Friends Sometimes Disagree

Up to this point the casual reader might think that Geldenreich and Slothjemia are the closest of allies and trading partners with nary a care in the world. This assessment is not entirely accurate, of course. While the two empires are connected through a short common border and a powerful common enemy there is frequently friction between them outside of the Council of Schönbrunn.

One of the primary points of hostility is the overall concept of basic rights of existence for all peoples, most notably goblinoids and their ilk. Horske-Oblanski, the northernmost archduchy of Geldenreich and the one most frequently plagued by monstrous incursions from the Wenigzustand, has a long-standing cultural and economic tradition of using nonhumans as slaves in the mines and fields. This frees up more of the able-bodied humans and demihumans to serve as mostly professional soldiers that occupy the key fortress garrisons. Slothjemia is violently opposed to slavery in any form other than the forced labor of prisoners duly convicted of crimes. Needless to say this position and the routine way of life in Horske-Oblanski are going to be ever at odds with one another.

One solution to easing this tension is Geldenreich’s policy of letting goblinoids from other areas of their realm move with some restrictions to resettle in Slothjemia. The border with Slothjemia is not very long, however, and crossing points in the portion of Gyepekmark, the Archduchy that lies furthest to the east in Geldenreich, are not always the most closely monitored to protect against abuses levied against the goblinoids seeking to emigrate. Many of those seeking to relocate manage to do so, if not in complete safety, and this allowance on the part of Geldenreich has done a great deal to ease tensions with Slothjemia.

Another sticking point between the empires is the question of lands belonging to the Diosian Lodge governed Sikilian Confederation. Slothjemia has long lobbied for the right to expand into these fetid and ruined lands if and when the Liches are chased out or destroyed. Slothjemia has even gone so far as to push the Council of Schönbrunn to exert whatever influence it has on the rulership of Geldenreich to permit this exact transaction. Slothjemia has even promised to do all of the fighting in a series of short campaigns to begin annihilating the Diosian Lodge once and for all. The promise that all conquered lands be recognized as the sole property of Slothjemia is mandatory before any such plans are executed, though, and Geldenreich hasn’t fully abandoned it’s own ambitions to expand southward. This expansion would give Geldenreich a long sought after access to highly profitable and lucrative seaports which would in turn increase the otherwise landlocked empire’s trade and influence.

One step that Geldenreich and Slothjemia might take to solidify their relationship is to team up and fight the Sikilian Confederation just enough to secure a safe trade route along the Dolonau River. As geography happens to be at this time, the Dolonau River runs right through the heart of the Sikilian Confederation between where it flows through Geldenreich and along the southern border of Slothjemia. If Slothjemia and Geldenreich could cooperate enough to secure at least one bank of the river they could all but guarantee efficient trade and transport from the Sea of Shadows in the southeast all the way upriver to the southernmost portions of the Wenigzustand. Even the biggest vessels can make this trip without incident if only the threat of enemy activity could be halted along the eastern bank of the river. Such an arrangement is unlikely unless Geldenreich does give in to Slothjemia’s demands regarding their annexation of former Sikilian Confederation lands because Slothjemia sits along the lower length of the Dolonau River and poses a much larger threat to trade and transport than the Diosian Lodge could ever aspire to. Slothjemia and Geldenreich have no choice but to get along.

It has yet to be seen how the two strongest powers in southeastern Partum will solve their differences but thus far it has been slow and methodical. Whatever solutions they come up with will be all but permanent and affect the balance of power in Partum and beyond for generations. Careful consideration has not always been the hallmark of human and goblinoid civilizations and this has spelled eventual ruin for many of their endeavors. But in this relationship it is vital to both parties that it be done correctly and not with brash, hastily concocted plans that are by definition doomed to implode. Such a failure would leave Partum open to attack from eastern barbarians, the Torkan Caliphates, and the Diosian Lodge. Geldenreich and Slothjemia know the risks, and this enables them to accept that friends sometimes disagree.