Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Five fantasy armies you don’t want to sign up for

At Tor.com Adrian Tchaikovsky tagged five fictional armies you definitely don’t want to join, including:
Don’t join the Black Company

(Chronicles of the Black Company – Glen Cook)

At first glance this is a cushy option. You’ve signed up for a mercenary company that has regular employ with the local ruler. Sure, the locals might not like you much, but the main fighting’s already been and gone. You even have a competent healer on the squad, and that’s rarer than you might think.

Only, as time goes on, you’ll start to notice something slightly odd about the fear and loathing you get from the locals – does that not go somewhat beyond what’s normally reserved for a peace-keeping force? Don’t those rebel fighters seem just a bit more committed than you were expecting? And how come none of the veterans is exactly keen to talk about past engagements and the history of the company?

Except the medic, and, believe me, you don’t want to get him started. And as for your employer, well, she’s a sight, to be sure, but some of the things she does, and that’s nothing to what people say she has done, back when there was more fighting. And eventually you’re left with that really awkward question to ask your superiors. You sidle up to your sergeant in the middle of the night watch and you whisper, “Sarge, are we the bad guys?” and he just looks at you, with that hollow, traumatized look you’ve gotten used to, and you have your answer. You’re the villains after all. You work for the Dark Lady. Was that really what you wanted, when you took their coin?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue