Melanie Diplomat

The Treaty of Longbrook

Back and back in the year 2473 lived Grandmother Melanie Diplomat. This is the story of how she authored the Treaty of Longbrook and so earned her name and title.

As you know, the days after the Time of Troubles were hard ones for our villages. We were free of Inworld governace, but our own governments had not yet matured. When Wisewoman Melanie was 22 years old there was great strife between the Governors, each desiring parcels of the others' land for their own, disputing values of trade goods, and interfering with hovercraft travel.

Melanie lived in the small village of Longbrook. Her Governor, Graham Balance, was no better than the others but no worse. The year 2472 had a rainy winter and the villagers of Longbrook were hard-pressed to keep the fields drained and prevent the striped slugs from eating their sweet cabbage and cattail root. The villagers came tired to the new year's celebration, and drank more and more heavily than was the norm. Talk naturally turned to weather and the crops, and Graham remarked bitterly that the nearby town of Pondblossom laid claim to well-drained lands that should rightly belong to Longbrook.

The conversation turned to good fortune gained at Longbrook's expense, and the mood of the celebration darkened. Town elders wound their way home feeling worn and slighted, and the youths of the town left the party with anger in their hearts. One group of six youths determined to right the balance on their own, and set out that night for Pondblossom.

They reached the closest fields of Pondblossom just before dawn, and began to gather sweet cabbage and rice into their shirts (as they had not thought to bring sacks). Sunrise, and the farmers of Pondblossom, found them far into the fields, bare-backed and with their arms full of plunder.

Naturally the farmers were angered by others harvesting their crops, and the self righteous attitude of the Longbrook youth aggravated the problem. A fight broke out and two residents of Pondblossom and three from Longbrook were injured. One youth, Timothy Fortune, was knocked unconscious and drowned during the fight.

Melanie and Wisewoman Catherine of Pondblossom were grieved by Timothy's death and concerned that even this might not end the strife. They had heard news of similar problems all over Creek, and recognized a growing and serious problem.

Melanie spoke with Governor Graham, and proposed that they hold a conference of Governors at Longbrook to discuss the problem. Graham did not like the idea at first, but grew to desire the prestige gained by hosting such a meeting. The conference was scheduled to begin on the first day of the year 2474, the anniversary of Timothy Fortune's death.

Next, Melanie and Catherine went to the Governor of Pondblossom to invite him to the conference. He complained that he should not have to go to a tiny, backwards village like Longbrook when it had been they who had wronged him first. Catherine asked if he would prefer to take on the expense and trouble of hosting Graham, or if he'd prefer Graham to host him using the limited resources of Longbrook. Thus, the Governor of Pondblossom was persuaded to attend the conference.

Melanie visited the Governors of surrounding villages and invited them to the conference. Many of these Governors were reluctant to take the time to attend, and Melanie agreed that they need not do so. If they were not present, the other Governors could more easily make decisions for them. Thus, the local Governors were persuaded to attend the conference.

Before Melanie departed, she and Catherine had composed a letter to Governors of more distant villages. While Melanie traveled about the region, Catherine sent this letter to all the Wisewomen of Creek. The Wisewomen told their Governors of the conference to be held in Longbrook. To those were reluctant to travel so far the Wisewomen said "all the Governors of Creek are invited -- do you wish to be the one not present?" Thus, distant Governors were persuaded to attend the conference.

The villagers of Longbrook worked hard all year to prepare for the conference. Distant villages sent their best tents, pottery, preserves and drink for the conference, as advertisements of their goods to the Governors gathered there. Local villages donated their finest foods and all the Governors arrived looking their best, each trying to outdo the other in their dress and the clever design of their traveling kits. By the end of 2473, Longbrook was host to the largest gathering ever seen on Creek.

All that year, Melanie and Catherine had been busy planning the meeting. Melanie composed a treaty which they thought would be agreeable, and presented it first to the Governors of Longbrook and Pondblossom.

As we all know, the treaty called for all the Governors to agree that disputes should be settled peacefully. If any village knowingly harmed another village's people or property or the hovercraft or communications systems, the Governor of that village would be replaced. The treaty also set forth general terms for trade agreements and the system of trade embargoes to be used against villages whose Governors refused to step down.

The Governor of Longbrook was concerned that the this might cost him his position, but Melanie and Catherine agreed that the treaty should punish only present and future acts, not past ones. Seeing that this treaty would protect him from reprisals by Pondblossom, Graham agreed that it was good.

The Governor of Pondblossom was more difficult to persuade, but in the end agreed that his generous and peace loving nature allowed him to set aside the wrongs done to him to achieve peace planet wide.

Copies of the treaty were sent to Wisewomen all over Creek, and each presented it to her village's Governor and made what arguments she could in its favor.

When the first day of the new year came and the conference began there were still some Governors who did not desire to dilute their power by signing such a document. However, when they saw how many Governors had signed and considered the trade agreements and embargoes described by the treaty, they quickly changed their minds.

Thus were the Governors of the planet Creek persuaded to sign the Treaty of Longbrook, which holds to this day, and thus did Melanie Diplomat earn her name and the title Grandmother.