Desperate affairs, desperate measures
Carrera i Ezmara i Erigo rolled desperately to one side, trying to get his feet under him on the pitching deck of the Grendel warship. The viciously scarred orc thrust savagely with his barbed spear, trying to pin the Freeborn corsair to the deck via his belly. He managed to get out of the way - mostly - but felt skin tear and flesh part. A distant corner of his brain muttered that it was his own fault for letting himself get so out-of-shape, but he ignored it.
As he rose to a crouch, he spun his bhuj round, and took the pirate's legs out from under him - but his timing was off. The orc fell forward, flailing, ending up on top of Carrera. The two of them rolled across the deck, their pole-arms abandoned, punching and wrestling, each one trying to pin the other long enough to draw a knife and end the fight.
A shuddering burst of lighting ripped across the darkened sky as the two of them smacked against the railings. Unfortunately for the Erigo, the orc had ended up on top - pinning Carrera's left arm with one knee and his right arm with one meaty fist. The orc panted heavily, his breath pungent and mammalian, his face splitting into a cruel smirk as he drew a wicked curved machete as long as his forearm.
The Freeborn struggled ... but he was too tired and the orc, clad as he was in a weighty suit of bloodsteel scale, too heavy to shift. The Broken Shore pirate raised the machete ... and then his eyes widened and he stiffened and slumped lifeless to the side.
Captain Amos stood behind the orc, his face slicked with blood, missing his wooly hat. He held a vicious mace, coated in blood, hair, and fragments of bone. The two stared at each other for a moment, and then the burly Highborn offered the prone Freeborn his hand and hoisted him to his feet in a smooth, muscular motion.
"Lucky you were here," gasped the corsair. The Highborn shrugged.
"Lucky for me you were here," he replied, squeezing Carrera on the shoulder. "These bloody sharks would have gutted us like baitfish if you hadn't come along."
Having caught his breath, Carrera drew a wicked Freeborn blade of his own and glanced at the captain.
"Ready?" he asked, his heart pounding."Ready," answered Captain Amos, and the two of them launched themselves into another tangled knot of combatants as around them the storm continued to rage.
This season past, just as the Grendel armada set sail against the Imperial navy, there was a marked increase in activity by the independent Grendel captains. In addition to the usual raids against Imperial trading ships, the pirates formed up to attempt two vicious raids against the humans of the Bay of Catazar. The first was an attempt to exploit the opportunity for Imperial fisherfolk to take advantage of an unexpected boom in marine life. The second saw pirates and slavers descending on the relatively undefended people of the Isle of Zemress, intended to pillage the settlement and enslave the populace.
The Empire, for its part, was determined to take a stand against the raiders. With the Freeborn taking the lead, independent captains from all the Imperial nations resolved to send a clear message about who controls the Bay of Catazar.
|Oria i Shartha i Riqueza||The Brass Coast|
|Gomez i Souza i Guerra||The Brass Coast|
|Itamar i Souza i Guerra||The Brass Coast|
|Puglo i Souza i Guerra||The Brass Coast|
|Azzam i Zaydan i Riqueza||The Brass Coast|
|Bayan Zayden Riqueza||The Brass Coast|
|Chiara Zayden Riqueza||The Brass Coast|
|Ibbie Zayden Riqueza||The Brass Coast|
|Karlos Shartha Riqueza||The Brass Coast|
|Tiana i Zadan i Riqueza||The Brass Coast|
|Tono Shartha Riqueza||The Brass Coast|
|Pendraed the Maker||Wintermark|
|Beorn Fireblade Foxden||Navarr|
|Raddi i Tamatowgar i Guerra||The Brass Coast|
|Festro I Souza I Guerra||The Brass Coast|
|Nym Coborel Di Sarvos||The League|
|Orsino Carlino di Savros||The League|
|Richardo Glostari di Sarvos||The League|
|Kianthris Valknir Le'Mirrin||The League|
First Gain The Victory
- The defence of the fishing fleet is a resounding success.
- The evacuation of the Isle of Zemress is a resounding success.
Slightly more than thirty Imperial ship captains committed to the protection of the fishing fleet. Over the last three months, these captains and their vessels faced down Grendel pirates while the civilian fisherfolk filled their nets in the deep waters of the Bay of Catazar. As near as the civil service can determine, not a single fishing boat has been lost to the orcs of the Broken Shore.
As a result, every fleet assigned to protect the fishing fleet receives the usual production for the privateering action, plus an additional 3 Crowns each paid by the grateful maritime alliance of business owners, fleet captains, and members of the Purple Sails. There has been a significant increase in trade in Feroz and Madruga, Sarvos and Tassato, Necropolis, and Redoubt, more ilium than usual has been sent to the private auction, and the Broken Shore Bounty will produce an extra 2 rings of ilium each season for the following year.
The people of the Isle of Zemress called to the Empire for aid, and fifty Imperial fleets answered that call. Thirty Freeborn vessels from across the nation swept in a daring raid deep into Grendel waters, supported by more than half a dozen Navarr, and a scattering of Highborn, Imperial Orc, Urizen, Varushkan, and Wintermark fleets.
Imperial ships penetrate the loose blockade around the Isle of Zemress and quickly reach the main settlement. Much of the population is already waiting in the village - preparing to fight the orcs as best they can. The ships quickly fill with refugees. There is enough space to take not only entire families, but their most precious possessions. The grateful islanders are even able to bring their goats, sheep, oxen, and chickens which are an important source of their wealth. Once everyone is aboard, Dhomiro Tevus i Zemress (the leader of the Isle of Zemress) sets fire to the village - they will not leave the homes they worked so hard to build for the Grendel to claim.
The Grendel quickly realise what the Empire is about, and opportunistic Grendel ships begin to try and pick off outlying vessels. A bloody naval battle unfolds at the mouth of the cove as the village of Zemress island begins to burn. The fighting is vicious and bloody, but in the end the Empire is able to punch through the Grendel, and escape the waters of the Broken Shore without major losses. In the end, the ships and their precious living cargo are deposited in Joharra, the great billowing rainbow cloths fluttering in their drying racks along the cliffs waving like flags of welcome.
Make The Best Use Of It
- The Freeborn are looking to their Synod to decide where the Zemress Islanders should settle
The people of the Isle of Zemress are safely delivered to Feroz and Madruga. There are several thousand of them all told, and for the moment they are concentrating on day-to-day survival. They are hard workers and not without means of their own so they have little difficulty finding employment. There is also a strong sense of community spirit among them, buoyed up by their daring rescue, and they are keen to prosper in their new home.
But that raises a significant question which to date has been overlooked. Perhaps some assumed that the Zemress Islanders would disperse across the Coast - but it is clear that they are dead set against that. Although they are grateful to the Brass Coast and the Empire for rescuing them - the only Imperial citizen that any of them know is Immeldar i Ezmara i Erigo, the priest sent by the Synod to minister to them. They are understandably eager to settle somewhere together - so that the members of their community can continue to support each other.
This does represent something of a challenge for the Brass Coast. They have been recognized as fundamentally Freeborn, and every islander seems likely to be descended from one of the Founders - they are the scions of the crew of the Kraken's Bane after all. But centuries of separation have wrought differences - there is something in the spirit of the Zemress island folk that is different. More than one Freeborn who spends time with them describes them as more like familiar cousins than brothers or sisters. Talking to them it is obvious that this distinction is something they are keen to preserve - they are clearly hoping that by remaining together they will be able to reestablish the principles that served them well on their island.
All of which is fine by itself, but the unavoidable truth is that wherever they do settle is just as likely to be as influenced by the Islanders as it is to influence them. The distinct character that makes the Brass Coast the greatest land in the Empire must grow if it is to encompass these new arrivals. The Islanders are truthful folks - but perhaps not quite so dedicated to brazen honesty as the Freeborn. Equally, the Freeborn prize Prosperity - but even they find the enthusiasm with which the Islanders face hard toil to be a little zealous.
All of which makes the matter of which territory the Zemress Islanders should settle in all the more pressing. The accepted wisdom is that this is a matter for Freeborn Assembly - everyone is looking to them for an answer - so a clear statement of principle would be sufficient to settle the matter.
Feroz is hope to some of the finest apothecaries on the Brass Coast, and its warm, humid climate is perfect for the cultivation of herbs. If the Islanders settled here, it would likely be to the benefit of the Vizier of the Incarnadine Satchel and the Keeper of the Spice Gardens alike, especially if they are encouraged to settle in Morajasse. Yet Feroz is also home to the Temple of Balo and the Black Bull, and it is hard to predict how they might react to Asavean visitors worshipping their peculiar deities openly - so it might be a good idea to keep them away from Oranseri, at least in the short term.
Madruga of the Jewelled Isles is the most densely settled of the Freeborn territories. scattered with small towns and villages, and with the great city of Siroc in the south. Zemress herself was born here, in the port-town of Calvos, among the vineyards of Calvos Sound. The Kraken's Bane itself sits on the dock there - certainly the Islanders will want to at least visit this touchstone from their shared past. Yet the Islanders might find a home raising herds among the insular families of the Great Grasses, or establishing an enclave in Siroc itself where their propensity for hard work could easily make them rich. Madruga is not without potential pitfalls however - after all, as the most cosmopolitan of the Freeborn territories it may present a challenge to a people who are used to knowing everyone around them by name, and their relation to them. Yet at the same time. it would significantly increase their exposure to the peoples of the Empire - for good or ill.
Despite their maritime origins, the Islanders seem to show little interest in the sea itself. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that had they maintained any sort of fleet they would likely have attracted the attention of the Grendel much earlier. As such Segura might represent an obvious place to encourage them to settle. After all, the people of Zemress are not cowards - they will fight as hard as any Marcher to protect their homes if they believe that they can win - a trait that may come in useful given how vulnerable Segura is to invasion.
As a territory of rolling grass and dry plains, Segura offers them a luxury in short supply on the Isle of Zemress - space. The influx of citizens could also help revitalise a territory still struggling to recover from the conquest of the Lasambrian orcs - they could help rejuvenate Anozel or Crevado for example. Indeed, if they chose to settle in Cerevado it is likely their first order of business would be stamping out any vestige of the heretics rumoured to prey on the desperate and the weak-willed there. Or they may look to Sobral Grasses or Yellow Chase, raising herds and establishing farms that could increase the prosperity of the entire territory - if not the nation as a whole.
Rugged Kahraman is rich, but with a wealth the people of the Isle of Zemress are not entirely familiar with. They are farmers rather than miners, and the families of Kahraman are noted for their argumentative and competitive nature. A large new family would no doubt cause some conflict, and see the established balance of power shift over the course of several seasons - but the Dhomiro of the Cinnabar Hills exists to help smooth disputes between the families here and may well be able to ensure a peaceful settlement. Once in place, the Islanders will look for work - and the mines and quarries are the obvious places to go to seek hard work. At the same time, though, the Jade Range is rich grazing ground for cattle - and the Islanders are adept at raising herds in much less welcoming conditions. Several thousand new ranchers could do much to improve the prosperity of the territory, which currently must import much of its food. As with Segura, of course, the presence of the Islanders may represent an advantage should the Jotun come down out of Liathaven or Lasambria again - especially if they are encouraged to settle in Braydon's Jasse in the shadow of Fort Braydon - and coincidentally on the border with the Marches, a people with whom they seem to share several characteristics.
Command Winds And Weather
- The Grendel pirate fleet has withdrawn in disarray - they have not been seen since.
It is difficult to estimate how many independent ship captains the Grendel have. Many of their ships are tied up in their armada, while others apparently find it more lucrative to trade with those foreign nations who will have them. Even these traders, however, are not above opportunistic piracy when the opportunity presents itself. All save the most foolhardy are believed to avoid the trading vessels of nations the Grendel Salt Lords have placed off limits - though Imperial ships remain fair game.
Whatever force caused the fleets to come together and act in unison against the Empire is clearly dissipated for now and there is no evidence of any further concerted attempt to bring them together and direct them against the Empire. The pirate ships are scattered and dispersed - though they remain a constant threat to every vessel that plies the waters of the Bay of Catazar, but they have returned to being a threat for individuals to deal with... for now.
We were heartened by the rescue of our cousins from the Isle of Zemress and we would welcome them in settling in Segura. We are certain that their resourceful skills and work ethic will contribute greatly to the Prosperity of the province and we will be happy to smooth their full integration back into the Empire.Mazo i Zabala i Erigo of the the Freeborn Assembly, upheld with Greater Majority
With this statement of principle, the Freeborn assembly encourages the exiles from the Isle of Zemress to seek new lives in the territory of Segura.