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We Serve Them

Journal entry from Lt. Gwenn Jade

Well. After an infiltration job into a research facility at Fels, we’ve found ourselves rescuing Fermina (again) from forced-labor for the Regency, and we’ve managed to rescue a young nobleman named Dorian Poche as well.

His father was Lord Poche, the Baron-Alchemist. Renown throughout the realm for blending magical studies and rulership. Died 2 years ago. His daughter Isabel probably died at Ilyria. Dorian is her twin brother.

Tristram Cale was Lord Poche’s personal guard and retainer, before he came into my company. I knew he’d broken ranks to win the battle at Greymoor, but I didn’t know how personally he– and apparently Lord Poche the younger– took the subsequent death of the senior Lord Poche.

Casualties happen. If not for Lord Poche and Tris’s actions, we would have lost Greymoor. It’s one of the commendations that brought Tris to my attention when I needed to replace Paithen. And… it’s the kind of maneuver that I count on him doing or supporting in our little team.

It’s sad that it took Lord Poche’s death to reveal Tristram’s strengths, but we would simply not be alive without him. It’s as basic as that. Lord Poche died, and as a result, Tristram was available to join us, to defend us.

Dorian blames Tris for that death. What am I supposed to tell him? He is grieving for everything this war has taken from him– his family, his land, his title, his name. Who am I to tell him there’s anything more to fight for?

—–

Some days later

I’m holed up in a storefront in Silverton. I cannot believe Ordune– argh! We re-hired on with the Strumpet’s Call to sail across the Argent Sea to Silverton. There, the ship was “inspected” by some Guild thugs, including a half-elven woman who apparently knows Ordune.

I should say, more specifically, knows all of us, and the bounty– which she made no bones about threatening us with! She then proceeded to try and convince us to trust her, all while telling us about how she’d sold Martin de la Croix to the Regency and how she’s given up the fight and is just working to survive.

That would be fine– another casualty of the war– if not for Ordune. Rather than listen to my points about not trusting this woman, he accused me of dallying with devils over humans, not listening to him, and losing sight of our purpose. I don’t even know if it hurt the most when he said she’s a better leader than I am, or if by then, everything was just…. spilling over.

This woman– this Tess– has driven a wedge between our little group far more effectively than the Regency ever could.

For now, we are holed up awaiting departure with forged papers from Captain Adrick in the morning.

I explained to Dorian the watch order, and we talked somewhat. I don’t even know how to tell him what can drive him forward. How do I explain when I can’t even say it to myself?

How do I tell him that nobody serves him, and never has? How do I take from him the privilege of a nobleman’s son?

It is a terrible mockery when Ordune tells me I’m a bad leader. Of course I’m a bad leader. A good leader is in the front of the line. A good leader doesn’t ask anyone to do what she herself cannot or will not do. By those measures, I am a terrible leader, and I know it, have always known it.

My job isn’t to lead, and it never was. My job is to make a plan and ensure my people have what they need to accomplish it. If I were handed the Regency tomorrow, I would think of ways to eliminate threats to this land and make it safe enough for its citizens to flourish. I would have things built! We would make machines to help people farm! In this dark corner of the world, here in Silverton, we would strike a balance between the guilds who cater to vice and the protections the people need. How? I don’t know– because I’m not the person who knows, or who has to know. I would do it by finding people who are more clever than I am and giving them the task!

I’m a supply officer with a few loyal men and one woman in my command. Every day, I lose a little more of their loyalty. Today, I lost Ordune. Tomorrow, it may be Firiel.

——–

One day later….

Considering how the hells work, it seems unlikely I will see Marco again in my lifetime.

What kind of idiot girl am I that I didn’t tell him how I feel before he ran off to war?

Tonight is the kind of night where I wish Rob hadn’t been the only casualty that night.

 

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