The Shady Pig. Not the most flattering of names for a tavern, but their Butter Ale runs smooth all night long. I spent some time listening to the conversations happening after the news of Zygethia & Nirath declaring war on Arkadia was announced. I have not spent much time in Arkadia, but the people seem to be rallied behind their fervent leader Duke (“King”) Raziel Alexandros Iulii of Arkadia. In fact, I was able to bear witness to a rather boisterous speech.

Friends, Arkadians, countrymen, lend me your ears!

I come to you with the gravest of news! Our former ally, Zultra of Zygethia has come with grievances against us and declared war! He has announced that King Dragor of Nirath joins him in these pursuits. Let me assure you, his claims are false baseless accusations spread by a peasant pretender with no right to call himself king. He would go to war to satisfy his own ego and bloodlust. I say ‘No!’ He accuses me of threatening his loyalists; of being a snake in the grass, a betrayer and oathbreaker. I say to you, people of Arkadia: I have broken no oaths! He accuses me of subverting his subjects? If he cannot control his own subjects what right has he to call himself a king? He is not a king! The peasant pretender wears no crown! He issues only boasts not royal edicts!

I do not seek conflict and yet this warmonger preaches conflict to satisfy his own desires, throwing not only his own nation into conflict when he is not yet a king but drawing in others into his vainglorious attempts at dominance. I say they fear us! Fear our power. Our ideals! We may not be the greatest yet but I swear before the Gods that we will rise and thrive! This conflict can only serve to make us stronger. So fear not and though I have not sought this war and if times were different I would not wish it, yet heed me subjects: If it is conflict he desires, we shall meet him!

Though, we Arkadians are no beast and we will name no man an enemy who does not so declare himself. We are confident that with time some of our aggressors will understand that sheep, even in number, can’t kill wolfs. So, to any man that has taken arms against us and now regrets it, I gladly offer total amnesty. However, those who continue to use violence to oppose my legal rights, they should receive that which they seek to give!

Let me say that Raziel can bring a room from tense whispers to a rowdy cheer of kingdom pride. I was fascinated by the approach and arguments made against Zygethia and Nirath, which were not even questioned by those who have heard these words.

First of all, the statement, “He accuses me of subverting his subjects? If he cannot control his own subjects what right has he to call himself a king?” implies that a King should rule his lands with an iron fist. Where the subjects face a severe penalty for any question to their loyalty. Control and power by fear keep the kingdom in check. Perhaps this is how Raziel plans on ruling his subjects?

I was able to speak directly with Raziel, and he was able to address this concern directly. We talked at length about what it meant to “control” one’s subjects. He suggested that it was not ruling with an iron fist, but rather giving them a reason to continue to support and follow with loyalty without caving into the promises of a new kingdom trying to grow its support. It seems that there may have been some people on the fence with Zygethia already.

I agree that Zultra is not a King by common terms, but is still considered the leader of his people by his followers, and many other kingdoms. Because of this, Raziel and Zultra are in the same boat floating in the pond of self-proclaimed “Kings”.

“I do not seek conflict… if times were different I would not wish it, yet heed me subjects: If it is [a] conflict he desires, we shall meet him! ” This portion of his speech was interesting. At the face, it was almost justifying the conflict because Zygethia and Nirath brought it to their doorstep. I hope that he is quick to negotiate a peaceful resolution, which we also talked about. Raziel doesn’t want a war that divides the people of these three kingdoms and has expressed his interest in resolving it through moderation & negotiation.

“So, to any man that has taken arms against us and now regrets it, I gladly offer total amnesty. However, those who continue to use violence to oppose my legal rights, they should receive that which they seek to give!” This was the final point that jumped to my attention. Amnesty is a kind and graceful gesture that would support a quest for a peaceful resolution but is followed by a caveat of violent reaction. When he mentioned, “Legal rights” it made me chuckle in the boisterous crowd.  Does a Duke have a legal right to commit treason against a King? Perhaps Arkadia’s structure is boldly different than other Kingdoms. It might even be the hub for the Crownlands movement. I know the Arkadian people follow Raziel because he is trying to overthrow the tyranny that currently rules Arkadia now. Perhaps this is more of a liberation, and regardless of “legal rights” liberty is still worth fighting for. I will let you decide between treason or liberty for yourself, dear reader. I hope the next time I write you, will bring good news and peace back to these lands.

Until next time,

Be Bold, Be Known.
Bradford J. Wilshire