"Dogri - look out!" Alerted by the warning, Dogri Thulebane spun on his heel, just in time to see the Thule's sword come sweeping towards him. He raised his arm to fend off the blow, but it was too late and the weapon caught him full in the chest. "Aargh" he shouted, and tumbled to the ground.

"You're dead!" proclaimed the jubilant Thule warrior, waving his sword in the air. "We're the winners!"

He stared up at the Thule, his face a mix of anger and resentment, partly fuelled by the wicked bruise he could feel developing on his ribs. Towering over him, the victorious Thule warrior stretched out his other hand towards his defeated rival.

"C'mon" he said "It's my turn to be Dogri now!"

Somewhat reluctantly, Reet took his older brother's hand and let himself be pulled back to his feet. "You're too tall to be Dogri." he groused and went back to his real grumble. "And anyway, you're always Dogri, it's not fair." Around them the other children had stopped fighting, now that they realised Dogri was beaten.

"Well you shouldn't let the Thule sneak up on you!" Ceorl retorted laughing and waving his sword, a short willow stick, around in the air. But he was already turning his back on Reet. The battle was over, Dogri had lost. The rules were the rules.

"I won!" he shouted at the others. "So it's my turn to be Dogri now.... so someone needs to be the Thule Dragon?...."

There was a chorus of moans from the others. It was the same old problem, someone had to be the Thule... you couldn't be the Thulebane without any Thule...
Three and One.jpg
Three people, three questions, three answers.
Click for audio version


At the previous summit, the priests and stormcrows of Wintermark passed a set of three judgements that bear down on what it means to be Winterfolk. The most contentious of these was one by Cynerik calling for a Varushkan senator to be interred in the Kallavesa marshes. Eevi of the Gadrai submitted a judgement citing the inspiration provided by Dogri Thulebane. The final judgement was provided by Ingrid Seiging and called on Wintermark to do everything possible to defeat the Jotun.

Each of these judgements raises as many questions as they answer, questions that the Wintermark Assembly now have a chance to try and settle.

Recognising the loyalty shown to Wintermark, and to her values of building bonds between nations, we, the priests of Wintermark, celebrate the virtue and heroism of Yulia Kasimiova Voronov, named "Hunger's Folly", by allowing her a place to sleep within the sacred marshes of Sovevann. As senator for Miekarova, Yulia courageously sacrificed her homeland, to enable Wintermark to take the steps needed to reclaim Sermersuaq. This act of heroism was instrumental to our victory to once again unify Wintermark. The Varushkan people and egregores recognise our traditions, and have approved of this act. The egregores of Wintermark approved of the naming of Yulia, and welcome her interment into the marshes of Kallavesa. They have made clear that this is not an action that Wintermark takes lightly, and as such something like this will never happen again.

Cynerik, Wintermark National Assembly, Spring Equinox 385YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 369-0)


  • Yulia Kasimiova Voronov, fought her own nation to support the alliance with the Thule that helped to free Sermersuaq from the Jotun
  • Cynerik has called for her body to be interred in the marshes of Kallavesa, a unique honour that has never been accorded to anyone who is not of the Mark

In Winter 383YE, the Thule approached the Empire with an unusual offer - their armies were all full strength and itching for a fight. They were prepared to unleash them against the Jotun in occupied Sermersuaq, but in return they wanted land. They were prepared to match the Empire's numbers, with up to three armies, if the Empire ceded regions in Skarsind and Varushka to them, one for each army they would send.

It was an expensive trade and a contentious one. It offered the tantalising prospect for Wintermark to free Sermersuaq which laboured under Jotun rule, but it required their neighbours to pay the price. There were many who spoke out in support of Wintermark, including the highly experienced Ambassador to Otkodov, Yevgeni Katzev, but one voice spoke loudest of all - Yulia Kasimiova Voronov, Senator for Miekarova. On the floor of the Senate she spoke passionately of the need to support Wintermark in its hour of need, and for each nation to sacrifice for the good of the Empire. Her passionate words moved the audience. The vote was carried, the alliance formed, the invasion unleashed and, ultimately, Sermersuaq was freed.

Few could deny that Yulia Kasimiova Voronov forked her skein that fateful day. In the view of many the mystics, her act of extraordinary heroism saved a nation, and damned herself in the process. Yulia, Yevgeni, Vesna "Sparrow" Borkova, Marya Zoranova Doubek, Vuk the Wolfeater, and others were summoned to answer for their actions before a council of Varushkan boyars and wise ones. Words fell like weapons upon them, demanding that they change course. But cold cannot compromise, and Yulia refused to bend to the iron will of her fellow Varushkans.

To Wintermark eyes, the Iron-hearted Varushkans condemned her for aiding them. Their Assembly revoked her, citing disloyalty and blaming her for allowing the Jotun to be enslaved by the Thule. They lacked the power to drive her from the nation but they called on everyone to refuse her hospitality, a death sentence in the dangerous wilderness of Varushka. Inquisitions followed for all those involved, but they could not fault her Courage or her Loyalty. She was eventually raised to the Senate as Conscience, by the Cardinal of the Way, but she never held power in Varushka again. She died, as she lived, still fighting for the Empire she loved. Mortally wounded on the battlefields of Zenith, she was carried back to Anvil and passed away on the very Throne she spent her life serving.

It's abundantly clear to Winterfolk who hear her story that Yulia was an astonishing individual. It's one thing to stand firm in the face of a Jotun war host bearing down on you, that takes huge Courage there is no doubt. But to stand up for what you know is right, when all your kin and countryfolk are baying for your blood, calling you a traitor, and trying to have you driven from your home? That kind of Courage is seen very, very rarely.

But to inter her in the marshes at Kallavesa? That kind of honour has never been offered to anyone who was not a part of Wintermark. The judgement cites the approval of the egregores, but they are keen to stress that their actual advice was considerably more nuanced than the terms of the judgement imply. Yulia's singular Courage deserves to be recognised, that much is clear... but the marshes are more than just mud and waist-deep water. Who knows how they would respond to a soul they did not recognise as one of their own? What if the action angers the spirits in Sovevann in some way?

Wisdom is not always knowing the answer; Wisdom is finding the right question. Wise old owls urge delay. Rudimentary magic can preserve the body for a little while longer, if it gives the crows a chance to consider if this is definitely the best way to proceed. It may be that it is... and if it is then it is all the better for some consideration. If it isn't then perhaps another way to honour Yulia can be found.

Write Her Name

Even those who argue that Wintermark cannot put a Varushkan soul into the Sovevann are not against the idea of honouring her name. However they point out that Wintermark already has a way to honour Yulia, a mechanism that doesn't involve overturning traditions that have not changed for the best part of five centuries. The Wintermark Assembly could write Yulia's name in the Chronicle of Heroism.

This important text was created precisely for this purpose - to recognise heroism, to record it, and to spread the tale of it across Wintermark. Nobody would question Yulia's right to have her name in that book alongside the other heroes of the Mark. And it could be done simply and easily and without fuss. A statement of principle in the Wintermark Assembly, extolling Yulia's deeds and asking for her name to be added to the book. Given the nature of her personal sacrifice, the mystics are unanimous that taking this route would lead to an opportunity of some kind, but they caution that any good fortune it throws up is unlikely to please the Varushkans.

Proceed As Planned

  • The Wintermark Assembly could proceed as planned and and use a mandate to instruct a priest to inter Yulia's body in the marshes of the Sovevann
  • It is not clear how the marshes will respond to the arrival of a foreign soul, those who tend the waters advise caution
  • The nation could adopt Yulia Kasimiova Voronov as one of their own

When they hear Yulia's story many people are content that she should be interred in the marshes. On the face of it, she appears to have been one of the most extraordinary heroes of the age. What are the marshes for, if not to serve as a fitting resting place for heroes? The Assembly could use a mandate to proceed as planned.

Wisdom knows all knowledge is incomplete. We don't know what fate might befall us if Yulia Kasimiova Voronov enters the Sovevann, but we are not cowed by that uncertainty. We send {named priest} with a single dose of liao to inter her body alongside those of Wintermark's greatest heroes

Synod Mandate, Wintermark National Assembly

It is not clear what will happen if the Assembly go ahead with their plans, there are those who openly worry that her spirit will not rest easily there. Or that the other spirits will become restless, their long slumber stirred by this intrusion. If it does go ahead, then naming a priest in the mandate is important they argue. Someone will have to place the body in the marshes, but if this goes badly, then it would be well that everyone knows that that individual acted with the support of the Wintermark Assembly and was not acting alone.

There might be another a way to grant Yulia the honour of the Sovevann without courting disaster. The Varushkan Assembly denounced Yulia and urged the nation to turn her out. Could she not join Wintermark? True she is dead, and that might present a problem, but the mystics, icewalkers, and runesmiths could penetrate the barrier between life and death and have her speak to the egregores to learn if they would have accepted her. Or perhaps those who knew her best might speak of whether she would have welcomed such an honour. If the scops had given her a name and the egregores had accepted her into Wintermark, then the Sovevann would surely welcome her spirit home.

Recognise Her

  • She could be recognised as an exemplar of Courage or Loyalty

Interring Yulia's body in the marshes of the Sovevann is the traditional Wintermark way recognise when a hero passes. But it is not the way the Empire recognises the most virtuous among them. Those whose lives are considered to be an inspiration to others are identified as such by the virtue assembly with which they are most associated, who recognise them as an Exemplar. Doing so would immortalise Yulia's name, not just in Wintermark, but across the Empire. Her deeds would endure as legends to inspire generations to come.

The Wintermark Assembly cannot do this themselves. It is not within the power of the Assembly to recognise an Exemplar - only a virtue assembly or the General Assembly can submit the necessary judgement of recognition. But they could identify the single Virtue she most exemplified and canvas the relevant virtue assembly to pass a judgement of recognition. It would take a lot of effort on the part of the priests and the stormcrows, It would need a greater majority, but if they were ultimately successful, it would carry her name far and wide.

Compatible Choices

  • All of these choices are compatible, the Wintermark Assembly could pursue, one, two or all three of the options laid out above

There is no practical reason why the Wintermark Assembly could not pursue any or all of the options presented. Regardless of what happens to Yulia's body, her name could be written in the Chronicle of Heroism, and neither of those choices would prevent the Assembly seeking to have her recognised as an Exemplar of Virtue.

Thane Dogri Thulebane was a hero of Wintermark and his name shall be in the Chronicles of Heroes. He fought uncompromisingly to drive the Thule out of Skarsind and defended Crows Ridge from them. He died protecting his people, fighting the Grendel in service to the Empire a hero's death. Every action he took was motivated by his unwavering Loyalty to our nation and our people. He inspired many people in the mark and he serves as an example of what Pride, Courage, and Loyalty looks like.

Eevi of the Gadrai, Wintermark National Assembly, Spring Equinox 385YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 276-13)

Loyal To A Fault

  • The legend of Dogri Thulebane has not diminished in the years since his death
  • He is already interred in the Sovevann and written in the Chronicle, but he could be recognised as an exemplar
  • Doing so would ensure his resistance to the Empire became an inspiration to the Wintermark for generations to come

In 379YE, the Empire took the unprecedented decision to take Skarsind from Wintermark and give it to the Imperial Orcs. It required extraordinary efforts, and ultimately resulted in the creation of new powers for the Imperial Senate. Although many in Wintermark supported the decision in principle, and began the long and painful efforts to relocate, one man - one hero - refused to leave. Dogri Thulebane simply refused to acknowledge the right of the Imperial Senate to give away his home. He collapsed the passes and declared that "Crows Ridge is part of Wintermark, it is ours, stay out. We will maintain the traditions of Skarsind here."

The story of what happened next is well known. The Empire refused to accept this act of open rebellion and sent a cruel Varushkan army, the Iron Helms to drag Dogri to Anvil to face justice. There was uproar about the choice - the Iron Helms are notorious for their use of dogs to tear their enemies' throats out - and for displaying the bodies of their defeated foes on spikes. But it appears on this occasion they restrained themselves, perhaps realising that if they didn't they might not make it out Skarsind in one piece.

Dogri's trial was a formality, the facts were never in any doubt, and like Isaella he never denied what he had done. He was condemned to death. Before he could be executed, he travelled with his fellow Wintermarkers on one final journey, going through the Sentinel Gate to face the Mark's enemies in battle. He found his end there, preferring to die a hero, and be spared the ignominy of an execution. His body is widely believed to have been interred in the Sovevann, where presumably his spirit rests to this day.

To be an exemplar one's deeds must inspire others. The tale of Dogri Thulebane's life has not been diminished by the years and now his name has been added to the Chronicle of Heroism, where it arguably should have been all along. But like with Yulia, more could be done.

An Inspiration To The Mark

  • The Imperial Synod could declare Dogri Thulebane to be an exemplar
  • It would require a judgement of recognition by the appropriate virtue assembly
  • If this happens, then Wintermarkers will be inspired by Dogri's example and will never again cede their land without a fight

As with Yulia, the Empire could recognise the extraordinary life of Dogri Thulebane and recognise him as an exemplar. The Wintermark Assembly cannot do this by themselves - only a virtue assembly or the General Assembly can submit the necessary judgement of recognition. But they could identify the single Virtue he most exemplified and implore the relevant virtue assembly to pass a judgement of recognition. That requires a greater majority - it needs overwhelming support to recognise someone as an inspirational figure - and would need to be confirmed by the General Assembly.

If that happened, then it would ensure that Dogri's legend continued to grow and inspire future generations. Although Dogri faced prosecution for his crimes, it would remind every Wintermarker of the founding axiom of the nation - that the storm can never break us. Those who do what they know to be right, risk death and condemnation, but in doing so they become heroes and their names live on forever.

Dogri Thulebane would need to be recognised by a single virtue assembly, but the people most inspired by his deeds will always be the Wintermarkers. They will never forget that the Empire may issue edicts demanding sacrifice, but they cannot compel it. They can take away your lands, but they cannot take away your name. They can send an army to defeat you, but they will never break you if you stay true to what you believe.

If Dogri Thulebane is recognised as an exemplar by the Imperial Synod then the inspiration he brings will ensure that no Wintermark region or territory could ever be taken or given away by the Empire without a fight. If that happened at any point during the next decade, the Wintermark people would rise up, and defend what was theirs, just as Dogri Thulebane did.

An Inspiration To The Empire

  • If a virtue assembly declare Dogri to be an exemplar they could create an inspirational tomb to his memory in the Sovevann
  • It would require a suitable mandate and a dose of true liao

If the Pride, the Courage or the Loyalty Assembly recognise Dogri Thulebane as an exemplar of their virtue then they could go further.. That Assembly could endorse a priest (presumably a Wintermarker) to enact a mandate creating an Inspirational Tomb for Dogri in the Sovevann. There is already one true aura there, but the marshes are vast and it would present no problem to create a second. To do so would require the Assembly to pass a suitable mandate after they had recognised Dogri as an exemplar.

Dogri Thulebane knew his heart and what commanded its devotion above all else. We send {named priest} with one dose of true liao to take his inspirational story to every Loyal citizen of the Empire. Let all who hear his story despise treachery and remember that the truly virtuous are loyal even through hardship and misfortune.

Synod Mandate, Loyalty Assembly

This mandate is for the Loyalty Assembly, but the Pride or Courage (the other virtues Dogri was known for) could submit alternative mandates in keeping with their teachings. If this mandate is enacted, it will ensure a constant stream of visitors to the Sovevann from across the Empire, and even beyond. People will come to experience the aura and gaze on the final resting place of Dogri Thulebane and be inspired by his life. If that happens, then no Imperial region or territory could ever be taken or given away by the Empire without a fight for the next five years. If the Empire tried to give away land claimed by Imperial citizens, then a charismatic figure, just like Dogri, would certainly emerge ready to lead people in armed opposition.

The Synod could only have this effect if they had declared Dogri to be an exemplar first, otherwise the consecration would have no additional effect.

A Terror To The Thule

  • The Wintermark Assembly could create a sacred site in the hills of Crows Ridge
  • It would require a suitable mandate and a dose of true liao

There is another, more contentious choice that could be made - even if virtue assemblies refuse to recognise Dogri as an exemplar. Dogri may be interred in Kallavesa, but he gave up his life to fight for his home in Crows Ridge in the mountains of Skarsind. The same mountains that the Empire subsequently gave to Dogri's hated enemies, the Thule. Normally it is not possible for a national assembly to create an inspiring memorial, it needs to be done by a virtue assembly. But like Sulemaine, Dogri Thulebane is a uniquely national figure and his life and legend could be used to inspire Wintermark with this mandate.

Do not fear to act; only be shamed by inaction. We send {named priest} with one dose of true liao to consecrate an inspirational Memorial in Crows Ridge. Rise up, take up arms, just as Dogri did - we will all become the bane of the Thule.

Synod Mandate, Wintermark National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, it will cause a popular uprising across Wintermark as hot-headed young heroes are inspired by the life of Dogri Thulebane. They will take up weapons, and launch an attack on Crows Ridge in Skarsind and the Silver Peaks in Sermersuaq. These regions are fortified, and the attacks will fail... unless they get the support of Imperial armies or a huge number of military units.

Such an act with shatter good relations with the Thule and provoke war if it is successful and a demand for reparations if it is not. You would have to be sired by a storm itself to consider it.

A hero seeks a worthy cause. We call upon the heroes of Wintermark to bring all their strengths to bear against the Jotun, knowing that true strength comes from virtue, not the endless pursuit of war.

Ingrid Seiging, Wintermark National Assembly, Spring Equinox 385YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 284-13)

The Meaning of Honour

  • Wintermark has deliberately fought the Jotun in ways that minimise casualties on both sides
  • Some have criticised this decision, claiming that fighting honourably, is the Jotun way, not the Wintermark way
  • Wintermark could abandon this approach and bring all their strengths to bear against the Jotun

Since 381YE the Wintermark armies have deliberately held back in their war with the Jotun. They have not shied away from the fight, they have taken the conflict to the Jotun at every opportunity. But they fought every battle in ways designed to minimise the casualties on either side. This decisions has saved countless lives on both sides of the war... but arguably it has prolonged the conflict, causing it to stretch from one season to the next. The Jarl of Keirheim has even been clear that the war between the Jotun and the Empire cannot end, while any Jotun who bear the shame of their failure in Mournwold still live.

The Jotun cannot fail to have noticed Wintermark's strategy, and there have been some indications that they have responded in kind. However there is no clear sign that it has not yet brought peace between the two people any closer. The war threatens to rumble on forever - the Jotun seem content to fight with the Empire 'til the last of them is gone - but many in Wintermark had hopes that peaceful days might come again.

Part of what may have prevented a wider rapprochement with the Jotun is the fact that many other nations have not been so restrained. The Navarr have seized every opportunity to slaughter the Jotun and just this last season, the Freeborn employed powerful winter magics not to take territory, but to maximise the number of Jotun they could kill. To respond to the shortcomings of their allies, the Wintermark Assembly gave their generals the ability to "Fight with Honour". This unique order ensures that any army on campaign with Wintermark is prevented from issuing orders to plunder, cut them down or carry out a merciless assault. The controversial order has only been used three times since then, twice by the Bloodcloaks and one by the Fist of the Mountains. The first time was after the 382YE Winter Solstice, but it was employed again this season.

It is not clear what Ingrid Seiging intended with her statement. Wintermark is already bringing all their strength against the Jotun - but a number of priests who have read the statement have taken it as an indication that the time has come to stop dancing to the Jotun's tune. The idea of "honour" is a Jotun one they say, Wintermark's ideal is heroism not honour. Wintermark's armies should abandon the approach they have used so far - they should stop fighting with honour, stop letting the Jotun recover their wounded. They should fight to win, just as other Imperial armies do. There is no sign of peace on the horizon, so why not act to bring this conflict to an end quickly? The way to stop this endless war is to kill the Jotun.

Other folk disagree - the Jotun concept of honour is very specific to them, not unlike the Freeborn ideal of honesty. They argue that heroism encompasses all these ideals, Dawnish notions of love and glory, a Freeborn commitment to honesty, a Jotun determination to act honourably. It makes no sense for the Wintermark to abandon their honour, simply because the Jotun use that word in a certain way. Can you have heroism without honour? What would a dishonourable hero look like?

Perhaps more prosaically, a third group points out that Wintermark have spent years committing themselves to fight in this way. If it has built up any goodwill with the Jotun, as some of the signs suggest, then it would be madness to abandon that now. While it's true that the Jotun show no sign of ending this war, dropping their commitment to oppose their ancient enemies as honourable heroes of the Mark would mean that any goodwill that has been bought would be lost.

If Wintermark has finally decided that it is done with "honourable" fighting, and done with holding back against the Jotun, they could abandon their current commitments with a mandate.

A hero's tale ends with a good death. We send {named priest} with 75 doses of liao to tell every Wintermark hero that it is long past time we finished this war with the Jotun. Let us put aside notions of honour on the battlefield and give the Jotun the good death they crave as quickly as possible.

Synod Mandate, Wintermark National Assembly

If this mandate were enacted, Wintermark generals would lose the ability to issue orders to "fight with honour". In addition, Wintermarks' armies would take a more ruthless approach in battle, preventing the Jotun from rescuing their wounded and looking to kill as many of the enemy as possible. They would lose the current benefits that Wintermark armies have that allows them to take extra territory but at the cost of causing far less casualties. The war between Wintermark and the Jotun would shift, their strategy would mirror that of their Imperial allies. They would kill more Jotun in battle and perhaps that might end the war sooner.

The Jotun would be aware of the change. If Wintermark's armies have built any rapport with the Jotun with the current approach, this change of strategy would cast that aside in favour of maximising the cost to the Jotun to keep fighting.