Chapter 255: Imperial Silence

“I have received the Duchess Regent’s orders, we will bring victory.” A lord nodded as he read the writ that the messenger had brought. This part was more a formality as the real groundwork to get things moving had been done over the past two weeks.

“Her highness has no doubts about that.” The messenger nodded before leaving, he had performed his duties and had to report back to Narabun.

“She has spent considerable political capital on this, does she really think it will be so decisive?” The lord who had been left alone in his tent wondered aloud. He had received enough benefits that it would not bother him too much so long as it was not a total disaster, but that was not a small amount. Not to mention the number of favours and relationships that had to be called in for the other more influential lords, if this did not work out for the Duchess Regent, there was a good shot that the nobles supporting the child Grand Duke would try to replace her regency. And they would have a good chance at success too.

“Your Highness, the lords have all started to move. We should have news of how things have turned out by tomorrow. Though there are sure to be some problems it is likely that your great wisdom will lead us to victory.” ‘Sure to be some problems’ was code for there were some lords who were going to drag their feet. 

“Raise your head, Lord Savas. That was to be expected, it would not be my late husband’s court if there were not men with too much power and not enough consequences. Really, I wonder how it was the empire that assassinated him and not one of his own subjects.” Alima idly commented. Rather than busy, it was one of the quietest days that she had had in a long while. With most of the lords in her faction now marching to battle, they could not command their proxies to come and harangue her with some new idea or request. Of course it would be doubly as busy as soon as the battles were over.

“If I may be so bold, Your Highness. Has the empire really not made any movements even now?” Lord Savas asked. He was a close ally of the Duchess Regent, one of the few, and yet he had not heard her mention the empire in relation to her current plans once in the past two weeks.

“It troubles me, also, how quiet they have been but to the best of my knowledge they are not making moves beyond the near constant pirates in our waters. There has not even been a hint of the imperial legions making any preparations to move.” Alima shook her head. If there was ever going to be a time for the empire to step in and take the place over after having killed the previous Grand Duke then it would be now. Otherwise, it felt fruitless for them to have sent an assassin to kill off the Grand Duke in the first place.

“It truly makes me wonder what the Emperor got out of such an assassination.” Lord Savas could not comprehend such an action. Or, in this case, a lack thereof. It was not like the Grand Duke was some great political rival of the Emperor nor was his nation any kind of competition for the empire.

“It is useless to think of reasons when there is no new information. For now it is better for us to make preparations for the coming days. I am sure that you have some thoughts about how to handle that?” Alima asked. Even if she could take the chance to relax now, she would regret that action in the next few days. Rather she wanted to prepare in advance so that she would at least have some time to sleep when all of the Lords wanted her attention after the battles.

“I have already had the trustworthy men start preparing, Your Highness. Though there are some things that can only be done after we are certain of the results.” Lord Savas bowed slightly. He had the same thoughts in mind.

“That is good. Then I shall be in my study writing reasons why they cannot have rewards such as ‘an entire city’ or ‘a monopoly on this resource’.” Alima wished she were joking but there had already been lords asking for such rewards for things as minor as a successful skirmish or two. Of course it was likely that these requests had been made so it would be harder for her to deny more realistic requests later but the realistic requests would only come after the war had ended. When they had no choice but to be realistic.

“Then I shall take my leave, Your Highness.” Lord Savas bowed slightly deeper this time. Even if they were working in the same palace, it would likely be some days before either of them were free enough to meet again.

“It would be a great help if you were more like him.” Alima made the remark with a glance toward the window where she knew he was listening once Lord Savas left the room.

“You would immediately ask why I was acting like that if I did. I would lose all credibility.” He scoffed. 

“Are there really no movements from the empire?” Alima asked the one person who would know before her.

“You said it yourself, just now. The western legion is as silent as the grave and the imperial navy remains mostly on the eastern coast.” It was good news but it was still confusing nonetheless.

“Do you think they will try to off me in the same way?” Alima wondered. It would be quite amusing if the Emperor thought that that would work.

“No, it would be far more likely that they would try to kidnap your son and hold him over your head.” Her spymaster replied as if it were obvious.

“You really do know how to make a person anxious.” Alima shook her head as if she was dismissing it but made a mental note to increase the guards around her son.

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