Chapter 12 – Territory (6)
Brendel and his men left the jail after Bosley briefly told him about the materials he needed. The old man was led away to wash himself before having a proper meal.
“At the final step to create the White Lion’s Plate armor, the Sigil of Wind is enchanted on the joints and torso, raising agility and reducing the weight of the armor. We will either use the purple Moon Quartz, or orange Mana Calcite. These two crystals contain very pure Mana and are used by witches and seers. Grinoires, Arreck, Viero, and Randner’s are the current suppliers for them. They are found in caverns eroded by water in hilly areas, but Trentheim doesn’t have any locations that fit these conditions.”
Brendel recalled Bosley’s words as he rode through Firburh’s streets. This was the first time he was thinking about the population of the cities. Felaern was also riding beside him and informed him about the information on Trentheim
“Graudin directly held these four areas— The city Firburh, mining town Schafflund, Port Gris and Gareth’s Crossing. These are where most of the population is centered in, approximately eighty-thousand in total. Firburh and the nearby vicinity have about thirty-thousand. If we include the villages, we would have a hundred thousand.
Trentheim’s entire population is approximately three hundred thousand, and the peerage holding the other lands is about a hundred and seventy.
There are two retainers who are loyal to Graudin, Lord Macsen and Lord Palas. The latter, nicknamed the Tolerant Knight, is someone who’s knighted because of his skill in the sword, and is a Silver-ranked swordsman. He’s also the only person who has Trentheim’s best army, comparable to the capital’s.” Felaern said.
“Palas is given that name because he’s being compared to a tyrant like Graudin. He’s actually a strict and conservative knight, and the reason why he’s trusted by Graudin is his loyalty towards the bastard,” Brendel said, thinking about his first goal was to make the retainers under Graudin fear him, “That would mean we’re going to face these two armies next. If we’re able to defeat them convincingly, we will be to make Count Randner who’s hiding behind the scene even more cautious.”
Brendel suddenly stopped his horse. They were at a clear area that was high enough to oversee the distant northern wilderness that led to high cliffs. The farms near the city were enjoying the rays of the sun, and he could see the golden sheen coming from the ripe wheat. It was nearly time for harvest, and the temperature was dropping quickly.
The nobles in the north were preparing for war and hoped to attack before winter set in. If they were delayed, the war would drag to next spring, and neither the queen nor Kluge want that result. This was because the Dragonlion Fleet in the Aniras region presented itself as a significant threat by accessing the sea, and could easily overturn the situation.
Seifer’s Black Mercenaries had entered Ampere Seale to convince the various conglomerates to let them pass. The queen’s best speaker was there, and if he succeeded, then tens of thousands of Seifer’s heavy infantry would sail through the seas and reach Vaadra’s borders directly.
Trentheim’s situation was also just as tense because of Brendel’s appearance. The scent of battles seemed to spread through the air, bringing along a sliver of bloodlust.
“Have your scouts set out to Fort Minst?” Brendel asked.
“Yes. They will send word if Lord Macsen sets off with his army.” Felaern replied.
[Today’s the 17th. Lord Macsen should be receiving Graudin’s remnant mercenaries’ words by now. Fort Minst is only a day’s journey from Firburh. I’m sure he has sent out his first batch of knights to gather his soldiers, possibly going to get around two or three thousand men. Considering only twenty percent is Iron-ranked and higher…… No, the odds are still against the approximate thousand mercenaries that I have. If possible, I want the battle to take place in the northern hills…… The control I have on Firburh’s information is something I should think about as well.]
But Brendel’s real headache came from the possible steps that Count Randner was possibly going to take. Lord Macsen was nothing more than a distraction. Within a month, he had to repair his walls, tidy up the finances and build the trust he had with the mercenaries. They were currently in the same boat he was in, but if he was to think about the long-term future, it was impossible for them to stand closely together with him unless he was worthy of their protection.
[None of the three mercenaries’ leader is going to be interested in having a beautiful dream. The upcoming battle that I plan must convince them. Amandina has also said that it’s necessary to convince people of my legitimacy as Firburh’s lord, and overwhelming victories ahead will make Count Randner slow down his plans. With that, I have the chance to win the citizens over. They want not only a merciful lord, but they also want one who can protect them.]
Brendel turned towards the citizens’ houses. Trentheim was near the Diesluna inland sea, so there was ample rain brought from the wind. Most of the citizens had great sloping roofs and pipes that led the rainwater down to the sewers. The red tiles contrasted with the painted green windows. But the citizens who spotted him cast suspicious and guarded looks at him, observing the new illegitimate lord carefully.
Even though Brendel had ordered Amandina to redo the tax plans, abolished most of them and even canceled all debts, many doubted how much weight it was going to carry. It was still a question whether he was able to hold on to his position.
“Let’s go to the city gates,” Brendel said.
When they reached their destination, they found Amandina and the three mercenaries’ leaders waiting for them.
Cornelius bowed deeply upon seeing him. He had seen what the young lord was capable of when he fought next to him. He was worried about Brendel’s resistance against Count Randner, or even use him as sacrifices, but the more worried he was, the more respectful he appeared to be.
Jana lightly pursed her lips. Brendel’s current image made her feel a little surprised. The warm, friendly, and even a little shy smile he had was the complete opposite of his snarl that was full of bloodlust he showed yesterday.
Raban was the only one who looked on indifferently with a raised chest.
“Know the reason why I looked for you?” Brendel asked.
The three of them shook their heads.
“My lord,” Cornelius said, “go ahead and give us your orders. We will be sure to fulfill them.”