Time for my wall of text
Lots of Jillian and Transylvito updates lately. I'm going to guess and say there's going to be some kind of interaction between the two plot threads soon. There was an upcoming Jillian/Don conversation that was hinted at earlier. (In the first Jillian update after she leaves the city, she was hoping it was Don calling her, not Charlie. Don also said that he would talk to her when Slately told him of his doubts about her.) This conversation would be the best way for Don to get an update on the new financial status of his investment in her side and for Jillian to learn of events in Spacerock and Transylvito.
There are 3 parties that with potential motivations that could move them to ask for initiation of the call: Jillian, Don, and Ceaser.
Jillian may want to inform Don of her recent taking of Progrock and the effect on her treasury. As matters stood before, Jillian was financially dependant on Don giving Don a measure of power over her. Jillian is far too independent to want to maintain that state of affairs for very long if she can avoid it. From the definitions of the abilities of a thinkamancer that we have seen so far, Jillian can call Don simply by thinking hard to Bunny.
Don has a variety of potential reasons to make the call: He could want to relay the situation in Jetstone. He could want to warn her about how Ceaser's actions could affect her. He could ask for help in getting Slately the money to promote Tram. He could use the call as a chance to show is warlords that an investment of his is starting to pay off.
Ceaser could also ask for the call to be made. Despite his dislike of her, she is Transylvito's biggest option for potentially affecting the fight in Spacerock. He could also try to use the call as an argument about how useless Jillian is. (I don't see that idea working out well for him however. I don't really like Jillian as a character, but she does have some level of competance. Not an extremely high level however, but it is still there.)
This conversation is going to happen at the worst possible time for all parties involved: while Ceaser is having a talk with Don, which allows for issues between the two threads to collide with maximum force. The possibilities for what could happen from that point plotwise are staggering as are how they can affect the story.
The revelation of Charlie as a second backer to FAQ could come out and wreck bloody havoc on the situation.
Jillian could help Don out by fronting him some money she got from razing Progrock allowing the order for the gem to make a bit more sense for Transylvito. This could cut out a critical amount of Ceaser's support from the warlords at a dangerous moment, after he has opposed Don on the gem order, but before the Ceaser vs. Don plot has reached a conclusion. If Ceaser does make a play for command of Transylvito as a whole, he is going to need all the support he can get to decrease the possibility of the side splitting into factions after he makes his move. Jillian supplying money obviously allows for the promoting of Tramennis to heir which allows for it to affect the battle in Spacerock. It could also allow us to get a better explanation of exactly how Jillian is tied to Transylvito. (Was the money from Don a gift, or is Jillian contracted to repay it and will that contract need to be renegotiated under current circumstances?)
Ceaser, Don, Jillian, and even Benny, can all have different ideas on how Jillian should act tactically based on the current situation. I can not actually say who would be arguing for each option, as all the ideas I have come up with so far have some merit to them. I will merely list and explain them below. For reference here is a link to Jillian's current plan of action.
(Despite Jillian listing the cities she is planning to attack as 'Brookstone and Progrock', I believe her plan is to continue on to Brookstone after Progrock, and spend the night there. We seen no mention of Brookstone since the plan, so I assume nothing has happened to it. (Jillian's plan beyond the turn's end seems to involve returning to Faq, hitting as many of Stanley's weaker cities along the way as possible to raise her treasury.))
1. Jillian should continue with that plan unchanged. Both Faq and Transylvito need money if they are to remain as sides of any power at all in the long term.
2. Jillian should stick to the idea hitting weak GK cities on the way back to Faq, but be very choosy about her targets in terms of cover available after hitting them, how far she can be from them at turn's end and how strong she will be after hitting them. From what we've seen of Dwagons, they have higher move than base gwiffons (I suspect Megalos aren't much better, but can be sure.) After the drop, there is no guarantee that Wanda won't have a sizable force of fliers in the form of decrypted dwagons and unipegitaurs that will have the option of hitting Jillian next turn if they can find her. (Both Jillian and the Dwagons should be considered as starting with full move from Spacerock in terms of logistics. In turn based logic, Jillian has no headstart in terms of distance.) The option of hitting Brookstone this turn disappears right out the window with this logic as any commander with a brain could probably look at a map containing Brookstone and Spacerock and Jillian’s reported move at the start of the turn, (remember, commanders can see unit stats and Jack and Wanda were both Faq units before, so they have experience with Megalos,) and draw the proper conclusion as to her probable location. (She could still hit Brookstone later if she wants, just not this turn.) A selective razing of GK cities would be my suggestion for Jillian if I liked her. It has the effect of both providing her with much needed money and doing as much damage as safely possible to GK under the circumstances. It forces GK to either accept the losses or to run an expensive search operation that may not work.
3. Jillian also has the choice of returning to Spacerock to help in the fight. Don may need her to do this in order to prove himself to his warlords, despite any concerns he has over her welfare. Ceaser can see this as a chance to either rid himself of the Wack from Faq or of the pliers as a threat. (He can bargain with Don for this option, by saying that he’ll approve the order for the gem if she fights. If she wins, Jetstone lasts for the 9 turns. If she loses, Transylvito can reclaim some money by claiming Faq’s cities. (Which would happen very quickly, considering Vinny is there.)) Jillian herself may see this as a huge opportunity. (She might have a chance to grab Wanda and she can also negotiate to clear a large part of any debt she may have to Transylvito.)
It would not surprise me to have all participants in the argument take a different opinion. (Nor would any combination of opinion and arguer for that matter, with the exception of Jillian proposing my selective option without a lot of help from Duncan or Ansom.) A difference of opinion between Jillian and Don could morph into a large problem because it would provide evidence to the unreliability of the product of Don’s investment.
Of course, any call Transylvito makes has the potential to affect and be affected by our neighborhood mind-reading, thinkamancy observing drop bear. Charlie can try to apply leverage to shift events by any of the means at his disposal. From what we have seen, he wants Jillian to go back and fight, so he may try to coerce her into doing so.
Of course, the drop bear also wants the Jetstone forces in Spacerock to fight so that they have a stab at hitting Wanda. However, I do not think this is Tramennis’ plan of action. I think he plans to withdraw while the withdrawing is good.
Think about what Jetstone fighting to keep Spacerock means under current circumstances.
This is what victory for Jetstone means. They keep a level 5 city, but it only 1 of 3 that they already have. (And Level 5 is not assured with the purples doing damage to the garrison. We saw in book 1 that doing a certain amount of damage to a city causes it to delevel.) You also keep the heir that would be received from it in 15 turns, but that heir is now a potential hurdle for the heir you have decided you want. (Tram can’t think of the problem like this, but Slately can.) It is a capital, which means it has a treasury and a portal to the Magic Kingdom, (Sizemore had to use the dwagon relay to goes to other cities GK had captured,) but so does the city of old Jetstone. It could be used to split off a new side, but the side of New Spacerock would probably be very short lived under the circumstances. (More on this later.) Jetstone has a crack at Wanda and pliers if they win, but with the portal secure there is no guarantee that she can’t use the portal to escape. The price for this victory is any losses that you have taken during the course of battle. (I’m going say what ever losses taken are going to be severe.) As Ceaser said, “This is a losing fight.” This victory is Phyrric. GK is still a threat and so are all your other old enemies, as evidenced by Haggar. You probably do not have the forces or money needed to maintain a side as large as yours is and will be cut up piecemeal by your surrounding enemies other the coming turns. You could still potentially survive as a side, but will be smaller.
Fighting and losing is even worse for you. You have lost the city and whatever forces you have tried to hold it with. Your side may not be dead yet if the king escapes, but that will likely be soon in coming. You definitely do not have the forces or money needed to maintain a side as large as yours is and will be cut up piecemeal. You could still potentially survive as a side, but will be much smaller. Unless you were lucky enough to get Wanda, there is also an army of decrypted sitting in Spacerock, which you have proven incapable of killing with your remaining field strength, coming for your blood. As they were your old units, so they know the local terrain and defenses you have in place almost as well as your current units do. (They don’t know them exactly as well as yours do because you have a stock of units garrisoned in your other cities that presumably know their city really well.)
Think about what withdrawing means in terms of loss to you and gain to GK:
By necessity, you lose one of your 3 level 5s. You also lose the heir you were popping. You have also lost your treasury and MK portal. But you have back ups in Old Jetstone, so your side doesn’t lose that much functionality. (We don’t know how capturing a treasury works with sides that have multiple treasuries, so we don’t know the money loss.) Your troop losses are limited to the small amount of troops you have already lost and the remaining garrison units who cannot leave the city. (Hopefully, sacrificing the garrison units buys you the time the rest of your force need to leave city before the enemy seizes the garrison and chains pop on all your remaining units in the city. Possible operations back into city are possible, either to free captured field units or an attempt to capture the city back after you have regrouped and arranged an acceptable plan of battle.) Your enemy has gained a superfluous, (GK already has GK and Unaroyal as capital sites,) level 5 capital (again, no way to be sure of level 5,) and your troop losses. But those losses have been small and manageable, so that is not too much of a problem. Depending on how things work, they may also get your heir, but he’ll start at level 1.
What you keep by withdrawing: The vast majority of a sizeable field force. This force can be used to maintain your side’s cities and strength in a variety of ways. If your new capital of Old Jetstone is far enough away from Spacerock, you can force your enemy to have to do a lot of fighting before they can threaten your existence again.
What you can gain by withdrawing: A chance to attack Haggar. Yes, Haggar. They lost a large part of their forces against Ansom. (Charlie described their home forces as insignificant compared to the field force they brought to the fight.) The field force is wounded, so you could probably finish off that force if you tried and then proceed to attack Haggar’s cities. Even better, you can try out running it. This turn, it has had to use move to get to the bridge fight and more to get to Spacerock. You can use the rest of your move this turn to get a good headstart. (Word of Jillian
: An alliance break means that Jetstone will have a turn before Haggar does. So turn based logic allows for this.) GK does not know you do not have direct access to the turn ending spell, so they can not making an over extending Capital grab like before, they will have to fight the careful way or risk your forces or Haggar’s hitting them at a weak point. Even if they did know you have no turn ending capability, Parson would probably not take unneeded risk with Wanda’s safety. Even if Old Jetstone ends up being lost, you have various tricks you can use to ensure your side’s survival until you take Haggar’s capital, including a Sourmander / dittomancy harvest cheat. (Free rations pop for units in the hex, so put all your high upkeep units in a single hex.) Another idea includes splitting your forces, leaving enough field force behind to ensure that any potential GK/Haggar force trying to crush you fast enough to save Haggar would have a bad time, but while taking enough with you to still hammer Haggar. You can also raze cities for money and promote ill positioned garrison units, thereby turning them into more useful field units. GK’s decrypted dwagon force can still try to hit your field force, but with four casters and an army prepared to deal with the trickery that got Ossomer, (have the dollamancer make the king a disguise so any cloaked attacker do not know who to selectively hit,) you can make having that dwagon force attacking you an unpalatable option. That decrypted dwagon force is also likely to be tasked with hunting down Jillian soon, so the biggest problem you have is ensuring that you can keep ahead of Haggar’s field force if you decided to out run it.
I would like to point out that Slately may not actually need the gem to promote Tramennis. He just needs to change the position he intends to promote Tram to. Instead of making Tram his heir, he can make him a king. Remember, Jetstone has 2 capitals. That means it can split into 2 sides. We have not seen any requirement that would cause Tram to need to be in Old Jetstone itself. Slately may able to declare Tramennis as King of Old Jetstone simply by willing it. (If Tram does need to be in the capital city hex in order to receive it, Slately can cede Spacerock to him first. Then, “Tramennis’ Traitors” in Old Jetstone can seize Old Jetstone for Tram. (Along with all the other Jetstone cities, of course.) Then Tram can cede Spacerock back to Slately. This can all be done with garrisoned troops, so Slately retains control of the field force and can force Tram to comply if need be, preventing Tram from simply grabbing Slately after he has control and hauling him bodily out of the hex. Tram can then return the cities when Slately needs them for upkeep.)