The reigning King of Pexate, Axtyn II, and the reigning king of Layyia, Fraen IV, met at one of the relatively few mountain passes between their two nations to discuss the end of the war that had ravaged both kingdoms for ten years.

Seeking to impress his enemy, Fraen IV emptied his capitol of splendor and staged a military parade before the pass the like of which had never been seen before. Swordsmen, archers, and a line of gob camp-followers, cooks, and attendants that stretched a mile behind them. Each, from the mightiest marquis to the lowliest stablehand gob, was clad in glittering plate and mail that sparkled in the noonday sun.

For that has always been Layyia’s strength; its inestimable beauty and fine culture.

For his part, Axtyn II brought his best and most experienced troops, and as the Layyians paraded, he arranged them in a classic bull-horns pincer form upon the slopes. The men were bedraggled and dirty, everything they owned coated with campaign grime. Only the signal and unit flags were clean, for even the king himself wore unadorned armor with only a gold circlet and his personal standard betraying his rank.

When the two kings met, Axtyn II complimented his rival on his parade formation. Fraen IV, who had been hoping to witness an equal display from Pexate as a spectator, asked why there had been none, and commented upon the shabbiness of the men he saw.

The men were there to do dirty jobs, Axtyn claimed, and to attack for their king and their country if the need arose. He had always found it better to have a well-drilled if shabby army than a glistening and inexperienced one.

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