Well, I don’t think she ever seriously wanted the city. She conquered it as a stop-gap mechanism.
The line had to be drawn, somewhere, and Millie initially drew it with arsenic in Lord Pemberhall’s snuff. The man had been planning to raze her neighbourhood to put in a park, after all. He didn’t give a fig about where the people who lived there went, or if they lived or died.
Unfortunately, Pemberhall’s heirs immediately began bickering, and when the upper class bickered, they used armies made of poor people to do it.
There was only so much arsenic. She needed to be bolder.
Everyone knew Millie. When she wasn’t being Pemberhall’s maid, she spent a majority of her time in the bakehouse. Everyone said she had a special knack for bread. They remembered how she could turn one loaf’s worth of meal into four loaves. Why, they said, you could barely taste the sawdust.
Millie didn’t go to the men in the upper crust’s employ. She went to their mothers and sisters. To their wives and daughters. They all asked one question:
Why risk slaughter for some lord’s money that we will never see?
When the armies marched off the fields and united against the upper class cavalry, it was a show of force that the rulers would never forget. Hundreds of lordly sons foolishly charged their steeds into an army they had paid to train. Maybe they thought they could survive because no army man dared go against their general.
What they didn’t think of was that they had not been paying their armies enough for far too many years.
When it comes to battling for death or glory, bet on the former.
Simultaneous to the battle, the united women of the city took up their carving knives, their rolling pins, their brooms and mops… and turned them against the elderly lords in their luxurious homes.
The lords protested - very briefly - that the common folk would not be able to cope without elite management. Their estates are fields and farms, now. Their houses have become hostels and hospitals.
And when neighbouring cities tried to quell the rebellion… well-fed and well-armed citizenry were prepared to drive them off. Or accept those who surrendered into their force.
They offered Millie the crown. And a title. And a mansion. She refused all three. All she’d been fighting for was to keep what she had.
The rest had just happened to cement that into her possession.