(Had the plans bit written and then Storm replied so I had to put a response to him in too- this ended up way longer than I intended. Sorry about that!)
Celiasil turns his attention to Storm as he speaks, bobbing his head along with the man’s words and clasping both hands behind his back. Once he has finished, the mali paces his way forwards to offer his response.
“You present some valid points, Storm. It is apt to say that a leadership role is not strictly required to present my ideas and views for consideration, but it is in my opinion simply a matter of haste, assurance, and the way in which I feel I am best suited to contribute to Haelun’or. Convicted in my views as I am, it is naturally my preference not to request changes, but to have the capability to instate the measures that I feel are necessary. There is nothing wrong with an approach of suggesting what one wishes to change, but it is neither the most efficient nor the most reliable way of creating the change which I feel will most benefit Elcihi’thilln, hence I believe it is reasonable for me to seek leadership as a means to directly institute these ideas. Should it be unfeasible for me to do so, I will settle for sharing what views I have, but I am obliged to be more direct in my approach while the opportunity is presented, for what I strongly believe to be the good of Haelun’or and her people.
As for maintenance of the Sillumiran, I would assert that the situation is not as complicated as you make it sound. Indeed I have not served within their ranks, but the Sillumiran is at its heart a military, and knowledge of how to run and lead such an institution is not exceptionally hard to come by nor unique to any one such force. Specific traditions may elude me, but those are not the functional core of what the Sillumiran is, they are important most assuredly and worthy of preservation, but the function of the Sillumiran is primarily to protect and serve, and I do not believe I require personal experience in their ranks to guide them in that. It is a matter of organization, strategy, sensibility and judgement- all of which carry over between any combat force, be it an army or mercenary band. Moreover, I do intend to compensate by selecting a Tilruir’sil who is more intimately familiar with their workings, as a foil to my own outsider’s perspectives that we may achieve a balance, and the Sillumiran will have a familiar face to directly oversee their training and so forth.
Once again you are apt as well to point out that my experience previously is not equivalent to that of leading a dedicated army, but I would argue that it is indeed equivalent to that of any high ranking soldier within such an army who might otherwise be considered for leadership, a commander of troops. That is to say, I am no less qualified for ascending to a role of leadership than any veteran or sub-commander, a Tilruir’sil for a topical example. The Sillumiran and the groups I worked with may not be equivalent, but the qualities instilled in me and the knowledge gained is applicable equally to both. I have the same skill set that would tend to qualify others to be lifted for such a role.
A lack of specific and equivalent experience is an inevitability in the life of anyone that seeks to ascend in station and increase their contribution to any endeavor, it does not make me unfit, uneligible or incapable of doing so- it means only that I require the chance to prove I am able. The simple reason I have not joined the Sillumiran as a soldier is because I feel that I can do more good for our people more quickly, by seeking higher station.”
Pausing for breath and to let his eyes wander the crowd, Celiasil keeps his stoic demeanor.
“As to my remark about words being cheap and proving myself by my actions, this was in reference to a specific undertaking that was meant to occur, which did not for reasons that I will now explain.
By instruction of Muriel, I have been tasked to lead a hunting mission against a supposed wyrm that inhabits the nearby lake. It was my intent to have this occur quite recently, with the aid of Haskir. It was during this that I was meant to give a demonstration of my abilities beyond simple words. Unfortunately, though our personal allies answered to the call, not a single Sillumiran rallied at the legitimate order to do so. As such, we were unable to gather the necessary numbers to operate all of the siege equipment Haskir had set up. All it would have required was two Sillumiran to make the endeavor feasible, but we could not get even that.
Rest assured that this endeavor is to be rescheduled and I shall be holding to my word to lead it and prove myself through demonstration of action. I would in fact, quite happily invite you to join us as well, Storm, should you be so inclined. More details will be forthcoming on the matter.
Finally, on the subject of my being more qualified than other soldiers, and how I would earn the respect of the Sillumiran, both answers are the same. I am qualified because I am capable, because I think not as just a soldier but as a strategist and a keeper of order. As I have said, I know that such statements are yet unproven, but I do intend to remedy that. I would be respected because these statements would be proven in my actions, and I would serve the Sillumiran and Haelun’or as a leader that is worthy of said respect.
Since I have the floor, I suppose I might as well discuss some of my plans, perhaps to lend some clarity to what I have in store.”
Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes for a moment, the candidate gazes skywards to collect his thoughts, and give everyone a brief break from the sound of his voice. After a short time, he speaks.
"With that addressed, allow me to share with you all the first moves I intend to make as Okarir'tir. I have spoken of discipline, of having the Sillumiran regain their status and prestige, and of pressing hard for recruitment. All of these are goals, of course, some more long-term than others. What I will discuss now however are the immediate actions I will be taking upon my election, starting with the most vital.
First and foremost, my concern is the defensibility of Elcihi'thilln with its currently limited military presence. For lack of sheer numbers, we must compensate with preparation. As my first moves as Okarir'tir, I shall be ordering for a number of construction efforts to be undertaken, starting with a pair of siege weapons to be added flanking the front bridge. These weapons, in the event of a severe, large-scale attack, can be used to destroy the bridge and, paired with a decoupling of the Northern Expansion lift, make the city effectively impossible to gain entry to. Another option which has been suggested to me by Haskir is the replacement of the bridge with an arcane drawbridge which can be turned on or off, in which case these siege weapons may be smaller ones- presuming the idea is feasible, I cannot speak with any authority on matters of magic. Either is a fine solution to the issue regardless.
In addition to these siege weapons and potential changes to the bridge, I will be ordering the addition of acid traps to be inset to the pit itself, allowing for any enemy forces that fall inside to be dealt with swiftly and cleanly through the release of those acid reservoirs. The gates will be reinforced, to aid in ensuring that in the event of a raid, these measures can be taken before entry is gained into the city. Ideally replaced with carbarum, again an idea borrowed from Haskir, if we can muster the resources and skill to forge them. Otherwise, they may simply be made thicker and more durable, perhaps adding two extra gates, which was my original thought on the matter.
Should the gates fall before the siege weapons do their work, I will be organizing a specific and practiced response so that the Sillumiran know precisely where to be when the gates come down, creating defensive lines blocking both the path to the library and the main stairs. Their duty will be to defeat or at least stall enemy forces, in order to make sure a full evacuation is achieved. This is the point at which we come to an all-out battle, and it is in this most grave instance that I will expect the Sillumiran to be prepared to sacrifice their lives for the safety of those they protect, should there be no other choice. I will stand with them, naturally, and should victory be impossible and evacuation made complete, efforts for a retreat may be undertaken to preserve as much life as possible. I will expand on this shortly."
Nodding his head, the mali paces back and forth while gesturing with a hand.
"On the subject of evacuation, I will be pressing for our escape tunnels to be slightly adjusted. The various lifts around the city which lead to them will be repositioned more strategically, as some are too close to the gate and could be abused by the enemy, and a map of their locations will be provided to every mali'thill citizen. I may also seek for them to be reorganized, made a bit easier to navigate, though on this matter I will seek other input first. I will be choosing both select Sillumiran and citizen volunteers to take the duty of guiding and gathering their fellow thill in the event of an evacuation- which will, to be clear, be the immediate response to any large-scale attack. I will not see our people trapped within their homes or gathered like lambs to be slaughtered.
The exit to the escape tunnels shall be thoroughly hidden and emerge as far away from the city as possible, repositioned from its current location near the road to the city, to minimize the risk of the enemy locating it and cutting off our means of escape. Precautions will also be taken by way of having a store of explosives pre-prepared to collapse the tunnel in the event that the citizens are somehow followed by said enemy.
Back to the subject of a retreat for our forces, and carrying on with the matter of escape tunnels, for those Sillumiran who are charged with staying behind and defending the city, a separate escape tunnel leading to a wholly different location will be used. This provides them the potential to escape, and also ensures that if they are followed or chased by the enemy that they will not be leading them towards our citizens, nor will any necessary destruction of the citizen tunnel result in them being trapped in the city. This tunnel, as the other, will be rigged to collapse the exit if needed. By no means is this a guarantee of Sillumiran safety, however; in the event of a large raid, our soldiers must be prepared for the possible eventuality of death, we can give them only as good a chance as we are able and otherwise honor them in sacrifice. That is the reality of service.
All together, these measures and this organization will allow the city to respond swiftly and effectively to an invasion, even one of a size that we otherwise would not be able to handle and have no time to prepare for. My goal is minimal loss of life, and all such measures will be taken towards that end. The city is a wonderful defensive structure, but has not yet leveraged those advantages to their full potential. I will see to it that this is remedied.
The reason all of this is my top priority is because of the currently dwindling ranks of the Sillumiran, and the vulnerability of our city to an unexpected attack in the interim between my potential election and the resurgence of their ranks. I am essentially seeking to take these measures as a precaution, and because even when the Sillumiran are more numerous, they will serve Elcihi’thilln well."
Coming to a halt and turning fully to the crowd, the mali’thill sweeps back his long hair and appears to start winding up this topic.
“With all of this done and considered in the event of an unexpected emergency, response to any predictable invasion will be trivial. We can preempt in these steps to ensure that the bridge falls as soon as enemy forces arrive- or indeed, even go so far as to disable the main lift. The Northern Expansion lift can be preemptively disabled as well. Citizens can be poised for evacuation or even evacuated before enemy forces arrive, and proper barricades can be erected past the gate to block access deeper into the city, as well as to the tavern, clinic, labs and park.
This will essentially create a killing field for our archers and swordsmen, funnelling the enemy into a single controlled area on the inside of the gate, giving us a significant advantage on the off-chance that they manage to get so far to begin with. With enough time, more siege equipment could additionally be set up on the raised walkways around the square. In essence, if we know they are coming, they will be foiled or doomed.”
Wearing a rare smile, the mali nods his head, moving on to his next point.
“With an explanation for this most urgent matter out of the way, my steps after these things have been set in motion will be further organization of the Sillumiran. I will be scheduling patrols of the roads nearby, instating elven weekly or bi-weekly training sessions through my chosen Tilruir’sil, and also creating a system of honors which may be bestowed to our loyal soldiers for any outstanding service they may provide, acknowledging their accomplishments and helping to instill that sense of pride of which I have spoken.
All of this is to improve the experience of Sillumiran- to give them more to do, to bolster comradery, and to ensure that they feel appreciated and recognized for their unique and valuable contributions. Any Sillumiran who hears this and has other requests or ideas on how to improve their experience are quite welcome to seek me with their thoughts, now or in the instance that I am elected.
Another step will be to consider and reassess the ranks of the Sillumiran. It is not currently my intent to undergo a full restructuring, but I will consult with my chosen Tilruir’sil, should I be elected, alongside others on the subject to see if we might make any improvements. Currently there are more ranks and units than there are Sillumiran, which is obviously problematic, but can be remedied as recruitment increases. This is something to be considered carefully, so I shall not put forth any specific stances or ideas at this time beyond saying that it is in my sights as a matter of concern.
As I understand both of my competitors shall as well, I will remove the anonymity policy put in place by Kaelan. This is due to the false premise it was created on- a risk to our Sillumiran that has not actually been demonstrated to exist- and because it severely complicates matters of accountability, not just to me, but to the citizens the Sillumiran protect. What meager and unproven additional protection it may grant the Sillumiran is not worth the tarnished trust of her citizens. Moreover, how can one feel as if the uniform is a badge of honor in and of itself, if their identities are obscured while wearing it? If none may appreciate them and acknowledge them for their service as they undertake it? It is simply a misguided measure on all fronts, by my estimation.”
Finally, after the series of expansive monologues, the mali begins pacing towards the crowd to open the floor to the others.
“Ahernan, that is all for now.”