Wizard! Chapter 514
Though he did his best to appear unconcerned about a nation suddenly appearing beneath Cruonia, William had a number of concerns. He wasn’t worried about them in a military manner, though perhaps they could cause that sort of trouble. Instead, the things of more immediate concern were functional, nation-related troubles. For example, how far into the ground did Cruonia now own? Given that The Allied Subterranean Territories hadn’t been discovered, they had either avoided all of the mining areas, or were very deep underground. Perhaps both.
Then there was a mess that was borders. With borders being along the plane of the ground and not by geographical separations like a mountain… they could enter Cruonia from almost anywhere. The same was true in reverse, once they knew where the entrances were.
It would have been simple if they just became part of Cruonia- but William doubted that would be feasible in the near future. Besides the fact that he suspected they also extended under the human countries, they had their own culture and leadership. They wouldn’t just want to hand that control over to him, even if he had been determined to not be a horrible person.
William looked around the council chambers. The ambassadors from underground had half returned to speak of the initial negotiations, while the rest had stayed just like other foreign dignitaries. Currently the council chambers were filled with just his actual council- a few gevai lords qualified to advise him in certain matters and those who weren’t lords but still had excellent advisory capabilities. Jordan and Lorelei were among them.
Jordan was currently addressing the group, “Because of the different border situation, it would be impractical to try to restrict border crossing to a small number of points. There are no natural barriers to be had but the ground itself. That said, it would be best to move forward with a system of identification, starting with merchants. As they seem to have control over their own side, we will start by trying to negotiate an initial restriction in passage that is pleasing to both sides- not to large, but enough to encourage trade and good relations. Depending on locations, I suggest we set up a number or trading outposts or direct them to nearby cities. After people are more comfortable with the transition we can allow for more freedom of movement.”
Lord Abiel Thorsten spoke up at that point, “I am concerned they might try to take advantage of the situation to acquire territory of interest to them…”
“What?” William asked, “You think they see past my tough, frightening exterior to the soft, weak person inside?”
Lord Thorsten had supported William since the beginning of his reign, so he wasn’t ignorant of his abilities. “I would never mean to imply you are weak… even without recent events. However, your desire for a lack of large scale conflicts is easily apparent. While a few concessions would not be out of hand…”
William shrugged, “Is that not why I have advisors? You can tell me where I go too far, or not far enough. So far, they have made no demands to hand back their ancestral lands… not that they can likely recall much about them anyway. From what I can tell the dwarves preferred the underground for the most part anyway… and the elves that live with them have become part of them.”
Lorelei nodded, “You had mentioned some half-elf half-dwarves, correct?” William nodded. The elves with beards were somewhat shorter and stockier. They might not have actually been half-and-half, but they certainly weren’t pureblooded. The opposite had been true of those with traits closer to dwarves as well- some were thinner and a bit taller, with thinner beards. “They seem quite different from those who left the continent. More importantly, however… it advances the point we see with Roque Strnad. If elves and dwarves can have viable offspring, it is likely that any combination of the four races can. I know there are small bits of elven ancestry in some humans and gevai- even if it is barely visible at this point. We already have a small number of human citizens… anyone who wishes to reclaim an ancient heritage can purchase land as a citizen of Cruonia. Of course, most of them have settled into their new homes quite comfortably… as the passage of untold years facilitates.”
William smiled, “Having a larger population of different types of citizens would be advantageous. Gevai population growth is low… and we have more space than we really need. Having a handful of generations of mixed peoples would hopefully finish removing the idea of us as demons from people’s minds. Though that won’t likely help with Eclea…”
Lord Thorsten nodded, “Having a larger population to produce good that we don’t have to trade for would be nice. Though I am well aware of the advantages of the gevai… there are certain disadvantages to people who don’t die of old age. It requires the removal of some persons through violence. While we are quite capable of that, it’s not the best use of resources.” He nodded toward William, “We especially don’t want the king to have to go deal with things personally all the time.”
“Hmm. Yes.” William nodded, “Now then… I don’t think there is much else we can discuss here until new information arrives. If you’ll excuse us,” William gestured to Lorelei, “we need to go help my sister plan her wedding.”
It had taken Theo a dozen years to propose to Sarah, but William didn’t blame him. Too many people rushed into relationships only to have them broken apart by virtue of shallow connections. While not all relationships would be successful long term, proper consideration was in order regardless of whether or not it might still fail. A dozen years for a proposal after a longer period of knowing each other was a bit long, but William couldn’t really criticize. Though at least he’d had reasons where it hadn’t exactly been a possible relationship before he became a gevai.
William loved Lorelei, but even they had issues. They weren’t necessarily with each other, but Lorelei often developed a bad mood after too much time ‘queening’. While she might have agreed it was necessary, that wouldn’t mean she wouldn’t unconsciously blame him for the unpleasantness. Long term maintenance of their relationship was important- especially since they couldn’t just wait a few dozen years for the other to die. While some gevai lords cycled through mistresses, William saw a trend between that and how reliable they were in other matters. One thing he needed the most for running a kingdom was reliability.