I have this little problem:
I'm writing a book in heroic fantasy setting and I've driven myself into a corner by overcomplicating international relations between governments. Now that I'm halfway through, the protagonist is supposed to make peace between allies, who completely embargoed each other, severely reducing their overall ability to fight against the common enemy (
the Bad Guys).
The reason why both sides must cooperate is that each has something the other one needs:
Side Aneeds infantry to besiege fortresses captured by
the Bad Guys, and
Side Bhas 20k seasoned veterans, who would do that quickly and with minimal effort
Side Bis unable to produce enough of resources essential to their existence: food, textiles and wood. Before the incident they were imported from
Unfortunately it turns out, that the reasons for this situation I came up at first are stupid: anyone with a half-brain should figure this out without protagonist's help. A story arc that was supposed to take two chapters would takes no more than two pages.
What I'm asking for?
What I need are some general ideas for a good reason why an alliance would break despite enemy's presence and why would someone refuse to cooperate even if it means losing the war.
You may or may not refer to further details I've posted in the following part of this post. I would love some references to similar historical events, if possible.
What have I tried so far and why it didn't work?
My first idea was that
the Bad Guys used assassins to murder emissaries and ambassadors from
Side A and made it look like it was done by the forces of
Side B was supposed to be so offended by such accusations, that they severed all ties to
It doesn't work for several reasons:
Side Bhad nothing to gain by such action, but
the Bad Guyshad both resources and motivations to do such a thing in such manner, and it's something that
Side Ashould realize immediately
- In the real world, even when the kings pretend to ignore each other, low-level clerks and intelligence still talk to each other, so clarifying the issue should take days at most, not months (in my setting telepathy allows communication similar to cellular phones: it's easy to use, cheap, you often lose signal, and government officials can wiretap you, so time needed to exchange messages is not factor)
- King's honour and dignity is only important until his subjects begin to starve
Here are some details about my setting, in case you need them to provide an answer. I use generic names like
Human_Kingdom_North to make it easier to keep track on who is who:
Human_Kingdom_North: almost entirely (in 90%) conquered by
the Bad Guys, ruled by old and wise king, who gathered his remaining forces and hid under protection of his southern allies
Human_Kingdom_South: they've just joined the war, knowing full well, that once the
Human_Kingdom_Northfalls, they will be the next target. They are ruled by paranoid, psychopathic king, which is (and have been for generations) a norm in that part of the world. Currently they have both the most powerful economy and the most powerful military among the
Side A. It was their ambassadors and emissaries who were supposed to be killed.
Dwarven_State_West: Vassal state to
Human_Kingdom_North, ruled by aristocracy. Since dwarves value honour and dignity above anything else, they fight alongside the humans, event though they are beyond
the Bad Guysreach
Elven_Republic: Elves joined the war after their capital city was captured after a surprise attack. They are ancient enemies of the Dwarves, but in the face of a common enemy their conflict with the soldiers from
Dwarven_State_Westis expressed only in insults.
Dwarven_Kingdom_East: Independent dwarven country ruled by a young and ambitious king. He possesses secret knowledge about protagonist's unique powers, but refuses to share it to someone working for
Wizard_State: Small country full of wizards, not involved in the war, ruled by an elected committee. Committee's head was a traitor, who was supposed to orchestrate the assassination plot. It was the fact that he was revealed and killed prompted to protagonist to investigate the incident.
I think it is all the important information. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.