23 Chapter 15.1: The Fate of a Nation: Claudvius
I could only think about the events, I thought about Davin and Maléna standing on my balcony, waving in front of my people and then my people were applauding them they would abandon their King for some people that they never even met, did they really hate me that much? No, they're my people I'm not having someone else steal them from me. They're mine. The citizens of Kentrikos are protesting my rule, that was the natural order! Who were they to disobey it? Disobey me? I would win them back, I did what they asked for, they said that the prisons were overcrowded so I emptied them. I hated Davin, I hated Maléna. They had the audacity to go against what was working, they would go against the person they were meant to serve. I was going to kill them.
I look at the gates, they were empty, if you don't count the guards and the workers. They were still trying to repair the castles, apparently, Bloodfire was a lot stronger than normal fire, I was lucky that half the castle didn't collapse. I remember the days when people would shout at the gates, trying to push past the guards, I think that three of them were trampled. The background noise was gone, I grew so used to it that it was my new silence now that it was gone it was euphoric and peaceful. The people were afraid after I burnt them they stopped scrambling for the castle, I used to see dirty hands reach through the gold coloured bars.
I get complaints from the Sevalian immigrants saying that I'm not doing anything, it wasn't my fault the cult wasn't seen as a threat until the Eclipse, they had spread their message covertly slowly gaining followers until the week before the Eclipse some of my nation was taken from me, then half, it got to the point that I was powerless, I refused to be powerless. "Your Highness" I turn around "a shipment from Sevalia came in" shipments never came in from Sevalia when those heretics attacked, "what is it?"
"you'll want to see this for yourself," he said "follow me" I follow. I find myself in the storage space of my castle. The torches barely light the place up but I see it clearly. The stone head of Valaizeekel, The Angel of Vengeance, the symbol of my house, was beheaded and removed from the Angellium, his smooth black head was chipped causing the light from the torch to refract on it, "It was the cult, you didn't listen to them and then they sent us this"
"Are you saying that it's my fault?"
"No, I'm saying that your action caused a reaction" he leaves the storage room.
I find myself walking through the halls looking for something to do, Provira is off concocting her scheme and I'm walking through the halls trying to find something to do, trying to be useful. "people are being underpaid, what you did won't keep people scared forever" she said
"There was never a huge issue then why is it now?"
"Because the increased population caused a higher demand for jobs and therefore less pay"
"What do you expect me to do?"
"build bridges between you and Chrysia there are many mines and you won't have to worry about angering citizens"
"They'll learn to obey me"
"You're going to get yourself killed with that mentality" I could tell that her intentions were good but she was stupid to think that I'd work with Ristikos after what I tried to do. I needed soldiers and quick there were too many battles going on at once for the forces that I have to be able to handle them. I see her "Provira" I call for her "what happened to the ship" I was hoping that they were on their way if anything was going to help me win it was going to be magic "the ship was destroyed"
"Skotash is dealing with their own civil war and the ship got caught in the crossfires" enemies were surrounding me and closing in to take all that I have and I'm becoming more and more powerless by the second. I refused to lose this fight, I was willing to do anything to keep my power.
I could almost feel them closing in on me, breathing down my neck waiting for the opportunity that I was defenceless to attack me and leave for dead, I wasn't going to let they think I'm weak, I'm a King, The King. I had a weakening army but I was going to find a way to kill all my enemies, I hear whispers of how I was weak but those voices will be proven wrong, they'll be left for dead soon enough and I'll have everything that they have. I will never be weak.
I enter the council meeting I had called in The Coin Keeper and Border Holder I needed their council now more than ever "we've been getting less and less money coming in"
"Isn't that what the tax collectors are for?"
"With all due respect" The Coin Keeper ran a hand through his brown hair "People don't want you as their King so they don't to give you money"
"-The tax collectors use force, I know" he interrupts, I never knew I was that predictable "that's the problem, we don't have enough men to get them back up, so when force is used they get killed,"
"We're running out of food, the food coming from Esior isn't enough to handle the new population," he says "if we want more The Esiori Marquis will make us pay for it"
"Provira is working on that"
"Well she needs to work fast or we might start starving too" he pauses nervously
"Is there anything else?"
"We don't have the soldiers to quell the rebellions and fight in Sevalia," he said, "you have to make a choice, Sevalia or Kentrikos?" I stand there considering my options. There's Sevalia with its grey rock, green and large forests, The Angellium with the grand statues of The First Generation of the Angels Valaizeekel, The Angel of Vengeance, The Darkness, his black crystal body striking fear into men, even though his wings would dwarf him. A small man can have a far and powerful reach, those were the words of my house. Sidrikel, The Angel of Salvation, decked out in white army glowing a white light, rescuing humanity from the blight and the others too many to name my family's home. Kentrikos with its white and gold architecture, beautiful oceans, my family's seat of power.The seat of my power. "have you made your decision?" Delilah asked me
"Yes," I think my decision through and remove my uncertainty, unifying all the parts of myself in my choice. I feel them closing in on me, the distance between me and them shrinking as I become smaller, their hands were starting to get a grasp on me, I feel them back away, I will soon have the forces needed to fight them off. A small man can have a far and powerful reach, those bring me calm and security. "I'm pulling back my troops from Sevalia"
"It's a temporary solution, remember that," Lyle said "if we don't get more soldiers then we'll run out and then we'll be back here, but we won't have any soldiers to pull back because they'll either be dead or they'll desert us"
"so how do suggest we'll get more?" I was leaning on my clenched fists, I was really getting tired of having bad news thrown at me. "I don't know" then I had an idea
"how many people are in the prisons?"
"a few hundred," The Border Holder said, I surprised, relieved and worried all at the same time when I was told of how many new prisoners were arrested
"make them soldiers"
"but-" Lyle said
"I can offer you my services" it was The Meldavorni Marquis "for a price of course"