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Topic of the Month: The Annexation of Minrothad
as told by Hason Bercos to Joshuan Gallidox in tavern talk during a stop in the port of Ierendi.
"Aye, I still don't believe it. I can't believe it. The guilds, annexed by the empire. Must be the booze. Can't be nothing else. Over a dead bozo!
"I mean, first, the Daros [Darokinians in patois. Ed.]. They accuse the merchant-princes of killin' one of their merchants. They even dare accuse the guild master. Like, we need to assassinate 'em to get our business rollin'. Yeah, right. We certainly don't need that. Aye, we're the best sailors and traders in the world. We are. I served on several ships, and I travelled as far north as Alpha, and also east past the Alphatians to Minaea, and south to the ports of the Davanian city-states, and west to Yavdlom and Slagovich and beyond. Never met a Daro there. Never saw anyone else go to all those places either actually. Even the Thyatians, 'cause they won't go far into the Alphatian Sea. Well, I hear now they do, but I've yet to witness it myself. Where was I? Oh yeah, the Daros, they ain't got no merchant fleet to match us. Sure, they have caravans, and they control a big chunk of the land trade in the Old World, and I've seen their caravans reach as far as Slagovich. We leave that to 'em. But on the sea, we're the kings. Only the Thyatians and Alphatians have anything near a merchant fleet, and that's for their internal goods transport. We only've a true merchant fleet, I tell ya. Thus, you see, we don't need to assassinate some Daro merchant.
"They didn't even bring any evidence. Rumours, wild guesses. That's how the Daros do it. I'm sure the so-called evidence that convinced their allies of the league, were set-ups. Can't be otherwise. For all I know, they may have killed one of their own to frame us an' steal our trade. I'm convinced they did this to gain market shares within their league allies, to our detriment. Maybe they didn't even expect it to grow so out of proportion. I mean, tradesmen sometimes do not so nice things to gain an edge. Shady things are fair enough, sometimes, ya know. But it remains under the cloak. Doesn't become political and state affairs.
"Once it became so big an affair, the best thing to do was to do nothing, of course. Well, deny, and that's all. Even when the Daros and their puny army threatened us. I said, they ain't got no fleet, so it's not as if the threat was real. Their league allies, they dragged 'em into that mess of military build-up too, but they're not much better off. Only the hin have some amount of a fleet, but even then it's a pity compared to the might of the merchant-princes. And, it's not as if they meant it, either. With the legions of Thyatis and the hordes of Hule at their doors, can you imagine they'd act upon it? No, 'course not. 'Twas just threats, no biggie.
"So what happened? I don't understand. The government called the Thyatians for help. Nonsense! Hmm, that must've been corrupt government officials, I see no other explanation. Or maybe Thyatian spies in the government. I dunno. Most stupid thing to do. You'd think they know you can't trust a Thyatian. The only Thyatian I trust, is the emperor [the coin. Ed.]. They allowed Thyatian warships in the guilds. For our protection they said! I know better! Of course, once you punch a hole, water floods in, and the ship sinks. The treacherous Thyatians had somethin' else in mind that our protection, obviously. I don't understand how our government didn't see it. Crazy! So... so... stupid. I can't believe it..."