(1874-8-24) Wine and Politics
Wine and Politics
Summary: Pompey and Ludovic discuss things over wine.
Date: Aug 14th 2018
Related: Related Logs (If there aren't any, use None. If there is a log, use full URLs, like http://eternalcrusade.wikidot.com/logtitle)
NPCs: NPCs (If there are any NPCs that don't have icons (they are not special/reoccurring enough to warrant such attention), list them here. Otherwise, you can say 'None'.)
Players:
Pompey  Ludovic  

Pompey's Office
An office not quite fit for a consul
Aout 24th

Candeo, the proverbial entrance to the newly acquired Imperial lands. It's pretty much being consistently guarded. One would wonder why he isn't at their festival, though those who know the consul know that he has been in a pretty short fused mood ever since his cousin started said festival, to the point that he has made it a point to make sure his cousin knows exactly how much said games cost, and what said money could have been used for.

His office is pretty much awash with scrolls and ledgers and other things, he isn't sitting, instead standing and making sure that the scrolls are labeled and placed in their correct places. "Nik, where is the grain inventory? Good, Put it with the rest of the military ledgers."

That same Nik advises Pompey that Viscount Hellsmouth has arrived before moving to put the ledgers where instructed.

Ludovic is still in the main yard at this point, ignoring the armed men around him as he strips himself of helm and gauntlet in preparation of an actual invitation inside.

Pompey blinks and has one of his lichtors escort the Viscount up to his office. "And have one of the domus workers bring wine and bread." he says as he himself moves to brush his hands clean. "Nik, clear the side table." He says before moving to grab his tobacco box, which has a nice array of expensive cigars in it, and also gets his bottle of valescan vodka out as well.

Ludovic leaves his escort and the helm and gauntlets down in the courtyard although the remainder of his half plate remains on his body. He's dressed for the road with the wool-felt coat so typical of the hellsmouth commoners and a light cloak. "It's good of you to meet with me Consul." Ludovic offers by way of greeting when he reaches the office. "I hope you'll forgive my appearance. I've yet to meet anyone who knows a way to ride so far without getting dust everywhere." He doesn't quite smile to Pompey but the tone of his voice is more friendly than anything else.

Pompey blinks and turns to face ludovic. He himself is dressed in a tunic and trousers, rarely aside from a silk cut toga, is he dressed extravagantly, though today, its casual for the consul. "Well, there is a carriage, but I believe that's best served for people who can't be bothered to ride a horse properly." He says with an extended hand, going for a forearm clasp. "Come, sit, wine, vodka, bread? Do you smoke?" He says as he takes his own seat, ironically, his seat faces the door, his back to the wall. "I'm just here to make sure the ledgers and accounts are in order, and to get away from my cousin for abit, you'd swear this festival was his magnum opus or somthing… I hate festivals, it's all an ego boost. I'd rather have my ego proven by my work."

"Be rather hard pressed to survive a qatunax attack from inside a carriage." Ludovic says with mild amusement. "Reckon anyone who decides to go down this road in one is kinda insane." The clasp is accepted although it is without all the extras that would suggest they are actually friends. Then he takes the seat. "Bread and wine will be plenty thanks. I never did much enjoy smoking." He furrows his brows a little as Pompey explains his hate of festivals. "Never gonna agree with you there. There's nothing better when it comes to reassuring your people and trade partners that everything's good."

Pompey pours the man a goblet of wine and then has a plate of bread, with imperial butter (best in the world as far as pompey is concerned.) Though Pompey pours his own goblet and then grabs a cigar. "Pffft, My father said the same thing, he may have had a point, and I've never denied a festival, but outside of an opening statement and maybe the gladiator fights and races, I don't see the appeal." he says with a nod as he lights his cigar, it's an odd smelling one, a hint of vanilla in that smoke as if the paper was soaked in it and then dried before being rolled. "Now a proper parade, that is something that can be done. Have you ever seen an elephant? Beat that stands taller than two huge men, long noses that make a trumpeting sound, some even used them as cavalry."

"Well that's because festivals are for the people, not the nobles." Ludovic says with a shrug. "Even the tourney is as much about the people as the nobles. You're showing them that their safe by displaying what the knights can do. You're showing that the squires deserve to be knighted. Your bringing work into the region. You're rewarding excellence. A festivals not much different." He reaches for the bread and wine, consuming the first piece with all the etiquette appropriate. Although he might miss some imperial-specific traditions. "Although I'm glad I didn't go to the games. The little i've heard of them doesn't leave me with a good taste in my mouth." He doesn't seem to want to dwell on that part instead looking thoughtful before he shakes his head. "No. I've never seen an elephant. Read about them though."

Pompey smiles and tilts his head. “I almost had one brought to Astrea when i was younger, I did Enjoy watching them when I was a child, I even rode on one, the size of their turds was absolutely amazing.” he says with a smirk as he takes a long puff on his cigar. “So tell me Ludovic, festivals and Elephant shits aside, why’d you come to see me? Not that I don’t mind you breaking the mind numbing tedium of constant paperwork.”

Ludovic smiles at the turd comment himself. Low humour is always good it seems. The question of his motives however makes him go more serious. "I had someone complain to me and demand that I stop raiding the Imperials. Given that I have done no such thing, and have no intention of it, I'd like to know what's going on. Then theres the fact I sent a letter about some intelligence that fell into my hands that I received no response on. Now a sizeable part of me says that I should just leave you to it and hope you all die, but truth is, I still care about the people back here. So I need to know you got it."

Pompey tilts his head. "Raiding us? Ludovic, if you were raiding us then you wouldn't be sitting there. I think we know the difference between soldiers and bandits, or aequorans and qatunax." He says as he shakes his head. "If people are wrongly accusing you of raiding, send them to me, I'll deal with them, it's probably the worst punishment you could have." He says with a chuckle. "As far as the intelligence, that would probably be darius, I don't deal with anything military, save for inventory and making sure the prefect isn't drunk all the time." He says with a sigh. "But that's what happens when you take a 30 year veteran and make him a steward."

"Doesn't really matter who I give the information to." Ludovic says. "As long as someone has it then you can pass it up or along or wherever it needs to be in this whale of a military you have here." He pauses for a moment as he eats a bit more. "We captured a couple of aequorians gone qatunax. The one that was willing to talk said that there was going to be a new group of qatunax come and reinforce the ones already here. Mountain folks he called them. Don't know much more than that. He's not exactly a military asset you know?" He gives Pompey a brief smile at that. "But it still means you're likely to see enemies come in from the east. So. Best you not be blindsided by that." A moment for him to take some wine. "Don't think this means i'm opening my borders to you for supply needs and stuff though. Telling you that troubles coming and actively helping you are two wildly different things."

A quick grin. "Yeah I figured me showing up here was about as much of a statement as possible about the fact I don't consider us to be at war I could make. So. Here I am. And I appreciate your hospitality. If you'd turned me away then I might have had to assume you really were telling everyone I was attacking you so that you could justify making war on me."

Pompey shakes his head. "Mountain people eh? Could this man give you anymore insight as to what he saw of their culture? Anything we can use to demoralize them would be helpful, since word got out that there is a monster among them." he says as he points to ludovic's eye. "I also hear that this isn't the first time you've come across this particular monster."

"Working on it." Is all Ludovic says about the culture insights. "Decided i'd find the information we can get out of being nice to him more useful than trying to dig military secrets out." Another shrug. "Got people on it. So we'll see how it goes. So far I know some stuff about their religion and that their commander seems to be called Tavat. Which would make him the man I fought that day." he pats the head of the axe on his belt. "The one that gave me this. Feel like they might have some warrior traditions we'd be well served to know about." He smiles. "It's good to see someone who thinks knowing who they are is kinda important too though."

A pause as his injury is brought up. "It was not the first time I've encountered the creature that did this, no. And it's true he seemed to have qatunax allies in his attack."

Pompey blinks and tilts his head. "Well, what I was able to gather from my own investigation about your war of the west, this monster managed to use sorcery unknown to us. From what little i've heard, Magic is more of an elemental thing, but, when he uses it, it's more.. abstract, if that makes sense. The timing of mt. Tharsis pitching a fit also was to much of a coincidence. I'd pay crowns that he was behind that as well." Pompey says with a smirk. "Is there anyone else I might know of who fought this monster?"

"When he turned my own magic on me." Ludovic says. "I was struck by ice. Yet he created a storm, that" oh right secrets. "One of our party contained. An air sorcerer. And also created a wave of force, that decimated much of an army, that seemed more like, I'm not sure.. kinetic I guess. So i'm not sure that i'd say that he seems to be using some abstract method so much as not to be limited to a single element. But then he's not human so maybe it's just one of the things such creatures have over us. We've always, in the stories, had to come together to bear creatures like that afterall. He was hidden in our church for many, many, years. I always have to wonder how much of the churches policy on sorcery was actually his." A nod. "I don't think anyone things Tharsis erupting when and how it did was a coincidence. I don't think it was this particular creatures doing. He was involved in the westwar at the time as far as I know." He shakes his head at the final question asking for names. "I won't share that information. I'm the only sorcerer of the group that is actually somewhat out in the open."

Pompey nods and takes another long puff of his cigar. "Tell you what, I won't press you for those names then, if you would be so kind as to let them know that I would appreciate a talk with them. The empire is very open with sorcery, so it's not like I'm trying to do away with them, especially since sorcerers make this conflict easier for us, I'd even grant them a double pension if I could for their military service."

"I'll think about it." Ludovic says. "But honestly I've no idea why i'd want to recruit people to help the imperials. We both know that you plan to invade the west at the first opportunity."

Pompey looks at ludovic. "What's more dangerous, us or the qatunax, especially since you know who is possibly leading those people and whipping them into a fury. The more information I can relay to our sorcerers, the better chance we have of destroying them." He says simply. "It's unfeasible for us to try and take the west, when we have the qatunax pushing against us as well. When it's over, who knows what darius will decide when he gets the crown? Who knows if I won't retire once that crown is on his head. All I do know is the threats we both have ludovic, and trust me, they are much more pressing that who might invade who at this point."

"The ally who's not an ally. That's who's most dangerous." Ludovic tells Pompey seriously. "The one who'll tell you what great friends you are whilst always looking for ways to turn that trust and friendship against you." The rest he just says "There's no point banging on about the advantages of us working together anymore Pompey. I tried that remember. Look" he gestures to the keep. "What it got me. I could have taken land off the qatunax, saved some of the people you all claim to care so much about, but you are consistently in my way."

Pompey lets out a sigh. "Last time I tried to explain why, you said we were insulting you. Make no mistake, I'm not insulting you, but your form of government. After the empire abandoned you, let's not mince words, the chancery was formed. You've never known an empire with a chancery. It's why even though we were almost destroyed, why we are still here, and it's also why taking the lands the qatunax have is good for everyone, because there is a chancery to administer said lands." he says with a nod. "One of my assistants has a strong knack for numbers, before the qatunax came, he would have been a cow heard, Ludovic, tell me how your government is able to weed out the people who shouldn't be doing what their birthright says that they should?" He asks as he sets down his cigar. "The empire works for the empire, in that every citizen is loyal to the state, disloyalty is the worst crime possible, even more so than murder. Also our mindset is that an imperial citizen is above everyone else, even a foreign king, you may not agree with it, but dealings with the empire might become less confusing and frustrating once you understand and are aware of such. As I;ve recently tried to do with your culture. I know Jasmina is your direct superior, and I know she answers to your king, that means I'd have to make quite a racket to get marius to come down here and actually talk, head of state to head of state, but until then, I'm dealing with your archduchess, or, darius is, because apparently the consul of the palace is less important than a legio, even though I'm the one financing this whole thing."

"Yes, Yes. I've heard you say this before and I understand it. You somehow believe that having a noble family with the wealth and status that affords does not result in their children having most of the positions of authority. This man you speak of with mathematical talent. He is still a servant is he not? When it comes down to it. But we've never once been dealing with things on a cultural level. I've never said that a mayor raised from the people is a bad thing. The government of hellsmouth city isn't a long way distant from what i've seen in Paras. Yet somehow the fact that we have a military elite in command in order to protect them is foul because it is me doing it and not Darius." Ludovic replies a little brusquely. "So now that you've brought it up Pompey. Why don't you tell me how it makes a difference how a person gains their rank in how that rank should be treated? What part of your society says that throwing fruit and insults at foreign dignitaries is a friendly act? Perhaps you can explain how your society considers that annexing a fort is appropriate after being invited to join the final attack of a siege due to the purported friendship between our nations?"

Pompey blinks. "He is not a servant, he is an assistant. Because a servant can only be a servant, but once day, this man will be in charge of an office, a whole office, with the rank and dignity that comes with it, see the difference?" Pompey says as he stands up and begins pacing. "Would you rather the arkanin hold this fort? They are a borish people who, from what I know, sat our their civil war and then proclaimed to be loyal to the victors, they couldn't even dedicate their loyalty properly. Do you think if you exploded at them the same way you exploded at us, that you and this 'ser van tees' would be talking? No, the man would have met you outside with a blade in his hand." Pompey says as he turns to face ludovic. "We are here for one thing only, to kill qatunax, and anyone that tries to hinder that, or get in our way, I'm sorry, but gets no sympathy from us. We took the keep, yes, but your handling after it was the problem. I wasn't in the room for that, but I bet you never thought to 'share' the keep with Darius, yes we took it, but that didn't mean we were going to be exclusive." he says as he places his hands behind his back.

"Servant and assistant are just different names for the same job Pompey." Ludovic points out. "And servants are entirely capable of becoming quite powerful. We have a viscount who was a commoner for the One's sake. Calling us a stale monarchy with no potential for upwards movement is foolish. Its true that the individual is responsible for making us aware of their talent but once we are aware it is practically a duty for us to reward it. I'll admit it's easier for a man to move upwards through the military but these are all things that do happen."

He raises his eyebrows at Pompey's question of arkanin holding this fort. "Cervantes was in command of this forward base so it was my expectation he would take command of it until it was no longer vital to the military campaign. So yes I was expecting arkanin would hold this fort until such a time as a permanent garrison could be determined. That may even have resulted in an imperial garrison. Yet the decision to just take it spoke volumes about the part you consider we have in this war." He snorts when Pompey declares they are only here to kill qatunax. "Then I suspect you might need to sit down with your Darius and work out what is going on. Because if you'd shown up on that first day seeking a military agreement and asked to use Paras as a base I would have granted them both. Hell the last time we came here to talk with your Princeps we had planned to negotiate for some way to keep working together. It was clear within minutes that wasn't something HE wanted though. I don't want a war with you but i can see when something is inevitable and I refuse to waste my men to feed your princeps' ambitions."

"They are not the same thing Ludovic, I don't expect my assistant to pour my wine or wash my clothes. he isn't a manservant, he assists me at my job, he learns what it takes to do said job, and eventually, he will be the one to do what I'm currently doing here." Pompey says as he looks at the man with a tilt of his head. "But the kings words is final, if he says 'go forth and die' you have to do as he says, there is no veto to check him, there is no senate to advise him. There is no office in place that makes sure that the nation is financially sounds, just a 'collect taxes and send them to me' and 'you are also in charge of maintaining your military' now, I'll not be as naive to think that a person in your position cannot delegate, I'm the master of delegation." he says as he moves to the table to pop the bottle of vodka and pour a small glass. "Like I said, military objectives are in the hards of Darius, so me commenting further on them isn't going to help at all, however, I can offer trade deals, I'm sure among everything else you can use gold, I have gold, I also am the one to talk to about trade deals. Let's say the empire decides to work on that open trade agreement, well, we wouldn't be doing that ourselves we'd have a middle man, who would, of course, come into a lot of levied profit." he looks to ludovic. "If your archduchess and my cousin can't get along, then you and I should, and a first thing is a trade deal. Simply put, we ask for things, you bring the, and get paid for those things and the cost of transporting them, when we have a surplus of items, you buy them from us, and sell them at a profit. If you hate my cousin for what he did, fine, a lot of people hate my cousin because of his ego, people hate me more because I can turn a pile of shit situation into a profit. The senate hates darius, they fear me."

"I only expect a washerwoman to wash my clothes too." Ludovic replies confidently. "Whilst I have scholars and accountants to handle my books. They are still both servants though. The word for someone that tends to your household in that way is maid Pompey. Servant means something far closer to." And for this he switches to the imperial tongue. "one who is in service to." back to common. "And the servants have their own hierarchies and rules and such themselves. It's a kingdom all of its own that I know better than to meddle with."

An eyebrow is raised and he asks. "And if the tribune tells a soldier to go forth and die, does he have a right of veto? If your emperor tells you to fall on your sword. Do you have a choice?"

There's a smile when trade deals are mention. "It is true that I'm interested in getting the trade route reopened Pompey but the simple fact is that you're not capable of running a trade route through the hellsmouth province. Besides, when Jasmina and I attempted to open those negotiations, we were insulted - I got fruit thrown at me by your future emperors lapdog - So why should I believe it can happen when your future emperor clearly considers me to be below contempt"

Pompey chuckles. "The twins threw fruit at you? A strange thing, those two, unsettling would my my best guess on them. And if the emperor told me to fall on my blade, I'd ask what trial was had to support it. A soldier knows that his job is to fight, and die, if necessary, it's not opera, though operas are made of it." he says as he tilts his head. "When the empire is full of servants, since we are all in service to the empire." he states. "In any case, you keep wanting to deal with darius, look what that's gotten you, instead of asking to deal with me, which, like today, has actually gotten you both a trade deal, as well as a bit of respect." he says motioning to the wine and bread and the fact no one has yelled or pulled out a weapon, or a piece of fruit. "Number one on darius' list is darius, his siblings are even worse, I know him better than anyone on tirth, I was raised alongside him, we shared the same nursery for the first five years of our life, and I've had to talk him out of trouble since we were teenagers. Trust me when I say that much like himself on a personal level, the empire will come first, just like your nation to you should come first. Ludovic, you are not a politician, and for that I do not fault you, you need a voice within the empire, I can do that for you, get what I can for you, without yelling and blade rattling and thrown fruit… such a waste of food… those two are truly children."

"Yeah. Everyone's a servant really." Ludovic says. "I myself am in service to the King and therefore a servant of Aequor. Bet you even have governors of regions, just like we do. Only you likely call yours" again a shift to imperial. "Governor" and back to common. "Whilst we call ours viscounts and barons, Lords and dukes just like the empire named us back before you left. There's just no way to run the world without breaking it up into manageable chunks. Now the church says our family rules because of divine favor." he shrugs a bit at that. "Ignoring that detail which probably will be a sticking point. I am in charge because I'm honestly the best person for it. Because I was raised with enough of an education that i'd land on my feet 'just in case'. Won't say I'm as good as the real heir woulda been but its not like they just plucked a child out the nursery either."

He gives Pompey an amused look. "so yes my family was raised to command of Daemon's Hall by the empire. Seems to me that you should be honoring that. Just like you should be honoring the fact that the duchy of tharsis was imperial named and honoring the fact that I'm the closest thing to a 'governor' of that duchy these days." He nods. "Yeah I noticed that you weren't treating me like donkey dung today. Appreciate it. It's hard to keep my cool when I'm being treated worse than you'd treat a whore hired to be treated that way."

A long pause. "Tell me about this deal then. What are you offering and what's it going to cost?"

Pompey chuckles. "That was before the chancery. Wach governor is a member of the senate, where the chancery pulls it's officials from. So a senator comes from a renowned family, granted renowned due to service within the empire, and then gets elected to the senate, and THEN I look them over and appoint them to a governorship." he says with a nod. "Which means, you'd be working for me, not darius." he says with a chuckle. "Simple, There are provisions we will need, I have the gold to buy them off you, you get the, and are reimbursed along with a finder's fee. Once we push the qatunax back far enough to where trade can be much more normal, then you ask for things from the other side of the mountains, and we bring them to you." He says with a nod.

"I see." Ludovic says. "So basically this is you asking for me to allow supplies through in exchange for some potential future gain." He furrows. "Not sure what you're getting at with the rest. Unless you're promising me the duchy of Tharsis or something?" He takes a moment and then asks. "My family is renowned, and noble, because of the actions of Georges Korbina. Hows that any different to being from a renowned family?"

Pompey chuckles. "Because you aren't imperial Ludovic, if you were, thing would be different, but I know that unless you had no other option, you really wouldn't want to be one of us." he says with a smirk. "And you gain as of now is monetary, gold, the yellow rock, bling, shiney, get the picture. I have a lot of it, Enough to buy out d'Armaz and THEN four corners as well, if that makes sense. My cousin runs our imperial bank, another cousin owned a mining company, and through the years my family has pretty much had a monopoly on trade with the pentarchy. I make people rich, and you will be no different, think of what you could do with that money ludovic, how easier life would be when there's a problem you can just toss a few gold at it and it will go away." he says. "Within reason of course."

"Let's not talk about what i'd want or not want if life had been different." Ludovic tells Pompey. "I can't answer that anymore than I bet you could. Truth is that as long as the oath between liege and vassal is intact i'm not free to act another way." He shakes his head. "Pompey. I'm really not very motivated by money. I want wealth for my city and my people, not me. I don't have any problems right now that can be solved by throwing money at them." He finishes off his wine. "But for the sake of curiosity, tell me, what else would I have to do, on top of what i've already done, to earn the status of renowned family for my kin?"

Pompey smiles. "Simply pledge your allegiance to the empire, like I said before an imperial citizen is held above anyone not imperial. if you were to make that pledge, I'd give you governorship of hellsmouth, the whole thing. You'd automatically be granted a seat on the senate, and within the chancery. Because without an emperor, I'm the one who grants these things." he says with a smile as he finishes his vodka. "That also means that if those.. heathens to the west push any further and come to your doorstep, they'd be met with a wall of shields and pilum that would prove that discipline beats fury."

"So." Ludovic says. "The price for being a renowned imperial family is just to betray all my oaths then?" he shakes his head. "I can't accept that." He considers a moment and then asks. "What's beyond the d'meloni pass Pompey? Is it Qatunax or Imperial?"

Pompey looks up at ludovic. "Both, to the north of the pass is imperial valesca, and further down that pass is qatunax." he says simply. "Like I said before, we would not have had this problem in the first place if my predecessor wasn’t a corrupt traitor. It felt good to watch him die by my own hand." Pompey says with a frown.

"Don't think you've said that to me." Ludovic says. "But it doesn't surprise me. I've never seen any kind of organisation where power is supposedly based on merit where it wasn't really based mostly on money." He takes a long moment and then he says. "Given that the vampire that had such a role in destabilising our kingdom was with the qatunax it wouldnt surprise me if they had a similar creature in your own government… what did you kill him with?"

Pompey smiles. "A lightsilver dagger, it was my mother's dagger, because she had the gift of magic as well, and the only thing I could get my hands on, I'd have used a spatha, but I couldn't find one." He says and blinks. "A vampire.. I doubt it, I knew the man, worked with him for most of my adult career, he liked money… alot.. he always said 'power can be bought' I know that isn't true, money buys the tools to gain power, but not power itself."

"Its true that two different men with the same amount of money will end up in different places." Ludovic agrees. "But it's also true that someone who starts with non will end with non too." He studies Pompey and then asks. "Do you know how to tell a vampire apart from anyone else?"

Pompey blinks. "No, and I suspect anyone who hasn't come across one will know either."

"Not sure i'd know how to either." Ludovic admits. "But I do know that they are vulnerable to lightsilver. Only sharpened lightsilver." he taps the brow above his missing eye. "This was my own hammer. Knew the steel wouldn't do much but it was all I had about and Imogen. When I realised what it was I told her to go get Judgement. She refused. I mean. I'm not sure the creature would have let her leave. But it was me he wanted, not her. And with Judgement she could have hurt him."

Pompey nods. "I'll relay the message to Darius.. perhaps a century of sorcerers at his back might be able to overwhelm this vampire. We supply the lot of them with lightsilver and leather, a logistical nightmare on how much is spent, but I'm told the value is great." He says with a frown. "in any case, my offer on both the trade deal, and citizenship for you still stands, as it always has, your oaths, while I respect your loyalty in keeping them, remember, the people below you are just as important as the ones above you, and your oaths to them should be taken into account as well. Without those people, you wouldn't be a viscount."

"Maybe." Ludovic says doubtfully. "But I doubt you could pin him down that easily. He is able to just appear and disappear seemingly at will. Pinning him down for the century to deal with him would be the trial and we are honestly just as capable of dealing with him as you are." he touches his cheek again. "He really could have killed both of us. I wish I understood what he was after."

A moment of contemplation there and he lifts his gaze back to Pompey. The sunken plain white surface of the right eye an odd contrast to the blue of the left. "The Kingdom has done their part in supporting us exactly as i've done my part in supporting my people. There's no justification to break the oath. Trust me Pompey. I've thought about it. And i'm not even sure i'd want to join you even if there was. You've not exactly filled me with confidence although what you said today helped. Signing up my people to be auxilia rather than citizens doesn't appeal at all."

Pompey blinks. "Auxilla are citizens, they just aren't as… used as the main legion body." he says simply, and ponders for a moment. "You know, people who have the mindset that they are divinely better than anyone else, usually want to not just kill those who have wronged them, they want them to watch as their life crumbles around them, wait until they are beaten and broken, and then kill them as in their mind it's a small mercy… in a twisted way that they are the 'better person'." he says with a rather disgusted look on his face. "So, he made it known that he could kill you at any point, and now will use the watunax to crush your army, and your friend, and everything else, and leave you to watch this, as he thinks you are helpless. Then, when the time comes and you are left with nothing, he will 'be merciful'." he says and takes another shot of vodka. "I'd rather leap off a cliff than give someone like him the pleasure of killing me…"

Ludovic says, "And I'd rather fight him to the last breath than kill myself." He pushes his plate away and moves easily to his feet. "I'll think on arranging something with you about supplies. Don't expect much though. I'm still struggling to look past the fact that my last act of goodwill was used to stab me in the back." He almost looks as if he might say something but instead he says "I need to get back if I want to be in a good place to camp come nightfall."

Pompey nods. "Well, I'm not a fighter, so me fighting him would probably make me look like an idiot." He says with a frown. "Safe travels Ludovic, my office door is always open."

"Sometimes you just gotta fight to make a stand." Ludovic says. "You think i don't know that I'll lose if the empire attacks? Sometimes when all your choices are losing you just gotta pick the best option and go with it."

"It was good to spend some time talking." He adds "I appreciated it and I'm glad we cleared up the air a bit and you got to see that I'm not the man you've kept pushing me to be. I'll leave you a writ guaranteeing passage for a small political group to pass through the border. Just don't try and use this good will to bypass my decisions or anything." Not that he could have reasonably stopped a group of just one or two from passing through with any level of reliability but at least this way you can do it openly. "Never been my desire to stop you have political contact with the kingdom."

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