Wizard! Chapter 476
The prison cells were crammed full of dwarves. They didn’t really have enough room to imprison all of them, but William wasn’t going to let that stop them. He supposed he could just kill them, but most of them weren’t really responsible for what had happened. They were just following orders to fight an ancient enemy of their people. Sure, they had signed up to be soldiers… but enough of them had already died in the battle. Since William was capable of capturing them, he did.
William didn’t search through all of their memories. Since he already had a grasp of the dwarven language, he had no need to. More importantly, he didn’t want to do that for over a gross of dwarves. Memories were private things, and poking around in them wasn’t appropriate. It also came with some troubles for the stability of his own soul.
However, as long as he only scratched the surface, he could gain some useful information. That was why he was heading toward the captains at the current moment. They would know useful information he might need, and most of that would be in relatively recent memories.
As he stepped in front of the cell containing several of those determined to be leadership, he was met with cursing.
“Demon! Monster! You’ll pay for your actions against my people! I’ll slaughter your family, I’ll-”
As soon as William got the cell unlocked he moved in and punched the dwarf in the gut, hard enough that he coughed blood. Then he grabbed the dwarf by the beard and looked into his eyes, “Shut your filthy mouth. We offered peace, but instead you persisted in attacking. It is well within reason to slaughter every single one of you. However, since I am a fair and just king, even to people not my own… you will receive a fair trial. If you were just acting under orders, you might have a chance to live… but whoever gave you orders, or the ones above them… they will die.”
A dwarf spit toward him- but didn’t manage to reach him. “What do demons know about ‘fair’? You monster!”
William wasn’t in the mood to be yelled at by dwarves, and punched him in the gut as well. “Shut up. I’m already being generous here. You led troops to attack even after hearing my offer of peace. Besides, you will be the witnesses to your own guilt- or lack thereof.” With that, William knocked out all of the dwarves with a surge of ki. It had taken several days of rest to get back to near peak capacity. Strictly speaking he didn’t need them to be unconscious, but it made things easier. Plus, it meant they couldn’t see what he was doing- even if they felt the effects on themselves.
William sifted through their memories of the last year or so. The forward outposts had finished construction several years before, but they had only recently completed enough ships they felt confident in causing trouble. Now that he had some higher ranking people captive, instead of a single captain, William actually managed to learn more of their plans.
They really were around just to cause trouble. After all, on the scale of a country what could a dozen ships do? They could destroy merchant ships and bombard harbors, but there weren’t enough dwarves to land in a decently sized port and take it over- not one with more than a few dozen gevai soldiers defending it.
Of course, that was only the first step in the plan. That was just to weaken the ‘demons’ while the dwarves continued to build up resources- and more specifically, more ships that could travel across the oceans safely. William began to get a better grasp on how many dwarves their were on their islands… and even though they had a significantly sized fleet for their population, he felt they had a very weak grasp on how many ‘demons’ there were.
Even though gevai had relatively low birthrates, their numbers were steadily increasing. William wasn’t sure anyone even knew exactly how many years it had been since the dwarves and elves had been driven off of the continent.
They also didn’t seem to know about him in any detail. The only details they had were what he told the first crew of dwarves he had captured- and that they refused to participate in the latest attack, to the point where they were locked up for disobeying direct orders. William hoped it was because they believed it was wrong, but he also considered the fact that they might just be afraid. If he were a bit lucky, it was at least partly the former.
William easily came to a decision about the various dwarves. Most of them were just following orders- orders he personally detested, but could make sense from their perspective. He wouldn’t execute them- though he wasn’t sure what he would do with them. He couldn’t exactly just ship them all back to the dwarves and politely ask them to stop with the war. Well, maybe he could, but it would be more of a negotiation of the surrender of prisoners. Before that, however, there had to be some sort of real setup for diplomacy with the dwarves.
There was one dwarf he would be executing. Morsut Cragarm, the fleet admiral who had been aboard the fortress ship. William wasn’t sure where to start with him. He had been one of those who pushed for the first attacks on the merchant ships. There had been the option of trying to contact the humans first- and while having the humans and dwarves in an alliance against the gevai didn’t sound like something William wanted, he would have appreciated if things started with some form of diplomacy.
Of course, the fleet admiral was an important man. He wouldn’t risk himself for anything. At least, not knowingly. Unfortunately he was not terribly adept at strategy or tactics, and had believed far too strongly in the invincible nature of the fortress ship. Because of the previous losses, he felt he had to make up for that with a stunning victory to show off the dwarves power- led by himself, of course. That mistake- after all of the previous mistakes- had led to him being locked up by ‘demons’. William didn’t plan for him to regret it long, however. He didn’t want him to be alive- anywhere. First, though, William needed to make sure he got all of the names and other information he needed.