Time passed rather quickly until it was time for the grand council. That was what it was called when every lord was required to attend. They were only for important occasions- usually the return of the Eternal King, and sometimes declarations of war like the current one was called for. It still took two years from the time William first heard about it, but though it was slow… it was not quite as delayed as it would seem. After all, messages going to the more remote lords could take months, and then their travel could also take the same- assuming they could even be reached at all. There were some mountains that were impassable during the winter, usually more to the north, and some regions were cut off from such communication.
There were some faster forms of communication such as rider relays if the message needed to be faster, and messenger birds as well, but the first was still restricted by the ability to travel the roads. The lords still had to be able to arrive, and so unless it was an emergency there was little need to speed up the messages. With the way gevai perceived time, two years was already extremely rapid.
A grand council meant returning to the Demon King’s castle. It was centralized enough, and had facilities big enough to handle all of the lords… though perhaps the rooms weren’t as luxurious as they might be used to. With around two gross worth of lords, it was still quite crowded.
There were different qualities of rooms, and they were distributed based on rankings. While there weren’t actual specific numbers- at least not that William knew about- he was placed somewhere around the bottom of the middle. He wasn’t sure what was used to determine that, but he knew that since he was new most of the judgements were inherited from the assessment of Lord Harridan.
Some of the older and more powerful lords must have made the decisions… and if William thought about it, that meant Lord Alexander Goddard was involved. If the Demon King were around, no doubt he would have adjusted the rankings as he saw fit… but that would still likely have been under Alexander’s advisement.
During the council, William met many new people and learned new faces and names. Though it could have been a quick meeting, significant time was given for mingling… during which time the various lords tried to display their power and wealth, and place themselves above whatever rivals they had. William had no real rivals yet, and few would bother themselves with someone who hadn’t been a lord for dozens of years.
Among those who William met was Lord Alexander Goddard. Lorelei introduced William to him herself- and to many others. Lord Goddard was merely one among the many… though William knew that he was the most important one. As for the interaction he had with the various lords… they merely exchanged pleasantries. He could tell that many of them only bothered greeting him because they didn’t want to upset the Archmage… and he was fine with that. The less they cared about him, the better.
Lord Goddard himself smiled pleasantly and even chatted for a small time. If he hadn’t known better, William would have seen him as just another lord. He was pleasant and polite, but didn’t give off a feeling of weakness. He seemed like the type that nobody would bother causing trouble with. If William hadn’t been watching closely, he wouldn’t have noticed how careful some of the older lords were around him.
As for the other older lords… he only really knew they were older by the way they carried themselves and the information Lorelei had given him. Any lord who truly grew old was bound not to remain one long. At most, some of the lords looked middle aged, but perhaps that was just their difference in fashion sense and style that made them look that way.
If the Eternal King had been present, he would have been the head of the council. Instead it was run by a lord named Wilfried Schultze. He was someone Lorelei knew was powerful, and one she had been most wary of. William could tell the wariness was mutual, but he supposed one would not rise to such a position without considering everyone a potential enemy. It seemed like an extremely unpleasant idea.
The actual council itself was straightforward, boring… and filled with many unnecessary questions to which the answers should have been obvious. William thought there would be a few lords who wouldn’t hold onto their positions long if they revealed their intellectual shortcomings so easily… but on the other hand the level of both education and communication were rather low. They certainly weren’t any worse than the various nobles in Ostana.
Though the meeting was straightforward, it took time. There were several days of meetings. First, it was decided that the humans truly were intending to go to war with the gevai. This was determined through various pieces of information obtained from smugglers and spies- gevai spies, traitors paid by the gevai, and human spies who had been caught in gevai lands. Lorelei herself presented some information, though William knew she had plenty that she hadn’t presented as well.
The rest of the council was spent determining the exact contributions required from each lord, and their other responsibilities. For those who would be participating in the war and not just providing troops, there was a chain of command as well. A chain of command was always necessary in any war effort or it would devolve into a chaotic mess. William actually recognized some of those given the highest positions- not by name, but by deed. They had been commanders in the previous Demon King war. With the death of the Demon King, though they could have perhaps achieved a greater military victory, they had withdrawn, as was their standing orders.
In many cases, each lord would be granted autonomy. Each would have enough troops to be an army in its own right, so only in the cases where they needed more would the chain of command come into play- and of course their placement to begin with. Except for those who controlled the regions nearest to the border, most of the lords were told to remain on standby raising and training troops until they were called on. Besides the numbers, they were given significant autonomy in what troops they were to raise, though if they performed especially poorly they could receive penalties. On the other hand, if they performed well there were various rewards as well.