Royal Lescatie Army II
A little while later, the Lescatie royal family decided to begin their recruitment process. Merse is on top of the list, as she is a formidable fighter and is well known throughout Lescatie. Merse is also quite popular, and her introduction into the Royal Lescatie Army may encourage new recruits to join as well. Furthermore, unlike a vast majority of heroes, Merse is not affiliated with a noble or clerical organization. Perhaps it was due to the circumstances around her birth and upbringing, the noble backed religious orders made no attempt to recruit her into their ranks.
For the same reason, Astramille suggested they appeal to the heroes who were raised from commoner or middle classes. In fact, it was the reason that Noscrim was so powerful. He was marginally more progressive in terms of recruiting heroes from lower classes, even if those heroes are not celebrated to the same extent as noble heroes, nor given the same kind of resources.
Of course, such heroes are likely to be in short supply and weaker than their better trained and higher born counterparts. But then and again, they will not form the backbone of the Royal Lescatie Army. That honor would go to soldiers equipped with gunpowder weapons and trained in modern tactics. Astramille explained that he hoped the fairy would return with the weapons she promised, and the sooner the better.
But before recruitment can begin, the royal family and the heroes present must list the criteria for aspiring recruits. And here, conflict arose.
The Lescatie Royal Family called for the employment of men at arms, men who had fighting experience. However, there were questions as to whether it was possible, seeing as the crown did not control as much resources as the Order. In fact, Mimil argued that creating a standing army of any kind would be impossible unless the king got money.
Astramille remained silent through this, though on the inside, he was thinking. Perhaps the wealth that Sasha Fullmoon seized from that dragon may help things. Or he could convince the fairy to give the money for him to the king instead.
But another question rose in his head. Why did he care? He was literally desperate to escape Lescatie just a day ago. Why is he listening to his discussion, pretending that he cared for the fate of Lescatie? Wasn't it just a little while ago that he was terrified for his life? And that fairy literally offered him an escape from this wretched place.
But then and again, could that fairy really be trusted? Probably not. Something that powerful is certainly to be avoided, no matter what it offers. Besides, if push comes to shove, there is nothing preventing Astramille from playing the factions against each other and make an escape while they're all occupied. Then and again, he possessed knowledge that exist outside of the books that came to this world with him. For example, the inner working of firearms and their operation principles. Sure, the fairies had the Mosin Nagant, but that is a poor weapon compared to what this world can potentially build. After all, a steampunk society could produce sophisticated semi-automatic firearms. And if not that, then simple blowback submachine guns.
"Now," Mimil interrupted Astramille's thoughts, "the army. I am eager to recruit, but we must list our requirements and prerequisites. My requirement is that all wizards shall be under my command. But they must be worthy of me."
"A little arrogant, aren't you?" asked Astramille.
"Bah," Mimil shook her head, "I am sick and tired of the staff at the Magitec and the Order, who constantly shove useless mages onto me. They don't seem to understand that some lack talent in magic so much that no amount of training will make them into worthy mages."
Astramille pondered this, but Mimil continued, "The king promised me that I would be listened to. So the it be known that this is my demand: I shall take on any recruit as I see fit, train them as I see fit and command them as I see fit."
The king spoke with the others in the room before nodding to Mimil, "Fair enough, you are the most powerful mage in Lescatie. Perhaps I could even declare a militant order in your name."
"The Order of Miltie," Astramille said, "or the Miltie Militant Order."
"Heh, heh," Mimil giggled, "damn, I look forward to that."
"Perhaps," suggested Rene, "we should do the recruiting separately. That is, all of the leaders raise their own militant orders and recruit for themselves. Then we cross-check applications to ensure that they meet necessary standards."
Thus, all interested members listed their requirements. The king's expectations were…expected. Standard requirements for good soldier material, with experience preferred. Mimil requested good magicians to be sent to her.
But Astramille's requirements were unusual.
"If I am given the honor of recruiting or even leading soldiers, then these are my requirements. Of course, I am not expecting all of them to be met. I am envisioning militias built around gunpowder weapons, so I am not asking for strength, but endurance. I want them to be able to march and fight for long periods of time. I want them to be resistant to cold, heat, hunger and fatigue."
The group fell silent.
"What the heck?" asked Mimil, "why?"
"Because I want men who can be made into hardened soldiers," Astramille said, "men who can fight in all kinds of situations, including being cut off from supplies and constantly under attack from enemies. I want the soldiers to be like the soldiers of my world. But most importantly, such men are closer to the founders of this nation, right? When your ancestor pushed the monsters out of this land and founded the nation of Lescatie, did he live in luxury, surrounded by wine and meat? Or was he a warrior who fought through heat, cold, hunger and fatigue to finally banish monsters from this land? Quite frankly, I don't trust the noble heroes. I question the fighting spirit of those who don't know hardship."
"Oh?" Mimil asked mockingly, "And what do you know about fighting spirit? What do you know about warfare?"
"What do I know about warfare?" Astramille replied, "Sure, I am not a soldier, nor and I formally educated in military matters. But I have access to huge amounts of literature. Mimil, you of all people should know this."
Mimil nodded begrudgingly, "Yeah, you are not lying."
"In my world, warfare is the norm," Astramille continued, "no matter what time it is, there is violent conflict, large or small, being engaged somewhere. Over the millennia, great civilizations rose and fell, with them mighty armies and warrior cultures. My world has seen world spanning empires, Mimil, domains so vast that the sun never set upon them. They were guarded by armies that stretched from horizon to horizon, and equipped with weapons so devastating that they are banned by international law. Trust me, the people of my world are no strangers to warfare. In fact, more people were killed by war in the last century than in all wars before that century. Great wars that wiped out entire generations are still within living memory."
"Wait," the king said, "you mean the nations of your world fought multiple wars that practically wiped-out entire generations?"
"Yes," Astramille replied, "the First World War went from the year 1914 to 1918, and that claimed 17 million lives. It was called the War to End all Wars or simply the Great War, as the people believed that war was so devastating that humanity would achieve world peace in its wake."
"The fact that you called it the first implied that more were to come," Mimil said, "I mean, for a people with great technological achievements like yours, they can be quite stupid."
"Indeed," Astramille replied, "I forgot where, but there was a quote saying that war is when the young and stupid are tricked by the old and bitter into killing each other, though history showed us that war deaths occurred far beyond the battlefield. And yes, we had a Second World War. Year 1939 to 1945. The deadliest conflict in history, claiming between 70 and 80 million lives. More wars followed, like the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War…you get the idea. Seeing how it is 2017 right now, you can understand how profoundly warfare has shaped us. And we also had wars that killed millions even when we had weapons and societies like yours. Not all the wars came from direct combat. Some were from disease, hunger and other things that come from war."
Once again, the people present fell silent. Their minds struggled to comprehend the scale of the vast nations of Astramille's world and the bloody conflicts they waged. And all against each other instead of against monsters.
"Why?" the king managed to utter a single word in the form of a question.
"Have your peoples ever waged wars against each other?" asked Astramille, "Territory, wealth, religion, honor, all those things were fought over. And I am about to raise an army based on the armies of our world. To take the sons of Lescatie and mold them into soldiers that I have come to know, respect and occasionally fear."
He then quickly changed his tone, "But enough about that. We are raising an army to fight monsters and deter the nobles from oppressing the people of Lescatie. And I have said that I want men who will fight against the monsters, even when his surroundings struggle against him. I also want people who can read and write, who are fairly educated."
Once again, the people fell silent. It was a few seconds before the king said, "Astramille, there are probably more people in Lescatie who meet for first set of requirements than your second set. There are many peasants and laborers who could be shaped into soldiers of your requirements. But asking for literacy, in regular foot soldiers? That's really stretching it."
"I know," Astramille said, "that's why I would focus on recruiting a conscript army based on the first set of requirements. Literacy can come in later, for a professional army. Learning in classrooms will play a significant part of training. I am also curious as to what mercenaries the fairy can offer."
It was indeed a curiosity. It turned out that the fairies of this world were more like the fairies of Artemis Fowl than Peter Pan. The magical looking derringer he has is proof. But did the fairies make this weapon themselves? If so, then why do they need Astramille's help? If they can make that derringer, then modern metallic cartridge firearms aren't beyond their grasp.
Perhaps this is what the fairy meant by artefacts from a distant empire. This artefact is a remnant from an ancient advanced civilization.
But it raised some serious questions. If weapons this advanced couldn't prevent the fall of mankind to the monsters in the past, would modern firearms do any better? Then and again, the monsters of today aren't anywhere near as powerful as monsters of the old.
Meanwhile, Maximillian and Charlotte were inside a prestigious inn at the heart of Lescatie. The duo is enjoying a meal. It has been a decade since he left Lescatie, so it was a real treat to enjoy the food here again. The Gothian lands are comparatively colder and drier, making the diets of their people comparatively bland. Large scale trade through Gaulberian territory is made difficult through the Asacreta mountains and occasionally tense relations with their southern neighbors. And while the Asacreta mountains become easier to cross as one travelled east, the centuries of strife between the Gothian peoples and the Sax-Juton peoples made trade difficult there.
"I must say," Charlotte said, "this is the best beef I have had in my life. For one thing, it is fresh, and not preserved for months. And I haven't tasted such exotic spices in my life."
Maximillian smiled. Taking Charlotte back to Lescatie was worth it. It offered him the chance to show her what his life was like before he left. While Lescatie is regarded as a frontier nation, its vast population meant that there was considerable trade with its neighboring Gaulberian states, with merchants hailing from as far as the Mist Continent and the Desert Continent making sales.
The familiarity of Lescatie was both comforting and depressing. The population hadn't recovered from that plague, and the loss in productive population didn't increase the bargaining power of the working class as he had expected. The rich regions stayed rich, and the poor regions got poorer, leading to the creation of slums. Gothian peasants and other lower classes, on the other hand, managed to force various concessions from the ruling elite. And he heard the Sax-Jutons squeezed mass social reforms, primarily because the ruling elite simply did not have enough heroes to put down the commoners. After all, commoners made up the bulk of the Sax-Juton militaries and a significant chunk of their public servants.
"Hey," said a voice, "fancy seeing you here."
Turning to face the speaker, the duo see princess Marise.
"Well, well," Maximillian said, "what brings you here?"
"Oh, not much," Marise said, "just here to extend an invitation to our punitive expedition to Wahnor. And seeing you here, I wondered what new things you learned with the Gothians. So, how about it?"
Marise leaned closer, "I know you will need money, so I am offering you a job. Come with us and find out what happened to Wahnor."
Maximillian said, "Alright, fine. We'll just finish our meal first. You know, I was hoping to meet up with some old friends here. Oh well, a little exercise after a snack would be nice."
A while later, Marise led Maximillian, Charlotte, a dozen royal guards and a few volunteers out of the walls surrounding Lescatie, heading for Wahnor.
"So," Maximillian said, "if this attack happened a while ago, why are you going to the site now? I mean, by the time your sisters went, the monsters were already gone. And it will be hours until we get to Wahnor. What's the point?"
"This time," Marise replied, "we are doing a proper search of the area. Perhaps there are some clues the humans or monsters left behind. And if these attacks were diversionary, then we may be able to perform a counter ambush. To strike at the rear of the invading armies. If we are lucky, we may even attack the leader or coordinator, and nip this invasion in the bud."
Maximillian nodded, and the group continued on their journey. A little while later, Marise began to ask.
"Ten years ago, you left us and travelled north to Khrizno. Why?"
"I was basically abandoned by my father," Maximillian said, "who gave his favor to Wilmarina. He said that he didn't have the resources to raise two heroes. I knew it was a lie, for I was aware that he had plans to built an entire fortress. Fortress Salvarion, or something. I recognized that I was nothing but a tool for his ambitions, to be cast aside and replaced by my younger sister."
He paused for a bit, "Of course, it was rather impulsive of me to do so. Even if father decided to focus on Wilmarina, I could still train myself. I'd be a powerful hero in my own right, at least a match for any of the three musketeers today. I saw them at the trial, and they didn't seem to be as powerful as me."
"So," Marise continued, "why Khrizno? Why not towards other Gaulberian nations?"
"Because," Maximillian replied, "I wanted to go further than the founder of Lescatie. You know the story, right?"
"Yes," Marise replied, "the ancestor founder of Lescatie who rallied many Gaulberian warriors to his side. With a holy sword in hand, he led his warriors from the southern territories north, fighting monsters along the way. He stopped at the foot of the Asacreta mountains, as his followers were unwilling to cross into the north lands, now occupied by the Gothians. Thus, he settled here, and founded the Kingdom of Lescatie."
"Indeed," Maximillian said, "but not all stayed. Do you know about Gottsfreudan Alnheim?"
Yo guys, I am back with another chapter. Sorry for the long delay, but I was really trapped on where to take the story next. There will be recruitment, there will be fights, but most importantly, there will be greater exploration of Lescaties history, her relations with the Gothians and Sax-Jutons and the politics between the three civilizations. Astramille will have to take these into account, if he is to form a unified anti monster force. There is a reason I introduced the other two civilizations and brought Maximillian back.