There was a saying, 'die of boredom or perish from work'. Lorist was far too free. His forces had occupied the four provinces and Grindia was once again in turmoil. He'd restored four nations in one fell swoop. And he could not be said to be uninvolved in the founding of Chikdor and Mayflower.  He was shaping up to be the most influential and consequential noble, even person, in the history of the entire continent. Despite that, he was not directly involved in any of it, so he had nothing to do.

Charade, Malek, Reidy, Els, Howard, and all his other subordinates, however, were perishing from work. Charade often went one or two nights without sleep and got only four hours at the best of times. He was constantly embroiled in negotiations with ambassadors from other nations. He drunk excessively to cope with the stress, but that kept him up at night as he vomited all over the nearest lavatory. It didn't help that most of the ambassadors he hosted were heavy drinkers as well.

Even Ironface Malek, one of the greatest bear bags Charade knew, had vomited a couple of times in the last month.

Lorist was even willing to get involved with the negotiations to relieve his boredom, but he couldn't.  He was a swordsaint. People didn't think of him as a mortal; everyone put him on a pedestal. As such, nobody was willing to negotiate when he was involved.

Jindoz, however, envied Lorist's freedom. It couldn't be helped, unfortunately. Nobles greatly regarded status. Lorist did not have to, nay, couldn't get involved in the negotiations unless a king showed up. Charade also would not let him get involved; 'a swordsaint should be aloof and scarce,' he always insisted.

Lorist was bored to death as a result. Putting up airs was truly a soul-killing job. It was so bad he started to relish the occasional reception of nobles he did. He would personally receive one or two nobles, greet them, accept their gifts, and see them off to Charade for the negotiations. It didn't help that Charade had a very traditional outlook on what Lorist should do to keep busy. Nobles played with young women when they had free time, so he kept sending the daughters of nobles and other minor noble related ladies to entertain Lorist, despite his lack of interest.

Lorist would have been too happy to enjoy his toys were he still the bachelor mercenary from years ago, but now he was getting old, not to mention being married and having a number of concubines and mistresses already. Lorist was in his fifth decade, his lower body was beginning to hibernate and his mood was sobering.

Women were nice for company, but they always came with strings attached. He already had enough strings. Why did he want more women? He at times didn't even want the women he already had. He had few children, but unlike nobles native to their role, he had no inhibitions when it came to bastards, so he had enough gnomes running around. And with his hibernating lower body, he had little need of physical release. If anything, having so many women in his life had made him somewhat cynical.

After signing the Treaty of Misouthern Grindia, a renewal of the old Alliance's mutual defence pact, Lorist returned to Brinn Hills in Morante with his army. He married the women sent to him off to officers with the most achievements during the campaign as a reward, before leaving. The women weren't given a choice in the matter, they were literally asked to go somewhere, only to find a husband waiting for them.

Lorist was dragged into a meeting the moment he arrived in the city.

"His Majesty is back in the capital," reported Tarkel.

Auguslo's marriage happened in eleventh month of the previous year in Fisablen's dominion.  Apparently he'd lined up every young girl in his house fourteen years or older, and let the king take his pick. He would adopt whomever the king picked and they would be wedded within the week.

Lorist could have attended, since he had been in the Northlands at the time, but since he was in the North secretly, and since he was there to be with his wife and concubine during their births, he laid low. He sent Potterfang and Kedan to attend the wedding in his stead.

"The king relieved Wecksas of his position and left Ripleid in charge. I have something else, but there's no definite information.  The new queen is apparently pregnant already. Apparently she got pregnant practically the very night of the wedding."

"It seems our king is working hard. If it's a boy, his bastard will be in trouble. Best case scenario, he'll be exiled to some distant fief as a minor noble," laughed Lorist.

Wecksas was bringing ruin to himself. After Camorra turned him down, he actually moved the royal guard on the city. He sent a hundred men to Jillin. They must have thought no little noble would dare take action against them since their backer was the king's bastard, but they forgot who the little noble was.

They were quickly encircled and beat to a pulp. Everybody was deaf to their cries. They were stripped naked and sent back to the capital on foot. Everybody noticed the hundred naked bodies walking into the city and lined the streets to watch the parade. The women were most enthusiastic and a few well-practiced ladies took to critiquing the size and shape of their genitalia.

Predictably, Wecksas exploded.

Ridiculous! That little noble actually dared cross the heir apparent? The future king?! This was an affront to the entire kingdom! Swordsaint or not, the duke could not do something like that.  He would have to pay dearly for this affront.

Nobody knew where he'd gotten the idea that swordsaints had to bend the knee to their king like any normal noble.

If the royal guard wasn't enough, then he'd just send the entire army. He sent out summons… and nothing happened. It was like the wind blew his letters away on the way to their destination.

Positively fuming, he marched to the army's headquarters and personally ordered Ripleid to mobilize the army. Ripleid completely ignored him. He told him to calm down and wait for his father to come back and deal with it personally. He may be the heir apparent, but he was not yet king.

Wecksas lost it completely and accused the general of treason. He stormed back to the palace, took out a letter of command from his father, and marched back to the general to punish him. When he opened the letter, however, it didn't say what he thought it did.  It said Ripleid was only to keep an eye on Wecksas and could punish him if he stepped out of bounds.

Wecksas was completely flabbergasted.  This was not a letter of command! It was a damn letter of limitations!

Ripleid knew Auguslo had hope for his bastard, but knew his limitations. He decided to advise the man instead of punishing him. He told him that the king had given Lorist authority over the port city personally, so he had a plan with it. Wecksas should not interfere with his father's plans.  He did not have the authority to make and break agreements and treaties, he was only responsible for ensuring they were discharged properly.

Wecksas returned to the palace, still crimson-faced. He stopped making trouble for the Nortons, but refused to reinstate the food deals. Baron Camorra didn't make a fuss, though. It wasn't a loss for House Norton, they barely made any profit from it anyway.

The kingdom's treasury was running dry by the start of the 6th month. The biggest issue was the annual bonus they were supposed to give their military personnel. They had more than anough food, but they couldn't give food as a bonus. Auguslo didn't meddle much in internal affairs apart from matters of war, and without his aid the economy had been slow to recover. All the large-scale trade in the kingdom was done with House Kenmays.

It didn't help that the kingdom could not mint more money, since it didn't use its own currency.  It could only get more money by trading out its produce. And the only large deal that gave the kingdom money, was the deal Wecksas had stopped.

Wecksas was quick to send men to Jillin once the money ran out, but now it was Camorra's turn to play hard ball. Well, it wasn't really like he was playing hard ball. The trade was set for the 6th month, but it was not the 8th. The ships were no longer in the harbor, so there was no one to whom to sell the food.

Wecksas was forced to change food for money in his men's salary as a result.

Auguslo's messengers arrived in the rest of the kingdom in the 9th month to tell everyone about his impending return with his new queen. The letter he sent to Wecksas and Ripleid informed them of Wecksas relieval. Ripleid received an additional letter which told him to arrest Wecksas's conspirators.