Chapter 227: Mercenaries and More Mercenaries

“Welcome back Roan, how have things gone?” Braydon greeted Roan who had finished up with hiring mercenaries to be a part of his upcoming campaign. Rhydian had accepted the last batch of locally recruited men the week before and had been training them ever since. All that Braydon was waiting on was a batch of weapons that he had made for his men, spears that he had forged from his ore and bows he had bought from further afield. It was easy enough to train with fewer weapons than men but that would not work quite as well in an actual battle.

“I would have liked to hire more men but there were a few other lords that were apparently also hiring. If we had hired them all at once then it would be too obvious that we were planning to attack someone so a number of the mercenaries in Wathamalin were taken by others.” Roan reported, not too surprising since there were a number of new lords or lords with additional lands.

“Not unreasonable. So how many did we manage to secure?” This was what concerned Braydon the most, he had just around 700 men of his own and that was a fair number of people considering that he owned a single town and several villages. Most other earls preferred to have slightly more men than that but their forces were often made in significant part by mercenaries. This was the number of men Braydon had without mercenaries, and he would need every man that he could get to make sure that his plans went as smoothly as possible.

“Of the mercenaries from Wathamalin, we have paid for just under 200, but there was a fairly large mercenary company that was passing through with the intention of selling their swords to the highest bidder in Shuluk. I managed to convince them to side with us, they cost a premium but there were 200 of them.” When the size of the company was mentioned, Braydon raised an eyebrow. It was not often that such a large company moved from their preferred location. Usually because whomever was paying them was doing so handsomely.

“Where were they before now?” He was curious. All of the mercenaries that had worked for Duke Ryder had already up and left Fiveria a long time ago and there were no great conflicts that had been resolved or great lords that had found themselves in poverty that he was aware of. It would have been rather big news if something of that scale had happened. And the news would have arrived long before the mercenaries.

“They claim to have been in Ciai, but there is no real way to confirm that. It is not like many people care about what goes on there and most news that does make it out is only from the coastal areas.” Roan was not wrong about that. Ciai accounted for a huge area of land much larger than Fiveria and its neighbours combined. For anybody that was not a mercenary or an arms merchant it was a no go zone. If the mercenaries were truly from the interior of Ciai there would be no verifying it without being able to track their entire journey.

“If they are truly from Ciai then they should have some decent experience on them but I will get Colin to look around and see if he can find anything out about them just in case.” Braydon wanted to make sure if he was stepping on any toes without knowing it by hiring this company. There was just over a week and a half before his plans would be put into action which would be enough time to find out if there was anyone that could actually affect him that would be offended by it. 

“I doubt that hiring such a large company will be able to go unnoticed, however, so I have requested that they stay in Wathamalin until we need them in the coming week.” Roan mentioned. Hiring 200 mercenaries unnoticed was already trying to push their luck, hiring a further 200 that belonged to one company would definitely be noticed. It was only a matter of when. Not that Braydon was complaining, an extra 200 mercenaries was more than worth getting found out since it would make ‘taking back his iron’ so much easier.

“Most of the other mercenaries are already at the main camp but I am sure that Rhydian would appreciate your support so that he can focus on training our new recruits.” Mercenaries were great when they were doing the thing that you hired them to do, but they were often a lot more unruly than regular men that had been recruited from a nearby village. Braydon knew that Rhydian was more than capable of keeping a couple hundred mercenaries in line but it was imperative that the new recruits were adequately trained.

“Then I shall go and see to it.” Roan saluted before he left Braydon’s study.

“Let’s see, I should…” Braydon was going to think about what he wanted to do next before the door to his study once again opened.

“I see you have some free time.” Nella remarked once Braydon looked up, entirely unsurprised that she had come to see him.

“Indeed I do.” There was no point in saying no when even he was not sure what it was he was supposed to be doing at that moment.

“Then you would love to know that I have gotten some responses from scribes that I have written to.” Nela said with a smile, apparently very happy that she had gotten some responses so fast.

“Ah, so that is why you looked so happy. And I am guessing that at least someone expressed interest.” Anything to do with the school she had built and Nela was invested in seeing that it happen as soon as possible.

“Two to be precise, though they did ask for clarification about what they would be doing.” Nela added the most important details.

“And do you think that one of them will end up taking us up?” Braydon had thought that it would take longer than a couple of weeks before they found someone to teach for them.

“Maybe.” Nela sounded unsure.

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