Despite the breakdown of negotiations between the Empire and the Grendel, a few still hold out hope that the Grendel will honour their promise to release the children they took hostage regardless of the outcome. Their hopes dim on the news of the Grendel assault on the The Fist, but they are finally shattered when word comes from the Grendel. Copies of the same letter are received by Navarr couriers and from there delivered to senators and other notable citizens of the Empire. It appears the Grendel have dropped their pretence of wanting peace.
Twice now we have come to you in good faith, twice you have paid us with a chest filled with lies.
For decades the murderers that you pass off as merchants have preyed on our ships, plundering our cargo and slaughtering our people. At the Winter Solstice we came to you with an offer of peace, a restoration of land to the Empire in return for your people giving up piracy and theft. We negotiated in good faith and secured agreement - but every season that followed your dogs continued to foul our waters with their presence.
We are a civilized people with no wish for war on the Bay of Catazar. When it became clear that you had not kept your word, we tried again. This time with a show of sufficient force to make you understand that though we want peace, we are prepared for war if you are so determined.
Again we negotiated in good faith. A treaty was agreed to be put to your Senate. We waited to see if your representative had negotiated in good faith, but the only response from your Empire was steel. Clearly your own words mean nothing to you barbarians; lies stream from your lips like the drool of a rabid dog.
So be it. You insist on angering me, so rejoice now at your success. You demands for war will be met, your demands for the release of your children will not. Their freedom is the price you have paid; because you wanted this war more than you wanted their return. They will work the salt until they have paid for everything you have stolen from us.
Our people believe in the virtue of Fidelity, the need to treat honestly with others, to stand behind your words and own them. When you have learned how to move your lips without lying we will talk again.
High Lady Suriad, Salt Lord of Dubhtraig, Head of the Council of Attar, Monarch of Sea and Sky.
It seems that despite the assurances given to Bridget Talbot at the Summer Solstice, the Grendel have opted not to return the captured hostages. For all their boasts to be civilized people those who know the Grendel claim that the threat to have them work the salt is a Grendel euphemism for a short and brutal life of slavery in the Grendel salt mines. Any hope of recovering them is lost, once the Grendel transfer their captives to Attar, so far beyond the Empire's reach.
That said, the fact that they are willing to spite the Empire for a few hundred lives is an indication of just how furious the Grendel are. Furious and perhaps just a little bit surprised. It seems impossible to believe this is how they hoped their negotiations with the Empire would play out.