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Tridam ultimatum

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The Tridam ultimatum is a strategy in which a number of people are held hostage, and either the demands of the aggressor are consented to, or the people will be killed one after the other.

It gets its name from the town of Tridam, where a local baron had thrown some brigands into a dungeon. The bandits' friends (among them the half-elf Civril) held a ferry full of pilgrims as hostage, demanding their friends' freedom in exchange for the people's lives.

The baron refused, and the bandits began throwing the hostages overboard. A dozen were killed in this manner before the baron changed his mind and freed the brigands.

Not everyone agreed with his choice; solutions to the situation that would not have allowed the bandits to go free were offered, along with suggestion for the baron to be exiled or executed. The baron argued that he chose the lesser evil by letting the men go free, and thus saving the lives of over twenty-five people.

This happened on the Feast of Nis, about three years before the short story The Lesser Evil, in which Renfri and her band (including aforementioned Civril) attempted to do the same with the people in the market and the wizard Stregobor.

"Tridam. Didn't you hear of it? Everyone was talking about it three...Yes, three years ago. The Baron of Tridam was holding some brigands in the dungeons. Their comrades - one of whom was that half blood Civril - seized a river ferry full of pilgrims during the Feast of Nis. They demanded the baron set those others free. The Baron refused, so they began murdering pilgrims, one after another. By the time the Baron released his prisoners they'd thrown a dozen pilgrims overboard to drift with the current - and following the deaths the baron was in danger of exile, or even of execution. Some blamed him for waiting so long to give in, and others claimed he'd commited a great evil in, in setting a pre - precedent or something. The gang should have been shot from the banks, together with the hostages, or attacked on the boats; he shouldn't have given an inch. At the tribunal the Baron argued he'd had no choice, he'd chosen the lesser evil to save more than twenty-five people - women and children - on the ferry."
— pg(s). 106, "The Lesser Evil", in the collection The Last Wish (UK edition)