Imrama The shadowed sun has just risen over the rolling hills of the River Province as the Fable of the Reconstruction crosses in to the airspace of Mugadesh, one of the buffer states formerly in the orbit of Lookshy. As the ship enters the nation's largest settlement, Imrama's sunlit crew begins throwing sunflower petals overboard.
Imrama From the rail of his ship, Imrama looks upon the tiny nation with concern.
Mugadesh is a small nation, one that border the northern stretches of the Marukani range; its farmland is dotted with small towns, and only the single eponymous "city" serves as a source of government power within the minor region
The "Embassy," such as it is, is a small building within that city, a gold-edged roof one of the few things distinguishing it from its neighbors.
Imrama stears his ship to the Embassy, and parks immediately over that golden roof. His crew switches to tossing out candy (which streams off of the building's eaves and lintels in little, sugary cascades) as Imrama descends to the highest window of the building, and knocks.
A man in what looks like a simple military uniform opens the window up with a bit of a confused look. "....hello?"
Imrama "Gentle and auspicious greetings, officer Hamris. I am Imrama Stormfound of the Circle of the Sunlands. I am here in my capacity as special diplomatic envoy for her majesty, the Empress Zahara Zhan. I wish to speak to the person of utmost authority in Mugadesh."
"Um," he says. "Hold on for a second." He disappears into the building for a moment, and then comes back to the door of the room he was sitting in. "Can you, um, come in?"
Imrama "Thank you for the invitation." Imrama enters the building and follows Hamris.
Hamris leads Imrama along through the rather un-dramatically appointed building, to a very slightly fancier office door, on which he knocks.
After a moment, a middle-aged man, albeit one who visibly has maintained his utmost physical tone and who looks like he could break a giraffe in half by grumbling at it, answers the door. (Imrama notes that his name is "Preor.") "Yes? What?"
Imrama bows deeply and allows his castemark to glow. "Good day, noble master Preor. I am Imrama Stormfound. I am here on behalf of the Empress Zahara Zhan. May I humbly request a few moments of your time?"
Preor looks Imrama over for a second as he registers the nature of what is occurring. "...yes, come in, come in," he says, and opens the door wider. His office seems to be filled with various papers but is otherwise fairly simple, like the rest of the spaces in this building.
Imrama enters graciously. "Thank you for recieving me. I can see that you are not a man of pretense. I respect that deeply, and so I will speak plain: I am here because I fear for your nation."
Preor "You have good reason to," he says. "Sit," and gestures to another chair, across the desk from his own, identical wooden chair. "Beer?" he says, gesturing to a barrel that sits just outside the office, a set of carven wooden mugs beneath it.
Imrama "Yes, thank you." Imrama takes a seat. "As woefully as we have watched the Mask's rise along the Yanaze, it must be all the more terrible for you."
Preor "It's not great," he says, as Hamris hands freshly-tapped mugs to the both of them.
Imrama raises his mug in toast. "To Mugadesh." He drinks deeply. "May I ask then; how fair your borders? Has the Tyrant of Thorns and Usurper of Lookshy sent word or arrow towards you?"
Preor "Not yet," he says. "Our borders have been oddly quiet, actually; we've heard almost nothing from Lookshy since Calibration."
Imrama takes another, smaller drink. "I am heartened to hear that you and your people remain unmolested. Have you any thought as to how you will remain so, should the Mask turn in your direction?"
Preor "Pray?" he says. "We needed Lookshy there in the first place to keep us from getting steamrolled by anyone else in the region, and even to keep raiders out of the Marukani region out. I doubt we can do anything against what's there now."
Imrama nods in sad agreement. "You are placed in an uneviable situation, Preor. I have come to offer you, and your neighbors, a way out of it: union with the Sunlands."
Preor "Hmph," he says. "You know that we took it to war with Lookshy to keep our freedom, right?" He sighs. "We may have no military might or powerful Exalts, but we do have pride."
Imrama "A pride to which you are richly entitled - I would not make the offer if I believed it would debase your nation, nor if the circumstanes were not so dire. But the Sunlands are not Lookshy: the Empire is a cosmopolitan assortment of nations and people, each of which enjoy the right of self-government and strong regional autonomy."
Preor "Lookshy promised us a lot of things, too," he says. "I'm pretty familiar with the political divisions within the Sunlands; even Tareveth is bigger than us by a pretty significant margin, and Jakobi and the Marukani lands dwarf us.
Preor I see 'self-determination' being all well and good upfront, and then a few years later the Marukani decide that their position within the republic would be better served if they had just a bit more fertile farmland to draw on, and one order later that's the end of Mugadesh."
Imrama "I can assure you, Preor, that one of the most carefully ensured garuntees of the Empress to her subsidiary kingdoms is protection from each other. If you have studied the political divisions, then you know that the Karala are now at perfect peace with Chaya, and Jakobi and Swiftwater no longer have any dispute over the Grey River. If the Marukani are your greatest fear - greater than the Mask of Winters - then you would still be s
Imrama safer within than without."
Preor "Hmph," he says again, and downs the remainder of his beer. "I think we have no choice but to take it under advisement."
Imrama finishes his beer, stands up and shakes Preor's hand. "I thank you for that consideration. I go to make the same offer to your neighbors. Whenever you conclude your deliberations, you know where to find us."