Report on Dunwich Vale 1104
The Scar Eye tribe were the original owners of the land now known as Dunwich Vale. Many generations ago they were at war with a race of Elves but become trapped in a valley near Hadleigh by a major landfall, they were again freed after the quakes that rocked us last summer. Thinking the villagers in league with the ‘white devils’ they attacked, taking their prisoners as slaves to their mines nearby.
On Saturday they sent some representatives to try to speak with us, but a fight broke out and the representatives were killed. Later more fighting broke out and four of our number were taken captive. The faction surrounded the goblin camp, continuing the fighting until some of them began running around calling for us to stop. Eventually this reached everyone and the fighting ceased although ‘spear shaking’ continued for a while, until the goblins called for five people wearing white sashes to act as diplomats and enter their camp. I asked for a white bandage and walked into the goblin camp myself. Inside, Christopher, who had himself been taken captive, was doing a fine job of talking to the goblin diplomats while I was shown into a tent where Gregor and three others lay wounded. I obtained permission to take them out after their healers had prevented them from dying from their wounds. Cooper had also given me two healing herbs, one of which I administered to the worst injured man.
The five goblin diplomats requested that I chose three others to add to Christopher and myself to make us also five, a ‘hand’ in order to discuss negotiations for them to regain possession of ‘their land.’ After I had done this, the Faction was ordered to retire to the village, together with their five diplomats and our five. We spent a number of hours in discussion inside the bar, agreeing in the end that both sides would go away and write up their idea of a treaty based on our discussion, to be exchanged an hour or two later. We were told that, provided the diplomats wore white sashes and did not raise arms against the goblins, we would not be harmed.
Finally the treaty was agreed and written to the satisfaction of both sides, the goblins undertaking to tend and care for the section of the valley extending ‘from the topmost point of the mountain down to the furthest distance a goblin can march in a day and a half.’ In return for this and an annual gift of 25 firkins of ale and some livestock, they agreed to return the villagers safely from the mines, leave the existing settlements alone and instead enter into a business arrangement whereby they would employ locals to work their mines. We were told that their chieftain would agree once they had explained all the benefits to him but that fighting would continue as part of the negotiation since their chieftain could not be seen to loose face with his tribe. We were assured that such fighting would only be for show and told that the tribe would not be informed except by the chieftain once his agreement had been obtained and he had ‘demonstrated his superior strength’ over the faction.
As darkness drew in, a message was received that the Scar Eye shaman was speaking to Cassius and some of his men. A decision was made without consultation with any of the five negotiators, to make a sortie on the goblin encampment and draw them out while a stealth hit went in and killed the shaman. This mission was successful and, as I later discovered, was precisely what the ‘hand’ of goblin negotiators had wanted us to do. The fact that there WERE no Imperial soldiers there was never checked out first by our scouts, the killing was ordered purely on the strength of misinformation.
Later on Saturday night, the goblin contingent returned to our bivouac with a bottle of wine as a gift for me, sadly they mistakenly went into the Town Hall thinking to find me there. I was in the bar when a soldier who I shall not name since he died heroically in the battle that was to ensue, rushed in, requested of a male sitting in there who I did not see, permission to kill some goblins in the Town Hall. Permission was granted with a perfunctory ‘absolutely’ with no question asked as to whom these goblins might be. My shout after the soldier went un-headed and by the time I had leapt out of my seat and run to the Hall, the fight was already nearing its bloody conclusion and my cries of protest were drowned out by the screams of the victims and the cut and slash of steel on bone.
Four bodies were thrown on the fire to burn. No one noticed the fifth escape, no one commented on it. Likewise when the four burnt bodies rose up out of the ashes of the fire and walked through the camp the following morning, no-one commented on it again more than to notice that they were the goblin diplomats, and no-one challenged them! Thus it was that on the afternoon of that day the goblin Ancestor, Wunshoo who without his shaman was unable to return to his own plane, attacked the village together with a huge number of goblins, four unliving – one of which was a Wraith Lord – and the fifth diplomat. At the end of the battle twelve were dead and of these were most of those who had been responsible for the murder of the four diplomats the previous night.
I was left on the field, bleeding profusely from a leg wound, but I managed to take the last of the herbs Cooper had given me to staunch it. The enemy surrounded me, and I knew without doubt that this would be where my children were to become orphans. One goblin tried to pull me through the mud but only succeeded in turning me sufficiently to show the white bandage I still wore and I was recognised as a diplomat. A call went up and a healer was suddenly healing me, I drifted hazily out of the pain to find myself staring at the feet of the wraith lord herself. I handed over my weapons and waited for the death sentence I knew would come, when suddenly the one surviving goblin diplomat spoke up for me, vouching for the fact that I had tried to prevent their deaths the previous night. It was this and the sash that are responsible for my being safe with my family and friends once more.
They told me I could go, they even allowed me to take my weapons with me, they were most reasonable even when they had every right not to be. They explained that they had only targeted anyone wearing red and white and those they recognised, anyone else was an accident. They said they were surprised I was the only diplomat wearing a white sash and inspected my blade for blood to see if I had used it, which I had not, although the wraith lord was distinctly disturbed by the fact that though tarnished it still showed signs of silver. I then asked a favour; to be allowed to return and to continue negotiations with them, and they agreed that I should bring four others with me to make a ‘hand.’ This will mean that we not only know now where the Crown is that is one of the Treasures we seek to heal the land, but that there is still a chance that we can barter for it. The treaty signed between us, and the Scar Eye remains and they have assured us that they will honour it, which means that the goblins continue to hold the mountain and that we have to send them their tithe annually as stated in the document if they are to continue to live in harmony with the villagers. Diplomatic channels remain open and five diplomats will be able to return provided we follow the correct protocol. I have also left orders at the ritual circle at Two Rivers to state that, should the Goblin negotiators wish transport to speak with us, perhaps at the Heartland Games, they are to be allowed to pass unmolested and be given every assistance and this regardless of the fact that one of them is likely to be a Wraith Lord – provided of course that they do not KNOWINGLY break Albion law.
Before the furore I am expecting this report to stir begins, please think on this; the Goblin negotiators worked hard for the best part of a day to negotiate a settlement whereby the remaining captives from Hadleigh would be released unharmed. In order to do this, it was necessary for us to face them on the battlefield and prove our strength and to allow their chieftain to win so as not to loose face, as is their custom. Most of the twelve who died on the battlefield did so because they did not seek council first with those of us who knew how best to advise them. They allowed their racism and prejudice to persuade them that the goblins would not honour the treaty they had signed.
On the other hand, the goblins played the whole thing totally fairly all the way through according to the rules of their society and culture. They expected we would do the same. It was we who broke all our promises and agreements with them. The job of a diplomat is to try and understand social and cultural differences and find ways and means to work around them. The job of a fighter is to follow orders, not to over-rule, ignore and generally treat with distain the process of diplomacy or the compromises it occasionally requires us to make in order for the common good to be served. Just because blade is not wielded does not mean battle is not joined, and just because blood is not spilled does not mean victory is not won.
Loosing all those lives has made me furious more than I am saddened because it was totally unnecessary, our losses would have been so much lighter had certain individuals remained calm and not taken matters into their own hands. However what I am most furious about though is that so few of the men fighting those two days heeded any orders issued by a woman. Both Madeleine Falcon in her position as leader of the mission and I as the leading diplomat there present, were ignored, disregarded and insulted by men who profess to be either military or military trained. Our comrades died valiantly, heroically, bravely, and totally needlessly, fighting a battle that did not need to be fought and we are diminished by their loss. Consequences.
Duchess of the Court
Order of Eaton
Companion of the Rose