[Written on the eve of the War Council on the 17 Saernith]
I worry for my home.
We are at the brink of war and I am ready to serve. But even as we raise armies and position soldiers against an alliance of enemies that include monsters, scoundrels, and nation states, it is the voices of our own people that give me the greatest pause. The arguments I have heard in front of the war council advocate the ends as a justification to the means. They say better to spill a gallon of foreign blood than a single drop of our own. Even if such a one-sided fantasy of war was possible, are these really the values my Kingdom holds?
In this time of crisis, I hear criminal acts justified as right and necessary. The ask, why wait for a declaration of war or hostile act when we know that one is coming? I am told that the rule of law should be overthrown as impractical to the nation’s defense, that an offensive war is the only path to victory. That we might wait for war to come is treated as an affront to the King himself, as if any delay in the commencement of hostilities amounts to an act of sedition. They argue that a preemptive war is the only way to preserve Ursundovan lives and property. I understand their reasoning, but can not abide the conclusion it draws us to.
I do not doubt that Irovetti and his alliance intends us harm. I do not doubt that they will come to fight us and that innocent lives will be lost. But I cannot justify having Ursundova named as the aggressor in a war against our neighbors. If we were to act preemptively, we will justify every lie that has been said about us and every fear our neighbors hold. We will undermine the very moral foundation our Kingdom was built upon. And once the foundation cracks, there is no rebuilding it. Ursundova would fall before this blight upon our honor could be restored.
I argue to the others that our Kingdom’s prosperity has come from the strength of our people’s civility, loyalty, and trust. Together, we have given the River Kingdoms hope that there is a way of governance other than anarchy, cruelty, and subjugation. This is why we have been flooded with immigrants and refugees from throughout Golarion and is why we can look forwards when others can only jealously look back. This is why we must continue on the narrow path of righteousness, despite the perils it exposes us to.
I fear that it may be our own successes that have led us to the precipice. As a nation, we don’t know what it is like to lose. Our people have seen only prosperity since our founding, despite the loss of cherished friends and allies in acts of heroism along the way. Perhaps those who advocate for war see this war as but one more obstacle to be overrun in the pursuit of national pride. No one seems to seriously consider that Irovetti may be purposely goading us into attack for his own purposes. No one seems to wonder if he may have spies passing him our troop movements and exposing our plans. If we cross the border, our soldiers will be outnumbered by four to one, yet the hawks will expect nothing but certain victory. Too many on our side demand resolute action, but pray for a miracle to see it done.
I pray Jacek has the strength of heart to do the right thing, but I worry for him as well. It is in his nature to want a better future for Pitax, but I fear that he has forgotten that the future of Pitax should be in the hands of its citizens, not its tyrants or conquerors. If Irovetti is overthrown, it should be up to the people to decide their path forward. We cannot simply carve the country up like a roast turkey and pass out the scraps to those who please us. Because if we did, where would it stop? Would Mivon be next? Daggermark? Brevoy? How far could we justify the expansion of the realm over the potential threat posed by the Kingdoms that surround us? And what about the Kings that will come after Jacek? Can we say that they will be as wise? As just? As righteous? The actions we take now will be the history they study going forward.
War is coming and I am honor bound to serve. I pray that Iomedae will show me the wisdom to know which battles are justified, give me the courage to face battle when it comes, and grant the strength to stand for my convictions until that time. I worry for my home journal, but I have to believe that the Kingdom we have built and sacrificed for is stronger than this test. Despite my misgivings, I know she will not let me down.