“Let me tell you about mercenaries,” said Haemnuk. “A mercenary will fight for money, and they will fight well–for a poor fighter receives no pay. They will willingly endure dangerous situations, and understand that they may die.”

“Then how are they any different from other soldiers?” snapped Duke Solen.

“A mercenary will willingly endure a dangerous situation, but not a hopeless one. If they believe they are being sacrificed needlessly, they will abandon you, change sides, rout. The surest way to break the back of mercenaries, even well-paid ones, is to make them think they are in a hopeless fight.”

The duke wiped meat juice from his chin. “Are you lecturing me on the art of war, goblin?” he sneered. “I hired your people because you showed up starving, armed, and looking for work. Don’t make me regret my kindness.”

“Oh, nothing of the sort,” said Haemnuk sweetly. “Just see that the situation does not become hopeless, and there will be no problems.

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