The air was thick with tension, far too thick to be sliced by even the sharpest knife. Alderth Hold, the home of the Royal family for generation upon generation was now like a ghost town. The usually lively halls where servants moved briskly to complete their work, and visitors loitered to wait out their chance to speak to the king were vacant, and silent. King Evelier Latrieux, his son Thermon, heir to the throne, along with every advisor, and noblemen of court sat within the four walls of the counsel room, arguing over where to go with the threat of the Reynec Ambassador.
They were entering their tenth hour of debates, and so far not a single viable solution had been thought up. The majority wanted to hand the mountains over to the Reynec, if only to spare the people. Estra was behind the times, although quickly catching up, yet they were not prepared for war, nor were their allies in any way helpful in supporting them through it. Neutral in nearly all matters, Estra boasted the minimum amount of allies, most were small countries similar in nature that allowed the larger, more advanced countries to fight it out amongst themselves, offering only the smallest amount of humanitarian support when the occasion called for it, but never stepping into the fight. They had managed successfully for years to never get directly involved, but now they were being pulled into the mix through no fault of their own. Everyone agreed that it did not seem right to force the citizens, or the country itself to pay for matters that were beyond their control. The Reynec could have the gold, and they would remain out of the war, that was the general consensus, although a handful disagreed.
“They will destroy our lands! Whether we agree or not, they’ll ruin everything. We’ll be invaded under the guise of alliance. Their armies will sweep in, take all that we have to offer, and leave us with nothing.” It was the prince himself who cried out these words, already disbelieving so many were willing to sacrifice their lands in the belief it was for the greater good. “Do you honestly believe Reynec will stick to just the mountains? It will start off that way, but then they’ll start branching out, stealing citizens to slave away for them rather than use their own men that they would be forced to pay. Then they’ll be demanding we feed and house their people, forcing us to destroy more of our lands in order to build for them. If we agree to this, we might as well just sign the damn country over!”
The discussion continued for several more hours, each man in the room growing bothered and annoyed with the lack of progress. The tension had reached its pinnacle, at the 15th hour, but then a voice of reason spoke, the voice becoming the knife that finally sliced through the tension, offering a sliver of hope if the men only grabbed onto it.
Seden Montre, the king’s most loyal advisor had the floor, now making a proposal he believed no one could find fault with. “The Reynec cannot be trusted, I believe we can all agree on that.” There was a muttering of disgruntled voices following the statement, but they were quickly silenced to hear the man out. “However, as the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This was met with silence, and slowly a collective understanding among the group.
“Are you suggesting we ally ourselves with Kantrias?” Thermon spoke with an awed tone. “But we would….”
“Yes, we would be pulled into the war regardless, but, we would have allies that were a match at our sides. The Kantrias would respect our wishes should we ally ourselves with them. If we offer them what the Reynec are seeking, I have no doubts that they would be more than willing to aid us. They are not as hungry as the Reynec, nor have they come to us threateningly to get what they desire. If the Reynec want the mountains, I have no doubts the Kantrias will want them as well.”
The tension in the room swelled once more, each member of the counsel silent, only the king himself dared to speak. “It cannot hurt. Kantrias has ignored us, only seeking aid when absolutely necessary, and never with threats. They would have just as much to gain from this as we would.” Evelier could see no way around avoiding the situation altogether, and he was wise enough to know that there was no way that would be possible. His only hope was to find a solution that would lead to the least amount of disturbance to his lands and his people.
Murmuring began to fill the room, each man whispering to his neighbor, now in a more positive manner than before. “So it is agreed?”
It was agreed, and before the night was through, an emissary was sent out to Kantrias, entrusted with a single letter requesting a conference between the two monarchs, veiled beneath an inquiry of a possible arrangement between the two countries, a joining of sorts that could be in no way connected to the threats of the Reynec. The proposal was simple enough, although negations into the matter would be far more complicated. Evelier Latrieux offered up a simple solution, a pairing to symbolize the possible alliance he was hoping to obtain. The king offered up his only daughter, in hopes of obtaining an alliance that would be far more beneficial to the people of Estra.