From Phaeloses of Newharbour, regarding the establishment of the first trade posts of the South Oceans Company of Larn.
Good my lord,
May your storehouses be full, the king wise in his love of you, your children bringing honour to your house, your wife be a beacon of virtue, and so on and so forth.
We have heard excellent news since my last letter to you.
Events have taken a very bad turn for the Tallian colonists.
The priestesses of the local savages have bathed themselves in the blood of sacrificed beats, chewed upon their secret herbs, inhaled the smoke of sacred fires, and spoken in the language of the dead to deliver oracles as to the nature of the Tallian settlers. And their holy insights are, by all accounts, that the men of Tal are not, in fact, the gods returning.
That’s hardly a surprise to us. But it has caused chaos amongst these peoples, who are now fiercely divided. Some have sided with the Tallians. Most have stayed loyal to the war-chiefs and priestesses.
Even better, the oracles have pronounced that those who serve the False Gods are traitors and blasphemers whose crimes can never be forgiven. That means that we have a war on our doorstep, from which I expect that we can profit greatly.
In a way this is all predictable enough. These local savages, whose full name is, translated from the local tongue, something like the Ten Pure Tribes Who Follow in the Footsteps of the Fire Gods Who Graciously Sheltered the Revered Ancestors Behind the Divine Wall (more conveniently delivered in a shortened form, Yuraquncha) are held together by their reverence for the priestesses. The savages have many proud war-chiefs, each competing with one and other, but it is the priestesses who guide them, and ensure their unity.
The war-chiefs are prone to grandiose boasts, temper tantrums, and, especially if their pride is pricked, roaring threats. But they cannot shed blood unless the oracles of the priestesses permit it. Unsurprisingly these oracles usually forbid bloodshed, and chiefs who want oracles to favour them have to listen closely to the guidance of these priestesses. So, we can expect that the priestesses would not be impressed by the arrival of foreigners whom their people have started to revere as divine. The colonists are a threat to their authority. These recent oracles, denouncing the colonists and all who follow them, seem an inevitable defence of their authority.
Of course we have received desperate entreaties from the Tal colonists, who are terrified that the locals now wish to slaughter them as blasphemers. And we have made sympathetic replies, without committing ourselves to any action to help them.
Meanwhile, we have made embassies to the priestesses, and convinced them that the arrivals from Larn are quite distinct from the False Gods from Tal. We have shown them the shrines the we ourselves are building, and explained how important reverence and ritual are to us. Naturally we have sympathized with their outrage, and complimented them on their readiness to stand up for what is holy. They seem impressed.
This war seems set to become a permanent feature of the region, and, as we will remain uninvolved, this is much to our profit.