"You're crazy - we can't send three score fleets against a fortification. They won't stand a chance."

Chiara i Erigo's lip curled up in obvious displeasure and her voice took on a tone of indignation "We're not attacking the fortification though - that's the point - the ships would sail in, under cover of darkness. We attack the shipyard directly!"

"It's still crazy. If word gets out, they'll sink our ships and feed us to the sharks. If the fortification is alerted before the raid is complete, then we'll face heavy losses for sure."

"So it's the losses you're worried about?" A note of scorn entered her voice. "Are you a corsair or a coinpurse?"

"Don't bait me Chiara. I'm responsible for the lives of my crew, not you. The risks are just too high."

"So are the rewards. Dimas says the Grendel are building a new navy - they've laid down the hulls already - four of them. If we time it just right, they might be seaworthy..."

Eusbio i Maraz i Erigo stared at the hakima, chewing on the implications of what she'd said. "It will still be risky..."

Chiara just grinned at the dhomiro - "Life should never be dull" she retorted.


The recent endeavour to have the inhabitants of Segura contribute to the defence of the territory to encourage military units to fight there have been successful. The only flaw was that no actual fighting took place, though of course that did at least mean the Empire lost no more territory there. Sadly the focus of the barbarians appears to have shifted to Feroz, where the Grendel have made significant advances. As a result there is a proposal to extend the Segura scheme to cover Feroz as well, albeit with some caveats.

Although there were mixed messages from the Freeborn Assembly in the Imperial Synod, they did endorse a mandate encouraging corsairs to attack Grendel shipping and to look for opportunities to take the fight to the invaders. In response captains have pooled their information and managed to identify four possible targets. If the Assembly can pick one for them to focus on, then they will carry out all the planning needed to prepare a fully-fledged raid.

It is better to live free than to die, or serve as a thrall. We send Mazo i Zabala i Erigo with 50 doses of liao to convince the people of the Coast to dig deep and support the defence of the Brass Coast. Let us commit every coin to the cause of our freedom!

Mazo i Zabala i Erigo, Summer Solstice 383YE, Upheld (142 - 0 Greater Majority)

Just Rewards

  • Every military unit supporting the armies in Segura received an additional 5 Crowns thanks to the Freeborn Bounty.
  • The bounty is also available following the Autumn Equinox, but only to military units supporting armies that undertake attacking orders in Segura.
  • As before, the Freeborn contributing to the Freeborn Bounty assume that the armies they are supporting will continue to receive the Imperial Guerdon.

With the support of the Freeborn Assembly, Mazo i Zabala i Erigo travels Segura and the surrounding territories urging Freeborn citizens to dig deep to support the work of the soldiers fighting against the Jotun and the Grendel invaders. The Brass Coast has never been threatened so badly - with orcs attacking on two fronts. The Empire's enemies have never been unified, but even so people worry about the implications of these two enemies invading at the same time. What would it mean for the Coast if the Grendel and the Jotun were working together?

There is little than most folk can do about such matters - but what they can do is put their money where their mouth is and contribute to the defence of their homeland. Donations pour in, with substantial commitments from some of the prominent dhomiros in the territory as well as representatives of the Zemress islanders. They will meet their obligations - as a result every military unit that supported the Marcher armies in Segura this season received the Freeborn bounty an additional five crowns in support from grateful Brass Coast citizens with stronger units receiving proportionately more.

Concerns that the Military Council might remove the guerdon, and leave the Brass Coast to foot the bill for the defence of their homeland have abated... People were pleased to see that both the Strong Reeds and the Tusks received the Guerdon so there was no prospect of military captains missing out on their just rewards. However they are disappointed to discover that the Imperial armies have not engaged in any fighting - stationed in Segura on defence, the people of the Brass Coast have been left paying for soldiers to remain in their camps.

People understand that military strategy is complex and that the Council cannot simply determine the outcome. They appreciate that the defence of Segura would have benefited from the choice of tactics if the Jotun had chosen to attack - but still it rankles to have paid out and got little for it. Wiser heads suggest that they should view the whole thing as an insurance - that they have paid to ensure the Jotun could come no further.

Fair enough folks say - but if they are to pay again it will be conditional. As a result they will offer the same rewards for the coming season, but only in support of any Imperial army that attacks the Jotun forces in Segura.

We find ourselves in a troubled time. Freeborn should look to the virtuous examples of the past to give them strength in this trying time; the sacrifice of the Burning Falcons and the Courageous actions of Zemress against numbers greater than their own as well as many others from our histories. We are and always have been brazen and free, we will never bow to any barbarian be they Jotun, Lasambrian, Grendel, or any other.

Iroh i Riqueza, Summer Solstice 383YE, Upheld (130 - 0 Greater Majority)

A Troubled Time

  • The Freeborn Assembly can extend the Freeborn Bounty to armies in Feroz that attack the Grendel.
  • If they do, every personal resource in the Brass Coast other than military units will suffer a one rank penalty to production.

Disappointment with the stand-off in Segura is nothing compared with the horror that the news that Feroz has fallen to the Grendel brings. People are shocked and deeply worried. A few dare to suggest that this is the response of the orc pirates to the Imperial raids on the Broken Shore cities, questioning the Wisdom of baiting an enemy when the Empire has no navies to prevent the Grendel attacking where and when they please. They receive little support though - the words of Iroh i Riqueza are what fires people's hearts. If the Brass Coast has been hit by the Grendel, then it must hit back even harder. Feroz must be reclaimed and swiftly and then the Empire must find a way to teach the Grendel a lesson once and for all.

The challenge posed by Iroh must be met - but how? Perhaps what has worked in Segura can work in Feroz? If the Coast wishes the Empire to prioritise the protection of their Prosperity then it is only right that people pay for it. People should enjoy the just rewards of their labours! However the purses of the Coast are already stretched thin contributing to the defence of Segura. It will be easy enough to ask people to pay twice - but it will not come cheap.

The thieving Grendel have conquered Feroz and will soon loot every coin from the Coast if we let them. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to urge every Freeborn citizen to contribute what coin they can spare to the defence of the Coast. Let us drive them into the sea!

Synod Mandate, Freeborn National Assembly

If the Assembly endorses this mandate, then it will extend the Freeborn Bounty to every military unit fighting in Feroz in support of an army attacking the barbarians. This help is in addition to the aid provided to soldiers fighting in Segura. However the costs will not come cheap - every resource in the Brass Coast apart from military units will suffer the impact, losing one effective rank from production in the coming season. Everyone will spare what they can to pay to defend the Coast from the barbarians but it will not be without cost.

Due to the actions of the Wisdom Assembly and the Sword Scholars, the mandate will need to receive a greater majority to have an effect.

Raiding the enemies of the Empire is a Prosperous action as judged by the Prosperity assembly, as long as the proceeds of that raiding are put to prosperous use.

Luca i Taziel i Riqueza, Summer Solstice 383YE, Upheld (190 - 0 Greater Majority)

Conflicting Judgements

  • Conflicting judgements in the Freeborn assembly have caused some confusion on the Brass Coast.

Concerns all along the Coast that the Prosperity Assembly seemed to be confusing raiding your enemies with stealing from your friends have been laid to rest by the statement raised by Luca i Taziel i Riqueza. The fact that every priest who voted offered their support to the judgement has reassured the great corsair families that their way of life is not under attack.

We must never shy away from what makes us who we are. We send Efenia i Maristela i Riqueza with 100 doses of liao to encourage the corsairs to engage in privateering.

Efenia i Maristela i Riqueza, Summer Solstice 383YE, Upheld (104 - 50)

Those families are disappointed when they discover that the mandate endorsed by Efenia i Maristela i Riqueza encouraging every ship on the Coast to find new ways to plunder wealth from the Grendel was so contentious (although those like the Zancho family who feel the Coast should focus on trade are reassured that their cause is not completely lost). Even more confusing - in addition to narrowly passing the mandate urging everyone to use their fleets to attack the Grendel, the Brass Coast overwhelmingly supported a statement claiming they would not tell people what to do with their fleets.

Supporting the freedom to choose your own virtuous path is what it means to be Freeborn. We will not tell you what to do with your fleets, but let your virtue guide you. Both trading and privateering can be prosperous as long as we remember the teachings of Zemress.

Tiana i Zaydan i Riqueza, Summer Solstice 383YE, Upheld (170 - 0 Greater Majority)

Whatever Tiana i Zaydan i Riqueza intended is not clear, but it does seem to suggest that the Freeborn Assembly is struggling with the idea of giving direction to the corsairs of the Brass Coast. The fact that more priests supported this judgement than were prepared to vote for a judgement encouraging the corsairs seems to imply that many priests are concerned that their words might somehow undermine the freedom to choose your own virtuous path.

Chiara i Erigo, the hakima who called for the original mandate, speaks for many in response. The Imperial Synod is not the Senate she points out - it cannot pass laws and compel Freeborn citizens to do as it directs. But people look to the Assembly to help them understand what is virtuous and what is not. Across the Empire nations look to their assemblies for guidance. Nobody has to do what the Synod says - they choose to listen to - and where those words resonate, then they choose to act. Chiara urges the Assembly not to fail their responsibilities to the Coast - and she reassures them that if the people of the Coast are not persuaded by what they hear, then they will let their Assembly know. The common folk of the Coast are not worried that they are losing their freedom because their Assembly urges them to act.

Never Be Dull

  • A number of targets present themselves; the Freeborn national assembly may choose where to direct the wrath of the corsairs and their allies.

And urge it does - even with the caveat of the weak vote of support - the corsair families of the Brass Coast need only the smallest encouragement from Efenia to take the fight to the Grendel. Ships are sent to every part of the Bay to sniff out opportunities, while dhomiro and hakima pore over naval charts and weigh the odds. There are risks involved, of course there are, but life is short - let it never be dull!

Excited by the prospect of an opportunity to attack the Grendel, the corsairs of the Brass Coast, have identified four opportunities they could exploit. More work would be required to assess just how difficult an attack might be - and what rewards it might entail - but they are all definitely viable.

They are all dangerous however - and it is clear that any fleet that takes part in one of these opportunities risks being damaged - so the raid will need careful planning and preparation. To that end, the corsair families have asked the Freeborn National Assembly to pass a statement indicating which single opportunity they should pursue. If there are competing statements the families will chose whichever option has the greatest margin of votes in support of it.

The full plans for the assault will then be presented on the run-up to the Winter Solstice 383YE, so that those attending Anvil can use the opportunity to drum up the necessary support.

The Jade Shark

  • The Temple of Tempest Jade is the centre of Siakha reverence by the Broken Shore orcs.

The most obvious target would be the Temple of Tempest Jade. This large stone structure seems to be studded with a small ransom in tempest jade. The place is a temple to the evil sea eternal Siakha, worshipped as a god by the Grendel who force shackled slaves to leap to their deaths on the churning rocks below.

The Temple was one of the viable targets for a raid when the Empire opted to attack Dubhtraig instead. Wise captains caution against assuming that the previous information will still be valid. The Grendel are not fools, the Empire have carried out a number of successful raids against them - they will have taken precautions.

Still the Temple is an important target - raiding the Temple would be a blow for the Grendel and might undermine their relationship with the shark eternal.

The Salt Lord

  • Vorlach is home to both a large slave market and rich mines.

Another target that was passed over in favour of Dubhtraig is the slave markets of Vorlach. The town of Vorlach is a rich mining town that imports slaves and exports raw metals - including mithril - and salt. It is located in the northern coast of Shayeel and is controlled by the Salt Lord Moorvain. It is not clear what has happened to Salt Lady Suriad following the attack on Dubhtraig - but it could well be that Moorvain has taken her place. If that is the case, then it is hard to imagine a more significant blow to his reputation and prestige.

Like the Temple, the markets are likely to be better protected than last time. Crucially in this case, unlike the other three options, it will not be possible for the corsairs and Imperial fleets to operate alone. An opportunity like this would need significant assistance from Imperial military units as well as fleets. But it would allow the Empire to free a significant number of slaves and potentially carry off a bounty of mithril.

The Granite Ships

  • Asavean ships continue to trade both white granite and slaves to the Grendel.

One new option that has been presented is to attack the Asavean ships that are trading with the Grendel. Asavean vessels dock regularly at Dubhtraig, laden down with cargoes of slaves and white granite. The vessels are heavily protected when leaving Asavean waters - to ensure that the Sumaah are unable to attack them. But by the time they reach the Bay of Catazar they sail alone - apparently unconcerned by the prospect of piracy.

If the corsairs attacked the Asavean merchant shipping, they could have easy pickings - freeing slaves and capturing bounties of white granite. It would take a season for the Asaveans to realize what was happening and change tactics, but during that time, the corsairs could do a lot of damage. In addition to the plunder, it would completely disrupt the supply of white granite to the Broken Shore.

It would be illegal - it could still be carried out but every captain taking part would face heavy fines as a minimum for their actions. Unless of course, the Senate declared war on the Asaveans, in which case it would be perfectly fine. If the two actions were well-timed, then the Asaveans would have no warning and the Imperial fleets could pick them off without fear of repercussions.

The Drake Island

  • The shipyard at Drake Island presents an opportunity to capture warships.

The most risky target could well be the shipyard at Drake Island. There is a large fortification here which protects the approach, defending it against attack from an Imperial navy, but a daring operation by small fleets might attempt to sneak in under their noses and steal the prize.

And what a prize - according to reports, the Grendel have laid down hulls for four enormous warships, preparations for building another navy no doubt. A raid on the shipyard would offer no loot for corsairs and captains, but it would give a chance to damage or destroy the warships. With enough fleets committed to the raid, the Empire might even be able to capture one or more or the warships and sail them back to Madruga. If the Empire had a shipyard of their own, the captured warships might provide a significant boost to the construction of a new Imperial navy.