Good Things Come.jpg
They all seem to know exactly what it is they want

Empty

It is a confusing time in the Brass Coast, with both Jotun and Grendel seeking to carve it into pieces like a festival-day roast. The Quiet Step and the Strong Reeds are gone from Segura, but not from the Brass Coast. They have marched east into Feroz to protect the rich lowlands from the rampaging Grendel. The people of the westernmost Freeborn territory have not been abandoned however; in their place two Highborn armies have arrived. The Granite Pillar and the Seventh Wave protect the people of Segura from the Lasambrian Jotun, fighting the orcs across the great empty plains and grasslands that make up the bulk of the south-western corner of the Empire.

It is perhaps unsurprising that there is confusion; that the Granite Pillar seem to think they are fighting the Grendel. It is a chaotic time to be in the Brass Coast. They quickly realise their mistake, and adjust their tactics. Yet at the same time it begs the question... how long will it be before the Grendel are in Segura? If their invasion of Feroz continues at its current rate... that is a concern for the future.

For too long have the freeborn stood alone against the vile Grendel raiders. The Granite Pillar will move to Segura and stand as an immovable wall against the Grendel menace. Pursue a strategic defence of Segura and make the Grendel pay horribly for any advances made. Ambition Inspires!.

Mathayus, General of the Granite Pillar

Segura is essentially a vast grassland studded with farms and villages, and the Lasambrian Jotun - the grim-faced Hierro, the rapacious Corazón, the inscrutable Escuta - are adept at using the wide open spaces to their advantage. They strike from unexpected directions, withdrawing swiftly, leading the defenders a merry dance. Fortunately, the Highborn have come prepared - both armies bear insightful Day magic enchantments that allow them to predict the movements of the orcs, and coordinate their reactions even over the great rolling plains of Segura. The Granite Pillar in particular, adept as they are at countering the aggressive strategies employed by so many orc nations, serve as a strong foundation on which the Seventh Wave build a wall of steel and Virtue. The Pillar is supported by a dozen independent captains, primarily from Highguard.

On the other side, the orcs beneath the banner of the Firebird continue to press their claim to Segura. While the Escuta advance cautiously, the Hierro seek to avoid direct engagements with Imperial forces, ceasing their advance and taking up defensive positions as soon as they are engaged.

The Corazón continue their raids deep into Imperial territory, robbing, looting, and driving people from their farms and villages. They are supported by several thousand knights from the Summer Realm - crimson haired warriors in golden scale who fight beneath fluttering pennants showing the roaring lion of Eleonaris. They seem a little out-of-place on the Corazón raids, seemingly more interested in engaging the armed defenders of the Brass Coast than in robbing the Freeborn farmers and merchants.

Yet, as before, their larcenous tactics are stymied by the most subtle of enchantments - a cunning Autumnal spell that weaves serendipity and coincidence to protect the people of Segura. Orc invaders find themselves turned around on the open plains, their sense of direction subtly manipulated to cause them to miss isolated farmsteads and instead wander into Highborn defensive positions. Freeborn fleeing the Lasambrian Jotun make surprisingly good time, or coincidentally meet up with soldiers heading in the same direction who can offer them protection. The orcs find it almost impossible to actually locate anything worth stealing and the impact of their raids is dramatically reduced. They still achieve some bold successes but in the end the Freeborn people are able to protect their Prosperity - all while being largely unaware of the magical assistance they are receiving in doing so.

The Enemy kindly invites our attentions in Segura and we will gladly oblige with a wall of steel in aid of our Freeborn comrades. We shall return to the east to finish the job - but for now we look west and hold in a balanced defence.

Cuth, General of the Seventh Wave

There are no pitched battles between orc and Highborn forces, merely a cascading sequence of skirmishes and minor engagements. The closest either side comes is when a major force of Escuta lead by a pale-skinned orc shaman meet a contingent of the Granite Pillar on the Iron Plains. The Highborn are there to help a column of frightened refugees reach the safety of Anozel. The Iron Plains were the site of a bloody slaughter during the Lasambrian retreat from Segura several years ago, in which orc and Imperial forces clashed again and again as the invaders were slowly driven west. It is said the fields here became so sodden with blood that the harvest that year was tinged with crimson. There are known to be many mystics and seers among the Escuta; perhaps they are looking for something? Whatever they are here for it is clear they have little interest in the refugees, withdrawing whenever the Highborn seek to engage them. There are a few minor clashes, but for the most part the Escuta keep their distance.

Again, the Lasambrian Jotun outnumber the Imperial defenders but again the defenders win the day. It is close - perhaps too close - but in the end the two sides are evenly matched. The difference between victory and failure is so narrow that if the Imperials had lacked even one advantage - the wise tactics of the Granite Pillar, the support of independent captains, or even a single strategic enchantment - the orcs would have begun to push forward again. For their part, the tactics of the Lasambrian Jotun did them few favours here - the Corazón were distracted by the pursuit of treasure which availed them nothing; the caution of the Escuta robbed the orcs of opportunities to defeat the Imperial defenders. There is a great deal of speculation, based on certain senate motions, that the orcs may have been expecting the territory to be abandoned by the Empire - or at least proceeding on the assumption that might be the case. The story being told in Segura is that the Senate united as one to oppose any suggestion of ceding Freeborn land to the orcs, and this news has been very well received even if it may prove to be based on optimism rather than fact. Regardless, it has inspired the Seguran people to continue to resist the Lasambrians as best they can; there is scattered talk of a grand gesture to show the "orcs of Virtue" that the Freeborn will not flee in the face of their aggression.

For their part the Lasambrian Jotun continue to treat the conquered Freeborn with respect, and issue them their unique version of the Jotun Choice. Join the Lasambrians; keep your land and your possessions but agree to accept the conquerors as your rulers, swearing oaths of loyalty, and offering a portion of your wealth to the Lasambrians as a tithe. Or simply leave, with nothing save a few sentimental keepsakes, and as much food as you can carry on your back. Submission or exile, with death reserved only for those courageous few who refuse to choose either way.

While the fighting in Segura has been sporadic, it has also been bloody. Some fifteen-hundred Highborn are slain, or maimed, or lost. On the other side, it is estimated that less than a thousand Lasambrian Jotun are killed. The line has been held, but it has done so at a significant price.

Game Information : Segura

The situation in Segura has not changed much since the Spring Equinox. Anduzjasse remains entirely in the hands of the Lasambrian Jotun, and while they have not made any further progress toward conquering Anozeseri neither has their foothold there been reduced.

Once again, the raids by the Corazón have been largely thwarted by subtle Autumn magic. The magic fades as the Summer Solstice approaches, however. If the Corazón renew their raids after the Solstice, then every farm and business in Segura again risks losing half of its production.

The Lasambrian Jotun maintain their control of the seven Towers of Anduz they have captured. Coupled with the hostile environment the orcs are creating for foreign traders coming into Segura, the benefits of this great work have been halved. 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, while the orcs have not made many gains, there are still people from Anduzjasse and Anozeseri heading east toward Anozel and Cerevado. Many of these refugees are unable to bring anything of value with them, and while the eastern towns of Segura are coping with the influx of borderline destitute Freeborn at the moment it is a close-run thing. If the orcs manage to overcome the defenders in a later season, they will continue to drive penniless exiles into eastern Segura, and the situation may still become a significant problem for the Brass Coast.

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People like us know how to survive

The World is Not Enough

At the start of the year, the Grendel invaded Feroz, quickly conquering Oranseri and the Cazar Straits and moving to complete their dominance of the coastal regions by capturing Fontargenta. They have not come with armies, but with their armada - a great swarm of warships, marines, sailors, and mercenaries that quickly crushed resistance on the islands and then swept down the eastern Brass Coast.

During the Spring Equinox, Grendel sorcerers attempted to raise the spirits of the drowned on the haunted Isle of the Osseini. Had they been successful, the ghosts of thousands of orc pirates, buccaneers, and raiders would have formed a fearsome spectral army and rampaged across Feroz alongside their living descendants. Luckily, the heroes of the Empire were able to make use of the Sentinel Gate to put a stop to their audacious plan, and exorcise the ghosts bound to the island by the Osseini sutannir. Many of the priests who tended the island were lost, however. Slain or enslaved by the Grendel, they are no longer able to carry out their sacred task of quieting the restless shades of those lost in the Bay of Catazar. Once the Grendel are dealt with, there will be time to consider what this might mean for the future. For now there are more important considerations.

The Grendel armada has uncontested control of Oranseri and the Cazar Straits - and of the prosperous coastal towns of Oran, Joharra, Cazar, and Shantarim. This is a reason for some concern - especially their control of Oranseri. The Scorrero is particularly wide where it runs past Siroc into the Bay. It is crossed by bridges, but now the Grendel control the southern ends of those bridges. A land force seeking to enter Feroz from Madruga must cross those bridges - and while the Grendel control them it would not be possible to get past without fighting. Worse, the Grendel have demonstrated in the past their willingness to close avenues of approach to territories they control - the passes of Spiral, for example, or their assault against the Spider's Dream. If the Grendel destroyed the bridges across the Scorrero, it would not be feasible for armies to travel between Madruga and Feroz - they would need to go through Segura to enter the territory.

The orcs control most of the Freeborn coast, and continue to oppress the people of the Brass Coast. While they are not rounding up the population wholesale, orc slavers can pick and choose who to chain and drag back to waiting ships bound for the Broken Shore. There is much cruel humour among those slavers, who talk about the need for fresh new slaves since the "heroes" of the Empire stole so many during their attack on Dubhtraig and their raid on Beoraidh. They are careful only to enslave or rob Imperial citizens, however - the small Asavean population that remains are left unmolested. Some, perhaps inspired by the example of the priests of Balo and the Black Bull, take advantage of this to offer sanctuary to Freeborn friends as best they can. A very few even risk transporting hidden refugees out of Feroz to safety in Madruga and Sarvos - usually in return for a great deal of money.

Our cousins in the Black Thorns march on Westwood with our Imperial allies. In the east the citadel guard aid us in Brocéliande. We repay this trust by unleashing the dance of thorns on the Grendel infesting Feroz. Disperse amongst our Marcher allies, find the Grendel captains and push their hands for all to see. Poison their water, burn their supplies. Do whatever it takes.

Brennos Brackensong, General of the Quiet Step

The Temple remains closed to the Grendel. Astonishingly they still allow Asavean merchants and sailors to visit it - even those clearly planning to trade with the Empire. Indeed, there are rumours coming north with these merchants that Lord Rahab - the new orc governor of Feroz - is encouraging the priests to preach openly of their gods to any who will listen. "We are not the Empire," he is reported to have said. "We respect your freedom to speak of your faith, and we are not afraid of your words." A few priests have taken him up on his offer - some travelling as far afield as Shantarim and Cazar. In addition to preaching, they also bring back news of the other settlements - and of the progress of the war.

Despite their defeat at Osseini, the Grendel invasion continues. They press on to attack the islands and the shores of Fontargenta, launching their first raid against Bramar within a week of the Spring Equinox. The defenders hold out as best they can, desperate for aid from the rest of the Empire.

A trade hub of sorts, Bramar is perhaps best known as a stopping-off point between the Iron Confederacy and the wider Empire. Since the Imperial Senate imposed sanctions on Suranni traders - and since the southern Dukes declared an embargo on Imperial goods in retaliation - there have been few travellers coming north from the Confederacy. When the Grendel close in on Bramar, those Suranni citizens who remain simply pack up their belongings and depart for the border. It is noted by some observers that the Grendel do not make much effort to intercept them or take their valuables - suspicion is rife that the Iron Confederacy has made some sort of deal with the orcs of the Broken Shore. At first it seems unlikely, but then they did make a military pact with the Jotun to conquer the Lasambrian Hills. Surely the history of violence between their two nations would make any lasting treaty impossible? As with the matter of the Isle of the Osseini, the question of Suranni diplomacy is soon superseded by more immediate concerns.

Luckily, the people of Feroz are not forced to weather the Grendel storm alone. The Strong Reeds and Quiet Step have come east from Segura, pausing briefly to ensure the Spice Gardens are secure, and then marching toward the coast to intercept the Grendel. They are quickly joined by the Bounders, fresh from furlough in the Mournwold, having traveled past Fort Braydon and down through the Cinnabar Hills to Morajasse. The journey is not easy; the gentler route through Tassato and along the banks of the Vassa is closed to the Marcher army now that the Grendel control Oranseri.

Shaking the thick red dust from their boots, the Bounders meet up with their fellows in the 'Reeds and take stock. Both Marcher armies are exploring new strategies; they have barely had time to adjust to the changes before being thrust into the thick of things. There is much talk of boundaries, and of making the most of the terrain - but the Grendel are already in Feroz and the Freeborn territory is composed almost entirely of rolling grasslands and islands neither of which lend themselves to guerilla tactics. Instead, the armies split their attentions - the Strong Reeds press into Oranseri while the Bounders move to engage the Grendel forces attacking Fontargenta.

Soldiers of the Strong Reeds, once again the Cowardly Grendel prey on undefended citizens. This season we will punish them. We will enjoy the benefits of the cunning Navarr, and we will be joined by the Bounders. The time is to strike with passion, but to control that rage. Our attack will be measured, controlled and victorious.

Jack Flint, General of the Strong Reeds

For their part, the Quiet Step separate their forces, supporting both Marcher armies. They bring with them the cunning tactics of the Navarr - selective strikes against valuable opponents; envenomed blades; and the careful use of poison and fire to attack the Grendel supply lines and caches of provisions. They liberally share their cunning with their allies. There always seems to be an apothecary ready to provide a band with something special to smear on their halberds, or a band of scouts who have identified the perfect location from which to launch volleys of arrows on unsuspecting orcs. With their assistance, the Imperial forces are able to kill a number of important targets among the Grendel forces including many healers and magicians; a handful of beast tamers; and one of the Grendel's powerful quartermasters.

Some of the Marcher soldiers tell stories of peculiar allies who supposedly fight alongside the Navarr of the Quiet Step in Feroz. Close-mouthed battle-magicians who wield venom and curse with cruel precision. Swift-footed creatures with deadly fangs and tearing claws, their faces concealed beneath thick veils and heavy cowls. Even stories of dog-sized scorpions that emerge from the shadows and fight alongside the heirs of Terunael, frenziedly attacking the drakes and war beasts of the Grendel with wicked pincers and dripping stingers. For their part, the Navarr neither confirm nor deny the presence of these unsettling companions, and simply change the subject.

The Imperial forces are further supported by nearly a score of warbands lead by independent captains - primarily Marchers but with a strong contingent of Winterfolk among their number. The initial base of operations is established around the site of Mora's Rock - the incomplete fortification that squats above the town of Mora in Morajasse. It is very nearly finished - and partially garrisoned - but the soldiers here must focus their attention on protecting the construction site. It would be a tragic loss if the Grendel were able to push past and attack the fort before its walls and keep are completed.

Eastern Feroz is much more densely populated than Segura, at least near the coast. The bulk of the fighting takes place not amid rolling grasslands, but in towns and villages, or on the well-maintained roads that connect them. The Grendel seem unprepared for the presence of Imperial forces approaching from the west, and the Empire makes several quick gains. It does not last, however. The orcs it seems have arranged the bulk of their defensive force along the northern coast, watching the approach to Siroc, awaiting an invasion from Madruga. With characteristic discipline, they quickly refocus their efforts against the Strong Reeds. The Marcher advance falters, and is then slowly pushed back westward.

At the same time, the marines and mercenaries pushing through Fontargenta continue their relentless assault. The Bounders clash three times in bloody battles, winning one of the engagements but being forced to retreat in the other two. In the end, they join up with the retreating Strong Reeds and the rest of the Navarr at Bramar and make a stand. Two days of vicious fighting ensue. The Marcher bill blocks and archers rain death on the approaching Grendel, but their positions are overrun one after another by disciplined orcs and savage land sharks. The main strength of the Grendel is in their navies, and they are simply able to bring too many troops to bear too quickly - and resupply those troops too efficiently - for the Imperial armies to hold out.

On the morning of the third day the order is given to abandon Bramar to the Grendel. Some Freeborn are able to retreat with the Imperial armies, others choose to take their chances with the Grendel in the hope that the Empire will liberate their town sooner rather than later. Another rich trading port falls to the Grendel; it encounters the same fate as the other wealthy towns along the Bay. Its valuables are looted, and its citizens become prey for the Grendel slave takers.

Not all the Grendel forces are focused on conquest, however. A significant number of them are more interested in securing the wealth of Feroz and transporting it back to the coast. They range farther afield than their compatriots engaged directly with the Imperial forces - making probing raids against Afar and Mora. A few adventurous warbands strike as far west as the Spice Gardens. They are not interested in conquest - in taking and holding land - but in looting and stealing as much as they can before retreating back to the main Grendel forces. That is not to say that they are cowards - there are pitched battles between Grendel contingents and the Imperial armies - but they retreat as soon as the fight begins to turn against them, fleeing with their ill-gotten loot back toward the ships that will take it far away from the Brass Coast.

As the Summer Solstice draws near the Grendel have almost - but not quite - secured the whole of Fontargenta. Imperial troops are still billeted in the east, however, not far from the town of Afar and the borders of Afarjasse. If those defenders had not been present, the Grendel would have easily conquered Fontargenta - and with it the entire territory of Feroz. But they could not have pushed any further, even if Feroz had remained defenceless. To a degree this exposes a weakness in the Grendel strategy here. Their reliance on their ships allows them to conquer the coast, and the islands, but the marines and soldier-sailors of the Grendel armada would be unable to make any headway into Morajasse or Afarjasse. While their naval forces may be able to support their land forces, they have no chance of attacking the western regions of Feroz without boots-on-the-ground. This season, at least, there are no signs of those boots. If they had succeeded on the Isle of the Osseini things might have been different... but they did not succeed.

Indeed, if the Grendel had achieved even a sliver of success - if the Empire had been less committed to utterly preventing their rites - they might have raised enough spectres to make the difference here. Even a small force of shades would have given them the weight of numbers needed to completely conquer Fontargenta. Likewise, if the armies fighting here had received less support from independent captains, not just Bramar but the whole region would have been lost. Perhaps most ironically of all, had some of the Grendel forces been as committed to the conquest as their comrades - rather than looting the wealth of the Freeborn - they would have captured Feroz. As it is, they are still not quite there - although they are very close.

The fighting has been costly. All told more than fifteen hundred Imperial soldiers are dead, or captured by the Grendel and carried away in chains. The orcs themselves must have suffered similar casualties.

Game Information : Feroz

The Grendel control Oranseri and the Cazar Straits and are nine-tenths of the way toward conquering Fontargenta - and with it the territory.

They also control both the offices of the Broken Shore Bounty and the Scorrero Nets. The one silver lining that exists is that while they are denying ilium to the Empire, the Grendel are themselves not in a position to claim their own bounty of star metal. Unfortunately, without the offices in Cazar and Oran, there is nobody to organise the collection of more ilium and as such nobody will get any ilium until either the offices are reclaimed... or the Grendel conquer enough of the Scorrero to be able to start panning for ilium of their own.

The Temple of Balo and the Black Bull remains in occupied territory, and as such the Imperial Delegate to the Temple in Feroz will be unable to access their ministry. The temple still stands - and is unmolested - and in the short term at least its conquest by the Grendel does not seem to have impacted Nemorian enthusiasm for Imperial trade. This outcome does have some implications for the previously released wind of fortune regarding Synod responses to the works of the Asavean Architect; it is not feasible for the faithful to take action against the temple while Oran is under the control of the Broken Shore orcs.

The raiding and looting by the Grendel forces in Feroz means that production of personal resources for characters based in the territory has been reduced. Every character in Feroz has lost 2 ranks from the production of their personal resource this season representing the damage done last season. They will suffer the same penalty next season due to the raids this season. If the Grendel continue to raid, that loss will continue until they stop or steps are taken to protect the citizens of Feroz from their attack.

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Fighting against the tide

Keep Breathing

For close to nine months now, the forest of Brocéliande has been alive with malice. The vallorn, roused to wakefulness by a conspiracy of fallen Navarr and twisted servants of Yaw'nagrah, has been trying to spread its influence north and south, into Boar's Dell and Elerael. To take back what little ground the Navarr have managed to claim from it in the last ten centuries; to infest the places they have cleansed of its influence. Each season, the force of the vallorn's urge to expand increases. Each season it becomes a little more difficult to hold it back; to keep the safe places safe.

This season is no different.

Sentinels, we march to serve the Empire. We will defend the Broch, we will defend Elereal. We will prevent the spread of the Vallorn. We are protecting the very souls of the Nation. Make me proud"

Nicassia Avicia of Phoenix Reach, General of the Citadel Guard

The vallorn is not a thing of wishes, or desires, or designs, merely a green engine whose entire function is to exist. It has no real awareness of what it is doing; in place of conscious thought it has only a vegetative need to spread, to propagate itself. Yet its blind urges are not random; they are guided carefully by the hands of other beings who do have designs, desires, and wishes. Yaw'nagrah's goals seem simple enough - to cover all the land in the green chaos of the vallorn. The ambitions of those "heirs of Terunael" who seem to work alongside her are less clear.

CitizenNationTerritoryBanner
Hen Was SilverthornNavarr
Ethan ScolishDawnAstolatHouse Cordraco
Mal` Lassal ScethosDawnAstolatHouse Cordraco
Lord Severin De RondellDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
Roger Du SoleilDawnAstolatHouse Du Soleil
Olivia SepulchreDawnAstolatHouse Sepulchre Banner
Lukan CooperDawnAstolatHouse de Carsenere
Knight Commander Cinder HearthsongDawnAstolatPhoenix Knights of Asolat
Sola HearthsongDawnAstolatPhoenix Knights of Asolat
Stolfo LuunDawnAstolatPhoenix Knights of Asolat
Brennos BrackensongNavarrBroceliande
Brodi BrackensongNavarrBroceliande
CynèstenNavarrBroceliande
DalthiosNavarrBroceliande
IshNavarrBroceliande
Sloane the RoamerNavarrBroceliande
TelynNavarrBroceliandeAshwood
BrendanNavarrBroceliandeBrackensong Steading (Banner)
LughNavarrBroceliandeFawn Hollow
Gerallt Two FeetNavarrBroceliandeTwo Feet
CaylebHighguardCasineaFelix's Watch Banner
Eldred OlsenWintermarkHahnmark
Veyran TaronsonWintermarkHahnmark
Kaisa Vieno MagenlingWintermarkHahnmarkMaegensteade
Torven KrigersonWintermarkHahnmarkThe Embers of Ashenhall
Volfe StormchaserWintermarkHahnmarkThe Embers of Ashenhall
Alexi FarwalkerNavarrHercynia
Ash HoneyforgeNavarrHercynia
Bryn SplitrootNavarrHercynia
KennethNavarrHercynia
QuillNavarrHercynia
SedantaNavarrHercynia
TomarnNavarrHercynia
Turi LongstrideNavarrHercynia
NookNavarrHercyniaBrackensong Steading (Banner)
Seamus ChainbreakerNavarrHercyniaBroken Chain Striding
KaleNavarrHercyniaGrove Guard
ScotaNavarrHercyniaPathfinders
Arkann ShatterhornNavarrHercyniaShatterhorn Striding
Arthur Longest PathNavarrHercyniaThe Longest Path
MaddocNavarrHercyniaWolf's Bone
Vito GuerraThe Brass CoastKahramanFlames of the Coast
Theomer LeofricssonWintermarkKallavesa
Leif ArnbjornWintermarkKallavesaAnfalhearth
Baddon Red OaksNavarrLiathaven
Bran HolmNavarrLiathaven
Branam EmbercastNavarrLiathaven
Danza PathfinderNavarrLiathavenPathfinders
MeilyrNavarrLiathavenThe Feyerd
Farren Silver StreamsNavarrMiaren
Gaeorg BrokenboughNavarrMiaren
GeorgeNavarrMiaren
Isa ShatterhornNavarrMiaren
Reaghan EmberedgroveNavarrMiaren
Twyll EternalNavarrMiaren
Kaan ShatterhornNavarrMiarenShatterhorn Striding
Karrow Strangers SongNavarrMiarenThe Thornborn of Entwined Paths
LaniusUrizenMorrowThe Crystal Spire
TelemachusUrizenRedoubtThe Crystal Spire
HabalastUrizenRedoubtUrizen, Whole
Vespasian of InvidiaUrizenRedoubtUrizen, Whole
Otto BlytheThe LeagueSarvosCarta di Vergo
Marcus Derivian di SarvosThe LeagueSarvosLiberta Rossa
Esteban i Ezmara i ErigoThe Brass CoastSegura
Aracelis I ErigoThe Brass CoastSeguraFlames of the Coast
Damian ThorneDawnSemmerholmHouse De Minos
Arthur CordracoDawnSemmerholmHouse Loreal
Gerald ThorneDawnSemmerholmHouse Wolfborne
Alienor GuerisseuseDawnSemmerholmHouse de Carsenere
RuseDawnSemmerholmMyriad
BloodBilge ZiekImperial OrcsSkarsindBloodBilge
Anomar Broken SpireUrizenSpiral
VarrockUrizenSpiralThe Crystal Spire
AnconDawnThe Barrens
BertrandDawnThe BarrensHouse Torawyr
GuillaumeDawnThe BarrensHouse Vexille
illantrisDawnThe BarrensHouse Wolfborne
LeonDawnThe BarrensHouse de Carsenere
Dafydd SteelfordNavarrTherunin
Eleri Bronwen's RestNavarrTherunin
J'zarrNavarrTherunin
SwilachNavarrTheruninFeathers Rest
Geraint Broad-BackedNavarrTheruninOpen Skies
Rodric WorldscribeNavarrTheruninOpen Skies
Cybi FarkasNavarrTheruninRuis Farkas
Gwill FenwardenNavarrTheruninThe Companions of Tarw
Dillion Longest PathNavarrTheruninThe Longest Path
Travid Longest PathNavarrTheruninThe Longest Path
KarcharothNavarrTheruninThe White Foxes
Andred RionDawnWeirwater
Jasper Hunter scion De BeaumontDawnWeirwater
Perryn ForthwrightDawnWeirwater
Ren TannerDawnWeirwater
NineveDawnWeirwaterHouse Orzel
Lady Claudia Varkulova RemysDawnWeirwaterHouse Remys
Lord Armand RemysDawnWeirwaterHouse Remys
Logan TallstagDawnWeirwaterHouse Tallstag
Tierian SpiritsDawnWeirwaterHouse Tallstag
Lady Serenity RenardDawnWeirwaterHouse de Loup
Élodie HarperDawnWeirwaterOrder of the Golden Heart

So then. The third season of war in the tangled depths of the largest and most dangerous of the vallorns that touch the Empire. Brocéliande seethes with murderous intent. Vallornspawn husk and ettercap; the miasma that shortens life and then quickens it again in the most malignant manner; the hundred twisted shapes of the plants that spawn and prosper beneath the vallorn's shadow; the heralds of Spring and the heirs of Terunael. A host of foes, any one of which could lay the defenders of the eastern forest to ruin.

Just shy of a hundred imperial heroes and their warbands come to the aid of the people of Brocéliande. Not all those warbands are natural; as before there is a smattering of supernatural soldiers fighting under the trees. Peculiar knights of living shadow, raised from the weakened forests, armed and armoured against the horror of the vallorn. Some have been fighting here almost solidly since the crisis began; they are tired and drained but still refuse to back down in the face of the destruction that their enemy represents.

As before, though, those who fight to protect the steadings of Brocéliande are not short of allies. The troubadours of Dawn still sing the praises of any questing knight or knight-errant who comes to Brocéliande seeking glory. The priests of Highguard continue to offer their aid in the form of pilgrims, guardians, and much-needed supplies. The sinister Poena of the Soft Voice, a powerful baroness of the Winter realm, guides the barons, and thralls, and bone-armoured knights sent by the King on the Bitter Throne to fight alongside his mortal "allies" even as their sovereign-lord sates his endless hunger on the herb gardens and forests of Navarr.

Furthermore, during the Spring Equinox, brave bands of Imperial heroes were able to use the Sentinel Gate to reach Brocéliande and strike decisive blows against the forces there - somewhat weakening the spread of the vallorn and buying valuable time for defenders to respond to the threats posed this season. Thanks to their courage, the wayhouse at Darkening Boughs has been transformed into a fortified sanctuary providing respite to those traveling through the vallorn, and the herald of the North Weaver Wood has been destroyed, preventing it from strengthening the terrible vallornspawn attacking Boar's Dell.

There are new allies as well. The call has gone out to the Spears of the Pine - the warriors of the Great Forest Orcs - and they have come to Brocéliande to fight alongside their friends. Perhaps as many as a thousand orcs come to oppose the vallorn. Some of their number are actually natives of Brocéliande - born and raised in Boar's Dell before their people returned to the Barrens in the wake of its fleeting liberation from the Druj. They possess a keen urge to look upon the northern lands that were home to themselves and their ancestors. Even those who have not been to Brocéliande before treat the place with reverence; it is an old forest after all. While much of it was formed in the wake of the fall of Terunael, there are places, particularly in the east, where the trees are as old as the Forest of Peytaht. Some of the orcs are particularly interested in visiting these places, but weep when they see the chaos that the vallorn has made of them.

Shortly after the Spring Equinox, the largest group of allies to date arrives to fight to protect the Navarr. The Citadel Guard, the great army of Urizen, fresh from battle against the Druj in Morrow bring the light they embody to the darkness beneath the spreading boughs of Brocéliande. They stand ready to defend Elerael, freeing up other defenders to concentrate on protecting Boar's Dell. Yet even this army of sentinels and battle-magicians is not enough to hold the vallorn back by themselves - they still need allies if they are to preserve the sanctity of the region. Those allies come in the form of the dead - the shambling unliving corpses raised from those who fell in Morrow. A mixture of human and orc corpses given unnatural, haunted life by dark Winter magic, the husks fight the spawn of the vallorn at the behest of their Urizen masters.

While they fight bravely against the horrors of the vallorn, they are also making magical preparations of their own - shoring up their reserves of mana crystals and seeking out nearby sources of magic. There is a great deal of fascination with the vallorn and its peculiar magics. There is little time for experimentation, or arcane theory, but the Citadel Guard are able to uncover some fascinating details.

First, they notice that something is sapping the strength of their husks. Any that venture into areas of vallorn miasma are quickly destroyed - rotting away to nothing in a matter of minutes or hours. It seems that the Winter magic that binds hungry spirits to the rotting flesh and also preserves the meat against natural decay is not a match for the power of the vallorn. Only a handful are lost this way, but the Urizen are confident that had they been fighting in the vallorn proper then the murderous husks that fight alongside them would have proved to be useless.

Second, they are intrigued to discover no sign of any wide-ranging Spring magic in Brocéliande. No Rivers of Life, and certainly no Rivers Run Red. While they cannot rule out the possibility that such curses were used to help spark the current expansionist urge in the vallorn there is no sign that the magic continues or is any part of what is happening. In a way, perhaps, this makes sense. If the goal of those urging the vallorn to expand is to destroy Elerael and Boar's Dell, and to drive the Navarr out of Brocéliande, it would make little sense to also provide healing energies that helped their victims to stay alive.

Finally, they confirm what has long been suspected. There is a great deal of Spring vis to be claimed in those places tainted by the vallorn, if one knows where to look.

Even with all the aid they have received, even with their efforts during the Spring Equinox, it is still close. The defenders hold easily during the first month; in the second they begin to grow tired; and by the time of the Summer Solstice their reserves are truly taxed. The strength of the vallorn is still increasing, still gathering momentum. The vates who have predicted that the worst is yet to come are proved right once again. If they are entirely right, however, this will be the last time. The wave of the vallorn will crest, and if it can be resisted until the start of the Autumn Equinox, will finally break.

If it can be resisted...

Game Information : Brocéliande

The vallorn has been held back in Brocéliande. As mentioned in the earlier wind of fortune, any Dawnish character who supported the Slow the Vallorn action receives additional rewards representing the support of the noble houses and villages of Astolat and Semmerholm for those champions of Dawn who face the dangers of Brocéliande. Likewise, the recent Highborn mandate has provided significant support to the defence of Brocéliande, in the form of additional warriors and support. That boon is not without its own drawbacks; the penalties to congregations will persist for one season after the benefits end.

Tharim continues to feast on the forests and herb gardens of Hercynia, Therunin, and Miaren; each such resource loses a rank of production for the next year, but the Eternal will continue to provide support in Brocéliande for that whole time as long as he has amity of course. Finally, the Great Forest orcs warriors have arrived in Brocéliande, and will continue to provide their support to the defence of the territory as long as their people in Therunin remain safe.

The vallorn of Brocéliande has not finished with the Navarr yet, however. You can learn about the escalating threat in the Winds of Fortune.

When It Rains.jpg
They had hunted high and low, but winter had come early.

Destroying Angels

The Towerjacks and the Wolves of War gather beneath the boughs of Longshire and Grey Charge. They are hosted by the chapters of Reikos, guests of the newly-rebuilt chapterhouses. Their leaders meet with the commanders of Remember Exile to coordinate their campaign against the eternal Llofir whose garden occupies all of Tamarbode.

The Wolves of War are supported by more than thirty warbands belonging to independent captains - more than half of whom are Highborn soldiers eager to remove Llofir from Reikos. The potent enchantment woven over the Wolves of War ensures that these disparate champions will work together effectively in the battles to come. They are also joined by a dozen League siege engineers - some seconded form the Towerjacks but most hired from the university of Holberg for the mission into Tamarbode.

The Towerjacks have brought with them numerous supplies for building siege engines, but they have not actually begun to construct them. Dragging towers, catapults, and mangonels through the dense vegetation of Tamarbode makes little sense - and for that matter it would be dangerous to assume that Llofir's living stronghold would act the same as the redoubts of wood and stone they have encountered before.

Tamarbode, like Grey Charge and Longshire, is heavily forested - but there the similarities end. While most of the trees are notionally the same age as those in the rest of Reikos - restored by the Spring magic unleashed across the territory to heal the scars left by the Stone Toad orcs - those in Tamarbode are significantly larger. Some are recognisable as oaks or sycamore, but others are entirely unfamiliar with strangely-shaped leaves and peculiar fruit. Fruit that no sensible citizen of the Empire considers eating no matter how succulent it may appear.

Soldiers of the Towerjacks. We have a chance to get out our siege towers, prepare our catapults and fight in the way we are trained for. Let's storm the walls.

Natalia ''The Falcon'' Barossa, General of the Towerjacks

Everything is overgrown with a profusion of fungus, spreading ferns, hanging moss, spreading lichen. and less identifiable forms of life. Great mushrooms stand two or three times as tall as a human, with broad caps and oddly radiating flukes beneath. Some are flat like tables, others tall and fluted, still others almost spherical. They exist in a mad profusion of colours - the greenery of a healthy forest is overrun with rust red, amber yellow, vivid scarlet, pastel blue, bone white, coal black, and even stranger shades. The air itself is thick with the spores produced by the fungus and the ferns - although these spores seem not to press much beyond the edge of the region, as if turned back at the borders.

The thick vegetation (for want of a better world) makes progress slow. The vanguard are forced as often as not to chop their way through tangled vines, briars, mushrooms, clinging creepers, sticky fronds and more esoteric plant-life to make even a little progress. The entire time they hack and slash, they are breathing in the spores of Llofir's garden. The first fatalities are those who experience a profound reaction to the spores. Rashes spread quickly across skin that becomes so red and sensitive it ruptures; eyes swell closed; noses stream with thick mucus and the victims are wracked with hacking coughs as their bodies desperately try to clear airways rapidly closing over. Only a comparative handful of humans experience reactions this severe - and the symptoms are quickly identified by doctors - but those who do suffer painful deaths choking, clawing at their throats and faces, desperate to breathe.

We owe the highborn a reckoning and they have called for our aid. The Eternal Llofir holds Tamarbode and it is constant wound to their Pride. Ready your siege weapons to impale the great beasts and smash its defences, because we match to make the lands and pride of our friends whole.

Gabriel Barossa, General of the Wolves of War

Everyone, without exception, is forced to cover their nose and mouth with thick cloths, and keep them moist. Water supplies dwindle quickly. Even those who do not suffer a fatal reaction to the air find it difficult to breathe for long periods of time. In some places the spores and tiny seeds are thick enough to obscure sight. Only those briars in the Imperial armies are able to move through Llofir's garden without difficulty - nobody touched by the magic of Spring experiences a negative reaction to the air. This causes some of their companions to eye them suspiciously, and there are... whispers... about briar soldiers. It does not help that some of them report hearing odd noises that seem inaudible to their companions - whispering voices, indescribable music, and in some cases a low and insistent call to abandon their comrades and simply explore the wonders of Llofir's garden. It is impossible to say if this is some malign influence, or simply a side-effect of being in a place so profoundly imbued with Spring magic.

The Garden is even stranger at night; a great many of the fungi that grow throughout the forest glow in the dark in a profusion of different shades. Most provide a low, steady effulgence but a few pulse brighter and dimmer as if in response to some rhythm the human soldiers are unable to perceive. At night, the more sensitive among the soldiers experience peculiar dreams full of surreal and disturbing imagery that they cannot quite put into words when they awaken, but which leave them pale and withdrawn for hours after they rise.

Worse than all of this is that any wound suffered in Lofir's garden is an invitation for something to take root. The Towerjacks in particular are familiar with the malign Spring curses favoured by the Druj that taint the water and spread sickness and disease but they are a pale shadow of the rot that spreads through Llofir's garden. Any break in the skin is enough; unless it is immediately tended to the wound becomes packed with spores and parasitic growth that spreads quickly through the body with fatal consequences. Physics and magician-healers are taxed to the point of exhaustion dealing with the repercussions of even the easiest engagement in the approach to the castle at the heart of Tamarbode.

There have been visitors to Tamarbode since Llofir took residence before. They have spoken of dangerous vegetation, but it seems that in the months since Llofir closed the borders it has bred or unleashed entirely new threats. For example, some of the "plants" secrete juices that sear flesh like acid. The worst are perhaps the delicate fronds of a certain pale and rugose thing that combines elements of fern and anemone. The tendrils drift and sway with the slightest breeze, but when they touch living flesh they wrap around it, the burning caustic sap eating away exposed skin, wool. cotton, and leather down to the bone. The only answer to this particular danger is heavy iron gauntlets - to tear the frond away and hope that it does not take great swathes of the victim's skin with it. Then fire can be brought to bear - but here as with many of the other threats of Tamarbode fire is a two-edged sword. While the bone-white anemone burns easily enough, the smoke it gives off burns the throat, eyes, and lungs as easily as the vitriolic fronds burn the flesh.

The acid anemone is only one example of the dangers of Llofir's garden, and while many of the threats are sessile plants that can be avoided there are terrible creatures in Tamarbode that actively hunt soldiers. Some of the first encountered are ambulatory mushrooms - perhaps even heralds of Llofir - that seem to cluster together. The first kind are rose-pink puffballs about the size of a large dog, with tiny stumpy legs, that react strongly to movement. Approaching or passing by one of these creatures causes it to begin a terrible howling wail, quite out of proportion with its size, that alerts everything within half a mile to the location of intruders. Worse, the creature releases puffs of spores that make it impossible to concentrate. This would be bad enough, but their howling dirge invariably attracts a species of taller mushroom-creature with a distinctive bluish caste. Much more swift in their movements, they flail around themselves with agonising whip-like fronds that carry a supernatural disease which causes flesh to rot and slough off. Unable to penetrate metal armour, they nonetheless seem adept at striking at the least defended parts of their victim, at the joints and at areas of exposed padding. Leather and wool are no protection from their touch, allowing them to cripple limbs and in some cases - especially when facing magicians of skirmishers - cause fatal injuries that leave the victim unable to do anything but scream as the azure guardians rip them apart with their whipping limbs.

Heralds of Llofir are encountered in abundance, of course, but they are not the pleasant little toadstool-imps, or even the shambling humanoid courtiers that have been seen before by Imperial magicians. Instead, they are replaced with horrific amalgams of plant and animal matter, often held within thick shells of hard, spined wood. They fight with terrible tearing claws, emerging without warning from the dense undergrowth to assail interlopers with little care for their own safety. They come from nowhere, attack, and then melt back into the garden - but dangerous as they are they are the least of the eternal's children. Much more deadly are the great beasts, larger than oxen, that erupt from the toxic jungle slaughtering everyone that comes within reach.

Awful as the larger creatures are, it is a certain species of smaller beast that the League soldiers particularly come to loathe. Barely larger than a sheep, these hunched horrors scuttle towards intruders with gleeful disregard for danger, flailing delicate feathered antennae whose touch causes dead organic material to rot, and makes metal rust and fall apart. They target the weapons of their opponents, quickly moving on when their prey is defenceless... leaving them at the mercy of the deadly inhabitants of Llofir's garden. While mending spells and Artisan's Oil can reverse the devastatingly gentle touches of the scuttling creatures, doing so strains the resources of the Imperial forces - and the creatures must be kept away from the raw materials carried by the League siege engineers at all costs.

Eventually, however, the two League armies make it to the heart of Tamarbode, to the centre of Llofir's garden, to the Castle of Ruin. It lies a short distance from the "feet" of the great Sign of Tamar, and according to the Highborn guardians who fight alongside the League armies, it surrounds a potent Spring regio, once claimed by the old Druj warlock Greenmask.

The horrors of the proceeding weeks have gone some way toward preparing the Imperial forces for the Castle, but it is still difficult to truly comprehend its size and strangeness. Rather than being made of cold stone or dead wood, the Castle of Ruin is composed entirely of living fungus. There are no hard edges or sharp corners; the entire thing is disturbingly organic. It is something that has grown, not something that has been built. Great fluting towers reach several hundred feet into the sky, piercing heavy clouds composed entirely of fungal spores that drift and churn above the Castle moving on incomprehensible currents.

The siege engineers accompanying the League armies set to work to build ladders, towers, rams, and other devices of their trade so that they may storm the walls. At once, they discover that they are in a race against time. The Garden of Llofir, particularly this close to the Castle of Ruin, is actively hostile to their construction work. They must work in shifts to complete their endeavour, or see their engines fall apart under the corrosive touch of Spring magic before they are even completed.

They are the equal of the task, however, and within a week armoured towers rise above the fungal forest. Even as the mould and rust takes hold, catapults launch great rocks and barrels of burning pitch against the walls of the Castle of Ruin. Two great rams are positioned to attack weak points in the walls - for there seem to be no actual gates into the Castle that anyone can identify. The League and Highborn soldiers split into groups, each one charged with capturing or destroying a key part of the castle, and the assault begins.

The fighting is chaotic, confused, verging on madness. Parts of the castle separate from the walls or floors, becoming mobile creatures in their own right, launching unexpected ambushes against the weakest parts of the attacking forces. The size and scope of the fortification alone would make capturing it a daunting prospect. Yet it seems that not only is the castle a living thing, it is one that is capable of some level of thought and even limited movement. Where a mundane castle might be protected by siege weapons or ballistae, the Castle of Ruin grows poisoned fronds that whip and tear at any who get too close, or explosive puffballs that spew deadly spores at those who accidentally encounter them. And of course, now the Empire has reached its prize, it seems like every single beast at Llofir's disposal is drawn towards them to protect the heart of the Rotlord's realm.

Yet for all its savagery, the Castle of Ruin cannot hold against the ingenuity of the League, and the tenacity of the Highborn. Inch by inch they press forward, burning and shattering area after area, penetrating the rings of defence until the heart of the castle is laid bare.

At its very centre, within a great tumbledown keep of pulsing luminescent mushrooms and vines, is a single immense mushroom. Atop a twenty-foot stalk, so wide it would take three people to circle it, spreads a snow-white cap with a soft pink underside. Long curling tendrils descend from the cap, twitching and writhing as the Imperial soldiers cautiously approach. It glows with a pale luminescence that proves dangerous to look upon; those who stare at the mushroom for too long become entranced, then enervated, then incapable of doing anything save sitting or lying down and waiting for death to claim them - at least until they are removed from the area.

The magicians who have made it this far confirm that the mushroom encompasses the heart of the Spring regio... or perhaps that it is the Spring regio in some strange fashion. There is a hurried discussion, while battle still rages in other parts of the Castle. The last three barrels of pitch are brought to bear, and on the signal hurled against the mushroom and ignited. Fire immediately roars up the trunk, immolating the thing, which begins to give off an unholy high pitched shrieking as it flails its tendrils - which serve to spread the fire even wider.

There is a terrible feeling of pressure, and a moment of indescribably stillness, and then...

Then the Castle of Ruin begins to collapse. No - collapse is too soft a word for it. The castle begins to dissolve, falling in on itself, breaking apart, exploding into motes of drifting light and clouds of spores. What begins as an orderly retreat soon becomes a rout as the Castle of Ruin tears itself apart.

At the same time the humans are running away from the heart of the Castle, the heralds and beasts of Llofir are running towards it as if drawn by some clarion call only they can hear. They ignore the mortals, save for a few unlucky individuals who are too slow to get out of the way of a trampling behemoth.

Outside the walls, that same dissolution is spreading. Everything is falling apart, dissolving into choking clouds of pink, and white, and grey. Swirling up into the sky. The good news is that despite the destruction, it proves significantly easier to move away from the ruined castle that it was to approach it. The leading edge of the dissolution rapidly outpaces the retreating troops yet some of the Highborn begin to panic. What if this great storm of dissolution spreads across Reikos? Is Llofir planning to undo the restoration work that removed the taint of the Druj from their home? Is it planning to unleash some horrific curse against the Highborn people, against their unsuspecting country-folk?

Almost precisely an hour after the heart of the Castle of Ruin was set aflame, there is another moment of stillness. An immense great lazily spinning cloud hangs over the place where the castle once stood. It's as if the whole world is holding its breath.

And then a moment later, the spores funnel downward toward the heart of what was once Llofir's Garden. And in less than ten minutes, they are gone. All of them.

A moment after that it begins to rain. Pure, cold water that washes away the last lingering vestiges of Llofir's presence.

Over the next few weeks, the unconquered of Remember Exile, and the League scouts, explore Tamarbode. There is almost no sign that Llofir was ever here, beyond a slightly higher number of mushrooms and toadstools. There are still trees, and many of them are still bearded with moss and lichen, but while they are larger and more ancient-looking than they have any right to be, they seem to be natural trees nonetheless. Birdsong is heard in Tamarbode for the first time in several years, and animals begin to migrate into Tamarbode from the neighbouring regions.

Not everything is the same. The Sign of Tamar is still present, albeit heavily overgrown with undergrowth and new trees. If nature is left to take its course, the earthwork will effectively be destroyed by the plants that have taken root on it. Yet the powerful Spring regio that served as the heart of Llofir's Castle of Ruin there is no sign. Magicians pore over the place where it once stood, which is now simply a nondescript glade of trees without the slightest hint of any magic. Whatever powerful magical site was once there, that drew first a crazed Druj Ghulai and later an eternal, is gone for good.

It is not the only magical site that appears to have been consumed in some fashion. Tamar's Toes is likewise no more - and over the next several weeks it becomes clear that there are no mana sites anywhere in Tamarbode. The flows of mana have been significantly disrupted by the destruction of the Garden of Llofir it seems - but even that chaos is beginning to settle down again. The magicians who explore the new woodlands tentatively suggest that new mana sites will form soon enough.

It could have been very different; there is speculation about why Llofir did not strike out at Reikos once it was clear its Garden was going to be destroyed. Perhaps it was unable to do so, thanks to the enmity of the Imperial Conclave, Or perhaps it simply chose not to - the choices of eternals are often inscrutable to mortals.

All in all, it is as if Llofir was never here, as if its presence were just a dream from which the people of Reikos are now awakening.

Game Information : Reikos

The region of Tamarbode has been liberated by Imperial troops and is now part of the Empire again. A major contributing factor to the victory here was the presence of Remember Exile - the fortification in Broken Ride. Without the aid of the Highborn garrison in fighting through Llofir's Garden, the League armies would still be engaged in the conquest of Tamarbode.

All sign of the eternal Llofir, its Garden, and its fortification have gone. The region now has the forested and Springtouched qualities. The unique Spring regio that once stood near the Sign of Tamar is gone, and the mana site known as Tamar's Toes has been destroyed. The earthworks know as the Sign of Tamar is slowly being reclaimed by the forest; without intervention from human hands it will effectively have been erased by the start of the Winter Solstice.

Participation : Reikos

Any character whose military unit was assigned to support one of the two League armies, or the fortification of Remember Exile, will be experiencing the lingering effects of exposure to the Garden of Llofir. There will be a slip in your pack which will detail the effect. As part of the lingering effects you may wish to phys-rep a "tainted wound" - an injury that has been touched by Spring magic such as a patch of moss growing on your arm, or an eye that has been damaged in some way by exposure to the Garden.

If you are a human whose military unit was assigned to support one of the two League armies or the fortification of Remember Exile, you may choose to roleplay have suffered a severe life-threatening injury which was healed with ritual magic... but left you with the touch of the briar lineage. If you wish to take this option you should e-mail admin@profounddecisions.co.uk with your CID so we can update your character. You may not take this option if you already possess a different lineage - it is available only to "pure" humans. If you are already a briar you may choose to strengthen your lineage by increasing your physical trappings due to exposure to the Garden.

The generals of the Towerjacks and the general of the Wolves of War may choose to take advantage of either of these opportunities. If they wish to be under the lingering effects of the Garden, they should e-mail plot@profounddecisions.co.uk to let us know.

As always these opportunities are only available to players who meet the criteria - please do not e-mail in to ask if you can have the effect if your military unit was not actively involved in Tamarbode this downtime.

Control.jpg
Oh I confess I've lost control, I let my guard down, I let the truth out.

Control

While the Grendel armada seems focused on the conquest of Feroz, the orc pirates of Attar seem to still be committed to their raids against Imperial trading ships. The recent raids on Dubhtraig and Mareave have enraged the Salt Lords however. All the reports confirm that they are offering significant bounties for every Imperial vessel captured or sunk. The Grendel control of the Bay of Catazar may not be as complete as once it was, but it cannot be denied that the Empire has struggled to prevent them from having a significant impact on merchant ships based along the southern coasts. Still... in their overconfidence they seem to have become a little overextended. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, they seem to have an arrogant certainty that they are still the masters of the sea - despite of two crushing raids against their coast. They continue to assume that while the Empire has the advantage on land, they control the seas.

This season, the Empire resolves to teach them a hard lesson; that they are no longer uncontested masters of the Bay of Catazar.

Most of the coordination of the Imperial fleets took place at Anvil. With the attack agreed, most individual captains simply gather in ports across the Bay, find other captains they can work with, and put to sea. Ships from every Imperial nation are represented; the largest single contribution comes from the Brass Coast unsurprisingly, but there are also sizeable contingents of vessels from Highguard, Navarr, and the League.

CitizenNationTerritoryBanner
Adan i DelToro i RiquezaThe Brass CoastDelToro
Jeziah i RadahThe Brass CoastHouse i Souza i Guerra
Oria i Shartha i RiquezaThe Brass CoastThe New Promise Cartel
Captain BeoccaDawnAstolat
Elaine BardDawnAstolat
Emberlyn BrontideDawnAstolatPhoenix Knights of Asolat
Varro AelerisHighguardBastionJachin's Legacy
RinnahHighguardBastionShattered Tower Banner
Bjorn of North FensThe MarchesBregasland
Misha KemiThe MarchesBregaslandOrder of the Forgotten Word
Philip of OtteryThe MarchesBregaslandOtterwatch
MyrkvaThe MarchesBregaslandThe Copperhill Monastery Estate
ElidorNavarrBroceliande
SianuNavarrBroceliande
Xandra i Marusa i RiquezaThe Brass CoastBroceliande
BaalHighguardCasineaFelix's Watch Banner
LucanHighguardCasineaStorm's Fury
Izaro i Kemen i erigroThe Brass CoastFeroz
Karg I Estrico I ErigoThe Brass CoastFeroz
Miguel i Angel i RiquezaThe Brass CoastFeroz
Victarion I Vagos I GuerraThe Brass CoastFeroz
Zorion i GuerraThe Brass CoastFeroz
japharThe Brass CoastFeroz
Madia i Mestiere i GuerraThe Brass CoastFerozFlame of Anduz
Ana i Taziel i RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozHouse Taziel
Carmen i TazielThe Brass CoastFerozHouse Taziel
Demetrio Taziel i RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozHouse Taziel
MaeThe Brass CoastFerozHouse Taziel
OctaviaThe Brass CoastFerozHouse Taziel
Scevola i TazielThe Brass CoastFerozHouse Taziel
Tancred Enrico i Taziel i RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozHouse Taziel
NaiaThe Brass CoastFerozHouse i Souza i Guerra
Ramos i Kemen i ErigoThe Brass CoastFerozHouse i Souza i Guerra
Mont i Sawa i ErigoThe Brass CoastFerozKrakenfire Armada
Rafaela i Simar i RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozThe Crew of the Splendid Albatross
AdoriaThe Brass CoastFerozThe Ezmaran Key to Prosperity
Azzam i Zaydan i RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozThe New Promise Cartel
Bayan Zayden RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozThe New Promise Cartel
Chiara Zayden RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozThe New Promise Cartel
Ibbie Zayden RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozThe New Promise Cartel
Joaquin i Shartha i RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozThe New Promise Cartel
Karlos Shartha RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozThe New Promise Cartel
Marcelino i Zaydan i ErigoThe Brass CoastFerozThe New Promise Cartel
Sagremar i ZaydenThe Brass CoastFerozThe New Promise Cartel
Bastiana i Fontanilla i RiquezaThe Brass CoastFerozThe Tempest Flame
Teodoro i SueroThe Brass CoastFerozThe Tempest Flame
Winro AareWintermarkHahnmark
Devlin QwayWintermarkHahnmarkCrescent Tide
NaxWintermarkHahnmarkCrescent Tide
Inar Dunning the BlacksmithWintermarkHahnmarkDunhearth Hall
SigvaldWintermarkHahnmarkThe Embers of Ashenhall
Cedric GallowsNavarrHercynia
Bleddyn EternalNavarrHercyniaNarmada
CormacNavarrHercyniaRuis Farkas
Victor van HolbergThe LeagueHolberg
Randolf WolskiThe LeagueHolbergThe Brotherhood of the Ashen Tower
Sadiq IsaThe Brass CoastKahraman
Iñez i Azul-Mar i GuerraThe Brass CoastKahramanBloodgold Jackals
Amarie ElidorThe Brass CoastKahramanHouse i Souza i Guerra
Fennir of Brackenbeak HallWintermarkKallavesa
Gis TahvossonWintermarkKallavesa
Osmo RuneharthWintermarkKallavesa
ReinholdWintermarkKallavesa
Manni OswisonnWintermarkKallavesaThe Aesclings
Janov Abramovich TartakovskyThe Brass CoastKarov
Pavel NovakVarushkaKarovWulfen Reavers
TriskaVarushkaKarovWulfen Reavers
Nikolai draviNavarrLiathavenNarmada
Aurélio i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadruga
Basil i RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadruga
Beatriz i Santoro i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadruga
CoiraThe Brass CoastMadruga
Eduardo i Otoño i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadruga
Elon i Kalamar i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadruga
Emiliano i Marusa i RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadruga
Idylla I Orianza I RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadruga
Ieri i Kalamar i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadruga
JamThe Brass CoastMadruga
Juuzou i Radah i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadruga
Rafael i Marusa i RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadruga
Safya i Kalamar i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadruga
Umbar i Radah i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadruga
Xavier i Marusa i RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadruga
Xiomara i Marusa i RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadruga
Aurelio i Sarado i RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadrugaBloodgold Jackals
Elian i Carilla i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadrugaBloodgold Jackals
DatlanThe Brass CoastMadrugaFamily Zabala
SibyllaThe Brass CoastMadrugaFamily Zabala
Talmez i Fijadoz i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadrugaFijadoz Family
Artesanos i RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadrugaFlames of the Coast
Ba'ken i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadrugaFlames of the Coast
Roque I Orianza IThe Brass CoastMadrugaHouse Orianza
Trystane I Orianza I ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaHouse Orianza
Delmara i Ruiloba i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadrugaHouse Taziel
Edgardo i Ruiloba i GuerraThe Brass CoastMadrugaHouse Taziel
Estana I Mestiere I GuerraThe Brass CoastMadrugaHouse i Souza i Guerra
Kaneki I Mestiere I GuerraThe Brass CoastMadrugaHouse i Souza i Guerra
Razin'Jeb i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaHouse i Souza i Guerra
Vrael i Sol-Devorador i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaHouse i Souza i Guerra
Florina i Sol-Devorador i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaKrakenfire Armada
LilithThe Brass CoastMadrugaKrakenfire Armada
Husif i Azuro i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Blue Flames
Carlos i Del'Toro i RiquezaThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Ezmaran Key to Prosperity
JoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Ezmaran Key to Prosperity
Anselmo i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Tempest Flame
Beatriz i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Tempest Flame
Bonita i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Tempest Flame
Dilis i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Tempest Flame
Ezro i Alvera i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Tempest Flame
Feliciana i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Tempest Flame
Miguel i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass CoastMadrugaThe Tempest Flame
Limpiar I kemen I Guerra I ZemressThe Brass CoastMadrugaTides of Zemress
Ambroos Antoon Broken-BoughNavarrMiaren
Conrad BarstonNavarrMiaren
Corrin AshwoodNavarrMiaren
Ioan EternalNavarrMiarenNarmada
Llewellyn LeafstalkerNavarrMiarenNarmada
Rhys NighthavenNavarrMiarenNarmada
keyanNavarrMiarenNarmada
Darius TanglehornNavarrMiarenTanglehorn
Deaucalion EmrysNavarrMiarenTorn Asunder
nyrahNavarrMiarenTorn Asunder
Radomir Dobromilovich StraskovichVarushkaMiekarovaVor'Azi Wardens
Henry BywaterThe MarchesMitwoldThe Wickermen
Quay StoneThe MarchesMournwoldHouse Stone
Bronimir Kazyn JarekHighguardNecropolis
DubidaiHighguardNecropolis
Miralut JarekHighguardNecropolis
YordenHighguardNecropolis
CalebHighguardNecropolisBanner of the Cenotaph
AelricHighguardNecropolisSaker Chapter
AlgarHighguardNecropolisSaker Chapter
DrothdirHighguardNecropolisSaker Chapter
KapikHighguardNecropolisSaker Chapter
Oswi Twice-BurnedHighguardNecropolisSaker Chapter
LazarusHighguardNecropolisShattered Tower Banner
RiverHighguardNecropolisShattered Tower Banner
AdoraimHighguardNecropolisThe Raven's Watch
ConstantinaUrizenRedoubt
MarcusUrizenRedoubt
NatalusUrizenRedoubt
OctaviousUrizenRedoubt
Tzimisas of Star Fury SpireUrizenRedoubt
CreedHighguardReikos
IssacharHighguardReikosThe Unbound Chapter
JeanThe LeagueSarvos
Lorelan ThoressThe LeagueSarvos
Richardo Glostari di SarvosThe LeagueSarvos
Silambe WhiteflameThe LeagueSarvos
Concordio Barcaiolo di sarvosThe LeagueSarvosCarta Bellamarina
Achille di SarvosThe LeagueSarvosLeague Merchant Marine
Ertsio Audita De SarvosThe LeagueSarvosLeague Merchant Marine
Lucius VanAuldressanth di SarvosThe LeagueSarvosLiberta Rossa
Brewer van temeschwarThe LeagueSarvosThe Giants Of Sarvos
Grimandi Vascello di SarvosThe LeagueSarvosThe Giants Of Sarvos
Leandro di SarvosThe LeagueSarvosThe Giants Of Sarvos
Serena Flavia Beatriz di Foracci della SarvosThe LeagueSarvosThe Giants Of Sarvos
Ventura Notturno Di SarvosThe LeagueSarvosThe Giants Of Sarvos
David, Jademist, GuerraThe Brass CoastSegura
Esteban I Del Rio Blanco I GuerraThe Brass CoastSegura
Squid i Bard i GuerraThe Brass CoastSegura
Yentaro i Zabala i ErigoThe Brass CoastSegura
Elena i Zabala i ErigoThe Brass CoastSeguraFamily Zabala
Yasmeen i Zabala i ErigoThe Brass CoastSeguraFamily Zabala
Qayid DakerThe Brass CoastSeguraHouse i Souza i Guerra
Samu i ZemressThe Brass CoastSeguraHouse i Souza i Guerra
Sagua i'Ezmara i'Murit i'ErigoThe Brass CoastSeguraThe Ezmaran Key to Prosperity
Azir i Sharfa i RiquezaThe Brass CoastSeguraThe New Promise Cartel
Esme SailmakerDawnSemmerholmThe Reavers of House Dromond
Cerun ArteusWintermarkSermersuaq
OrcaWintermarkSermersuaq
Vannuq DunningWintermarkSermersuaqDunhearth Hall
VanaImperial OrcsSkarsindAshborn
UrqImperial OrcsSkarsindLegion Protectorate
DredgeImperial OrcsSkarsindStormcrow
ThaliaUrizenSpiralBanner of the Phoenix
Danica Lidija van TemeschwarThe LeagueTassatoThe Blacktail Kings (King Company)
Lucky FlintThe LeagueTemeschwarCrimson Reaper Cartel
Captain Markus DeVereThe LeagueTemeschwarHolsburger Haudegen
Artemisia de Caravaggio von TemeschwarThe LeagueTemeschwarThe Sea Wolves
Giustiniano Del GiornoThe LeagueTemeschwarThe Sea Wolves
Aisling FeatherNavarrTheruninDancing Leaf
Wesley “Talon” FingalNavarrTheruninDancing Leaf
Owain FarkasNavarrTheruninIn the Navvari
faceNavarrTheruninNarmada
Oda FarkasNavarrTheruninRuis Farkas
VaanNavarrTheruninTwo Feet
EbenezerThe MarchesUpwoldThe Applewood Levy
Jagoda Petnova SulichVarushkaVolodmartzThe Oxen Head
RaingrimDawnWeirwaterHouse Du Soleil
Electra NaximosAxosTowers of KantorNíkisti Thálassa
Akeros Stathmi TonerouAxosTowers of KantorNíkisti Thálassa
Caprica NaximosAxosTowers of KantorNíkisti Thálassa
Sagita FotiátóxoAxosTowers of KantorNíkisti Thálassa
KávourasAxosTowers of Kantor</tdNíkisti Thálassa
Távros Pétrino KefáliAxosTowers of KantorNíkisti Thálassa
Zygos OsofósAxosTowers of KantorNíkisti Thálassa
Skorpiós SfagíAxosChambers of IssykNíkisti Thálassa
Kóri SfagíAxosChambers of IssykNíkisti Thálassa
Dione PiscatosAxosHalls of MaykopNíkisti Thálassa
Leonis Dynatí KardiáAxosWalls of IpotavoNíkisti Thálassa

Many of the ships' crews have been granted magical boons to help them in their task of hunting and destroying Grendel ships. The enchantments of Spring prove particularly popular - although this is not without its own concerns. Crews bearing the mark of Spring magic often experience a drive to act without consideration for the consequences, and some revel in the urge to take whatever they want. It is no surprise that ships whose crews feel particularly uninhibited about using violence against anyone who gets in their way are often encouraged to get themselves under sail as quickly as possible rather than hang around on the docks of Siroc, Sarvos, or Crown's Quay. Other captains have favoured the less violent but undeniably powerful enchantments of Summer. Infused with power, supported by the eternal Rhianos, these crews need no urging to set sail - they feel the draw of new vistas, the urge to explore places they have never seen before, the certainty that great things await them on the high seas if they are just brave enough to seek them out. There is a paradox at the heart of this enchantment - for all that it grants the crews who sail under it bottomless reserves of confidence, and bolsters their naval skills, it also bends the skein of fate so that their ships encounter more obstacles, greater threats... all more opportunities for adventure!

Regardless of whether they bear enchantments, the Imperial ships are united in a single cause; to hunt down Grendel ships and capture or destroy them by any means.

Given that the Grendel themselves are busy seeking out the fat merchant vessels of Imperial traders, some captains sensibly surmise that they should just shadow such vessels and simply wait for the orcs to turn up. Which they do, in large numbers. Expecting easy pickings or at worst a few escorting combat-ready vessels, easily overwhelmed, the Grendel pirates are taken completely by surprise when they encounter zealous warships itching for the chance to engage them in life-or-death combat. Worse - for the orcs - when they try to disengage the privateers simply abandon the merchant ships they are notionally escorting and give chase. Time and again across the Bay, Imperial escorts clash with Grendel pirates. Those that flee are run to ground; those that stand and fight are sunk or crippled and boarded. League and Marcher captains in particular favour this practical approach.

Some fleets actively hunt the privateers, attacking them when they feel safe. The Freeborn are true masters of this strategy, drawing on centuries of experience playing seagull-and-crab games with the Grendel from one end of the Bay to the other. Often, they are able to take the Grendel ships by surprise, crippling their sails or breaking their oars before they can fully react. Lone Grendel ships are particularly easy prey for the Freeborn corsairs. Over time the orcs learn, however, and begin clustering together into larger groups the better to fight off the Imperial ships hunting them across the waves. Unfortunately for the Grendel, this just makes it easier for the corsairs and their allies to find them.

A number of ships turn the Grendel tactics back on them. These vessels - a significant number of whom hail from Varushka and Navarr - hunt Grendel merchant ships rather than privateers. The orc trading vessels are built to transport cargo, not for speed or war. They are generally escorted by a couple of more martially suited ships but they often struggle to outrun Imperial warships. It is a challenge to identify the trade routes their ships prefer - they tend to avoid the broad western channel between the Iron Confederacy and Tathar meaning that captains who wish to prey on these rich ships must risk diving deep into Grendel-held waters on the eastern side of Attar.

More adventurous ship captains target the heavily guarded supply routes supporting the Grendel armada in Feroz. This is no endeavour for the faint-hearted. Rather than being made up solely of undisciplined orc privateers of the Broken Shore, the supply ships are generally guarded by serious Grendel warships crewed by as many hard-bitten, combat-ready marines as by simple sailors. Attacking such convoys requires plenty of organisation, preparation, planning - and ships. The Highborn and Urizen ships prove particularly adept at executing these raids; while they are able to claim few supplies directly almost half of the supply convoys on the Bay of Catazar this season are sent to the bottom. As the season draws on, the Grendel reinforce their convoys with naval vessels and the raids cease to be practical. Yet there is a cost to the Grendel - the need for stronger escorts means they must perforce cut the number of convoys significantly meaning that their naval forces on the other side of the Bay will find it much harder to resupply.

The most adventurous captains seek out opportunities to raid the actual towns and pirate coves along the Bay that the pirates call home. Ships belonging to Winterfolk, Dawnish, and Imperial Orc captains seem especially drawn to these risky attacks. Lightning raids across Ayereed and Shayeel culminate in an attack against the prosperous Grendel port of Gainmeachdubh under the very gaze of the powerful Salt Lord Azshur himself! Gainmeachdubh occupies a position part-way between Beoraidh and Dubhtraig in terms of size, but the citizens are much closer to the wild barbarians of the Broken Shore than the notionally civilised people of the late Salt Lord Suriad's old estates. The raid results in significant damage to the harbour, with over two dozen Grendel pirate ships being set aflame before they can even weigh anchor.

The Empire is not entirely alone in its endeavour. About a month after the Spring Equinox, a small fleet of black-sailed warships arrives at Crown's Quay, escorting a convoy of Axou merchant vessels. Several of the ships are clearly enchanted; swirling fog coils around the hulls of some, while ghostly figures drift and flit around the rigging of some of the others. Their crews report several run-ins with pirates, which they have won. Their leader is Kapetánios Electra Naximos of Kantor - a fiery woman with curling ram's horns and an uncompromising manner - who speaks for a loose alliance of almost a dozen Axou captains. Here at the invitation of the Ambassador they are keen to participate in securing the Bay of Catazar and teaching the Grendel a definitive lesson. The ships stick together, ranging up and down the eastern coast of the Bay sinking Grendel ships wherever possible, occasionally joining up with Imperial ships to attack particularly well-defended targets.

Master of Fleets.jpg
Esteban I Del Rio Blanco I Guerra, the Imperial Fleet Master.

While a major force of Imperial captains is united in their goal of dominating the bay, they never quite reach the critical mass that would allow them to attack the Temple of Tempest Jade or disrupt the bloody and brutal Rites of Spring. Indeed, in the final month before the Summer Solstice, it becomes significantly more dangerous to hunt Grendel pirates. The rites this year have by all accounts been especially bloody, and record numbers of orc ships now bear potent "blessings" of Spring magic. While some are identifiabley enchanted with the same magic the Empire favours - a ritual similar to Blood and Salt - others bear more potent enchantments. Specifically, a number of orc captains appear to have been granted the favour of Siakha herself - great sea monsters accompany their ships as they begin to launch raids of their own against the Imperial fleet captains.

The Empire still has the upper hand - although it becomes increasingly necessary for independent captains to coordinate their actions for fear of being caught by a much larger force of Grendel ships. Luckily, the reliance of the pirates on Spring magic means that they find it even harder than usual to cooperate with each other or engage in complex planning - which proves to be a valuable advantage to the Empire.

Unfortunately, while the Broken Shore pirates embrace Spring magic, their Grendel overlords clearly favour much less chaotic enchantment. As the Summer Solstice draws closer, purple sailed Grendel warships often flying the colours of one Salt Lord or another begin to make coordinated sweeps along the southern and eastern coasts of the Bay. Rather than savage bloodletting or monstrous beasts, they bear signs of magic that helps them track enemy ships over great distances, or twists the skein of fate to allow them to come upon raiding vessels at just the worst possible time for the Empire.

That said... the Grendel cannot ignore the message they have been sent. Hundreds of their ships have been sunk, or crippled, or sent fleeing back to safe havens with their sails in tatters. Their safe havens have been exposed as being nowhere near as safe as they might have wished. They cannot fail to have learned that their control of the Bay is no longer uncontested, and that their attacks on Imperial trading ships will no longer be tolerated. Their invasion of the Brass Coast continues, but they must now weigh the difficulties of getting their supply convoys across the Bay in the face of Imperial opposition. Their piracy may continue, but the days when they could simply pick off the juiciest prizes as they saw fit are over.

It's likely the Salt Lords are very angry with the Empire right now.

Game Information : Bay of Catazar

While the Empire gathered sufficient force to meet the 30,000 strength threshold, there was not sufficient support to reach the final tier and disrupt the Rites of Spring. Still, this represents a significant victory for the Empire over the Grendel; they have certainly made the Bay of Catazar a more dangerous environment for the Grendel orcs.

The penalties suffered by Imperial trading vessels operating from ports along the Bay of Catazar have been removed for the foreseeable future. While the Grendel will still be a threat, they are significantly less confident in their approaches and will return to opportunistic attacks against trading ships rather than actively hunting them. The Grendel pirates will likely find some other way to cause trouble, but just as the earlier action caused them to lose interest in interfering with the fishing fleet, so they will turn their attention away from ships trading via the Bay of Catazar.

Raids against coastal settlements dominated by Grendel pirates, especially in Shayeel and Ayereed, have provided a bounty of 12 wains of mithril and 6 rings of ilium. These resources have been collected by the Imperial Fleet Master.

Imperial ships have inflicted significant damage on international trade undertaken by the Salt Lords, sinking, seizing, or crippling a number of trading vessels heading for Asavea, Sarcophan, and Jarm.

The threat to Grendel supply convoys means that for the next year Grendel navies will find it harder to resupply. The will only be able to benefit from natural or emergency resupply while in a territory they control. Furthermore, their rate of natural resupply when they are in their own territories will be halved.

Participation : Bay of Catazar

This has not been a simple raid against a static target, but a campaign of attacks back and forth across the Bay of Catazar, many of them quite risky in nature. As a consequence every fleet that has taken part in the action is assumed to have sustained some damage. The game effect is that each fleet suffers a -2 penalty to its production (equivalent to 40 points of effective strength) for the next six months. You are free to roleplay the form that this damage takes as you see fit - it might be actual damage to your ship or ships; dead or depleted crew; or even that your crew are taking some time off to carouse away the wealth they have accrued during their raids against Grendel pirates.

Vow.jpg
You burned me out but I'm back at your door.

Vow

Barely three weeks after the Spring Equinox, and almost exactly a year since the previous attempt was thwarted, a Jotun army attempts to invade Kahraman from the west again.

It is a smaller force than that which came last Summer - only fifteen thousand or so warriors march into Serra Damata from the Lasambrian Hills. At first they face minimal resistance; some try to fight but the majority of the inhabitants of Serra Damata choose to flee. Those most minded to resist have died or been taken as thralls during the previous invasions - or joined the army or the garrison at Fort Braydon. The Jotun advance quickly through the hills, sending raiding parties south toward Rojota and east to harry the caravans transporting white granite and mithril from the Cliffs and the Pit.

Leading the advance here are the Bear-Who-Swims, last seen in Liathaven. Their numbers are still bolstered by magical knights, brought from the court of Eleonaris to support the Jotun, who take the form of orcs with spreading antlers in crimson-and-gold armour. Before the Spring Equinox, the army sought to remove the Imperial presence in West Ranging for some reason, perhaps tied to their interest in the Paths of Lan Thuven. Only the intervention of Imperial heroes during the Spring Equinox prevented the Jotun from tearing the hidden paths wide open, allowing Jotun armies to traverse the vallorn between northern and southern Liathaven (and causing who knows how much else potential damage in the process). Perhaps their commander took the appearance of the Imperial heroes as evidence that the Empire were not done with Liathaven; perhaps coming to Kahraman was always their intention. Regardless, their tactics prove almost as effective in Kahraman as they did in Liathaven and they quickly establish armed camps in the western Damatian hills from which to oversee and supply the invasion of the Cinnabar Hills.

They are not the only Jotun army here - the tenacious Skjalderborn have come south from Sermersuaq to aid in the invasion of Kahraman. The great host of northern orc warriors seem a little unprepared for the heat of Summer on the Brass Coast, but soon shed their heavy furs and sealskins and join their cousins of the Bear-That-Swims in adopting lighter clothing. The honour guard of Queen Yrsa Jansdottir herself, the Jarl of Jarls of the northern Jotun, they are a mighty force indeed. Early reports suggest they are recovering from a great forced march along almost the entire length of the Jotun nation, north and south alike. Tired, they are forced into a more defensive stance than they might have chosen. Yet when the Skjalderborn move, they move like a thrown javelin direct and swift, their long strides eating up the miles until they crash like a wave against their destination.

It seems a little odd that the Jotun invading Kahraman are both northern armies. Perhaps it speaks of the close relationship between the Queen of Kalsea and her southern counterpart, Gudmundur Arason, King of Narkyst, who also claims the title Jarl-of-Jarls.

Unlike Liathaven, where the Bear-That-Swims gained an easy victory and almost dislodged the Empire again, the hills of Kahraman is not undefended. The only thing that stands between the Jotun and the conquest of the Serra Damata Cliffs, however, is the garrison of Fort Braydon. The fortification itself stands at the far northern side of the territory, gazing down into the Mournwold. The Jotun are far away across the rough, dry hills, fast-flowing streams, barren mountainsides, treacherous gullies, and rocky valleys. Recent proposals regarding roads and bridges to help the garrison protect the miners and farmers have not born fruit, but that does not prevent the doughty defenders doing their best to slow the Jotun orcs. And slow them they do.

There are patrols of course, who manage to pass the message of the orc presence back to their commanders in Braydon's Jasse. They quickly take up defensive positions at Damata, encouraging the miners there to make a stand to protect their homes and their livelihoods. Several of the dhomiro of Serra Briante bring their warriors west to help support their neighbours - a practical decision rather than anything based on altruism. The Jotun have been here before. They never stop at Serra Damata; they always press on to take the mithril from the Great Pit. Better to stop them now, and fight in your neighbour's camp, than face them tomorrow in your own camp.

In some ways, it is as if the people of Kahraman - of Serra Damata and Serra Briante especially - have been expecting the Jotun. After their first invasion in recent years was driven back in the Winter of 380YE, they left a message and a warning: We came. We shall come again. Come again they did, two years later. Now they have come a third time in five years. Quite apart from their claims that Kahraman was once their homeland, or whatever other rubbish they talk, they know that the Cinnabar Hills are above all else rich. Rich with the treasure that the Jotun value; white granite, mithril, magical minerals, iron, and gold. The people of the hills don't doubt that the Jotun will be driven back as they have been every previous time - the question is what it will cost.

The defenders do their best to sabotage the Jotun invasion; collapsing bridges, blocking roads, and removing waymarkers. They cannot stop the Jotun, but they can hopefully buy enough time for the Empire to respond. They are absolutely outmatched - the orcs outnumber them, have better equipment, and they are clearly skilled at operating well in advance of their own supply lines, while the garrison that opposes them is strung out across the entire territory, with their main camp far away from the front lines. As the Summer Solstice approaches, there are reports that a significant portion of the garrison are in untenable positions, with a real risk that a major portion of the soldiers who protect Kahraman may fall before the Jotun without Imperial intervention even before the orcs make their way to Braydon's Jasse.

But they still fight. The Jotun are perhaps two-thirds of the way towards conquering Serra Damata and establishing a beach head in Kahraman. They have been held back from claiming Damata - and the bounty of white granite represented by the Damatian Cliffs. Without the bravery of the Fort Braydon garrison the orcs would have washed over Serra Damata, and have made significant inroads elsewhere - most likely Serra Briante.

Game Information : Kahraman

The Jotun have made significant inroads into Serra Damata, but have not taken the entire region thanks to the presence of Fort Braydon. The fortification was not engaged directly, so neither side has suffered any real casualties. The challenges of defending Kahraman against the Jotun are beginning to show however; a number of soldiers from the fort are in a precarious position as the Summer Solstice grows near - further details of this situation can be found in the major conjunctions report, below.

Three of the four Freeborn territories are now being invaded by barbarian orcs.

When it Rains.jpg
What is my day going to look like? What will my tomorrow bring me?

Where It Hurts

The Druj have attempted to issue an ultimatum or they will kill children and yeofolk. Heroes will move ahead and ensure they are safe from their captors. Our job is to punish these captors. We will drive them from Dawnguard, no matter the cost. Death to the Druj!

Tancred de Rondell, General of the Hounds of Glory

The Lion

Dawnguard fell to the Druj shortly after the Spring Equinox 381YE. With it, the Dawnish presence in the Barrens was no more. Many fled, but many more were left behind. Trapped by the Druj, or refusing to flee before the orcs. In the years since there have been fragmentary accounts of slavery, oppression, and tyranny suffered by the nobles and yeofolk held at the "mercy" of the Mallum orcs.

With the fighting in Ossium over for the moment, the five armies that conquered the territory - the Hounds of Glory, the Eastern Sky, the Golden Sun, the Gryphon's Pride and the Varushkan Golden Axe - cross the river south into Holberg. The crossing is not without its own dangers - the river is wide and fast flowing and the woods of northern Holberg are home to bandits and renegade orcs. It is fortunate that the poisonous plants that once twined around the trees of Misericorde and Utterlund are no more or else the armies would find their trek south even more perilous. As it is, the worst they have to deal with is the stinking mud of the Morass - the great marsh that now encompasses everything that is not forest or city. There is an opportunity to clean that mud from their boots when they pass through the League city itself - and the proud burghers of Holberg are keen to sell the soldiers souvenirs, travel supplies, sausages, and make any number of other enticing offers during their brief stay.

From Holberg, they travel west through the high passes into Semmerholm, down past the newly completed Adamant Gate, and gather in Axmure to regroup and prepare for the campaign that is to come.

Brave knights of the sun. The time has come to fulfill Dawn's destiny. We will travel via Holberg and invade the Barrens. We are supported in this by our allies from Varushka and the Summer Realm. Death to the Druj! Glory to the Empire!

Zoran De Orzel, General of the Golden Sun

There are no half measures once the invasion of the Barrens begins. The Hounds of Glory, inspired as never before by the pursuit of glory, lead the attack. The knights and witches of the Hounds' are absolutely committed to liberating Dawnguard, no matter the cost. They burn with zeal, prepared to take immense risks to realise their ambitions. The other armies are not far behind. The Gryphon's Pride have fought in the Barrens in the past, before Dawnguard fell. Fighting alongside the Golden Sun, they claimed both Murderdale and the Carmine Fields - before Druj treachery threw them back. Once again, they fight alongside the Golden Sun, Once again, they are focused on conquest - having already selected the key objectives they will assail to ensure the Druj are driven out and Dawnguard is once again Imperial. They know the terrain, after all. The Eastern Sky are no less spirited in their attack, seeking to overwhelm the Druj before they know what has hit them - a tide of steel and magic that will carry the orcs away like broken reeds before the flood.

The Golden Axe and the Golden Sun have different goals. The Varushkans establish supply lines quickly, but are further supported by many wagon raiders adept at taking from the land whatever it is the armies need. While the Dawnish push straight for Drycastle, the Varushkans spread out to liberate the smaller towns, villages, and manors that lie along the route. The Golden Sun employ similar tactics - while they are not part of the glorious charge towards the heart of Dawnguard, they are nonetheless in the thick of the fray - fighting to consolidate the lands the other armies conquer, ensuring they are swept clean of Druj ambushers.

We will march via Holberg to Dawnguard, once there we will raise our banners. The Druj took our home, and we in turn took theirs. Now we return to the Barrens and claim our homes. With the sun at our backs, this glorious Dawnish host will punish our enemies.

Vincent 'The Scorpion' Vexille, General of the Eastern Sky

There is powerful magic at work here. The Hounds of Glory and the Golden Sun alike are accompanied by elfin knights called from the realm of Eleonaris. Over the last several season the Dawnish have come to recognise theses knights, to welcome their presence, and become used to their passion for battle. Here in the Barrens however, it is as if an unquenchable fire burns through them - especially those accompanying the Hounds of Glory. They literally laugh as they cut down the Druj warriors foolish enough to stand against them, fighting with a fervour that borders on madness. It is as if an aura of power burns around them when they are fighting, the Hounds and the knights egging each other on to even greater acts of recklessness in pursuit of glory. One troubadour speaks in hushed tones of watching a band of knights fight alongside a band of Hounds with many changelings among their number - and of being unable at times to tell which were mortal and which were heralds of the Fields of Glory. When they are not fighting, however, these knights of the Summer Queen are more subdued. They will not speak of it, but when they have time for introspection there is an almost palpable aura of sorrow about them. "It is the Queen," they explain. "It is her mood."

The Barrens themselves are enchanted, likewise. Spring magic thrums in every stream, every pool, every lake, every puddle. In every glass of water, in every bottle of wine. Rivers of Life coil and twist across Dawnguard - and presumably across the rest of the Barrens as well. Any injury that is not fatal is healed overnight. This proves a particularly valuable magical working given the furious assault the Imperial armies are launching against the Druj here. Perhaps it is a blessing from Irra Harah suggest some younger magicians. More experienced witches and volhov have a more sober explanation for the magic that roils in every raindrop. The Druj have laid the Spring magic themselves, in anticipation of an attack.

It becomes clear reasonably quickly that these more cynical magicians have the right of it. The Druj are indeed anticipating an attack.

Soldiers of the Pride! To Dawnguard!

Garravaine De Rondell, General of the Gryphon's Pride

Almost as soon as the first Imperial boots touch the soil of the Barrens, the Druj are there. As always it is difficult to judge their numbers - the Druj are adept at striking and then falling back seeking to lure the foolhardy into an ambush. It is clear that the warriors of the Black Wind are at the forefront of the defence. Once the Black Wind fought free of the chains of the Druj, and claimed the Barrens for their own. Yet when it became clear that they could not defend their homes, and that their only choice was whether to be conquered by the Druj or the people of Dawn, they bowed their heads to the orcs. It becomes clear very quickly that they harbour an abiding hatred for the Dawnish in their coal black hearts. They are forced to retreat before the Dawnish advance - but wherever they have the chance they take the time to slaughter as many of the humans they have taken as slaves as they can.

Take their land, pushing on with the armies of Dawn.

Katia Strascovich, General of the Golden Axe

Their retreat does not last long, unfortunately. Within a week, reinforcements arrive from elsewhere in the Barrens. Thousands of Druj pour into Dawnguard. Not only Druj - savage beasts out of The Bleaks and Farweald fight alongside the orcs - or at least follow in their wake. Worse, malignant marsh creatures from Saltmarsh creep around when dusk rolls in. There are reports of peculiar dancing lights beneath the empty night skies that lead patrols astray, and of ghostly crocodiles that emerge from the shadows and snap unsuspecting soldiers in half with their cruel jaws. The Druj have brought not only Spring magic to bear in the Barrens, but also the more subtle - and arguably more dangerous - magic of Night as well. Worse, some of the more powerful Druj warriors wield blades infused with black glass that deliver terrible curses on those they strike, filling them with madness and despair that lingers long after the battle is concluded.

The orc warriors and their supernatural allies are only part of the problem. Coordinating the defence of the Barrens are the Druj who fight beneath the banner of the bone ant - the White Lion. They have clearly been planning for an attack for some time; there are hidden fallbacks and concealed caches of weapons and supplies across Dawnguard. Entire villages have been prepared - emptied of inhabitants and left as traps to lure in the unwary to a mass of lethal deadfalls, spiked pits, and worse. Those who fought in Reikos must suppress a twinge, remembering the horror that was the liberation of Haros Water, or the terrible battles in the ruined streets of Tabernacle.

Initially, the sheer force of the Imperial advance pushes the Druj onto the back foot. The first week or so, the Empire is able to free several hundred Dawnish prisoners from the malicious Mallum orcs before they can take reprisals against them. Once the Druj have found their footing, however, the situation changes. The Imperial advance falters, stops, and slowly turns back. Step by step, the Druj press the Empire back, forcing them to cede the territory they have claimed. Shortly before the Summer Solstice, even the Hounds of Glory are forced to admit that their attack has failed. Horns sound mournfully in the gathering gloom, and the Imperial armies retreat back across the border into Semmerholm.

Even with the healing magic cloaking the territory, the Empire has lost nearly a thousand of its soldiers. It is as always difficult to say how many warriors the Druj have lost - but it is likely given the zeal of the Imperial attackers that the orcs will have suffered similar losses.

The worst part, perhaps, is that true to their word the Druj response to the invasion is to brutally murder hundreds of Dawnish prisoners. It is hard to say precisely now many die, but as the Spring Equinox approaches, weeping slaves begin to erect a forest of sharp wooden spikes just out of bowshot but within easy sight of the Axmure forests. Atop each spike is placed a human head. Row upon row of dead yeofolk are joined by the severed heads of Dawnish and Varushkan soldiers captured in battle. A terrible garden of suffering, malice, and despair.

Where it Hurts.jpg
All I care about is you and that's the truth.

The Hare

Despite the failure of the invasion, however, the Druj do not have everything their own way. Quite the contrary.

While the armies of Dawn and Varushka are marching down through Holberg and Semmerholm, an army of an altogether different stripe is gathering in Semmerholm, in Reikos, in Holberg, and in Therunin. Independent captains and heroes, working closely with Papa Otec's Children, prepare to sneak into the Barrens and free first the Dawnish children held in Drycastle, and then as many of those held in bondage by the Druj as they can manage. The majority of those planning to enter the Barrens are Dawnish, but members of nearly every Imperial nation are represented among those prepared to risk capture, torment, and death at the hands of the Mallum orcs. Only the Imperial Orcs are absent; but they no doubt have more immediate concerns.

The soldiers come with fire and thunder, but the liberators take the less-well-travelled routes. From Therunin, with the aid of secretive Navarr scouts, they pass silently into the southern forests of the Barrens. From Semmerholm, with the aid of resolute yeofolk who will not give their names, they slip through the trees and past the unseeing eyes of the Druj into Dawnguard. From Reikos, with the aid of the orcs of the Great Forest they press through the hungry silence that pools beneath the boughs of Peytaht. From Holberg, they receive the aid of masked sailors who pole flat-bottomed boats slowly down the river under cover of darkness down toward the Carmine Fields, and the Barren Sea.

Those who wish to can accept the gifts of Papa Otec, delivered by his heralds or his Children. Gifts of strength, of stamina, of the furious energy of the briar. A few are able to gain a more unique blessing; a surprisingly subtle shroud of Spring magic that helps them pass unnoticed by the cruel eyes of the Druj. Some of the Children wield simple shillelaghs, clubs, and cudgels of stained wood that strike lethal blows, or are able to smash shields, chains, skulls, and locked doors with equal facility - although it is not clear if the supernatural power lies in the clubs or in the ones who wield them. For all that the Guard of the Young has the support of the Conclave, everyone knows that support is conditional. There are still many secrets the Children of Papa Otec keep to themselves.

Stealth i
CitizenNationTerritoryBanner
Gertrudinie 'Mouse' Fletcher of House de CoeurdeferDawnAstolat
Jarrigk OrzelDawnAstolat
Kaywenn Du LauncetDawnAstolat
Zadkiel de CoeurdeferDawnAstolat
Olivier du StanierDawnAstolatHouse De Montrose
AdhemarDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
Bohemond De RondellDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
Eadric FjellreveningDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
Garravaine De RondellDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
Lord Colwynn de RondellDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
Roland De RondellDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
Roland MillerDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
TancredDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
Tyburn WeaverDawnAstolatHouse De Rondell
AgravainDawnAstolatHouse Du Soleil
Valentin Ivarovich SeveryanDawnAstolatHouse Orzel
BertrandDawnAstolatHouse Sepulchre Banner
Arjhann GriffinsongDawnAstolatOrder of Crimson Circle
Lucien d'AlbaDawnAstolatWinged Lions
Solene d'AlbaDawnAstolatWinged Lions
Famished JackThe MarchesBregaslandHouse Bridger
Dunn StoneshowerWintermarkHahnmark
UlfWintermarkHahnmark
Wulfgar One-EyeWintermarkHahnmark
KelnorWintermarkHahnmarkHouse Gerís
cohen karlsensonWintermarkHahnmarkThe Gadrai
Aethalstan HalvarsonWintermarkHahnmarkVesalligr
Kvinn UrrickssonWintermarkHahnmarkVesalligr
Jacob Fernando von HolbergThe LeagueHolbergCrimson Reaper Cartel
Kaspar Yakovich von HolbergThe LeagueHolbergHouse of Seven Mirrors
Olle MarkussonWintermarkKallavesaAnfalhearth
Vervain I DoradoThe Brass CoastMadruga
Yulia Kasimirova VoronovVarushkaMiekarovaCompany of the Red Raven
Branislav Vuk StrascovichVarushkaMiekarovaGrimhold Schlacta
Vasiliy Krenyenkov Valeskai StrascovichVarushkaMiekarovaGrimhold Schlacta
Yarlori “Yolo” Andrei StrascosavichVarushkaMiekarovaGrimhold Schlacta
Jaromir Ostrovyn KostkaVarushkaMiekarovaWardens of the Grateful Hearth
ProximoUrizenMorrowUrizen, Whole
LeviHighguardReikosZephaniah's Lament
Eliane Du MaurisolDawnSemmerholm
Rhion ThresherDawnSemmerholm
Vivienne d’AcierDawnSemmerholm
Archavion WolfborneDawnSemmerholmHouse Wolfborne
Maximilian PlowmanDawnSemmerholmMyriad
Mordred SmithDawnSemmerholmMyriad
Tor ForesterDawnSemmerholmMyriad
Benjen HandsDawnSemmerholmTour De Cendres
Feroce LupoDawnSemmerholmTour De Cendres
Giritane of Walter's FallowDawnSemmerholmTour De Cendres
Hugh FarrierDawnSemmerholmTour De Cendres
Ripley FlowersDawnSemmerholmTour De Cendres
Rodric DieterDawnSemmerholmTour De Cendres
Roland SingerDawnSemmerholmWinged Lions
Sidlore BonpreDawnSemmerholmWinged Lions
Nico von TemeschwarThe LeagueTemeschwarCrimson Reaper Cartel
Guy Grimbold the ElderDawnThe BarrensHouse Cordraco
Escalados de CarsenereDawnThe BarrensHouse de Carsenere
merlin feyerdNavarrTheruninNarmada
Teagan de CasillonDawnWeirwater
loganDawnWeirwater
Wilfrith of House GriffinsbaneDawnWeirwaterHouse Griffinsbane
Caewel SmithDawnWeirwaterHouse Novarion
D'EonDawnWeirwaterHouse Novarion
MarycDawnWeirwaterHouse Orzel
Ozren Ivarovich SeveryanDawnWeirwaterHouse Orzel
Vasily ubiytsa chudovishch OrzelDawnWeirwaterHouse Orzel
Zoran De OrzelDawnWeirwaterHouse Orzel
Rheged RakshasaDawnWeirwaterHouse Rakshasa
Calbyrn WinterwiseDawnWeirwaterHouse Winterwise
Bors De CarsenereDawnWeirwaterHouse de Carsenere
Bertrand de LoupDawnWeirwaterHouse de Loup
Parnassus TacitspireUrizenZenith
s the most important thing; stealth and speed. As soon as the armies of Dawn and Varushka enter the Barrens, the Druj will do as they have promised. They will slaughter their slaves in retaliation. More importantly, they will condemn the children of Dawn to whatever unspecified fate they have in mind for them if the armies pass out of Semmerholm before the children are freed...

For all that they are savage, bitter, malicious, and cruel the Druj are also cunning and watchful. It is sometimes easy to forget their subtlety when all one sees is a litany of atrocities. They are expecting an attack against the Barrens, and they are prepared for it. Eyes - not all of them mortal - watch the approaches into the Barrens alert for the slightest hint of a conquering army. The forests and the marshes are alive with Druj magic of Spring and Night. Small warbands are tireless in their patrols, ready to raise the alarm and bring the full force of the Druj armies down at the first sign of spies, or scouts, or interlopers. Yet they cannot be in all places at once, and this is what the liberators are relying on.

Time is of the essence, and for all their speed and subtlety they are almost too late. The very same day that the Hounds of Glory charge across the borders into Dawnguard, the liberators are finally in position. The children are gathered in Drycastle, at the heart of the Druj camp. Disguises are donned, and as the sun sets those participating in the freeing of the children sneak through the streets of the former Dawnish town. It is very much changed - the Druj have stamped the mark of their personality on it. The manor house where the children are kept is ringed with guards - several of whom fall before assassins knives, hands over their mouths, blades in their backs. If even one has a chance to cry out...

The children are in their beds. They are roused quickly, silently. Fingers pressed to lips, reassuring smiles, quiet beckoning. The children are ready to go - some of the older ones seem to have have been warned that the Imperials are coming and quickly organise the smaller ones to follow their Imperial rescuers. There are perhaps a hundred young people who need to be escorted to safety - the enormity of trying to get these children out of the heart of Drycastle to safety in a land utterly dominated by the Druj becomes suddenly all too real.

On cue, flames blossom across Drycastle. Other bands have moved into position, setting fires that cause chaos and disorder - distracting the garrisons at the best possible moment. The liberators split into groups then - to allow them to move more quickly and for the cool, pragmatic reason that if one group is caught the others might still escape.

There then follows days of running, and hiding. One group takes refuge in the secret wine cellars beneath the Vexille estates for the better part of a week as a Druj patrol tears the house apart looking for them. Another band spends a tense night in the attic of the old manor house of House Aurelius. Another is forced to ambush a band of Druj in the ruined vineyards of the Carsenere estates in order to escape a patrol following close at their heels.

It seems impossible, but in the end all the children are brought safely out of Dawnguard. The chaos and confusion of the battles raging back and forth across Dawnguard help to provide cover, as well as being a source of ever-present threat of discovery. In the end, it proved infeasible to bring the children to Semmerholm. Some are able to reach the river, and escape with the assistance of the flat-bottomed boats. A few are brought safely through Peytaht to Reikos. The rest travel south - stopping briefly at the safe haven secured by Imperial Heroes during the spring Equinox - and from there to the Lower Tarn Valley and freedom.

At the same time that the children of Drycastle are being liberated, other bands of heroes are striking against slave camps across Dawnguard, the Heart of Peytaht, the Carmine Fields, and Murderdale. Not only Dawnish folk are rescued - to the surprise of their rescuers around a hundred Urizen citizens brought north from Zenith are found toiling in the weirwood forest of Peytaht, or working the Carmine Fields. There are even a handful of former League citizens, captured years ago during the invasion of Holberg, finally released and able to return to their homes and the families that have believed them long dead. Some of those whose houses are no more are offered sanctuary at the House of the Proffered Hand, at Caer Faucon, and many gratefully accept that offer. A small number of those rescued insist on joining their liberators in freeing more slaves, but most are on the verge of complete emotional collapse after so many months subject to the tender mercies of the Druj, desiring nothing more than to reach somewhere safe.

In addition to human slaves rescued from the Druj, nearly a thousand orcs are freed as well. More importantly - at least as far as the Children of Papa Otec are concerned - three hundred orc children are brought to the sanctuary in Hope's Rest. Brought from as far afield as Saltmarsh and the Plains of Teeth, they range from babes in arms to youths in their early teens. Some are obviously scions of the Great Forest Orcs but many others hail from less identifiable tribes. Perhaps the greatest surprise here is that some of those involved in their rescue, and in bringing them to the safety of the ruined fort, are themselves Mallum orcs. There is a great deal of discussion about what to do with these Druj - but the heralds of Papa Otec vouch for them and will tolerate no violence against them. Even among the Druj, they say, there are those who hear the song of the Thorn of the Ancestors. In the end, with the aid of the Imperial heroes, children and renegade Druj alike are brought safely to Therunin, to the tearful embrace of the exiled orcs.

It is difficult to prepare an accurate census, but as the freed Dawnish begin to reunite with their people, it seems that as promised by the Children of Papa Otec roughly two fifths of those Imperial citizens still missing from Dawnguard are accounted for. A thousand adult orcs, and three hundred orc children, are successfully brought out of the Barrens and join the Great Forest orcs in Therunin. The slaves bring with them some news of the Barrens - the Druj have established thriving towns on the shores of the Barren Sea, in Dawnguard, and on the Plains of Teeth. Work has also just been completed on a great fortress in the east - the old Towers of Dusk have not only been rebuilt but over the last year or so have been heavily reinforced so that they are now a grand citadel that dwarfs its former sinister glory. It will now be even more difficult to drive the Druj out of the Barrens.

Not all the news is good, sadly. Perhaps a further fifth of those who had been taken by the Druj are reported as dead even before the orcs begin ruthlessly executing their prisoners as retaliation for the Dawnish attack. Some died at the hands of the Druj, but many more chose to accept the Gift of Kaela. The sole spark of light here is that, as the Barrens does not labour under a Druj miasma it has been easier for the prisoners to keep hope alive despite the terrible conditions.

The Druj, no doubt, will be raging about what has happened. They defeated the obvious threat, but failed to notice the cunning heroes sneaking past their defences and freeing their prisoners. There is a certain irony in this outcome, which the Mallum orcs are unlikely to appreciate.

Game Information : The Barrens

The Imperial attack is driven back by the Druj; the armies that attempted to liberate Dawnguard are now back in Semmerholm.

The Mission of Mercy managed to free significant numbers of Imperial and orc slaves from the Druj, as well as causing some disruption to the Eaves of Peytaht. As the liaison between the Empire and the Children of Papa Otec, the Archmage of Spring, Ser Fabienne De Miel, has possession of 10 wains of weirwood secured in the Barrens.

Participation : The Barrens

The continued support of the Dawnish armies by the Knights of Glory provides inspiration to their allies, but the effect is a little more muted than it has been in previous seasons - perhaps due to the more restrained strategy of the Imperial forces. Any changeling character whose military unit supported the Golden Sun 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.

On the other hand, any character whose military unit supported the Hounds of Glory may choose to begin the next event experiencing the roleplaying effect listed. In fact if you are a changeling and supported the Hounds of Glory, you automatically experience the roleplaying effect. In addition, if you are a changeling who also has the hero skill you will have an additional hero point for the duration of the Summer Solstice event, or until you stop being influenced by the roleplaying effect. You may also use your 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 changeling characters whose military unit supported one of the two named armies this downtime. You are free to roleplay you were present, as always, but you do not qualify for the special benefits available to characters who supported the armies.

Any Dawnish noble house that has lost people in the Barrens is welcome to roleplay that their people have been recovered, and joyfully reunited with them. Likewise, anyone who has been pining for children lost in the Barrens is also free to be reunited with them. Any Urizen character can roleplay that a friend or loved one is among those liberated, as can any Holberg character who has a historically missing character that might have been in the possession of the Druj. It is also acceptable to play new characters who are formed slaves of the Druj liberated during the Mission of Mercy.

Furthermore, characters who participated in the "Mission of Mercy" action are encouraged to come up with their own stories of sneaking, ambushing the Druj, freeing slaves and imprisoned children, and working alongside the Children of Papa Otec and the heralds of Irra Harah, within the bounds of what is presented here. In the end, the Mission of Mercy was very nearly much less successful - a mere 21 points fewer of effective strength and only half as many Imperial slaves would have been freed; no orcs; and no weirwood would have been secured.

Because the Night.jpg
With doubt the vicious circle turn and burns.

Because the Night (Interlude)

There are two other places of note that we should address. They lie in opposite corners of the Empire - as far apart as it is possible for two places to be and still be Imperial. No Imperial troops are engaged there, but are they any less important for that?

Sermersuaq

The first is cold Sermersuaq, in the far north-west. The Jotun still rule there. The Imperial armies that were fighting them have withdrawn, to deal with a different threat. The orcs control all the territory except Sealtoq. They are barbarians, but they take their honour seriously. The King of Narkyst and the Queen of Kalsea swore that when the Empire faced them honourably on the plains below Atalaq, that if the Empire carried the day they would not march into Sealtoq for a year. They seem to be keeping to their bargain. Would the Empire have been as quick to keep to their word if they had lost? It is hardly worth thinking about.

Raiding parties still cross the borders to the south and east of course. Those that press into Skarsind take great pleasure in facing the Imperial orc defenders of that alpine territory. Those who head south, into Kallavesa and Hahnmark encounter stiff resistance. The Beacons of Wintermark are lit, and heroes of the north garrison the watch towers. The Jotun raiders are turned back, noses bloodied, with little to show for their endeavours - little except tales of heroic battle against the people of Wintermark, that is.

Spiral

Let us tear our gaze away from Sermersuaq, and look across the Empire to the south-eastern corner. To Spiral. Last season, the Druj came in force to madness-haunted Spiral. They took Ossuary, and claimed the Legacy. They took Screed, and claimed that dark place that lurks at its heart, and at the heart of Spiral. They pressed south into Apulus, and sought to claim that region as well before the terrifying, spiteful power that coils and surges across Spiral brought an end to their conquest.

They explored the place that should not be named. They performed rites there. They carved away some of the black glass that makes up that forbidden place. And then...

... then it seems, they did nothing further. No news comes from Spiral of Druj movements. The Legacy, and the Black Plateau are still under Druj control. But nothing else seems to have happened - it is not even clear that there is any major Druj force remaining in Spiral at all. Although with the Druj it is always a little difficult to tell for sure for they are nothing if not adept at hiding. Perhaps they have fled the territory with their tails between their legs. Perhaps they have retreated, bearing with them whatever ill-gotten prize it was they sought. Perhaps they have gone to ground, lulling the Empire into a false sense of security. Either way, roughly a third of Spiral remains under their nominal control.

Blood for Poppies.jpg
They know I'm here just out of sight.

Blood for Poppies

The vallorn of Liathaven is weak.

Some time ago it attempted to expand into West Ranging, and reclaim that region for its own. With the aid of the Ashen Knight, the Navarr and the Marchers fought it back, although the price was steep. Their victory, combined with the slow spread of the trods and the steady increase in the number of people walking them, left the vallorn's strength depleted enough that there was a chance to reclaim the West Wood. The vallorn never stays weak for long, though. Indeed, it would have already regained its strength had the Navarr not arranged for a grim Winter curse to be laid across Liathaven - one that comes with its own dire price for the people who might make the forests their home.

Even with that curse, even with all their other efforts, time has almost run out. By the time the Summer Solstice dawns over Anvil, the vallorn of Liathaven will have returned to full strength and any hope of clearing the West Wood would be gone.

The situation in Liathaven is further complicated by the presence of the Jotun. While the Empire controlled West Ranging in the north, the orcs controlled the rest of the territory - or at least as much of it as was not in the grip of the vallorn. Then, shortly after the Winter Solstice, the Jotun army of the Bear-That-Swims crashed over the border from Hordalant, and sought to reconquer West Ranging. Worse, for the first time in living memory, the Jotun appeared to have plans that involved engaging with the vallorn directly. Normally, they avoid it as much as they can - placing warning totems to ward against its influence and leaving it to its own devices as much as possible. During the Spring Equinox, however, they sought to enact a mad scheme to prise open the magical Paths of Lan Thúven that crossed through the depths of the vallorn so as to allow their own armies to move easily between the northern and southern sides of the territory. They were stopped, however, by the actions of courageous Imperial heroes using the Sentinel Gate to stymie their plans.

Now, with the last sands teetering on the edge of the hourglass, the Empire comes again to Liathaven. And it comes in force.

Unleash your fury. March south we fight our ancient enemy once more. Sneak past the Bear who Swims and unleash a devastating and overwhelming assault. Save our people's souls and reclaim the lost lands of Terunael. Strength to the Navarr!

Lleu Tarw, General of the Black Thorns

Twenty-eight thousand Imperial soldiers, supported by more than a score of independent captains march down from the north, from Sermersuaq. Through the marshes of Kallavesa and Bregasland they come, down to West Ranging. They do not stop here - the armies have their orders. Ignore the Jotun wherever possible. Strike through West Ranging into the West Wood, no matter the cost.

But the Jotun are not there. The Bear-Who-Swims has gone, and the Jotun champions that fought alongside it likewise. There is no resistance as the Empire crosses the fields and open woodlands of West Ranging (marred as they are by burned patches where nothing will grow, the legacy of Surut's touch upon the forests). It could have been very different. If the Jotun had been left to complete their scheme, West Ranging would have been under their control. Thanks to the Imperial heroes, however, the Empire still commands the region; can still pass through it easily; most crucially can still maintain supply lines to the armies when they reach West Wood.

Bloodcloaks! Ever have you fought for Virtue, ever to save those who are in need. The tortured souls of Vallorn Husks can be denied no longer. We move steadily forward to strike Westwood to decimate the Vallorn and free those trapped souls. The north remembers its duty and its trust in the Empire. Fight honestly against the Jotun, and viciously against the Vallorn. We will see our ice again when the job is done.

Lofyn Blood-cloak, General of the Bloodcloaks

Half of the Empire's ten nations fight in Liathaven this season. It's no surprise that the Black Thorns lead the way; they are risking everything on a roll of the dice. Fail this season, even by a fraction, and the vallorn's hold over West Wood will be unbreakable. The Drakes of the Marches are here, as are the Freeborn Fire of the South and the orcs of the Summer Storm (the greatest and best of imperial orcs). The Bloodcloaks and the Fist of the Mountains have marched down from Wintermark, left the battle for Sermersuaq, to aid the Navarr in Liathaven. Their tactics are more considered - fighting with an eye towards preserving the lives of their soldiers against the insidious rot of the vallorn.

The Navarr are at the forefront of every assault. The Empire has not assailed the vallorn directly in living memory. The last great victory was the cleansing of Miaren way back at the founding of the Empire, during the reign of Emperor Giovanni. There have been smaller victories since - a region claimed here and there - as the vallorn is slowly driven back towards its heart, but if the Empire can win in Liathaven they will bring it close to the brink - as close as Hercynia in the far north.

The Empire has fought against vallornspawn, of course. Indeed, the battle in West Ranging is part of the reason that the West Wood is in a position to be liberated. But this is different. This is a battle against the vallorn in land fundamentally tainted by the its presence. The air is choked with the miasma. Every soldier must fight in the knowledge that if they fall, then the vallorn will quickly infest their bodies and raise them as slaves to fight against their former allies. If the priests are to be believed, this would be a fate worse than death as their souls are trapped forever in their bodies, forced to watch mutely as the vallorn wields them as a weapon against their people.

Now then my merry Marchers, heed well my last orders. We march from the Bleak and bitter tundra to the Twisted boughs of Liathaven. We march through West Ranging to strike at the vallorn in the Westwood. Untold horrors birthed from the wickedness of rampant spring magic await, and our toil will be to thresh and drive them back, rather than kill each abomination. Our advance should be measured and steady the miasma and fell poisons will also be our foes, so let us take no unnecessary risks that would see our comrades slain. It has been my honour and pride to lead you, and carry the legacy of Tom Drake. A Marcher! A Marcher! A Drake! A Drake!

William Talbot, General of the Drakes

There are plenty of reminders of the fate that awaits them. When the armies cross the borders into the West Wood, the vallornspawn swarm upon them. Thousands of animated bodies, infused with the dark urges of the vallorn. Some of them are truly ancient - almost unidentifiable as ever having been anything even approaching human. Many of them are more fresh - their numbers have been reinforced by orcs and humans who fell during the back-and-forth battles that have raged through Liathaven over the last thirty years. They are implacable, and if they are not taken down and destroyed they quickly heal any wounds inflicted on them. If one escapes, it is soon back again, returned to full strength.

The husks, of course, are not the only vallornspawn. During the fight in West Ranging the Empire saw many twisted mockeries of natural life - and the forces fighting to defend Brocéliande have encountered many more. Yet nothing can prepare mortal eyes for the things that lair within the vallorn itself. It is as if the laws of nature themselves are twisted in the service of something else. Pure anarchy loosed across the plants and animals - and the hybrid abominations that partake equally of flora and fauna. A hairless bear garlanded with rainbow coloured roses in whose depths fanged maws snap and snarl. A tree that breaks apart into thousands of scuttling creatures, each no larger than a human hand, and swarm across the living leaving only bones behind when they have passed. a grove of oaks that weep acid like tears, burning any that come too close. Ambulatory plants whose incessant "tok tok tok" sounds draw vallornspawn like flies, and whose sweeping whip-like tendrils bear a deadly sting. Drifting creatures reminiscent of deep sea jellyfish but composed of touch plant matter, whose trailing tendrils combine agonising paralysis with viciously barbed spines that easily penetrate light armour and pierce the hearts of those unlucky enough to come within reach.

Then there are the ettercaps. For the last few years it has become increasingly apparent that something has changed in the insect creatures that lair within the vallorn. An evolution of sorts. The larger ones - and there are many larger ones - are still the same lumbering behemoths they were. Barely more than animals. But the smaller ones, those scaled to human or orc... they have become cunning. They use weapons, and makeshift shields, and drape themselves in bits of bark and ruined, rusting metal to create hodge-podge armour. They chitter and trill, whistle and hiss to each other, showing all the signs that they are somehow communicating. And they seem to hate humans, and orcs, as much as everything else that lurks within the vallorn does.

This season we fight the greatest spiritual threat our Empire faces. We will brush past the Jotun as Dust and bring the intensity of our flame to Westwood. Onward to a steady conquest!

Aracelis I Erigo, General of the Fire of the South

The depths of West Wood are choked with vegetation, some of it abhorrently animate. It is extremely difficult to coordinate attacks or movement. The Fist of the Mountains and Fire of the South encounter difficulties simply moving, much less fighting, in this terrain. The other armies, however, are bound in Day magic enchantments that grant preternatural strategic insight. Normally, this would help to predict what the enemy will do - but the vallorn and its spawn are the very essence of unpredictability. In the depths of West Wood however it empowers easier coordination, grants the ability to recognise dangerous areas, and provides warnings of imminent attacks from hidden threats.

Fire must be used extensively in the attack on West Wood. The vallorn clusters much of its strength around Spring regio - indeed there seem to be no signs of any regio that are not aligned to the Spring realm within the West Wood. The only way to deal with them is to burn them. When the vallorn is at full strength, it heals burning wounds almost as quickly as it heals any other damage to its body - to the trees and plants that somehow compose its being. Right now, however, its weakness makes its healing powers sluggish. Pitch and oil and flame consume the abhorrent plants that shroud the regio, even as they twist and sing and wail and spew out thick, deadly clouds of miasma. In places like this, it hangs like fog upon the ground and between the trees. Even the slightest wounds can prove fatal when exposed to the concentrated miasma and the soldiers soon learn to give it a wide berth.

Soldiers of the Fist of the Mountain. We march from Sermersuaq to West Wood, Liathaven, a Steady Conquest on the Vallorn alongside our Imperial friends and allies. Let it be known that Winterfolk keep their oaths and do our duty in support of our Empire. We'll be back home soon. We will not be forgotten. Three people, One Nation. Ten Nations, one Empire.

''Axehind'' Aedric Dunning, General of the Fist of the Mountains

There are additional threats at these regio - the children of Yaw'nagrah fight to protect the vallorn. They are clever, and vicious, and make great use of Spring magic. They heal injured ettercap, or grant additional strength to the husks, or simply fall upon Imperial soldiers shrieking, tearing with their woody talons, leaving awful envenomed wounds wherever their fingers so much as glance against exposed flesh.

They burn, though, just as easily as the trees do.

Even with the careful tactics of many of the generals, the death toll is high. Slightly over three thousand Imperial lives are lost. Where possible the bodies of those beyond help are destroyed but this is not always an option. When soldiers are cut off from their allies, or when entire warbands are overwhelmed, there is nothing to stop the fallen rising as vallornspawn husks. Some are never accounted for, presumed lost in the depths of the forests, prey to terrible beasts or the poisonous miasma.

There is some talk, at night, when the watches are set, and the soldiers try to relax a little, of what could be done different next time. Would magic like Rivers of Life help or hinder the advance? The Navarr are certain that such unbridled Spring magic would make the vallorn worse, proving counterproductive. There is some speculation about a new esoteric ritual with a pretentious name, designed to protect armies from venomous foes - might that have saved lives here in the depths of madness? Speculation is easy, but nobody has easy answers.

Sons and Daughters of the second legion, we march from Sermersuaq to begin a steady conquest on the Vallorn in Liathaven. We go with Sword and fury in our hearts as was is our blood and way. There are Jotun in West Ranging near ot where we strike. We shall not engage them but should steel be crossed the Respect and honour will be given.

Irontide Kragg, General of the Summer Storm

In the end, after weeks of fighting, the vallornspawn are destroyed or driven back. The foul plants that anchor and reinforce the miasma are uprooted or burned, wherever they are identified. Slowly but surely, the air begins to clear. The frequency of vallornspawn attacks, their ferocity, and the number of creatures involved, begins to slacken. Two weeks before the Summer Solstice, a Navarr vate stands on a low rise overlooking Liath's Heart and takes a deep, gulping breath of clean air. She turns to her companions, and in a quiet voice announces that the West Wood is - if not safe - then at least clean. Freed from the infestation of the vallorn.

Her fellows, the Black Thorns who have fought so hard for this day, are tired. Exhausted really. Worn down, battered and torn by the months of fighting, by the horrors they have seen, and by the losses they have suffered. But still, at her words, a ragged cheer goes up. It grows louder, stronger, as the news spreads. The Empire is victorious. The West Wood is clear. The vallorn of Liathaven is contained now in one region, wrapped around the ruins of the Terunael city from which it came.

There is still work to be done. There are still vallornspawn beasts here and there. The miasma is pushed back, and the worst of the abominations fostered by the vallorn are either dead or driven eastward, but the region is certainly not safe. But, with the power of the vallorn broken, dealing with those additional threats is a matter of hunting and killing, tasks the Navarr have a great deal of experience with.

The threat of the Jotun still remains. While the West Wood and West Ranging are now Imperial, the territory as a whole belongs to the orcs. They have already demonstrated that their superstitious dread of the forests of Liathaven is not as strong as it perhaps once was. There may not be many orcs in Liathaven, but there still are orcs. Worse, perhaps, with West Wood liberated they will find it just as easy to move between the northern and southern regions as the Empire will.

There is one other thing that perhaps deserves mention...

While fighting in the south-west, clearing the vallornspawn from the woods, a patrol of orc soldiers from the Summer Storm report an uncanny experience. They find a great grove of trees that seems to be untouched by the vallorn. According to their tale, the air was clear and the vallornspawn they were fighting fell back and did not pursue them. Once the bulk of the fighting is done, the Black Thorns send scouts to investigate. Perhaps they are already suspicious as to what they might find, given recent discoveries.

It is not particularly large - no match for the groves of Miaren or Therunin - but nestled in the depths of the West Wood, stands a grove of weirwood trees. Rich, healthy trees untouched by the vallorn. Already, the scouts report, new shoots are sprouting through the leaf mulch, as if relieving the pressure of the vallorn has caused a spurt of unexpected growth. The civil service will need to evaluate the trees, but it seems that there is enough wood here for decades of careful woodcutting and logging... although such activity may need to be performed under the constant threat of Jotun attack.

Game Information : Liathaven

The Empire has conquered West Wood. Along with West Ranging, this means they now control two regions. The Jotun control four regions (and the territory), and the vallorn controls Liath's Heart.

Now that the Liathaven vallorn is down to one region it is stronger than before. Its entire power focused in one place, experience of the war to reclaim Miaren shows that it is more dangerous now than ever before.

For the first time since the fall of Terunael it is possible to walk from Western Scout to West Ranging. The victory is not without cost. One price that is paid is that the magical wonder that was the The Paths of Lan Thúven is no more. With the vallorn gone, the Night magic that empowered the paths likewise fades and unravels.

Further details of the weirwood grove located in West Wood will be provided in the Winds of Fortune.

Participation : Liathaven

Every character whose military unit participated in the Liathaven fight has received a lingering traumatic wound. It is very hard not to get hurt fighting the vallorn on its home turf. These lingering wounds will be in your pack at the event. The generals of the armies involved, if they did not personally assign military units to the campaign here, may e-mail plot@profounddecisions.co.uk to confirm they were present and that they should also receive a lingering traumatic wound. If you are not a general, and your military unit did not support the campaign here, please do not e-mail in. This opportunity to be horribly injured is available only to players who participated in the action.

Fighting a sustained campaign within the vallorn is extremely taxing. The military unit of every character who supported Liathaven is depleted. The unit suffers a -40 penalty to effective strength for the next six months. You are free to roleplay what this means as you see fit. The most likely explanation is that you have lost soldiers to the vallornspawn, or the miasma. It might be that after seeing the horrors at the heart of the vallorn, some of your soldiers quit or wish to take time off to be with their families. The details are up to you.

Battle in Me (Conjunctions)

On the run up to the Summer Solstice the civil service have been able to identify five major conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate. The Military Council will be able to select two of these opportunities to strike against the barbarians.

The first conjunction will allow for travel to the Scorerro Bluffs, in northern Oranseri, Feroz. This high ground sits above the mighty Scorerro River and offers a commanding position from which to control the area, defend the crossing or move to engage forces in the region. The heroes of Anvil will be able to access this location on the Saturday or the Sunday of the solstice.

The second conjunction of the Sentinel Gate leads to the Ambergris Valley, one of the headwaters of the Scorerro in Yellow Chase, Segura. An expanse of relatively fertile land in the midst of the rocky region, it has attracted a number of Zemress Islanders settlers eager to settle this otherwise meagre land. A portal can be opened to this location on the Saturday or the Sunday of the solstice.

Nation Force Weight
Brass Coast 11
Dawn 26
Highguard 14
Imperial Orcs 10
League 12
Marches 15
Navarr 27
Urizen 8
Varushka 7
Wintermark 47

The third conjunction has been identified to lead to the Rojota Road, in Serra Briante, Kahraman. A force of Jotun warriors have been tracked following the road south-east past Rojota and through the scattered goat pastures of the region. This conjunction can be traversed on the Saturday or the Sunday of the solstice.

The fourth conjunction will enable forces from Anvil to reach Fallen Thorn Stead among the forests of Western Scout, Liathaven. On the very edges of the Empire, this location is understood to be an important meeting point for the Jotun Jarls that control the southern regions of the territory. The Sentinel Gate can be used to reach the location on the Saturday or the Sunday of the solstice.

The fifth and final conjunction will lead to the Heartway deep in the forests of Westwood, Liathaven. This area, recently explored for the first time, is an area saturated by Spring Magic that flows out of Liath's Heart to the east. Heroes from Anvil will only be able to utilise this conjunction to travel to the location on the Saturday of the solstice.

By the time the summit begins, 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.

Force Weightings

At this event, the best estimate of the fighting strength of each nation provided by the civil service is as follows. Each of the two battles must have at least 87 and at most 90 force weight sent on it.

Other Media

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