Tales from Teraum #9 A Warm Wind
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Tales from Teraum, #9: "A Warm Wind"
This was an empire built on magic, thought Sir Robert Essen. No place was that more clear than in the capitol. In the outlying provinces, lands and lives were not substantially different than they had been prior to the Empire's spread. But here, in the city where it had all started, the touch of magic was everywhere; great steamstacks stuck out from factories in Downwinds, venting clouds over the city.
Robert could remember when these factories were used to produce goods for the households in the Empire, pocketdragons and coldboxes and lightspheres and all manners of modernization. Now, almost all efforts were turned to the war, producing swords, armor, and artillery. He looked out the window of the War Chamber, at the steam flowing upward to mingle with the clouds, and sighed. The meeting had ended a while ago, but Robert did not yet feel comfortable breaking his revelry. This did not stop Lord Jermaine Serk, who had been revising the transcript of the meeting.
"Sir Robert," Lord Serk prompted, his chair groaning as he took his weight off it.
"Mm?" The knight replied, absent-mindedly.
"The War Council seemed pleased with your plan to stall the Horsetribes," Lord Serk stated plainly, walking over to the window Robert was standing by.
"They did," he agreed, waiting for the squat, balding lord to get to his point.
"One might think that they seemed too open to the idea," Lord Serk continued. When Robert said nothing, Lord Serk placed his hand against the glass pane separating the nobles from the clamor of the Downwinds. "It is a rare cause that gets so many Companies to support it. Many who sit our fair council don't have the casus grassor for the action. Do not forget the First Law."
Sir Essen saw the man bow in the flat reflection of the window, and heard as he walked away, and the door closed behind him. Do not forget the first law; no aggression. It was the primary guideline for any decisions handled by the Silent Courts, the judicial branch of the Empire's bureaucratic machine. Lord Serk's advice, while given under his typical demeanor of importance and mystery, was nothing Robert hadn't thought of long before proposing his plan to the War Council.
Lord Serk, the city's Coinlord and, through commercial right, heir to Mainer, the citadel westward, whose large holdings supported the construction of the Imperial offices and roads, had the best claim, as the horselords had been pillaging Mainer caravans since the spring thaw. Lord Bernard Tollet of the Earthworks House had ridden by three burnt keeps on his return from the Earthworkers' City, all under Lord Tollet's watch, all left flying the plain brown banner of the horselords. His was a strong right to attack, but with the others who had pledged support, it wasn't so clear. Sir Walter Frenner, High Commander of the Capitol Guard, had only a few slain watchmen to base his right on, not enough to convince the Long Council should it come to that. And the others, Lord Jeremiah…
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