He put the rod down, leaned back and stared at the sky. For about the hundredth time that day he wished he had been old enough to go off to war with his elder sister Prydwyn. She could do magic - she was going to be a proper war witch one day. She could do spells that made your blood run cold. It was proper glorious. But he couldn't even tie a favour properly let alone do actual magic, so he was supposed to be training to be a warrior. But he wasn't strong enough to lift a sword yet. And so instead he was stuck here... fishing. It was just not fair.
Mum had got a letter from Prydwyn. She was fighting with the Golden Son - which was the best army in all of Dawn, in all the Empire... although he wasn't really sure whose son it was supposed to be. It sounded amazing... She was having all these adventures and killing Drooj. He didn't want to admit to anyone, but when he'd heard that they blown the gate up he had been proper scared. But he wasn't scared now... not now the Golden Son, and all the other Dawnish armies were here.
Unwatched the float bobbed and danced sending ripples across the surface of the Semmerlak.
Pelleas couldn't believe how glorious it all sounded. None of the generals were holding back - they were sticking it to the Drooj with everything they had. Prydwyn said it was scary and ex-ill-erating at the same time. Pelleas didn't know what that was but it sounded pretty glorious. Before she left Prydwyn had told him it was ok to be scared - that even nobles get scared - being glorious is about doing it even though you're scared. Prydwyn was super-smart - she was going to be the best witch in Lacre one day.
A strange white fog hovered over the surface of the water. The float disappeared from view, obscured by the wisps as they moved closer to the shore.
Everyone in Lacre was talking about the war. The nobles had saved the town and all of Semmerholm and probably Dawn and the Empire as well. Everyone was so excited and proud. There was a big feast planned for the end of the season - to celebrate how glorious the fighting had been. Even Ma Lettle who terrified everyone and never smiled was making red and gold bunting now. It was going to be the biggest celebration ever - on account of how this was the most glorious thing ever that anyone could even think of.
He cursed again. He was stuck here... fishing! It was not fair - he was ten - nearly eleven now! He could be off be fighting with Prydywn and killing drooj and risking everything for glory. And instead he was stuck here fishing. There's no glory in fish.
The smoke roiled and thickened as the waters of the great lake parted. The lad staggered to his feet staring at the unearthly beauty now stood where the water had been but moments ago. She was clad in a raiment of tiny silver scales, the sun glittering off each tiny shield. She reached out and beckoned him to come closer. He stared dumbstruck, jaw agog, but his feet moved as if commanded by the lady.
"My mistress requires a mortal to carry her words to your Earls. You are called to the court of the Lady of the Semmerlak, Pelleas of Lacre."
He shook his head, terrified. He'd heard about faeries carting people off - they were dangerous - you shouldn't go with them. He ordered his feet to turn and run, but his feet weren't listening. They just kept dragging him closer to this awful woman.
They found the rod late that night, the float still bobbing in the water. But nothing was seen of Pelleas for the best part of a week. At first there was great relief when he did return... but he was all armoured in mithril scales and carrying a fancy sword. And a message apparently... for the earls of Dawn...
Last season, having completed their conquest of the Barrens, the Druj struck deep into Semmerholm. They conquered Axmure and destroyed the Gate. With the fortification gone, the Druj were certain to press the advantage, and the nation collectively held its breath as the fate of Semmerholm hung in the balance. Dawn has never lost a territory to the barbarians - was this the moment that proud boast would fail?
A great Dawnish troubadour once said that "adversity breeds greatness". Any crisis that holds the potential for true calamity contains within it the potential for glory in equal and opposite measure. The invasion of Dawn by the Druj is just such a moment - a chance for the Dawnish to show their mettle to the world. To let everyone see exactly how the nation of glory faces its enemies.
And so the Dawnish rallied their armies and marched across the Empire to face the Druj threat. To teach these barbarians a lesson, to remind them why Dawn has never lost a territory. Enchanters and weavers swelled their ranks with knights drawn from the Summer Realm, while their diplomats and advocates rallied the allies that stood ready to fight with them.
For months they waged a bitter campaign against the invaders, hurling themselves against the enemy. The losses were terrible, but they did not falter. They did not stop to count the cost but focused only on victory - on glory. The hateful Druj countered with everything they had, but it was not enough. In a single glorious season, Dawn has reconquered almost everything that had been lost.
Just as they dealt with the shambling horrors out of Varushka that sought to conquer Weirwater, the Dawnish people routed the Druj and saved Semmerholm. The Druj are defeated, but they are not yet broken - even so the scale and the nature of this extraordinary Dawnish victory has caused an outpouring of patriotic fervour that is unprecedented in recent times. Since Dawnguard fell, the yeomanry have been riven with uncertainty; now that confusion is at an end. Nobody in Dawn doubts for one second that the Druj are going to be driven from Semmerholm, and then from Dawnguard, and then from the Barrens and then - perhaps - from existence entirely. As a result there are a number of unique opportunities to channel that raw enthusiasm and put it in service to the glory of Dawn.
The people of Dawn are not the only ones impressed by the ferocity of this victory over the Druj. The nobility of the Summer Realm, the traditional allies of powerful Dawnish enchanters, have let it be known that they are well pleased at the victories won by their cousins. And there too hangs an opportunity.
For the Glory of Dawn
Ye Dawnish-folk by name lend an ear, lend an ear
Ye Dawnish-folk by name lend an ear
Ye Dawnish-folk by name our triumph I will proclaim
Against invaders most profane, you shall hear you shall hear.
In Semmerholm we shall remain, you shall hear.
What makes heroic tales famed afar, famed afar?
What makes heroic tales famed afar?
What makes heroic tales, to rise up and then prevail
And crush our dreaded foe with bloody war, bloody war
We save our Semmerholm with bloody war
By axe and pick and song, we shall fight we shall fight
By axe and pick and song, we shall fight
Drive out the Druj’s throng, with short sword or a long
For the Dawnish heart is strong purge this blight, purge this blight
In Semmerholm we work as one to purge this blight
Crush the Druj’s schemes for your loved one, your loved one
Crush the Druj’s schemes for your loved one
And when the foes outdone we'll adore the rising sun
That smiles on the folk of Semmerholm, Semmerholm
They wish they'd never come to Semmerholm
They wish they'd never come to Semmerholm
- The Dawn national assembly could help the yeofolk channel their renewed pride into support for the war effort
The invasion of Semmerholm raised doubts for the safety of all who lived here. At the same time, the unliving horrors that plagued Weirwater left many facing unspeakable horror, forced to fight their own ancestors reborn as flesh-starved beasts. Yet out of fear and horror has come renewed Pride; just as they forced the dead back into the ground, so Dawn has driven the Druj back.
There is a groundswell of approval for the way that this war has been conducted, spearheaded by the four patriotic Dawnish generals who pledged their armies to a single cause. As a result the yeomanry of Dawn, the people who toil, are now keen to play their part to in this victory. Across all of Dawn there is a growing determination to do what anyone can to help the war against the Druj, to ensure that this time the victory is total.
The triumphant defence of Semmerholm is an inspiration to glory for every true Dawnish person. We send x with 25 doses of liao to carry the inspiring songs of our victory to every corner of the nation so that all may hear the good news. We implore the yeoman of this land to work the (mines/forests/herb gardens/farms and businesses) of Dawn to produce the resources we need to press on to final victory!Synod Mandate, Dawnish Assembly
But this potential will remain untapped without direction and guidance from the nobility of Dawn. Of course the yeofolk will listen to the orders of their earls, but what will actually drive them to strive far beyond their normal labours is the uplifting songs of the troubadours. If the Dawnish assembly approves this mandate then they could direct the yeomen to produce more of the most essential materials by choosing one of mines, forests, herb gardens, or both farms and businesses (as detailed in the mandate). The output of every one of the selected resource in Dawn would improve by the equivalent of one rank for the coming season.
What would really motivate people though is if a suitable song memorialising the triumph in Semmerholm were created by a skilled troubadour. If the liao for the mandate is accompanied by a suitable song that reminds everyone of the nature of this great victory then the bonus provided by the mandate will last for an entire year rather than single season. The named priest would be responsible for choosing or composing the song, which would be spread along with the mandate. (OOC Note: the named priest should include the text of the song and a recording if they have one - for the wiki - in the e-mail they send to Profound Decisions after the event).
While the glorious defeat of the Druj is uppermost in the minds of the folk of Semmerholm, the people of Weirwater have also seen first-hand the strength of the nobles and their retainers. When the unliving threatened to devour them, the nobility rallied their allies and faced them in battle for the protection of their people. The witch weavers of Hawthorn and Applefel know that better than any. In conjunction with allied circles across the territory they have worked to completed three powerful magical items which they intend to gift to the nation. Their magic will last but a year, but a year gives countless opportunities for glory.
- The weavers of Hawthorn have created the Crown of Glorious Fire, a talisman that will help protect the wearer from the venomous weapons of the Druj.
- The weavers of Applefel have woven the Belt of Knighthood, a talisman that will inspire allies to fight when their spirits flag.
- The weavers of Culwich have woven the Shield of the Seeker, a shield that will greatly enhance healing received by the bearer provided they are dedicated to the paths of virtue.
The three items will be presented by the Dawnish egregore to the troubadours of Dawn at the Winter Solstice with a request that they find three champions to bear them the gifts for the coming year. The troubadours are further asked to hallow each gift with the aura they think will best help the bearer to seek glory through virtue - after all, the Dawnish assembly recently made clear that virtue was a key element of the path to true glory.
Of course the weaver circles expect the chosen recipients to be glorious, but their representative - Evaine of the White Thorns - also gives precise instructions for the dispensation of the gifts. She requests the troubadours identify:
- The earl whose leadership best inspired the Dawnish to glory in the past year
- The noble whose virtue caused them to make the greatest sacrifice in the past year
- The knight-errant whose has most embodied the ideals of glory in the past year
The Rose Towers
- The minor defences at Semmer's Rose could be replaced with a beautiful place of pilgrimage
The beautiful town of Semmer's Rose is of historic importance in Dawnish history and has played a pivotal role in the defence of the territory on more than one occasion. When the Druj surged out of the Barrens, many people fled here hoping to find aid or at least a place to make a stand. Now that the territory appears secure, people are clamouring to construct an appropriate monument to recognise this glorious accomplishment.
Lord Caradoc of House Arien once held a reputation as one of Dawn's finest architects before he retired to live out his days at Semmer's Rose. The construction that made him famous was designed and built as his test of mettle, a commission from the Earl of House Arien to create a beautiful palace in which every room would contain at least one window that faced the south garden. Although over eighty now, the Lord has worked tirelessly to create a design for a new tower to be constructed at Lacuve.
Caradoc's plans make brilliant use of the existing minor defences commissioned by the Senate if 377YE, but rather than complete the work to create a cumbersome fortification, Caradoc chose to completely re-purpose them to create a series of beautiful towers. Each tower will contain countervailing stairs laid out so that it is possible to ascend by one stair well and then descend by the other. The walls will then decorated with a set of tapestries, each depicting scenes of Dawnish triumph from the recent Semmerholm campaign. In this way, a hearty individual strong enough to climb and descend each tower in turn might revisit the story of the entire campaign in the course of their journey.
To create such a monument to Dawnish glory would require a suitable commission be approved by the Imperial Senate or else announced using a wayleave. The construction would require 15 wains of white granite and 30 crowns and would replace the very minor benefits provided by the existing defences.
When completed the towers would become a singular marvel, a testament to the Dawnish accomplishment. An Imperial title would be created - The Rose of Lacuve as Caradoc has suggested - with custodianship of this place of pilgrmage. Appointed by the Dawnish national assembly, they would receive 12 doses of liao and 24 votes in the Synod in perpetuity.
The Harps of Astolat
- A great work could be built in Astolat using weirwood and mithril to provide additional crystal mana to mana sites in the territory
While Weirwater and Semmerholm have been directly threatened, the people of Astolat are no less enthused by the tales of glory the troubadours are spreading. At Weaving, the town of many inns, enchanters and representatives of weaver cabals alike come together from all over the territory to discuss how they can aid their nation. In the end they recognise that the witches already supporting the armies are more than a match for the Druj sorcerers - all they need is a ready source of power to wield their magic on the battlefield, or to weave the enchantments that will help the knights achieve victory.
As such, Lord Joshua of House Cadence has come up with an ambitious plan - to construct a series of grand aolian harps at key locations throughout the territory. Six feet tall or more, these harps would respond not to the wind but to the currents of mana, producing not only eerie ethereal music - the Music of the spheres - but harnessing, directing, and focusing the flow of magic itself.
The weavers, witches, and enchanters can design and locate the harps, but they still require a suitable commission by a Senator or Bearer an Imperial Wayleave. The great work will not be cheap - it will cost 35 wains of weirwood, 15 wains of mithril, and 100 crowns, and will take a season to complete. The result will be that every mana site in Astolat owned by a Dawnish citizen will receive a share of 45 additional crystal mana each season as long as the central harp at Weaving remains unmolested - and all without any need for peculiar foreign muck from Jarm, as Lord Joshua does not tire of undiplomatically announcing.
The Promise of Summer
The lords and ladies of the Summer Realm have indicated to those enchanters who have spoken with them that they are every bit as impressed by the victory in Semmerholm as their mortal counterparts in Dawn. Two eternals in particular, Queen Eleonaris and King Adamant, have been swept up by the fervour of the triumph and are determined not to be outdone by the Dawnish plans to mark the occasion.
A Gate of Adamant
- King Adamant wishes to see the Gate rebuilt - preferably bigger and more durable than before
King Adamant delights in large stone structures and has been moved to wroth by the destruction of the Gate. Via his koboldi, he has let it be known that he is keen to see the great fortification rebuilt, only bigger and more impressive than ever. To this end he has asked the Dawnish to work with him on the construction of a new Gate, one he claims would be unbreakable. The vast structure would be a huge undertaking, the commission would need to be approved by the Imperial Senate, and it would require 160 wains of White Granite - but it would not count against the normal Senate limits for the number of commissions and there would be no cost for workers. Adamant is incapable of providing Dawn with the necessary building materials, but he has no trouble providing all the skills and expertise needed as well as a veritable army of koboldi to carry out the construction work.
Adamant insists that if Dawn are prepared to create this great fortification then it will be unbreakable - though he refuses to elaborate on what that means - and that with the aid of his servants it could be completed within a year (although no other method of speeding production would be effective).
If such a great construction cannot be realised, then Adamant will be disappointed but not offended. If they simply rebuild the Gate to the same size and proportions that it previously occupied then it would need 80 wains of white granite and they will need Imperial civil servants to help oversee the work (so it will count against the Empire's maximum commissions) but Adamant will still send his koboldi to carry out the work, so no money will be needed for the commission to pay any workers.
The only potential drawback to taking advantage of one of these opportunities would be that if the Imperial Conclave were to declare Adamant an enemy of the Empire for any reason before the fortification was completed, the koboldi would be unable (and unwilling) to continue working and the remaining work would need to be done with paid labour, and at the standard speed.
Either opportunity would have the usual upkeep for a fortification of its size.
The Favours of Eleonaris
Eleonaris shares her brother's enthusiasm for this latest triumph, but her interest lies in the prowess of those who have fought alongside her elfin knights. She has informed the Dawnish egregore that she has fashioned four favours, one for each of the Dawnish armies that led the charge. She has asked the egregore to help her identify four champions to gird on the final day of the summit. These four should be war witches or knights - she does not care which provided they are the most courageous, the most glorious, the most furious combatants in Dawn.
The Lion of Summer has bestowed such favours before to the nobles of Dawn. At the conclusion of the girding ceremony, those upon whom the favours were bestowed became the recipients of powerful and durable personal enchantments that greatly enhanced their nobility, prowess, or majesty.
The egregore has indicated that she intends to ask the Earl's Council to choose one of the champions, and to ask the troubadours of Dawn to chose another. The third will be chosen by the four generals who oversaw the victory over the Druj, and the fourth by the egregore herself.
- The Lady of the Semmerlak offers an opportunity to secure a magical causeway across the Semmerlak
One final boon is offered from the lords and ladies of the Summer realm. The Lady of the Semmerlak is a powerful herald, now a courtier on the Fields of Glory. The people of Dawn, along with the aid of wise Varushkan allies, not only freed the lady from a grim curse but also provided her with good advice that helped her to quell the turmoil in her heart that had tormented her for centuries. She has left the service of Hayaak, and now stands high in the councils of Queen Eleonaris.
She still seeks to reward the people of Dawn - and seeks a vengeance of her own against the Druj. One of her servants, a pale skinned maiden with long black hair and webbed hands - had brought her message to the nobles who live on the shores of the Semmerlak. If the people of Dawn construct a gate of white granite and mithril on the shores below Lacre, then whenever they wish she will bring her power to bear to create a magical causeway across the Semmerlak, wide enough for a dozen soldiers to march abreast.
The gateway she describes will cost 25 wains of white granite and 15 wains of mithril, cost 10 thrones, require a senate motion (not a Wayleave). Once it is complete any Dawnish army will be able to march from Lacuve to the region on the opposite side of the Semmerlak - and return the same way. The causeway would not permit anyone else to use it - and indeed the Druj would likely remain unaware of its presence until the Dawnish used it to invade.
There would be no upkeep on Golden Causeway. The only potential flaw in this commission would be that if the eternal the Lady of the Lake serves - currently Eleonaris - were to be placed under enmity by the Conclave, the causeway could not be called into being until the enmity was lifted.
With one exception, all of the opportunities listed here are a result of the glorious victories of the Dawnish over the last year. They must be commissioned this season, or not at all. The exception is the Golden Causeway: that opportunity remains as long as the Lady of the Semmerlak, and her Queen, remain allies of Dawn.
Various gifts, both those of the weavers of Dawn and those of the eternal Eleonaris were distributed to the people of Dawn during the Winter Solstice.
The Dawn national assembly passed a mandate to send Lady Caewyn of the Gryphon’s Quill to inspire the yeomen to work harder on herb gardens, and submitted a suitable song meaning this bonus will last for a year (until the start of the Winter Solstice 382YE).
The Senate approved several of the commissions offered here. They agreed to construct the Harps of Astolat with construction due to be completed shortly before the Spring Equinox 382YE. They accepted the aid of King Adamant to construct the Gate and work has already begun on the Adamant Gate as it is being referred to. The construction of the Rose Towers was commissioned by Sandro Visconti di Sarvos, a Bearer of an Imperial Wayleave, albeit with a modification to their method of appointment; the decision would lie with the Throne.
There has been no movement on the Golden Causeway, but that commission continues to be available at the current time.