Lorelei did indeed have a good idea, and William didn’t like it at all. However, because he knew it was good, he couldn’t refuse to mention it. Of course, his family liked it. William sighed.
It was a good plan. It wasn’t even that dangerous. Maybe. But it did directly involve his family. William didn’t like that… but he couldn’t argue with it either. He was directly involved. Certainly, he was much stronger… but he would also be facing lords more or less directly. If things went well, it wouldn’t involve much combat, which meant it would involve a significant amount of combat- if not necessarily immediately.
If William’s family were properly trained to fight, they could defend themselves from a few enemies, probably. More than a handful and they would need defensive structures, but there was only so much those could do. Their numbers were the problem… and the solution. After all, if there were more of them they could do more and more. So, when Lorelei said they should recruit more people to their cause, William couldn’t argue. They were in a great place to do so as well. They were farmers, and they knew all the other farmers around. They sold to the common laborers… and everyone else in Caister.
They already knew most of those who would be discontent. If they didn’t know, they could figure it out. It could take time… years, perhaps more… but time was something gevai had. The lords were unlikely to rush into any sort of conflict. They were generally older and used to taking their time. Besides, if done properly they wouldn’t know there was anything happening to begin with.
William considered the case of knights coming to kill peasants. Armored warriors could easily take out a larger number of untrained poorly equipped people. However, things were different for gevai. Every single one started off physically strong, and they could all use magic. This didn’t mean that career soldiers who trained for dozens of years or more wouldn’t be stronger, but a small amount of training would help close the gap. The most important thing was there were many more common people than soldiers.
The lords kept small private armies, but because of the low population, they were little more than a company. They would retain at most a gross or two of soldiers, and they would often be assigned to various duties throughout their territory. In the wars against the humans, most of the troops were actually formed from drafted peasants given perhaps a dozen years of training.
William was confident he could meet those standards in less time. Quite frankly, most of the training methods used by the lords were terrible. They didn’t include adequate nutrition, and usually didn’t have much emphasis on magical training. Ki training was even more rare for those drafted. Besides the fact that cultivation methods were often kept secret, a single method wouldn’t be suitable to a wide number of people. William wasn’t surprised the gevai hadn’t managed to take over the world yet, with the methods he’d learned about. William was glad Lorelei hadn’t been in charge of the troop training.
Body training was easiest for William’s family to pick up. Except for Gisila they were already fit from working on the farm, they just hadn’t put much extra effort toward surpassing their limits. It took a bit more time for them to familiarize themselves with the magic to help with that, but they still picked it up quickly. Stefan was the quickest in that regard. For all her talk of magic, Sarah wasn’t very experienced with magic yet, so it took her longer.
William also taught them the basics of combat magic. They could create fire, or even a fireball, but they didn’t really have strong foundations to work from. William was able to help with that, and give them things to practice. The most important part was how to defend against various things, starting from recognizing them to dodging or countering with another spell. He just hoped they wouldn’t need to know any of that in the near future.
William actually found the area of ki cultivation hardest. He simply didn’t have appropriate techniques. He knew more than a handful of basic cultivation methods, but they weren’t necessarily suited to his family members. Besides, he could only teach those through personal instruction which would do no good once he was gone. The best option he had was to teach them Rotational Soul Pressure. He was intimately familiar with the technique and could create a written copy with proper insights. In addition, there would be no problems with learning another technique later.
William was proud to see his family as a pretty decent, if small, combat unit. The only one who struggled was Gisila, who was too timid and sweet to properly cast offensive spells or hurt anyone. However, even she would be capable enough of defending herself or running away. Of course, this was all based on future predictions. William knew that a few months of effort wouldn’t catch up to dozens of years, but hopefully by the time they actually needed to fight, things would be different. William couldn’t imagine that everything would be resolved peacefully, though if it somehow did he wouldn’t be upset. He just knew better.
Finally, William had to leave to go back to Ducson. There were some preparations to take care of for the council that he should be personally present for. He said goodbye to his family, though William was actually feeling happy after leaving, because the results pleased him. He couldn’t guarantee his family would be safe… but they got to make their own choice, and that was better than him unilaterally deciding what would be done. Besides, he had unintentionally provided the start of a larger power base, which would almost certainly be necessary in the coming years.
The only one William didn’t say goodbye to was Sarah… because she was coming with him. After all, how could he go off to the magical academy of Ducson and leave her behind? She was very enthusiastic about magic, so he would give her a chance to learn. If somehow it didn’t work out, she could go back to Caister… but William didn’t see that happening. He would have been sorry about taking away a hand from his parent’s farm after just burdening them with more work and training… but William was pretty sure Sarah hadn’t had a significantly positive effect on the total work done.