Over a week came and went between Valdemar sending the first letter, and him receiving the reply. It was a long distance after all, even by air. During this time, he had began to receive reports of increased military activity in the capital of the kaldarossi kingdom to their west, and the day before the reply arrived, spies had revealed to him that they had joined arms with the empires of Valkor and Ebongrasp in a combined effort against the danheimers.
He had thought long about how to formulate his letter. The final edit had looked something like this:
"To His Majesty Wesley Deniro of Danheim
I am deeply saddened to gain knowledge of the state of war that has arisen between Yourself and the emperor of Valkora. I have heard their summary of this conflict, but as a tribute to the friendly relations between our countries, I hereby ask for your account of this event. I am told that your men butchered villages of valkorians. The catch with this story is that I recall asking you about the area and you responding that you didn’t raid that far away.
Another thing you ought to know is that the emperor has requested me to chose sides. Although I don’t see were Maruba enters this conflict, I would very much like to know if there is a legitimate reason as for him making these threats against my peaceful people. My people are fighters by blood, but they have witnessed great horrors in their lives, horrors that only Svetla has seen alongside them. I again ask you to give me your recollection of events, and answer, in honor of our mutual agreements over the past years, to tell me the truth.
Jarl Valdemar I of Maruba"
The reply appeared to have been written down rather hastily. It read:
"To the honored leader of Maruba,
after finding out what sort of beasts roam our world of midjord, who attacked my men first, I issued a mer bounty in the north for any one of them brought to my feet. The story of which you write was none of my doing. Four groups of mercenaries banded together and sought out the weakened valkorians for a massive bounty. They went for the source, greedy as they were, and for their greed they paid the price in their own blood. This halfbreed emperor wishes to blame all of the north and all of Danheim, for something we as a nation and as a people had nothing to do with. True, the acts were made in the mist of a nasty civil war, and their targets were amongst the civilian population, however I repeat that the radicals paid their own price in blood.
These valkorian joten halfbreeds have been waving their swords at the north and our way of life for far too long. As of now, we in Danheim intend to defend the north against this foul aggressor and anyone that wishes to see our end. I answer to fulfill our agreements in honor and duty. Kleriel and Danheim will stand with, and for Maruba, and hope for your aid in any form you can spare.
King Wesley Deniro of Danheim"
The next day, Valdemar showed the replies to the rest of the governors, and and they used that, along with the pieces of rumors and such that floated around ever since the danheimer skirmishes at the kavehan capital. It appeared clear, that Wesley had committed a mistake in giving such a vague bounty. However, they also agreed that the brutality with which these mercenaries had acted was beyond imagination, even by danheimer standards, which, let’s face it, weren’t the highest.
Hence, surely, the guilty ought to be the only to be punished? If not, then surely the valkorians were no better than the roklav peasants that had exiled half their own country, including most around that very table. No, it was clear that launching a full on invasion this quickly after the incidents in question, was a huge overreaction. Wesley was a pirate, whatever he might say about “liberating those poor jewels” from people. Yes, this was true, but he was a pirate with some class. He would impossibly have ordered this.
But what would happen if they actually went ahead and joined forces with the danheimers? He didn’t doubt that they would be victorious, at least while the keelish remained on their side, but would the kaldarossi tolerate such a thing, or were their trade connections at stake? Best to keep their flanks open, huh?
After much deliberation, during which Councilman Vitéz became ever more red underneath his famous mustache, two letters were drafted. The first one read:
"To the King of the Kingdom of Kaldaross
As you very well know, Maruba is at a high risk clash site for the Rouge War now engulfing Allura. For multiple reasons, we have permitted northern refuge in our ports for the duration of the conflict, where they are under our protection. I have also issued a message to Your ally, the emperor of Valkora, about our intension to keep the war out of the Calledian Sea, whose undisturbed business routes, I hardly need to remind you, are a major benefit for your economy, as well as it is ours. If he defies this, we will intervene with what we can. I however hope this will not need to occur.
I seek to set straight, that I under no circumstances possess ill intentions against our great neighbor in the west. Contrary, I hope that we shall remain on good terms, diplomatically as well as economically. I therefor wish to declare that the kaldarossi need not fear an invasion from the east. As a sign of my good will, I will permit a smaller kaldarossi army to reside at the outskirts of the city of Piterud for the remainder of the conflict. They shall be tended to by our hand, and if rouge danheimers attempt to exploit our hospitality to use us as a shortcut to stab Kaldaross, their fate is in your hands.
However, and heed this, IF Kaldaross issues attacks upon any maruban settlement, citizen, or property, by order from valkor or Yourself, you will be met, and this declaration will be of no value.
Jarl Valdemar I of Maruba"
While the second read:
"To the Emperor of Valkora
It saddens me to see such declarations, especially as of this economically most lucrative point in history. As much as I would agree with you on the point of the savagery in your home being unquestionably inhumane to the highest degree, I cannot openly declare against the kingdom you seek to destroy. The famines that would occur in our area if you were to succeed would lay waste to our lands, and even you couldn’t change that fact.
I wish you no harm, truly. I hope that Valkora sees no enemy in Maruba either. However, I must warn you, and make it quite clear, that the Calledian Sea is out of bounds to you, and all other southerners as of the duration of the conflict. This is due to many northern nations’ and their traders’ wishes to be spared from the effects of the war. Therefor, any attempts at entering the sea though the Neck, or either of the southern straits of Kleriel and Silvania, will be met with unrelenting force.
Neither will I tolerate hostilities in my lands, and therefor any attack upon any maruban settlement, citizen, or property, will be met, and then our fellow northerners will stand behind us. Therefor, I strongly advice you against violating these regulations.
I hope that you are as much a man of honor as I aspire to remain, and will respect our wishes.
Jarl Valdemar I of Maruba"
As such, he rolled up the scrolls, and, after sending the first one off by bird, went to find the valkorian courier, although knowing that his reply was coming later than the emperor would have anticipated.