Defying Stereotypes

The base of operations for Aryuka's motley band of mercenaries was rather…out in the open, especially considering the locations that were typically labeled as acceptable for mercenary headquarters. In most cases, their places of residence were almost always small, inconspicuous, and mostly unoccupied for a good part of the year, taking into account the nature of a mercenary's occupation. The sprawling, prominent estate that this particular crew of hired men (and women) occupied nearly year-round, then, completely went against normal trends. None of them particularly minded the fact, however.

The truth was, they could barely be considered mercenaries, and hence the numerous security risks involved in staying in such a large and noticeable building for most of the three hundred and sixty five days in a year weren't really such a big deal. It honestly wasn't for lack of trying, either; they received plenty of minor job requests, all of which were usually completed with plenty of time to spare and established a modest paycheck for each member of the group, but the eccentricity of most of the people in their company drove the majority of their clients not to consider their group for a recurring job. And taking into account the fact that they had never been given anything so dangerous that they might have ended up having an army of assassins sent after them in revenge, neither Aryuka nor his father had personally never seen any reason to adopt the nomadic lifestyle that most mercenary bands had to accept as part of their occupation.

Their lack of established credibility may have had something to do with the fact that Aryuka, though levelheaded, was leading the group at a mere nineteen years of age, as his mother had just recently passed away and his father preferred to leave the more difficult combat to his significantly more skilled son in an unusual twist of the standard family hierarchy. Or it may have had something to do with the fact that their tactician was a self-proclaimed genius of the age of seventeen, with a ridiculously sharp tongue that could have cut through steel and a vocabulary bank equally as impressive, though with absolutely no aptitude for physical activity in the least bit. Or it may have had something to do with the fact that their most skilled swordsman was, in fact, a smart-mouthed, peppy, blonde woman of twenty-three years of age. When it came down to it, there were just too many liabilities that could crop up as a result of involving this particular band of mercenaries in any serious mission – or so the clients thought, at least. So they stayed low key for the most part, and the majority of the company had no disagreements with their particular way of life.

Those who did, however, would not disagree for much longer.

//End Prologue

Author's Notes:

- In the Eyes of the World is a working title. I actually only have the faintest idea where it came from, so it's definitely subject to change.