An Officer’s Obligation 4
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I still can't believe that they truly gave that Fennec boy his own command.
He's infamous for his impulsiveness and just the type to scrap his unit in a "heroic charge".
However, he might've said something smart for once.
It could certainly maintain the effectiveness of my insect troop if I coordinate the attacks with mercenary units.
Funny enough, if money is the motivation you don't have to watch out for too much else as those mercenary troops usually have their own leading structures.
This might be an option.
Was Aledor actually being helpful here?

Within the army camp, there's a particular district specially established to contain the mercenaries.
It's only natural that a rich nation like mine would buy all the assets it can get to gain an advantage over the enemy.
A good chunk of any soldiers of fortune gets taken in by the guild, but professional armed forces regularly can't make a living with small-scale assignments and need a country to back them up.

So when the conflict with Koreso sparked up, we naturally spread the word that we're hiring.
And quite a lot from the warring states of the south answered our call.
In that region, there's almost every day a power struggle to be fought between the local lords, so sellswords have a thriving business.
Fortunately, there was one of the short ceasefires at that time, but even if not, Tarsona had, due to its reputation of being wealthy, simply the better offer to make.

Regarding the current situation, this could pose a solution.
Those men are by no means patriotic.
If not for the money, they couldn't care less about what happens to our nation.
But this is just the reason why this might work out.
Sometimes indifference is all you need to make something work.

After I assured that for now none of the other soldiers are going to trespass the insect camp, I first ask for permission from General Stormheart.
Since he is aware of the current situation and we have the same opinion on using my troop to our advantage this part isn't too difficult.

Now comes the hard part.
I need to convince one of the mercenary leaders to join forces with me.
The mercenaries are by no means a homogenous group.
No, rather they're a bit like clans that were pitted against each other just as often as they fought side by side.
And now they all gathered here in our great camp.
At least the leaders of those people aren't all that particular about that point as long as someone pays them.
This doesn't mean there isn't bad blood between the individual groups.
It’s one of the reasons why they're contained from the rest of the camp.
And well, also because one never knows who else might pay them.
I already have a certain group in mind that showed satisfying results and seems somewhat trustworthy.
Now the "Crimson Hounds" just have to be a bit open-minded.


I arrive shortly in the respective district.
Immediately, I become aware of the lack of discipline.
The men still work out, and there are occasional drills to be seen, but in general, the respective groups act far more familiar and laid back among each other.
As I said, they are often more like family clans than real military.

Though, in the case of my target group, there's at least the minimum of required discipline.
At least going by the fact that they put up guards around their grounds.

I soon see their emblem in the form of their flags depicting a red dog on a dark blue ground, which is similar to their deep red uniforms with black pants they wear.
The uniforms are colored up to the sleeve.
I can see the intimidation potential of doing so.
There's nothing gaudy about this but instead, one is reminded of blood from looking at them.

As I am identified as an officer with my badge I can pass into their grounds without issues.
Someone else would surely have been turned down.
An officer, on the other hand, has the authority to demand passage, as it's our army in the end that pays them.

I head straight to the biggest tent I find.
Their leader should be in there.

I let myself get announced by the two guards in front of it and enter after a short pause.

Apparently, that was necessary so they could prepare to put on a show with that guy on some makeshift throne.
Well, if this isn't the pack leader.
Teron "The Crimson Hound" himself.
I need to admit he looks impressive.
His black mane with the red tint, the long beard, and the very developed muscle build add to the picture.
That and certainly the red-black armor that covers his whole body except for the head.
Though, I'm well aware that most of this display is for show.
Reputation and impression decide the price you can sell yourself for, after all.

It wouldn't be polite to just start speaking to him, so I wait till he's ready.
With booming voice, he starts.


"It seems I was informed correctly! Please tell! What does an officer want here, and one I don’t recognize at that? If I recall correctly our assignments were already sufficiently discussed and agreed upon. I don't suppose you want to break the hiring contract?" (Teron)

"TEemiea Lorata! Commander of thee insEct unit of the army." (Temia)

"Ah, right. I heard about those pets. It's said they are at least loyal dogs. As long as they ain't gonna take your very own base, hahahahaha!" (Teron)

"Oh, indeeed, thEy are. Guard! Charge! Rip thies pesky creature apart that dares to annoye mee! I can't complain about mye subjEcts." (Temia)

"You are awfully full of yourself for standing in front of me without them." (Teron)


The guards around me start making an impression as if they're going to attack me at any moment.
However, it's a ruse.
They would never dare harm an officer within our very own encampment.


"I'll admit, while beeing very sophiesticated at following orders thEy lack in certain aspEcts. For this very reeason they ought to be supported by regular soldiers. YEt due to reecent events, it's hard to find volunteers for such a thing. So mye line of thought was that I mieght find some heere." (Temia)

"What makes you believe I would send my subordinates to you and your freaks? You're aware that my troop was granted consent to act mostly independent? Why would I have any inclination to support you?" (Teron)

"Seee it from thies side, you're aware of the giant insEct empire dirEctly beelow our feet? Well, I'm rather sure wee can ExpEct freequent interaction in the future. And now, you have the unieque chance of applying your men so thEy can study theeir units up close. Thies kind of expeerieence is invaluable from a tactical vieewpoint if you ask me. It's not like thies will cost you anything and I will cErtainly reeceeive the approval for thies kind of commission from our commandeer." (Temia)


Lord Stormheart basically already granted me permission and is in favor of me continuing my attacks on the enemy positions.
My words seem to have got him to think.
I don't know how our future with the Formicea will develop.
Especially now, as they turned against us, but in any case, for a mercenary unit like this it can't be a bad idea to learn what they can.
Who knows, one day they might be up against them and a sense of familiarity could be a very wanted trait at this point.

This might not be in those insects' interests but it's the best I can do with the current situation.
My personal thoughts on this situation are that the Formicea won't assume permanent control over the capital.
I know from my own units that they don't do well with chilly nights and thus winter won't be good to them.
For this reason, the Koresoans take priority, as their intentions are far more malicious towards us.
So I won't let this asset we have go to waste.


"How about this? I'll personally increase your pay by fifty percent for this week and after that we'll see how it went. If you at thies point stiell believe cooperation isn't to your advantage you can stiell back out." (Temia)

"You seem awfully desperate for us." (Teron)

"Ie'm not. Ief you don't take thies offer I'll ask one of thee other groups. The Ieron Guard ies said to bee worth theeir pAy." (Temia)


Truth be told, I'd rather have the Hounds, as they're infamous for their voracious attacks.
Just what I need after my units disturbed the enemy ranks.


"Ha, sure. Very reliable. Like an old horse. That is until a wolf sunk its fangs into its throat. There's a reason why you don't ask prey to do the work of predators!" (Teron)

"WEll, what does iet interEst you, if you don't want to take mye offer?" (Temia)

"I never said that! Well, I'd like to see what I'm working with myself. Why don't you bring your dogs into our pen? Let's see how they'll do with the pack! You don't want them to be with your other soldiers as well, right?" (Teron)

"Veery wEll! We'll seee!" (Temia)


I show strength by turning around without humoring him any longer and leave the camp.
Seems like I made good progress.

Tensions are still high, though it seems like immediate attacks aren't to be expected anymore.
However, now I have at least a temporary, albeit limited, solution for this problem.
For greater operations, it's gonna be impossible to avoid any contact with the regular army.
I can only hope they'll find Erys in time.