Eawyn stared at the newcomers. They might not be enemies at the moment, but she was having difficult accepting the idea that they might ever be allies. She noticed their leader staring back at her, clearly happy to match her glare for glare.

She slowed her pace as they walked towards the party. There was not much time, best to make what use of it she could. "Who's that?" she asked Tredric in a whisper.

"Hoosfa Mek. Claims to be a general of some kind. Leads the Banner of the Rime Hound." Tredric was good at his job - never wasted time answering questions she hadn't asked.

"What do... they want?" she asked, her eyes glancing down at the badge pinned to the orcs breast.

"They claim they're here to talk - the general has an offer for us. For the Empire."

"For the Empire?" Eawyen stared at the orc again. She was proud of her record as a mediator, and happy enough to negotiate with orcs, Jotun or Thule. But all of a sudden this sounded like it was going to need go up the chain - all the way to the top.


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The situation in Sermersuaq remains dire. Repeated attempts by Imperial armies to retake the Suaq homeland have been rebuffed by the Jotun orcs. Much of the territory lies under the control of the Jotun Jarls who tighten their grip further as each season passes. Diplomatic overtures have likewise failed - it appears the Jotun are not yet ready to forgive the Empire for the death of their thralls in the Mournwold. Now the Empire clings on to a foothold in Sealtoq in the face of a Jotun determined to push them out no matter the cost. Following the battle before the gates of Atalaq during the Spring Equinox 383YE, the Jotun agreed not to fight in Sealtoq... but that agreement was for a year and that year is nearly up.

The situation is further complicated by the presence of the Thule in the Silver Peaks. The important region was ceded to the Northern orcs when the peace treaty was signed in Summer 379YE. They moved quickly to secure their position, using powerful magic to fortify the mountains against all attackers, but since then they have been content to sit in silent witness as the Empire and the Jotun clash on Sermersuaq's cold tundra and ice floes.

Now however, it seems that something has changed. It appears the Thule are no longer content merely to watch. A small delegation has approached Sealtoq. They come down through the East Floes, lands controlled by the Jotun, but they wear midnight blue robes, marked with ice white runes and their heads are covered by thick furred hoods. They approach the settlement under a white flag of truce - it seems the Thule have come to talk.

The Offer

  • The Thule are prepared to offer military support for an Imperial reconquest of Sermersuaq
  • They are prepared to send the Talons of the Wind, the Banner of the Rime Hound and the Earthquake Dummers to support an attack for up to one year
  • They are not prepared to send their armies to fight in any other territory

Unlike most Thule delegations, this one is not led by a warlock, but rather by a Thule general, Hoosfa Mek. Mek is not an imposing figure, but they have a clear presence and they claim to be the general of the Banner of the Rime Hound, and they have come to Sealtoq to discuss an offer.

According to Hoosfa, the Eternal Dragons of the Wastes, especially dread Tahenon the Gyre, are pleased by their alliance with the Empire. The invasion of Ossium in the east has been a success, bringing new wealth, resources and slaves to labour for the glory of Otkodov. But it has only whetted the appetite of the Thule for further conquest - the armies of the Eternal Dragons have rested too long, their soldiers grow restless and they seek new enemies. Now their peace treaty with the Jotun has expired - and while their old rivals have sent envoys looking to extend the agreement, the Dragons believe that the Empire are in a position to make them a better offer.

If the Winterfolk and their Imperial allies are prepared to move in strength against the Jotun, then the Thule are willing to send up to three armies, the Talons of the Wind, the Banner of the Rime Hound and the Earthquake Drummers, to march in support of them. The Eternal Dragons are happy to surrender any claim to the lands currently controlled by the Jotun, provided the Empire meets their conditions and assuming they can meet the price.

The Conditions

  • Imperial armies would outnumber Thule armies at all times during the campaign
  • The campaign would last for up to one year
  • The Empire would use no widespread territory-wide curses to slaughter and kill soldiers, slaves or thralls
  • The Empire would do nothing to hinder the Thule casting Rivers of Life on the territory each season

The Dragons are not prepared to fight the Jotun alone. To ensure that there was no possibility of the Empire attempting to shift the burden of the campaign from the Empire to the Thule, they would require that Imperial armies outnumber Thule armies at all times during the campaign. If the Thule send all three, then the Empire would need to send four or more armies. The Thule are content to reduce the number of their armies if needed to ensure the agreement is not accidentally broken - they would simply need appropriate warning from the Empire.

The Empire must agree to continue to the campaign with all due seriousness for one year and attempt to retake the territory. The Thule make it clear that they will regard it as a clear breach of the spirit of the agreement if they are "tricked" into attacking the Jotun for a season, before the Empire immediately sue for peace or withdraw all their troops. Hoosfa doesn't particularly want to start defining what a concerted effort to take the territory might look like - they seem to be of the view that it should be obvious. If the campaign needs more than a year, the Thule would be happy to negotiate for continued support.

The Thule warlocks would be planning to cast Rivers of Life over the territory for the duration of the campaign - and would require the Empire to commit not to remove that curse, such as by casting Rivers Run Red. In addition they would need a binding commitment not to cast any territory-wide rituals of slaughter. The Thule know what went on in the Mournwold, and have no desire to see their own people - soldiers or people of the Silver Peaks - suffer the same fate. They also know how the Jotun feel about this kind of magic, and have little interest in being tarred with the same brush.

The Price

Although Hoosfa is clear that their soldiers are itching to fight, they make clear that the Eternal Dragons will not offer their assistance for free. They would require, as payment, one region for each army that they commit to the campaign, and not in Sermersuaq. Rather they would accept Skogei Glens in Skarsdind, Miechernya in Miekarova, Branoc in Karsk, or the Webwood in Ossium. When it is pointed out that none of these regions are part of Wintermark, Hoosfa only shrugs. They appear to believe that that is Wintermark's problem to sort.

The alternative to three regions, would be the region of Opascari or Brez in Volodmartz. Both regions have invaluable bourse resources there (the Hunt of Alderei the Fair and the Granites of Veltsgorsk respectively). The Undying Kings and Queens of the North would take either region as payment for three armies for a year.

The Imperial Senate could cede these regions - or if such a thing were difficult to arrange politically, they could simply allow the Thule to move their armies in to conquer the regions. Provided the Ambassador to the Thule provides appropriate assurances that it will not break the peace treaty, then the Thule can easily secure the regions.

Their final demand is that the Empire allow the Thule armies to take any orc thralls captured by them to Otkodov to serve the Dragons. It is not explicit, the Thule seem keen to avoid needlessly upsetting their hosts, but it clear that Hoosfa means "take as slaves".

The Negotiation

  • Either Hoosfa or their representative will attend Anvil to negotiate the terms of a deal with the Empire
  • If the Empire don't have a serious offer to make, then Hoosfa asks that their envoy be informed as much swiftly, so that they can return to the north

Hoosfa is considering whether to come to Anvil directly or to send their envoy to see if there is any interest in accepting the Dragon's offer. They make clear that whoever comes will be empowered to negotiate - the Thule are making a very generous offer, but they are asking for a high price - that means there is plenty of scope for each side to compromise. However they are pains to point out that the Dragons are proposing that the Thule armies bleed to help Wintermark retake Sermersuaq - if the best the Empire can propose is derisory or desultory - then clearly no deal will be possible. In that case they ask that their Empire let them know early so that they can return to the north and make other plans.


As a consequence of this meeting, the Senate ratified a treaty with the Thule securing their aid in Sermersuaq.