A Rock for Birds and Men

March 26, 1852
Cynebury, Tretrid

Prime Minister Wigstan Cynesigeson considered himself an imperialist. It was what was in style in Tretridian politics, anyway. With a nascent, nationalistic cultural consciousness very much on the rise in the mid-19th Century, most Tretridians wanted the Kingdom to hold more lands abroad, if only to say that they were better than states that didn’t.

Tretrid’s main colonial holdings existed in the form of Tretridian Southwest Gondwana, which, despite Tretrid’s claims of owning much of the inland areas, was simply a collection of settlements and outposts on the coast of Southwest Gondwana, chief of which was the Free City of Clifport. Wigstan wanted nothing more than for Tretrid to be able to effectively control the territory further inland, but disease, the lack of roads, and the natives all made that difficult.

Times were changing, though. Industrialization was gaining steam (both figuratively and literally), and technology was progressing faster than ever before. Soon, soon, Wigstan hoped, something would happen that would allow Tretrid to effectively sweep aside those backwards savages in Southwest Gondwana so that it could finally be firmly under Tretrid’s civilizing boot. But that still lay in the future, unfortunately.

As he put down the report he was reading about the latest set of elections in the Free City of Clifport, his mind wandered.

Tretridians wanted Tretrid’s empire to be expanded, but they couldn’t feasibly expand inward into Southwest Gondwana yet. But that didn’t stop him from getting hold of other territories instead.

There was the tried-and-true method of getting islands. By Thor’s beard, everyone knew how the Morstaybishlians and Salovians were about random Pacific islands!

It would be hard to find an unclaimed island in the Pacific, though, since those two empires had already taken most of them. Such was the infamous Morst Greed. But… well, there was another option.

A few years previously, Salovia sold a few islands just off the Auroran mainland to Vistaraland. Maybe Tretrid could secure a similar deal and get some handy islands.

And who knows, maybe those islands might prove useful for the growing beast of the Tretridian industrial machine.

That settled it. Wigstan took a paper and pen and started writing a message for his Foreign Minister, directing him to contact the Salovians and gauge their willingness to sell Tretrid an island.

March 28, 1862

“So?” Wigstan stared at Foreign Minister Eohræd Leoffriðson. “How likely does it seem that the Salovians are willing to sell us an island?”

Eohræd thought for a moment. “I feel like many of the factors that lead to Vistaraland purchasing that island just off of Aurora are still in play here. So I think there’s a fair chance that they’d be amenable to the idea. Of course, only if we offer a lot of money in compensation, I suspect.”

“Salovia has a lot of islands. I don’t think them letting go of a single, relatively small one would do much to shrink their oveseas holdings. Doubt they’d miss it much.”

“So? At the very least, they probably know how much you would want Tretrid to have an island out there in the middle of the ocean. After all, it’d be a major strategic outpost for us, not to mention whatever natural resources are there. They’d want to be compensated handsomely.”

Wigstan sighed. “Well, the impact of gaining such an island for the domestic spirit as well as Tretrid’s strategic situation is quite important, I suppose… It might even be worth’s a king’s ransom, if they want to charge that much. But of course, I plan on negotiating on the cost. Can’t let them get away with pinching the treasury.”

“…Did you tell the Minister of Finance about this? He’s going to have a stroke if you suddenly spring this on him after it’s all done.”

“I’m sure he’ll be fine, Eohræd.”

“I’ll send a telegram to the Ambassador to Salovia, then, and have him contact the Salovian government and gauge their current mood.”


(OOC: Joint post with Tuva, except it took nine months and both of us got tired of the delays.)
Akhalibisi, Salovia
10 April, 1862

It had been two years since the election of Chancellor Ivan Lerishvili. Belonging to the Social Democrat Party, the man was the first anti-imperialist to be elected to the highest office of Salovia, though this was through sheer luck: his predecessor Dragov Malikidze had found himself entrenched in a deep and injurious scandal involving an Ethalrian hitwoman alleged to have killed Malikidze’s former electoral rival at Malikidze’s request in 1854. This left the field wide open for Lerishvili to ascend to the Chancellery virtually unopposed, and now two years after his ascension, he sat at his rosewood desk placed central to the official residence’s rug, the rug stained in the national colors. He stroked his beard in contemplation while waiting for his foreign minister Yuri P’oladze to arrive through the heavy mahogany door that stood stoic in front of the Chancellor. The bright morning sun shone through the large windows that straddled the desk, exposing the motes of dust that perforated the room. Finally, a rapping came to the door, announcing the presence of P’oladze.

“Come in,” bade Lerishvili.

As the weighty lath of wood groaned open, the balding, aging head of the foreign minister peeped into the opening. Scanning the room with squinted eyes, Yuri turned to finally see the chancellor. His eyes widening as if surprised to see the chancellor exactly where expected, the aged man professed, “Ah, good morning sir!” The spindly senex bowed low whilst standing at the entryway, per the customs of the old Salovian monarchy, the points of his elven ears drooping slightly at the act.

Before further upholding of customs could be made, Ivan raised his hand in demurral, insisting, “No need for those old traditions, Yuri. Please, sit down,” Ivan gestured towards the seat opposite of himself.

Returning to his normal, yet admittedly poor posture, the man shuffled his way to his chair.

Waiting for the elder to get into a comfortable position, Ivan began, “I’ve requested you here to discuss the matter of a remarkably unusual correspondence I have received from the far-off nation of Tretrid. They inquire into the purchase of the island of Shuashali, and request an expedient response, either affirming or denying their request.”

Yuri’s face tightened with solemnity. “I see, may I see the letter, sir?”

Nodding, Ivan pulled open the right-hand drawer and extracted a letter from it, holding it out for Yuri to take.

After a few short moments of reading, the foreign minister handed the letter back.

“Your thoughts, Yuri?”

Stroking his chin, the elder pondered for a moment. “Speaking as someone who recalls a time when such a request for rightly-controlled land would have been taken as an insult to the glory of Salovia, I do not believe we should acknowledge this correspondence in the slightest. The selling of K’undzeti hampered our place on the world stage. Many in the international community have come to refer to us as ‘the Hobbler of Aurora’ even. This would only strengthen that perception.”

As Yuri finished speaking, another knock at the door came. Lerishvili bade the second individual to enter.

A dapper young blonde man in his mid twenties peeped into the room, quietly struggling with the dense slab of wood that stood between him and the chancellor. In his minor struggle against the door, he managed out the words, “You wished to see me, sir?”

“Yes, Davit. Please, sit.” Lerishvili gestured to the chair adjacent to where Yuri sat. The blonde man known as Davit quickly entered the room and sat down, his rigid posture indicative of his nervous disposition.

Once Davit had sat down, Ivan instructed, “Please read this letter, and provide me your thoughts on the matter.”

Gingerly, Davit accepted the letter from the Chancellor and began to read. Once again, a few moments passed for Davit to finish reading it. He looked up and said, “Well, sir, though I think it will be unfortunate to, well, lose land, I think that it would be, er, beneficial… economically?”

Yuri chuffed at the opinion. “Surely sir, you couldn’t possibly think that the loss of an island is economically beneficial?”

“My opinion is to delegate it to your honorable self and Mr. Davit here. Both of you shall be going to Cynebury to deliberate on the matter in my stead, as I have more… pressing domestic issues to address.”

Cynebury, Tretrid
27 April 1862

Tick… tock… tick… tock…

Wigstan tapped his feet impatiently as his eyes followed the pendulum of the conference room’s grandfather clock back and forth.

Those Salovian representatives should be arriving any moment now, he noted, as he glanced at the door. Nobody had arrived yet.

His eyes drifted back to the clock, as the pendulum continued swinging back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.
Wigstan was quickly brought out of the stupor upon the rapping at his office door. Coming to his senses, he enjoined the guests to enter.

“Good day, Mr. Wigstan!” A blonde man entered first. An older, cynical-faced man loomed behind him. The younger man held out his hand for a handshake.

Wigstan obliged, and the two men firmly shook hands. “Good day to you as well, Mr… Lerishvili, I believe.”

“Oh, no, that would be our Chancellor! I am Davit Ghurezuli, the Underminister of Foreign Affairs. My colleague here is Yuri Iakobishvili, a venerable member of the Chancellor’s staff.” A short moment passed before Davit continued, “But nonetheless, we are honored to be your guests for these negotiations!”

Wigstan smiled. “The pleasure is all mine. Please be seated.”

The two Salovians sat down, with Yuri continuing discussion, “Mr. Wigstan, to my knowledge you are requesting to purchase quite a strategically significant plot of territory.” Letting the statement hang for a moment, Yuri continued, “Rightful Salovian territory, I might add. You must understand my apprehension with such a request, no?”

“I suppose it is only natural that you’d be worried about giving so many islands away, especially when, say, Oscrelia might interpret that as a sign of weakness and start considering another war. I understand such concerns. However, I believe that, with the proper terms negotiated, this arrangement can be mutually beneficial for us.”

Yuri gestured his hand in dismissal. “The security threat Oscrelia poses is another matter. The true issue here, good sir, is the island’s position in the Cerenerian. For Salovia, the island possesses great potential as an outpost, either militaristic or economic in nature, though such infrastructure has not been built. I’m sure this fact is obvious of course, considering the interest of purchasing it in the first place. My concern lies in what such a strategic location so close to Aurora holds for a far-off Novaran nation. From my perspective, I can only assume the worst, considering my nation’s past dealings. What guarantees can you offer myself and my colleague that this island will not suddenly become a security risk?”

Wigstan considered the matter for a moment. “I certainly could give assurances that Tretrid will not attack Salovia in the near future. Diplomacy being what it is, I can’t really say that such an arrangement could last forever, but I would be open to creating a non-aggression agreement that is subject to regular renewal. How about…”

Hours passed in the negotiations between the three individuals. At times, the temper of Yuri forced Davit to take over negotiations as Yuri left the room red faced. Eventually, the Shuashali Agreement was decided upon, with a purchase of 760,000 net’a (SHD $538 million in today’s money) for the island, with a thirty-year non-aggression period wherein the island could not be used for strategic military efforts. A recurring ten year reassessment of the non-aggression treaty would take place from then on.