‘‘Of course.’’ Reeler replied, and got comfortable in his chair.
‘‘Of course.’’ Reeler replied, and got comfortable in his chair.
About fifteen minutes later, the door clicked open, and the Emperor of Valkoria walked in. He was wearing a brown tunic with some green leather armor over it. A grey cloak was thrown about his shoulders. He sat down quickly, after pouring himself a glass of wine.
”Kaveh is dangerous, unpredictable, ruthless…and is the only southern rival I have. However, Gilgamesh, the Shah, has spoken often of his disinterest in the north. Why should you help me, when Kaveh is no longer threatening Kleriel?”
As the emperor entered the room, Reeler swiftly sprung to his feet to bow to the approaching monarch, who passed him without much pleasantries and got straight to the point.
‘‘My kind of guy…’’ Reeler thought.
He cleared his throat and proceeded with the negotiations.
’‘It is a precaution, your imperial highness. Kaveh may have claimed it has no interest in the north… yet they attacked us. Yet they have abducted Valkorians from us. Rumour has it, Kaveh has no interest in conquest or subjugation of other nations either, and yet…’'
He left the sentence open ended for the emperor’s mind to fill in the rest by himself. The Keelish know more than was apparent…
”I trust the Shah as far as I can throw him, which is a few yards at most. I intend to…remedy the situation if it becomes necessary.” Caesar sipped his drink. ”And what of the other, Rogue nations? Would this alliance apply to Kaveh alone, or to more a widespread set of kingdoms?”
‘‘It applies to all nations. The pact would entail a semi-defencive pact between us. We are not allied however. Since there is no one in the world at this time enforcing any kind of rules of diplomacy, let us be the first. If either of us gets attacked or invaded unlawfully or without cause, or if a 3rd nation unlawfully or rogue-like intervenes or meddles in one of our conflicts, the other joins in the conflict on the fellow pact member’s side, both against the rogue and the original opposition.’’ Reeler explained while maintaining relaxed eye contact with the emperor, twiddling his thumbs idly.
”Good. And no clauses determining the circumstances under which we are required to help each other. I get attacked, you help me. You get attacked, I help you. This idea of embassies will be particularly valuable considering we now possess more advanced communication technology. But why now come to me? Your Archon could have proposed this when we were face to face, yet she waited until now. Could it be that she failed to secure Maruba, and now seeks to find allies elsewhere?” The Emperor sipped his wine again, placed it on the map, and leaned forward. ”Kleriel fears fighting alone, and has exhausted its options when it comes to Northern allies. Do I strike near the mark?”
‘‘Lyrien is at Maruba as we speak.’’ Reeler began with a quick glare at the emperor, ‘‘And this was not her idea. She is the face of the imperium, but it is mainly the magisterium who decides most things, and it is the magisterium that has come to an agreement that such an arrangement, as a backup, would be most useful in maintaining the balance of the world as it is.’’ He explained, and after a short pause, ‘‘Albeit with a few future alterations…’’ he added. ‘‘Lyrien is certain to be in full agreement.’’
”I see. Thank you for the lesson in Keelish bureaucracy. So you have the authority to sign such an agreement? And it will be honored by all the ‘Kleriel Imperium’?” Caesar was somewhat skeptical. These people were more devious than any other race he had come across, and was wary of a trap.
‘‘Yes. By all of the imperium. Keelish tend to stick to their homeland due to foreign xenophobia, and we are not inclined on embarking on individual theological crusades to butcher innocents.’’ Reeler assured him. ‘‘I do not have such an authority, but the document forging said pact i have brought with me has already been signed by our Arch Magister. Today, i come to you in a similar fashion as Valkoria used to send out explorers with already signed and stamped documentation authorising the establishment of alliances. The terms are rather simplistic for the start, but as i said, they may be altered in the future, and Kleriel is even entertaining the idea of a legitimate defensive pact with Valkoria, if all goes well.’’
”That’s very good to hear, but from what I understand, the other nations of Maruba and Danheim are on good relations with you at the moment, what with you saving them from my fleet. So why do you seek a pact with me, who was within an inch of laying waste to both of those two. Are you going to war, Reeler? No one, least of all isolationist nations such as Kleriel, seeks relations for military reasons unless they think they are going to war.” Caesar had a hardened, almost ironlike expression. ”If I sign this, would I be at war within a fortnight?”
‘‘No, because that is not how a defensive pact works.’’ Reeler replied bluntly, and almost comically at the supposed emperor’s ignorant statement.
”So you ARE going to war, and soon. And you don’t want me interfering. That’s good to hear. I don’t want to find myself in a situation such as you did with Danheim, forced to defend them in a war they started.” Caesar smiled grimly. ”In that case, I will be happy to sign such an agreement.”
Reeler narrowed his gaze at the emperor’s arrogant assumptions.
’‘We are not going to war if we can help it. And what our relations are with whom is none of your concern, neither is anything having to do with the north, specifically Danheim, for the next 10 years, if you remember? The truce is as much between you and them as it is between them and us, so it is obvious where our concerns lie.’’
Caesar frowned, but nodded. ”If you wish for no Valkorian interference in the North outside of coming to your aid, rest assured, there will be no such problems. My only interest in the North is its threat to the South, and if Kleriel is the dominant power there, I have even less interest.”
He thought for a moment. ”I will agree to your proposal. If Kleriel is attacked, or calls for help, I shall join ranks with you. If Valkoria is attacked, I expect you to do the same for me, provided I was not the cause of the conflict. Is this acceptable?”
‘‘Of course.’’ Reeler confirmed. ‘‘All though, there is another matter i was meaning to consult you about…’’
The Emperor looked at him, and leaned back in his seat, with his head slightly cocked to one side, and one eyebrow raised.
‘’… that being Valkoria’s recent breach of the treaty of Meridian.’’ Reeler concluded with his voice turning far colder than it was for the majority of the negotiations.
”Oh? Have I attacked a Northerner, or sent my army into the North, to the wails of the helpless populace?” His voice cut like a knife.
‘‘Not at all. But by venturing to Ebongrasp with your navy and army both intent on aiding the emperors against the revolution, after we agreed Valkoria would cut all ties with them…’’
”Your information is out of date, and incorrect. Why would I put them back on their thrones? They were foolish enough to anger their own people, and are dead, to boot.” Caesar snapped. ”What remains is a broken and disjointed mass which I am currently bringing under Imperial control.”