Jägers crowded the jägerhall to surround a makeshift portable stage that had been set up for the occasion. Upon the stage stood 20 or so individuals who had been chosen to be offered the jägerdraught and had accepted the draft. As they kneeled, pledging their loyalty to any and all Heterodynes, through life and with death, the older jägers of the crowd began to remember their time when they first took the draft, a few either chuckling or scoffing at how much the tradition has changed over the past 139 years.
I was mearly 16 when I joined the master Vlad Heterdyne's fierce raiding party, reason being I was quite good at fighting, laughing and intimidating. I enjoyed the sheer adreneline of the chase and the slaughter as many others of the party did. It was a general trait in the newly established town of Mechanicsburg. The year was now 1081 and it was great.
It was a bit of the surprise that the master decided to try and create his own children in a lab and it was the talk of the town. The raiding party didn't go out as often when the master was working on somthing this large so it was instead spent with family. In reflection, it was slightly expected of him to go against nature's natural order as he had been doing since he was 12 and possibly killed his father in doing so. He finally succeeded in 1083, leaving 1084 to be a fun open year.
I was quite lucky during this year. The multiple excursions allowed for improvememt in fighting, strategising and other things. Often times master Vlad would end up distracted by some animal of that specific region that had unique traits or by some free range test subjects that he would chase down with his tentacle arm, lashing out at the poor lucky people who he chose to keep. During those common times it was a bit iffy on what to actually do such as who to attack and kill versus only keep mostly dead, which is a little bit alive, or how to attack best that would elict a epiphany of screams or be sneaky, depending on what as needed. Overall, most were not too bright as they were only there for the hunt. I was there for that too but unfortunately for me, I was apperantly also the most co-ordinated when it came to attacks. When the Heterodyne was off frolicking than someone had to keep things mostly an organized chaos. Hence, the first semi-official; as I wasn't really ever officially stated to be, evey one just decided, now that I think about it; General of the raiding party.
When 1085 came around, I was intregued to hear that Vlad started doing tests with the spring Dyne. No one had really seen it but they all knew that the second Heterdyne, Knife, had drank from it and built the castle with newfound strength and stamina. The results were sure to be interesting.
Unfortunately the work also made it boring again. On the upside, one of Vlad's lab children did succeed and was quite amusing to play with. Little Tolvard would keenly build detailed intricate structures out of bent wire and small blocks of wood only to find amusement in setting them ablaze and putting minerals in the flames that made it burn beautiful rainbow colours. When I was 23 then the heterodyne approached me and spoke.
"I hąve to teşt the new pøtion I madę. Care to tesţ it for mę?" He asked with a manic grin, underlaying harmonics still evident.
I felt the need to ask "What's it do?" because if any spark, or at least a Heterodyne, feels like they need to ask your permission to use you as a test subject, rather than just pull you to a lab, it probably has a higher chance of death than being a minion. I had thought I was just going to accept being a test subject no matter what but when the master's face was some what serious, I decided to listen and consider the oncoming facts first.
"There's a 2 of 10 chance you survive and a 17 of 20 chance you die, rounded of course. Bųt the rewąrd wįll be âwsomę. Ţhę pøwêř, ťhē eņhãňçėđ ābîłīťîėş, ah ťhê wøňđèřfůł mőñśțŕøşīţý" he said slipping into harmonics and drifting off.
None the less, though, the master was asking me to test this meaning he must have hope for me being successful, and who am I to crush the hopes of my respected master by denying him a worthy subject? Plus it sounded fun. Mostly it sounded fun.
"Very well, I'll do it"
"Great! Mind telling a few of your best men about it? 15 or so joining would be wonderful" he said quickly, looking out around himself sharply as if to catch something.
So later that day I did.
"Hoy! Drel! I need to talk to you!"
"Yessir?" He asked turning around. It annoyed me a bit that others had taken to saying yessir or calling me director.
"The master told me about that potion thing he was working on and he needs test subjects."
"You should hear the details first, such as you probably won't survive"
"So whats the point then? What's it do?"
"I imagine kind of the same thing it did to Knife Heterodyne"
"What? That's awsome! But how does he know it'll work?"
"He doesn't, theres an 17 vs. 4 of 20 chance you die, rounded"
"But that goes over 20"
"Theres probably just a higher chance you die than the survival rate would suggest"
Drel didn't continue with the illogicalness of it other than a quiet "pessimist" and just said, "yah, I'll do it, it's been really boring recently"
I told plenty of others, much more than 15, because more than half declined. That was it though. It became dull for a bit as the time was filled with playing games and betting, as there wasn't much else to do. I didn't really have any living family; my mother had died three years before I had joined in the raiding. My father perished nobly in the dangerous line of work, minioning, and with no siblings I dedicated my life to the raiding. So in this down time I was playing Tafl with Zog while he went on about some pretty girls that him and others had won from the spoils of the last raid, or at least the ones who haven't died or escaped and mostly the ones who willingly stayed in theis town of mechanics. On the upside some of them could cook decently or sew and weave. Again, town of mechanics, we have food and clothes but theres not much skill to improve them, just the skills to build better weapons than others and take what they have to unwillingly offer.
About a month later, a minion came by and told us that anyone who had chosen to volunteer should meet in the castle's enclosed courtyard, which none of us knew where it was so we ended up following. When all 14 people from the party arrived there were already 11 others waiting.