Book 1 Chapter 28.1 - With Fall Comes Impending Winter
After leaving D90 Barracks, Su finally understood the purpose of subordinates for the Black Dragonriders.
As the primary external military organization of the Blood Parliament, the strength of the Black Dragonriders was actually each individual dragonrider together with all of the subordinates. If one had enough subordinates and the subordinates’ skillsets were reasonable, the Black Dragonrider’s strength alone no longer became that important. Of course, this was just for most dragonriders. If the dragonrider’s individual strength exceeded a certain level, to the point where it reached a high level officer or even general, then the number of subordinates became insignificant.
In fact, every single Black Dragonrider was an independent troop. The loose connection they had with the organization would at most guarantee them freedom of action, primarily guaranteeing that they would receive the least amount of restriction while establishing an army and plundering resources. A Black Dragonrider’s main income came from plundering and completing missions from the parliament of headquarters. Meanwhile, most of these missions were related to plundering and extermination as well.
The loose infrastructure made it so that the relationship between each party wasn’t that great, to the point where even hostile families would have dragonriders fight under the same banner. Internal fighting was strictly prohibited, but when the struggle for survival became extremely harsh, or when the struggles over resources became extremely intense, all systems and methods could be altered to accommodate the situation. If war broke out between the borders of two powers and one dragonrider was crushed by another, then headquarters might maintain their silence on this matter, describing this replacement of power as beneficial natural selection.
Under the seemingly loose infrastructure of the Black Dragonriders hid an extreme invasive nature. The dragonriders would lead their subordinates to advance wave after wave to widen the Blood Parliament’s territory. There were constantly dragonriders that fell, but with the weakening of one individual, another would become more powerful from battles. They would use the plundered or occupied resources to exchange for more advanced weapons, equipment, more usage rights in science and technology, or maybe even purchase or steal more subordinates. Then, they would bring their even more powerful troops to slaughter towards the distant unknown.
Those that took this a step further would establish their own territories and set up their private hospital, research institute, and munitions factory. By doing so, they wouldn’t have to exchange for low level items with headquarters. By saving large amounts of resources, they could develop their own specialized equipment or even various abilities, thus increasing the influence of their words in the system.
For the most part, a dragonrider’s private facilities and organization would be closely tied to their family. These facilities were usually funded by their family and then switched to the dragonrider’s name. All of the products and technology achievements would be shared by both the dragonrider and the family.
Of course, it would be a long, long time before Su could establish his own facilities. Right now, he couldn’t even purchase a complete set of personal combat equipment. Apart from the rifle the captain gifted him, the amount of cash he had on hand would at most be enough to purchase a pistol and corresponding ammunition. Even though he had an off-road vehicle that was gifted to him by Persephone, he didn’t even have the money to purchase fuel for it, let alone the money to hire a driver. Su truly didn’t have the talent for driving, to the point where he even began to think whether he should get an injection of the Mental Domain’s driving proficiency instead of experiencing the painful adaptation process.
As he walked towards the Black Dragonriders headquarters, a question continuously circled in his mind. Where would he find his own subordinates?
A dragonrider’s subordinate would only become a true subordinate after they were registered at the general headquarters. Subordinates must be unconditionally faithful towards the dragonrider, and they must be ready to offer their lives for the dragonrider at all times. In return, the subordinates’ families, equipment, livelihood, as well as all the advancement of their abilities would be the dragonrider’s responsibility. However, there wasn’t a single subordinate that had freedom, because they had to accompany the dragonrider until the dragonrider’s retirement, or when they were transferred to another dragonrider. In reality, apart from the exceptionally generous reward, the status of these subordinates was roughly the same as a slave.
As a major portion of a dragonrider’s strength, as well as the core of the dragonrider system, betrayal was absolutely prohibited for subordinates. As soon as a subordinate betrays the dragonrider, the Black Dragonrider headquarters might intervene and deal with the traitor.
The other system that dealt with betrayers was the Trial Division.
Subordinates came from all different places, but they most frequently came from poor children the family supported. The second most frequent were those that wished for a steady lifestyle, because becoming a subordinate was still a bit more fortunate than serving as hired mercenaries. In addition, the enemies of mercenaries were often times dragonriders that commanded large numbers of subordinates. Finally, slaves, robbers, and even those that became bankrupt might become subordinates.
In the olden era, this subordinate system that was practically slavery would be seen as extremely cruel and inhumane. However, from Su’s experiences in the wilderness, those that called themselves subordinates were living in paradise. They had enough food, enough water to drink, and could even take a shower. As for the dangers of dying in battle, it really wasn’t that big of a problem. After all, of those living in the wilderness, there weren’t many that knew for sure whether or not they would live to see tomorrow. Being able to become a subordinate of the Black Dragonriders signified that they freed themselves from the wilderness and thus entered a civilized world.
Of course, due to the high cost of subordinates, there were no Black Dragonriders that would easily accept subordinates, especially subordinates that were reported to headquarters. The criteria dragonriders selected their subordinates by were based on potential and skill. Of course, for the sake of preserving the relationship between especially pretty women or men, there were some Black Dragonriders that chose ordinary people as subordinates. Potential needed to be nurtured, and the subordinates that possessed high level abilities required even greater amounts of resources from the dragonrider. Normally speaking, dragonriders with greater resources backing them would select subordinates with greater potential, while comparatively poorer dragonriders would pay more attention to preexisting skills or matching professions.
Su was an exception. He was perhaps the poorest one out of the entire history of the Black Dragonriders. Moreover, this record wouldn’t be broken for an extremely long time.
The Black Dragonriders headquarters had already appeared in front of him a while ago. Su continuously thought about places where his subordinates could originate from, but he didn’t come up with anything. After all, forget about subordinates, just the salary alone was something he couldn’t pay.
Forget it! He’ll accept one or two small missions first and gather funds for equipment before thinking further. Su’s nature was rather positive. He was used to hiding matters that he couldn’t deal with at the moment deep within his heart and concentrating on what he could do at the moment. Right now, the first thing he had to do was familiarize himself with the Black Dragonriders’ mission system and make some startup funds.
The mission hall was located within a stand alone building next to headquarters. Inside, there were thirty independent rooms, and each room had a system to both issue and accept missions. The privacy of the room was guaranteed, and for the Black Dragonriders whose members didn’t exceed a thousand, the number of rooms was already enough. In reality, only privates and sergeants would use this place. All of the officers and higher ranged dragonriders had their own private systems that could directly connect to headquarters’ network. Of course, the private systems that sell for over a hundred thousand were still quite pricey for those at second lieutenant rank, but it usually wasn’t something that they couldn’t afford.
When Su reached the mission hall, the sky had just brightened. Only at lunchtime did he emerge from within. The dragonriders’ central network was just like a boundless sea with too much knowledge stored within. Towards this boundless knowledge, Su was like a disciple on a pilgrimage, gazing at this miracle of civilization with a devout and reverent heart.
The number of things a second lieutenant could see wasn’t that great, but for Su who had never seen the higher end technologies of the new era before, this was already too much. What he first had to understand was what the current situation of this world was like.
On the map, the area the Black Dragonriders controlled was no more than 200 or so kilometers around Dragon City. Within this area, the resources were already being exploited and this area was being rebuilt. An appearance similar to that of the olden era was already starting to reappear. Further than that was a large area known as the gray area. This was the region where Black Dragonriders operated, and there were some replenishment areas established here. Outside of the gray area was the red area, and this represented either fierce resistance, the existence of extremely dangerous mutated creatures, or some areas where dragonriders died in battle for undisclosed reasons. Outside of the red area was the black area. Only the topography of this place was known, and no other information was available. Currently, it was classified as an unknown area.
The areas the dragonriders controlled were not round and instead an irregular shape that continuously expanded outwards. The distance already exceeded 500 kilometers in some areas, while in other places, apart from the center, it was completely surrounded in black zones. This was still understandable, because controlling several hundred square kilometers was still a bit too difficult for the dragonriders that numbered under a thousand. In addition, the pace at which the expansion occurred was greatly impacted by the amount of resources available. Fuel, energy, food, and water were all limited, and the further supplies had to be transported, the higher the overall costs.
As for almost every family, most of the estate was concentrated at the center. In the wilderness, they usually only used agents to meet with companies. After all, for important factories and research facilities, safety was the most important thing to consider. Not only did the center provide safety, the gathering and trading of resources became much easier as well.
What left Su a bit surprised was that the region N958 was located in, as well as the southern grassland were both black areas. From a distance standpoint, it couldn’t be considered that far from Dragon City. Saratoga was marked out, but it was also located in the black area. Below that were various markings that indicated that this was information obtained when First Lieutenant Luthor left to chase after Su. However, there were no replenishment points established there.
To the north of N958, it seemed like there should be small towns and cities of varying sizes, but it was still covered in boundless darkness. For unknown reasons, the Black Dragonriders never explored in that direction. For the last ten years, the dragonriders have always expanded along the coastline towards the east and south, completely ignoring the northwestern direction.
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