Chapter 47: Return From Dulkan

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“What do you think of trying to ally with Viscount Ellis?” Braydon asked Rhydian, they had been travelling back to his fief after the treaty in Dulkan. They were now sitting around the campfire, eating the rations that they had brought with them for the journey back. 

“He is probably one of the best chances that you will have of an ally. Now that you are seen to be a part of the royal faction, many nobles will be wary of getting too close to you.” Rhydian did not want to suggest that he was definitely a good choice, they had only met once. But he was right that there would likely not be many options to choose from. It was not unlikely that Viscount Ellis was the best choice.

“Why are you guys even worrying about this now? Nela will probably have found out more about him by the time we get back than you did from talking to the man.” Gerald butted in, his remark got a dry chuckle from Rhydian. It was a bit of an exaggeration, but it would probably be better to get Nela to weigh in on this. She was by far the most effective at finding out everything that they needed to know about a person. If, after her research, she did not know something about someone then it was not worth knowing.

“Yeah, there is no need to think about it now. It would be better to decide on who to ally with in a more formal setting than on the side of the road before we sleep.” Braydon agreed, though he did also want to sleep. Rhydian would not let him sleep longer than necessary when they were on the road. Apparently it was not safe, though Braydon was happy to take that risk if it meant not seeing what morning looks like again.

As the three men rode back into the castle, Nela and Mireille came to greet them. Seeing them brought a smile to Braydon’s face. Well, seeing Mireille did that but he was not going to admit it, not when Nela and Gerald were around.

“It is good to see that you haven’t gotten yourselves killed, good job Rhydian.” And Nela’s first words took the smile from his face. It was replaced by a look of outrage that was mirrored perfectly on Gerald.

“Indeed, it is tiring work.” Rhydian responded, turning their looks of outrage to a comical combination of shock and their previous outrage. Rhydian might make a comment or two, but rarely did he take part in Nela’s jokes.

“Hahaha” Nela could not help but laugh. It seemed Rhydian was aware that he was a workaholic, there was no way that he said that without alluding to the pair of jesters being more work than his normal duties. Though most of her laughter probably came from the comical expression that showed on Braydon and Gerald as they came to terms with Rhydian suddenly finding the ability for humour beyond sarcasm.


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It was at this point that Braydon noticed that Roan had come out to greet him too. And from his lack of amusement, he had something to report. Roan was only serious when he worked, otherwise he would have taken part in the hilarity to some extent. Even if it was just to laugh along with Nela.

“You have a report, Sir Roan?” Braydon was brought out of his reverie when he noticed Roan was waiting for him. The knight’s strictness when he worked also prompted Braydon to use more formal speech when talking about work with him.

“Yes. While things are mostly calm within your lands, the civil war in Shuluk has started heating up. The two main factions have not started fighting large battles just yet, but skirmishes are now commonplace. There are many peasants who have been forced to banditry, so I would advise putting more men on the border than just normal patrols. New people looking for refuge are a decent source of information, at least for the state of Shuluk as a whole. As for the west, everything goes as normal. The people are getting used to having a new lord and do not seem to have issues about it.” When Roan finished he nodded before taking two steps back.

“Rhydian, do you think that the men are trained enough to start moving to the border?” Braydon was asking about the army under Rhydian. It had been a while since they had been set up but not long enough for them to be much good on a battlefield. Though staving off bandits was a different matter from going up against an army.

“I would like for them to have more training than they have at the moment, but being  active at the border should not cause too many problems if they are rotated with the men stationed west of the mountains.” Rhydian’s plan sounded good to Braydon, anything that meant he would have a strong army sounded good to Braydon.

“Go send out the men east of the mountains to the border. Once they are in place, discuss the rotation of troops with Corban. He is rather good at logistics; if there were enough men to warrant a logistics troop, I’d have put him in charge of it rather than wasting him on a garrison.” Braydon decided that it was best to get things moving immediately, he knew Rhydian would have done it anyway. He also did not forget to start moaning, a good catharsis in all situations. He was short of talent in some areas but had to waste it in others, Braydon could not help but feel heart ache.

“Stop whining, fix the problems.” Mireille decided now was the time that she would comment. Braydon did not know what to do with himself, he had been lambasted by the person least likely to speak in the entire castle. Gerald and Rhydian chuckled to themselves whilst Roan looked shocked, clearly never having heard her talk nor the stories of when she did.

“Hahaha, she is right. You are the one in charge of everything, of anyone you have the least right to complain if something is not to your liking.” As Nela laughed at Braydon’s sorry sight, she quickly took up Mireille’s criticism. Braydon was in the position to do something about the problems, it was no use complaining about his woes to them. At the very least, he should not expect sympathy from her.

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