Chapter #923

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                                   +   +
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                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +       Epic V      +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +

+     Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other     +
+   terms used in these stories are the property of Wizards of the Coast  +
+   which has in no way endorsed or authorized their use.  Any such       +
+   property contained within these stories are not representative of     +
+   Wizards of the Coast in any fashion.                                  +
+     The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright       +
+   1991-2006 by Thomas A. Miller.  Any resemblance to any persons        +
+   or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.       +
+   Copying and/or distribution of these stories is permissible under     +
+   the sole condition that no money is made in the process.  In that     +
+   case, I hope you enjoy them!                                          +
+   the assembled Oligarchs of the Free City of Greyhawk:                 +
+                                                                         +
+   Nerof Gasgal           Lord Mayor                                     +
+   Derider Fanshaen       Constable                                      +
+   Sental Nurev           Captain-General of the Watch                   +
+   Peldor                 Guildmaster of Thieves                         +
+   Turin Deathstalker     Guildmaster of Assassins                       +
+   Kieran Jalucian        Guildmaster of Wizards                         +
+   Otiluke                President, Society of Magi                     +
+   Ravel Dasinder         Patriarch of Boccob                            +
+   Jerome Kasinskaia      Patriarch of Rao                               +
+   Ren o' the Star        Guildmaster, Merchants' and Traders' Union     +
+   Laup Cobrun            Merchants' and Traders' Union                  +
+   Carmen Halmaster       Merchants' and Traders' Union                  +
+   Dernen Nathane         Merchants' and Traders' Union                  +
+   Bodmi Hollardel        Guildmaster of Jewelers and Gemcutters         +
+   Sir Anton Palmirian    Guildmaster of Lawyers and Scribes             +
+   Glodreddi Bakkanin     Inspector of Taxes                             +
+   Date:          9/3/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                             +
+   Time:          afternoon                                              +
+   Place:         a sealed chamber somewhere in Greyhawk                 +
+   Climate:       temperate                                              +
+   "He's a good man.  It's not his fault trouble keeps following         +
+    him around."                                                         +
+                                - from _Desperadoes:  Banners of Gold_   +

                   CMXXIII.  The Oligarchs Convene

  In a sealed, secure chamber in the depths of Greyhawk's governmental
building complex, the ruling Oligarchs have convened...

Nerof Gasgal:  The topic of today's the recent assault
  on Monmurg, capital of the Hold of the Sea Princes, an assault led by
  the elf known as Belphanior.
Peldor:  (frowns)
Ravel Dasinder:  What is there to debate?  That kingdom has supported
  the institution of slavery for as long as anyone can remember.  More
  than one other kingdom has privately condoned the elf's actions.  We
  aren't called the "Free City" for nothing.
Sental Nurev:  Yet supporting that attack would send the wrong message
  to our allies...a delicate situation.
Nerof:  Greyhawk, as a city, has a political stake in this.  First, we
  have to decide what stance we'll take on this, when we deal with other
  kingdoms or cities.  So there's that.  We also need to assess any
  possible impacts - direct or indirect - on our city.  And we need to
  decide how the elf will be treated if he ever returns here.
Derider Fanshaen:  He won't return here.  He was warned away last time,
  if I recall correctly.  (she glances at Sental)
Sental:  (shrugs)
Turin Deathstalker:  (fully aware that the elf has likely been back in
  the Free City since that warning, he smiles thinly)
Peldor:  (puts on his best poker face, his expression neutral, revealing
  nothing to any who might be watching him)
Sir Anton Palmirian:  From a legal standpoint, we cannot condone those
  attacks on Monmurg.  To do so would not only send the wrong message
  to the Sea Princes, but also portray Greyhawk as weak, susceptible to
  a similar attack.
Jerome Kasinskaia:  Belphanior will not attack Greyhawk.
Derider:  (nods)  Agreed on that.  He's only mounted such attacks on
  places of great evil, such as the Fortress of the Nine and now the
  city of Monmurg.
Sir Anton:  I'm not worried about him, but rather anyone else like him
  who might actually have a reason to attack our city.
Nerof:  Good point.
Ravel Dasinder:  (rubs his large, beaked nose, then sighs)  We can't
  condone his actions in Monmurg, but that doesn't mean we have to
  condemn them either.
Peldor:  Also, consider that the Sea Princes are a different kingdom,
  and region, entirely - far out of our jurisdiction.
Kieran Jalucian:  Agreed on both points.  Look at how Keoland and the
  Yeomanry have reacted:  they're using this as an opportunity to help
  rebuild the city - both physically and morally.  Even Prince Creon,
  the ruler of Monmurg, has aligned himself with these efforts and is
  restructuring the workings of his government.  (he looks around)  I
  would make the claim that the Monmurg incident may very well be the
  impetus that the Sea Princes needed to begin the road to abolishing
Derider:  Well-put.
Kieran:  (smiles, his ioun stone slowly orbiting his head)  And that can
  only be a good thing.
Glodreddi Bakkanin:  (stands, so that his short stature won't lessen
  his words)  There could be some short and long-term effects from all
  of this.  Our economy might well be thrown into turmoil.
Peldor:  Why is that?  Greyhawk doesn't benefit financially from the
  slave trade, does it?
Glodreddi:  (sputters angrily)  That's-  Well-
Laup Cobrun:  I think what Glodreddi's trying to say is that any time a
  kingdom is thrown into chaos, its economy is also thrown into chaos.
  As a result, all neighboring kingdoms' economies are thrown into chaos
  too.  It doesn't matter if those kingdoms actually do business with the
  afflicted kingdom - they will be affected to some extent.
Peldor:  (wondering what stake Glodreddi might have in the Sea Princes'
Glodreddi:  (decides not to draw any more attention to himself)
Ren o' the Star:  I agree with that, but I'd also like to point out that
  Greyhawk does not depend on the Sea Princes for anything.  We are, and
  always have been, self-sufficient if the surrounding lands are taken
  into account.  I predict that we'll ride this out without any major
Peldor:  (nods)  Agreed.
Derider:  I do worry a bit about the sort of precedent that Monmurg sets.
  Until recently, no one individual - or even a group - would have ever
  thought about launching a major attack on any kingdom's capital city.
  Now, has been done, and done effectively.  Even if nobody
  ever hears from Belphanior again, it's possible that someone else will
  get the same idea.
Kieran:  We are a far more prosperous and powerful city than Monmurg.
Turin:  And thus a bigger target?
Kieran:  Good point, but here's my counterpoint:  I know for a fact that
  Greyhawk, through its wizards and priests, has at least a dozen times
  the raw magical power that Monmurg had.  Let's face it:  we are a city
  of adventurers and wondrous magic, while Monmurg was a city of slavery
  and merchants.  (to Ren)  No offense.
Ren:  None taken.
Otiluke:  Kieran's right.  This city probably has more magic-wielding
  inhabitants than any other city in the Flanaess.  Hell, we beat back
  the tarrasque!
Jerome:  And might I point out that Belphanior - as well as our dear
  friend Peldor here - were both a major part of that effort?
Peldor:  It was nothing, really.
Sir Anton:  I don't see how that has anything to do with this current
  situation.  Just because someone was a hero in the past doesn't mean
  that all of their future actions are excused.
Derider:  No, it doesn't.  Belphanior's attack resulted in the deaths of
  hundreds, perhaps thousands.
Turin:  Definitely thousands, from the reports I've heard.
Derider:  Whatever.  Some of those people were innocent.
Ravel:  They weren't innocent of ignoring slavery, all around them,
  every day.
Derider:  That shouldn't be a death sentence!  It's not for us to decide-
Nerof:  Enough.  It is not our place to judge Belphanior; that is for the
  rulers of the Sea Princes, or perhaps the gods.  Either way, I do not
  envy the elf when that time comes.  What we must do now is determine
  whether we side with the Hold of the Sea Princes, or whether we side
  with Belphanior and his allies, or whether we continue to maintain a
  careful neutrality.  We shall now vote on this.

  Such votes were blind, meaning that each Oligarch's vote would remain
anonymous, with only the totals announced to all.  To this effect, each
of them had an identical stack of parchments and an identical quill and
ink-well.  The votes were cast, and Nerof collected and counted them.

Nerof:  Hmm...unanimous.  (he looks up)  Neutrality.

  This was really no surprise to anyone in the room; even someone who
hated Belphanior couldn't justify siding with the Sea Princes at this
time, and even someone who hated the Sea Princes couldn't justify siding
with those who had attacked them.  A neutral vote was the only logical,
and safe, option.

Nerof:  Unless anyone can make a strong case otherwise, I suggest that
  the informal ban of the elf from our city remain in effect.
Peldor:  (starts to speak up, then decides that there's not a truly
  defensible reason that the city's rulers would want the elf around
  at this point in time)
Nerof:  (looking around)  Very well.  This meeting is adjourned.

next:       Belphanior makes his next move
released:   6/9/06
notes:      A discussion like this was necessary, to show how a kingdom
  (or other organized ruling body) might discuss what happened and come
  up with some ideas about the best way to react.  Just like any meeting,
  there will always be a few people who never say a word.  As a side
  note, I often wonder how such people ever got to be in positions of
  power to begin with.

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