A Chapter by Brandon M. Whittaker

Direct followup of "First Defeat"

The Phoenixfire Chronicles
Entry #009
Year 10496 BR
Logged by Fyrethil Fyrexetha

Ryth stood on the training grounds next to Loraina, she watched the scene in front of them unfold as intensely as he did. About four thousand green recruits were having simultaneous instruction on how to use a sword. After their defeat a few days ago, the new greens have been slightly reluctant to wear their insignia and fight under their command. Ryth couldn't blame them, their previous mission was a humiliating experience and it taught them a valuable lesson. Even the best get beaten, even the best bleed. In total, they returned to their town with an army counting ninety-seven mercenaries out of the original four thousand they had arrived in battle with. It was pitiful, and they all knew it. Luckily, the leaders survived, and they could build anew while still remembering those lost in combat.

Loraina sighed and looked at him, her pointed elven ears drooped a bit according to her mood. "You know...I really just hope they know what they're getting themselves into, everyone we lost was a seasoned fighter, none of them were recruits. It's a good thing we left the recruits here, otherwise we would have lost more than was necessary." She said to him, her voice low and thick with concern.

"True, that, Raina...but what bothers me more is that we got wittled down, we were outsmarted...we're not used to seeing that. If we plan on getting our reputation back, then we need to study what they did that we could not see at all."

"They flanked us, Ryth."

"I know, but we did manage to break through their main defense."

"But according to Gorta...we didn't have enough men or morale to even try to break through and get them back. Hun, we weren't exactly the smartest out there."

"I know this, but I--"

"RYTH!" It was Jeena, she was running up to them with a message in her hand.

"What is it, Jeena-chan? What's wrong? What is that?"

"The Hellhound Mercenaries wish to form an alliance and help us get back at our enemies Ryth-kun!" She panted and wrapped her arms around his neck, handing the message to Loraina.

Loraina ripped into the envelope, breaking out into a sweat. "Oh by the're right....and they're going to be here..." There was a sudden banging on the front gates. "Now...Ryth...let us go meet our new allies."

Ryth gave her a happy smile and slipped his hand into Jeena's. "Yes, let's."

The Hellhound Mercenary Company was an amazing sight. Eight thousand strong seasoned mercs were camped outside the town at this moment, all talking and eating and laughing amongst themselves. Two mercenaries in battle armor with ranking patches and badges on them stood just inside the gates. Ryth smiled at them as he approached with Loraina and Jeena. "Greetings...welcome to the town of Freluna, home of the Phoenixfire Mercs..."

"You must be Ryth, the vice-captain," one of the mercs, a woman said smiling and bowing slightly. "I am Glerana, Captain of the Hellhound Mercenaries, we have come to form an alliance and have asked permission to aid you in your retaliation against the Black Dragon Faction." Glerana said, bowing to Loraina next.

Loraina grinned and bowed back, following Ryth's example. "We would be happy to give you lodgings and food and time to meet the few veterans we have left...unfortunately a tiny fraction of our company came back after the defeat."

"Well, I'd say we've come in the nick of time then," the other mercenary, also a woman pointed out. "Oh, pardon my rudeness. I am Hyleena, Vice-Captain of the Hellhound Mercenaries."

Jeena stepped forward bowing a bit. "It is an honor to meet you all, now, if you will follow me I will show you the lodgings that you and your company will have all to yourselvs. My name is Jeena, you can come to me if you have any questions." Without another word, Jeena led the two mercenaries off toward the opposite end of Freluna, while Ryth and Loraina went through to meet the Hellhound Mercenaries.


Ryth stood at the window of Loraina's office at the top of the huge tower on the east side of Freluna. He had a view that looked down directly onto the training field and what a sight it was. There around eight thousand new Phoenixfire recruits down there being trained at the same time. That was one of the things that the Phoenixfire Mercenaries took pride in, their ability to train so many at once. Still, even though there were eight thousand of them, the lieutenants and sergeants still found time to train people individually. those who needed extra practice were given that extra practice because if they didn't have it before a battle and it hits them...well...they wouldn't be living much longer.

The vice-captain heaved a sigh and Loraina turned her head to look at him, a worried expression on her face. Her elven ears twitched a bit and she chewed softly on her bottom lip. "Ryth...something is bothering you...what is it?"

Ryth didn't want to explain it to her because he'd already done so several times. He still felt shamed about their loss, it had hit him like a brick to the face when it happened. The disappointed look in Loraina's face when they regrouped was enough to make any man cower, no matter how tough they claimed to be.

"I just...still feel...bad about that loss...leaving with four thousand and returning with ninety-seven is unacceptable...and shameful..." he replied slowly. Ryth didn't turn to look at her as he spoke, he continued to watch the mercenaries being trained with a heavy heart.

"Ryth..." She didn't say anything more than his name until she was standing beside him, her long, blond hair falling over one shoulder like a golden waterfall. "Nobody's perfect...not even phoenixes. They may be the most honor-bound creatures alive, but that still doesn't make them perfect."

"No...if anything it makes us flawed..." Ryth replied, unfurling his wings, the green primaries shimmering in the morning light.

Loraina nodded and smiled at him. " did what you could with the little that you had. Now, I don't mean to make the mercenaries sound like objects to be spent and wasted in battle...they know the dangers, and they make a living off of them."

When Ryth didn't respond, Loraina placed a hand under his chin and turned his head so that he was looking into her eyes. She might have regretted doing so, if her intentions had been anything less than what they were. Without saying anything else, she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his, her eyes drifting to a close as she did so.

Ryth, of course, was caught off-guard by this action, but submitted to it anyway, his own eyes closing slowly. He didn't really want to kiss her back, but he did anyway, but if Jeena found out he'd be in huge trouble. But then...Jeena knew that Loraina got carried away at times, maybe she would forgive him.

Loraina finally broke off the kiss after a long, nearly agonizing moment. She bit her bottom lip again and looked into his eyes. "'re the best co I could ever think to have. You lead these mercenaries more effectively than I do...they trust you as much as they trust me. We'd be lost without you...without you, I'm afraid that we might have lost more than just this battle..."

Ryth didn't know what to say, for the first time he was speechless, he couldn't even think. After that last battle, he'd thought that no one trusted him, but to know that they all still was amazing.

"Thank you, Loraina...I...don't know where I'd be without you..."

"Probably dead."

"Don't start that again..."

"But it's true...that's how you became a mercenary in the first place...we found you dying and unconscious on the pathway leading from your destroyed homelands."

"Thank you, Loraina, I remember that quite well..." His voice had become stern now, he didn't want to hear this now.

Loraina looked in his eyes again and blushed this time. "I'm sorry..."

Ryth only smiled in response and pulled her into a tight and friendly hug. "You don't need to be're just being you..." He chuckled now, a soft and soothing sound that came from his throat. "I'm sorry I've been such a downer."

"'re not a downer...your reactions and feelings are normal for a situation like this...let's just make sure we get back at them for beating us out."

"I like the sound of that."


The sea of mercenaries that stood out in front of the trade town of Freluna was enough to make anyone's eyes bulge. There were eight thousand Phoenixfire Mercenaries combined with eight thousand Hellhound Mercenaries mounted and ready to move out at this very moment. The day had finally come of their revenge upon the Black Dragon Faction, and they would take down their enemy with one swift blow. The leaders of both mercenary companies had thought out their attack carefully, and after much debating on what they would do, Ryth finally came out with the idea of just taking them all out by storm. They would reach their enemies and the moment they did so they would signal a charge, taking them all down by running them over with their mounts. It was a simple enough plan, though there was bound to be a bit of bloodshed on their side, their mercenaries went into the job knowing the dangers.

Ryth sat atop his mount, a beautiful black and white mare named Veale. His posture was straight and he sat there with all the authority he held in his position showing clearly. A sigh passed his lips and he turned his head to look at Loraina.

Loraina sat on her mount with a proud smile on her face, looking out over the vast force that they had gathered. It had been several weeks since their defeat; a month and a half to be exact. Finally, the recruits had become full mercenaries and were ready to face any danger laid out before them. Finally, the time had come for their revenge, the time had come to grab the beast by the horns and wrestle him to the ground. The Black Dragon Faction would be annihilated, and the Phoenixfire and Hellhound Mercenaries would be standing upon the ashes of their ruin.

"It's amazing, isn't it?" Loraina's voice was somewhat detached and distant, as if she were so caught up in the sea of mercs that it had swallowed her mind and left her blank. "In only a month and a half, we have the largest mercenary force in all of Argorel..."

Ryth simply nodded, a smirk making its way onto his face. The phoenix was rather proud of their new force, and being the vice-captain, he'd had a lot to do with their training. But he made sure that every one of them were ready, and once they'd proven themselves, the time of their revenge had come.

"Let's just get the job done, Captain, then we can celebrate our's not over until the blood of our enemies douses our hands, soaks the ground..."

"...and penetrates the ashes, leaving nothing but dust and echoes..." Loraina finished for him, their saying from years past putting smiles on the faces of almost every mercenary with knowledge of the slogan. "It's time to go..."

Ryth nodded and raised his blade in the air and let out a war cry. The war cry was done for moral, and it worked every time. The moment the sound left his mouth, the rest of the combined companies followed suit, letting their voices be heard, letting their presence be known to all of Argorel."

Once the war cry finished, the entire company lurched forward in a full gallop, a kind of pre-battle charge. This was a custom of the Phoenixfire Mercenaries that went back to before Ryth was vice-captain. This was the thing that Ryth lived for, the adventure, the adrenaline, the bloodshed.


It wasn't long before they were standing in front of the waiting forces of the Black Dragon Faction. Ryth and Loraina both knew that they would be expecting an attack and they knew that there were scouts that were out and about.

Ryth couldn't help but smirk when he saw the looks of awe on the faces of their enemies when they saw how large the mercenaries forces were. It was a good feeling to be feared for once. Fear didn't always come with respect, but they didn't need respect from their enemies did they?

"Vice-captain, you may commence with the moral boosting..." Loraina said in good humor.

Ryth only chuckled and gave a curt nod before riding forward a bit to pace in front of their forces.

"My fellow mercenaries! It was only a month and a half ago that we were sent running home with a mere ninety-seven mercenaries out of the four thousand we had brought with us. It was only a month and a half ago that we were battered and broken, sent into disarray by the very army that stands before us. But would we go down!?"

A resounding "NO!" echoed throughout the companies in answer to his question.

"Would we give up!?"




"TODAY!" He cried, bringing silence to the army. "Today we take our revenge! Today we give back what they have done to us! TODAY WE STAND ON THE ASHES OF OUR ENEMIES! FOLLOW ME!! TO BATTLE!"

The entire combined companies let out a roar of war cries in response to his words and Ryth turned, letting out a war cry of his own once they were settled down, trusting his blade forward to signal the charge, the companies letting out yet another in response to his.

The vast force of sixteen thousand charged, streaking across the field towards their enemies at a breakneck pace. Before the enemy knew what hit them, they were being trampled by hooves and slashed by blades. It was a bloodbath.

Now their victory was assured, now their revenge was taken.

In the end, it was they who stood upon the ashes of their enemy's ruin, basking in the light of victory.

© 2012 Brandon M. Whittaker

Author's Note

Brandon M. Whittaker

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Added on June 26, 2012
Last Updated on June 26, 2012
Tags: mercenaries, short stories, fantasy


Brandon M. Whittaker
Brandon M. Whittaker

San Diego, CA

Blah blah blah blah blickity blockity bloo! Who really wants to hear the story of someone's life in this thing? I'll give you the basics. I love writing poetry and stories and...I like metal...that'.. more..