Ormund grunted as he took the map from the client, a frown creasing his brow as he looked down at the map he had been handed. There was nothing wrong with a client providing a preferred route, they were the ones paying after all, but he was going to have to check with their own guide to be sure. There were times the clients were clueless, though, and thought that just because they had hired a little bit of muscle then they could go through the deepest of dangerous territory, whistling a merry tune because everything would be alright. The darn lion wasn't helping his mood, he had to admit. While he could justify scouting ahead with the mounted group, it wouldn't be right. He was going to have to-
The lion came forward, and it was only iron discipline that prevented Ormund from drawing a weapon to protect the elf from the predator about to pounce on her back. It was practically licking it's lips as it stared at her, unprotected and unaware. At the last moment it seemed to change it's mind, and instead of mauling the client, it nudged her. The look it gave Ormund was pure smugness, showing it knew it could do whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted. The animal was going to be a problem. Ormund heard his teeth creek within his jaw as he clenched it, and had to work hard to relax as the client began to coo and fuss over the killer monster. This was going to be a long contract.
Derek smiled as the big cat, a lion he had recently learned due to their new quartermaster, came up behind their employer. It was kind of cute, and he could almost see it as just a big housecat if he didn't pay too much attention to the gleaming claws and sharp teeth filling it's mouth. He wondered if the lion was male or female, but he had not had the chance to learn a whole lot about lions. The quartermaster had introduced himself as one of the Khukwe, a lion-person he had explained. Derek could see the similarities between him and the lion nuzzling their employer in an adorable way. The only different, other than the quartermaster being smaller, and humanoid, and wearing clothes, was the long, shaggy brown hair the quartermaster had on his own head. He supposed that was just a Khukwe thing, they had hair just like a lot of humanoids. Derek was about to ask, when he remembered he was standing next to the captain and then clamped down on his good humor. Serious face.
"Yes, quite." The captain grunted in response to their employer sending the lion back to where it had been waiting previously. "We should get moving." The captain's tone was clipped and Derek was back to cringing inwardly. Why hadn't they gotten one of those nice charismatic captains you heard about in the stories? "Wright, take this map to the quartermaster. Ask him if any changes need to be made. If not, have him distribute copies to the scouts, then tell the knights they will be scouting ahead."
Derek stared for a second. He was used to being an errand boy, but telling other units what to do was well above his pay grade. The problem was, there was a discreet lack of a chain of command in their small mercenary band. The captain was in charge, not doubt about that, and the scouts had sergeant Longbottom to organize them. Everyone else, however, was just lacking in the leadership department. If he was going to tell the scouts to get moving, he would talk to Longbottom. If he was going to tell the knights, he was going to have to get them all together and explain to them that sure, they were the superior race and all but this little man on his feet before them was just there passing on the message. Get moving. This was going to be great, definitely not going to come back and bite him in the rear later.
Derek dutifully nodded, took the map, and got moving. Moping about the decisions of those in power could come later, while they got to stand around and talk to the nice elf lady and play with the big cat and he was trying to get everyone else to listen. First stop, the quartermaster. They had been having a little trouble in that department, never keeping one quartermaster for very long. Almost like the gods were punishing the position until someone, somewhere, bought the right companion to make the position permanent. That was just crazy talk, though, and Derek didn't hold with that way of thinking. He was your average do-your-job-and-get-paid-for-it kind of guy, and right now he was being paid to do something which should be passed on through a proper-
No. He was not going to get sucked into that train of thought again! The quartermaster had pulled up the cart to the end of the caravan, a cart loaded up with their gear and water, hopefully enough to see them through to the end of this. He smiled, sharp teeth revealed under the mile, and waved a hand with nails which looked to be just as sharp and dangerous. There sure were similarities between him and their employer.
"Hi there…" What was his name again? He had rattled it off and, upon seeing their confused expressions, sighed and told them to call him… "Leo! Hi Leo." Great save, Derek. Smooth as silk. "Have a map here, captain wants you to take a look."
What followed was a lot of humming from Leo as he examined it, nodding to himself, and muttering under his breath. Something about being a good choice, or so Derek thought he heard. Well, in that case… "Hey, do you think you could copy that route onto some of our maps for the scouting units?"
Ormund watched the scout head off, and turned his attention back to the client. Thankfully the monster had slunk off, back to plotting how best to eat them all, if he had to guess. Maybe they would all get lucky and be picked off by bandits, instead of being taken one-by-one by their own client's pet creature.
"I was thinking," he managed to grate out between clenched teeth, "of sending the horses on ahead to scout. They can move faster than the caravan and will do well letting us know of upcoming problems." And also be far away from the death dealing lion. Win win. "Then we will have spearmen at the front of the caravan, soldiers at the back, and spread the mages throughout. The scouts will spread out all around, to give us some warning if anything approaches from that tall grass we're going to be passing through." Was he asking her permission? Or telling her? Not even he knew. But, she was the one paying them so… "Does that sound acceptable to you?"
Derek whistled quietly while he waited, and then snatched up the maps and took off, calling his thanks back over his shoulder to the quartermaster. Nice guy. Sure did hum a lot though. He found Longbottom not too far away, sticking to the back of the caravan and away from the captain, where he couldn't be shouted at. Leading from the rear, that was Longbottom. Derek smiled and waved the stack of maps in the air. He kept his explanation brief, telling him this was the route they were set on taking until everything inevitably fell apart. Next, he needed to walk on up to those knights and tell them to take a map and get moving.
The knights, the whole darn lot of them, just stared at him silently from up on their horses as he held out the map for one of them to take. Who was meant to take it, though? "Come on, Trevor, take the map so I can get back to doing all the crap work." Derek was trying his best not to just throw the map on the ground and walk off, job done. Not his fault if the captain didn't come back here and do things himself, was it? "Captain wants you off ahead of us." There were some grunts, and muttered curses, but eventually they got moving. Yay. Derek was sure this was going to come back and haunt him. Now, was he meant to report to Longbottom or back to the Captain…