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The Fortress
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「Hey, bud! I guess nobody wants to die these days, heh? Well, welcome to the fortress!」

「Err... What?」

「The fortress, dude! Haven’t you accepted that contract for serving here and stuff? Oh, my bad, you must still be drowsy with all that dying and summoning. Take your time and when you’re better, come talk to me, I’ll be over there.」

Happy to have some time to sort your thoughts, you go again through what had just happened.

Yeah, you died. Or at least you thought so. But then you appeared at what looked like heaven. No way you’d go to heaven. You went through too much shit for that.

Then there were these strange... things... Looked like angels, clad in white, with wings and everything, and they told you you shouldn’t have died when you did.

Of course, you answered that with an 「I’m sorry for dying at the wrong time, can we just try again, then?」

But you certainly didn’t expect what came next, when they said 「Oh, that makes things a lot simpler. We’ll take that as a ‘yes’.」 And next thing you knew, there was a random guy welcoming you to a fortress.

The random guy approaches you again:

「Better? I mean, I *have* got all day, since I’ve been relieved from duty to help you, but still...」

「Yeah, I guess. Just thinking is not going to help this make more sense anyway」

「Good! As I was saying, welcome to the fortress! My name is Trevin. What would be yours?」

So his name is Trevin. He doesn’t seem like much, looking rather ragged and a little bit tired, although he makes you wonder how can someone show so much energy even while looking tired. Then you notice he’s welcoming you to a fortress. Weird, he certainly doesn’t look like military.

「I’m Jack. By the way, what do you mean by fortress?」

「I mean this fortress right here, behind me, of course.」

「But... I know you’re saying fortress, but...」

Looking behind him, there is something that looks more like an outpost in the woods. Surrounded by the forest, there is a wooden wall and every now and then some wooden spikes, all made out of logs, but, really, a mere cannon could’ve put all that down easily. It most certainly isn’t a fortress.

「That looks more like a group of boy scouts got too enthusiastic about all the wood they gathered」

「Don’t sweat over the small stuff, man... After all, you know what they say, a fortress is made by its soldiers! And I can guarantee you that we soldiers are top notch! Come on, I’ll show you around.」

With a bright smile, he leads you through the improvised wooden gates. The outside wasn’t very impressive, but considering the wall actually surrounds a pretty large area, the inside…

Isn’t really impressive either, though. In the center, there is a slightly large house and a smaller one to its side, both wooden, both with a single floor. To the distance, close to one of the edges, there is actually another smaller house, made mostly out of stone. This one might resist two cannon blasts. ‘This fortress is really shabby, heh?’. There also seem to be something arranged behind the wooden buildings, but you can’t quite make it out.

Trevin brings you to the larger one in the center. It seems to be some sort of canteen, there is a big table with benches to the sides and an enclosed location that probably hosts a kitchen. Didn’t they have any material besides wood available?

「This is where we usually eat. Pretty neat, right? We put it together some days ago, it was a lot of work. Let me show you to the captain next, you’ll want to properly present yourself, no?」

「Uh, sure, I guess? So the military is in charge of this place?」

For some reason, Trevin laughs heartily at your question, while leading you outside the canteen.

「Well, I guess you could call them that, the military of the other world. They surely do seem to be rather fond of titles, hierarchy, following procedures and all that, don’t they? Don’t worry, though. Our captain is actually pretty understanding.」

Outside the canteen, you notice what you couldn’t see earlier: there are two camping tents around an extinguished fireplace. Not the fancy ones you can buy at a store, though. Those were pretty much sheets of fabric held up by sticks. It didn’t look like it would resist even a fair amount of wind. Good thing there was that wall around the whole place.

「That reminds me, we’ll have to put up another tent for you later.」

「Wait, didn’t you say this was a fortress? Why is it looking more and more like a camping trip? And a rather badly planned one, if I might add.」

「Hah, you got me there… Thing is, we’re still in the process of building it, that’s why everything is so improvised. Look at the good side, this means you’ll be one of the highest-ranking soldiers in the fortress! You might even become an officer, isn’t that great?」

You’re ready to list all the reasons why this is not, as a matter of fact, great, but at that moment, you arrive at your destiny, the smaller wooden house besides the canteen, and what you see inside leaves you dazed for a good minute.

This one is more like a cottage, albeit a modest one. There is a bed to the side(wooden, obviously), a small square window and a stool. And sitting on the stool, there is a woman.

Wearing full plate armor, head to toe, silver with white and golden details, even a helmet with visors and apparently maintaining an imposing-looking medieval sword, with a silver blade and both hilt and sheath matching the armor. A full-plated paladin, candidly polishing her sword inside a modest log cabin, like it was the most normal thing in the world.

But then again, nothing made sense since the beginning, so after recovering from your daze(and realizing the paladin had actually called you thrice in that time and was starting to display a worried look), you get yourself together and manage to scramble a hasty introduction:

「Ah, yes, hello, I am Jack.」

「Oh, he answered!」

Seemingly relieved, though a little flustered because of her slip, she continues:

「I mean, pleased to make your acquaintance, mister Jack. My name is Catherine Boulton and I am the captain of this humble fortress.」

You decide to play along and try to get some information:

「Yeah, about this, err, fortress, I am actually not clear about a number of things, it would be nice if you could enlighten me on some of those things.」

「But of course. After all, what captain would I be if I didn’t even take care of my prospective soldiers?」

The word soldier gets a little bit on your nerves, but you brush it off.

Where are we?

What was all that stuff about a contract?

I think that's enough questions for now.

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