382YE Winter Solstice winds of war
- 1 Overview
- 2 The Turning Tide
- 3 Dry Grass Singing
- 4 The Rattle of the Bones
- 5 Pool Among the Rock
- 6 My Heart Under My Feet
- 7 Stirring Dull Roots With Spring Rain
- 8 Held Up By Standards (Major Conjunctions)
- 9 Other Media
The Turning Tide
On the Waterfront
Almost immediately after the Autumn equinox, the word goes out and people begin to gather. Ships first, at ports all along the Bay of Catazar, from Siroc and Shantarim in the west to Crown's Quay and Visten in the east. Then over the next few weeks, soldiers and warriors flood into the coastal towns ready to take the fight to the Grendel. From across the entire Empire they come, soldiers and ships alike. Every Imperial nation is represented, from the Brass Coast to Varushka, from Urizen to Wintermark.
Only in Sarvos is it business as usual: with the armada anchored within sight of the docks, it is deemed wiser not to draw too much attention to the gathering storm. The Senate has paid the ransom demanded by the Salt Lords, and their vast fleet of warships simply idles in the waters off the Jeweled City. Yet many of the ships leaving Sarvos hug the coast, joining the fleets being gathered at other ports along the Bay of Catazar.
It takes time, of course, to gather a great fleet. Just shy of two-hundred-and-fifty fleet captains answered the call to take the fight to the Grendel - their ships needed to ensure berths for the thousands of soldiers flooding south to join the bold endeavour. The civil service does what it can but even their traditionally efficient bureaucracy is tasked near to the limit. Arranging for over three hundred individual warbands to find ships capable of transporting them to the far side of the Bay of Catazar is a herculean task, but with the enthusiastic aid of port officials across the southern Empire, it is managed in a little over a month.
One consideration that makes the entire process more difficult is the sheer amount of magic that has been brought to bear. Hundreds of soldiers enchanted with Spring magic that not only grants them increased vigour and savage strength, but also heightens their aggression. Remaining patient in the face of weeks-long delays as the full force of the armada gathers is more than some soldiers can take. Violence erupts more than once between soldiers filled with unaccustomed levels of potent sorcery. Keeping the peace between gangs of armed and armoured soldiers, their blood-lust heightened by the touch of Spring, is a challenge that tasks the resources of militia, magistrates, and local peace-keeping forces.
Not that the soldiers are the only problem - many of the ships' crews are themselves girded with enchantments of Spring that exacerbate their own frustration at having to wait for warriors to be ready before they can unleash their fury against the Grendel. The situation is made even more tense where Imperial Orcs have received these boons - the magic kindles each orcs natural instincts to seek out battle and conflict, in some cases to dangerous levels. Some of the coastal towns become nervous powder kegs, waiting for a single flame in the wrong place to cause them to explode well before they reach Grendel territory.
In contrast, those ships graced with the power of Night magic become eerie oases of calm. Yet even this magic is not without drawbacks; the presence of so many warbands enshrouded in mist and shadow inadvertently helps to deliver one of the dampest, most dismal autumns in recent Imperial history. Banks of fog hang over the docks of the southern Empire, and in some places bring unsettling dreams to haunt the citizen's sleep.
Not all the soldiers who come to aid the attack on Dubhtraig are mortal. Alongside the humans and orcs, stranger figures are spotted. From Navarr, Highguard, Varushka and Urizen come preternatural warriors of living shadow. Some are armed with wicked pole-arms of black wood and unfamiliar metal, wearing heavy dark robes embroidered with richly coloured mystic symbols over scaled armour. Some are wrapped in pale yellow furs and glide soundlessly through the twilight with massive double-handed golden axes over their shoulders. Despite their exotic nature, they are preternaturally adept at fading into the background, and there are several humorous incidents where inebriated sailors discover to their surprise that they are being observed with interest by a dozen heavily armed coal-skinned warriors.
At the other end of the scale come a half-dozen coteries of living crystal soldiers raised by their magician captains from mana sites in Urizen and the League. Beautiful, multifaceted creatures wielding long spears and clad in gemstone armour that closely echoes the style of the nation where they were created, they remain aloof from the hustle and bustle of the docks. Indeed, those who interact with them find that they are nonplussed by the excitement - confused by the barely ordered chaos that surrounds them. They are polite enough, but to the surprise of many seem a little out-of-their-depth, hungry for a level of discipline that simply does not exist in the scrabble to prepare for the raid against the Grendel.
Perhaps the strangest magical "warriors" are found on certain Highborn ships flying the black and maroon torch-banners of Jachin's Legacy. At the prow of each ship stands a great beast - bears, rams, and bulls of red stone wreathed in an ever-burning aura of flame. Each night , they serve as silent, living beacons like great mobile lighthouses on the docks of Sanctuary Sands. Many sailors are deeply concerned about their presence - barrels of additional sand and water are loaded onto the vessels they travel on, but this does not prevent several small fires breaking out on the Necropolis quayside in their vicinity.
Truly, we live in an age of wonders.
Finally, a little over six weeks after the Autumn Equinox, the word goes out. It sweeps from one end of the Bay to the other in the course of five days and nights carried by Navarr runners, by feathered messengers, by pulsing beacons: it is time to set sail. The target of the raid will be the great Grendel city of Dubhtraig itself, throne of the Salt Lord Suriad.
Once the order is given, the difficulty of actually coordinating the attack begins to increase exponentially. For the most part the Imperial vessels travel together. Not every unit of soldiers is prepared for the reality of travelling across the turbulent sea of the Bay of Catazar; for every band of Freeborn corsair marines there are a dozen warriors who have never really set foot on the deck of a sailing ship before.
By their nature some ships are faster and more manoeuvrable than others; some pull ahead while others fall behind. This is not a disciplined navy, but an armada of hundreds of individual vessels. Communication is very difficult indeed, especially as the ships hail from ports across the southern coast of the Empire. Yet the captains are experienced enough to account for these obstacles; once night falls lanterns are used to send messages using the Urizen heliopticon cipher from ship to ship. Civil service observers - assigned to every Imperial vessel by the Senate several years ago - help immeasurably in this regard. For that matter, a navy could never hope to brave the waters at the heart of the Bay, out of sight of land; could not hope to cross the trackless watery wastes while maintaining any sense of cohesion. For the fleets of the Imperial captains, however, this is simply business as usual.
Now the ships are moving, the first engagements begin to take place. Individual orc pirates encounter Imperial fleets, invariably to the detriment of the Grendel. Those ships that are not destroyed or captured are forced to flee - but here the scattered nature of the Empire's strategy is in their favour. Grendel sailors are used to engaging Imperial fleets in the wide waters of the Bay - they have little reason to believe there is anything more going on than the usual dance of captain against captain. If some wonder at the strange flags, or the presence of marines aboard the vessels they see... well what will they report? That the Empire is taking steps to protect its ships?
Then the first ships begin to reach the coast of Tathar. Fort Salann in the west, and Fort Fuil in the east, provide a measure of protection to the settlements that cluster around them but beyond their immediate shadow the Empire's ships and warriors are able to launch lightning-fast attacks against ports and trading ships alike with relative impunity. Some Imperial soldiers go ashore, and press inland a little, arranging to rendezvous with their transport later. They draw the attention of the orc garrisons at the twin forts inland, away from the sea. Engaging in a brief campaign of guerilla warfare against the people of the Broken Shore, they rarely stay in one place for long. They raid villages, burn supplies, loot mines... and free slaves. Those shielded by shifting shrouds of Night magic are particularly adept at striking without warning, while those infused with the fury of Spring devastate any who dare to try and stand against them.
Chaos spreads. As more and more ships reach the shore, as more and more troops disembark, the Grendel belatedly begin to realise the scale of the attack. The Empire begins to encounter stiff resistance. While the armies of the Broken Shore are elsewhere, while their navy sits complacently in the waters south of Sarvos, the orc tribes of Tathar are not slow to take up arms against these unexpected invaders. These are orcs after all, and orcs revel in violence and confrontation.
A fleet of Dawnish and Winterfolk ships attack the vessels that transport weirwood from the forested Isle of Balsagoth to Dubhtraig, which are burnt and scuttled, but the warships that patrol the island are able - just - to prevent any sizeable landing force getting a foothold on the island itself. League privateers and Freeborn corsairs throw up a blockade between the islands of Dubhtraig, plundering any orc ship that tries to reach - or flee - the Grendel city. Within a week, the Empire dominates the waters along the coast of Tathar. No Grendel ship can move between the ports along the northern Broken Shore. No doubt calls for aid are issued, but the other Salt Lords are slow to respond.
Contributing to the chaos is the fact that a significant number of the ships raiding Dubhtraig are marked with Summer magic and touched by the hand of the eternal Rhianos, the Regent of the Eternal Sea. The magic warps the skein of fate to ensure that the enchanted ships encounter obstacles they might otherwise have missed. They - and the soldiers they carry - find themselves blown off course, trapped in mats of predatory seaweed, attacked by gryphons or sea-going drakes, encountering rafts of escaped slaves with tempting stories of rich estates on secluded islands. The opportunities for excitement, wealth, and disaster are impossible to avoid and difficult for the enchanted crews to ignore.
It is a fine balance between disorder and strategy, between the will of the individual champions and the ultimate ambitious goal of raiding the seat of Salt Lord Suriad. Everything relies on the timing of the final raid. Strike too quickly, and insufficient strength will be brought to bear; wait too long and with each passing day the risk grows that the Grendel might be able to move warships or armies into position to defend Dubhtraig.
With the Empire's full force finally gathered, the last ships in position, those captains who have taken the war to the Grendel on land marching overland from the east and west towards the outskirts of Dubhtraig... the final movement of the campaign begins.
The Sack of Dubhtraig
As the sun rises on the appointed day, the Grendel lords of Dubhtraig are made finally, horribly aware that this is not simply a raid against the coast - that the city itself is the Empire's goal. Imperial soldiers - among them a significant contingent of Navarr and Varushkans - seize the towers that guard the approach to the sprawling docklands. With the arrow towers neutralised, the Imperial armada drives down into the heart of the city, a savage strike aimed at the shipyards where the Grendel lovingly raise and tend to their fleet of warships.
Dubhtraig is not undefended of course. Dozens of Grendel privateers and traders raise their sails and come to face the Imperials in the waters of the bay. Ships on both sides are damaged, sunk to the bottom. Fire spreads across the waters. Blood turns the waters of the cove pale crimson. As the day wears on, terrible sharks maddened by the scent of blood are lured into the waters of Dubhtraig, frenziedly attacking any human or orc who falls into the water.
Not every ship on the sprawling docks of Dubhtraig belongs to an orc, however. There are merchant vessels here flying the flags of the Asavean Archipelago, of the Principalities of Jarm, of the Sarcophan Delves, and even a few from the Citadels of Axos. There is panic among these human traders; they loudly proclaim their neutrality in this conflict pointing to the fact that the Empire is not at war with them to secure their ships, their crews, and their cargoes. Where possible their vessels are left alone. Inevitably there are a few unfortunate incidents in the bloody fog of war but for the most part the vessels belonging to foreign nations are spared.
Disciplined Marcher and Highborn soldiers capture and hold a portion of the western docks providing essential cover to allow more troops to disembark - but also to allow ships to take on the slaves liberated from the domination of the Grendel. Those slaves who realise that the Empire represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for freedom take the chance to turn on their masters and make their own way to the docks if they can. Dozens of desperate humans and orcs fight their way to freedom - in some cases joining the fighting alongside the raiders. The great numbers of Imperial Orc warbands prove particularly effective at rallying their enslaved cousins to their banners, while others flock to the Freeborn vessels eager to escape lives of endless brutality and cruel suffering.
The fighting begins on the quaysides, then spills into the narrow streets of the city proper. Unsurprisingly, the League excels here; bravos raised on hundreds of brawls in the alleys of Tassato and Sarvos, on the walls of Holberg, in the backstreets of Temeschwar use the terrain to their advantage, engaging in close-quarters fighting and daring smash-and-grab raids against the wealth of the Grendel. And everywhere through the fray there are the Urizen; wielding their strength with preternatural calm, striking with relentless surgical precision where they can best turn the tide of a fight then moving quickly to a new location. Sentinels and battle-mages bring succour to the injured, help to free warbands that have been pinned down, guide stragglers back to their allies, and direct the terrified slaves to the safety of the docks.
Dubhtraig is city of wealth and poverty, where hovels cluster against the walls of garishly decorated palaces. Vicious fighting spreads through the urban landscape as the nobles and the lower classes alike seek to defend what they have from the imperial assailants. Rich estate after rich estate falls to the Empire's soldiers; orc lords and ladies sent fleeing to the great walled palace of Salt Lord Suriad. A legion of disciplined purple-and-gold clad orc warriors defends the walls of the palace, holding it against all Imperial attackers. The walls seem impenetrable...
... and then the first of the enchanted beasts conjured by the Highborn arrive. Three great burning bulls, a pair of massive rams, and a single behemoth bear roar across the docks one after another, unleashing their devastating power. The walls weather the first three strikes... then one of the towers begins to crumble... then as the final great burning oxen strikes the weirwood gates, with a terrible rumbling moan the gatehouse of Lady Suriad's sanctuary collapses allowing Imperial soldiers - lead by a triumphantly bellowing vanguard of heavily-armoured Dawnish knights and Wintermark warriors - to pour through the breach into the heart of the Salt Lords court.
The explosions also serve to set fire to the shambolic shanty town that sprawls beneath the towers of the Salt Lord. The flames leap joyfully between the pitch and tar soaked wooden buildings - meeting another fire coming in the opposite direction.
History will probably never know who fired the shipyards. Perhaps it was a vengeful Freeborn corsair, the memory of the destruction of the 'Storm and the burning of the Atalaya. Perhaps it was a Sarvosan, cold fury burning in their heart as they recalled the occupation of their home. Perhaps an Urizen veteran of the invasion of Spiral, methodically anointing a warehouse with oil before expertly hurling a burning brand through the door. Perhaps it was just an accident - a lantern knocked over in the wrong place as the fighting spread.
Regardless of how it started, the fires surrounding Suriad's Palace are soon dwarfed by the conflagration that begins to spread across the docks. Some of the Grendel break off the fight against the Imperial invaders, desperate to stop the fire consuming their beloved shipyard.
At the same time that the main force is attacking the city proper, a secondary force strikes south of the city into the mines that are the source of so much of Dubhtraig's wealth. They smash the defences in short order, slaughter the guards, and begin to break chains - and help themselves to the precious metals, the pure salt... the mithril. They do not have long - this part of the raid is perhaps the riskiest element of the entire plan The fighting is brutal - Imperial Orc reavers and the Varushkan wagon raiders in particular are adept at fighting in the close confines of the underground tunnels and galleries - and here more than the rest of the city they receive the aid of the slaves the Grendel have chained in the dark.
As the sun begins to sink in the west - the crimson sky echoing the scarlet waters of the bay, the rivulets of blood that run through the streets - the horns begin to blow. Drums beat, sounding the withdrawal. Some warbands make an orderly retreat to the docks; others break into a ramshackle charge for the edges of the city burdened down with sacks of loot and stolen art treasures. Dour Marchers and grim-faced Highborn are the last to leave, a cordon of steel around the western docks ensuring that no Imperial is left behind that can be saved, helping the last few desperate slaves find a place on the dock of an Imperial ship heading north.
A great black cloud of smoke hangs low over Dubhtraig as the Imperial armada retreats from the city. The shipyard still stands but more than half of it has been gutted with fire. Salt Lord Suriad's palace is in ruins - flames lapping at its minarets and towers - and the rumour begins to spread that the Lady herself has fallen in battle with the Imperials. A fifth of the city is on fire.
Over the next week, Imperial forces withdraw from Tathar. Those captains who fought a guerilla war against the Grendel on land reach their rendezvous points, and embark onto the waiting vessels. In almost every case, they are accompanied by freed slaves liberated from mines and fields. Exhausted, desperate, they huddle on the decks and in the holds as the Imperial ships arrow through the waters northwards.
Some ships remain behind to harry the vessels of the other Salt Lords, belatedly coming to the aid of Lady Suriad. A few, blown astray by Summer magic, are unaccounted for. The rest reach Imperial ports with perhaps three weeks to spare before the Winter Solstice. Treasures are unloaded, the injured tended to, the fallen honoured, damaged ships raised into drydock. As the scale of the success becomes clearer, a wave of triumph washes from one side of the southern coast to the other.
There is still the question of what to do with the slaves, of course. In total somewhere between fifteen hundred and two thousand slaves managed to reach an Imperial ship. Perhaps a third of that number came from Dubhtraig itself - household slaves, dockworkers and the like. The remainder were freed from the mines, or from villages during guerilla raids. While perhaps two hundred are humans, many of them have never been Imperial citizens - and the remainder are all orcs. The civil service is already drawing up some proposals as to how to deal with them - for now they are bedded down in makeshift tent villages, on the floors of churches, in empty warehouses - wherever there is space.
Excited observers on the docks of Sarvos - those who have been keeping their spyglasses on the Grendel armada - are able to spot the very moment that news of the attack reaches the commanders of the orc navies. They mark the confusion that spreads - and with some trepidation the sudden raising of sails, the movement of ships, recognising with sudden horror the signs of imminent counterattack. Yet after a few tense minutes, the flurry of activity subsides. A handful of swift vessels peel off from the main armada, arrowing swiftly southward... and then nothing. The forest of red, and yellow, and gold, and blue sails remains off the coast of Sarvos but it seems that whatever else has happened the Grendel admirals will abide by the agreement they made with the Empire - for now at least.
Game Information - Dubhtraig
To achieve the best outcome, the raid against Dubhtraig required an effective fleet strength of 20,000 supported by military units with an effective strength of 30,000. In the end the Empire brought to bear almost 37,000 force of fleets, and just shy of 40,000 force of military units. A list of the fleets and military units involved are in the table below (expand the table to see the details). Each fleet and military unit receives the normal production for a privateering or paid work action, plus an additional 132 rings representing booty, treasure, and art objects taken from the Grendel. In addition the Imperial Fleet Master receives 10 wains of weirwood, and 30 wains of mithril captured from the Isle of Balsagoth and the city of Dubhtraig.
The city itself is badly damaged; the grand shipyard and the docks alike were on fire when the Imperial armada withdrew. Even if they have not both been destroyed they will require significant repair - which will likely require large amounts of weirwood - of which the Grendel are known to have a limited supply. The Grendel will not be able to commission another navy at Dubhtraig for at least a year. Furthermore, any plans the southern orcs may have had to raise a new army will be delayed for at least a year as the other Salt Lords look first to the defence of their own strongholds.
|Abathar||Highguard||Bastion||Cohort of the Winter Bear|
|Able||Highguard||Reikos||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Accalon||Highguard||Casinea||Felix's Watch Banner|
|Achille di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||League Merchant Marine|
|Adam Sepulchre||Dawn||Astolat||House Sepulchre Banner|
|Adan i DelToro i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||unknown||DelToro|
|Adhemar||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Adoraim||Highguard||Necropolis||The Raven's Watch|
|Adoria||The Brass Coast||Feroz||The Ezmaran Key to Prosperity|
|Aelfric "The Wanderer" Kenricksson||Wintermark||Hahnmark|
|Aelfric Woodson||The Marches||Upwold|
|Agnarr Bearsbane||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Holt Hyrde|
|Ahraz i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Aka i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Segura|
|Alan Fletcher||Dawn||Weirwater||House Remys|
|Alexsei Grigoryevich Strascovich||Varushka||Miekarova||Pyanee Husak|
|Alfred Sherarding||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Sherard Hunters (Banner)|
|Amadeo de Palancia Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Amarie Elidor||The Brass Coast||Kahraman||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Ames the Amiable||Highguard||Reikos|
|Ana i Taziel i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House Taziel|
|Andras Leafstalker||Navarr||Miaren||In the Navvari|
|Angelica Florentini De Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||Carta di Vergo|
|Anselmo i Valiente i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Tempest Flame|
|Antimedes of Invidia||Urizen||Redoubt||Urizen, Whole|
|Aracelis I Erigo||The Brass Coast||Kahraman||Flames of the Coast|
|Archavion Wolfborne||Dawn||Astolat||House Wolfborne|
|Argi i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Kahraman|
|Arjhann Griffinsong||Dawn||Astolat||Order of Crimson Circle|
|Arkann Shatterhorn||Navarr||Hercynia||Shatterhorn Striding|
|Armand i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Segura||Flames of the Coast|
|Arrabella Di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Artesanos i Kemen i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Arthur||Navarr||Hercynia||The Longest Path|
|Arthur Cordraco||Dawn||Semmerholm||House Loreal|
|Ashborn Rauur||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Ashborn|
|Asriel||Highguard||Necropolis||The Dauntless Light|
|Asteriskos||Urizen||Redoubt||The Heroes of Nikephoros|
|Aurelio i Sarado i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Madruga||Bloodgold Jackals|
|Aurum Argentum||Dawn||Semmerholm||Tour De Cendres|
|Azzam i Zaydan i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||The New Promise Cartel|
|Baal||Highguard||Casinea||Felix's Watch Banner|
|Baddon Red Oaks||Navarr||Liathaven|
|Badh Farstrike Foxden Edgestalker||Navarr||Hercynia||Edgestalkers|
|Ba'ken i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga||Flames of the Coast|
|Balin||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Baltazar Kreden||The League||Tassato||The Blacktail Kings (King Company)|
|Balthasar Cawl||Highguard||Bastion||Drusilla’s Resolve|
|Barachel of Adina's Charge||Highguard||Casinea||Daintree Survivors|
|Barbarosa Sartosa||The League||Sarvos||The black fleet|
|Bartimaeus||Highguard||Reikos||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Basir-Tazial||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House Taziel|
|Bayan Zayden Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||The New Promise Cartel|
|Beatriz i Santoro i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Beatriz i Valiente i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Tempest Flame|
|Belisarius Blackheart||Urizen||Spiral||Banner of the Phoenix|
|Benedict Pacelli Von Holberg||The League||Holberg||House of Seven Mirrors|
|Benjen Hands||Dawn||Semmerholm||Tour De Cendres|
|Beornwulf Redwaldsson||Wintermark||Hahnmark||The Aesclings|
|Bernard Dugdale||The Marches||Mournwold||Mournwold Sappers|
|Bertrand||Dawn||Astolat||House Sepulchre Banner|
|Bertrand de Loup||Dawn||Weirwater||House de Loup|
|Bjorn Thunderhorn||Wintermark||Kallavesa||The Frost Wolves|
|BloodBilge Dram||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||BloodBilge|
|Bloodcrow Drost||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Bloodcrows|
|Bloodcrow Losak||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Bloodcrows|
|Bloodcrow Na'grul||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Bloodcrows|
|Bloodcrow T'Kor||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Bloodcrows|
|Bloodcrow Yargol||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Bloodcrows|
|Bohemond De Rondell||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Bonita i Valiente i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Tempest Flame|
|Bors De Carsenere||Dawn||Weirwater||House de Carsenere|
|Borys Vardovich Straskovich||Varushka||Karov|
|Branislav Vuk Strascovich||Varushka||Miekarova||Grimhold Schlacta|
|Brewer van temeschwar||The League||Sarvos||The Giants Of Sarvos|
|Bron Mordssen||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Hyrst Hall|
|Bronimir Kazyn Jarek||Highguard||Necropolis|
|Brother Carmine, Son of Barabbas||Highguard||Bastion||Jachin's Legacy|
|Bushka Poprovskii Urislavf Ydrazilavic||Varushka||Karov|
|Caewel Smith||Dawn||Weirwater||House Novarion|
|Caius Aurelius||Dawn||The Barrens||House Aurelius|
|Calcifer I Kemen I Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Caleb||Highguard||Necropolis||Banner of the Cenotaph|
|Calgacus Apulian||Urizen||Spiral||White Stork School|
|Capitan Astore Bartolomeo Bavastro||Dawn||Astolat||House Du Soleil|
|Captain Markus DeVere||The League||Temeschwar||Holsburger Haudegen|
|Caracalla Tarraco di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Cardin Sangnoir Orzel||Dawn||Weirwater||House Orzel|
|Carnaq Sangnoir Orzel||Dawn||Weirwater||House Orzel|
|Cassidee Aloja Bard||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Catalina Barossa di Regardio||The League||Tassato||Company of The Red Fox|
|Cayleb||Highguard||Casinea||Felix's Watch Banner|
|Chiara Zayden Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||The New Promise Cartel|
|Ciaphas "Black Jack" Dekar||The Marches||Upwold|
|Concordio Barcaiolo di sarvos||The League||Sarvos||Carta Bellamarina|
|Cortez Dubroc Rous Lamond||Dawn||Semmerholm||House Du Froste|
|Cosimo Staryn di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Cpt. Hendrick van Hoven||The League||Sarvos||The black fleet|
|Cristofano Bellini di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||Carta Bellamarina|
|Cuth||Highguard||Bastion||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Daned i Seda i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Blue Flames|
|Danica Lidija van Temeschwar||The League||Tassato||The Blacktail Kings (King Company)|
|Danica Mala Severyan||Dawn||Astolat||House Vandale|
|David, Jademist, Guerra||The Brass Coast||Segura|
|Davos||The League||Sarvos||League Merchant Marine|
|Demetrio Taziel i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House Taziel|
|Destan||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Dilbert of Ottery||The Marches||Bregasland||Otterwatch|
|Dilis i Valiente i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Tempest Flame|
|Dominiq Sword||Dawn||Semmerholm||House Aurelius|
|Eadric Fjellrevening||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Edgardo i Ruiloba i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House Taziel|
|Edwin de Warrenne||The Marches||Bregasland||Order of the Forgotten Word|
|Eerikki Korpi||Wintermark||Sermersuaq||Sussivari Oathsworn Fyrd|
|Efelwynt||Dawn||Astolat||House Du Soleil|
|Elena i Zabala i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Segura||Family Zabala|
|Elias||Highguard||Bastion||Cohort of the Winter Bear|
|Ellmoe||Wintermark||Sermersuaq||Darkwolves of Argonne|
|Élodie Harper||Dawn||Weirwater||Order of the Golden Heart|
|Elon i Kalamar i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Enoch||Highguard||Bastion||Cohort of the Winter Bear|
|Enzo Saverio di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Ephraim||Highguard||Reikos||The Raven's Watch|
|Ertsio Audita De Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||League Merchant Marine|
|Escalados de Carsenere||Dawn||The Barrens||House de Carsenere|
|Escon who was Eden||Highguard||Necropolis|
|Esme Sailmaker||Dawn||Semmerholm||The Reavers of House Dromond|
|Estana I Mestiere I Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Esteban I Del Rio Blanco I Guerra||The Brass Coast||Segura|
|Estefan Trivelino||The League||Sarvos|
|Ester i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Ethelwulf Argonning||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Darkwolves of Argonne|
|Ezra, child of Emanuel||Highguard||Casinea|
|Fabio Costas de Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||Printers Guild of Tassato|
|Famished Jack||The Marches||Mournwold||The Wickermen|
|Feliciana i Valiente i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Fennir of Brackenbeak Hall||Wintermark||Kallavesa|
|Florina i Sol-Devorador i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||Krakenfire Armada|
|Gabriel Barossa||The League||Tassato||Company of The Red Fox|
|Garravaine De Rondell||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Gaston Wayfinder||Dawn||The Barrens|
|Gastone Bartolomeo||Dawn||Astolat||House Du Soleil|
|Gideon||Highguard||Reikos||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Giritane of Walter's Fallow||Dawn||Astolat||Tour De Cendres|
|Giuliano Stefano Antenucci di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|'green' jack woodruff||The Marches||Upwold||The Applewood Levy|
|Gregor De Rondell||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Grigore Nieschteri Von Temeschwar||The League||Tassato|
|Grimandi Vascello di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||The Giants Of Sarvos|
|Gron "Thick Hide" Osgaring||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Oath-sworn of Wolfpine|
|Guillaume||Dawn||The Barrens||House Vexille|
|Guy Grimbold the Elder||Dawn||The Barrens||House Cordraco|
|Harrold "Stitch" Murdo||Wintermark||Hahnmark||The Crew of The Foresight|
|Harsk Quitt||Wintermark||Sermersuaq||Fyrgalan Hall|
|Hildegard van Holberg||The League||Holberg|
|Holden Cross||Dawn||Astolat||House Du Soleil|
|Husif i Azuro i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Blue Flames|
|Ibbie Zayden Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||The New Promise Cartel|
|Ieri i Kalamar i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Ilya Ilyitch Arkady von Holberg||The League||Holberg|
|Inar Dunning the Blacksmith||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Dunhearth Hall|
|Iñez i Azul-Mar i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Kahraman||Bloodgold Jackals|
|Inigo i Zabala i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Ioseph||Urizen||Morrow||Banner of the Phoenix|
|Irina Kardaovich||The League||Holberg|
|Irontide Jarn||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Irontide|
|Irontide Kragg||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Irontide|
|Irontide Madrak||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Irontide|
|Irontide Rus||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Irontide|
|Irontide Vio||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Irontide|
|Iscah Knilus||Highguard||Bastion||Jachin's Legacy|
|Ishmail i Iniquez I Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Blue Flames|
|Issac Arctos||Highguard||Bastion||Cohort of the Winter Bear|
|Issachar||Highguard||Reikos||The Unbound Chapter|
|Issebel Vittoria Barossa di Tassato Regario||The League||Tassato|
|Jack||Highguard||Bastion||Cohort of the Winter Bear|
|Jack Canting, Herald of Fools||Dawn||Weirwater||House of Fools|
|Jack Flint||The Marches||unknown||House Bolholt|
|Jacob||Highguard||Bastion||Felix's Watch Banner|
|Jacob Fernando von Holberg||The League||Holberg||Crimson Reaper Cartel|
|Jada||Highguard||Bastion||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Jager Von Vinterhosen||The League||Holberg||Holsburger Haudegen|
|japhar||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Jarka Bratkova Vjekoslav||Varushka||Karsk|
|Jessop i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Kahraman|
|Jesus Juan Santiago Montoya||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Jeziah i Radah||The Brass Coast||unknown||House i Souza i Guerra|
|John a Woode||The Marches||Mitwold|
|Juana i Valiente i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Tempest Flame|
|Kaan Shatterhorn||Navarr||Miaren||Shatterhorn Striding|
|Kai Ashwing||Wintermark||Kallavesa||Iron Fangs|
|Kalesha De` Lathera||Dawn||Astolat||House Cordraco|
|Karg i Estrico||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Karlos Shartha Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||The New Promise Cartel|
|Kaspar Kreftinaring||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Mandrake's Marshals|
|Kaspar Yakovich von Holberg||The League||Holberg||House of Seven Mirrors|
|Katrina Gardner||Dawn||Astolat||Winged Lions|
|Kellua Itsepainen||Wintermark||Sermersuaq||Sussivari Oathsworn Fyrd|
|Kettu Sigynsdottier||Wintermark||Kallavesa||Hendal Hearth|
|Khalama i Radah i Guera||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Kindra Edasdottir||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Darkwolves of Argonne|
|Lady Claudia Varkulova Remys||Dawn||Weirwater||House Remys|
|Lanius||Urizen||Morrow||The Crystal Spire|
|Laurentius Julianus Netherwatch||Urizen||Redoubt|
|Leah||Highguard||Reikos||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Leandro di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||The Giants Of Sarvos|
|Leon||Dawn||The Barrens||House de Carsenere|
|Leon Fortuna||The League||Sarvos||The Brotherhood of Torn Banners|
|Leto||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Lilith||The Brass Coast||Madruga||Krakenfire Armada|
|Lily Guildenstern||The Marches||Mournwold||Guildenlain|
|Liora Daughter of Rebekah||Highguard||Necropolis|
|Lisabeth von Temeschwar||The League||Temeschwar||Printers Guild of Tassato|
|Lochias Of Oblivion's Edge||Urizen||Morrow||Oblivion's Edge|
|Logan Tallstag||Dawn||Weirwater||House Tallstag|
|Lok||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Irontide|
|Lola i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Lord Colwynn de Rondell||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Lord Romande Remys||Dawn||Weirwater||House Remys|
|Lord Severin De Rondell||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Lucien d'Alba||Dawn||Astolat||Winged Lions|
|Lucifer||Highguard||Bastion||Cohort of the Winter Bear|
|Lucius VanAuldressanth di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Lucky Flint||The League||Temeschwar||Crimson Reaper Cartel|
|Madia i Mestiere i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Feroz||Flame of Anduz|
|Mae||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House Taziel|
|Magdelena Alagna Di Sarvos||The League||Holberg|
|Mai Gwyn Eternal||Navarr||Miaren|
|Mal` Lassal Scethos||Dawn||Astolat||House Cordraco|
|Manni Oswisonn||Wintermark||Kallavesa||The Aesclings|
|Maritza y Ruiloba y Guerra||The Brass Coast||Kahraman||House Taziel|
|Marsilio Cellini Crivelli di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||Holsburger Haudegen|
|Martinez i Rek i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||The New Promise Cartel|
|Massima di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||The League Light Company|
|mathayus||Highguard||Necropolis||The Steel Tide|
|Mel o' Bleak House||The Marches||Mournwold|
|Mercurio Ankarien||Urizen||Spiral||Ankarien's Revenge|
|Michelangelo Garcian de Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Miel I Gurrea||The Brass Coast||Kahraman||Flames of the Coast|
|Miguel i Angel i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Miguel i Valiente i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||The Tempest Flame|
|Miriam Magdalene of the Cenotaph||Highguard||Necropolis||Banner of the Cenotaph|
|Misha Kemi||The Marches||Bregasland||Order of the Forgotten Word|
|Mont i Sawa i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Feroz||Krakenfire Armada|
|Moses||Highguard||Bastion||Cohort of the Winter Bear|
|Myrkva||The Marches||Bregasland||The Copperhill Monastery Estate|
|Natalia "The Falcon" Barossa||The League||Tassato||Company of The Red Fox|
|Nathrach McNeb||The League||Temeschwar||Crimson Reaper Cartel|
|Nemuel||Highguard||Bastion||Scions of RavensFell|
|Nessetta Constanta||The League||Sarvos|
|Nicanor||Highguard||Bastion||Felix's Watch Banner|
|Nico von Temeschwar||The League||Temeschwar||Crimson Reaper Cartel|
|Nicolas Reaper||The Marches||Bregasland|
|Nikolai Yaropolk Borislav||Varushka||Volodmartz||The Oxen Head|
|Norkal||Wintermark||Hahnmark||The Children of Winter|
|Octavia||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House Taziel|
|Oda Farkas||Navarr||Therunin||Ruis Farkas|
|Old Emrys||Dawn||Semmerholm||House Devereux|
|Olly Gosling||The Marches||Bregasland||The Wickermen|
|Oria i Shartha i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||unknown||The New Promise Cartel|
|Orsino Carlino di Savros||The League||Sarvos|
|Ortenzia di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Osgar||Wintermark||Kallavesa||Sherard Hunters (Banner)|
|Otto Blythe||The League||Sarvos||Carta di Vergo|
|Otto Van Holberg||The League||Holberg||The Belladonna Brigade|
|Owain Farkas||Navarr||Therunin||In the Navvari|
|Owain Sepulchre||Dawn||Astolat||House Sepulchre Banner|
|Ozren Ivarovich Severyan||Dawn||Weirwater||House Orzel|
|Pakt||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Chainbreakers|
|Panthos Du Froste||Dawn||Semmerholm||House Du Froste|
|Pavel Novak||Varushka||Karov||Wulfen Reavers|
|Pavuk Vid Strascovich||Varushka||Miekarova|
|Philip of Ottery||The Marches||Bregasland||Otterwatch|
|Qayid Daker||The Brass Coast||Segura|
|Quay Stone||The Marches||Mournwold||House Stone|
|Qusay i Kalamar i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Raal Dunn||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Dunhearth Hall|
|Radomir Dobromilovich Straskovich||Varushka||Miekarova||Vor'Azi Wardens|
|Rafael i Paloma i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Feroz||Krakenfire Armada|
|Raingrim||Dawn||Weirwater||House Du Soleil|
|Ramos i Kemen i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Raphaella di Madeira||The League||Sarvos|
|Raquel Saverio di Mestra||The League||Tassato|
|Rathos I Ragnaraz I Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||Fijadoz Family|
|Raza I Azul-Mar I Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga||Bloodgold Jackals|
|Razin'Jeb i Valiente i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Reaver Darkwater||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Sherard Hunters (Banner)|
|Reinhardt Schwarzmane||The League||Holberg||The Brotherhood of the Ashen Tower|
|Rhiannon Langley||Dawn||Semmerholm||House Devereux|
|Richard Phelon||Dawn||Astolat||House Du Soleil|
|Richard Smith||The Marches||Mitwold||The Wickermen|
|Richardo Glostari di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Rin Geirskogul||Wintermark||Kallavesa||Hendal Hearth|
|Rinnah||Highguard||Bastion||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Rodrigo i Ruiloba i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Roger Du Soleil||Dawn||Astolat||House Du Soleil|
|Rohen Flowers||Dawn||Semmerholm||Tour De Cendres|
|Roland De Rondell||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Runa Ivey||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Holt Hyrde|
|Sadiq Isa||The Brass Coast||Kahraman|
|Sagremar i Zayden||The Brass Coast||Feroz||The New Promise Cartel|
|Sagua i'Ezmara i'Murit i'Erigo||The Brass Coast||Segura||The Ezmaran Key to Prosperity|
|Saihuo Sambells||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Salvatore Bartolomeo Bellastoria||Dawn||Astolat||House Du Soleil|
|Sammy Squirel||The Marches||Upwold||The Green Men|
|Samu i Zemress||The Brass Coast||Segura||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Sandro Visconti di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos|
|Santana i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga||Flames of the Coast|
|Santiago i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Saovna Vavilov||Varushka||Karov||Wulfen Reavers|
|Sarin Bodurr||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Haddi’s hall|
|Sarus Auricspire||Urizen||Morrow||Horizon's Edge|
|Scevola i Taziel||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House Taziel|
|Scipio||Dawn||Semmerholm||House De Minos|
|Ser Regulus Aurelius||Dawn||Semmerholm||House Aurelius|
|Serena Flavia Beatriz di Foracci della Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||The Giants Of Sarvos|
|Serrusto Caeli Rezia di Tassato||The League||Tassato|
|Shauni di Vergo||The League||Sarvos||Carta di Vergo|
|Sigvald||Wintermark||Hahnmark||The Embers of Ashenhall|
|Sireno di Sarvos||The League||Sarvos||Carta di Vergo|
|Skal Ilfsson||Wintermark||Sermersuaq||Haddi’s hall|
|Sketchemi Justicast Mentyevik||Varushka||Miekarova||The Oxen Head|
|Solene d'Alba||Dawn||Astolat||Winged Lions|
|Sosima i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Kahraman|
|Squid i Bard i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Segura|
|Stanislaus Rorik Strascovich||Varushka||Miekarova||Pyanee Husak|
|Starac Sijed||Dawn||Weirwater||House Orzel|
|Stormcrow Dren||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Stormcrow|
|Stormcrow Rork||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Stormcrow|
|Sven Northman||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Hall of The Shadow Guard|
|Takiri i Azucena i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Talmez i Fijadoz i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Madruga||Fijadoz Family|
|Tancred||Dawn||Astolat||House De Rondell|
|Tariq i Azucena i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||Autumn Corsairs|
|Teagan de Casillon||Dawn||Weirwater|
|Teodor Notturno Di Savos||The League||Sarvos||The Giants Of Sarvos|
|Teodoro i Suero||The Brass Coast||Feroz|
|Terah||Highguard||Reikos||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Thalia||Urizen||Spiral||Banner of the Phoenix|
|Thanmir Hrafnar||Wintermark||Skarsind||Sussivari Oathsworn Fyrd|
|The Hand||The Brass Coast||Astolat|
|Thomas Longstride||The Marches||Upwold||The Green Men|
|Thomir||Highguard||Necropolis||Banner of the Cenotaph|
|Thrall Kollbard||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Haddi’s hall|
|Tierian Spirits||Dawn||Weirwater||House Tallstag|
|T'onk||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Irontide|
|Trav||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Splintered Mast|
|Trevor Woodsman||The Marches||Upwold||The Applewood Levy|
|Tuscus Blythe||The League||Sarvos||Carta di Vergo|
|Tzimisas of Star Fury Spire||Urizen||Redoubt|
|Ulfa Hoddottr||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Sigehold Hall|
|Urq||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||Legion Protectorate|
|Uskolli||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Sussivari Oathsworn Fyrd|
|Vade||Imperial Orcs||Skarsind||The Chainbreakers|
|Valdamire Illiach||The League||Sarvos|
|Valentin Ivarovich Severyan||Dawn||Astolat||House Orzel|
|Valerian||Urizen||Morrow||Banner of the Phoenix|
|Valkyr Jarikson||Wintermark||Hahnmark||Dunhearth Hall|
|Varro Aeleris||Highguard||Bastion||Jachin's Legacy|
|Varrock||Urizen||Spiral||The Crystal Spire|
|Vasiliy Krenyenkov Valeskai Strascovich||Varushka||Miekarova||Grimhold Schlacta|
|Vasily ubiytsa chudovishch Orzel||Dawn||Weirwater||House Orzel|
|Vernon Roche||The Marches||Mitwold|
|Vervain I Dorado||The Brass Coast||Madruga|
|Victor Strakken||Wintermark||Kallavesa||Iron Fangs|
|Vidal i Paloma i Guerra||The Brass Coast||Feroz||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Vito Guerra||The Brass Coast||Kahraman||Flames of the Coast|
|Volfe Stormchaser||Wintermark||Hahnmark||The Embers of Ashenhall|
|Vrael i Sol-Devorador i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Madruga||House i Souza i Guerra|
|Vuk The Wolfeater||Varushka||Miekarova||Wulfen Reavers|
|Vulgaris Vicarious||Dawn||Weirwater||House Orzel|
|Waegmund 'Toothless'||Wintermark||Kallavesa||The Aesclings|
|Wesley “Talon” Fingal||Navarr||Therunin||Dancing Leaf|
|Wilhelm Franz von Holberg||The League||Holberg||The Belladonna Brigade|
|William Morgan||The Marches||Upwold||Guildenlain|
|William Talbot||The Marches||Mitwold||The Talbots|
|Wynflaed 'Wolf'sbane' Wulfricsdottir||Wintermark||Sermersuaq||Hendal Hearth|
|Xalvadora i Riqueza||The Brass Coast||Feroz||Flames of the Coast|
|Xanthippe||Urizen||Redoubt||The Heroes of Nikephoros|
|Yarlori “Yolo” Andrei Strascosavich||Varushka||Miekarova||Grimhold Schlacta|
|Yasmeen i Zabala i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Segura||Family Zabala|
|Yentaro i Zabala i Erigo||The Brass Coast||Segura|
|Yulia Kasimirova Voronov||Varushka||Miekarova||Company of the Red Raven|
|Zadkiel de Coeurdefer||Dawn||Astolat|
|Zethar||Highguard||Reikos||Shattered Tower Banner|
|Zoran De Orzel||Dawn||Weirwater||House Orzel|
Finally, the garrisons of Fort Fuil an Fort Salann have been seriously impacted by the raid. The structures themselves are undamaged, but the soldiers and ships associated with the two fortifications have both seen significant losses that will need replacing before those castles can operate at full strength - placing a further drain on the coffers of the Salt Lords.
Dry Grass Singing
Last Winter, the Jotun attempted to smooth the passage from Reinos into Segura. Using the magic of the Sentinel Gate, a band of Imperial heroes from Wintermark, Dawn, Urizen, the League, and the Brass Coast traveled to the Madera Viejo, in Yellow Chase. Their efforts - which would have made it easier for the Empire to move armies into the Lasambrian Hills as well as giving the Jotun an advantage in conquering Segura - were halted. Peace returned to the arid grasslands of the western Brass Coast.
Shortly after the Spring Equinox, the armies of the western orcs crossed the border into Kahraman. They seized the town of Damata, and only the vigilance of the garrison at Fort Braydon prevented them from conquering the whole of Serra Damata and pushing forward into Serra Briante. They were met by Imperial forces - the Drakes, the Strong Reeds, and the Quiet Step - and following a series of close-fought battles, pushed back west into the Lasambrian Hills again.
During each of these engagements, orcs marching under the banner of the firebird - the banner of the Lasambrian orcs - have played a key role. The hill orcs have long coveted Freeborn territory, even more so than the rest of the southern Jotun. Once, they came as bandits looking to steal the wealth of their human neighbours. Now, their will to conquer seems to have been strengthened by their belief in the seven virtues. No longer cowardly brigands, they fight with the fervour of the convert. Their Ambition, Courage, and Pride seem to drive them on, fueling their passion to conquer land they claim was stolen from them long ago by the first Freeborn settlers.
A month after the Jotun are driven out of Kahraman, a small band of orcs under the firebird banner arrive outside the gates of the town of Anduz. The citizens close their gates, watching the orcs suspiciously. These orcs wear orange mantles over crimson tunics; the people of Anduz remember the Lasambrians. They remember how, for a decade or more, they ruled over the conquered people of Anduzjasse before the might of the Empire sent them scurrying back into their dry hills. They remember how they came crawling back, fleeing the Jotun they now seem to serve, living as exiles and demanding charity from their Freeborn hosts. They remember the Lasambrians fleeing - again - when it was clear the Empire had tired of their demands. They've heard of the Lasambrians fighting in the north, in Kahraman, but few of them have actually seen it.
An orc in dusty leather armour approaches the walls of Anduz - still under a flag of truce - and shouts up to the people on the walls. He demands their surrender. He is met with laughter, derision, thrown rocks. He demands their surrender again, and again is met with mockery. "Away with you, bandit!" they cry, secure behind their walls. The orc shrugs, returns to his little band, and retreats westward. The people of Anduz congratulate themselves, still laughing, at having seen off this terrible threat. If some, a little wiser and more vigilant, wonder why they have not heard anything from the soldiers stations at the Towers of Anduz in the last week or so, their concerns are largely ignored.
Three days later, several thousand orcs march out of the west. The citizens of the wealthy town of Anduz close their gate again. The siege lasts less than three hours. By the next morning, the firebird banner hangs from the walls of Anduz. The orcs - call them Lasambrians because while they wear the red tunics of the Jotun they also wear the orange mantles and hoods of the Hierro and the Corazón - establish a command post within the walls, and set to conquering the entire territory in earnest.
Fragmentary reports out of Anduzjasse suggest that the Lasambrian orcs are not only interested in the town of Anduz. They also take pains to establish controls not only of Old Anduz - the rest of the ruins on which Anduz is built - but also the Longing Circle to the south. The ruins, and the potent regio are known to predate the Freeborn arrival in the Brass Coast; some say they are Terunael in origin others suggest they were raised by the ancestors of the Faraden. Regardless they are now under control of the Lasambrian Jotun once more. When they held Anduzjasse previously, the Lasambrians largely ignored the ruins and the Longing Circle. This time, according to refugees fleeing east, they have established a circle of drummers at the southern regio, and small bands of orcs lead by white-robed ghodi are scouring the ruins of Old Anduz for ... something.
While some of the orc force remains to secure the town and its environs, the rest continue their slow advance north and east, bringing the rest of Anduzjasse under their control. Regrouping, they begin to press further east into the sweeping, fertile plains of Anozeseri. There are no organised defenders in Segura to slow their conquest and it seems likely that soon they will control the entire southern region of Segura.
While the majority of their forces are focused on claiming territory, the Corazón employ the same strategy they used in Kahraman; raiding extensively across the entire territory. They focus their attacks on rich farms and settlements - using their knowledge of the territory they once controlled to strike at the richest targets. While their fellows capture the Kabalai Palace and the Garden of Sighs, the Corazón assault the Golden Terraces in Anozserrai. The orange groves quickly fall to the fast-moving raiders but they do not remain there long. Once the leading edge of the orc advance washes over the orchards the Corazón head north to attack the Red Fields on the Iron Plains and Sunsong Ranch in eastern Burnish.
These raids bring them into direct conflict with the refugees from Zemress island, who now occupy much of Yellow Chase and the Sorbal Grasses. The exiles are taken as much by surprise as their neighbours; they have few defenders among their number and their farms suffer the same depredations as the rest of the Seguran Freeborn. Perhaps if the Iron Qanat had been constructed the story would have been different - but even had that project not be cursed with delays and misfortune it could not have been built in time to stem the orc invasion without potent magic.
As the Winter Solstice approaches, the western orcs are in complete control of Anduzjasse, and have made significant progress toward capturing Anozeseri. Yet... there is something different about this invasion of the Brass Coast. While it is not the bloody conquest that saw the Lasambrians take the entire territory in 363YE, it is also not the traditional Jotun invasion the Empire has seen most recently in Kahraman.
Firstly, while individual Jotun champions fight under their own clan banners, the armies here all march under the standard of the firebird. There are differences, of course, but it seems in many ways that more than being a Jotun force, the army seeking to conquer Segura is a Lasambrian force.
Second, while the orcs offer a choice to the humans who survive their attacks, the details are subtly different. The familiar Jotun choice is straightforward - become warrior-Jotun, or become thralls. Some Freeborn are clearly facing this traditional decision - but only those who are overcome by the independent champions. Those whose settlements in Anduzjasse and Anozeseri are captured by the armies are given a different choice. On one hand, they may join the Lasambrians; keep their land and their possessions but agree to accept the conquerors as their rulers. They must swear an oath of loyalty, and to offer a portion of their wealth to the Lasambrians.
If they refuse, however, rather than being reduced to the status of thralls they are simply told to leave. They are allowed to take nothing that they own - save the clothes on their backs, a few sentimental keepsakes, and as much food as they can carry - and driven out. Their wealth, their homes, their weapons - all that the orcs claim as their just rewards. But the people, they simply exile.
Those who refuse to join, and refuse to leave, are commended for their Courage, and then executed. Their bodies are cremated, and the orcs move on.
The news spreads quickly. The Lasambrian orcs, it seems, will kill you, and will rob you, but they will not enslave you. Few Freeborn are prepared to bend their knees to the western orcs, of course. But some do. They likely have a variety of reasons. A desire to keep their lands, perhaps. A belief that the Empire will liberate them soon enough. It seems that they are expected to pay taxes - at a rate much higher than the Empire demands - and they are watched but otherwise they are left to get on with their lives.
There is, however, one additional wrinkle. Those who choose to stay are forced to confirm their acceptance of the seven Virtues, and their rejection of false virtue, which causes significant problems for the Faraden and Suranni merchants passing through southern Segura. There is, it is understood, a peace treaty between the Jotun and the human traders to the south and west of the Empire. The details are not clear, but Faraden traders at least are granted free passage through Jotun lands. The Lasambrian orcs are apparently not yet prepared to endanger that peace, but they are clearly unhappy with Faraden in the lands they have claimed. According to those who pass through Anduz to peddle their wares in the Empire, no Faraden merchant is permitted to trade in Anduzjasse, on pain of death. They are not even permitted to purchase food or drink, visit a parador, or stay at an inn. They must camp by the road at sunset and move on at sunrise. The Faraden are not amused. For now, they are barred from the markets of Anduz - but they are asking what will happen if the Jotun-Lasambrians capture more territory.
The Suranni, by contrast, appear to have no such agreement with the Jotun; the nature of their alliance offers little protection to their merchants and they are forced to abandon Anduzjasse altogether. The eastern trade route through Bramar in Feroz is still open but Segura is effectively closed to merchants from the south. According to some rumours, a number of Suranni traders may even have been executed by the Lasambrians...
In the fortnight before the Winter Solstice, there is one further development. A small party of orcs travelling under a flag of truce arrive at Anozel. They remain outside the walls of the settlement, but demand to speak to someone in authority. The dhomiro of Anozel have an emergency council and one of their number is sent out to speak with the orcs. She returns grim-faced.
The invading orcs wish to deliver a message to the people of the Brass Coast. They make no secret of their intention to conquer the whole of Segura, but their ambitions stretch even further. Once they have reclaimed Segura, they will seek to conquer Feroz to the east. These lands, they claim, were taken from their ancestors by the ancestors of the Freeborn. Once they have achieved their ambitions, however, they intend to stop. At that point, they are prepared to negotiate a ceasefire with the Empire, and to use whatever influence they may have to encourage the rest of the southern Jotun to do the same. Any Freeborn who wish to leave will be allowed to do so, but those who remain behind will not be treated as thralls - the Lasambrians have no interest in stealing their Prosperity. Instead, they and their descendants will be offered the chance to become part of the new Lasambrian nation.
Alternatively, if the Empire wishes, they may end the invasion of the Brass Coast now. If the Empire cedes Segura and Feroz to the Lasambrians, they can ensure that the Jotun attempt no further invasion of the southern territories. In return for a show of good faith - such as the ceding of the remaining regions of Segura - they will arrange a summit between the southern Jotun and the Empire at the Spring Equinox to discuss a more long-lasting arrangement.
Should the Empire choose to ignore this offer, then the Hierro, the Corazón, and their newfound cousins among the Escuta - the clan formerly known as the Deep Bloods - will take back what was stolen from them, and offer their allies among the orcs of Narkyst all the assistance they need to take back their ancestral lands in Kahraman, Madruga, and the Marches.
Game Information - Segura
Anduzjasse has been conquered by the Lasambrian Jotun, and the armies here have made some progress toward conquering Anozserei.
The Kabalai Palace, the Garden of Sighs, and the Golden Terraces have likewise been seized by the orcs; the civil service can assist the citizens who previously controlled these resources in acquiring a new one without the usual 2 crowns handling fee. The raids against the Red Fields and Sunsong Ranch have resulted in the loss of all the produce that would have been produced by those resources.
The civil service predicts that if the raids by the Corazón continue for another season, every farm and business in Segura risks losing half of its production. A ritual such as Vale of Shadows would be enough to protect the resource, but otherwise the only thing that can prevent it would be the Corazón changing their tactics - which they have shown little interest in doing.
Furthermore, with the fall of Anduzjasse, seven of the Towers of Anduz are now in Lasambrian hands. Coupled with the hostile environment the orcs are creating for foreign traders coming into Segura, the benefits of this great work have been halved going forward. If the orcs take any more towers - if they conquer any of the towers in Anozeseri, Yellow Chase, or Burnish - the entire benefit of the great work will be lost until the regions where they stand are liberated.
Finally, the Freeborn who have been exiled from Anduzjasse and Anozeseri are heading east toward Anozel and Cerevado. Unlike previous exiles, many of these refugees are unable to bring any of their wealth with them. With the best will in the world, the Freeborn are not good at looking after people who cannot look after themselves. If the Lasambrians continue to drive penniless exiles out of western and southern Segura, the situation may turn into a significant economic crisis.
Soldiers of the Strong Reeds, having kicked the Jotun our of Kharaman it is time to repair our armour and weapon in preparations for our next offensive. The Drakes will deal with the Feni, we leave them alone.Jack Flint, General of the Strong Reeds
The Rattle of the Bones
There are three armies in the Mournwold, marched up from Segura past Fort Braydon to deal with the Feni problem. While the Quiet Step and the Strong Reeds concern themselves with ushering the Feni of the Woods-that-Fell south and west, out of the Mourn into the shadowed forest of Liathaven, the Drakes have and altogether more difficult task ahead of them.
The 'Step and the 'Reeds have an uneventful three months. Whatever fight the Feni exiles once had was consumed by the seemingly bottomless sinkhole that swallowed their homes. Under the watchful eyes of the two Imperial armies, they move quickly, with little fuss, down from the Chalkdowns through Southmoor and out of the Marches into the wilderness of Liaven's Glen.
Meanwhile, the Drakes raise a camp on the western edge of the Chalkdowns, barely a stones throw from eaves of the forest of Alderly. A few hundred additional yeomen under the command of independent Marcher captains join them there. Once they have had a few days to catch their breath, they advance into the dark wood.
We have thrown the Jotun out of Kahraman yet again. The day of our assault on Westwood draws closer. We travel to the Mournwold to rest and resupply in preparation.Brennos Brackensong, General of the Quiet Step
There are Marchers in Alderly of course - dour folk with a poor reputation. Charcoal burners, woodcutters, hunters and the like. There have been rumours for centuries that many of these yeomen have Feni blood running in their veins. The Drakes find little welcome among them; sullen faces turn to watch them pass deeper into the woods. The further from the edge of the forest they travel, the fewer faces there are. The soldiers begin to encounter empty cottages, even small hamlets that have been abandoned - and all the signs say this abandonment has taken place recently. All the indications are that some of the Marcher folk have chosen to side with the Feni against the invaders from the north.
The passage through the woods is complicated by the need to adhere to the peculiar instructions captured from the Feni of the Woods-that-Fell. Walk a certain distance in this direction; turn aside; pass beneath the shadow of a certain tree; speak a certain rhyme. There is a path, but it is clearly designed for a small band of people to walk not for the four-thousand soldiers more used to fighting out in the open. The deeper they press toward the heart of the wood, the wilder it becomes. The trees rise higher and higher - ancient oaks that have stood since before the ancestors of these marchers left Dawn. There is an oppressive atmosphere - as if the trees themselves do not want the soldiers here. The shadows beneath their boughs seem particularly dense, heavy almost. The sensation of being watched intensifies.
Yet nothing concrete is seen at all. The suggestion of movement, the sound of twigs breaking, a disturbance in a bush. That's all. No attack, no sign of any living thing larger than a robin. For the most part, there is simply an unnatural silence that grows more pronounced as the distant sun rises through the sky and begins to set.
It would be easy to become separated, here in the depths of Alderly Wood. It is perhaps fortunate that the army is bound together - to a degree - by Autumn magic. The Brotherhood of Tian is intended to improve logistics, to help quartermasters and victuallers. Yet it also helps to keep the army together, focused on its goals, more able to quickly communicate information between officer and soldier. Every little helps.
After a long day marching through the woods, the yeomen start to become restless. A murmur runs through the ranks. Are there really Feni here? Surely they should have encountered some by now? How large are these woods anyway? Could this all be a wild goose chase?
Then, with the shadows deepening among the trunks of the ancient trees, everything changes. Between one breath and the next, it becomes light. The trees are still ancient oaks, but they are massive - reaching up to scrape the suddenly overcast, pale sky. There is no sign of the sun through the slate-grey clouds. The leading soldiers falter, come to a stop, mouths gaping. Looking back, their comrades are barely visible through a thick fog that coils unpleasantly between the trees - but the farther ranks march on seemingly unaware of the mist.
Some of the landskeepers are able to provide an explanation after a few moments. The Drakes are, unbelievably, no longer in the Empire. No longer in the mortal realm, in fact. They have passed across the boundary of a powerful regio - or rather they have passed through the boundary of a regio, into the chamber that lies beyond. They are now somewhere part-way between the world of mortals and one of the eternal Realms. The Winter realm, if the signs are being read correctly.
More and more soldiers press through, slowing to a halt and looking around in confusion. This is unexpected. The assumption seems to have been that the Feni were simply good at camouflaging their camp in the heart of Alderly - or at the absolute outside were using Night magic to confuse the approach. It is quickly becoming clear that this is not the case - that the Feni stronghold must actually be built here, in the environs of a supernatural place outside the normal world. The directions captured by the Marcher heroes are clearly a secret way of travelling through the woods that allow a group of mundane folk to attune themselves to the boundaries without needing to rely on magical means to enter - and hopefully leave - the regio.
There is some quick talk of turning back, but the captains will have none of it. They are here to do a job - and while the Feni might live in a magical place, they are still mortal people. The soldiers rally, regroup, and resume their march.
Now there is sign of habitation. Eerie curling designs carved into the boles of massive trees. Unsettling arrangements of sticks, feathers, bones, and rope hang from their branches turning this way and that in the breeze. Circles of black stone and white granite dolmen in clearings, surrounding patches of ground covered with healthy bladeroot and True Vervain plants. And, increasingly, peculiar spindly effigies with bodies of tattered leather, cloth, and bracken and fleshless skeletal heads of large birds, bears, oxen, and even horses. These last - these unnatural scarecrows - are especially unsettling. Where they can. the soldiers pull them down and trample them underfoot.
Then the first Feni are encountered, moving quickly between the trees. They are stealthy ambushers blending into the undergrowth as they launch volleys of arrows and barbed javelins against the flanks of the Marcher army. Quick skirmishers emerge from hiding, striking quickly and then retreating back into the shadows beneath the trees, leaving an unlucky few down and bleeding.
The forest itself seems to conspire to aid the Feni defenders. Any yeomen who stray too far from the main column - who lose track of their comrades - are quickly lost among the trees. Few make it back - those who do will not speak of what they have encountered in the dark. Here and there, fresh bloodstains begin to appear on the boles of the great oaks. Many are handprints - human hands covered in fresh blood pressed against the bark - but here and there are splashes and pools that suggest more murderous activity.
Now then my merry Marchers, we've thrown the Jotun out of Kahraman and we now travel north. There is Marcher business to be done in Alderly. For the first time in a generation we will take the secret paths into those dark woods, and reclaim them for honest Marcher folk from the Feni. No longer will Marchers fear to tread beneath the boughs when we are done.
We must strike quickly to surround, overwhelm and capture their settlement and these that dwell within. But remember merry Marchers this is about land and not blood. We are here to take back the forests and not drown them in Feni blood.As we pass through the Mourn, encourage any beaters we meet to accompany us. There are Marcher folk with close ties to these barbarians, and they should be reminded that their loyalties lie with Marcher kin and kith. Do not attack any of the Feni from the Woods that Fell, unless they threaten Marcher folk."Will Talbot, General of the Drakes
There are a few draughir soldiers among the Drakes. Pale skinned and bloody eyed. The longer they spend in the sorcerous woods, the weaker their grasp on their humanity becomes, the stronger the call of their blood. It is as if the regio itself is intentionally attacking them, strengthening their connection to the Winter realm. Perhaps it is unintentional - the stronger their blood the more protective of their fellow soldiers they become, the more focused on the idea of destroying the prey they have come here to hunt.
After another few hours or so of marching and skirmishing, the trees begin to thin a little. The sky, which has remained a uniform pale grey throughout, suddenly darkens as if the unseen sun has precipitously fallen below the horizon. Lanterns and torches are lit, and the Drakes emerge into a large clearing containing dozens of simple wooden huts. A village, surrounding an oak tree of truly immense size. Thousands of stick-and-bone-and-feather effigies hang from the tree, twisting and turning this way and that in the wind, and the bark of the tree has been scored over centuries with swirling white lines that curve and weave from the thick roots up to the highest branches giving the tree an unreal, unnatural appearance.
The Feni, it seems, trusting that their location inside a Winter regio would protect them from outsiders, have prepared few defences. Certainly nothing that will present much of an obstacle to five thousand Imperial soldiers! The village is surrounded by a simple palisade, and a ditch lined with wooden spikes.
As the Drakes line up, an ultimatum is given to the Feni barely visible in the trees and among the huts. Surrender, or face the wrath of the Marches. Any who lay down their weapons voluntarily will not be harmed. Any who resist will be shown no mercy. In answer, a single voice cries back "We will never be slaves again!" and then nothing further. None move to lay down their weapons; they seem committed to the futile defence of their settlement.
The yeomanry spread out, and begin a well disciplined assault against the Feni settlement. The fighting is savage, but the outcome is never in doubt. The Feni are outnumbered, and outclassed on every level. Few of them even have metal weapons - their spears and arrows are mostly of sharpened flint, their shields of leather stretched across wicker frames. A few have steel blades - which when examined after the battle prove to have been forged by Jotun smiths or in Marcher armouries, most likely stolen from corpses. Or possibly they acquired the blades from different places.
For, tragically, among the defenders of the Feni village there are also Marcher folk. Inhabitants of Alderly who have chosen for whatever reason to throw their lot in with the Feni even though it is hopeless, even though there is no chance for this battle to end any other way than how it inevitable does. Charcoal cutters, bounders, hunters, and treecutters from the Marcher villages on the outskirts of Alderly fighting with Marcher weapons and Marcher bullheaded obstinacy against their own people. They bleed, and die, just as easily as the Feni do.
The Feni have other allies as well. More unnatural ones. As the battle is joined, a line of horrific beasts comes marching through the trees all around the village. They look much like the strange scarecrows but much larger - some are as tall as twenty feet or more - striding on spindly wooden legs. Constructs of bone, leather, fur, and feather with the skeletal heads of immense birds surmounted with antlers. They possess terrible long wooden arms, equipped with scything talons that rip through armour and inflict terrible bleeding wounds that will not stop bleeding. Unfortunately - for the Feni - these creatures are quickly discovered to be dry as kindling the slightest flame setting them alight. Of course, then they become massive burning constructs and for a short time become even more dangerous. Quickly the soldiers discover that hurling torches, then keeping the things at bay with a line of pole-arms, neutralises their threat.
As the battle continues to its inevitable end, birds begin to alight in the branches of the oak tree at the heart of the village. First a few, then over the course of the battle several hundred, cloaking the tree in leaves of black feathers. They do not attack, merely watch, silently, as the Feni are surrounded and killed. It seems that for each village defender killed - for each life ended - another bird alights on the tree. Then, without warning, as if their numbers have passed a certain threshold, they launch themselves up into the air, crying and cawing, an indescribable cacophony in which many of the Marcher soldiers fancy they hear mocking words. A pall falls across the soldiers, a terrible chill that sets their hair on end and for a long moment quells the fighting. Then, as the last of the birds disappears into the dark sky, the Autumn leaves begin to fall from the trees - a few at first, and then in an avalanche. It begins to snow.
The surviving Feni rally at the far end of the village. There cannot be more than fifty of them left. The Drakes regroup again, rallying for the final push. One last chance is given to surrender, but again the Feni ignore it. The snow begins to fall more thickly from the black, starless sky. Just above the tops of the trees, behind the Feni group, a peculiar aurora begins to dance - like the northern lights that are sometimes seen in Sermersuaq, in Skarsind, in Volodmartz, in Karsk.
Then, something terrible appears. With an awful tearing noise, it is as if a door opens behind the last of the Feni defenders. A great portal thirty feet high through which dancing red firelight pours, washing over the Feni like blood. Outlined in the doorway is an immense furred beast like a terrible hybrid of man and bear, but with the head of a wolf surmounted with the antlers of a stag. It throws back its head and howls, once, unspeakably loud, a sound to freeze the heart, to weigh down a warriors limbs with fear and exhaustion. In a rumbling, guttural voice it calls out to the Feni.
"COME!" it bellows. "COME TO ME, AND I WILL GIVE YOU VENGEANCE!"
The last Feni warriors - force to choose between this beast and the army arrayed against them - run to the door. A hail of arrows falls upon them, upon the beast that shields itself with one great furred arm... and then the door slams shut with a noise like thunder. The fight is over. The Drakes have won, the Feni settlement has been destroyed, the Feni put to the sword. Victory.
The village is quickly looted, then put to the torch along with the tree at the centre of the village. The Drakes retreat back towards the boundary of the regio that leads back to the natural world . Behind them, through the thickening curtain of snow, the fire spreads quickly. There is some momentary concern that the army may not be able to leave the place as easily as they entered but such fears prove unfounded. The Drakes and their supporters stumble, exhausted, out into the Autumn woods. The sky is lightening in the east; in some fashion they have spent an entire night in the Winter regio.
Over the next few days it becomes clear that not all the Feni were present for the attack on their village. Around the same time the Drakes entered Alderly, a band of perhaps a hundred noncombatants fled from the eastern borders of the forest, accompanied by a handful of warriors and Alderly Marchers and lead by a tall figure variously described as having "a feathered cloak and the mask of a raven" or "the head of a great black bird" depending. The ragged group made their way across the Green March and, according to the few who saw them, disappeared into the green depths of Liaven's Glen.
Whatever else has happened, the Feni settlement in Alderly has been destroyed for good, with no survivors.
Game Information - Mournwold
The Drakes has suffered 120 casualties at the hands of the Feni defenders. The settlement has been destroyed. William Talbot, the General of the Drakes, will receive a large share of the herbs and potions taken from the Feni settlement by the victorious Drakes.
However, General Talbot and any player whose military unit supported the Drakes in their attack on the Alderly Feni will discover over the next few nights that they have acquired a curse. They will receive a card detailing the effect in their character packs. If your military unit supported the Drakes this season, you may choose to acquire the draughir lineage in the months following the engagement in Alderly.
Finally, the Drakes army is now suffering a curse following its invasion of the Feni woods. Details of the curse will be provided in Winds of Fortune. Thanks to the Law of Dominion, it will be possible to gain more information about the curse on the army by using Wisdom of the Balanced Blade on the general of that army which, as per the ritual description, will provide additional information about its effects and potential methods of removing it.
Pool Among the Rock
Since they first launched their surprise attack against Urizen, the Druj have been pushing westward. Pell mell they raced through Zenith, leaving devastation in their wake, extinguishing spire after spire, driving the Highborn defenders before them. Once darkness had settled over north-eastern Urizen, it seemed for a few moments that their thirst for blood might be quenched. But it was not.
After a season to regroup, resupply, and reconnoitre, the Druj continued to pursue the three armies of Highguard, pouring down into eastern Morrow in an unstoppable flood, devouring everything in their path. The Highborn did their best, laid down their lives to staunch the flow of orcs, to protect the defenceless civilians - but it was barely enough. The Halls of Knowledge burned; the Temple of the Winds returned to ruin; the Gardens of Morrow rent asunder; the heart of the Heliopticon broken. By the Autumn Equinox, the Druj were practically banging at the gates of Canterspire. Yet at the same time, the armies of Dawn and Varushka were banging at the gates of Lomaa in Ossium. The Druj advance began to slow...
On the last night of the Autumn Equinox, as the Druj gather in their camps in Peregro and Caeli, the sky turns dark. Heavy black clouds sweep across the magically occluded skies, accompanied by cold winds blowing from the west that neither shake the trees, nor ripple the water, nor billow the curtains in the high windows of the remaining spires. Every mortal in Morrow awakens suddenly, one minute after midnight and, as the rain begins to fall, knows something has changed.
Sentinels of Urizen, we fight! We are fighting for our homes and our families. We are fighting for our futures. We are supported by armies of other nations, by eternals, by the breadbasket of the Marches, Makes the Druj pay, but not at your expense. Make me Proud.General Nicassia, of the Citadel Guard
The rain brings with it the touch of Spring magic, and it might be possible to imagine that this is the only effect. The rain shimmers with life, quickly transferred to the streams and high, cool mountain lakes. It is something of a mixed blessing, of course. In a battle where anything short of death can be survived it is so much easier to fall into the clutches of the Druj. A fate, in many ways, that can be worse than death.
Shortly after that first rainfall, the Druj begin to move again. They come more cautiously than before, solidifying their presence in Operus, maneuvering carefully through the valleys toward Canterspire. They encounter little resistance. The Highborn armies, savaged by months of battling the Druj advance, have been forced to withdraw westward to Astolat and to Casinea.
Worse, a grim sickness settles over the entire territory. First, animals become ill. Cattle provide no milk, birds stop laying eggs. Next, the crops begin to rot in the fields. Finally, people begin to fall ill. The weak are the first to fall prey to the curse - the old, the young, those who have given in to despair - but at least the Spring magic that courses through the water is sufficient to ensure that the injured, at least, are able to recover swiftly before the malediction can take hold. The magicians of Urizen quickly determine that Naeve's Twisting Blight has been laid over the territory - and news from the south suggests it has been brought to bear in Spiral and Redoubt as well. One more burden for the people of Urizen to face.
A little less than a month after the Autumn Equinox, the Druj army draws within sight of the citadel of Canterspire, forming up at one end of the valley. Observers in the high towers of the great library mark their approach, while below the last few defenders prepare for the battle that is to come.
The Druj chant as they come, confident that nothing can stand against them. At the head of their column they drag a dozen captured sentinels and once they draw within sight of the citadel, they begin to raise vicious wooden spikes...
As the defenders of Canterspire watch in horror, the first sentinel is dragged forward. He does not scream, facing his death with poise and... at the last moment... with a visible sigh he closes his eyes and collapses into dust. A ripple of uncertainty runs through the Druj. The second sentinel is seized... and the same thing happens. Between one breath and the next, the remaining prisoners each close their eyes and are gone, dust and ash on the wind. Murmurs of uncertainty swell and roll across the Druj army - their cheers and jeers fall silent - but only for a moment. Denied their sport, their thoughts turn quickly to overrunning Canterpsire, sating their hunger for torment on the Urizen within.
At this moment as the Druj begin to pour down the valley toward the great spire, the first rays of the rising sun touch the highest point of the tallest tower. The ramparts glitter, like frost at dawn, like crystal. A rumbling bass note rings out - like thunder - but instead of dying away it continues becoming louder and louder. The shimmering light flows down the tower, quickening and spreading as races down, coating the towers and walls, the libraries and auditoriums of Canterspire in a sheath of beautiful pale-pink and gold crystal. It swirls and eddies in places, creating baroque curlicues and protrusions somewhat reminiscent of deep-sea coral. Within the span of a handful of minutes, the entire great citadel is a blazing tower of luminous crystal and glass.
Clinging to the side of the crystal walls are a dozen great beasts. Larger than oxen, roughly lizard-like in outline, they are composed of translucent, prismatic crystal. They move effortlessly across the crystal walls on eight massively-taloned legs, snapping prehensile tails tipped with vicious arrow-head spikes, opening wide crocodilian jaws to reveal row after tow of razor-sharp weltsilver teeth. Turning their great saurian heads left and right, they begin to sing out a warning - terrible musical calls that rise and fall like waves on the shore. Light spills from them, illuminating whatever they turn their gaze upon, stripping away deception and obfuscation, banishing the early morning mist and leaving the Druj nowhere to hide.
Towerjacks, we turn our attentions to the Druj. Our long term goal is their destruction so they never threaten the empire again. But for now we advance steadily preserving our strength for the longer campaign to come.General Natalia Barossa, the Falcon of the Towerjacks
At the same time, horns begin to blow. The gates of Canterspire, rather than being kept tight shut against the Druj, are flung wide. Marching out from the courtyards and the halls of Canterspire come the Citadel Guard; nearly five thousand sentinels and battlemages of Urizen accompanied by a cohort of elfin war witches. Spire-and-moon standards snap viciously in the early morning wind, alongside the crimson and gold banners of the Queen of the Fields of Glory.
They are not alone. From the valley behind, surging around the sides of the crystalline Canterspire, march the armies of the Empire. To the east, the Iron Helms and the Northern Eagle, grim-faced Varushkans. Alongside them marches an entire third army of Summer warriors, golden hawks and eagles mingling with the flock of black carrion birds that hangs above them like a cloud. To the west, the Towerjacks and the Wolves of War, splendid soldiers of the League reinforced by a contingent of Temeschwari mercenaries and deadly wagon raiders from Karov and Volodmartz, and supported by potent enchantments of Day magic and Autumn magic.
The Druj have had it their own way for far too long. You drove the Grendel from Spiral and now we drive our old foe from the land of our allies. Armour yourselves in steel and courage, then drive east.General Gabriel Barossa, of the Wolves of War
The Druj charge falters.
The leaders of the eastern orcs are quick to reappraise their situation, changing their orders as the two great forces move together in the rocky valley below the Canterspire. As the two waves of soldiers break against one another, though, it is clear the Druj were expecting to face a defensive force, not a half dozen Imperial armies on the offensive. Their tactics rely on outmaneuvering and surrounding their enemy, and that is not what they have found.
Yet while the Empire may have the element of surprise, the Druj outnumber them. There are nearly half-again as many orcs as humans fighting at the Battle of Canterspire; but the presence of the knights of Eleonaris and the crystal guardians that protect the citadel help to even the odds.
The Empire fights conservatively, providing as few openings for the Druj as possible, withdrawing rather than risk losing soldiers to risky charges. Injured soldiers fall back to the crystal halls to be healed and to rest for a few moments before rejoining the fray. There are few chances taken here. The Druj strategy is savage, but not as much as it has been in previous seasons - they are more cautious for the most part - perhaps news of the attack in the north has undermined their confidence?
Shortly after noon, as exhaustion begins to drape itself like a dusty cloak over both sides, it begins to rain. Not a heavy downpour, but a light misty drizzle that focuses the refreshing power of the Spring magic that provides a gentle blessing to all of Morrow. Both sides rally, regroup, and press their attack again. While it is refreshing, it is still rain - the dry river valley is quickly churned up into a field of treacherous mud that endangers human and orc alike. All it takes is a single misstep, and it is all over.
As the sun begins to vanish behind the western peaks, a ragged cheer goes up from the Imperial side. A small force of sentinels have managed to skirt around the Druj force, using the high passes to maneuver themselves beyond the sight of the orcs, and launch a daring rescue. Three dozens prisoners are freed from the Druj baggage train, escorted to the safety of the Canterspire. The crystal guardians raise their heads in a great triumphant chorus as the ragged band reaches the gate. Thirty prisoners is nothing the grand scheme of things - barely a fraction of the Imperial and orc bodies that litter the muddy gorges around the citadel - but it is a powerful symbol. A promise of what is to come.
Proceed with a Steady Advance into Morrow.General Akstis Eigulys, of the Northern Eagle
Night falls... but not darkness. The crystal citadel begins to glow, as if its walls are infused with pure sunlight. Beams of light, focused by the crystal guardians, sweep back and forth across the valley, illuminating the Druj as they attempt to fall back. The saurian protectors continue their song of triumph as the orcs withdraw. Here and there across the battlefield, peculiar pale figures in dusty black armour move hither and yon, pausing for a moment to speak to the fallen. At first they are mistaken for healers, but it shortly becomes clear that they are servants of the eternal Kaela, harvesting those close to death for the Grim Legion of their mistress. Thanks to the magic of Spring there are few enough on either side, and the Lady of the Silent Hosts gains few new converts to her side.
A Steady Advance into Morrow to bring Varushkan Steel on the Druj.General Magnus Anatolyvich Prochnost, of the Iron Helms
Over the next month, Imperial and Druj forces clash again and again in the cold mountains of Morrow - but not in the valley before the Canterspire. Inch by inch the orcs of the Mallum are forced back out of Operus by Imperial armies. No quarter is asked for or offered on either side. The Spring benediction helps preserve life, but still the war still claims over a thousand human lives, and as many orcs fall as Imperials.
The Canterspire remains a beacon in the heart of Morrow, offering sanctuary to any who can reach it. While the armies strike at the Druj, smaller groups of sentinels and magi move quickly among the high places that the Druj are unaware of. Accompanied by brave heralds of Phaleron, they seek out citadels and spires behind enemy lines helping to evacuate the people - and their valuable libraries - to the crystal sanctuary. While the saurian protectors will not leave the castle, they possess supernatural senses that allow them to mark the approach of any enemy, no matter how stealthy, and raise a warning. The gates of Canterspire do not close again, remaining open - another symbol, another promise.
The Druj lose their foothold in Operus, and are harried in both Peregro and Caeli. As the Winter solstice draws near, the Empire pushes into Caeli. Again and again the Mallum orcs are forced to fall back. The victory does not come without grief, however. The Spire of the Arbiter's Seat is liberated, but its halls are discovered to be empty of human life. The captured citizens, facing torment and enslavement at the hands of the Druj, with no hope that the Empire would turn back the orcs, chose to accept Kaela's gift. The entire populace passed from life into death in a single night. The Druj left their ashes where they fell.
The broken crater where the heart of the Heliopticon once stood is reclaimed; the devastation wrought by the defenders leaves no sign of what was one the grandest tower of the network. The burnt ruins of the Gardens of Morrow are liberated; but not a single plant remains.
Yet for all that loss, the Empire is winning. The Druj are in retreat across the territory; they are not broken but for the first time since they invaded Zenith they have not been victorious. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is the end of the Druj invasion of Urizen.
Game Information - Morrow
The Druj advance has been stalled, and turned back. They have lost their fingerhold in Operus, and Imperial armies have made significant gains in Caeli.
With the assistance of the eternal Phaleron, the Canterspire has been transformed into a potent magical citadel. Heralds of the Celestial Library accompany Urizen scouts throughout Morrow, helping to transport refugees to safety along with the contents of their libraries. Any citizen of Morrow is free to roleplay that they have taken advantage of the safety offered by this combined effort.
Morrow, Redoubt, and Spiral have each been subjected to Naeve's Twisting Blight. Even without the curse, the gains the Empire has made are still insufficient to allow the Urizen to directly support the Citadel Guard; but for the moment the aid of the Keeper of the Breadbasket is sufficient to reduce losses to the army from lack of supply.
The gift of Kaela, secured through a bargain with the Winter Archmage, allows any Imperial citizen in the hands of the Druj to engage in thirty seconds of appropriate roleplaying after which they experience a painless death. This ability extends across the entire eastern Empire, the Mallum, Zenith, and the Barrens. No corpse remains - it is reduced to dust and ashes. This ability may be used by player characters capture by the Druj during an event; if you do so you should ensure that you mark your character as dead as soon as you can so that your egregore is aware of your death. There is however one drawback to this as Imperial magicians may soon discover; anyone who takes advantage of this ability cannot be contacted with Whispers through the Black Gate.
My Heart Under My Feet
The three armies of Wintermark - the Fist of the Mountains, the Green Shields, and the Blood Cloaks - gathered before the Autumn Equinox in the marshes of Kallavesa. Many soldiers availed themselves of the opportunity to visit the shrines of the ancestors that lie along the banks of the great lakes, to honour the heroes who have gone before, to contemplate the spiritual power at the heart of the Wintermark nation. To be anchored, at least for a short time, in the profound knowledge of who they are and where they have come from, and of their role in building the future for their people.
In the weeks following the Equinox, the soldiers of the three armies are joined by some six thousand or so warriors under the banners of heroic Winterfolk champions. Some sixty captains come to the marshes on pilgrimage of their own, joining their warbands to one or other of the armies. The great majority choose to stand with the Green Shield, but there are also heroes who choose to knot their skein with the other two armies.
Heroes of the Green Shields, hail to thee! Hail to the Mark! Does and death are at our homes and hearths, and now we do to face them. This is not to hold, not to stand fast and simply fend them off, the Mark goes to war to defeat our foes, drive them before us! Drive them out. It falls to you to lead this great charge, to slow your heroism to both friend and foe, to bring the wrath of the Wintermark, the wrath of the Empire down upon the Jotun with this Triumphant Charge! Forth Wintermark - Forth the Greenshield Army.Osric, General of the Green Shields
In addition, at noon on the seventh day after the Equinox, three cohorts of elfin knights stride from out of the west to join the Winterfolk camped around the ancient town of Rundhal. Almost ten thousand warriors from the Fields of Glory. Rumour quickly spreads that they have come from somewhere deep in the marshes around the Sovevann - or perhaps from beneath the waters themselves. Their splendid golden chain and the orichaclum blades of their spears, axes, and swords gleam in the bright sunlight. At the head of each cohort marches a crimson-and-gold general, a favoured warrior leading the hosts of the Commander of the Golden Armies. They have come to fight with the people of Wintermark swelling the numbers camped around Rundhal to nearly thirty thousand warriors.
Shortly after their arrival, news reaches the Winterfolk commanders that the rest of the Empire is on the move. The Fire of the South, encamped for the last three months on the eges of the Wittal Grove are moving overland towards Rundhal. They expect to be joined shortly by the Navarr Black Thorns, already on the move from distant Upwold, racing the Red Wind Corsairs and seeking to beat the Fire of the South to the rendezvous with the three armies of Wintermark despite their head start.
Yet the Three Peoples are in little mood to wait. As soon as confirmation that their allies are on the way reach them, the Green Shields start to break camp swiftly followed by the Blood Cloaks and the Fist of the Mountain, and their allies from the Summer realm. They begin the march north through Skymark, and along the eastern shores of the Rikkivesi, through Bruckland and ultimately into Sermersuaq.
Soldiers of the Fist of the Mountain, it is time to strike back at the Jotun. March for Semersuaq and strike at our foe. Go in fast, go in strong, and overwhelm their forces. You will be supported by the heralds of the summer realm. Fight hard and fight with honour, remember you are of the mark and we are heroes and this is our land.Aedric Dunning, General of the Fist of the Mountains
Ahead of them range heroic captains and scouts; almost immediately they encounter Jotun warbands probing the defences of the Kallavesa marshes. There are bloody clashes, but as soon as it becomes clear that the Winterfolk champions are the front-runners of an immense force the orc champions fall back across the border into Sermersuaq.
Three weeks after the Autumn Equinox, the Fire of the South catches up with the armies of Wintermark. They cross into Sealtoq together.
While the Jotun have been sending out warbands to raid northern Kallavesa and western Skarsind, the armies themselves have been consolidating their hold over the land they have conquered. Fortified camps have been raised along the southern and eastern borders; many located around beacon towers built long ago by the people of Wintermark. The alarm is raised almost immediately.
Children of the Mark, Warriors, Heroes, the hour of grief, the hour of patience is over. Now comes the hour of The Sword and Axe. We march for The North. The Bloodcloak is no meek army, no gentle hand. We will not go softly into the North, We seek nothing less than an overwhelming assault. Take back the homeland of our people in heroic conquest. Fight as the heroes I know you to be. For Blood! For Virtue! For the Mark!Lofyn Blood-cloak, General of the Bloodcloaks
Four Imperial armies are matched by four Jotun armies waiting in Sealtoq. Yrsa Jansdottir, the Queen of Kalsea, has established a makeshift court in Atalaq, the spiritual heart of the Suaq people. The banners of the Lion of the North, the Howling Night, and the Skjalderborn flutter over the walls - broken during the fall of Atalaq but quickly rebuilt by thralls under the command of the occupation force. Somewhat farther north, in East Floes, the heavily armoured wariors of the Shield of the Mountain have positioned themselves along the eastern borders, near Wreck on the East Floes, perhaps eager to engage the Imperial Orcs. As soon as word reaches their commander, they begin to march south to engage the Imperial armies.
It takes only a short time for the Jotun queen to bring her forces into position, and as the orcs take up defensive formations across Sealtoq the beacons are lit, spreading news of the Imperial invasion across the territory. The Lion of the North is adept at working alongside other orc forces, and it seems that this season they have taken special care to keep a watch over the borders of Sermersuaq - perhaps anticipating the Imperial strategy. Or perhaps Yrsa Jansdottir had her jarls searching for something else across the cold plains.
It hardly matters. Nearly thirty-five thousand Imperial soldiers and their allies clash with a significantly smaller Jotun force along the outskirts of Sealtoq. The Wintermark strategy is as direct as it is offensive; engage the orcs directly and drive them out of Sealtoq. The orcs for their part fight cautiously, defensively but their hastily constructed fortifications are quickly overrun by the fury of the Wintermark advance. Blood is spilled on the tundra... but significantly less blood than might have been expected.
As in the previous season, the waters of Sermersuaq - the many lakes, and streams, and rivers - thrum with life. Spring magic infuses every drop with healing power, ensuring that any wound that is not fatal swiftly heals. As always with this potent curse - although its effects are seen as beneficial by the individual - it protects both orc and human, defender and aggressor, in equal measure.
Steady Conquest. Sealtoq, Eastflow, Stark.Aracelis, General of the Fire of the South
But despite its power, it cannot stop the Imperial fist driving the Jotun defenders back. Even the Shield of the Mountain, focused on making the empire pay for every inch of territory they gain, can do little more than slow the folk of Wintermark and their allies.
Navarr, the Black Thorns will join the war in Sermersuaq. We will move in a Steady Conquest through Sealtoq, to East Loes, and then Stark. This is a war in Wintermark Lands. We will respect their traditions. NO ATROCITIES. The time will come.Lleu Tarw, General of the Black Thorns
As news reaches the commanders of Wintermark of the approach of the Black Thorns, however, the Jotun also receive reinforcement. The swift-footed Navarr army, their cunning honed to supernatural acuity, arrive hours after another fifteen thousand Jotun arrive to support the Queen of Kalsea, including the Fist of Ulven who march under the command of King of the South. The southern armies roar out the war songs of their people as they come, eager for the opportunity to again face Imperial warriors in battle. The Imperial advance toward Atalaq slows, although it does not reverse.
Next to arrive are the Red Wind Corsairs, supported by their own warband of Summer warriors - this time in scarlet tagelmust with bloodgold bhuj and vicious blood-red hunting cats. While the orcs seek to contain the Imperial forces in Sealtoq, with the aid of the Black Thorns and the Fire of the South, the Corsairs break through the enemy defences and push through into northern Sermersuaq. Their aim is simple enough - raid the Jotun defences, take as many prisoners as they can, and if possible reach the Pride of Ikka's Tears and unburden the Jotun of their stolen mithril.
Corsairs! Comrades! We make for Sermersuaq. We will advance into Sealtoq, East Floe and Stark. I need Jackals searching for their captains. This war will be a long one and we will need their mithril and white granite to win it. We do this for our friends from Wintermark, it is time to turn the tide!Vrael i Sol-Devorador i Erigo, General of the Red Wind Corsairs
Finally, the Winter Sun, the Bounders, and the Tusks join the invasion. The former two armies, like the Black Thorns, have been granted supernatural clarity, and join forces swiftly with the Navarr to survey the battlefield and devise a responsive, effective strategy for overwhelming the Jotun. Where the armies of Wintermark seek out the Jotun at every opportunity, seeking to overwhelm them entirely; where the Corsairs raid deep into enemy territory; the rest of the Imperial force has chosen a more conservative strategy, looking to minimize casualties - something made easier by the Spring magic that sparkles in the waters of Sermersuaq.
We are so close to Skarsind my legionaires, one day we shall go home but it's time to gather your blades. We charge to meet the Jotun scum. But they will not see us coming. Use the terrain, attack from the shadows, show them no marcy. We shall make a beach head by any means in our steady conquest of Sealtoq.Morgor, General of the Winter Sun
Not so the Tusks. The disciplined soldiers of the fourth Marcher army join with their northern neighbours in seeking out every opportunity to overwhelm the Jotun. With them fight fifteen hundred hulking ogre-like beasts in lions-head tabards bearing great iron-shod hammers, each one more than a match for any two orc warriors. For all their size and rough features they are no wild beasts - rather they are courageous warriors lead by a gigantic knight commander nearly three times the height of the stoutest soldier among the Tusks. On the long trek from Astolat they have learned a number of marching songs, and join their booming voices to those of their smaller allies as the battle rages.
Marcher folk, the time has come to give the Jotun a taste of Marcher Steel once more. We advance with our kith and kin in the Tusks. While they are infused with Summer magic, we shall maintain our composure. We will secure the flanks of both the Black Thorns and Tusks as we push our foe ever back. Bounders WE GO TO WAR!Ciaphas Dekar, General of the Bounders
Now is our time Tusks. We march to the cold north again to finally reap the harvest sewn in blood two seasons ago. We march with succour and support from the Summer Realm. We will overwhelming assault the Jotun Invader and scour them from our land. Havoc! Havoc! Smytefast and give good knocks!!Marius Woodville-Talbot, General of the Tusks
Yet for each Imperial army that fights in Sermersuaq, it seems the Jotun have an army of their own - perhaps more. Back and forth the battle-lines, ebbing and flowing like waves beating against the shore. At one point it seems the Jotun will manage to hold the Imperial advance, but over the course of three days of almost continuous fighting, the orcs are forced to withdraw. Step by agonising step they are forced to retreat north and west, toward Atalaq.
The Storm Breaks
The fighting is brutal, fierce, bloody. In spite of healing magic, three thousand Imperial soldiers fall and do not rise again, or are left unable to continue to fight. In contast, the defensive strategy of the Jotun means they have lost perhaps two thousand warriors - but in the process they have lost almost all of Atalaq.
With the Winterfolk leading the way the fighting is at least less savage than it might have been. Quarter is given. As night falls, the dead and the dying are removed from the field of battle rather than being left to rot in the sun. Even the Navarr of the Black Thorns fight with something recognisable as honour. This respect to the enemy is noted, and reciprocated.
Three significant factors have made all the difference here. Without the bold strategies and honourable tactics of the Wintermark generals (and the fury of the Tusks); without the support of the Winterfolk heroes; without the aid of the Summer knights and the clear sight granted by Day magic, the Empire would not have been victorious. Without any one of those three critical factors, the Empire would have made significantly fewer gains here.
But with the Winter Solstice rapidly approaching, the Jotun defenders of Sermersuaq have been driven back to the walls of Atalaq itself. Perhaps as much as nine-tenths of Sealtoq is under Imperial control. An almost negligible fraction of the great swathes of land that stretch out towards the wasteland of Tsirku; but it is a start, at least.
Echoes of Thunder
There are three other factors that might influence the campaign in Sermersuaq. The scouts of the Red Wind Corsairs are no match for the unconquered of the Seventh Wave when it comes to learning the plans of their enemies, but their daring strategy of capturing the enemy rather than simply killing them does provide some additional intelligence of interest to the commanders of the Imperial armies.
Last season, after the Empire abandoned Sermersuaq, the dead rose to attack the living. The Jotun, and many of the Suaq left behind, believe the Empire withdrew specifically so that they could unleash unholy curses on the territory - and on their own people. It is not so much that this has further soured the orcs opinion of the Empire, as that it has left several halls in Sermersuaq questioning whether they still wish to be part of the Empire at all.
Perhaps this goes some way to explain how, among the scouts of the Queen of Kalsea, there are a handful of Suaq who have taken the Choice, and chosen to be Jotun. It is easy to paint them as traitors to their people, their nation, their Empire. When one is captured alive, however, in the hours before her execution, she speaks in stoically about her decision, about the decision of her comrades. She has lost faith in the Empire, and she is not the only one. She would rather be Jotun than continue to live among people who use withering curses against the weak and defenceless, then try to justify their actions with sophistry, who would place expediency about the heroic ideals of the people of Wintermark. She is tried, and executed, and goes to her death without flinching. She does not fear the Labyrinth, nor the judgement of her ancestors.
These turncoats are not plentiful - surely no more than a few score or so across the entire territory - but they perhaps provide a warning of the real threat the Jotun pose. Given three decades - thirty years ruling Sermersuaq such as they had in the Mournwold - who can say how many young Winterfolk might grow up feeling they have more in common with their orc conquerors than their cousins to the south?
But the use of dark and indiscriminate magic - something the Jotun have perhaps come to expect from the Empire - is as nothing next to the fury the Queen of Kalsea and her Jarls feel about an unforgivable crime that has been committed by Imperial agents. To the west of Sermersuaq, outside the borders of the territories, there once stood a low stone worn by the elements. It stood by itself in a wooded glade, weather-beaten and relatively unremarkable. It represented a place of truce where the northern Jotun and the Winterfolk could meet without fear of violence - neutral ground, claimed by neither human nor orc as part of their nation.
During the Autumn Equinox, cowardly assassins struck at the stone, destroying it and slaughtered the orcs camped nearby. This, more than any disrespect shown to the heroic dead, has left Yrsa Jansdottir in the grip of cold fury. Now, when King of Narkyst speaks to her of the treacherous spirit of Imperial humans, she does not contradict him. The greatest symbol of the possibility of understanding between Jotun and Wintermark is no more, and there is no doubt in the mind of any of the western orcs who is to blame.
Game Information - Sermersuaq
The Empire has conquered most of Sealtoq, but the Jotun still control the settlement of Atalaq.
Participation - Sermersuaq
The experience of fighting in close proximity with the Knights of Glory can be particularly inspirational, especially if one already has a trace of Summer magic in their blood. Any character whose military unit supported one of the four armies that engaged in an overwhelming assault or triumphant charge alongside the heralds - that is the Bloodcloaks, the Fist of the Mountains, the Green Shields, or the Tusks - 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 these armies, the roleplaying effect is much more pronounced. In you are a changeling and also 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 four 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.
Stirring Dull Roots With Spring Rain
Darkness and Light
A grim miasma of fear still hangs over Ossium. It is weakened in the vicinity of the Golden Causeway, but elsewhere in the territory it erodes the mortal spirit. The presence of the Knights of Glory helps a little, but it is a constant numbing assault on the will-to-fight of the Imperial troops here. The land itself seems to contribute to the sense of hopelessness - the muddy fields, the twisted overgrown forests, the beaten-down faces of the Druj serfs all serve as a constant reminder that this is the world as the Druj see it. Hopeless, fearful, treacherous, when death might come at any moment without warning. Some are able to overcome the uncertainty it causes with the aid of liao, others through the blood of Summer, but primarily its effects are fought with constant Vigilance. Comrades watch one another for signs that despair is taking hold, ensuring that those whose defences are crumbling receive the aid they need to help them fight off the spiritual rot that presses down on the Druj territory.
We have extinguished the fear the Druj once had over this Empire. We will break the Druj fort under the weight of our armies. The Eastern Sky will raise our banners in Victory as we march with Knights of Glory to crush our enemies. We will honour our agreement with the Thule and make sure not to engage their forces and avoid Bonewood.Vincent Vexille, General of the Eastern Sky
Into this sea of darkness and dread march the armies of Dawn. Between them, the Eastern Sky, Golden Sun, Gryphon's Pride, and Hounds of Glory number some eighteen thousand Dawnish nobles and yeofolk. For all the mud, for all the omnipresent threat of ambush, sickness, and death, their banners remain bright - gold and azure, crimson and emerald, sable and argent. Their armour may have a few more dents, but it still shines under the mud. Their horns still greet the dawn and the dusk, heralding the new day and offering comfort as the night creeps in.
At their side, twelve thousand knights from the tourney fields of Eleonaris. Ossium, the mud, the Druj, the darkness, the threat - all of these seem irrelevant to the heralds of the Summer realm. Their spirits seem unquenchable - infectiously so. They seem almost unaware of the constant thrumming undercurrents of fear, seem deaf to the brittle voices that whisper "you cannot succeed; you are weak; you are worthless". Crimson and gold, the bottom hems of their surcotes may be just as mud-spattered as those of their mortal allies but their thirst for victory remains undiminished. In a way, their presence helps those who might otherwise succumb to the horrors of Ossium - their rock hard certainty that they cannot help but accrue glory simply by taking the fight to the Druj. At night, their encampments are well-lit and welcoming, and it seems the knights of the Summer Realm are never short of good cheer and echoing laughter.
Last Season was very much a good start. Now we march in greater number, heralds of Summer and allies from the North now come. We aim first for the Echo Fell to bring down the symbol of Druj oppression then drive before us any armies the Druj try to push back to save their treacherous skins. Death to the Druj!Tancred, General of the Hounds of Glory
Perhaps more than anyone else in the northern Empire, the five thousand Varushkan soldiers with the Golden Axe are familiar with fear. Some joke that Ossium is a home-away-from home; the Druj ambushers no different to the threat of being eaten by a Wolf, or a seemingly innocuous mora robed in another's skin. Some of them eye the eastern forests with a glint in their eye - ancient hardwoods that seem never to have known thee bite of an axe are a treasure all-too-easily overlooked by their allies, focused as they are on conquest and glory. Where the Dawnish and their supernatural friends face the miasma with stout hearts and shows of bravado, the Golden Axe turns to strong drink, black humour, and stories about how much worse Varushka is than Ossium.
That said, the Golden Axe are not without their own magical allies. They arrive three days after the Autumn Equinox - Summer soldiers in heavy armour attired as shlacta with great axes. Rather than being dour, they are ebullient and effusive in character, establishing a quick camaraderie with their new Varushkan allies. They bring with them barrels of mead brewed in the Summer realm which they share freely, and a mouthful of this fine liquor helps to steady the nerves of those most afflicted with the miasma. Alongside them travel several warbands of slight humanoids with the heads of eagles. They carry bows, and wear light leather armour and hooded jerkins. Their manner is much quieter - messengers and scouts from the armies of the Lady of the Fields of Red and Gold. Their keen sight and stout hearts complement the cynicism and woodcraft of many in the Golden Axe.
Shortly after the Autumn Equinox, a magical messenger from the north confirms that the Thule - allied now with the Military Council - are ready to move. The orders are given, the banners raised, the horns blown. In some ways, the northern orcs are likely to face more significant obstacles than the Imperials - the Dawnish and Varushan armies established a foothold in Ossium before the Autumn Equinox that allows them to more readily supply their troops.
They are not the only force entering Ossium from the west - the three families of Moresvah have secured the aid of a dozen bands of wagon raiders to bring valuable mining supplies to Lormaa, hungry to begin extracting precious ores from the mithril mine beneath the town. With the enthusiastic aid of the Ketsov humans, the Varushkan representatives bargain with the former Druj mine-slaves, eager to secure a workforce used to labouring in poor conditions in return for Imperial coinage.
As the Thule cross the border from Karsk, from Krevsaty into the northern Bonewood, all five Imperial armies march directly east out of the Galath Fields, and into the woods of Echofell. The Hounds of Glory are off the leash. They lead the way - their hunger for battle with the Druj, for the glory that waits in the shadow of the eastern woods can barely be contained as they quickly pull ahead of the other four armies. The Eastern Sky and the Gryphons Pride - a little more restrained but not by much. The two Golden armies, Axe and Sun, bring up the rear constantly alert for Druj ambushers.
The conquest of the first new Imperial territory since the reign of Emperor Barabbas begins in earnest.
As the armies begin to march, though, it becomes clear that the Druj - caught by surprise by the attack across the Golden Causeway - have begun to take steps to slow the Imperial invasion. There were already reports that the forests along the edges of the Galath Fields and the Bittershore were being infused with malign sorceries - roused to hateful, deadly awareness by the magicians of the Druj - although not the Echofell itself, interestingly.
In the aftermath of the Autumn Equinox there are other signs of powerful magics at work in Ossium. The weather begins to worsen - black clouds spill across the sky and torrential rain begins. Within six hours of the rain beginning, the rivers of Ossium are swollen to the extent of breaking their banks. Tents are washed away. The makeshift roads, barely maintained by the orcs of the Mallum, become little more than muddy runnels. Movement slows to a crawl; every mile of advance is a test of human endurance made even worse by the omnipresent atmosphere of despair. Soldiers begin to catch colds - some quite serious. Fires become difficult to light, and hot food a luxury. Everything becomes waterlogged. Yet even this is not enough to entirely dampen the Dawnish spirit, the enthusiasm for the battles to come; and the grim Varushkans of the Golden Axe simply become even more given to mordant, black humour and drink.
The rain slows the armies of the Empire, but it does not stop them. What it does do, however, is buy the defenders of Ossium some time. Time for reinforcements to arrive from elsewhere in the Mallum.
The forest environment makes it difficult to determine precisely how many defenders are in the Echofell. The first troops the massed forces of the Empire encounter bear familiar symbols - marks and tattoos of amber scorpions and twisted leering orc faces. They have the advantage of the terrain - they know the woods well. They attack from ambush, inflict as much injury as they can, and then retreat. Wounds fester quickly in the sodden woods of the Echofell, even without the aid of the poisons that the Druj guerillas take so much delight in. It is near impossible to keep dressings dry. Sickness becomes a constant threat - even without the presence of more malignant Spring magic such as the eastern orcs are wont to use.
The Empire knows there is a Druj fortress in the Echofell, but locating it proves to be a challenge. The Druj know the woods and are at great pains not to leave a trail for Imperial scouts to follow back to their nest. The Empire is forced to scour the woods, and they are deep and dark and dangerous. Trees that have never known the touch of an axe loom overhead, while twisted roots would make footing precarious even without the omnipresent rain.
The Golden Axe are the first to discover one of the Druj secrets. A chance encounter that leaves a dozen dead Varushkans and half that number of dead orcs uncovers a series of camouflaged rope bridges hung between the trees, concealed by leaves and branches. Investigation indicates that the bridges are only a tiny part of a vast network of similar structures that seem to spread across most of the Echofell. Useless for an army, they allow the Amber Scorpion garrison to move quickly and stealthily wherever they wish, launching their attack and then fading into the darkness again.
Here and there through the Echofell there are orc settlements. While a number resemble the tragic clusters of hovels the Imperial conquerors have encountered in Bittershore and Galath Fields, the further east they push the fewer of these ramshackle villages are encountered. Rather, they begin to come across walled and camouflaged settlements protected by spike-filled ditches and devious, crippling traps. There are significantly fewer humans here than were encountered in Bittershore and Galath Fields, and none have a status anywhere close to that of the Ketsov.
The orcs who populate the villages here wear their Amber Scorpion marks with something approaching pride. They are quick to take up arms when they encounter Imperial troops, and quick to withdraw when it is clear they are outnumbered. Some surrender - and while a few settlements remain docile others simply bide their time until the armies of the Empire have pushed on and turn on any garrison left behind to secure their village. After the third time this happens, soldiers of the Golden Axe in particular begin to question the wisdom of accepting any surrender from the Druj. Safer to simply kill everyone, than to leave a treacherous enemy behind. Their fellows in the Golden Sun - who likewise are responsible for consolidating territorial gains made by the Imperial advance initially resist any such suggestions but as the campaign draws on such expedient atrocity perhaps becomes more appealing...
Soldiers of the Pride, this season sees us march with the hosts of the Summer realm and with the Thule, who have pledged to fight with us until the Druj are no more! They will take the Bonewood, so we will avoid this region. We attack the Fortress in Echo Fell as a priority and we will take or destroy it before taking the remaining regions. For Glory! For Dawn! For the Empire!Garravaine De Rondell, General of the Gryphon's Pride
There is also surprising wealth amidst the trees of the Echofell. Every Druj settlement it seems tends to a stretch of woodlands rich in ambergelt and beggarwood, with less common but equally rich desposits of dragonbone encountered here or there. Almost every settlement maintains a fertile herb garden, burgeoning with exotic plants of a mundane nature as well as magical herbs of almost every variety (only Cerulean Mazzarine seems in short supply, favouring as it does a warmer, drier environment in which to grow). While there is little in the way of mineral wealth, the orcs here are experts at working with wood, and rope, and leather, and bone.
The Tower of the Scorpion
Within a month, with half the Echofell fallen to the Empire the leading edge of the Eastern Sky finally locate the stronghold of the Amber Scorpion clan. A great tower of white granite, surrounded by a wall topped with twisted metal razors, stands in a great open churned-mud killing field littered with shallow pools - now significantly deeper from a month of rain. A web of rope bridges extends from wooden towers under the shadow of the walls.
There is no likelihood of surprise attack. The Golden Axe and the Golden Sun swiftly begin to construct siege ladders from the plentiful wood, while the Eastern Sky and the Gryphon's Pride prepare to attack the two ironbound gates to the north and south of the great tower. Three days later they are ready to move. Shield raised to protect from arrows, the siege begins.
The killing ground between the edge of the forest and the Tower of the Scorpion lives up to its name. Withering hails of arrowfire from the orc defenders are only the start. It soon becomes clear that the muddy ground is crisscrossed with hidden ditches and tunnels, lined with spikes. Under the torrential rain, many have become flooded death traps - those who avoid being impaled on spikes risk drowning under the weight of their armour. Climbing out of the pits alone proves almost impossible, but freeing trapped comrades before they die exposes allies to attack from the orcs.
One advantage the torrential rains have offered however is that it has prevented the Druj lying in ambush - some of the subterranean consturctions are clearly boltholes intended to allow numbers of defenders to attack from hiding. There are even some signs closer to the walls that suggest the existence of tunnels under the ground - tunnels that have collapsed due to the water rushing through them.
The orc defenders are desperate, but they are outnumbered ten to one. Despite their efforts, the first siege ladders are secured, the first Imperials crest the walls. A battering ram is brought to bear on each of the gates... and with the Imperial focussed entirely on taking the fortification, the rest of the Druj attack from the woods.
Ten thousand or more Druj soldiers, many bearing scorpion motif banners, or with stylised scorpion claws painted on their armour, attack the Imperial flanks. They strive to be the hammer, crushing as many of their enemy as possible against the stone anvil of the Tower of the Scorpion. They strike quickly, withdraw, and strike again. The mud works against them, however, just as it works against the Empire. Their armour is generally lighter, and they are clearly more familiar with operating in the quagmire that the killing field has become, but it slows them down. The Imperial commanders are forced to split their attention between taking the fortification and fighting off the Druj ambushers.
The Hounds of Glory rally first - horns blaring they regroup and turn their attention on the newcomers. "DEATH TO THE DRUJ!" - the cry goes up from a thousand throats at once. At the same time the Eastern Sky, finally seeing the opportunity to engage the hated Mallum orcs on something approaching an even footing, raise their banners and charge back across the killing field towards the woods. Turning their backs entirely on the fortress, trusting to the other armies to protect their rears, they move to engage the orc armies and leave their allies to take the castle.
With the time bought by the Hounds and the Sky, the Gryphons Pride and Golden Axe are able to make short work of the gates; the Golden Sun siege ladders have allowed them to capture the western ramparts, giving them the sudden advantage of the high ground. As the Dawnish and Varushkan forces break across the courtyard, the Golden Sun manage to capture two of the collapsible bridges that allow access to the tower proper. Following vicious close-quarters fighting in which many brave soldiers fall to poisoned Druj daggers, they take control of one of the mechanisms that open the iron gates into the Tower of the Scorpion, and allow the other two armies access to the keep itself.
As soon as it is clear the tower has fallen, the Druj forces outside the castle break and flee. They have little interest in fighting a losing battle it seems, and withdraw quickly. Over the next several days a running battle ranges across the Echofell as the Imperial forces harry, and are in turn harried by, the Druj defenders. With the Tower of the Scorpion in Imperial hands, the conquest of the Echofell proceeds more swiftly. At the same time, however, it becomes clear that there is a significant force of Druj now in the forests of Ossium. They strike without warning, as is the Druj way, and it is almost impossible to predict where the next attack will come from.
Between Echofell and the Bonewood stretches an area of forest the local orcs refer to as the Webwood. It is here that the Imperial forces turn next. The Druj continue their ambushes as the Imperials press north, and as they continue to consolidate their hold on the Echofell. News is that the Thule have encountered resistance of their own in their conquest of the Bonewood, and it becomes clear that the Druj are being forced to split their attention between the two forces, unable to focus on one side of the alliance or the other.
Golden Axes, I am to ask you once more to get the job done, we have shown the Druj our strength, we have taken their land, now we must Drive them under our grinding advance. We show the Empire, our allies and the while empire, that they are not alone. Into echofell and take their fort and follow the Dawnish line, and avoid the bone wood. Let's get this done!Belakov Zakharovich Prochnost, General of the Golden Axe
It is easy to see how the forest gets its name - the ancient trees are draped in moss and shrouded in vines - yet it is not solely the vegetation that is responsible for its dark reputation. The trees are home to several particularly unpleasant breeds of large venomous spiders, some as large as a small dog. They seem to have little actual fear of human or orc, and in fact seem to be drawn to warm, dry places - such as the insides of tents.
Yet these spiders are a purely natural problem - the Webwood is home to something else. In addition to the orcs of the Mallum, the Empire begins to face attacks from creatures that appear to be nothing so much as a hybrid of orc and predatory arachnid. At first the creatures strike fear into the hearts of the Imperial soldiers, but eventually a priest with the Eastern Sky is able to identify them as heralds - almost certainly servants of the Spider-King Arhallogen. Regardless of what they are, they prove to be tenacious opponents - their every strike delivers agonising venom. Some possess the ability to paralyse with a touch, while a very few - the largest and most twisted variety - are able to spew great gouts of venom that burns their foes or leaves them weakened and barely able to fight. They do not attack in numbers, but fight alongside the Druj who seek to slow Imperial progress through the woods.
Interrogation of local orcs reveals that somewhere in the depths of the Webwood is a hidden temple, a monster-haunted shrine that has stood since before the first Druj came to Ossium. It is from this nest, sacred to the Scorpion Lord, that the heralds come. A circle of Druj magicians and tepel make offerings there, securing the aid of the sinister eternal. Few will speak of it above a whisper, and its location is not known to the common orcs of Ossium.
The spider-beasts and the orcs are not the only threat. The forest itself seems possessed of a malignant awareness, and a desire to harm the Imperial invaders. Trees, bushes, and vines weave together into defensive structures, easily exploited by the orcs yet providing no shelter to Imperial soldiers. Great thickets of thorn and briar twist between the trees, and in several places masses of branches and roots mesh together to create massive, thick walls of living vegetation. The forest actively aids the Druj and their allies, hindering the invaders yet parting to allow the swift passage of the orcs.
We have struck a blow against the vile Druj, their farms are flooded and their grain stores ruined. We have their attention, the trap is laid, now we spring it. Grind across Ossium, take their homeland and draw their fangs. Vigilence will be required to tell Druj doe from Thule Ally. They kill the Druj as we do, the Bonewood will be their base and no concern of ours.Zoran De Orzel, General of the Golden Sun
Druj forests are always dangerous proposition, but the magic conspires to exacerbate the natural threats. In places the air becomes thick with poisonous spores, drifting clouds that cause terrifying visions or threaten to strangle those exposed to them. Open wounds caused by briars or thorns quickly become infected, potentially leading to fever and even death. Insects become larger and more hostile, and any wasp or bee-sting is likely to result in painful swelling rather than a mere nuisance. While vegetation does not move when anyone is looking, trails and clearings often seem to vanish overnight. Several bands of scouts are simply swallowed up in the wilderness, their disappearance marked only by a few bloodstains, a few scraps of cloth or a solitary boot half-sunk in some stinking quagmire. Witches agree with volhov that the Druj have raised an enchantment similar to Forge the Wooden Fastness over the Webwood - but like all their magic it is particularly malignant in character compared to the rituals of Imperial lore.
There are fewer settlements here than in Echofell, but they tend to be larger. Reasonably well fortified - pallisades and walls of spikes - it is not uncommon to encounter great walls surrounding acres of land with more than one smaller village. Most of these settlements are proudly marked as the property of the Amber Scorpion - but not all. Most fight viciously against the Imperial advance but some are inclined to negotiate. The pounding, relentless rain is slowly taking its toll on the orcs of Ossium it seems . Food supplies are beginning to run a little low and it seems a hungry Druj easily yields to the temptation to look after their own family first - Loyalty is in short supply in the forests of Ossium.
On a Winter Evening
Yet despite the obstacles, the Empire slowly dominates the Webwood as it has dominated Bittershore, Galath Fields, and the Echofell. As the Winter Solstice draws closer, the frequency of encounters with orc warbands begins to slacken off. The Druj, it seems, are withdrawing south out of Webwood, and out of the Bonewood. There is renewed violence in the Echo Fell, as Druj warriors rally and attempt one last assault, but with the Empire now controlling the only fortification that counter-attack is short lived.
After three months of horror, it becomes clear that the Druj have largely retreated into the southern forests to regroup. The rain begins to slacken. The commanders of the Imperial armies receive word from the north that the Thule have completed the pacification of the Bonewood, and are declaring complete dominance of the woods. The tone of the message is congratulatory - the Thule commanders are well pleased not only with their own success but with the victories of their Imperial allies.
There have been significant losses on both sides. The Empire has lost around a thousand soldiers - the exact numbers are still being calculated. Many of those lost warriors fell under Druj blades, but perhaps two hundred or more are simply unaccounted for. Sentries who disappeared in the night, scouts and bands of knights who simply never returned from the woods. It is impossible to know how many the Thule have lost - they are closed lipped on the matter - but rumours circulating among the Varushkans is that they brought thirty thousand orcs into Ossium out of Karsk and there are whispered reports that they have lost at least as many as the Empire.
Some of those rumours come from human slaves; three weeks before the Solstice, a Thule warband marches south from Krevsaty and unceremoniously delivers nearly a hundred-and-fifty terrified humans into the hands of the surprised people of Iversgard. These, apparently, represent Imperials enslaved by the Druj over the last thirty years, forced to labour in the weirwood forest of Bonewood. The Thule offer no further explanation and return to their holdings in the north.
As to the Druj ... it is hard to say for certain but it certainly appears that the former orc rulers of Ossium have been slaughtered. Their Tower of the Scorpion has been taken, and while an exact tally of their losses will probably never be made, there are thousands of orc corpses littering the western forests of Ossium.
And so a fortnight before the Winter Solstice, the conquest of Webwood and Echofell is complete. Along with the Galath Fields and the Bittershore, the Empire now controls four regions of Ossium. The Thule control the Bonewood, and the Druj still cling to their fingerhold in the southern forests... but there is no doubt that the Empire now controls the majority of the territory.
Ossium becomes the first new territory to be added to the Empire in two hundred years.
Game Information - Ossium
The Empire has conquered four regions of Ossium - Bittershore, Galath Fields, Echo Fell, and the Webwood. They now control the majority of the territory. As a consequence, the Imperial Senate may assign Ossium to an Imperial nation during the Winter Solstice. The magnitude of this achievement cannot be understated - this is the first new territory added to the Empire since the conquest of Segura in 183YE.
The civil service are currently preparing a report on the territory which will be delivered shortly before the Winter Solstice (as part of the Winds of Fortune). Right now, the Empire does not even have a map of the area it now controls much less the rest of the territory. It is believed that representatives of the Ketsov humans, and several of the conquered orc settlements, are being escorted to Anvil to meet with Imperial negotiators; again more information will be available closer to the time.
The Empire has also captured the Tower of the Scorpion. It has been significantly damaged, but is still intact enough to function as a fortification under Imperial control. Imperial forces have been unable to locate the rumoured Temple of Arhallogen in the Webwood however - although in the absence of a Druj army to support it seems the threat posed by the heralds there is much diminished.
At the same time, the Thule have conquered the region of Bonewood in the north, although this does not immediately impact Imperial control of the territory. They are believed to have a significant military force in that area. While it is not easy to see the impact the Thule forces had on the battle, along with the support of the Knight of Glory, these two allied groups helped secure the Imperial victory. In their absence, the Empire would not only not have claimed the territory but the campaign would have ended in defeat and they would have failed to claim any territory at all. The influence of the Druj miasma continues to present a significant challenge toward claiming territory in Ossium.
Ossium has been conquered, but two regions are still in Druj hands and the regions the Empire has captured remain dangerous. The orcs of the Mallum are bitter, cruel, and experts at stealth and infiltration. Any Imperial settler looking to make a home in Ossium will surely have to bear these facts in mind.
Participation - Ossium
As in Sermersuaq above, the experience of fighting in close proximity with the Knights of Glory can be particularly inspirational, especially if one already has a trace of Summer magic in their blood. The general of any of the five armies here - the Hounds, the Sun, the Pride, the Sky or the Axe - 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 any of those generals possess the changeling lineage, they will find that the roleplaying effect is much more pronounced. A changeling general who also has the hero skill will discover they 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.
Finally, if the general of one of the five armies does not possess any lineage at all - that is they are a vanilla human - they may choose to email us and begin manifesting the changeling lineage, gaining the same benefits outlined above as well. This will be a permanent change however - if the general later wishes to remove that lineage they will need to do so through the normal (difficult) channels.
Please bear in mind that these opportunities are only available to these specific characters. You are free to roleplay you were present, as always, but you do not qualify for the additional hero poin, the ability to increase your changeling lineage trappings, not the ability to develop changeling lineage.
Held Up By Standards (Major Conjunctions)
Diligent reporting by the Imperial war scouts and ritual divinations by the prognosticators have yielded insights into four major conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate at the forthcoming Winter Solstice. The Military Council will be able to take advantage of two of these opportunities.
The first conjunction will allow passage to the Splinterthorn Woods in Near Weald, Ossium. This tangled expanse of forest lies at the heart of the Near Weald; and, according to reports gathered by the Civil Service, could prove to be of vital significance in the continued conquest of the territory. The heroes of Anvil will be able to travel to this location on the Saturday or Sunday of the solstice.
The second conjunction opens to the fields of Arbiter's Green in Caeli, Morrow. Nestled among the towering peaks the farms, orchards and stores in the surrounding area have contributed vital supplies to the Citadel Guard over the centuries. A military force can access this conjunction on the Saturday or Sunday of the solstice.
The third conjunction enables passage to the Sobral Stand forest that lies on the Sobral Grasses, Segura. These remote woodland have recently been occupied by a force of Lasmbrian Jotun warriors and raiders. It will be possible to travel via this conjunction on the Saturday or Sunday of the solstice.
The fourth conjunction opens to Atalaq Tasanko in Sealtoq, Sermersuaq. This open expanse of hardy grasses lies before the great gates of the Suaq's capital, currently held by the Jotun Queen of the North, Yrsa Jansdottir. This conjunction will only allow travel on the Sunday of the solstice.
|Atalaq Tasanko, Sealtoq, Sermersuaq||21:00 Saturday||40 people||50 minutes|
In addition to the above major conjunction, another portal to Atalaq Tasanko has also been detected on the Saturday evening. Prognosticators have advised that such an occurrence - where additional opportunities exist for the same location as a major conjunction - has not happened in several decades. At this time, further details relating to this minor conjunction, and how it relates to the main battle opportunity, are still to being ascertained. Even if the opportunity to engage the Jotun in Sermersuaq is not taken the civil service believe the portal on the Saturday will still be traversable.
By the time of the Winter Solstice summit, the Civil Service will have completed reports for each of these conjunctions, which will be presented to 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.
At this event, the best estimate of the fighting strength of each nation provided by the civil service is as follows. of their options, which nations could take the battlefield together. Each of the two battles must have at least 70 and at most 74 force weight sent on it.
The folk from The Orcs Planet recorded audio versions of these winds of war which are available to watch on YouTube: The Turning Tide,Dry Grass Singing, The Rattle of the Bones, and Pool Among the Rock, My Heart Under My Feet, and Stirring Dull Roots With Spring Rain.
We've also got versions of the same text recorded by Anna Reid: The Turning Tide (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV), Dry Grass Singing, Pool among the Rock, and Stirring Dull Roots With Spring Rain.