Kingdom of Heidel
The Kingdom of Heidel, or the Kingdom of Serendia, was the sovereign state that ruled over Serendia under the leadership of the House of Domongatt until it became subordinated to Calpheon at the end of the war between the two countries. [src]
Crucio Domongatt was the last to be made King before the war forced him to step down to Lordship. All diplomatic and political affairs must be conducted through Calpheon and their government.
Even after the war between Calpheon and Heidel, there are still some parts from both countries that are still recovering from the war. A majority of the efforts have been allocated to restoration and rebuilding on both sides.
The Golden Toad Inn
Before the events by Port Epheria, Florentino was sent to Heidel to meet with Lord Crucio Domongatt and Grand Chamberlain Jordine Ducas.
The meeting with the Lord of Heidel and the Grand Chamberlain was not until the evening, so Florentino went to the Golden Toad Inn.
There he sees Bobby Lauren, the Head of the League of Merchants in Heidel, scratching his head while looking down on the table.
“What is the Head of the League of Merchants looking like he has lost everything?” Florentino said.
Bobby Lauren looks at Florentino for a moment then looks down again, “What do you want, Calpheonian? And a Noble no less.”
“Woah, I’ve hit a nerve. Sorry.”
Florentino walks towards Bobby Lauren and sits beside him.
“What’s wrong, Mr Lauren?” Florentino said as he taps Bobby Lauren’s left shoulder.
“Nothing, I’m sorry. It’s just that the Xian Merchant Guild is breathing down on my neck.”
“Why? What happened?”
“What do you think? They’re taking control of everything and seizing everything! Hey, you’re a Calpheonian Noble and close with the Xian Merchant Guild, maybe you can talk them out of Heidel?”
“You know I can’t do that.”
“Because I can’t.”
Bobby Lauren looked at Florentino, enraged, “But why?”
“I’m not part of the Xian Merchant-!” Florentino shouted abruptly then took a deep breath, “Mr Lauren, I can’t help you with that. I might work for the Xian Merchant Guild in some occasions, but I have no say in their decision making.”
“Oh, come on, they value your opinion.”
Florentino rubs his forehead and took another deep breath, “Fine, I’ll try and talk to them… but no promises.”
“Thank you… I’m… also sorry for my outburst.”
“Tell you what? I still have plenty of time before the meeting, how about we drink?” Florentino looks around to find a waitress, “Waitress? Two glasses of your finest wine here. Oh, the one from Olvia that used the oak tree barrel, if you please.”
“Wait… meeting with whom?”
“With the Grand Chamberlain and Lord Crucio.”
“I’m about to find out later.”
Bobby Lauren faces Florentino, “Please, tell Jordine that the Le… I mean… I need help.”
A few minutes later, the waitress arrives and serves two glasses of wine.
Florentino holds his glass of wine, “Mr Lauren, I present to you, wine from the oak tree barrel.”
Bobby Lauren is sceptical, “Barrel made from an oak tree?”
“Yes, I promise you, you will not regret it.”
“Well… if you say so…” Bobby Lauren grabs his glass of wine and looks at Florentino, “For the glory of Heidel.”
Florentino raises his eyebrow and smiles a little, “Why not… for good health.”
They both toast.
“Wow, you’re right,” Bobby Lauren said, “this is some fine wine indeed. It’s made using an oak tree? Not bad. Where did this come from?”
“Olvia, my friend.”
Meeting with the Grand Chamberlain
Florentino and Bobby Lauren drank for a little while. When it’s finally time for Florentino’s meeting, he sits up and says goodbye to Bobby Lauren and made his way to his room at the Golden Toad Inn and changed to his Calpheon Noble Suit. God, I hate this outfit. It’s itchy and hard to move. I just hope this meeting will be quick.
Florentino then made his way to Heidel Barracks, where the meeting will be held. It’s already evening.
There he sees Cruhorn Wyrmsbane, an instructor for the soldiers of Heidel.
“Ah, great, a Calpheon Noble is here,” Cruhorn Wyrmsbane said as Florentino walks closer, “Good evening, Florentino.”
“Well, hello to you too, Instructor Wyrmsbane.”
“To what do we owe this… honour?”
“Actually, I’m about to find out. Are Jordine and Crucio already here?”
“Yes, they’re upstairs,” Cruhorn said as he looks to the ground while rubbing his forehead, “Florentino, please, address them as Grand Chamberlain and Lord Domongatt. Show some respect.”
Florentino’s right eye twitched, “Respect? Fine… I’ll try my best.”
With the Grand Chamberlain and the Lord of Heidel
“Good evening… Grand Chamberlain, Lord Crucio.” Florentino said as he lowers his head while his eyes show a glint of rage.
“Ah, Ibarra, you’ve finally arrived,” Jordine said.
“We’ve been expecting you,” Lord Crucio said.
“Right…” Florentino scratches his head, “let’s get down to business, shall we?”
Florentino takes a deep breath, “Where do we start?”
“Let’s start with the request for aid from Calpheon?” Jordine said, “And also the withdrawal of some of Calpheon’s troops.”
“Grand Chamberlain, you know that the withdrawal of Calpheon soldiers is impossible. They’re there for the stability of the region. I can, however, push the request for aid to the Kalis Parliament.”
“Then lower the tributary tax!”
“You know that I can’t also do that.”
Clashing of Words
“Did you realized that the people of Serendia are suffering because of this burden?” Jordine steps forward, “The people of Serendia have little to none to give to Calpheon.”
“With all due respect, Grand Chamberlain, the way I see it, the high tax rate of Heidel is what’s putting the burden to its people. Where are you redirecting those funds? And as a result? Insurrection from the lower class.”
“To restore Serendia, it’s for rebuilding and restoration. ” Lord Crucio interrupted, “Yes, we’re aware of the conditions of the lower classes and we’re trying our best to address that issue.”
“Really?” Florentino said sarcastically, “the way I see it, Lord Crucio, is that the Xian Merchant Guild is the one doing the restoration, while also employing some from Serendia for the manpower. Feeding them, paying them, and giving them shelter in the process. I don’t see Heidel doing anything about it.”
“Such insolence!” Jordine shouted and points at Florentino, “Who are you to dictate how Heidel should act? Who are you to insult us? You are nothing more than a Calpheonian Noble, you don’t know the struggle us from Serendia have to endure.”
“Oh, please, Jordine, I may be of Calpheon nobility but I don’t have a silver spoon in my mouth. Even within the family, meritocracy is still being applied. I’ve struggled countlessly to attain what I have now. Now then, Calpheon is doing the best they can to restore Serendia after the war, why can’t you see that?”
“Don’t address me with my first name, Calpheonian!” Jordine said as he continues to points his finger at Florentino, “You are too naive and glorifying Calpheon too much, I guess you’ve not seen the worst thing that Calpheon did to Serendia. You, someone who thinks he can make a difference, let me see you try and manage a whole country torn by war!”
Florentino is now enraged and he is close to activating his crossbow, “You do realize that Calpheon and the Xian Merchant Guild are doing the best they can to help Serendia off their feet, right? You’re one victim affected by war, correct? Why are you looking down on the people trying to help? They’re offering their help out of goodwill, not just because it’ll make them feel better because of the war, but because it’s the right thing to do. Instead of downplaying their contribution, how about offering your support? How about providing alternatives to make the restoration faster and to avoid a hole in your pockets? You people are the ones affected by the war, and these are your lands, how about aiding the relief effort?”
The fire in the fireplace was brighter than ever as if growing along with the flames that were building up inside Florentino and Jordine as the tension rises.
After Florentino’s outburst, everyone is quiet, too quiet that it’s deafening.
Florentino took a deep breath looks at Lord Crucio, “Lord Domongatt, do you have anything to add?”
“I have full confidence in Jordine, I know he’ll do a splendid job.”
Florentino clicks his tongue and said in his thoughts, You with no backbone. What kind of former king are you?
Florentino then looks at Jordine, “Do you have anything more to add, Grand Chamberlain?”
“No,” Jordine said flatly, “Calpheon must pay for their war crimes. Serendia has lost a lot during the war, and if our roles are in reverse you would be feeling the same way as we are.”
“I might,” Florentino nods, “at least I’m not an idiot as to extend the suffering of my fellow citizens. I would do anything to ease their suffering faster.”
Florentino then starts walking towards the door. He opens the door and just stood there and looks back at Jordine and Lord Crucio, “Don’t worry, Heidel will continue to get those supplies for the relief effort, I’ll also request an increase. Oh, and don’t be naive, all countries commit war crimes.”
“I almost forgot,” Florentino continued, “Bobby Lauren said he needs your help. I don’t know what’s that suppose to mean.” After taking a deep breath, he then continues to walk away.
The Need of Fresh Air
Some time has passed since Florentino’s meeting with the Grand Chamberlain and the Lord of Heidel, he then climbs his way up on one of the buildings and just sits by the roof.
He sees the bustling city of Heidel during the night. A lot of people are happy and helping one another, while at some parts he sees people of Heidel arguing with the people of Calpheon, specifically the Xian Merchant Guild.
Right… after this meeting, I was to be sent to Valencia, Florentino thought.
Florentino stands up and steps away from the edge to lie down by the centre of the roof and just gazes at the sky.
He recalls the horrors during the war between Calpheon and Serendia. Bodies covered in blood everywhere. He has lost a lot of people close to him during that time, especially his father who is a captain in the Calpheon Army. He fought alongside his father during the war. And during their captivity, Florentino had to witness the horror of his father being executed by Serendian soldiers while being tied up right in front of him.
“Pfft, ‘you would be feeling the same way as we are,’ he said,” Florentino said sarcastically. “You have no idea, Jordine, you have no idea.”
By the horizon, he sees the sun slowly rising.
It’s already morning? Florentino thought, God… I really need a vacation.
Did He Know?
Earlier that time, right after Florentino left the Grand Chamberlain Jordine and Lord Crucio Domongatt, the two continue with their discussion.
“Do you think he already knows what we’re planning?” Lord Crucio said, “Why did they send him here anyway? Do you think Calpheon knows what we’re planning that’s why they sent him to investigate?”
Jordine looks at Lord Crucio, “Perhaps, I can’t tell for certain. All we can do is to be more careful with our next actions.”
“For Heidel, and for the whole of Serendia,” Jordine said.
Lord Crucio nods, “For the glory of Heidel.”