Eamony Elbaekor
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"We fight for reasons that are, for the most part, essentially nonsensical, even when the justification seems plain and straightforward. Two kingdoms, one upriver, one downriver. The kingdom downriver sees the water arrive befouled and sickly, filled with silts and sewage. The kingdom upriver, being on higher land, sees its desperate efforts at irrigation failing, as the topsoil is swept away each time the rains come to the highlands beyond. The two kingdoms quarrel, until there is war. The downriver kingdom marches, terrible battles are fought, cities are burned to the ground, citizens enslaved, fields salted and made barren. Ditches and dykes are broken. In the end, only the downriver kingdom remains. But the erosion does not cease. Indeed, now that there is no irrigation occurring upriver, the waters rush down in full flood, distempered and wild, and they carry lime and salt that settles on the fields and poisons the remaining soil. There is starvation, disease, and the desert closes in on all sides. The once victorious leaders are cast down. Estates are looted. Brigands rove unchecked, and within a single generation there are no kingdoms, neither upriver nor downriver. Was the justification valid? Of course. Did that validity defend the victors against their own annihilation? Of course not.

A civilization at war chooses only the most obvious enemy, and often also the one perceived, at first, to be the most easily defeatable. But that enemy is not the true enemy, nor is it the gravest threat to that civilization. Thus, a civilization at war often chooses the wrong enemy. Tell me, Rodel, for my two hypothetical kingdoms, where hid the truest threat?"

He shook his head.

"Yes, difficult to answer, because the threats were many, seemingly disconnected, and they appeared, disappeared then reappeared over a long period of time. The game that was hunted to extinction, the forests that were cut down, the goats that were loosed into the hills, the very irrigation ditches that were dug. And yet more: the surplus of food, the burgeoning population and its accumulating wastes. And then diseases, soils blown or washed away; and kings – one after another – who could or would do nothing, or indeed saw nothing untoward beyond their fanatical focus upon the ones they sought to blame."

"Alas," she said, leaning now on the rail, her face to the wind, "there is nothing simple in seeking to oppose such a host of threats. First, one must recognize them, and to achieve that one must think in the long term; and then one must discern the intricate linkages that exist between all things, the manner in which one problem feeds into another. From there, one must devise solutions and finally, one must motivate the population into concerted effort, and not just one’s own population, but that of the neighboring kingdoms, all of whom are participating in the slow self-destruction.

Tell me, can you imagine such a leader ever coming to power? Or staying there for long? Me neither. The hoarders of wealth will band together to destroy such a man or woman. Besides, it is much easier to create an enemy and wage war, although why such hoarders of wealth actually believe that they would survive such a war is beyond me. But they do, again and again. Indeed, it seems they believe they will outlive civilization itself."

Soak Hardness Mobility Fatigue Cost Attune Tags
+6L/4B 2L/2B -0 0 2

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