The moon only shows half of her face tonight, but I find her light so bright as to be blinding. Alone, I stand on the walls of Tuskendale Castle and consider the task before me. I will send men to war. There seems to be no other choice.
The Rushlight Festival ended on a high note with Ibram winning the joust (with my help as his mount). We followed the preponderance of festival-goers back to the city of Pitax, where King Irovetti seemed happy to continue the festivities with a number of after parties. For the first time in several days, I was actually having fun. Then Jacek summoned us together and everything changed.
It seems that Kifu has been able to read the thoughts of the King and has concluded that war between our nations is imminent. Kifu tells us that Irovetti has created an alliance between Numerian outcasts, Hill Giant raiders, Brevoyan nobles, and his own soldiers to launch an invasion of Ursundova. Against such a wide alliance of enemies, I fear for my people. If we had been caught unawares, surely the damage to Ursundova would have been catastrophic.
But we were not caught unaware. Thanks to Kifu’s intelligence, we have the opportunity to strike first and defuse our enemy’s intentions. Jacek and the others have agreed that it’s the Hill Giants we should go after first, as they are likely to be one of the largest threats, but also some of the easier to scatter should their leadership be destroyed. We will sally forth from here to the West to find the Hill Giants and attempt to defeat them before they ever move onto Ursundovan soil.
From there, things will become trickier. We outnumber the Pitaxians and the Numerians by a large number, but cannot hope to compete with the armies of Brevoy if they come in force. Our only hope there is to convince Brevoy that an invasion would be too costly to be worthwhile. I have told the others that I will contact house Medyed and discuss the matter with them. Hopefully Alek still remembers me fondly after all this time. Hopefully he will understand that war is not the answer. And if only his or his family’s lives can be saved, it will still be worth the trip.
I am faced with the great contradiction of war. To win a war, people must suffer. I must choose to balance the well-being of those I know against the people of a foreign nation which I know less. However, I’m sure that most of those who will go to war, who will fight and die, have done little to justify their fates. We are doing what honor tells us to do, even if honor may be wrong. So now, we must kill them and theirs to keep them from killing us and ours. It is a logic of tragedy and necessity.
For now, I’ve sent my Way Watchers west into Pitax to investigate the reports of massed armies on the other side of the border. These men are already in harm’s way, even before the first declaration of war has been made. Again, there is no choice. They do what I ask not because they have to, but because they know it must be done. My watchers know what is at stake.
I look again to the moon and wish she had some melody for me this night. But this is a somber time, and the moon has no mirth to share. Perhaps it will be different when the fighting is done. Perhaps we all will.