“She was Kriya’s best queen.”
The King repeated the words, and he raised his head, his eyes falling on the flames dancing in the hearth.
“Of course she was.”
The bard smiled with delight.
“Thank you,” said the King softly.
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The bard bowed deeply: “This is what we should do, and the people of Kriya are willing to aid you.”
He backed away gently, leaving room for the King to be alone.
February was soon to pass.
The bard was ordered by the King to sing an ancient ballad in the Northland. It was the ballad when the Rose family ruled the Northland. The soft ballad was used as the entry point to contrast with the harsh rule of the state royal family. The King used this method cleverly to divert the hatred of the people of the Northland and awaken the connection between the Northland and the Rose family.
The second step in the propaganda offensive was to reveal the system implemented by the Rose family when they ruled the Northland.
During that period, the Rose family treated the Northland equally, and the people of the Northland and Legrand enjoyed the same treatment.
On one side was the harsh labor feudal system, on the other side was pardon and equal preferential treatment.
As long as one was not a fool, it was not difficult to make the corresponding choice.
The sporadic and scattered rebels put down their weapons, and the turmoil in the Northland completely subsided. At this time, the King received an unexpected surprise: Under the leadership of a former mid-level rebel officer named “Wood”, a group of free people who had participated in the rebel movement jointly signed a letter to the King, requesting the King to remove them from the rule of the royal family of the state.
After reading the joint petition, the King looked up at the young officer who was standing in front of him a little nervously.
Officer Wood was in his early twenties, with a typical Northland red face. He was very tall, and his gray-blue eyes carried the vigor of a young man. He was somewhat similar to General Ayton, whose head was beheaded by the King some time ago. He was also of an ordinary farmer background, and he climbed up to the position of a middle-level officer in the army by relying on his courage and strength.
“I heard that you have given General Edmund a lot of trouble.”
The King closed the petition and looked at the officer before him.
“You came to see me in person, are you not worried?”
He was referring to when General Edmund was assisting Earl Henry in attacking Balboa, this young officer had predicted their marching route and set up an ambush in the valley. If it wasn’t for the fact that they were too small in number and Ingres’ soldiers were especially adapted to the mountainous terrain, then who knew what the outcome of that battle might be.
However, at that time, the young officer still managed to lead his elite troops to escape.
“Since Earl Henry could still be commissioned to command such a large army, then I don’t think I have anything to worry about.” Wood replied.
Earl Henry once chose the New Royalist Party in the “Rose Crisis”, and also attacked many Royalist Party castles. Even people like Earl Henry could be reused by the King in this counter-insurgency campaign. This was the source of Officer Wood’s daring this time——he felt that King Legrand was not as violent and bloody as the rumors say.
“You have a candid character.”
The King smiled slightly.
Officer Wood bowed to express his sincerity: “I think that you would rather hear some truths than grandiose speeches. Or could it be that you would reject the surrender of your subjects after repentance? Your Majesty.”
“Of course not.” The King pressed his fingertips together, “Who would refuse a young and talented general?”
“General?” Officer Wood caught the information in the King’s words, and his red face became redder with excitement, “You mean…..”
“When you had the courage to step in here, this already became yours.”
The King smiled.
He handed a letter of appointment to Officer Wood.
The King was originally planning to choose such a person in the first place.
After all the royal members of Balboa and Newcastle had been purged by the King, there became a power vacuum here. The formation of a new local government must take into account many things. There was no doubt that the vast majority of candidates for the two new governments must be members who had the Rose royal family’s trust, as this place here must be under the close control of the King.
However, the King did not intend to appoint only Legrandians to govern these places. Whether it was due to their familiarity with the specific local conditions or their acceptance by the Northlanders, that would not be a good idea.
It would be easy to cause turmoil to break out again in the land that was finally recovered.
In the process of Balboa and Newcastle’s complete integration with Legrand, the King must use some softer means to appease the local people.
He needed a Northlander for an important position.
This Northlander needed to be smart enough, possess a certain influence, and not be born within the noble class.
Officer Wood met those criteria, if not more.
Officer Wood was born as a peasant. Appointing him as one of the consuls would allow farmers in the Northland to see the hope of improving their status and rights. He was originally a member of the rebel army, but he became of use to the King which would allow those who participated in the rebellion to no longer be afraid. And to a certain extent, this could also dilute the impact of some of the King’s previous tough measures. Officer Wood could only have power and status with the support of the King, and the relationship of interests would prevent him from rebelling as easily as the local nobles.
And Officer Wood’s joint petition also reflected his political acumen.
He was the smart man the King needed.
“I hope you won’t disappoint me.”
The King said to Officer Wood, who knelt on one knee and swore the oath of allegiance.
“Of course, I looked up when I entered the city.” Officer Wood replied, he paused, and asked earnestly, “This might be a little presumptuous of me but may I ask…..will you make the Northland better? Will it be like in the song that is sung, peaceful and beautiful?”
“Yes, it will.”
The King answered.
Officer Wood raised his fist and knocked on his heart: “Then I’m reassured.”
He took his leave, finally with the weight off his mind.
Unbeknownst to Officer Wood, his last, somewhat impolite question got him past the final test by the King. The King didn’t dislike people who were ambitious and eager to gain power. But someone who was ambitious and wanted to make his hometown better would be even more suitable for that position.
Officer Wood left Bomari Castle with the good news, and the King began to issue a series of formal orders:
Legrand took back the rights that had been given to the royal family of Balboa and Newcastle. From then on, the royal family of Legrand directly ruled the two places, and Balboa and Newcastle were changed from country to county. The new county officials were appointed by the King himself.
All military castle deacons in both places were reappointed.
The fiefdom judicial courts of the two places were abolished, and the King established local fixed courts.
Balboa and Newcastle would have the right to freely elect city representatives to participate in the Legrand Imperial Council.
This series of decrees were called “Northern Old Regulations”, which meant that it did not establish a new system in the Northland, but restored its former rights when it was ruled by the Rose family.
When the governments of Balboa and Newcastle started to be formed, the conscription duration had already ended, and the King dismissed the assembled troops one after another, leaving only the Iron Rose Cavalry and the knights who would be rewarded.
End of February 1433.
The thick snow began to melt, the melted snow and ice converged into rivers, and new shoots began to sprout.
The King left behind the former subordinate of the Duke of Buckingham——the lieutenant-general to guard Bomari Castle, while he himself led the Iron Rose Cavalry and set off to return to the rose palace.
The lieutenant-general stood on the wall of Bomari Castle, watching the King lead the Iron Rose Cavalry away, and looked up at the tall tower in the center of the castle.
“Winter is over.”
The news of the victory in the war in the North had been sent back to Legrand some time ago.
Everyone in the capital rejoiced. The victory of this war was beyond the people’s imagination, and the chroniclers did not hesitate to praise the King’s achievements in tones of admiration. Today, the King would return in triumph, so a group of nobles, the mayor, all members of the city council, and hundreds of guild members waited quietly outside the city gate.
At the head of this group of people was General Johan.
In just a few months, General Johan became more steady and mature, even a bit stern. When some old nobles saw him, they almost thought they were seeing the young Duke of Buckingham. At this time, he was standing in front of the procession, sitting upright on his horse. But somewhat puzzlingly, General Johan was wearing a pair of iron gauntlets.
This did not seem to be in accordance with etiquette.
But no one dared to ask General Johan.
“Here there come! His Majesty is back!”
The crowd who had been looking forward to this moment suddenly broke out into noise.
Smoke and dust rose on the horizon, and the returning triumphant knights galloped in the bright sun. They held high the scarlet banners as they left, and the hundreds of Rose royal banners unfolded like a boiling sea of blood. Compared with when they left, the auras of these knights became even more intimidating.
From a long distance, one could feel the momentum that could overcome all obstacles.
Indomitable and indestructible.
The crowd was silent at first, and then cheered louder than before, and the cheers were full of pride——this was their King of Legrand! This was Legrand’s army! Their knights!
The triumphant cavalry gradually approached, and General Johan, who had been standing still, suddenly rode forward. General Johan’s disrespectful behavior caused the others to look at each other in blank dismay, and then they saw the knight at the head of the returning cavalry raise his whip, and the entire Iron Rose Cavalry stopped in unison.
The sound of galloping horses faded suddenly, and it seemed that there were only two horses and two knights looking at each other left in the world.
The King watched quietly as General Johan rode his horse over.
In front of the King, General Johan dismounted.
The King also dismounted. General Johan looked more like a young lion than he had ever remembered.
“I’m very sorry.”
The King whispered. The others were too far from them. Here stood only a pair of brothers, not a king and his general. The King didn’t say why he was sorry, but they both knew why.
“You don’t have to feel guilty.” General Johan stared into the King’s eyes. “He had already made such preparations. He left some things behind. I think you might want to take a look when you go back.”
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The King did not speak.
General Johan gave the King a hug and whispered, “He’s always been proud of you.”
Letting go of the King, General Johan took a step back, knelt down on one knee, raised his fist and struck his heart:
“I have prepared my long sword and iron gloves, Your Majesty, please allow me to be your defender!”
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