385YE Spring Equinox winds of fortune
Over the past three months, events have taken place which are of significance to the Empire and may require a response from her champions. These are the winds of fortune, counterparts to the Winds of War which detail the Empire's military campaigns. They lay out situations, and usually include things that characters can do to take advantage of opportunities or to resolve problems. In almost every case, they start with a piece of flavour text. This fiction helps introduce the wind of fortune, or draws out a particular theme or element. Often, it represents a viewpoint that one or more NPCs might have in-character. In all cases, these pieces are intended to help create an atmosphere and provide a little entertainment. Where they contain opinions, those are the opinions of the fictional people depicted - and where they contain information or rumours the assumption is that the reader will create their own context for that information or gossip if they want to use it in character.
The body of the wind of fortune describes situations and lays out ways players can engage with them. Except where we explicitly talk about something being "rumoured" or use a phrase like "some might say..." the details of a wind of fortune are factual. They represent briefing material presented by the civil service or similar authoritative sources and represents something the average educated citizen would acknowledge as a reliable truth. Unless we specify otherwise, we're also being as thorough as possible. This information doesn't need further checking in-character. It's not opinion, and we're not trying to trick you.
As always, how much or how little of this information you choose to know in character is up to you. Part of the purpose of Winds of Fortune is to maintain the illusion of the Empire as a living, breathing place where things happen - and to make players aware of things their characters could know based on what their roleplaying says they have been doing for the past three months. It's perfectly acceptable to turn up to Empire having read only a few Winds of Fortune that directly interest your character; part of the fun on the field can come from learning about situations and opportunities in other parts of the game.
In each case, we've tried to tag the Winds of Fortune entry with the nations, or political bodies, to which it is most relevant. We've done this to help people who are interested only in events that are especially relevant to them. In no way are these tags intended to be exhaustive; the Empire is a complex place and very little happens in isolation.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Winds of Fortune
- 2.1 Have You Seen Me Lately (Plenipotentiary)
- 2.2 Rain King
- 2.3 Children in Bloom
- 2.4 A Murder of One
- 2.5 Time and Time Again (Appraisal)
- 2.6 Blood Will Thicken (Appraisal)
- 2.7 A Long December
- 2.8 Pieces Missing Everywhere
- 2.9 Butterfly In Reverse
- 2.10 The Troubled Words
- 2.11 Round Here
- 2.12 Shallow Days
- 2.13 Tooth by Tooth
- 2.14 Underwater Sunshine
- 2.15 Daylight Fading
- 2.16 Where Do We Go From Here?
- 2.17 You Do It To Yourself
- 2.18 Anyone But You
- 2.19 Colourblind
- 2.20 Possibility Days
- 2.21 Fade Out Again
- 2.22 The Falling Sky (Trade Winds)
- 2.23 You Can't Count on Me (Winds of Magic)
- 3 Other Events
- 4 Trade Summary
- 5 Mandates
- 6 Winter Conjunctions
Winds of Fortune
Have You Seen Me Lately (Plenipotentiary)
- Archmages and the Imperial Conclave; specially invited guests including the Shaman of Wintermark, musicians, assorted adventurers, Tancred Enrico i Taziel i Riqueza, Captain Quiberon Otterscourge, and Chiara of the Burning Beasts; the Circle of the Drowned, the Nation's Guard, the Wolves of the Pale Raven, Glory's Shadow, the Envoys of the White Stag, Wick's Rest, and the Suns of Couros
Every season an archmage can each communicate with a single eternal of their realm with the power of plenipotentiary. The eternal is bound to respond to the message they send - perhaps with a formal parley, perhaps with something unexpected. Between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox replies to each of the messages are received. Five of the six eternals contacted have agreed to some kind of meeting, while one is currently too occupied with other things, and has instead used the plenipotentiary as a guide to how he can help the Empire directly .
You can find details about this seasons plenipotentiary responses in the Have you seen me lately.wind of fortune.
- Farm owners; Archmage of Spring and the Imperial Conclave, especially the Silver Chalice; Cassandra i Periera i Erigo and the Sails of the First Flame coven, Marcher landskeepers; healers of all kinds; Navarr and Highborn opponents of the vallorn
One of the reasons Lord Rain gives for not attending a formal parley with the Archmage of Spring is that he is busy sending his heralds hither and yon to provide practical aid to Imperial citizens. With the Hallow of the Green World wrapping the entire Empire in a potent net of Spring magic, Bogfearthen is apparently occupied helping farmers and healers alike to make the most of the lingering magic. Some boons he provides without difficulty, setting healing herbs growing in farms, offering the aid of heralds to revitalise tired soil, and making a gift of magical scrolls to those who might be interested in them. Other boons come in the form of proposals for things the Empire might build to allow Willowbraid and his friends to help healers and those who fight the vallorn. There's also plentiful opportunities to talk about what Ossegrahn wants, and some of it may prove a little surprising.
You can find out about the boons and opportunities Lord Rain provides in the Rain king wind of fortune.
Children in Bloom
- Farm and forest owners; briars; Navarr vates with mana sites; cultivators of chaos fruit; Navarr and Highborn Assemblies; anyone looking to start a new chapter of their life in a beautiful rural setting
The Sails of the First Flame of the Brass Coast have unleashed the Imperial enchantment known as the Hallow of the Green World. The irrepressible power of the Spring realm floods the Empire. In addition to the expected effect of filling Imperial herb gardens with a bounty of healing herbs, the enchantment has a number of other unpredictable effects. As ripples of Spring magic roll across the Empire, streams of fertility and life are focused along the trods, which serve as channels for the energies of the wild magical realm. Everywhere there are flowers, a great profusion of natural Spring blooms and stranger blossoms that thrive particularly well in the Empire's forests. The lingering power of the enchantment enthuses those of the briar lineage with energy and enthusiasm for the coming year. The soil sings with unparalleled life and fertility, and while there are a few minor downsides, for the most part, it looks like it is going to be a fine Spring.
You can learn about the impact of the powerful enchantment in the Children in bloom wind of fortune,
A Murder of One
- Forest owners; people at Anvil; Navarr generals and National Assembly; Imperial Conclave; boggart spotters
In addition to its more overtly supernatural effects, Hallow of the Green World strengthens minor Spring regio across the Empire, and encourages the eternals of that realm to reach out to the Empire. Only three of the Spring eternals are free to do so, although that has not stopped the Mother of Wrecks acting through proxies. The magic has also seen unprecedented numbers of Spring boggarts - dangerous creatures of the realms sometimes seen as being akin to vermin or estial predators - appearing across the Empire. Some of these boggarts present a threat to the forest owners of the Empire - and perhaps even to people at Anvil!
You can learn about matters related to Spring boggarts and Spring eternals in the A murder of one wind of fortune.
Time and Time Again (Appraisal)
- Imperial Senate; citizens of the Brass Coast, especially those from Kahraman or with an interest in mining; Imperial Military Council; holders of the Great Mine of Briante and Damatian Cliffs seats; Dhomiro of the Cinnabar Hills; Mistress of the Dust Parador
At the Winter Solstice, the Senate instructed the prognosticators office to prepare two appraisals. In the first, they asked Naomi of Virtues Rest to appraise how the infrastructure of Kahraman might be restored. Even before the traitor Stephen of Sarcombe inspired the Jotun to sabotage the roads and bridges, travel through the hills and mountains of northern Kahraman was arduous. There was a proposal, prepared by the Civil Service in 382YE, to build Cinnabar roads to address this problem. Unfortunately, that proposal relied on the bridges and roads still being there to be repaired... which is no longer the case.
Blood Will Thicken (Appraisal)
- Imperial Synod; Imperial Senate; artists of all kinds
The second appraisal the Imperial Senate instructed the Prognosticator's Office to perform also requested Naomi, and asked her to consider ways by which pilgrims of the Way could be encouraged to travel to the Empire and how Bastion and the territories of the Bay of Catazar might rise to the challenge of Timoj. With Naomi unable to conduct both appraisals, the Auditor of the Imperial Treasury assigned the newest prognosticator to consider it instead. She has presented her findings, which begin with a competition and end with a commission of truly awe inspiring proportions.
You can learn about the results of the appraisal, and what it will take to rise to the challenge of Timoj, in the Blood will thicken wind of fortune.
A Long December
- Imperial Senate; the Minister of Historical Research, Imperial Advisor for the Feni, and Advisor on the Vallorn; the Seer of the Gateway, Imperial Seer, and Lepidean Librarian; the Anvil Library; military unit owners
The Imperial Senate has chosen to take advantage of an opportunity to retrain civil servants from the Department of Historical Research as prognosticators capable of performing an appraisal. Unfortunately, following a different opportunity in which members of the Department were committed to collecting and organising information about the vallorn to support the expansion of the Great Library of Hacynian, this left nobody to actually perform historical research. Worse, after the Summit, it became apparent that the sinister eternals of the Whisper Gallery had expanded their campaign of destruction and murder to include not only the Department researchers, but also a number of other individuals and organisations. The future of the Department of Historical Research is in doubt - indeed if the Whisper Gallery continue to expand their operations in the Empire the very future of Imperial scholarship may be in danger!
You can learn about the situation at the Department of Historical Research, and the attacks of the Whisper Gallery, in the A long December wind of fortune,
Pieces Missing Everywhere
- Highguard, especially their National assembly; other National Assemblies, especially Urizen
Buoyed by recent Imperial triumphs against the Druj, and against the slavers of Asavea and Rachensgrab, the Highborn National Assembly has passed three potent mandates, tapping into the surge of Pride their people feel in contributing to these accomplishments. One of the mandates gives the Highguard Assembly new powers to support their fellow nations. Not everyone approves of these powers, however, with the Urizen in particular scorning any further assistance from their neighbours. At the same time, the Highborn generals are busy helping to rebuild Zenith, and supporting the Synod's aim of liberating rather than conquering the Barrens, and their virtuous crusade leads to further opportunities for the Assembly.
You can learn about these opportunities in the Pieces missing everywhere wind of fortune.
Butterfly In Reverse
- Fleets, especially Marches and Wintermark; Monster Hunters; Imperial Senate; Faraden ambassador
Following the Autumn Equinox 384YE more than seventy fleets from across the Empire set off on an expedition in order to map the Sea of Snow. Although the flotilla was unable to fully explore the Sea of Snow, they did reach the Faraden coastline and identify a number of possible destinations for Imperial shipping. There are some diplomatic challenges still to be resolved, the only sizeable Faraden harbour is not open to Imperial shipping. However the bay at Caitun could support Imperial shipping if the sprawling docks were significantly expanded and the harbourmaster there is open to the prospect of burgeoning trade with Wintermark and the Marches, provided that the Empire is prepared to share the burden of the investment needed.
The Troubled Words
- The Master of Defence of the Scholars of the Sword Academy; League Bravos; Sword Scholars; The League National Assembly; The Lepidean Librarian
The Holberg Scholars of the Sword Academy in Holberg opened its doors only recently, and already there is a little controversy attached to it. Apparently the Master of the college has invited the sword scholars of Urizen to come and teach at the Academy. Their seems to be an intention to make the new Academy a centre of sword scholarship teaching in the League. This has inspired a number of other sword scholars to follow suit, taking apartments in Holberg and offering their services at the new Academy. This announcement has brought considerable interest from various quarters, some in favour, some opposed, and some worried it might spike interest in one of Holberg's least remembered and most infamous sons. The League Assembly has the opportunity to issue guidance to citizens to address these concerns.
You can learn about both opportunities and concerns in the The troubled words wind of fortune.
- Anyone with money; Imperial Orcs; pleasure seekers; investors; Kahendrin Wordsmith, Dame Aurum de Castellan, Rafael Barossa and Aracelis i Erigo; Bernhard Kleist Von Ennerlund; anyone associated with the theatre especially in the League; Eurybia Melampus de Tassata, Alessio Sognatore, and Viviane de Coeurdefer; the Imperial Bourse
As the Spring Equinox arrives, so the rich and the powerful arrive at Anvil, with merchants and traders following in their wake (or there ahead of them depending on how early they have gotten out of bed). In addition to the many purveyors of fine food and rough drink, maps, knitted animals, bespoke artwork, tea cosies, and tchotchkes of every kind there are some more serious, more high profile visitors to Anvil. This season they include: a family of Tamazi keen to deepen their relationship with their fellow orcs and a small band of Yerende looking for who knows what; emissaries of the Shadowed Flame; traders in herbal concoctions for the discerning customer; merchants with accurséd artifacts to sell to people who like that kind of thing; and the Friends of Eduardo Boschetto, eager to attend a final performance of the late director/producer's final works and talk about matters of Ambition.
- Imperial Senate; Grendel Ambassador; Highguard and Brass Coast National Assemblies; Priests dedicated to Wisdom; Flávio Capra Gláucio van Holberg, Cesare Sanguineo Rezia Di Tassato, Giuseppe Sanguineo von Temeschwar, Jarrigk Orzel, Paulus Adelaar van Holberg, Shauni di Vergo, and Viviane de Coeurdefer
The Empire signed a peace treaty with the Grendel in Autumn 383YE. As part of the treaty, they agreed there will be peace between the two nations for a period of two years. The treaty includes a clause allowing for negotiations to begin in Spring Equinox 385YE, to see if the treaty can be extended. As a result Grendel representatives of the Council of Salt Lords are expected to attend Anvil this summit. At the previous summit, the Senate roundly rejected attempts by Salt Lord Kaliact of Spiral to make an agreement with the Empire on behalf of the territory she controls. It remains to be seen if her representatives will form part of any new delegation. There's also the matter of large numbers of Grendel merchants keen to buy Imperial goods, trading on the uncertainty the coming deadline creates. It seems that Grendel diplomacy is likely to be very much at the heart of many political discussions during this summit, and there seems to be more than just one group of southern orcs heading ti Anvil.
You can read about the Grendel situation, and various delegations and diplomatic questions, in the Shallow days wind of fortune.
Tooth by Tooth
- Pride assembly; people with an interest in other religions
At the recent summit, the Pride Assembly approved a judgement submitted by Ubarius of Tropiaon Citadel urging priests to redouble their efforts to convert those who have been allowed to settle in the Empire without adopting the Way. The Virtues have united the Empire for the best part of four centuries, the one thing every citizens has in common. Recent events have begun to test those bonds. There have always been foreigners dwelling in the Empire who have insisted on clinging to their own religious beliefs. But in recent years there has been an influx of people who have sought the benefits of dwelling in the Empire, but seem to have no interest in adopting the Way.
You can learn about what is proposed, and the first step towards dealing with this thorny problem, in the Tooth by tooth wind of fortune.
- Varushka, Dawn, Holberg, especially fleet owners; Merchant-boyar of the Bittershore, Custodian of Ivarsgard Docks, Harbourmaster of the Semmerlak; Imperial Senate; members of House Tamerlaine; Guardian of the Maze of Zoria; Wisdom dedicates
Work has also finished on Kostjyas Respite, the new port-town on the northern shores of the Semmerlak. It promises to bring Prosperity to the Varushkan people - and potentially their neighbours in Dawn and the League as well - and has helped resolve one of the lingering challenges for the people of Ossium. Unfortunately, grand construction projects are not the only things taking place along the shores of Varushka. The monsters are also on the rise, and as the Spring Equinox approaches it becomes clear that one of the awakening sovereigns has a particular interest in the ports on the Semmerlak, and Kostjyas Respite in particular.
You can learn about events around the Semmerlak, and the implications for sailors and port-masters alike, in the Underwater sunshine wind of fortune.
- Varushkan citizens; Varushkan National Assembly; holders of the Eternal Shafts of Time, the Hunt of Alderei the Fair, the Granites of Veltsgorsk, the Night Quarry, and the Sunless Depths; General of the Iron Helms; Imperial Senate; Imperial Spy Master
This long Winter has seen not one but two grand construction projects conclude in Varushka. As well as Kostjyas Respite, work has also, finally, finished on the Iron Roads. and while the Blood Red Roads are being slowly dismantled by brambles and weeds, the roads of Varushka now link almost every major settlement in the nation. Civil servants are already preparing a set of proposals that might see this new Prosperity spread to neighbouring nations. Yet Imperial citizens are not the only people treading the roads of Varushka as Winter turns to Spring. Messengers bearing news of a certain statement of principle deliver unsettling news to priests and devout layfolk, and a lone figure in a cloak of black feathers brings news of an old king, who holds out a hand of friendship to the people of Varushka.
You can learn about the events around the Iron Roads, and about the Lord of the Broken Barrow, and about opportunities to speak to the other people who live in Varushkan, in the Daylight fading Wind of Fortune.
Where Do We Go From Here?
- Urizen especially Zenith and the National Assembly; Master of the Koboldi; Imperial Conclave; League citizens
Naomi of Virtue's Rest presented the results of her appraisal of the forlorn territory of Zenith. If the Urizen could find a new arete for Zenith, the Pride and Ambition it fed would overcome the despair left by the desolation of the Druj. She proposed three significant commissions that could restore hope to Zenith. In the months since, the Master of the Koboldi has overseen the construction of the Crucible of Fate. The Crucible is an ambitious project, involving the restoration and expansion of the forges of the Spire Calator to provide workshops and facilities for artisans and architects to master their abilities. Rather than wait six months for it to be completed, the Concordium of Pallas and their allies created a powerful Autumn ritual to ensure the work would be ready by the time of the Spring Equinox. The work is now complete.
You can learn about what the completion of the Crucible of Fate means for Zenith in the Where do we go from here? wind of fortune.
You Do It To Yourself
- Imperial Synod; Imperial Military Council
At the Winter Solstice, the Imperial Synod chose to grapple with a fundamental question - what is to be done with the Druj? "Death to the Druj" has become commonplace in the Empire in recent years, a toast at every table, a line to end every speech in the Senate. The Synod chose to issue a clear rebuke to those who have embraced such language; but there are some who take note of the fact the Synod also came close to passing a mandate urging the Empire to embrace any tool necessary to defeat the Mallum orcs. So what next? What does the Empire do when it defeats them - assuming it ever does? What price are Imperial citizens really prepared to pay to deal with the Druj?
This question is discussed, and possibly some answers raised, in the You do it to yourself wind of fortune.
Anyone But You
- Wintermark; Shuttered Lantern; Cardinal of Vigilance; militia members; Averil Olsen the Warsmith; Grandmaster of the Shuttered Lantern
Wintermark is forced to deal with the difficult truth that some of their people in Sermersuaq accepted aid, the power to defend their homes, and offers of strength from Blood-on-the-Snow. Those who remained in the conquered territory under the Jotun had to endure not only the fist of the barbarians at their throat, but the offers whispered on the winds, and the lures dangled by the capering monster to catch the desperate. The Empire has acted decisively to counter the threat presented by the cults of the Whisperer. They have sent in by various means the Shuttered Lantern, the priests of Wintermark, and the Silent Bell and as the Spring Equinox draws close, the consequences of their response begin to become clear.
You can read about the situation in Sermersuaq, and what is happening with those who accepted the boons of Blood-on-the-Snow, in the Anyone but you Wind of Fortune.
- Silver Chalice, especially the Grandmaster; Freeborn, especially hakima and kohan
A strange blight is growing at the heart of the Great Grasses in Madruga. Spring magic contains it for now, but seems unable to actually remove it. The hakima who first examined the site asked the Imperial Conclave to send one of the orders to help them. Fausta Ankarien, Grandmaster of the Silver Chalice volunteered their own order, and the Conclave concurred. The Archmage of Spring, Ibiss Briarheart also asked Lord Rain to provide aid if he could, and while busy all over the Empire following the invocation of an Imperial enchantment, he duly sent some of his friends and heralds to see how they could help. As the Spring Equinox draws closer, the results of the extended investigation and efforts to deal with the blight bear some dry, bitter fruit.
You can find out all about the desert of ash and dust growing in Madruga, and what has been uncovered so far, in the Colourblind Wind of Fortune.
- Imperial Conclave; Navarr national assembly
Wizards! Suranni wizards to be precise! The Imperial Conclave, with the help of their Brother, have helped several hundred wizards from the Iron Confederacy reach the Empire, and all without causing a single diplomatic incident! Freeing persecution in their own land, the Suranni arrive tired and worried, to be greeted by Imperial magicians and shown as much hospitality as possible. The most challenging part of their journey is now over - they've reached the Empire - but the question remains as to what to do next... Both for the wizards, and their Imperial hosts.
You can read about the situation, what is going on with the wizards and their families, and some opportunities to help guide their future, in the Possibility days wind of fortune.
Fade Out Again
- League and Varushka; militia members; Rod and Shield; the Merchant Prince of Misericorde Market; Irada von Temeschwar and Vaclav Mladenovich Kosti; adventurers fighting the vyig
After the true liao consecration of Ratibor's Tomb, the Empire decided they had finally had enough of the Vyig. Their involvement in the Bite trade and the rumours of connections with the Druj were the last straw for some. Ratibor's greatest accomplishment was to drive the Vyig out of Temeschwar - time to do it again. The Vyig, for their part, are not prepared to go without a fight, it seems. At the same time, it was revealed that the haunting presence in the forests of Metri surrounding the Fortress of Salt were in fact servants of the Hag Queen. Again, following the example of Ratibor, Imperial magicians have set out to deal with those monsters and drive them back to the Winter realm. The Rod and Shield are at the forefront of the battle to get rid of these unnatural horrors.
You can read about the fight against the vyig, and the battle to drive unnatural forces out of Metri, in the Fade out again wind of fortune.
The Falling Sky (Trade Winds)
- Ambassadors; Imperial Senate; Voice of Liberty; Eastern Broker; fleet captains
The Empire's relationships with the other great powers, both diplomatic and economic, ebb and flow like the tides. The Ambassadors and the Imperial Consul are appointed by the Imperial Senate to represent the people of the Empire with the other powers of the Known World. This includes both the greater powers - their allies in the Liberty Pact, their rivals in the Freedom Accord, and the Sarcophan Delves - and the lesser powers - especially Axos, Faraden, the Iron Confederacy, and the Thule. Here we can read about developments with both.
A summary of significant diplomatic events can be found in the The falling sky wind of fortune.
You Can't Count on Me (Winds of Magic)
- Imperial Conclave and magicians; inhabitants of and visitors to the Mournwold, Marchers, and the Friar of Honour's Rest; Hammare "Meathammer" Stenning, the Custodian of the Lost; Necromancers; people seeking a magical pen pal; Enchantresses of Dawn, the general of the Eastern Sky, and Dawnish strategists; Tono Shartha Riqueza, Eadric of House du Froste, Dame Aurum de Castellan, House of the Guilded Vine, Adón i Martán i Erigo, Tarik of Ashenhall, Aldwyn of House de Rondell; people who have been tormenting the Archmage of Winter
As international diplomacy, trade, and the laws of the Imperial Senate are vital to the Empire, so is diplomacy with the inhabitents of the realms, the magic of mortal magicians, and the declarations of the Imperial Conclave. Here we can learn about any number of disparate topics, united by the tenuous thread of magic that weaves between them. They include the destruction of the Imperial Crown, a Summer enchantment falling over the Mournwold; the matter of the Custodian of the Lost; the letter-writing antics of the Seventh Mist; the letter-writing antics of the eternal Lashonar; the ward of Tharim; a magnanimous boon from Sorin; an invitation to tell tales of tormenting an archmage; and the patroage of Summer for the Eastern Sky.
You can read all about these topic, and a few other things, in the You can't count on me wind of fortune,
There are a number of other events and situations which are noteworthy, but which for whatever reason have not led to a full Wind of Fortune in their own right.
- Some misconceptions have been corrected by the Civil Service
- Very few people died as a direct response of the magical storms of last year, and of the floods that followed them
- The Thule are not lying about having ended the institution of slavery they remain an authoritarian regime where nobody has much freedom however
The Empire as wide and complicated. It's easy for a rumour to get out of control, and transform into misinformation that can potentially damage imperial citizens. If the rumour spreads far and wide enough, there's a good chance that it might even lead to a mistake at the highest level. So far the Empire has avoided going to war over a misunderstanding, and there's many who want to keep it that way. The Civil Service in particular can step in to correct certain misconceptions, but even they can make mistakes. Since the Winter Solstice there have been two rumours in particular that have begun to take root and shift from hearsay to something potentially more damaging.
The first concerns the magical storms that were invoked over the Empire last Summer. It's well known that they lead to extensive property damage. The storms and the renewing magic that followed in their wake have also had a lasting effect on marshes, fens, and swamps across the Empire and in some territories that weren't even subject to the storms themselves. What they didn't do however is cause widespread loss of life. That some people died who might have lived is not debated; but the Civil Service is very clear that the scale of the deaths was no worse than might have happened during a particularly bad storm of natural origin. The Synod took pains to advise people that the storms were coming, and Imperial magicians knew of the discussions in the Conclave. Some unfortunate people in isolated areas may have been unprepared, but even there the number of people killed is almost negligible (although just as painful for their families). Talk of "widespread loss of life" due to the storms and the floods is simply... not factual.
The other concerns the slaves of the Thule. During the Summer Solstice last year, the Thule dragons released an edict banning slavery in their lands. All their slaves, both orc and human were freed. The human slaves have largely ended up in the Empire, while the orcs remain as citizens of Otkodov. Nobody in Otkodov is a slave by the definition of slavery under Imperial law. This is not to say that Otkodov has become a liberal paradise. it is still a highly stratified society dominated by allegedly immortal wizard-monarchs whose will is ruthlessly enforced by the warlocks. But the former orc slaves now "enjoy" all the freedoms the septs and clans of Otkodov enjoy. Nobody wears chains, and nobody can be slain for refusing to work. The Thule remain a harsh, authoritarian people but they are not trying to trick anyone with their edict freeing their slaves. They're as free as anyone else in Thule lands - which is significantly less free than Imperial citizens are but certainly miles ahead of where they were. The recent problems the Thule have been having with food are an example of the impact the change is having on their society; there may be more to come.
OOC Note: We don't feel the need to step in to correct misconceptions or misinformation very often, and we make a concerted effort to try to do so only when it would be obvious to people in the world that something is incorrect. Here, the matter of there being few deaths due to the magical floods was explicitly called out in Winds of Fortune. Likewise, the Thule have definitely freed their slaves as they said they would; wherever possible we try not to lie directly to players. Otkodov remains a pretty dreadful place, where people who won't work are likely to end up homeless and starving, but the orcs are not slaves in the context of chains and whips.
Thrones and Exemplars
- Discussion of the role of the former Thrones as a place of pilgrimage have proved inconclusive
During the Winter Solstice, a series of statements of principle were raised in various virtue assemblies, calling for the creation of a new "pilgrim's trail" using the tombs of Thrones they associated with certain virtues. Only two of the statements - one by Brother Enoch in the Vigilance assembly and one by Sarah of the Suns of Couros in the Highborn National Assembly - were supported with a greater majority. There has been some interest in Highguard, but at the end of the day the response has been to point out that the tombs already exist, and already attract visitors. Only last season,a group of Grendel questioners visited Necropolis on their way to Anvil, to see the tomb of Emperor Barabbas. The problem is that what these statements seem to be suggesting is that the Thrones be treated like paragons and exemplars without the recognition of the Synod, and that simply won't happen..
On the other hand, two of the Thrones - Empress Richilde and Emperor Ahraz are recognised inspirational figures. An inspirational memorial could be raised for either of them using true liao. If there are other Thrones whose virtue is convincing enough to persuade the Synod that they should be recognized, then their tombs could likewise serve as the basis for a place of pilgrimage. At the same time, however, the Synod would need to be careful. The virtue of Richilde and Ahraz is self evident, but how many other Thrones are truly virtuous figures. Is Emperor Nicovar? Empress Giselle? Emperor Hugh or Emperor Walter? Furthermore, none of the Thrones suggested by these statements were uncontroversial - all did things in their lives that could be seen as unvirtuous. It might be best to focus on creating more places of pilgrimage and inspirational tombs dedicated to existing paragons and exemplars, rather than trying to co-opt the tombs of the Thrones.
- Some Great Forest Orcs have begun settling in Miaren and Hercynia
- The warning of the Assembly means any threat from the vallorn due to Hallow of the Green World was prepared for
- Guides and brands are reaching out to the bandits in Therunin
Last season, the Navarr natonal assembly debated what to do about the request by some Great Forest Orcs to permanently settle in Hercynia and Miaren, near the weirwood groves there. In the end the National Assembly upheld the mandate that was proposed by Neala Blackhawk, welcoming the orcs who wished to do so to establish steadings in the northern Navarr territories.
They also upheld a statement of principle raised by Aniera Exiles End that warned the Navarr that the Hallow of the Green World had been performed, and urged them to prepare for any problems this might cause with the Vallorn. Only the vallorn of Hercynia and Therunin were influenced by the Spring magic, and thanks to it's particular flavour it seems to have mostly been harmless. There has been a slight upsurge in vallorn activity in the two territories, but the Navarr and their allies were well prepared to deal with it thanks to their Assembly.
Finally, the Assembly upheld a statement from Eira Larksong that urged those in a position to do so to help renegades in Therunin find their place in the Great Dance once more. A notable increase in bandit activity in southern Therunin, especially in East Ashes, proved to be a cause for concern. By acting swiftly, however, the Navarr guides and brands, accompanied by skilled thorns who knew the area, were able to make contact with some of the "bandit steadings" in the woods there and for the most part found people who were eager to "come home." Not every bandit in East Ashes has sought a new place in the Great Dance, and some had committed crimes serious enough to mandate the involvement of magistrates, but wherever possible clemency defences were provided. There are still some outlaws in the wild region, but any chance that the problem there might escalate to the scale of, say, the recent troubles in Karsk, has been removed.
- The Free Folk continue their pilgrimage following endorsement from the Imperial Synod
Last season the Empire passed several mandates regarding the Free Folk - the former Asavean slaves now living in the Empire. Lady Laudine of House duLac urged priests to welcome the Free Folk and help them develop a deeper understanding of the Way and the virtues. Nekoda of the Shattered Tower urged Highborn businesses to help provide scholarships and bursaries to enable the Free Folk who wished to do so to study the liao ceremonies in Highguard seminaries. Lady Eleonar Novarion reminded the faithful that it is not blasphemous or heretical to draw inspiration from the paragons and exemplars, nor to call for anyone to be recognised as such. This removed the final bar from the Free Folk becoming part of an Imperial nation... except in Varushka and Urizen. The mandate did not achieve a greater majority so priests in both those nations are still concerned about the apparent "idolatry" of the Free Folk and will not welcome them.
The Free Folk are by all accounts very happy with these developments, and even more happy to learn that the Synod is actively debating whether their Speaker for the Dead can be recognised as an inspirational figure. While none are due to attend Anvil this season, their grand pilgrimage continues; they are travelling across the Empire visiting temples, tombs, and shrines, speaking with priests, and working at the same time to pay their way.
- The former Mournwold thralls have asked to join the Marches
- Those who did not want to become Marchers have left the nation
- The problem of their beliefs being at odds with doctrime remains a major stumbling block
A contingent of Mournwold orcs - the former Jotun thralls - visited the Marchers during the last Summit. Over the last six months or so, a number of the orcs have apparently quit the Marches, returning to Jotun lands. Those who remain - the vast majority of those who were living in the Mournwold - have explicitly requested that they be accepted as Marchers. They want to join the nation, and become Imperial citizens. Any who didn't have now left the Empire. Their enthusiasm is all very well, but a major obstacle still remains - they still maintain beliefs at odds with Doctrine. The orcs recognise this - they have declared take all of us or none of us, echoing the Marcher demand of the First Empress, but in this case meaning that the Marches must accept their spiritual beliefs. None are prepared to abandon their belief that orcs reincarnate - or at least that those who embrace a path of pacifism like that of the Thralls do.
Furthermore, it seems that not every Marcher is keen on the orcs joining the nation, even after having met them. An invitation to the orcs to attend Anvil this summit again, perhaps to meet some of their critics, has been politely declined. Hap the Soft, one of the community leaders of the Mournwold dwelling orcs, has said that he would have come but the problem is that the fact a number of orcs have quit the Marches means several of the farms owned by the former thralls are short-handed and everyone is having to pitch in. However, all things being equal, he will attempt to bring another delegation of orcs - including some gofdhi if possible - to Anvil at the Summer Solstice, once all the planting is done. Hopefully by that point someone will have come up with a plan to deal with the whole religious problem.
Beneath the Mint (Conjunction)
- A conjunction of the Sentinel Gate will allow the Master of the Mint to reach a potentially hidden chamber during the Spring Equinox
- The conjunction is available at 21:00 on Friday evening and will allow nine people to travel back to Tassato
As was reported last season, a series of cellars and abandoned document stores have been discovered beneath the Imperial Mint in Tassato, revealed by the receding flood tides. Contractors and builders have been hard at work making them as safe as possible, but there is only so much that can be done. However, shortly before the Spring Equinox news comes from below the Mint that the delvers there have found an incongruous wall that they believe may conceal a hidden area. Unfortunately, getting through that wall without bringing down some of the nearby construction and reflooding the entire area is next to impossible. As such they're not prepared to do it themselves, not without the Master of the Imperial Mint on hand. Unfortunately, the Master has already left for Anvil at the point the area is discovered. Fortunately, it appears there is actually a conjunction of the Sentinel Gate that will allow a small group of nine people to reach the Basement of the Master of the Mint's Apartments at nine-o-clock Friday evening.
It seems a little surreal to travel all the way to Anvil, travel back to the Mint via magical portal, return to Anvil, and then have to travel all the way back to Tassato on foot, but sometimes fate acts in mysterious ways. Especially as this discovery has already started water coming back in in other parts of the basement area. This is a critical window to find out what, if anything, is down there. One of the workers, a magician employed for their acumen with Autumn magic, suggests the Master of the Mint may want to bring some diviners with them, as there's not likely to be another chance to examine these underground - and more importantly underwater - areas again.
Imperial Orcs and Septs
- Both the Ethengraw Armoury and the Illaraum Ossuary are already nearing completion
- The National Assembly has silenced Stonecliff Brakkalo at least for the moment
During the Winter Solstice, both the Ethengraw Armoury and the Ylaraum Ossuary were commissioned, and the materials have already been supplied for both. Work is continuing apace and will be completed in time for the Summer Solstice if nothing goes wrong. This, along with a strongly worded statement from Atla seems to have silenced the criticism of Stonecliff Brakkalo at least for the time being.
Skywise Gralka also raised a statement of principle which was supported by the National Assembly accepting the offer of the Illaraum to help the Imperial orcs deal with the voices of angry ancestors. Several shaman have already visited the Illaraum, and an opportunity to study with some of the mystagogues will apparently be available during the Spring Equinox. The full impact of the offer is still being felt, but it seems to consist of meditative techniques that help an orc ignore distracting voices.
Rather than spread this information out around the various foreign nations, we've collected it here for ease of reference.
- Free Trade: Imperial ships trading with Commonwealth, Axos, Sumaah, or Sarcophan Delves receive a +1 rank bonus until the start of the Autumn Equinox 385YE.
- Asavean Archipelago: The port of Nemoria is closed to Imperial trading vessels.
- Axos: The dreadful docks at Issyk remain a problem. While the impact of recent events continues to fade, the Axos are now angry about revelations relating to Imperial involvement in the failure of their joint venture with the Grendel into the Mountains of the Moon. Consequently Imperial fleets suffer significant penalties to trade with Axos. A fleet captain trading at the Towers of Kantor suffers a -3 rank penalty. The port at the Chambers of Issyk have been destroyed and are no longer available.
- The Commonwealth: Commonwealth citizens remain enthusiastic about trading the Imperial fleet captains. Fleets trading with Leerdam receive an additional dram of Bladeroot, while fleets trading with Volkavaar receive an additional vial of Artisan's Oil on top of their normal production.
- Principalities of Jarm: The ports of Kavor and Vezak remain closed to Imperial fleets.
- Sarcophan Delves: Imperial captains continue to be welcomed in the Delves. Fleets trading with the great port-city of Sarcophan receive an additional dose of Marrowort and an additional dose of Imperial Roseweald on top of their normal production. The new port of Betovering is newly open to Imperial fleets.
- Sumaah Republic: Imperial captains are free to trade with the Sumaah Republic. Fleets visiting Zemeh receive standard production.
- Grendel: The port of Oran is closed to Imperial fleets.
- Iron Confederacy: The port of Robec is available for Imperial fleets but suffers a -2 rank penalty due to sanctions.
- You can find details of the mandates, along with the rest of the Synod judgements, here.
Seventeen mandates were upheld in the Imperial Synod during the Winter Solstice. All mandates have been automatically enacted as long as the named priest has sufficient liao in their inventory before Downtime opens. Some mandates were upheld by their respective assemblies but not enacted.
- Last event there were a number of conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate; their known outcomes are listed here
During the Winter Solstice, there were a number of conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate identified by the Imperial prognosticators. In each case a band of Imperial heroes used that conjunction to travel to a location far from Anvil and intervene in a ongoing situation. These are the known outcomes of those conjunctions. In the case of battles, it must be remembered that the Military Council can only make use of two of the major conjunctions each summit, choosing which to take advantage of during the Muster.
|Kill a Druj governor and capture a Dawnish collaborator
|A Vile Het
|Serra Grubfeast survived, but traitor Renee du Loire was captured, interrogated, and executed
|Destroy keystones and make use of the Spring regio
|The Towering Pines
|The regio at Broker's Wynd was used to unleash devastating Spring magic against the Jotun, but work continues on their fortification.
|Rescue the Rahvin and make use of the Summer regio
|A Curious Reprise
|Not taken; the Rahvin remain slaves of the Druj
|Prevent the spy network from being destroyed and stop a fane being constructed
|The Freezing North
|Not taken; the Jotun have reinforced their borders, and a fane has been established in Greenwall
|Rouse Old Marjoram and arrest a Marcher traitor
|The Encroaching Wetlands
|Not taken; Oddmire is under threat from the Jotun in Bregasland
|The Barrens, Farweald, The Broken Glade
|Apothecary of Orieb
|Kill the Sleepless Nightmare
|The sleepless nightmare was destroyed along with most of the Druj escorting it
|The Barrens, Murderdale, Berena's Tree
|Grandmaster of the Shuttered Lantern
|Kill the Burnt Fist coven
|The scorched liege was destroyed along with most of the ritualists
|Broceliande, Terunael, Kay's Lament
|Knight-protector of Spring
|Recover the Tairiscint na Foraoise
|The Tairiscint na Foraoise was recovered
|Sermersuaq, Stark, Vahne's Field
|Senator of Sermersuaq
|Force the Jotun to retreat
|Many scouts defeated, the Jotun were driven back
|Mournwold, Southmoor, Tollerton Green
|Master of Sarcombe Metal Market
|Rescue Wise Maggie
|Wise Maggie was not rescued
|Sermersuaq, Tanikipari, Siward's Folly
|Weigher of Worth
|Defeat Jarl Roneth and return the sword to Barien
|Jarl Roneth was defeated and the sword recovered
|Zenith, Occursion, Ring of Solace Ruins
|Senators of Urizen and the Archivist of the Echoing Obelisk
|Lift spirits and investigate
|The tormented spirits were laid to rest with minimal harm to the Imperial heroes
|The Barrens, Murderdale, Holt of the Mudchurner
|General of the Golden Sun
|Kill Garsnag Mudchurner
|Several tortured souls were defeated but Garsnag Mudchurner managed to flee
|Zenith, Iteri, Spire of the Everlasting Dusk
|Lay the tortured souls to rest
|The tortured souls were not laid to rest due to an anomaly with the gate, the Imperial heroes were greatly outnumbered but retreated in good order
|The Barrens, The Untrod Groves, Soulflayer's Refuge
|Champion of Vigilance
|Kill Varag Soulflayer
|Varag Soulflayer survived, as did the tormented spirits
|Zenith, Lustri, Spire of Twisting Shadow
|Senator of Zenith
|Destroy miasma pillars
|The pillar was destroyed but due to an anomaly with the gate, its guardians remain
|Kahraman, Serra Briante, Isabella's Track
|Great Mine of Briante
|Kill the Lasambrians before they ambush wagon trains
|Most of the Lasambrian jotun were defeated or driven off
|Kallavesa, Skymark, The Cold Path of Kaisa
|Mediator of Hyljehal
|Kill the Lasambrians before they slaughter a group of Hylje
|The Lasambrian jotun were dealt with, and the hylje protected
|Bregasland, Grey Fens, Orchard of Tom Wiscall
|General of the Strong Reeds
|Deliver resources to the Scraggy Bole
|Supplies successfully delivered
|Bregasland, North Fens, Dry Marsh
|Rescue Tall George, an apprentice of Mott
|Tall George was rescued and the Jotun stymied
|Brocéliande, Elerael, Silent Copse
|Avery Farkas, Navarr Egregore
|Rescue a number of injured Marchers
|Marchers rescued, threat addressed
|Mournwold, Southmoor, Friar Tommy's Grave
|Bailiff of the Downs
|Ensure that Little Robin doesn't make it to Liathaven
|Despite the Jotun being engaged successfully, the traitorous Little Robin escaped