So, I told you about Pacia last time, right? It has been so long I do not remember. Okay, then, well, we had been in Pacia a few hours. I am not sure how long it really was because I was drinking, but Bren insisted it had only been a few hours when Belore showed up. I mention him, didn’t I?
Maybe I did not mention that Belore was a foot taller and twice as round as any of us. When he was around, you knew it, and you’d end up with a crick in your neck trying to talk to him because you had to look practically straight up at the sky. Now that I think about it, the sun was right overhead at the time, so maybe it had only been an hour or two, but I can get a lot of drinking done in that time!
Anyway, Belore walks up to us, and I see the server from before is pointing at me, but before Belore can say anything, Captain calls out to him, “Hey, over here, big guy!” That got his attention! “I hear you run this place.”
Belore got right up to Captain, standing so close that you couldn’t fit a blade between them. “What is this I hear of an outsider taking advantage of this fine establishment?” he said. I sort of hit the floor. He spoke fancy like the royalty did. Turns out, he was a royal. His father was the king of Pacia: King Zaran. I wonder if Captain knew that because he pulls his official jacket out of his bag and flashes it at Belore.
“You stole that?” Belore asked him. I could tell from the look on his face that he was trying to decide if Captain was saying he was from Pent or offed a guy from there.
“We should talk,” is all Captain replied. He patted the table, and Belore shrugged. When he sat down he made the chairs look like they were for children.
“Buy me a drink,” Belore ordered, and Captain did just that, dropping a fair amount of coins on the table to show he was serious.
The two start to chat, and Captain explains that Ramoth sent him to straighten the place out. I am thinking to myself, “Is he crazy?” Like, what is he thinking? Does he expect Belore to do anything other than flatten us? But here is the catch, Captain mentions that if they do what Ramoth wants, the whole town will go under. Nobody would benefit from that. Captain explained that Ramoth is thinking he can send some men over and take over the business of the middlemen for himself. You know, they get quite the cut of what comes off the ships, but really anyone with the forces to do it could, well, do it if they are willing to step on the toes of King Zaran.
I can see Belore is thinking about it. He asks Captain if he can talk to his father about this, but Captain doesn’t like that idea. “No,” he told him firmly. “I’ve got to get back and do not have the time to hang around waiting.” I knew that was an outright lie, but Belore bought it.
“Okay,” he said. “We do not want a conflict more than we already have.” Remember that Pacia was at war with Mesu at the time. If we attacked, they would have a hard time splitting their forces. They could, but Belore didn’t know that Captain was fibbing. Belore offered to pay Captain off if he’d go back to Arden and tell Ramoth to forget about Myridian.
I should have trusted Captain was up to something right then because Captain then asked Belore something odd. He said to him, “Wouldn’t you want to never have to worry about Arden again?” I shouldn’t have been listening in, but I was. I almost spit out my drink!
“Of course!” Belore admitted. I should mention the two were really drunk by now. At least they were acting like they were. I’d seen both of them finish off a whole pitcher and be fine, but I wasn’t even sure at that point how much I had drunk!
Belore’s wife was lovely, by the way. A real gem. What? Yes, it is crucial! I mean, if I looked at her wrong, she’d probably take my heart out of my chest, but other than that: absolutely beautiful.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, “We can help one another!” Captain goes on. “If we join forces against Dione, I can guarantee Arden will become your ally.”
Now you know, and I know that Dione is mostly mountains: The Venom mountains. If I draw a picture, it will be clearer. Here:
You can see the problem. Dione was considered anything in the mountains, but there wasn’t anything clearly defining where Mesu ended, and Pacia began. There was the same problem with Arden. The Rykuo Forest made it hard to tell where one country ended, and the next began. You recall the Rykuo Forest, right? Remember that one time? Ah, I see you do! I’ll never mention that again.
Okay, getting back to it; if Arden and Pacia could work together to take over Dione, then Pacia would have two less borders to worry about. There was only one problem with that; Dione was not that inhabited. It was mostly nomadic traders who traveled between Mesu, Pacia, Arden, and Paultry. How do you start a war with people like that, and what would Ramoth think when he found out what Captain was up to? Did he already know?
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