[CANON] [RP Episode] Paitiyas


#81

”Yes, I can provide such resources. The mountains of Valkoria house a great deal of natural ores. They can be purchased from Valkorian mining companies, and shipped to Kaveh.”


#82

“And will Valkoran mining companies be able to provide the bulk we require, I wonder?” Gilgamesh lifted an eyebrow. “Certainly, given how envious you are of our technology, we may be able to assist you in further unlocking the riches of your homeland.”


#83

”The engines will be enough to power our own equipment, further speeding mining operations. We Valkorians have been digging and building for millennia past, the strength of the Diesel engines is sufficient. You can understand Gilgamesh, that the Civil War put quite a few people out of work. I am therefore forced to keep as many Valkorians in Valkoria working, instead of outsourcing.” He held up a hand. ”We can produce enough ore I think. Valkoria is not high in number of residents, but copper is cheap. Metals, are cheap. Our armies have been wearing metal for forever, and you know the number of my legions. Yes we can provide your ore.”


#84

Gilgamesh allowed a hint of cold to enter his voice. “Yet you spoke of assurances before, in case of tensions. Do not take me for a fool or an impressionable young man, Emperor. Instead, rather tell me - why should we offer those to you, give you those factories, while you would render us dependent on your good graces for those ores?” The cold deepened. “You would claim guarantees for yourself, while expecting us to be content with trust. This will not do. I won’t have it.”


#85

”Your safeguard is the profit lost when Valkorians no longer can sell you these ores. Tensions with you would cut off this spruce of revenue, and exploit the dependency upon Kaveh created BY selling ores to you on a consistent basis”

”As for thinking you a fool, you are one if you enter Allura for the first time in a decade, make an enemy of the most powerful kingdom, and demand safeguards from your former ally whom YOU are threatening. I am not the one with the power to destroy half the nation of the world, therefore you have nothing to fear.”

The Emperor’s voice settled into a low growl. ”What would you ‘have’, Shahanshah, Lord of Kaveh?”


#86

Gilgamesh shook his head. “Emperor, you misunderstand. My homeland is in ruins. The people suffer. The factories churn out goods at ever-faster rates, but it is not enough. What I would have, is the chance to help them. It is the duty a ruler has to his people. We will buy your ores and found your factories, but I still wonder what is to keep Valkora from turning its back on the Shahanshayr, as you have made it abudantly clear you do not trust us.”

“Tell me, Emperor. What do you value most in life?”


#87

Some of the tension went out of the room, draining out of it after the brief explosive outbursts from both men.

"I doubt you would trust me if the tables were reversed. However I have no desire to go to war again for sometime.”


#88

“Neither do I”, Gilgamesh noted. “But I can’t help but notice you failed to answer the question. What is it you hold above everything else?”


#89

Caesar smiled. It was not a pleasant look.

“What do you think?”


#90

Turning around, Gilgamesh ushered the dignitaries and guards he’d brought with him out of the room. “Out. I need to talk to the Emperor, privately.” He turned back to the Emperor, nodding at the Valkorans still in attendance. “If you please?”


#91

He nodded, and the Valkorian dignitaries and soldiers vanished. Caesar looked at the Shah.

“What would you have me tell you? I could spew my life secrets upon the floor for you, or give you a long and philosophical answer with a sinister meaning. What would you say I hold dearest? I have no wife, no sons, no daughters. I wage wars that kill thousands, yet mourn for 500 dead Valkorian villagers. I have a purpose, and and an intention. Both of which I intend to carry out.”


#92

Gilgamesh threw a small metal disk on the floor, and a flash of static ran over both men. “Spying countermeasure. Everything that happens within 5m stays within those 5m. No sound, waves, or anything but light carries through.”

“And do you sleep well at night?” Gilgamesh met the Emperor’s eyes. 'I have not had a decent night’s sleep since my father took me on that Mainyu-damned journey all those years ago."


#93

“I do sleep well. War is war, and people die. That is the way of the world. If I did not, I would not be waging war. Only a man with something to hide fears the night.”


#94

Gilgamesh laughed bitterly at that. “The way of the world? Every time I close my eyes, I can hear the screams. Of widows’. Of wounded men. Of mothers whose child I had shot. The pleading for mercy of men with my pistol to their forehead. Mercy that never came. The screams of my father, when he burned alive in the wreckage of his flagship. I can feel the mud squelch under my feet, sopping, ready to suck the boot right of my leg if I’m not careful. Made of blood and vomit and rotting leaves and corpses. I can feel Mainyu scratching at the back of my mind like a thick black spider, tempting me to give in to the bloodlust like I did then. I can smell the rot and the smoke and the death and despair borne on the wind. It never leaves.”

'And somehow, through it all, they stuck with me. My soldiers, the men who dirtied their swords and souls in my name. Loyalty they never gave up, no matter what it cost them in limbs and friends and children. Somehow we won an empire, and I am now expected to be a just and wise ruler. They are the only reason I would even try. They are what I love, Emperor of Valkora. And their future, their peace and prosperity, is my only concern. If only so I would never again have to ask a man to stain his spirit for my sake."


#95

Caesar relaxed slightly.

“You have been honest with me, therefore I shall be honest with you. I too care deeply for my people, as all good rulers should.”

“I am halfway through my lifespan. I don’t expect to live for all the rest of it. But when I die, I will look back and say ‘I kept my people safe’. We are not so different, you and I. I have trod more battlefields than even you, and on each one I walked away knowing that the men who died did not die in vain. Which is why now, I ensure that they at least give their lives for the furthering of their nation.”


#96

Gilgamesh breathed out, somewhat shakily. “I want this diplomacy to work, Gaius. I want this treaty to be the foundation for a strong future, one in which Kaveh and Valkora cooperate for their prosperity and their joint safety. With the two of us united, who would dare threaten? In a decade, once the Northerners return, they will find themselves faced with an impregnable wall. They would not dare to lay their hands on any of our citizens - not if to do so risks the wrath of both our nations.”


#97

”I cannot ally with you, Gilgamesh. Your nation is hated by the Danheimers, and the Keelish have no love for you. And while you may never yourself lift another finger to fight, they already have enough cause to attack you. Not so long ago, when I proposed a invasion plan to your father, he refused me, saying that a Kavehan soldier’s life came before his defense pact with me. Why should would it be different this time?”

”I can offer nothing more than a promise that when a Northern army comes south, I shall fight until I triumph or until I am destroyed.” The brief moment of cohesion slowly slipped away, as the Emperor returned to his iron mask of a face.


#98

Gilgamesh sighed. “You’re digging your own grave, then. If you choose isolation over cooperation, what is to become of your nation? You cannot fight all the world, Gaius, any more than Kaveh could.”

“But no matter. I can see I will not convince you. Let’s finalize the treaty, and hope your decision today doesn’t come back to haunt us all.”


#99

With the exchange finished, Gaius snapped his fingers, Kavehan and Valkorian dignitaries moving back into the room, feet shuffling across the pavement floor.

“Shall we sign a copy of the treaty I sent to you, or shall I have a revised version drawn up?” A scribe, sitting on a stool in the corner, held his stylus poised above the tablet, while another made ready with pen and parchement.


#100

Gilgamesh thought for a moment. 'Add in a clause about the purchase of ores. I need that source secure. Besides that, the treaty is satisfactory."