+++PUT ON YOUR WAR PAINT+++
Isabel i Gómez i Guerra sat down with her daughter and checked her work. “Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty. Half a throne… excellent, excellent. Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty. A throne. Good.”
“She’s four years old Ibbie… does she really need to learn to count money at her age?” Ahraz loved his wife more than the sun or the moon, but sometimes he thought he’d married a League reckoner, rather than the Dhomiro of her own parador.
“One day all this will be hers… It’s important she learns the importance of ambition. Far too many Freeborn are content with what they’ve got… well I’ll not stand for it.”
“No dear. But still… she is so young…”
Conchita looked up at her mother, her eyes shining brightly. Mum had promised her a ring from each throne if she counted every pile correctly. Eight down, two to go.
“I don’t want her growing up a lazy wastrel like your feckless sister. My daughter is going to have a seat on the Bourse!”
“Yes dear - but probably not while she’s still five.”
“Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, half a throne. Excellent.” She nodded at her daughter before continuing. “We should be the richest nation in the Empire! And maybe we will be with Conchita in charge.”
“We’ll never be richer than the League - all those businesses - they could pave their streets with gold if they wanted. That’s how they control the Bourse…”
Isabel stopped counting, which caused Ahraz to stop in his tracks. She had the temper of a tiger and he’d catch the sharp end of her tongue if he’d made her lose count. “They’ve got nothing we haven’t got. We would be every bit their equals if we had the ambition for it!”
“Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty. Perfect” With practised fingers Isabel split five rings from the nearest pile of eighty and handed them to her eldest daughter. “You can spend one on sweets - the others you save… understood?”. Conchita nodded solemnly as she received her mother’s prize.
Isabel settled back into the cushions, talking to herself as much as to him. “Estana has been inspired, we just have to hope his successor is every bit as ambitious… Now if only there was a way that we could make the Fire as profitable as the Wind… Then we could…”
Ahraz pretended to concentrate on the embroidery he was stitching but he smiled at his wife as she schemed up new ways to enrich her family and her tribe. When she was filled with ambition like this, she was more beautiful than any woman he’d ever seen. If Conchita ended up with half her looks and half her brains she’d charm every man and woman on the Coast.
The Freeborn have raised the banner of the Burning Falcon, and eyes across the Brass Coast are turning to their priests and senators to see what comes next.
Likewise, Dawn and the Marches have an opportunity to make fundamental choices about who they are and what that means to their armies in the campaigns that are to come.
Finally, the people of Wintermark have restated their commitment to heroism loud and clear, but there are still a niggling few details still to be discussed.
You can learn about these opportunities relating to Imperial armies here -https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Put_on_your_war_paint