Death Song

Well, as much as you're going to hate the whole uniform thing, you'd rather there be some sort of guidelines. The mercenaries look like a rough bunch. You get the impression
you'd have to be watching your back as much as your enemies if you signed up with them.

You explain your decision to join the army to the family one night at dinner. Your revelation comes as a shock. Your smaller brothers and sisters don't want you to go, your
brother Mallack really doesn't want you to leave since he'll be next in line to take the brunt of the manual labor!

Your mother surprises you as much as you surprised everyone else. You expected her to be the most vocal about you not leaving, but she sees that this would help out the family. She gives her blessing.

Before you leave the next day with your packed belongings, your whole family comes to say goodbye to you. You almost hesitate to leave, wondering if it would actually be better for you to stay, but your mother urges you on.

"Don't worry! Mallack is old enough to take over your responsibilities on the farm. He's not quite as skilled of a hunter, but he'll be able to do it. I've always known that you've had a desire to travel. The army isn't an ideal life I hope you realize though." Your mom says.
"Yeah, I know, but I've thought it through."
"Very well, you're old enough to make your own decisions and live your own life, though I'm glad to see that you still want to help the family as opposed to just leaving in the middle of the night."
"I'll start sending money as soon as possible. I'll also try to write and visit when I can."
"I know…okay, you best get going. It's still quite a walk to the capitol."

You begin to leave the farm as your family wave goodbye to you in the distance.

Soon you're on the road to your nation's capitol. You've been to Zal once before a long time ago with your dad when he was trying to sell some kobold eyes to an alchemist there. You remember being overwhelmed with how many people lived there and how big it was. You always did want to go there again one day; you just didn't think it would be to enlist in the army.

Eventually you arrive at Zal. The place is even bigger than the last time you came here. So much has changed and you're a little overwhelmed. You don't have any knowledge of the city so you ask the gate guard who is giving a watchful look to everyone coming in and out.

"Excuse me…"
"Whadda ya want peasant? I'm busy! Market square is three blocks down as soon as you get inside the gate here!" The guard snaps.
"No, I was wondering where I could enlist in the army."

The guard seems to change his tone to a somewhat more cordial tone.

"Oh I see. Well, as soon as you go through the gate, take a left, and walk two blocks. The recruiting office is on the right hand side across from a general store."

You thank him and proceed, but you can't help overhearing the guard laughing to his buddy as you walk away. You don't make out all of it, but "Dumb fucking hayseed peasant." was definitely in there.

At last you arrive at the recruiting office. The man sitting at the desk looks bored at first, but perks up a bit when he sees you.

"Well now, this is a nice break in the monotony. Have a seat."
"I want to enlist in the army."
"Well of course you do son, why else would you be here? To join the Zalan Empire's best right? Okay, but before we start I need to ask you some questions just so we can get a feel of where we think you'll best serve in the Emperor's glorious army."
"Uh, okay."
"Good, so where are you from son? You certainly don't look like you're from the city here. You look like a farmer."
"Well I sort of am sir. My family owns a farm a couple miles from the city, I decided to enlist to help my family monetarily. Times are hard on the farm."
"Mmm, noble of you. Your sense of duty will also serve you well too. Any combat experience?"
"Some, but nothing major I'm afraid. A few bandits. Kobolds in the chicken coop. That's about it."
"Don't worry you'll learn to be a killing machine, but your past experience are more than some we've recruited. Any other talents?"
"Besides farming? Um…I'm a good hunter, I use this bow all the time!" you say and show the recruiter your worn bow.
"Good. Good. We can always use good marksmen. But you'll get the chance to use a better bow than that old thing you've been carrying around. What's that other thing on your back?"
"Oh this? Well this is my uh lute."
"Lute? Ha ha! You a bard or something?"
"Well not really, but…"
"You planning on charming the enemies with your music?"
"Uh…" you say begin to get a little anxious.
"Hah! Settle down son, I'm just messing with you. But I'm afraid whatever your musical hobbies may be you'll most likely be abandoning them. Can't be picking your lute while an angry ogre is charging at you or you're storming a castle. This is the army, not an entertainment company!"

The recruiter at this point begins to look through some papers and grabs one after looking it over.

"Ah. Here it is…you know how to read and write?"
"YES!" you say indignantly for the first time.
"Okay, okay, don't get testy. Its just most of you peasant farmer types don't. Anyway just sign here and we'll get you started on your basic training."

You take the paper, and give it a pointless look over like you actually understand all the legal mumbo jumbo and sign. The recruiter takes the paper from you and then shakes your hand.

"Congratulations son! You're in the Zalan Army now! The best damn one in this world!"

Somehow he's more enthusiastic than you are…

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