"Let me assure you that will not happen," said the creature in response to Hildryn's concerns. "The Azoth is not your enemy. Nothing will happen to anyone who comes to our night market save that they ask for it to happen. One way or another."

"What... does that mean?"

Hildryn was careful to keep the heavy oak counter between herself and the tall creature that called itself Ogpog. She casually tapped her finger on the counter-top, tracing the carved rune Pallas as she did so with small movements. Her guest - not a customer because customers buy things - seemed unaware of her nervousness.

"It means that there can be no guarantee that the things purchased by the customers at the night market will not work the most profound and absolute transfiguration upon them in ways that are impossible to predict. There can be no reassurance that those who purchase the things we have to sell will not have their perception of their selves and the world they live in fundamentally altered in ways that cannot be undone. Is that more clear?"

She couldn't tell if the creature was smiling - it delivered every sentence with the same calm tone as if discussing the weather.

"Well I mean... Yes It's clearer but..."

The creature gestured with one unsettlingly long finger to the discreet little sign on one of the shelves.

"If you break it, you bought it." It read. "It is just like that."

Hildryn was still unconvinced.

"It is .... bidh an ceannaiche faiceallach as the islanders of Fìona Gusòr used to say."

It clearly expected her to understand what was obviously a quotation, but to her it had sounded like a random collection of syllables spoken through a mouthful of gravel.

"What ... what language was that?"

"It was the language they spoke on the island of Fìona Gusòr." replied the creature. And smiled. And Hildryn found herself wishing it would stop.

"I will be certain to pass on what you have said to my friends," she said in a certain tone that she hoped indicated the conversation was over. "Good morning."

The creature clearly understood her meaning. It inclined it's head slightly, and drifted back across the shop to the door trailing rainbow silks behind it. As soon as it had left, she collapsed down on her stool and poured herself a generous cup of fortified wine, and took a deep draught before making a mental note to enquire about the feasibility of having her shop warded against creatures like that. Or more realistically perhaps to put up a sign in the window suggesting that creatures of the realms might wish to look elsewhere for ironwork.

The Brass Coast National Assembly supports Sagua i Ezmara in her efforts to retrieve the Ring of Atun which she hid for safekeeping in a past life. As a relic of the Brass Coast and Highguard history we consider it virtuous to assist Sagua in this endeavour. Learning from our history is an act of Wisdom and valuing our heritage is an act of Pride. Returning the ring to the Empire is an act of Loyalty.

Hembeneth i Guerra, Statement of Principle, Freeborn Assembly, Autumn 382YE, Upheld with Greater Majority (102- 0)

The Ring

  • Razzia i Guerra has information about a special Ring of Atun is coming to Anvil in response to a statement of principle from the Freeborn assembly
  • They will be arriving at the Forge at 2pm on Saturday
  • The Heirs of Lepidus urge Highborn archivists to investigate further

During the Autumn Equinox, the Freeborn national assembly passed a statement of principle calling for those with information relating to a Ring of Atun. While the statement is short on details, the ring is apparently no ordinary talisman - given it is "a relic of the Brass Coast and Highguard history." Most of the interest has come to naught, but a little before the Autumn Equinox a message comes that a hakima by the name of Razzia i Guerra is bringing "a lead" to Anvil. The hakima provides no additional details, beyond the fact that they are expecting to arrive at Anvil at around two-o-clock on Saturday afternoon and intend to slake their thirst at The Forge. They anticipate meeting with Sagua i Ezmara i Erigo at this time to discuss suitable payment. Not very much is known about Razzia i Guerra beyond the fact that they are said to be somewhat conservative as hakima go, a proud follower of Guerra, and a vocal proponent of the virtue of Prosperity.

The Freeborn are not the only people interested in Razzia i Guerra. The Highborn Heirs of Lepidus appear interested in this presumed artefact - not least because of the chance that it might be the original ring worn by Atun herself and handed down from navigator to navigator until it allegedly disappeared after the death of Permion. Even if it is not that ring that is being discussed, even one of the rings that the Founders allegedly bore out of Highguard or one of the original rings crafted by the artificers of Highguard as gifts to the Urizen, would have significant historical value. With none of the Heirs able to attend Anvil this season, they urge Highborn archivists to investigate further.

The Moth

  • A Faraden merchant keen to purchase iridescent gloaming will be at the Forge from 11am on Sunday

The Faraden love iridescent gloaming; it produces the most vibrant of dyes which are very much in demand by tailors from the western nation. Unfortunately, the ravages of the iridescent blight have pretty much wiped out the iridescent butterfly - the source of the gloaming - in Faraden. Some steps have been taken to address the dearth of gloaming - and the opportunity it presents for the Empire. The Gloaming Road allows Freeborn merchants to trade the dye for precious mithril, under the guidance of Antonio I Carno I Guerra.

Yet even the Gloaming Road is not sufficient to satiate the thirst of Faraden clothiers - and the majority of the dye ends up in the hands of a small number of merchant families who then sell it on at an outrageous profit. As a consequence, an entrepreneurial Faraden merchant from one of the smaller families has made their way to Anvil to try and buy the substance at source. Khanum Hanima of the Hanima merchant family, is particularly interested in speaking to the Gloaming Sentinel, Terah of Highguard, but also to any Varushkan, Navarr, and Urizen merchants about acquiring some of their stocks of gloaming. Khanum will be in the Forge tavern at eleven in the morning on the Sunday of the coming summit, and welcomes anyone who wishes to trade.

Bringing three wagons of mithril through Jotun-dominated Reinos is no task for the faint-hearted - especially now that invading Lasambrian-Jotun forces control the eastern end of the trade route thanks to their conquest of Anduzjasse. But come they have, and they have made it to the Empire with their trading goods intact. In addition to mithril, Khanum has brought a supply of Imperial coin, and several bags of precious metal (weltsilver, green iron, and orichalcum). They are interested in trading for iridescent gloaming in large quantities, and expect to pay well for that substance.

The Broker

  • A Therunin broker is looking to recruit youthful apprentices from the Academy
  • They will be visiting the Academy at noon on Saturday

A surprising amount of wealth comes from the marshy forests of Therunin. It is no city of the League or rich Varushkan vale, but it is home to the Thimble, and is a fertile mating ground for the iridescent butterfly. It is covered in trees whose lumber - whether soft or hard - is in demand across the Empire; and like many Navarr territories it is replete with excellent quality healing herbs. There are other, more esoteric, sources of prosperity as well in the south-eastern forest, such as the ruined docks on the banks of the Feverwater, and of course the city fallen to the Vallorn itself that lies in the heart of the territory. While the brokers of Therunin may not be as wealthy as those of Miaren, they have a reputation for being more adventurous.

One of their number - Gwyn Redpine - has announced their intention to come to Anvil to put some of their wealth to work for the benefit of the nation. Gwyn is known to be well-connected with their peers across Therunin and has a reputation for being a shrewd and clever negotiator. They have announced that they are looking to recruit some new apprentices from the Academy - ideally young citizens aged between the ages of 14 and 17 - with an eye toward arranging some mutually beneficial trades and perhaps some more challenging work. Gwyn is expected to arrive at Anvil at noon on the second day of the summit, and will be heading for the Academy to talk to the students (and the Chancellor).

The Maggot

  • The self-proclaimed maggot Hudeca Goodeye will be attending Anvil at 7pm on Friday
  • He has treasures to sell that were taken during the recent raid against the Grendel, and is looking forward to some hard bargaining

The recent raid on Dubhtraig has been a resounding success. In addition to the slaves freed, and the burning of Salt Lord Suriad's shipyard and palace, Grendel riches now fill the pockets of the Empire. While a fair portion of the wealth seized is represented by coinage or other easily transportable and easily spendable forms, some things have less obvious value. Carpets, jewelry, weapons - even furniture - all were carried away from Dubhtraig as trophies.

Some raiders acquired more of the latter than others - especially raiders who were less concerned about freeing slaves and more concerned about lining their own pockets. One such raider is Hudeca Goodeye, a self-proclaimed maggot of Wintermark, who is bringing many of the treasures he has claimed to Anvil with the intent of selling them on to those who attend the summit.

Hudeca is expected to arrive on the first night of the summit, at seven in the evening. He will be looking to go first to the Wintermark camp, and will be primarily offering items of use to newcomers to Anvil - the kinds of goods he has to sell are of comparatively little value to the wealthy and the powerful. Likewise, he is not interested in using the public auction - apparently he wants to look his customers in the eye and get their measure before selling. With that in mind, he urges the "common folk" who have a little spare money to come and examine his wares and see if they can find something of interest.

The Market

  • A Night Market will be opened to Imperial merchants by the eternal known as the Azoth on Saturday during the summit
  • The Market will open twice - once in the morning and once in the evening - and each time will be accessible to up to five groups of up to six customers each.

Over the last month a peculiar creature of the Night realm has been abroad in the Empire. Going by the improbable moniker of "Ogpog", the entity appears peripherally as a bald orc in multicoloured silk robes. They have visited Siroc, Meade, Kalpaheim, Seren, Torfast, Delev, Void, Ivarsgard, Laroc, Cargo, and many other similar places - about the only commerce-minded settlements they have not been seen are the League cities. Wherever they go, they bring news of their master the Azoth to merchants, magicians, and seekers of esoteric mystery.

During the coming Winter Solstice, the Azoth offers magicians of the Empire the opportunity to trade with its servants for goods and services that may prove enlightening, transformative, or catastrophic. The trade will take place on the Saturay night of the coming summit, as the spawn of Azoth present a Night Market in the place between worlds. The night market will open twice only - once at quarter past eleven in the morning, and once more at quarter to ten in the evening on Saturday, and will admit up to five groups of up to six magicians upon each occasion.

The market is not open solely to magicians, but anyone who wishes to attend will need to be able to reach the Hall of the Worlds under their own auspices. Ogpog warns that while no direct harm will come to any who visit the Night Market, there can be no guarantee given that the things purchased there may not work a profound transfiguration on their buyers.

In the event that there is more interest than can be easily handled by the heralds, or if there is any question of precedence Ogpog has asked that the Grandmaster of the Golden Pyramid (or their chosen representative) be on hand to settle any disputes.

The Auction

A late addition to the public auction concerns a peculiar piece of carved wood that is allegedly part of a map, apparently brought from somewhere in Varushka. The trader who delivered it to the civil service gave few details and almost immediately left Anvil heading for who-knows-where. Traditionally the civil service are very cautious about handling peculiar items brought out of Varushka but as this item does not appear to be possess any immediately obvious curse they have agreed to allow the item to be sold with the usual fees. Anyone interested will be able to bid for the item in the Saturday auction.

“You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards!”

The civil servant on the door spoke with humour., but the trader looked back at with haunted eyes.

“You have no idea..!”

They held out a small flat package wrapped in cloth.

“I have this for the auction. Get what you can for it and just send the money to my house, the address is here on this note, tell them I’m done. I’ll never go to Varushka again.”

The auctioneer frowned at the small wrapped package and note and began to unwrap it.

“No! You fool!" The trader almost screamed at them. "Don’t open it! Don’t touch it! Just sell it!”

“But what in the labyrinth is it? How do I describe it in the book?”

“Say its a map," said the trader, staring off into the distance. "A beautifully carved wooden map, or at least a fragment of one. The people that want it will know what it is. There’s a market for it of that I’m sure. But I’m not going back for the rest of it! Not for all the thrones in Anvil!”