The general who waits until fighting begins to commit their troops is already lost. A battle is won in the hours before the fighting begins. Reconnoiter the field, assess your enemies, deploy your allies.Álvaro di Tassato, general of the Towerjacks
The muster takes place on the first night of each summit at Anvil and is the most important meeting of the Imperial Military Council. Before the muster ends, the assembled generals must decide which major conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate they will employ in the coming days. This determines which nations will fight, and who will be chosen to lead on the field of battle.
In order to ensure that the nations of the Empire may have time to act on the decisions of the muster, they must be made within the span of two hours. The Herald of the Council chairs the muster and ensures that the Council meets this deadline.
At the start of the muster, the Herald will ask everyone present to be certain that no senators are in the chamber and once that is confirmed the session begins. It is customary for all new generals who have been elected to present themselves along with their adjutant to the Military Council at this stage so that they can be positively identified.
The office of the Herald will then present the generals with a description of the major conjunctions. This may include information determined through divination or the reports of Imperial scouts.
Once the presentation is complete, the Military Council has the remainder of the two hours to reach an agreement on how to use the Gate. They must select two major conjunctions from amongst those available; choose the five nations that will attempt to resolve the challenges presented by each conjunction; and select one Imperial citizen for each battle who will act as Field Marshal.
The discussion is likely to include references to current military campaigns, but the function of the muster is to decide how the conjunctions will be used. The Herald will intervene if the conversation strays too far from this critical issue. The Herald will also act to eject anyone from the tent who attempts to interrupt the discussion, and they may silence anyone who is repeating themselves or attempting to hector other members of the Council. Other than this, they are likely to remain quiet but are available to answer questions from anyone with the right to speak.
The right to address the military council is not available during the muster. Any member of the Council may request that the Herald allow a citizen to speak at the muster but the decision to allow a citizen to speak lies with the Herald. In practice they will take a show of hands of the assembled Council members, only allowing the citizen to speak if a clear majority of the Council wishes to hear what they have to say.
It is not unusual for the Military Council to come to a common agreement on the decisions they need to make during the muster. If it is clear that a consensus is not going to emerge, especially if time is running out or if the discussion has become repetitive, then the Herald will call for a vote. Each member of the Military Council present may cast a single vote - ties are decided by The Throne (The Throne may vote and break a tie).
Occasionally, the Herald may call for a vote early. For instance, if it is clear that opinion is divided on which conjunctions to attempt, and this is preventing meaningful discussion of which nations would be involved, then the Herald will call a vote to resolve that issue.
Once all the decisions have been made, either by common consent or by vote, then the muster is formally ended by the Herald. It is not legally possible to reconvene the muster later, even if new information comes to light.
Closing the Muster
After the muster ends, those present are expected to return to their camp to communicate the outcome of the muster to their nations, so that they can prepare for the battles to come. In practice some generals will split this duty with their adjutants; one goes to help organise the nation, and one remains behind to take the opportunity to speak informally to other members of the Military Council about their broader strategic goals.
The hour is upon us Council. We cannot agree and now the Herald reminds us of our duty and bids us vote. So let us vote! As Courage is my witness, those who do not fear to take the field on the morrow will stand with me.Lady Morgaine, general of the Gryphon's Pride