Bidding Kurdak Farewell
The three magi stared at Kurdak, humiliated. They weren't aware of his background, but since he had some sort of connection with Marolyt, he wasn't to be trifled with. So they acted like obedient daughters-in-law and spoke and acted politely.
Kurdak couldn't be bothered to ask what Annelotte had done to discipline them, their and Marolyt's faces told him everything he needed to know. That said, he still didn't dare order them around like servants. Magi were magi, no matter what might have happened to them.
"I didn't have any nefarious intentions in calling you here. I just took command and I want to meet my brigades magi. Please don't misunderstand."
"You're too polite, Major. You are Ironblood Greatbear Kurdak, I presume?" the leading magus asked, some color returning to his face.
"It's just a nickname. Just call me Kurdak."
He was so going to skin the bastard that spread this abomination alive.
"Nice to meet you, Major. I'm Micheweston. It's not easy to say, so just call me Mike," the magus said, stretching out his hand.
"My pleasure, Mike," Kurdak answered, shaking his hand firmly.
Kurdak wanted to beat them into shape, but he couldn't do it over something that was already resolved. Even as their superior, he had to tread lightly and handle them with care.
"This is Ruiz, and that's Glados," Mike added sharply.
"A pleasure." Kurdak repeated as he shook their hands in turn, "It might be rude, but I would like to have a brief introduction to your abilities. You are crucial to the brigade, after all, it would be best to know what you are capable of, to put you to best use."
"Only natural, I'm sure--" Mike said as a small flame burst into existence above his palm. It had a good temperature, though it lacked Saron's ferocity. "--I'm a nine-strata magus well-versed in flame evocation. I'm not too familiar with other spells. I am good in a fight, but I don't do well in support. I'm afraid I might be of a little less use than my compatriots, overall."
The other two briefly introduced themselves. Glados and Mike had nine strata and Ruiz had eight. Ruiz, however, excelled in support spells, which made him more important to the brigade despite his weaker power.
"...Alright," Kurdak said finally, "I'll assign temporary officers to the brigade until I'm more familiar with everyone and can make more informed appointments. Please do not take any future changes personally."
"First regiment!" he shouted.
The group quickly assembled.
"Londo, I'm temporarily commissioning you to captain. First regiment is yours for now," he said, pointing at a tall man in the group, "I'll leave picking your subordinates to you."
"No problem, Major!" Londo shouted happily.
"Mister Ruiz, I'll put you with the first regiment."
Londo was a brute, so he was bound to get into the worst of any fight, which made it the perfect place to put Ruiz since he could help keep the regiment alive.
"As you wish," the magus answered uninterestedly.
"Blackie, the second regiment is yours. Mike will work with you. I'll leave your subordinates to you as well."
Blackie had just eight strata, but he had the men's respect, not to mention he had decent leadership skills. Mike was the strongest of the three magi and could make up for the second regiment's lack of any outstanding fighters.
"Eibron, you'll have command of the cavalry regiment. Glados will work with you there."
Glados didn't stand out in any particular magic field, but he was well-rounded and was good on a horse, so he was the natural pick to move with the cavalry.
"I'm handing my precious cavalry to you. Don't embarrass me!"
"Don't worry!" Eibron smiled confidently.
"Hey, hey, Kurdak," Vera said as she hugged the major from behind, "What do I do?"
"You?" Kurdak narrowed his eyes, "You'll be my aide!"
Vera took the appointment quietly, surprisingly, but her gaze made Leguna shiver.
"That should take care of everything of immediate concern where personnel is concerned. Blackie, get a few more tents pitched. We'll stay here for the time being. One tent a piece, yeah?" Kurdak said as he wiped the sweat off his cold forehead and made to get away from his new aide.
"Boss, you really going to just live here?" Leguna asked, surprised.
He'd thought he would go back to the city with him. Were they going to go their separate ways?
"Yes. We have to stay with the men," Vera said, but her smile was clearly forced.
"I see..." Leguna said, his shoulders slumping somewhat.
What was he going to do without his crew?
That said, he had his own things to do. He had to go check on the bureau for one. He could at least still come see the two a couple of times before they headed off for the frontlines in a month. This wasn't, however, just a good buy for a few weeks. It would be for months, at least, probably even years. And who, knew where he might be when they returned, it could be that he would never see them again.
He wouldn't have a boss anymore, and he would not be able to rely on any of them anymore.
"Boss, Sis..." he murmured.
He supposed he should have been, but he was not expecting this today.
"Don't get sobby on us!" Kurdak laughed and slapped the boy's chest, "You're just barely not a child anymore, so what's with these wet eyes?"
"What are you talking about?" Leguna said with feigned affront.
Kurdak grabbed the boy and lifted him into a violent bear hug for a moment before dropping him to the ground.
"You have your own work to do. The bureau won't wait forever."
"Good. Don't worry, Moonshadow wouldn't entrust you with this if they didn't think you could handle it. They're not the kind to take those kinds of risks. You can always write me if you have any questions."
"Besides, if you're staying in Melindor for good, you might even get to move into the palace. You'll get to talk to a lot of high-brow officials and nobles. They are not like me. You have to be careful and polite."
"I've also noticed a few people you should keep an eye on."
The names flowed quietly into the boy's ears.
Leguna was quite surprised at a few of them.
"Just trust me. I can't be sure what they'll do, but you mustn't take chances. That's about it. And for goodness’ sake don't look like Annie just dumped you again! This isn't for good."
Vera stepped in and hugged him as well. She, too, whispered a few things to him.
Kurdak took the chance to move to Annelotte's side.
"Boss," Annelotte said simply, but her voice hid the slightest hint of melancholy.
"It looks like we're saying goodbye again."
"We always do, but we always meet again."
"True," Kurdak nodded, "I need to tell you a few things first though."
"It's mainly about you and Ley. The kid can be sharp when it comes to very specific things, but he's pretty dense overall. You have to help him with his blind spots. I won't be here for him anymore. I have other responsibilities now, but I know I can trust you."
Annelotte stared at him intently for a few moments, then blushed slightly and nodded
"I will," she whispered vanishingly, but Kurdak heard.
Leguna finished his goodbyes at about the same time and Kurdak waved.
"We'll still be here for a while, so come visit," he said as Leguna came over.
"I will… Goodbye, boss."
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