Band of Others
Greyfish Mercenary Company
Founded in Marienberg some three centuries prior, The Greyfish are one of the oldest and most respected mercenary regiments (as mercenary regiments go) in the Old World. Originally created at the behest of a herring cartel as a means of personal protection for the fish merchants and their families, the unit gradually expanded in size and scope over the course of several generations, until finally breaking ties altogether with both the cartel and Marienberg.
The success and longevity of The Greyfish may lay in its unique recruiting methods. While many mercenary regiments invariably end up padding their ranks with a few criminals, brigands, and ne’er-do-wells, The Greyfish are unique in that they actively seek out such types instead of recruiting from more traditional stock such as former soldiers, lesser nobles, and adventurers. In fact, the officer core of The Greyfish will often prohibit ‘mercenary types’ from volunteering for enlistment completely, citing one of the regimental mottos, “Don’t trust anyone who wants to be a Greyfish.” The Greyfish are also distinct from other mercenary units in that they actively recruit women and humans born outside of The Empire into their organization.
Once selected, prospects are often subjected to several weeks of rigorous training, physical exercise, and instruction in boot repair. (Another regimental oddity being the near unanimous belief that sturdy footwear is the foundation of any great military campaign.) During this time, individual’s unable or unwilling to participate in the merciless instruction and discipline are either “walked” (returned back to their prison or place of origin) or “sunk” (run through). They are also taught The Codes, a series of internal rules which regulate interactions between Greyfish and each other, as well as non-members. Initiates which make it through the initial training are generally granted “probate” status until they complete their first combat assignment; at which time they are considered “confirmed” and allowed to receive their first facial tattoo. Each five years of service completed thereafter is afforded both higher honorifics (“fiver”, “ten-on”, “ten-five”, and “double-ten”) and commensurate share of pay and prize money.
The Greyfish are currently comprised of twelve near-autonomous brigades, all of which report to the Salt Keepers, a council comprised of the highest ranking members of The Greyfish, and the only individuals who are permitted to sign contracts on the regiment’s behalf.
The Greyfish uniforms are typically gray-drab and lack flare. Brigade ensigns vary, but the regimental standard is always three white herring on a black background. Many rank and file will sport small fish tattoos on their faces, and with officers and older vets permitted two or even three. Officers typically wear yellow-on-brown tartans on their person, but these may be concealed in times of combat.