169 Chapter 166 Men from The North
Joseph was standing at the front gates, where he had teleported when informed by his father, via the message system, that Laeroth had arrived, escorted by a dozen other elves.
"Joseph," he said, cheerfully.
"Laeroth, is everything ok? You look well, but did something happen to the forest?"
"No, everything is fine. Better than fine, actually. The priests at the temple are getting revelations again. I was told to come to you, to learn magic with mana, as you promised. I was given a destiny to be the Elven archmagi."
"Really? That's wonderful for you. I can give you some pointers, but I am going to have to leave soon, to look for gnomes again. I'm only here still, because I missed everybody and wanted to set things up for them to continue working while I'm gone. I'll introduce you to the heads of each rune later, as sort of an exchange student. I'll talk to your king about what he owes me for this later."
"Joseph, I thought you said you would teach me, though?" said Laeroth, confused.
"Oh, I'd teach you as a favor, but if you want to pass it on to the other elves, I want something. If you are the elven archmagi, then obviously you are going to be teaching others."
Laeroth thought about that for a minute and then nodded.
"Fair enough, I guess. Just don't charge him too much."
"Oh, don't worry. It will probably be tax breaks and such, for my kingdom's merchants. It makes a lot more money long term, and we both stay friends."
Dun-Khan came running up, "KENRICK!"
He was second only to Chug, as the border patrol, so it must be something important for him to come personally.
"Dun, what is wrong?"
Stella motioned for the elf to follow her, while she directed him to one of the assistants to see to their lodging. He could easily see that Joseph was busy, and had no problems leaving.
Dun was panting as he approached. "My Kenrick! Men from the north are coming. But they are strange. They travel with women and children, and no supplies or weapons."
"King Joseph?" came a soft voice in his head.
"I just received a report from the mountain, that a group of people has been spotted approaching the mountain from the north. Some bird-kin are going to investigate more, but I was told to inform you quickly."
"Thank you, Daisy. The patrol just told me."
"But how?" she asked puzzled.
Joseph smiled. She probably thought he was still in the castle. Her range had improved immensely over the past couple of weeks. "The barbarians probably have signals, caws, or even hand signs to convey information. You should try and work some with Chug and the other hunters. It might broaden your perspective and help you with your magic more."
"Oh! Thank you, Joseph…er, King Joseph."
"Thank you for reporting, Dun. You got the message to me faster than the mages. Your teams should be proud. I will go and check on this."
Stella and Joseph slowly descended from the sky, down in front of the people. They were a pitiful bunch. The children looked underfed, and the adults looked half starved. They were carrying sacks and backpacks, but that was it.
The leader stepped forward, and quickly bowed.
"Pardon us, my lord, but are these your lands?" he asked in a thick accent. His speech was slow and slightly slurred from dehydration.
"Yes. You don't look like invaders, so why are you here?"
"If it pleases my lord, and you find grace in your heart for us, we all be traveling to avoid the war. The king's men kept coming to conscript, and now these new people we've never heard of are coming around. They say they killed the king and all. They taxed all our grain, and took all our animals for the war. Whole villages have been collected like slaves and so we've come here. If you'd be willing to take us, and see us fed, we will serve you."
"Why come so far when you don't know me?" he asked, looking over them all. They weren't very impressive, but he had to be careful what decision he made. This would be used in the future by his own people.
At least now he would know if the man was speaking the truth or not.
"Of a truth, my lord, we be desperate. We have nothin' to eat, and haven't for days. The town east of us was looted and burned. The town west of us had the plague. To the north are the new army men, who conscript the men and make sport of our wives and daughters. We saw lights from the south, one night a few weeks ago, and thought maybe we could run until the edge of the wasteland, an sneak into another kingdom."
"Alright," he said. He had just brought over several million people, so adding in another sixty-seven, shouldn't be an issue.
"Do you swear to be my people, to follow my laws, and accept my rule?"
"We swear, my lord."
As the first of the Wizar, Joseph had the ability to create more. It was a bit ironic, because if he wasn't the source, and the first one, he would never be able to make magical creatures as strong as a Wizar, without either the furnace, or a crazy powerful bloodline.
"I am King Joseph. Welcome. I am busy with a lot of things, but some people will be here from the mountain soon, with food. All of you will be given a ride back to my capital, where you will be given baths and clean clothes. Tomorrow you can rest, but the day after, you will need to start looking for work. Everything will be described and explained to you."
The man bowed again, shock, fear, and disbelief warring with the hope, joy and relief on his face.
Once he had jumped him and Stella back to the castle, Stella turned to him.
"Joseph, tomorrow will have been a week since we brought the kin and the mountain back."
"Technically, it won't be until tomorrow at seven, Stella, so I can claim it hasn't been a week until the evening."
"Joseph?" she said giving him a look.
"Yeah, I know. We have to head back towards the gnomes again. I just learned SEQUENCE DNA and was wanting a chance to practice with it before we left."
"Joseph," she said, reaching into her purse. "You think too much, sometimes. Have a cookie."
He took it and looked down at it for a moment, a slight smile tugging at the corners of his lips. Taking a bite, he said, "You really did a good job on this batch. They're amazing, just like you are."
"Thank you, I know."