I mentally ticked off the list of things left to do as I hurried into the main hall in Thronghar before the meeting of the Jarls. The meeting with Solkhar, Emissary of the Wolf Lord, God of the Hunt, went well but left me with my worries on my brow. It is not an easy thing to ask kings to yield their sovereignty to an Emperor and join together; even harder to demand a god submit as well. Especially when all of them were on bad terms overall to begin with. I shall just have to believe that the results of defeating the Dis together will prove more unifying than the years of raiding they did to each other I mused.
A few last minute flurries of activity around the room setting final preparations for the meeting to have the best chance of success. A great deal of care must be given to the small details for meetings like these. Such as chairs all of the same height, who sits where, and the titles announced as they arrive. From a son of a farmer of a tributary state to the Ysyr to holding a meeting for kings. I have come through strange paths to get here I chuckled to myself. Within a few minutes the final touches were finished, the servants received their final instructions, and now it was time to change and await the soon to be Emperor Brutus and the Jarls for the meeting to determine our future.
With all preparations done, I went to change and to also check on Rune to see how she was fairing getting dressed. She is still so new and young I can't help but worry. I plan on the Jarls meeting her tonight to demonstrate her ability if needed as a selling point. My worries were mostly unfounded as I entered her room. I found Rune mostly dressed, and after few clasps were redone, she was in proper order. I quickly changed as well and then instructed Rune to return to the hall with me, so that we could await the arrival of the Jarls.
Brutus arrived first as planned. Each of the Jarls would arrive soon. The nobles of Thronghar were each given the task of hosting one of the Jarls and their entourage with each of them. Not only did it make it cheaper for us, it gave the nobles a chance to speak to each other and hopefully make more friendly ties. It was good to see Brutus again. We exchanged short greetings before he claimed his throne and we continued waiting for the Jarls to arrive. The first Jarl was the one from Freyerdawn. Next to arrive was Harkynvhal and Jotenfhan's Jarls. The last was Solkhar with the entourage of the Wolf God. Solkhar brought two massive boars carried by 4 men each as a gift for the feast once our meeting finished.
I took a deep breath as each of the Jarls and their escorts greeted each other and settled in. Rune sensed my nervousness a bit and a gentle squeeze to my hand and smile encouraged me. I smiled back and with renewed calm and confidence awaited the Jarls to settle for the matter at hand.
"Jarls, thank you for traveling here from your homes. Although the Dis fleet has been defeated and we have had time to bury the dead, assess the damages, and begin repairs. I have asked all of you here today for deciding our future. No city would have withstood the Dis assault alone. No peoples would have survived the tremendous onslaught we were subjected to alone. It was only by each of you joining together and fighting as allies, that we were able to win; even though our victory came at high cost to us. Jotenfhan is in ruins, Harkynvhal was damaged widely as well. Freyerdawn farms were burned and harvest stolen. The woods of the Wolf god were assaulted and Thronghar was tested as well. Each of our cities were attacked separately by a coordinated enemy. While losses varied between all of the cities you rule, in the end we managed to carry the day. This happened because we all carried the day by working together. I have called this meeting to announce the formation of the Sol Empire with Brutus as the Emperor of this new country. I am asking for each of you to continue the common cause we have moving forward now not as 5 separate people, but as one nation. The cost of not doing this is high. Look to the west and see the charred remains of Sybrefir for what happens to those who would stand alone. The proposition is simple. Each of the Jarls will continue ruling their city. Each of you have the wisdom and governance already in place to have your talents best used in your positions you already hold. Each of you will be on the advisory council to the Emperor. Taxes will be collected locally as well as a new imperial tax to fund common defense and improvements for the peninsula. Imperial law will be written and will be the law followed in the matters it covers. Local law and customs will apply to any situation not covered under the Imperial law. The time has come to not only remember our differences but see our commonality and forge together our strengths. This is my proposition to you all."
The few moments of silence as my words finished were deafening before the Jarls leaned to their escorts they brought and low words were spoken as each deliberated the proposition that was given by me.
The Jarl of Jotenfhan spoke first. "My city is in ruins many of our warriors were slain in the fighting. How do you propose to rebuild the city Zhuge?"
"With stone Jarl. The city will be rebuilt with stone and will have walls and expanded docks for future naval ships and defenses." I replied.
"Where do you think you will get so much stone hmm?" the Jarl continued.
I managed to suppress a slight smirk as I spoke, "Jarl, the stone is all around us; you stand on it. Allow me to demonstrate where the stone will come from." At that I turned to Rune, "My dear please go and retrieve for me a piece of the stone we will rebuild Jotenfhan with. "
A quick "Yes Master" was uttered and she curtsied before silently sinking into the stone floor and disappearing.
I quickly turned back to the Jarls, "Rune is my first creation I have made. She will be rebuilding much of the cities that were damaged and future projects for the Empire. While her looks may seem otherwise, she is quite skilled in building and repairs and her service will be instrumental in building the Empire."
At this time Jarl Ma'Grov of Harkynvhal spoke up. "The people who fled Jotenfhan currently staying within my city. It is not been easy hosting them. When will this project be done so they may go home. I prefer them to not stay any longer then they must."
"Jarl Ma'Grov I with my comrades did not fight so hard defending all of you to have expected such words. Especially in light of the fact these last few weeks the repairs I and Rune have already made to your city to restore the damage the Dis caused." I replied, obviously irritated.
Jarl Ma'Gov leaned back, stopping his words in response to the unexpected and truthful rebuke. The silence was short lived as the Jarl of Jotenfhan and Jarl Ma'Grov began a discussion that started to become heated as first insinuations then outright accusations was beginning. Before things could escalate much further I decided to take action. Slamming my hand into the table I shouted, "Enough!" as lightning discharged around my hand and away from me charging the room from the action. "I will say it again, I did not fight as hard as I did or go through the troubles I have on all of your behalves for you to all act as bickering women! You are Jarls each in charge of your people act with the gravity of your position." Silence fell again on the room. After a few moments I asked them all again, "so Jarls and Emissary, what are your decisions?"
What happened next caught everyone in the room by surprise. The Emissary of the Wolf God stood and radiating the full power of his massive bulk, and no small martial skill said, "I wish to speak. Fenrhinor and the Wolf Lord, after speaking with Zhuge, fully support the proposed alliance and unification of the peoples." With an iron glance as he surveyed each Jarl in the room as he continued, "I would expect surely if even Fenfhinor is willing to support this, see its value ,and truth of the words, none of you would have further objections? As proof of the approval of this, the 8 scouts I have brought with me will help in hunting down the horseman who attacked Freyerdawn and Sybrefir so we might find the cause and what needs done for their attacks. The boars also are a token of goodwill for our feast in what will hopefully become the first of many of us all unified as one."
With that the Emmissary sat back down. The silence was as loud as it was still, each Jarl clearly did not expect to hear the words that were spoken just now. The weight was palpable from the words as each one weighed the proposal in a different light. While each weighed the words spoken, I spoke again to them all. "Jarl of Jotenfhan, Many of your warriors were lost in the battle. Were you aware the Freyerdawn has a patron diety of fertility? It may be greatly to your peoples benefit to travel there and offer prayers and offerings to bless your women and remaining men with virility and fertility to help in bringing the next generation of your people to pass.
It was at this moment that Rune slowly rose again from the floor carrying a perfectly cut brick of marble. She smiled and said, "Master", as she handed me the prize. I smiled back to her as I took the brick and slid it to the Jarl of Jotenfhan.
"This is a sample of the stone that will be used to rebuild your city.
It was then that the Jarl of Freyerdawn spoke, addressing the Jarl of Jotenfhan, "If your people would decide to travel to our city we would be willing to offer them home and a chance to beseech our goddess as well. You can stay with us while your city is rebuilt. Freyerdawn sees the wisdom of the words of Zhuge and we agree to the unification."
The Jarl of Jotenfhan grunted but then spoke up. "Thank you Jarl, with the offer you made we will take you up on it. Your goddess may be a big help to my peoples and the extra space would be welcome. It will also best serve Harkynvhal as well. Jotenfhan agrees to this unification as well."
Jarl Ma'Grov brow was furrowed as he listened and still weighed everything." While we are happy to see that you will have another place to stay Jarl of Jotenfhan we will offer our support to your people to help restore your city as soon as we can so that you may return to being good neighbors to us going forward. In light of Fenrhinor agreeing and so strongly supporting this and the rest of you as well, Harkynvhal also agrees to the unification. "
With that the final city had committed. Brutus who had been playing his sanxian with a beautiful and soothing melody stopped and set it aside his throne. He then stood and loudly clapped his hands and said, "It is finished and with this we are all now one peoples. With this we shall now fest to celebrate!"
The relief and joy rushed through me like I had been holding my breath. The Jarl of Freyerdawn leaned towards me and said. "I do not know how you have done this Zhuge. You have taken 5 enemies and unified them. Even I am aiding those who raided my city regularly to recover and to regain their strength. You continue to surprise and intrigue me Zhuge."
At that I smiled and bowed slightly as I said, "Jarl you flatter me way more than necessary. I provided the opportunity, it was all of you who have seized the future for your people today. I will be here to support it. "
With that I withdrew away from the Jarls to make sure the feast preparations were going smoothly and to give them time to speak privately. Rune was like a child with surprise and excitement, "Master you did it! You got them all to be friends! "
Well Rune I think friendship is a ways off for them all but they are definitely on the path to the future of protecting their people and making them prosper. Let us enjoy the moment and the food Rune, today is a day to celebrate. Today we are an Empire unified; E. Pluribus Unum. "
Rune lit up at hearing the old realm as she exclaimed "from the many, one." Today you have made this true Master.
I smiled as we reached the chambers," now let us get you into an appropriate outfit to feast and celebrate Rune, today is truly a wonderful one."