A question of provenance
His voice echoed around the rude camp that was all the refugees had been able to cobble together out of what the creeping rot had left them. They were tired, but their faces were set, determined.
"The good news is, we found some abandoned wagons. We think they belonged to some teamsters, with the Wolves of War. I have no idea what made them leave their load, but they were hauling sacks of Marcher grain and some barrels of salt beef."
He held up a hand to forestall celebration.
"The bad news is that whatever it is that has been getting into our supplies has eaten everything but the salt beef - or to put it another way, we've got ourselves a couple of wains of mushrooms."
He let a grim smile twist his mouth. "And that brings me neatly to Virtue. Brother Isaachar has looked them over and reckons the mushrooms are just as edible as the grain was. He's tried them himself and says they taste "nutty". That was six hours ago and he's doing fine."
He inclined his head to where Isaachar stood, and the apothecary dumped three sacks onto the ground at his feet, spilling dinner-plate sized pale mushrooms out."So! Either way we can eat tonight. But if we've got the Courage to trust Brother Isaachar and these mushrooms, we can eat well. So what do we do?"
The Highborn territory is being transformed by Spring magic. The power of an eternal, even one claiming to be working at Imperial behest, is rarely entirely welcomed by the Highborn. One element that is causing a great deal of consternation is the question of the eerie plant life that accompanies the rejuvenating touch of Spring.
Even after the magic itself begins to fade, weird mushrooms abound in all the places one might normally expect to find fungus. One breed in particular seems especially widespread - a deep violet 'shroom that grows with fecund enthusiasm wherever vinum is found. Similar strains infest grain and vegetable produce, but despite potentially ruining crops they seem to be particularly tasty and nourishing. Finally, the mulch left behind when some of these plants die seems to have a positive effect on herb gardens ...
... but there are still doubts as to whether any of this is a good thing.
The Judgements of the Synod
Many of the people of Highguard look to the Synod for guidance. In a way, concerns over the influence of Llofir reflext the Eternal Schism between the exclusionist (the Eternal Realms exist outside of the true Creation and are akin to parasites attached to the mortal world) and inclusionist (the Eternal Realms are part of the wider Creation and that contact with Eternals is inevitable and unavoidable) approaches to the eternal realms.
The General Assembly, Highborn Assembly, or Council of Nine can pass a Statement of Principle to offer guidance to the Imperial citizens in Reikos and direct the groundswell of public opinion. All such judgements will require that a named priest be authorized to spread the judgement of the Synod to Reikos, and must be accompanied by the collection of at least 25 liao for use in creating auras (the liao should be handed in in the pack of the named priest, as described here).
If the Statement of Principle is a clear warning against the dangers of the eternal realms and encourages the people of Reikos to avoid contact with the strangeness afoot there (an essentially exclusionist approach), the people will avoid contact with the agents of Llofir and shun the fruits of its influence in the name of Vigilance. As a consequence, each congregation in Reikos will receive 2 extra votes and 1 extra liao, as engagement and support from their representatives encourages the Highborn to attend congregation with a renewed interest in the Synod. At the same time, however, this will have a small negative impact on the production of all businesses, farms, forest, and herb gardens in Reikos as people destroy or cast aside any suspect materials they come across.
If the Statement of Principle encourages the people of Reikos to cautiously engage with the magic that has overtaken their people, while being mindful of the virtues (an essentially inclusionist approach), the products of Llofir's influence will be exploited by the rebuilding effort in the name of Prosperity and Wisdom, working with rather than against the magic to rebuild Reikos. Those things that have particular value to the apothecary or physician - or that the congregation consider too dangerous to leave unattended - will be forwarded to the keepers of the congregations of Reikos for study and safe-keeping. At the same time, all farms, forests, businesses, and herb gardens in Reikos will receive a small boost to their production as their owners are able to take advantage of the curious plants and fungus they encounter. It is not certain what resources this will yield, but it will include at least some doses of the herbs familiar to Imperial herbalists, as well as potentially some unique or novel substances produced by the eerie Spring magic.
The Concern of the Conclave
A number of magisters in Reikos have examined the effect that has swept across the territory and expressed some guarded concern. They judge that given the nature of the magic used, the widespread effects they are seeing should not be possible without first passing a Declaration granting amity to Llofir. Which it has clearly not.
The powers of enmity and amity are a powerful tool in the hands of the Conclave, which grant them additional powers to serve as intermediaries between the Empire and the Eternal realms. If it has been compromised, or someone or something has found a way to work around it, then it is probably Wise and Vigilant for the Conclave to investigate quite how Llofir has managed this.
There's a lot going on in Reikos this season. You may also want to look at some of the following sections:
With the support of the Highborn Assembly, Gravus of the Shattered Tower volunteered to venture inside Reikos to spread an exclusionist message, with the full backing of the Imperial Synod. As a consequence, the congregations of Reikos were reinforced, while the production of businesses, farms, forests, and herb gardens has been reduced as people destroy or cast aside any suspect materials they come across.
Gravus of the Shattered Tower volunteers to venture inside Reikos to spread a message of Isolationism against the forces of the Spring Eternal Llofir. This will require 25 liao.The Highborn Assembly of the Imperial Synod 380YE Summer Solstice
At the same time, the Imperial Conclave decided to strip the herald Gilean of her amity. In addition, during the months following the Solstice, the Citadel Guard of Urizen moved to Reikos in an attempt to capture the region of Tamarbode from the forces of the eternal Llofir. You can read about that here