Crat stood in Johannes defense, though Craetor had not meant to challenge Johannes and Crat knew it. "Calm down, my lord, we have fixed most of the damages already."
Craetor had to cool his rage. Who had damaged the wall? Did they realize that if the wall had even one hole in it a sandstorm could rip the entire thing down? They were in the largest concentration of sandstorms in the entire Faerein desert!
"My apologies, confident Johannes," Craetor said after a moment, "I was simply worried over our city. You all know how dangerous some of the sandstorms are. We don't need a repeat of the civil war three hundred years ago." That had happened because the original wall fell. People panicked and then formed factions. Eventually the Sovereign of Alcheic had formed a new wall and stopped the war from becoming too bloody.
Crat sat and Johannes bowed. "Of course, m-my lord." As he continued, going over the progress of the repairs and other financial problems, Craetor eased himself. He needed to be calm. He couldn't let anything make him lose control like that, even if it was a dangerous threat to his entire people. Saeron had once told him that was one of his many failures when he started out. That failure had made him change.
Johannes finished with the basic financial situation. The economic standing and such. Craetor knew of these things and of their issues, but he knew that it was always like that. He could leave Johannes to focus on them for now. The man was in league with Crat, most likely, but he did his job well enough.
Maevis stood next, though he obviously had a hard time of it. The man really needed to exercise his body. Craetor only ran an hour each morning, but at least that kept him in decent shape. Monstroth was stronger, of course.
"Well, my lord," Maevis said with his usual relaxed smile. There was a hint of nervousness in his face, but not as much as the rest, save Soria. "I have been handling foreign affairs. According to the scouts and some ambassadors, the attacks on our supply carts have been carried out by some members of a resistance group. I think war can be avoided if-"
Craetor stood. "No."
Maevis just eyed him. "It would be wise to listen, my lord. Wouldn't want you to jump of a cliff without looking." His eyes said he wanted that, though.
"No, Maevis," Craetor said sternly, "I have seen how many times this has happened. We have sent guards and we have discussed stopping the resistance with the Tav nobles."
Craetor cut Maevis off. "My brother wasn't as anxious for war as you have believed. He told me about these things before the assassination." Craetor winced slightly at that. It wasn't as though he was still bothered by it, but that would place a belief that Craetor really had grieved. If he showed nothing, he could be thought of as someone hiding his feelings away.
"In any case," Craetor continued, "The Tav nobles have all but said they won't stop the attacks. We tried for over a year, confident Maevis, to no avail. We have gotten nothing but excuses while our merchants die. Even with Earthguard to defend them, they are nearly too afraid to journey past Asuna pass."
The other confident took in this information in different ways. Roshet was simply nodding, though he already knew this. Saeron had trusted him. Vivola sat quietly looking guilty. Saria was blank as a white canvas. Even Crat sat still as he looked down in thought.
"I suppose war is inevitable, then," Maevis said slowly, "If you can prove this, my lord." He sat down with a heavy sound. His body even seemed to... vibrate with the impact.
Craetor sighed and sat down as well. They could discuss war once he figured out everything that was going on in his kingdom. "Is there any more we need to discuss?"
No one spoke. It was almost like they didn't dare to. The Mandate was on Craetor's side this time, most likely. If they spoke, he could use their words against them. That's what they thought. Despite not having Mind Mystics, Craetor had always found it relatively easy to read faces. It was useful for when he was a general before Saikren.
"Roshet, what changes have been made in my grieving period?"
Roshet smiled and stood. The man's loyalty was easy to gain, so long as you sat on the throne. Good man, Roshet. "My lord, we have made a few changes that will benefit the throne immensely!" He seemed excited about this. "The first of which is the rules of declaring war."
Craetor smiled. Sands, they had worked fast.
"Basically, the confident will be responsible for declaring war," Roshet said. He waited, of course, to let Craetor speak. No standing would be required, as the king was not challenging or questioning anything against the wishes of the confident.
"Good job, Roshet," Craetor said, noting the surprise that edged into Vivola, Crat, and Maevis. They were behind this, then? "That is the official stating of the law?"
Roshet pulled out his copy of the Mandate and flipped it open. He had notes and extra pages stuffed into it and even a few bookmarks. The man was over information for a reason. Finally, he landed on one page, marked by a folded piece of paper. "Ah, here it is... 'The members of the King's confident shall be responsible to the declaration and waging of warfare. A unanimous decision of the people/person in charge must be made to initiate the war.'"
Craetor could have laughed. He really could have. It was too perfect. "So, I take it I am no longer responsible for declaring war?" These people... they had underestimated Roshet, who WROTE the new rules in the official Mandate. The confident seemed confused, but Crat's eyes were widening. He had realized.
"Confident," Craetor said, smiling, "I thank you for taking responsibility for my actions."
Saria stood. "My lord, what do you mean 'your' actions?"
Crat didn't stand to even explain. "We just made it so we are responsible for declaring war, not actually declaring it." His voice was a whisper after than, but Craetor caught the curse aimed at Roshet.
This made up for them enforcing the grieving period upon him.