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The Consolidation


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It had been a brutal struggle.

Roger Toussaint, greatest of the lesser Lords of the Duchy, had led revolt against the oppresive Duke Merne of Liseux. Under the triple-sword banner of "The Saint", the lesser houses had overthrown Merne and his decrepit allies in a bloody uprising that had covered the house of Toussaint in glory.

But as the glory faded, the wealth of the uprising spent, and the little folk of the land encouraged to go back to their farms (and stop hiding in the woods), the sad reality came to hit the newly anointed High Lord of Normandy: His people were a financial ruin, his military small and poorly armed, and his influence small against the great states to the East and South. Having gathered together all the wealth he could assemble from the rebellion, and his personal treasury, he had a mind to make Normandy a Nation among Nations. Thus, in the newly anointed capital of Caen, he called together his two sons, to set aright his newly formed throne.

"My sons, we have won this place for ourselves at no small cost; now it is for us to reap the punishments of victory. We have not the power to expand yet, though our hosts have been blooded and are ready for more; the smallfolk tire of conflict and wish for ease and yet we have naught for them. Therefore, you, my Knights and Heirs, are to seek out fortunes and Allies for us. Camus, I shall send you to our neighbors in Flanders, England, and others as may have emerged outside of our small territory. Adem, your task will be to travel south and find for us a place to practice our trade; for though our knights and retainers hunger for conflict, we cannot allow more blood spilt on our soil, and we have nothing in the way of knowledge of our neighbors. I shall send fifty men with you upon your business, all finely arrayed and well armed; for you must show that we are truly a land of fighters and soldiers. With you, Camus, I will send an honor guard of twelve of our best knights, versed well in conversation and matters of faith; you must show our neighbors your piety and honorable intentions. Will you accept my directions and will, as your High Lord, and as your father?"

They answered in unison as they knelt before him: "Yes, High Lord."

He smiled, and touched both their shoulders. "Then go, my beloved sons, and prepare yourselves for your journeys. I wish you to embark as soon as you can, and return with good news. In the meanwhile," he said with a shrug, "I will do as best I can here, for the people. I have a mind to lower taxes and put more of our gold to good use to roadways and wells, but without a steady flow of wealth, I shan't have the strength. Go, my sons, you are all of my hope."

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