Jean continued along the Loire on his way the estates which he had called. Clouds rolled over head, the sky painted orange and purple by the declining sun, while the ancient Loire flowed smoothly by as With it, it took the dying leaves to sea, to the east.
Jean knew the old tales of Arthur and a isle of the dead in the west and the souls that were ferried there.
He could not help look westward himself, for though he was Christian, he knew these were his twilight years and could dream still of the legends.
Jean had forgotten nothing, though age wore on him it seemed only to make his memories more bitter. Brittany had already in his life been twice won against French ambition, at the hand of Charles de Blois and then the King himself. Years of political maneuvering had kept Brittany both free and neutral. He could recall every tear shed and life lost. Few remained however to reminisce with.
However, Jean had already seen his father lost to war and his mother to madness. The Planagenet had all but forgotten him, save for what bribes they could wring from him while the Valois were fickle, they would seek vengance and forget his existance intermittedly. His reconcilation to the Valois after all, was made through Charles the Mad.
He had to appeal to the Pope himself to prevent Charles de Blois from being sainted. A thief and a liar, the God had forgiven worse, but to saint him would be a sin. Charles’ grandchildren, now growing old themselves, held rich lands to the east as the Jean’s subjects eched out a life by the shore.
God was wiser than he, but let it not be said he did not have a sense of humour.
With this thought he opened the doors to the estates, they would be south for a week and there was much to discuss. Jean had already sent his children and relatives to Ireland, England, Burgundy and Spain to be married in hopes of expanding this alliances.
Internally he sought to turn the great minds of the nation away from military spendingand production and instead to the sea, trading and naval goods were their hope for salvation but even more so towards the maintenace of the state. Brittany would need all the help she could get if she were to hope for freedom.
Yet, the commoners and nobles of the state were in accord, the old Breton army, now a mere militia of villagers, had to be turned into something that could stand against France. Jean agreed and with that, orders were drafted to recruit fresh men.
Meanwhile, an internal trade dispute had erupted between the Nobles and Burghers. The two most invovled had entered the estates in arguments and Jean was tempted to toss them both out right then. It was some trivial dispute about the Noble argued for a set price of grain, some murmured this was in order to protect a favoured merchant.
Jean paid little thought to it, "Let the merchant charge what he will be paid for."
With those words, panic struct some merchants but others gave a confident look. With those ten words, the whole of the Breton marrket was suddenly up for grabs. It would be more difficult but those who survived would prosper. Many merchants would draft their plans to sail west, away from Paris and to the rich markets of Antwerpen.
With that done, Jean called an end to the Estates for the day and sought his chambers for a well deserved rest. He sought more but he would have to wait.
The only issue, was just how little time he had left.
With that thought, he turned west once more on his bed and looked West.