The are six great powers in the Known World, and the Empire is only one of them. It has a close alliance - the Liberty Pact - with the Commonwealth and the Sumaah Republic. It is at war with one of them - the Asavean Archipelago - and has terrible relations with another - the magocratic Principalities of Jarm. The last nation is the Sarcophan Delves, that holds the freedom to trade with whoever it wishes as the only one worth seeking.

There are also countless smaller nations in the Known World, but only those that neighbour the Empire are of any particular importance to Imperial citizens. While smaller than the Empire, Faraden, Axos, the Iron Confederacy, Otkodov, and the Broken Shore all exert an unexpected level of influence over their larger neighbour. Yet at the same time, they are broadly irrelevant to the other Great Powers - as are the penumbra of smaller countries that surround each of them in turn.

Every nation, whether grand or not, has its own unique culture, ambitions, goals, and attitudes. All too often, these agendas are at odds with those of Imperial citizens.

Grendel Countdown Crab 8.png
After the Autumn Equinox, the peace treaty with the Grendel ends.

The Grendel

  • The peace treaty with the Grendel ends after the Autumn Equinox
  • Any ministries or sinecures dependent on the Grendel being foreigners will lose their abilities at the end of the Autumn Equinox
  • The Ambassador to the Grendel is Abel of Urizen

By the end of the Autumn Equinox, the peace treaty signed two years ago will have run its course. There was some hope in some quarters that the treaty might be extended - the orcs of the Broken Shore have done well out of peaceful trade with the Empire after all. Yet it seems the Council of Salt Lords believe that they can do better as enemies, than as trading partners. There is no sign they have abandoned their ambition to rule uncontested over the Bay of Catazar, and now they have powerful new allies. The Asavean Plenum is clearly backing the orcs against the Empire, engaging in a "proxy war" using the orcs as its footsoldiers. Until very recently, the Principalities of Jarm, apparently frustrated with what they saw as the Empire's constant interference in their affairs, were supporting the Grendel with magic and crystal mana. That, at least, seems to have come to an end. Yet there's no sign it's dented the Grendel's enthusiasm for war.

The one unexpected spoke in their wheel is the defection of Salt Lord Kaliact and her allies. As the intelligence captured in Necropolis has indicated, the loss of Spiral, the city of Apulian, and the Legacy have disrupted the Salt Lords' plans, forcing them to reconsider their strategies in the Bay. Yet there is absolutely no indication they are rethinking their intention to go to war with the Empire. Their navies and their armies are gathering. Governor Rahab still controls Feroz. The Grendel still have maritime superiority over the Empire - reinforced even further by the Asavean warships that have already struck against Imperial targets, burning Shantarim and the Isle of the Osseini.


  • All fleets in the Brass Coast, Highguard, Urizen, Feroz, Sarvos, Spiral, and Tassato will suffer a -1 rank penalty following the Autumn Equinox 385YE

The Grendel have been preparing for this moment for some time. The signs are that the pirates, privateers, and those who honour the eternal Siakha are counting the minutes until the treaty ends. Negotiations with the worshippers at the Temple of Tempest Jade, the foremost followers of the Mistress of Sharks, have gone nowhere. When the treaty ends, they will fall on Imperial shipping like wolves on sheep. The corsairs will do their best, but many of them are already engaged in Sumaah waters fighting the Asaveans; others have lost their homes and boatyards in Feroz, and a few others have been disincentivised by the loss of the Broken Shore Bounty. They, and the other battle-ready ships of the southern Empire will rally in time, but unless something unexpected happens the Grendel will be free to raid Imperial ships with impunity for at least a season.

As a consequence, following the Autumn Equinox, every Imperial fleet in the Brass Coast, Highguard, Urizen, Feroz, Sarvos, Spiral, and Tassato will suffer a 1-rank penalty to production as independent Grendel attack their ships. This might represent lost cargo, missed opportunities, the additional costs required to hire marines, or the need to travel more slowly as part of a heavily-protected group of trading ships. There's no way to say how long this state of affairs will continue.

Liberty Pact

Ambassador to the CommonwealthLucia Sanguineo Rezia di Tassato of the League
Ambassador to the Sumaah RepublicAccalon of Felix's Watch of Highguard
Ambassador to AxosFintan Founder's Dance of Navarr
Voice of LibertyEska Crowspeaker of Wintermark
  • The Liberty Pact met during the Summer Solstice
  • The Citadels of Axos, the Commonwealth, and the Sumaah Republic all sent representatives to Anvil
  • All members of the Liberty Pact enjoy free trade with each other
  • Trade with the Sumaah Republic is being blockaded by the Asavean Archipelago
  • Thanks to the efforts of Freeborn corsairs and Highborn ship captains, Imperial traders do not suffer a penalty to trade with Sumaah

Representatives of the Liberty Pact met at Anvil during the Summer Solstice, and two amendments were made to the wording of the pact by the Voice of Liberty, ratified by the Senate. The three nations signatory to the pact have apparently made their own amendments, but the news is not entirely good. It seems that the Sumaah House of the People, and the leaders of the Commonwealth, are both unhappy that the amendments they were pursuing were turned down. This is especially true in the matter of the smaller nations that they claim the Empire has insisted should become full signatories. Neither of the other two Great Powers believes this is a good idea; there have been some concerned communiques with the Imperial ambassadors expressing deep concern that the purpose of the Pact is going to be diluted by insisting every minor nation become a separate signatory. It's not clear how serious this grumbling will get, but its clear neither the Republic nor the Commonwealth welcome the continued presence of Axos as a full signatory, and their governments oppose any new nations joining (with the exception of the Sarcophan Delves obviously, although the bedelaar huisbass have made it pretty clear they are not getting tied down by restrictive trade agreements).

To amend the Liberty Pact to include the articles: "Each member of the Liberty Pact can call a meeting once a year, with at least one season's notice. They may only do this by formally raising an issue to be discussed, and by presenting a motion they would like the pact to vote on. Each member of the Pact will ensure that they have provided information on any issues they plan to raise and provide the wording of any vote they wish the pact to discuss in advance of the meeting" and "Members of the Liberty Pact understand that the pact creates no obligation or expectation of military aid be rendered to a fellow signatory, no matter what conflict ensues. However no signatory to the pact will provide meaningful military assistance to any nation that finds itself at war with a signatory of the pact."

Motion, Summer 384YE, Raised by Sermersuaq, Seconded by Morrow

Both nations have their own problems however. While there is still enthusiasm for trade with the Empire in the Commonwealth, their eyes are on their own borders. News has begun to filter into the Empire from captains trading with Volkavaar and Leerdam that the Jarmish have demanded the Commonwealth withdraw their troops from northern Lantiri. The Commonwealth has refused, and responded with an ultimatum of their own. It looks as if the war that people have been anticipating for several years is about to begin in earnest. The long period of manoeuvring and sabre-rattling looks as if it has drawn to an end.

The Sumaah likewise are locked in conflict with their own long-time enemy. During the Summer Solstice, news reached the Empire that the Asavean Archipelago had begun using its superior naval strength to blockade access to Sumaah ports. Imperial vessels attempting to reach Zemeh were being forced to run the blockade, turn back, or risk being captured by the Asaveans. As a consequence, fleet captains trading with Sumaah should suffer a significant penalty to their production. However, thanks to the mandates of the furious Freeborn Assembly, and the fury of the Corsairs, supported by many Highborn vessels, the blockade has been seriously disrupted. As long as the Brass Coast corsairs continue to harry the Asaveans in vengeance for their part in the destruction of Shantarim and the Sanctuary of the Justicars, Imperial ships will be able to trade with the Sumaah without penalty (and vice versa).

Finally, the Axou are still in a bad mood with the Empire, it seems, but they are much more concerned about the threat of the Grendel. The threat of widescale Grendel raiding, following as it does on the destruction of the docks at Issyk, is making Axou traders reticent about risking the sea-lanes of the Bay of Catazar. It's not clear what effect this is likely to have on the Black Sails Quay, or the remaining trade with the Eastern Broker which both rely on Axou ships visiting the Empire.

Closer to Home

Ambassador to the Iron ConfederacyCedric Gallows of Dawn
Ambassador to FaradenErasmo di Tassato of the League
Ambassador to OtkodovFania Vessely-Vanek
  • The Empire has removed trade tariffs from the Iron Confederacy
  • The Faraden are apparently encountering problems with travel through the Lasambrian Hills
  • The Thule have been able to purchase large amounts of food in Imperial markets to meliorate their ongoing problems

Last season the Imperial Senate removed trade sanctions against the Iron Confederacy. The Iron Confederacy, however, has not thus far removed tariffs themselves. The Senate motion, raised by the senator for Hercynia, claims that the Iron Confederacy are no longer a slaver nation. There's no further details available on this matter; presumably the Ambassador knows more. One thing that is noticeable is that the Confederacy has not, as yet, lifted its own sanctions against Imperial trade. While the port of Robec remains open to Imperial traders, they are still expected to pay significant tariffs on any goods they import.

News reached the Empire last season that the Faraden were engaged in renegotiating a treaty with the Jotun regarding their ability to travel freely through the Lasambrian Hills and trade with the Empire. It appears that the orcs are concerned about the Faraden supplying their Imperial enemies with mithril and white granite, preferring that they sold their valuable materials to the Jotun instead. After some intense negotiations, a compromise was reached, but it is not good news for the Overseer of the Gloaming Road. The price to purchase mithril has increased by a further fifth over what it was in previous seasons; the Faraden are now having to pay through the nose to bring any caravans through the Lasambrian hills. According to some off-the-record reports, the alternative was giving in to the Jotun demands and agreeing not to trade wains with the Empire at all. As it is, they have also had to make concessions to the Jotun to keep the Gloaming Road open - concessions that apparently include selling mithril and white granite to the orcs significantly cheaper than they are selling it to Imperial traders. It remains to be seen what further impact this will have on overland trade between the two nations.

There has been a marked improvement in the Thule's difficult situation maintaining enough food for everyone. Reports from Otkodov indicate that a large sum of Imperial currency was sent to Rak Who-Speaks-For-The-Dragon's-Undivided in order to ease the suffering of those in the inhospitable north. Rak refuses to comment on who exactly sent the money, but states that if the person responsible comes forward, or is recognised by the Imperial Synod, that he will confirm the truth of the matter. In the weeks since then, agents of the Thule have been using the funds to buy whatever food they can lay their hands on and ship it north to feed their starving people.

Freedom Accord

Ambassador to AsaveaAsier i Elia i Guerra of the Brass Coast
Ambassador to JarmAriadne of the Auric Horizon of Urizen
  • The Asavean Plenum declared war on the Empire during the Autumn Equinox 384YE
  • The Imperial Senate responded with a declaration of war during the Spring Equinox 385YE
  • The Imperial Senate has embargoed the Principalities of Jarm
  • The Principalities of Jarm have severed ties with the Empire

There has been no public contact from anyone from the Asavean Archipelago or the Principalities of Jarm over the past three months. The merchants of both nations have ceased trading with the Empire; indeed the Jarmish House of Princes has made it illegal for their citizens to sell to Imperials. Beyond that, there has been little overt sign of Jarmish activity in the Bay of Catazar. Indeed, there are scattered reports as the Autumn Equinox approaches that Jarmish vessels are quitting the Bay of Catazar altogether. Last season, the Sovereign Lord of the City of Bridges offered an arrangement to the Rod and Shield, which they accepted. In return for the Conclave order owing him a significant favour to be called in at his leisure, the eternal would pull threads and whisper in ears, and call in favours, and ensure that the House of Princes rethought its alliance with the Grendel. It seems Prospero was as good as his word. They may not be any more friendly with the Empire right now, but at least the Principalities of Jarm are not offering potential devastating magical support to the Grendel any more.

The virtuous inspire others to greatness." In light of the recent revelation undergone by Prince Vanja of Votika, in the Principalities of Jarm we urge priests of the Empire to travel to Votika as missionaries to further spread the Way of Virtue among its citizens..

Hywel Summer Crow, Summer Solstice 385YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 8-0)

Perhaps hoping to take advantage of this situation, the Assembly of Nine upheld a statement of principle urging missionaries to travel to Jarm, to the Principality of Votika, to spread the Way of virtue amongst its citizens. This appears to have been based on a misconception; Vanja is not in fact Prince of Votika. The prince of Votika is their parent, Prince Zamashka, and they have absolutely no interest in the Way. Their son Vanya was gifted a dose of true liao - allegedly stolen from the Empire - as a birthday gift by their doting parent. It's possible the young man may have had a profound experience, but it's doubtful that is going to do much to move their family. Any Imperial missionary travelling to Jarm would receive short shrift at the best of times - the Jarmish embrace personal religious freedom but they discourage public displays of faith. And given the current state of the relationship between the two nations it is currently not the best of times. The Civil Service urge Imperial wayfarers to think very carefully before traveling to Jarm to preach the Way as they are likely to be put on the first boat back to the Empire at best, and at worst may face imprisonment or execution.

There is a little news from Asavea, but it is garbled and confused. It mostly comes from Sarcophan Delves traders, who are not shy about recognising the value of what they know. The rumour goes that at some point in the last few months, the powerful Tarquinius family - a long time thorn in the side of the Empire who regularly agitated their fellow Plenum families against Imperial interests - have been murdered and their estate burned. It's not clear at this time who was responsible, but the Plenum is perhaps understandably in uproar. Fingers are being pointed - and some of them are obviously being pointed toward the Empire. At the same time, there has been some sort of disaster in Nemoria itself. The Temple of the Way there - built when Asavean/Imperial relations were much more cordial - has been completely destroyed. Already badly damaged by angry Asaveans it appears that someone or something has finished the job - and if the Sarcophan mariners are to be believed there were quite a few people caught in the rubble when it came down.

It's far too early to guess what this means for the Asaveans, and their relations with the Empire, but it certainly speaks of anger and confusion among the Plenum. Perhaps that will be to the Empire's advantage? Hopefully the Ambassador to Asavea will know more.

A Late Arrival From Skoura

The order of the Celestial Arch asks Prospero to bring a delegation from Skoura to Anvil at the next summit.

Grandmaster Ashborn Trosk of the Celestial Arch, Summer Solstice 385YE
  • A diplomatic delegation from Skoura has been arranged by the eternal Prospero
  • They are expected to arrive at around 13:30 on Saturday afternoon to speak to the Celestial Arch
  • The Imperial Consul is Jarrigk Orzel of Dawn

Last summit, the eternal Prospero offered a favour to the Celestial Arch. He would arrange a physical meeting between the Empire and representatives of any one nation in the world if the Conclave order agreed to owe him a favour. Grandmaster Ashborn Trosk of the Celestial Arch. accepted the offer on behalf of the order, and requested that the Lord of the Loom arrange a meeting with a delegation from Skoura. That meeting has now been arranged, and a delegation from the secretive, mountainous land of Skoura are coming to Anvil.

A herald of Prospero has brought a message from the Skourans, and has worked to ensure that the diplomatic meeting at least starts on the right foot. The Representatives of the Skouran Consolidation are attending on behalf of the nation. Empire. It's been a very long time since Imperial citizens had any real contact with Skoura, and in recent years almost all contact with the Skourans has gone through the Axou. Now they appear to be cautiously interested in re-opening diplomatic relations with the Empire. In addition to a meeting they have requested a formal tour of the houses of Imperial governance, and an explanation of the way in which accountability and wise governance are assured within the Empire. They're also very interested in learning more about the state of the Imperial art of artisanry.

The Skourans are not interested in talking about religion, but do want to make sure the Empire is aware that they do not practice, and indeed have never practiced, slavery. This rouses some speculation that they have learned of the Liberty Pact from their Axou allies, and that it might be possible they are interested in joining. They haven't mentioned it specifically, however.

In addition to the Grandmaster of the Celestial Arch and members of their order, they're apparently keen to talk to the Imperial Consul Jarrigk Orzel, and to the Merchant to Skoura, should that position be elected before they arrive.