There was a current of fear and uncertainty in the Halls of the HighLord.

A gauntlet had been thrown down, and it threatened to derail all that we had worked for to this point.

A silly thing, really, but it’s amazing how sometimes the silliest little things can have consequences that echo through the ages.

So it was with the settlement on Imp Island.

Imp Isle Map

Imp Island is a less-than-impressive spit of land. A mere speck off the coast of the main island, but blessed with year round good weather, being sheltered from nearly all storms by the protection offered by Thunder Bay (which, I assume, is named as it is to be a joke – like calling a towering giant ‘Tiny,’ because I’ve never seen more than the occasional light rain fall across Thunder Bay).

In any case, the trouble started when Bezi the Dwarf sought to expand his holdings, and cast his eye toward the tiny, sheltered island.

“Fine.” The HighLord told him with barely a thought.

No Lord in all of Illyriad had laid a sovereign claim to the island, and as far as we were concerned, it was ripe for the taking if we wanted it.

So it was that settlers were sent, and industrious Dwarven craftsmen began unloading and duly building a new settlement there.

A representative of Lord Poeme, speaking from the city of Kryptonopolis disagreed, and petitioned to his HighLord (ruler of a vast collection of far flung city states with many, many times our scant population and manpower), and made an issue of it.

Per their charter, he claimed the land belonged rightfully to him (informal 10-tile Illy convention), and he expressed his desire to eventually build a settlement there himself.

War was actually threatened over this tiny speck of green in an otherwise sparkling blue bay, and let us be frank about the matter, this was a contest we could not win, a fact we knew full well, which was the reason for the aforementioned current of tension and fear.

“They say war will come if we don’t remove the settlement.” Timrath told the assembled Council. “I should say that’s fairly unequivocal.”

“Agreed.” Velociryx said with his hands on his head. “Not much wiggle room there.”

He blew out a frustrated breath. “We can’t just cave though, you know? What kind of signal would that send?”

“Well,” Timrath offered, “We could still force the issue then…if they want it gone that badly, let them take it. We can’t expect that anybody would come to our aid, and we would surely lose the contest, but they would not erase us for that one little island, and it would give them a diplomatic black eye to the rest of the world.”

And that was likely true…a Titan picking on a small child. Still…how much pain could we endure if we chose that path? We were as yet still young and fragile. Too much pressure applied could shatter us completely. A frightening thought.

“What if we offer to sell the settlement? Then, everybody has a graceful exit, right? We get to claim we weren’t chased off, and they get what they want.”

“I already approached them with that.” Machete said, slamming a massive fist onto the oaken table. “They said since it was rightfully theirs, any offer to sell it to them amounted to extortion.”

“Not really…we’re offering to sell them the labor that went into creating the village…not the land, and they had nothing to do with the labor.”

“They disagree.”

“Well then, what can I say but that some people have a funny way of looking at the world, you know? Okay…selling it’s off the table. Other options?”

No one spoke.

“Come on, People! We either cower before them and do as they demand, or make them take it from us and get a bloody nose–in the very best case– for it. It falls to us to figure out a way to handle this…preferably one that doesn’t involve thousands of deaths over what should be an insignificant speck of land.”

Something about that statement did it. Like pulling a lever, suddenly everyone had something to say, and the debate raged long into the night, and into the next day…

OoO

In the end, what was settled on was an idea brought to the table by two of the fairer folk among us…working with heads together and speaking in low whispers, Sidhe and Kleodora drafted the beginnings of the plan we ultimately used.

“What if we agree to remove the settlement but make an amendment to our Charter, holding their alliance–and only their alliance–to the same territorial standard as they hold the rest of the world, and to the rest of the world, we’ll continue to use our, “claim sov or you don’t own it” paradigm?”

Several sets of eyes poured over maps of the region. “Well…if Lord Poeme’s HighLord will go for it, then Poeme’s own expansion plans would have to be shelved…if he has a valid claim on it, then so do our cities of Bounty and Dented…conflicting claims cancel and it’s a no man’s land.”

The question was…would they accept those terms.

No one wanted to pick the messenger to ride to the city of Kryptonopolis to find out, because no one wanted to (potentially) sign the poor man’s death warrant.

Ultimately, Velociryx sent one of his own riders with the proposed settlement, and every Lord in the Council Chamber waited on pins and needles to hear back.

Velociryx gave everyone apartments in the Main Hall to accomodate them for an extended stay, as no one was interested in leaving before understanding what would become of us.

In six days time, we had our answer, when the messenger burst back into the Hall, alive and well and waving a scroll case in his upraised right hand. “They said yes! I have the agreement in writing here!”

“So, crisis averted then? They agree to abide by the same restrictions they’re holding us to?”

“Indeed so! I have a signed charter from their HighLord himself, stating as much!”

The whole room breathed a sigh of relief, and the current that had kept everyone keyed up for days on end, died as quickly as it had been generated.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was as big a win as could be expected under the circumstances, and certainly better than many of the alternatives we had been dreading, and it earned Ladies Kleodora and Sidhe a standing ovation, and the two beauties, already with no shortage of admirers, got several invitations to the upcoming Christmas Ball on the spot.

As for me, as soon as I had filed the new treaty away and made the appropriate changes to our Charter, I cornered our HighLord to get his read on things.

“I wish we could have kept the settlement.” He told me plainly. “It’s not that this is a bad deal, because it isn’t, and it’s a lot better than we could have been facing if the answer had gone some other direction, but long term, this is going to come up again…it closes off too much of Devil’s Island…turns too much of it into an outright dead zone. Eventually, we’ll have to address that.”

“Eventually.” I told him. “As in…not right now….as in, not before the Christmas Ball.”

He smiled at that and nodded. “Quite so. Definitely not before the Christmas Ball, and in truth, this agreement can see us through for quite some time, but the day will come when we’ll need to circle back to this….just understand that it’s out there…somewhere on the horizon.”

“Understood.” I told him, glad that he was pleased, and grateful that with this event behind us, attention could now turn toward planning this year’s Christmas Ball.

With so many trials and tribulations faced so far, spirits were flagging. Indeed, Calimba sat like an open sore and took all the joy from the Feast of Thanksgiving, but now…with something we could call a diplomatic win under our belts, and with Calimba slowly recovering from her many wounds, the Christmas Ball was suddenly looking fine indeed.

~Scribe

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