47 Chapter 47 What could he do as an adult??
"I've run the numbers and while they all seem feasible, I just can't see any of these plans of your actually working in reality. You're assuming that there are workers available, that haven't been conscripted already to the war effort, and that none of your projected fall in production hasn't already started to occur." General Walter shook his head.
As far as Joseph could tell, after the past three hours of talk, Walter was a decent human being, he just didn't like Joseph because of the break in tradition. It might have something to do with the fact that he was the third child, and sent off to play war because the chances of him inheriting were slim.
"I was surveying my family's lands after the last fight with the barbarians, all along the border, and I do not want a repeat of that carnage. Many from my family have died going against those barbarians and I do not want to lose more to them," continued Walter.
"Come now general, we all know that's just not true," said Joseph, setting down his glass where he had just gotten a drink. "While it's true that your house is the strongest house in the north, everyone up there, apart from you, has taken their position for granted. Every report I've read over the past 50 years has had them conscripting and demanding help from other houses while they sit back and 'strategize'. Of those who have died, one was from falling off his horse while drunk and one was from choking on a pickle in his tent."
Walter turned purple in instant rage, and went to jump from his seat, however Daniel grabbed his arm.
"Now, Walter. Surely you would not be so incensed at the words of a mere child? You are a great general after all. You have not had any choice in the decisions of your household since the day your nephew Eli took over after the death of both your older brothers. It cannot be helped if he was overly influenced by your misguided relations."
Walter took a few breaths, staring at the table, then finally nodded slowly and sat down. Joseph knew all of this, including the fact that both of his brothers had died from STD's.
"I do apologize. I did not mean to insult you, General," Joseph said, meaning it, even though he had done it intentionally. He had to make sure that they all knew he had checked on each of them. They were already on their toes because of his age, but if he was able to knock them off their feet, he would have a better chance of getting what he wanted done.
"As the general was saying," said Peter, looking around hesitantly, "Even with the mages help I don't think we have enough mages, or strong enough mages, to make up for the loss of the men. I just don't see how this is gonna be a sell for the nobles."
"I agree," said Joseph, making all of them turn and look at him in confusion.
"Then, what are…" started David, but Joseph interrupted him.
"There is no way to prevent the drop, in production. There is going to be a loss in food crops this year, because of the very reason that Walter mentioned already. Men have already been pulled away from the fields for the army along the borders.
"The goal is to lessen the drop. If I can keep the loss at 5% a year, then I should be able to hold off the onset of famine and plague for several years. At 5 years, I will take over, and the men from your kingdom get to start coming back from the wall and back to the fields. I believe in my father gentlemen. I am certain he will bring enough people to man the wall in five years.
"What's more, once the nobles realize how much more produce and money they can get, with the help of the mages, they will be more likely to continue with the practice after the king stops enforcing it.
"Also, if the other two kingdoms are in the middle of war, there will be a large number of refugees that come to this kingdom looking for food, especially if they hear there is extra. You could all stay here, fat and happy, and your king could strike at the other two kingdoms once they've exhausted themselves with the war.
"People flock to whoever has food. Nothing sways the loyalty of citizens faster than giving them food so their children can live, when their own king can't."
Everyone was silent for a while after that, and Joseph took the chance to take another drink. Stella stood there to refill it when he was done.
"I don't believe the nobles will ever be willing to accept the mage plan, and even if the king enforces it, the greed in men is far to large to keep it up. They will try to increase their gains by grabbing up the mages in any way they can. Just wait and see, someone will step up to block that portion of your plans." Walter shook his head and took a drink of his own.
"How are you like this?" asked Timothy in shock. He looked around at the other men at the table. It was obvious they were all thinking the same things, so it bolstered his courage. "You're but a child, and yet, you've thought of all of this on your own? How have you even had time to read all these reports and run all these numbers?"
"My father is the largest slave trader in all three kingdoms. He specializes in training children from birth to do anything and everything. The entire slave market is based off of the prices his slaves bring at market. If he were capable of so much for a mere slave, then what of his own child?" Joseph looked at each of them, and they all nodded in thought. This was something they had all thought in passing, but never really considered in depth. It did make some sense, though Joseph couldn't help but wonder what they all thought his upbringing was really like.
"But, why would your father leave you if you are so talented?" It really bothered Timothy that his father had left him.
"Do you really think the nobles would have listened to a slave? My father had to be the one who went about conducting business. He had to leave someone. Even though I'm only a child, the nobles would never have listened to a slave. He has faith in the King to keep me safe. Plus, I am more than capable of doing this."
The looks on all of their faces showed that they worried what else he was capable of doing. And he was only a boy, what would he try when he was an adult????