A/N: Once again like always thank you all for your reviews, I tried to reply to any questions that were not plot related so I hope I got all those, but I got a bit lost on what I had read as I was not checking as frequently as I usually do. I wanted to get a lot more work done on my World Anvils for both my stories, but got almost ZERO progress done on that which is really annoying. That is mostly because I am starting my internship soon, which took me a lot of work to get due to lack of positions available because of a dumb budget change by my government made. Anyways long story short between finishing up my degree and working soon I have/will have not a lot of time.
S/N: I struggled quite a bit writing this story for a number of reasons. I am not sure what it is really, but a lot of my desire to write in GOT has disappeared in the last six months or so. So that is why I am going to write a chapter for my other story next, as I don't want to force myself to write something when I am not feeling it, as I think it can come out unintentionally through my writing. I know that is not what a lot of you want to hear, but it is better than be putting this on a permanent hiatus while I get my motivation to write it back. So instead I will simply put it off to the side while I get some inspiration for it while writing my other story (Which happens often for me). It sucks because I really wanted to get a few more chapters written for you all as I had not written much for this story over the last year. I am note sure if you can even really blame season 8, but a lot of my love for the world evaporated somehow, and I don't really understand why. It crazy. That and I am in more of a SciFI mood atm.
C/N: This chapter included a few other POVs, and some initial reactions that some people are getting in regards Harry after some time. Though do remember how slow information moves in an era like this, and that it is usually incredibly unreliable. This chapter also had the long awaited first real time skip, as some people were worried it was taking too long. There will be a number of those, mainly centered around important eras or events going forwards till just before Cannon. Like always I love suggestions, but I have to mention suggesting things he could have done, IE requiring rewrites, is not always helpful, but don't stop if you really want to as it may spark ideas for my other stories.
The last twelve months since Sirius had 'left' to setup pleasure and gambling houses in the cities and towns of Westeros and Essos, had been crazy. So much had happened that Harry could hardly believe it, and everyday he felt he was being run ragged getting things done, even with the help of his magic and his trusty time turner. Mostly it had to do with the fact that there were over ten thousand people living or staying in Avalon now.
At first it had not been too bad, with a few ships coming each week, but more and more started to arrive as time went on. Each was laden with people and their holds filled to the brim with goods and luggage. However, the ships leaving at first had hardly anything to take with them, but as his booze was becoming more and more popular due to Sirius's work, it was now starting to fill those cargo holds as the ships left. It had only taken just barely over a month for the amount of ships to increase to at least one a day, and only a few more months to be multiple ships arriving each day. The ships now leaving also now had other goods they were producing in their holds as they left, alongside the booze. It was also important to note that the huge influx was partially his fault, as nearly 1/3 of the ships arriving worked with his and Sirius shipping company. So he only had himself to blame for his current state.
He had been quite ecstatic at first, before he had the stark realization that he was nowhere near ready to handle the amount of people coming in. So he planned and got to work to fix the issue. First order of business had been the founding of both the city guard, as well as the Phoenix Legion. The reason was that there had been too few guards to ensure people were behaving and keeping the peace, let alone protecting people from possible attacks or pirates. He had charged Larim with training the first few batches of city guards, but had given him the job as commander or general of the Phoenix Legion.
Harry had also taken to teaching all the recruits a few basics, and even had a few of the more educated Elves help under disguises. Apparently they often taught quite a few basic skills to the Purebloods back in his world, and therefore were quite good at teaching someone who didn't know how to read, to read and write. He felt it was important for him to install some modern policing ideas and philosophies into his city guard. Hence him actually teaching them himself, eventually he won't need to as they start to pass on what he taught them to new recruits in the future. However, for now it was another things he had to handle himself, not that he minded teaching, as he quite enjoyed it.
There would be no recruiting for the legion for some time outside of admin positions, but he still felt that it was worth announcing and putting in everyone's minds. It would be a professional army charged with protecting all of the Snow Islands, but mainly Asgard. Each person who enters the force would agree to join for a minimum of ten years, with option to renew for five years blocks every five years if they still made the cut and were still desired in the legion. However on Campaign or during war, all discharges are to be postponed till the end of the event in question. This was to prevent him from losing large portions of his army when it mattered the most, but also allowed for shorter service times.
Like par for the course, him wanting to make a guard and legion created a ton more work for him to do. Just like everything else he did these days. First was deciding on what equipment they would have, and how or where that equipment would be made. This required him to setup his iron mines, his refineries, and forges, so he could actually produce some of the steel the bay was supposed to be named after. Finding mines to the south of the city was not hard with his magic and the scans he already had done. Neither was setting them up to be worked, however what was hard was deciding on how he wanted to work the various mines.
Does he simply get the Elves to do it, or have his people work in the mines creating more jobs. Unfortunately mining work was never really the best job around, but was better than none. He threw the idea around in his head quite a while as he was working on building the mine entrances and starting a few shafts. In the end he decided to employ citizens, and just equip them with a few items to properly protect themselves. Like helmets, steel tipped boots, and proper clothing.
Mines for coal and iron where a lot simpler to develop than the rest of the supply chain, and as usual he created an almost too complex of a system. First was gravity, and mechanic crushing of spoils from the mines, this also included sorting them. This ensured that he could remove as much of the rock from the iron ore before it goes into processing. Then was one of his first major advantages he had, as he developed a proper forge to facilitate the Bessemer process, which required a bit of help from his magic. Ok, quite a lot of help.
Basically once you had removed the initial large amount of impurities from the iron ore and was left with pig iron, you reheated and blasted it with oxygen. This caused much of the remaining carbon to oxidize with the air blowing from the bottom of the massive crucible and into the molten iron removing most of the impurities. Once the process has been allowed to continue for a certain amount of time, depending on the steel you were making, you simply poured out the remaining iron, or in this case, high quality steel into billets. The entire air blasting process was done by magic, as he had almost zero idea where to start to make anything like that from scratch. Instead he inscribed a few runes and he was done. No need to create another huge pile of work for himself...
With his minor runic modifications hidden from sight, it was a simple matter of hiring on his new citizens to work in his brand spanking new steel mills. The fact that they were not apply fuel had mostly escaped the workers for a number of days until one came up and asked him when he was going around to see if everything was working. He had actually told them that the heat came from deep in the ground, from the same place they had found the hot spring. Basically he had told them that he had tapped into a lava vent, and the fact that they believed him said much about their education, but probably more about their trust in him. Other than that one time, it was never questioned again, and working at the mill was an in demand job. It paid well and was stable work for anyone who could do the physical labour, and stand the heat coming off of the furnaces.
With a lot of high quality steel production capabilities now on hand, it was a matter of getting proper smiths to start making what was desired. This magnified another problem he was currently having, and actually prompted him to reach out to Bravos where he ended up paying for a few dozen smiths, healers, and scribes to be released from their apprenticeships and to move them to Avalon. It had cost about a dozen gold pieces each to have them released from their contracts, but it was dearly needed, as he lacked many people for those positions. Many of those scribes now filled positions in his government, or other places they were needed, and had already formed a fully encompassing workers union under his direction, that was also managed by the government.
He did put off making any but a few examples the legion's equipment, and stuck with the guard's for now. The guard were going to be each equipped with a spear, chainmail, shortsword, flat topped kite shield, and a blue cotton uniform that goes over top their chainmail. It was not much, but he did not see them fighting often, and where more to keep peace and helping in any sieges. Even then they should have more than enough equipment to achieve that goal. The legion would be far better equipped and trained, and would be able to handle dozens of different roles if his plans played out. Thankfully now that he had steel being produced he had more jobs for his people to take up as it was direly needed with the huge influx of new citizens. The other major benefit on his new steel mills, was that the production of steel far outpaced their needs, giving them another stable good to fill ship holds with as they left their fair island.
The second major event was less noticeable than the first, but was going to have a huge impact on the lives of everyone present. It had unfortunately required him to sit down for literal months, and workout and write both a legal code for their lands, as well as rules and regulations for his new bank he wanted to open. Having a proper bank that offered loans to everyone was going to be a boon to his growing settlement, and economy. However what it did mean was that he had to make a decision on a number of topics, and created even more things. As he said, par for the course.
The first task was creating a solution for the problem of debasement of currencies from around the world. This mainly came in the form of filling, or clipping of coins to remove a small amount of the precious materials, but also extended to forgeries, and lowering of purity by the mints themselves. The only real solution he could think of was minting his own coins, but was not sure how that would go over if he did a complete redesign. So he decided to mint nearly the same coins as those used in Westeros, but with a number of improvements, and on the backside of the coin each would have an Owl to represent their minting at the Avalon bank rather than the face of some king.
Each coin would have raised edges, and detailed pictures struck into them to prevent clipping or filing. He had an artist's work on the new designs a bit, as the dragon in the gold coin could be substantially more detailed with his die method of coin production. Let alone the fact that Hedwig on the flip side could not lack in details or he would not hear the end of it, however it was she managed to find out. There was also the date and location of minting, and purity of the metals in small letters so there was no ambiguity. Unfortunately this did mean that other types of Dragons, Stags, etc needed to be handled differently.
Someone could not just come to the bank and expect to exchange a clipped coin for one of their well minted nearly pure coins. This meant that all coins not minted in Avalon will require them to be melted down and have the precious materials converted. The bank would do this at no cost, but it did mean that there was a delay of 2 hours per deposit of foreign coins. The final result hopefully will be more and more people using their coins, and bringing more people into their bank. The final bank addition was the introduction of banknotes for large denominations of currency, and was what had him reaching out to the Iron Bank.
After quite a few negotiation via letter, he finally got them to be willing to exchange his bank notes at their bank. Stupidly they didn't seem to see the benefits and required him to setup another account with them with which they would withdraw coins from to honor the notes. It was incredibly annoying, but did not really affect him too much, as transporting coins across the water was easy and safe for him to do with magic. It also may gave him quite a bit of coin to use in Essos if that was needed. He also allowed the Iron Bank to reissue notes they had received to allow people to more easily transfer their funds to Avalon from Bravos.
Stupidly they did not seem to want the same deal with his bank on a bank to bank basis, which made him feel like they were looking down on him and 'his' idea a bit too much. Thankfully he was able to ensure they were liable for an fakes they accepted, even if that was not a major issue, as the equipment to copy his notes or their materials, simply didn't exist. The only agreement they wanted in return was to bar his bank from loaning coin to the crown, which he agreed to for a period of fifty years. Other than that they were happy to continue to do business with him and his new bank in the future as clients of their bank.
The Avalon bank was also one of the new jobs introduced that attracted a number of women. Thankfully the imbalance of genders had been fixed quite easily after it had been noticed, as apparently the number of people who wanted to come to Avalon was growing, and the number of former slaves they needed seemed to be dying down. He had apparently severely underestimated the number of people in slums or in poor conditions around the many cities in these lands and beyond. To fix the issues, all they had to do was simply start to accept a few more women than men every time a ship was being filled with people. This new policy quickly fixed the issue.
This all led to the last major change in the last year, and that was the obvious boom in population. Going from a few hundred to just over ten thousand in a year was crazy stuff. It had taken a monumental effort by him and his elves to get all the buildings and utilities in place, but as new people continued to get settled in Avalon, more and more were of those buildings occupied. With most of the main utilities handled, the House Elves could then concentrate on some of the larger jobs, such as construction of the fortified lighthouse, or even working on Sirius lands for potato production. Ironically the pleasure and gambling houses not only created a ton of jobs, but also created another headache for him, and that was tourists.
He was not quite sure if it was Sirius, or just word of mouth, but within a month of them opening he already had people coming from Bravos and Whiteharbour to check the establishments out. From there it had only ballooned, to which there were now 500-1000 visitor ID cards being carried around by people at any given moment. That was right, each visitor had to be issued with a visa, and ID card on their entry, this meant they could keep track of these visitors a lot more easily. Not that there was really anything preventing a visitor from deciding they liked Avalon better than where they came from, and making it their permanent home. They simply needed to head to the proper government build, and were told so on their arrival.
The problem the tourists created was something he had overlooked to a small degree, or at least didn't think it was a priority, and that was having enough temporary housing, ie inns or hotels for guests to stay in. That meant a bit of a scramble, and a number of their new citizens shocked at how fast the world's first hotel went up. It was the biggest building inside Avalon, if you did not count Camelot, or Potter's retreat. It had rooms for 150 guests, and was situated right on the red light district, meaning is what the first choice of nearly all guests coming to visit.
With the guests came even more needs that needed to be fulfilled, like places to eat, events and shows. It made for quite the headache, but it had been one of his new assistants that recommend contacting a few of the traveling circus and seeing if they would like to setup here semi-permanently. This had gone over quite well and now there were three different circuses in the city at almost all times. Apparently the hospitality industry was going to be one of their big areas of the economy in Avalon. Thankfully Sirius was around still, even if he was 'traveling', as he simply Apparated back every few days, and had handled the hospitality expansion.
It was quite the busy time, but he was happy and that was all that really mattered. He had not felt so alive, or as appreciated as this at any time in his life. That being said, besides introducing a few other industries he felt he wanted to have, the foundation for the city had been finally finished. It was at a point where it could handle most of its own growth by itself, and needed far less direction from him.
Or that is at least what he observed as he walked with his guard escort down the main street from Camelot to the harbour. It was only a ten minute walk, and he preferred to walk it rather than take a horse or carriage. It gave him time to see his subjects, but also let himself been seen, and see the progress being done on the city. Due to being so busy, he did not get out enough, and spent too little time in his mind being seen, and now as a result of his legal reforms, there was no need for a lord to oversee every case. Though he was still the last place of appeal, similar to the supreme court of many democracies.
At first there had been a number of people simply coming to him to appeal any decision they didn't like, but that quickly stopped when he started adding on additional punishment to any case that he felt was clear cut. Any time wasters were given a slightly worse punishment, usually a fine, but even then there were still a number of honest appeals that he saw each month. Sometimes that was an honest misunderstanding of the new laws, and he almost always let them off without additional punishments or simply a warning. Other times unfortunately it was his own government's mistake, and the appeal process was at those times performing the job it was meant too.
As he walked out of Camelot, which was actually far busier than before with a few carts coming in and out to the main warehouse inside the fortress under the watchful eye of warehouse employees, his elves, and the new city guard. The main plaza was certainly busy with people both hanging out and going about their business. Most looked over to him and bowed slightly as they recognized either himself, or him by the guard escort. He was not too bothered by it, and had already consoled himself on the fact that he was going to have to live with it for the foreseeable future. That being said it, was far nicer to be looked at with respect, joy, excitement, awe, or even infatuation, than like back in his world, where he was looked at like a demented hero, with adoration, jealousy, or even hatred.
The only major construction project nearby was the large Raven Tower that was being put up, as he had refused to pay the stupid fee to have a spy from the Maester's Tower install one in his keep. Even with his mirror to the Starks, there needs to be a better way to communicate with others than by letter on a ship. Mark him surprised, not, when he found a former Maester who had been kicked out of their group for his radical move of teaching small groups of children for free in one of the orphanages. Either way it had worked out for Harry, as he now had someone in his employ who knew how train up ravens to be sent to the various houses.
Once the large tower done and ravens were trained, it would be a public service offered to anyone who could afford its service to select locations. At those select locations would be another branch of their service ready to receive or send letters. They were smaller establishments than the ones that he had Sirius setup while going around Westeros and a few other places. However it did mean that the tower here in Avalon needed to be quite large to manage nearly two dozen destinations for public use. Other than that, direct ravens to lords where for his and Sirius' private use, as he didn't want just anyone sending messages directly to other lords.
The great part of all this was that he had created even more jobs, and once his new Maester had finished, he will be moved to the educational department, where the man's passions lie in teaching. The man loved to teach, and had been punished for it, and that was not something Harry wanted to see happen again. The fact the man resented his prior employers didn't hurt, nor that he loved to teaching all types, regardless of their backgrounds. The other great part about the Raven Tower, was that it was entirely unreliant on his magic, and therefore offered a true service to his people without relying on his magic. Not that he had no plans to use magic to help out the process a bit. He simply wouldn't be a wizard if he didn't. He had chosen to go with ravens over something more wizarding like owls, due to their speed and endurance in flight, which had surprised him to learn.
Besides the Raven tower, the other major things he observed while walking about was the fact that he could see a number of industries he had no hand in that were popping up. The main two industries were clearly restaurants and other similar smaller establishments, like stands and stalls. He could also see that they all seemed to be following the legal code to, as he could observe their permits attached to their stalls as he walked by. He even got a few 'My Lords come try my blah blah', which he would be lying if the smell didn't tempt him, but Winky had filled his stomach just before he left Camelot. The other growing industry he had seen was textiles, and had been shocked to see many stores selling clothing of all types. It seemed that the tourist boom, and Sirius minor impact via their new establishments, had created a bit of a fashion scene here in Avalon.
Walking through the main square simply brought a huge smile to his face, and to see that there was a small line outside the library brought another. Anyone with a library card could go into the library and read any of the books from the non-restricted collection without paying, as long as they stayed inside and followed the rules. They only had to pay a small fee to borrow a book for a number of days or weeks, if they wanted to leave the library with it. The fee was quite small, but one has to have been a resident of Avalon for two months before they could get a library card that allows them to borrow books.
It apparently had been a far larger hit than he had expected, and there were even people who came to Avalon not for the red light district, but for the library. Hence the line up, as there simply was a maximum amount of space inside the library and more people than space who wanted to read for free. The average literacy rate is still not high, but with a hundred visitors and a few hundred locals each day, those numbers quickly filled the already quite large library. There was another entrance for those who only wanted to borrow books, so they didn't have to wait in line.
As he walked by there were also a few people who called out to him in greeting, as he did have a number of people who answered to him that he worked with everyday and knew him by looks. He was certainly more casual with his subordinate than most lords would be, but it was mostly because he felt a lot of the pomp and circumstance simply wasted time. Thankfully he had those others to help, otherwise there would simply be far too much work to be done, and he would not be able to do any of his projects. That was one of the important roles those apprentices from Bravos were filling, as they were his government officials, and assistants. He had been able to poach a few learned individuals from other lords in the North as well as a few third sons of third sons were always looking for a place to make a living and call home.
It was quite obvious to him as they were making it through the central square, that a lot of his worries about some of the things he was introducing were for naught, as people simply went with it and seemed more than willing to embrace a few weird ideas. The bank for the common folk was one of them, and it was booming. Loans were being given out for businesses to help them establish themselves here or simply start up. He could see it was quite busy from here and took up much of the northern part of the plaza on one side of the central avenue. It was on the opposite end of the square to the entrance for Camelot, and looked impressive itself, and reminded him of a few large 19th century banks from bank in his world.
The fact that the government here only accepted coins or notes from the Avalon Bank, did mean that almost everyone was required to use the establishment. This had caused a few grumbles, but after those who complained had started using the service, those groans had disappeared. Everyone seemed to love the new coins, and were quite happy to embrace them, as most saw them as a fix to a problem that plagued almost everyone's daily lives. The larger merchants also loved the notes, and a few had approached Harry through official channels to petition to have branch bank establishments opened in other cities beyond Bravos to easily convert them. However, Harry had to deny their request, at least for now, as it was simply another thing he didn't want to do right now. It was certainly a good idea, and something he would review later, with him most likely implementing it in a number of years if all goes well.
Walking down the main avenue and seeing all the life in the once mostly ghost town was amazing, and kept the smile on his face during the entire trip. The fact he could also walk down the main avenue and not have to really worry about traffic was another positive. Most forget roads where once the domain of people on foot, with the odd cart. It was only the invention of the automobile that really forced pedestrians to the sidewalks. So his group made it way smoothly to the harbour, which was Harry's destination of this outing, walking right smack dab in the middle of the road.
He his reason to visit the harbour was to see the new shipyard they were building to start supplementing their ship numbers and designs from their own shipyard, rather than purchasing Braavosi designs off of them. It was quite the optimistic project, but nothing about the project he felt was too unreasonable to get up and running here on Asgard. He already had a few shipwrights, and other ship builders on hand doing construction on a few small ships in a few of the temporary slips they had made, but other than that they had little ability to manufacture or do major repairs here, hence the new shipyard.
As he approached he finally saw the work being done on the foundations, and it was quite a bit bigger than he had expected. Sure he designed it, but on paper and in real life, it was a completely different thing. It took up nearly as much space as the harbour, but was to the left by a few hundred meters, and even more secluded and secured. It was going to have walls to protect the facility, and workshops insides to allow nearly everything for the ships they would build, to be made within the facility. He took a bit of inspiration from both the Venetian Arsenal, and the similar Braavosi one.
The main reason for the shipyard was to produce a few of the new designs he wanted to implement, and to allow them to build war ships to protect their shores without having to rely on others. It would also help with increasing traffic of ships coming and going to the island, as almost all ships built here will be operated by him or Sirius, as either official lordly vessels, or as part of their company. It also didn't hurt that they would be importing a lot of wood to build them.
The new shipyard was a few hundred meters in size in each direction, and took a large section of bay front area, both on water and land. It was also teeming with builders, and construction crew, which were now heavily inundated with humans, rather than simply being manned entirely by his Elves. Funnily enough the Elves took the roles on managers, and taught the new recruits how things were done. He could clearly see that the Elves loved the job, as it was both lots of work and allowed them to teach which they seemed to enjoy.
The harbour just to the right of the shipyard, was also bustling with tons of people and activity. There were a few ships minimum arriving each day, so cargo was being loaded and unloaded in large quantities. There was also always people arriving with ships to either move to Avalon, or to take in the number of tourist spots. The new hot springs and spa area it seemed where what the woman seemed to enjoy quite a bit more than the gambling houses. This actually meant that instead of just men coming in singles or groups to take in the red light district, with the odd woman also arriving, there now were families visiting with wives and children taking in the library and hot springs, while often the husband would take a hand at trying their luck in the gambling houses.
It was all good for business and it could be seen with the growing commerce trade. Though for now they were importing more than exporting, at least where quantity is concerned, as some of their exported goods were quite valuable. Currently the main imports where Iron Wood, food of all types, raw textiles, wine, marble, copper, and even other raw timber, regardless of the fact that Asgard was covered in thick forests in some areas. He really didn't feel like cutting all their own trees down when it could quite cheaply be imported from all across the North or even farther away.
Whereas compared to their import their exports where a bit less in volume, and variety, but made up for that in their quality and the demand for them. Their largest had to be liquor, but that was mostly handled by their own company's ships, with a few other merchants getting in on the action when they could. He regulated that strictly, preventing them from ever being able to undersell him, as he only gave them a slight discount on their sale in Avalon, which merchants would have to add shipping costs to when selling in other areas. Meaning that most will still go to get their fix from any of P&G locations they had set up in the other main cities. This meant most merchants buying it up where taking to the East or places Harry and Sirius didn't serve, like small towns or villages.
The next biggest export actually surprised Harry, as he had thought it was going to be steel, but in fact it turned out to be salt. He may have gone a bit overboard when making his salt extractor, as it seemed the ability of them to sell it for as cheap as they did, and at such high quality, attracted a lot of buyers. He had honestly forgotten how important and hard to come by salt was for people in this time period or technology level. So when ultra high quality sea salt was beautifully packaged in his nice branded bags and sold for cheap meant it was flowing off the shelves. It was selling like hotcakes, and some ships simply filled their hulls with the stuff before leaving. It was also happily employing nearly a hundred or so citizens to package, store, and haul sacks of salt to wherever they were needed to be shipped out.
Finally it was steel, which they sold in so many different forms. Often it was simply them exporting good steel to be remade into whatever at its destination, otherwise it was selling finished goods, often made from higher quality steel. They were not giving anything away that was not really already available to others, so there was no real risk to their security doing so. They were simply producing consistent high quality steel at a faster rate and for far far cheaper than any other entity or persons could. In fact, their blacksmiths were not even the best, and still had room to improve, but with all the work they were doing they were improving fast. The last major export was coal, and it was in much smaller quantities compared to the first three items, as it seemed a few cities in Essos loved to use the stuff, and where always looking for sellers.
Regardless, what this all meant for Avalon, or more precisely, Asgard, was that it was growing at a fast rate, and prospering too. Now that most of the foundation for what he and Sirius wanted to make here were laid, he could take a bit more of a relaxed approach to the development of their lands. There had been a number of things he had been putting off while making and planning his city, planning that he wanted to get back to. For one he had not really even done any planning for the Black Farmlands, nor had he done an extensive amount of magical study lately, which he loved doing. Either way he was incredibly happy with his budding city and could not wait to see what it would be like in the future.
Kennet sat patiently waiting for his lord to finish his discussion with Lord Potter over the magical mirror, which didn't take long. It was just a minor update on things going on in the Snow Islands, and anything of note that Lord Potter may have heard from visitors to his island that Lord Stark would want to know. This happened nearly once a month, and was a luxury not afforded to anyone else, as travel times through the north could take months due to its size and poor roads. However, the latter was changing with Lord Potter's and Black's construction crews working on the roads right at this minute.
The contract for that had been a bit harder than he expected to hammer out, as the cost was quite substantial. However, it was far lower than he had estimated, and the quality of road proposed far exceeded what he had been expecting to be built. It seemed that both parties had gone into the negotiations with different ideas on what needed to be done, and in the end Lord Potter's vision had won out, in that they would build a robust road to replace the existing one, and in some areas run an entirely different more efficient route than the existing roads.
Besides replacing existing roads, the entire road network would be hugely expanded, with permission given to Potter and Black to build roads and Inns throughout the North, in all lords lands. In exchange, the only thing the other lords needed to pay for was the road through their own settlements, as apparently Potter and Black didn't want to have to deal with the issues with redoing roads in villages or towns. Either way they did make their services open to other lords to help with the task, but were charging quite a bit more than they were charging Lord Stark.
It was good to see that their loyalty was already high, and the new proposed plan was quite ambitious, but he saw no reason to doubt their ability to pull it off. Either way it was going to cost nearly 30% of the tax income coming into Winterfell each year for nearly two decades to just afford the project as it was being slowly finished over the next twenty years. Or at least that is what he had thought, but it seemed things weren't quite the same in regards to their tax income. Just as he finished that thought he saw Lord Stark finish with his talk over the Mirror.
"Kennet what are your thoughts on the new bank Lord Potter has setup here in Winterfell now that it has been running for a month?" Lord Stark asked him for his opinion, and he quickly looked through the bundle he was carrying for the correct sheet of paper that had a few numbers on it for him to refer to before he answered.
"Well my lord I know you are aware of some of the complaints that happened in the beginning with the new coins." he said referring to the fact that most people didn't like the fact that the new bank only accepted their own minted coins at face value. It was understandable to some extent, as no liked to go in with 10 Dragons to have them melted down and be told they actually only had 7 dragons worth of gold in their coins. It was not that anything heinous was going on, as it was all well observed by the client, but just the fact that the existing currency was debased even worse than he and most Maesters had realized.
"Yes I can understand their pain." Brandon replied with a small frown. "Who could have expected the treasury to shrink by nearly 30% by simply getting our coins reforged. At least we now have good coin stock though." The issue was annoying, as they would have had to write to the Iron throne on why the number of coins they were receiving was far lower than expected, even if the gold weight was the same, or at least that is what he had expected till the tax revenue from the Snow Islands started coming in.
"Yes, at least the Snow Islands has helped us make up our numbers, so we are not sending less tax down to the Iron Throne." he said to his lord while looking over the numbers. Even though the Snow Islands were barely two years old, it was already making almost as much coin as some of their highest tax paying lords, and if his informants where correct, then Lord Potter and Black's personal income was even higher, as they own most of the industries personally on Asgard. They had barely even started development of the Black Farmlands yet, and still they were making far more coin than either he or Brandon expected.
"I know, I can still not believe how fast they turned those tough cold islands into somewhere that people actually pay money to visit. It's almost inconceivable, and here I thought they were crazy for the amount of gold they offered when buying the place, clearly they saw the potential where others simply saw another pain in the ass." Brandon said happily as he took a small glass and poured himself some Vodka. Vodka had become the drink of choice for many here in the North, even with the other choices available. For whatever reason it appealed to those who call these cold snow-covered lands home, even if he personally preferred others.
"My lord as they are still growing, we should be able to expect additional tax revenue for a number of years to come. I believe we may want to take a page out of Lord Potters, and Black's book and potentially invest some of that money into Wintertown, or even the castle itself." Kennet said to his lord giving him his honest opinion. "With Newport now on the Whiteknife, we should be able to expect even more commerce here in Wintertown and we should take advantage of that while we can." he said a bit passionately, even if he was getting up their in age. He could also see his lord seriously thinking over what he was saying.
"I agree, but just where should we invest?" Brandon asked, clearly already sold on the idea, which surprised Kennet. A lot of the Stark Lord's could be quite conservative when it came to the funds in their treasury, but understandably so with how winters were up here in the North.
"It is not an easy decision, but if the what Lord Potter has said is true, than they will need large volumes of timber for development, and ship building." he said pointing out something Lord Potter had mentioned in a previous update. "If we could develop and expand our forestry industry here in Winterfell, we could cut down, or even import trees from other lords, process them here into timbers and planks, and then send those all over the North." he said passionately about his idea for a more robust and renewable industry for the Stark Lands.
"Hmm, the port does make exporting such heavy cargo far more easy, and there is always a demand for high quality northern lumber in the South as well." Brandon said, clearly taking his idea and already taking it to its fruition. "I think that may be a great idea, and with more salt coming in from Snow Islands at a good price, we should be able to easily store more food for the winter for the additional people this industry will bring in." Brandon said with a big smile.
He was also happy, as this would not be a crazy ground breaking event for the city, but it will be a nice additional source of income, and will ensure that there was a steady bit of prosperity in Wintertown for many years to come. It would also help the town develop a bit quicker and grow richer. All good things for the Starks, and for the North.
Sirius was in Dorne for the fourth time overseeing the second expansion of the pleasure and gambling houses he had setup a number of years ago. It seemed the Dornish loved the establishments, as he had started to develop a love for the Dornish, or at least how they lived. When he had first visited with Harry he had developed a small liking for the people, but with him being more active member of the community now with their businesses being prosperous here, he loved the atmosphere even more. Of course he had to fend off a number of offers for a daughter's hand in marriage, but it was soon realized by those offering that he was not looking for a wife. He may have also let slip that he was infertile and that all his lands and wealth on his death would go to Harry.
So of course he was more than happy to pass along the innumerable marriage offers for Harry's hand in marriage to the man in question. Obviously magiced to all appear on his desk right when he sat down each day, and Dobby right there to take a picture of Harry's face when he opened the first one.
"Hahhaha." he burst out laughing just thinking about his prank. Looking around he saw all the light colours, and a good amount of flesh that was on display as he looked out of the apartment he had over one of his establishments here. They were now adding the fourth of the four new pleasure houses, and even three new gambling one. It seemed Planky Town, and Dorne was the southern site for tourists to go to, mainly from the south side of Essos, and even the Summer Islands, who all seemed to love the pleasure houses. Either way it was becoming far more successful than he or Harry had anticipated.
Honestly he had not had so much fun in quite some time, and he got respect everywhere he went, and not simply because of his family name, but true respect for his and Harry's accomplishments. He was more than a bit happy about that, as he always felt he was a burden for his godson, and had little to offer the young man but his company. So when the guy spent days on end locked away on work, he felt even more useless, or at least that was until he found his calling. If there was one thing he knew about, it was having a good time, and how to do so with the opposite sex.
The fact that channeling those things into something productive was possible, was just a dream come true for him. There was simply so much he could do, and after Harry's had explained how it would actually make a real difference in improving the lives of people, he was even more on board. If he could pay back some of the red in his family's ledger, and have fun while doing so, then he was all for it. Thankfully in Dorne he could also explore having a more casual relationship that was not possible in the rest of Westeros.
He had met Ashley on his second trip here, and had really hit it off during his third. During this stay he had asked her to stay with him for a month or so that he would be here, and he had even told Harry he would be checking in fewer times due to spending time with Ashley. It was more than a wonderful time, and while he was not quite sure if he loved the young woman, he certainly loved spending time together. Regardless they both had gone into the relationship knowing there would not be anything more serious afterwards, and the fact that she was the bastard of a nobleman only reinforced that apparently to her.
Regardless, he was here to both buy permanent harbour space, and to oversee the construction of their new 'houses'. With having so many establishments here, they were constantly importing booze from Avalon to Planky Town. So having better and more secure harbour access was key to them saving costs with such a large operation. Apparently there was also tons of good information that was also being passed along to Harry's Elves, as some of it had even been shared with him, and helped him prevent a few major issues from cropping up.
In one town a lord wanted to seize their businesses to take them over and run them himself, as he saw the money they were making. Of course the idiot didn't actually think it through, either way, they had sent a number of well armed guards to the establishment, which had discouraged anyone from trying anything. He had also sent a letter to the lord in question, stating that he had gotten some information about a possible attack on his establishments, without accusing said lord of being the one who was planning on attacking, and that he would be stationing some guards there for the time being. Apparently the message was clear enough, as that the lord had not bothered them since.
This was just one example of the many that had saved their butts when it came to their businesses, as there were tons of greedy lords out there that simply failed to understand that even if they seized the pleasure or gambling houses, they would not be able to run them without getting supplies from them, which they obviously were not going to provide. Honestly, what were the Maester teaching their charges...
The spreading of the many detrimental, and annoying social diseases had also plummeted with the implementation of certain rules and guidelines in their pleasure houses, as well the potions to deal with them. The fact that they were also sold at their pleasure houses meant that others who got infected elsewhere could also get treatment, and it was working. It was one of the biggest endearing factors of their establishments, and the fact they also sold a number of other minor cures, that they had previously sent to Kennet in the past to test, didn't hurt either. They were hot sellers to both the lordly folk and the small folk, and apparently Harry had been badgered by the Maesters so many times for the recipes, that he had to go and banish them from Asgard just recently. Not to say there was not a select few that had gained personal permission to remain, but most had been banned from the island altogether.
Dorne was still not officially part of Westeros yet, even if it was under the Iron Throne's control. Thankfully all this meant for him and Harry, was that there was even more freedoms for them to operate here, as long as they followed local rules, and less that would get back to the Iron Throne about their activities. Harry was a bit worried someone in the South may get greedy and try to lay claim to some of their profits. Personally he was not quite so sure, but it never hurt to be keeping an eye out, and already small but growing group of people in Avalon truly believed they had access to magic in some small ways. Not that it was actually a negative, as said group seemed to be even more fanatically loyal because of their possible possession of magic. Too many people were happy with their lives in Avalon to let outsiders upset that horse cart.
Another bonus about Planky Town was that even though most in Dorne where followers of the Seven they caused no problem for his pleasure and gambling houses, as some places in Westeros had. Not that it had really gone anywhere, but some Septons and Septas were upset with the fact that somewhere so nice, and obviously prosperous, was a center for such sinful businesses. In other places some of the Septons even came to the brothels to get medicine at discounted prices, which they then distributed the poor, and where what Harry called true Septons, whatever that meant. Those types where more than happy for the addition to their communities. There certainly was not just one type of worshiper of any religion, and it was not good to paint them all with the same brush, but it was also not right to ignore the fact that they usually caused more issues with their businesses than not, and were far more intolerant than tolerant.
Regardless, he could not think of how his life could be better. He had his godson who was prospering and growing both as a man, and in power and skill as a Wizard. Ashley brought many bright spots to his life lately, and he was even thinking of inviting her to visit Avalon or live there for a time. He did not need to worry about other Wizards screwing up his life, and he had not ever been so prosperous before. Sure he had the Black fortune, but it was not the same as making his own wealth. It was quite the life, and not something he wanted to give up. Which only made him work harder for what he has, meaning he needed to get back to designing the layouts his new establishments.
End of 173 AC
"And do you have anything to report Lord Caron?" he asked the master of coin, wanting the highlights for this year's annual reports and finally finish this meeting up. They were currently in the Small Council chambers finishing up their last reports for the year, before taking a recess till next year. The king was not present, which was not unusual for Aegon IV. Unfortunately there had been little to report of note to spice of the meeting either, as the year was wrapping up nicely with the transition of power having caused minimal fallout. The only issue he really had was trying to reining in the king, but he had been able to keep his Majesty's excesses to a reasonable level. Thankfully the royal coffers could handle an influx of spending on luxury things, or at least that is what he hoped lord Caron would be telling him.
"Little to note that the council is not already aware of Lord Bracken. Besides increased royal spending, the only thing I can say that is of note is that for the fourth year in a row the tax raised in The North for the crown has gone up." Lord Caron said to the council getting a few looks of interest. It was not common for continual grow in taxes, as it was hard to maintain any type of growth in industry over even a few years, as easy access resources or opportunities that fuel the initial grow tend to dry up quite fast. It was one thing to maintain said level in tax revenue after growing a bit, but to continue to rise is mostly unheard of. "This is also taking into account the new Avalon Coinage." Lord Caron said still a bit grumpy about that topic. Apparently Avalon coinage was becoming the most in demand type of coins even with the new mint that was introduced by the previous king; let the Seven watch over his soul.
They were actually what helped spurred the last king to introduce a new mint, as the problem with the existing currency was far more evident than believed if someone had gone so far as to start minting their own coins. Unfortunately the new coins had also caused a bit of a row, as the Avalon Coinage did not have the king's face on it, but the previous king had simply said that the Avalon Bank had honored the existing currency enough by using the same designs in principle and still including the majestic dragon of their family, so they could have the Owl on the back if they wanted. It was not like Lord Potter or Black was putting their own face on the coins. Some lords had spoken out against such a ruling, but not many as most simply didn't care, or ever expected Avalon Currency to start spreading so fast, like it has over the last few years.
A lot of merchants tried to accept only coins minted in Avalon, due to their accuracy and reliability, but that had been reduced with the new mint, but not entirely removed. Then there was the fact that Avalon Coinage could be exchanged for these special notes at certain locations making it easier for merchants to transport large amounts of coin. However these were not topics he really cared about, as all that he really cared about was that there would be more taxes to cover the increasing royal expenditures.
"Do we know the reason for the increase?" he asked back, already quite sure he knew the cause. The court had been informed years ago about two new lords being raised in the North, but most simply ignored the announcement as something the northern savages were doing. He had not given it much pause either, and it was not till various drinks started being sold in Kings Landing did he take notice. In fact there was a green glass bottle on their table right this instant with the now well known white and black banner. So it would not surprise him if that was the reason.
"Yes Lord Hand, it is the new lordly houses, of Black, and Potter that are mainly the cause. Or at least that is what my agents are telling me. They do some good commerce with Bravos, and some other places and that is bringing in new coins to the North." Lord Caron said while also getting derisive snort from Grand Maester Gawen. Everyone here already knew about the recent ban put on Maesters from traveling to or staying in the newly named island. Apparently they did something so annoying to Lord Potter, that he banned them outright in his frustration. Of course Gawen had then brought the subject up at the small council to try and get them to force lord potter to accept a Maester or at least allow them access to his lands. Which clearly was not something they were willing to do, or set a precedent for. Not all Lords wanted Maesters, nor accepted their wisdom as fact, and even those who did, would not want one forced on them or be forced to allow people they had barred from their lands back in.
"Jumped up merchants is what they are." Gawen said uncharacteristically.
"Yes well, merchants they may still be, but clearly now successful lords as well. Nothing too big, but a nice increase to the northern income is good for all involved, us included. Especially when one considers it is the lowest of all the kingdoms in terms of tax revenue, and is the largest by far in terms of size." The Master of Coin said in reply, while also pointing out what everyone already knew. Though one could not really blame the North with how harsh the winters were there, and how far it put them back each time they came around. There was a reason why most people from the frozen lands of the North were well known for their hardiness, as even their summer snows could freeze the balls of some Reach lords. "They may end up being an important house for the North, and certainly the one with the most contact south of the Neck with their whore houses and gambling halls."
"Yes well that all sounds good, and if there is nothing more of interest to note, we shall call this meeting adjourned." he said impatiently, waiting for a few moments to see if anyone would say anything before getting up himself officially ending the council meeting. Maybe he would go and enjoy a nice gin when he got back to his room. With that thought, he decided to relax and seek out his daughter to see how she is doing, and if she had managed to get closer to the king in the meantime.
End 173 AC
Garrett Bergen stood in front of his monthly group of new and fresh legionnaires. He was Centurion for this group of 100, and had a second in command in case he ever fell to help him take up some of the slack. Unfortunately he had the unenviable task of training these raw recruits into something Lord Potter could be proud of. Thankfully he had himself, a Junior Centurion, and ten Sergeants to help, as did every other Century. The first and so far only legion of the Phoenix Legions, was going to be made up of 9 Cohorts, and 1 Cavalry unit with similar structure to a cohort, but often split amongst all the cohorts. Each Cohort had five Centuries of 100 soldiers sorted into 10 squads. In each squad of ten, seven were heavy infantry, two were ranged infantry with crossbows, and one of which was a support and logistic soldier, who could still in an emergency help in battle. A Cohort also had an additional 25 logistical and administrative officers to help all the soldiers in said cohort.
All combined together, the 9 cohorts, a single cavalry unit, and the support units gave a single legion a grand total of around 5250 people. There was a reason the entire legion was not being recruited right now, as with only around fifty thousand in Avalon, an entire legion would be a bit too much for such a small city, so only 6 cohorts where being formed right now, and he was lucky enough to be in the first Cohort.
Himself and the officers under his command had already undergone training from both General Larim, and Lord Potter. They were thought all sorts of things for nearly 12 months before they were actually assigned positions and given their ranks in the Military. One of the harder struggles for some was the fact that to be an officer, even a Sergeant, one must be able to read and write. So many had to learn from scratch during their training, thankfully he had the advantage of already being able to read. The training was not easy, and sparing against either lord Potter, or General Larim was futility in action. However, almost always would anyone learn something, but that also meant coming away with a number of bruises. Thankfully the medical core of the legion was more than competent and the medicine they used actually worked unlike some he had tried in the past. Not that he really ever doubted Lord Potter, or Black, as almost everything they did, they seemed to do with the assurance that it was going to succeed. So much so that a small number of people believed they were either magical or had found some artifacts during their travels and trades. Not that he really cared either way, as he could tell from simple interaction, that Lord Potter was someone he was proud to serve, and Avalon was somewhere he would protect.
The men in front of him who were standing in line under the watchful eyes of their Sergeants, were mostly in good shape, a few who would need work, but it was not a bad starting point. He did know that the recruitment drive had been quite successful, and the positions were in high demand, as it came with many perks, and paid well enough that no one could really complain. The fact they also got bonuses on the completion of their service, and financial security for their families if something happened to them, many jumped at the opportunity, especially with winter approaching fast. It gave them all a solid job, and food to fill their own and their family's bellies.
For now the men in line were in simple cotton and linen uniforms they were issued, which were in a nice deep green color, contrasting with the blue of the guard. Each of his new recruits were still yet to be issued their equipment, as they had a lot of training to go through before that point, and even possibly the expulsion of a few who simply could not cut it. For now they would be working on using wooden and weighted replicas that weighed almost twice as much to practice simple strikes with, and work on their strength and endurance. The repetitive practice against simple wooden posts would be broken up by them all learning to march for kilometers instep with each other, and without breaking formation. That also included practicing charges and other maneuvers. It would last for a few months minimum or till he thought they were up to snuff, after which they would be issued their actual equipment.
Lord Potter had constantly hammered into their heads during a few of the classroom sessions he had held, that the quality of the troops needed to be high, and that he expected his officers to ensure this and take responsibility for those under their command. That along with a lot of the rules and regulations they needed to know and follow, were two of the hardest things for a number of the new officers to understand. They were all mostly used to either being given a weapon fresh off of their farms and drilled for a week before battle, or in the case of the more experienced, working mainly on how to guard castles and towns. So the demands on themselves, and what they needed to do to ensure subordinates standard, was quite high, but as the desire for positions in the Phoenix Legion had proved, it was something they were being well compensated for.
It certainly didn't hurt that a lot of people were coming to cherish the place they lived in, and did not want anything to happen to it. There were a lot of people Lord Potter referred to as patriots or nationalist here willing to put their lives on the line for the home they had come to love. Personally he believes more than a few would do the same for Lord Potter, but it seemed Lord Potter was unaware of the place he had in many of his people's hearts. That aside, it was not hard to see why, with all the opportunities here in Avalon, or the fact that they had quite a bit more legal protection here than anywhere else, even compared to Bravos where he had come from. Not to forget the various activities one could get up to in the still growing city in the Redlight district, or any of the other places that attracted visitors. For him though, quite a bit of it was about the stability of the job, and protecting the wonderful place his family has now started calling home.
It was a home where his daughter and son,were both able to join classes for reading, writing, and math lessons each week for only a tiny fee. A place where he had a nice home he was proud of, and where his wife felt was safe enough to let the kids to play in the neighborhood. A place where he could see a strong and prosperous future for his kids, and even their kids kids. All of these were reasons he had joined up, and were the reasons he took his job incredibly seriously, because it could be him and his men that his family and the rest of Avalon many rely on for their salvation in the future. He would ensure that he and his men would not be ones that will let down their lord, their city or their families.
He felt that he looked fairly regal in his own equipment, and could see many of the new recruits looking at either his or the other officer's equipment. They all wore a similar helmet that covered most of their faces with a nose guard, but still had enough room to easily breathe and hear quite well. The helmets all had leather bands inside them that their head rested in to help with impacts and protect the head from anything blunt. Each of his fellow officers also wore their thick cotton and linen undershirt and pants over which each had their new special type of armour. It was a something Lord Potter had refined or invented, and now Lord Potter had the numerous Avalon smiths producing these Brigandine armours for the legion. The armour was made up of hundreds of small curved bands of steel that interlocked and where riveted into and squashed between two pieces of thick cotton. There was even a portion that came up around the neck a bit to extend over the lip of the helmet to give protection from anything getting into you neck area, like arrows shattering off your chest armour.
He and almost everyone else who had tried the armours loved them, as they had a number of advantages over traditional breastplates and other armour types. One was due to the many bands, as a person wearing a Brigandine still had significant mobility due the bands being able to move, unlike almost any other forms of plate. Secondly due to the overlapping nature of the steel bands, it even provided more protection than a similar thickness breast plate. At least according to Lord Potter. With chainmail skirts attached right to the armour, it allowed for good leg protection for a person when either on a horse or on the ground, while also ensuring the weight was well distributed along the armour. Finally as the steel bands were not actually exposed to the elements it helped with the colder temperatures that they often had to face here in the North, and if his lord was to be believed, the hotter ones too.
To finish off their armour they wore greaves that had small sharp spikes in the bottom to allow better grip on the battlefield, and had a few pairs of leather reinforced gloves they could choose to wear. The spikes on their boots could be quickly removed in a few minutes by unscrewing them for if they needed to spend extended time in a city where they were walking on roads and didn't want to damage them. The last piece of armour they had was their important shield, which they used in many of their formations, and was almost always carried. It was a large flat top kite shield designed to be able to be used in formation, and by heavy infantry, so it was slightly larger than the guards. This allowed them to perform many formations, and provided even more cover from arrows, if that was needed, as their armour was usually enough.
For weapons they all carried with them a choice of a few styles of short sword, with even longer ones being available to only the cavalry. Most were fairly simple, if extremely well made swords and were designed to stab out from a shield formation, and have devastating cutting potential. A longer swords would just get in the way, or tire out the user quickly in a large formation like they were being trained to fight in. They also carried with them three sturdy long javelins that could be thrown at enemy infantry, but more importantly placed in their rear or sides to prevent or help with any cavalry charges they may face. The supply troops also carried with them these metal spiked contractions one spreads to help slow or prevent cavalry or troop charges, but also could cause problems with allies if they were not careful.
There was a ton of new fighting methods and tools that Lord Potter had introduced to them, and even General Larim was learning things too. So of course they had a lot of training to do to get up to the standard that Lord Potter expected, and demonstrated when he personally showed them how to use their weapons. It was quite humbling seeing your Lord do some incredible throws with a javelin that you couldn't hope to match even with as many tries as you wanted. Either way he was excited about their new service, and he knew his men were too, if their stupid smiles were anything to go by. Well that would simply not do, they could be too relaxed here, so he took a page directly out of his Lord's book, and got to work.
"Now listen here you maggots!" he yelled to his soldiers.
A/N: So I borrowed a bit here for this story that I have planned for my Alternate history story, for the army, but changed it up quite a bit. I hope I was able to give a good explanation, and described everything well without forgetting something vital. Either way I hope you all enjoyed the chapter, and hope to see you all when the next one is posted. One again like always, thanks for your reply and reviews!