|Favorite Wonder:||Crown of Akharien|
"Is it done?"
Sammuel offered only a painted shell as proof. He wasn't the most talented of Valledia's wizards, but skilled enough in the magic of the mind and soul to do what was required, and particuarly unhindered by morals that can conflict with such a task.
Valledia nodded and excused the wizard from the chamber, he bowed and slunk out, seeming a jackal to her eyes. But she was no better, her hands were just as bloody for ordering him to the task as he was for completing it. She sat and considered this while she waited for the Caswallawn to arrive. He was ever late, and as undisciplined as he was talented. When finally he arrived he was rushed, as people who cannot keep time always are.
"You have released Sammuel from the prisons? He was convicted of unapproved necromancy, of sustaining a creature's life past natural means!"
Valledia didn't answer.
"He should have been killed for his experimentation, there is no balance in what he was doing, he threatens to incur the wrath of the gods on all of us. First you order him spared, now you let him go. What were you thinking?"
"Incur the wrath of the gods?"
She knew Dain wasn't religious, he had been listening to the priests ramble on. He started again.
"He broke the law, why shouldn't it apply to him? What is special about this man that he should flaunt our restrictions while others are punished justly for them?"
"His life is mine to give or take, as is your counsel. Go on to other topics, you won't receive anything that will satisfy you with this one."
Dain began to argue back, but he sensed a gravity in her that he didn't understand. She wouldn't be moved on this matter, and Valledia had her reasons even if she wouldn't share them. She was as stubborn and logical a creature as he had ever met.
"Fine, to this truce then. The priests say that the Elohim are withdrawing from their war with the Infernals."
"The Infernals are not as weak as some suppose, if they are agreeing to peace with the Elohim then it is only because they wish to carry on battle somewhere else. The Elohim are a powerful force and they must see easier targets to feed upon, the Bannor, the Lanun or us."
Valledia waited to see if he would continue with his logic, but for all of his arcane skill he had a disappointing inability to anticipate the future.
"The priests are right, at least on this, the Elohim have already agreed to peace. What would you have me do about it?"
"We need to go to Cahir Abbey and meet with Einion, to talk him into resuming this war."
"Do you think that we could convince Einion to go back on his word? To forfeit a signed deal because if he doesn't sacrifice Elohim lives we might have to sacrifice Amurite ones? Or do you think that even attempting to do that will not only fail but draw the Infernals wrath at our attempt, and we will have the war you fear so much."
Dain began pacing. Although shortsighted at times he was an Amurite and once presented with a logical arguement he would consider it carefully. He reached out to a burning brazier that hung in the chamber and his finger cut the smoke into twin plumes. At Dain's silent command the smoke gathered and formed itself into two images, one of Hyborem and the other of Einion. He studied both of them, looking for some sign of their nature in the fabricated images. He spoke slowly as he thought through each statement, trying to see if there was anyway to work around it and finding himself trapped by them.
"Einion won't break his truce. Hyborem will attack another civilization. If that civilization is us, we will likely die. Do we have something Hyborem wants, something we could trade for peace if we needed it?"
"What would a demon want except to kill?"
"Is there a reason you suspect that he will attack the Lanun or the Bannor instead of us?"
"No, like most predators he will go after the weakest of his targets, that is us. Ready your wizards for war, it will come to us. Slip the firebows from the coastal borders to those we share with the Infernals."
Dain nodded, understanding the situation. Understanding that diplomacy was lost, he turned hs mind to war.
"I will begin to train adepts to sanctify the land, no doubt we will be facing the taint. We may want to consider a show of support for the Order, they could be strong allies soon."
"You are right, I will handle the Order, stay to your mages."
"I should go, I have much to do."
Valledia noded and Dain turned to leave. She stopped him before he left the chamber.
"Dain, I have forseen this war and moved to save us from it. Though the night will be long, morning will come. The Elohim will rejoin the war, as they have borne a great enmity against the Infernals and wont be able to watch us fall to them. When the Infernals have taken our border cities and march toward our capitals we will go to them, talk of those we have lost, and they will break their truce and join us."
"They bear no love for us. Their hated for the Infernals must be greater than I imagined."
Valledia only nodded.