At the end of the 7th month, Lorist who was spending his time at Maplewoods Bastide received a letter from Charade. The letter stated that Baron Felim Chalvode had sent a messenger over with a request to purchase 5000 sets of metal armor from the Norton Family. Additionally, Baron Shazin, also known as Knight Hennard, wrote a letter to Lorist that asked to be sponsored 3000 sets of metal armor and other weapons.
As a result, Lorist had no choice but to return to Firmrock Castle. Old Man Gleis's sickness worsened over the months and he could no longer get out of bed. Patt had been spending the past two months staying by his side and serving him.
Taking a look at the map, Lorist thought for a bit before starting to write his reply to Charade. He wrote that he agreed to sell the armor to the Felim Family since he had nothing to lose and stated that they could trade other resources if they didn't have enough money for the purchase. As for Knight Hennard, Lorist wrote him a personal letter to invite him over for a talk.
By the time Knight Hennard arrived at Maplewoods Bastide, Old Man Gleis had just passed away. Before his death, the old man miraculously regained his clarity of mind and grasped onto Lorist's hands as he stated his final wish to Lorist: to be buried within the family's forbidden area so that he may be with the former family leaders even in death.
Lorist nodded, before shaking his head later. Gleis didn't understand the meaning of Lorist's gesture and died without ever finding out.
Patt on the other hand broke down completely. He had lost his parents from a young age and had been raised by Gleis, his grandfather, all his life. Now that his only relative had died, Patt was in incredible pain. He also didn't understand why Lorist refused his grandfather's last wish since Gleis had served the Norton Family for his whole life and even managed to hold the family together during the recent time of crisis by withholding the succession ceremony until Lorist's return to the dominion. It was a given that he should have the honor to be buried in the family's forbidden area.
Lorist explained that he planned to build a new mausoleum for the family on Whitedeer Mound, stating that the place was a gift from the Silvermoon Goddess to the Norton Family as a final resting place for the elders of the family that was unfortunately neglected by those who came before. He also stated that he intended to move the remains of the people buried within the forbidden area to the new mausoleum so that they can truly get their final rest within the embrace of the ground. He also said that Old Butler Gleis would be buried there as one of the treasured members of the Norton Family.
That caused Patt's emotions to change completely and he even said that he wanted to work on the construction of the mausoleum as well. Lorist on the other hand ended up incredibly busy managing the project. He decided to first cremate all the remains of the ancestors within the forbidden area so that their ashes could be buried at Whitedeer Mound and have proper tombstones made for them by hiring stonemasons.
Knight Hennard stayed at the bastide for 12 days and also attended the funeral and cremation of Old Butler Gleis. All that remained was erecting a statue of the butler as a memorial which Lorist was naturally in charge of. However, that didn't have to happen right away. Despite that, Lorist managed to find some time to have a formal discussion with Knight Hennard.
In actuality, Knight Hennard was facing huge amounts of pressure and stress as the threat of the Second Prince's newly formed First Iblia Kingdom Legion of 56000 soldiers that were stationed near his dominion was looming over him. Hennard had no choice but to gather up all his men to defend the place. Even though he had 20000 men who were formerly part of the Northland Army, he tried his best not to engage in conflict with the Second Prince despite the latter's constant aggressive and provocative actions.
During the gathering of the nobles that year during the 5th month, the Second Prince expressed some passionate and bold statements. He said that he wanted to rebuild the former Krissen Empire starting with the Iblia Kingdom and hoped that the other landed nobles would cooperate with him as only when they act as one would they be able to actualize his dream of returning the empire to its former glory. However, he said that there were quite a number of nobles who refused to heed his orders and avoided him as best as they could.
That was why the Second Prince said that he would give them a chance to right their wrongs. As long as they were willing to pledge allegiance to the Second Prince and contribute to the restoration of the empire, the Second Prince said that he wouldn't seek retribution for their past mistakes. Otherwise, the Second Prince threatened that he would bring his First Legion of the Iblia Kingdom to show those rebellious nobles the cost of infringing upon his royal pride and refusing to heed his orders.
That was also one of the reasons Knight Hennard decided to expand his forces and better equip them as well. However, while it wasn't too hard to recruit more soldiers, it was really troublesome and difficult to secure equipment for them. The dominion Hennard's father left him was relatively barren and he could only rely on Cherry Blossom Ridge and Evanson Town to sustain the livelihoods of his 12000 men. Had it not been for the fact that he had pretended to be one of Lorist's men to raid the dominion of Duke Loggins's two years ago, he would've gone bankrupt long ago. This time around, he decided to expand his forces to 15000 people and hoped that he could rely on his connection with Lorist to be sponsored some equipment and weapons.
Lorist was a person who treasured his relationships and he felt sympathy for Hennard and agreed to his request by sponsoring 3000 sets of metal armor and weapons and even told him of a way to generate income before asking him to see Charade for the specifics. He let Hennard be the middleman to sell around 500000 kilograms of salt produced within the Norton Family dominion. If Hennard was successful in his venture, he could earn up to 1 million gold Fordes, which will be enough for him to fund his soldiers for half a year.
After sending off the incredibly grateful Hennard, Lorist began to pick the members for a team to survey the terrain of Hidebull Mound and draw designs for the citadel that was to be built there. Hidebull Mound was mainly formed from granite and it was around 15 kilometers away from the point where the two other mountain ranges intersected. The mound got its name because it was shaped like a bull crouching down on the plains in hiding. For now, Josk and his mounted archer brigade were stationed there.
By the time the designs for the Hidebull Mound's citadel was completed, it was already the 9th month and the mausoleum at Whitedeer Mound was nearing its completion as well. Lorist then conducted a formal cremation ceremony for the Norton Family's ancestors' remains and buried them properly at Whitedeer Mound.
The mausoleum was built at a very scenic and relaxing location. The various trees that were on the mound were cut down and the first Norton Family ancestor was buried at the very top of the mound, with his grave marked by a stone statue of a knight with a drawn bow accompanied by the a stone tablet beneath the statue detailing his founding of the family and contributions to it.
Apart from that statue, many other gravestones could be seen on Whitedeer Mound. The statues honoring the others were not yet complete and would be installed at a later date. Apart from that, the mound was covered with a nice coat of green grass with the mausoleum surrounded by a short fence made with maple wood of the highest quality. Whitedeer Mound itself was also surrounded by a thick, maple forest.
When the night came, white deers appeared on the mound and played around the statues and gravestones. Under the illumination of the silvery moonlight, they added another layer of peacefulness to the pure and mysterious atmosphere of the mausoleum.
Everyone who witnessed that agreed with Lorist that the Whitedeer Mound was indeed the perfect gift from the SIlvermoon Goddess to the Norton Family as a final resting place for the ancestors. The mausoleum was also called the Whitedeer Sanctuary because of that.
After the mausoleum was settled, Lorist received a piece of good news: Grandmaster Sid had successfully made a set of armor that was superior to that of the Whitelion Legion. The messenger said that he had been sent to the bastide to make a report the moment research was completed.
Hence, Lorist went to the refineries at Bladedge Mountains right away with a few others.
Grandmaster Sid's smile was as radiant as a Chrysanthemum flower. Now that he had made a set of armor that was better than the one created by tens of elite blacksmiths back in the Krissen Empire for the impressive Whitelion Legion, he no longer had any lingering regrets.
It was not until Lorist actually saw the armor that he understood that the Whitelion Legion's armor couldn't even compare to it!
The Whitelion Legion's equipment were mostly made of fine iron that was slightly purplish-brown in color as the blacksmiths of the Krissen Empire had infused certain other ingredients into the mix to improve Battle Force transfer. The ideal ratio of ingredients was found only after countless experiments before the metal mix could be cast into their molds, and have the final touches added at the end. The defensive capability of the Whitelion Legion's armor was a whole level superior to that of normal metal armor, as was witnessed during the battle at Firmrock Castle where Duke Loggins's bowmen's arrows did not harm a single Norton soldier that was equipped with the armor of the Whitelion Legion, ultimately resulting in the latter's triumph.
The armor plate made by Grandmaster Sid was silvery white in color which was made using black iron reinforced into steel after being processed using the various water-powered tools.
Lorist inspected the armor and noticed that it had the same three-layer design. The outermost layer was the steel plate itself followed by grey-colored magical bull leather and another tight mesh of steel wire mail in the innermost layer.
"Milord, the unique combination of ingredients for this steel was only discovered after long experimentation by me and it is at least two times stronger than the material of the Whitelion Legion's armor, with it also being able to distribute Battle Force more evenly overall. In our tests, the Whitelion Legion armor breaks from an arrow fired from a longbow 80 meters away whereas our armor can get as close as 60 meters before breaking. If this armor is reinforced with Battle Force, the distance where a longbow would pose a threat would shrink down to 30 or 40 meters.
"The whole set of Whitelion Legion armor weighs around 19 kilograms while ours only weigh 14 kilograms, a staggering 5 kilogram less. That is a lot less burden a soldier has to bear and our armor even covers more area of the body than that of the Whitelion Legion's, providing even better coverage and defense. Not only that, this armor allows for better freedom of movement for our soldiers too..." Grandmaster Sid continued to show off the perks of his steel armor and it seemed that he was extremely satisfied that his creation was able to completely best the Whitelion Legion armor in all areas.
"Find someone to wear and try it," Lorist said.
Excited and intrigued, Els put on the steel armor impatiently. When he was done, Lorist almost fainted. This seems familiar... Wait, isn't this the imperial stromsoldier armor from the Stellar Wars universe? Apart from the helmet and the faulds at the waist which replaced the triangular crotch armor of the stormsoldiers, the rest of the armor seemed remarkably similar. At that moment, Lorist almost suspected that Grandmaster Sid was also transmigrated from his world.
The helmet Grandmaster Sid designed was a pointed, conical type with a neck guard equipped with a visor that could be pushed down to protect the wearer's face, giving the wearer a ferocious impression. Wearing the armor, Els took out his sword and practiced some fighting maneuvers. After getting used to it, he even called a guard or two to spar with him for quite a while before he returned with ragged breaths.
"Locke, this armor set is definitely far lighter and agile than the Whitelion Legion armor. Also, it's form-fitting so it doesn't feel like it bogs down your whole body. I want my guard brigade to be the first to change into these!" Els requested excitedly.
Lorist looked at Grandmaster Sid and asked, "Grandmaster, how many sets of these can you produce within a day?"
"Milord, there are 21 parts required in the construction of this armor. Even though that's 7 parts more than the Whitelion Legion armor, with the aid of the water-powered tools, it isn't too hard for us to make them. Over here, we only focus on the production of the parts which we will ship to the industrial city to be assembled together. Given our slightly lacking manpower, we can only produce and estimated number of tens of sets per day. If you can increase our workforce by a thousand more people and have a few more kilns made to increase production of steel, we would be able to make around 200 sets per day," Grandmaster Sid replied.
"Good. Grandmaster, I will assign another 1000 people to your workforce. Other than that, we will name this armor after you. Let's call it the Sid Steel Armor. This will become the standard equipment for our forces. The only change I require is for the pointed helmet to be flattened into a circular surface and for the Raging Bear insignia of our family to be put onto the breastplate. Is that alright?" Lorist asked.
Upon hearing that the armor would be named after him, Grandmaster Sid widened his mouth in joy as he would be forever remembered in the annals of history for his contribution. "Milord, please be assured that I will definitely make the changes you request so that our forces can wear this armor as soon as possible and ditch the heavy and clumsy Whitelion Legion armor."
"Why do I get the feeling that the grandmaster somehow loathes the armor of the Whitelion Legion?" Els mumbled.
Lorist laughed out loud upon hearing that as he had once heard Ovidis mention that Grandmaster Sid had worked as an apprentice armorer for the Krissen Imperial Forces in his youth. During one of the times he was tasked to repair a set of armor, he had a hunch that he could improve the armor's defense if he made some adjustments. In the end, he secretly conducted some experiments and ruined three sets of armor, causing him to be punished severely and stripped of his job and position in the imperial armory.
After that, he toiled hard and learned from many other masters all over the place and only attained the rank of a grandmaster armorer 20 years later, only to be embroiled into the chaos caused by the power struggle within the empire and being forced to make armor for the bandits of Plate Mountain to ensure his family's safety.
Els was right in that Grandmaster Sid harbored a deep hatred for the armor of the Whitelion Legion. That was why he conducted his research like a crazed madman without pause after the discovery of the black iron mines at Bladedge Mountains and ended up fulfilling his dream of making a set of armor that was far superior to that of the Whitelion Legion.
"Reidy, heed my orders," Lorist instructed. "To award the contribution of Grandmaster Sid for creating the Sid Steel Armor, the family will award him 1000 gold Fordes with 100 gold Fordes for each of his aides. Naturally, get the list of aides from the grandmaster himself. The rest of the people here will all get 10 gold Fordes each."
"Grandmaster Sid, don't forget that the Whitelion Legion's equipment is more than just a set of armor. They also come with shields and other weapons, so you will have to continue to work hard as well."
"Milord, I'll definitely keep that in mind and work on weapons and shields that will fit nicely with the armor I created," said Sid.
Lorist then ordered Shadekampf to have 1000 of the 20000 laborers that were building roads at Felicitas Settlement to be brought over to the refinery before returning to Firmrock Castle with his guards.
When Lorist reached the castle, before he even got to take a short rest, Pesha forcefully brought Lundmorde to him to lodge a complaint.
As Lundmorde was familiar with the field of medicine, he was sent to teach Pesha's female garrison members some medicinal knowledge. And during the span of 5 months from the 5th month to the 10th, he had managed to impregnate 7 of the female soldiers there.
The moment Lorist heard about that, his jaw dropped, before he broke out of his stupor and pushed it back in.
What a beast.... Lorist looked at Lundmorde with a gaze of admiration and wondered why he didn't realize how promiscuous Lundmorde truly was during the days at the academy.
Pesha on the other hand was furious as 3 out of the 7 Lundmorde slept with were squad leaders, two of whom were Pesha's aides. There were two others who were rather capable as well and were just about to be promoted. However, they had all bore Lundmorde's child.
Despite that, all 7 of the female soldiers said that they approached Lundmorde willingly and that he didn't force himself on any of them. That's why Pesha couldn't do much no matter how angry she was. In actuality, she couldn't wait to lop Lundmorde's head off with a blade, but with the those 7 women who were pregnant with his child protecting him, Pesha had no choice but to look for Lorist to settle the issue.
After flipping through the regulations of the family forces, Lorist didn't find any ruling regarding that matter either. He then asked, "Where are the 7 female soldiers?"
Pesha replied angrily, "They're at the lobby on the ground floor accusing one another for seducing their lover... This Knight Lundmorde..."
"Go bring them up here. I'll ask them what we should do."
In the end, Lorist's whole office got turned into a noisy marketplace with each of the seven women shouting at the top of their voice, all wanting to become Lundmorde's proper wife and give birth to his child. Lundmorde on the other hand hugged his head meekly in a corner without making a sound.
"Alright!" Lorist shouted as he thumped on the table to stop the argument. "Enough already. How about this? All 7 of you should just get married to him and he'll have seven wives. If anyone makes any more fuss, they will be excluded from this arrangement."
At that moment, Lundmorde looked at the seven women he knocked up and started crying.
Full of sympathy, Lorist looked at him and said, "Knight Lundmorde, as a man, you have to bear the consequences of your actions. Since you've gone and done it, take responsibility. How about this, I'll allow you to have a long vacation so that you can spend quality time with your wives until they give birth to your children."
That was the only solution Lorist could think of for the situation. After Knight Lundmorde left with his wives, Lorist say back down in his chair in a tiredly and started to think.
Pesha was not too satisfied with the arrangement as her force had just lost 7 capable women and she said that Lundmorde got off easy and even got to marry the 7 in one go without receiving any punishment.
"She said he got off easy?" Lorist muttered as he laughed coldly. "No, on the contrary, getting married to seven wives is the biggest punishment he'll get... His 'blessed' days will be filled with fights and arguments... How befitting of a man who can't keep his junk inside his pants..."
 Name slightly altered so that this stays copyright safe. But I bet most of you guys can recognize which franchise this is, right?