• Mature • An Offer Of Services

Almund is a thriving township with a dark side. With houses made from the wooden bodies of decommissioned ships, there are many opportunities here, coupled with many dangers.

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Balthazar Black
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An Offer Of Services


10 Vhalar 721
It was far from the first time that Balthazar had been sitting in an office in Almund's Element Hall but he didn't normally feel as nervous about it as he did on the fourth of Vhalar. He'd gone to the Council meeting a few trials prior and while many who saw what he'd done would have considered it poor etiquette, Balthazar learned. It was not a mistake he would make twice and as the Militant had pointed out, it was his first Council meeting. Exactly how much was to be expected from a Yari with a bad habit of stepping on toes? Then again Balthazar knew the answer. More. Better. That was always what was expected when something went wrong. Regardless, he walked into the meeting with concerned, voiced the concerns and he was told the proper channels to take.

He liked to think that he'd have handled the situation a little more gracefully, but in hindsight he wasn't sure he and Rand had ever really met and talked at a point when Balthazar wasn't causing some trouble. He didn't search his memory for all the dates but he knew the big ones that stood out to him. Rand had no reason to mince words with someone who'd done as much as Balthazar had. To Rand, it was probably like talking to a child. He did call Balthazar 'boy' after all. That was the easiest way for Balthazar to look at it and move forward.

He had asked for the meeting on the fourth in the interest of moving forward. If his concerns were not shared, he would drop them. He was doing well enough. He just thought they could do better with the manpower that they had. The request went through the assistants and up to the deputy who had agreed to meet with Balthazar in person to hear him out. That was what lead to Balthazar sitting in the office with several pages in front of him. He was waiting for the Flame Deputy to arrive so he could present his thoughts.

Balthazar shuffled the papers he had in front of him around a little bit as he looked them over for spelling errors he knew he wouldn't find. It wasn't that they weren't there but if they were, looking over the pages one more time would do nothing to help him notice or recall them any better. He'd put his proposals on paper for the Flame Deputy to read on his own in case Balthazar presented himself poorly.

You're nervous? Fuego asked from where he was sitting on the ground beneath the table and watching Balthazar's foot tap.

I'm just letting it out before I have to reign it in. Balthazar replied mentally before hearing the door begin to open. The tapping stopped and Balthazar stood up to greet whoever came through.
Last edited by Balthazar Black on Sat Feb 19, 2022 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 494

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Re: An Offer Of Services

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The place was, as always, busy. There was always a feeling of speedy action happening here, and this trial was no different. There was a receptionist working - a young human-looking man with slightly pointed ears and gently shifting eye colour betraying his part-biqaj heritage. He was friendly enough and bade Balthazar to sit and wait until his appointment and, upon apparently just receiving some telepathic signal or something (because nothing else happened), he looked up and said, "just through that door, Trooper Black."

He watched Balthazar as he made his way, but did not say anything else, lowering his head down to the paperwork on his desk once Balthazar was in the room.

And in the room where Balthazar had been directed was a large wooden desk in a mid-sized room. Bookshelves lined one wall, windows overlooked Almund. Rand, the Militant, sat behind the desk. He looked up as Balthazar came in and he wore a largely impassive expression. There was one quirked eyebrow as he watched Balthazar entering the room, watching the way that Balthazar introduced himself, and how he behaved.

"Trooper Black," he said, his voice calm and carefully neutral. "Thank you for making an appointment. Please, take a seat." He was silent as Balthazar did that - or not. But, when Balth was settled, Rand looked at him with an appraising, unwavering gaze. "Now then, Trooper Black. What is it," he asked, sitting back and crossing his hands in front of him, fingers entwined loosely, "that you wished to speak to me - or my deputy - about?"



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Balthazar Black
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Re: An Offer Of Services


10 Vhalar 721
Oh shit. Balthazar's face did not betray the thoughts in his head but there was certainly a level of surprise when the door swung open and the Militant was the one in the office. He knew Almund was where the Militant worked most of the time but he hadn't expected, given his history, an immediate audience with him to be granted. Part of him was glad but pretty much every other part had just become a little more nervous. Words mattered all the more now. He wished he'd had someone with better handwriting pen his proposals for him. Too little, too late. He should have felt honored that the Militant took the time to meet him. He knew it. He inclined his head slightly to the leader of the military he worked for. "Thank you for taking the time to see me today, Militant Rand." He did not introduce himself because he was well aware that Rand knew who he was. He did not inquire as to where the Flame Deputy was, if he was meant to know then he would be told or he'd deduce it from context clues.

Balthazar took a seat when it was offered to him because he felt this was not the sort of situation where standing would have been more comfortable. He had things to discuss and they would either require a lot of thought or no more thought at all. Rand sat back with his hand hand crossed and fingers loosely intertwined then asked, very simply, what it was that Balthazar had made the appointment about. The Militant got down to business faster than Balthazar expected and he liked it. It left little room for awkward thoughts or feelings. Say what you're there for and get out. It was nice.

"I'd come to discuss a few things with the Flame Deputy. I've written the proposals for two of them already which I can try explain as well but not everything I had in mind seemed like it would need a written proposal." Balthazar said as he slipped half of his papers across the table towards the Militant so that Rand could read them. He expected Rand would be thorough and read them regardless of Balthazar's explanation because he did not think the Militant held much value in his words. All the same, regardless of if Rand began reading or not, Balthazar said "That is what I have written for my first proposal. As you know, in Ymiden of arc 720 I underwent lessons in alchemy to learn how to make cloth as strong as steel. I learned with the intention, at the time, that I would use this knowledge to help improve the Element's uniforms and as was pointed out in my trial I have been remiss in delivering on that intention. I made excuses then that I should not have, I am here to try and remedy that."

"I am currently looking for a place to build a lab and as soon as the construction is done I would have all the alchemical materials I require to begin production of uniforms as durable as any armor. At the moment the only uniform we have, that I'm aware of, is the cloak that we wear and our badges. If nothing else, connecting me to whoever produces our cloaks would allow me to enhance the material during the production process so that when they are given to graduating recruits, they are as durable as armor. It would be a small but I think vital change. I used to think we needed more formal uniforms, but I've come to believe that durable cloaks would serve the same purpose and I'm willing to help provide them." Balthazar paused for a moment before adding, "You've mentioned before that the Elements already have alchemists and I am willing to teach them the technique if they do not know already, but I have also been initiated into Transmutation. If you are not familiar, though I would suspect you are, it's a unique magic that create effects much like alchemy would- albeit much more varied and temporarily. At the moment, I can not produce uniforms or cloaks with transmutation that would reliably last longer than... perhaps six trials? However if the sudden need arose for especially unique uniforms or weapons, I would be willing and able to produce them for the Elements from my lab when it is ready. In that regard I need nothing from you other than a notice. However in regard to my alchemical skill, I would need either access to the Element's alchemists to train them in the technique or I would need access to whoever produces out cloaks in order to enhance them ourselves- if that was something that interested you. I have another more formal topic, but I don't want to overstep too far without input." Balthazar said before waiting and watching the Militant for his reaction and response to the first proposal.

Last edited by Balthazar Black on Sat Feb 19, 2022 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 848

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Re: An Offer Of Services

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The office was stark, lacking little details or personality, save the bookshelves. It exuded efficiency, but there was something else. While the area's history wasn't as long or deep as some, the office's decor displayed the backdrop and canvas on which Scalvoris' story played out in a few ways through relics and drawings. One artist's rendition portrayed the skeleton of Almund, a city half-built with its tell-tale relic ship buildings being retrofitted for new life. There was a pride and richness to Scalvoris' short history evident within that room, and perhaps that said something about the person within it.

Rand's eyes watched the Balthazar cross the room and take a seat, nodding silently as Balthazar thanked him for his time, and then they quickly got to the matter at hand.

The Militant leaned back in his chair and listened to what the man before him had to say, and it seemed that Trooper Black had a lot to say. A lot. Rand said nothing, letting Balthazar continue until it appeared he had run out of words. From what the older man had gleaned from others regarding the flame trooper, it seemed odd that he seemed to have a reputation for being a man of few words, but every time he was in the same room with Trooper Black, Balthazar had a lot to say.

Clearing his throat, the Militant gazed across the desk, speaking firmly. "Trooper Black, you seem to think that we are going to have a nice conversation about these things, but we aren't. I want a short, clear, concise proposal of what you want to do, not a list of what possibly can be done with x,y, and z. If I have questions about what you say, I will ask. If I deem the proposal worthy, I will discuss the matter with those positioned to know best, and things will go from there. Try again."

He spoke the words in a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner. There was no hint of anything in Rand's voice that would clue the trooper in on the Militant's mood or thoughts. As with most military types, an expressionless face was a valuable commodity.

word count: 379
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Re: An Offer Of Services


10 Vhalar 721
Balthazar's eyes narrowed slightly as the Militant replied and he adjusted his weight in his seat, leaning back into his chair a little bit more. Fuego watched Balthazar nervously, familiar with the look on his face now. The look he had to perfect since the trial. The look he wore while being watched for all that time. He did not know where he got the reputation for being a man of few words but if it was the standard he was to be held to, it would be what the Militant got. The Militant told him to try again. He told him to be concise and that he (the Militant) would discuss it with those positioned to know best if he deemed it worthy. It irritated Balthazar but he didn't show it anymore than he had when he adjusted his seat and assumed a face of stone.

Balthazar never thought that he would ever have a nice chat with Rand. Just as he did not expect a nice chat with Jacien. He did wonder, however, why he put up with the attitudes that he did. Balthazar gestured to the papers he had brought in and already presented to the Militant. They were concise. They were the proposal and it irritated Balthazar to an extent that Rand had not even looked down at them before telling Balthazar to try again. He didn't like repeating himself. He knew Rand understood what he was offering and being coached like a pet he was trying to train was unappealing. Balthazar teeth parted but not his lips and he heard Fuego's voice in his head. Be careful, he is your boss. Until he fires me.

Balthazar looked down at the papers in front of him still, the half he had not slid to the Militant because they pertained to another issue he'd wanted to discuss. He folded it so it couldn't be read and set it in his lap before doing as the Militant had instructed. "I want to make the cloaks that are given to troopers joining the Elements as strong as steel to serve as a more protective layer while we work than the cloaks we have now. I can teach the Element's alchemists how to do it." If they already knew how and chose not to for some reason, that was a different issue.
Last edited by Balthazar Black on Sat Feb 19, 2022 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 402

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Re: An Offer Of Services

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The Militant was a military man, through and through. Some thought he was why the Elements were so well respected throughout Scalvoris, although he would attribute that success to his troops. He expected a lot from the people beneath him but demanded more of himself. That was what made him the right man to lead during curious times.

While others talked, Rand Bronson thought. Putting the right people in the right jobs and places was an area he excelled in. There was a logistics and strategy to the matter that some overlooked. He planned and perhaps even schemed a bit. Putting all the puzzle pieces together to form a cohesive picture that made sense was tricky, and some parts were more problematic than others.

His eyes narrowed slightly, watching the body language of the Trooper before him. Some things were easy to see for one that prided himself on being able to anticipate the actions and motives of others, but Bronson didn’t profess to understand the man before him completely. He had been young once, and with that came a measure of insight. The Albarech had even said so herself at the Council Meeting, remarking on the energy of the younger people. To the Militant, and he was sure the others felt similarly, it was a good thing. A sign of pride and investment. Now, if they could figure out how to teach a few of them etiquette, all would be good.

With the Elements, however, there was an expectation of decorum. As Bronson listened to the man’s highly scaled-back version of his proposal, the Militant’s eyes grazed the paper proposal before him. He had seen it, yes, but in his world, giving his attention to the actual person sitting in the room eclipsed reading words on paper. He would, of course, once Balthazar left, but he wanted to spend the time with Trooper Black himself, so he could get a better measure of things.

Nodding as Balthazar concluded, Bronson stood and walked over to the nearby window. “The proposal is acceptable to me. The logical first step would be a conversation between you and the Element alchemists here in Almund. The alchemists provide for and work with all branches, but are primarily Flame Troops, being specialists.”

Stepping back the desk, the Militant looked over at the Trooper with a formidable expression. “Once that conversation takes place,” he continued, “then you can report on the viability of the project.” Something like what was proposed took more than just will to set into motion, so there was a need to make sure the idea was not only doable but sustainable.

“That’s settled then. Is there another matter you would like to propose or speak about?”

word count: 465
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Re: An Offer Of Services


10 Vhalar 721
The Militant was a military man through and through, and Balthazar was not. That difference alone was probably all that would matter in the long run. It was hard to quantify what the mage was but there were many words that had been said in the past to try. Balthazar sat with an unchanging face as Rand responded to what he had said. At least this time he'd regarded what Balthazar said instead of simply telling him to talk less. The Militant thought the proposal was acceptable, mentioned a meeting with the alchemist in Almund, and then suggested that Balthazar would have to report to him again once that meeting took place to determine how viable the project really would be.

He couldn't help but wonder for a few trills what exactly it was that the Element's alchemists did. He hadn't seen any exceptional enhancements to gear or remarkable explosives in his time on the islands. Regardless he didn't ask about it because he would find out on his own when the conversation about the cloaks took place. Rand declared the issue settled and asked if Balthazar had anything else he wanted to propose or discuss. He had plenty of things but he was not sure there was really a place for them now. He started with the next simplest and figured that depending on how the Militant reacted, he'd be able to gauge the forward path of the meeting.

"I would like to know what is it that Spirit Branch of the Elements is responsible for?" The Land Troop were city guards and military, the Water Troop patrolled the seas, the Air Troop patrolled the skies, and the Flame Troops were the specialists that covered the gaps- so what did this fifth arm of the Elements do? He wanted to know, because if he did not know the odds were he would only get in their way again in the future. However he did not present his reasoning for wanting the knowledge. Rand did not seem to want reasons until he asked for them.
Last edited by Balthazar Black on Sat Feb 19, 2022 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 354

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Re: An Offer Of Services

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Having given his answer to Trooper Black’s query, the Militant sat quietly, waiting to see what else the young Trooper would come up with. As with all people, there were pros and cons to an individual. Things they excelled in and areas that were more challenging to them. There was certainly a lot of evidence regarding Balthazar Black on both sides of that coin. However, what remained to be seen is how the story would play out. Other factors were coming into play – related cogs of the grand machine, one might say, that could alter the outcome. When one looked at the bigger picture, everything had to be considered.

When the Trooper spoke, Rand almost chuckled. Almost. Indeed, he was inside, but his outward expression and demeanor changed little - a man of discipline. Of course, Balthazar would want to know about the Spirit branch. To be honest, it was a bit surprising that the young Element hadn’t run into Spirit operations before. Rand had been there when Balthazar had become aware, even marginally so, of who Jacien really was, and had prepared himself for dealing with the matter.

Glancing at Balthazar, Rand’s expression remained stern as he replied to the request. “Covert information gathering and intelligence, beyond the purview of the other branches. I trust you can work out for yourself what that covers.” The Spirit branch was ‘need to know’ at the highest level. The Forging had been inconvenient in that regard, shoving Jacien into the spotlight a little more than was desired. Some people now knew of the branch, and questions always followed curiosity.

Rand was also aware of peripheral factors that might influence Balthazar’s question. The man hadn’t been involved in Forging events, but there was another who had. Rand was fully aware of what had happened there. Debriefing amongst the Deputies was a common occurrence, and a very detailed and long meeting had occurred after time had restored memories for the people involved in the event. Yet, the Militant knew of Trooper Black’s insatiable curiosity and was unsure if it was a blessing or a curse. Balthazar did tend to trip over it often enough, but there was something to be said for that too.

“Are there any other matters you wish to bring up, Trooper Black?”
Silence, while excellent when one was alone, was detrimental to meetings. The Militant wanted to keep things moving along. He hated wasting time and had the feeling there was much on the young man’s mind. It remained to be seen if Balthazar would say as much.

word count: 440
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Re: An Offer Of Services


10 Vhalar 721
It was hardly an answer at all, but it was enough for Balthazar. He had been under the impression that he worked for the branch which handled such operations but having been directly told otherwise, Balthazar was able to divine enough about the Spirit Branch for his curiosity to be satisfied. Covert operations and intelligence gathering... Balthazar humored the thought he would have been better in that branch for a few trills before banishing it because his face was far too well known. There was rarely anything covert about Balthazar investigating crimes. He was still good at it though. Some of the time. More often than not. Occasionally. Often enough that he had to wonder what cases fell outside the purview of his branch.

The one that came to mind most immediately was the situation with slavery in Scalvoris and the Sparrow. It felt like the Spirit Branch's secrecy was self defeating. Balthazar would never have stepped on the toes he stepped on if he'd known there was a branch looking into the selling of slaves. Still, it was a situation and problem from the past. Until he ran across them again while he was doing his job, he didn't need to know more. However if crossing investigations became a habit, he might want a better explanation of what was going on. He knew what he would get from asking though, because he had done just that. Anything more he would have to learn or deduce himself without doing any damage... which was the difficult part.

Rand kept the conversation moving by asking what else Balthazar wanted to talk about, which was good because the perceived silence wouldn't get them anywhere. Two things sprung to mind more immediately than the other dozens of little questions that Balthazar might have asked a more social individual. 'Officers' in the Elements and a system of alarms so that the Land Troopers could be more easily called on by civilians in need. Both questions came from his person experience working for the Elements and running across criminals in action. The Elements were supposed to work in groups, but you were not always on shift when duty called. He stopped mulling the choices over in his head and vocalized them in a brief manner.

"Two final things. First some time ago the Albarech recommended me for officers training and I did not pursued it because I wanted to focus on doing my job correctly first. However things have changed and I was wondering what officer training would entail and if I was still being considered for it." He could get to his suggestion about an alarm system after this topic. The alarm system seemed simpler to him.
Last edited by Balthazar Black on Sat Feb 19, 2022 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 459

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Re: An Offer Of Services

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The meeting wore on, and several things became apparent to Rand as it did. Maybe ‘apparent’ was the wrong term. Several items became clearer – that was better – about Trooper Balthazar Black. Being a leader involved a lot of different aspects of the management of people and resources, and most of those included a sliding scale to account for varying personalities. That window of variation narrowed within a military structure but was still valuable. The young man before him was undoubtedly original and complex from what he could discern. That much was evident. Good or bad, that fact would remain.

As they talked, Rand did his assessment of Trooper Black. Some things he had been sure would come up, like the Spirit Branch. Other things were more of a surprise, but all information was good if it helped provide clarity.

The mention of the Officer’s training was a bit of a surprise, mainly because the man hadn’t mentioned it until that moment. The trial had been back in what, Ashan? Much had changed since then.

Steepling his fingers in front of him as Balthazar concluded his query, the Militant considered it. The expression on his face was indecipherable as ever, but it was apparent the man was deep in thought, remaining silent for several trills before addressing the question.

“The Albarech did not specify a certain period within which you needed to accept, so yes, the offer is still on the table.” That answered the easy part of Trooper Black’s question, but there was more to it than that. Officer training didn’t look the same for each person. It was a matter of figuring out what the needs were and what skills needed developing – not all people came to the training with the same skill sets. Luckily, Rand had thought about the options for Balthazar long before that trial.

“For your Officer training, should you choose to accept, you would be given a small group of new Flame Trooper initiates. Three, to be exact. It would be your responsibility to guide and lead them. You would need to assess each recruit's skills, determine how best to build them up, and lead them on missions and tasks while doing so.”

Shuffling a few papers in front of him, the Militant glanced through them and then returned his attention to Balthazar. “Now, a question for you. If you choose to accept this training package, where would you wish your team to be assigned to? For the purposes of this question, assume that you are will be given your choice of any Element outpost in Scalvoris. You would still serve the entirety of Scalvoris and could be dispatched anywhere, like always. “

There was a specific reason the question came up, but nothing Rand did gave that fact away. Settling his eyes on the young man, Rand leaned back in his chair and waited to see what Balthazar would say.

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