Jacek and the court came back from Pitax with dire news. It looks like war is coming, and soon. The alliance they describe includes a host of enemies, with Brevoy among their ranks. The others, the Irovetti’s hired soldiers, some band of Hill Giants, and Numerian outcasts can be dealt with, but if the Army of Brevoy comes South it will be a different story. The Brevoyans outnumber us by more than four to one, and have spent the last several centuries practicing war upon each other. What’s worse, we share something like a two hundred mile border with Brevoy. We cannot contain them, cannot bluff our way through, or easily scare off their leadership. If Brevoy attacks, there will be blood spilt on Ursundovan soil.
There is some good news. If Brevoy had decided to invade a year ago, we would have been easily defeated. We had only a handful of men at arms at that point, and most of them were among Lani’s Way Watchers. Now we have militia ready in each of our major cities and mobile forces ready to respond where needed. We will not be an easy victim of their aggression, even if we are not victorious on the field of battle. We will make any invader pay for each inch of land they take. With luck, that price will be more than they are willing to spend.
With the shadow of war descending upon us, I am ready to defend my adopted home, as are my friends and allies throughout the Kingdom. Some of us have been here from the very start, but most have come along the way, seeking out this place and its promise of a new start and a new life. I have every confidence that the citizenry will rise in defense of Ursundova in a way that the leaders of Brevoy or Pitax could never hope for. We are united by common ideals and aspirations, not borders on a map. We fight for ourselves, not entitled nobility or tyrant kings. Though outnumbered and outflanked, we will fight for homes, not coin or glory. If there is even the slimmest chance of victory, I know our people will seize it.
Unlike many of my friends, I have been to war. My time at the Worldwound showed me the fortitude required to endure constant warfare—the total commitment and depthless courage required to fight day in and day out against a foe that could not be defeated. At the Worldwound I saw men break and hopes fail. I saw what war will turn men into. Please Iomedae, do not bring that horror to Ursundova.
Jacek and the others are scheming even now on a plan that will break the enemy alliance before open war begins. If we can keep our wits about us, if we can strike at the heart of those that would sow this conflict, perhaps Ursundova can avoid the bloodshed that has cursed the many other kingdoms that have occupied the Stolen Lands before us. At this point, it seems almost too much to hope for.
Tonight I will kiss my wife and hug my child and tell them that I go to war. Iomedae bless them, they will understand. They know I would not fight unless it was necessary. They know that our cause is just.
Iomedae teaches that the only reason war is ever justified is to win peace. If we must fight, if men must die, then let it be to earn a peace that can stand for years to come. Let our neighbors understand that Ursundova stands on her own. Let them know that we will endure.