Chapter 55: Course of Action

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Was his life always going to be this busy? Braydon had serious reservations about it, he had not rested for the past two months and now he had more to do than he did when he started. There was trade in the south, which he had been putting off for a long time due to other matters. It felt like it would never get done at this rate. But the matter of Nela’s engagement to Jett could be dispensed of once and for all. Not to mention there was also the letter he had received from the regent of Shuluk.

“Having fun there?” Gerald came into the study in the morning, gaining a glare from the obviously overloaded Braydon. While Braydon had a lot to do, he had relatively little. And Gerald did not intend for that to change right now.

“Have you just come here to flaunt your freedom?”

“No, to remind you to take a break. You are not getting anywhere with planning what to do, so why not take an early lunch?” Gerald’s words of wisdom shocked Braydon, he was not one for genuine words of wisdom. Only sarcastic ones.

“Nela told you to say that didn’t she?” Braydon asked.

“You could have at least let me appear caring for a bit longer.” Gerald said with a mock pout.

“Fine, I will take an early lunch.” Braydon decided to give in, just because he had been put up to it does not make what he said any less valid. Braydon did not know what to tackle first. Logically, it should be to deal with the Queen regent of Shuluk, he assumed it would be a very time sensitive thing. The fickleness of war meant that circumstances could change very rapidly. On the other hand, there was getting rid of Earl Blake’s influence for a long while. Not to mention the other things he had been putting off to write letters to and meet with the local lords. As they entered the great hall, Nela and Mireille were there waiting for him. ‘So she did put Gerald up to it.’

“So Gerald managed to convince you to stop thinking for a moment.” Nela stated, fully intent on making Gerald dissatisfied with how she worded it. It worked, Gerald looked aghast that he had been thrown under the bus like that. Not that anyone paid him any heed, if they did it would be giving him what he wanted. Gerald was almost never truly outraged, he was theatrical to the bones.

“For now, I didn’t manage to get anywhere.” Braydon sighed, he did not like it when things could not be dealt with immediately. His worries would not let him rest with peace of mind.

“Might I suggest sending Colin to the south to start dealing with the merchants?” Nela put forward her thoughts. A plan to deal with what appeared to be the least of his worries.

“That does not deal with the main problem though, I cannot be in two capital cities at once.” Braydon was happy to let Colin do this but there would have to be more follow up which required him to be there in person. He would have to talk to Duke Burn to get his sign off, lest he force all of the merchants to pull out.

“Duke Burn should be in the capital at the minute, there is little going on in his lands. When he gets bored, he loves to give the King a headache. I have learnt that much from my father.” Nela suggested. That would be a more fully realised plan, it would only leave dealing with the more sensitive letter he had received. 

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“What do you suggest we do about the other matter?” Braydon was curious about what she would say. He doubted that she would advise him to give up before trying, trading with half of Shuluk was too tempting a prospect.

“If they are so weak that they cannot last us going to the capital to deal with that toad once and for all, they are not worth trading with. We would be better off trading with the other side of the civil war.” Her assessment was harsh, it was hard to swallow potentially giving up such a big piece of meat. But Braydon knew that it would technically be the better choice.

“Is there no way to give ourselves more certainty there?” Braydon was hopeful.

“If you think that you can march in and win the civil war for them, go ahead. That would give more certainty.” Stupid question, stupid answer. There was no real way to give more certainty in  a war of any kind without overwhelming strength. 

“Point taken. Sometimes I think you are better suited to be a lord than the rest of the nobility put together.” Braydon said, Nela’s ability to be so rational in the face of great gains was something that even the most sagely kings struggled to attain. Though he was unsure if that was because it was not directly hers to gain or she was truly that good. There would be no way to tell unless she inherited her father’s land and faced a similar situation.

“That is an indictment on the competence of the other nobles rather than a testament to my worthiness.” Nela responded in a heartbeat. She truly meant it, and that is what Braydon found so funny.

“Hahaha. You might be right there.”

“Of course I am.” Nela confirmed, backed up by a nod from Mireille. Though with her memories that was more vouching for Nela’s character than a show of agreement.

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“Then it is settled. I will write a letter to the King and court to report what happened yesterday. I will also send a runner to inform Duke Burn of my intentions. And someone go tell Colin to meet me in my study after lunch.” A servant ran off to complete Braydon’s order. Steven had been let off to eat his own dinner when they had left the study, so Braydon made use of the servants on hand. He wanted to inform Colin of the task he had for him in person, he would probably have to discuss finances with him anyway.

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