Large but far away
Fulco don Sarvos stared down from the poop deck at the people arguing below. They'd only been at sea for a day - and virtues be blessed they'd enjoyed perfect weather so far. Borrowed Time was making good speed, her sails full... everything was going suspiciously well. The only thing he had to worry about was his cargo - a ship of fools. Hah! What did that make the captain, he thought.
Luuk, his first mate was handling it. That's how it was on the Borrowed Time. The captain gave the orders and the first mate knocked heads together until it happened. The Asaveans were arguing, mostly in their own language though at least two of them spoke perfectly good Imperial. His first mate couldn't understand a word they were saying of course, but he didn't need to. He was communicating with body language - the crossed arms, the glare, the crew behind him weapons in hand. The message was clear, same as it always was. When you're on Borrowed Time you do as your told... or you get off the ship and you swim for shore. Good luck with that.
He could just make out the man everyone was arguing over - the Assaveans stood in a protective ring trying to shield him from the crew. The fellow looked terrified, and well he might. Probably didn't have a clue what was going to happen to him - poor bastard.
It had never even occurred to him to ask when they'd taken this lot onboard. The Marracossan family had been desperate to get away. The Nemorians were coming and it was pretty clear that death waited for those that couldn't escape. The Borrowed Time was large, big enough for twenty passengers, but even so they'd had to leave half the noble woman's entourage behind. Maybe another ship would come in time to take them... maybe.
But maybe not. You had to think anyone left behind might well end up dead. What kind of person did that? Did they have no loyalty to their family? He shook his head at the barbarism of it. These Marracossans looked civilized enough, but looks could be deceptive. His father had docked at Dubhtraig once, when he was just a child, and he remembered the city had looked almost as rich and fine as Sarvos. But scratch the gilding away and the metal was corroded beneath it. A city of sewers his father said, infested with misery, it crawled through the streets like a plague. And Maracoss was no different.
But he never thought the bastards would have the gall to bring a slave onto his ship! He shook his head again trying to make sense of it. Shey'd left one of her own behind... and brought one of her slaves with her instead. Logically he could see the sense of it. The fellow was a skilled mathemagician apparently, probably worth more than all the jewellery they were carrying. But what were they thinking? They were sailing for Trajadoz - who did they think they were going to sell him to? Did they imagine they could keep him?
The Assaveans were still arguing, but his patience was gone and he summoned one of the crew. "Tell Luuk to pick one of them and throw him overboard and see if that changes Lady Molasar's mind. It wouldn't come to that... but it was time to teach his "guests" that their days keeping slaves ended when they lost their war.
The Empire is one of six great powers who wield influence over the known world. Two of those other nations, the Commonwealth and the Sumaah Republic are allied to the Empire via the Liberty Pact. Two others - the Asavean Archipelago and the Principalities of Jarm are slaving nations, targeted by sanctions by the Pact members. The last nation, the Sarcophan Delves, neither uses slaves nor upholds the Liberty Pact, cherishing the freedom to trade where it wills.
There is little constancy in international politics, and the complex interplay of politics and diplomacy can change the relations between nations in an instance. As such, the broad overviews discussed here represent only the state-of-play as it is generally understood at the start of the Autumn Equinox 383YE.
This Wind of Fortune only covers the great powers of the world. Developments involving the local nations are detailed here, whilst matters involving the orc nations surrounding the Empire are detailed here.
Across the Sea of Salt
- The Imperial Senate has applied sanctions to Asavean traders dealing with the Empire.
- The Nemorian Plenum has responded with sanctions of its own on Imperial merchants. Further details of their impact can be found here
- The Ambassador to Asavea is Chainbreaker Pakt of the Imperial Orcs
The Plenum of Asavea has begun to stir. Where previously responses to the latest insult from the Empire was relegated to bickering between small factions, the defacement of the architecture designed by Almodin Oktístis, priest of Baddu the Builder, has led to a shifting in the tide of opinion. Lady Madriannia of the Blue Stones attempted to offer assurances to the Plenum, but the lack of any details regarding punishment of the ones responsible for inciting the destruction has led to most of the Plenum disregarding her advice.
The Tarquinius, Coriolani and Ilotari families, encouraged and supported by several temples, have spearheaded a growing faction within the Plenum, a faction that wishes to create their own alliance in order to counter the efforts made by the Liberty Pact. The overwrought and ponderous wheels of Asavean politics have begun to turn for the first time in a century as the nobles who sit on the Plenum begin the work necessary to establish an accord with the House of Princes of the Principalities of Jarm. Though the faction is still in the minority, there is increasing pressure on the Heraclien and Ragnabe to cease trading with the Empire and to sell their stocks of white granite to other nations.
- Almost 80 fleet captains supported the efforts to transport fleeing rebels out of Aracossa and Telios
- Roughly a thousand of the displaced rebels from Aracossa have journeyed to the Brass Coast
- The Marracossans have settled in the town of Trajadoz, Torres, Madruga
Following the end of the rebellion in Marracoss and Emphedor Imperial fleet captains had an opportunity to evacuate some of the defeated rebels. More than 40 captains took fleeing rebels from Telios, taking them to safe, neutral lands. Over 30 captains journeyed to Arocossa, with roughly a third taking their passengers to the nearby Sumaah Republic, and another third to other, safe lands outside of Asavea. The last third, travelling together, have taken up temporary residence in the mostly abandoned town of Tradajoz, Torres. There they have made a temporary camp, and have started to look towards settling a community.
The Marracossans (never Nemorians, and rarely accepting Asavean) are a disparate group; made up of priests and soldiers, crafters and traders. One of their number Leonorada Rousseau, a priest of Aseus, has spent some time in the paradors of nearby Calvos. They have made clear that they, and their community, like the Empire, and they like the town of Tradajoz. They wish to remain in the town, but Leonorada understands that the community's intent to continue following and worshipping their gods could lead to some unfortunate accusations. Some of the town have heard the locals talk about the temple in Feroz and have suggested that the Imperial Senate could possibly grant them permission to build a temple of their own in Trajadoz.
Trajadoz was founded roughly three hundred years ago by the Trajaduz family of traders who were intent on fostering trade between the mines of newly conquered Kahraman and the wealth of Sarvos. The most recent influx of townsfolk was during the invasion of Segura in 363YE. Since the reclamation of Segura in 378YE it has stood empty, save for a few bandits, as the Freeborn returned to their homes.
The temple would require a Senate motion explicitly giving the community permission to construct it in the town of Trajadoz. The temple would be a simple thing, constructed from common stone and wood, and would be dedicated to the three gods of Marracoss, who were subsumed into the Asavean pantheon following the Nemorian conquest of the satrapy generations ago. The construction of the temple would serve as a beacon to those Marracossans in exile in other parts of the world, potentially drawing them to the town of Trajadoz.
Pilgrimage to Anvil
A small group of these displaced Marracossans - apparently adherents of the Way separate to Leonorada's faction - have departed from Trajadoz making for Anvil. Reports from those they have met on the road suggest that these foreigners seek to behold the home of their faith. The group's progress has been slow - hampered by the obvious poverty of its constituents who have earned their way through Imperial territory performing odd jobs and by relying on the Prosperity of those they meet on the road.
Trade with Nemoria
- Imperial fleets trading with Nemoria receive a -2 rank penalty to their production.
The sanctions imposed by both the Empire and the Asavean government mean that any fleet captain trading with Nemoria itself suffers a significant loss of profit. That loss could have been offset by the presence of the two temples - one in Feroz and one in Nemoria. Unfortunately the Temple in Nemoria is still heavily damaged following the attack by a mob. As such, confidence among Asavean merchants trading with the Empire has been badly shaken. If the Temple in Nemoria is repaired by the Senate then the benefits of having an obvious symbol of Asavean and Imperial cooperation would resume.
The Temple in Feroz still stands, and the Grendel continue to permit Asavean merchants to dock there, however it is made clear to the merchants that it is due to the orders of the Salt Lords that this is happening. The goodwill from the Temple previously afforded to Imperial fleet owners is now directed towards the Grendel.
- The Sumaah Republic are signatories to the Liberty pact; they have embargoed trade with slaving nations.
- The Sumaah Republic still has possession of the Imperial Crown
- Foundations are being laid for a summit between representatives of the Sumaah and Imperial Synods during the Winter Solstice.
- The Ambassador to the Sumaah Republic is Accalon of Felix's Watch of Highguard
There has been a slight increase in the number of visitors from the Sumaah Republic who are visiting the Empire in the past season. One such visitor is the präst, Nikolaj Rondtyig, who is here on request from Heln Stianser, Censor of wood, metal and stone. Nikolaj Rondtyig has been journeying throughout the Empire, walking the trods with a number of different stridings. Nikolaj explains that he was asked by Heln Stianser to investigate the claim made by the Imperial Synod that the Vallorn poses the greatest spiritual threat in the world. Unfortunately Nikolaj has yet to have a good chance at thoroughly investigating a Vallornspawn husk, and so will be visiting Anvil in the hopes of being able to assist on a foray through the Sentinel Gate. Nikolaj is expecting to arrive at Anvil at 3 o'clock on Saturday and will head straight to the Navarr camp to discuss matters with the Advisor on the Vallorn.
A small delegation from the Sumaash Synod are planning to attend Anvil at the upcoming summit in order to both determine the scope, and the chair, of the meeting to be held at the Winter Solstice. The delegation are due to arrive on Saturday evening, with further details to be confirmed nearer the time.
The Sumaah Republic have also sent a representative to the Empire in a response to a call for meeting of the Liberty Pact signatories; more details of this can be found here.
Trade with Zemeh
- The port of Zemeh is open to Imperial fleet captains.
Imperial captains are free to trade with Zemeh. As Sumaah is a signatory to the Liberty Pact, there are no penalties for doing so.
Over the Sea of Steel
- The Commonwealth are signatories to the Liberty pact; they have placed sanctions on trade with slaving nations
- The Imperial Conclave invited magicians of the Commonwealth to learn from Imperial lore
- The Ambassador to the Commonwealth is Lucia Sanguineo di Tassato of the League
The Imperial Conclave supported a Declaration of Concord last season, raised by Juha, the Cave Spider, that the Conclave invites mages from the Commonwealth to learn from Imperial Lore. This, reinforced by a message from the Ambassador to the Commonwealth in their communications with Militärattache Ludkhannah Schöningen, has led to a number of Zauberer visiting the Empire over the past season to attempt to study Imperial lore in such a way as to be able to make use of their knowledge in the Commonwealth. One leading Zauberer, Fynn Hexen von Leerdam suggested that should their attempts prove fruitful then they would be followed by a number of soldiers, practitioners in the realms of Summer and Autumn, to attempt to make full use of the offer from the Conclave.
More information on the escalating conflict between the Commonwealth and the Principalities of Jarm, involving the nation of Lantir, can be found below.
The Commonwealth have sent a delegate to the Empire following an invitation to a meeting of the Liberty Pact; more details about this can be found here.
An Unparalleled Gift
- The Conclave agreed to share Imperial Lore with visiting magicians from the Commonwealth
- An opportunity exists for the Empire to consolidate the benefits of this new arrangement
At the Summer Solstice 383YE, as one of his last acts before his mysterious disappearance, the Imperial Magus, Juha the Cave Spider, gave a declaration of Concord offering to share the benefits of Imperial Lore with visiting magicians from the Commonwealth. This apparently simple gesture has many deep and profound consequences - the first of which is a steady stream of Commonwealth magicians who have begun to make the journey to the Empire to study.
The Commonwealth simply does not have the level of mastery of magic that the Empire possesses. They have magicians of course, though nothing like as many as the Empire. Somewhat surprisingly many of their covens are larger than Imperial equivalents, but there are far fewer of them and they lack the access to a vast repertoire of rituals. Most Commonwealth covens carefully guard a dozen rituals that that coven knows and is renowned for, meticulously passing knowledge of those rituals from one generation of wizards to the next. They have limited ability to create new rituals and nothing that compares to the magical colleges of the Empire. They do possess some rituals the Empire does not - mostly powerful war rituals designed to enchant armies - but little else that is unknown in the Empire. Ultimately it is not simply the opportunity to learn new rituals that appeals to Commonwealth magicians, so much as the opportunity to study and learn magic from teachers whose knowledge far outstrips their own.
As a result of this development, ships are speeding back and forth across the Sea of Steel, carrying Commonwealth magicians eager to come to the Empire to learn. At the moment the impact of this new trade is barely more than a trickle, but it could grow into a flood with the right encouragement. At present visiting magicians and their family and entourage are staying at the Commonwealth embassy in Siroc. The building was never designed to support so many people and the conditions have rapidly become crowded. Even so, burgeoning trade between the Commonwealth and the Empire has caused a noticeable increase in prosperity in Madruga, improving taxation revenue from the territory by ten Thrones.
The Lyceum Schloss
To solve the problem the Commonwealth propose to build a schloss - a fortified manor house very close in size to a castle - on the island east of Siroc that houses the Lyceum. The Commonwealth have designed a commission that would be big enough to house the visiting magicians and everyone who comes with them. It would not be exactly comfortable, but it would be a lot better than the current cramped conditions at the embassy. Their design is not small however - the schloss requires 40 wains of white granite, 10 wains of weirwood and 100 crowns. Fortunately the Commonwealth are happy to pay the entire cost including providing the architects and builders, so it would not even use one of the Senate's commission options for the season. The only thing it would need is a Senate motion ceding the schloss to the Commonwealth and authorising them to carry out the work.
The schloss would formalise the current ad hoc arrangements allowing Commonwealth magicians to study Imperial lore. In addition the visiting magicians are only too happy to share what knowledge they do have with their teachers, so the Lyceum would gain a permanent improvement in the speed with which it could codify any ritual designed to enchant an army - equal to an additional five ranks of magnitude per season. Finally the current increase in taxation resulting from the growing trade between Siroc and the Commonwealth would increase to 15 thrones.
Diora University College of Autumn Magic and Dramaturgy
There is an alternative however - rather than permit the Commonwealth to commission and operate the schloss, the Empire could choose instead to construct the The Diora University of Autumn Magic that was proposed recently by Frederick di Sarvos. The noted architect has accepted his vindication by the Imperial Synod, though he has complained bitterly at what he feels is the grudging manner with which it was worded. He remains unhappy at the way he was treated and does not intend to offer any further "Statements of Endeavour" to the Synod or to the Empire, but he is prepared to make good on his word and build one of the great commissions he designed and presented. Once that is done, he intends to set sail for the Commonwealth by all accounts.
The College is explicitly designed to provide for foreign students and could easily incorporate the visiting magicians from the Commonwealth. That would mean the benefits of increased Commonwealth trade flowing to Sarvos rather than Madruga, and the new college would gain the equivalent benefit when researching war rituals that enchant armies. It is not possible to gain the benefits of both commissions however, whichever is completed first would gain the full benefits.
Whatever happens, there are likely to be some significant diplomatic consequences to the actions of the Conclave. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Jarmish - the implacable enemies of the Commonwealth - are furious about this new development. That will likely be a problem for the Empire's ambassador to the Jarmish to resolve. On the positive side, the Commonwealth are positively delighted by the Empire's beneficence. They are reportedly looking to their own position to see what they could do to match the Empire's gift. They have some war rituals they could share with the Empire, enchantments that target armies, that the Empire might benefit from. However one alternative they are discussing is the possibility of offering training to the Empire's architects, allowing Imperial students to study from the best Commonwealth masters, gained from their expertise with military construction. Imperial diplomats suggest that if the Empire has a preference then the ambassador could probably guide the Commonwealth by sending them a suitable letter.
Trade with the Commonwealth
- Imperial captains visiting Leerdam receive an additional dram of Bladeroot
- Imperial captains visiting Volkavaar receive an additional vial of Artisan's Oil
While the sanctions have hurt some merchants in the Commonwealth as they have in the Empire, their impact has been somewhat mitigated. They were already in place with regard to goods and services from the Principalities of Jarm, for example, and few of the nations neighbouring the Commonwealth still practice slavery. Going further, many of the larger guilds enthusiastically embrace the Liberty Pact - and that includes embracing merchants from other signatory nations.
Any Imperial fleet visiting Leerdam during the coming season will receive an additional dram of Bladeroot as a sign of this enthusiasm. Likewise, captains visiting Volkavaar will receive an additional vial of Artisan's Oil. It is not certain how long this enthusiasm will last, but it is anticipated to persist at least until the start of the Spring Equinox 384YE.
Principalities of Jarm
- The Imperial Senate has applied sanctions to trade with Jarm; the House of Princes has responded by placing similar sanctions on Imperial traders. Further details of their impact can be found here
- The title of Ambassador to the Principalities of Jarm is currently vacant
The House of Princes has been active in the past season. In the last year it has come into a more unified outlook against the Commonwealth, which it views as the true instigators of the Liberty Pact. Jarmish ships have been seen in increasing number trading with Asavea, and, closer to the Empire, trading with the orcs of the Broken Shore.
The Principalities of Jarm are sending a delegation to Anvil, headed by Magister Wendelin Kovalik, they will wish to meet with the Ambassador to Jarm in the Senate, as befits a formal delegation. The delegation will arrive at 6 o'clock on the Saturday and will head first to the Senate building. More information on the matters being raised by Magister Wendelin will be available in the Ambassador's briefing.
More information on the escalating conflict between the Principalities of Jarm and the Commonwealth, involving the nation of Lantir, can be found below.
- Following the Autumn Equinox the amount of mana crystals imported from Jarm will decrease
The House of Princes are readying themselves for war against the Commonwealth. There will be some time before the two world powers engage in direct military campaigns against each other, but the Magician-Princes are still looking to increase their stockpile of mana crystals. As such, the Steward of the Tassato Mana Exchange will see a slight reduction in amount of mana crystals able to be purchased from the highest tier of their ministry.
Trade with Jarm
- Any Imperial fleet trading with Vezak or Kavor has a -2 rank penalty on their production.
Imperial fleets visiting Jarm are struck by not one but two sets of tariffs; one imposed by the House of Princes on Imperial goods brought to Jarm, and then again when they attempt to bring Jarmish goods back to the Empire.
- The situation in Lantir has escalated amid a failed coup, and open war is close
- The magician families have called on their allies in the southern Principalities of Jarm
- The Lantirri nobles have requested further aid from the Commonwealth
The Empire has no direct communication with the distant landlocked country of Lantir, sandwiched as it is between the Commonwealth and the Principalities of Jarm. Some information does filter through to Imperial ship captains visiting Leerdam and Vezak however. It appears that following the ultimatum given by the Commonwealth, the nobles of distant Lantir chose to abolish slavery and impose sanctions on trade with all slaving nations, including their neighbours in Jarm. This was followed a week later with an attempted coup by one of the Lantiri generals - a vocal supporter of the magician families, and who often received their aid. Following the failed coup the ring leaders were summarily executed, and command of the army was taken by nobles eager to gain the approval of the Commonwealth.
The coup was openly supported by the Jarmish, and it is believed that the surviving members of the magical faction have called for their allies to the north to send military aid to help them overthrow the noble faction. The long-anticipated war between the Commonwealth and the Principalities of Jarm has begun.
Beyond the Sea of Teeth
- The title of Ambassador to the Sarcophan Delves is currently vacant
Following the signing of the Liberty Pact during the Winter Solstice 382YE, several influential Sarcophan families offered opportunities to the Empire. The Kruidenkenner guild of herbalists offered to increase the supply of herbs they sold to the Empire whilst the Vandersar and Diepenbeek families both requested concedence of imperial land in order to create enclaves. The Gjullit offered a steady supply of weirwood and white granite to supplement the increased cost of importing from the Principalities of Jarm and Asavea. The Delves continue to seek closer economic and mercantile ties with the Empire, and indeed with the other signatories to the Liberty Pact.
- Two teams of researchers, headed by Eilian Sweetwater and Luca Friedlin von Holberg, have journeyed to the Sarcophan Delves
Following an increase of interest in the history of the city of Sarcophan Bedelaar Huisbaas Annike offered to host two teams of historical researchers in the Tower of Crows to allow them to engage in historical research. The Minister of Historical Research, Caleb of the Cenotaph, made an announcement in the Senate during the Summer Solstice to take up Bedelaar Huisbaas Annike on her offer and the first of two reports are due to be returned to Caleb of the Cenotaph at the upcoming summit.
Windows of Opportunity
- The opportunity to expand the Kruidenkenner Magazijn expires at the end of the Autumn Equinox.
- Opportunities to authorise Sarcophan trade enclaves in Sarvos and Karsk (and to build Imperial enclaves in the Delves) likewise expire at the end of the Autumn Equinox.
- The opportunity to construct the Gjullit Docks has expired
Several opportunities to improve trade with the Sarcophan Delves are still available to the Empire, but time is running out. The opportunity to expand the Kruidenkenner Magazijn (and encourage Sarcophan investment in several other herbal ministries) will be lost at the end of the Autumn Equinox for example. Should the Senate wish to take advantage of the Kruidenkenner offer work on the extension would need to begin immediately to meet the deadline set by the Sarcophan guild of herbalists and apothecaries.
The proposal regarding an enclave at the Alivetti estates was due to expire at the end of the Summer Solstice, but the Ambassador was able to secure an extension from the Vanderesar family. The Senate now has until the end of the Autumn Equinox to make a decision on whether to go ahead with the proposed enclave; the same deadline for them to make a decision about a similar plan regarding an enclave at Isember. Both of these proposals bring with them the opportunity for the Empire to establish enclaves of their own in the Sarcophan Delves - either for trade or religion or both if both Sarcophan enclaves are authorised.
The Gjuillit family originally offered to sell amounts of weirwood and white granite to the Empire, through a dock in Siroc, Madruga, that would need to be built to their designs. A request was made to the Gjullit family to see if they would be able to provide some of the materials required to construct such a dock, the enthusiastic family offered to call in favours to move up to nine wains of weirwood and white granite through other docks and get them to the construction in Siroc, but made clear they would need funding for such an endeavour. Without further progress being made on the negotiations however, the Gjullit offer has expired and rumour suggests they have entered into negotiation with the Iron Confederacy instead.
Trade with the Delves
- Trade between the Empire and Sarcophan remains healthy
- The Kruidenkenner herbalists of Sarcophan are bringing additional herbs to trade at Anvil via the public auction
Imperial captains continue to be welcomed in the Delves. With the Kruidenkenner continuing to seek opportunities to invest in the Empire, there continues to be a marked increase in the amounts of all five herbs being auctioned through the public auction at Anvil, especially Imperial Roseweald.