Captain Elizabeth Granby had been listening closely to the news - as had most of the other Captains in the Dover covert; after all, if hostilities did break out, they were likely to be ordered out. The dragons sensed it too and, depending on their personalities, were excited or calm about it. Iskierka had taken to asking Liz each morning for news, wanting to be allowed to fight again. She recounted all her stories of the Napoleonic wars over and over, following with thoughts about how good it would be to fight again. However, many of her crew were less enthusiastic; Liz was trying to ensure that it was well with all of them, but her responses lacked the surety of her own position, as she had not seen real action either. Indeed the peace that had fallen since the end of the Napoleonic wars ensured that mostly only those who had been stationed in the colonies had seen much action, and Iskierka had been determined too important for breeding to send, much to her annoyance.
Admiral Portland gathered all the captains and dragons together to give the news.
"As you might expect, we are now at war. I have to decide which of the formations to send. Obviously we will not denude the Channel defences completely, as it would not do to show any weakness at this time."
Iskierka leaned in and said, "Let us go - I am sure that I would be useful there." Liz sighed, understanding her dragon’s wishes, but wished that she would behave better, although at least she had been relatively restrained this time.
"Perhaps. However, it would seem to me that sending dragons that can be counted on to behave and follow orders would be more sensible," Portland countered.
"Oh," Iskierka curled back on herself, "But I have been following orders - I did not attack any of the ships I saw from patrols recently or anything."
"But would you continue to behave and follow orders in a war situation?"
He did not say, but Liz caught the implication that he doubted she would be able to resist the temptation.
“If I would not, I would be required to stay here in peace for the whole of the war?” Iskierka asked. It sounded to Liz like she was finally considering the repercussions that her past actions would have.
Liz noted that it was probably a lie - if the situation got dire enough they would be sent, whatever Iskierka’s behaviour, but she did not say anything, hoping that Iskierka might finally learn this lesson. There was silence for a few minutes before Iskierka spoke again,
“Very well. I will obey all the orders and behave.”
“From now on? Not just while in combat?”
“Good. In that case, Captain Granby prepare your dragon and crew for departure tomorrow.”
She nodded and turned to leave, leaving him looking over the other captains. Iskierka took off, picking her up on the way and dropping down into her clearing. Most of the crew were already there.
“Right, everyone. We are to leave tomorrow.” Liz said. “Everyone knows their responsibilities.”
The crew scattered, talking wildly in small groups, each going about their business. Liz stood there for a moment, then turned to her dragon,
“I should go and pack my things. I will be back in a while, if you are agreeable to that.”
“Yes, yes. Go and get organised. Then you can be back to supervise here. I can keep the rest in order to then.” Iskierka sounded more excited that Liz had ever heard.
She nodded and set off towards the covert headquarters. Lieutenant Brodin fell in beside her and said,
"I wonder if we will see more Kaziliks - it would be interesting."
"It would seem likely, given that the Turks are to be our allies."
"It will be interesting to see if they are all as independent minded as her."
James laughed at that and Liz joined in, although she reflected that it was a bittersweet laugh; her career was on hold due to Iskierka's antics, she wanted to be the second female admiral, but this had not seem possible until now.
"It will suit her to have another war to fight, she has not been enjoying peacetime."
He nodded at that,
"Hopefully we will be able to live up to her expectations."
"I wish we had more experience, it is one thing to have the training, but it is a different matter to know that we are facing war in earnest."
Glancing across she noticed that he looked pale, and wondered if she did as well.
“I do too. However, for now, we have more immediate things to work on.” She turned into the building, climbing the stairs to her room quickly, not wanting to talk more on this subject. Her thoughts, as always in these situations, turned to her brother, killed in an accident while still a Midwingman. He would not have had these doubts, she thought, but then she would not have been so careless with her straps and thus not fallen to her death unnecessarily. She turned into her room, glancing around quickly, there was not much to do, like everyone else she had been expecting the redeployment and thus had made a start. Quickly she pulled out her bags, throwing in her clothes, and a few keepsakes. Everything else got put aside - someone would pack it away if the room was needed in her absence. She looked around and grabbed her lap desk - hopefully she would have the time to keep up her correspondences, although she realised that there was likely to be less time for such things. She picked up her unread and unanswered letters from the desk and glanced at the senders before added them to her bags. She noticed the one from Perscitia, noticing that the handwriting had changed again and wondered which of her students had scribed for her this time. Glancing around she did not notice anything else that she needed, so picked up her bags and hurried back to Iskierka.