Callum then continued after a moment of sorrow-tinged silence "On the road, I decided to head north. There I could continue my work and complete my life goal. At first, I had some luck, my ideas sparked the interest of lord Erin, in the city of Ballin, several territories north from Brielle.
"He employed me for a year before my story caught up with me. My invention of Cotton Paper had caught on for a bit and this had alerted the nobles as it has done rounds among the merchants.
The lord decided to shield me and send an aide to warn me. I then fled again. I later heard Lord Erin took credits for my invention and had reaped quite some profits." He smiled ruefully "The price for freedom perhaps..."
"Luckily I already invented a better version of paper! I was full of hope to fulfil my dream! I travelled as quickly as I could but nobody employed me... I told them that I invented cotton paper and they simply laughed and threw me out. As I continued to travel I got more and more disheartened until I heard the story of m'lord. I decided to give it a shot."
"Merchants told me when you had embarked on your journey North and I decided to follow your trail. If I hurried I would be able to meet you before you would have had heard of me. At least, I believed that you would hear my story out that way." He stated carefully.
"So when you saw my guards you decided to hitch a ride so you could meet with me? And the best way to accomplish that was to throw a stone at Captain ward his head?" Theodore asked in disbelief.
"Well, m' lord, that was in the heat of the moment. I was mad at losing the opportunity. Of being denied without being heard. I was frustrated by all the times I have been rejected and lashed out. I hope m'lord will forgive this offence." He said whilst looking apologetically to captain Ward, who happened to have taken the brunt of his frustration.
"Alright... Captain Ward shall decide on your punishment. However, I'll ask him to be lenient. We can't accept this behaviour without punishing it."
"Ward, what shall you say?" Theodore said lighthearted, whilst signalling Ward to play along.
"A year of forced labour should be fine my Lord" Ward said seriously. Theodore could only mentally facepalm at that. Pulling of a lighthearted joke had turned into an awkward moment.
Theodore knew that punishments in these times were harsh and cruel. But he had thought that his signals, his tone and mischievous looks would make Ward know he intended for something a lot lighter. The man himself, however, was not aware of any of this as he intensely stared at Mr Callum, ready to apprehend him if anything happened.
"Ward, you should really learn to read the mood. You scared the living daylights out of Mr Callum here. Have you not learnt my nature by now? I'm not one to punish severely." He admonished his subordinate.
This situation led to an awkward atmosphere where Ward was awkwardly standing around, Callum stood still, sweating profusely and still unnerved by the entire happening and Theodore who couldn't help but sigh at it all.
"You won't be punished this time. With Mr Ward here scaring you like this you've had your share of punishment. Please do apologise to him, however. This times things worked out, but things could have been a lot worse." He sighed.
"With what you've told me so far, I'm very satisfied with your character and I'll admit that I'm also interested in your inventions. I intend to employ you. Based on what you have to offer I might be able to offer you a better deal."
"I'll offer you 1200 gulden a year as a base salary. Next to this, I will also sponsor all your research. You will work independently in your own department. You're allowed to hire as much personnel as you see fit for the goals that I set." Theodore scribbled along as he offered his terms.
He offered quite a lot. But he really wanted to secure the cooperation of this promising person. The clerks, grooms and messengers only cost the territory 4000 guldens! Now he offered 1200 gulden for just the person himself, and a budget for research and he would even pay for his staff!
Theodore was right on the money, as he looked up, he saw both Wards and Callum their eyes almost pop out of their sockets. With Callum even dropping on two knees and swearing eternal allegiance.
'Great, now it has become even more awkward.'
"Alright, rise, please. This... Makes me uncomfortable."Theodore awkwardly stated
"My lord, I will serve you with all my heart as long as you allow me to fulfil my dream." Callum said seriously, his eyes now brightened up and the swirl of intelligence had gained a twinkle of excitement.
"Consider yourself hired. Your official occupation will be named later. I want to create cheap mass-produced paper and be able to press prints with it." Theodore said while he grabbed his notes on paper making from his desk.
Theodore explained his idea behind the printing and stamping press.
Both men quickly got excited and started to discuss in-depth, whilst Captain awkwardly stood to the side.
"So, with these notes and your tweaks. When do you think we can start printing?" Theodore asked after discussing for an hour or so.
"My lord, with all these novel ideas I believe I can guarantee that we will succeed. I believe that it would take a month or so to have the first prototype ready. I will start working on it immediately."
"Great!" Theodore exclaimed. "This will speed my plans up considerably!"
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