Of Stew And Salmiakki

Luukas calls over from the stove, which usually has steaming coffee readied for most of the day. "Fixed a pot of stew. Any of you hungry, it's here." Using a scoop, he fills a bowl of the mixture of game meat, salt & pepper, and dried vegetables and fatty oils. He tries to clown a bit, lifting it to his nose and going "Ummmmmm" in exaggerated delight.

LUUKAS:
A compact young man of slightly below average height, with short reddish-brown hair and a few whiskers unshaven acting as sideburns on both sides of his face. He's got blue eyes, a face with more squarish rugged features and a nose slightly reddened, though his skin isn't coarsened yet and still bears the smoothness of youth. The fellow appears to be in his early twenties, and carries a build that's more strong as characteristic of a boar's rather than slender or graceful.

The clothing worn by this young man is a white camouflage suit, absent any color or trim, able to blend into the snow when outdoors. He has steel-toed white felt long boots, ideal for skiing, with the trouser legs of the white camo suit tucked inside. There is a backpack as well, made of canvas dyed white with plaster, and a bandolier to hold rifle shells. Both hands are protected by thin white sheepskin gloves, and a white hood from the camo suit is pulled up to cover his head from behind, fastened tight around his jaw by a tied cord. The downy fur cap worn beneath the hood has a tiny blue rondel pinned directly in its center. There are tinted goggles worn as well, to protect the eyes from snowblindness. The only color is a small blue Finnish swastika on the white camou suit fabric worn for good luck, able to be tucked into a pocket on the chest of the suit or displayed when snapped to seal the contents of the pocket.

Mika skiis from a random direction, he seems to be carrying a rifle on his sholder and a big knife on his chest. He knocks one of the doors and walks inside, "Hello." he says as he enters. "Do you have coffee for this traveller?" he asks…

Niko walks downstairs and says, "Smells like a Finn's cooking." The tiny man makes his way over to the stove. He clumsily unslings his rifle (his right hand is still bandaged, and he's doing everything southpaw), and leans it against the wall. "You manage to find any bread?"

Luukas chuckles, motioning to where the iron pot is full. "No bread that I could find, but maybe the women have hidden some." He hears the calls of the man entering, "Coffee? There's coffee, but who are you?" He doesn't draw his blade, but the man's entrance is clearly a surprise to the compact young forester.

MIKA:
In front of you is a muscular finn, blonde hair and dark blue eyes. He appears to be young and calm looking. His face is nearly as white as snow itself. If you look carefully its make-up to hide his face and identity. He wears completely white trench coat which allows him to stay hidden at the snow…

Mika gets inside the house and cleans his face, "I am Mika. Mika Lametti. I am a traveller I guess." he says and takes out a small half broken cup from his back and motions to coffee, "May I?" he asks to Luukas.

Niko glances over at the door at Mika and snorts. To Luukas, he says, "He can't be a Russian. He can ski. The Russians look like ducks when they ski." He squints at Mika. "I don't see a duckbill, but maybe you're really a duck. Maybe I'm still asleep and dreaming and I'm really at home, where there's bread." Niko fills a bowl with some stew and sits against the wall, by his rifle.

Luukas draws the bowl up to his lips to take a sip before responding, not having taken a seat yet. "Mika Lametti" as if considering carefully, wary of strangers in a time of war. "There's a little coffee left, but we're short. Afraid one cup's all we can offer." Blue eyes glance down to search for indications of weapons, namely the knife and rifle. "Where have you travelled over from, Mika? The Russians are all 'round, we're hoping for any news you can offer."

Mika scratches his head, "We are short on coffee?" he shakes his head and opens his bag, "There is enough for everyone if we use it carefully." he says and takes out 3 jar of Coffee, "I love coffee and I always bring some." he smiles. "Most of the towns are gathering up militia and fighting with Soviets. At some parts Soviets started to win but we are reinforcing and stopping them." he says.

"I take it you haven't seen Puras," Niko says quietly. The diminutive man doesn't even look up as he eats his stew. "Completely overrun, and sure to be reinforced by now after our probe a few nights ago. If they haven't figured it out already, they've started bringing armor up that south road." He shrugs, "That's what I would do, everywhere else has snow. All they need is one tank sitting there to complicate any attempt at taking that little village back."

Luukas slowly nods to what Niko says. "Yeah. But what that means is their tanks aren't at the front, where they're trying to push our own army into the sea." His eyes lower, reaching for a spoon as he takes a seat to begin eating the stew more fully. "That coffee'll help, Mika, thanks. We can't get any supplies from the shops now. Every town nearby's taken by the Russians, on the roads both north and south of here."

Topi has been out walking just outside the cabin again, it would seem. Since now he's entering from the outside, with that stick from the wood that he uses for a cane at the moment. Looking around a little bit.

TOPI:
Standing just above six feet, this man looks to be quite slender, as if he's someone that's been spending a lot of time doing some kind of physical exercise. He seems to be in his late twenties. Facial features includes slightly narrowed blue eyes that seems to watch the world a bit carefully, as well as a slightly larger nose than the average, as well as thin pale lips that frame two rows of teeth that seem to be well taken care of. His hair is of a dark brown color, and is a few inches long on the top of his head.
As for the clothes, they're the functional yet comfortable wear people tend to wear around these parts, changing by the days and climate.

Mika Sighs, "This isnt good." he shakes his head, "What are we going to do then?" he asks to Luukas.

Luukas lifts his head to look to Mika then, "Survive. Make sure the Bear feels every single painful step through our Fatherland." He draws up his chest, taking in a breath of the warm aromatic air from near the stove. "At least it didn't seem like Puras was levelled. I heard the Reds love doing that to towns that resist them."

"Live, shoot Russians until life goes back to normal," Topi offers, with a shrug. "That sounds good enough for you?" This is offered to Mika as he eyes the man.

"As far as we know, it hasn't been leveled yet," Niko says with a snort. "Maybe they'll burn everything and salt the earth once they've decided to move on." Niko grimaces at the thought and adds, "Might not hurt to go take another look at Puras sometime." The small man glances at his wounded right hand. "Might not hurt much, anyway."

Mika hmms and sighs, "I understand. Well I have travelled alot and seen many people. People are usually eazy to fool if you know what to do." he says, "I will be useful as a scout if you need one…"

Niko snorts. "Is that so?" he asks Mika. "Well, maybe you can go scout me some salmiakki. Maybe a big bag, as big as my head. And some bread. Good bread. A loaf as big as my head." He grabs his rifle, pulls the magazine box open at the bottom, emptying the cartridges out onto his lap, then pulls the bolt back and removes it. He begins cleaning the bolt face, wiping it on his trousers.

Luukas takes a moment to simply eat his stew, not speaking while his mouth is full for now. There's a distance in his gaze, staring across to the door, the only change in his bearing is a move to adjust his knife.

Vesa moves down from the second floor of the cabin, on quiet feet. He yawns quietly without covering his mouth, then lightly sniffs the air, smelling a few wafts of Luukas' stew.

VESA:
A young man in his late teens, standing at about 1.72m tall. Much less a child than a man, he can still look absurdly young at times while quite mature at others. His short hair is a very dark blond, almost brown. Dark gray eyes are sharp, constantly moving as though trying to pay attention to everything at once. He's got quite a nose on him, the most noticeable thing on his face other than his optimistic grin, which rarely seems to go away. Though not tall, he's wiry and in good shape with the build of a sprinter rather than a fistfighter.
His clothing is plain and made for the cold, simple trousers and shirt usually hidden under quite a few other layers, plus a thick, light-coloured greatcoat, and a scarf with deep blue edges. A beat-up, fur-lined hat usually hides his hair.

Mika scratches his head, "I am a scout not a thief." he says to Niko.

Luukas gestures an invitation to where the pot of game stew is still hot on the woodburning stove for Vesa, not really speaking up to converse at the moment. Quietly he continues eating, his manner distant for now in an aura of seriousness.

"Thanks, sir." Vesa says quietly to Luukas as he heads for the stewpot. The sound of his stomach growling is probably audible even through the layers he's wearing. He glances at Niko and Mika over his shoulder before he dips the ladle into the pot and empties it twice into the nearest container handy.

Mika sits down, "I am tired." he says sitting to a chair, he falls asleep after a few minutes.

Niko sits against the wall. An empty bowl is next to him. He says to Vesa, "Where are my manners? I should introduce myself. I am Niko Fisk, from Juntusranta. My hobbies include eating stew and," he holds up his right hand, "getting shot at by Russians."

Luukas looks up for a moment to Vesa, studying the young man's face. "Mmm" muttered, "I'm Luukas Svenonius" in his coastal Ostrobothnian accent, where he likely spoke Swedish in day to day life. "Don't remember seeing you around before." and adds, "Don't need to call me sir. I'm no officer, and definitely not your father." The compact young man in his early twenties manages an attempt at a chuckle with the humour.

Aino opens the door trying to be relatively quiet and peers at the gathered group as she shut the door. She opened her mouth as if to stay something but stopped short and sniffed the air "Is that stew?" she said finally.

AINO:
Big 'warm' brown eyes look evenly out a pale but slightly weather-beaten diamond-shaped face. Aino has her fine sandy brown hair bobbed. She's not particularly tall, about the average height for a woman. She wears plain clothing - simple trousers and shirt under many other layers - designed for the cold and a thick overcoat, a light colour with a similarly-coloured knitted scarf. Everything looks as if it has seen some use, save the scarf, including her large-looking battered brown boots. Under her snug, fur-lined hat her hair is only visible at the end and with her short hair and too-large clothes borrowed from her brother it may not be obvious at first that Aino is, in fact, a woman.

Vesa cups his bowl in both hands, stepping over to Niko and crouching down before he thumps back to sitting on the floor. His attention goes to the bandaged hand, then back to Niko's face, and he grins a little. "Vesa Jokinen. That's some hobby. When did they shoot you?" Despite the name, his Finnish has a Russian accent. Not obtrusive, but detectable. He raises the bowl to his lips to sip the broth, looking at Luukas over the rim before he lowers it again and swallows the large mouthful. The sir thing makes him grin. "I lived in Raatevaara. I'm Markus Jakobson's apprentice."

Luukas gives a turn to look at the doorway, "Yeah, some stew I put together." He motions his head towards the pot on the stove, "Still fresh and hot. Have some." The Ostrobothnian draws up his last spoonful to his lips, going quiet again.

Aino smiles happily not having to say that stew would be welcome and heads towards the pot to deal herself some stew. Once she has done this she turns her attention back to the group not saying anything just yet as she had a mouth full of stew.

"An apprentice?" Niko says to Vesa, "What's your trade? If you're a baker or a salmiakki-maker, you can marry my sister. If I had a sister. But I have a cousin who's unmarried."

Vesa sips straight from the bowl again, twisting his shoulders a bit to watch Aino go by. Niko's voice pulls him back and he chews on a piece of the venison with his back teeth. "Naw, neither. I'm a carpenter." The teenager glances at Niko's teeth at the mention of salmiakki and grins, unable to help it. "Looks like that's one of your hobbies too."

Luukas grunts, "Offer him some licorice and see what happens." Another soft chuckle snorted. "We lost a man the other day. I'm not good for jokes today." The young fellow with the reddish-brown hair, only lately roughly trimmed and uneven, as if done by his self with a sharp knofe, looks over to the window.

Niko glances at Luukas, "Is that so? Anyone I would know? I just got here, but I do know some people." He looks at his rifle bolt, then re-inserts it into the receiver. Niko picks the cartridges up from his lap and begins reloading his magazine.

Vesa scrapes his spoon through the stew, turning his head again to look over at Aino. He squints a little at her, trying to figure out if that's a man's face or a woman's under those layers.

Luukas turns his gaze to Niko and very slowly nods, "Yes. You knew him. Aamos, the guy that did the recon at Puras with us." He looks down with a scowl, holding his words for a moment. Finally, "He went to Raatevaara with a couple others, and never came back, the day after we went to Puras." A reach to draw his Russian rifle across the lap, checking the weapon.

Niko finishes loading his rifle. He closes the bolt, then, struggling, pulls the safety back and twists it into place. "Ah, him. I thought—and still think—it was foolish to attack Puras at his suggestion, but he did find me when I was pinned down by that Russian machine gun. Maybe he even saved my life." Niko shakes his head slowly, "Fighting seems to come naturally to some people, like the late Aamos, but not me. In some ways, I'm glad I didn't kill anyone. I don't think I'd be sleeping as well if I had killed that Russian instead of merely grazing him. A man is different from a reindeer or a rabbit, is he not?"

Vesa looks back at Niko and Luukas, eating as he listens to their talk of Aamos. At the final question from Niko he wrinkles his nose. "Yeah. A man's got a gun." He eats another spoonful, chewing up the meat slowly to savour the taste as long as he can.

Niko smiles a little at Vesa's remark. "I wonder… if things were different, I might be looking for a wife now or maybe trying to get an education… my hands weren't meant to hold a rifle or swing an axe, you know. Who knows how long this war will continue?" Niko shrugs. "That's what I thought about when I was aiming at that Russian, you know. He may be the enemy, but maybe he wants the same things I want."

Luukas draws up his chest, rising to stand. "I'll have no qualms killing any man that's trying to kill me. My father had a saying…the Israelites, God's Chosen, didn't lay down and spread their legs and offer themselves as slaves. They fought, whether winning or not, and the Promised Land was held with blood." He rises then, quickly clearing his throat, setting the rifle against the wall then. "Defending your family and home isn't murder. It's 'Thou shalt not Murder', he taught me." A snort, "Translations were lost I reckon." The Ostrobothnian's expression looks grim, though. The talk of killing and ending life has brought about a harshness in the voice, not glee.

Aino puts her bowl down and with great regret looks around "I don't believe I ever introduced myself but I will before I leave you. I'm Aino Rautiainen and I was pleased to meet you." She bowed a little and headed for the door "And I agree with you." she said to Luukas before she left.

"Maybe he does. Then he should go home and get it!" Vesa replies to Niko in a sour tone. "They choose to come here, don't they?" The teenager stuffs another spoonful into his mouth and swallows, having to tilt his chin down to do it. He bring his sleeve up quickly to wipe his mouth as Aino speaks to them, as there's stew juice dripping on his chin.

Luukas grabs his rifle, lifting it again, and starts moving to head outside. "My turn as sentry." muttered sourly. He tries to swallow his rush of emotion for a moment, bowing his head a bit to nod to Aino. "Luukas Svenonius. Good to meet you too, Miss."

Niko taps his fingers on the stock of his rifle across his lap and shrugs. "Maybe the Russians choose to come here. Or maybe they're sent, and if they refuse, they're shot or hung like dissenters. In any case, the day may come when I may have to kill a man, but I'm sure I'll never develop a taste for it. I doubt it tastes of salmiakki."

Vesa looks at Niko for a long moment. "No-one is moving their greedy feet for them. It doesn't matter if you pity them or not. If you don't shoot them, they will shoot you." When he tries to talk faster, the Russian accent gets more pronounced. He purses his lips and scrapes up the remainer of the stew onto his spoon. "I don't think tastes like salmiakki. The Russians don't eat enough salt."

"Oh yes," Niko says softly. The small man's brow furrows in a frown. "I'm more pragmatic than idealistic, Mr. Jokinen. If the day should come when I must shoot a Russian, I won't hesitate. I'm just saying I won't like it, as Aamos seemed to." He manages a smile, "I have simple tastes: salmiakki, and bread with stew. This war has deprived me of everything but the stew, and it saddens me."

"Killing Russians is like killing wolves," Olli says as he comes down from the upper level, "They are like dumb, dangerous animals, so it is a little sad when you must kill them for being what they are. But it is also.." He pause, a smirk crossing his face, "Fun."

OLLI:
This young man could be handsome, if he didnt have such an air of unplesantness about him His facial features are well formed from his expressive blue eyes to to his shaply lips which are, alas, usually turned down in a sneer or a frown. His dark hair is cut short. He's young, perhaps in his early twenties, or maybe even his late teens, though a growth of rough stubble makes it hard to pin down his exact age. His body tall and lean, though he certainly doesn't appear to be frail. Indeed, what musclcature that can be made out through his clothing is well toned and defined, the body of a man who's used to moving quickly. Muscles built for speed opposed to brute strength. He is dressed for the cold Finnish winters, bunled up in dark furs and thick clothing.

Vesa seems to relax a bit when Niko says that at least he'd kill the bastards. He sets the bowl down by his foot, brushing off his hands. "You can call me Vesa." He nods to Niko's hand. "Does it need a new bandage yet?" His gray eyes flicker up as someone else's voice comes downstairs, watching Olli descend.

Niko examines his bandaged right hand for a moment and says, "My hand is fine for the moment, thanks. But I'll tell you this: When I was pinned down by that machine gun, scrambling away from it like a rat, I had a premonition that I would die in this war. A fleeting vision of myself gutted like an animal that I had shot, and hung upside down." He shakes his head, "I'm not a superstitious man. Maybe the loudness of the gunfire momentarily damaged my psyche." He manages a laugh. "It's funny, a man not meant for war engaging in it. I should be looking after my father and mother… if they're still…" Niko trails off.

Vesa looks uneasy as he listens to Niko. Uneasy, but unable to get up and move away. He rubs his hand once against his cheek, adjusting his back against the wall. "I think fear makes every man believe they're gonna die," he says finally, in a tone that tries to sound encouraging. "Only ones that think they're gonna live forever are the happy ones." He shrugs. "What do you mean 'not meant for war', sir? What do you do?"

Niko shakes his head, "No, no, it wasn't fear, Vesa. I know what fear feels like. I felt fear skiing up to the village, and skiing away in retreat. This was something different, like a dream, only lucid. The Russian machine gunner was shooting at me, flame coming from the muzzle, bullets kicking up snow all around me, my hand seemingly shredded, the roar… all the sensations, you see?" He laughs a little uneasily. "And that's when I saw myself, outside of myself, but could still hear and see everything else." He shakes his head, as if to clear it. "It's hard to explain. Like a daydream, but not. Afterwards, while I was cowering and trying to crawl away, that's when Aamos found me, and we skied back east to Luukas." The small man shrugs.

Vesa pulls one knee close to his chest as Niko talks, resting his folded arm atop it. His gray eyes are attentive through the story, like someone listening to an epic tale of battle. "What happened to the Russian? With the machine gun?

Niko shakes his head, "As far as I know, he's still there." He holds up a finger, "Let me tell you this, if it weren't for that machine gun jamming up several times, we would have been slaughtered. Me and the others." He thinks a moment, "Luck, or perhaps poor engineering, saved us.

Vesa grins, an expression that only tugs at one side of his mouth. "Doesn't matter what it was, say thanks to God. That's what my father said." He looks at the bowl, then towards the door, rolling back to get his feet under him. "I gotta go find more wood for the fire."

Niko nods, "I'll be napping." He gets up from his place against the wall, grabs his rifle with his uninjured left hand, and climbs the stairs to the second floor.

The next day…

Sonja is dealing with the latest casualties, and there are a few new ones. The young Vesa seems to be nicely peppered with shrapnel, and Olli too, though a bit less so, and Sonja is fussing over them as they lie in the blankets.

SONJA:
Sonja is a waif of a woman, very small, at a shade under 5' in height, and as thin as she is short. Her motions are birdlike and precise, but it looks like a strong wind would blow her away. Her hair is black and shoulder length, framing a face best described as 'delicate', with sparkling brown eyes ruined somewhat by a rather sad mouth.

At the moment she's mostly wrapped up in what looks almost like a big white sheet. Underneath there somewhere are warm but civilian clothes, but as the intention of the thing is camouflage not much of what shows beneath is visible beyond the rather heavy boots on her feet. A hood over her head covers all but the face, and even that can be concealed somewhat beneath the white fabric.

The stairs creak quietly as Niko heads downstairs. He unslings his rifle and leans it against the wall. Glancing at the wounded, he looks down at his hand and says, "I guess I'm fortunate." The small man shuffles over to the stove and looks in the stew pot, at the congealed, gelatinized stew. He prods it with a spoon, then begins emptying the ash from the stove into a can.

Sonja looks over the cabin, now packed with wounded people. "I guess." she replies, a bit dully. "People need to take things a bit easier I think.". A Sucking Chest Wound Is Lifes Way of Telling you to Slow Down. "There are too many for me to look after now.".

"I'd help you," Niko says by the stove, "But I wouldn't know what to do." He begins loading wood into the stove for a fire. "Ivan looks like he got lucky this time. That, or we've teased him one time too many."

"They keep going back to Raatevaara, some of them anyway. Viinikainen said we should avoid that place but because its their home they keep focused on it, I think." Sonja says, and glances over at Niko. "Keeping the place warm is a help. At least there's plenty of cut wood in a logging camp.".

Niko lights the stove and closes the door. He begins pounding the gelled, leftover stew with his spoon. "This Viinikainen's advice is sound. If Raatevaara is heavily-defended, it's stupid to go there. Our numbers are too small; when we fight the Russians offensively, it should be on our terms." Niko shrugs, "But what do I know?"

"Viinikainen is the nimismies, so he would know. Some old reservist." Sonja clarifies. "And yes, that seems wise, but all I do is look after the ones who get shot.".

The gelatinized stew begins to melt and simmer, and Niko stirs it with his left hand. "All I do is get shot." He holds up his right hand, attempts to flex it. "The wounds appear to be scabbing over, but it itches like hell, and it's getting kind of red." He shrugs, continuing to stir the stew, "I'm anxious to head back to Puras for another look to see if they've got tanks they're planning on sending at us."

Sonja looks over Niko. "Well, if there weren't so many wounded, I would keep an eye on that wound for you too, but it's not as serious as the others, who take up my attention.". She says, pointing to the mangled up Olli and Vesa for Erkki's benefit.

Niko nods, "I'll be fine as long as I can walk and ski." He attempts a smile, "I'm not much of a fighter anyway. I'm not good at it and I don't enjoy it like some of the others." The stew begins to boil, and he tastes some. "Now, let's see if this leftover stew kills me… not bad. At least, I don't think it tastes like it's turned."

Sonja frowns a little. "Well, I'd be surprised if it did, I only made it yesterday… though the meat isn't exactly fresh. And it doesn't taste so good, just boiled meat.". She shrugs. "Not many plants to eat here.".

"What I wouldn't give for some bread," Niko says, resuming his task of stirring the once-gelatinized stew. "Something with a big, thick, flaky crust." He shrugs. The small man dishes some stew out into a bowl for himself and says, "Would you like some? I'm Niko Fisk, by the way. From Juntusranta, just north of here."

Sonja shakes her head. "No thank you, I had a little earlier, and I don't have much appetite of late. And Juntusranta? You are like us then, you had to run?".

Niko nods, "That's correct. Although I don't really run. Reindeer run because they have long legs. I sort of scamper, as lame hares do." He chuckles, grabs his bowl, and sits against the wall by his rifle to eat.

Sonja ahs, and sighs, wringing her hands, not in the mood for jokes really. Woe. Woe is us. She heads over to the wounded people, and settles down next to them.

Jaakko cocks an eyebrow wondering how safe the wounded are.

JAAKKO:
Jaakko Korpinen is a man of average height. His body is lean and taunt, the result of years of working as a hunter / trapper and eating off the land. His hands are unusually large and badly scarred. He has a head of extremely pale blonde wispy hair usually un-kept and a bit too long for regulation. His face is an edged oval ending at a strong chin. His beard though light in color is usually haggard with a few days growth. His nose is a little too long, and has been broken several times giving it a characteristic bend. His eyes are a clear bright blue.

He is dressed in several layers making him seem larger than he is. The outer shell of his clothing is a slightly longer than waist length all white fur lined parka worn over a pair of white woolen bib overalls. On his head he wears a fur lined reindeer skin cap, his hands are similarly covered with wool lined reindeer skin gloves, around his neck he has a ski mask pulled that normally covers his face from the nose down, and on his feet he wears a pair fur-lined peasant boots with upturned toes for fitting into skis. On his hand tooled leather belt hangs a wooden cup and on the other side a large Bowie sized knife as well as a smaller skinning knife.

Niko says, "What brings you here anyway, Miss…? Is it necessity, because your village is overrun by Ivan, or compassion for your countrymen, or both? I would think most people would be moving away from the fighting."

Sonja ohs. "I am Sonja Korhonen. My father is asleep, somewhere upstairs I think? He is Raatavaara's doctor, I helped him out in his surgery, so I am helping him out here now. The Russians are in our house, now.".

Vesa stirs on the pile of whatever that he's lying on, coughing lightly to clear his dry throat. He squints one eye open and then closes it again, his face twisting up as he tries to shift on his back.

Niko gulps down some stew and wipes his unkempt short beard with his sleeve. "That's the most infuriating aspect of this whole awful war, Miss Korhonen. The thought of the invading hordes sleeping in your bed and eating at your table." He thinks for a moment. "If they've used my chamber pot, they can keep it. If we ever manage to push them out of Juntusranta, that is." Niko frowns, and says softly, "I wonder where my father and mother are…"

Sonja laughs a bit at /that/. "The Russians are probably brushing their teeth with the chamber pot." she ventures, and then heads over to Vesa when he stirs. "You are awake? It hurts?" she asks, a bit unnecessarily given all the shrapnel holes.

"Euugh…" Vesa comments as to the teeth brushing. The word comes out as more of a dry croak, and he coughs again with a grimace. Letting his eyes drift open again, he looks up at Sonja. "My arms hurt, ma'am." His face is dead pale. "Is Olli here?"

Jaakko sits quietly off to one corner cleaning his weapon.

Luukas sits up in the chair by the stove where he'd dozed off. A groan as he rubs his one bandaged shoulder and looks around, straightening up to make out who's doing what.

Erkki steps into the cabin, returning from some scouting or sentry duty. There's a breeze of cold air that is killed off quickly as he closes the door with a bit of unnecessary force. "Coffee?" he grunts and begins taking off his warm outer clothes.

ERKKI:
He's got dark hair that is cut so short on his head it could almost be called a shaved head. His pale face has a strong jaw, a straight long nose, and blue, clear eyes with lines at the corners from squinting. He has surprisingly long eyelashes that frame those eyes, and dark stubble along the jawline gives him a not entirely pleasant look, especially when combined with the usual smirk or mocking smile on his lips. With a strong and athletic build born out of many years of manual labour, he cuts a healthy figure.
He wears a pair of wool-pants that are bundled into leather boots and held up by a leather belt. A grey shirt beneath a knitted wool sweater keeps him warm. On top of this he wears a wool coat and a fur hat, the hat having the white and blue roundel badge. On top of this right now he wears a white cover to conceal him better.

Niko finishes his stew and stands up. He walks over to Vesa and looks at the teen's wounds, frowning a little. "Are you hungry? Do you want some stew?" he asks. "It's still hot." Niko looks over at Luukas, "Leftovers, but it's still edible."

Sonja nods at Vesa. "You are lucky, if those pieces of metal hit you a few inches to one side instead, you wouldn't be feeling anything at all probably. You want morphine?" she asks. "As we have… a little.". And he does have the biggest wound of anybody here.

Luukas spots Vesa's wounds getting looked at by Niko, drawing up his jacket to pull it around and warm himself. "Food?" nodding back to the fellow that's even shorter than he is. "Good. I'll see if there's coffee too." as he begins to lift himself from the chair, nodding in agreement to Erkki's words he'd heard.

Erkki glances towards all the wounded and non-wounded and nods at them. He pulls a hand through his hair which has grown and needs a cut soon, heading for the stove to get some coffee going if there are non already.

Jaakko looks over towards Erkki, "So, Erkki, see anything of value?"

At Vesa's age, pain is no barrier to eating. "I'm starving," he answers Niko gratefully, then he looks at Sonja again. "No ma'am, we should save it, right?" He closes his eyes tightly for a moment, then his face relaxes again as he lets out a tense breath. "They got Mr. Lamatti. I don't know if they killed him. I couldn't see anything."

Luukas steps around to fetch a bowl, scooping some of the stew from the pot while it's still nice and hot. Though his left shoulder's a bit stiff, the Ostrobothnian manages to work out pouring himself some coffee into a mug to go with it, after Erkki's gotten his. "Who's Mr. Lamatti?" asked over to the teenaged Vesa. "Was that Aamos's family name?"

Niko nods to Vesa and goes to the stove, scooping stew into a (hopefully) clean bowl for Vesa. Niko walks back to the wounded teen and hands him the bowl. "Here. No bread, but what else is new?"

Erkki squints at Jaakko. "I saw nothing of interest," he reports raspily, eyeing the pot of coffee impatiently. He shoots a careful glance in Sonja's direction. "Lamatti, Mika Lamatti. He's my cousin on my mother's side." The Tapper-Rautakorpi son doesn't sound particularly loving of his cousin; hearing that the man might be dead didn't even cause him to blink.

Sonja nods. "We should, really, but I can't think of anybody more deserving than you at the moment.". She glances over at Erkki and his lack of familial feeling with a vaguely blank look, she didn't exactly expect any different.

Vesa uncurls his right hand as Niko comes back over, looking up at Sonja quickly. "Never had morphine before, ma'am." He doesn't sound like he trusts the stuff, really. He tries to shift himself into an awkward position where he can hold the bowl, and the jerky movement forces a sound of pain out of his throat. There's no moving the left arm at all just now. His pinches the corner of his lower lip between his teeth hard enough to draw blood, reaching as best he can for the stew bowl. "Your cousin, sir?" He says upon hearing that from Erkki, and purses his lips. "He ran right into town with a knife and no rifle. With five Ivans!"

Niko snorts. "Just the sort of foolishness I was telling you about last night, Vesa." He shakes his head and goes back to his place against the wall, sitting down. "It saddens me to see a man develop a taste for killing." He closes his eyes, seemingly napping.

"Yeah, stupid bugger," Erkki says with little sympathy. He pauses, eyeing Vesa. "What, you say you don't know if he's dead or not? Of course he's dead. Russians wouldn't keep him alive."

Luukas looks down for a moment after taking a sip of coffee, stepping out of the way for the others to get some, bringing that and his bowl of stew back to the chair he'd earlier risen from. "Mika Lamatti..Mika.." running the name through his thoughts. "That's the guy who stepped in for coffee, and dropping off three small jars of his own, right?" A slight shake of his head, tightening one corner of his lip. "This fight against the Russians isn't like stealing some furs or poaching. I don't care how good of a hunter or sneak you are, going into their camp or a town they're holding alone to try to be a hero isn't gonna work."

Sonja hasn't even seen Mika so his loss isn't quite that personal, but she blinks. "Well, thats the second person I have heard now to have been killed.". Caught = Siberia = killed, far as Sonja is concerned. "And they have been here less than a month. You think they will let us go if we surrender? They cannot kill all of Finland after all.".

Luukas then slowly draws up his gaze to Erkki, "Unless he's being tortured…to find out our hideout." the Ostrobothnian adds.

"That's what Olli told him, sir," Vesa replies weakly to Luukas. "He wouldn't listen to nothing, just went barging in." He gets the bowl braced precariously, a bit sloshing out onto his shirt. Looking at Erkki then. "Cause I dunno if he got away after that, sir. I couldn't see. Or if they got him somewhere." He starts struggling to get the spoon to his mouth, spilling droplets on the way.

"There's lots of dead Finns, we've just not seen them," Erkki says with a grunt. Luukas' words make him frown and look thoughtfully at the squad leader. "That is not unlikely," he is forced to admit. "Guess we better leave, today We can't take the risk of staying here."

Sonja looks at all the wounded. "I think it will be quite a packed sleigh." she says quietly. "There are more wounded than unwounded now.".

Luukas looks from one to the other, around the room. "Lots of wounded. We need Mr. Viinikainen's and the doctor's word on moving." His gaze goes back to Erkki, "But I agree. We need to come up with a place to go now. It's just a question of when people can be moved after that's decided."

Erkki takes a deep sip of his coffee, grudgingly nodding in agreement to Luukas. "THere's a cabin up a bit to the northwest we could perhaps go to."

Vesa continues eating slowly, the stew getting cold before he's finished much. It doesn't stop him from getting every last bit he can from the bowl. He lets it fall over next to his hip once it's empty, the spoon clattering, and rests his head back. Still listening to the conversation, he lets his eyes close for a few minutes, breathing in tense sips.

Niko looks up, "If our present location is threatened, we better post sentries and take regular patrols." He stands up and slings his rifle over his shoulder. "My hand's too hurt to shoot straight, but my legs can still ski and gunshots can still travel far enough to warn you if there's trouble. I will take the first patrol."

Luukas slowly nods. "We should always have sentries." He looks back down, considering for a moment. "Wish we could've destroyed that final field gun in Raatevaara before we pull further west, but.." and Luukas frowns a little to himself, "We're the underdogs, we can't be choosers. Maybe Pyyvaara will be within range of the cabin Erkki's talking about."

Sonja goes quiet, and just listens, watching Vesa carefully as he rests.

Niko says, "I'll take watch until the cold numbs all the feeling from me, and then I'll come back." He says, "If we had a few extra men, I'd still like to go back to Puras and check on whether they have armor waiting for us."

Luukas shakes his head a little. "They probably won't. Not if Antti took out their armoured car in Raatevaara recently." His gaze turns towards the window. "We can't afford to be doing patrols to check towns if one of us has been captured and knows this location. Moving out as soon as the wounded can go is more important."

Niko nods to Luukas. He opens the door and heads out into the cold.

Luukas is quietly eating the stew now, seated in the warm chair with a mug of coffee set on a tiny pine table close by within reach.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.