Typically, the Mercenaries found in fantasy worlds are bands of warriors who simply hire themselves out for money. Unscrupulous, immoral at times, and downright ill-mannered in their depiction. Many times they act as a secondary danger or henchmen, which makes them similar, if not identical, to bounty hunters. The two are very close to each other since they do jobs for money. Possibly the only real difference is that Mercenaries tend to be hired for battles while bounty hunters are given a single target to track down. Still, this role is rarely anything more than ‘we are mean and cruel warriors who are in it for the money’.
That still holds true with the Mercenaries found in Windemere, but there’s actually more organization behind them. At least on the continent of Ralian. There is a place called Fort Journeyman, which Delvin will be traveling too and it will reveal that the Mercenaries have their own society. It’s similar to a thieves’ guild in that there is a hierarchy, but there are no dues or cuts taken by others. You claim the job, do the job, and take all of the money for the job. The reason Fort Journeyman exists is to act as a hub for the trade, so many stay around to spend their pay while waiting for another job. People know that this is where you go when you want to hire a Mercenary. There is no trading between the Fort and other regions due to them wanting to stay neutral, but they do have a mild loyalty to the throne of Serab. Only because Duke Solomon lets them do business without interruption and even lets them pay taxes in jobs instead of money.
It wasn’t always like this though. Fort Journeyman has been around for a while, but the organization turned up about 20-25 years ago. This is when the hierarchy really formed with rankings and the ‘royalty’. The Mercenary Nobles are the Queen, King, Prince, and Princess, which are handed down to those that the current feels have earned it. You can always challenge for it, but that doesn’t usually end well. The Prince and Princess have changed hands several times, which makes them the most fluid. There have only been two Queens and the original King is still kicking. In his defense, nobody has really appeared to truly earn the mantle. Not that there is anything beyond reputation behind these names. It is a cherished title, but it doesn’t come with a salary or magical gear. You can earn better jobs and have more loyal men, but that’s really it.
Where did the Nobles come from? Well, a determined half-elf appeared with a desire to make a name for herself. She created the second largest mercenary army in history (coming in second to Tzefira’s Salamander Army) and they only had one loss, which was their final battle. To be fair, it wasn’t the whole army that lost, but the leadership who thought a job was one thing and it turned out to be a lot worse. The original Mercenary Queen disbanded her army, retired from the life, and used her fortune and contacts to create an academy for the next generation of warriors. Yet, her legacy still stands and the Nobles that ruled her army has been adopted by the entire trade.
So who were the first ones?
Queen- Selenia Hamilton (Duh)
King- Kevin Masterson (Duh again.)
Prince- Daniel Skyblade (Delvin is actually the 9th)
Princess- Annabeth Pelldin (Died in final mission. Current one is 11th to hold title.)
Those numbers for Prince and Princess might seem high, but it is a dangerous life. Many die, become too injured to continue, or simply retire. Most know that retiring means you have over the title. Of course, nobody has successfully convinced Kevin Masterson that this is how it works. Beat the man to become the King is his tactic and Selenia gets a kick out of watching youngsters lose to a guy with two damaged limbs. That’s another thing you need to be a successful Mercenary in Windemere: a dark sense of humor.