To my heroes,
It has been far too long since last we met, and I must apologize. Please allow me to offer an explanation, though I pray it does not sound as an excuse. After the Chancellor fell and the Emperor was taken to chains that fateful night; And when the battle which took to Travance ended and the armies withdrew from their fronts: the map lines were drawn. The Empire was in the process of licking its wounds, concocting new plots and maneuvers of ill design to retrieve their leader from the clutches of the Kingdom. This was presently known within Alleander and I, among others, were tasked with putting in fail safes to hinder and anticipate this looming threat. Imagine our surprise when the Duke himself was freed by his own machinations, and in the process ensuring our protector and leader was plunged into a seemingly never ending slumber. This upset of status quo threw both the Empire and Kingdom to relative chaos as they both scrambled for the next move, and how to anticipate the other. I won't bore you with the details of it, but let it be known that the fine people of the Kingdom of Kormyre worked tirelessly for months, and more than ever risked it all to gain insight on the enemies current path.
And yet, there was no counter-attack, no second invasion, no reigniting of the flames of our peoples in the bitter and brutal war in which we had just engaged. It seemed that peace had come between us, however dour and unfavorable it was received by both sides. The Empire moved their gaze towards Gaaldron, the cliff between our Kingdom and their Empire and the recent wound they had just recovered from still smarting with fresh memory. As it stands now, reports are that they are making plans to overtake Gaaldron's land for their own, and while there is not much I can say for fear of secrecy or misinformation, I will assure you all that the Kingdom is ensuring their watchful eye is upon the Empire at all times.
However, all this has not stopped the dealings we undergo with the Empire. Reports of scouting parties viewing each other from afar in broad daylight, forever waiting for the other to make the first move across the border. Dissent of civilians in their current status and location, attempting travel and to exchange citizenship either by legal argument or by dark cover of night. And, our current most pressing matter, the exchange of those imprisoned or otherwise deposed within the confines and borders of the opposing camps. I will not lie and claim us with great innocence. When the fighting stopped, the enemy which we had surrounded gave up their arms, and currently reside within our dungeons. My personal and long time ally, Naz'un Fraon has assured me that the prisoners of our war are not being mistreated by any means, though we are doing our best to ensure an uprising does not occur amongst them. I write with extreme sorrow: All of our offerings for prisoner exchange have fallen on deaf ears, receiving at best no response, and at worst disdainful glances(according to messenger reports).
However, recently an offer from the Empire itself has been delivered directly to our doorstep. In a normal case, we would respond in kind, as we have been expecting ransom for ransom, an exchange of soldiers. Yet, this is not so. The letter, which I have transcribed below, demands no prisoners of our own but land for the lives of our people. We are currently debating that which they request, wooded land just south of Wolfhaven. They have, offered many lives for this plot of land.
This negotiation I defer to you, my friends. I will be present and will lend ear to all voices, offering any aid or insight I can based upon inquiry. But I, and others, believe it is only right that those who put a stop to the Empire be those who meet them in this regard. Pray, make preparations. I will send messengers here to deliver and return any questions you may have and answers you require.
Lastly, let me make one thing extremely clear: According to our estimates, the Empire holds upwards of 2,000 of our people in chains. Reports claim around half of those are civilians. Since the war ended, our numbers have been counted as us having 3,407 soldiers of the Empire in our dungeons, all of which are soldiers. Any who did not take up arms against our kingdom have already been released to the Empire, or given new homes here if they have been proven to be defectors. The enemy is not being forthright with their dealings, despite our many offers of exchanging all for all.
Forever in your debt and service,
Councilor Elijah Crowley
Transcribed from the office of Councilor Crowley.
"Attention Fiends, Belied Countrymen, and Followers of the Usurper,
Though our borders remain without blood, our memory has not vanished of the atrocities committed by your country. We have not forgotten the honor that swelled in our hearts as we stood proudly with the Emperor against your onslaught. And we now remind you of your failure to entrap his most Esteemed Majesty within your deceitful grasp. His Highness Emperor Lucian Balliol has rightfully decided to show mercy upon the subjects you so wrongfully neglect.
Within our envoy we have 500 of your subjects with which we are willing to part. Soldiers which submitted to the might of our prowess, and civilians that with evil in their heart wish to return to their folly. These prisoners hold no place in our Empire. But in unending benevolence, his Mightiness has not ordered they be executed for their crimes against Arawyn itself.
Instead, we come bearing a most generous offer. South of our great territory of Wolfhaven, lies a wood draped against the cliff side which forces our neighboring. It is the northern most part of the forest which you call Frostknell. In exchange for land which is rightfully ours, we will deliver unto you traitors which are rightfully yours.
I will personally be seeing to these negotiations, along with my Honor Guard. I expect full compliance and attendance, along with quick response.
For the Glory of the Empire,
Lieutenant General Governor Horatio Hildegard."