Eptian LXXXII [82]

Some of the Mortal towns near the troubles had asked anyone that would listen for help and the message eventually made its way to Eptih. The message requested sending as many men as possible to fight the Druceans and made claims that this would be good for the whole of Mortal Existence not just the towns dealing with the Druceans directly.

Eptih decided not to assist the towns seeking help but rather to keep the welfare of the city of Reyam as his primary concern. There were just too many open questions as to what the future held and he was unwilling to gamble, not to mention it would be nearly impossible to get any sizable fighting force to the border from where he was in safety the way things were with many different towns and cities squabbling with each other. At the same time he’d be leaving his city in a weakened state and possibly open for conquest, something he was unwilling to do. This is the same stance many other leaders had taken which is why the message had made it as far as Eptih in the first place, only those closest to the troubles were willing to risk whatever could secure their survival because the problem was so close by and therefore they feared the future. Everyone else however decided to wait and see what the Druceans would do while trying to secure as much land and men as possible for an anticipated future where such things would be the difference between continuing to exist and a horrific ending.

This lack of response to their pleas isolated the people under attack from the Druceans making them desperate and as a result increased the numbers fleeing from these areas. The effect was the towns near the ruined border began to become depopulated enough that it made it ever harder for the Druceans to gain plunder. As such they decreed that no one flee on pain of a cruel and slow death of ten for every one caught feeing, and it only took a few examples to prove to the people that the Druceans were serious. The Druceans also at this time made it illegal to hunt down and kill the Narciogen. They wanted to weaken Mortal resolve much the same as the Velidicans had planned only they enacted this policy so that they could strip their wealth more easily.

To enforce this new decree the Druceans now had to police these Mortal lands. Before this they had never has a continuous presence in these areas, they only entered them to raid and would always return to their stronghold. They used fear and fear alone to manage the people. They did not appreciate this direct administration as few of the Druceans wanted to be tasked with the job and as such they created a system whereby they selected governors from the people and assigned them regions to oversee. These governors were now directly responsible for policing their assigned areas and would pay the price if they did not keep the people contained and make regular tribute payments to the Druceans. For all intents and purposes the Druceasn now ruled over these lands.

The lands just beyond these newly controlled areas were fearful and did not want to share the same fate as their neighbors. But the Druceans began raiding these areas for plunder and it seemed the process that had happened before was now happening again. From their stronghold was a first ring of control near the ruined border, now they began to push out beyond this first ring to a second ring of cities and towns. The people of this second ring started to flee eastward and this pushed the pressure further outward onto the next ring of towns and cities and so on. This second ring was larger than the first however so the pressure wave that radiated out was greater, so much so that it made its way to the lands of Eptih.

Eptih could see the developing situation. He saw the pressure being pushed his way by the Druceans which forced the need for the eastern towns and cities to reorganize and is some cases to consolidate. Although the situation was still fragile he believed he saw a general strengthening nearing Reyam and feared a rising power of the new combined cites in the East. He dreaded what may happen to his city if the current trends continued and he did nothing to fortify his position. Even though Reyam was prosperous it was now smaller than some of the newly combined towns which were becoming formidable cities. He knew if he did nothing Reyam would become a appealing target for these growing powers. As he had suspected long before now, it was impossible to leave the trouble of the world behind, wherever he would go the world would follow, he would never be left in peace to love his wife and raise his son. It was as if the world itself world not permit it.

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