Sunrise -- Evora
Proclamation from Rhidhana Dubhaine
Knights of Westmoor,
You have been duped by your rulers into a war of conquest without honour. The matter outstanding between our realms could have been easily resolved at the outset if King Maedros had apologised for the illegal seizure of Krimml when our realms were still allied, and for the attempts of Duke Gregor to extort gold for its return - also whilst we were still allied.
An ally who holds a knife to your throat whilst demanding your patrimony as compensation for his effort is in fact no ally at all. He is a baseborn villein and all men and women of good birth and pedigree are duty bound to ensure justice is meted in full and exacting measure for his crimes. Fontan's cause is therefore just and we will see the lands you've captured and despoiled in recent weeks returned, even if it costs a generation their youth and their life's blood to achieve it.
We will never allow the flame of democracy to be extinguished by such as you serve, no matter the privations we face in her defence, and the history of this continent is written in the blood of powers who believing otherwise payed the ultimate price for their folly.
However having fought alongside Westmoorian knights during the Northern War I am certain that many amongst you are not of so low a character as those who rule your realm.
Therefore on behalf of the people of Fontan I extend amnesty to any knight amongst your company who foreswears wickedness and serfdom. Offer your sword and loyalty to Fontan, and we will bring you honour and glory beyond measure.
Here amongst our nobility you will be free to speak your mind, to hold your government to account, and to establish estates under the full protection of laws which are decided through common consent and plebiscite. We hold these liberties the birthright of every noble with the courage to claim them, no matter their family nor background, and I know full well there are those amongst you who secretly harbour these same ideals.
So cast off the yoke of King Meadros and his robber gang. They are small and wicked men who seek to profit from the victories of those whose boots they're not fit to lick or wounds worthy to describe.
Come, be done with folly and calumny. We offer you friendship, companionship, and a lasting future as equal partners in the greatest history this world has ever known.
Lady Rhidhana Dubhaine
Minister of Defence of Fontan
Sunrise -- Evora
When I was first elected Minister of Defence we were a near-shattered nation desperately in need of a breathing space to rebuild. Our allies in Asena were beleaguered and could do little to assist us whilst our supposed allies in Westmoor were at peace with Sirion. Given those constraints and the lack of gold with which to recruit fresh forces defeat was inevitable, the only question being whether this would be the death of Fontan or merely her unconditional humbling.
The one treasure we possessed with which to bargain for our continued freedom was the city of Ashforth, a redoubt famed far and wide for its cavalry and elite infantry. I therefore based my entire military strategy during the closing months of the Northern War on holding that jewel secure, even allowing our capital to be devastated during several weeks of bloody assaults by Sirion to retain this advantage.
Many times I stood on Krimml's ruined walls alongside the handful of brave knights we could spare to this task, looking at the massed ranks of Elven might and wondering how our great and noble realm could have been brought to this pass. I do not wish to dwell on the mistakes of the distant past. Suffice to say that there were mistakes, many of them, and at that time it seemed a bitter harvest had been sown for Fontan's children.
There were those who considered my strategy another of those mistakes. Reasoning with their hearts they questioned my decision to risk the ancient capital of our realm in this manner. Some knowing my own family has its mansion there even falsely suggested I placed familial ties above duty. I do not blame them. However I could not discuss my strategy openly for fear of alerting Sirion to its essential flaw: that we must hold a city within sight of their border and keep her people in the ruddiest of health without hope of relief if besieged.
I gambled our future on the conviction that the Elven foe had more lust for that jewel of the plains than rancour for the people who held it, and as Chancellor Basilius and I discovered during the peace negotiations this was indeed the case. All turned on Fontan's promise to deliver Ashforth intact as the seed for a new realm, to be jointly nurtured by both our warring peoples.
Had fate not intervened that should have been an end of the matter. We would have delivered up Ashforth to the founders of Nivemus and these past months have enjoyed peace and some modicum of prosperity as we rebuilt our blighted regions.
Alas no worthy deed goes unpunished and, successful though we were in negotiating a peace with Sirion on harsh but bearable terms, the people of Krimml were pushed beyond all endurance to an act of madness. They threw in their lot with Westmoor thinking that realm an honourable and decent power able to defend them where Fontanese arms had failed.
They were wrong.
Westmoor determined to keep our capital for herself and shut the Temple of the Flow, yet at the same time she continued to protest her fulsome alliance with our people. Chancellor Basilius sought to resolve the matter peacefully and gave King Flaylen every opportunity to make good on his promises of friendship. At each turn these were rebuffed, and yet still we did not press to war. It was only when Duke Gregor, a former Chancellor of this great realm and the traitor who shattered it with civil war, demanded gold in recompense for the return of our rightful property that our patience expired and we declared a just and honourable war to settle this matter through trial of arms. At that time our combined mobile force barely topped 3K CS and our lands were still for the most part charred ruins.
Initially I established terms of engagement with General Arica of Westmoor such that this war might be fought chivalrously and without rancour to the satisfaction of honour. Westmoor has broken every one of these terms and turned a test of just cause into a war of conquest, butchering our peasants and laying claim to lands to which they have none.
Sirion has several times tried to intervene, but King Maedhros is an arch dissembler who has successfully painted us as stubborn and aggressive conquistadors intent on breaking duressed promises to recognise the sovereignty of Westmoor. He has blackened Fontan's name before the entire continent, even as his soldiers performed unspeakable acts upon her loyal subjects.
But that time has come to an end. Sirion has finally seen through the web of deceit our enemy has woven and realises that any further delay cannot be tolerated. Even now General Zakilevo is planning an attack on Westmoor and he asks that we hold the line but a little longer whilst he moves troops from the Asenan front.
My friends, we no longer stand alone. Have heart and keep your steel close, for we shall prevail in our just and noble purpose.