day before Samppa arrived. As the others dig and talk, he rummages around the supplies and castoff wood lying around, retrieving things here and there and finally crouching, pulling out his knife and getting to work.

"Deep as possible. Don't want the bastard digging his way out during the night," Arto mutters, but without much humor. It's Viinikainen Depreciation Day. For Timo's benefit, he elaborates; "Looks like the guy crossed a patrol and ended up in a bad way. Shot himself rather than be caught and tortured."

"Don't want the wolves digging him up, either," Niko says. "I doubt that would be good for morale." He wipes sweat from his brow before it can freeze.

Timo works on digging, "Dead wolves everywhere from eating him, be a mess." He grunts as he digs.

Vesa's knife tip works deftly on the wood he's pulled, even with gloved hands and the cold. He keeps an eye on the digging, checking how far along they are. Bark scraped slowly from the front of the wooden pieces, he works like that for a while and then stands up, heading into the cabin to hunt for something he needs.

Pentti listens to Erkki's and Arto's versions of the story while he lights up his cigarette. "Linna, Palovaara, Suomussalmi." he explains his whereabouts. "Had I known you two were out here, I would have found a cabin on the way and stayed there."

Niko calls after Vesa, "Put some water on the stove to boil! I think my lungs have frozen." He continues digging.

"We're happy to see you too," Erkki replies dryly to his youngest brother, shooting Pentti a sideways look. He picks up his shovel again and moves in to take over some of the digging. The grave is slowly but surely turning rather respectably deep.

"You could be cold in hell, Niko," Vesa calls back, amiably. He steps inside and does indeed throw some water on for later coffee, though his real goal is somewhere shoved near the blankets he sleeps on. Still holding the branches, he rummages.

Timo keeps shoveling. He pauses, looks at the depth, and then continues, ugh digging in the cold, well, it's one way to stay active.

Arto eyes Pentti. "You didn't bring us any presents, then?" he asks, deadpan, and pauses with his digging. "Erkki is running out of cigarettes and we could always do with some caviar."
"Presents?" Niko says, stopping his digging. He squints at Arto, "Did we miss Christmas already?"

"Caviar?" Pentti unslings his backpack and digs around for a bit, after some digging around he holds up a fish hook towards Arto. "Here's a start." He isn't making any moves to help out with the digging though.

Erkki snorts amusedly at that. "It's so nice, family almost gathered again," he says sarcastically. He throws some dirt away, spraying it out over the snow.

"My hands have gone numb," Niko says. He throws his shovel down and says, "I'm going to head inside and see if the doctor can put a fresh bandage on my hand." All of this digging has abraded the scab, and his infected hand is bleeding again.

Vesa returns after a while, the branches bound up into a proper cross with strips of white and blue fabric. He's stripped the bark on the front side of the branches, a lighter cross showing inside the frame of the darker wood. This he brings over towards Erkki, slowing a bit when he notices the new man that Erkki and Arto are talking to.

Arto accepts the fish hook from Pentti, and regards it blankly. "I'll be careful not to eat it all at once," he replies, and pockets it. Then, he opts to take a break, and steps back from the grave to lean on his shovel. As Vesa steps out of the cabin, Arto raises his eyebrows. "That's actually quite good. Can I have one after I get squashed by a tank?"

"Alright, enough digging, this'll do. It's deep enough now," Erkki decides, climbing out of the rather large hole they've dug for the body.

"I'll even burn it with a molotov in your honour," Vesa says to Arto. He glances at Pentti again, somewhat curiously, then over at Erkki as he declares the digging finished.

Timo stops digging on Erkkis order and tosses up the shovel, climbing out carefully, to crawl and clambor to his feet, puffing out a cloud of breath as he gets clear, whew.

Arto nods at Vesa in approval. "While you're there, please stop Erkki from pissing on it," he tells him, and cracks a slight grin. As the grave is dug, he dusts off hands, and looks over to the waiting corpse. "Well."

"I'm not skiing here with a backpack filled with fish. You'll have to provide the rest yourself." Pentti complains as he backs away a bit from the hole. "Even though the sirs back west thought I should pull some artillery in with me. Put it on a sled and show some sisu."

Erkki ignores both his brothers and everyone else as he moves to lift the body of Jari Viinikainen, to lay him to his final rest. He manages to get him into the grave somewhat gracefully. Remembering something, he pulls out a pipe from a pocket and simply drops it on top of the body. "Rest in peace," he murmurs, then he begins filling the grave up with dirt again.

Vesa gives Arto a small grin in return. "Well how else is he going to show you his love?" He puts the cross down in the snow where it won't get stepped on while the grave's being refilled, picking up a shovel and helping get the frozen dirt back into place on Jari's body.

Arto hmphs at Pentti. "I can use bits of Russian as bait, at least," he replies, and falls silent for a few seconds to watch Erkki lower the corpse in. He apparently has nothing to say on the subject; he just takes a deep breath, and helps with filling in the grave. "If that's the way he shows his affection, I'd hate to see what he does when he falls in love with a woman," he mutters to Vesa.

Vesa shrugs at Arto. "Whatever it is, it'd be with the same part of his body." He continues shoveling dirt.

Pentti shuts his mouth quite hard, stopping himself on filling Arto in on that subject during this small cermony. Instead he mutters a few words towards the grave and then kicks off his skiis, walking over towads the cabin.

Erkki eyes Arto and Vesa but says nothing. Filling the grave is much faster work than digging it. Soon, Jari is no longer seen, buried beneath the cold soil. "That's it," Erkki says, leaning down on the shovel. He's mentally and physically exhausted now. He then gets the cross Vesa made and puts it down on the grave, to mark where Jari Viinikainen lies buried. "Let's get some coffee," he grunts at the others and heads back to the cabin.

Timo watches the grave, arms hanging, tired from the digging, it helps to keep him quiet for the timebeing, not that he looks talkative, or sociable at the moment, funeral and all.

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