Marikand gripped the rail firmly as the small Freeborn vessel maneuvered towards the rapidly approaching quayside. He'd just about got used to the incessant rolling and dipping motion of the ship since they sailed away from the Broken Shore. He could keep his food down now at last and walking across the wooden boards no longer made him think he was going to be dumped into the vast blue ocean at any moment. None-the-less, the opportunity to get off this insane thing couldn't come soon enough. Ancestors alone knew why it didn't just sink. He asked his hosts that on the first night but they'd just laughed and told him it was Ambition and Pride that kept it afloat. Madness.

Carefully he raised his eyes again, fixing them on the seafront. It was filled with people, hundreds of them, maybe thousands of them, all dressed in robes and tagelmusts like the crew of the ship. Nervously he looked around him and not for the first time he wished that he had a weapon. The humans who'd slain the guards and shattered his chains said they were freeing everybody... but... what if that was just a lie? What if... what if they were just waiting until they could get them to this "Empire" and then they were going to enslave them all.

He'd eaten good food last night - fish! The sauce was very odd, but it had been the first time in years he'd eaten something that wasn't basically gruel. Marikand was not sure what he thought about freedom, but he was very sure what he thought about fish. He wanted more of that!

The captain went striding past him, her bright clothes fluttering in the wind. She was barking orders to her crew who were reefing sails and preparing ropes and gang planks. There was so much noise coming from the dock now that it was hard for the captain to be heard above the din. The sound alarmed Marikand, nothing good ever happened when people started shouting, but the despite her volume the captain seemed happy. Perhaps she was as glad as he was at the prospect of getting off the boat and onto proper land.

Closer and closer they moved towards the jetty. Marikand could pick out individual faces in the crowd, there were hundreds of them, packed like fish in a net. Some of them had banners of some kind that they were waving. There were weapons everywhere - it seemed like half these people were armed in some way. He scanned back and forth, desperately looking for an escape route, but there was nothing. They were moments now from reaching this new land and he still had not the slightest idea how he was going to escape.

The shouting and screaming was deafening as the boat was tied up. The gang plank was pushed over the side until it reach the jetty. He looked around for somewhere to run, but where? The boat was tiny, with nowhere to hide. If he jumped over the side, he'd drown for sure. The only way off the boat was down towards the waiting mob.

The captain came up behind him and began to push him towards the plank. "No time for loiterers - come on, come on! Clear the decks! We've got booty to unload!" In an idle thought he wondered if he was part of that booty. As he staggered down the plank towards the screaming humans, was he walking to his death? Did they... did they eat people? He'd heard someone claim that once... that the Empire were all savages and cannibals who eat orcs. He'd never believed it but as he was forced towards the screaming crowd the thought of it made his blood run cold.

As soon as he stepped off the plank, the crowd surged forwards and grabbed him. He was thrown unceremoniously into the air, like a side of mutton, and borne aloft on the shoulders of a half a dozen strapping humans. The noise was deafening now, louder than any noise Marikand had ever heard, hundreds, thousands of people shouting and cheering. For a moment he was convinced that this was it, this was his end, but as his head lolled back he could see that the same "welcome" was being extended to the captain and the other members of the crew. Surely they didn't mean to eat them too?...


In the aftermath of the raid on the Grendel, the victorious Imperial fleets have returned to a heroes welcome in the ports of the Empire. Crowds line the docks in Siroc, Necropolis, Sarvos and elsewhere to welcome the victors back. They return laden with treasures stolen from Dubhtraig, but also with nearly two thousand slaves who have been rescued from a life of misery and toil on the Broken Shore.

In light of the mandate spread by Eska Crowspeaker urging every Imperial citizen to reach out to help those who have been enslaved, the people have been given a warm welcome wherever they have made land. The question remains of what to do with them, but for now they are bedded down in makeshift tent villages, on the floors of churches, in empty warehouses - wherever there is space.

Who Are They?

It is difficult to be clear about exactly how many people have been freed, but there is close to two thousand in total - an astonishing figure. Nearly two hundred of the group are human. Only a handful are former Imperial citizens, but many more are the children of such. The others are from foreign lands, Jarm, Axos, Sumaah, Sarcophan, and so on - most taken by Grendel pirates when their vessels were attacked but some sold to the Grendel by unscrupulous slave traders. All of them eager to return "home" even if it is a home that some of them have never seen. Inspired by the words of Eska Crowspeaker, they are given enough food, clothing and coin to prosper and seek a new life. That leaves the much bigger question of what to do with the nearly two thousand orcs freed.

The group includes orcs drawn from every land. A handful are Jotun or Thule, and there are even Druj amongst their number, as well as Lasambrians and even two orcs from Jarm. Most of these are easily dealt with, as they wish to return home at the first opportunity. There is some concerns about that, after all the Jotun and especially the Druj are sworn enemies of the Empire. Most people exult in what has been achieved, does it really matter if a handful of Druj return home? And who knows what good fortune may come of such a thing? Before anyone can give it serious consideration they are gone.

But the overwhelming majority are all inhabitants of the Broken Shore and have nowhere to go. Some were born slaves, others were sold at a young age, while others were enslaved for some crime or other, or simply for falling foul of a Salt Lord in some way. They have nothing to return to the Broken Shore for and no desire to go. Return would likely mean re-enslavement or death.

At the moment they are driven by two passions; the first is a burning hatred for the Grendel - the harder the toil they endured the brighter that hatred burns. The second is an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards the Empire - a mythical land to many of them, a place of monsters and strange magics that has transformed into a miracle. More than anything they want to stay and to make a new life here. But where? And how?


The easiest way to settle these people would be with an appropriate judgement. The Imperial Synod could pass a mandate and send a priest to convince the slaves to seek a suitable home. If the Synod do pass such a judgement then it must make clear where they should go. These people have never been to the Empire, they don't have the faintest idea of where to travel if left to their own devices, so anyone trying to help them will have to make that decision for them and be explicit about that.

Having talked at length with the orcs, the civil service have three recommendations, there possible homes where the slaves could be settled without causing any difficulty.

Imperial Orcs

Skarsind offers a welcome home for the slaves liberated from the Broken Shore. Just as we once fought for our freedom, so you will have a chance to fight against those who once enslaved you. Those who do not fight, will still have a place, working to support our legions. We send (named priest) with 50 liao to encourage the slaves to settle in Skarsind and let them know that those who choose to adopt our ways will be able to become Imperial Orcs in time.

Synod Mandate, Imperial Orc Assembly

The first and most obvious is Skarsind in the north. The orcs of the Broken Shore are not much like the Imperial Orcs - in fact the only discernible similarity is that they are orcs. But they are no more different than some of the Jarmish orcs who have settled in Skarsind - and it seems likely that many of them will embrace Imperial Orc culture, accept the egregore bond and become full citizens.

The only difficulty is that Skarsind is a long way away - it will be a difficult and dangerous journey for many who attempt, given how little food and resources they have. The Imperial Senate could address that problem, by instructing the civil service to provide food, clothing, and appropriate support and guidance to the former slaves as they make their way north at a cost to the Imperial treasury of 20 thrones. That would ensure that they arrived quickly, safely and well fed - and thus be ready to begin their new lives.

Brass Coast

The Brass Coast was founded by a crusade against slavery. We will support those who we have rescued from chains and give them a chance to prosper in our lands. We send (named priest) with 50 liao to encourage the slaves to settle in {named Freeborn territory} and let them know that those who abide by our laws and respect our customes will always be treated honestly.

Synod Mandate, Freeborn Assembly

The orcs of the Broken Shore are not much like the Freeborn either, but again there are some similarities. The civil servants who spend time with them say there is a boldness to these people, a sense of daring. Much of that has been ruthlessly crushed by the heavy weight of their chains, but the light is still there. It is not surprise then that many of them have struck up friendships with the Freeborn corsairs who rescued them. One or two have already asked about signing up for a life with the fleets and a surprising number are accomplished sailors.

Of course such people couldn't become Freeborn - there are no known cases of the human egregores accepting orcs into their nation. But there are a great many foreigners living in the Brass Coast, their presence would be unusual but no more so than a Faraden trader or an Asavean priest. A third of the slaves are already at Siroc and the rest could be quickly transported there if that was what the Imperial Synod decided, without significant cost. Freeborn ships always demand payment but the skilled sailors among their number could work passage and in such a way help the others.

The League

Ambition is the lifeblood of the League. Near everyone who dreams of making something of their life, eventually finds their ways to one of the great cities of the Empire. We send (named priest) with 50 liao to encourage the slaves to settle in {named League city} and let them know of the many opportunities that await them there.

Synod Mandate, The League Assembly

Some of the orcs of the Broken Shore are even less like the urbane people of the League cities. Their lives have been marked by long years of physical toil, working fields or minds. But a surprising number of the slaves taken in the raid were house slaves rescued from the many villas and palaces in Dubhtraig. These people are literate, numerate and have a different view of the world to their peers. They are not just looking for a home - but for somewhere they can make a life - somewhere those with ambition can prosper. With the right encouragement they could lead their fellows to a new life in one of the League cities.

As in the Brass Coast, it seems impossible that the League egregore would ever accept them as citizens of the League, but the cities teem with life drawing people from every land. There are streets in Sarvos with more foreigners than natives of the League, and while orc faces are uncommon, they are not unknown. There are still some orcs who passed through the College of the Liberated living in Sarvos, despite some lingering prejudice. Still, most of these people would quickly adapt to life in the League, and the College of the Liberated would be available to help those who struggled.

If the League opted to welcome them to Sarvos or Tassato there would be no costs involved, but if they wanted to encourage them to settle in Temeschwar or Holberg, then the Imperial Senate might wish to consider an appropriate motion to disburse 15 thrones to support them as they travel across the Empire, to help ensure that they do not fall to bandits - or to banditry.

General Assembly

In addition to the appropriate national assembly for whatever nation they are being encouraged to settle, the General Assembly could also choose to pass one or more judgements to permit a mandate to settle the former slaves. In the case of any competing mandate, the judgement with the highest margin wins as usual.

The Way and the Virtues

In addition - or instead - the General Assembly could also use an appropriate worded mandate to try to bring the Way and the Virtues to these people. Attempts to do that have not always produced results that have benefited the Empire - the situation with the Lasambrians did not develop as some people hoped - and attempts to bring the thralls of the Mournwold to the way have also stalled.

So any attempt to convert these people clearly comes with risks. Is there some way to avoid the problems that have sprung from previous attempts to proselytize the Way? Could they simply be left with whatever passes for faith amongst them as the Empire has occasionally done with other groups who have not readily adopted the Way, such as the Great Forest Orcs?

The Way binds us together, guiding all citizens on a virtuous path. We send {named priest} with 50 liao to spread the Way to those we have rescued from Dubhtraig to allow them to find a place for themselves in the Empire.

Synod Mandate, The General Assembly

A mandate of this kind would not be in competition with a mandate designed to settle the slaves in Skarsind, the League or the Brass Coast.


It is difficult for the civil service to fully predict the economic consequences of absorbing this number of people in a relatively short space of time. But when all is said and done, there are only two thousand of them, a large number, but small compared to the population of Siroc or Sarvos - or even Skarsind. It is possible that there are more to come, but regardless the civil service are confident that none of the options above would result in any significant problems.

The same is not true of the other seven nations. These people could be settled there with an appropriate mandate, but problems would flow from that. The nature and scale of those problems would depend on where they were settled and what support was offered to them to help them found a new life.

There would be some benefits of settling the people in Skarsind, the Brass Coast, or the League. An influx of people always means more taxes into the Imperial treasury - it will take a while before any of these people pay taxes in their own right but their presence will mean increased trade in the lands were they settle. More tangible benefits will likely depend on what the Empire does to welcome and support these people, just as it did when the Zemress islanders settled in Segura or the orcs of the Great Forest were welcomed into Therunin.


Three mandates were discussed and upheld by the Imperial Synod during the Winter Solstice. The General assembly upheld a mandate from Skywise Tulva to invite any orc who will embrace the ways of the Imperial Orcs to join them in Skarsind, and a competing mandate from Arno von Leche urging them to make new homes in the League. The former mandate received the greater margin of success, however, meaning that it is the Skywise orc who will be able to enact their mandate and direct the freed slaves northward.

Meanwhile, Eska Crowspeaker brought a mandate to encourage the new citizens to embrace the Way; the General Assembly agreed and in the coming months she will be able to enact that mandate.