Chapter 13

Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing well. As always sorry for the wait but while my plan was to shorten chapters they have in fact gotten longer. Its like there is always something more to add lol.

With that said I was thinking of Introducing a form of Bushidō to Lelouch and CC's people. Now this will be after the current arch I guess you call it but it's a thought. So I will be making a poll for that.

On to Q&A

RoyalTwinFangs yes like the Vietnam War.

Blackholelord not a question but thank you. :)

Guest who said something about holidays. I over looked that but you right I do need to add some and soon.

Guest who said something about a holy sword I have had some thoughts that ran along the same lines as that. Have an idea and will be adding most likely.

ThatOneGuyUpstairs to answer your question is not easy. To put it in a way they potentially do such a thing but what are the consequences and draw backs. Well, he go off before they get him to were they need him and will the after effects be permanent? These are things they don't know or have anyway of knowing. They had learned long ago they could manipulate the laws of the code but that was in their own world. Steinporr's is proof that the laws have changed with their coming to a new world and universe. What would have happened if Steinporr's power had gone out of control on a much larger scale? It is enough reason for them to show caution and give out lower grade geasses. Now Steinporr's geasses while I never said it was mature it was. With that said as CC and Lelouch become strong so does the geasses they can give out and unforeseen circumstances will happen. Not saying Steinporr will be the last but not saying he won't.

Amerdism if you give me your know a place I can post a pic of were its located let me know. To answer your question most likely it will expand more east than west after Attila passes away.

yesboss21 I will look it up.

Oh, an to clear up any confusion when the dragons talk in bold that is when they are talking out loud. in normal text they are speaking telepathically.

Now on with the story.

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-Minas Tirith 36 AMH or 51 BC-

As Lelouch stood outside the only Pizza Hut in the city and, more than likely, the world, he had to wonder if he and his wife were sane anymore. It was a question he asked himself before many times but hardly cared to look forward into. Yet his wife's latest actions had him reevaluating their current mindsets and had come to the conclusion that they had indeed lost if fully than most of their minds. You only had to look at the thirty-foot-tall solid gold statue of Cheese-Kun that was right next to the Pizza Hut to realize that. Now some would point out that just because his wife made a statue of her favorite mascot of her favorite food did mean he lost his mind too. But he would have to disagree, seeing as he really didn't care that she did so. Something any rational thinking person would have been against.

Then again, what was insanity in an insane world? If they had indeed lost their minds, then what did that say about the people who followed them or the unbelievable popularity of Cheese-Kun. No sooner had CC reinvented pizza and Cheese-Kun than did they both become extremely popular with the people of their kingdom. It had only been a year since the Pizza Hut opening, and already Cheese-Kunkun was everywhere. Drawings, painting, clothes with him stitched into them, and everything in between. Really Lelouch was just happy TV and movies didn't exist yet in this world, or it would be there too. Not that any of that was really a bad thing, mind you. It was an excellent boom to the economy, and most importantly, his son Achilles liked Cheese-Kun as well.

Looking down at said blonde hair gold eyed son who was busy eating a slice of pizza in his favorite yukata with Cheese-Kun stitched all over and holding a Cheese-Kun plushie, Lelouch couldn't help but smile. Born just two months after the execution of Oro and at the beginning of summer, his birth was received with an even greater celebration than that of his sister. Like with his sister, the celebration of his birth ran for several days and concluded with his revealing to the public. Unlike Hela's, however, his birth came after a series of tragic events that made his birth just all that more wonderful to the people. And that he was the first boy born to the royal family.

While CC and he had been pushing equality between the two sexes, it didn't change the fact that they lived in a time where people put more emphasis on the birth of a son than a daughter. To them, Achilles was a symbol of stability for the kingdom that had not been there before. While it was clear that Lelouch and CC were immortal at this point, they never hid the fact that they would one day pass on. This fact worried both the common class and those of the higher class seeing as they only knew them as their rulers. A worry that would become even more so as time passed and generation after generation passed away. Yet now that Achilles was born, that worry lessened dramatically due to the belief that even if they passed away today, there would still be someone around to lead them to come tomorrow.

Which was stupid, seeing as Hela as it stood was their heir till such a time as she didn't wish to be, or Achilles showed he was more capable than she was. Something a six-year-old couldn't hope to do against a sixteen-year-old. Then again, Lelouch could kind of understand why they were so hopeful, seeing as he was already showing signs of how strong he would grow to be. At the same age as Achilles, Attila had been a prodigy learning most things at a more manageable pace than those of the same age or older. But compared to Achilles, he would have looked slow. For example, on Achilles's fifth birthday, Attila had sent him a composite bow he had made himself with a draw weight of fifty pounds. A weight that, to everyone's surprise, was easy for Achilles to draw back on.

Now Lelouch and CC had already known that from Gawain and Hela is that their children were above the average human. They never got sick, had stronger bones, increased healing abilities, and were stronger than other humans. Gawain himself loved to work out when he was alive, and a little over five foot nine and one hundred sixty pounds, he could lift up to twelve hundred pounds with ease and had a max lift of close to twenty-five hundred. While not type to do such things, Hela had been seen lifting a fully loaded wagon for a merchant who broke a wheel. A total weight had been said to be over three hundred or five hundred pounds, depending on who told you what. Right now, at just six, Achilles was already able to lift two hundred pounds. How strong he would be when he became an adult would be interesting to see.

Yet it would seem for all this strength Achilles showed signs of being only as an average child when it came to intelligence. Unlike both Gawain and Hela, the early signs of genius academically were not there. By six, both Gawain and Hela were years ahead of what would have been the typical education of Britannia. Reading, writing, and math came easy to them, but for Achilles, they were subjects he was sadly just average at. Not that it was surprising that he was. CC herself was, in fact, of average intelligence; it just didn't show because she had over a millennium of experience to draw from. His brother Odysseus, whose mother was a genius if not a naïve woman, was mediocre. So, if two geniuses could have a child like that, then the chances of him and CC having one was relatively high as well.

Not that Achilles was a disappointment to him for not being a genius. He was just destined for a different path in life. One that most likely revolved around the martial side of life. Something that worried Lelouch greatly. One thing he never wanted but had to accept was seeing any of his children on the battlefield. If the king does not lead, then how can he expect his subordinates to follow. The same principle would go for the royal family as well. If they did not show themselves as leaders of the kingdom, then how long till people tried to overthrow them?

"Daddy, what are you thinking about?" The young voice of Achilles is heard asking.

Looking at his young son Lelouch says, "Nothing of importance, Achilles. Now hurry up and finish eating. Your sister will be arriving back home soon, and we don't want to be late, do we?"

"No, daddy." Achilles said in an excited voice, then started to stuff his mouth with food like a pig. He was happy his sister was coming back home because she promised to teach him how to throw knives like she could.

As his son finished eating, Lelouch turned his thoughts to his oldest child. Over the last six years, Hela had really come into her own. Now sixteen years old, his child had grown from a small, scrawny yet cute girl into a young and beautiful woman, much to his displeasure. Standing at around six foot one, with flowing black hair that reached down to the middle of her back and a slim body, she was often called the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, if not the known world. Due to her beauty, you would think she would have quite a few suitors, but much to his delight, her looks were not the only things to change. As Hela had grown, so had her powers. Her ability to manifest various weapons had increased to a frightening degree and even had a limited amount of telekinesis over them. She still couldn't and most likely never would have the power to create weapons like the sword Nightsword she made for the Night's Watch or her own personal sword Twilight at will. The sheer amount of energy she had to use to make them guaranteed she couldn't but even, so she was still a walking armory.

And her power did just allow her to make weapons at will either. She could also manifest her own armor that was several times stronger than titanium steel if he guessed right. Her last power and the one that scared people the most and even alarmed him and his wife a bit, was her power over the dead. As a child, Hela could only see the other side and tell when a person's natural lifeline would end. Now grown, she could not only see into it but enter it through astral projection and even pull the souls of the dead to the realm of the living for a chat if she so wished. CC and he even believed she maybe even could bring the dead back to life if she wanted. Something that thankfully she had made very clear she would never do or try to do. Her connection to death made it very clear to her where to draw the line between life and death. Thought abiding by that line was not always easy for her.

As a royal, she would never have that many friends to start with, and what few she did have most had died already. Haggo, Narbo, and Steinporr, while servants to the royal family were all very close to her, and their deaths had left a gaping hole in her heart. Add in that Attila struggled with depression for a time after most of his family's deaths, and you had a temptation she worked to resist. If she could make his pain go away by bringing them back, then shouldn't she try? But she didn't try and left it as is. Something made all the harder to do when the shaking sickness hit the North during one of her visits just a year later. He didn't pay too much attention to it himself knowing that his child was immune to illness. At least that was at first.

Once the sickness hit the Stark family directly, his tune changed quickly enough. Though that did not do to any worry for the Starks. He liked them well enough, but if they were to die out, it wouldn't matter to him. His concern was for his child's state of mind during the pandemic. It was one thing to know someone was going to die one day but a whole other to watch them die. So, he had ordered her home, but his little girl was a stubborn child and knowing she was immune to all sicknesses, he had refused to leave. She wanted to help her friends in their time in need, and reluctantly he and CC let her.

In hindsight, it was the right call to make, seeing as while Hela was there, she had unintentionally helped spread their kingdom's influence among the common people. Even when the sickness had finally passed by the Stark family, she had stayed to help the commoners who were still suffering from it. She could do little but help with her bedside manner and help hold funerals for those who passed. But those actions had endeared her to the North's smallfolk, and most had started to pick up the Soto Zen School of Thought as a byproduct of her efforts. Regardless of what people thought, unlike the North's nobles, most of the smallfolk still burned the dead, which left them nothing to remember them by. Hela held a small, bastardized Soto Zen funeral that CC had come up with to help these people. She not only prayed for them but rang a small bell for each year they lived. Be it one or sixty, she rang her bell to celebrate their lives and passing on to the next world. So, then that has since gained wide popularity that was even starting to reach past the Neck.

Yet, for all its benefit, he would have still preferred that she came home and regretted letting her stay. Seeing his little girl comes home crying and in pain was something he detested a lot. It was why slowly he and his wife started to push more advanced medical knowledge on their people. It would be decades, if not longer before they advanced to the point of coming up with a cure for the shaking sickness, but little by little, they could make it less deadly.

However, regardless of her power, she didn't have any suitors because of one person, Attila. While things like arranged marriages were technically outlawed due to both genders having equal rights, it still happened due to political reasons. In Hela and Attila's case, while there was no marriage agreement between them, people still assumed that was the case. And even those who had their doubts were too fearful of trying to get close to her because of Attila or Lieutenant Colonel Attila as it were. Ever since Attila had joined the army four years ago, he rose quickly in the ranks. Yet, it wasn't his rank that made people fearful of going near Hela. It was a simple fact that Attila was just an intimidating person. At twenty years old, he was well over six foot four and built a lot like his father but with many anger issues to go with his size.

Over the two years Lelouch had trained the boy, he wasn't able to do much about Attila's anger problems. So instead, he focused them on a goal of military conquest. Strangely, however, where he had failed, Hela had succeeded in being able to calm the rage in Attila's soul. While he didn't know if Hela loved Attila, it was clear the young man did, and for her, he would change. Such as all men would do for the woman he loves.

"I am done, daddy." Lelouch hears his son say to him.

Looking at his boy, Lelouch says, "Very well then go thank the cook and the waitress for your food, and we will leave."

"Yes, daddy." Achilles says before hopping down from his chair and going to do as his father tells him.

While many would see the simple act of eating with commoners and even thanking the help as beneath people or royal standing, Lelouch disagreed. He had found quite often such small insignificant gestures went a long way with the commoners. It was like Sun Tzu said, treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley. The same went for even those who were not in the military.

When his son comes back, they start on their way towards the city gates. After a few moments of walking, Achilles asks, "Daddy, why didn't mommy come with us?"

Looking down at his son Lelouch says, "Because my son, your mother is meeting with quite the interesting individual."

(Line)

-Lelouch and CC's home-

Interesting was more or less the right word to use when describing one Prince Jaereo Nymeros Martell. The fourth son of the current ruling prince of Dorne, the young man, was clearly born with a natural sense of wanderlust and desire to be an artist. Something that showed in his artwork talent. But the skill that none but him and her could ever understand. His use of what colors he had available was both brilliant and inspired, but unless you had a keen mind, you couldn't hope to understand it.

"So, what do you think, Queen C?" Prince Jaereo asks confidently.

Though while he sounded confident, CC could tell he was anything but so. His artwork was, to be blunt, far ahead of his time. If she had to call his work anything, she would call it expressionism which was nothing new, really even for this world. Hell, she could remember the Late Renaissance very well and a young artist who experimented with it. Sadly, none of the young man's works survived the test of time due to having never gained popularity or fame during his lifetime. A fate this young man was definitely going to suffer if he had never come here.

"They are quite good, Prince Jaereo. Your use of color, while limited, is impressive, but you need practice on mixing your paints." CC says to him.

Letting out a small laugh, Jaereo says, "Lady Baherion said the same thing to me, your highness."

"Nilesha did? Now that is a name I have not heard in quite a few years. Tell me, how is she doing nowadays?" CC asks as she pays quite a bit of attention to one of his paintings in particular.

"She was doing quite well last I saw her Queen C. Her name has become quite famous in Westeros for her works, and the lords and ladies are fighting over the chance to have her come work for them," Jaereo says with a big smile on his lips.

"I am not surprised. Her talent can't be denied even by the most chauvinistic of a pig." CC says to him.

Hearing the queen of this fascinating kingdom speak in such a way, Jaereo can't help but laugh out loud. "In that, you correct your highness. When she had first come to Dorne, many so-called artisans tried to deny her skill with a brush, but it only took a moment for the lords and ladies of Dorne to realize she had no equal in the land."

"And is that why you came here, Prince Jaereo? To learn as she did?" CC asks him.

"Indeed, I have your highness. During her time in Sunspear, I tried to convince her to take me on as an apprentice yet was met with a flat refusal." Jaereo says, remembering that day. He had at first believed it was due to her, like everyone else, thinking he had no talent, but in reality, it came down to a far more straightforward matter. She didn't care to or want to teach anyone. Her art meant more to her than anything else and would not let anything or anyone take her attention away from it.

"I see. Well, I am happy she did so. To say the least, your art is hard to appreciate by those who either don't wish to or can't come face to face with raw emotions. This one, for example, expresses the fear of death, does it not." CC asks as she holds up a painting that showed faces in complete terror of a black abyss they were being pulled into. It was pretty dark, to be honest, and for those who feared their own powerlessness in the face of something they couldn't control, it would hardly be a welcomed sight to behold.

"Yes…yes, that is currently your highness. When I painted this, I remembered as a small boy when my father took me to a criminal execution. While I don't remember his crime, I can still remember the fear on his face as he was about to die and the fear I felt at the thought of myself one day dying." Jaereo says, surprised that she got it. Most just assumed it was the work of a sick man instead of what it really was—an expression of fear that all men and women feel at the prospect of death.

"Hmmm, it yet as good as it is, these are not nearly as good," CC says as she holds up some poor imitations of the Classicism art form that Nilesha was fond of using.

Giving an awkward cough, Jaereo looks at what, in his option, was his best attempt at coping with Nilesha's art style. "Yes, well, when Lady Baherion came to Dorne, her landscapes became very well-liked. So, I thought I should give it a try, but much to my shame, I was unable to."

Looking at the young man who couldn't have been older than twenty-three or twenty-four, she says, "In my homeland, there is a saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In a way, that is true, in my opinion. People generally imitate people because they either wish to fit into a narrative they don't fit in themselves, or they are witless fools who are incapable of having their own thoughts. The young man who did this ugly landscape is one of the two. While the young man who did this expression was neither. I expect the latter to show up for my art classes, understand?"

Her words are cruel and cut more profound than any sword or spear would, but Prince Jaereo understands what she is saying. She will not accept someone who is trying to copy others without attempting to find their own style. "I understand, your highness."

"Good, now, for the time being, you can think of yourself as a guest of the kingdom, so you are staying in the Shogunate Castle for now. But we did not invite you, so it will be expected that you find your own home if you plan on living in our kingdom for a while. In which case you want to talk to the Administration of Housing who can help you find a place." CC says to him.

"Yes, your highness, and thank you." Prince Jaereo says before standing up from where he was sitting.

"You are welcome, Prince Jaereo, and our first class is tomorrow at midday. Don't be late." CC says, then goes back to looking over his artwork.

Realizing he had been dismissed, Prince Jaereo gives a bow and leaves with a smile on his face. Happy that he had been accepted as a student.

(Line)

-Shogunate Castle-

At the top of Shogunate Castle in the Shogun's office, another woman of great power was having an exciting day as well, but more unpleasantly. Halldora Priscillian, the third Shogun of the Kingdom of Númenor, was having a hell of a day, with an emphasis on hell. It was hard to believe that it had already been six years since the death of the first Shogun Narbo and two years since the retirement of the second Shogun, Horero Bahin. It was even harder to believe that a thirty-one-year-old woman would rise to be the second most powerful person in the kingdom next to the rulers themselves. Significantly since she never thought she would climb as high as she did.

The daughter of humble farmers who had been freed from slavery during the wars with the Dothraki. She could still remember a time when Minas Tirith's walls were being built along with the city itself. Halldora could also not forget the fear from those times as well. The nights when her mother would hold her close, never knowing if that would be their last night of freedom or not. In those days, her father would be so worried he would stay up by the door all night with his state-issued spear till dawn came. But the memory she remembered best was the day of Haggo's Triumph.

Oh, how glorious that day was for a multitude of reasons. Chief among them was that it was the very day that her mother's nightmares stopped, and her father started to sleep without worry. Haggo's victory at Vaes Dothrak was like a signal to the whole kingdom that never again would they have to worry about being enslaved by the Dothraki. The Triumph, however, served as the show that made it all-natural, and what a show it was. She could still feel her cheeks getting red at how handsome she remembered the soldiers looking in their armor and how brightly Haggo himself shined as he led them from the front in his war chariot. That day at the age of fifteen, she promised herself two things. One, she would be Haggo, the Mighty wife, and two, she would be the one riding in the war chariot lending her own men in a Triumph of her own one day.

Sadly, time like it did to so many things dashed those dreams to the wind. The first dream died because, despite numerous offers from women of incredible beauty and riches, Haggo had shown no wish to marry again before his death. The second because despite women being allowed by law to join the military, she simply didn't have what it took to reach such heights in the military. When she entered the army, several changes were going through, such as a complete restructuring of ranks, training methods, and physical requirements to be met before joining up. Now she had passed the required written test to join the military but sadly failed the physical part to be allowed an active combat role in it. That one failure saw her placed in the brand-new Logistical Division or better known at the time as the place they sent those deemed useless to the army.

At the time, it was perhaps the most unfortunate outcome of her life. Sixteen years old and trapped in the military part that saw no action with no way out for four years. That was unless she was alright with being deemed a traitor to the kingdom and put to death. Now, looking back, if she could, Halldora would laugh at herself for how pathetic she must have seemed at the time. For it was in the Logistical Division that saw her shine and rise in the ranks. After a few weeks of pouting like a child, she got back on her feet and told herself if this was her fate, then she would run with it and be the best in the division.

And it was a good thing she did because she learned about the Logistical Division. After all, it was hard. You could make a mistake in the fighting corp, and all it would cost you was your life. In which case, you would be honored and remembered fondly. Depending on how bad you fucked up, you could get something as mild as a whipping to being labeled as a disgrace to the military and executed in the Logistical Division. The reason for that was simple: in the Logistical Division, you were responsible for everything from food supply to weapon supply, armor, pay, medical supply, building supply, and much more. By the time you got done looking at the Logistical Division, you would find divisions inside divisions. It was perhaps the most extended four years of her life till that point and was filled with nothing but stress.

By the end of her four years of mandatory service, she had been promoted to the rank sergeant major, the highest rank someone who was only doing their mandatory four years could reach. At the end of her service, she realized she could make a living doing what she was doing. At the time she had been placed, the Logistical Division was in few words a fucking mess that required Tenno-sama's full attention for a time. But within those four years, things had gotten straighten out for the most part and largely thanks to her and a few other key people. So, once she decided she would stay and make a life in the military, she quickly found herself rising in the ranks until she is twenty-three. She was put in overall command of the logisticians and promoted to the position of lieutenant general. The highest rank a military person who didn't have an active combat role could get.

It was quite the achievement and made both her parents proud and earned her no shortage of enemies both within the military and out. Support for women in the military was a touchy subject as it was, but back in those early days, they were downright hostile. In her first two years in the military, eleven of the thirty-seven women who qualified for the military were raped, with three killed outright. Of course, this was not tolerated, and soon Yahan, the Queen of Shadows, on orders from their rulers, got involved. Now she was too low in the ranks to know precisely what was going on, but by the end of her second year, the units those women were a part of were all executed for treason by decree of the generals of the time.

It wouldn't be till later, when she became Shogun, that she was able to find out what had really happened. It had taken in reality Yahan less than a few weeks to find out who exactly was involved in the crimes, but because none of the men in those units stepped forward to tell who had committed the crime, the generals at the time felt an example needed to be made. So, even those who were innocent and had no knowledge of who had done the deed were stripped of all honors and hanged. While cruel and perhaps an overreaction, the example worked and went a long way in helping her when she climbed the ranks.

Fear of paying the price for someone else saw to it that only one more case of rape happened during her time in the military. And the perpetrator of the crime was reported to higher command within a few hours of the crime itself. Harassment towards female soldiers was still somewhat of a problem, but it had mostly gone away for her. After all, you don't try to harass someone who held the third-highest rank in the military and could see you executed on the spot for insubordination which she had done on several occasions.

Anyways like said, she had made quite a several enemies due to her accomplishments. Among them were the other lieutenant general and those above the colonel's rank who were not part of the Logistical Division. Those enemies, of course, followed her when out of nowhere, she was offered the position of Shogun. And out of nowhere was the only way she could honestly put it. After the deaths of the Three Pillars of Numenor, she had gotten to see firsthand how horrid politics really were. The ashes of those great men were not even scattered to the winds before so-called patriots started to try and use their names to move forward their own agendas.

Some called for the outright murder of those related to the traitors, no matter how far removed or their relationship was beforehand. Others took it even forwarder and called for the killing of all known associates and even went so far as to carry out the killings themselves. What was worse was that you didn't agree with either plan that made you a traitor yourself or held traitorous thoughts. It was believed that the kingdom's bureaucrats were not altogether dismissed and even used by them to gain power.

Things had gotten pretty scary for a time, but it all came to an end when Tenno-Sama and Kogo-sama denounced the violence, and the second Shogun crushed it. Horero Bahin was a man who believed in one thing, and that was the word of law. So, anarchy and the total disregard for the law were not even somewhat tolerated by him. His reign as Shogun may have been short, but for four years, he not only enforced the law to such a degree that many saw him as a tyrant but also reformed many laws and came up with more than a few new ones that were passed by their rulers. Laws that actually saw great benefits come to the common class.

One such law was the complete illegalization of personal healing by those not trained by the Temple of the Goddess Senua. Now that wasn't saying that you couldn't heal someone if you knew how it just made it illegal to demand payment for it if you were not certified by the Temple. It was not hard to get if you were willing to put the time in to learn from the Temple that like healing trained people for free. Another law that was passed and was, in her opinion, was long over-do was the complete outlawing of slavery in the kingdom. You could not buy, sell, trade, or transport slaves in the kingdom, and doing so was punishable by death if you were a citizen of the kingdom. If you were not, you would be fined, kick out of the kingdom, and all your slaves would be confiscated and freed. In fact, if you were a runaway slave and made it across the border, you were by law free.

Those two laws were just an example of what he had done in his short but peaceful reign. But as friendly as his reign was, like she said, mostly do him being viewed as a tyrant and the fear that came along with that view. That fear, however, went away the very second, he announced his retirement. While he wasn't going to leave till a new Shogun was chosen, the two political factions that had formed under his rule wasted little time trying to gain the upper hand. The first faction to start making moves was the Imperial Lions, who pushed for concrete military action and conquest of the lands around the kingdom. Seeing as many of these Imperial Lions never served a day of their life in the military was funny to her. The other fraction was again to her amusement, primarily because of the name, was called the Snapping Turtles. Now while they had a funny name, the Snapping Turtles, they were anything but comical. Unlike the Imperial Lions, they were made up of primarily ex-military men who had retired for one reason or the other. Their belief was more along the lines of having a strong military but wanted slow expansion. They believed the kingdom like that of a turtle should have a fortress around them to deter any would-be attackers and slowly expand outwards as needed. There was no need to be overly aggressive in their own words when they were clearly the strongest in the land.

And that was where her headaches came from. As Shogun, none but their rulers could question her actions, but with that said, there were other ways these two factions could cause trouble. With both factions making up one-third each of the current political structure, she had little choice but to play the game. While similar to the running of the military, running a country was at the same time so much different. In the military, if someone disobeyed her, she could just have them whipped or executed. Here in the capital, with the bureaucrats, she couldn't do that. Well, she could, but it would be in poor taste and make her job more challenging than need be. As with the military, the kingdom's political structure had gone under reformation over the years and was completely different from when she was a little girl. And like the military, one rose in ranks by their ability and not by any type of political connection.

Well, again, that was not wholly true. Political connections did play a part in gaining a position in the government, but no one wanted to back a fool. Much like the head of a family, if a bureaucrat supported the appointment of someone who was grossly incompetent and did so knowingly, they could face ruin. Losing one's own position in the government was the least you someone had to worry about. Depending on how bad it was that the bureaucrat could be called on to either commit seppuku or be executed. That was probably why when the Government Examinations were introduced by the second Shogun, none had a problem. They served as a way to keep the idiots of the kingdom from gaining power. She could say what she liked about the bureaucrats, but they were all smart men and women, as proven, seeing as she only had to call on three low-level ones to commit seppuku for several crimes so far.

Along with the Government Examinations, there were only two ways to join the ranks of the politicians. You can be a former military officer of a rank higher than that of the first lieutenant or be part of the old guard who held positions before the reformation. So, she couldn't just go around giving power positions to friends and family members if they didn't meet one of these three requirements. Which left her with picking from the politicians who were already pissed off that someone from outside the government administration was chosen to be the new Shogun. Add in that she was a woman on top of that, and you had a comprehensive range of people who quietly tried to oppose her. Opposition only intensified after picking out the new ministers and chancellors after the old ones were made to step down with her predecessor's retirement.

It was sad, really, that she only had three allies in all the government, and that was only because they held the three highest positions and couldn't be seen opposing her or even thought to be doing so. Those positions being the Chancellor of the Left, who oversaw one half of the current administration, and the Chancellor of the Right, who led the other. Last was the Head of Military Affairs, selected by the Tenno-sama and Kogo-sama and was only loyal to her because he had to be. She guessed she could count the only current Great General of the kingdom, Gahaelor Bijuli, as an ally, but he was a very closed-off man. It was hard to say where you stood in that man's eyes, and while during her time in the military, they had gotten along well enough, she never knew if that was because he liked her or just because she was good at her job. Hell, even her Head of Military Affairs, Sigmund Bahoris, didn't know where he stood with the man, and he served as a captain for Gahaelor.

Outside them, she had no natural allies and wouldn't have any seeing was attempting to keep things civil between the two factions by not taking sides with anyone. An attempt became more hollow with each passing day seeing as most of her actions since becoming Shogun followed the Snapping Turtles ideology more than the Imperial Lions. The Lions just couldn't seem to understand that war at this point in time was just not feasible. The kingdom had, in fact, just recovered from the damage of the rebellion, and work on the kingdom's infrastructure took precedence over all other things. They needed roads, riverways, water supply lines, and sewers built along with several other items for the towns that had been popping up all over the place over the last couple of years. Not to mention better defenses on their borders. The rebellion had shown them that while potent offensively, they indeed lacked in defending their own boundaries as the army from the Free Cities had gotten within less than fifty miles of Vaes Dothrak.

That was not acceptable to Tenno-Sama, Kogo-Sama, or herself, for that matter, and needed to be rectified. For fucks sake, even the walls of the capital were no longer adequate in her mind. They were too short and needed to be rebuilt from the ground up. Which was one of the first things she had started working on when she became Shogun. Of course, the Lions didn't understand this and were dragging their feet as much as they safely could without breaking any laws. So, to appease them without seeming weak, she approved their plans to build two great statues of Haggo and Narbo at the end of two rivers connected to the Womb of the World.

It was, as Attila said perfectly when he found out about these plans, a sickening display of over patriotic nonsense done by a bunch of idiots who knew nothing of war or his grandfather. Sadly, Attila was unable to stop their construction, seeing as he gave up his position as Daimyo of Rohan to his younger brother to join the military. His brother Yesugei was too young to take up his full powers as daimyo and was in the care of the royal family right now while his regent ruled in his place. As for said regent, he had no real power other than to do the province's day-to-day running. So, he had no say in the building of these statues.

Yet he didn't need to do anything because she had predicted the Turtles didn't take kindly to what they were calling a waste of time, material, and manpower. So, they were obstructing the statues' building at every turn they could retaliate to the Lions for delaying materials to the army to construct the border defenses. And as all this happened, Tenno-Sama and Kogo-sama stayed silent, letting her deal with these insignificant and petty arguments as they called them.

"Gods, she should have stayed in the army. I bet Great General Gahaelor was not having this amount of trouble." She says out loud to herself.

(Line)

-Newly named lands the Thunder Plains-

As he sat under a tent and watched as Skyfire and rain fell from the sky Great General Gahaelor Bijuli thought about how he had gotten there and how far he had risen. It didn't need to be said that the general of what used to be called the Slave Army was himself once a slave as well. Born on Lys to one of the few free whores in one of its many pillows houses, he could still remember the day at the age of six or seven when his mother had taken him to the docks and sold him to a Wise Masters Yunkai for a few extra gold coins. When a mother looks upon her child for the first time, love will bloom eternal for that child. He was living proof that that was a load of horse's shit. Even before she sold him, he couldn't remember a day where she showed the same motherly love he saw his wife give his children.

But while his life was filled with rape, beatings, and murder like so many others slaves, his slavery was by no means your typical sob story. For at the bidding of the man he once had to call his master it was, he who was doing all that to his fellow slaves. That twisted man bought him for only one reason, and that was to take a beautiful creature who had the looks of the Valyria and turn it into a monster. Which he tried and failed to do with him. Sure, he raped, killed, and did unspeakable things to his fellow slaves, but when you were trying to survive, anything went.

Such things as morality didn't exist in the case of survival or war. That shit was for the children's tales that mothers told their children while they could still afford to lie to them about the darkness of the world. Yet it was in that darkness that he saw a bit of light, and when the chance for freedom came, he took it. And it all came from a dagger that that piece of shit of a human being he had to call master left out one day without any guards to protect him. He had never taken pleasure before in all the killing he had done in the past, but that one he did despite it ending too quickly.

After that, he escaped the city and ran till he came upon the lands of Númenor, where he settled in a small farming village that was just being built back in 15 AMH. In that village, he found some small peace measure working as a field hand for the farmers and even got married to a local girl a few months after his arrival. But that peace didn't last as shortly after he found out his new young wife would have his child, did he start having nightmares. They were not nightmares of his past actions or anything like that, for he never once felt guilty about the things he had to do back then. But nightmares of his child having to go through the same thing one day.

Back then, the village was close enough to the capital to provide some comfort to his mind, that would never happen, but the nightmares didn't go away. Even seeing the dragon Jörmungandr fly by every now and again didn't give him complete peace of mind. The only thing that did was when a man from the capital showed up in the village one day looking for volunteers for the new 2nd Army that was being formed. Once he joined, and his family was moved to the 2nd Army headquarters, his nightmares lessened. Knowing that his family was surrounded by men and women who would die before they let themselves or anyone goes back to slavery was a great comfort.

He still laughed at how people once called them the slave army and thought they would never amount to anything. How surprised they must have been when they would easily show a fighting zel that matched the 1st Army. And once he was made General of the 2nd Army, he would make them into a wall of flesh and spears that no would-be slavers or raiders could break. True, they had never faced a real army before, but everyone thought they violated the very moment they were met with even the slightest amount of opposition. They didn't and even showed that they could be counted on to do their duty no matter what at New Gornath.

A look of sorrow comes over his face as he thought of New Gornath. He had done so many unspeakable things in his past that never bothered him before, but New Gornath was an act that he still dreamed about to this day. He hated slavers, and so did his men, so killing the old King of Dirt and his allies were something they would have been all too happy to do, but killing every living person in that rebel city was something they were not pleased with. Most of Oro's men and allies had already died on these plains, so what was left in the city was little more than a handful of guards and women and children. So, when he showed up with his army, it wasn't any wonder that they opened the gates for his men. No doubt believing or hoping they would be spared from any harm. They were not, and what he and his men did was unforgivable, but they had no right to complain. He was given a choice to do the deed, as were his men. They could have refused to comment on such an act, and their rulers would have instead sent one of their dragons to burn the city down along with everyone in it.

He didn't refuse to do it, however, for he knew a message needed to be sent to not only the world but their own people that if you betrayed the kingdom, you would pay the price. Plus, he felt he was, in truth, the right person for the job, as was his men. While they may call themselves Rohirrim now, the men of the 1st Army were still very much Dothraki at heart at the time. They wouldn't only be happy to burn the city but most likely would rape, pillaged, and torture the city's people. On the other hand, he knew if ordered, his men would give the people a clean, quick death which they did.

His only honest regret from that day was that he was promoted to Great General for it, then rewarded with the clan name Bijuli and the lands that would become known as the Thunder Plains. It all felt too much like a horrible joke to him. He had done nothing for those rewards, but again, like the massacre at New Gornath, it was a necessary action. Haggo, even in his retirement, was the figurehead of the kingdom's military, and with his passing, someone had to step forward to take his place. It just so happened to be that he was that person. His contributions during the rebellion were over-exaggerated and rewarded accordingly to give him credibility in the people's eyes.

He had, of course, protested all of it and had even gone straight to the rulers to ask that his rewards be withdrawn. They had refused and explained that with the death of General Lavakho in Haggo's Last Ride, there was no one else to pick from. One of the lieutenant generals could have been promoted, but jumping two ranks instead of one. Besides, the only lieutenant general at the time he could have seen promoting was Halldora, but she had no combat experience. The only other pick was a man named Qhovakko, who was little more than a crazed battle maniac. So, with deep regret, he accepted but only on the condition he not be given a triumph. A condition they accepted much to his relief.

He wasn't the only one to get an undeserved promotion, however. Qhovakko being the superior lieutenant general available with both the experience and ability to command the 1st Army, was promoted to the rank of general. A horrible decision if there was ever one to make. The man was ill-equipped to take on the role, seeing as he only ever thought of war and was a diehard supporter of the Imperial Lions. Something was technically not allowed in the military. Once you join the army by law, any political affiliations were to be disregarded in favor of loyalty to the military. The problem with that law was that it said nothing about political options with the men they were allowed to have. So, while he never came out and said he was one, everyone knew where the man stood, and that just didn't look good from a military standpoint. If he was not demoted by the year's end, Gahaelor would be surprised.

As for himself, he stood more in line with the Snapping Turtles but had made it very clear that he was a military man first and foremost. If he saw a reason or a gain to behand by using his power to declare war on his own, he would use it. But as of yet seen any reason to do so, seeing as more pressing matters here at home took precedence. He believed a strong defense was better than a strong offense, and there forward, saw the kingdom's weakness for what it was. Other than the Aokigahara forest to the north and the mountains to the west, the kingdom didn't have many natural defenses. Most of the land that now made up the kingdom was vast plains covered in grasslands. The Thunder Plains helped with that, seeing as it was a place of nearly nonstop rain and skyfire, but it only starched out for fifty miles in each direction. The kingdom was much bigger than that one area, and it acted like a double edge sword.

The problem was that the Thunder Plains was located right on the safest road that ran from the trading city of Uruk and to the cities in the south. The very same road the rebels had used to travel from New Gornath towards the capital. For now, the city of New Gornath would remain abandoned. Its location was too good to leave that way in the future. Regardless of the fate of New Gornath, the Thunder Plains still need to be bypassed to travel to the south in relative safety. The problem with that was that to do that, you had to either go west around it where you would end up in open plains where what was left of the Dothraki roamed. Or you had to go east towards the Bone Mountains, where traveling was hard, and bandits made camps there. Neither of which was preferred but still less dangerous than traveling through the Thunder Plains themselves.

To fix this problem, he had used his powers to start a very ambitious plan of building a road right through it. He was allowed a project due to his powers as Great General and the funds he could command. This, of course, got him some accusations of misusing military power for his own personal gain seeing as the lands of the Thunder Plains belonged to his clan. But again, his rank was so high that he only somewhat answered to the Shogun and thoroughly answered to his rulers alone. Still, it was pretty annoying to be accused of corruption, so to silence his critics, he had submitted his plans to the kingdom's ministers so they would know exactly what he was going to do.

His original plan was to build a vast underground pathway under the Thunder Plains to make travel safe. But with the accusations he was under, he had to change his plans to something entirely different and far more dangerous. That being the building of a road above ground straight through that nightmarish land. Yet he didn't know how to go about doing something so foolhardy, so for help, he approached the kingdom's most fantastic master builder and new King of Dirt Bilghen. Help that Bilghen was more than happy to give, seeing as he was trying desperately to bring some kind of credibility to the title of King of Dirt again.

A task that was perhaps even more foolhardy than his own. For it wasn't only the King of Dirt title that had lost credibility during the rebellion, but all the Kings and Queens of Power's reputations took a long fall off a cliff. Of course, Narbo and Steinporr's standings were beyond questionable at this point, with Steinporr being elevated to godhood by much of the kingdom's population. And the current Queen of The Life's Touch was never going to be looked at with anything but the highest respect if not love, but the others didn't have that benefit. With most of the Kings and Queens of Power having betrayed the kingdom during a rebellion and the ones who didn't play little part in putting it down, there were questions about why they were even allowed to exist in the first place anymore.

Questions that were, to be honest unfair. The truth was that those that didn't betray the kingdom were, in fact, in a poor position to do anything to help. Eglantine, the Queen of the Ever Green, had long since become a recluse, and the last time anyone even saw her was during Narbo's funeral when she came to pay her respects. Ithoke, the King of the Far Sight, was on a ship in the middle of the Shivering Sea helping their Ibbenese friends track down pirates who were attacking their trading ships. Jin had to stay in the capital to protect the royal family. And as for Tycho, he had already passed away before the war had even happened, and no new King of Water was assigned at the time.

A few other Kings and Queens didn't side with the rebels, but none of them were available for a battle for one reason on the other. But people didn't want to hear reasonable excuses. They wanted someone to blame and hold accountable. That is why knowing which way the wind was blowing, the Kings and Queens of Power who were still alive got together and agreed to give up many of their special rights and claims to any lands they had been promised. The only exceptions being those who already held ground which was only Eglantine, who, as he said, became a recluse anyways. In exchange, those who stayed on or became Kings and Queens of Power became, in short, the executioners of Tenno-Sama and Kogo-sama's will. Answerable only to them and no one else. Yet, at the same time unable to take direct action on their own unless a request came in from someone of a higher enough rank asking for help with something, such as a royal family member, the Shogun, a Chancellor, or Great General like he was.

These limits, however, did nothing to earn the people's trust in them again, and now the new Kings and Queens were looking for every opportunity to regain it. This was why Bilghen distrusted the most due to his title and was more than willing to accept his request for help. And Bilghen turned out to be a great help with his plan on making the Plains travelable. The plan called for Bilghen to use his power to create five hundred-foot towers of solid granite with rods made of copper at the top to pull the lightning in. Inside each building was a string of thinner copper that led down into another rod in the ground where the lighting would go harmlessly. This would, in effect, make travel safe, well, primarily safe anyways, there was still a chance you could get hit if you travel too far from the towers. Anyways these towers would be lined on either side of a road that travelers could use to pass through in relative safety. It was an expensive, lengthy, and overall dangerous task he had given himself and one that wouldn't be done for years, but it was necessary. And again, to make sure there was no mistaking him using military funds for his clan's own benefit, these roads would be under military jurisdiction so his clan wouldn't get anything from them.

At the end of his thought, and extensive lightning strike hits one of the completed towers a few hundred yards away from him.

"It just like my father to cause an unbelievable about of trouble for everyone else and of course not be around to fix it." Gahaelor hears a voice say from behind him.

Looking over, he spots a tan young man of around six foot three with a lean and robust build and a chiseled clean shaved face that looked like he was always angrily saluting him in the way the men and women of the army were trained to do now.

"Ah Attila welcome back." Gahaelor says as he stands up and returns the salute in kind. "How went the hunt?"

"It went well, General. It took my men and me little time to track and kill the scum who raided into our lands." Attila says to his commanding General.

"Dothraki?" Questions Gahaelor.

"No. Just some fuckers from the Free Cities. Norvoshi sellswords from what the prisoners told me." Attila says to him.

Giving a sigh, Gahaelor was not surprised at this news. After their failed attack on the kingdom, the Free Cities that had taken part had pulled their power together and had quickly hired large amounts of sellswords to defend them in case of attack. When it became clear that there wasn't going to be an attack coming, those same Free Cities had slowly started to stop paying those sellswords. Now suddenly finding themselves without pay, large amounts of sellswords turned to banditry and started attacking more or less anything they could find. It was a slight problem for the kingdom, seeing as they were so far away from the Free Cities, but still, they found themselves having to deal with quite a few bandits groups here and there lately.

However, these bandit groups didn't typically survive very long within their borders, seeing as any and all bandits reported were hunted down ruthlessly and dealt with just as ruthlessly. Attila was, in fact, quite famous now for how he dealt with bandits. The laws regarding banditry were quite evident in the kingdom. Any citizen caught knowingly taking part in banditry were allowed to commit seppuku to save their honor. If refused, they were to be executed by hanging, and direct kin such as a spouse and children were to be stripped of all possessions. Indirect taking part in banditry was to be punished by heavy fines or jail time depending on the circumstances.

Regardless, the punishment was so hard that most just didn't want to risk it especially seeing as jobs were plentiful. However, for those who were not citizens, there were not fundamental laws on how to deal with them. But an excellent example of what could happen to you was to take what Attila did to them as an example. Ever since he had been given his own cavalry command, the young man had taken it upon himself to use it for hunting down any and all bandits and raiders within the kingdom's borders. And he was pretty effective at it to the point that he often entered the lands under the protection of the 1st Army without opposition. Even going so far as to crossing the border to catch his prey, and when he did, he took to torturing his captives for days before they died from it and then releasing some of them to go tell the story.

Attila called it psychological warfare, and while Gahaelor didn't understand what that meant, it basically went like this. Hurt your enemy so badly that they fear crossing you, and you never have to worry about being attacked. Attila's cruelty had been called by those outside the military as unnecessary barbaric and unfitting of one in command. Yet it was effective, and as far as he personally felt and that of the Minister of Military Affairs, that was all that mattered. Not that it would have mattered if they were against the young man's actions. Everyone knew he was being pushed quickly up the ranks by their rulers'. So, unless he did something that was actually against the law, any and all complaints against him would fall on deaf ears.

Though it was not like he didn't have the skill to go along with his fast rise in the ranks. Trained in the war's art by Haggo himself and Tenno-Sama, Attila more than enough talent to lead an army. He just lacked the experience to do so at this point, but he was getting there. Gahaelor was sure that soon enough, there would be a second Great General of the Kingdom of Númenor. Once that was more capable and war-like than himself.

"Well, there isn't much to be done about that, Attila. While General Qhovakko has been ordered and given funds to build some forts on the western border, he has been using them to build ill-advised forts too far away from supply lines just so he can fight raiders." Gahaelor says to the young man.

Attila does his best to hold his tongue when he hears this. While in a private meeting, General Gahaelor would not mind him speaking his mind and even encouraged it that senior officers' disrespect was not tolerated out in the open. So, while he wanted to call General Qhovakko a stupid cunt he didn't and settled for saying, "Perhaps a report to the Shogun is needed at this point, general. This is the third time I have had to crossover into the lands of Rohan in less than a month to deal with bandits overlooked by him."

"A report has already been sent and is currently in the hands of the Minister of Military Affairs," Gahaelor says with a frown.

Soon Gahaelor's frown is meet with an angry scowl by Attila. After being trained in both war and politics by Tenno-sama, he quickly found he hated politics and often played them. That included the current Minister of Military Affairs, who was a hard Imperial Lion like Qhovakko. Attila, too, wanted war with those who attacked them six years ago, but he, unlike them, was not too stupid or blinded to see facts for what they were. Their current nearest enemies were the Kingdom of Sarnor to the west, the Qarth city-states to the south, and the fortress cities of Samyriana and Bayasabhad to the east. Each one providing a different logistical problem that would make war an expensive affair and risking.

The Kingdom of Sarnor was simply put too far away, with the nearest of its three cities Mardosh being the closest to Vaes Dothrak, where the 1st Army was now calling home. The Qarth city-states were located past the Red Waste, which was just plain hard to pass through due to nothing growing there and no water to be found. If they could use Kosrak as a staging area for the war, it would be somewhat manageable, but the Lhazareen were a peaceful people and did trade with the Qarth city-states and had no wish for war. As for the fortress cities of Samyriana and Bayasabhad, they were actually possible to attack. That was if their sister city Kayakayanaya could be convinced to allow their armies to march though so they could attack both from the west and north of those cities. However, as it stood now, Kayakayanaya, while having broken ties with its sister cities for its actions during Oro's failed rebellion, were unwilling to go so far as to allow that. Their connections to their sister cities ran deep and would not be fully broken so easily.

"Then nothing will be done about him," Attila says more as a statement than a question.

"Nothing indeed, Attila, but let us move this conversation on to a happier topic. Princess Hela is due back from her recent trip to the North today, is she not? Are you sure you do not wish to ask for a leave of absence to go see her?" Gahaelor asks with a knowing smile.

Seeing the smile on Gahaelor's face, Attila looks away. In the last two years of serving under the man, Attila had grown to think of the general as a close friend. Which was saying something seeing as the man was quite the close book when it came to people. But once Gahaelor opened up to him, Attila found himself on the receiving end of endless teasing about his relationship with Princess Hela.

"My leave time is not up for another three months, general." That is all he says to him.

"Exceptions could be made, Attila." Gahaelor points out. After all, he didn't wish to be the one to tell the princess why her friend was there to greet her when she returned home.

"A leader should set an example for his men, general. It would not look good to men to make such a trivial exception." Attila says flatly.

Snorting at Attila's words, Gahaelor says, "Trivial? Ha said that to the princess's face, and I shall give you my position Attila."

"No, thank you. I wish to live longer than a mere moment after I become a Great General." Attila says to him.

He was not sure about his feelings for the princess no matter what anyone said, and the same could be said for Hela. They had grown together and known each other better than any other could ever claim, and that was why he would not test her wrath. For as her beauty had grown, and yes, he realized she was indeed beautiful, for he would have to be blind to not see it, so too had her temper. Calm, confident, and friendly on the surface but hidden underneath a raging fiery temper. Like her mother, she was not a woman to be crossed.

(Line)

-Above the Lands of Númenor-

Sneezing so hard that she bent over because of it, Hela had to wonder who was talking about her this time. She couldn't get sick, so it had to be someone talking about her. She thinks to herself as she rides on top of her new baby sister, dragon Rizontie also called Icebreath. Born just a year after her little brother Achilles, she was smaller and weaker than her brothers but in Hela's personal option far more beautiful. She was indeed a majestic sight to look at with her white scales that shined like the brightest white diamonds whenever the sun hit her. Even at night when there was no light from the sun to be had, she still looked just as breathtaking, especially when the moon's light hit her when she was flying in the sky. During those times, she looked like a shooting star, at least to Hela, she did.

Perhaps it was ironic that such a beautiful dragon was born from an egg given to them by that slave King Zazhal. Beauty from ugliness, it made sense in a twisted mind. If that wasn't ironic, she didn't know what was. Oh, how she wished her brothers had just burned the whole of Slaver's Bay to the ground. When she was a child, she had mourned the loss of so many lives, but as she got older, she understood the people of those cities were the ugliest of humans. The fate of being burned to death by her brothers was, in fact, merciful compared to what they deserved for their actions.

"Sister, are you alright? You're not getting sick, are you?" Hela hears her sister Rizontie ask in her mind.

Hearing her sister's question, Hela has to keep herself from laughing. Since the moment she was born, Rizontie had been quite the mother hen. A slight cough or sneeze was enough to make her worry about your wellbeing. Even if you were someone like Hela who couldn't get sick or a dragon who doesn't need to eat like Jörmungandr and Smaug. It was funny to see Rizontie, who was only one hundred fifty feet long, badger Smaug who was three hundred sixteen feet long, and Jörmungandr, who was well over nine hundred feet long, about proper diets and sleep patterns. Forget the fact that Rizontie herself didn't eat either, but Hela guessed it was just in her nature.

"I am a fine little sister. I just sneezed because someone was thinking of me." Hela says to her.

"Oh, alright," Rizontie answers,not fully understanding. She never really understood her mother and father's strange beliefs that her older sister seemed to also believe in. What did someone sneezing have to do with another person thinking of you? Didn't sneezing just mean you were getting sick? They were so odd to her.

Knowing her younger sister as she did, Hela knew that she had just started to think about something challenging, and that would lead to other random thoughts that would keep her quiet for hours, if not days. So, speaking up, Hela asks, "So tell me, sister, how did you like your first trip to the North?"

Hearing her older sister's question, Rizontie's mind had just moved on from wondering about parents' odd saying and on to questions on why up was called up and not down, answers. "It was quite lovely, sister. The way the snow covered the trees and the rolling hills were wonderful. And the Northern men and women are quite simple-minded and blunt but truly pleasant to get to know."

Smiling at Rizontie's answer, Hela says, "They are. Aren't they?"

Over the last few years, Hela's love for the land of the North had only increased. It had gotten to the point that she would make bi-monthly visits to it and just as often to the Night's Watch. Her visits to the Starks had become so frequent that they had gone ahead and used some of the gold they were made from the glass they got from her mother and father to build her a small villa in Winter Town. In return for this gift, she had, in turn, started to bring new silk cloths to them to use as they saw fit. Which they were thrilled to receive from her. As for the Night's Watch, they had built her a wing in Castle Black for her own use, and in return, she helped them do some much-needed repairs on their castles.

Yes, she could honestly say the Starks, and she had grown quite close over the years. Especially after the tragedy that hit their house five years ago. While her understanding of life and death were what someone would call mature for her age, it was still hard to watch as her friends passed away one by one. Josian, Maliya, Connin, and of course, King Bryen had all passed away from the shaking sickness. Oh, how she begged her mother and father to send Ilin to save them, but they did not. She was so angry at them back then for not yet understanding that the war with Oro had done a lot of damage to foreigners' reputation to people in the kingdom. Sending Ilin to help a foreign kingdom while still recovering from the short rebellion that saw many foreigner attackers was not well received. Even if that kingdom had nothing to do with the uprising.

All she could think of at the time was trying to do all she could to make their passing as comfortable as she could. One such way was staying with them in their final moments before they passed on. Holding their hands as they met with death because no one else could for fear of getting sick themselves. Josian was so scared, Maliya had cried, and Connin took it with bitter silence. But King Stark faced his death without any fear and with only one regret. That he would not get to see Minas Tirith when it was finished being built. When she had asked him if he would like to see what was waiting on the other side for him like she had shown his grandchildren and children, he had refused. Saying that let him have something to look forward to. Such a brave man he was, and she would never forget him.

That was all years ago, however, and time had seen many changes for the North. Due to the glass being sent to them in exchange for her being allowed to visit, they could afford to invest in rebuilding things. Things like the First Keep of Winterfell had fallen into disrepair, and the Moat slowly being rebuilt from the ground up. It would be years if not decades before either were back to their former glory, but there was an excitement in the air in the North that wasn't there before. With Queen Elan's survival of the sickness that hit the North, she had to continue with her lessons under Nilesha and had taken on students of her own when Nilesha left. That and her own popularity in the North had seen its people pick up many habits and customs in her homeland.

It was only small things at first, really like a new appreciation of art and a desire to create new works of their own. They had a long way to go before they could match her mother's own students, but some of the woodworking by their craftsmen was truly inspired. Elegant yet straightforward woodwork that used only what was necessary with little waste. Fitting for the hardy and straight forward Northern folk. Then there was the pouring of drinks during a feat by not servants but by the guests themselves that King Bryen had started before his death and was being continued by Melvan. Last was the smallfolk following the way her people were burning their dead over burying them. Keeping only a single slat of granite with the names of their loved ones carved into it for the family.

The most surprising thing they were picking up, however, was the Soto Zen School of thinking. It was only in small places and mainly among the nobles she had visited, but it started to pick up the pace or a Northern version. She had only really noticed it when she was visiting the Lord of House Umber. As a house known more for its fierce fighters than anything, finding Lord Umber, who was himself a brash man meditating under a heart tree, was surprising.

Her father said all these changes were most likely due to her. As a child, she didn't know what he meant by that, but clearly, the North was changing due to the befits her visits were bringing them. Were they changing in an attempt to win her favor, or was it a subconscious act? She was not sure, but they were getting stronger. She had a feeling that the next kingdom to go to war with the North would be in for a very rude surprise.

Feeling her sister coming down for a landing, Hela's mind came back to the moment at hand. Down below her, she could easily spot her father and brother standing there waiting for her arrival. Along with well over a couple of thousand people as well. One thing that she disliked about getting older is as she did, she found herself with responsibilities she really didn't care to have. Yet her parents were not going to let her do anything with her life, which made her take a position in either the government or the military. According to law, the only place she couldn't have was that of the Shogun, but that was only because, as a royal family, she could be picked by her mother and father to rule in their stead if they so wished. It was the same with the military. She couldn't hold a spot as a Great General but could be appointed head of an army by her mother and father.

With that said, she chose the relatively comfortable position as an ambassador working under the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. It was a pretty easy job seeing as there were only five people here who made up the current ministers' staff. For now, no one cared about external affairs and were looking inward for now. That would change soon enough, but now all she was, in fact, the only ambassador right now who spent most of her time between the North and Kayakayanaya, where she was strangely well-liked.

Once her sister lands, Hela gets off, and no sooner does she than her little brother Achilles comes running up to her for a hug. Bending down and taking care to keep her young brother from hugging her too tightly, she happily wraps her arms around him.

After the hug, Hela says to her little brother, "Hello little brother, have you missed me?"

"Nope." Achilles says with a cheeky smile.

"Oh, then what was with the hug." She asks him.

"I wanted to check to see if you brought any presents back from your trip." He says with a big smile on his face.

Giving her little brother a look, she says, "Go say hello to Rizontie, you little pest."

At her words, he goes to greet his younger sister while their father walks up to her.

"Hello, father, come to welcome me home?" Hela asks.

"Of course, it has been a while since I last saw you, my child," Lelouch says with a smile on his face as he gives her a hug.

"Please, father, it wasn't that long. I have hardly gone a month this time." Hela says to him.

"True, but anytime when you are not home your mother, and I miss you dearly." He says to her.

"Hmmm, speaking of mother, where is she? It's unlike her not to be here." Hela asks him.

"She is meeting a most interesting guest right now." He tells his child.

This makes Hela think for a bit. It was rare for her mother to not be here to greet her when she comes home. The only time she could really think of was when she was overseeing the making of her Cheese-Kun statue. So, the question was who had come that would grab her attention.

"Who is our guest father," Hela asks as she can't guess who it is.

"A young artist by the name Prince Jaereo Nymeros Martell of the Principality of Dorne," Lelouch says to her.

"A prince of Dorne? That is an interesting guest. As far as I know, the trade ships we use from Ibben don't go that far south." Hela says.

"True, but that doesn't mean others have not gone that far. Nilesha has seemed to have made her way there, and her artwork has become quite popular with its people. So much so that this prince has decided to come here wishing to learn." Lelouch tells her.

"Nilesha? I always wondered what happened to her after she left the North." Hela says to him.

While not very close to any of her mother's pupils, she had known the women better than the rest, seeing as Nilesha was her mother's best pupil. Mother called her one of those extraordinary talents that should never be forgotten. If this prince of Dorne had the same skill, then it wasn't any wonder, he got her mother's attention. So, putting her mother to the side, she moves on to another missing person of how best to get back at someone who had wrong her.

It's that look that convinces Lelouch that his child was indeed in love with her childhood friend, even if she did realize it yet. So just giving a sign, Lelouch says, "Come Hela, there will be a feast tonight celebrating your return. Achilles, come, it's time to go."

"Yes, father." They both answer and quickly fall instead behind him.

-History of Shogun Horero Bahin by Historian Affisi-

Better known as the shogun that history forgotten Shogun Horero four-year reign is one of the shortest in the Empire of Numenor's history. Yet without him much of what makes up the Empire today wouldn't have been possible. His work on the early Government Examinations and subsequent passing the much-overlooked Qualification Service Law guaranteed that only the most qualified citizens would have a hand in the running of the government. That is not to say our government is perfect or will ever be so, but it is the better alternative to incompetency by popular vote.

Yet as essential as those two things are to Empire, Norero biggest contribution has to be his biggest failure. For in the 2nd year of his reign he presented what he called the Articles of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen to the Emperor and Empress. And while it did not pass into law it set the foundation of what making and subsequent passing of the Privileges of the Citizen in the following centuries.

-Northren Cultural Movement by Maester Timos Chaseman-

The North is a place that for much of its history was both slow to change and held on to the old ways harder than most. But during the midpart of the Century of Blood in Essos the North took a dramatic shift in both cultural thinking and artist work. Now there has been much debate on why this shift happen. With some believing Princess Hela the first-born princess of the Empire of Numenor had much to do with it. While others saying it was simply because of the North's close ties with the Empire itself. Regardless of the reason the North during the first latter part of the Century of Blood and the beginning of Aegon's Conquest was a power to be cautious of.

In fact, the same could be said during the later years of Aegon I rule as well. Their wealth and military power made them someone Aegon continued to wary of even after they were brought into the fold. Finding it better to leave them alone seeing as they nether cared for what occurred in the South or wanted anything to do with it, it was the best policy. The same policy the likes of Maegor the Cruel better known as Maegor the Fool by the Empire would take for much the same reason.

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And end.

Now to give you guys and girls a hit of what the Thunder Plans look like just look at pics of Final Fantasy 10 Thunder Plans and that is what you got.

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