William had come up with a good plan to make sure every industry was not too sorely harmed by the draft. He thought it was fair and balanced- which meant everyone would hate him. Well, it wasn’t entirely fair. It couldn’t be, not without causing endless amounts of trouble. There was an exception for the rich. He hated that, but that was just the way things were. It was just that the price was enough to outfit several people, and not just with standard gear either. Of course, there were complaints about the price… but everyone still paid it rather than send their sons or daughters into battle.
That was something William knew he was doing differently. Women would be drafted too. There was no reason to remove half of the population from consideration. Though gevai males were still physically stronger, the difference wasn’t terribly significant. Proper body training would make up the difference… and that wasn’t the only option either. Of course, William knew his decision would have other impacts, but he thought the benefits would still make it worthwhile.
Not everyone had to be drafted either- there were a number of volunteers, though a number of them were those who assumed they would be drafted anyway. Still, William was glad to have proactive people join. Maybe they would become officers… but then again, nothing stopped those who were drafted from becoming officers except ambition. At least, it wouldn’t in William’s army.
William didn’t have any wizard academies in his territory, but that wouldn’t stop him from creating a magic division to serve under him. Training up people in a few useful spells wouldn’t take long. The biggest limit was the mana in the area and interfering with others spells. Designated wizards would have to be spread throughout the squads.
William would have liked to have troops for every conceivable situation… but he had to focus more one some areas. Besides wizards, he would have foot soldiers, archers, cavalry, and supporting roles such as scouts. Good archers would be expensive… not because it was hard to train them, but because bows that could reach the limits of gevai strength were hard to get. However, any healthy gevai was strong enough to use a human-strength longbow, which were good enough in terms of distance and penetration power. They could at least puncture non-magical armor, though they would be of less use against knights. Mounts were what limited cavalry the most, and unfortunately William didn’t have time to breed anything special. Thus, the were stuck with horses- exceptionally strong and sturdy ones, but horses nonetheless. Armoring them was also expensive, but if they died easily it would be a waste. They needed to at least be proof against stray arrows.
William also set about picking out those who were better at cultivation from among his recruits. Body training was the easiest, so that was what common soldiers usually were given to do. Sometimes they were given a cheap cultivation method as an afterthought, but most of the time if they wanted one they would have to get it on their own. William, however, wanted his troops to be exceptional- at least the ones he could. It didn’t cost him more to teach ten or a hundred- the cultivation manual would not be used up. William didn’t have the time to guide all of them step-by-step from the beginning, but he wasn’t interested in training up a batch of soul technique users in any case. Thus, it was better to start with a functional, rather generic technique. Perhaps they would not attain dizzying heights with it, but they would be ready for battle soon enough.
William wondered if the humans knew that the longer they took to attack, the more disadvantaged they would be. Not that they really stood a chance anyway. In a defensive war, the gevai would not be overextended, and would be the ones with the fortifications. The gevai always being on the offensive was their biggest reason they were always defeated in the end… though sometimes they had occupied a portion of human lands for a few human generations.
William wasn’t going to complain about having more years to train his troops, but he couldn’t help but think about the loss of human lives that would follow. He had sympathy for them… but if they made horrible choices, he wasn’t going to just sit by and let the gevai be killed either. Of course, most of the humans coming to die wouldn’t have any participation in the decision making process. The nobles would be responsible. Perhaps the humans would come to their senses and change their minds. William expected better… at least from Ustil and Eclea. Eclea in particular was supposed to be run by reason and thinking, but he didn’t see any logic in attacking the gevai- even if they were ‘demons’. Unfortunately, as time went on it became even less and less likely that the war wouldn’t happen. Now the gevai had forces built up- a threat to the humans. Though they wouldn’t have detailed information, enough news would reach them through spies of various sorts that they would surely know of the armies being raised. That was the best reason not to attack, but William didn’t expect people to work like that, no matter how much he wanted them to.
William was not surprised when new reached him that humans had crossed the border from Ostana. He wouldn’t have been even if he hadn’t already received word from Lorelei. Nothing really changed… he hadn’t been called to the front lines yet. Perhaps he wouldn’t be. If the other lords held their own weight, William couldn’t imagine that properly trained gevai would lose to the humans, even with lesser numbers. Unfortunately, he could imagine the gevai losing, and he had seen it. Most of the troops would reach the bare minimum of training and equipment, and most of the leaders would give stupid orders that caused the unnecessary deaths of their troops. The humans would do that too… but ironically that was where the numbers gave them an advantage. William just hoped that most of the stupid decisions would result in significant injuries that forced both sides to retreat, instead of large numbers of deaths. Not that he would place a bet on that happening.