"Give us some Hywel! Go on - give us some." Niamh danced in front of her brother trying to get his attention. The bag of aniseed sweets their father had given them was big enough for both of them, but he seemed intent on eating the lot by himself.

"Get lost Nim. These are mine." he retorted, clutching the bag close in case she tried to snatch them from him.

"Come on - it ain't fair. Dad said they were for us."

"Did not!"

"Did so!"

"Dad gave 'em to me. For helping him tend the garden. I worked hard for these, so they is mine. That's Prosperity that is."

"That ain't fair - I ain't old enough to help with the garden. Come on Hywel. Be Ambitious!"

Hywel snorted at his little sister. "You're so stupid you only know the first virtue!"

"Do Not! There's not arguing and being kind and cleaning up your room as well!"

Tiring of the game and realizing he was not going to get any peace, he took one of the precious sweets from the bag and held it out. As Niamh reached for it, he jerked his hand back and then flung the sweet over her head into the forest. "There - that's all you're getting".

"That ain't nice!" Niamh shouted, but her voice was breaking, tears welling up in her eyes.

"Nice ain't a virtue!" he snarled and turned his back on his sister - surely the most annoying six year old in the steading.

Overview

The Iron Helms, the infamously cruel Varushkan army continue to be divisive.The Urizen, Highguard, and Dawn assemblies have joined their voices with Navarr and Varushka in sanctioning the use of cruelty and fear on the battlefield.

Several significant opportunities have arisen as a result of the Synod's ongoing discussion of what is, or is not, too high a price to pay for victory.

The Shadows Of Our Feelings

  • By encouraging soldiers to be ruthless, Varushka, Navarr, Highguard, Urizen or Dawn, can gain the ability to put the enemy to the sword.

Imperial military armies are a disciplined force. When a general gives an order to attack, they can be confident that it will be carried out exactly as stated. Barbaric methods of war, torture, summary executions and the like have largely been eschewed by the Empire as uncivilized and unvirtuous. But not all hold such views and the Iron Helms show what can be achieved in war for those who are prepared to take the straightest path. Now the priests of Highguard, Dawn, and Urizen have joined Varushka and Navarr in passing statements of principle encouraging people to use whatever tools are needed to defeat their enemies.

As a result of these clear statements of principle, any of the national assemblies of Varushka, Navarr, Highguard, Urizen or Dawn could now choose to authorize a mandate enjoining their soldiers to slaughter the Empire's enemies wherever they can find them.

We send named priest with 50 doses of liao to exhort every Imperial soldier to slaughter our Empire's enemies with ruthless abandon.

National Assembly

The generals of any nation that spreads this mandate among their soldiers will gain the option to issue the ruthless onslaught attacking order. Encouraging Imperial soldiers to kill any enemy they can find will have a dramatic effect on any military campaigns that the Empire face. By cutting down those they face without mercy, by taking no quarter and leaving no sanctuary, the nation's soldiers will adopt a merciless but effective approach to warfare. Of course such tactics are not entirely without drawbacks. There are certain rules of warfare that are followed and if the Empire adopts these tactics then their enemies are bound to do likewise, killing enemy combatants rather than taking them prisoner.

Ruthless Onslaught

  • Casualties suffered by this army are increased by a fifth
  • Casualties inflicted by this army are increased by a fifth
  • This ruthless tactic is apparent to everyone present in the territory where it is taken.

Ruthless onslaught is as effective as balanced attack in claiming enemy territory and securing strategic objectives, but significantly increases the casualties inflicted by the army - as forces take every opportunity to slaughter their enemies. The drawback is that enemy forces tend to respond in kind, slaughtering every Imperial soldier that falls into their hands.

The glorious troubadours of Dawn support the generals of the Empire in waging war in light of Virtuous Counsel. Specifically, cruel armies are a tool to be used against our enemies.

The Dread Princess Orlene Ossienne, Dawnish National Assembly, Summer Solstice 381YE, Upheld 116 - 60

That Which Does Not Kill Us

  • The National Assembly of Dawn may encourage the Eastern Sky to embrace bloodthirsty tactics, allowing an opportunity to permanently change their quality.

The Dawnish men and women of the Eastern Sky are all too familiar with the brutal work of the Druj barbarians and despise above all others. Traditionally they are first to see the carnage the cruel orcs leave behind when they encounter an Imperial village. Now a full scale Druj invasion is underway, the Towers of the Dawn and the Gate have fallen and Druj armies have conquered Axmure and threaten all of Semmerholm. As word comes that their manor houses burn, noble and yeofolk alike are thirsting for a chance to wet their blades in Druj blood. Why not let the marsh demons learn what fate their treachery has brought them?

Inspired by the example presented by the Iron Helms, the Dawnish synod has a chance to seize this moment to urge their soldiers to fight with unbridled fury. Thus they could authorize the following mandate.

We send named priest with 100 doses of liao to inspire the Eastern Sky to cast aside their scruples and repay the Druj in kind for their bloodthirsty assault.

Dawnish Assembly

If the Dawn assembly enact this mandate this season, then at the following summit, the General of the Eastern Sky can include instructions for their troops to focus on developing new tactics as part of their normal order submission. If the general can supplement this with 30 wains of mithril then the quality of the Eastern Sky will permanently shift from well loved to bloodthirsty, allowing them to issue orders to cut their enemies down. (The general should ensure the wains of mithril are in their inventory, then e-mail Profound Decisions after the event).

Cruelty is a weapon. In this time of trial, it is unwise for the Empire to discard any tool that can be used Virtuously. As long as the Iron Helms act as Virtuous tools of the Empire they shall have the full support of the Highborn Assembly

Able of the Shattered Tower, Highborn National Assembly, Summer Solstice 381YE, Upheld 386 - 44

The Worst of All Evils

  • The National Assembly of Highguard may encourage the Seventh Wave to seize every opportunity for revenge, allowing an opportunity to permanently change their quality.

Those who died when Reikos fell to the Druj might be considered the lucky ones. Those who survived faced a brutal occupation, condemned to a life of slavery at best, tortured and experimented on by the Druj herbalists at worst. Finally, the Druj were defeated and driven out - but the memories of the horrors they executed are not so easily erased. Now that Druj armies are once more threatening Imperial lands and lives, many Highborn soldiers yearn to take revenge on those who once despoiled their homeland. The Seventh Wave in particular could be encouraged to focus their efforts on revenge.

Driven by the memory of the sack of Reikos, the Highborn synod has a chance to seize this moment to urge their soldiers take revenge upon the Druj. Thus they could authorize the following mandate.

We send named priest with 100 doses of liao to inspire the Seventh Wave to take bloody vengeance on the Druj, and focus their efforts on slaughtering any of the enemy they can catch.

Highborn Assembly

If the Highborn assembly enact this mandate this season, then at the following summit, the General of the Seventh Wave can include instructions for their troops to focus on developing new tactics as part of their normal order submission. If the general can supplement this with 30 wains of mithril then the quality of the Seventh Wave will permanently shift from scouting to vengeful, allowing them to issue orders to seek every opportunity to make their enemies pay for their transgressions. (The general should ensure the wains of mithril are in their inventory, then e-mail Profound Decisions after the event).

The Military Council should have access to Cruel Armies, Rivers Run Red, Mountain Remembers its Youth and ... it is the view of the Urizen National Assembly that friendly and civilian casualties bear the same weight...

Tarquinius, Urizen National Assembly, Summer Solstice 381YE, Upheld 124- 10

The Mountains of Truth

  • The National Assembly of Urizen may encourage the Citadel Guard to abandon their mastery of cyclic magic in favour of powerful curses, allowing an opportunity to permanently change their quality.

There is no army in the world with the mastery of magic possessed by the Citadel Guard - not among the Thule who claim to rival the Urizen for the arcane arts, not even in Jarm whose magician-princes consort with eternals. Skill with magic is the highest art-form, and it is perfected here in the mountain spires.

Those spires are now threatened by the invasion of the Druj. Endsmeet has fallen and now the barbarians threaten the Halls of Knowledge in Zenith. The greatest minds of the Empire are being enslaved by a orcs whose imagination is limited to the idea of using magic to kill people. If they want to fuck with us - perhaps it is time to show these animals what the real limits of magic are.

Incensed by the damage wreaked by the advancing Druj armies, the Urizen synod has a chance to seize this moment to urge their magicians to throw caution to the wind and unleash the full extent of their powers. Thus they could authorize the following mandate.

We send named priest with 100 doses of liao to inspire the Citadel Guard to unleash the full extent of our powers and rain death upon our enemies.

Urizen Assembly

If the Urizen assembly enact this mandate this season, then at the following summit, the General of the Citadel Guard can include instructions for their troops to focus on developing new tactics as part of their normal order submission. If the general can supplement this with 30 wains of mithril then the quality of the Citadel Guard will permanently shift from cyclic magic to arcane mastery, allowing them to issue orders to curse all that oppose them. (The general should ensure the wains of mithril are in their inventory, then e-mail Profound Decisions after the event).

Arcane Mastery

  • Can use the Storm of Curses order when attacking

The army employs powerful curses of every realm, but primarily spring and winter to wreak havoc on their enemies, increasing casualties among their enemies and the civilian populations that give them succour. The curses employed are smaller scale localized magic, more focused than a territory wide effect. Thus the magicians will be able to direct them to minimize the impact on Imperial civilians - but the impact on enemy civilians will be devastating.

This quality incorporates all the benefits of the magic quality.

Storm of Curses
  • All casualties inflicted by this army are increased by one fifth.
  • The majority of enemy civilians in the regions attacked will be slain if they do not flee
  • The use of this order will be apparent to everyone present in the territory where the campaign takes place.
The Citadel Guard could develop localized curses designed to spread disease and death throughout the enemy. All enemy armies contain healers, physicians, apothecaries and similar allowing them some defence from such attacks. But the effects on enemy towns and villages will be difficult to stop, most of them will die or be forced to flee.

Limited Opportunities

Any of these opportunities that are not taken during the Autumn Equinox will be lost. The exception is the option for Dawn to change the quality of the Eastern Sky which may continue to be available if Dawn continues to suffer significant losses at the hands of the Druj.

Resolution

While Brat Umbral Path and Belakov Prochnost raised the mandate required to encourage ruthlessness in the armies of Navarr and Varushka (respectively), neither mandate was upheld by the assembly.

The Urizen assembly did uphold the mandate raised by Sophus Cascade, intended to enact a profound change in the nature of the Citadel Guard. Following the death of Lucretius, the priest named to undertake the mandate, Sophus charged Zeno, Stallion's Sibling, with the responsibility. Zeno, however, has opted not to take up the mandate and therefore it will not take effect.

As detailed above, these opportunities were time sensitive and are no longer available.