Kingmaker

Dear Journal,

Wow. It feels like so long since I’ve been inside you…

Wait, no, control yourself Lem. You’re a dad now. You follow Iomedae. Turn down the raunch. Think pure thoughts. Start again from the beginning…

Hey Journal, long time no lines written. I mean, it’s been what, weeks? Months? Maybe less. It’s difficult to say. Sometimes it seems like everything important happens all at once. I think life is what happens in the time in-between.

So here I am Journal, sheltering under a tree-man-thing (Leilania’s new bestest friend), looking out over the Slough and wondering where we’re headed next. Jacek and Ray have teleported off to do dragon-research (a long story, don’t worry about it). That leaves the Beast, Leilania, and myself to hang out here and brave the mosquitoes.

What have we been up to? Well, over the last few days our focus has mostly been frog people. What a frog person? Generally disagreeable. But I guess they’re not entirely evil—at least not in the traditional sense of drinking baby blood or torturing disembodied souls with flaming whip-swords. I mean sure, I think they eat people if they get the chance, and they tend to fall in with the wrong crowd (usually under various types of soggy bad guys), but I’m not sure they’re beyond redemption. Probably…

You know Journal, I end up thinking about this far more often than I probably should. A few years ago, when we were just staring on this whole Kingdom-making thing, we came across a den of Kobolds. They were having some internal leadership problems, and we helped the more reasonable side prevail over the more evil side. As a reward, the Kobolds joined Ursundova. Since then, relations with the Sootscales have actually been pretty decent. As long as we keep people from bugging them, they seem perfectly content to live in their hidey hole under their own terms. We actually trade with the little buggers to both our benefits.

Similarly, when we first came across the Lizardfolk tribe in the southern Marches, I was convinced that our relations were destined straight for wartown. But instead, with a little diplomacy (and just a bit of violence), we calmed the lizard rage and negotiated a very similar deal. From what I hear, the lizardfolk hardly ever try to eat people anymore. What a world!

So is that where we’re headed with the boggards? They’re definitely a bigger community than the others we’ve brought into the fold thus far. And in a lot of ways, they don’t have the same incentive to try to make nice with us. They don’t want to trade with us. They’re not hemmed in by us (yet). And they seem way less likely to listen to reason.

So are we destined for war? If so, what kind of war would it be? Would it end with us tearing down Boggard villages? Breaking Boggard eggs? Piling up bodies to burn? Gods I hope not.

Then there’s the Tigerlords in the West. In a lot of ways we’re in the same boat with them. They fancy themselves the dominant power in the area, and are very unlikely to accept the rest of us waltzing in, throwing up our flag, and demanding they disarm. And unlike the Boggards, they’re all followers of Gorum, so they LIKE war. They could force our hands, make us destroy them, and enjoy every second of it.

The problem I keep coming back to is that war in many ways is more convenient than peace. Rather than treaties and negotiations, it would be far easier for Jacek to raise a battalion of soldiers and send Ulgar out to purge both the Boggards and the Tigerlords. It would solve the problems forever and afterwards the land would be ours without dispute. Such a campaign would probably make our people proud and put our neighbors on notice. But it’d also be wrong.

Iomedae teaches that evil must always be opposed. Her acts show that there is no greater valor than meeting an enemy in battle. But she teaches also that there is nothing more evil than life taken for personal gain. It would be easier to destroy the Boggards and rout the Tigerlords, but we must try the more difficult path first. We must try to craft peace. We will not tolerate evil, but nor should we use it as an excuse to persecute those that live differently from ourselves.

Someday, when the history of Ursundova is written, I hope they hold up our actions now as examples of how Kingdoms should be forged. And if we fail, hopefully they will still see the nobility of our failure. Better to fail in the pursuit of peace that to succeed on the path to war.

Whoa, heavy stuff journal. You’ve got to take it easy after so much time away. I think you’ve worn me out with all this, so I’m going to put you down for a while and try to get some sleep. You do the same. I love you.

Yeah…that was awkward. Oh well. That’s what happens when you get rusty.

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kitsuki Rawht

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