“Indeed, Crowley. I do understand your fears here. I do. But these… orcs,… as they’re called, have come nowhere near our lands. Not a drop of Gilnean blood has been shed. My heart bleeds for Stormwind, for young Prince Varian and this hero, Lothar. It truly does. But should I commit my people to a similar fate? Is even one Gilnean life worth sacrificing for a cause that does not affect him?” Genn was passionate. This orc menace was something new and strange, but he wasn’t altogether certain that this was a threat that his industrious people would have a problem putting in check on their own. The orcs were just brutes, after all. Demi-beings. Monsters.
“Lord, as you’ve described, the other nations seem eager to assist. If Trollbane, Perenolde, and the rest partake, I do not know how we can rightfully call ourselves neighbors or friends if we do not join with them,” Crowley continued. Genn understood why he was so beloved. His words were spoken with acute vigor. There were no political angles at play -- just a man concerned for his fellow men. Genn respected him no matter how misguided he was. Crowley couldn’t possibly understand the folly of his sympathy, what it could actually lead to. He did not see that his own people, above all else, needed to be accounted for first. He was young and newer among the nobility.
“My father never thought that the future of our people was bound to which way Lordaeron, Stromgarde, and Alterac leaned. Some are strong, Lord Crowley, and some are weak. It is the way of things. We Gilneans are strong, and Gilneans must watch over our own pack first and foremost.” Genn had them now. He could see the nodding heads. He could see the nobles imagining the first reports back from the front lines, the cries of mothers who had lost sons. He could see them actually weighing the cost in life that Terenas and Lothar’s request would bear.
But then, a measured voice arose from the back.
“On the other hand, my lord. Perhaps to stay in the good graces of our sister kingdoms, ensuring that future trade and tariffs remain stable, we should send a small force. One to show them what even the slightest addition of the Gilnean military can do. We have our standing militia prepared to assault peripheral enemies. Let us use it.”
His name was Godfrey. Genn trusted his counsel but was always suspicious about his ambitions. Godfrey’s notion was not motivated by empathy as Crowley’s was. It was a smart political play that ensured notoriety for Godfrey, the commander of that standing militia. But he had a point: trade and tariffs did provide the kingdom with much revenue, and endangering those boons wouldn’t be prudent.
“It is a path that does have merit, my lord,” Baron Ashbury added. Ashbury was one of Genn’s most trusted friends. Genn had grown up with him; his father, Lord Ashbury the 1st, had helped Archibald build the nation up, and Archibald had always told Genn to trust in the Ashburys’ fidelity to the crown.
“I will consider this course, Godfrey.”
Genn and Talar hurried up the winding staircase to the deck. A sense of urgency was in the air. Even so, Genn was amazed with how ornate these elven vessels were. So much artisanry crafted into every functional detail. The sheer size of the ship and its multiple levels was beyond even the ingenuity of his own people.
“It seems Gilneans are quite stubborn, Lord Greymane.” Talar’s frustrations had increased over the last day or so.
“It is a quality we have always admired about ourselves, good druid.”
“Yes. I see that.”
“You have been indeed courteous, Talar, but I would rather you speak as you truly feel. There has been a sense of great suspicion from you since we first met. Please do me the honor of being out with it.”
“I apologize if I seem so. I… Azeroth is in dire peril, Your Majesty. It is a time that I fear we may not see through unless we stay truly bound…. You are a ruler who chose to segregate your entire kingdom from the rest of your continent. You are a king who refused requests for aid over the years. You see, I am a druid. I believe in the interconnectivity of all things. It is the way nature is shaped. An ecosystem. These choices are… foreign to me.”