Queens and kings
if the leader of the little quintet of scaled koboldi was nervous, he didn't show it. His expression was difficult to read, but his voice remained pleasant and cheerful, if queerly accented..
"Please. What will happen is we will extend your tunnels. We will sniff out seams of metal and jade. We will improve your mines. We will take away the little things we find that are not the bones of the earth. Thank you."
Two of the other koboldi nodded enthusiastically. One held up a sturdy pick as evidence of their intent. The remaining two, more muscular than the others, remained silent, keeping an eye on the miners for any sign that this parley was about to become violent.
"And who did you say sent you, little lizard?"
The foreman puffed his chest out and pulled himself up to his full not-quite-five-feet.
"Please. We are emissaries of the Ruler of the Underworld, Him on the Stone Throne, the Granite-Faced, the Unbreakable One, He Who Endures, the Dragon in the Deeps, the Lord of the Glittering Caves, the Gnome King, Regent of the Echoing Halls, the Delver, He-Who-Bears-the-Earthquake-Hammer, Ahraz the Unbending. Thank you."
One of the other koboldi muttered something in an undertone.
"Oh yes. You call him Adamant."
"AGRAMANT!?" roared one of the miners, drawing his sword. The two koboldi guardians jumped forward between their fellows and the suddenly angry humans.
"No no no no!" squeaked the koboldi. "Adamant! Adamant! We are having a misunderstanding!"The miners subsided, muttering, but their suspicions did not. The koboldi foreman sighed, and started to explain his master's offer one more time.
Over the last few months, there have been communications from the eternals of the Summer realm to the magicians of the Empire. Some have come directly, via heralds, while others have been delivered through more formal channels to the civil servants who support the Imperial Conclave.
The most significant is probably the matter of the Tourney of Sun and Ice which will determine - at least for a little while - the patronage of the Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun. There is another associated matter - that of Eleonaris, and who will represent her in the tourney.
A third, unrelated matter involves the mysterious eternal lord of the underworld, King Adamant, who has sent his koboldi servants to make an intersting offer to the mine owners of the Empire. Provided the Imperial Conclave agrees, of course.
The Tourney will be fought within the Dawnish Glory square, at 4:30pm on the Saturday of the Autumn Equinox at Anvil. It will determine the eternal patron of the Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun until such time as another eternal chooses to formally challenge for the right of patronage.
1) The eternals, Eleonaris, Queen of the Fields of Glory; Jaheris, The Shadowed Prince; Cathan Canae, Queen of Ice and Darkness; Meraud, the Golden Magician; Rhianos, Regent of the Eternal Sea, and Adamant, King of the Golden Deeps have have shown an interest in this Tourney.
2) The tourney will take the form of a grand martial melee.
3) Each eternal of the Summer realm taking part may sponsor a band of three champions to bear their favour in the melee, drawn from citizens of the Empire. What agreements they make with those citizens are a private concern.
4) Each champion shall have a token that show their entry into the tourney. Without the token, the champions shall not be allowed to partake.
5) Champions may be girded as their patrons see fit, but any direct interference during the melee by any inhabitant of the realms will disqualify all three of their champions.
6) The last champion standing at the end of the melee will be crowned victor, and their sponsor becomes patron of the college.
7) There is no dishonour in champions of one eternal bending their knee to another should two or three of them be the last ones standing.
A Tourney of Sun and Ice
- Champions chosen by the eternals of the Summer realm will compete to determine the patronage of the Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun.
The Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun has been marred with controversy ever since members of the Order of the Rod and Shield, under the guidance of Meraud, bested Cathan Canae's champion and seized the patronage of the college. This was met with retribution from the Queen of Ice and Darkness who buffeted the college with a frozen blizzard for several seasons. The Archmage of Summer was eventually able to negotiate the cessation of the storms, but only by suggesting a tourney between the interested Summer eternals to settle the matter of patronage - at least for the time being.
The Civil Service have advised that the first Great Tourney of Sun and Ice will take place during the Autumn Equinox. Barien, the Master of Challenges, has (as requested by Solomon, the Archmage of Summer) organised those Summer eternals with an interest in the college of magic, and they have declared champions to represent them in the tourney.
The rules of the tourney are not secret, although it is not public knowledge who the various eternals have chosen as their champions. Each champion will be given a carefully created token to show that they have been chosen - and will present them to the master of ceremonies at the start of the tourney.
To the victor
The eternal whose champions win the tourney will become patron of the Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun. This will not change the duties or powers of the Master of Ice and Darkness, but it is not impossible that the new patron will seek to cement their position with some sort of boon. They are also likely to try to push the researchers of the college in the direction of magic that serves their personal agendas.
The patronage will be settled until one of the Summer eternals chooses to launch a challenge - a year in the mortal realm at least and maybe significantly longer depending on how secure the patron appears in their relationship with the Master and the Imperial Conclave.
To all those of the Casinean Empire.
The Summer Archmage, Solomon of the Shattered Tower, has requested a Grand Melee to settle the matter of the College of Ice and Darkness. I had hoped that Dawn would help provide the best and brightest of the Empire to stand strong as my champions, to be girded by my heralds, and to fight for my glory. Despite the many slights by your Empire I have always enjoyed the kind words of the Dawnish folk and I am aware that they challenged the hero of the Empire, Irontide Vio, for the right to carry my banner into battle.
But at the Solstice passed, when my herald proclaimed my words in the Dawnish Glory Square, she was ignored by both earls and yeofolk alike. It was plainly stated that Dawn had no interest in aiding myself or any of my causes. Instead, the nation of Dawn is to stand with the traitor Jaheris, whose betrayal they supported. It seems now that Dawn flies his banner and carries his boon rather than my own. Despite this extraordinary slight, the nation of Dawn still elected to call upon my power, to support their armies, drawing my troops from the fields of Glory to stand and fight in support of Dawnish lives.
I shall send my Marshal to the Hall of Worlds at eight o'clock on the first night of the Equinox. There, any who would be willing to fight for me in the Grand Tourney should stand forth. If Dawn stands forth, I will judge by their actions whether the words addressed to my heralds at the Solstice reflect the heart of their people.
Once three champions have been chosen and girded, my Marshal will speak to summer mages about any further rituals to draw the Knights of Glory to your realm.
Hear these words of Eleonaris;
The Queen of the Fields of Glory, The Sovereign in Scarlet and Gold, The Lion of Summer.
The Lion of Summer
- Eleonaris appears divided in her attitude to the Empire
It is well known that The Lady of Pennants has not had a good relationship with the Empire since the death of Empress Britta. During Summer Solstice 378YE, Eleonaris was made subject to the Declaration of Enmity by the Imperial Conclave. Although in Winter 378YE her status was returned to neutrality. Conflicts between the Queen of the Fields of Glory and the Queen of Ice and Darkness escalated in recent years, with may in the Empire seeming to take the side of the Lady of the Frost.
In response Eleonaris has been open in her support for the Jotun orcs, and threatened that if any save the witches of Dawn called on her Knights of Glory, they would do so at the cost of aiding their enemies. Recent rumours suggest that Jaheris has left the side of Eleonaris for the first time since the eternals were encountered, and taken up a crown of his own - overthrowing Hayaak to claim the Forest of Arden. If this is true then the rage of the Lion of Summer is bound to be at a new peak.
It is a month before the Autumn Equinox when two heralds approach the civil service. The first is tall and elegant in a long dress but carrying a two handed sword, the second in chain and plate and a red tabard bearing a rampant lion with a large warhammer and shield in his hands. Their summer heritage is clear to see. They pass a statement to the civil service to be passed around to the Empire, and place a small bag of golden apples as payment for the task. They are polite, but they are not talkative and it seems that the ire of the Commander of the Golden Armies has spread to those she commands.
The civil service publicise this message in wayhouses and taverns across the Empire, even sending word to those returning from the armies should they wish to compete in this challenge. How Eleonaris will gird them is unknown, but it is likely that it will be a potent Summer Enchantment. Many of the Dawnish are shocked by the response when the posters are nailed up in their lands, for officially there has been no words from the Troubadours or the Dawnish senators on the matter of Eleonaris, and it is thought that they will be looking to those going to Anvil for a statement on this matter.
The Talented Koboldi
Over the last three months, there have been a multitude of encounters with koboldi across the Empire. In general, each encounter goes the same way - a single foreman with a list, two miners, and two soldiers armed and armoured in mithril scale and nasal helms. They are unfailingly polite, and they appear to be seeking out individuals who own mines in all nations. Their message is straightforward; their master King Adamant, wishes to offer the aid of his koboldi legions to the Empire in the coming season, as a sign of friendship. The koboldi are expert tunnelers, builders, and miners. In return for a gift of white granite, they will use their expertise in conjunction with their supernatural talent for sniffing out precious materials, to help Imperial mine owners expand their mines.
The koboldi want a payment of white granite from each mine owner, and they will also claim anything that they find in the mines that is not green iron, orichalcum, tempest jade, or weltsilver. (OOC Note: The additional rings provided by enchantments, are not affected). When questioned, they say that they expect this to include mundane metals, gemstones, interesting rock strata, dragonbones, and perhaps the occasional buried item of interest - but they claim that they are not looking for anything specific just claiming interesting treasures.
King Adamant does not currently have amity, however, so the koboldi will require some magical assistance. King Adamant says that if the Grandmaster of the Golden Pyramid order - and only the Grandmaster - raises a Declaration of Concord in which they formally thank King Adamant and invite his koboldi to aid the Empire in the coming season, then the Empire will be able to use the ritual Delve Deep, Beneath the Mountain to indicate which mines his Koboldi engineers should visit. As a result, in addition to its normal effect, the owner of any mine enchanted with this effect at the Summer Solstice will be visited by koboldi workers.
It is likely that the same effect could be achieved by offering King Adamant amity, but the eternal has not formally requested that status.
Any mine owner whose mine is enchanted with the ritual can upgrade their mine using white granite equal to the level the mine is being upgraded to. So upgrading a starting level 1 mine costs 2 Imperial wains of white granite. The wains of white granite should be handed in, in your pack, as normal. After the event, and before downtime closes, the player must e-mail profound decisions (firstname.lastname@example.org,uk) and let them know that the white granite is to be used to take advantage of this opportunity. This offer only allows one rank of upgrade in the coming season, and cannot be combined with a normal upgrade using mithril. If the player attempts to do both, only the normal mithril upgrade will take place.
The offer is only available for a single season. However, should at least a third of the Empire's mine owners take advantage of Adamant's kind offer, then the opportunity may be extended.
Whenever an opportunity such as this refers to heralds contacting "powerful magicians" or "scholars of Lore", a player character is always free to roleplay that they spoke with the heralds themselves within the bounds presented by the Wind of Fortune.
The Tourney of Sun and Ice ended in victory for the champions of Eleonaris, and she will now serve as the patron of the Icy Crag of the Eternal Sun. As near as can be determined her rival Kings and Queens of Summer are content - for the moment - to recognise the victory secured by her champions and no further claims on the college have been made. It is not clear at this time what effect, if any, this will have on the college or that notoriously tempestuous eternal's relationship with the Empire.
The Grandmaster of the Golden Pyramid, Arsenio Rezia di Tassato, accepted the offer of King Adamant to explore and expand the mines of Imperial citizens who requested his aid. Any mine owner whose resource was the subject of the Delve Deep, Beneath the Mountain enchantment will be able to upgrade their mine with white granite rather than mithril during the coming season.