Yet Another Self Insert Fan Fiction, Part 13
Don King liked to think of himself as a simple man enjoying the simple joys of life. On the usual turn he did his morning business, had breakfast and then went into his office. There he looked at the reports his warlords and casters had prepared for him. Sometimes there were lots of them if heavy action had occurred, sometimes there were less. On particularly quiet turns there was only Chief Moneymancer Benny Franchise’s daily side production report. On the thankfully very rare occasions when there was no production report in his office he did not have time to read any reports anyway, because he was busy dealing with the crisis that was big enough to cause Benny to fail to write a production report in the first place.
Assuming no such crisis occurred, he carefully read everything trough and dealt with anything that needed dealing in the order of importance, relaying most of his orders through Bunny. If nobody wanted anything from him and there was no side business to discuss with his Chief Warlord or other advisors then he liked to spend his day with swimming in his royal pool, inspecting his wine cellar and or exchanging letters about various topics with his fellow royals.
Thinkagrams usually had to wait until the evening after turn end, when the other sides also had resolved their turns and it was practically guaranteed that Bunny would not need her juice for anything more urgent. He tried to ensure that she was always left with a bit of juice for her personal use as the poor woman had been rendered mute under circumstances he did not like to think about. Inkwells and paper were placed in strategic places for her to use when she was out of juice but that was a rather crude workaround best left for emergencies. Or for the cases when he was so engrossed in conversation that he forgot that Bunny’s juice was limited. That seemed to happen mostly when he was talking with Queen Bea.
All in all, Don King really liked his routine. He also really liked low risk battles for his warlords, ninety-nines were good times indeed. If those battles were accompanied with big payouts for Transylvito then that was even better. Best of all were really big payouts with no risk and effort at all. Those never happened, as there was always a certain amount of risk and effort necessary to receive some profits. So, if pressed, Don King would settle for the next best thing as his personal favorite event: Lots of profit with minimal effort and risk for Transylvito.
Like the imminent fall of Gobwin Knob for example. Don King would have really liked to add a new level 5 city to the side. As he had discussed the whole situation with his Chief Warlord Caesar Borgota it had however become apparent that there were good reasons against including Gobwin Knob into Transylvito.
From a purely strategic perspective alone the mountain range around the potential new city isolated it too much from the rest of Transylvito. Any unit which could not fly would take ages to get through the few mountain passes and even flyers would be slowed significantly. Transylvito usually had lots of time to redeploy his troops as needed thanks to the early warnings the fleet of scouting bats provided, but no amount of scouting could generate enough forewarning to reinforce Gobwin Knob with ground troops on time if that became necessary. That would mean the city would need a lot more garrison troops than usual, units which would eat up much of the newly generated income. If the surrounding situation became bad enough Gobwin Knob might even require a garrison force which would have an upkeep cost higher than the income gained by the city and end up being a net drain on Transylvito’s resources.
He had briefly discussed the possibility of further expansion near Gobwin Knob with Benny and Caesar, perhaps holding multiple cities with relatively low garrison forces and having a fast response force consisting of maybe around three warlords, some goyles, some skanks and lots of bats on standby. That had seemed more feasible economically. Still it would have been far from ideal. Right now Transylvito had four neighboring sides, Carpool, Metroland, Jitterati and Gobwin Knob. Depending on which and how many cities Transylvito would have taken and on whose sides the remaining ones ended up that number could have changed drastically, Unaroyal, Hobbitm, Jetstone and Charlescomm had been practically guaranteed as new neighbors; Sofa King, FoxMUD, Hyatt and even Dogfort had been possibilities. In the worst case scenario Transylvito would have ended up with ten neighboring sides with which there might be trouble.
Now, Unaroyal was not and would never be a problem as long as Queen Bea was in charge given the relationship between her and himself. Charlie was a pain in the keister, usually costing you, either units if he fought on the other side or lots of money if he fought on yours. Sharing a border with Charlescomm would not have changed that relationship. Sofa King, FoxMUD, Hyatt and Dogfort would have been the sides for which he would have had to look out for and make deals with. And lastly, there would have been Jetstone. King Slately was a good friend, even if his constant preaching of royal ideals could be annoying at times. So normally there would be no problems with having Jetstone as a neighbor. Unfortunately his friendship with King Slately would have been seriously strained if Transylvito would have taken Gobwin Knob since King Slately had his own plans for the capital city.
King Slately wanted to spin off a new royal side with his heir Prince Ansom as King to plug the hole in the solid block of royal sides in the vicinity that had been left when the former royal side of Gobwin Knob had turned into an Overlordship after King Saline IV had croaked with Stanley as non-royal heir. King Slately had been furious at that and wanted Stanley the Worm as he called him croaked no matter the cost. Since that sentiment had spread around to the other royal sides near Gobwin Knob because Stanley kept making aggressive moves against them, King Slately had had a relatively easy time when he tried to convince his fellow royals to form the Royal Crown Coalition with the goal of taking down Stanley. Once King Slately revealed his plans for Gobwin Knobs future Don King had decided to go along. However, in exchange for giving up all territorial ambitions and committing a few forces, a single warlord and some bats, to the Royal Crown Coalition, he had demanded huge concessions from King Slately. Transylvito would receive 225.000 Shmuckers and whatever Arkentool would be left over after the battle for Gobwin Knob. With a friendly side as new neighbor behind the mountains that would leave Transylvito in an ideal situation to make some territorial gains elsewhere.
So in the last couple of turns Don King had spent a lot of time having some truly pleasant daydreams about Transylvito’s future while listening to the reports of the Royal Crown Coalition’s advance. All of Gobwin Knob’s cities had been taken without many problems or losses, the combined forces of six sides overwhelming everything in their path. There had been even more potential good news. Prince Ansom had asked him if he had a place for a non-noble warlord in Transylvito, apparently he wanted to try to capture said warlord if possible. Prince Ansom had described the warlord in question as having a solid grasp on basic military realities and remarkable knowledge of protocol, especially for someone popped under Stanley. Don King would leave the decision about Specialist Hund’s potential future in Transylvito to Caesar; if his verdict was negative there was always the city manager position in Carport.
This day had started unremarkable, the Coalitions turn had progressed without action, the column advanced unopposed. The first inkling that something fishy was going on came with a message from King Slately that the contract Prince Ansom had reached with Gobwin Knob had ceased to be in effect. This was strange because no penalty had been payed as would have been the case if a condition of the contract would have been violated. After exchanging notes and reviewing the contracts details the Chief Casters of the Royal Crown Coalition had come to the conclusion that the most plausible explanation was that Gobwin Knob had ceased to exist as a side since all of the contracts termination clauses included penalties to be paid by the side that triggered them.
The amount of questions this raised seemed to climb about as fast as Don King’s mood was falling.
Had Stanley somehow managed to croak himself?
As far as anybody knew Stanley had no heir so that seemed at least possible. Still despite Stanley’s lack of competence concerning general rulership one had to acknowledge his combat abilities as warlord. Add to that the Arkenhammer and scores of dwagons and Stanley was force to be reckoned with. So whatever force wanting to take him out had to be either quite formidable or exceedingly lucky. No one from the Royal Crown Coalition reported an engagement so if Stanley had in fact been taken down it had to be a third party.
The possibility that some side swept in to take the spoils after the Royal Crown Coalition had done most of the work was not exactly pleasing. The only side known in the vicinity with the necessary power to take on Gobwin Knob besides the Royal Crown Coalition was Charlescomm. That possibility was raised but there were several counter arguments since Charlescomm had a reputation as mercenary force that only intervened when someone paid Charlie to do so. Since the RCC had not hired Charlie that would either mean that Charlie had acted entirely on his own initiative or someone else had paid him, again indicating a mysterious third party. As for the possibility of Charlescomm itself being the culprit, Charlie was known as greedy and the Arkenhammer might entice him to do something he would normally not do but Charlie was also known to be quite smart. Therefore Don King argued that Charlie would know that the Royal Crown Coalition would not allow him to possess two Arkentools and getting in trouble with six royal sides had to be a losing proposition. Therefore the third party theory seemed most likely to Don King.
Since the lack of knowledge was quite infuriating the possibility of simply scouting Gobwin Knob was raised. Transylvitos bats in the Royal Crown Coalition Column should have been able to present a clear picture of what was going on in Gobwin Knob. Unfortunately they were out of move since Prince Ansom had already used them this turn to scout for possible ambushes and other problems on the path of the column and as many hexes nearby as possible. No one had foreseen that Gobwin Knob itself would need scouting this turn. There were other flyers available which still had enough move to reach the capital, namely unipegataurs, gwiffons and orlies but those lacked the bats innate thinkamancy capabilities. Therefore the most likely intelligence gained would be that something capable of croaking them was still left in Gobwin Knob. The only other option was to send at least one warlord with them. Vinny could reach the capital city on his own this turn as well as Prince Ansom with his magic carpet. The other warlords could theoretically ride one of the gwiffons or a unipegataur.
In the end no ruler was keen on potentially losing a warlord for what amounted to a scouting mission while the suggestion of sending all the warlords together with all flying units that could reach screening them was vetoed by Prince Ansom. According to him such a move would put too much risk on the leadership of the RCC while gaining very little since next turn the doombats could be sent with no risk for anybody or anything important. The rulers would just have to be a patient.
As Chief Warlord of Jetstone which led the Royal Crown Coaliton Prince Ansom had the final say on the matter so that was that. Don King had resigned himself to waiting until tomorrow for any relevant news.
Turned out he did not have to wait that long. Bunny received a call from another Thinkamancer apparently in the employ of Ex-Chief Warlord Specialist Hund of Gobwin Knob, now Overlord of SC, a new side situated where Gobwin Knob used to be.
That was quite interesting news and answered some of the questions Don King had. Others would perhaps be answered by the documents the new Overlord had promised to send through the portal to the Magic Kingdom, an interesting alternative way of communication now that Don King thought about it. Sending Hats like those Transylvito used were far superior of course and could be used to send messages and items to and from variable hexes and not only capitals but in a pinch… Quite ingenious.
After Don King had studied the paper which a Hippiemancer had delivered he himself did no longer know how to describe his feelings. Surprise, Astonishment, Disbelief, Confusion, all of the aforementioned?
Don King did not quite know where to start. Overlord Hund had given a detailed accounting of what had happened at Gobwin Knob. He described his motivations for displacing Stanley. He explained how he seized the side without being an heir. He provided a list of the units which allegedly belonged to his new side claiming to have turned all of Stanley’s dwagons. Titan’s testes, he proclaimed that he had been summoned from another world!
The whole thing had to be a load of bat crap. At least that’s what Don King would have liked to believe. Unfortunately Overlord Hund had anticipated the disbelief and actually provided a list of ways to verify that everything he wrote was the complete truth.
He suggested sending out the Royal Crown Coalitions casters into the Magic Kingdom to talk to the casters involved into the summoning.
He was willing to invite said casters into his Capital so they could look at his troop’s disposition firsthand.
While they were there he would be willing to submit to a pinky swear on his statements.
Alternatively he offered to sign a contract stating that he was completely truthful in his claims.
Don King wasn’t a caster. How was he supposed to know if anything of that magical stuff was possible or not, especially the summoning part? But if it wasn’t possible and the story was some sort of gigantic bluff, wouldn’t the whole thing come apart the moment he or anyone else in the Coalition accepted one of Overlord Hund’s offers, possibly this turn, therefore rendering all the effort put in it totally meaningless?
Don King was confused and he did not like being confused. In an effort to change that state of mind he had summoned all of his casters, even Bill, and told them to evaluate the magical parts of the whole scenario.
He himself tried to take comfort in Scripture. It did not take long for him to find a passage which applied. Del 6:12-15 12. To beat your enemy, you must know him. 13. Your enemy is the highest authority on the topic of himself. 14. So listen when your enemy speaks, but do not credit his words. 15. Listening is a real bargain. 16. Credit is way overpriced.
Since Overlord Hund had requested a Thinkagram audience he would grant him one. After Benny informed him that there were too many disciplines involved Transylvito’s casters did not know enough about King Don sent him into the Magic Kingdom to try and confirm what he could. After giving Bunny the order to send the invitation it took about two minutes until Bunny signaled she had an incoming call.
The face appearing in the foolamancy window was unremarkable, no terrible signamancy but nothing outstanding either. So this was Overlord Hund.
“Thank you for granting me this audience, your Highness. I would like to avoid the potential conflict between the Royal Crown Coalition and SC and reach a lasting non-aggression pact with its members if possible.”
“Potential conflict?” Don King queried.
“Lord Stanley has ceased to be a ruler, Gobwin Knob as a side is gone and I am Overlord of a new side. Technically we are at peace.”
“Hmm, technically” putting special emphasis on the word, “that might be true. But surely you realize that we, and that’s not a royal we, I mean the entire Coalition, already have plans for the future of the City of Gobwin Knob and frankly you and your side are not in it.” Don King replied.
“I am aware of that fact. However I would like to point out to you why it is not in the Royal Crown Coalition’s side’s interest to declare war on me and why that goes double for Transylvito.”
“Go on, I am listening.”
“Thank you. First I am going to assume that if the rulers of the RCC declare war on me and my side, the war in question will be run by Prince Ansom. Therefore I will explain the military reasons why taking my capital will be a losing proposition for the RCC to him in person. In fact I am one hundred percent sure that the RCC won’t be able to take my capital, at least not with only the forces in the column.”
There were over 10.000 units in the Column; the word only did not belong together in the same sentence with the RCC’s forces. King Don was tempted to call Overlord Hund on his obvious bluff but decided against it.
“I could try to convince you too of course but that would take a while and juice is limited. So let me tell you the diplomatic reasons why you should not wage war against me. Six royal sides ganging up on one non royal side would normally be considered a quite alarming signal by other Overlords and Overladys in the near vicinity. However since Stanley was stupid enough to claim himself superior to everyone else by means of his attunement to the Arkenhammer, Overlordships specifically included, no one was too upset with the whole affair. However with the fall of Stanley your Casus Belli vanished. King Slately’s “Titanic mandate to rule for Royals” stance is widely known, as well as the fact that he is the leader of the Royal Crown Coalition. To him non-royal sides exist only to be conquered by royals. So if the RCC attacks a non-royal ruler, a ruler who never has done anything to them, a ruler who never took off a single hit of one of their units, a ruler who is even willing to make a onetime payment as recompense for the actions of Stanley which he himself had nothing to do with in the interest of peace, if they attack such a ruler with the only pretext for war being “we want to replace him with a royal” then the so far neutral rulers of the non-royal sides in the vicinity might decide to stop being neutral. Aren’t there three non-royal sides next to Transylvito who hate your guts already because they lost a lot of Shmuckers, units and cities to your constant raiding? In fact I am pretty sure there are because I contacted them already and started laying the groundwork for the Ruler Self Defense Coalition or RSDC for short.” The Overlords tone of voice had become a lot more menacing with the last sentences.
“The War between the Royal Crown Coalition and Gobwin Knob was six sides versus one. That won’t be the case if it comes to a war between us, your Majesty, that much I can guarantee. And I would like to point out the fact that the world famous Battlespace Solution Provider, a side so powerful that nobody wants to go to war with them, is also non-royal. Just something your Majesty might want to think about. Also, for your Chief Warlord, I will send over one of the plans I have come up with in case it indeed does come to war between us. I will head out for a personal parley with Prince Ansom now so I have to end this call. Thank you for granting me this audience, I really hope the relations between our sides are going to be peaceful. But I am not afraid for my future or my side if they are not. Break.”
The plan the Overlord sent over was really simple. He would sell his city and all of his units to Carpool for one Shmucker and go barbarian himself in return for Carpool entering alliance with him. Carpool would raze Gobwin Knob before the coalition could take it of course. The newly minted Warlord Hund would then take the newly Carpool units, which he still would have under his command thanks to the terms of the agreement, and park them in striking range of both Transylvitos capital and numerous other cities at the same time but outside the range of Transylvitos tons of bats, forcing a significant portion of Transylvitos troops to stay in the capital to defend it. Meanwhile Carpool, Metroland and Jitterati would start ground offenses on all fronts while sending their flyers to reinforce Lord Hund’ strike force. If Transylvito would try to defend everything they would be defeated in detail. If they did not, Warlord Hund would strike whatever city in range which was the least defended and thanks to his Lookamancer he would know what city that would be. The damage would already be significant before any reinforcements from the RCC could arrive. By the time ground troops would reach Transylvitos territory the whole thing would be over, one way or the other.
Caesar summed it up once he started to run various scenarios how the whole thing could play out. Dragging on a cigarette he said:“Ya know that easy payout we been talkin about? It just went outside tha hex border.”
Don King was forced to agree.
You have basically created NATO. In the original, the RCC only existed for one purpose, and when taking goblin knob was no longer possible, it fell apart.
Here? Neither the RCC, nor the RSDC can afford to disband while the other is still around. You have created a pair of permanent long-term alliances, mutually opposed, and have started an us vs. them system of alliances.
The long-term effect of this will be a fun thing to watch.