Wizard! Chapter 487
A dozen years without conflict with the dwarves was good… but it had also been a dozen years without contact of any sort. That included no contact between humans and dwarves, as far as William was aware. He wasn’t sure if they could even reach the humans, or if they had blocked all access to the continent by taking over the dwarves’ forward outpost. While they had explored the area around Cruonia, William had not done the same around the human’s lands. He didn’t think that they would appreciate armed ships entering what was probably their waters- even a gross of miles out to sea.
Humans had started explore those areas on their own, however. William had been glad to sell or trade technology to them. Not cannons, though they developed versions of cannons on their own, but warding away deep sea life wasn’t able to directly harm anyone. Sure, it could allow them to go to different places that they could then attack from… but humans were perfectly capable of attacking Cruonia without going out that far to sea. To do that, they would have to go past the islands nearby, and there were systems in place to warn of passing ships or if the outposts there were attacked.
Humans had been developing their own long range communication. William didn’t think they used voice, but they had improved significantly on the primitive systems that he’d helped develop in his previous life. Moreso in the past years, as they saw how useful it was on a larger scale, even outside of military contexts. Unfortunately the trust between humans and gevai wasn’t high enough to have a direct line of communication between leaders, since neither completely trusted the other. Even so, he still could communicate with the leaders of Liaoyang, Ostana and Ustil through their ambassadors. That had been useful in a few situations- usually involving human or gevai smugglers- that could have otherwise resulted in large diplomatic incidents. Not that the smugglers had as much profit to make, since many goods could legally ship across the borders without much fuss. Even so, there were certain illegal or highly tariffed goods that smugglers would still transport. It wasn’t possible to watch every inch of the borders at all times, so it was just something that had to be accepted- though they occasionally caught some. The incidents arose when the humans captured gevai or vice versa
While relations between humans and gevai were at an all-time high, it wasn’t as inspiring when he thought about what he was comparing it to. They were no longer slaughtering each other, but this hadn’t been the longest period without fighting. Sometimes, there had been too many people dead to continue for some time.
At least Ustil had a better-than-neutral attitude toward Cruonia. It was troublesome that they didn’t share a border, but over the years they had managed one feat William was rather proud of… an exchange of some citizens. There were several cities in each country where small populations of humans or gevai lived in a country that wasn’t theirs. It had taken some time for people to learn the languages and the cities were very carefully watched, but it was something.
William knew that people were people- which was both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing was that humans and gevai could get along… but also that they looked different from each other and had a long history of not liking each other, which made it harder for them to get along. However, they weren’t fundamentally different. They ate, drank, slept, and otherwise functioned the same. It was just that gevai grew physically much stronger, could always use magic at some level, and lived longer. That seemed heavily stacked in favor of the gevai, until one realized that there were at least a dozen humans for each of them.
William looked over the reports on his desk, and wondered about one of them. While he cared somewhat about birthrates, he wasn’t sure why any individual’s birth was of much important. They weren’t nobility or anything. Then he looked more closely at the report. Roque Strnad- a somewhat odd name combination. That wasn’t the important part. The important part was his parents, even if the people themselves were unimportant. One of them was a laborer, one a tavern maid. One a human… and one a gevai.
Lorelei had discussed that possibility with William in the past. Apparently, gevai and elves could produce offspring- and those could have children. Likewise, humans and elves could have offspring. There was probably some elven blood in most humans- though not to the point where it could be measured. The important thing was the possibility between humans and gevai. If the child wasn’t sterile like a mule or other crossbreed, then humans, elves, and gevai were basically the same species with very different traits. William wondered how dwarves fit into the equation. Unfortunately, he couldn’t just ask two people to try to have a child. Well, he wouldn’t. The important part of that was all of the dwarves he knew were prisoners… even if they were well taken care of.
In fact, most of the dwarves who had been captured were now under the care of the diviners. William didn’t mind having others take care of them, but he made sure to have groups sent to be checked on. He personally asked the dwarves about their treatment, and they were not only satisfied but happy with the care given them- though they mentioned missing their homeland. William felt something was strange about them… but he found no signs of compulsion or other issues. There was something they wouldn’t say, but they tried to avoid even letting on there was a secret. It didn’t seem like anything unpleasant to the dwarves, but rather something they wanted hidden from him. That made William want to know it more.
William had plans to integrate some dwarves into the test communities. He would have done so sooner, but he had been hoping for peaceful contact from the dwarves, in which case he would have returned them to their homeland- probably for ransom of some kind. They would have full freedoms- except to travel out of the cities without permission. William didn’t plan to just let any dwarves be involved, however. He made sure to only pick those with the best opinions of gevai- those who at least didn’t think of them as demons. Among the chosen dwarves were the first crew he had captured.
With them, William planned to send more people to watch on the cities. That included a dozen specially trained gevai who would be secretly watching over Roque Strnad. William would have liked to study him to see what the differences were, but it was better for him to live his life mostly unbothered. He would still be watched carefully, though. His birth was an important first step in future integration, even if it had probably been an accident.