Caita i Guerra, the wind causing her voluminous robes and shawl to billow around her like sails, fought her way along the pebbled beach to the rocky promontory that thrust impudently into the dark waters of the Bay. Grim looking clouds chased each other across the sky, and she very much wanted to be safely beside a warm fire before they burst, and finished what the sea spume had already started. Still, trying to hurry along the wet stones would only make it more likely she'd take a nasty fall.

At the end of the promontory, there was a flat circle of black stone shot through with a swirling pattern of grey and white. As a little girl, she'd played here while her parents and the other hakima had consulted with the inhabitants of the regio that lay just beyond, tracing the patterns on the stone and making up stories about the vague shapes embedded in the stone. Today she was alone. The last. The others had fled north to Madruga, but she had refused to accompany them. Someone had to stay behind, and she doubted the Grendel would be interested in one old woman living in a cave by the sea. Hopefully.

Although that might all change if they knew what else was in that cliffside hideaway, a portion of which weighed down the satchel at her side as she carefully made her way to the very edge, and looked down at the churning water. The wind whipped the waves into concupiscent curds, and the hem of her robe was instantly soaked through.

She raised her staff, and her voice, tracing the sigil of the Door with one hand. As soon as she felt the magic flowing out, she reached into her satchel and pulled out a handful of treasure. Old silver coins, a few tempest jade marbles, and a golden locket. She cast them into the water, like a farmer sowing seed. Another handful followed. Then the last - the prize - a circlet of tiny ruby chips bound in golden wire that she'd finished shaping just as the sun rose. Each disappeared beneath the waves without so much as a ripple.

A little way out to sea, something dark moved beneath the surface of the water, arrowing closer. Anyone else might have mistaken it for a dolphin, perhaps. But Caita i Guerra knew better. She felt a warm breeze on her face, redolent with a kind of dry sweetness that always reminded her of her parents, and then he was here.

Bursting out of the water with an exuberance that never failed to make her smile, he landed deftly next to her, and caught her in a crushing embrace. He was wearing the gold and ruby circlet on his head, nestled amongst his bronze curls.

"Caita i Guerra!" he said, beaming. His voice boomed, like breakers on a beach. "Has it been a year already!"

He paused, looked around, a frown furrowing his otherwise unlined cerulean brow. "Where is everyone else?"

"They're not here. It's the Grendel. Remember?"

He looked confused for a moment, then recollection broke across his face. "Oh is that still going on? I wouldn't have throught the corsairs would stand for such a thing!"

Not for the first time Caita i Guerra wondered if it might not be nice to be as completely unconcerned about what was going on around her as the Guardian of the Cloudsea. Or as untouched by the ravages of time. She shook off the moment of introspection - there'd be time for that later.

"It's a lot more complicated than that. But that's not why I'm here. Are you happy that the compact has been honoured?"

The Guardian of the Cloudsea opened it's palm to reveal the coins and marbles. "It's a bit meagre," he said criticially. "But it is sufficient. The compact has been honoured. None of the family will drown in the Bay of Catazar in the coming year if it is within the power of the Leaping Trident to prevent it."

Relief flooded her tired frame. She'd been worried that the trove might be insufficient. There was no telling how long it would be until the rest of the coven returned, and she had to carefully ration out what little they had been able to leave behind. She realised the Guardian of the Cloudsea was frowning again.

"Wait..." he said slowly. "If we're meeting here, then that means it must be nearly Summer."

Caita i Guerra was confused, but agreed that was what it meant.

"Isn't Summer when the tourney of the Icy Crag is meant to be taking place? Wait, has that already happened?"

The hakima had heard of this, obviously. Most of the masters of Summer magic in the Empire had heard of it.

"Yes it is, and no it hasn't."

The Guardian's bottomless emerald eyes widened, and he tugged roughly at his braided copper beard.

"Oh dear," he said in a quiet voice that was quite at odds with his usual bombastic nature. "Oh.... dear. I... ah ... I need to go, Caita i Guerra. Right now. I'll see you again the same time next year. Unless I've been bound up in iron chains and thrown into the bottom of the Lightless Abyss where the behemoths fear to swim."

"Is that something that's likely to happen?"

"Well, given I was meant to remind the Regent to sort out a team for the tourney over Winter, and I completely didn't do that, and now it's nearly Summer... yes. Yes it very much is."

And without another word, the Guardian of the Cloudsea leapt back into the water and disappeared, and the wind started to blow again, and the first raindrops pattered on the black stone at Caita i Guerra's feet.
The Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun is as much castle stands high in the hills overlooking Volchitrava.
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The Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun - the Empire's premiere College for the study of Summer magic - has had a tumultuous history. Seen as a prize by many of the eternals of the Summer Realm, patronage of the college is hotly contested. A year ago, the Archmage of Summer Brother Luke announced in Conclave that there would be a new tourney to determine which eternal would hold that prestigious position. One unexpected outcome of this announcement was that several eternals of other realms also registered their intent to compete to patronize the Icy Crag. After some deliberation the Conclave agreed that any eternal who was not an enemy of the Empire could serve as patron.

Now, a year later, the tourney is about to begin...


The Contest

  • The tourney of magicians to determine the patron of the Icy Crag will take place in the Glory Square at 3pm on Saturday
  • Revel, a renowned herald of Barien, will work with the Archmage of Summer and the Master of Ice and Darkness to moderate the tourney
  • Each team is asked to provide an announcer; someone who will introduce them to the crowd so everyone knows who is fighting on behalf of which eternal
  • Revel will arrive at half-past two to work out final details

Barien, the Iron Duke, appears to have no interest in becoming patron of the Icy Crag himself. Rather, as a figure that the other Summer eternals respect, he has offered his services in arranging and overseeing the tourney. His favoured herald Revel met with Imperial citizens to create a set of rules for the tourney. Revel and their aides will serve as marshals, and working with the Archamge of Summer and the Master of Ice and Darkness (or their representative), try and ensure the tourney goes off without a hitch.

Revel has suggested that each team of champions also bring an announcer such as a scop or troubadour. The announcer will introduce their team, and perhaps provide a little patter to enthuse the crowd. No more than a minute for each, in a nod both to the rules of the Conclave and the patience of the audience. During the tourney they can lead the cheering for their champions, and potentially help to get defeated champions to safety.

One of the first things Revel, the Archmage, and the Master will need to do is work out how contestants enter the Glory Square, and how defeated champions are removed so that their teammates can enter the fray. As such Revel intends to arrive at half-past-two on Saturday to meet with the Imperial magicians and thrash out the final few details.

The Rules of the Tourney

  • The tourney will take the form of a "tag team grand melee": each team will start with one champion on the field, and as each falls they will be carried to safety and another team member take their place
  • Each eternal can present one team of three magicians. Each team may have a single herald, but such heralds must be roughly human in shape and dimensions (no giants, crab-people, or other nonsense)
  • Eternals from realms other than Summer may present champions as long as they are not under enmity
  • The tourney is a contest of magicians; as such the champions may only be armed with implements, and may only use mage armour or robes. No weapons of war or warriors armour will be used
  • Enchantments, eternal boons, tonics, magic items and the like may all be employed before the tourney, but none may be used once the tourney begins. This means that no potions or herbs may be used, and no crystal mana or vis may be employed by the champions.
  • A champion is defeated when they can no longer rise, and once they are off the field they will be healed. This is not a fight to the death.
  • Last team remaining wins (you can't return afterwards so no on field healing except unstoppable etc.)
  • There shall be no killing, executions, or eating people.
  • Heralds cannot grant boons to their teammates when they turn up - the eternals must give the boons directly.

The Challengers

A dozen eternals have made it known that they intend to compete for the right to patronize the Icy Crag. While the majority are Summer eternals, representatives of almost every realm have thrown their hats into the ring - primarily those who have a particular interest in magic.

Summer Eternals


The The Summer Enchanter is one of two eternals who has a particularly keen interest in the Icy Crag given it was Meraud who "stole" patronage of the college from Cathan Canae when it was first built. There is little love lost between the two eternals where the college is concerned. Last season the Golden Enchanter recruited a trio of champions through a contest of magical prowess. The three victors - Tiberius the Rainmage of Wintermark, the Dawnish Tristan Wolfborn of House Wolfbourne, and Cedric Gallows of Navarr - will fight on his behalf. Meraud intends to send several heralds to the Tourney, and in addition to supporting his chosen champions, one of them has been charged with delivering the Churnspire regalia to the Churnspire Adjutor (assuming they have been appointed by that time).

Cathan Canae

Like Meraud, the Queen of Ice and Darkness has a very keen interest in becoming patron of the college given she was directly involved in building it in the first place before Meraud's "treachery" saw the Lord of Summer Stars "steal" the title from her. During the Spring Equinox, one of her heralds visited the Hall of the Worlds to "interview" Imperial heroes prepared to fight on her behalf. The three selected were Lanval Van Narood of House Orzel, the Freeborn Esteban i DelRio Blanco i Guerra, and the Kallavesi Runar Hval of Raven's Hold. A herald of Cathan Canae is due to meet the trio at the Dawnish Glory Square shortly before the tourney begins to deliver a potent gift from the Lady of the Blizzards to help fortify them for the difficult challenge ahead.


So far the Lady of Pennants has played her cards close to her chest. It's no secret that she is currently not entirely happy with the Empire, and she has not made any obvious effort to recruit champions to take part in the Tourney. The Sovereign in Scarlet and Gold won the right to patronize the college during the last Summer Tourney; during her tenure she provided assistance to formulate heroic enchantments. That ability is not available at the moment, but might in theory be restored should Eleonaris win. However, apart from indicating that she does intend to send champions to the tourney, her heralds have refused to provide further information about who they are to be. There is some speculation that Eleonaris may be planning to send champions who are not Imperial citizens to represent her.


The former consort of Eleonaris, the Unicorn Prince, by contrast, has been entirely open about who his champions will be. He has drawn "some of the finest war witches and enchanters" to his banner, apparently, and his champions will be not one but two Senators - Zadkiel de Coeurdefer Senator for Semmerholm and Bohemond de Rondell, Senator for Astolat and throne aspirant, with the puissant Drake de Coeurdefer completing the trio.


The Regent of the Eternal Sea is a late contender, having previously shown only minimal interest in patronage of the Summer college. As the Spring Equinox approaches, however, he indicates that he does intend to recruit some champions - specifically he's interested in recruiting some Freeborn battle magicians. After all, which other nation so fundamentally understands the idea that life should never be dull? As such he will be sending a herald or two to speak to the Brass Coast at 8pm on Friday to recruit some representatives. He is confident that any Brass Coast war wizard will be a match for the champions of the other eternals, so rather than testing prowess with battle magic his heralds will be looking to pick those candidates who can show they've had the most exciting adventures. Preferably in front of an audience.


The Throne of Stone was one of the first eternals of the Summer Realm to select champions, but in the intervening months it seems that two of them have experienced some misfortune. As a result only Sejanus of Urizen is still around. The eternal has given Sejanus the responsibility of recruiting two additional magicians to represent the Dragon of Summer in the Tourney. The eternal apparently plans to equip their champions with magic items to give them an edge in the tourney; Adamant will sent one of the koboldi to meet with Sejanus and their teammates in the Hall of Worlds at 10pm on Friday. In the event Conclave is still ongoing they can retreat to the Imperial regio if need be.


There was some uncertainty as to whether the Gryphon King would be participating in the tourney - whether he still has enough power to be able to serve as a patron. All that can be said with any certainty is that Hayaak certainly thinks he can participate and like Meraud he selected his representatives during the Spring Equinox. Apparently they will be three winners of the contests held in the Forest of Affray; their exact identities are not currently known.

Other Realms

While the college is dedicated to the study of Summer magic, the patron eternal does not need to be an inhabitant of the Summer realm. Several eternals from other realms have expressed interest in patronizing the Icy Crag.


The Sovereign Lord of the City of Bridges is apparently very interested in supporting Imperial magicians. He has already offered his assistance to the Doyen of the Spires, and is looking to become patron of the Icy Crag as well. Rumour says that he charged the Archmage of Autumn, Edmundo, with selecting a team on his behalf. Whatever the truth, it seems that the three magicians who will serve as champions for the Lord of the Loom are each Varushkan - a pair of volhov named Duśan L'ubec and Kazimir Zarekovich Zybysko, and a warden by the name of Provuk Lechin Branovich.


The Brother of Wizards already offers a form of patronage to the Lyceum as seen in the quiet Annexe. During the Spring Equinox he announced that he had charged Ahzrukhal of Highguard with putting a team together for the Icy Crag tourney. The magister in question has selected Aemon and Ingrid, daughter of Jan to represent the Globbersnotch - a trio who have raised a few eyebrows in some quarters given their nationality. According to messengers from the Father of Bats, he would like to meet the three Highborn on Friday night, at 11pm, during the Night Market of Azoth to deliver his boons and to have a brief chat about tactics. The Black Sloth does not anticipate this being a long meeting.


The interest of the Master Strategist in the Icy Crag has come as something of a surprise. His heralds apparently selected a team during the Winter Solstice, made up of magicians from Urizen, Navarr, and the League, but their identities are not public knowledge at this time. Rodrigo Barossa de Tassato Regario is believed to be involved in some capacity but, as they are not a magician, they will not be able to participate in the Tourney. Speculation is that they have been appointed as "manager" in some capacity and are putting a team of elite battle magicians together on behalf of the Hunter of Tides. It seems likely that if Zakalwe does become patron of the Icy Crag, any boon he offers will relate to the magic of war rather than specifically to Summer magic.

Wise Rangara

Out of the blue in the run-up to the Spring Equinox, the Pale Raven has announced that she is interested in serving as patron of the Icy Crag so she can "keep an eye on it" (which sounds more than a little ominous). Rather than recruit Imperial war magicians however she intends to send one of her chosen to work with Lord Florette Griffiinsbane of the Academy to select three cadets skilled in battle magic to fight on her behalf. Any youth interested in the position would do well to speak to him to learn more.

Other Teams

It's possible that there may be still other teams of champions out there, some of whom have simply not announced themselves yet. By the rules of the tourney each eternal can only present one team, but there are many more eternals that would not be barred by being under enmity. Such teams would be expected to turn up to the Glory Square in good time, and make clear whose champions they are. Some metaphysicians speculate that, in theory, a team could present itself in the name of an eternal without actually being selected by that entity. In theory, if that team were to win, then the eternal in question might still become patron of the college even if they hadn't actually expressed an interest in doing so. While some theoretical scholars find this idea fascinating, others warn that it would be an extremely risky proposition.

None of the Above

There is one additional team that apparently intends to take part in the Tourney. Made up of three Highborn Baalam of Cantiarch's Hold, Isolde of The Cenotaph, and Gideon of the Shattered Tower, this team does not champion any eternal. Instead, they are fighting to prevent the Icy Crag from being beholden to any creature of the realms. There have been a few questions raised as to whether they should be able to take part - given that the rules say that "Each eternal can present one team." Barien (via Revel) has expressed the opinion that this team is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the Summer Tourney, and wishes them well. The final decision as to whether they can legitimately participate will need to be made by the three adjudicators however - Revel, the Summer Archmage, and the Master of Ice and Darkness.


There is one other eternal who cannot - by the rules of the tourney - sponsor a team. That has not stopped them offering to do so. It's also possible that other teams representing eternals who have not announced themselves may arrive at the tourney regardless. It will be up to Revel, the Archmage of Summer, and the Master of Ice and Darkness to interpret the rules in the event of any... peculiar... entrants.


Blood-on-the-Snow let it be known that if any trio of battle magicians is prepared to take up his banner - ideally an actual physical banner marked with the rune Naeve - and fight for him in the Summer Tourney, he will grant personal boons to any who survive the resulting legal complications. If they actually win, by whatever means, and secure him the patronage of the college he will provide them a personal audience and the benefits of his enthusiastic favour. The rules of the tourney specifically exclude eternals who are under the enmity of the Imperial Conclave from taking part, but the Law of Dominion takes precedence - it's entirely possible that if an eternal under enmity manages to enter the tourney and win they will metaphysically be the patron whether the mundane rules were followed or not. Even if the provision against eternals with enmity has metaphysical weight, a winning team declaring for Agramant is likely to mean the eternal considers himself patron of the college regardless. In either cases, things will no doubt become very complicated, very quickly.


  • The results of the tourney will stand until 387YE at the earliest

Regardless of the outcome of the Tourney, the results are likely to stand for several years. The eternals don't view the passage of time the same way that mortals do, and unless there is some kind of unpredictable upheaval there will not be another challenge for the patronage of the Icy Crag before 387YE at the earliest. It is unlikely, but possible, that the tourney may end without a clear victory for one eternal or another. In this case, the college could be left without a patron for several years.

It is likely that whichever eternal becomes patron they will wish to offer practical signs of their support to the College. Even as patron, however, they are likely to still need approval of the Conclave, and perhaps even a commission from the Senate, in order to provide such assistance.

Further Reading

  • Amity and enmity - details the status of each known eternal with regard to the Empire