Rhidhana studied the parchment in disbelief, and in that moment she saw laid bare the true character of Westmoor. During her time as Minister of Defence she'd always hoped to find peaceful coexistence, ever willing to speak with her enemies even as she lead raids into their lands.
She doubted her mother would have been so generous. The formidable Marchioness had been implacable in her hatred of Westmoor and it's wizened puppet-master Gregor, once her close friend and mentor. Many time as a child Rhidhana had snuck into gallery above the Assembly Chamber, to watch as Lady Moira delivered one of her many speeches. The furore of those debates lived with her still, a vivid memory of Fontan's sacred duty.
Now it was she who stood to speak, praying that as the words had once come to her mother they would now come to her.
Previous drafts of this treaty included reparations of 2000 gold, and that is still a very modest estimate of the damage inflicted on Fontan by King Flaylen's treachery. A treachery which is but the latest in a long history of ill-use at the hands of his people.
I well recall as Minister of Defence the reluctance of Westmoor to aid our cause in the war with Sirion, their unwillingness to even declare war against Sirion for that matter. We lost Montijo and the coastal cities because of their half-hearted support, and subsequently many other battles where their knights were mysteriously absent despite assurances to the contrary.
This became particularly apparent in the south where we faced Caligus alone and, thanks to the usurpation of our capital, without reinforcements of any kind. A cynical mind would consider such usage the premeditated act of an enemy, for there is little evidence of the friendship we have repeatedly offered Westmoor since she was carved from our heart at the behest of those who despise our democracy and our historic freedoms.
Nor do we see much evidence of honour in her wider dealings. Have we forgotten that Westmoor remains in alliance with the Sultanate, and yet her armies do nothing to aid her in the same straits we ourselves faced? Our hands are tied in this matter by victor's terms, but Westmoor's are not.
And do we not remember Westmoor's hunger for Oberndorf? She seeks a bridge to colonise the northern plains, and that bridge will yet again be cut from Fontanese cloth. What then of our new friends in Nivemus? Are we to leave their fledgling realm to the tender mercies of a neighbour who only months since sought to capture their capital of Ashforth?
Westmoor is a danger to peace in the north and she is a danger to the survival of Fontan. This degenerate realm, a haven for Monarchists and traitors, has committed betrayal after betrayal after betrayal. Are we now to receive no satisfaction for these crimes? Are we to forever more live in fear that apparent friendship will again be used as a weapon against us?
What purpose was there in going to war if our honour and our patrimony will be no more secure at its conclusion than its outset?
I say the only fitting response for this scrap of parchment is cold steel and the fires of war. And if our neighbours disagree then let them attend to the security of their own lands and leave us to attend to the security of ours.