Kingmaker

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19 Desnan, 4712

(The previous page of the diary appears to have been removed with a sharp object)

O, Savored Sting. I thank you for kindling the flame of anger and for sharpening a spiteful tongue in my mouth. Now grant me the frigid cool of patience, that my plans may shape and form, lest my passions thwart my vengeance."

Diary, I appear to have run into a problem. It is, I fear, a problem not so much with one person or another but with humans in general. From the highest point of the government to the lowest pitchfork-wielding mob member, it seems pervasive and all-encompassing.

They fear responsibility.

As will come as no surprise to you, dear Diary, Lem manages to act as the embodiment of this tendency. At first, he seems all too ready to take responsibility: he makes proposals; he consults and builds alliances to help his causes. He is, however, afraid of the tip of the spear. Oh to have been a wasp and heard the conversations that put Dyimi on Ursundova’s modest throne! Lem has ideas, but they are dodges in two ways. First, he seeks decisions that are no decision: outright bans on logging and acquisition, paying off loggers to settle them now rather than seeking long-term solutions. I think he feels that such decisions will have fewer consequences in the long term. Here we see where humans have trouble conceiving of what “long-term” might mean. He is also afraid to take ownership of his ideas. Always it is someone else who will approve or enact. Dyimi must, of course, approve all government actions, but Lem is eager to see someone else take ownership of his ideas, a it shields him from responsibility. He pulls in Nina to coordinate our policy with the fey, even as he avoids giving aught but negative guidance. Combine this with his exasperating tendency to contravene every idea put before him and he becomes a danger to the government if he can’t find it within himself to articulate a vision that can be incorporated into the future of Ursundova.

Though I suppose I should be grateful that he, at least, articulates something. Too many of our so-called civic leaders are absolutely tongue-tied when it comes to the greater good. Most disconcerting is the tendency of both our Baron and High Priestess to give no opinion, only critique. Do they not understand that this is the easier of the ruler’s tasks? Indeed, criticism is barely a ruler’s ask at all, but a counselor’s. The nation looks to them for what is right and right, from their perspective, seems to consist of doing very little, unless it involves needling others or saving lost children. I think thy do not realize that playing for small stakes produces small nations and small nations we have aplenty in this part of the world.

Ah yes, the child. Here is where my individual observations become more general. In any Elven city, from the smallest hamlet to mighty Iobara itself, every citizen stops what they are doing if a child is lost and goes to look. If word were to reach Her Majesty, she would bend her magical powers to aid and dispatch knights. We do this because children are an especial treasure to the elves, but also because the raising and care of children is a community responsibility. My parents cared for me until I could wander out my door; however, my raising was done by virtually every adult I knew. So, when we heard that a child was gone missing, it was mightily instructive to me how the locals reacted.

They demanded the head of the Old Beldame.

What a useless, pathetic, and empty gesture. Most of our new residents are Rostlanders, who proudly claim a Taldan heritage. So far as I can tell, such heritage involves externalizing blame, critique without solution, and violence powered by ignorance. Such a heritage has produced the hodgepodge of petty tyrannies and impotent fiefdoms we have today. Every single person, to include the weeping mother and disgruntled father, should hang their head in shame when faced with the fact that it took a person half their size to suggest the idea of actually going to look for the boy. Better to decry the stranger and demand blood. On the other hand, I suspect their bravado was inversely proportional to their proximity to the Beldame’s house.

The little brat certainly led us a merry chase. I’ll accept that our pursuit of him was the result of the gods looking kindly upon us, since without the encounter with Tig’s lizardman captor; we would not have discovered that our neighbors appear to have some unpleasant plans for us. We even managed to, at last, meet with the Old Beldame, who proved a clever woman, if somewhat unsociable. On the other hand, living with such people as these might make a hermit out of me as well.

And we come full circle. Katya insists on coddling a child that ignored its parents and, according to everyone who knows him, is waiting for death to punish him for his next act of stupidity. Some children can be taught that adults set rules for a reason, while some will only learn with scars. I fear Tig is of the latter variety and our would-be mother hen priestess does him no favors in shielding him from the consequences of his idiocy. Meanwhile, Lem continues to be a contrarian over the oddest things, though I think I may grasp where the misunderstanding lay. Our would-be halfling, in hearing us discuss preparations for violence, presumed that violence was our first option in dealing with the Lizardfolk who appear to be poised to attempt to do us or other locals harm. Even as each side attempted to clarify its position, we became more rigid in our reactions, to the point that Lem was suspicious of any combat plans, and I was suspicious of Lem in general. I needlessly lost my temper and raised my voice to no good purpose. Calistria has stung me once again, driving my passions out of all proportion.

Now who is externalizing blame, eh diary? Still, the venom took hold and wounded not only me but a potential ally. My loss of temper has damaged my long-term plans and now I must effect repair.

If such stands before me, I should probably stop here. More tales to follow, I’m sure.

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kitsuki Bookkeeper

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