"If you will understand only one thing about Loyalty let it be this one. 'Know your heart and what commands its devotion above all else.'"

The preacher paused for a moment, scanning the crowd. It was smaller than he might have liked, drawn more by his exotic appearance no doubt rather than by any real interest in hearing his words. He looked for possibilities, and potential problems, as his mentor had taught him all those years ago when he first expressed his calling to be a missionary to benighted lands.

Two youths - little more than boys really - watching him with interest while eating apples might be worth speaking to afterwards. A small group of labourers more interested in soaking their sore feet in the fountain and passing a bottle between them could be a problem but weren't really listening to him. An earnest looking person with a number of string-bound parcels at their feet seemed to be listening with interest - definitely one to talk to after. A woman with two buckets which she'd clearly just finished filling at the public well - he made a mental note to keep an eye on her. She had a certain look about her and he did not wish to end up soaked to the skin. Again.

"Some of your priests try to mislead you," he continued. He had more of their attention now. These people loved a good scandal. "They tell you that the important thing about Loyalty is to be Loyal to whatever it is that best suits their purpose! They do not seek to inspire you to fill your hearts with Loyalty, they only wish you to obey them! They demand that you submit to 'the good of the Empire' or the the 'needs of your nation.' But that is not the path of Loyalty!"

Two hooded figures ambled across the market and stopped to listen. One of them leaned her weight on a long spear such as these people seemed to favour. The other hooked his thumbs into his belt, and shifted his weight slightly, settling back on his feet into what was obviously an accustomed stance.

"What's wrong with being Loyal to the Empire then?" The woman with the two buckets was glaring at him through narrowed eyes. Somewhat ominously he thought. He felt frustration welling inside him, but mastered it. He touched the beautifully carved weirwood labyrinth that hung at his belt, and felt a renewed sense of certainty. His cause was right, his heart was strong, he would not fail. His path was clear.

"Nothing. If you look into your heart with clear eyes, and you see that it is the Empire that commands your devotion above all things, then you should do whatever it takes to support it, to build it up, to protect it. You should let nothing turn you aside, should not balk at any sacrifice, to make the Empire great. To make it strong. It should burn in you like a fire from waking until sleeping."

She seemed surprised by the force of his words, he thought.

"But if you look into your heart an you realise it is not the Empire that is looking back at you... if you look within and see that what commands your devotion is the one you love, or your children, or the Way, or an old friend who has always been there for you. If you look into your heart and you realise that the Empire is just another one of the many things that draws you from your true path of Loyalty... why then you should not feel you need give it another thought! It is up to those who want your Loyalty to bring you to their cause, not to demand your service. And when a priest tries to tell you that you are unvirtuous because you do not obey when she tells you to do something in service to that thing that commands her devotion..."

He raised his clenched fist, raking the crowd with his gaze, eyes flashing.

"Then you should strike that priest down, for that priest is trying to lead you into false paths of obedience. That priest is trying to subvert the truth of your heart. That priest is a danger to you and to others!"

"Right, that's enough of that," said the man with his thumbs in his belt. He stepped forward, the woman with her long spear in lock step with him. The crowd parted to let them through. "I think we've all heard more than enough."

He pushed his hood back - a face with a gray beard glared at Caotal where he stood on the steps below their temple.

"Move along, friend, before I have to take you to see a magistrate. And if I catch you round here, spouting off like that again, your feet will not touch the ground let me tell you. We're followers of the Way here, and we're not interested in your crazy heresy thank you very much."

"Heresy?!" Caotal's heart blazed with fury. He knew he shouldn't, but he couldn't help himself. He stepped forward until he was nose to nose with the militiaman.

"This isn't heresy, Imperial! This is the Way!"

And he raised his hand, almost without thinking, and struck the man across the face with his open palm. Part of him regretted it instantly, but by that point it was a little bit too late.

And part of him sang as he struck the militiaman, with the righteous certainty that left him in no doubt that what he was doing was right, and to the darkness with the consequences.


The known world is dominated by six great powers; the Empire; the notional republic of Asavea; the actual republic of Sumaah; the Commonwealth; the magocratic Principalities of Jarm; and the plutocratic Sarcophan Delves. Each nation has their own politics, and their own agendas on the world stage. Each engages in diplomacy with the others in pursuit of those agendas. The ocean of their intercourse shifts and changes, and at any moment rock-hard certainty might give way to confusion and doubt

There are also other nations that lie much closer to home, whose power on the international scale is much more limited but whose potential impact on the Empire is at least as significant as that of the great powers. The merchant-families of Faraden; the warrior-dukes of the Iron Confederacy; and the sorcerer-lords of Axos all have their own distinct influence on the Empire.

Sumaah Republic

  • The Sumaah Republic has ended its war with the Empire.
  • The port of Zemeh remains closed.

During the Summer Solstice, two diplomats from the Sumaah Republic visited anvil. Envoy Azcan and Tipoa the Insightful met with Ambassador to the Sumaah Republic, Accalon of Felix's Watch in the Senate. There (among other things) they announced that the House of the People had voted to end the war with the Empire. While a state of "peace" may now exist between the two nations, however, the Sumaah still consider the Empire to have lost its way. As such, they have formally declared that they no longer recognise White City of Bastion as the heart of the Way. Nor do they consider the Imperial Synod fit to lead the faithful any longer. Instead, they urge all pilgrims to look to the holy city of Timoj for guidance - and they intend to back that call up with action.

Missionaries to the Empire

Over the last month before the Autumn Equinox, a handful of Sumaah missionaries have arrived at ports along the southern coast of the Empire. They have wasted no time, preaching the doctrines of the Way and the tenets of the virtues to any who will hear them. In addition to their sermons on the importance of orthodoxy, and of denouncing and opposing blasphemy, heresy, and idolatry, they have repeatedly denounced the Imperial Synod, claiming that the Virtue assemblies in particular have allowed political expediency to blind them to the true path of Virtue.

These missionaries make use of auras - especially anointings and hallows of Courage and Wisdom - to encourage lay followers of the Way to accept their words. They have received a mixed reception, but at least some people are listening to them. The magistrates say that there is currently no legal way to stop them preaching; they are absolutely orthodox in their approach to the Way they simply denounce the Imperial Synod as having strayed from the path of Virtue in pursuit of political ends.

The leader of the missionaries - Lalok, Pilgrim of Courage is currently resident at the Bright Destiny Inn in the port town of Sanctuary, and welcomes both visitors and winged messengers from any who wish to discuss the missionaries' presence.

Missionaries to the World

At the same time, reports are beginning to come in of similar efforts in other nations. Sumaah pilgrims in the Commonwealth, Sarcophan, and Jarm are preaching the same things. The Empire has lost its way and is no longer fit to be the guardian of the faith. The Republic are resolute and orthodox, and the true heart of the faith is and always has been the Sumaah city of Timoj. As in the Empire, they support their preaching with liao ceremonies that create auras, and their words are being listened to.

There has been one significant outcome of this preaching that directly effects the Empire. Magician-Prince Hillar of Limitu has issued an edict closing the House of the Way. The priests attendant on the house have not been harmed, but they now have no temple from which to spread the Way to the people of northern Jarm. Relations between the Empire and the priests in Limitu had been in decline of late anyway, so the blow is comparatively minor - but it is unlikely to be the last struck by the Sumaah.

The Way unites humanity through the Seven Virtues. The people of Asavea will more readily accept the teachings of the Way from their own people; creating Asavean priests will help to spread the faith. Yet only those who show a true commitment to the doctrines of the faith should receive training in the use of liao. We send Jonah Yakovitch with 50 doses of liao to support the training of new priests from among those judged most sincere in their devotion to the Way.

Imperial Synod Mandate, Jonah Yakovitch

Asavean Archipelago

  • Every Imperial Fleet trading with Nemoria receives an additional measure of iridescent gloaming and an additional ingot of orichalcum
  • Two Asavean provinces are still in violent revolt against the Plenum; Nemoria is hiring Imperial mercenaries.
  • Multiple opportunities exist for the Synod to take action regarding the situation in Asavea. You can learn more about them here.

Relations with Asavea remain cordial. Imperial captains trading with the Asavean Archipelago continue to receive preferential treatment thanks primarily to the Temple of Balo and the Black Bull in Feroz and the Temple of the Seven Virtues in Nemoria. Asavean merchants are common visitors to the Brass Coast and Sarvos. Thanks to the Blood Red Roads they are also beginning to explore farther afield - and not only merchants. Travelers from Asavea have begun to make a point of visiting the Great Game in Temeschwar and the Spiral Sword in Redoubt.

Religious Matters

The Synod has determined how to deal with the question of Asaveans seeking ordination as priests. They have dispatched Jonah Yakovitch to oversee the implementation of their will. Specifically, the Synod have chosen to allow the training of only a small number of Asaveans, carefully selected by the most Wise and Vigilant priests associated with the Temple. None of those motivated by the novelty of a new religion, or those who obviously want to use liao ceremonies for military purposes, and none of the slaves will be considered. While only a few priests will be trained each year, they will still be Asaveans and as a result the Way will spread more quickly, and more tenaciously, through Nemorian society.

Unfortunately this decision reinforces the Asavean perception that there is something secretive and conspiratorial about the faith. Assumptions are now being made that these Asaveans accepted to the temple are complicit in some wider Imperial agenda. Opposition to the Temple has increased slightly, especially in light of the conflict raging among the northern satrapies - their rebellion is openly supported by Sumaah champions of the Way.

In the wake of several statements by the Synod during the Summer Solstice, a number of opportunities exist for the priests of the Empire to influence Imperial involvement in Asavea, as detailed here.

The War in the North

War continues to rage between the Plenum and the rebellious satrapies of Emphedor and Marracoss. Despite the urging of the Assembly of the Nine, a number of Imperial mercenaries have traveled to Asavea to help them suppress the insurrection there.

By all accounts the campaign is not going well for the Nemorians.Those mercenaries who have traveled to Asavea to fight for the Nemorians will know more. Included in their player pack is an OOC report about the campaign. The physical report in the pack is an out-of-character briefing sheet, it is not an in-character report, and we ask players not to share it around until after the event at the earliest. It is intended to be used to create stories about what the characters involved have done since the Summer Solstice. It is assumed that the Ambassador to Asavea, Jarrigk Wegwandelaar, may have additional information from civil servants at the embassy in Nemoria.

Regardless, the Plenum remains keen to hire Imperial mercenaries. The additional downtime option Suppress Asavean Uprising remains accessible through the paid work dropdown menu and may be taken by any character with a military unit. The Office of Military Procurement in Nemoria has increased its offer to Imperial mercenaries. A standard military unit will receive a payment of 11 crowns for taking the action, but a more powerful unit will receive an additional 52 rings for each rank of upgrade or enchantment. As before, each captain who sends their military unit to Asavea will also receive a report about the campaign there, included in their pack at the start of the next event.

As a form of paid work, none of the military units traveling to Asavea will appear on the Imperial Roll of Honour. While some military units may wish to travel on Imperial vessels, with their civil service observers, there are also plenty of Asavean or Sarcophan ships prepared to arrange passage to the Archipelago for captains who wish to travel discreetly. As such the civil service will be unable to provide a list of military units who choose to accept the Asavean offer. However if the Imperial Synod chooses to pass a mandate encouraging the faithful to take note of soldiers leaving the Empire, the Cardinal of Vigilance, and the Imperatrix will receive a list of captains who have taken their warriors to Asavea.

Almodin Oktístis

During the Summer Solstice, the "Asavean Architect" Almodin Oktístis was called to inquisition by the Imperial Synod. He attended as requested, and has since returned to his lodgings in Yellow Chase where he has been commissioned to oversee the construction of the Iron Qanat. With no other projects assigned to him during the Solstice, he is apparently enjoying the opportunity to relax and spend the healthy stipend provided by the Imperial Senate - although he is also reportedly concerned that no progress appears to be being made on the Qanat.

He remains available to oversee commissions for the Senate, and is as enthusiastic about bringing more priests of the Asavean builder god to the Empire as ever.

Principalities of Jarm

  • The southern port of Vezak will supply an additional crystal mana to each visiting ship.
  • The eastern port of Rigia is closed to Imperial shipping.
  • The mandate of the Imperial synod means Imperial fleet captains trading with Vezak or Kavor receive two fewer mana crystals.

Imperial captains remain cautious about visiting the Principalities of Jarm - those who do risk the censure of the Imperial Synod. Regardless, the ports of Vezak and Kavor remain keen to deal with merchants from the Empire. The eastern port of Rigia remains closed however and news from the eastern alliance suggests that there are any number of complex logisitcal and legal reasons why they cannot at this time welcome Imperial captains. Perhaps after the Autumn Equinox the repairs will finally be completed?

Other than the ongoing wrangles with the Synod (including the aforementioned closure of the House of the Way by the Magician-Prince of Limitu Principality), relations remain cordial. Captains receive a warm welcome in Vezak. The Jarmish continue to import beloye zero to the Empire for use at Imperial mana sites. Magician-Prince Matvei Kobarid is still keen to explore the possibility of selling glazamy neba to Imperial magicians (as detailed last season), although the offer remains only until the end of the Autumn Equinox after which the Kobarid will look elsewhere.

(Note: Even though the port at Rigia is currently closed, the Synod mandate discouraging trade with Vezak and Kavor still stands. Imperial captains trading with either of these ports receive two fewer crystal mana than they might normally expect. The mandate is due to expire at the beginning of the Winter Solstice 382YE; if the Synod wishes to continue discouraging trade with Jarm they will need a new mandate, the first step towards securing which would be a suitably worded statement of principle with a greater majority.)


  • The completion of the south-west road network brings increased prosperity to Segura territory.

The new roads that criss-cross the Empire continue to lure Faraden merchants. Their first port of call is Segura, as they enter the Empire from the Jotun territory of Reinos. They then travel along the Sunset roads to Tassato, and from there use the Blood Red Roads to travel to almost every nation of the Empire.

The merchant families remain enthusiastic about trade enclaves similar to Moonwater Hall, and would like to see them built in Volodmartz (Triosk most likely), and central Astolat (Laroc and Oldheart would be ideal). They are keen to gain easy access to Varushkan timber and ore, and to Dawnish luxuries. So far, there has been no movement on these enclaves, but the Faraden remain optimistic.

There is also some enthusiasm for the various roadbuilding initiatives proposed by the Civil Service. While they are obviously unable to talk in terms of hard figures, several merchants suggest that the Faraden may be prepared to provide reasonably priced white granite to help with any roads that expand their ability to find new markets within the Empire. This may be something Gonzalo i Riqueza, the Ambassador to Faraden, may wish to pursue.

The presence of so many Faraden traders, especially in the western Empire, continues to increase the amount of orichalcum, weltsilver, and mithril on the public auction. As there seems to be no sign of the current dearth of Iridescent Gloaming in Faraden, they continue to purchase it in large quantities, thus reducing the amount available through the public auction at Anvil.

Citadels of Axos

  • Axos remains friendly to the Empire.

Relations with the eastern nation of Axos remain reasonably positive. That said, the warm welcome enjoyed by Imperial captains visiting the Towers of Kantor has cooled slightly over the last few months. It is not entirely clear why this slight distance has developed, but it may be connected to the dearth of Axou scouts involved with the recently completed spy network in the "Mountains of the Moon" between Axos and the Empire. Despite positive noises from the Imperial Military Council, and authorisation of the Ambassador by the Senate, it is believed that no Axou troops helped with the operation of the spy network this past season. The Imperial ambassador to Axos, Tarquinius Ankarien, may know more.

Imperial captains continue to throng the docks at Kantor, and are joined by merchant vessels from the Commonwealth, Sarcophan Delves, and Principalities of Jarm. Work has begun on a new dock exclusively for the use of Sarcophan vessels; dockside scuttlebutt suggests it is intended partly to deal with regular shipments of weirwood from the Delves to Kanot - it certainly rivals the Concordium Dock in Cargo.

Iron Confederacy

  • The port of Robec remains open to the Empire
  • The Suranni are deeply concerned about Imperial espionage

Much of the communication with the Empire is handled by Jeanne de Hibernat, the High Priestess of Evra the Smith in Robec. She and her fellow priests of their Maiden of th Forge advise the Dukes of the Iron Confederacy on trade matters and by extension on international affairs. Two weeks before the Autumn Equinox, she dispatches an open letter to the Imperial Senate regarding a matter of significant concern to the Duchies.

Following the Spring Equinox, Imperial fleet captains took part in a grand project to map the Bay of Catazar. The project was quite successful; the Empire's understanding of its coastal waters has been greatly increased. Part of that project involved mapping the coasts of the three Iron Confederacy territories that lie along the western side of the Bay: Kalino (or Arbonne), Shavronne, and Veroigne.

Jeanne de Hibernat is deeply concerned about this, describing it as “a concerted effort to spy along the coast of the Iron Confederacy.” By all accounts, the Dukes are a little unhappy with the fact the Empire has been accumulating such information about their nation. On their behalf, Jeanne demands copies of all maps the Empire has created showing Iron Confederacy territory. She further demands that the Empire make suitable recompense for their invasion of Suranni sovereignty by providing maps of any other territories they have uncovered as part of their espionage. Attempts to discuss this matter through official channels have gone nowhere, she claims, so she has no alternative but to raise the matter publicly.

The civil service estimates that sharing the maps with the Iron Confederacy would require a senate motion, and would cost the Imperial treasury 10 Thrones. The wording of the Senate motion could determine precisely how much information the Suranni receive.

The Suranni also remain deeply concerned that Imperial liao is being smuggled through Feroz into the Iron Confederacy. Liao is quite illegal within the borders of the nation, being treated not only as a dangerous narcotic but as an offence against the gods themselves. According to merchants traveling north from the Iron Confederacy, or visiting the ports along the northern shores of the Bay, if the Empire does not act soon to stem the flow of this vile drug into the Confederacy, the Dukes will be forced to take matters into their own hands.

As always, Lord Colwynn de Rondell, the new Ambassador to the Iron Confederacy, may know more.


Relations with the Commonwealth have not deteriorated, and may even have improved slightly. Their government has formally accepted the invitation to attend a summit about slavery issued by the Imperial Senate during the Summer Solstice. They are apparently keen for the opportunity to create an international effort against nations that embrace slavery, especially Asavea and Jarm, and the smaller nations of Surann and Faraden.

Sarcophan Delves

  • Trade between the two nations remains healthy

The completion of the warehouses in Necropolis has been followed by a second enclave of the Kruidenkenner in chill Iversgard. This powerful Sarcophan guild of herbalists and apothecaries are keen to explore the new markets for their products that have opened to them within the Empire. Indeed, they are apparently so ken they are sending a representative to several Varushkan Winter Markets during the Equinox - including the prestigous celebration at Anvil on Saturday afternoon.

With the Kruidenkenner no doubt already looking for new markets to invest in across the Empire, the current good relations with the Sarcophan Delves have seen a small but marked increase in the amounts of all five herbs being auctioned through the public auction at Anvil, especially Imperial Roseweald. The guild itself is believed to be interested in establishing warehouses in Dawn, the Marches, Wintermark, and the League - it is likely that the Ambassador to the Sarcophan Delves, Thanmir Hrafnar will know more.

As with the Commonwealth, the Sarcophan have formally agreed to send representatives to the proposed summit to discuss international slavery during the Winter Solstice, although their response is apparently best described as "less than enthusiastic." Again, the ambassador may know more.

Situation in Cargo

  • The diplomatic and trade hub od Cargo has been successfully fortified

The town of Cargo in Redoubt, site of not one but three embassies and increasingly a hub for international trade, has been successfully fortified. Built through a combination of Axos planning, Jarmish magic, and Sarcophan materials the new fortification has been completed in record time. Its completion comes as something of a relief to the people of Redoubt, and to the various ambassadors and diplomats stationed there. With the news coming out of Morrow, there is no doubt that if the Druj had chosen to move south instead of north, they would have absolutely devastated Cargo. The Varushkan armies stationed in Redoubt would no doubt have fought valiantly, but given how the Druj fared against the larger force defending Morrow, this season could as easily have seen the destruction not only of the three embassies and the Pallas and Concordium docks, but the newly completed runeforge as well. Most likely the Grand Conservatory of Music would have been destroyed also. It is scant comfort to the citizens of Morrow, but at least Cargo is now slightly safer from orc invasion.

The Mountains of the Moon

  • Imperial scouts have crossed into the Mountains of the Moon

Just before the Autumn Equinox, the delayed spy network in the Mountains of the Moon to the east of Zenith and Spiral was finally completed. With the aid of the Penumbral Watcher, over twenty-five Imperial captains took members of their warbands across the mountains into the depths of this unknown territory. What they found there is not yet been made public. The Imperial Roll of Honour lists those brave captains who pressed into this mysterious region between the Empire and Axos; those seeking to know more may wish to speak to them during the coming summit.

As with the mercenaries traveling to Asavea, each player whose character supported the spy network will find an out-of-character summary of what they discover while working with the spy network. We ask players not to share this information out-of-character until after the end of the event - rather they should use it to create their own stories about what they have done and seen in those eerie mountains. As is usual when a spy network is used for the first time, the details are being compiled by the Civil Service and will be shared with the rest of the Empire after the Autumn Equinox (that is, a new page will be added to the wiki before event one next year).