The young man nervously rubbed his hands together as Valentina i Zabala i Guerra moved around the room, examining likely items. An old bhuj in the corner. A delicate model of a corsair vessel in a dusty bottle. A box overflowing with rings, chains, and bangles.

"We meant to tidy up in here," said her host apologetically. "But we've been so busy since the funeral. My sister and her entire family live in Feroz you see. Lived in Feroz. And now..."

Valentina didn't answer. her gaze kept being drawn back to an illuminated manuscript, colours dulled by time, that hung near the door. She picked it up, skimmed it, weighed it in her hands. A marriage contract. There was something... off... about it. Not the words - something about the document itself. She cleared a space on the cluttered desk, and took from her bag a beautiful cut glass bowl and several red candles. Working quickly, she arranged them around the rolled parchment. She pulled out a little bottle of vivid violet liquid, pausing to look over at the young man. He blanched slightly and then nodded, confirming that he would pay for the liao.

She poured the precious liao into the bowl, adding a few pinches of dark red powder, and then ran her finger along the underside of the desk, where the dust was thickest. She mixed everything together and drew a line under each closed eye. Then she waited for a moment, centering her thoughts and opening herself to the world around her. With a deep breath, she inhaled the fumes from the bowl and touched the parchment.

It felt like touching shards of broken glass.She steeled herself, resisting the reflex to pull away. The sensation became stronger. Glass, and the smell of salt, and the rumbling of distant thunder, merged together to suggest a presence. An angry, frustrated presence. She sighed as she opened her eyes and wiped her hands on her skirt.

"You were right," she said without preamble. "There is a ghost haunting your grandmother's things."

The young man looked like he might cry. "But... we had Mateo i Maristela i Riqueza for the funeral! Two days it took, and a Throne a day! How..."

Valentina was already shaking her head.

"It doesn't work like that. I don't doubt you celebrated your grandmother's life just as she would have wanted. I know Mateo's work, and he performs excellent funerals. But sometimes these things just happen. Nobody really knows why. There's not much point worrying about it. There's even a small chance it's not even your grandmother but..."

She trailed off. The young man didn't look particularly reassured by her candidness.

"I think it will get worse. This is a strong willed spirit, and it is already going to be difficult to uproot. Right now it's just banging and bumping and odd dreams. There's a chance it will stay like that, but this is an angry spirit, and it's a short path from there to hate. Especially with your house so full of life."

This last was said in a raised voice, as the sound of people shouting and the herd-of-oxen stampede thunder of a gang of laughing children burst through the walls. Her host wiped his eyes and blew his nose, and nodded decisively.

"How much? To give my grandmother some peace and quiet?"

Valentina quickly calculated how much liao it would take, adding the price of the potion she'd need to use, adding two fifths for her expertise, and deducting three rings for the meal they'd given her when she arrived. The remainder was not small, and he winced when she told him, but he agreed. It was lucky he had called for her when he did - the angrier the ghost became the harder it would be to remove. She turned back to the table, and pulled a practical-looking brass brazier from her bag.

" I'll have to burn this contract," she said, glancing over the beautifully decorated page. "The ghost has fixated on it, and it's best not to leave these things to chance."

The young man agreed, and began to talk about how important it had been to his grandmother, but Valentina was already tuning him out, focusing on the task at hand. This would all be a lot easier if she had an assistant, she mused absently, and sighed again.


Click for audio version

The Isle of the Osseini sits at the southern reach of Feroz, in the Cazar Straits. It isn't easy to reach - the currents and the winds seem to actively dislike helping boats find these unwelcoming shores. It's known for two things: thick sea fogs, and stories of ghosts. For centuries there have been tales about the "haunted isle of the Osseini", plagued by the spirits of dead pirates and the malign shades of those who sought to do harm to the Freeborn. The rare travellers who visited the isle speak of the cloying mist that rolls across the headlands, and in which the shadows of orc raiders can sometimes be seen. When the sea is becalmed, visitors claim that the creaking of rigging and the grinding sound of anchors being dropped echo from empty waters.

For centuries a reclusive order of Freeborn priests dwelt on the island and dedicated themselves to the task of dealing with the malign presences that came to its shores. The situation changed in Spring 383YE when the Grendel conquered the Cazar Straits. They quickly overran the Isle of the Osseini, imprisoned the Freeborn living there, and began turning the island to their own purposes. Fortunately a small group of priests were able to escape with the aid of corsairs from the nearby town of Shantarim. They brought a worrying tale to the civil service, speaking of ancient white granite pillars that bound the ghosts of pirates and reavers to the Isle. Orc ghosts. Grendel ghosts. Ghosts that the people of the Broken Shore could press into service to wreak havoc during their conquest of Feroz.

The Military Council used a major conjunction of the Sentinel Gate to send a force of Imperial heroes to the Isle of the Osseini to exorcise these pillars and prevent the Grendel mastering the ghosts bound within. They were successful, but none of the priests who lived there - the justicars as they called themselves - came back to Anvil with the victorious raiding party. In the months since, no further word came from the Isle of the Osseini, and the stranded justicars remained unaccounted for.

Saltbinder Grekodh leads the Grendel orcs on the Isle of the Osseini. While he has not invited contact from Imperial citizens, a Winged Messenger could be sent to him at The Isle of the Osseini, Cazar Straits, Feroz.

Under Contract

During the Autumn Equinox, as part of the Grendel treaty, the Imperial Fleet Master arranged a meeting between the orc ambassador Speaker Morna, and the Freeborn priest Finna i Fijadoz i Guerra to discuss the Isle of the Osseini and the justicars remaining there. Speaker Morna himself had no particular awareness of what had been happening on the Isle, but allegedly did his best to negotiate in good faith. The result was a contract, intended apparently to serve as a codicil to the main treaty, securing certain provisions relating to the Isle. Specifically, a group of up to one hundred priests or justicars would be allowed to return the island and minister to the unquiet dead there (and potentially in other parts of Feroz). Shortly after the Autumn Equinox, a small party of Freeborn arrived on the island to discover what had happened in the months since Imperial heroes had last visited.

They found few signs of the people who had once lived here. The Isle had been claimed by a coven of Grendel magicians who were just putting the finishing touches to a squat tower of white granite and mithril they had built at the heart of the island. The cloisters used by the justicars had been repurposed as a garrison for the Broken Shore orcs and their slaves. The white granite pillars that once bound the dead were no more - it appeared that after the Imperial heroes exorcised all the ghosts that had once been bound to them, the Grendel took the precaution of destroying what remained.

The leader of the orc coven - Saltbinder Grekodh - explained that given the pillars' purpose as to trap the souls of dead orcs, particularly Grendel orcs, they had been destroyed within days of the Spring Solstice. The remaining Freeborn on the island were killed in the fighting, during and after the battle between the Empire and the Grendel.

Saltbinder Grekodh and his coven were less than happy that the land they had claimed would have to be shared with Freeborn priests, and there were tense exchanges between the orc magicians and both the Freeborn visitors and their Grendel escort. In the end a compromise was reached. The priests would be free to establish an enclave on the northern coast, and left to their own devices, as long as they extended the same courtesy to the orc magicians. Saltbinder Grekodh and his coven were clear that they would not give up the regio they had claimed - nor provide access to it - under any circumstances. The ritual site was not covered by any treaty; it was also an important military objective in addition to being their new home.

Uneasy Company

There is now a small contingent of Brass Coast priests and their companions on the Isle of the Osseini. They're free to practice their religion and their ceremonies, but their community exists under the watchful eye of Saltbinder Grekodh and their warriors. They're able to come and go as they wish, but for their own safety Governor Rahab has requested that any ships visiting the island do so with Grendel escort to ensure there are no "accidents."

The magicians observe the priests, and the priests observe the magicians. The Grendel are practitioners of the little-regarded magic of Salt which is described as the art of ending, punishment, and oaths. They've come to the island to make use of the regio at it's heart which, while not especially strong by Imperial standards, has a particular affinity for speaking to the dead.

The Isle itself is quiet. According to the remaining justicars, the ghosts adrift in the Bay of Catazar would be trapped here by the white stone pillars if they came too close to the isle. The justicars studied the arts of exorcism and used them to release any ghosts which they identified as being human rather than orc, or to deal with any malevolent phantom that escaped the pillars' binding. With the pillars destroyed, there is nothing to call the ghosts of the Bay to the Isle, or to trap them here.

The locations where the white granite monoliths had once stood were examined under the watchful eye of the Grendel magicians. The rubble clearly had no particular provenance, neither magical nor spiritual. In an unguarded moment one of the Grendel magicians opined that they had used "magic of sky, sand, and salt to call and bind the dead like stone anchors keeping them in the world for some reason." It was clear the Grendel was not impressed. There is no indication of how the monoliths might be rebuilt. The pillars predate the arrival of the Freeborn in the Cazar Straits, and the justicars themselves never understood precisely how they worked, or who had constructed them in the first place.

With the white granite pillars gone, there are no more restless spirits here. The isolated location makes the island conducive to study and meditation, providing an opportunity for those who wish to study and learn the arts of exorcism to practice their developing skills. There is a weight of tradition as well; several well-thumbed scrolls and books offering guidance to priests dealing with dangerous spirits have already been bought back from the Saltbinder, who has no use for them.

The treaty with the Grendel presents an opportunity to establish a small community of Freeborn priests dedicated to studying magic and priestly rites for dealing with the unquiet dead. Any community will never be large, the treaty limits their numbers to a hundred, and the Isle would never be large enough to support a town. Fortunately, ghosts are rare in the Brass Coast, perhaps because of that the Freeborn in general take little interest in them. However those rare few who are interested in such things now have a place they can travel to, where they can study with like-minded fellows - provided they are prepared to risk the ever-present threat of the Grendel repeating the purge of the island that followed the Spring Equinox 383YE, of course.

When the Grendel tried to raise the restless spirits of the Isle of Osseini, they were thwarted by Justicars. With the loss of Feroz, many of these priests have been killed or enslaved, and their unique knowledge and expertise in exorcism is in danger of being lost. We call upon the Freeborn to support the remaining Justicars to gather to rebuild and expand them into a force dedicated to laying the unquiet dead to rest.

Finna i Fijadoz i Guerra, Autumn Equinox 383YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 282-0)

A New Home

During the Autumn Equinox 383YE the Freeborn assembly passed a statement of principle upholding a call by Finna i Fijadoz i Guerra to bring together the remaining justicars of the Brass Coast and expand their numbers into a force dedicated to laying the dead to rest.

While the justicars left behind on the Isle of the Osseini are gone, those who fled the isle to bring word of the Grendel activities to Anvil have survived. The group have no esoteric knowledge and no special abilities, but most are capable exorcists with skills comparable to a Highborn Steward of the Dead. However there are a few priests across the Brass Coast who take an interest in exorcism. With the support of their nation they could be encouraged to come together and share their expertise with one another and with those who needed to consult with them. One way to support them would be to create a suitable sanctuary that would house the priests, and help them study and practice.

The Freeborn have secured the right to construct such a sanctuary on the Isle of the Osseini with the treaty they signed. Half of the remaining justicars are keen to return, eager to show the Grendel that they have not been defeated or driven off. The Isle has been their home for centuries and though the white granite pillars are gone, building the sanctuary here would be a clear way to send a signal that the Freeborn are not giving up on Feroz. Of course such a gesture would not be without risk - the Grendel will not break the treaty they have signed without provocation, but it will only last for two years. If Lord Rahab were to turn against the Empire after the treaty expired, or be replaced by a less diplomatic governor, then the orcs might crush the enclave with ease.

Other locations in the Brass Coast are possible and would clearly be safer. There are plenty of places that would provide a supportive atmosphere for study and meditation. Both the peaks of Braydon's Jasse or the windswept plains of the Jade Range in Kahraman offer isolation, for example, but are not so difficult to approach that petitioners could not reach the priests if they needed them. There are several islands in Calvos Sound that are uninhabited save for sheep and puffins, which would further cement the connection between the justicars and the sea. The battlefields of the Iron Plains in Segura represent perhaps the most haunted location in the entire Brass Coast (which is not saying much, of course), and while there is some risk from the Jotun orcs they could also provide a good location for a sanctuary dedicated to study of the dead.

The Sanctuary of the Justicars

  • The Senate could commission a ministry to bring together Freeborn priests interested in exorcism
  • It would cost 15 wains of white granite and 30 crowns and take 3 months to complete
  • It could be built on the Isle of the Osseini, or in a number of other locations across the Brass Coast
Total Money SpentProduction
7 Crowns3 Usher's Decoction
17 Crowns3 Waywalker's Suffusion
Total Money SpentProduction
5 CrownsIcon of the Justicar
7 CrownsBeneficent Sigil
38 CrownsSilent Bell
Total Money SpentProduction
6 CrownsWayfarer's Robe
35 CrownsLabyrinthine Vestments

The Imperial Senate could commission a "Sanctuary for the Justicars" in the Brass Coast. Regardless of where it was built, it would provide a place for Freeborn priests interested in exorcism to study and to share their skills. It would also provide a place for the few remaining justicars to practice their calling, and provide ample opportunity for them to craft the tools of their trade. Those Freeborn citizens troubled by ghosts could travel to the sanctuary to seek the counsel of the priests, or secure their aid.

The treaty with the Grendel includes a provision to build the sanctuary on the Isle of the Osseini - making it possible to commission the building here even though Feroz is under Grendel control. The sanctuary could also be built anywhere in Madruga, Segura, or Kahraman, since they are under Imperial control.

The ministry would create the title of "Justicar of Osseini" (or whatever town or location the sanctuary was established in). It would require 15 wains of white granite and 30 crowns and take three months to complete. The title would be appointed by the Brass Coast national assembly and serve for a year. It would be appropriate to make the title responsible for dealing with the unquiet dead and ghosts in the Brass Coast. Since the Brass Coast is rarely troubled by such spirits, the Senate could grant the position wider responsibilities for organizing the few Freeborn exorcists who attend Anvil and directing them to deal with threats encountered through the Sentinel Gate as well.

In addition to serving as a place for priests interested in exorcism to gather, it would provide a sanctuary for those who simply wished to study and explore philosophical matters. As a ministry, the appointed justicar would gain access to tools and materials useful to the practice of exorcism, provided they were prepared to pay what such things were worth.

A Cuckoo's Egg

  • The document that Finna i Fijadoz i Guerra holds explicitly forbids any act of espionage by the justicars
  • The corsairs of Shantarim have an alternative suggestion that they believe does not break the contract

During the initial visit to the Isle of the Osseini, the Freeborn priests are approached by a young woman from the nearby town of Shantarim. For generations, the justicars were regularly supplied by boats from the corsair town, and some of the remaining families are keen to see that situation continue... especially if it presents an opportunity to strike a blow against the conquering orcs. Under the guise of building up the small enclave on the island, it would be possible to divert weirwood and money to the Freeborn of Shantarim, and help them to build a novel type of spy network dedicated to keeping an eye on the comings and goings of the Grendel. While focused on the coast, it would also allow them to cultivate agents in the western parts of the territory to report to sailors who would operate right under the nose of Lord Rahab, the self-styled governor of Feroz.

The contract between Finna i Fijadoz i Guerra and Speaker Morna grants her rights to settle with up to a hundred justicars on the Isle of the Osseini, but explicitly forbids the priests from spying on the Grendel. It says nothing about other agents, nor does it explicitly rule out spying. Obviously Lord Rahab is unlikely to be happy if he discovers the Empire is spying on him, regardless of what might be written in treaties or contracts... but it would not breach the agreement Finna i Fijadoz i Guerra made with Speaker Morna. It would be the corsairs that were doing the spying, after all. Furthermore, unless something went seriously wrong, there would be no way for the Grendel to easily find out about spies operating in the conquered territory.

Eyes of Salt and Flame

  • The Imperial Senate could commission a special spy network in Feroz that would cost 5 wains of weirwood and 10 crowns and take 3 months to build. It would have an upkeep of 2 Thrones each season
  • The spy network would be powered by fleets rather than military units

The spy network would be specifically designed to be supported by ship captains rather than soldiers. With the Broken Shore Bounty rendered meaningless by the peace treaty, there are corsairs in both Feroz and Madruga itching for a chance to take action against the Grendel and this spy network would allow them such an opportunity. Funnelling the materials to the corsairs could be done under cover of building the enclave on the Isle of the Osseini. It would require a Senate commission, and cost 5 wains of weirwood and 10 crowns. It would take 3 months to complete, and would have an upkeep to the Imperial treasury of 2 Thrones per season. Once finished, it would make a special commission that would function just like a spy network except that it would benefit from fleet support rather than military support.

While this special spy network would not need to be commissioned immediately, there is only a narrow window to take advantage of the opportunity. If it is not commissioned by the end of the Spring Equinox 384YE, the opportunity will be lost. The Empire will still be able to build a spy network in Feroz, but it would need to do so following the normal rules for such a commission and it would not benefit from the support of fleets, or the corsairs of Shantarim.

Game Information : Justicars

Fundamentally, the justicars are a legacy of the Brass Coast's ancient Highborn roots, which is one reason they are sometimes referred to as being a pre-Imperial sect. They have never been numerous, and in recent times there are only a few Freeborn priests who still called themselves justicars. Most of them lived on the Isle of the Osseini, drawn there to deal with the white granite pillars and the spirits they attracted. That sect was almost wiped out when the Grendel took the island. Justicars are not an archetype - few Freeborn have ever met one - the term is simply a traditional name adopted by some Brass Coast priests who opt to focus their work on exorcism.

It is fine to play a justicar if you want to - it just means that you are a priest who makes exorcism your focus. You could play a character who has been trained as part of the tradition from any part of the Brass Coast; or as one who trained on the Isle of the Osseini. You could even play one of the handful of priests who escaped the Isle after the Grendel invasion. The only thing not available as a player character background would be one of the justicars who stayed behind on the Isle - they are all dead.

There are plenty of Freeborn priests who can exorcise a troublesome ghost who don't call themselves justicars, just as their are plenty of Freeborn priests who don't call themselves sutannir. Most justicars are not sutannir, simply because focusing on dealing with ghosts is at odds with the sutannir's calling to encourage people to embody virtue, explore morality, and celebrate their successes.There are a few places where we had incorrectly associated justicars with sutannir, and we've edited those locations to make this clearer.

If you are creating a background for a justicar bear in mind that ghosts and haunting are unusual in the Brass Coast. They definitely happen, but they are rare compared to other nations such as Highguard, Varushka or the the League. The people of the Brass Coast seem less likely to linger as ghosts than the citizens of other nations.


During the Winter Solstice, the Imperial orc Bearer of an Imperial Wayleave Ka'bal used the Imperial Orc Imperial Wayleave to construct the spy network in Feroz. The Senate had previously amended the title to allow it to create spy networks.

Further Reading

  • Feroz - expanded information about the Isle of the Osseini
  • Spindrift - details the invasion of the Isle of the Osseini by the Grendel


This season a force of Grendel made landfall on the myriad isles of the Cataz Straits and along the coast of Oranseri between Oran and Joharra. Orchards, farms, granaries and fishing ports have all been pillaged by greedy barbarian looters, whilst businesses and workshops have been turned upside down in the pursuit of coin, luxury items and fine metalworkings. Their sudden landing from the sea pushed down into Fontargenta, drawing just short of seizing the entire coastline. Yet, this is not a force well suited to a large-scale invasion of an Imperial territory, being mainly marines and sailors that support the Grendel fleets they lack the troops needed to push further inland.

Amidst the refugees fleeing the Grendel across Feroz, a small group of priests have presented themselves to the civil service to relay information they felt pertinent to the Military Council. The Freeborn priests are part of a closed and reclusive order of justicars that have resided on the Isle of the Osseini since the founding of the Brass Coast. There are tales told by visitors from across the Empire that the island is perhaps haunted, plagued by the ghosts of dead Grendel pirates and the malign spirits of those who sort to do harm to the Freeborn. Many travellers have spoken of sea fogs that roll across the headlands of the isle and in which can be seen the shapes of orc corsairs and sailors, whilst when the sea is becalmed it is claimed you can hear the sound of rigging and anchors being dropped. Yet despite these accounts the Freeborn of the island have dismissed the claims and protested that there is nothing untoward to be found on the island. It transpires that there is perhaps some truth to these rumours after all...

The justicars have informed the civil service that long ago a quintet of white granite pillars were built on the island, each attuned to the sea winds and designed to trap the ghosts of those who died at sea in battle with the corsairs of Shantarim. The believe that the Grendel have come to the island and seeking to release the ghosts of former pirates and reavers to aide them in their assault on Feroz. More of their number are being held by the barbarians at the Pillars of Osseini as some sort of shaman or link to the ancestors of the Broken Shore begins preparations to call forth an army of dead orcs. If the justicars can be freed they will be able to aid in exocising the powerful spiritual presences trapped in the five pillars.

An opportunity exists to travel to the Pillars of Osseini in the Catar Straits, Feroz on either the Saturday or the Sunday of the equinox. The following objectives are presented to the Council for discussion:

  • Primary objective: conduct exorcisms (believed to require between 15 and 25 contributing priests) on the pillars
  • Secondary objective: rescue the Freeborn justicars and have them guide forces to the various pillars

Prognostications on the potential outcomes of this conjunction are as follows:

  • If not taken, nothing will prevent the Grendel from summoning a spiritual army with a strength of 5000 in Feroz
  • Successfully exorcising each pillar will reduce the number of ghosts that can be called on
  • Exorcising 4 of the pillars will prevent the army from being summoned
  • In the event that the army is summoned, prognosticators believe that it will decay at a rate of about 1000 force per season.

    Civil Service Briefing for the Military Council, Spring 383YE