"A floating island covered in burgeoning fruit trees, home to lithe limbed youths with wise eyes and soft skin who whisper secrets of the deep?"

"Only one ship mentions it, and it seems they'd run quite low on fresh water when they came across it."

"Shame. Why's it in the pile then?"

Oria i Guerra made a face.

"I wouldn't have bothered but they do specify it was a floating island - as in it moved around - and the captain who went ashore said they told her it was a place sacred to Rhianos so...."

"Dammit!" Leontes threw the report back down on the table, setting off a minor avalanche that saw page after page cascading onto the floor. "How the bloody hell are we supposed to make head or blody tail of all this! They're literally bloody sailor's tales! And the bloody maps are no better! It's like Kala never even lived! Everyone is using different bloody scales, and different bloody notation. Why haven't we standardised all this yet?"

"We did," Oria's voice was amused. "Barabbas made sure of it. Standardised notation, the whole thing. And then..."

The Freeborn trailed off, knowing Leontes would complete the sentence himself.

"Nicovar," snarled the Imperial Archivist, slamming his fist on the table and sending more pages drifting down onto the floor. "Damn his yellow eyes. It's always bloody Nicovar."

He ground his teeth, then slowly got down on his hands and knees, swearing as his back cracked and his knees clicked, and started to gather all the pages together.

"I think we'll need to hire at least another two cartographers," said Oria checking some notes. "And another scribe."

"Fifty bloody thrones!" he grunted. "What were we thinking?"

Oria shrugged.

"Shall we start again from the top then? Two more ships put to port last night, and we've got reports from them. We've got literally fifteen days before we're meant to have the map finished and annotated, and as we've very nearly started I'm sure the time it'll take to translate and transcribe the new reports will just fly by..."

From underneath the table, the Imperial Archivist glowered up at the amused Freeborn civil servant and said a very rude word under his breath.

Overview

The Grendel continue to dominate the Bay of Catazar, and prey freely on Imperial vessels trading from ports along its shores. The corsairs, among others, do their best to protect the bay. At the moment however they are outnumbered - if not outmatched. On the rare occasions that numbers are equal, they make a good accounting of themselves, and for the most part the territorial waters of the Bay are made too dangerous for pirates to enter. The same cannot be said once an Imperial ship leaves the relative safety of the northern arc of the Bay, however - and to reach any foreign port they must risk open waters.

All is not gloom and doom however - during the Winter Solstice the Imperial Senate voted to support an ambitious project to map the Bay, significantly updated limited Imperial understanding of the land outside Imperial borders that lies on the shores of that great sea. The civil service is still collating the information that has been gathered, but the captains who actually participated will have copies of their own when they attend the summit at Anvil.

CitizenNation
Oria i Shartha i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Elaine BardDawn
Elyan SmithDawn
Sagremar WeaverDawn
Tyr CainDawn
Kalesha De` LatheraDawn
Richard PhelonDawn
Thomas MorganThe Marches
Druss Bandit BloodNavarr
AccalonHighguard
Ahraz i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Argi i GuerraThe Brass Coast
JapharThe Brass Coast
Karg i EstricoThe Brass Coast
Raphael I Cortez I ErigoThe Brass Coast
EduardoThe Brass Coast
Gomez i Souza i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Itamar i Souza i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
NaiaThe Brass Coast
Raimondo i Souza i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Rufio I Souza I GuerraThe Brass Coast
Basir-TazialThe Brass Coast
MaeThe Brass Coast
OctaviaThe Brass Coast
Rafael i Paloma i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Thadeo I Aberoa I RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Traev Al-TahierThe Brass Coast
Azzam i Zaydan i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Bayan Zayden RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Chiara Zayden RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Ibbie Zayden RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Joaquin i Shartha i RiquezThe Brass Coast
Veikko AltonanWintermark
Tobrytan DunningWintermark
Thrall KollbardWintermark
HarkonWintermark
CormacNavarr
Nikolai draviNavarr
Celio i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Enrique I Kalamar I GuerraThe Brass Coast
Ieri i Kalamar i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Lorencio i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Lupita i Marcela i RequizaThe Brass Coast
Marcelino i Haro i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Ortega i Palma i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Puglo i Souza i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Alandra i Santoro i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Dacio i Valeria i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Diego i Sol-Devorador i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Florina i Sol-Devorador i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Iris i Paloma i GuerraThe Brass Coast
LilithThe Brass Coast
Vrael i Sol-Devorador i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Ishmail i Iniquez I ErigoThe Brass Coast
Qasim i Azuro i ErigoThe Brass Coast
GeorgeNavarr
ElyanNavarr
LowriNavarr
Alexei StrascovichVarushka
Nate DraytonThe Marches
AriadneUrizen
NatalusUrizen
Lucian Of EphemerisUrizen
XeniaUrizen
GideonHighguard
Achille di SarvosThe League
DavosThe League
Barbarosa SartosaThe League
Ventura di SarvosThe League
Esteban I Del Rio Blanco I GuerraThe Brass Coast
SquidThe Brass Coast
Annabelle MagorianDawn
Elayne BrightsmithDawn
Argent DromundDawn
Esme SailmakerDawn
Aurum ArgentumDawn
Akki AshtearsWintermark
Orca of SealtoqWintermark
chibzImperial Orcs
UrqImperial Orcs
Dweia Sanguedolche de SirocThe League
CalThe League
Cpt. Hendrick van HovenThe League
NovusUrizen

Mapping the Bay

During the Winter Solstice, the Imperial Senate vote to take advantage of an opportunity to map the Bay of Catazar. The Empire's maps of the actual bay itself - and more specifically the territories that lie along its shores - have been woefully inadequate for some time. The Empire knew that the Grendel controlled the eastern and southern shores, and the Iron Confederacy controlled the south-western coast, but beyond that very little was known for sure. Now, that situation has greatly improved.

While just over half the captains who contributed to the project were (perhaps unsurprisingly) Freeborn, vessels from every Imperial nation were involved, including a sizable contingent from Dawn. With coordination and support from the civil service - and a considerable commitment of funds from the Senate - over the last season these ambitious mariners began to compile cartographic information about the land around the shores of the Bay of Catazar.

The project has not created the kind of highly detailed map that would be of use to magicians. This requires a significantly more focused approach such as is provided by a spy network operated by bands of trained scouts. What it has done is closed several holes in Imperial understanding of the geography of the bay - providing a firm foundation on which further projects might be built as well as giving some insight into the size and distribution of the Broken Shore.

Each fleet that has taken part in this project has received only half the income they would normally gain for privateering. Part of this payment has come from wealthy patrons keen to see a map of the Bay; the rest has come from raiding Grendel vessels and settlements in the waters along the Broken Shore. More importantly, perhaps, each captain has also been provided with their copy of the map of the Bay, as well as a collected gazetteer of points of interest in each territory.

Summary

The map, and the limited gazetteer of locations uncovered, is being prepared for publication by the civil service and is expected to be made available after the Spring Solstice (OOC: That is, it will be put on the wiki as happens with the report from a spy network). It is known to have located and mapped the shores of three Iron Confederacy territories in the west - Kalino, Shavronne, and Veroigne - and five territories belonging to the Grendel - Tathar, Raineach, Shayeel, Ayereed, and Mareave.

Tall Tales and Sea Shanties

Each ship captain who contributed to the project is free to create their own stories of their adventures, within reason.

The people in the three eastern territories of the Iron Confederacy have not been hostile to the Imperial mariners, but neither have they been especially welcoming. Outside Robec in Veroigne, Imperial captains have not been especially welcome in any of the Suranni ports. They are viewed with suspicion, and there may have been demands to search the holds of visiting ships to ensure they are not carrying contraband. In several locations, especially smaller settlements, visiting captains may have been denied the right to a berth on the quayside entirely. While the Suranni are not by default violent to Imperial visitors, any captain who refuses to comply with the instructions of the local nobility will have been met with force.

The southern and eastern territories of the Broken Shore belong to the Grendel. There are a few human mariners here but the majority of other ships encountered are bloodthirsty pirates, always keen to board a vessel and enslave Imperial crews - or sacrifice them in the hope of receiving boons from the vicious eternal Siakha. Unlike the Iron Confederacy territories, however, there are ample opportunities to hide or find an anchorage and briefly explore the coast on foot. The shore - as its name suggests - is very rugged and full of inlets, rocky islands, and even flooded caves that can be exploited to stay out of sight of the orcs who dominate the region.

Each of the eighty or more captains who took part in the opportunity will have a document in their player packs containing further details of the eight non-Imperial territories along the Bay of Catazar, as well as a map showing their placement.

Spy Networks

With the information the players have uncovered about other territories around the Bay, we have added some additional information to the spy network page.

Bloodthirsty Pirates

The Grendel remain confident in their domination of the Bay of Catazar. In the absence of any navies, their pirates continue to raid Imperial ships passing through the Bay. Those captains who encounter orc pirates and live to tell the tale can confirm the growing influence of the eternal Siakha among the more barbarous ship captains.

Every Imperial trading ship passing through the Bay must contend with the threat of Grendel attack. Captains engaged in international trade whose ships call the ports along the Bay home are suffering significant losses and there is little sign that the situation is going to change any time soon.

If the situation does not change, every fleet based in Tassato, Sarvos, the Brass Coast, Highguard, or Urizen will continue to suffer a 1 rank penalty to its production if it engages in trade in the coming season representing the need to employ more marines, and losses to probing pirate raids. Any captain from one of the effected territories or nations is encouraged to create a story of their encounters with Broken Shore pirates, who fall into two broad camps.

The majority are reasonably typical Grendel - quick pirate ships crewed by orcs more interested in robbing and enslaving Imperial crews than in sinking their vessels. The remainder are significantly more of a threat - bloodthirsty pirates keen to spill the blood of captured humans as an offering to the eternal Siakha. These pirates are less organised than the run-of-the-mill Grendel, and are somewhat easier to outrun, but they also possess magical advantages that are not be be underestimated. In addition to the obvious benefits provided by effects similar to the Blood and Salt enchantment, some ships are accompanied by packs of sharks or shark-like creatures, some of these orc crews are bolstered by heralds of Siakha. In several cases they are accompanied by aberrant weather phenomena - especially rough winds that threaten to tear the sails of their prey, or dangerously unpredictable shifts in the wind or the currents that slow escaping vessels and make them easier to board.

Resolution

Following the Spring Equinox, the information gathered during the project to map the Bay of Catazar was made publicly available.