Beyond the shores of Semmerlak,

Towards the rising sun.
An ancient knight quests gallantly.
Her test as yet undone.

Her hair is brazen flax, they say:
Her steel it shines like gold.
She fought her foes with brilliant blade
Til all lay dead and cold.

That knight, she lost her queen, they say:
Her heart it would have died.
Yet took she up the questing lance,
And matched full east with pride.

For where there's graves, there's flowers:
And where there's dusk, there's Dawn.
The Barrens will be ours, she said:
I'll quest until they're won.

-- Traditional Dawnish Ballad
Dawn and Allies.jpg
The Barrens are part of Dawn. At last.


Dawn has achieved a glorious victory, a triumph the Dawnish people have dreamed of for centuries. Along with their allies, they have shattered the Druj armies in the Barrens and conquered the territory. The victory has come at great cost; the Hounds of Glory are no more. They were broken in the assault on the Spires of Dusk, giving their lives to drive the Druj from the castle and finally claim the land. After the final triumph by the heroes at Anvil, the Imperial Senate has acknowledged the extraordinary heroism and sacrifice of all those involved and granted Dawn dominion over the land they have striven to claim for so long.

The fighting is not yet done. There are still regions of the Barrens controlled by the Druj. Their cruelty never abates and they continue to stab at the Empire any chance they get. There are also large areas of the Barrens controlled by various septs of orcs, not to mention the Montanians, all of whom remain deeply distrustful of Dawn. There is a huge amount of work to be done here before the struggle is over.

But for now, Dawn can bask in the glory of their accomplishment, and think about how best to secure their legacy.

A Nation Celebrates

  • The entire nation of Dawn is infused with a sense of triumphant joy
  • The national assembly could channel this celebration towards a particular end

News of the conquest of the Barrens brings joy right across Dawn. The mood of those nobles and yeofolk fighting for their country in the Barrens soars, where once there was only the briefest flicker of hope, now there is jubilation. Generations of Dawnish knights have given their lives to achieve this monumental task, now they may be able to sleep easily in their graves at last. The Barrens is not yet free, but the end is in sight and even the Druj cannot deny it. Now it is the orcs of the Mallum that skulk with their heads bowed, eyes cast furtively to the horizons, wondering when the axe will fall.

But the celebration is not confined to the Barrens itself. The people of Astolat, Weirwater, and Semmerholm are elated to see the greatest quest the nation has ever attempted is finally complete. There are fayres held to celebrate the victory in every town in Dawn. There are more than a dozen grand tourneys organised with rich houses offering heavy purses for the victorious knights. No-one wants to make light of the difficult work that is still to be done, but nobody wishes to let this moment pass without marking it in some way. The accomplishment of a nation's long cherished dream is not allowed to pass without celebrations the likes of which few in Dawn have ever seen. Not since Empress Richilde took the throne has the nation known such joy.

The heroes of the conquest are feted like the greatest paragons of legend. Those who fought in the Barrens find a warm welcome wherever they go. Treated as returning heroes, they want for nothing, those who stop at wayside inns find their food and board is paid for. Those who return to their homes find lavish celebrations thrown in their honour. More yeofolk are raised to the rank of noble in one night than has ever happened in Dawn's history. A thousand parents name their children for their heroes, hoping to inspire them to tread that glorious path. In a generation's time, there will not be a village or hamlet anywhere in Dawn that doesn't have half a dozen children named Tancred coming of age. The noble houses of de Rondell and de Coeurdefer are plagued with a hundred unlikely yeofolk all seeking a Test of Mettle.

It is not just the people of Dawn who celebrate. Their elfin allies from the Summer nation are mightily pleased that Dawn has triumphed. Eleonaris fully expects her Dawnish allies to rule over the Barrens in glory and majesty. Cathan Canae is well pleased by this demonstration of strength and irresistible force. Meraud, Barien, Adamant, Rhianos, even fickle Jaheris - all are heartened to hear of Dawn's triumph. Only Hayaak, the former Gryphon-Knight that Dawn helped to dethrone, is not given to celebration. Word is that this powerful herald rages and spews threats of vengeance so much that even his patron Eleonaris begins to tire of his company.

Sweetest of Fruits

The Dawnish National Assembly could guide this spirit of jubilation, directing it to serve the nation's purpose. The civil service have identified two clear choices. The Assembly could use a mandate to push people to search for ways to strengthen and enrich Dawn.

Our long toil to free the Barrens is complete, now we must claim the just rewards of our labours. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to urge our countryfolk to enjoy the fruits of our labour today.

Synod Mandate, Dawnish National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, it will focus attention inwards. The Dawnish people will relax their long vigil, satisfied that the Druj are beaten for now and the Barrens is freed. They will turn back to home and seek out ways to build up all of Dawn. It will turn the triumph in the Barrens into opportunities to make Dawn more prosperous.

Demands of Glory

The clear alternative would be to tap into the sense of triumph, to continue the war against the Druj to its inevitable conclusion. The Assembly could use a mandate to encourage people to take up arms and finish this war once and for all.

The Druj have been the poison in our neighbours fields for too long. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to remind our countryfolk that glory demands the threat of the Druj is ended for good.

Synod Mandate, Dawnish National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, it will focus attention eastwards. Ossium has been liberated and now the Barrens are freed. But the Druj still hold Ulnak, Sanath and the Sarangrave. For the first time in living memory the opportunity exists for the Dawn to lead the Empire to victory over the Druj. Their armies are broken, but given time they will rebuild, just as they have always done. This mandate will turn the triumph in the Barrens into opportunities to press the advantage to open new fronts against the Druj.

Guiding the Stream

  • These mandates are in competition

These mandates are competing. Either the Dawnish Assembly urges people to turn aside from war for a time and concentrate on building up the Prosperity of Dawn or they ask people to commit everything to finishing the Druj while they are down. They cannot do both. As always, if multiple competing mandates are raised successfully, the one that achieved the highest margin of success will be the one that is considered to have been enacted.

Restoring Dawnguard

  • Dawnguard is marred by the scars left by years of Druj occupation

Whatever decision the National Assembly makes, there is work to be done in Dawnguard. The four massively built white granite tower-keeps collectively known as the Towers of the Dawn once protected Dawnguard and kept the Druj out Semmerholm. The massive fortification was a symbol of Dawnish resistance to the tyranny of the Druj for almost as long as the dream of conquering the Barrens existed. The Druj destroyed the Towers and left them ruined, desecrating them wherever possible, as a warning to any that tried to resist their rule. Their remains now stand as a grim reminder of the Dawnish defeat, demoralising everyone who visits the area.

Towers of the Dawn

  • The Empire could rebuild the Towers of the Dawn
  • This fortification would require 60 wains of white granite, 15 thrones and take nine months to complete
  • There is an opportunity to build a single regular commission on the site instead of a fortification

The Empire could rebuild the Towers of the Dawn. They have been ruined, but enough of the foundations remain that the towers could be restored to something approaching their former glory. It would cost 60 wains of white granite, 15 thrones, and take nine months to complete. Rebuilding the towers would remove the constant reminder that the Druj once ruled over Dawnguard, encouraging Dawnish citizens to settle here once more. It would also help to secure the area and fortify the territory against Druj attack.

Something will have to be done however, unless the Dawnish plan to leave the ruins there forever, acting as a constant reminder of their defeat at the hands of the Druj? Or perhaps as a memorial to those who fought and died in the Barrens? Having the examined the ruins carefully, the civil service confirm that there is an opportunity to build a single regular commission on the site instead of a fortification. The existing foundations would have to be removed, the white granite could not be repurposed - but this is one of the few areas in the Barrens that it is possible to build on at the moment. Building a commission here could help to expunge the evidence that the Druj once held these lands, or it could provide a sobering reminder of the danger of both the malice of the orcs of the Mallum, and the sacrifices made to overcome them. Indeed, if they wished, the National Assembly could use a statement of principle to ask for proposals from the glorious architects of Dawn, to create something beautiful yet sombre to stand in place of the Towers.


Town of Drycastle
Commission Type: Sinecure
Location: Dawnguard, The Barrens
Cost: 20 white granite, 20 weirwood, 10 thrones, three months to construct
Effect: Creates two positions; Knight of Dawnguard and Reeve of Drycastle.
Knight of Dawnguard
Type: National position
Appointment: Appointment by the Imperial Senate
Powers: Receives a Fireglass as regalia and receives two Skop's Mead each season
Responsibilities: Protect Dawnguard from any threats that arise
Reeve of Drycastle
Type: National position
Appointment: Annual appointment; Tally of the Votes
Powers: Receives a seasonal income of 500 rings
Responsibilities: Ensure the prosperity of Drycastle
  • The Empire can repair the damage to Drycastle
  • This sinecure would require 20 wains of white granite, 20 wains of weirwood, 10 thrones and take two seasons to complete
  • It would create two Dawnish titles, the Knight of Dawnguard and the Reeve of Drycastle

Dawnguard was also home to a small number of Dawnish settlements, of which Drycastle was simply the most prominent. The Druj pillaged the town, taking off what valuables they could and burning what they could not. There are numerous Dawnish people still living here, many of them eking out a meagre existence in the handful of buildings that were not ruined by the Druj or the fires they set.

There is an opportunity for the Empire to rebuild Drycastle, tearing down the destroyed buildings and replacing them with a number of edifices of white granite, to contribute to the Prosperity of the town. There are many people here seeking homes, all of whom would gratefully offer their support to whoever Dawn appointed to watch over Drycastle if it was rebuilt. It would require 20 wains of white granite, 20 wains of weirwood, 10 thrones and take two seasons to complete. Once the work was finished, it would create two new Imperial titles.

The Knight of Dawnguard would be expected to ensure the security of the region of Dawnguard, protecting Drycastle and the other settlements from any danger. In return, loyal weavers in the town would provide the Knight with a Fireglass each year to act as regalia, along with two doses of Skop's Mead for the Knight to use as they saw fit.

The Reeve of Drycastle would be a role that a yeofolk was expected to take up - there would be significant problems if a noble took the position. The position would be charged with seeing to the Prosperity of the town, meeting with visiting merchants and helping to settle disputes. The Reeve would receive a sizeable income, 500 rings for their personal use each season, earned from rents on the newly commissioned buildings in the town.

There is still work to be done in the Barrens.

A Broken Land

  • The Barrens remains largely unknown territory, and the former Druj subjects who live there are not friends to Dawn
  • The National Assembly could guide their people in settling the Barrens but would need to decide how best to do it

There is a great deal of work still to be done in the Barrens, and much of it remains to be discovered. There has been no spy network the Barrens for some time, which makes it harder to find out what is happening in this vast territory - the largest anywhere in the Empire or beyond. There are known problems - but the prognosticators are sure that these are just the tip of the iceberg, that more problems will come to light with each passing season. The lay of the conquest of the Barrens may be written, but the story of the taming of the Barrens is only just beginning.

The first task is to remove the last traces of Druj power in the Barrens. The territory may have been conquered, but it is not yet fully under Imperial control. The Druj still control the Heart of Peytaht and half of Murderdale and they are using what little power is left to them to stab at the Empire and spread fear in their wake. They hurled numerous curses at the territory as their armies fled, used Spring magic to summon defences for the regions their armies abandoned, and unleashed ancient trees to assault the victorious armies and tear down the few remaining settlements. In theory that should be much more difficult for them to do, now they have no armies present here, but it would be unwise to under-estimate the Druj in these matters. The best way to secure the Barrens is for Imperial armies to remove the last vestiges of their authority in the coming season.

The Virtuous inspire other to greatness. We send Ser Agravain of House Meliora, Adjutant of the Hounds of Glory, with 50 doses of liao to urge the Knight of Dawn to prove to the Barrens that they will do all they can to free those held captive by the Druj, no matter the cost. Let our deeds light this glorious path.

Agravain of House Meliora, Dawnish National Assembly, 384YE Autumn Equinox, Upheld ({{{vote}}})

Other than the Druj, there are only scattered pockets of resistance. Guided by the National Assembly, the Dawnish armies deliberately hampered their own strategy, trying to focus their attacks against the Druj and minimise the suffering inflicted on their subjects. This was a costly approach, but it appears to have helped mute open opposition to Dawnish rule, even if there were limits to what could be achieved that way. The Karass and the Vendarri have surrendered to Imperial forces, but they remain hostile and suspicious. The Montanians are clear they will never bend the knee to Dawn - but it is equally clear that they can barely muster enough warriors to form a military unit, and an army is completely out of the question - but they still have influence with the orcs who remember the grand rebellion against the Druj. The Rahvin remain a problem however. Their forces are tiny, barely a few hundred orcs, although they are all seasoned fighters. They have seized the Fangs, the strange mithril deposits that cling to the edge of the Barren Sea, and are refusing to give them up. They are effectively in armed rebellion to Imperial rule, despite their willingness to speak with the Imperial Orcs of the Winter Sun.

The Dawnish lands in the Barrens are, if anything worse. The Towers of the Dawn were torn down and Drycastle pillaged. Those who resisted Druj rule were taken as slaves or executed on the spot. Estates were looted, homes fired, crops burned. The Druj would cart off what wealth they could take and destroy what they could not. They left ruin and misery in their wake - there is much rebuilding to be done.

Still now is the time to rebuild, Dawn could seize the moment and urge the people of Dawn to claim their prize.

Seize the Prize

We have aimed high and pursued our dreams, now they are within our grasp at last. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to urge Dawnish citizens to come to the Barrens and help rebuild this broken land. Cleave to what you know is true, even where others wish you to doubt.

Synod Mandate, Dawnish National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, the trickle of Dawnish folk coming to the Barrens will turn into a flood. Those who were forced to give up their estates and flee the Barrens when the Druj took the territory will be the first to return, but others will soon follow. The Barrens holds a mythical quality in Dawnish minds, people are more than ready for the challenge. If this happens, it will mean that any Dawnish citizen who wishes to move their resource to the Barrens will be able to do so without paying the normal 2 crowns charge. It will be hard work for the civil service to find suitable locations for people to settle, but the costs involved will be borne by the many Dawnish houses eager to play their part in building up the Barrens.

In addition, scores of new Dawnish houses will be founded as young knights and witches and aspiring nobles of every calibre look to claim their own estates. As a result the maximum number of armies that Dawn can support will rise by one by the end four seasons after the mandate being enacted. Given the loss of the Hounds of Glory, those benefits may not be needed straight away, but doubtless they will come in useful one day.

However the mandate will not please everyone. The Barrens is a vast wilderness with countless lands that are untamed and unclaimed by anyone. Nobody will need to give way to make room for the new occupants. However the influx of Dawnish folk moving to the Barrens can only exacerbate the fears of the various factions of the Barrens, all of whom are hostile to Dawnish rule. To see the Dawnish settlements growing and thriving will fan the flames of rebellious discontent.

The Right Question

Rather than plunge head-long into the Barrens, the Assembly could urge caution:

Wisdom is not always knowing the answer; Wisdom is finding the right question. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to caution Dawnish citizens not to rush into the Barrens. We will settle relations with the people of the Barrens before we settle the lands.

Synod Mandate, Dawnish National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, the trickle of Dawnish folk coming to the Barrens will quickly dry up. Those who had hoped to return to the lands they lost when they fled the Barrens will think twice about returning. Those who do return will settle in areas of land that Dawn has claimed for decades or more and which are not contested by the other occupants of the Barrens. There will be no benefits to Dawnish army support or to those looking to move to the Barrens, but it will ensure that the current hostilities with the septs who live here do not get any worse. That might give the Empire the time to find the right questions.

Ser Dindrane has offered a mandate that would see Dawn instead focus on supporting the factions that occupy the Barrens.

Pride exalts and uplifts those who have been laid low by the wicked; we come to the Barrens not to conquer, but to liberate and restore those who have been trod underfoot by the Druj. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to urge Dawnish citizens not to settle beyond Dawnguard, but rather to put their words, steel, and coin to the cause of protecting and aiding the many inhabitants of the Barrens who have thrown off the yoke of the Buruk Tepel.

Synod Mandate, Dawnish National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, those who had hoped to return to the lands they lost when they fled the Barrens will regain their estates in Dawnguard, but new settlers will hold back. There will be no benefits to Dawnish army support or to those looking to move to the Barrens, but it will ensure that the current hostilities with the septs who live here do not get any worse. It will shift the focus of the Dawnish in the Barrens towards appeasing the septs living there and will create an opportunities for ways the Dawnish might help and support the various factions.


These mandates are competing. Either the Dawnish Assembly urges nobles and yeofolk to come to the Barrens and settle what land is unclaimed or they ask the noble houses to wait for a better moment when relations with the septs and their Montanian allies are more settled, they cannot do more than one of the options. As always, if multiple competing mandates are raised successfully, the one that achieved the highest margin of success will be the one that is considered to have been enacted.

Here We Stand (Conjunction)

  • Dozens of ghosts from across the Barrens seem to be converging on the Shrine of Hope in Hope's Rest
  • This ancient shrine has been associated with the Dawnish conquest of the Barrens for centuries
  • There is a conjunction of the Sentinel Gate that would allow an entire nation to visit the shrine at 23:00 on Saturday

We the Empire come to the Barrens not to subjugate or oppress, but to raise up our fellows and bring the light of a virtuous Dawn. We seek the opportunity to consecrate the Towers of Dusk with a dose of True Liao that they may stand as a glorious beacon of virtue for the people of the Barrens; to guide, inspire, and exalt their spirits in building a virtuous future. Where they have sown fear, we will make flowers bloom.

Darien Numbers, Assembly of Nine, Spring Equinox 385YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 8-0)

At the last summit, Cardinal of Prosperity Darien Numbers raised a statement of principle in the Assembly of Nine announcing the intention to consecrate the Towers of Dusk with true liao. The drive to the create a true liao aura at the Towers is understandable - destroyed three times, but always rebuilt, they have been a testament to Druj rule of the Barrens for centuries. Now they are in Imperial hands! But, the towers of the Dusk are in a sorry state. They are badly damaged and in urgent need of repair lest crenellations crumble and towers fall. It is not clear that they are safe to consecrate - serious work might yet be needed to shore up the defences. Plus, the style and decor suits Druj tastes, most people who have seen them prefer the ideal of remodelling the Towers completely.

However, there is a site in the Barrens that could serve as the perfect location for the Cardinal's ambition. What is more there is a very unusual conjunction of the Sentinel Gate that will lead directly to the site at the next summit. It is a major conjunction, though there are no known threats nearby and it is only just large enough to allow a single nation to go through. But in theory it might be used by the entirety of Dawn if they wish.

The conjunction leads to the shrine of Ser Guineve. According to legend Guineve was once Ser Galahad, one of Queen Igraine's four husbands. It is claimed that after Igraine's death she became Ser Guineve and became the first questing knight to seek glory in the Barrens. The stories claim she died fighting a Corsanal (and nobody has any idea what that was) and she was buried in a simple grave at the Shrine of Hope, on the borders of Hope's Rest. Guineve's ghost is known to haunt the Shrine of Hope, it is said that she can never rest until the Barrens is finally Dawnish.

Over the years the Shrine of Hope has been a regular stopping point for questing knights coming to the Barrens. There was a long tradition in which knights who were accompanied by a troubadour would try to ensure that the shrine was kept consecrated to the Virtues. Often it was Ambition or Courage, but Vigilance, Loyalty and even Wisdom were popular choices. Knights would rest here and some would encounter the ghost of Ser Guineve and be inspired by her to continue their quest.

OOC Note
We'd love to have had the players consecrate the Towers of Dusk, but unfortunately we don't have the budget for Warwick Castle... We can phys-rep a small shrine...

The practice faltered when the Druj conquered the Barrens, but though they conquered Hope's Rest they never despoiled the Shrine of Hope. Perhaps they never found it, perhaps even their black hearts faltered at the thought. Now they are gone, and the opportunity exists to create a permanent aura at the Shrine. It would once again become a focal point for every questing knight who dared to risk the bleak wilderness that forms the Barrens. A place of hope, a place rest, a place to draw strength before they venture forth to resume their quest. And what better way could there be to lay Guineve's soul to rest? To mark the legend of the first Dawnish knight ever to quest the Barrens and to show the world that what has been claimed will never be given up.

Not just Guineve could be given peace here. Although the prognosticators report no threat in the area, it seems that dozens of ghosts are being drawn to the Shrine of Hope from all across the Barrens. It is impossible to know what conjunction of the stars or movement of the heart is drawing them here, but it seems they cannot resist the call of fate. Perhaps the heroes of Anvil will meet them there.


  • Any player whose character died while fighting in the Barrens may elect to play their ghost during the conjunction that takes place on Saturday at 23:00
  • Please email for instructions if you wish to take up this opportunity
  • All Dawnish characters at Anvil have a chance to go to the Barrens and take part in any celebrations held near the Shrine of Hope
  • Any Dawnish character who has spent time in Astolat, Semmerholm, or Weirwater will have experienced the wave of jubilant celebration that has rippled across Dawn this season

The Sentinel Gate conjunction on Saturday is large enough to allow all of Dawn to pass through the gate to reach the Barrens if they wish to go. The path will be dark and we encourage players to bring burning torches, as Highguard do when they commemorate their Day of the Dead and Wintermark did when they travelled to the Kallavesa marshes. The Shrine of Hope is not large enough to accommodate a lot of players, but there will be an opportunity to tarry on the conjunction, if the weather is pleasant and players want to remain in the area to perform music or otherwise celebrate Dawn's triumph.

Combat is no more likely than at Anvil while on this conjunction. The shrine is some distance away and the path will be dark and the ground leading to the shrine is uneven. If you wish to take part in the conjunction but will have difficulty negotiating the route, please let us know in advance and we will arrange for you to have some help and additional time so that you can make your way to the site more easily OOC.

Any player whose character died while fighting in the Barrens may elect to play their ghost during this conjunction. This encounter is most suitable for character that have some history with existing Dawnish characters who are likely to be taking part in the conjunction, it will be less suitable for characters that don't have a connection to the Dawnish heroes visiting from Anvil. If you wish to play your ghost on the conjunction, please email before the 24th of July for further instructions. You will need to come to monster before the encounter begins for briefing and for make-up.

Finally, any character who has spent time in Astolat, Semmerholm or Weirwater this season is encouraged to roleplay that they took part in the festivities that have arisen spontaneously in response to the triumphant defeat of the Druj in the Barrens. There have been tourneys, galas, fayres and fetes, with troubadours and minstrels in particular in high demand to entertain and perform. You are encouraged to make up stories of the celebrations that you have been part of.

The Future Bodes.jpg
Despite everything, most of the Barrens remains unknown territory.

Unknown Lands

  • Most of the Barrens is Unknown to the Empire at this time - making it impossible to commission anything other than opportunities here
  • The civil service expect this situation to steadily improve over the next few seasons

Much of the Barrens is unknown to the Empire at this time. They have a map of the territory, but it is some years since they had a spy network here to provide up-to-date information, and even then the Barrens kept its secrets. That isn't usually needed in an Imperial territory, but the Barrens is a vast domain, with great tracts of land that are largely uninhabited, often even actively dangerous to explorers, and when one does eventually find other inhabitants of the area, they are almost invariably suspicious, resentful, or even openly hostile.

As a result it is not possible for the Imperial Senate to arrange for a regular commission anywhere in the territory at this time. The area is still too dangerous and there are simply too many unknowns for a commission to proceed. The only exception to this rule are any opportunities which have been offered to the Empire in a wind of fortune for the Barrens. Opportunities that are offered as a part of plot are not affected by this rule and function normally.

The civil service believe that the current state of affairs will not last long, even if there is no attempt to fix the issue. Provided people come from Dawn to settle in the Barrens, eventually there will be enough people with current knowledge of the area that it becomes practical and safe to conduct a commission. This is unlikely to take longer than a year, and there may be ways to speed it up.

Further Reading