[CANON][RP Episode] No middle men


#21

What you need to understand, dear archon, is that the people here would have me lynched rather than accept the status of protectorate. It would be a contradiction of our very own migilancy, our founding document! It is the opening line in fact! Never, it says, until the sun sets east, and all and every breath has ceased, shall shake the pillars states are on, our sovereignty infringe upon. All children learn that the very first month of school, dear archon.” The jarl looked at the archon bitterly. “My job is to serve my people, for better or for worse. Would we be better off as your protectorate? Perhaps. But would the people accept it? That is not a even question worth an answer. I understand if you believe me to be an idealist of sorts at this stage, archon Lyrien, but allow me to make a proposal to counter your own. I believe it ought to satisfy us both.


#22

''You do not see it, do you, Jarl? Let me explain how exactly this would benefit you.

With Kleriel charging every vessel passage entry to the Calledian, any goods exported or imported would cost MORE on whichever market they were sold. The merchants would raise prices to make up for the extra costs of getting their goods where they wanted them to be. Everyone would have to mark up their prices… except Maruban merchants. This means that for the same goods, other merchants would have to charge more money than Marubans would to make a profit, which means Marubans will have the lowest prices, and they would annihilate all competition just like that. Marubans would dominate the northern markets, and your profits could as well double, i dare say. And Maruba could continue to exploit their situation guilt free, because it would not be a toll nor tariff imposed by you, but by a 3rd party.

The only thing that we ask in return is a cut of those profits, as i said, not more than 10% after we rebuild our fleet, which would not even cost you a fraction of your newfound incomes. On top of which, we would take Maruba under our wing so nobody could touch you. We would both profit from this immensely! You would not forfeit your sovereignty. Their own Jarl would still rule the lands, their own laws would govern them, and the only Keelish troops the population would have to face are the few outposts in your borderlands, flapping our banner around to remind everyone who would come close who they would have to deal with if they were to make an attempt on Maruba, and a minor garrison in your city, possibly within the same building as the embassy.

Your people would quickly learn to like their position when Maruba will want for nothing. We are not here to occupy you, Jarl.’’ Lyrien continued to stress enthusiastically, with a glare of hope still shining in her eyes.


#23

Not stressing his proposal for the time being, he went on to asking counter questions. ”It seems a poor deal for Kleriel of the only country service Maruba offers is 10% of the tax increase. How would Kleriel benefit from the protectorate relationship, seeing as it won’t be an economical surge?


#24

‘‘We will charge you 20% until our fleet is repaired, then 10%. As your profits increase, so will ours. It is a long time investment with significant payouts for both our nations, on everyone else’s expense. Eventually, as your economy grows and trade prospers, paying us 10% of your tax income will be the same amount of money in 10 years, as 20% is today.’’


#25

Be that as it may, even toying with the Idea, won’t your costs outnumber your gains widely?


#26

‘‘It will cost me nothing to sign a piece of parchment.’’ she replied almost before Valdemar had finished his sentence.


#27

If that is your sentiment,” Valdemar said, clearly uncontent with being interrupted, ”then I hardly see the point of doing this protectorate business at all. We are as we speak training a new military division in Piterud which are to be deployable into service within a year. If this war has brought along any usefulness amongst all misery, it has been our waking call of that peace requires more of is than pretty words. That will shortly mend our defensive incapabilitiy.” The keelish stared at Valdemar, her face as blank and unreadable as marble. Valdemar frowned slightly, then went on to explain a bit further.

You will be aware I trust, of my unwillingness of an increase in our military department, even during the weeks during which the Rogue War lasted. What the valkorian emperor has taught me through his condecending letters both before and since however, is that if peace is to be held, force can sometimes be a required toom to keep prying forces at bay! However,” he kept on going, still looking for a reaction to show in his guest’s features, ”this step will remove the necessity for protectorate status, as I am sure you too will understand. The government was as late as the day before yesterday in unison regarding that the way forward for our state. That is, we have agreed to spend more on our military! That is right archon! You came for a protege and you may peace with an ally! That is how we solve our differings in desires! If you were to let me, I would be more than happy to tell you how we would imagine this to work! May I?


#28

Lyrien stared at Valdemar for a moment, bemused. She didn’t care about much else at that point as he had already given her his answer. That being a no. She would just toll Maruba the same as any other nation.

What a shame it would be if the toll would be such a strain on Maruba that it couldnt afford a military at all…

She though as she clenched her teeth for having to come all the way over here for Valdemar to deny her and to brag about a new catapult design. Or… thats what she thought anyways.

‘‘Let’s hear it…’’ she finally outed with a sigh.


#29

Dear Lyrien, I wish not for you to have come all this way in vain. Therefor I will grant you the wishes you held in regards to us aiding the repair of your fleet. It is only fair, given that the vessels in question were lost protecting us amongst others. Further payments of the sort you imagined, given that Maruban vessels remain untaxed, are within the bounds of imagination as well. That we can discuss in the morrow. However, as Maruba do not – and never will – accept being lowered into a protectorate, I have asked you here in fact to propose an alliance between the Calledian nations of North Vallenora and yourself. Before you decline, I would argue that it would bring out more wealth for Kleriel. You would need not dispatch men or resources for our border protection in times of peace, and given our new military aims, soon you will get a friend to hold your back whenever you are in need of it. As for us, we leap a minor risk while our wider forces are trained in the west, and we must finance our own defense.

That being said, we sacrifice a piece of the resources we obtain through this relationship in order to hold onto our own ways, but that is a price the entire council is willing to pay. I have asked Virion of Lásenor to meet with us here tomorrow, as a representative of the White Mountain region. What say you? The Northern Alliance may still come into existence…

He sat there as the carriage took them ever more uphill, and calm settled over him. The anxiety left his body. All that remained was her answer.


#30

‘‘You would give us funds on your own accord? Since you were in denial of being part of the war, i was expecting you were going to deny having anything to do with its expenses as well.’’ Lyrien replied somewhat modestly when Valdemar surprised her with his generous counter offer, ‘‘It appears i was wrong. I apologise.’’ she said, with a respectful bow of her head, ‘‘An alliance in the north you say? Like the one envisioned by old Roklavia? That is something we would be interested in. However, as i am sure you are aware, Kleriel is forbidden to forge any pacts or alliances with Danheim after the war.’’


#31

That could be worked around, could it not?” Valdemar said, obviously relieved at the positive tone of the keelish. ”For starters, the realm of king Wesley is located outsider the Calledian, meaning that we could rebrand into a Calledian Alliance rather than a purely northern one. Furthermore, we I could forge a treaty with him, where he is permitted lowered, or completely removed, tolls for his merchants, in exchange for a ban on raiding the membrer states of the alliance.

The carriage was slowing down now and outside in the dark, grey evening, a large shadow loomed over them. ”This suggestion may even have multiple uses,” he said, pondering, ”as it incorporates the danheimers into the north, without I should add, strictly speaking allying with them, which means that should they ever feel retaliation again, we will not be bound to rum to their aid. What I hope this will do in the long run is to make Wesley think twice about what state he raids. By making the merchants a better way of earning gold, perhaps we will even achieve a Danheim which is not based upon the concept of raiding?


#32

‘‘You are saying Danheim raided you?’’ Lyrien asked.


#33

Of course not, my dear Lyrien! I am lucky enough to have my state spared since the founding day, but this pact is one he will likely accept and as such it will be a lucrative bait to get danheimer goods onto our markets, they are an important gold source here in our ports!


#34

Lyrien’s took a deep breath before speaking in a stern voice.
’‘Danheim owes us, just like you do, for our aid. They are free to pay our toll as a means of giving back to us. Maruban merchants can sail to Danheim, buy the goods you need, and import them, you do not need Danheim to do that. Come to think of it, any goods you may find in Danheim, you can also find in Kleriel. We share the landmass and all its splendour. Danheim was devestated in the last war, with their fleet destroyed and city bombed, they would be foolish to try that again. If they do, then we have ourselves our own opportunity to remind them what happens as a consequence. I will not be threatened, Jarl.’’


#35

No threats intended!” the Jarl chuckled. ”Come now, and I skall escort you to your rooms!” Indeed the carriage had halted, and a redclad servant had opened the door on Lyrien’s side. ”Once you are settled in, you are welcome down to the dining hall for a splendour of a dinner! Tomorrow we can decide what to do with Danheim!


#36

Ara, her lord protector, stepped out of the carriage first, and awaited her to do the same.

‘‘Dinner? Tommorow? … oh no… not more courtly formalities…’’ Lyrien whaled in her mind because she would really rather be back home.

‘‘Ahem…’’ coughed Ara, beckoning her to follow through, ‘‘Your grace.’’ he said while offering her a hand, which she promptly took and graciously stepped down from the carriage and back out in to that awful weather.

‘‘Why thank you. Lead the way.’’ Lyrien said to Valdemar.


#37

The morning after dawned bright and cold. The storm of the previous day had passed and all that hinted its mere existence were the wet grounds and the droplets sitting on needles in the coniferous greenery of the late autumn, which refracted the light of daybreak, serving into a truly splendid sight. Smoke rose from the many chimneys of the capital, whose houses were but dark silhouettes in the valley. Beyond the outer walls, the first shit was making port. The green flags spoke of lexiner origin.

In Fehérvár upon Mt. Nedeves, in the East Wing, a servant walked the length of the corridor, knocking on the doors housing keelish. To his surprise the room of the archon opened immediately. She appeared to have been up prior to the waking call, for after her guard stepped back from the doorframe, she exited the room fully dressed. Once the servant was sure of that everyone who out to be coming was out, he showed the party to a spiral staircase, carved into the very mountain itself. Scaling it, they came onto a landing, from which a corridor, with bare stone walls led off. The ceiling on the other hand was high, and the torches on the wall illuminated the scene well. At the end of the corridor, a fine door stood ajar. By the door stood two red clad guards with daggers in their hilts.

Bowing his head in respect, the servant stepped aside, and the guard to the right opened the door for them to enter. Inside was another room which appeared to have been carved out of the very mountain itself. On the opposite wall, one could see the city through an opening in the rock, giving the observer a panorama view. In the center of the room, or chamber more like, stood a long wooden table, on which clutters of parchments, maps, and quills lay. Around it sat four people.

One was immediately recognizable as the jarl, beside whom sat a man the keelish recognized as councilman Bogdán, who’d accompanied the maruban party to the tournament of Roklavia. The other two they had never met. On Bogdán’s right sat a man with an impressive white mustache. He was fingering a coin in his hand, and looked a bit nervous. On the left of the jarl sat a stern-looking woman with dark brown hair that was tied up in a firm knot upon her head. She wore her hair along with a pretty face, but one which at present looked grim. Now the keelish had adjusted to the light, they could also see a fifth person seated at the table. A young man with brown hair, a bow leaning against the table by his side. This, they knew, was Virion of Lásenor.

The party was greeted by the jarl and Virion, before they too took seat. The mustache ornamented man turned out to be János Vitéz, the head of the Department of Defense. Meanwhile, the woman was introduced as Elena Fernyák of the Department of Economics. “I hope you don’t mind us starting in the early hours,” Valdemar spoke. “We have a lot to get through, much to settle, and meetings of this kind are usually not the most enjoyable ways to spend one’s day. The cooks are preparing breakfast for us to be delivered and consumed right here, as we speak. For the sake of effectivity, you know!” He rubbed his hands together. “So it begins!


#38

Lyrien sat a chair apart from Virion, on the left hand side of the Jarl. Between him and her sat her steward who she had brought along as an adviser. Ara, her lord protector, had not taken a seat yet. He stood behind Lyrien with his left hand on his katana, holstered on his left side, and was eyeing the man with the bow, Virion. He then spoke to the party in a stern voice.

‘‘I would ask you ladies and gentlemen to remove any weaponry from the table, and keep them at the edges of the room, where the guard stand.’’


#39

Very well then,” Valdemar gestured towards the crowd, ”yes you too, sir Virion! Dominik will no doubt handle it with great care!” Virion eyed the guard nearest him with s glimt of distrust for a second, but then nodded, and handed the wood over.


#40

Ara then too retreated to the side of the room and gave his sword to one of his own before taking a seat beside Lyrien. With the Archon satisfied and somewhat safer, she nodded towards Valdemar with approval and awaited the details he would lay upon them.