- Tamarah -
Finally, we are back in our army camp.
From the looks of it, everyone is in good spirits.
As it should be after a clean victory.
At least, we had almost no losses and my insect unit still preserved its full combat potential.
Currently, the guardians are getting freed from their armor.
After all, they're made far too heavy for them to be worn permanently.
The workers, meanwhile, already get treated by the nurses we apparently got sent along as some kind of bonus.
Which they really are.
While not fighters themselves, they do all kinds of assistant jobs.
From helping equip armor, to carrying lighter weights for our logistics, they do a fine job.
Not to forget about their most important contribution to our war effort.
At first, I was a bit skeptical, but after I saw that one application of the liquid that's coming out of their claws directly stopped the bleeding of a worker, I successfully applied that they would also tend to the regular soldiers.
After all, we don't have enough healers to help all of the injured in time, and apparently, it works damn great on all kinds of wounds, as I personally tested out.
Naturally, all my Formicean subjects were the focus of quite some scrutiny from the soldiers, but most don't complain if treatment with this stuff is preventing them from bleeding out.
So, considering that they don't demand more than receiving their required amount of food, one can say we made a pretty good deal.
Of course, their main service is still focused on our insect troops.
Especially the guardians require quite some care.
Speaking of them, the next thing to do after the heavy plates get removed from them would be to check if their torsos received any wounds.
After all, they're surprisingly fragile behind those carapaces as a nurse was very determined to explain to me.
They're our greatest assets, and it would be a shame if we lose them due to something like a stuck arrowhead.
Their appearance alone is enough to terrify the enemy, and despite being so stationary, it suffices to place them within an enemy position where they'll be able to make good use of their tail spear.
While it's not a big troop I am confident that we made a difference in the recent battles.
At least, I didn't receive any backlash from my commanding general, Legio Stormheart, and my suggestion that we might use the specific abilities of the workers to tunnel to the enemy camp was approved and in the end, worked according to plan.
Therefore, I think I can claim that my first command was a success.
Though, I probably should make my report.
To do so, I head for the general's tent.
"Sir, Ie wanted to report that we succEzsfully dEstroyed the enemy siege camp while preeventing any casualtiees on our side." (T)
Sigh, I wish I could get a better handle on my speech.
It's already much better than in the early days, but it's actually quite difficult to practice in this camp.
I still remember when the house servants were constantly panicking about my death screams. Can't have that here.
"Good work, officer. That's one of twenty, counting in the smaller forward positions as well." (Stormheart)
I look at the map that's spread on his desk.
Currently, we're on the Oneira-Plateau.
While the area itself is barren, lacking any of the necessary foundations of a settlement, it holds great military value because of its central, easily defensible, position.
For this reason, it’s served since long ago as a gathering point for Tarsona’s armies and allows us to deploy troops wherever they’re needed.
If the displayed intel we received from our scouts is correct, the situation is, while not dire, at least tense.
We're on the defense with two smaller border towns occupied by the enemy.
I don't even want to think about what happened to the remaining inhabitants.
Aside from that, the enemy has also more influence than I'd like them to have in our territory.
It's difficult to make out a frontline while focusing on the gathered main forces but there are several smaller camps, raid troops, and sadly, also suicide slave troops.
The latter are only thought to harm us in any way possible.
Apparently, a slave that brings the head of a Tarsonian soldier can receive freedom for himself or someone else.
An insidious but very effective strategy.
Yet even those troops need the camps.
The slave collars they're equipping the slaves with require a handler to control the slaves.
These human failures as well as the needed supplies are going to be kept in their fortified camps.
By deploying their forces like this, they can lure us into undesirable battles where we have to go against entrenched crossbowmen to gain back control over our very own territory.
Yet specifically in this situation, my Formicea troop can shine.
Not only do they charge positions without any hesitation, but they can also tunnel under them or draw enemy fire from the other soldiers.
Not to speak of the fear they're instilling in our enemy's ranks.
But exactly because they have their value I have to make sure to preserve them.
Especially, as this was kinda the directive I got when I was given this command.
The enemy shall see them among our ranks. That means they have to be alive.
"Sir, wee can head out agaien, but I'd first lieke to requEst a brEak to reecover." (T)
"Very well. Yet I thought one of the advantages of your troops was that they can work tirelessly?" (St)
"I'm sorry, but thies is a misconcEption. Those insEcts are in fAct tirieng out, it's just that they'd contienue until thEy completely break down insteead of complaining." (T)
"How are you aware of this, officer?" (St)
"Mye... My condietion enables mee to perceeive such thiengs, sir." (T)
I'm receiving a hard-to-judge glance from him.
This is a bit difficult to bear as my "condition" is the origin of quite some concerns of mine.
"I understand. I need to say, I had my doubts about this... experiment. However, you're showing surprisingly positive results. I can understand why there are so many voices asking to do anything necessary to gain further military support from the 'friends from below'. If three dozen already achieve such an effect I can only imagine what thousands of them would do to the enemy. Though, I'm sure the commanding officer had as well some influence to achieve these results." (St)
"I'm grateful to heear this, sir. I hope I can furtheer prove to you the tactical value of mye uniet." (T)
"I'm sure you will. Actually, I thought to increase your division due to your exceptional results. Let's see how you coordinate this. Might be good training for the soldiers to spend more time at their side, considering the future prospects." (St)
I salute and turn around, mostly to keep this talk short.
It's not the first time I've heard this.
As far as I can tell, there are currently three major factions regarding how to deal with the sudden emergence of the Formicea.
There might be countless shades, blurry lines, and cooperations going on between them, but basically they can be summarized under the correspondingly small hostile faction, the positively neutral faction of the king, and the ones opting for exploitation.
The former sees them as mere monsters.
Probably inspired by some of the more fundamentalist beliefs swamping over from our neighboring country Ceranis.
As I said, it's small, as there's currently no support for opening a second front while already fighting a desperate war against an overwhelming enemy.
After all, nobles aren't idiots.
If you have to be stupid, do it at least when you're not already hanging on the ropes.
Regarding the king's faction, I can't really tell what that man is thinking.
King Kieran is known to be somewhat eccentric, but as of now, I can't see any faults in his way of indulging Erys’ somewhat naive idea of negotiating peace.
Most nobles rather support the king himself than his current approach.
Rather, it's that they don't know what to think of them, and as true neutrality doesn't exist in politics, they instead just opt for supporting the general direction.
In the end, there's nothing wrong with reaping the benefits Erys basically offers for free.
It's not like it costs them anything.
Heck, I would count myself as part of their group.
Yet then there's the third and probably most troublesome faction.
Those aren't necessarily against the Formicea and as I said before, there are so many different opinions that it's hard to pinpoint them.
From seeing them as lesser creatures we should manipulate to our advantage, to sucking up to them, everything is present.
Yet the consensus is that with the help of those insects, the war could be considered won.
The issue is that Erys made it very clear that she's not going to support that any insects fight in this war.
Therefore, this faction deviates quite a bit from the king's attempts to just successfully conclude the negotiations.
Some say that Erys should be circumvented by sending private embassies.
Others, that we just didn't offer enough yet and might just have to increase the payment together to give in.
And some even suggested that we should exchange more children for soldiers.
And then there are those who sprout really dangerous ideas I don't even want to think about.
Now mix this with the pre-existent political parties, personal interests of the involved, and the usual conspiring between absolutely everyone and you get the reason why I avoid visiting the capital as much as I can.
Now that my report is done I should try to rest as well.
The way the general spoke about my unit I should worry if he's aware that I as a human need as well to rest at times.
Given how full my current schedule is I sometimes doubt it.
I head back through the many tents around the main quarter when I notice a fast rider galloping onto the field.
That must be a herald or messenger.
As exhausted as he seems to be, he needs a moment to gather his breath before he loudly shouts:
"The capital has fallen!!!" (messenger)