Edward Neville had known from an early age he'd end up where he was, commanding a mercenary company.
Not because it had been some childhood dream of his, some long-held fantasy to command the scum of England in battle for anyone who would pay. It was hard, generally unpleasent work, even if it could be quite lucrative at times.
Born to Lord Richard Neville, the Earl of Salsbury and a serving maid, Edward Neville had known from the begining that he'd never be inheiriting anything except for the shame of his birth. Oh, sure, he'd been raised alongside his elder, legitamite brother, and taught much the same as his brother was - sword play, the proper demeanor, Latin, law, and so on and so on. But without any estates to administrate, as they'd all go to his brother anyway, he didn't have any means of supporting himself. He had no practical skills - not that he looked at it that way, since despite his bastardy, he was a noble, and thought like a noble - and his base-born nature precluded him from his only options would have been entering the Church, entering seminary and becoming a priest or a monk. Which he sure as hell had no intention of doing, since swearing off of women was not something he wanted to do. That left warfare. Working for his father - well, he wasn't fond of the old bastard.
So he'd set up this company, and had done well over the last five years. He'd fought in battles in France, Wales, the Midlands, and along the border with Scotland. Now he was going back to the north, though not to fight the Scots. His Father and the other major noble in the north, Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, were at it again. For reasons no one knew - Edward presumed that whatever the reason was, it was too old to matter, and probably something stupid like someone using the wrong fork at a fancy dinner - the House of Percy and the House of Neville had been at odds in the north for a long time. And this rivalry had flared up again into low-burn brushfire wars.
Henry Percy had decided to hire his company - along with other companies - to supplement his men at arms for this latest round of warfare, that might see a few villiages change hands at best. The prospects for loot - the prime source of enrichment of a mercenary - were limited, but Henry Percy paid well, and there was little else to do at the moment, since the final withdrawal from France last year, after over a hundred years of warfare with the nation across the Channel.
Edward turned to the new arrival. He didn't recognize the young man - hell, boy -at all, and given the way he'd just walked up without even a salute or remotest gesture of respect - he didn't stand on military protocol as much as some, but more than most mercenary captains, who were little better than slovenly brigands leading even more slovenly brigands.
"Who are you then?"