Xorus (prime)/Letters/Notes to the Mayor and Town Council on the Elven Village - 07-31-5118

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Subject: Re: Notes to the Town Council on 07/31/2018 06:09 AM EDT
Category: Cities, Towns, and Outposts
Topic: Wehnimer's Landing
Post: 13271

Storyline: Landing vs. Vaalor on the Elven Village

Dark parchment with the underlying imprint of a three-lobed burning eye lays open on the mayor's desk, bearing the wax seal of a six-taloned claw at the bottom.

Addressed to Mayor Lylia Rashere and the Town Council of Wehnimer's Landing:

I have consulted the transcripts from the Mayor's treating with Lord Chamberlain Retassal er'Anlan of House Vaalor in the Wyvern Keep. I wish to express some advisory on this matter as the Elven courts embody the high art of elegant hypocrisy. What is spoken is not what is truly being said. The ultimate substance of royal proclamations is what is "between the lines" in the subtleties of surrounding context. Without this understanding it would be a dangerous pitfall to react blindly upon the most literal meaning.

The Vaalor are asserting that Barnom Slim was a representative of Wehnimer's Landing who traveled to their sovereign lands and brought war when his demands for fealty were rebuked. This is, of course, utter distortion. The Lich King was a former member of the town council who was no more an authority of our government than their own disgraced Legionnaires. They are also making territorial demands of lands many leagues removed from our jurisdiction, which manifestly are not ours to give away.

(A) Concerning Barnom Slim

Barnom Slim framed Mayor Walkar Wellington for the murder of Colson with Luukosian deathwort some seven years ago. He fled south to River's Rest where he hired bandits and outlaws with wealth plundered from our treasury. These brigands then stole for him an ancient artifact known as the Heart of Jaston. It was needed to turn back the Felstorm spreading from Teras Isle, and was recently acquired from the destruction of Raukturga, one of liches of the Horned Cabal who was hiding under Gattrof Mountain. Barnom traded it to a Luukosian cultist named Grevisth in exchange for power from Luukos himself. He would gradually transform into a lich with powers over the undead. In this later period he was offering alliances to defend the world against "the shadows" which we know as Althedeus. The Vaalor offended him, and he retaliated.

This is so much to say that our culpability for a common enemy is ridiculous. What must be understood, however, is that this does not matter. Nor does it matter that it was the krolvin who murdered the Illistim scholars, and only after abducting them from our prison to torture them for the whereabouts of the Star of Khar'ta. Their temporary detention by Mayor Walkar was reasonable given its recent theft. They are perfectly well aware that the Argent Mirror's future husband Caylio Javilerre was in fact released.

The Vaalor are insisting we admit our fault as a matter of deference and humility. There are more colorful expressions for it in the Common tongue, but the point of such ridiculous assertions and demands for recompense is that we accept it. These are matters of collective guilt and the Elven tradition of holding peoples as a whole and their leaders mutually responsible for their crimes. The northwest of the continent is in this sense guilty of "dark magic", lawlessness, and a lack of respect for higher order. The West has been responsible for various forces of darkness spreading over into their sovereign lands. It was inevitable that they would eventually assert themselves.

(B) Concerning the Elven Village

The Lord Chamberlain is demanding the "return" of the Elven Village, which he has framed as "rightfully" theirs and has been always. He knows this is absurd. The residents of this settlement are descended from the western elves of what is now known as the Red Forest. Their way of life has far more in common with the Ardenai or even the Sylvans than the Vaalor, and they had considerably intermixed with humans. They were the unfortunate victims of woodland fey corrupted by some ancient demonic power. These ancient druids shifted the forest out of our world, only coming back into conjunction with it briefly in rare lunar alignments. The most recent such alignment caused the wardings to fail, with the Red Forest coming to intersect our time in two places, coexisting in both its original location as well as the sovereign lands of House Vaalor.

The Vaalorian Fortress was assaulted with hordes of treekin and dire-things the same night as we were in the West. In this twisted sense they are able to claim that the Red Forest falls under their dominion, and so in turn does the choke point for accessing the mountain trail to the Elven Nations. What is left unsaid is that the reason this happened in the first place is that the Elves enabled the madman Alusius instead of controlling the process of deflecting the Elemental Confluence themselves.

It was quite obvious to those with understanding of such things that Alusius was attempting to rip open the valencial stresses of the region, and yet his only supervision was Malvernus of the Hall of Mages and a single young member of their Veythorne family. The complications of this intentional interplanar merger, when mixed with the instability of the lunar alignment, caused those druidic wardings to fail and resulted in this dangerous coexistent realm on our borders. There have been all manners of elemental chaos resulting from the Illistim botching of the Confluence affair which they have never acknowledged. Nor have we been compensated for any of the hazards.

In this way the Elves are responsible for the matter on both ends, should they wish to claim their historical rights to the ancestors of these forest dwellers. For the Vaalor to claim any such thing would require appealing to an imperial history tens of thousands of years ago when the West was under their boot heels. There is nothing special about this elven settlement in this way. The same assertion could be made for wherever there are elves west of the DragonSpine, and for all we know the provenance of these elves is truly some offshoot of the Wyrdeep. Since when do the imperial elves care so much, after all, about their low born subjugated cousins in the West?

These are all pointed arguments which would quite rightly be used to counter the Vaalorian arguments. What I must emphasize, once again, is that this does not matter. The Lord Chamberlain knows he is making absurd demands, expanding military power with one hand while the Illistim offer balms with the other. It is the whole point of this ritual that we smile and be gracious about it. It is a matter of acknowledging the supremacy of their power and their magnanimity. The Vaalor are not asking us to give them the Elven Settlement. They are telling us they will be taking it. There is nothing we can do to stop them, and they are giving us the opportunity to handle it well.

This is manifest from their still more absurd demands upon the Mayor of Icemule Trace. Icemule must compensate them for insults to an Elven delegation in the court of Vornavis by an individual who they themselves did not recognize as having the authority to speak for the town government. The price of this minor indignation is irrevocable and total freedom of Vaalorian military presence in the surrounding lands and airspace, which amounts to reducing the sovereignty of Icemule Trace to suzerainty under the dominion of House Vaalor. It is my understanding that Icemule capitulated on the spot, which makes the acquisition of this elven village a foregone conclusion.

This is a drastic expansion of power in the northwest, and the Vaalor would not be making such claims with idle intent. It transforms the elven settlement in question into a vital throttle point for the supply lines in maintaining a permanent military presence in this region. Similar scope of recompense was not demanded of ourselves for much graver injustices. The reason for this is plain. The Turamzzyrian Empire regards the Darkstone Bay region as their imperial protectorate under the auspices of Earl Jovery of Hendor who is the Northern Sentinel. House Vaalor would not make such an aggressive claim without being in a position to prosecute it. They must first fortify themselves in the West.

To put it bluntly, the Vaalor do not care about Icemule Trace, nor do they care about Wehnimer's Landing. What they care about is the strategic position of this land, perhaps the darkness which so often issues from it, and asserting a backstop on northern expansion of the Turamzzyrian Empire. They are not willing to immediately incite a Fourth Elven War over it. What is framed as an overbearing demand for compensation is, in truth, something else entirely with a completely different tone to it.

(C) What Is Truly Happening

What the Vaalor are offering us is the recognition of the Elven Nations that the whole surrounding region is our own sovereign territory. The Turamzzyrian Empire makes no such concession, claiming the right to build fortresses within a stone's throw of our walls. Were you to object that the elven settlement by Glatoph is very far from our jurisdiction, that we have no right to give away their lands to the Vaalor, you would be missing the point entirely. The Vaalor are asserting that we have such right, and are demanding we use it to give them something they are going to be seizing regardless. The price of flattering them for so generous a gift is very small indeed.

This is a critical opportunity to put a forward facing embrace on the emergence of countervailing powers in the region which will halt human imperial expansion. It will also make our region a flash point between any conflict between the two empires, in the inevitability of any scandalous affair or crime happening which inflames tensions. But we will be positioned to become power brokers, with the ability to play one off the other, and perhaps in time even use both to expel the krolvin from Glaoveln.

The reasons for the timing are surely manifold. This was first hinted at with the arrival of Elven airships to the region twenty years ago, followed shortly by the establishment of the overland trail by the sovereign monarchs. There may have been some delays owing to affairs such as the Dark Alliance, the troubles they have had with witches and liches, and the Mirror's irrationality over the West in her mourning period for her husband (of which our Mayor is only too familiar.) The matter is presumably being precipitated by the unnatural winter, which makes them wish for colonial holdings for raw resources so they can avoid becoming similarly dependent on others in the future. There is also the matter of the devastation to the northern baronies by the War of Shadows and the Desolation of Talador. The Northern Sentinel is in too weak of a position to stop them.

The Vaalor may also be instigated by the growing influence and power of the Faendryl. It was only weeks ago that the Faendryl Ambassador to the other Houses was hosted in the Alabaster Spire. Nor has it gone unnoticed that the Faendryl propaganda move of spreading knowledge of minor summoning through the sorcerer guilds has resulted in the legalization of the demonic throughout the northwest. Nor that this town has a Faendryl Mayor. Nor that the Faendryl now have Palestra for the outlands. This is something which should be simultaneously fostered. With the aid of the Faendryl we will be far better equipped to counter forces of "dark magic", as well as providing an additional wedge against the expansion of Vaalorian and Turamzzyrian imperialism. This will give us the breathing space to truly acquire sovereignty over the surrounding environs. What we should do is grant them the right to claim the Elven Village, but include some stipulation regarding unfettered access to the northern and eastern trade routes.

By my hand,

Lord Xorus Kul'shin
Advisor to Mayor Lylia Rashere
Wehnimer's Landing

(OOC Note: GM Mazreth at one point noted Xorus was "dead on" in this appraisal of the Vaalorian demand, and that he did not expect players to catch all of the political nuances involved. There is no reason the villagers could not actually be Vaalorian in descent. These events preceded the Valley of Gold summit, which formed a kind of detente between House Illistim and the Empire. Emerging from Illistim humanitarian relief for Talador. Qalinor was not thrilled. The Mirror has since been welcoming western elven migrants back into the East. Xorus uses phrases like "the Vaalor" like we would say "the Russians", when really we only mean the ruling elite in the Kremlin and their military-security apparatus. House Vaalor is an absolute monarchy. Retassal is only the chamberlain. But Qalinor was distracted with recovering the land from frost/ice, and Retassal understood what he could get away with under deferred authority. Xorus is here advocating a power play to break free from the Empire, but the town council did not cooperate, at least partly from popular opposition to treating the Elven villagers that way.)