Niobe’s retinue headed for Yndarr. The meeting was over and building had begun. She knew that all the governors had, in essence, pledged fealty to the new council and whoever sat as master of that council. She only hoped that the one picked to head it would prove to be wise. She placed her hope in the men and women who would form the eventual council.
She prayed to the gods that whoever was picked would have the wisdom to lead. After all, the governors needed someone else to lead. Someone to give them all direction and purpose as a region. Sudia needed a strong central leader, one that would oppose the emperor and the traditional nobilis.
For too long, a darkness had been allowed to spread across the four lands. For too long, the nobilis turned a blind eye to it. For too long, they had allowed the blight to consume all that had been beautiful as they squabbled among themselves and hid behind their addictions. For too long, they had allowed their former glories to fade and become unimportant.
Now it was time for a change. Desperate times called for desperate measures. This was one of those desperate measures. This was one of those changes.
Niobe knew that she had lit the fire. Now it was time for someone else to stoke the flames. It was time for someone less conspicuous or, at least, less connected to lead. The governors would concern themselves with building armies, patrolling borders, and supplying what was needed for those in command. Those who took command of the councils would have to lead in regulations, laws, and decision making.
This didn’t mean that the governors wouldn’t supply their input. They would. The council masters would make the final decisions. It was best that way.
After all, the governors still had their cities to oversee. Village overseers had their villages and the mayors had their smaller towns. None had time or resources to be masters of any council. Perhaps a mage or an assassin would take the job.
She shrugged off her thoughts of the councils and who would lead them. She was just glad that she was not the one to do so. Yndarr needed her more than any council. She smiled and looked over at her companions. It had been a boon that the goddess had decided to accompany her party back.
Thaila had been travelling for days on the road from Caueli, Estryn’s most important city. Accompanied by her sister Laila and seven other companions, her mission was to meet with Niobe, governess of Yndarr, and form an alliance between the two cities. If agreed to, the cities would exchange diplomats—Thaila and her retinue being Caueli’s diplomatic picks. Whoever Yndarr chose for the diplomats to Caueli would have to head out from their city as soon as they were picked so that the alliance would be complete.
All within her troop were accomplished huntresses and warriors. Thaila’s bow was strung across her back, her quiver at her right side. Although this was an unusual way to carry her quiver, she found it easier to access when in an emergency…or a battle. Her sister was similarly attired, but with her quiver at her left side.
The darkness, Thaila found herself thinking, had spread long enough across the four lands. Let the emperor consolidate his power in Austryn. The remaining three lands would unite into a confederacy that would rival his little empire. Besides. They had all the allies worth having. He had what? The Inquisition?
She snickered at the thought. Inquisition Seekers were sniveling idiots. Cowards. Demon possessed chamber pots that thought they had power.
She knew from experience. She’d had to kill her share of them. They preyed on women, children and the elderly…not to mention the outworlders who ventured into the four lands. They were like vultures circling above a carcass. Horrid creatures.
The roads were now safer since Estryn, Sudia, and Nordia all agreed to expel the unwanted outlaws. They were made more safe since the Inquisition was refused any entrance into the three lands. Now no one tried to stop them as they made their way toward their destination.
Sudis was quickly taking shape. The residences had all been easy to build, thus took little time to erect. The council houses, on the other hand, were a different matter altogether. Cyrcadian found the plans for the council halls a bit more intricate than a simple abode. There had to be a certain number of offices per hall within the massive buildings and all halls had to lead to a large auditorium-like council chamber where the councils would meet. Not to mention the great hall where the councils would dine during sessions. Or the privy chambers. Or the galley where the meals would be prepared.
So many rooms to go into one large maze. So many ways for the construction to go horribly wrong. Why had the architect made it so complicated? Or had the idea come from someone else connected to the project? No matter. He prayed to his gods that all would go smoothly.
No matter what, the construction had to continue. He only hoped it would not be as difficult as it looked to build. If it was, he knew that there would be deaths and accidents. Mistakes.
Still, he was one of the best. He knew how to build the most difficult structures. He had been successful many times before, but at a smaller scale. He knew that he could complete this project successfully as well. It would just be a challenge.
It was dark when Niobe’s retinue entered Yndarr. It had taken three days to travel the distance home and she was ready for a little rest and relaxation. The meetings had taken their toll on her, but she still wanted her subjects to know that their governess was back. She smiled. Odd how politics and the showy aspects of being in power worked. Still, she loved her city and all of its inhabitants. Unsanctioned crime would fall to an all-time low as sobriety would rise to an all-time high.
But Yndarr would continue to play the role of safe haven for those exiled or fleeing for safety. Sanctuary would always be offered to any who needed it, no questions asked. As long as peace was not disturbed and crime did not rise, the individual would remain welcomed in the city. If trouble rose because of the individual, they would be executed or sent away.