"I don't know what's worse," grumbled Rauri Bramblestep. "The endless hours of being wet all the time. The back breaking labour that usually yields nothing more than stinking mud and twisted bits of worthless metal. Knowing that at any moment a gang of damn Druj might...."

The first arrow struck Giffyn in the shoulder, causing him to lose his grip on the net. He overbalanced, nearly plunging into the murky water, but Isla grabbed him by his belt and pulled him back. Rauri blinked stupidly at the pair of them for a moment, still ineffectually hauling of the dredging net.

"Get down you fool!" hissed Isla, making a grab at his leg as more arrows thumped into the sides of the boat. He didn't need telling twice, and joined the other two in the two inches of freezing, dirty water that covered the flat bottom of the Dragonfly. At the prow Gethyn hunkered down behind her shield, while Isla quickly smeared dark blue salve on Giffyn's ruined shoulder.

Gethyn risked a quick look round the rim of her shield. An arrow missed her head by barely three inches as she jerked back. Cruel laughter drifted across the surface of the lake from the orcs on the bank. Several had splashed down into the water, angling their shots to try and hit the Navarr huddled in the bottom of the dredger.

"There's about twenty of them that I can see," said Gethyn grimly. "That likely means more in the woods that I can't. We need to cut the net and try to get out of bow range but I don't know if we can manage that without getting shot. We'll have to do something though. They're playing with us right now but they've got our range and pretty soon they're going to get bored."

"I knew we were too close to the banks!" lamented Rauri unhelpfully. "The damn Druj are the worst thing about this awful job, I'm telling you when we get back I'm quitting, I've had enough of..."

Suddenly the laughter of the Druj turned to shouts and screams, and a high-pitched shrieking roar echoed across the surface of the Feverwater. The boat rocked, caught in sudden waves. The Druj stopped firing their arrows. All the colour drained from Gethyn's face. She grabbed Rauri and thrust him towards the rowing station.

"Row! Row the damn boat Rauri!" she shouted. She tossed a blade to Isla, who quickly sawed through the thick ropes and released the net. The thorn braced herself, shield ready, spear raised - for all the good it would do. Once the creature was finished with the Druj there was every chance it was going to come after them. In fact, there was a good chance it was already on its way to attack them when the Druj distracted it.

On the wooded banks to the north, the shrieking and screaming continued. The Druj had lost all interest in the dredging boat and were instead fighting for their lives.

Isla grabbed the other oar, slamming down onto the bench next to Rauri, and the boat lurched forward through the water.

"That... is one big hydra." said Giffyn, propping himself up in the bottom of the boat, still a little dazed. "i mean, none of them are small but that one... look it's just thrown that one Druj twenty feet into the air and then pulled them in half when they came back down again. Now it's.."

"Stop talking!" interrupted Rauri. "I don't want to know! I just want to be out of here! And then I want to be out of here! I quit! I damn well quit! It's no kind of life when being shot by Druj is only the second worst thing that can happen to ruin your day!"

Gethyn smacked him on the head with the butt of her spear and he shut up.

"You know, said Giffyn a little dreamily, just before passing out, "I suspect all this would be a whole lot easier if we just had bigger boats."

There are three things that should never be made: food that goes uneaten, coin that goes unspent, and magic that goes unused. We send Heilyn Bronwen's Rest with 25 liao to Therunin to urge all prosperous citizens to seek out new opportunities for commerce and development in their lands, putting forward their proposals for consideration at the next summit. To look at the forest, docks, and neighbours to fully realise the opportunities at hand.

Darian Numbers, Prosperity Assembly, Spring 384YE
Therunin Bayou.jpg


Click for audio version

During the Spring Equinox, the Cardinal Darian Numbers focused the eyes of the Prosperity assembly on Therunin. Virtuous folk have turned their attention to Navarr territory, looking for opportunities to increase the prosperity of the inhabitants with particular attention being paid to the docks and "neighbours".

Therunin is by no means a wealthy territory. The bayou and swamps are crisscrossed by trods but there are few roads, and while there are plenty of steadings, they tend to be small and relatively isolated. The largest settlement in Therunin is probably Peakedge Stead, on the western border with Reikos, but even there its size is mostly due to the lingering Highborn exiles. The excitement around the future of Seren in Miaren has highlighted the perception that one of the three Navarr territories is still practically wilderness. For these people the prompting of the Cardinal of Prosperity could not have come at a better time. After a great deal of discussion, the virtuous have three proposals that might help improve the prosperity of Therunin..

Song of Thorns

The largest and best known settlement in Therunin is that of Peakedge Stead. Built amidst the branches of immense, ancient trees the tranquil steading is a renowned centre for the study and practice of herb lore and healing. There are reasonable roads connecting the steading to High Chalcis in Reikos, and to Highwatch in Morrow that make it a popular stopping-off point for Imperial merchants interested in trading with the Navarr.. It is certainly one of the most prosperous places in Therunin, but the brokers propose the construction of something that will transform it into the most prestigious places to study herb lore and medicine in the Empire.

Thornsong House

  • A grand hospital built in Therunin would require a Senate commission, 120 wains of weirwood, 240 crowns, take nine months to complete, and have an upkeep of 10 Thrones each season
  • The Thornsinger would be an Imperial Title appointed annually by the herb garden owners of Navarr
  • In addition to a ministry the Thornsinger would oversee development of new ways for Imperial apothecaries to use herbs
  • If work on the project has not begun by the start of the Summer Solstice 385YE, enthusiasm for the project among the Prosperous citizens of Therunin will have faded

While every Imperial nation practices the arts of physick and apothecary, the Navarr consider themselves the true masters of herb lore in the Empire. There is good evidence to suggest it was the Navarr that brought the secrets of liao to the Highborn and many of the potions used in the Empire were developed by the Navarr (although others claim they only 'acquired' these recipes while travelling the trods). Now there is a chance to build on that heritage.

Peakedge Song is a popular destination for Highborn healers, and benefits from regular trade with the herb gardens of Reikos. The Great Forest Orcs of the Lower Tarn Valley provide invaluable new perspective on the techniques for brewing potions. Indeed, these talented herbalists claim to have originated several potions that the Druj then stole from them that are only now becoming known across the Empire. By building on these relationships, and by making Peakedge Song a beacon for Imperial apothecaries, they propose to create a college for the study of herb lore unmatched in the Empire. The heart of this college will be a weirwood hall, and attendant herb gardens, built around one of the largest of the great trees in Peakedge - Thornsong House.

The Gardens of SongProduction
7 crowns4 doses of True Vervain, 4 doses of Marrowort, 8 doses of random herbs
17 crowns8 doses of True Vervain, 8 doses of Marrowort, 17 doses of random herbs
30 crowns12 doses of True Vervain, 12 doses of Marrowort, 26 doses of random herbs
46 crowns16 doses of True Vervain, 16 doses of Marrowort, 35 doses of random herbs
65 crowns20 doses of True Vervain, 20 doses of Marrowort, 44 doses of random herbs

Thornsong House will cost 120 wains of weirwood, 240 crowns in labour, take nine months to construct, and have an upkeep of 10 Thrones each season. As a unique structure, it will need to be commissioned by the Imperial Senate. When it is complete Peakedge Song will be the premiere site for the study of herbs in the Empire. It will also create an Imperial title - the Thornsinger - to oversee and guide the herbalists of Peakedge Song. The well-worn path for appointing this national position would be via the Tally of the Votes - by vote of the herb garden owners of Navarr.

The Thornsinger will oversee a ministry that allows them to secure both healing herbs and medicinal potions. More importantly, however, they will guide the herb masters of the Empire in expanding their mastery of herb lore. Once the title is appointed, the Thornsinger will be presented with three potential avenues of investigation that could be pursued over the coming year. The Thornsinger will announce which one to focus on in the Imperial Senate. The Navarr will work with their allies to pursue this research, and uncover new ways to use herbs. Each such project will require a large amount of herbs to complete - which will need to be provided by Imperial citizens - and will take at least a year and magic will not be able to speed this process up. (OOC Note: The project will be handled similarly to a Senate commission in that any character will be able to donate herbs or money to its completion during downtime).

Once complete, the project will produce something similar to a schema or a ritual text; a herbal that can be studied to learn how to make that potion. This will be delivered to the Thornsinger who will be solely responsible for determining what happens with it. They could choose to keep the herbal to themselves, share it with a select few, or ask the Senate to make its contents available to every Imperial apothecary. The latter would require a Senate motion and have a cost of 10 Thrones, but the resulting potion would become available to all Imperial citizens.

In anticipation of Thornsong House being built, the herb masters of Peakedge have put forward three promising avenues of research that they could pursue.

  • By studying the comparatively recent Talonvine Infusion tonic, a similar potion that uses realmsroot and vital honey rather than ilium could be created. This would likely open the door to creating similar tonics for empowering magicians in the other five realms.
  • Building on some of the principles involved in the Tonics of the Open Sky, a tonic could be developed that provides protection from the vallorn miasma to the drinker.
  • Expanding on the lore of the Philtres of the High Peaks, a tonic that greatly enhances the magical reserves of magicians might be created (OOC Note: a tonic that grants the drinker an additional 3 points of personal mana for an extended duration).

This opportunity remains available for one year - if work on the project has not begun by the start of the Summer Solstice 385YE, enthusiasm and interest in the project from the Prosperous citizens of Therunin will be lost.

Update: This commission cannot be undertaken by the Master of the Koboldi as it does not use the required minimum of 30 wains of white granite, and it is a unique commission rather than one of the types allowed to the Master.

Fever Dreams

  • The Docks at Feverwater could be significantly expanded thanks to recent information about Sarangrave

The docks on the Feverwater are ancient; jutting quays of white granite and weirwood that may date back to the height of the Terunael Empire. They are built in the ruins of quite a large settlement, and much larger than would be appropriate if they were merely used for fishing. The Advisor on the Vallorn recently commissioned the Department of Historical Research to look into the docks, while Imperial heroes mapped the parts of the Mallum on the other side of the lake - the territory of Sarangrave. The appraisal commissioned by the Imperial Senate regarding the feasibility of raising a slave rebellion in the Druj territory has also brought to light the presence of the Bloodwater Spears, a sept of orcs that lives along the eastern banks. It also confirmed the suspicion that the shores of the far eastern third of the lake are dominated by the vallorn of Béantal Dol. As a consequence, interest in the Feverwater, and especially the docks, is heightened at the moment.

In Summer 379YE the Imperial Senate created the post of Dredgemaster of Feverwater to oversee the docks and dredge the depths for valuables. The operation has always been limited in scale due to the dangers of the marshes and forests that border the Feverwater. Between the hydra and the intermittent raids of the Druj it is difficult to maintain any strong presence on the shores of the Feverwater. In Autumn 378YE the first forays into the south-eastern end of the Feverwater were planned, but ultimately scrapped. Now, however, the Empire has a much better idea of the terrain along both sides of the lake and that presents opportunities.

Expanding the Docks

  • The ruins at the Feverwater Docks could be converted to a fortified steading and its remit greatly expanded
  • Building up the steading would require a Senate commission, 6 wains of white granite, 12 wains of weirwood, 36 crowns in labour, and take three months to complete
  • If work on the project has not begun by the start of the Summer Solstice 385YE, enthusiasm for the project among the Prosperous citizens of Therunin will have faded

Those parts of East Ashes that are not entirely underwater are wild marshes dominated by dripping ancient mangrove tress. Even before the fall of Zenith, the region was a regular target for Druj raids and monster attacks. While there are several steadings in the area, they tend to be built in the north-western parts of the region, the better to guard against the vallorn of Sweetglades. With the encouragement of the Cardinal of Prosperity ringing in their ears, a group of Navarr brokers joined the researchers heading to the docks on the Feverwater to make their own assessment of the situation there.

The news is not particularly good; the "wealth" of the Feverwater such as it is comes from recycling what amounts to rubbish drawn from the thick layer of silt at the bottom of the lake. It is dangerous work and rarely provided anything of real value. Worse, the dredging boats are restricted to the north-western end of the lake due to the presence of Druj and monsters along the wilder southern and eastern banks. In the eyes of these brokers, the quay represents a wasted opportunity - and they have a proposal to significantly improve its worth to the Navarr.

Using the Terunael ruins as a starting point, they propose that a fortified steading be built around the docks, and that the piers themselves be restored and expanded. In addition to the flat-bottomed dredging boats that already use them, they propose building a number of faster launches intended specifically to protect the dredgers when they are about their business - allowing them to push into the Sarangrave-half of the lake and the presumably untouched bounty there.

In addition, they propose that the dredging boats be supplemented with boats intended not to drag the bottom of the lake but to venture into the marshes and forests along the shores of the Feverwater. A preliminary summary indicates that while these areas are hard to navigate by land they can be reached with relative ease with boats. Such raiding boats would need to give the Druj settlement in the Bloodwater Marshes a wide berth - at least for now - but expanding the operations here would greatly improve the Dredgemaster's impoverished income.

The proposal would need to be commissioned by the Imperial Senate (it is after all effectively amending an existing commission which no current Imperial title has the power to do). Taking advantage of the existing ruins, the actual costs would be 6 wains of white granite and 12 wains of weirwood, and 36 crowns in labour costs. It would take three months to complete. The resulting steading would need to be named. If this were done it would grant four advantages to the Dredgemaster of Feverwater.

Total CostProduction
7 crowns3 random metals, 3 measures of Ambergelt, 3 measures of Beggar's Lye, 2 doses of True Vervain, 2 doses of random herbs
17 crowns 6 random metals, 6 measures of Ambergelt, 6 measures of Beggar's Lye, 4 doses of True Vervain, 4 doses of random herbs
30 crowns7 random metals, 11 measures of Ambergelt, 9 measures of Beggar's Lye, 6 doses of True Vervain, 6 doses of random herbs
46 crowns 8 random metals, 15 measures of Ambergelt, 12 measures of Beggar's Lye, 8 doses of True Vervain, 8 doses of random herbs
65 crowns 10 random metals, 19 measures of Ambergelt, 15 measures of Beggar's Lye, 10 doses of True Vervain, 10 doses of random herbs, 1 ilium

Firstly, the ability to dredge parts of the the southern and eastern depths of the lake as well as the north-western end would double the amount of metal recovered each season from 4 random ingots to 8 random ingots.

Secondly, if the Dredgemaster were prepared to pay for thorns - or even mercenaries for other Imperial nations - the boats on the Feverwater would be able to push into the Druj dominated areas of Bloodwater Marsh and occupied Zenith as well as launching raids against the shores. The more the Dredgemaster paid, the more effective these efforts would be, increasing the bounty of metals recovered from the depths, as well as providing ambergelt, beggar's lye, and healing herbs. With enough dominance of the Feverwater, it might even be possible to bring a little ilium out of its depths. This would function as a ministry.

Thirdly, the docks at Feverwater would serve as a staging point for adventurers prepared to push into the Sarangrave. The river that feeds into the Sarangrave is wide, running through the vallorn heart of Bendol, and then up through Nesustak Forest and Turan Flats. Given their familiarity with the vallorn, Navarr thorns would be the ideal people to take advantage of this opportunity. It would create a new independant action option for military units to Adventure in the Sarangrave. The action will only be available to Navarr characters; rather than receiving random production a basic military unit, they will receive 8 random herbs and 6 random forest resources from battling orcs and vallornspawn, exploring the woods, and seeking out opportunities to explore the forests and marshes of the Mallum. An upgraded or enchanted military unit will gain proportionately more.

Finally, the brokers suggest that once the work was complete it might be possible for the Senate to appraise the situation with an eye toward using the Docks at Feverwater to assist in any invasion of Sarangrave. They are merchants not generals, however, and are unable to offer any insight into whether such a thing is possible or what it might involve, beyond the fact that control of the Feverwater might conceivably prove useful in conquering the regions that border it.

If work on the project has not begun by the start of the Summer Solstice 385YE, enthusiasm for the project among the Prosperous citizens of Therunin will have faded.

The trip to the wreck is dangerous, but the trip will not automatically result in a fight. While combat is possible it is not a given.

Feverwater Wreck (Conjunction)

  • There is an opportunity to explore a wreck wedged beneath the surface of the Feverwater
  • The Civil Service suggest the Dredgemaster of Feverwater might be in the best position to organise the mission

The confrontation with some of the Therunin outlaws during the Spring Equinox resulted in the rescue of one Merel, the first Advisor on the Vallorn who had apparently been kidnapped while exploring some Terunael ruins near the docks at Feverwater. It seems that rather than leave the area, Merel has continued to investigate certain leads and his researches have borne unexpected fruit; the discovery of an ancient petrified boat wedged partially in an air-filled cave at the bottom of the Feverwater. The wreck is very old - it might even be of Terunael origins - and seems to be incredibly well preserved.

Merel has been unable to reach the wreck himself; indeed when he attempted to do so he sustained vicious injuries from the local wildlife that have left him unable to visit Anvil this season in person. Instead he has sent news of its existence to Anvil. Some careful investigation later, and the civil service have confirmed that there is indeed a conjunction of the Sentinel Gate leading to a location beneath the Feverwater that seems to be this air-filled cave. The gate will open at one in the afternoon on Saturday, and will provide access to the cave for no more than half a dozen people. Given the location and what details Merel has been able to provide, it seems likely that the Dredgemaster of Feverwater would be the ideal person to organise a trip to the cave.

Merel warns of two potential problems; the wreck went down in waters that appear to be infected with a kind of venomous fresh-water octopus native to the Sarangrave. While the creatures themselves are unlikely to be more than a nuisance, there are signs of something larger - a predator preying on the nasty little cephalopods - lairing in the vicinity of the wreck. Anyone venturing through the gate will need to make careful preparations.

Good Neighbours

The Great Forest Orcs have been living alongside the Navarr of Therunin for some years now, and with minor exceptions the relationship has been guardedly friendly. They have never made any secret of the fact that their ultimate goal is to return to their homes under the Eaves of Peytaht however. When news of the Imperial armies fighting in the Barrens reaches them, it energises many of the orcs of the Great Forest, and there is a great deal of discussion as to what this means for their sept. What quickly becomes clear is that not every Great Forest Orc plans to return to the Barrens. Some have developed friendships with their neighbours. Others have become enamoured of traveling the trods to visit remnants of the Great Forest all over the Empire. Still others have taken up permanent residence at Peakedge Song, studying and in turn sharing their own techniques with the Navarr.

While the majority of the Orcs want to "go home" to the Barrens, they also recognise the debt they owe to their hosts. When the brokers, encouraged by the Cardinal to speak to their neighbours, approach their counterparts among the Great Forest Orcs they find them not only very receptive but ready with proposals of their own. One proposal is straightforward; the other is potentially more controversial.

Song of the Green

  • Any Navarr in Therunin needs one fewer wain of weirwood to upgrade their herb garden with the aid of the Great Forest Orcs
  • The opportunity remains available until the start of the Summer Solstice 385YE

The orcs are adept at working with weirwood, and their ability to build with the precious material outstrips that of the Empire as evidenced by structures such as the Holt of the Oak. They have used this skill, and the access to weirwood from the Thimble, to cultivate many herb gardens and farms in the Lower Tarn Valley. Now that their security is reasonably well established, they propose to visit the herb garden of any Navarr in Therunin who will welcome them, and employ their affinity for the precious wood to help improve the supply of herbs.

As a consequence, any Navarr in Therunin who wishes to upgrade their herb garden can do so for one fewer weirwood than normal (so, to upgrade a standard herb garden to rank two would cost one weirwood rather than two, and to raise a rank three herb garden to rank four would only need three wains). They ask for nothing in return; they offer their aid in recognition of the fact that when they were homeless and pursued by the Druj the Navarr of Therunin gave them a home.

This opportunity will remain available to the Navarr in Therunin until at least the start of the Summer Solstice 385YE, and potentially for as long as the Great Forest Orcs are present in the territory and have good relationship with their nation.

Dream of the Future

  • If the Senate will assure the Great Forest Orcs of their intention to cede the Eaves of Peytaht to them then their gratitude will extend to every Navarr in the Empire
  • In addition they will help to cultivate the Thimble, permanently increasing its production
  • This opportunity is only available during the Summer Solstice 384YE

The Great Forest Orcs have several times mentioned that what they really want is to return to their homes on the edge of the Great Forest of Peytaht. Their people have apparently lived in the Heart of Peytaht for untold generations, even when they laboured under the tyranny of the Druj they did not abandon the forest. They tended the weirwood grove known as the Eaves of Peytaht, practicing their traditions and venerating the ancient trees. With the Empire again active in the Barrens, and inspired by the brokers, they have made a request of the Imperial Senate, and offered their support to the Navarr in return.

They ask that the Imperial Senate pass a Senate motion agreeing that once the Barrens is an Imperial territory they will cede the Heart of Peytaht (and by extension the weirwood grove there) to the Great Forest Orcs. In return, their woodshapers will spend the next year traveling the trods with the Navarr, visiting Miaren, Hercynia, and even Brocéliande, offering their expertise to expand herb gardens there just as they are doing in Therunin (that is, reducing the cost to upgrade by one wain of weirwood for each rank).

Furthermore, their treetenders will help to cultivate the Thimble in Therunin, expanding its production by 2 wains each season. The Great Forest Orcs have been receiving a portion of the bounty of the Thimble, and will continue to do so until they return the Barrens (or the Senate changes its mind), but the increase in production will be permanent.

Obviously, the Senate cannot bind the hands of future Senators, but that is not what the Great Forest Orcs are asking for. They simply want a public commitment from the Imperial Senate to return their homes to them if and when the Barrens is conquered. In the event that such a future senate chose to ignore the promise made to the Great Forest Orcs, then there would likely be significant repercussions.

This opportunity is only available at the Summer Solstice; if the Senate chooses not to make the promise to the orcs of the Great Forest now it will be taken as a sign that they are not sincere about restoring their homes. The orcs aren't foolish - they know that situations change and that Imperial politics are complex - but they will no longer be interested in offering their aid outside Therunin, or in the Thimble.

Ursol Gwin is a briar magician and refugee from Dourfell Keep. They may be contacted by Winged Messenger at the Briar encampment, Lower Tarn Valley, Therunin

The Lost Liao Garden

  • The question about what to do with the salvage of the Lost Liao Garden of Therunin still remains unresolved

During the Spring Equinox 383YE, knight-errant Eadric Fjellrevening of House de Rondell, lead a group of heroes through Sentinel Gate to a location just outside of Sweetglades. The expedition apparently uncovered the Lost Liao Garden of Therunin - a sinecure built in the early days of the Empire that sought to harness the fecundity of the vallorn to grow vinum more efficiently. The garden was believed overrun and destroyed during the reign of Emperor Nicovar but it seems that Eadric and their companions were able to clear the vallornspawn from the remains of the old facility. Details are hazy, but it seems that in the wake of their visit, the briars of the Tarn Valley and the Great Forest orcs recovered a large supply of preserved vinum sap, and a number of pieces of equipment related to its refinement. The briars proposed using the equipment to begin refining their own liao, and gave the name of one of their people - Ursol Gwin - prepared to receive missives from Imperial citizens.

The question of what to do with the vinum and the equipment (if anything) has still not been resolved; full details can be found in the Long walk home wind of fortune.

Trouble Brewing

Since the Spring Equinox there have been several reports of an outlaw gang operating in southern East Ashes. During the Equinox a band of Imperial heroes and militia travelled there via the Sentinel Gate to confront some elements of the gang but the potential threat of the lawless bandits has by no means been dealt with. It seems that some of them are former Navarr displaced from Brocéliande and Liathaven, while others are convicted criminals who were unable or unwilling to pay fines imposed by Imperial magistrates. There's no information about how many there are, nor how they are organised. For the most part they seem to be more interested in raiding the Druj in Zenith than they are attacking Imperial citizens in Therunin but there has been some harassment aimed at travelers walking the trods in East Ashes.

For the moment the Navarr magistrates are monitoring the situation. While nothing too serious has happened so far, some of the steadings of Therunin are a little nervous given recent events in Varushka. With the possibility that the Druj might actually be driven out of Zenith, those outlaws will presumably need to find new targets for their raids.

Further Reading