Black and white
Peter of Hintown looked down at his bowl of soup and said nothing. He may have made the discovery, but he was not getting between the Winterfolk.
"What do we do when we tell them about our find and the damn Senate takes it away from us and gives it to the damn orcs!" Bellowed Ulan.
"They can't do that," said Jeorg reasonably, stirring the fire.
"Well then they'll give it to the damn League!" Ulan jabbed his spoon vaguely southwards. Here on the edge of Tsirku, almost very direction counted as "south"
Peter opened his mouth to say something and then thought better of it. He sighed, and added another pinch of herbs to his sealmeat stew. He was actually beginning to wish he'd never found the thing now. It was so much easier when they were just looking at troll artifacts and dodging ... whatever it was that they'd been attacked by in the cave. He shuddered, remembering the stink of its breath and the immense bone-crunching jaws gaping on either side of his terrified head. He started to catalogue the things he would not miss when he was safely back in the Marches. He never imagined he would be nostalgic for the Feni-haunted drowned ruins of Bregasland ... but he was. At least they were warm.
His companions continued to argue, huddled together in the yurt on the edge of the wasteland. Peter nursed his broken arm and felt sorry for himself. He laid back on his cot and listened to the sounds outside - to the occasional cry from the penguins and the lapping of the waves. He drowsed a little and fancied he could hear the great ice wall itself creaking and groaning. Singing him to sleep.
Privately he wished he had taken the other route through the caves near the glacier. Not just because of the ... the thing ... that had tried to maul him. If they had gone left, his arm would not be broken and Rickon would never have spotted the metal veins and Jeorg would never have confirmed it was bloody ...
Now, there would probably be more arguments, and then the Face of Ikka would be crawling with miners and prospectors. The chances of finding anything more in the tunnels down near the great lake would fade and melt away like ... he groped for a suitable analogy. An ice cube in a furnace?
He felt his eyes filling with water, and dashed them away with his good arm. As Ulan continued to try (ineffectively) to sway the others to a crazed plan in which they kept the find to themselves, he pulled out a square of parchment and continued to pen the first of his letters back to civilisation."... While I have yet to confirm my hypothesis with regard to the relationship between the Thule invasion and the Trolls, we do appear to have found a sizeable deposit of raw mithril ...."
Peter of Hintown - the civil servant responsible for compiling a historical research document on the rune forge in Gildenheim has been provided with sufficient funds to perform a follow-up investigation in Sermersuaq. While exploring the Face of Ikka for troll artifacts, he and his expedition have made a fortuitous discovery - a vein of unworked mithril in caves near the glacier.
The civil servant is still composing his report on the troll ruins, but the vein of mithril has caused immediate interest. Experts have been dispatched to examine the fine and have confirmed that all their preliminary observations suggest that there is indeed a significant mithril deposit in the absolute farthest north, where the great glacier grinds into the waters on the borders between Tsirku and the Empire.
Obviously, magical divination cannot determine much about the extent of the deposits, and the location of the find raises significant issues with exploiting it.
The preliminary investigation suggests it will be very expensive for the Empire to exploit this resource.
Exploiting the mithril find would require a motion of the Senate, and a significant investment in materials and labour. It is estimated that for an initial outlay of 100 Thrones, a mining operation could be established on the edge of Suaq Fount in six months time. All things being equal, the first mithril would be produced in time for the Autumn Equinox. The expectation is that the mine would provide 10 wains of mithril every season for the foreseeable future.
For a more significant outlay of 200 Thrones (total), and a total of nine months of work, more extensive workings could be established. This would produce 15 wains of mithril every season. These deeper delvings would begin producing mithril in time for the Winter Solstice 380YE. It would be possible to establish the basic mineworkings and then expand them later, but doing so would take six months unless the mine were shut down completely for a minimum of three months.
It may be possible to expand the workings even further, but it is impossible at this time to be sure - only the presence of a significant number of skilled miners will be able to determine exactly how rich this mithril find might be. A party of prospectors familiar with mithril formations and the difficulties of working in the far north could be dispatched at a cost to the Senate of 10 Thrones.
The Bourse Seat
Exploiting this mithril find would obviously create a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. When - if - it produces its first load of mithril the Imperial Senate would need to determine if it is to be Imperial or National. An Imperial Bourse Seat could be held by any Imperial citizen; would be subject to an open auction; and the money bid would be paid into the Senate treasury.
As the territory of Sermersuaq is part of Wintermark, if the seat is made National it would automatically be allocated to that nation. It would create a national seat, and the well-worn path would be for it to be appointed through the Bourse by vote of the captains of Wintermark.
As with all other mithril seats, this seat would appointed or auctioned at the Autumn Equinox. If the seat is completed earlier or later than Autumn 380YE, the first holder of the seat will obviously have a shorter tenure.
There are two potential problems with this seat which might need to be addressed.
Firstly, its proximity to Jotun and Thule lands cannot be understated. The Empire is already at war with the Jotun, and in the event of a renewal of hostilities with the Thule it would come under immediate threat. Peter of Hintown and his Suaq advisor, the architect Ana, have both sent strongly worded recommendations that the Empire consider building a fortification in the Suaq Fount to help protect the new mithril resource (and in Peter's case, the historical artifacts of the Face of Ikka).
Secondly, the mine stands on the very northern edge of the Empire in an area known form troll ruins and exotic artifacts. If any horror emerged from Tsirku, or from within the glacier, then the mithril mine would almost certainly be straight in its path
During the Winter Solstice, the Imperial Senate commissioned the construction of a mithril mine in the cold wastes of Sermersuaq. Senator Atte provided 200 Thrones to the civil service, and work has begun on the new mine. It is projected to be completed in time for the Autumn Equinox 380YE assuming nothing goes wrong.
No provision was made for a fortification, and there was no motion of prospecting at this time - although this would remain an option going forward.
During the Spring Equinox 382YE, the Imperial Senate dispatched prospectors to explore the possibilities of expanding the workings.