Harlequin eyed the Grendel warily. The orc was positively grinning from ear to ear, but that was very clearly a front. Harlequin had rarely met anyone more desperate to look insouciant. He was rubbing his hands together instinctively, a classic tell for those who knew to look for it. This "questioner" hoped to gain by this meeting and quite considerably given how much effort he was making to hide his agitation.

"So you want to come to Anvil?" he asked. Best to say as little as possible. This orc clearly liked to run his mouth off and Harlequin's golden rule was to never interrupt an enemy when he's making a fool of himself.

"No, no!" rebutted the orc. "We very much enjoyed your hospitality last season, we'd like to return the favour this time. Sadly our quarters at the inn are very cramped. We can only host a small number, so it will have to be it a very exclusive affair."

"Of course it will... Who do you want to meet with Grendel?"

"A meeting you say? That would be an excellent idea now you suggest it. Combine business with pleasure! I should have thought of that myself." Harlequin rolled his eyes. If this Grendel got any more transparent he'd be made of glass.

"You could let everyone know that this is just a little social soiree. Just a few drinks between friends. That's why we've invited the Cardinal!"

"Right. Because you are friends with the Cardinal of Ambition? You think people will believe that?"

"We got on famously!" protested the questioner. "We just got on like a house of fire! She invited me to come and stay at her house." The Grendel questioner spread his arms wide as if imploring the world to dispute what he said. "It must have been our shared love of the Virtues. Tell her we'd like to discuss her offer."

Harlequin blinked at the subtle change of tone. He didn't need to pick that up, it was deliberate. Dammit, it had all been deliberate. Too late he realised this cocky little shit was playing him.

Grendel Countdown Crab 6.png
The Grendel treaty ends after the Autumn Equinox 385YE, but is due to be renegotiated during the Spring Equinox.
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The Empire signed a peace treaty with the Grendel in Autumn 383YE. As part of the treaty, they agreed there will be peace between the two nations for a period of two years. The treaty includes a clause allowing for negotiations to begin in Spring Equinox 385YE, to see if the treaty can be extended. As a result Grendel representatives of the Council of Salt Lords are expected to attend Anvil this summit.

The Ambassador to the Grendel is Abel of Urizen, previously Bursar of the Conclave, and raid leader for the Rachensgrab raid. They have the legal authority to negotiate a treaty with the Grendel for consideration by the Imperial Senate. At the previous summit, the Empire roundly rejected attempts by Salt Lord Kaliact of Spiral to make an agreement with the Empire on behalf of the territory she controls. It remains to be seen if her representatives will form part of any new delegation.

The governor of Spiral is Salt Lord Kaliact, and winged messengers can be sent to her at her palace in Apulian, Apulus, Spiral.
The Grendel appointed governor of Feroz is Lord Rahab, and winged messengers can be sent to him at Oran, Oranseri, Feroz.
The official delegate from the Salt Lords to the Empire is Speaker Morna, and winged messengers can be sent to them at House of the Seventh Forge, Dubhtraig, Tathar.


  • The two year peace treaty with the Grendel ends at the end of this year
  • Grendel negotiators will be attending Anvil to discuss an extension of the treaty
  • Emissaries are expected to arrive around 22:00 on Friday night

The Salt Lords appear open to exploring the potential to extend the existing peace treaty, which has clearly benefitted both parties. Their council has dispatched a small cadre of diplomats to meet with Ambassador Abel at ten in the evening on Friday. This will be a formal delegation; they will be heading to the Senate building and expect to be received there.

In terms of the negotiation, the Grendel wish to begin with an "exchange of offers", as is their custom. In this approach, each party commits their opening position to paper - detailing both what they are offering and what they expect to receive in return - which are simultaneously exchanged. Both parties then withdraw to study the others offer. If either side finds the written offer acceptable then they may accept it - if neither party is prepared to do so then they meet again to open formal negotiations. If both sides accept the deal, the details are quickly ironed out and the treaty signed.

Obviously, any treaty will need to be acceptable to both the Imperial Senate, and to the Salt Lords themselves: both sides will need to ratify it. Given the current treaty does not expire until the beginning of the Autumn Equinox, there is still time for tweaking the details if it becomes necessary.

Visiting Armadas

  • The Grendel navy, the Golden Winds, remains moored off the coast of Necropolis
  • A second Grendel navy has moved into position off the coast of Madruga
  • Many of their sailors have been visiting the hostelries and taverns of the territory

Grendel traders looking to stockpile imperial goods that they hope will rise in value if there is a war should be treated with civility but shown the door. Grendel traders who are looking for a long term relationship should be welcomed and treated generously, especially if they invest up front for goods that shall only be delivered if the treaty persists. Every merchant who can convince a Grendel that being our friend is more Prosperous than being our enemy is an extra soldier free to support their fellows across the Empire.

Wildfyre, Highborn National Assembly, Winter Solstice 384YE, Upheld (247 - 10)

The Golden Winds, a Grendel armada has now been in place for the best part of a season anchored in protected waters off the coast of Necropolis. Thus far it has made no aggressive moves to attack. On the face of it, they are simply there to take on fresh supplies and trade with local merchants. At the Winter Solstice, the Highborn assembly passed a judgement that encouraged interaction with the Grendel, albeit with some significant reservations.

There was some potential for Highborn business owners in Necropolis to benefit from trade with the Grendel but the statement contained too many caveats to take advantage of that opportunity. It was enough to persuade the armada to remain moored near Necropolis but not enough to convince more than a few business owners and traders to engage with the Grendel. Part of the problem is that Grendel traders are definitely looking for bargains - they drive a hard negotiation over even the smallest deal. They're certainly not remotely interested in paying for any goods that will be delivered only if the treaty persists - any attempt to cut a deal on that basis produces riotous laughter and mockery from the Grendel.

There are no friends to be made here - only coin. If the Highborn Assembly is prepared to stomach issuing a mandate that constitutes a full-throated endorsement of trade with the Grendel.

No one knows what the morrow holds, but honest trade with the Grendel demonstrates the virtue of Prosperity. We send {named priest} with 25 doses of liao to urge every citizen to enjoy the fruits of our labour today so that we may all benefit from a fair trade with them.

Synod Mandate, Highguard National Assembly

If this mandate is passed then every business in Necropolis will gain 2 crowns additional income for as long as a Grendel navy remains in the territorial waters.

Eli of the Cenotaph has offered an alternate mandate that would see the Highborn encourage the

Vigilance teaches us to seek out and thwart malice before it can turn on us. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to condemn all those who would trade with the Grendel for short term gain, whether Highborn or not. Those who seek to threaten us tomorrow should not be empowered for our gain today.

Synod Mandate, Highguard National Assembly

This would see any who tried to trade with the Grendel in Necropolis soundly rebuked and condemned. It would have no effect on businesses in the territory (the Grendel aren't the only people visiting the hostelries and markets). It would send a very clear message to the Grendel however that Highguard is not willing to trade with them.

These Highguard Assembly mandates are competing. Either the Assembly urges people to trade with the Grendel or not, they cannot do both. As always, if multiple competing mandates are raised successfully, the one that achieved the highest margin of success will be the one that is considered to have been enacted.

Necropolis is not the only Imperial territory to discover they are now hosting the Grendel. Shortly before the Spring Equinox a second navy, the Tempest, takes shelter in the calmer waters between Mudport and Siroc. Like the Golden Winds it makes no attempt to take any hostile action, instead claiming only that they wish to resupply and take advantage of what opportunities remain to trade with the Empire while the peace treaty lasts. The business owners of Madruga could also benefit from 2 crowns each in the coming season if the Freeborn Assembly issued a similar mandate confirming that

All things can have a price, let us take advantage of these Grendel while we can. We send {named priest} with 25 doses of liao to urge merchants and traders of the Brass Coast to show these guests the price of our hospitality.

Synod Mandate, Freeborn National Assembly

If this mandate is passed then every business in Madruga will gain 2 crowns additional income for as long as a Grendel navy remains in the territorial waters.

Nets and Feroz

  • The Cerevado Nets have been established just in time for the Spring Equinox
  • Rahab is more angry than ever but seems unable to respond to the "theft" of the Scorrero Nets
  • The Grendel have begun, and half-completed, a plan to fortify the town of Oran

During the Winter Solstice, the Imperial Senate enacted an audacious plan to "steal" the Scorrero Nets from Governor Rahab, the Grendel-installed ruler of occupied Feroz. Working swiftly, and with the assistance of several former netriggers, the scheme has been flawlessly executed. A new Bourse seat has been established upriver at Cerevado, and the first ilium is already being gathered. A custodian of the new resource will be chosen by the Freeborn fleet captains during the Spring Equinox.

As expected, an already furious Rahab has reportedly been driven to the verge of apoplexy by this development. There are wild rumours flying around that Rahab has been desperately trying to find allies to help him respond with force, but the Council of Salt Lords have allegedly expressly forbid any Grendel from taking action against the Empire. The treaty explicitly says that Rahab cannot send raiders to burn the Cerevado Nets given "No raiding will take place from either side against the other" and the Grendel apparently refuse to countenance any movement of armies over the borders.

What the treaty doesn't prevent is the construction of defences. The other news from Feroz, is that while their governor may be raging, that hasn't prevented the Grendel starting work on a new fortification. Work to reinforce the walls of Oran began shortly after the Winter solstice and is already half-finished, most likely due to the use of Autumn magic. Given how poorly the administration of Feroz has gone for Rahab, it rather begs the question of who exactly is paying for it...

Citizens of the League, let us reach out to the Grendel, and strike a deal with them. With the current diplomatic mission and the continuing truce we have an unrivalled opportunity; recall Holberg's ascension to the League! In Ambition, and with national Pride, we call on all priests to preach to their congregations. Let us challenge our Grendel visitors in debate and display to explore our deeply shared values.

Paulus Adelaar van Holberg, Winter Solstice 384YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 299-12)

The Greatest Weapon

  • A Grendel Questioner will visit Anvil at 11:00 on Saturday
  • They wish to meet with Priests of Wisdom to discuss the similarities and differences between this and the Grendel Virtue of Cunning

As the official processes of diplomacy between the Empire and the Salt Lords of the Grendel continue, groups in both nations take advantage of the last few months of guaranteed peace. One such group are the Questioners of the Grendel, the religious advisers who earn their living by selling counsel to any who can meet their price. Apparently a mixed group of influential Questioners met with Imperial cardinals at the Winter Solstice and were able to enjoy the hospitality of Anvil without any untoward incidents. Following that meeting, and news of a statement of principle in the League National Assembly apparently calling for more diplomatic engagement, another party has decided to make the same journey to improve their understanding if they can.

While the previous group were a mixed bag of those who could speak about several of the Grendel's so-called Virtues, the party who are attending Anvil this season are all focused on their "Virtue of Cunning". They have sent word ahead that they intend to arrive at Anvil at eleven in the morning on the Saturday of the Spring Summit, and make their way to the Hub to meet up with any interested parties. They wish to take advantage of the hospitality of the Empire while they still can, and also to discuss philosophy with Imperial priests of the Wisdom Assembly. They are hoping that Hembeneth i Guerra, the cardinal of that assembly, will be able to make time to meet with them, but frankly they're prepared to talk to anyone interested in a rank discussion about Cunning and Wisdom. These Questioners have apparently been struck by great similarities and great differences between the two Virtues, and are keen to learn what they can. "After all," as one of them says in their message, "knowledge is power."

Learn to Put It On

  • An important Grendel dignitary has sent Graime the Questioner to request an exclusive meeting in Outer Anvil for 1:30 on Saturday afternoon
  • They have asked Harlequin to invite Flávio Capra Gláucio van Holberg, Cesare Sanguineo Rezia Di Tassato, Giuseppe Sanguineo von Temeschwar, Jarrigk Orzel, Paulus Adelaar van Holberg, Shauni di Vergo, and Viviane de Coeurdefer to accompany them to the meeting
  • They appreciate these citizens are very busy and some may have other matters to attend, but they hope that most of them will take up this opportunity to meet

A week before the Anvil summit begins, there is a little scuttlebutt about a Grendel merchant from Spiral who has taken rooms at The Spotted Hound, one of a number of inns that host visitors located in Outer Anvil. Traveling with both orc and human mercenaries and servants, they've not stirred much from their rooms since they arrived, apart from to dispatch one of their number to speak with the Harlequin - the League egregore.

The spokesperson for the group appears to be a Grendel questioner called Graime. He handles the negotiations with the innkeeper and pays for the rooms and it is him that emerges periodically to travel to Anvil to arrange messages and couriers. However it is soon apparent that he is here on behalf of someone much more important than himself - clearly the bodyguards outside the chambers are not protecting him. It's not clear who they are here to protect - but the rumour is that it is the leader of one of the powerful Spiral factions - perhaps the North Mareave Trading Consortium, the Circle of Black Sand coven or possibly even a figure from the court of the Salt Lord Kaliact herself.

Further Reading