Word spread quickly throughout Sudia. soon, every hamlet, village, town, and farmer in the land knew of the formation of the Sudian Council. They knew that they were to elect their representatives from among their own and send them forth to decide where the Council would be settled. There was a unanimity in the building of a city specifically for the Council that was more centralized and a founding member was more than glad to cede enough land to build Sudis, the city of the Sudian Council. Sudis would be spread out over a vast area, allowing for enough room to move freely.
The guilds had decided that a Sudian Guild Council would also add a more stabilizing force in the land by unifying the scattered, loosely organized Guild charters of every Guild. There would be halls for the different Guilds as well as a main Guild hall where all the Guilds would come together as they did in the other cities. There, they would design the defense of the city, form a governing body for the Guilds themselves, and record the many unwritten laws that governed the Guilds, thus creating the Guild Codex so that successive generations would have the laws in their purest form. Their original form.
Special elections were being held throughout Sudia, breaking a centuries old decree banning such events. It was open rebellion. From that point, there was no turning back. It was all or nothing.
It wasn’t like the emperor could actually do anything about the elections. He was too far away. By the time he would send any forces to end the elections, they would already be done and the decisions made anyway. Besides. His forces would be met at the border and turned back toward the capitol.
Strangely enough, a more ancient Guild, The Builders’ Guild, reemerged from a long absence to begin the building of Sudis. This guild was mostly masons, architects, and artisans and only emerged when a city was being planned or being built. And there was a city being planned.
At the Guild’s head was Cyrcadian. A master mason, he had built many a building in his fifty years alongside the master architect, Tharkanis. The rest of the Guild followed their lead, though it rarely took a cohesive form to meet or decide any course of action. It simply existed, a group of professionals who worked together to build and create beauty.
But they had been asked to form a real Guild and sit among the rest. It was even planned for them to have their own personal hall. And all the members felt it was a good idea. They could train apprentices, creating new Masters to send to other cities to train Guilds there. It was an opportunity worth accepting.
It was an honor to be asked to form a Guild. Perhaps other Guilds would grow out of this single chance, but it was wisest to go one Guild at a time. Never press one’s luck. It could turn out badly.
To the east, Estryn was also beginning to add more sentries on their western border. The news from Sudia had sparked a sense of elation and set in motion similar events to those taking place to the south. Word from Nordia had also filtered south about how the same things were taking place there as well.
Councils were being formed, representatives were being picked for the Alliance Council, and armies being rebuilt. The borders were being fortified and outlaws expelled as well. Three lands were unifying against the emperor and openly defying his decrees. They were openly building armies, building a sentry defense on their borders, and creating an alliance. The empire was now little more than a single province, Austryn.
The governors were glad not to be in total control but, rather, under the guidance of an independent council made up of citizens. It made it easier for them to run their cities and the surrounding villages, towns, and hamlets. Soldiering became an elective service that many, man and woman, opted for. Soon, the three lands would have armies that would be formidable and more than equal to the emperor’s own forces.
Seasoned soldiers rigorously trained the newest recruits to ensure they would be able to fight in any skirmish that might come their way. It was imperative to have a strong standing army, a defense so unbreakable that no invasion could break through the lines. They had to be ready for the most ruthless, least humane, and most cruel of forces. Kyrzhad’s army was the least likely to fight fair.
And they would have demons on their side. It was no secret that the Inquisition had offered the emperor their fealty. Or, at least, a self-serving alliance that was temporary at best. Yes, Kyrzhad would also have Seekers.
And Seekers were nasty. Half demon, half human, they were an abomination that had been created by Golmagug’s bargain with the Demon King. Youths went into the Valthrid and Seekers came out. No one had actually witnessed the process of the change and lived to tell, but it was rumored to be horrible to behold.
First through fourth year Seekers were not demon spawn, only fifth year and beyond. The black cloaked ones whose cowls hid their visage. The younger were still human. The fifth year of service was the transition. It was considered a rite of manhood. The gods forbid the Seeker was female.
But all that was rumor. None of it was based on any hard evidence that supported the claims. All the same, the lords of Nordia, Estryn, and Sudia feared and loathed the Inquisition and its servants. They resisted weakening to Golmagug’s organization and now could stop the evil before it spread into their lands. Never again would the Inquisition’s shadow extend beyond Austryn.
Kyrzhad’s rage was now out of control. Three provinces had fallen away from the empire. Three provinces were in need of reconquest. Former provinces were now no longer under its control and former allies were becoming enemies. He would see to their downfall. But first, he had wars to start beyond the western border of Austryn. He had to make war on the barbarian tribes associated with the Orders of the Dark Ring.
After he conquered them, he would move on to the western mountain kingdoms and the sea kings beyond. Then there were the lands of Muspel, divided as they were by a river, and the eastern wastes. Finally, he would make war upon the Horse Lords and the Eastern mountain kingdoms. he would spread his power over the lands not gathered against him.
Yes, that was what he would do. He would defeat the kings beyond the Renge to find new conscripts for his armies. He would show the gods and the three rebellious provinces who was truly in control. He smiled. It was time to plan.