Meeting of Minds

"Military action in the Ashlands will soon be more than a decade old; there is no tract of land in this country on which an Imperial Legion soldier has not stood. No path, no road, and no waterway has gone without the tread of Imperial boots, or the patrols of an Imperial ship, and no town on the island has not witnessed the raising of an Imperial flag. Nonetheless," the soldier paused for effect. "The entire wilderness beyond the civilised areas is in the control of the insurgents." The assortment of officers gathered around him nodded sagely. One of them, having considered this, eyed him briefly, and then raised his voice.

"What are your proposing we do about it?" he asked, fixing his gaze on the Dunmer's eyes.

"I propose, captain, that we sign a new formal petition - requesting of the Imperial administration several thousand more soldiers, more artillery, and better roads. It will be signed by all the officers stationed in this wilderness; they would not be able to deny the necessity of such measures then." There were murmurs and whispers, although the commanding officer called them to order with a wave of his hand.

"But they won't release the petition to the public,' he interjected. 'How could we prove a thing?" The crowd rose behind him in an upswell of indignation, and yet again he silenced them. The Dunmer paused, his gaze flicking across each and every one of them before he felt secure enough to speak. He leaned in gently, and spoke with cool confidence.

"Well," he began. "They hardly want to be overran by the Ashlanders, do they? Which is what'll happen, if they don't give us what we demand, isn't it? The Hlaalu can't hold back the tribes on their own. If they could, why invite the Imperials in in the first place?" He sat back and took a sip of his wine to get the taste out of his mouth. "We tell them that they do as they ask or they lose their heads."

"You're proposing we exaggerate the claims?" a soldier eyed him suspiciously.

"No, no. Not exactly." He said, tilting his head. "That'll be the truth."

The End

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