After filling his stomach with alcohol and meat, Blaidd retreated into his private tent. He removed his daggers and placed them on the trunk, before sitting on his bed and taking a deep breath. He observed his smooth and silky skin, admiring how clean it was. Even women would envy him for it. However, his attention quickly shifted to his nails, now transformed into sharp claws that could shred through steel.
He contemplated how to proceed with his mission. Should he quit being a mercenary? Should he blindly convert men to werewolves? How would he identify the 'fake werewolves'?
Conversion… werewolves had their own set of rules established by the three wolves of the cliff of the moon. Betrayal of your kind, killing your own kind, and sullying the name of the three wolves were strictly forbidden. He decided to take in men based on these rules, those whom he could trust and those who were good but broken, easy to control. As for the 'fake werewolves', he would have to assess their characters before making any decision. If they had not committed any heinous acts, then he could convert them. Otherwise, death would be their fate.
However, mercenaries were not the best people to find such individuals. They were loyal only to coins and riches. After this mission, Blaidd planned to leave the band and search for himself, but he needed money to do so.
One of the biggest challenges Blaidd faced was overturning human bias against werewolves. He needed to dispel the notion that werewolves were cursed men, a daunting task. If someone in the army discovered his identity, they would capture him. However, if a battle was forthcoming, he might be able to turn the situation in his favour…
Breeding was another way to spread the 'gift', but he had to be careful about it. He did not want unruly and rebellious children intoxicated with their own power. He needed a strong or maternal mate, and he could not just sleep around like a manwhore. Though sterile females were acceptable like sorceresses of this world, he chuckled at the thought of trying to seduce one of them. It was impossible, right?
As Blaidd stood gazing to the south, his eyes beheld a magnificent procession. A seemingly endless stream of men, adorned in an array of garments and banners, marched through the road of Maribor. The sight was truly awe-inspiring. Among the multitudes, two coats of arms stood out prominently, fluttering in the wind atop poles borne by the soldiers. They were none other than the coat of arms of Temeria and Redania, symbols of the kingdoms that had once been at odds with each other. If he were to describe this scene to the former kings of these kingdoms, they would scarcely believe it themselves.
"A queer thing to see, ain't it?" one of his brethren Marek commented from his side. "I come from Flotsam meself, the memories of these two banners clashing against each other still fresh in me mind. And now, they march together."
"Of course, they're nervous," Blaidd continued in a more neutral tone. "Cintra has fallen and Upper Sodden has been ransacked. But still, it's quite a sight to see a united northern army." Despite the recent turmoil that had befallen the north, Blaidd couldn't help but be impressed by the sheer power of the army before him. Soldiers from all corners of the north stood shoulder to shoulder, united in a common cause. It was a force to be reckoned with and a testament to the strength and determination of the nordlings.
"Yeah, about time isn't it? Tired seeing all the wars."
Blaidd just scoffed. "I guarantee you, after this war, they'll just come back to their previous state. Scheming and trying to conquer one another, an endless cycle."
"Ya can only 'ope, ain't it?" Marek continued, his face dark. "Besides, how do ye know 'bout livin' in the constant state of war? Ye've come from Lod, far away from any front lines. Even then, ye return to yer knife-eared cousins if it ever comes to that."
Blaidd let out a deep sigh, his frustration palpable at the ceaseless hostility he faced. "You're right," he conceded, his voice tinged with a hint of irritation. "What would I know?" he added, his tone laced with a tinge of resignation, it was clear that the task of changing the stigma of werewolves will be harder than he previously thought.
The mercenaries are still packing their tents as the army continues to march. A rider that wore brown rider armour approached the encampment site. For a man with a horse, he looked to be lightly armoured, Blaidd thought it was probably one of the light cavalry or a scout.
The rider reached the middle of the encampment, near Blaidd's disassembled tent.
"Oi, where's yer boss?" the rider shouted to the mercenaries around him. It was clear he's trying to assert dominance, from his expression and the way he brought himself, and he was failing miserably. His accent seems to be peasant-like, definitely a scout.
"I am." said a middle aged man, the leader of this whole group. His name is Tomas of Worden, and he hails from Povis. Blaidd doesn't know much about him, only that he's fair in terms of payment and cautious, in fact, this is the riskiest job he had taken, maybe due to the sense of love to the northern realms. "What is it?"
"Yer to march at the end o' the army," he said. "Once we're at the Yaruga, ye're gonna cross in the left wing and stay there 'til the end o' the fight."
"Mercenaries in the left flank?" questioned Tomas, frowning and a bit confused. "Are you sure?"
"Tis the will o' th' war council, are ye questionin' it?" the scout frowned.
Tomas sighed. "No. I thank you for the information, you may go. My men will march and position ourselves like you said."
"Good. Y'been paid t'obey without question, then do yer worth." After that, the scout quickly rode away from the campsite, joining in the march again.
"Who does he think he is, eh? The fuckin' king himself? Pfft!" Blaidd could hear Brouver spat, annoyed at the way the scout presented himself.
With the supplies and gear now loaded onto the carriage, the mercenaries fell into marching formation, joining the northern army on their march towards war.