Kingmaker

Lem vs. Introspection - Round 9

Lem vs. Responsibility

Dear Journal,

You know, it’s surprisingly hard to be upstanding. It involves a lot of actual standing, quite a bit of shouting, and a little bit of making as ass out of yourself. In my experience you’ll say what you mean to say, people will tell you that you’re wrong, and then somehow you have to convince them that you’re not. More often than not that doesn’t work, and then you just have to convince them that you’re not going to change your mind and that they had better learn to live with it. And then you feel like as ass again, because people start vocally doubting your intelligence in front of everyone else. That’s not great fun.

Such was the case with a recent ‘crisis’, so named with quotes only because we allowed ourselves to be so rattled by it. Just after Sasha’s funeral, the whole of the baronial council decided that a fat man with a loud mouth was Ursandova’s public enemy number one. This swollen idiot—Grigori was his name—was just spouting his own version of the truth of Ursandova, loudly and to whomever would listen. Of course, this would not do, we were too fragile, too vulnerable. People might listen to him! We were suddenly on the verge of political collapse!

Our newest import—the elf Variel—believed that the proper response to this crisis was to throw the poor fool in jail on some set of trumped up charges. Several of the council was inclined to agree with him, or at least not to argue. Sedition was a crime, right? We can kill people for that if we want to, right? It was left to me to raise a ruckus, throw on the brakes, and try to keep a level head.

Hah. Me and a level head. I’m not sure my head is suited to geometry of that sort.

Anyway, my dad always told me that, “Doing what’s right ain’t always easy, and doing what’s easy ain’t always right.” He forgot to mention the corollary to that adage, that probably should have gone something like, “But don’t worry about it, because no one will ever agree on what’s right anyway and all you’ll ever do is argue with each other until someone gives up.” That’s sorta where I am right now, wondering if Sasha’s high-minded ideals can survive without Sasha to argue for them. Don’t get me wrong, Dyimi’s a great little guy, but he’s not a statesman. I’m not sure he cares what the constitution says…I’m not even sure he’s even read it. On Sasha’s death, he went ahead and swore fealty to the Swordlords of Brevoy, a savvy political move, but hardly the act of an idealist. We’re all counting on the Swordlords’ mutual distrust of one another to keep the lords of the North in check, but if one of them showed up tomorrow and told Dyimi he had to bequeath the country back to their noble house, he’d sorta be obligated to do it. Good-bye Ursandova.

Again, this isn’t Dyimi’s fault, it’s just who he is and how is order works. He’s still the best choice for Baron. At least he can orate.

I can’t say the same for Katya. She’s really trying her best, but Sasha’s death has taken a big bite out of her. She spends a lot of time nowadays staring into space and looking sad. As good as she is, she’s really not up to running this place, standing up to people, or making tough decisions. Oh, and I’m sure Katya hasn’t read the constitution—I’m not sure she thinks it’s her place.

Now our friend Variel may have read the constitution…which is worrisome, for all the reasons that I’ve been worried about the constitution in the first place. Variel is a utilitarian from the ground up, which has been good for the treasury. But what I’m worried about is that utilitarianism may be bad for the country as a whole…or at least bad for my version of the country. I’m pretty sure that Variel doesn’t care if what we do is right or wrong, he only cares if it works, i.e. avoids war, raises revenue, and keeps the people pacified. If sacrificing babies to Asmodeus filled the treasury, I’m pretty sure Variel would be for it. Hells, he’d probably find a way to maximize our rate of return.

The real problem I’m having is that Sasha won me over with his ideal of this perfect country we were going to build together…and now I’m stuck with it. After spending months trying to convince him he was crazy, I feel like I’m now the only one who’s left to stand up for his ideals. It’s a lonely place to be in.

And now things are going to get even more difficult. There’s more people pouring in every day, people who don’t know who Sasha was or why he was important, people who don’t know what he wanted or don’t care. I have to defend what Sasha built, because Ursandova deserves it.

For now I guess I’m managing…sort of…I guess. I somehow convinced everyone that arresting (and/or murdering) the local loudmouth for speaking his mind wasn’t a good idea. Instead, Dyimi faced him off against him in a public debate and managed to talk the poor sod into the ground. Crisis averted, for the moment at least. I’m not so sure about the next one or the one after that.

Journal, someday I’m sure I’ll look back at this entry and laugh, because all my worries were so absurd…because everything turned out as it was meant to.

Or maybe they’ll hang me from the castle Sasha built.

That’ll be fun.

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