The Quaestor tasked with arbitrating today’s proceedings surveyed the Four Nations’ rulers in turn – the filigreed Iytrians; the hardy folk from Holgg; the abundance of citizens from Que Utl; and finally the ambassador from Manaster, who nodded at his gaze. He pronounced to those gathered in the massive meeting hall: “All things through faith.”
“Faith in all things,” intoned the crowd, and they took their seats at the ovular table.
The priest continued. “No war of Nations may occur without leave of the Quaestory, according to ancient law agreed to by all. So the question: will war be waged?”
The Holggians complained that the Iytrians built mines that intruded into their farmlands, then the Que Utl objected to their people, living and working in each country, being forced to fight for their masters’ respective land claims. Debate soon devolved into insults. Finally the Quaestor had heard enough.
“This is ended! The Iytrians can fund a war indefinitely, but their armies will starve without food provided by Holgg. The Que Utl working in Holgg could rise up against their masters, but not without the steel provided by Manaster. Which cannot be purchased without gold from Iytria. It continues thus. Our determination is this: all disputed territories will be forfeited to the Quaestory. Likewise a portion of all products from the Four Nations – gold, food, manpower, and steel – will be ceded to the Quaestory. Twenty percent of each yearly yield will suffice to create an effective peacekeeping body.”
The leaders sputtered, till the Quaestor’s palm crashed against the table. “It is decided. Now go.” The delegations muttered more subtly as they shuffled from the room.
All but the ambassador from Manaster, who raised a glass. “Who would have thought, Treavor, when you turned your back on the family to pin the golden eagle on your chest, that you would someday create a Fifth Nation for yourself?”
The priest arbiter patted the Manasterite on his shoulder. “If you think I have done that, our teachers failed you. There has only ever been one Nation. Today was merely the first day the rest of you came to realize it. Faith in all things, cousin.”
“All things through faith, Quaestor.”