381YE Winter Solstice winds of war
- 1 Overview
- 2 Hunting By The Rivers
- 3 The Memories Scarred
- 4 Living in the Night
- 5 Where All Roads Meet
- 6 Two Tales
- 7 To Fool The Crowd
- 8 Imperialistic House of Prayer
- 9 Audio Recordings
The Empire is at war; it is difficult to remember a time when it was not.
In Zenith, a catastrophic flood washes out the farms of Proceris, and the Druj destroy what they cannot control. Three Highborn armies face off against the eastern orcs; while the Druj consolidate the land they have already claimed, they do not advance. Zenith rests on a knife-edge, and the smallest victory by the savage orcs will tip it into their control.
North of Zenith, the defence of Semmerholm sees the armies of Dawn defeat the Druj, supported by both supernatural agents from the Summer realm and the heroes of Wintermark. Immense amounts of blood are spilled - eight thousand humans and orcs are killed or crippled beyond recovery. The Druj are pushed south, but they are not driven from the territory and seem to have plans of their own.
In the south-east, Imperial forces assault the Black Plateau. The Grendel defend, but the Empire slowly pushes them back. As great danger as the two clashing armies is the Plateau itself - its malignant influence spreads across the territory driving some to madness and death. It is getting worse...
Far to the west, the liberation of Mournwold is completed. The Jotun have retreated entirely, and the Marcher armies have claimed the last inch of the Mourn for their people with the aid of the Navarr soldiers of the Quiet Step. For all their victory on the battlefield, however, the political situation in Mournwold remains tense. The people are not entirely happy.
On the cold tundra of Sermersuaq, and on the arid plains of Segura, Jotun champions are engaged in strategy that seems aimed at smoothing the way for their armies to invade. Rather than send their massed troops against the Empire this season, the Jotun have dispatched raiders and scouts under the banners of their kirkja and their respected champions.
Finally, in Madruga, the Grendel armada has destroyed the Freeborn Storm, and brought the Black Thorns to the brink of annihilation. Half the coast of the Freeborn territory is in their hands, and they have captured the birthplace of the Brass Coast itself - Atalaya.
Chaos and death all around. The civil service study the Sentinel Gate in Anvil, and compose their reports for the Military Council. Soon the heroes of the Empire will have a chance to make a difference. The only question remains where will they make that difference?
Hunting By The Rivers
The Seventh Wave will not fail. We will not allow Zenith to be taken. Our foe may have numbers but we will not fall and we will not fail.General of the Seventh Wave
During the Autumn Equinox, the Druj forces in Zenith moved against the Golden Cascade. A series of terraces and aqueducts carved into the foothills, it was supported both by powerful ritual magic, and great polished mirrors that ensured the fields received as much sunlight as possible all year round. The Golden Cascade was seen by many as a wonder of the Empire. Now it is gone.
The eastern orcs turned a monstrous marshwalker loose against the great dam that controlled the flow of water to the terraced farms. The creature tore the white granite wall apart, unleashing a deluge of freezing water across the foothills - a devastating flash flood that swept away everything in its path. The farms are ruined, the aqueducts shattered, the great golden mirrors cast down. Thousands of ushabti are destroyed and scores of farmers drowned in the relentless flood.
The catastrophe is epic in scale; many refugees fleeing across the plains from Lustri and Occursion are caught by the waves of water, and those who manage to find higher ground are easy prey for the murderous Druj. The Highborn armies defending Zenith - Seventh Wave, Granite Pillar, and Valiant Pegasus - are forced to withdraw, barely making it out of Proceris before the disaster strikes. The Druj armies, expertly positioned and well-practiced in the art of fighting in treacherous, boggy conditions, sweep in behind the flood claiming the defences the Highborn have abandoned.
The people of Urizen need us now more than ever! The venomous water has been purified and we must hold the last region! We make a strategic defence of Zenith and coordinate with both the Seventh Wave and Valient Pegasus. Hold your ground!General of the Granite Pillar
If there is a single bright side to the disaster, it is that the cold water from the mountains is surprisingly pure even after it has swept across the plains. Indeed, under the noonday sun the water seems to sparkle with a hard-to-define golden radiance. A potent enchantment has been lain across Zenith that purifies liquids of all sorts, separating off any corruption or poison. The Urizen fleeing the Druj have no lack of fresh drinking water, and the potent magic also serves as a measure of protection from envenomed blades and infected wounds.
The Golden Cascade is a significant loss, but it is not the only blow to the people of Urizen. The Druj also overrun the Arch of the Sky, a collection of spires on the tallest mountain in Zenith, where stargazers from all of the Empire once gathered to discuss and debate the Net of the Heavens, comparing their astral observations to the history and present state of the Empire and the wider world. The Druj flood waters do not reach the spire itself of course, but even as the dam is being smashed apart Druj guerillas are moving into position. Many of the astronomancers and star-watchers have already retreated, but a handful of magicians and sentinels remain behind in the hope of holding the orcs at bay. Such hope is in vain. The eastern orcs take and loot the spires, and before turning their attention back to the flooded plains they burn the proud observatories and libraries. What they cannot take with them is reduced to ashes.
Everywhere the citizens of eastern Zenith flee west. Those who can make it to the foothills in the west, where the Seventh Wave wait, are safe. Those left behind meet grim fates. Hunted, enslaved, tormented … the Druj are savage and without mercy. The barbarians seem to treat the pursuit almost as a game, taking grim pleasure in peppering the fleeing Urizen with arrows in the last moments before they reach sanctuary. The Highborn do what they can, but all too few manage to escape the combination of floodwater and Druj malice.
The general of one of the orc armies, those who fight beneath the banner of the crimson snake, takes great pleasure in tying prisoners to stakes on low ground, leaving them to starve to death or drown in the flood waters in full view of Highborn positions - as bait. Some of them are rescued, but many of those who attempt such rescues are captured by the Druj and staked out in their turn.
A week or so after the Equinox there is a moment of uncertainty for the Druj when two Freeborn armies march through the grand pass from Spiral known as the Twilight Gate. The broad pass through the mountains allows the Red Wind Corsairs and the Fire of the South to avoid the worst of the destruction, and there are many mariners and corsairs among the soldiers who are able to employ their professional skills to craft makeshift rafts when they have to. The Druj launch a few probing strikes against the soldiers of the Brass Coast - but these cautious attacks are easily shrugged off. The Freeborn are not here to fight - they quickly pass through Proceris, and without pause push on westward through Clypion and Iteri, and then south into Redoubt.
The Druj consolidate their gains, but the armies do not press beyond Proceris. That is not to say that there are no Druj in Clypion - there are small groups of scouts, guerillas, and even assassins who move quietly through the hills but the vigilance of the Granite Pillar prevents them from achieving more than a few minor acts of banditry and barbarism. While the Highborn still hold Clypion, the westernmost region of Iteri is relatively safe.
Stand with our brothers and sisters and hold Zenith. Heal those who fall, both military and civilian. Fight with the virtue of the Highborn. We will not allow people to fall to the Druj.General of the Valiant Pegasus
Several spires there have taken in cousins and friends from the conquered western territories, but the Urizen are not well-suited for dealing with displaced population. Too many people in too small a space, drawing on too sparse a supply of food ... The Valiant Pegasus offer what aid they can, and set up makeshift camps to house the refugees, but many prefer to continue north into Morrow looking for somewhere to stay among their own people.
As the Winter Solstice draws near, the floodwaters have largely settled. The Druj have claimed almost all of Proceris - a concerted push against the remaining Highborn defences and they will control the entire sodden plain - and with it the territory of Zenith.
Game Information: Zenith
The Druj have further consolidated their hold on Lustri and Occursion, and hold nine-tenths of Proceris. The Highborn defenders along the western border of the region are all that stand between the Druj and control of Zenith.
The precise extent of the damage to Zenith is not clear at this time, but the Golden Cascades are utterly ruined. These farms represented a great work that provided a significant amount of food to the spires of eastern Urizen. Going forward, all farms in Zenith suffer a penalty of 18 rings production each season due to the lack of good quality farmland in the wake of the catastrophe. Furthermore, attempts to build a fortification in Proceris are likely to encounter additional costs and difficulties. It may be possible to counter these problems, but not until the current conflict with the Druj is settled.
Confirmation has been received from refugees that the Druj have destroyed the Starlight Drift of Shimmering Snow, the Tower of the Fall, the Storm Vault, and Origen's Rest. The titles associated with these sinecures still exist, but provide no benefits. If the sinecures were rebuilt (assuming the Druj are driven out of Zenith), the current holders would resume their posts. Alternatively, if the current title holders had stepped down in the interim, the normal methods of appointment would apply.
The Memories Scarred
Steadily, mile by mile, the Marchers and their Navarr allies advance across the Mournwold. The last few scattered Jotun in Southmoor fall back into Liathaven before the first Imperial soldiers reach them. With a vital extra season to evacuate their thralls, the fields of Southmoor are eerily empty. A scattering of orcs are all that remain, the human thralls having long since moved to greener pastures in other parts of the Mourn.
Soldiers of the Stong Reeds, the time has come to finish what has been started ... it is time to end the campaign in the Mournwold. For the Marches and for the Empire!!General of the Strong Reeds
Southmoor was the last region lost to the Jotun during the original invasion, and is the last to be freed. The final major settlement to be liberated is old Sarcombe, perhaps appropriately. Once a prosperous Marcher town, trading with the Navarr in Liathaven, it was broken to ruins during the fighting three decades ago. It has long since been transformed into a fortified Jotun hall keeping a careful watch east, to the Greensward, and to Tassato. Some of the town buildings still stand, but the castle that surmounted it is no more. The western orcs have torn Hillstop down themselves, rather than allow it to fall into the hands of the Empire. The once rich market town of Sarcombe is a broken ruin again.
Right soldiers, WE FINISH THIS. Our boots will tread the fields so our landskeepers can once again take the lands of the marcher soil of mournwold. ... Share your rations with the newly liberated marchers, and save your best goole fledged arrows for the Jotun. Our work starts in Southmoor and we don't stop 'til we see the Green March back in our control!General of the Tusks
The story is the same in Green March. There are a handful of Jotun warbands that are still in the process of retreating from the Mourn, but they mostly fall back as soon as they see the slightest sign of Imperial forces. Again, not many thralls have been left behind - scattered families of stubborn humans and a smattering of orc thralls who seem to have picked up their neighbour's grim determination to hang on to "their" land. Their masters lacked the time, or the spirit, to argue with them, abandoning them as they retreated.
Most of the Mournwolders who remain tend to be older - men and women in their forties and fifties who still remember life as part of the Empire. Some of the young people have left with the Jotun, following the only life they have ever known. Of the very old and the very young, there are all too few, a bitter legacy of the curses that were used to retake the land from the orcs.
Thorns, the Jotun have been harried by our forces in Liathaven. They will come to drive us out, but will not find us. We march to the Mournwold ... and will carve a new road to Liaven's Glen. As we pass through Kharaman, expect to take on a reinforcement of materials for our apothecaries and vates which were made possible by the aid of the Spider King, whose support of the Nation earns our gratitude.General of the Quiet Step
The Marchers are not the only soldiers in Mournwold. The Navarr of the Quiet Step march up through the Greensward to join in the liberation of the Mournwold, keen to secure the western borders and access to the forests of their own conquered territories. There is something peculiar at work among the thorns and brands, however. Something supernatural. The army is accompanied by a larger-than-usual number of vates - the elite Navarr magicians - and by creatures that are clearly neither human nor orc. A few worried landskeepers opine that these are heralds of the Spring realm, but what they are doing with the Quiet Step is difficult to say. The Quiet Step seem almost disappointed that there are no Jotun to slay. Whatever private business it is that they are about they are given a wide berth by the citizens of the Mournwold.
Good Bounders last season we returned the Mourn to Imperial control. This season we finish the job. Push the last of the Jotun from our lands; let the beaters once again beat the bounds of all the Marches. Look to our landskeepers and our physicks to heal the land and the people as we advance streadily to regain our borders.General of the Bounders
Finally, at High Courage, the remains of a hastily abandoned camp are found. A mournful red and black banner, the banner of Gudmundur Arason, Jarl-of-Jarls, King of Narkyst, flutters before the great stag statue. A reminder and a promise, perhaps.
Now then my merry lads and lasses, the end is nigh and the job is almost done. One last push, one last effort and the entirity of the Mournwold will return to its people. The Jotun have demolished Hillstop, their armies have fled and we are now unopposed. Let our steady advance take the first marcher army to the borders of Liathaven. First Southmoor and finally onto Green March, that is where we march. So long as no Jotun oppose us, I want the wealth of Mitwold to fill our coffers and use this oppertunity to rearm and re-equip.General of the Drakes
Game Information : Mournwold
The Marchers, and thus the Empire, now control all of Mournwold. There is no significant opposition - the Drakes for example are in a position to benefit from their popular support and actually able to resupply while on active campaign.
Despite the best efforts of the Jotun, the castle at old Sarcombe - what the Jotun once called Hillstop - could probably be rebuilt by the Empire. The civil service are still looking into the possibilities of rebuilding Hillstop, the Tribute, and Orchard's Watch now that the Jotun have fled. They are also compiling a list of spoils of war to present to the Imperial Military Council, and may also suggest other opportunities to help restore the Mournwold.
The political situation in the Mournwold is still uncertain, however. Some steps have been taken to address their concerns, such as the commission of several fortifications, for example, but the Singing Caves still remains unallocated by the Imperial Senate. There will be further updates about the situation in the Mourn in Winds of Fortune, but for now the situation remains tense.
Living in the Night
During the Autumn Equinox the Grendel sent an elite warband to collapse the Crow Road, the pass connecting Willstone in Redoubt with Cinon. Had they succeeded, the Imperial forces in Spiral would have risked becoming trapped, cut off from support, and easy prey for their barbarian opponents. Thanks to the swift intervention of Imperial heroes, the salt lords' strategy was stymied. Control of the pass proves crucial in the coming weeks. With the pass open, the Towerjacks are able to withdraw toward Sarvos to resupply, and the Green Shield and Iron Helms are able to move down to support the Imperial forces still engaged in Spiral.
Once again we will be engaging in daring and devastating raids against our foes. We are traveling north into Zenith, swinging south west into Redoubt and joining the rest of the Imperial armies back in Spiral. There we will plunder our foes, rushing for screed, carry on bleeding them dry, and make these accursed Grendel realise this is not a war they can profit from! Fight for the Empress, fight for the Freeborn, fight for the Empire! But be careful of the Black Plateau, it's a bit shit there!General of the Red Wind Corsairs
It also allows the Fire of the South and the Red Wind Corsairs to make a daring march from their isolated position in northern Ossuary. They push north through the Twilight Gate, skirting the Druj armies in sodden Proceris, and coming round through Zenith and Redoubt to join the main Imperial force in Cinon. They are joined, to the surprise of many, by a small force from Axos. Three hundred agema and toxatai, under the command of Circe Icastos, daughter of General Dancia of Ipotavo. The skirmishers are newly arrived, having chartered swift vessels with the assistance of the Imperial ambassador to Axos. They are quiet, grim faced, and keep themselves to themselves. On reaching Spiral, they immediately present themselves to General Nicassia of the Citadel Guard - they are here to repay a debt to the Urizen who helped defend Ipotavo against the Druj.
For nearly a month, though, the Wolves of War and the Citadel Guard hold Spiral alone against the combined might of the Grendel armies. They are not idle while they wait for their reinforcements; withdrawing soldiers from Ateri and Ossuary, they begin to slowly move south-east into the very heart of Spiral itself; the barren plains of Screed at the centre of which squats the malign presence of the Black Plateau.
The Grendel have effectively controlled Screed for nearly thirty years, sweeping across it largely uncontested in the final weeks of their original invasion, then again in the Summer of 379YE. There have been skirmishes, of course, but there has never been a significant military engagement in Screed between the Empire and the barbarians. Until now.
Fire of the South, fastest army of the Empire, your fleetness is required once again. We will march north into Zenith, passing by the Highborn, southwest into redoubt, and then swing into spiral once more. Alongside the other Imperial armies we will enact a Steady conquest of Spiral, pushing for Screed and the Northwest Black Plateau. Our friends in Urizen fight against the Grendel occupation, we will come to their aid. The Grendel had a great victory over our navy. Let's give them a defeat that will make them fear the freeborn once more.General of the Fire of the South
The Fire of the South, the Citadel Guard, and the Green Shields push slowly forwards south and east, carefully conserving their strength. The physicks and magicians who accompany them, bolstered by a number of priests, focus their attention on preserving the lives of their fellow soldiers - their lives and their spirits as well, perhaps. The Black Plateau continues to grumble. Everyone in Screed seems supernaturally aware of its location at all time - even when they cannot physically see it they know exactly where it is, and cannot shake the fearful impression that it is watching them. Some sensitive souls find the experience goes beyond unnerving and becomes unbearable.
The disquiet is exacerbated by the presence of both the Iron Helms and the thousand shambling husks fighting alongside the Green Shields. The corpses ridden by flesh-hungry spirits of the Wasteland seem ... agitated ... by Screed. They are more vicious, and a little harder to control. Something about this place, about the gloom that pervades the arid valleys, makes them irritable. More brutal. Crueler. They rarely wait for their opponents to die before they start feeding on them, and it takes a strong will to call them off once the battle is engaged. There are even a few reports of incidents where the hungry dead have snapped at Imperial soldiers - never those of the Green Shield, but the warriors of the other armies begin to give the Wintermark force a wide berth.
Last season this army was led by the Imperatrix. Inspired by her mandate to preserve life we shall implacably advance into screed then onward into Ossuary. Bound as we are by common cause, all that fight alongside the wolves, be they citizens of the Empire or foreign mercenaries shall be treated with utmost respect. For this season we are one. All wounded and dead will be recovered and with reverence and respect returned to their people.General of the Wolves of War
The main bulk of the Imperial force is represented by the Wolves of War. Supported by nearly nine thousand additional troops lead by independent captains, their forces outnumber the other three armies put together. They are further supported by heavily armoured cohorts drawn from the Free Companies, and by a significant force of heavily armoured Imperial Orc reavers. The mercenaries are in the van, leading a steady grinding advance across Screed, consolidating gains and fortifying the Imperial position as they go.
The Iron Helms balance the need to claim ground with the desire to kill the southern orcs. Since the Fire of the South, Red Wind Corsairs, and the Green Shields will not fight alongside them; the Helms move north supported by the Wolves of War and Citadel Guard, while the main Imperial force sweeps south around the Black Plateau. The Varushkan army keeps their cruelty carefully leashed, but the Grendel are in no doubt as to their presence. Their dark banners, and the cloud of carrion birds that drift in their wake would be warning enough, but the presence of the Black Plateau seems to make their advance even more pronounced. They are a terror in the night, and not only for the barbarians; some Imperials speak in hushed tones of sweaty nightmares in which they were devoured by red-eyed soot-black hounds with iron teeth.
With most of the Imperial forces focused on claiming ground and preserving the lives of their soldiers, the Red Wind Corsairs enthusiastically seek opportunities to engage the Grendel directly. Coming after the successful raid against the Legacy last season, spirits are high and even the brooding malignancy of the Black Plateau can do little to quash them. With the words of the Freeborn assembly ringing in their ears, they launch daring raids against the Grendel supply camps. Their target is the wealth the orcs have accumulated there - crystal mana, magical ore, and the valuables stolen from conquered spires. More than a few, following the lead of the priests, take the opportunity to capture Grendel officers and ransom them back to their commanders for a healthy profit.
The orcs of the Broken Shore are a little on the back foot; their main forces are focused in Ateri, Ankra, and Ossuary. The main Grendel presence in Screed appears to be a dozen or so fortified camps, mostly built around captured Urizen spires. Scattered in a wide ring around the edges of Screed, they serve as supply depots and watchposts rather than significant fortifications. The first handful fall to the Empire before the Grendel can move their armies in to defend the others. There seems to be no significant Grendel force near the Black Plateau itself, and they are loath to engage the Empire in it's shadow - and truth be told, the soldiers of the Empire are no keener than the barbarians to get close to it.
If we take the plateau we can start to heal our land. If we take Ossuary we will free our allies and take the Legacy. The heroes have kept the pass open, our allies support us. Fight for our home, and make me proud.Citadel Guard
Over the next few months, there are countless engagements between the Empire and the Grendel armies. Wherever possible, the barbarians try to control the battleground - falling back to defensive positions, moving through Ankra and Ateri to flank the Imperial advance, drawing their enemies into broken terrain the Grendel troops have previously scouted. Their eyes and ears are everywhere - adept scouts on both sides play a deadly game of cat and mouse through the foothills and barren valleys. But it is noticeable that their soldiers seem more cautious than normal, perhaps even a little more predictable - something has clearly put them on the defensive.
As the weeks wear on, the engagements become fewer in number but significantly more bloody. At first, probing raids from both sides are easily repulsed, but as the Empire takes more territory there is less room for the Grendel armies to manoeuvre. The two sides clash in larger and larger numbers.
There is more at work in Spiral than just humans and orcs fighting, however. This is Urizen, after all. Some far-ranging scouts from the Imperial armies make sorties far south as the coast. They bring back confusing reports of powerful magic at work in the waters of the Bay of Catazar. They talk of spires of razor-sharp rock and coral erupting from the sea floor, and of a thick sea fog that rises without warning full of dancing lights and large hard-to-see shapes. Vessels berthed at the rebuilt port of Apulus are protected, but the magic plays havoc with any vessel at sea off the coast of Spiral.
Indeed, the scouts also report that the port at Apulus is more than rebuilt - it is significantly fortified. The Grendel appear to have built a castle on the southern coast with almost supernatural speed, and are using the garrison there to support their troops in the defence of their conquered territories.
Heroes of the Green Shield, the bond of loyalty and friendship take us once again to Spiral. We have bled for comrades, have been tested in wars great storm, but the storm can never break us. So stand and take up your shields, solid for the people of Spiral. Stand take up your spears, to strike swift these unworthy foes.General of the Green Shield
Yet these enchantments pale beside magic neither side controls. The Black Plateau itself is here - and it is gathering power. While Imperial forces have encountered it's subtle, pervasive influence before they are not prepared for direct exposure to its madness. It seems to ebb and flow, and the dreams at least seem tied to the influence of the moon. On nights when the moon is dark, those who sleep in Screed experience dreams of despair and creeping paranoia. On nights when the moon is full and bright, their sleep is riven with dreams of blood and savagery flavoured by their darkest, hidden urges.
The dreams are only part of it. Even with the sun at its height, there are the phantasms and delusions; sometimes a half-familiar voice whispers from the shadow inside an empty tent. Sometimes one seems to spot and old friend, an enemy, a loved one in a crowd. Odd certainties come from nowhere - one confused band of Freeborn scouts reports with absolute confidence a major Grendel force moving along a dry river bed that on further investigation seem to have existed only in their minds. This tragic tale comes with a grim warning - while moving to intercept the imaginary force the Freeborn soldiers are flanked by a very real Grendel army coming from the south, and the Red Wind Corsairs are badly bloodied before they can pull back to defensive positions. Two of the scouts take their own lives in grief and shame.
There is a rash of suicides - not only soldiers taking their own lives in despair but raging warriors hurling themselves with bloody abandon against their enemies without thought for their own survival. The madness is infectious - a whole warband might suddenly break rank and attack the enemy without support leaving their commanders with a handful of seconds to decide whether to abandon the plan and support their maddened troops or leave them to die at the hands of the enemy. There are reports of Urizen sentinels abandoning poise, mutilating and torturing captured Grendel prisoners. Of League captains withdrawing their forces in disarray convinced that at any moment they will be overwhelmed by imaginary monsters. Of a Wintermark patrol found dead at each other's hands, the lone survivor sobbing a broken tale of betrayal and suspicion that boiled over into murder around the camp fire.
The only positive is that the Empire are not alone in suffering the baleful touch of Screed; the Grendel generals seem to be having just as much difficulty controlling themselves and their troops as their opposite numbers in the Empire.
Rod, and sword, and moon, and bow. We march to distant Urizen to repay a debt owed, to aid our western cousins as they have aided us. From the Throne of Day, Ipotavo watches, her eyes on those who act with certainty and reason.Circe Icastos
Dreadful as the insidious effects of Screed are, the situation could have been much worse. The majority of both orc and human armies have chosen defensive approaches intended to minimise loss of life and it is just as well that they do. It is noticeable that the Iron Helms and the Red Wind Corsairs suffer more losses to the pernicious influence of the accursed ground than the other Imperial armies.
Despite their caution, the Grendel armies do not give ground easily. They are not fighting to the death to defend the region but nor are they just falling back. It seems almost like a calculated effort to husband their resources, avoiding giving up any more land than they absolutely must while they wait for something. The Empire pushes them hard but by the time the next summit draws near the region itself remains in the hands of the orcs of the Broken Shore, and the only real change is the landscape itself. If the Black Plateau were grumbling before, now it is growling. If it was shifting restively in its sleep, now it is beginning to stir to wakefulness. But has it's appetite been sated by all the blood spilled... or merely whetted?
Game Information : Spiral
The Empire has made significant headway into Screed, but the Grendel still control the region. While everyone has been focused in the centre of Spiral, and the Grendel have been on the defensive, Imperial gains in Ankra (and their minor gains in Ossuary) have not been compromised - yet.
The influence of the Black Plateau has increased casualties suffered by both sides fighting in Spiral, and the situation appears to be getting worse. Anyone who wishes to roleplay there were present during the recent campaign is free to create their own horror stories of things they have encountered, based around themes of creeping fear, haunting phantasms, eerie dreams, gnawing suspicion, and outbursts of uncontrolled anger.
Furthermore, any Imperial general of one of the armies engaged in Spiral, and any character with a military unit assigned to support those armies, may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and volunteer to have been more profoundly affected by the Black Plateau than their peers. They will begin the next game cursed with a powerful roleplaying effect that may significantly influence their behaviour. If your character does not meet these criteria (military unit assigned to support an army in Spiral), please do not e-mail in; this opportunity to be cursed is not available to those roleplaying they supported the army.
Finally, there are stone sea-spines and weird hypnotic fog rising off the southern coast that are playing havoc with shipping fleets. The spiny spikes fade with the coming of the Winter Solstice, but the odd mist and its peculiar lights show no signs of going away. Any fleet based in Spiral suffers a 50% penalty to its production this season, and will continue to do so as long as the seductive fog curse remains in place.
Where All Roads Meet
Soldiers of the Pride, for the first time in our 100 years, four Dawnish armies march side by side into battle, each fighting to their strengths. We match to drive the Druj out of Dawnish lands. We will show them and warriors of the Summer Realm that fight with our forces that we can not just outfight but our out think and outmaneuver the Druj. By season's end Semmerholm will lie in Dawnish lands again. For glory. For Dawn. For the Empire!General of the Gryphon's Pride
Immediately after the Autumn Equinox, the bulk of the Druj forces in Semmerholm push north into Estmure. They assault Estcastle, taking vicious pleasure in slaughtering as many Imperial Orcs as they can find. They raid Lacre, damaging the cathedral. They do not have things all their own way; a citadel of ice and basalt rises in the hills of Estmure, garrisoned by white-skinned knights in armour of living frost. The knights of Lacre and the orcs of Estcastle, along with a few scattered survivors from the fallen Gate, find sanctuary within the frigid halls. They rally against the Druj, who find their advance blunted by its adamantine walls.
At the forefront of the force pushing toward the Semmerlak, and toward Holberg, are the Black Wind. For a short time free orcs of the Barrens, they abandoned their fellows to return to the Druj, heads bowed and glad of the yoke. They are very much changed from the time the soldiers of Dawn met them on the fields of the north-western Barrens. Aping their masters, they are cruel and barbarous beyond measure. They murder and torture without mercy, and those who fall into their hands die screaming, their broken bodies left bound to trees - as the orcs of the Barrens once bound the bodies of the Druj in the brief period they were free. Even the brave yeomen and knights of Dawn balk at facing the bitter vengeance of the Black Wind; where their black banners go the militias of Semmerholm flee.
For the first time in over a century the four armies of Dawn will march as one. Arrayed with us the host of Summer and household soldiers of the nation our Triumphant Charge will sweep the filth of the Druj from our lands. Be heroes, let the troubadours sing for centuries to come of these days.General of the Hounds of Glory
A second force of Druj push westward into Ulvenholm. Smaller and more focused, these orcs advance under banners showing twisted yellow-eyed black lizards. There are a significant number of Vikari marching alongside them. They make a straight line for the Pits of Brychel, barely pausing to pillage the estates they pass. There are a few reports from the Navarr of Boar's Dell that this army is sending scouts south across the border, into Brocéliande, perhaps looking for something. Uncharacteristically, they retreat as soon as they see the thorns that defend the scattered steadings of the northern forest, avoiding any engagement. They are up to something ... but there are no clues as to what.
Two weeks after the Autumn Equinox, the armies of Dawn arrive.
All four armies - the Gryphons Pride the Hounds of Glory, the Eastern Sky, and the Golden Sun - march into Semmerholm. The first time they have been in one place, fighting the enemies of Dawn. The banners of the nobles of Dawn flutter above glorious knights caparisoned in shining plate; above war witches ready with shield and rod, and staff; above yeofolk archers and spear fighters in the colours of their house.
The anger has been tempered and prepared to be unleashed. Now the Eastern Sky will show the Druj what happens when Dawn is angered. For the first time in over 100 years, the four armies of Dawn fight together on one front. This is the moment of glory we have been waiting for and we will seize itEastern Sky
Alongside the armies march nine thousand elfin knights of the realm of Summer. Three cohorts of the supernatural soldiers of Eleonaris fight for Dawn. Three majestic champions of the Queen of the Fields of Glory march alongside the captains of the Gryphons Pride, Hounds of Glory, and Eastern Sky.
Dawn and their fey allies do not fight alone - the Fist of the Mountains, the heroic champions of Wintermark, fight with them. Allies come from further afield as well - four hundred Iron Confederacy soldiers fight beneath the black and silver banner of House de Coeurdefer alongside the Hounds of Glory. Grim faced nobles of the Duchy of Guiscard lead chain-shirted levies against the Druj. Far from home, they fight with a dour brutality, eschewing the blandishments of the enchanted knights that fight alongside the Dawnish. They fight with courage, but it is perhaps doubtful that these magic-hating foreigners will take a good report of the campaign back to Kalino with them.
The Golden Sun will march to Semmerholm to engage the Druj forces. We will be the anvil for our forces to hammer the Druj.General of the Golden Sun
The Gryphon's Pride push to conquer, engaging the Druj in Axmure and smashing their makeshift defences. The Hounds of Glory charge, and the Eastern Sky charge with them. Ten thousand nobles and yeomen of Dawn, six thousand warriors of Eleonaris. They crash against the Druj forces in Estmure in a furious wave, a hammer of gold, and steel, and azure. The orcs fall back almost immediately, and fall back again ... and then they attack. With poison blades, they launch ambush after ambush. War-witches, and yeofolk, and elfin knights alike fall beneath a withering hail of arrow-fire. Proud armoured nobles, ambushed by assassins, learn that their armour offers little protection against the poisonous thorns of the Druj. Bloody engagement after bloody engagement, the cost counted in the blood of Dawn.
One of the Druj armies attempts to flank the main force of the Dawnish, the orcs relying on their maneuverability and stealth to attempt to strike the Imperial forces from the rear. This strategy is barely effective against the aggressive Dawnish armies - but the Fist of the Mountains are another matter. Behind the main advance, the Winterfolk fight a bitter battle to keep the Druj contained, slaughtering their scouts and far-ranging raiders and protecting the scattered manors and estates of western Semmerholm. Their defensive positions make them easy prey for the fast moving army that fights beneath the banner of the hunting scorpion; the Fist of the Mountains are hammered from the flanks and from the rear by elite chikad and hupul, and when they try to respond their assailants melt back into the trees.
When you get to Semmerholm, advance to contact with the enemy then make them pay for every inch of ground. Bleed the Druj, butcher them and leave their carrion for the crows. It has been an honour serving with you all. You are the finest army in the Empire, Heroes every one of you.General of the Fist of the Mountains
Battles between the Empire and the Druj rage back and forth across eastern Semmerholm for two months. The Imperial armies try to force the Druj to fight them in the open; the Druj try to force the Empire to engage them in the forests. Blood flows like bitter wine on both sides. In the end though, after eight weeks of relentless campaigning, the Druj are driven back. The Gryphons Pride leads the push south, mile by mile. The Druj armies retreat before them, falling back to the crude fortifications they have built around the ruined manors of southern Semmerholm.
The Druj are turned back, but they are not driven from Semmerholm. Yet for now their threat of conquest has been met, and soundly answered. The cost was high; the dead lie like fallen leaves beneath the trees of Axmure. Four-and-a-half thousand Imperial citizens will fight no more. Most are dead; some are so broken in spirit or body that they cannot be easily saved; others are lost, their fate unknown. Orc corpses lie among the fallen in equal numbers - all told at least eight thousand people have spilled their blood in the fight to drive the Druj from Semmerholm.
Game Information : Semmerholm
Imperial forces stop the Druj advance and push them back into southern Axmure. They still control the region but their hold is extremely tenuous. There are some reports of orc warriors in Unlvenholme as well, but this seems to be a guerilla force rather than a campaign army.
Everyone who fought in the Semmerholm campaign is aware of the monstrous presence of the Black Wind army - an army undertaking the merciless onslaught order. The Imperial forces luckily did not suffer enough casualties to bring them to the threshold where this tactic would have broken their armies, but many soldiers will suffer nightmares of the atrocities these savage barbarians inflicted on the people of Axmure and Estmure.
The presence of nine-thousand Knights of Glory and the Frozen Citadel of Cathan Canea, play a significant part in this victory, as did the bold strategy of the Dawnish generals. Without both factors, the Empire may well not have been victorious against the massed forces of the Druj. By contrast, while the defensive strategy of the Fist of the Mountain was effective at killing the Druj, and saving Imperial lives, it did nothing to push the orc armies back.
The presence of three cohorts of knights of glory, summoned by the magicians of Dawn, has not only had a significant effect on the campaign outcome. Any character whose military unit supported one of the three armies that fought alongside the heralds (Gryphon's Pride, Hounds of Glory, and Eastern Sky) may choose to begin the next event experiencing a roleplaying effect. You are filled with confidence; nothing is beyond you if you put your mind to it. Now is the time to act, to pursue goals you have been neglecting. Anyone who questions your prowess must be taught a quick lesson about the foolishness of doubting you.
Furthermore, if you are a changeling whose military unit supported one of the three armies, the roleplaying effect is much more pronounced. In addition, and if you have the hero skill you have an additional hero point for the duration of the event. Such characters may also use their experience of fighting alongside the knights of glory to permanently increase the strength of their lineage.
Please bear in mind that these opportunities are only available to characters whose military unit supported one of the three armies this downtime. You are free to roleplay you were present, as always, but you do not qualify for the additional hero point or the ability to increase your changeling lineage trappings.
Nothing Will Hold
As the Winter Solstice approaches, bitter winds blow down from the ice floes of Sermersuaq, cold enough to freeze a hunter's breath to their face. Only the hardiest travellers are abroad in such conditions - or the most determined hunters. A few pass over the ice seeking seals and bears to provide for their halls, one last hunt before the worst of the winter storms begin. This brave handful of hunters are the first to spot the signs, and they hurry quickly southwards to warn their people.
The Jotun have come, and they have come in force.
Sermersuaq has been relatively peaceful these last three years - even while other territories in the Empire burned - but no more. Oh the western orcs have made their raids as always, and the business of the hylje prince and his skin caused some disruption, but not since the Senate made peace with the Thule three years ago has a threat like this entered the ancestral homeland of the Suaq.
At first there is incredulity. After the crushing defeat inflicted on the Jotun in the south, few expected them to come again in force so soon, and certainly not here. Not now. Sombre orders are given to the icewalkers and the scouts to spy out the approaching forces and asses the scale of the threat. Several tense days pass before the first news is brought back, stuttering words from exhausted men and women, and short notes tied to the legs of crows.
All the reports confirm there is a significant Jotun force in Stark. Significant... but not sizeable. Perhaps fifteen hundred Jotun warriors - surely no more than that. Not an army; no commander would be mad enough to commit an army so depleted to war against the Winterfolk. They march under a blue banner with a leaping silver fish emblazoned on it. An unusual device for the Jotun, whose totem beasts are usually more savage. They move cautiously - even allowing for the rough terrain and the poor weather - but they move with with purpose. One keen-eyed scout, an old woman experienced in the hunts of war and peace alike, notes that the force seems to be entirely composed of warriors drawn from the Jotun kirkja. These elite fighting soldiers would normally represent a force that formed the backbone of a Jotun army - or a band of champions that might move swiftly to reinforce one.
Each day the certainty that the Jotun have a purpose grows. Scouts report heavy wooden bridges constructed across two narrow waterways. The Jotun have scouts of their own out, mapping out routes across the ice floes and pathfinders charting the best courses over the glaciers. There is news of temporary fortifications being erected, of large caches of supplies coming up behind the Jotun. The conclusion is unmistakable - these Jotun warriors are preparing the way for an invasion. This kind of sophisticated military operation is not easy to organise and implement - but if unchecked it would be a huge asset to any invading force, potentially meliorate the normal challenges facing an army attempting to create a beachhead in a land like Sermersuaq. It seems they have learned lessons from their attempts to invade the hallowed marshes of Kallavesa. There they trusted to their strength alone to carry the day - this time it appears they have adopted a far wiser strategy. In truth it is hard for the canny Suaq not to approve of the sense of it.
The Jotun warriors do not shy away from battle where the Wintermarkers offer it. There is no major military presence in Sermersuaq, but there are more than a few warriors prepared to test their mettle against the western orcs. Jotun champions and Winterfolk heroes clash, and neither side holds back. Blood splashes across the ice floes, and stains the glaciers, blood spilled on both sides. Any Suaq, Kallavesi, or Steinr who falls before the Jotun is interred beneath a barrow mound; there are unconfirmed reports that those who surrender are offered the Choice as they have been since time immemorial - but those who make that choice are swiftly sent west to Tromsa, to Skallahn, and perhaps further west.
A handful of Winterfolk who have returned home to Sermersuaq after serving with the Imperial armies are certain they recognise the flag - these are the Ice Fishers of Ldansk, a bound fellowship of minor clans and lesser Jarls who have fought the Empire in the south several times beneath the banner of the Fist of Ulven. They are experienced, doughty warriors and while they may not have numbers comparable to an Imperial army, they smaller size gives them a manoeuvrability that even the Fire of the South or the Black Thorns would envy.
As the Solstice draws closer, this expeditionary force moves slowly southward through Stark until they camp barely a day's march from the village of Rest - the little settlement built at the meeting point of two trods. One of the northernmost settlements in the entire Empire, it is also the site of the welcoming fires of the Last Lantern, the Navarr wayhouse farthest from the heart of the Empire. The Navarr and the Suaq scouts that live here send three of their number up the steep hill overlooking the village, to the ruined tower that watches over them, lit torches in hand.
The beacon is lit. A warning spread south and east. The Jotun are here. Send aid.
Resentment Rides High
The low lands of Yellow Chase in Segura are hot, dry, stony, and impoverished. The soil is poor and the landscape is marked by pockets of heavy rock which are never far from the surface. The truth is - and this is the Brass Coast where people prefer the truth even if it is hard and unwelcome - that some of the people here are not much better than the land. Even before the invasion, there were stories that some of them traded with the Lasambrian bandits on occasion, to make ends meet; and sometimes perhaps did even worse things. A "Yellow Chase farmer" is a slang term used in parts of Segura for a liar - especially someone lying about where their money has come from.
So when the first reports of orcs in the Yellow Chase come down the Cinnamon Road, the long trod that runs north out of Anduz and up to Kahraman, few people pay it much heed. There have always been a few orcs in the Chase... this is hardly news. Don't these people realise there's a war on? People shake their heads, civil servants file reports, and a few dutiful Kohan set off to make sure that it is something and nothing.
It is fortunate indeed that they were vigilant - for it appears that the inhabitants of Yellow Chase are not exaggerating. A force of Jotun warriors has crept over the border and is quietly getting on with the business of invading Segura.
It is not an army - of that much the scouts are certain - but it is vastly more than the local dhomiros are able to deal with. There are somewhere between one and two thousand orcs here - heavily armed and armoured and all marching under the banner of a bird wreathed in flames. At first glance they appear much like any other elite Jotun champions, but on closer inspection their leaders wear sashes and hoods of bright orange hue - not a colour normally associated with the western orcs. At least, not a colour associated with the Jotun orcs. Some of the Yellow Chase farmers have seen orcs wearing that colour before...
It is no coincidence then that they are in Yellow Chase. This area once served as a centre of power for the Lasambrian barbarians, there was a great armed camp here from which raiding parties swept down onto the plains. The camp was abandoned when the bandits were driven off by Dawnish forces during the last days of the liberation of Segura. Now it has been reoccupied - and it appears these new invaders are intent on fortifying the site. A loose palisade of closely packed timbers is being raised around the perimeter of the camp. This is not a real fortification yet - there is no white granite being employed - but it is all too clear that these orcs are intent on securing this position.
This is not the only thing the strange Jotun are about. A pair of shepherds report that there the rock fall that blocked the pass over Old Man's Ride into Reinos ten years ago has been completely cleared. This was a major landslip, that would have taken hundreds of people working for days on end to make it passable for just a merchant wagon. Now it is a smooth as honeyed silk, and what's more they claim that the road that leads up to the pass has had every hole filled with loose stone and then pounded flat. With the pass blocked, it took nearly a week to get over the border here - now you can do it in a day.
And nobody in Yellow Chase thinks these peculiar Jotun are clearing the way between Kalino and Segura for the benefit of the merchants...
Game Information : Two Tales
These two forces - one in Sermersuaq and one in Segura - are not campaign armies. They are elite bands of Jotun warriors, and despite their relatively small numbers they seem quite serious about invading the Empire. While this is not a traditional campaign report, it potentially has significant strategic importance for the Empire, so we have included it here. Further information about what is going on will be made available to the Military Council during the muster.
To Fool The Crowd
Shortly after the Autumn Equinox, the Freeborn Storm limps back to the shipyard at Atalaya. Many of their warships are battered, and need time in drydock. Their crews are exhausted, bloodied, and keen to spend a season recovering from their campaign against the Grendel. They are welcomed by the people of Atalaya; an impromptu street party is organised to honour the mariners who showed such courage against the southern barbarians - and to celebrate those who have not returned.
They are followed three weeks later by the entire Grendel armada.
The naval force is vast, perhaps five times as large as the Freeborn Storm. There is very little warning; a desperate winged messenger from Glass Point in Sarvos, and garbled rumours of sightings by fisherfolk along the north-western bay. They ignore Calvos Sound, cutting straight across the bay to Free Landing.
The Shining Pillar falls almost immediately; the Grendel barely pause before sweeping south across the islands. Resistance is decisively crushed, but the smaller settlements are clearly not what the armada is here for. They are here for Atalaya, the birthplace of the Brass Coast.
We rolled the dice and they were against us, but our losses were not in vain. We helped save many hundreds of our friends on the land. It's been a tough season and now it's time to head home and put to port. We're going home. As an aside, this will be my last group of orders. I shall be standing down as of next year. It's been an honour and a privilage to command you courageous lot, and I am proud of you all. Farewell.Admiral Edgardo i Ruiloba i Guerra of the Freeborn Storm
The waters around Atalaya are treacherous, the channels difficult to navigate if one does not know the secret locations of the obstacles that rest just beneath the surface of the waters. The Grendel do not seem to care; rather than attempt a direct approach to the port itself, their ships spread a wide cordon around the island and disembark several thousand orc warriors on the northern beaches.
The orcs, marching under the banner of a sinuous black eel, attack the port from the landward side. At the same time, Grendel magicians and engineers begin to map out the harbour defences in small boats, their great warships providing covering fire with crossbow and ballista from any Freeborn ships that attempt to stop them. The crimson and gold sailed navies inch closer to Atalaya, while the ships under emerald sails maintain the cordon.
There is a small militia in Atalaya, but it is not enough. The sailors of the Freeborn Storm do their best to hold the town, but they are quickly overwhelmed. Two hundred Navarr soldiers of the Black Thorns valiantly attempt to support the garrison but they know their cause is hopeless - and there is nowhere to fall back to. The fighting lasts less than eight hours before Atalaya is in the hands of the Grendel. That night, the eastern horizon is lit up by a ruby glow, visible across the Madrugan coast. The shipyard is burning. The Freeborn Storm is burning.
Morning sees a great black cloud hanging over the islands, which slowly breaks up over the next several hours. The town itself is mostly undamaged, the historic buildings still standing, but the shipyard and the navy are both embers and ashes, burnt to the waterline.
March from the Mournwold to Siroc Plains, Madruga to resupply. Thorns, once again we have fought with courage & loyalty, we have outwitted the Jotun & escaped their clutches again. Now we rest, we mend, we recuperate in Madruga. I am proud of you all. We must be at our best to engage the enemy once more to win back our home.General of the Black Thorns
A few manage to escape the island, several on the fast ships belonging to a lone Marcher mariner from Mournwold who had chosen to spend time with the Freeborn Storm at the shipyard. They evade the Grendel cordon, and bring news of the fall of Atalaya to the mainland, to Quzar and to the Black Thorns. A week later, the Grendel follow them and lay siege to Quzar. By this time, the swift soldiers of the Black Thorns are in position, but between the army of the black eel, and the marines from the Grendel armada, they are able to do little more than delay the inevitable. The Thorns have been reduced to breaking point by heaving fighting in previous campaigns; once the extent of the Grendel forces becomes clear they are forced to retreat back the way they have came. Perhaps five hundred more Navarr give their lives holding the barbarians back, before they bow to the inevitable.
Atalaya, Quzar, and Midport all fall to the Grendel, along with several other smaller villages and family estates on the islands, and along the eastern coast. The conflagration that consumed the shipyard at Atalaya, and destroyed the Freeborn storm, is not repeated. The Grendel crush any resistance, but they loot anything of value they can lay their hands on. They seem more interested in trade goods than slaves, but some of their captains relish chaining the Freeborn and the few Navarr soldiers who are taken alive.
A fortnight before the Winter Solstice, the light of the Shining Pillar goes out. An hour later it re-ignites but the flame has changed. Rather than a clear white light that calls the Freeborn home, the beacon burns a rich purple colour. The Bay of Catazar belongs to the Grendel.
Game Information : Madruga
The Grendel have conquered the whole of Free Landing, from Midport in the south to the islands north of the Shining Beacon. They have destroyed the shipyard at Atalaya, and burnt the Freeborn Storm to the waterline. Some of the ships and sailors may have escaped, but the navy itself has disbanded. Admiral Edgardo i Ruiloba i Guerra has lost the title Admiral of the Freeborn Storm.
The Black Thorns have been severely damaged by their attempt to help the Freeborn citizens. If they had not been using the give ground order it is likely they would have risked being disbanded as well.
The Grendel have conquered the eastern coast of Lightsea, and sacked the rich port town of Quzar. This has impacted the taxation provided by Madruga, but it is not as bad as it could have been - Siroc remains untouched at this time. They have made significant headway toward claiming the entire region.
Because of the way territories and personal resources interact, we do not assume that anyone's personal resource was in the area controlled by the Grendel. However, any player whose character's personal resource is in Free Landing or Lightsea can choose to roleplay that it has been damaged or destroyed by the Grendel.
Imperialistic House of Prayer
Two conjunctions have been identified on the Saturday. One will take the heroes of Anvil to Madera Viejo, in Yellow Chase, Segura. The other opens to Fulgentius' Solitary, an open expanse ahead of the Imperial advance in Screed, Spiral.
The first opportunity will allow a strike against the Jotun and the Lasambrians orcs in the area and force them back into Reinos. The second opportunity will allow heroes to capitalise on the progress made in Screed by the Imperial armies and to consolidate further ground.
A third, smaller, conjunction has been identified to Mournstead in Liath's Ring, Liathaven on the Saturday. The old steading lies close to an area of vallorn miasma and was visited from Anvil at the Autumn Equinox. There is an opportunity for the Navarr to engage two of their hated enemies, while the Brass Coast egregore has noted that the conjunction has relevance to the Freeborn as well. This is a large skirmish that will take place at 18:00 on Saturday.
Three conjunctions have been identified on the Sunday. The first will take Imperial forces to Kugaaruk Point, an open expanse in the very west of Stark, Sermersuaq. The second opens to the Plantation of Tall Ferns, in northern Proceris, Zenith. The final conjunction will align a portal for travel to the wooded Chase of Arnet, in Ulvenholm, Semmerholm.
The conjunction in Sermersuaq provides a second opportunity to engage the Jotun expeditionary forces pushing into the western Empire. In Zenith the heroes of Anvil can prevent the Druj bringing monstrous reinforcements in from the Mallum; whilst in Semmerholm, the Empire can engage a force of barbarian orcs that have fled from the Dawnish advance and now threaten the lands of Ulvenholm.
By the time of the Winter Solstice summit, the civil service will have completed reports for each of these conjunctions, which will be presented the the generals during the Muster. The final decision about which major conjunctions to exploit, and who will take part in the battles, is the heavy responsibility of the Imperial Military Council alone.
Imperial prognosticators are also preparing additional information relating to a number of smaller conjunctions over the course of the summit that will be of relevance to the Military Council, individuals from the various nations, and other parties. A summary of the identified conjunctions will be provided nearer the summit, with additional details passed to national egregores and civil servants of the Military Council.
Ian Horne has recorded the Winds of War as sound files, which you can listen to or download from Soundcloud.
- Zenith (Hunting by the rivers)
- and an alternate version read by Scarlett Hayler-King here
- Mournwold (The memories scarred)
- Spiral (Living in the night)
- Semmerholm (Where all roads meet)
- Sermersuaq (Nothing will hold)
- Segura (Resentment rides high)
- Madruga (To fool the crowd)
- Major Conjunctions (Imperialistic house of prayer)
- Game Information read by Ian Horne (a summary of all the Game Information sections)