Vinuria was the most lovely, most fragrant orchard of a country one could ever imagine. Its people were - King Emric was extremely proud to say so - the most well-mannered, most peaceful, most industrious people of the known world; not at all like those boorish barbarians of Marcodan who likely greeted each other with nothing but a grunt and couldn't sleep well except in the sound of sabres rattling. No sabre-rattling was heard here, not since Emric sat on the throne; war, he reasoned, would only serve to risk what they had and make life worse, and anything they wanted could be peacefully traded for instead. Because, like every blossoming orchard, Vinuria was well-frequented by the bees and butterflies that were the trade ships (both from in and out of country), and that kept the orchard fruitful. The country lacked in nothing and had the best of everything from the finest precious stones of the north to the strong, scented woods of the south, all to be shaped, refined and perfected in beauty by the excellent craftsmen of Vinuria. Artists and scientists were socially admired and financially assisted. The king was personally proud of this; as beautiful as the country was before his reign, he had brought about a perfect cultural golden age, and new discoveries and new masterpieces of art were more frequent in Vinuria than anywhere in the world. Life was more comfortable than ever. The lands were fat and brought plentiful harvest. The port cities were shining and teeming with life. Well, they had been until the Kashian attack. That stinking, leather-wearing pirate colony of a nation (if one went by King Emric's opinion) decided it was all right to just float in on their warships and take whatever they could find, ransacking the largest, wealthiest, most beautiful trade cities along the shore and then going home like after a job well done. Despite all his indignation, however, the king had to admit that it made sense. Orchards would attract magpies to eat the fruit. And, well... he had to admit that he had neglected martial preparations. It was a rude awakening, but in a manner of speaking the Kashians had done him a service; it could have been far worse. It could have been a war of conquest. Nothing that he had would stand in the way of that for very long. As proud as he used to be of being peaceful, looking at his army of insignificant power - the most important occupation of which was parading in red and blue dress uniforms and making the onlooking maidens' hearts throb - now left a nasty taste in his mouth. He hated the thought, yes... but as he looked at the map, he no longer saw countries that weren't as beautiful as his; he saw countries that were stronger. And now, after this plundering campaign, they would all know that he had no martial power to speak of. Especially Marcodan. Their strongest neighbour, their most dangerous enemy... or hopefully their best ally who would secure this paradise once again.