Hi, Noah (@noah-cochran),
Here is a possible re-write for the first entry. I think you should keep the concept, however, add a little more depth and reasoning to what Drastan may be thinking. The line can read flat and does not seem to have much purpose other than observational data in its original casting.
Alfonso and his chancery paid the mercenary captains, and the captains paid the mercenaries, but Drastan often got the feeling that their captains took even more than their greater share already demanded.
Drastan was disgusted. Alfonso and his chancery were short-sighted fools. Their army consisted of nothing more than mercenaries–hired thugs. Bah! He spat. He knew better than to trust their kind. Experience had taught him to put neither trust nor blade into the hands of greedy men. He ground his teeth. Such blades and brawn were loyal only up until the coin ran out and the purse strings closed. He suspected the captains took the biggest cuts for themselves. It was the way of such men. Wars were costly ventures that depleted the treasuries of many a kingdom. Only an army of warriors loyal to king and country lasted until the final battle. The mercenaries were usually the first to run. And the first to put a knife in your back if they happen to suspect doing so would garner them a heavier purse for such treachery.
Does that help?
Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.