Training Pains Snippet 1

Marius stared out at his recruits in formation. One of the half-Fae shifted slightly, but he let that slide. Then a mage started nervously, triggering his power, encasing his fist in fire. A twitch from his eyebrow sent Zemenar down the row behind him, and a powerful blow to his ankle sent the man sprawling flat on his face.

He came up spitting dirt and curses. The fire around his fist expanded, and Marius roared, “Enough! You are supposed to be recruits! Evidently, you lack even the meager discipline to be called that lowly rank. If one of you is failing, you are all failing. The training you have been run through should have taught all but worms that obvious fact. It is your failure, individually and as a group, that you did not learn that yet!”

The mage hung his head and returned to formation. Somehow, Marius managed to lock eyes with everyone on the parade ground simultaneously.

“In a unit forming for a nation, you would be told your job is not to die for your nation but to make the other poor sod die for his! However, you have chosen to join a mercenary unit. We work for pay. We will survive jobs most army units would not be sent on by working as a team. I do not want a single man to die on any job. I want you all to survive and receive that pay. Why? Because training a replacement will cost more than I have already sunk into training YOU!”

Marius started pacing back and forth now, clearly agitated. “The only way all of us, all of YOU, will come back is if you work as a team. All of you need to know the abilities of every other being in this platoon. More, I need to be able to pair any two of you and send you on a task, have that task completed, and both back unharmed! Until I can guarantee that, you are all Worms, not Recruits. And as your failure is working together, I will instead start punishing you together.”

“Every infraction, from now, will result in the same punishment for everyone. And any of your instructors will be allowed to issue punishments from now on. That means Pavel, Zemenar, or David can all punish you. More, as he has slightly more experience than you, Wander Shrike is given the rank Cockroach, and the right to report infractions. He, from his past service and experience, understands that a unit must work together, even if he must join you in punishment.”

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