The Price of Honour
Published at The Gathering of 1118 as a special edition of The Testaments
The continent of chaos has raised its ugly head. The Salac Draz, the War Lord of Erisia, demanded war of the Unicorns. Had the Unicorns pushed back against the Salac Draz and his outrageous demands, the Harts of Albion would have stood alongside them against the tide of chaos, just as I stood alongside the Lord Unicorn against the forces of Satu’un, and shielded her from harm.
Alas, the Unicorns demanded war of the Lions of Lantia. We know well the disdain in which the Lord Unicorn holds the People of Lantia, for her disdain has not been private.
The Salac Draz demanded war of the Lions of Lantia – the Lions of Lantia stood tall and gave him the war he wished for – they take the war to the Salac Draz, and Albion shall stand beside them.
I fought alongside Queen Elspeth of Lantia as she stood against the Salac Draz himself. I watched with pride and awe as the blade of her axe removed one of his horns – a prize of battle well earnt by the Lions of Lantia. Let no one be mistaken – the representation of the factions at the mustering of the nations may ebb and flow – yet though the Lions may be small, they are mighty, and the will and valour of their Queen is evidence of this.
The Unicorns declared war upon the Lions. This was contested by the Mauritanians, who claimed Lord Tiberius, Master of the Martial Guilds of Erdreja, was a liar. A dishonourable claim by dishonourable leaders. Though the Unicorn Nation may not have known it, through the incompetence of their War Master, they have, under the provisions of the Gathering Charter been at war now for some time. This was confirmed to be the case by representatives of the Militia Guild who confirmed that, as an honour battle had been agreed between Mauritania and Lantia, and the Militia Guild had been informed, that, under the Charter, constitutes a state of war.
This, we imagine, will be sad news for those within the Nation of Mauritania, who engaged with the Nation’s democratic process to ensure it was made known that they wished for no war with Lantia. For the leaders of Mauritania to have engaged in a state of war despite the will of their people is dishonourable.
We stand with our allies – we shall not allow our good friends, the People of Lantia, to be treated in such a way. We shall not stand by while a nation with a large representation, such as Mauritania, targets a nation with a smaller representation, such as Lantia. This was a belief shared by the Lord Gryphon, the Lord Wolf, and the Queen of the Lions.
Dishonourable actions against co-signatories of the Gathering Charter cannot be allowed to go without consequence. The compact of the Harts, the Lions, and the Gryphons is that consequence.
Furthermore, a pact was made between the High Incantor of Mauritania and Aethelwald, the so-called Prince of Londinium, the foul lich who has claimed our city and harms our people. Indeed, we have learnt, Aethelwald was invited to Mauritania, as a guest, to discuss terms with the Unicorn Nation. A co-signatory of the Gathering Charter has made a pact with the enemies of Albion, a foul creature who has made plain his intention to harm the people of Albion and lay waste to our realm.
When the forces of Bedlam, an enemy of Mauritania, approached the Harts camp, we fought them. We aided the Unicorn nation by destroying their enemies. We did not invite them in for a cup of tea, we did not summon them to Winchester and offer them a tour of the Palace. We beat them into the ground. Should the forces of Bedlam come to the gates of the Harts camp in the future, we shall offer them the same steely reception.
We questioned the Honour of Mauritania. Alongside our friends and allies, the Wolves of Norsca, the Gryphons of Lyonesse, Estragales, and Tebron, and the Lions of Lantia, we denounced their actions and called them to explain themselves with word and with steel.
Our terms were offered – meet us upon the field of honour to prove yourselves true. Should Mauritania be found wanting, they would apologise to the Lions of Lantia, and to the Harts of Albion, for their dishonourable actions, and they would aid us against Aethelwald. Should Mauritania triumph, then we would stand tall and declare them to be an honourable nation, apologise for doubting them, and offer our support and aid against Bedlam.
Our honourable terms were rejected. The Lord Unicorn demanded blood. Our terms were reasonable, our terms were just, our terms were honourable, our terms were fair. The Lord Unicorn demanded blood. The price of Mauritanian honour, she has made very clear, is high. She intends to pay that price with the blood of her people, of our people, and the blood of the people of our allied nations who are drawn into the conflict.
Ten good, just, and noble Harts stood forth, willing to append their names to the Roll of Honour, to shine as beacons in the darkness, offering to lay down their lives for the cause. The Pendragon Throne salutes those hearty few. Albion’s gratitude shall be known. Let the Ancestors so speed us, as we love the name of honour more than we fear death.
When our Roll of Honour was delivered unto the Unicorn Nation, we were surprised to be faced with an opposing list – not the names of those of Mauritania who had gallantly appended their names to these lists – but the names of those within the Realm of Albion upon whom the Unicorns had painted a target, and decided to kill.
Another distasteful and dishonourable act. An unfortunate circumstance that the People of Mauritania have been further robbed of their honour by the bloodthirsty actions of their leaders. Our honour is our life – both grow in one. Take honour from us, and our lives are done. Although our initial terms offered the People of Mauritania the chance to battle for that honour, the Lord Unicorn deemed the honour of Mauritania less important than her thirst for blood.
And so, a state of war now exists between Mauritania and Albion. This state of war shall exist until either of the Factions has their Honour List cleared, or the diplomats reach an agreement, or either one of the Factions withdraws.
We must once more offer our thanks to the Martial Guilds of Erdreja, for their consistent and unwavering advice and guidance to the Realms of this World.
Lord Tiberius was most gracious and patient under the circumstances, even when the concept of war had to be explained to the War Leader of Mauritania. Witnessing a War Leader having the Gathering Charter explained to him, with many members of the Militia Guild attempting to help him see how his understanding of war was totally incorrect was disheartening.
For our part, we hope that the Lord Unicorn is able to rid herself of such unfortunate counsel, and appoint into that position a servant of Mauritania who will not embarrass her, repeatedly, nor interrupt her, repeatedly, and indeed understands their role without having to be schooled during the negotiations of terms.
To those within the Nation of Mauritania who have made clear their disdain for the bloodthirsty and dishonourable actions of your leaders, Albion extends to you the hand of friendship. Should you require it there is always a place in the Court of the Pendragon Throne for those who are willing to stand forth against the forces of darkness and chaos, to fight for what is good, what is right, what is just, and what is honourable.
From the Desk of
His Royal Majesty, Arthurus Magnus, By the Grace of the Pendragon, Arthur’s Heir and Scion of the True Line, High King, Chief, and Sovereign of All Albion, King of Cornwall and the Territories, Monarch of the Sundered Isles, High Prince of Avalon, Master of Lundy, Guardian of the Wild Places, Chosen of the Trinity, Defender of the Faithful, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Round Table, Lord General of the Harts