Chapter 348 A New Party
So that was how it was.
Casimir had been mind controlled at the beginning, perhaps up to the point where he set up the party event that began Aldrich's ascension into a Lich. Afterwards, he had chosen to stay out of his own volition.
No doubt, there was pressure involved. Once the party was set up and done and Casimir had indirectly caused the deaths of representatives from all three prongs of the Trident, he no longer had any support elsewhere other than Aldrich.
But had the partnership between Casimir and Aldrich been one more based on force than mutual understanding, then Aldrich had no doubt that Casimir may have already plotted something behind his back.
It was a strong reminder to Aldrich that if he wanted to go down the route of having a legion that could think for themselves, he needed to understand them.
And it was a touching reassurance that Aldrich was working with the right person. At first, he had thought Casimir was like any other suited up crook, lavishing himself in shiny expensive things and lording over goons, but that was only at face value.
Casimir's staff were all his family. His riches, he indulged in, but did not obsess over. He had always had a bigger vision for the world.
And now, Aldrich was Casimir's gateway to making that vision happen.
"I promise you that you won't regret your decision," said Aldrich. "The world you want to change; I'll change it. But I'm a little curious, what exactly is it that you want changed?"
Aldrich had a good idea from what Casimir had said already. The man probably wanted a more equal world where humanity thrived without the class inequality that forced countless many on the streets or out in the Wastelands.
"That, I don't quite know myself." Casimir laughed. "I know that I do not want anyone to suffer as I did, languishing in nothing, but when I think of how to achieve such a thing, it escapes me.
That is the problem with grand, world-spanning goals, isn't it? They're so large that it becomes impossible to grasp all the fine details."
"Yes," agreed Aldrich. He too suffered the same thing. He knew he wanted to make the world a better place, just as his parents had wanted him to do. Though, as he was not a 'hero' anymore, he had to figure out how to do it.
As a cooperator?
As a conqueror?
Something in between?
Like Casimir said, it was easy to have a grand goal, but it was hard to visualize all the smaller details.
Casimir resumed washing dishes. "But that is the thing, Thanatos, I believe there is simply no point nitpicking over every little step along the way.
A mentor of mine told me, bless her long gone heart, that as long as you have a destination in mind, the path you take to get there will come naturally.
I have a feeling that as you and I both operate on larger and larger scales, things will become more and more complicated. Multiple paths will appear, each appealing in their own right.
But as long as we do not lose sight of what is at the end, we will be fine.
I do not know about you, but I will keep that old adage in mind to make things easier for myself."
"I will too," said Aldrich.
For a few days now, he had been plagued with the idea of saving the world and what it would take to do it. The sheer amount of choices and factors he had to consider was practically paralyzing.
He had always been good at keeping a single goal in mind and executing. Whether it be vengeance or training. But bigger things like this, he was not used to.
It made him painfully aware that even though he was an immortal lich, his prior mortal life had ended at just eighteen years. Granted, a lifetime of dealing with struggle had likely aged his mind up considerably, but the lack of experience was still there.
Hearing something like this from Casimir, a man in his late forties, was comforting.
"But I assume you have not come here to watch me clean dishes and talk to me about my dreams, no? Although I would be very much touched if that were the case," said Casimir.
"Maybe I did," said Aldrich, internally smiling.
"Hah, quite forward, my dear Thanatos, but I must say, my lovely Blanca holds my heart already," said Casimir. "And you, my good sir, have quite the fierce lady at your side already."
"You're definitely right on the 'fierce' part," said Aldrich. "But you're right, I did have something else to talk to you about. It's about food production for Haven."
"Ah, that." Casimir nodded, and though he washed and dried dishes, he ever so slightly cocked his head, listening intently.
"How's our current capacity look like?"
"As it stands, we can currently barely feed Haven's current populace for perhaps one month," said Casimir. "With the food stores left by Panopticon Skyfields, that extends to three months.
Trade with nomads, particularly hunters bringing in game and crop from the wastelands may extend that to four months.
But that is simply to feed Haven's current, vastly dwindled mouths. As it stands, the city has a population of barely fifty thousand consisting of the unfortunate that were simply too impoverished to move in the light of the Locus Raids.
However, as time passes, this city's population will increase. An infusion of nomads tired of the harsh life in the Wastelands but also tired of proper city life are settling here at high rates, and by the end of the next month, Haven will have grown to seventy thousand.
Each month that Haven lasts, rebuilding itself, giving the world more confidence that it is more stable, the more people will arrive."
"In essence, we have to deal with the food issue quickly," said Aldrich.
Casimir nodded gravely. "Correct. Within two months is my projection."