Atop the crumbling wall of Atwern, a lone mercenary sits with his pike resting on his shoulder. Smoking his small clay pipe, he sighs at the destruction below. His brooding only broken by the sudden clank of a pebble chucked at the back of the soldier’s helmet. “Brooding doesn’t suit you Ernst. You should come down before you freeze there.” Ernst sneered. “Shut up Ulric. Leave me be.”
Ulric, using his halberd to help climb up the rubble, plopped alongside his friend. He adjusted his hat, letting his fingers run through its feathers as he adjusted the wide brim. “You should be happy Ernst. With this city, we only have one more Rebellious Count before our full payment and a unified empire.”
“But what then Ulric? Are we just going to fight forever?” Ulric shifted his armor and pulled out his own pipe. “I hope not, I’d like to think we can all do something other than war after this. A change of scenery so to speak. Maybe go explore the new land the Ispanians discovered.”
“That’s the plan kinder.” From behind the mercenaries came the old voice of their commander. Captain Otto, followed by their friend Hans, come to join them atop the pile as the sun slowly started to dip. His striking purple sash of office made even more apparent from the surrounding grime and dull colors of the breach.
“I have already started negotiating with the Empire, they need explorers to look into a temple in the New World. Supposedly it has a doorway to another land beyond. I think we all could stand to be away from the wars for a while anyway.” Ulric looked at his Commander, the sash just completed the image of what had become, to him at least, the pinnacle of a Talhoffen Mercenary Captain. He knew that under Otto and with Ernst and Hans, he would be safe.
“First we have to crush this last Count in Hadhover.” said Hans, as he hefted his crossbow over his shoulder. “Maybe an easy job of walking through the woods looking for treasure will get Ernst out of his mood. But for now we have work to do. Right, Ulric?...Ulric?...”
Ulric opened his eyes and starred out at the unknown land of Osterra as he clutched a foreign kings contract. Adjusting the purple sash, he marched alone on his way to Cailenstadt. “Ya Hans, we have work to do.”