It’s unfortunate, but his Majesty absolutely refuses to talk with your mum or try to find a peaceful solution. I fear there’s no avoiding a war. I know that wishing for you and your unit to stay out of the battlefield is just a wish that can’t realistically come true. So, instead, I’ll wish for both of our safety until we reach a point where our nations are once again at peace.
I know some people would call it foolish and ill-advised to try and stay friends under these circumstances, but I also know that I don’t want the relationship we’ve nurtured and built up for so long to die. I can’t promise your safety out there, but I can promise that I won’t harm you. Please, get through this whole thing alive.
Always your friend,
Miranda met with the irregulars at the start of the morning. They were mostly mercenaries and other travelers who had decided to join with the Torlan military for profit or just to forget. There were also a few poor citizens who were considered too unimportant and not accomplished enough to grant proper knighthood.
Mranda could recognise those members immediately. They were excited for the chance to prove themselves on the battlefield. It was her task to make sure they had a chance and try to minimise their casualties.
“All right,” she said, addressing the crowd. “Some of you know me. I’m Vice Captain Miranda Pienta of the Torla Dozen. And, for the duration of this conflict, I’ll be in charge of all of you. I know some of you joined Torla’s military for some easy money and never had any desire to see actual combat. If that’s you, speak up and I’ll see to it that you’re discharged.
For everyone else, I know this unit is looked down upon. I know that most of the higher ups don’t care what kind of casualties we suffer. But I promise all of you, that I won’t look down on you. And, no matter what kinds of difficult jobs they give us, I’ll do everything in my power to send all of you home to your families.”
“And I suppose you’ll also be in the thick of it with us.”
Miranda turned. The speaker was a vixen feralial. She had a rusty red hair colour with a white streak and golden eyes. She also had long fox ears, and a tail. She had a visible scar from where something had burned her. Her blade was impressive. At first glance it looked like an old broad sword. But a close look showed some intricate runes on the hilt and it was almost impossibly sharp.
“Believe it or not, but I will,” Miranda said. “You can hold me to that Miss…”
“Kugari,” she answered. “Aiko Kugari.”
“Well, Aiko,” Miranda said “We’ve got our work cut out for us. So, I’ll be counting on your help.”
Cassandra met with her generals. At her right was a tall woman with violet hair, blue eyes and a lance strapped across her back. At her left was a short but muscular woman with brown hair and blue eyes.
“Rose, how are our soldiers doing?”
“They’re well organised,” the violet haired woman answered. “Artura, Petunia, Rachel, Ivy, Lynn, Caroline and I have split the fighting force among us. We’ve also put Susan on alert. Her clerics are ready to handle any injuries we may sustain.”
Cassandra nodded. “I want any injured soldier taken from the battlefield and to Susan as quickly as possible. We don’t want any preventable casualties. Caroline,”
“Yes, Majesty?” the shorter woman asked.
“I want your unit to hang back and guard Susan’s. It would be devastating if they broke through our lines and went after the clerics.”
“I will see to it that Courtney is transferred to Caroline’s unit,” Rose stated.
Cassandra shook her head. “I appreciate your concern for my daughter, but she’s a true Amazon. She can look out for herself on the battlefield. Leave her with Artura.”
“As you will,” Rose stated.
“The Torlans are moving a great deal of men and equipment to the edge of the forest,” Caroline reported. “It seems that they intend to break the treaty and begin extending their mines.”
“And, besides riding into battle, what would you suggest we do?” Cassandra said.
“I suggest we quickly establish an outpost as close to their operation as we can manage,” Caroline said. “We can use it as a base to minimise the risk of all the units going out into battle.”
“How much forest will we have to sacrifice?” Cassandra asked.
“Not too much,” Caroline said. “They’re moving their soldiers into position as well. They won’t be able to advance that quickly.”
“Then, we’ll establish the outpost,” Cassandra stated. “Rose, I want the wolf and viper units to move ahead and start the construction. That may buy the rest of us some time to get there.”
“I’ll let Rachel know and we’ll go ahead,” Rose said.
Cassandra nodded. She studied the map for a moment before heading out to prepare her people to go to war.