Mark looked around the room at the now sombre faces at the mention of discussing the teams losses. Even the newly joined Lancelot lost his smile for a few moments at his new teammates' gazes.
"The outlook isn't great." Mark started. "Orion and Wu Song lost a handful of men on route to the fort. Whilst Rollo is still in a critical but stable condition according to Belle."
"This was followed by the loss of Hector, Francois, Vito, James, Florentino, and Albert from my unit." Gan Ning replied, "With several serious injuries throughout the group, we will need some time to recover."
"How many fighting men do you have left?" Sakura asked, which caused an even sombre look on Gan Ning's face. She added "It's for my notes so I can keep track of our strength."
"We have 16 survivors, with of those, 11 including me who can are fit enough to fight." Gan Ning replied. "Rollo is still in a critical condition and the other 4 will need time to heal from their wounds."
Eduardo patted his shoulder in support as he explained the numbers, giving him the support that was needed. It was never easy for a commander, especially such a young one with limited battle experience to explain such a difficult situation.
"So, of the 22 of you that defended the fort, we are down to half of that number that can fight." Mark continued. "Very well, it is much better than I expected but it is a great loss. Boudica, how about the Silent division?"
All eyes turned to Boudica who was bandaged tightly with her leg raised on a nearby chair. Her pale complexion betraying the stern look in her eyes. Orion was still stood by her side the look of loss also clear on his face as his men has taken such a big beating today on what should have been an enjoyable day joining a larger force.
"As a unit we lost Sebastian, Morgan and Chung Lee." Boudica started.
"Morgan!" Gan Ning interrupted suddenly. "He seemed like a nice lad; I was really looking forward to a drink with him."
Only earlier in the day had Gan Ning been joking around with Morgan when he battled for his life at the bandit hideout, planning to take the young archer under his wing.
"Thanks for the interruption!" Boudica growled. "We also lost 3 of Orion's men, whose names I unfortunately do not know."
"They were all good men, that is all that needs to be said about them." Orion declared proudly. Orion was fighting internally about his decision and leadership. His men had thought valiantly and they had to join a force soon or they would have been conscripted into the Wolfheads, but by leaving the decision so late he had left his men open to being ambushed on the way to the fort.
"And of those that survive, how many are fighting fit?" Sakura asked gently.
"We have 12 survivors as a unit, but they are all fighting fit. Our biggest loss was the new villagers that joined us to fight, of those we lost at least 20." Boudica replied. "We couldn't have survived without them."
A sad smile appeared on Mark's face as he heard their accounts. They had lost at least 32 people from the fort so far, 12 of his men and 20 villagers. His quest to create a large mercenary group, that would slowly remove the corruption from the kingdom was not off to the good start he had initially thought it had.
"Little Tai, please give your account." Mark asked.
"We, lost, little." Little Tai replied, his breathing heavy and haggard as he struggled to speak. Exhaustion and pain riddled his body and he was in desperate need of rest.
"We have no loss to life." Bertrand continued for Little Tai, "Some men were lost on route to the fort from Wu Song's men. However, from the battle we have received no loss to life. To pre-empt your next question Lady Sakura of the 17 surviving men in the Heavy division, 9 are fit enough to fight, the other 8 are licking their wounds but will be back soon. Dwayne is probably in the worst condition, but he'll survive."
"That is good news." Sakura replied enthusiastically.
"We are the Heavy division or the Red Ribbons." Bertrand replied proudly. "We won't be defeated by scum like Ned Lowe."
Finally, some good news Mark thought, the Heavy division were a solid unit that would take a lot to defeat. With the armour provided to them by Sengo and Jorg they were better equipped than any other force in the area.
"Who is the one with the hammer?" Konrad asked politely.
"That would be Octavian." Bertrand replied.
"I have never seen someone fight with such fearlessness. I would not want to come up against him on a battlefield." Konrad replied, planning when he would grab the muscular centurion for a sparring match.
"Tsubotai." Mark interrupted. "how goes the Horse Division?"
"We started with 3 men; we now have 23." Tsubotai replied, his mind still wandering from the earlier clash and the inches away from death he was, plans and counter attacks were going through his head. "Of which all are able to fight, I would like to rest Kish though however as he has received several heavy hits to the head in the last 24hours."
An invisible white glow enveloped Tsubotai that only Mark could see. Mark pondered what was going on, but Wilson soon interrupted him.
"He's levelled up." Wilson commented, before Sakura continued with the conversation.
"So, our numbers are 71 surviving men, with the inclusion of the Lost Knights that have now merged into us, with of those 11 Light, 9 Heavy, 12 Silent and 22 Heavy who can fight soon if needed. We also have Mark, Dian Wei and myself who can fight as well. So, 57 active members." Sakura added.
"Did we get a count of the enemies defeated?" Mark asked the group.
"We did." Konrad added from Lancelot's side. "As we chased down the fleeing foe with Sir Gan Ning's help. We were able to count the total from the outside; our other men have counted the dead on the inside and are helping to clean the fort with the villagers."
"How many?" Mark asked.
"237." Konrad replied. "An impressively large number if I do not say so myself."
"Very well, go get some rest. Meeting adjourned until the morning." Mark instructed. "Lancelot, if you can find an empty barracks, please place yourselves there. If not, you are all welcome to stay here in the headquarters tonight."
"The offer is appreciated; we have been sleeping under the stars recently so something more comfortable will be nice." He replied.
"I doubt you'll find that here." Lucan interrupted. "Come brother, let's talk."
The group slowly dissipated, leaving one after another. First to leave was Little Tai, who was helped by Bertrand and Konrad, whilst Lucan and Lancelot walked behind chatting angrily with each other. The blonde-haired warrior berating his younger brother for an unfriendly welcome in front of his new commander.
They were soon followed by Gan Ning and Eduardo, both who looked mentally and physically exhausted from the long day they had been through. They had thought bravely and without them the fort would not be standing.
Orion went to help Boudica move, but she refused.
"I'm staying here and I'm sleeping here. Go back to your men and rest." She commanded.
Orion nodded in agreement, reluctant to try and pry her away. He followed behind Gan Ning and Eduardo and headed out into the fort outside.
"I'm going to sleep." Mark commented, before standing and heading towards the stairs. He looked around the emptying headquarters, Dian Wei, Sakura and Boudica remained all deep in thought.
He opened his door and stumbled to his bed where he lay. Thoughts pinging around in his head on what their next steps would be. He needed something to boost his men's morale, and time for them to train together and increase the force numbers. However, at the same time, they did not have much time remaining with the upcoming battle of Runetown. What they needed the most was a strong foundation and currently they did not have that.
"Wilson?" Mark asked.
"Yes Mark?" Wilson replied.
"Can you explain to me about Tsubotai levelling up?" Mark asked.
"Of course, please check your vision now, you will see his new character information. Please also note that he has some points that you can distribute to his stats or you can auto level him up."
Mark closed his eyes and Tsubotai's character information popped up.
Name - Tsubotai
Position - Horse Division Commander of the Red Ribbons
Age - 17
Relationship - Positive
Level - 3
Additional Information - In a past life, Tsubotai was the most successful general in Mongol history, conquering parts of China, Russia, and Central Europe. He served Genghis Khan and his sons until his death at the age of 72.
Skills - Horse Archer, Horse Trainer, Cavalry General, Logistics Master, Fearless (Unlocked), Tactical Awakening (Partially Unlocked)
Potential - 5 stars
More information upon level up
"Wow that is an improvement, what stats can I distribute?" Mark asked.
"Unfortunately, you cannot view that yet as you have not reached the necessary level." Wilson replied. "You did however complete the necessary mission and have unlocked a reward. Your reward is a base upgrade. You can use this at any point, however, do so with care so as to not make your men believe you are a one with the devils."
"That's great, what type of upgrade?" Mark asked, "And if I can't see his stats I may as well use auto level up on Tsubotai."
"Very well, he has been auto levelled up. You should notice an increase in some of his skill sets tomorrow." Wilson replied. "In regard to base upgrade, this will be an upgrade to the facilities, defences and attraction value to prospective citizens. Look at is as a fort becoming a basic castle. Or a village becoming a town. I would advise having your forces vacate the property before you enact the upgrade."
"That sounds great, that will really help our foundations!" Mark replied. "It's a shame we have so many challenges coming."
"Go to sleep Mark." Wilson added, "Tomorrow is another day."
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