~ Chapter 65: War Meeting (Part 1) ~
[Feryumstark's point of view]
Ever since Alkelios returned from the Seculiar Forest, I have been more active and so has my wife, the Queen. From just occasionally visiting the throne when there was only something important that need to be solved to spending at least one hour per day here listening to various complaints and proposals of respectable nobles.
In short, our lives as King and Queen of Albeyater Kingdom were returning to how it was so many years ago before that accursed event took place. Almost losing my best friend and my wife in the span of a few decades because of betrayals and plots against the crown wasn't something I could easily deal with. As for the ones behind all of this, it still remained a mystery. After all, the assassin had to have had someone inside who made sure he could get past our defenses. The attack on the former Draketerus land was also planned out almost perfectly. They knew when and how to strike.
As a King and a military tactician, I found the strategy to be almost perfect. The reason why I thought of it as 'almost' was because the enemy never considered the true might of Brekkar. He was the only Breakthrough-er who participated in that battle and by the time the others arrived it was already too late. Alkelios called it a Blitzkrieg, a lightning fast war which spanned over several days not months or years.
Today, as always, I arrived in the throne room not long after I had my lunch and drank a cup of tea together with my wife. I sat down in my throne and took the stack of papers Elovius had prepared for me. Those were the reports he had compiled, which I was supposed to read today. Normally, this job was meant more for an office or a study room, but I didn't feel like sitting in front of my desk today.
As I read through them, my face turned into a frown. When I was done, I put the stack of papers on my lap and looked at the Prime Minister, who was standing next to me.
“Have you made sure the information written here is true?” I asked him.
“Yes, your Majesty.” Elovius replied and made a bow.
“Then... this means that Draejan is a traitor.” I let out a sigh.
Someone of my own family betrayed me. It wasn't unthinkable, but for dragons it was an extremely rare event. In the case of humans, however, I heard that their Kings didn't even trust their own wives let alone their children or nephews.
“It would appear so. Prince Kryogan, who is currently an Ambassador of Albeyater in the Embryger Empire, has sent a report within which he claimed that one of the Empire's political factions was making a move outside of their authority. It would appear they are trying to win points in the favor of the Princess they are supporting to rise to the throne. At the same time, Princess Saluka Fer, who is married to the ducal family Bryghtanar of the Embryger Empire has sent a report with her husband's signature warning us of this possible movement and that we shouldn't be quick to judge it as being the Empress or Emperor's direct command.” he explained.
“Hm, a faction is it? Are there any factions within our Kingdom?” I asked him out of curiosity.
The main difference between a Faction and a Party was the fact the the first aimed for the throne, while the latter focused on the political games within the Kingdom, fighting over land and authority while holding their loyalty towards the current King and Queen.
“None of which I am aware off. However, as I have mentioned, I personally believe Prince Charmeill to be a strong candidate after your Majesty retires. Although, recently I'm seeing Princess Elleyzabelle and Princess Josephine catching up. They, however, have a lot more to learn, and unfortunately, Princess Josephine is too stubborn in regard to finding a way to end the war against the humans and if put on the throne might neglect our own draconian politics.” Elovius explained.
Although Charmeill was the first prince and he was the second, he had no interest in the throne and currently enjoyed his position as a Prime Minister. If it was up to me, I would think Elovius was far better than Charmeill, but the latter was a Breakthrough-er as well. In regard to the dragonesses, only the First Princess Natalia was the one who achieved one. Unfortunately, she had no interest in politics and would prefer to spend her time on the battlefield.
There was also Baluth who achieved a Breakthrough not that long ago, but his aim was to become a General like Brekkar, whom he revered as a great teacher and model.
These children of mine made me worry about the future of my Kingdom and also kept me away from an early retirement.
Letting out a sigh, I looked back at Elovius and asked him “So we are to expect a possible gathering of enemy forces within the next months?”
“Yes, my estimates are sometime within the following six to eight months, depending how long it will take for those troops to arrive at our borders. As for a possible number of their force, I'm guessing somewhere around two Breakthrough-ers and 40000 soldiers.” he said while showing me the report of the estimated combat power of that said faction.
“Hm, so Duke Hallagan, Marquise Fervanis, and several Barons I have never heard off... No dragonesses?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“None, your Majesty. This is an all-male faction which supports a Princess.” said Elovius.
“Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?” I asked him as I lowered the report.
“Yes, your Majesty, and that is why neither we nor the Empire itself believes they stand a chance at winning the throne. Unless... of course, they manage to conquer Albeyater by themselves.” said Elovius.
“Hm... In that case, they can either declare our land as a part of the Empire's or rule it entirely by themselves as a vassal state.” I said while nodding.
It was a rather dangerous situation, one in which we could be targeted like a tasty piece of raw meat in front of hungry sheep.
“This also means that your estimates are wrong. They have no chance of winning with such a force.” I said as I hit the paper with the back of my fingers.
“I am aware of this, but the reports confirm those numbers, your Majesty.” he replied with a bow.
Letting out a sigh, I began to think about how Draejan came into play in all of this.
At this moment, however, a messenger entered the throne room and knelt in front of us. His breathing was rough, showing that he ran all the way here without stopping. I took this as a sign of the message being rather urgent.
“Your Majesty, I have come to report that Duchess Marchialle has been assassinated by unknown wingless dragons not that long ago.” he said in one breath.
“WHAT?!” I shouted and got up the throne.
This was dire news. The Duchess was a close friend of my wife's, and she was also someone with close ties to the Merchant Guild within the Kingdom. To hear that she has been assassinated made my blood boil, and I could only imagine the pain my wife was going to go through after this.
Then, another messenger entered in a similar fashion.
“Your Majesty, I have come to report that Viscountess Mercuria has been assassinated by unknown wingless dragons not that long ago.” he said in one breath.
And another entered soon afterwards.
“Your Majesty, I have come to report that Duke Galbarian has been assassinated by unknown wingless dragons not that long ago.” he said in one breath.
After him, I saw another one entering, and I gulped while wondering what was happening.
“Your Majesty, I have come to report that we just received word of Melles Town coming under siege by bandits. The same is happening with Naver Town, Ugen City, and Unvar Town. Within the report, it was written that Onias Town, Nalta City, and Nezv Town have all come under sige by bandits.” he explained.
I gulped when I heard this news.
Looking over at Elovius, he was shocked by what he had just heard as well. For a town to come under siege by bandits nonetheless was absolutely ridiculous. They could never hope to gain or win this battle, however, on the long run it meant forcing the military personnel to stay within the settlement to protect it. The merchants were also forced to stop from advancing with their caravans, which meant a loss of profit and goods, which meant a direct hit to the Kingdom's economy.
“Your Majesty, this...” Elovius was at a loss of words.
I quickly dismissed the messengers and told them to see what other reports were coming in.
“Call Brekkar and see if any other assassination took place today. Make this a priority.” I ordered.
“As you wish, your Majesty!” he bowed and then left.
Letting out a heavy sigh, I leaned back in my throne and looked up at the ceiling. In my mind, I repeated the words spoken by the messengers and pictured the map of my Kingdom. With these attacks and the threat of the Embryger Empire's faction making a move on us, I was beginning to see the connections. IF they won this upcoming war, then these bandits who besieged my cities and town at the same time would become heroes of the new age.
It was all very troublesome and worrying. My Kingdom's army was already crippled and most of it was on the Western Front under Charmeill and Natalia's command, making sure the Humans didn't attack.
However, if I sent Kataryna and Alkelios to those settlements, those sieges would end in a matter of days. This, however, didn't mean that my troops wouldn't suffer from exhaustion and reduced morale. If this was the purpose, then it was highly likely that the few months Elovius had estimated may have turned into a few weeks. Because otherwise, there was no gain from besieging all of those settlements. In a few months, all the losses could be recovered.
For the time being, I got up and ordered that all urgent reports to be brought directly to the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, I went to see my wife and check up on how she was doing. I also had to break the news in regard to the death of her friend.
This isn't going to be easy... I thought to myself as I left the throne room.
Elliessara took the news of the assassination of Duchess Marchialle without breaking down into tears or anything like that. If someone saw her just then, they would have thought she was a cold dragoness, but I knew her better than anyone. The news hit her hard, but this wasn't the first time she lost a friend or family. It wasn't going to be the last time either. Throughout the past centuries, we both have lost many of those who were dear to us. It was maybe only through pure luck that only one of our children had passed away so far. Although, we both would have preferred for all of them to have survived, but maybe that was asking too much and the gods took Coshun away from us as a result?
For now, I comforted her as best as I could and then several hours later I returned to the throne, where I sat down and waited for Elovius to show up with his report.
The first one to enter, however, was Sir Seryanna Draketerus, the wife of Alkelios Yatagai Draketerus. She was dragging with her an unconscious naked dragoness tied up with the rope in a way that none of her private parts could be seen. It would better to say that she literally wrapped her up in the rope from the neck down, all the way to her ankles.
“Your Majesty.” she said and knelt before me.
“Sir Seryanna, what's... that?” I asked pointing at the one she brought with her.
“An assassin.” she replied calmly.
“Huh?” I raised an eyebrow.
Then, while she was explaining how the attack on her life took place, the doors opened again. This time it was Kataryna who entered while dragging behind her two frozen dragons. They were inside two big blocks of ice, and I could see that the freezing process took place in but a split second.
“Your Majesty.” the dragoness showed me a smile and then looked at Seryanna. She nodded and said “Good day, Seryanna.”
“Good day, Kataryna. Assassins?” Seryanna asked while I was looking at their 'catch'.
“I have a bad feeling about this...” I muttered.
At this moment, Kleo entered the throne room and greeted me with a bow and a smile.
“Your Majesty.” she said.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
Seeing how things have been a bit hard for me lately, I will try and focus around posting only at the end of the week, during a Friday or Saturday(ish). I'm going to try the weekly chapter dump version of the schedule to see if this fits me better.
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