Fuzzy: Midmarch Council.   Posted by Henry LeMaistre.Group: 0
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 127 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 11:13
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry watches emotionlessly as you gather in the Guilds Hall, but his voice is firm as he starts to speak.

“I have called this gathering of the Midmarch Council, to decide on the future of our land.  You all have a stake here and you are all entitled to have your say.

As you are aware, The Aldori of East Rostland have been squaring off against King-Regent Noleski for some time.  The Aldori started taking  back control of  their traditional lands  once the Rogarvia disappeared.  The King-Regent has claimed it as his land, although he and his family never ruled there.  Finally, battle lines have been drawn up and it looks like war between them is inevitable.  Unfortunately, the battle line runs down towards our northern border.

Lady Jamandi has asked us to join her cause.  She says it is righteous and that the Aldori are only taking back what is theirs.  She also tells me there will be a Grand Coalition of Aldori there on the battlefield, although she doesn’t define what she means by a Grand Coalition.

Recently we have revived a letter from the King-Regent as well.  Bart?  If you would …”

_ Brother Barthomew
 NPC e, 47 posts
 NPC - Henry's Chaplain
 Priest of Pharasma
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 12:56
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Brother Bart stands up and opens a scroll then, taking a deep breath, he starts to read.

“To Henry leMaistre, Lord and Governor of Midmarch

Greetings from Noleski, Lord of Port Ice and New Steven, Master of the Dragonscale Throne and King of Brevoy

I thank you for the hospitality that you have shown to our nephew recently, he reports that you have built a fruitful and bountiful colony in the land of Midmarch.  With such beneficial news, I have decided that it time to levy a national tax on our subjects in your land.  Hence forth I will levy a  duty of ten percent on all businesses, churches and settlements.

Furthermore, I shall require all members of the  Midmarch Chapter, and the troops they control, to meet me in Rostand, forthwith, so that we may crush the upstart Aldori together.

Yours in the cause

Noleski Surtova.”


Bart furls the scroll and sits back down in his seat.
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 128 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 13:10
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry speaks again, but this time there is a hint of resignation in his voice.

“It appears that Stanislav Wolkov, who recently travelled with some of you, is an agent of Noleski Surtova and a relative of his to boot.

Now, I wish to hear your views on what you have heard.”


Henry goes to sit down, but then thinks better of it.  “Although there are some other things I should probably tell you first.  My family business, DELEM, has offices in New Stetven, Brundeston, Restov and here in Midmarch.  My sister and her husband, who are responsible for our northern interests, have recently built a home in Brundeston, and put themselves at the service of the mayor of that town.  They and their troops will follow his lead.  My cousin, who controls our interests in Restov has done something similar and has put his troops at the service of the Council of Restov.  However, the Restov Council have not yet come out, officially, in support of either side in the dispute.  However, there are an awful lot of Aldori in Restov.  I, of course, am prepared to put my troops at the disposal of Midmarch.

My mother, who lives in New Steven has chosen this time to visit my sister in Brundeston.  However, a cousin remains in New Steven to look after the family interests there.

In the interim, I have asked Borric and Cyrus to muster the Midmarch Guard up by our northern borders and I have asked Tib to muster my personal troops in Newgate.

Now.  What say you?”

Domitius
 player, 384 posts
 Half Elf Fighter/Rogue
 AC:21 HP:38
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 14:53
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Domitius rose "My Lord, I would urge you to support Lady Jamandi. Rostland was only held to Brevoy by House Rogavaria and with their passing it is time for Rostland to be free again.  Brevoy as it was is no more and Midmarch must either seek her own path or ally with those closest to us in Restov.

My professional opinion as a military man is that the Rogavarians can not hope to defeat Rostland on their own and without the help of the great houses of Issia however my own correspondence implies that the great houses of Issia do not support the Pretender King Noleski and are waiting to see what will happen.  If the Surtovan's can defeat the army of Rostland I expect they will all fall into line behind him.  If he fails well Issia will be looking for a new ruler.

Finally if Midmarch is to support the Pretender then I must respectfully asked to be relieved of my oath and I shall return to Restov that I might support my family.  I shall turn my holdings over to my cousin Kiera and she will run Solanus interests here in Midmarch."
  He bow's respectfully then returns to his seat between Alisa and Kiera.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:35, Fri 03 July 2020.

Adoven
 Player, 705 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 15:51
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven stands. "My Lord, during my recent trip to Mivon, I saw much activity among the Aldori. I gathered what information I could and found out some things.
All sailors could agree that there were Aldori from House Yitis.
Most say there were Aldori from House Photus.
A few say there  were Aldori from  Restov.
One sailor insisted that they saw the White Dragon of House Khavortorov.
Another sailor insisted that he saw Jamandi Aldori, even though others laughed at him."

He pauses and then adds "I think I've seen ample evidence of this Grand Coalition of Aldori. My agents have also revealed that many of the Aldori wear a trinket shaped like a wasp, the symbol of Calistra I believe."

He clears his throat and continues. "As for the demands of the King in Restov, as well as his levy on all businesses and places of worship, I ask 'What has he done for us?' To expect Loyalty, Troops, and Taxes, has he expended troops or support to help us clear these lands? Has he aided us in establishing economic ties with the rest of Brevoy? Has he done anything to help you Stabilize your rule of Midmarch? I would answer No to those questions. I find myself unwilling to give something for nothing."
Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 962 posts
 Bishop at Cathedral of
 Abadar in Tusk City
Fri 3 Jul 2020
at 16:51
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Andalon stands, although reluctantly.

"My Lord, Midmarch only exists because of the Midmarch Charter, which you hold and which gives you the right to settle and civilise these lands. I take it that Charter comes from the King?

"Regardless of that, we are all officers or knights of the Midmarch Chapter of the Order of the Brevic Knights. The knights of Brevoy. The king is the Grand Commander of the Brevic Order.

"Personally, I would rather see the Aldori take control of the east and the king hold the rest of Brevoy, even if Brevoy is split into two new nations as a result, rather than the bloody civil war that threatens to fall upon our heads. But that choice is not mine to make.

"My Lord, I have no wish to break my oath as an officer of the Brevic Order. If you choose to obey the king's directive I will be there beside you. But if you believe the future of Midmarch is better served by supporting the Aldori then I will trust your judgement and still be there beside you.

"I don't know which is the right answer. However, Adoven's news raises a frightening new question in my mind. If the Aldori are so active in the River Kingdoms, are they mainly there to recruit support for their cause? If so, what are they promising their allies in the River Kingdoms in return? Is Midmarch the price they are willing to pay for an alliance with the River Kingdoms? We already know there are some in the River Kingdoms who consider this land rightfully theirs. If we march north to support either side, will we lose everything we have built here in Midmarch either way? Or should we remain here to defend Midmarch, to defend the southern border of Brevoy itself?"

Kiera
 player, 208 posts
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 09:51
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
As if by reflex, Kiera elbows Dom back, but as some of the speeches go on, she gets the urge to speak.

"...well, as much as we don't want to deal or think about it, it's here.  War is coming, and we're getting pulled in both directions, like a stuffed bear between two squalling children.  I don't really have much tie to either side- spending your formative years out in the forest will keep you from understanding too much of the small stuff going on.

Some of us may have ties to the Aldori.  Some of us might have ties to the other side.  There's enough pride, guilt, rage, emotion flying around to fill a load of graveyards.  People are begging us to join causes- Lady Aldori wants our help, the Surtova want our help, and honestly, I already know which way we ought to turn..."


Taking a deep breath, she has to stop from reaching for her skin, and states it out:

"...I say Midmarch should remain neutral.

It's not our fight.  Both sides are begging for our help, but we need to be thinking of ourselves, and of the people here we represent- the thousands of people we'd be dragging along with us if we decide to take a side in all this.

Lots of us have ties to one place or the other.  It's hard, watching the steady march of troops off to war.  But we've got to think of ourselves- the people we represent, the lives and everything we hold in our hands.

Maybe it's just because I don't really think either side sees us as much more than a source for troops, money, and other things- I mean, the letter from the Surtova has all the markings of a preening bird, trying to inflate his plumage to scare a lesser male out of his territory.  His nephew wasn't here to pay respects or whatever, he was here nosing around and seeing what kind of forces we could possibly have, what we could give them.   I don't know about the rest of you, but 'hey, you people I've never met but are supposedly my subjects, come to my war and die for me and a cause you might not believe in for no more reason than I demand it' is a really, really stupid reason to get involved in a war.

Then there's the Aldori.  The lady in charge seems nice, but... again, what's in it for Midmarch?  We go up there, we march, we die for a fight that we don't have a dog in.  I know a lot of us have ties to family in the area, and I humbly apologize if I offend anybody, but again- what about Midmarch?  What of her people?  The ones who will be left here, rudderless, leaderless, and vulnerable if we decide to march off to war for one side or the other?

We side with the Aldori, the Surtova will be picking chunks out of our northern border before we know it.  We side with the Surtova, and we splinter apart because of family responsibilities and all that.  So I say, we just tell both sides we're not getting involved in their war because we have our own problems we're going to have to deal with soon enough."


Finding a nearby map of the area, her finger would tap a few places: the River Kingdoms to the south, Pitax to the southwest, and Numeria, to the northwest.

"I'm looking south, and I'm looking west- the River Kingdoms, Pitax, and possibly Numeria.  Getting Midmarch involved in a war, and sending all our forces away to battle will be like ringing a dinner bell in their general direction- you can guarantee they'll be making to test our borders to see what they can get away with.  I mean, lots of the Kingdoms would love to take our land and everything, and Irovetti, well... I wouldn't put anything past him.  They see weakness, they take advantage.  If we survive, we could come home to find Pitax camped out in the lower Narlmarches and daring us to evict them, or the River Kingdoms biting off chunks of the south, without the strength to do so.

We've also got other things to think about- the brigands in Drowned Trees or whatever the hells it's getting called these days.  You think the lady in charge is going to sit idly by while we all go play soldier?  I know there are others, too.

Just send word to both sides that we wish them both well with their little war, but to leave us out of it.  We're already going to feel the squeeze without being able to go east until this is all over.

It's not the answer people want to hear, I know.  But we need to think of our own when the people in charge don't want to, and both sides seem to see us as little more than a bunch of forces they can command."


She reaches down and takes a swallow from her skin, to steady her nerves.

"And no, it's not because of my faith, either.  I'm no Aldori agent.  Hell, until a few years ago, I thought an Aldori was some kind of tree or mold or something you'd find in a crypt if you opened the lid."

This message was last edited by the player at 13:20, Sat 04 July 2020.

Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 128 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 12:34
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
After listening to some of the concerns, Henry comment.  "I think it might be wise for me, as governor, to strengthen the garrison at Outpost and perhaps, upgrade it to a keep.  At the same time, I will send a small force, under El, to the Villa that Lord Kendick and his team discovered recently to fortify that as a part of Midmarch.  When this is past, I will pass ownership to one of you Chapter members, should you so wish.

Zelona's people will be in the Keep to the south of Midmarch, and I could, perhaps build more defences along that border ...."

This message was last updated by the player at 12:34, Sat 04 July 2020.

_ Cyrus Lebeda-Ondari
 NPC x, 995 posts
 Lord of Ringbridge
 Knight Commander
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 12:34
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"I'll put a watchtower out by the Burial mound." Cyrus offers.  "That should give us patrols all along the southern border."
Safiya Vallani
 player, 308 posts
Sun 5 Jul 2020
at 12:21
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Safiya looks worried as she speaks up. "I too have family ties to the Aldori. However, despite this I cannot recommend Midmarch gets directly involved in this conflict. Partly it is because I too feel Midmarch cannot afford to send its best and strongest away to fight a war at this point. There are crops to be planted and harvested, roads and towns to be build. Our neighbors may be looking at us right now, judging our strength. And there are still bandits, pirates and who knows what not lurking just out of sight of our settlements. These lands are by no means tamed yet."

"But the more important reason is that I do not wish to be seen helping either side start an open civil war. Not even Aldori. We may yet be forced to get involved, but I strongly believe that right now we should not be picking sides in a conflict that threatens to tear the whole country apart. Instead, we should be trying to get the two sides to a negotiating table again, even if that seems unlikely at this point."


"On the matter of taxes mentioned in the message from the king-reagent, does the Charter give rights to the throne to levy such from Midmarch?"
She asks the present company.
~Percy Arndell
 NPC p, 436 posts
 Gentleman and Poet
 "Oh. Hello."
Sun 5 Jul 2020
at 14:46
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Percy stands, using his stick to aid him.

"My Lord ... while the affairs of our northern neighbours may now seem distant to our current concerns in these new lands, I fear that if we try to ignore them, to stand aside and do naught, then whoever is the victor in that conflict will not look kindly upon us, and we likely will find ourselves facing a freshly-blooded army that seeks to punish us for our inaction."

"I have sworn oaths, aye, as the good Bishop says, but my allegiance is with you."

"One side in this conflict asks our aid, the other demands it.  All else aside, I favour the Aldori, though will be guided by you."

Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 968 posts
 Bishop at Cathedral of
 Abadar in Tusk City
Sun 5 Jul 2020
at 14:49
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Andalon looks concerned as well.

"That is a good question about the Charter and taxes, Safiya. I suspect that Brevoy, and therefore the King, can legally impose taxes on all of its subjects as required. I support the notion of Midmarch remaining neutral, if that is an option open to us. I don't know what the repercussions would be, though. Could the King revoke Lord Henry's Charter, and what would that mean to him and to us?

"If knights and officers of the Midmarch Chapter of the Order of the Brevic Knights refuse to obey the King's instruction to meet him in Rostland with our forces, would we be effectively disobeying the lawful command of our commanding officer? Would we need to tender our resignations from the Order as well?"

Cass Mordane
 Player, 570 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Sun 5 Jul 2020
at 17:36
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Cass listened to the many valid points brought up by the others.

“Do we know how much support Noleski has from the other nobles? Where Lebeda and Lodovka stand, for instance? Maybe we can formulate a form of delay that explains to both sides why we have not joined them yet.”
Adoven
 Player, 708 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Sun 5 Jul 2020
at 18:01
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven adds "so many of the Aldori wear the symbol of Calistria, goddess of Vengeance and Lust. Could this be a Holy War in the making? Such would cut across territorial lines, would it not?"
Kiera
 player, 209 posts
Sun 5 Jul 2020
at 23:38
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Yes, let's jump into a situation that we know next-to-nothing about, fight for causes we know the bare minimum about, all for people who haven't really been there for us but suddenly need us and every able-bodied soldier we have to drop everything and come die for them.

Yes, a perfectly amazing idea, much like standing behind a spooked horse and giving it a good smack."


Kiera lets out a sigh.

"But as far as the Calistria angle, I think it's more the Aldori looking for vengeance than anything else.  I know there's bad blood on both sides of this thing, but the Unquenchable Fire isn't Sarenrae or Iomedae.  It might just be a way for them to be asking for her help in exacting vengeance against the king.  I don't think she's ever really been the 'rouse an army and go on a holy war' type, anyways.

Like others have said, it's not our fight.  I mean, how we respond to this is going to affect how we're perceived- are we our own little slice of Golarion, here, or are we little more than a vassal state to the Aldori or the king that comes running when they snap their fingers?  Better to have two sides slightly miffed at us and keeping the peace here than dropping everything here in Midmarch to go off and die for something.

We have our own problems."

Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 129 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 09:16
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry considers some of the questions that have been asked, and gives his own views.

"The Charter.  Yes, the charter is signed by the king and grants his authority to settle in Midmarch.  There is, of course, a question as to the legitimacy to claim this land though.  It has never been settled by Brevoy, and the last people to really settle it were Taldans – and that was a long time ago.  Since then, it has been wild-lands inhabited by bandits, tribes and monsters of one sort or another.

That said, Surtova will see us as a Brevic Colony.  And in that case, as King of Brevoy he has the right to demand that we pay taxes and expect us to send military support when he demands it.  There is still some question as to his position, as well.  He has never really had enough support from the Noble Houses for ascension to the throne, and many refer to him still as King-Regent – holding the crown against the return of the Rogavaria.  Word has it, that he has sent similar demands for military support to all of the houses.  I do not know if that is correct or how they have responded

Adoven asks what support we have been given by the king in settling Midmarch and, beyond the charter, the answer is very little.  Although Surtova has supported the settlement at Fort Drelev. Most of our practical support has come from Restov.  Sir Ferdinand Ledkno has visited us a number of times, and, I believe, gifted well-trained war horses to some of our members.  He even help organise the Midmarch Chapter, in the early days, when we weren’t sure quite what we were doing.  I believe the bank of Restov has made loans to some of our members, before Andalon was able to set up the bank in Tusk – and Tusk Cathedral was founded with the help of a grant from Abadar’s church in Restov.

I think there is some truth in Percy’s words – and that neutrality might not be a good choice.  If we do not send troops to Surtova, it will be seen as a sign of rebellion anyway.  If we then try to hold back the taxes he has demanded, that will confirm our ‘rebellion’ against the crown.  If we stay neutral, and Brevoy wins the civil war, I would expect to see Brevic troops along our borders fairly quickly.  In King Noleski’s eyes, I fear that neutrality might not seem very much different to us sending troops to fight against him.

I do not know the stance of the Great Houses on this, nor would I expect them to tell me.  In many respects they face many of the same issue as we do.  I know that Surtova is not a popular king, BUT to stand against his instructions  could be considered an act of rebellion.

As for the ‘Grand Coalition’ of the Aldori.  As you may know, most of DELEM’s business interests are based around East Rostland.  We have a Serai in the Khavortorov town of Sway, another in Restov and a base in Brundeston, the Dwarven settlement.  My contacts tell me that ‘the word on the street’ in all three of those places is that they will side with the Aldori.  That is not a formal declaration from the leaders of those areas, just the word that is circulating among the common people.  The Aldoi we have seen travelling through Midmarch to Restov have been small groups, perhaps some of the mercenary units that Mivon is famous for or perhaps, as Kiera says, small groups driven by a desire to gain revenge for their defeat at the Valley of Fire.
Another thing, that you may not have considered is trade.  Thanks to V&V Shipping and House Yitis, we have established trade links with Mivon and, I believe, V&A is negotiating to establish a trading base there - and  Adoven has already negotiated a trade agreement with Jovvox, who are aligned with Mivon.  My own DELEM trades with East Rostland via Restov – with a small link on to New Stetven.  That means that most of our imports and exports travel through Aldori lands.  I had been hoping to push through to the East Sellen and establish direct trade links with New Stetven and Fort Drelev, but we aren’t at that point yet.


It appears to me that we have a number of options.

We can stay neutral, but that would probably be seen as an act of rebellion against the Crown of Brevoy and may well affect our main trade routes – and would almost certainly be seen as us breaking away from Brevoy

We can side with King Noleski, although that would make an enemy of, what appears to be, a united Aldori.

We can side with the Aldori, which might protect our trade, but makes an enemy of King Noleski, and possibly the rest of Brevoy.

However, as Knight-Captain of the Midmarch Chapter, I am prepared to absolve your oath, and relieve you of membership of the Chapter.  That will mean that you are no longer bound by Oath to either me or King Noleski.  Gwair has already taken that option, and returned home to serve under Sir Ferdinand, and I have taken the liberty of removing Stas from the membership list as well."

This message was last edited by the player at 10:17, Mon 06 July 2020.

Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 970 posts
 Bishop at Cathedral of
 Abadar in Tusk City
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 14:39
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Andalon frowns as he tries to puzzle out a way out of this tricky situation.

"Could we send the King a message advising that we have seen enough evidence of Aldori activity in the River Kingdoms to convince us there is a very real threat from that direction. We must stay here in Midmarch to protect this southernmost province of Brevoy from invasion by the River Kingdoms.

"With the greatest respect, we would sincerely advise against initiating a civil war that would threaten the strength, stability and prosperity of all Brevoy, leaving the victors in command of little more than a bloodied and bankrupt nation, assuming our enemies to the south and west leave us even that much to call our own."

"As far as trade with the Aldori lands goes, if there is civil war then our trade routes will be disrupted anyway. But if we could somehow persuade both sides to reach a peaceful agreement, perhaps because of that threat from the south, we might even strengthen our trading position with both sides."


Andalon rubs his forehead as though his head aches.

"We would probably still need to pay the taxes, though, as a sign of good faith," he concedes.
Adoven
 Player, 709 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 15:55
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven says "unless we resign as Brevoy Knights, we are duty bound to pay those taxes, or we will beas outlaw as any of those pirates that created the River Kingdoms. But to protect Brevoy's southern border from those self-same pirates, we cannot afford to send troops. We need them for our own defenses."
Safiya Vallani
 player, 309 posts
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 16:03
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Safiya nods at Andalon's words. "I general, I agree with the bishop's position. Of the three options presented, openly siding with the king-regent may very well be the most unsustainable - politically, economically and militarily, stuck between Rostland and Mivon as we are. However, neither do I think we should be jumping at the first call from people far too eager for a return to good old times of killing Issians and getting killed by Issians in perpetuity.

She shakes her head dismissively about news of Mivoni wearing wasp symbols. "Vengeance. For what? A defeat that happened 200 years ago from a king whose entire line is now gone? Isn't it a bit late for that now? Where were they all back when Rogarvia was in power? No, neutrality may not be the easiest course of action, but I feel it would be only right to avoid this mess for as long as that is possible. And I cannot help but notice that despite the word on the street of support for the Aldori cause, no town or city has yet stuck their neck out by openly declaring for them. Do we really wish to be the first, and so mark the beginning of an open civil war?"

"If we do choose to remain officially out of the infighting, we can still offer the requested taxes to the king-regent to mollify him. Tell him we cannot spare the few men we do have as Adoven suggested, that's not very far from truth. From the sound of it, he'd be lucky to get that much support from most of the other great houses. And he did sign the Charter after all, a document that legally binds us to Brevoy. There's little point in casting doubt on the validity of the Charter, as it is also the basis for our own authority. On the Aldori side, we could choose to look pass the movement of men and supplies that will undoubtedly be going from Mivon to Rostland, at least as long as the Aldori are not being obnoxiously obvious about it."

"And it goes without saying that we should also do whatever we can to try to convince both sides to come to their senses and work out a peace deal, even if that looks nay impossible right now. And if it's all for naught, at least we can say we tried to stop a civil war, rather than help start one. Even the damned Surtova could see that."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:53, Mon 06 July 2020.

Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 130 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 17:37
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"You realize, of course, that the King may well remove me as Governor of Midmarch should I not send troops?  That, of course, might well affect your elevation to the Nobility, Adoven."
Safiya Vallani
 player, 310 posts
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 18:17
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Safiya frowns at that idea. "Should that happen, then that could be cause for us to reevaluate our position, and I am sure the king-regent would be aware of that as well. Whether he would still try to push this through depends whether our direct military usefulness outweighs this risks. Which brings me to my question - how many troops could Midmarch realistically even field for a war up north, if we fully committed to one side or the other? Compared to the two main factions?"
Cass Mordane
 Player, 572 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 18:20
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“You have what you can hold,” Cass shook his head in disgust. “There will be no diplomatic solution to this problem. The Aldori are united by one thing, revenge. And nothing will turn them aside until they have sought that revenge. Noleski’s demand shows that he is beyond reason, from arrogance or fear, or both.”

Cass motioned for someone to bring him something to drink. “If the king weathered in New Stetven, he would likely win against a siege. But on the battlefield, it is highly likely that the Aldori will take the day. Once that has happened, Restov will likely welcome the victors with open arms. Then, unless the nobles of New Stetven want to test the siege theory, they will agree to acknowledge the Aldori’s claim to Rostland.”

One of the waitstaff brought a serving tray with a glass of wine and a bottle of the same. Cass smiled to the server, reached for the bottle and took a large swig of its contents. “My suggestion is the renouncing of oaths, and sending word to the Aldori that we will join there cause under the single condition that Midmarch be declared a free land as well, with Henry LeMaistre as its only sovereign.”

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 18:22, Mon 06 July 2020.

Adoven
 Player, 710 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 18:32
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry LeMaistre:
"You realize, of course, that the King may well remove me as Governor of Midmarch should I not send troops?  That, of course, might well affect your elevation to the Nobility, Adoven."

Adoven nods his head. "Doesn't matter. Nobility was only something I sought to be approved of as a potential husband for Vik. Beyond the Influence of the title, I care naught for the trappings of nobility." He looks to Cass and sighs. "I fear that the mayor's idea has merit, though I am loathe to align with the River Kingdoms."
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 131 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 18:55
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry consults with Bart, then considers Safiya's question for a moment or two.

"I believe that if we send our whole army, we have about the same military strength as Restov - counting their sword schools and guard detachments, the Khavortorov about the same.  However, we think the East Rostland Aldori can probably muster about twice as many troops as us.  Assuming Brundeston and some Aldori from Mivon turn out as well ...  So the Aldori Army  will probably be about five times our size.

The Surtova can probably call on nearly that number themselves, but I doubt Noleski will call up all of his troops from Port Ice.  However, he might be able to call up some New Steven units."


Henry shrugs, "It could be enough to make a difference."
Safiya Vallani
 player, 311 posts
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 19:29
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Safiya returns Henry's shrug with one of her own. "If they are so equally matched that we could make a difference, that alone could make it too risky for him to push the matter any further, at least for now."

She sighs wearily. "I have given my counsel, my Lord, but I will, of course, follow your decision."
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 132 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 19:44
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry nods.
Safiya Vallani
 player, 312 posts
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 19:58
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"And if you do opt to go this route, you can always blame your inability to provide troops on your unruly vassals. Something I am sure the king-regent can sympathize with." Safiya smiles to show that she is not being serious.
Cass Mordane
 Player, 573 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 20:02
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“My favored and first response to most situations is one of diplomacy,” Cass offered. “I have even become somewhat one of the local experts on diplomacy. This is simply a case where diplomacy is futile. Noleski will consider any act other than obedience as an afront to himself personally. The Aldori would be polite about any excuses for delay in joining them, but they would secretly harbor it against us in the future. Any entreaty for the Aldori to engage in diplomacy with the Surtova would be as successful as entreating a fly not to buzz.”

Cass looked around the room at everyone. “That said, I would advise against deploying the entirety of our military forces outside of our borders. Some should be left in defense. Perhaps we could send 1/3 of our troops to battle.”

This message was last edited by the player at 20:04, Mon 06 July 2020.

Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 133 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 20:21
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"I am not sure that one third of our troops would be sufficient, and we have walls around Tusk and ringbridge as well as other defensive structures scattered around." Henry says in response to Cass.


OOC:  I knew I had written it down somewhere, but have been struggling to find it.  Apparently, I blogged on it, then ran out of time to put it in the mass combat rules section of the Wiki.  See the Sieges section at the end of this page :_

http://galinia.org.uk/263-2
Cass Mordane
 Player, 574 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 20:26
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“If our citizens withdraw and prepare for siege conditions, then I believe that they would be safe until our troops return. So Lord Henry, to whom do you propose we dedicate our troops?”
Kiera
 player, 210 posts
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 22:19
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"...and if we back the losing side?  We send troops to the Aldori, and the Surtova win this?  Or we send troops to Surtova, and the Aldori pull this off?  Forgive me for speaking bluntly, my lord, but if we pick the losing side in this, we're screwed even more than if we don't send any troops, because the King will see it as a personal affront and we'll be facing attacks from our northern border, or the Aldori will cut off our trade routes to the east and north and Midmarch withers from no trade.

Besides, the letter's nothing more than a pile of empty threats, anyways."


As the wine passed, Kiera would grab a glass of her own, taking a sip before continuing.

"It's not like they would have the troops to back up whatever threats they might make at the moment, either. Any troops he might send down here are that many fewer that he can't send against the Aldori in the east- and even after this all passes, he'll have his hands full with occupying the east and keeping things under control... and even after that, there's no populace that I know of who could handle two big campaigns, one after the other, in such a short amount of time.

Same with the Aldori- they win this thing, they'll have a lot of the same problems- having to deal with a bunch of new territory, occupying and securing it.  They won't have time to worry about Midmarch, or the supplies or manpower.  Both sides might be a little cross at us, yes, but at the same time, what can they do about it?"


Taking another few sips from the glass, she'd eye it, and shrug.

"...neutrality is a funny thing- besides, how would it appear to the rest of his allies?  You attack a country that's trying to stay out of a civil war, what does that say to the rest of the world?  What kind of impression does that make?  It doesn't make you look strong, it makes you look vindictive, petty- some might say downright evil.

Declare Midmarch as neutral in all this, refuse to send him even a copper.  If he keeps bucking, look into how much bite he really has, and call him on it instead of just rolling onto your back.

Midmarch and her people are loyal to you, my lord.  If we have to go independent, well... what do we have to lose if Noleski pulls our ranks?  We couldn't be a member of the Brevic Order if we didn't live in Brevoy, anyways..."

Cass Mordane
 Player, 575 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Mon 6 Jul 2020
at 22:33
Re: Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“Except that we aren’t a country trying to stay out of another country’s civil war.” Cass explained. “We are a chartered territory of Brevoy. And by refusing a direct order of Noleski, the King of Brevoy, we can be considered committing an act of treason against said king. Yes, should Surtova win, there would be direct repercussions for Midmarch. All the more reason we should send troops to insure that Surtova does not win.”

This message was last edited by the player at 22:34, Mon 06 July 2020.

Kendrick Winters
 player, 477 posts
 Marshal-Dominus
 Knight Paladin of Iomedae
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 00:20
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
In reply to Cass Mordane (msg # 22):

Kendrick was at odds during the entire discussion. There was no easy answer, but there was a hard choice to be made. "Lord Henry. It is difficult to make a decision but since you have call us to offer our opinion on this matter"

"Ultimately it is your decision, but from where I see things. The best choice for you and for Midmarch is to announce your independence."
He paused to let that idea settle before he continued. "Once you announce the independence of Midmarch, that will force the hand of the Regent and that of the Aldori swordlords. Based on how they receive the news, it may give you guidance on your next move."
Alisa D'Medvyed
 player, 311 posts
 Half-elf Cleric
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 01:19
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Noleski Surtova is a bully and a fear monger," added Alisa.  "Always has been, always will be.  His philosophies and attitudes are opposed to the virtues and liberties that most of us gathered here hold so dear.  And as long as Brevoy remains beholden to him, we are effectively sleeping with the enemy.  I don't personally believe it's a question of if independence should be declared, but only when and in what manner.  Men of his ilk, who love nothing save power, make equivalently dangerous rulers and enemies.  Which raises the dilemma of whether we are better served by throwing in with Lady Jamandi -- a rather vague sort of ally, in her unspecific talk of 'Grand Coalitions,' and whose forces are fighting largely out of heated pride -- or whether we're better served by not moving too far too fast in any offensive bid - as Sir Kendrick and others have suggested - playing for time, and instead securing and bolstering our defenses."  She frowned, shook her head.

"I wish diplomacy or strict neutrality could be our answer - with all my heart, I do not want a war.  But, neither of those are good means to deal with a despot.  And that is what presently sits the throne, and what we bend the knee to."   

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 01:20, Tue 07 July 2020.

Adoven
 Player, 711 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 01:49
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven suggests "then perhaps we ought to apply a lever. If we can somehow convince the Regent that we serve his interests best by securing his Southern border, we can effectively gain the neutrality we seek without angering Brevoy."
Cass Mordane
 Player, 576 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 02:43
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“If that is the route that a Henry decides to take,” Cass speculated. “Then he could send a letter stating that Henry recently sent a team of spies to the River Kingdoms. While there, they uncovered a plot to have a team of mercenaries invade Midmarch/The Stolen Land in the midst of the battle in Rostland. That way, win or lose, the Aldori would come out ahead and have a stronger launching point for their next attack against the Surtova. We believe that it would be in his best interest to leave the a Midmarch forces in place to protect his southern borders.”

Cass took another guzzle of wine and then stroked at his beard. “A similar letter could be sent to the Aldori stating that a plot has been uncovered here in Midmarch. Surtova’s nephew Stanislav was not only sent to spy on Midmarch, but to put in place certain agents. These agents all being fire mages with orders to burn Tusk city to the ground if Midmarch takes arms against Surtova. Time is needed to ferret out these agents before Midmarch can send forces to join the Grand Coalition.”

This message was last edited by the player at 02:50, Tue 07 July 2020.

DM
 GM, 3813 posts
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 07:42
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry listens as people speak, nodding at Alisa comments about the King-Regent, but frown slightly as he listens to both Adoven and Cass  speak.  "Bart the map please." and when the map is laid out on the table, speaks more broadly.

"By that time, we will have already failed to protect Brevoy's southern border. If the Aldori win, they will control all  the land to the north of us.  Southern Rostland is lightly populated at best, although there has been expansion since we closed down the bandits who were operating along those borders.  While my intelligence isn't perfect, I believe many of those settlers will be Aldori supporters, rather than royalists.  We know the Aldori have been strengthening and reclaiming land in east Rostland, it would make sense to do the same in south Rostland.

As for strengthening that border, I am upgrading to a small castle in Newgate, and a keep in Outpost.  It makes a small defensive line and allows me to scout that area very effectively.  Most of my troops are gathered in  that area at the moment."





Political map of Brevoy - http://rp.baileymail.net/lib/e...brevoy-political.gif
Cass Mordane
 Player, 577 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 08:48
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Cass listens to Henry and studies the map he has presented. “So this brings us back to the assessment that diplomacy is futile and stalling is not effective. We will be required to declare directly for one side or the other.”
DM
 GM, 3814 posts
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 09:50
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Hmmmm..." Henry muses, "I think I will instruct Svetlana to upgrade the barracks at Oston to a Keep.  That will create a much more strongly fortified line across our northern border ...."
Safiya Vallani
 player, 313 posts
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 11:34
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"One more thing for the consideration of this Council, if you will allow me, my Lord." Safiya says to Henry before continuing.

"We are working here on the assumption that House Surtova stands alone against the Aldori coalition. But just because Noleski has not married yet, does not mean he must stay bachelor forever. If he is under enough pressure, he could offer a marriage alliance to one of the great houses, an offer that any of them would consider very seriously."

"If the forces are already equally matched just between Surtova and Aldori, what will happen should another house join Surtova? I would not be so quick as to write Noleski off just yet, regardless if we join the Aldori or not. And I fear this war will not be a quick victory in the field Aldori likely assume it will, but a long and gruelling affair. It takes more than swordsmanship to win a war."

Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 971 posts
 Bishop at Cathedral of
 Abadar in Tusk City
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 13:04
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Henry, you pointed out that the King may well remove you as Governor of Midmarch if we do not send troops," Andalon stated.

"What would that actually mean, apart from a question of legal authority? I presume he would not just leave that position vacant, but would appoint someone else with the same orders you were given. Likely someone with enough strength behind him to enforce those orders, too. Do you have any idea who that might be?" he asked.
DM
 GM, 3815 posts
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 14:06
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry acknowledges Safiya's point, before addressing Andalon's.  "He would appoint someone else, but I don't know who.  Presumably someone that he thinks he can rely on.  His other appointments include appointing his uncle to run Port Ice in his absence, and appointing Hannis Drelev to run Fort Drelev.  He made Drelev a baron as well.  They all have a reputation for ruling their territories for their own benefit, rather than for the general good.  I suspect that Tusk would be brought under their personal control, rather than left as a free city.  In that respect, I think Restov has been fortunate that it is so far away from areas the Surtova control."
Ethankos
 player, 161 posts
 Cleric of Pharasma
 All stories end in death
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 14:09
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Whatever side we support," Ethankos rumbles, "there will be a parade of souls to face their final judgment before the Lady of Graves."

"And if it is but a coin toss of choice between the Surtova and Aldori, then the matter of whether their troops be friend or foe, which set of colours might fight by our side and which vitals our blades will seek is likewise on a knife's edge."

"Whatever is decided, my fellow clergy will be ministering to the fallen.  All the fallen."

The priest considers ...

"If war must come, we should not seek to glean advantage.  Though the Grey Lady herself does not judge if a death be just, I, her simple priest, would rather fight for a cause that is right."

"And if neither Surtova nor Aldori be worthy, then perhaps we should not lend either our blades.  Perhaps we should stand aside and see to our defences so we are prepared when the victor turns vengeful eyes towards us as they surely will.  It may not be the most advantageous choice, but it may well be the right one."

He smiles at Cass. "And perhaps there are other allies who would be worthy and who would stand by us and us by them - there may yet be a need for words."
Domitius
 player, 391 posts
 Half Elf Fighter/Rogue
 AC:21 HP:38
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 14:58
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"I agree with Lord Mordane, if we are to choose a side let it be Rostland they are not the petty Tyrant the regent is and yes I say regent as he has not the right to claim the title of King, at least not yet or he already would have.  Brevoy was the Kingdom of the Rogarvarian's and with their disappearance it has fragmented, first Rostland has broken away and who knows which way the great houses will jump.

Noleski has spent the last fifteen years trying to take the throne and still the great houses are resistant to him and now Rostland, with Mivonese support is breaking away.  I am not sure any of the great houses would back such a weak ruler when there is a chance should he fall one of them may gain the throne of Issia.

Finally let me say that should a replacement be sent to replace Lord Henry then I suggest we send any candidate packing with his tail betwixt his legs and might I suggest that at that point the chapter resigns and a new chapter arise in it's place with our loyalty to Lord Henry.  We have all worked too hard to build Midmarch to what it is today to see some interloper arrive merely to take the cream of the top of all our efforts."

Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 972 posts
 Bishop at Cathedral of
 Abadar in Tusk City
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 15:48
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Andalon looked at Domitius for a long moment before asking, "Why is Mivon supporting Rostland, Dom? What do they stand to gain? Is it just a chance to attack a mutual enemy without any great risk to themselves, or have they been promised some other reward for their aid?"
Domitius
 player, 394 posts
 Half Elf Fighter/Rogue
 AC:21 HP:38
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 16:44
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Domitius paused and scratched at his chin"I suspect you will find revenge is enough reason for us Aldori, the Mivonese their mothers taught them that Rostland was their home and that one day they would return to retake the lands the Rogavarians stole from them.  They have been in exile for a long time waiting for the chance to return.

Andalon from the time I was small enough to sit on my mothers lap I remember her telling stories about the good old days when Rostland was free of the Rogarvarians, I was still a boy when whatever it was made them all disappear.

My grandfather remembers those times, he told my father about them when he was but a boy and that is one of the reasons he came to Restov and met my mother.  My father would tell me stories of the great Aldori swordsmen who met their end at the Valley of Fire how Choral's dragons burnt and pillages Rostland, how the Mivonese fled to keep the dream of freedom alive.

Brevoy wasn't really our country, it was one where you Issians stood on our necks, our mothers kept the dream alive and we trained for the day we would take our chance to rise up and throw off the shackles and be free again.

Those are reason enough for Mivon to assist Rostland, after all they are family."

Adoven
 Player, 712 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 17:12
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven adds "Another concern my Lord. How will the Aldori reach the conflict area. Will they march across our lands? Will they cross our waterways with warships? And if we side with the Regent, what do you think they will do to us in passing?"
Safiya Vallani
 player, 314 posts
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 17:43
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Safiya rubs her temple as if trying to stave off a sudden headache. "I can confirm ser Domitius words, my lord bishop. I know I've heard stories enough of the Valley of Fire from my own family to last me a lifetime. And now, finally, after two hundred years of nursing this grudge Aldori see weakness, and are eager to jump at the opportunity for payback. Details such as Issians not really playing a part in this battle are generally thought of as irrelevant."

She hesitates before continuing. "Mind you, I am not saying Mivoni could not have been offered something extra. Mercenaries generally fight better when they are paid after all, and Mivoni are mercenaries. I doubt it's Midmarch though, I do not believe Restov Aldori would do that. Now, whatever they can pillage, raid or conquer from Issian held lands, that I could see. That's how this game was played before Choral showed up."
Alisa D'Medvyed
 player, 312 posts
 Half-elf Cleric
Wed 8 Jul 2020
at 00:30
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Warriors from as far away as Garund still make pilgrimages to Mivon, to apprentice and learn the Aldori art.  So I've heard.  That tells you just how strong the Aldori presence remains there.  And, some of those swordlords almost certainly hold positions of strong influence.  No one need wonder at their support.  As Domitius points out, they've been waiting generations for this."    She also added-

"The king has stepped on a good many toes during his reign. And while it is possible one house or another might wed itself to Surtova, some of those sore feet are likewise bound to be disinclined to dance to his tune. Perhaps even more so if it involves wedding a beloved daughter to a sadist. But, I do not argue at all the potential for a protracted, ugly war.  And the sanity of avoiding it."   
Kiera
 player, 211 posts
Wed 8 Jul 2020
at 06:31
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"...maybe we can have it both ways, if he wants to play it that way.

I mean, yes, he wouldn't want to lose us, but still... what's worse to have on your southern border- a neutral country, or an enemy country?

Send his majesty a letter declaring our independence, and our willingness to stay neutral to the war- we don't give aid to either side, we let them fight it out.  If he decides he's going to get all huffy and whiny with us- or anybody else allied with his decides to start trouble, then suddenly we're a lot more friendly with the Aldori and we've got a lot of countryside they can ride through to come up and hassle his southern border from.  He gets a neutral border that he doesn't have to worry about, we don't have to worry about attacks from the north unless Surtova is a complete and utter jackass, and we get our own country out of the deal.  You can call yourself whatever you want to, I suppose- plus, if the Aldori win this thing, we haven't completely burned our bridges with both of them.

The survivors are going to need supplies and food and everything else after this is all done, and who has the closest farms and markets and trade routes to both sides?

It'll cost us any shot we might have at being Brevoy nobility, but in the end, well... we were going to have to have this discussion sometime.  I've lived my life without it for years, going back to being sort-of-plain-old-me wouldn't be too bad."


She finishes off her wine, and then looks for a second glass.
Safiya Vallani
 player, 315 posts
Wed 8 Jul 2020
at 14:32
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Noleski may not be a particularly just ruler, or wise either, and gods know he's not a popular ruler. But he is not some slobbering monster either. House Lebeda has been trying to arrange a marriage between him and Elanna Lebeda for some time now. Lebeda. Aldori are very eager to fight Issians over Rostland independence. Would they be as keen to fight other Rostlanders over it?"

Safiya dismisses this matter with a wave of her hand. "In any case, whatever we choose we also need to be ready for the deluge of refugees as the population to the north is introduced to all the wonders of war again. I dare say there will be plenty of Rostlanders, Issians, and just plain Brevoyans among them, as well as the ever popular I-am-whatever-will-not-get-me-killed-m'lord nationality."
Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 973 posts
 Bishop at Cathedral of
 Abadar in Tusk City
Wed 8 Jul 2020
at 16:05
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Andalon sat deep in thought as the debate flowed around him. Eventually he stood to speak.

"Let me see if I can summarise the situation based on what has been said here today.

"It seems to be agreed that there is no hope for negotiation of a peaceful agreement between the King-Regent and the Aldori.

"Civil war seems inevitable and our support to either side may well be enough to tip the balance in their favour.

"If we go and support the King-Regent and he wins, our current situation is not likely to change greatly. Some of us may be granted noble titles or other symbolic recognition but our trade with the Aldori lands to the east, including Restov, and with Mivon and Jovvox in the south will suffer.

"If we support the King-Regent but he loses, then we have enemies to the east as well as the south, much less reliable support from the north leaving us more open to attack from the south in particular, and our trade to the east and south will also suffer.

"If we go and support the Aldori in Rostland and they win, they say they are only interested in reclaiming Rostland so we end up with Brevoy cut in two, with us allied to the Aldori in Rostland, some degree of friendship with Mivon in the south, but with the remainder of Brevoy to the north hostile to us. Trade routes to the east and south will flourish but the pressure from the River Kingdoms for us to embrace their River Freedoms would probably also increase. There will be changes in our lives.

"If we support the Aldori but they are still defeated, the King-Regent will send someone much more heavy-handed to replace Lord Henry here in Midmarch, which would not be pleasant for any of us, even if we don't end up in prison, or worse. Our troops would have suffered badly on the battlefield so we would not be in a position to prevent the King-Regent's man from taking control of Midmarch.

"If we remain neutral and the King-Regent defeats the Aldori, the outcome would not be much different than if we had supported the Aldori. The King-Regent will send someone much more heavy-handed to replace Lord Henry here in Midmarch. I suspect we wouldn't face imprisonment but you can bet that we would be taxed to breaking point. If we fought back to prevent the King-Regent's man from taking control of Midmarch we might be successful at first but we could not hold out forever against the full strength that the King-Regent would eventually send against us.

"If we remain neutral and the Aldori win, I expect the King-Regent would still send someone much more heavy-handed to replace Lord Henry here in Midmarch. If we remain neutral it probably doesn't make much difference whether the Aldori or the King-Regent is victorious; we lose either way, eventually."


He paused and looked down at his hands, holding them in front of himself and moving them up and down like a set of scales weighing each option.

"None of those outcomes are without drawbacks but, to my mind, the outcome for Midmarch would be best, or should I say least bad, if it is our support that tips the balance in the King-Regent's favour and he manages to defeat the Aldori.

"Nonetheless, as I said at the start of this meeting, I would not be where I am today if it were not for you, Henry. The final decision is yours. I trust your judgement. I am with you either way."


After delivering his considered opinion and his pledge, Andalon shrugged apologetically to those who had been arguing in favour of joining the Aldori, and sat down.
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 134 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Wed 8 Jul 2020
at 16:24
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
”Andalon has summed the options up well, although I am not yet convinced that sending support to the Brevoy army is our best option.  Whatever happens, we are as well-prepared as we can be.”

Henry goes on to sum up Midmarch’s defences.  ”I don’t think we can do much more defensively at the moment.  Many of you have mentioned it, and that has been useful advice, If nothing else we are as prepared as we can be for any fallout from the war.  Tusk, which marks our southern boundary, is strengthening its defences significantly.  Our eastern border is dominated by the Shrike River, which can only be crossed easily using the bridge at Ringbridge.  That is fairly well fortified, and WSM are helping to strengthen it further.  The far side of the river has Eastgate and the new watchtower at the Burial Mound – which can patrol that area and, perhaps, provide a small guerrilla force to harry any enemy in that area.  Our northern border, between us and the civil war will be our strongest, with a castle and two keeps.  To the west, we have the Narlemarch – it is difficult to march an army through and is scattered with settlement and troops that can harry – we will even have outer patrols based in Westgate and The Old Villa. I don’t think we can go much more defensively at the moment.

My family has some experience of civil war.  My mother came here from Ustalav after our family holdings were destroyed in the War without Rivals.  It makes it more difficult to face a second war within a generation.  However, both my sister and cousin have holdings in Aldori territory, and have pledged their support to their respective leaders, as you have offered your support to me.   It makes this a particularly difficult decision for me.

However, I think we have covered most things, especially with Andalon’s masterly summation of the situation.  So I would like each of you to express, in simple terms, your preferred option.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:15, Wed 08 July 2020.

Adoven
 Player, 713 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Wed 8 Jul 2020
at 16:53
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven takes a sip of wine and muses a bit. The options were none-too-palatable, but one held a slim hope. "I believe we should send the taxes requested and 1/3 our troop Strength to bolster the Regent's forces. The Aldori, to reach Rostland, must push through our lands to get there. We show support to the Regent by keeping the bulk of our forces protecting his Southern border, namely ourselves. It gives us cover, diplomatically, with both sides. None can blame us for protecting our own lands."
Alisa D'Medvyed
 player, 314 posts
 Half-elf Cleric
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 01:14
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"My lord," Alisa addressed Henry, "I haven't the experience or knowledge to put forward my preference in anything so far reaching and heavily consequential.   And so will refrain.   However, I would offer one final consideration:  the king is a man who rose to power when his predecessor -- along with the entire family that ruled with him -- vanished.  The most dangerous of fiends are not the drooling monsters, but rather the ones that are subtle and sophisticated.   I could be dead wrong.  Maybe he's not that bad; but, I urge you to beware a man - and his sister, for that matter - whose path to power was opened by the convenient disappearance of a family.  I fear any rewards bestowed by him will have ample strings attached, and one day a high price.   But that is only surmise, and ultimately I beg you -  please do what you must to preserve life."   
Cass Mordane
 Player, 578 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 01:34
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“Likewise,” Cass dovetailed on Alisa’s words. “I warn you to be wary of them all. Especially those of you who might hold to such romantic ideas as justice, freedom, and a return to an idyllic golden age from history. Hundreds of years ago, a man so selfish that he would enlist the aid of dragons to burn, devour, and destroy an entire kingdom of people to subjugate them to his own rule did exactly that.”

Cass took another drink of wine. “Now, in his stead, rules a tyrant with no more regard of the descendants of these people than the original monster that he claims as his family. What benevolent works has he done during his rule? Much beloved by the people is he? No, there has been talk of rebellion against him during his entire reign.”

“But make no mistake, these Aldori are little to no better at all. For 200 years they have had the opportunity to remold the River Kingdoms into an even better land than the one they left behind. Instead, while they held to their own selfish ideals of power and revenge, the River Kingdoms has been nothing but a haven for bandits and the dregs of humanity. Little more than a cesspit in my estimation.”

“My recommendation? Let them kill each other off. Declare Midmarch as an independent and sovereign land. Shore up her defenses and weather out the storm. If one drop of Midmarch blood is to be spilled in this conflict, then let it be for something worth truly fighting for, Midmarch.”

This message was last edited by the player at 01:36, Thu 09 July 2020.

Kendrick Winters
 player, 478 posts
 Marshal-Dominus
 Knight Paladin of Iomedae
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 01:55
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Kendrick gave Cass his approval. "Here, here. Truth to Cass' words. We should strive towards the independence of the Midmarch."
Safiya Vallani
 player, 316 posts
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 06:03
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Safiya looks very grave as she speaks her opinion. "My Lord, while I'd like very much for us to stay out of this mess completely, it has been pointed out that doing so might be construed as us proclaiming independence. And doing that while we have but a fraction of military forces needed to defend our independence is likely to end very, very badly."

"So, with that off the table, my preferred option would be for us to only get involved to the bare minimum you think Midmarch in general and you personally can get away with. Whatever you think that is, and whatever side you choose to support. Sending gold is of little concern to me in that regard. Sending men... admittedly less so."

This message was last edited by the player at 06:06, Thu 09 July 2020.

Kiera
 player, 212 posts
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 06:19
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Independence.  Let the Aldori and the Surtova have their squabble, it's no business of ours.  We have our own borders, own problems, and everything else to worry about."
Ethankos
 player, 162 posts
 Cleric of Pharasma
 All stories end in death
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 13:07
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"I trust the assessment Cass has given us," the large man rumbles.  "If neither side are worthy then we should support neither."

"And if that means we must declare for the independence of Midmarch under Henry's rule, then so be it."
Domitius
 player, 395 posts
 Half Elf Fighter/Rogue
 AC:21 HP:38
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 13:25
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Domitius stands "I would join the Aldori and despite the insults which have been thrown our way, for which you will hear from me later Lord Mayor."  he said with a glare.  "If you choose independence my lord then I shall rethink my position here in Midmarch, for I am unsure where my loyalties should lie.  Should you side with the Regent I would ask for a release of my oath and we shall meet upon the battlefield."
~Percy Arndell
 NPC p, 437 posts
 Gentleman and Poet
 "Oh. Hello."
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 13:57
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Peace, Domitius," Percy cautions, "the Lord Warden asked us to speak candidly and such is our duty."

"For my part ... I do not think that the Regent will have the backing of all the Houses.  I believe my own House Orlovsky, distant though the connection be, will not support him.  Indeed any conflict that may start with Aldori and Surtova is likely to see the rise of other camps, seeking advantage and opportunity."

"I spoke before for the Aldori as an alternative to the Regent ... from what I have heard I am now hard pressed to pick either.  I propose standing by and making what alliances we can with those who do likewise."
Marik
 Player, 278 posts
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 14:07
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Marik had sat quietly, not truly having a stake in the fight beyond his own life and those who worked for him. Instead he listened, trying to separate emotional arguments from those based on logic and reason. It was obvious that for some it was difficult to make that distinction.

Finally, after Henry asked for everyone's opinion, he decided to weigh in. "As some of you know, my mother was a whore, and my father, well let's say it's not quite certain who he is. So I can honestly say I have no personal connections to either side of this conflict," he said with a glance in Domitius' direction. "So what I say is purely based on my interest in keeping Midmarch, and myself, safe and prosperous.

While I agree with the noble goal of independence and self-governance, for the reasons Andalon pointed out, I can't support that action at this time. In that scenario, whomever wins this civil war will take umbrage at our neutrality, and at best replace Lord Henry with someone less inclined to support us individually, at worst, invade Midmarch and remove or kill each and every one of us for our sedition.

So that really only leaves two options. As has been stated, Lord Henry's charter comes from the King-Regent and we have all been sworn as Brevic Knights. To side against the King-Regent, then, would be an act of treason for each of us, and perhaps more importantly besmirch our honor."


He turns to Domitius, "If you weren't willing to fight for the crown, you should have never sworn the oath to do so." He shakes his head, "Now look, I have no love of the King-Regent, or honestly Brevoy in general; it never did anything for me. But I do love Midmarch, and everything we've built here. Thus, I truly see no other choice.

As others have stated, I propose we offer a token force in support of the King-Regent, keeping the majority of our forces here in Midmarch, under the auspices of protecting the southern border. If the King-Regent wins, we will be seen as subjects who supported the rightful King. If the Aldori win, we can make an argument, a true argument, that we supported the King-Regent because we had no choice based on the oaths we'd taken. We would then offer to swear a new oath to Lady Jamandi, with our actions during the war proving how strong our oaths are and that we never waver from them."

This message was last edited by the player at 14:11, Thu 09 July 2020.

Domitius
 player, 396 posts
 Half Elf Fighter/Rogue
 AC:21 HP:38
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 14:52
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Looking over at Percy "Indeed we were asked to speak candidly but I would have thought throwing an insult at me wasn't called for by his lordship, and now two members of this council have done so.  Actions have consequences and these two gentlemen seem to have forgotten that.

Once I would have fought for Brevoy had I been called, but ties of blood run stronger than ties of bondage.  Now my kin call an end to that bondage and are prepared to fight for it.  How could I call myself a man and not do the same.  Midmarch is but a blink in history's eye compared to the suffering that certain individuals within this council dismiss as nothing.

I accept others have differing views indeed within my own family we do not agree on this subject, but the Lord Mayor of Tusk forgets himself he believes that I and my kin are no better then Noleski.  No he and Master Marik should be prepared to meet with my second or apologise for their behavior less the first blood shed in this war shall be there own."

Marik
 Player, 279 posts
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 15:05
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Marik turned and looked quizzically at Domitius, "Excuse me sir, and in what way exactly did I insult you? I have spoken no ill words towards the Aldori, not least of which because I know little about them and honestly don't care.

The only thing I did was to point out that you swore an oath which you now intend to violate. That's not an insult, simply the truth. And if your loyalty to your blood is in fact as strong as you say, you probably shouldn't have made that oath in the first place. Again, no insult, simply a point of fact.

That you now threaten me for speaking the truth is completely uncalled for."

Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 135 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 15:16
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"HOLD" Henry thunders.  "I will not have a smaller version of this civil war played out in Midmarch!  Having it happen  so close to our borders is bad enough -  but I will not have Midmarch ripped apart in the same way."

"This is not the place for raised voices or for threats, no matter how strongly any of you feel.  Nor is this ant place for talks of treason.  I have already said that I will release any from their oath to the Midmarch chapter, if that oath conflicts with others that they have made, or for any other reeason."

The Governor then glares around the room, looking at everyone equally.
Domitius
 player, 397 posts
 Half Elf Fighter/Rogue
 AC:21 HP:38
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 15:23
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Domitius meets Henry's glare and does not back down "Forgive me my Lord but my honour and the honour of my family has been called into question and I could not let it stand."
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 136 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 15:29
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"You have my permission to leave the meeting, if you cannot control  yourself for the rest of it.  However, I must insist that, at this moment, we all put the future of Midmarch before our personal issues, in the same way as I have done.  What ever happens you will not be required to stand against members of your family.  I, on the other hand, might well be required to do so."
Adoven
 Player, 714 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 15:33
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven asks, "Domitius, if Honor is that much an issue with you, why did you swear the oath of the Brevic Knights?"
DM
 GM, 3818 posts
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 15:36
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"I did not give any of you a choice in the matter." Henry answers Adoven quickly.
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 137 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 15:42
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Now, back to the matter in hand.  I would like to hear from anyone who has not yet spoken."
Cass Mordane
 Player, 579 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 15:53
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“Never take lessons of misfortune from someone who has never had to sleep beneath an onion cart,” Cass said whimsically. “If you would have ‘words’ with me, Lord Solanus, then a ‘second’ would never do.”

“You are correct, Henry. All other business can wait until later.”
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 138 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 21:01
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Trying to move on quickly, Henry speaks rapidly - no longer the calm leader that he was at the start of the meeting.

"So far I have heard voices for sending a small force to support Surtova.  If we are to take that course, I will take the Midmarch Guard and lead them myself.  There has been slightly more voices for Independence, and a couple that I have taken to mean take the path of least bloodshed.  And, of course, one very strong voice that says we should support the Aldoi of East Rostland and Restov in their campaign to reclaim control of their ancestral lands.

No matter what is decided, I will not ask any of you to go against your conscience, or your family.

Now, is there anything else I should hear concerning this matter?"

Cass Mordane
 Player, 580 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Thu 9 Jul 2020
at 23:32
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"Tucked in for siege conditions and with enough arrows and crossbow bolts we could probably hold off Both armies from the ramparts."
Alisa D'Medvyed
 player, 316 posts
 Half-elf Cleric
Fri 10 Jul 2020
at 01:07
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Alisa let go a breath, feeling more aware than ever that she was a priestess, and neither a politician or a tactician.   Which bothered her not in the least.

She put her hand on Domitius' hand, leaned over and briefly whispered to him-
Domitius
 player, 398 posts
 Half Elf Fighter/Rogue
 AC:21 HP:38
Fri 10 Jul 2020
at 10:16
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Domitius took a deep breath and loosened up his shoulders then whispered to Alisa.


He turned to look across at Lord Henry "My lord I wouldn't rely on our walls the Rostland Aldori have the best siege engineers available outside of Taldor or Cheliax.  Additionally we have done no preparations for a siege so before we make any announcement I would suggest we begin to lay supplies in.  Furthermore do we have enough room to place all the citizens of Midmarch should that come to pass?"
DM
 GM, 3824 posts
Sun 12 Jul 2020
at 09:54
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry sits quietly for a moment or two and then stands to speak.   He is clearly tense and his words are tense.

“I have listened to your words, and your passion, but I will not go as far as full independence at the moment.  However, we will not send troops to fight on either side of this war.

I will take the position that Midmarch has been commissioned to guard the Southern Border of  Brevoy – regardless of whether East Rostland is managed from New Stetven or by the Aldori – and that we will continue to do so.  I shall point out the string of defences, which we have built recently, to defend Brevoy’s southern Border, and highlight the role that both Tusk and Ringbridge play as a line of outer defences.  As further evidence of our dedication to duty, I will mention the scouting outposts in the Narlemarch and Kamelands that will give advance warning of any incursions.

I will decline to pay extra taxes, stating that we cannot afford to slacken in our determination to bolster Brevoy’s southern border.  I will mention advanced scouting posts in both the Narlemarch and Kamelands that will help improve our knowledge of the area.  Furthermore, I will speak of the area to our west, which borders the slough, pointing out that the land there is still wild and untamed and that it could still be used to march an army into Brevoy.

I will also speak of Tusk’s role in providing a trade route to the south, offering new routes to market for both Restov and New Stetven.

I hope that this will be seen as evidence that we have done as we have been asked, as well as offer both a minor deterrent, in the form of our new defences, and a minor encouragement to support us, for the new trade opportunities we can offer.

However, this puts a responsibility on all of us to develop both our trade links, and our defensive capability – when we are able. While that will show our commitment to our mission, as I have described it, but it will also strengthen our position if we do have to defend our borders from Brevoy or the Aldori.

That message will be sent to the King-Regent and Lady Aldori, although I will also send copies to the Lords of the major houses and the Mayor of Restov.

Furthermore, even as we remain neutral, we will not close our borders.  We will be open to settlers, as we have always been, while merchants, traders and travellers will be free to pass through our lands – so long as they adhere to our laws, while they are here, and pose no threat to Midmarch.  I have no wish to stop either side from accessing the Gnomes’ new store in Tusk, recruiting mercenary troops or conducting their business in any other way.

Notices concerning our neutrality, and the terms of it, will be posted in every town and settlement in Midmarch, and I will require every priest to read it out in their services.  No person in Midmarch should be ignorant of our intentions.

So far as the Midmarch Chapter is required, I will release any of you from membership and the vows that you have made.  That will mean that you, and any troops that you control, may actively support whichever side you choose.  Once there is a resolution, you will be welcomed back into the fold – assuming that we are still neutral and that I am still in charge of Midmarch.

Should Midmarch come under attack, we will reconvene to discuss the options that are available to us.”


With that, Henry sits back and  waits for comments.
Kiera
 player, 215 posts
Sun 12 Jul 2020
at 10:51
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
She listens, grabbing- and draining about half of- another glass of wine.

"...well, in the end, it's not going to be us that has to buy this particular horse- it's the King.  But at the least, it'll be a sign you can use to assess why he's doing this.  If he's thinking clearly, he'll accept the idea that a neutral border on his south is nothing to worry about- especially if it means he's not going to have to worry about raiders from the south or southwest.  But if this is a show of dominance, meant to cow us into submission... and we just waggled our tails at him?

He'll be rather peeved at us and might take some further measures... so maybe we get all our coins in a row and start preparing for the worst and hoping for the best?  Those of us with businesses keep our ears open and pass along anything interesting we might hear- like troop movements, news from Brevoy, that kind of thing?

I mean, you'd be amazed what you can find out over drinks..."

Safiya Vallani
 player, 318 posts
Sun 12 Jul 2020
at 11:29
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
After all that was said at the council, Safiya is by no means sure this will be enough. However, she is determined to make the best of it now that the decision has been made.

"A question, if I may? You say we are here to defend Brevoy's southern border. Well, there is one force that is very likely to be coming here on its way to Brevoy. Mivoni. And they will certainly be hostile to Brevoy forces. What position are we going to take regarding them? If we do nothing while armies march right through our lands unopposed to rampage across Brevoy, our excuses to the king-regent will ring very hollow indeed. But if we put a stop to that Aldori may take that as a hostile act."
Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 975 posts
 Bishop at Cathedral of
 Abadar in Tusk City
Sun 12 Jul 2020
at 11:47
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Andalon accepted a glass of wine now, too. He looked resigned to the decision rather than overjoyed about it. Safiya's question caught his attention.

"A good question, Safiya. My Lord, is that what you were thinking of when you said you have no wish to stop either side from recruiting mercenary troops? So long as they adhere to our laws, while they are here, and pose no threat to Midmarch?" he asked.
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 139 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Sun 12 Jul 2020
at 12:44
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"So far, we have seen small bands of Mivoni moving northwards, mostly from House Yitis and House Photus.  They have all behaved impeccably while they are in Midmarch.  I assume that they are going to support the East Rostland Aldoi, although they may have contracts with The Surtova.  If that continues, I will not interfere.  Should a whole army turn up here, then I will have to think again.

That said, I am not sure that I would try to move a whole army upriver on boats, anyway.  And realistically, if I wanted an element of surprise, I would probably bring them overland and either across the Ringbridge or send them east through Varnhold.  Although even that would be difficult to conceal for long, and we have seen no signs of it.  Nor have we seen any sign of Mivon mustering huge numbers of troops and, to be honest, I am not sure that the have the ability to bring troops from all the houses together under one banner.

But my plan is all one calculated risk, that could turn against us at any point.  Hopefully, we won't have offended either party so badly that they take decide we should be their next target."

Adoven
 Player, 716 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Sun 12 Jul 2020
at 13:50
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven says "My Lord, to that end we need a Watchtower or Keep overseeing the Lower Tusk. Now either we clear the haunted Keep and restore it, or build something where the Sellen empties into the Lower Tusk, but we will require that in case Mivon decides to capture the canals that Safiya is building. A direct water route to Restov would be an Aldori Commander's dream."
Safiya Vallani
 player, 319 posts
Mon 13 Jul 2020
at 05:28
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Safiya nods to Henry before turning to Adoven. "Fortunately or unfortunately, once this situation broke out I have decided to delay building of canals, at least for now. Among other reasons, to avoid giving either side a reason to try to seize them."
Adoven
 Player, 717 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Mon 13 Jul 2020
at 07:01
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven nods. "Wise Decision. If you need other outlets for your working capital, I might have a suggestion or two."
DM
 GM, 3827 posts
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 10:14
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.

Some time later



Henry calls everyone together again, to tell you about the outcome of the ‘war’.

"I have had the first reports of the war between the Aldori and Surtova, and they were not at all what I expected.

The two sides squared off  in West Rostland.  The Aldori, Khavortorov and the dwarves of Brundeston, with a contingent of Mivoni mercenaries  on one side.  There weren’t many Mivoni, and many of those were from the Yitis and Photus families, although there were a few others as well.  However Duma, from the Gronzi forest, made another of his sudden appearances as well – on the basis that he had fougfht with the Aldori when they were so badly damaged at the valley of Fire, and that he was prepared to help right the wrongs that were perpetrated there.
Surtova had support from House Garess, Baron Drelev, although neither sent their whole armies, and a contingent of troops from New Stetven.   Apparently there wasn’t much between the two armies.
Suddenly there was a fanfare of trumpets and two old ladies appeared in the middle of the battlefield and demanded a parley.  It was the Dowager Duchess of the Lebeda, who was accompanied by Lady Luna Cartan, who is grandmother to our own Lady Valoria Lebeda-Ondari of Ringbridge.

The Dowager Duchess summoned the leaders for both sides, and told them that she represented the Great Houses of Brevoy, and that they would not stand aside while the country was ripped to pieces.  Instead, she insisted that a treaty should be signed.  Surtova was particularly dismissive, while the Aldori, insisted that would only be acceptable if it gave them independence.  At which point the duchess told them how the other Brevoy troops had been deployed.

Apparently the Lodkova fleet was anchored just outside Port Ice, while House Orlovsky had deployed their troops to the Great North Road, between the Garess and Surtova holdings.  House Medveyedd was massed on their southern borders, threatening both the Khavortorov holdings and Brundeston.  She then pointed out that the only thing that stopped the Orcs of the Icerime Mountains invading the Gronzi, was a treaty with the Medveyed.  Half of the Lebeda troops had been moved into New Stetven, the rest were afloat ready to head down river towards Fort Drelev and our western borders.

After much grumbling the two sides retired to consider their options, and eventually returned to the parley point -  which by this time had a massive pavilion flying the flags of the Noble houses and a small contingent of guards -  as well as the Lords Medveyed, Lodkova, Orlovsky and Lebeda.

Eventually a treaty was signed, although grudgingly.

While we will be sent a copy of the treaty shortly, I am informed that it contains the following clauses. I assume this will be supported by new charters, as appropriate.
  • Noleski Surtova will remain as Regent, and will collect his income from the lands around New Stetven.  He will not have the right to raise taxes in the lands of  other Noble Houses
  • House Aldori will be recognized with Jamandi Aldori taking the rank of Countess - which will be a hereditary title.  He was also awarded the lands to the east of the road as her holdings.
  • Neither Khavortorov nor Brundeston will be punished, and are granted the right to expand their holdings.
  • I have been declared Baron Gates and elevated to the position of Viscount Midmarch, although there are other restrictions that affect us.
  • The position of Viscountess Skywatch is also confirmed.
  • Restov is confirmed as an independent city, outside the authority of Countess Aldori.
  • Tusk is granted the position of Independent City and granted rights to the land that surrounds it.  Tusk will no longer be beholden to me.
  • Varnhold, Fort Drelev and other similar holding are declared as Marcher Lordships.
  • The Regent cannot change any of this  without authority from a newly established Brevoy Council - which will consist of the Lords of the Lebeda, Orlovsky, Medveyed, Lodkova and Garess.



There are other restrictions that will apply to Midmarch.  While I may consolidate Midmarch’s position, I cannot expand to the south.  I am, however, ’encouraged’ to develop to the west, as far as the river, and to support the establishment of new Marcher Lordships on our southern border.

It also means that Silverton will fall under the auspices of the newly independent Tusk,  rather than Midmarch as a whole."

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:21, Wed 15 July 2020.

Andalon de Lebeda
 Player, 977 posts
 Bishop at Cathedral of
 Abadar in Tusk City
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 12:48
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"That is wonderful news!" Andalon exclaims in absolute delight. "Congratulations to you, Baron Gates, Viscount of Midmarch! You certainly made the right decision. After hearing that news I can't tell you how proud I am to be a member of House Lebeda! What a masterful piece of diplomacy that was."

He takes a glass of wine and raises it high.

"To Henry LeMaistre, Viscount of Midmarch, long may you lead us on the path of peace and prosperity!"
Cass Mordane
 Player, 587 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 13:21
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Maybe less diplomacy than leverage, but then again, much of diplomacy was indeed leverage. “A masterpiece indeed.” Cass joined Andalon. “It would be hard for anyone to paint a more favorable outcome for all those involved. I am thinking that a monument to the Duchess Lebeda is in order.”

Cass raised a glass of perlet in salute. “And Midmarch’s first family of nobility is just as it should be. To the Baron and the Baroness, the Viscount and the Viscountess. Long live LeMaistre! And long live Lebeda!”

Cass smiled as he inhaled the wine. Henry had pulled it all off without any bloodshed. And Cass himself was now in a position even better than he had hoped to carve for himself. Still, Cass couldn’t help but try to shake a secret sense of foreboding. Midmarch had managed to avoid this threat, but what about the next?
Adoven
 Player, 718 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 14:48
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven joins the toast, but has a question. "My Lord, when you say we may not extend ourselves southward, does that mean the border is Tusk itself? Or are we free to establish the border South of the lakes? Is the haunted Isle or Pipre's mother within our borders, or not?"
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 140 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 14:52
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"It means that I am not to extend Midmarch to the south.  However, I am allowed to 'encourage', Marcher Lordships there." Henry replies to Adoven.
Kiera
 player, 216 posts
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 22:43
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
She listens to the terms, but she's not really smiling as much as others- instead, she's studying and thinking through the terms.

"...I think we're missing something.  Like these 'other restrictions'- what are they?

Not to mention turning Tusk independent and no longer beholden to you?  Who's in charge of it if you're not?

I'm also a bit suspicious of this Brevoy council- I mean, we don't have a voice on it, so we need to figure out where we stand with these families- how many of them love us, how many hate us, and how much dancing are we going to have to do to get what we want if we need to go to them?

I might not know all that much about politics, but it just feels like all we got out of it is a shiny title for our lord and a few others."


She sighs.

"...why do I have the feeling we got fed a bit of honey and got a knife stuck in our back at the same time?  I don't know.  I think we might be celebrating a bit too early- and we need to keep our eyes and ears open.  An independent Tusk means it's open to people screwing around with it, and I wouldn't put it past a few bunches to try it."
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 141 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 23:02
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry responds to Kiera's thought about Midmarch and Tusk by expanding on his earlier words.

"The restriction say that I cannot expand Midmarch to the south, although I can consolidate my position.  I will take that to mean I can 'tidy up' around the edges, but Midmarch won't develop anything south of our current borders.  I can, however, continue to expand Midmarch towards the East Sellen.  I suspect that is primarily intended to let me establish a strong defensive line across the whole of the border with Brevoy. However, it also lets me complete the trade link from Restov to The East Sellen.

However, I am 'encouraged' to support the establishment of >archer Lordships.   That means you can develop independent holdings further south of the type that Zelona has been considering. Although we can work closely together, I will not govern you.  Again, I suspect that is intended to stop me from becoming too powerful, while still building military and scouting outposts to help secure the land to the south of us.  Yet another way to strengthen Brevoy's southern border.

Tusk will fall under the solely under the management of Tusk Council led by Lord Mayor Cass Mordane.  Again, reducing my personal influence, which will reduce the chances of me competing with the great noble houses.  I suspect that is the same reason for Restov to be confirmed as an independent city - the great houses don't want too much competition from the Countess Jamandi."



Henry smiles softly, "I suspect any other city either of us build would soon be declared 'independent' as well."
Domitius
 player, 401 posts
 Half Elf Fighter/Rogue
 AC:21 HP:38
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 23:07
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Domitius looks crestfallen "So we remain slaves to Issia still, a black day." he raises his goblet to the toast but it is plain to see his thoughts are elsewhere.  He looks around the room to fix it in his mind as he wanted to remember this place where he heard the news he had dreaded and the faces of those who rejoiced at the downfall of his peoples hopes.

He placed the goblet back down on the table, the wine now bitter to him and joined Keira in her sigh.
Kiera
 player, 218 posts
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 00:22
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
The corner of her mouth turns up as she looks to the absolutely over-delighted mayor of Tusk, swallowing the last of her wine.

"Indeed, hooray for Midmarch being hamstrung like a lame deer and our new overlords of House Lebeda taking control of Tusk with nary a swing of a sword, yes?  But at least a few of us got some nice, shiny titles out of the deal, hm?

The region's economic and population center for a few shiny titles... a fine deal, if you could pull it off."


Don't mind Ki, she's just... suspicious as all get-out of people she's never met and doesn't trust- and there's not a whole lot of people from up north she actually does trust at the moment. :P
Alisa D'Medvyed
 player, 322 posts
 Half-elf Cleric
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 00:28
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
She said nothing.  Only listened.   Her features a poker face that gave little clue of what she was thinking.

First and foremost, Alisa felt relief that the worst had not come to pass.   No  horrendous bloodbath to stain the benign works and progress of recent years.  For that much, she gave silent thanks to any and all powers watching over the people of this land.

Of course it wasn't the work of gods so much as mortals...in particular the nobility of Brevoy's most prominent houses, including Medvyed of which she was distant and minor relative.  She found it reassuring they hadn't caved to the demands of the regent...and by the Spear, it was terribly satisfying to hear him formally called that, rather than king.  This seemed to be a broad acknowledgement that he was in fact not the latter.

She tended to agree with Kiera that there were likely aspects of this whole thing which were not apparent, intentionally hidden.   But wasn't it almost always true in politics, and its maneuverings?   Time would tell.  She had faith that nothing vicious had been conspired, at least.

It was hard for her to hear Domitius express his pain and frustration; she knew well what this meant to him.   She had earlier spoken her own viewpoint of Surtova, her mistrust and dislike of them.   However, she didn't share Dom's loyalty and zeal for the Aldori cause.   She admired them; their spirit and courage. Was gladdened they'd been legitimized and given holdings.  They deserved no less. But, Countess Jamandi had not impressed her as a particularly wise leader. And flocking to her banner would have been a mistake, she believed.

The lord-regent capitulated to the great houses of Brevoy. That was a victory, in her book.   Yet she had entirely meant the warning she'd early given Henry; were it possible, she'd give it to the Ladies Lebeda as well.  Though she was relatively sure they were already wary; knew much more than she did.

She glanced to the side at Domitius, and her face finally, briefly yielded an expression.  Showing her sorrow at how he was taking this.   And her worry what it might lead him to do...
Cass Mordane
 Player, 591 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 02:25
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“I think that there is a misunderstanding of the victory gained here today, and the reason for my own rejoicing.” Cass said placing his glass down. In all sobriety, seriousness, and sincerity, he continued.

“Acting as mayor of Tusk has been my personal contribution to Midmarch and its people. And gaining a fancy title to continue to do so brings me not one whit of joy. My own personal interests have always been the establishment of my own independent territory, and with Silverton in the works, any continued participation in the governance of Tusk prevents me from realizing that full potential. I will hold more freedom and power as a newly invested Marcher Lord than I ever would as a city official.”

“And the same holds for each of you, should you take the opportunity to form your own independent territories. And for anyone with the proper dedication to Tusk City, I will gladly hand over my keys to the council room. But from early days, Henry mentioned his desire that should the opportunity present itself, he would prefer to see Tusk as a city independent of Midmarch itself. That way it could act in the best interests of a confederacy of free lands created and governed by those of the Charter who desired to do so. I believe such independence also allows Henry a breather to focus on his own family and family ventures even though he has agreed to maintain the responsibility of Viscount of Midmarch.”

“While the Aldori may not have had the sweeping victory on the battlefield that they hoped for, in Lady Jamandi they now have a greater footing than ever before as Countess. The whole resolution is one made to benefit all parties for the longest period possible. Surtova has been neutered, Regent in name, but truly no more powerful or with any more authority than any other noble family of Brevoy. This includes the Rostland Brevoy, the Midmarch Brevoy, all new Marcher Lords, and the Free City of Tusk. Cooperation rather than conflict will provide the greater benefits to noble and commoner alike.”

So saying, Cass turned directly to Domitius. “I also prefer to believe that whatever new holding that you establish in your own name as a Marcher Lord will be of greater benefit to your family and your people than what you may have gained by focusing your efforts in Rostland. No offense to your abilities, but you have a surfeit of space and economy that you may not have in closer boundaries. And your military might could be even stronger.”

“But I too have my concerns, most directly that of the possible threat from the River Kingdoms in general and possibly Pitax in particular. I am also not beyond suspicion of Drelev as well.”

This message was last edited by the player at 02:42, Thu 16 July 2020.

Safiya Vallani
 player, 320 posts
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 06:22
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
"This was the most we could have hoped for in this situation. The important part is that further bloodshed has been averted, and hopefully both sides will cool down now." Safiya gives her opinion on the situation.
Adoven
 Player, 723 posts
 HP 40 AC 20 F+2 R+9 W+2
 Rogue / Bard
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 06:27
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Adoven asks "how does one become a Marcher Lord? Build a keep or Defensive structure, then cultivate a village or city surrounding it?"
Kiera
 player, 220 posts
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 07:34
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“Yes, the Aldori got what Midmarch did- honey-sweet titles that mean nothing in the grand scheme of things while getting effectively neutered by the ruling families with the loss of their capital city to become an ‘independent town’.  I expect it to happen again and again in the coming years, too- Henry gets too powerful, gets a big city- nope, independent, try again- until he loses his nerve and gives up or comes crawling back to beg for whatever scraps the Council sees fit to toss him- or we fail and find ourselves fish amongst sharks as the Houses and River Kingdoms divide us up.

Same thing with trying to get us to split up and start our own little kingdoms- dividing and conquering is easier when your enemies divide up for you- and then we get played against each other.  Sting, I bet the ambassadors are already on their way to Tusk as we speak to see what they can wrangle out of Mr. Mayor over there as far as getting outposts and camps and military set up here, without having to worry about Midmarch forces or advisors stopping them.

I’d almost go outright and think the Houses stirred this whole thing up for just this conclusion- the Regent answers to them, Midmarch and the Aldori all but neutered, and encouraging the lot of us to splinter away from Midmarch.  They’re playing a long game, here, and the first roll went their way.  We ought to stick together, and we should have split away completely. Keep an eye on the Aldori lands, that’s where they’ll work next.

Not many understand what power can do to someone. I saw what it did to Old Staggy, and we’ve seen what it did to the Regent. Let’s not let it go to our heads let we end up like him or Kressle or the Redbirds or whatever else is out there.”


Her throat dry, she would drain another glass of wine and sit back, a bit closer to Dom and Alisa.

This message was last edited by the player at 07:41, Thu 16 July 2020.

Cass Mordane
 Player, 592 posts
 Bard/Sword Scion/Diplomat
 My Sword Sings
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 07:47
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“So I am just some pathetic little bootlicker ready to roll over at any scrap thrown to me by my masters?” Cass bit back a laugh. “It is good to know your true opinion of me.”

This message was last edited by the player at 07:49, Thu 16 July 2020.

Kiera
 player, 221 posts
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 08:20
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
“...I think I’ve had too much wine tonight, I apologize.  I’m just scared, Cass. Things are changing out from under us and I don’t know what to think. An independent Tusk isn’t something I anticipated, and my mind’s whirling at the things going on here. We’re getting outplayed, and we don’t know by who.  I hate not knowing.  All I can ask is we be careful, because things just got a lot more dangerous for us.”

She would scoop up a half-empty wineglass and drain it, setting the glass down slowly.

“I might need to stop pickling myself in public...”


OOC: Hope no one is taking this personally, Ki is just drunk off her behind and venting and scared out of her mind.

This message was last edited by the player at 08:23, Thu 16 July 2020.

Cass Mordane
 Player, 593 posts
 Opportunist
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 08:41
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Cass allowed his face to soften. “I do seem to recall that you are much more well versed in applejack. Perhaps you will have enough time to practice before I have a fully functional whiskey distillery.”

“I can see how this seems more like a defeat than a victory. And you are correct that under the wrong set of circumstances, those Issian lords that hold your suspicion could gain time to carve up Midmarch at their pleasure. But consider this possibility should we have have taken fully to the battlefield. Even in victory, our forces could have been severely depleted. Enough so that the forces that the Issian lords held in reserve could have easily dominated.  Or the forces of Fort Drelev, easily three times the current military strength of a Midmarch could have put an end to our forces. Or Pitax could have decided to bring war from the west. In any of those cases, Midmarch would already have been carved up. But while our rivals waste time and effort against each other, we have time to grow strong and stay united. I see fortified territories held by March Lords such as Adoven, Domitius, Kendrick, and others as more than a match for more overly confidant rivals. I may be wrong, but I didn’t make it from sleeping on the streets of Restov to where I am today by betting on more losing propositions than winning ones.”
Henry LeMaistre
 NPC, 142 posts
 Governor of Midmarch
 Noble & Merchant
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 09:01
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Henry sits quietly as people work through their feelings, and has little more that he can really say until the Charters and patents are delivered from Brevoy - until then, he is as much in the dark as anyone else.   However, he can correct one thing ...

"Restov has been an independent city from the very beginning of Brevoy.  While it was the centre for Aldori  politics, and has many Aldori residents - there are many other residents as well.  I don't think the Lord mayor of Restov would have been impressed to be told that he now worked for his First Sword Lord ..."


OOC:  We'll work the charters out between us in OOC.
Alisa D'Medvyed
 player, 325 posts
 Half-elf Cleric
Fri 17 Jul 2020
at 20:26
Fuzzy:  Midmarch Council.
Alisa nodded at Cass' last round of words.

"And this is exactly why I'm relieved, if not elated, with the outcome.  The cost for going to war now, for this particular reason, would almost surely have been too high.   And, I agree wholly that building our strength, as well as planning carefully for the future -- taking into consideration the shrewd, ambitious personalities of some of our neighbors -- stands a better chance of making the most of independence, and increasing both prosperity and security for the broader population." 

This message was last edited by the player at 21:35, Fri 17 July 2020.