Smash it up
Lady Clarice Novarion, Cardinal of Courage.
Following the inspiring words of the Assembly of Nine, I write to inform you of our triumph in destroying the statue of the eternal Janon, a depraved monster dedicated to spreading anarchy, hatred and vengeance throughout the Empire.
No doubt some will question this course of action, fearful of where it will lead. But are we not taught never to fear to act; only be shamed by inaction? If a course of actions is virtuous, does it become any less virtuous because it is illegal? I say no! I say that those who defend idolatry are themselves guilty of a much greater crime. Those who claim Courage as their own must take a stand against them.
For too long we have stood idle while eternal sycophants have flouted their idolatry in the heart of our Empire. Ships filled with gold sunk in the name of the Sea God! A bridge of gold to bear up those who fly the Scarlet Sovereign's banners! A fortification made unbreakable if only we pledge ourselves to the Throne of Adamant! Our greatest wizards crawling on their bellies before the Wyrm-King! We have allowed our great Empire to be corrupted by these inhuman creatures whose only interests are to prey upon us - or to make us bow down and pray to them.
We in the Wardens of the Souls Road still cleave to what we know is true. I beseech you to speak with your fellow cardinals. We will not listen to the words of the militia, but we will listen to you. The law is the servant of the corrupt, a tool the eternals wield against us - the Synod is our light in these dark times. We do not fear to act - we have struck once against the foul influence of the corrupt. With your backing we will strike again!
Sobena Strogobor, of the Wardens of the Souls Road
At the recent summit, a judgement by Astrid Fjellrevening Rezia di Tassato, the Cardinal of Pride, was passed with a greater majority. Speaking as one the Assembly sent out a clear, unambiguous message that they strongly condemn the reverence of eternals, and in particular the egregious acts of idolatry demanded by these inhuman creatures.
The statement has earned the Assembly the respect of many devout followers of the Way who have been dismayed to see the many acts of idolatry that the Empire has become embroiled with, in recent times. Fortunately, on this occasion, the Imperial Senate chose not to imperil the immortal souls of Imperial citizens by authorizing any further acts of idolatry. The suggestion of building statues to Janon within Laroc cathedral was not raised by the Senate, presumably because those involved thought better of it. As a result the majority of people seem to regard the matter as closed - at least for the time being.
The majority... but not all. One group, based in Kosti in Karsk have taken it upon themselves to act on the words of the Assembly. The group have openly flouted the law tearing down the blatantly idolatrous statue of Janon, arranged by the former civilian commissioner of the League and paid for by Drogon Morosini.
What is more they have written to the Assembly of Nine inviting them to applaud their efforts, with an explicit offer that they are prepared to go much further with appropriate encouragement.
The Assembly of Nine strongly condemn the reverence of eternals, in particular the building of idolatrous statues in places of virtue - such as the suggestion of building statues to Janon within Laroc cathedral.Astrid Fjellrevening Rezia di Tassato, The Assembly of Nine, Winter Solstice 382YE, Upheld with a Greater Majority (8 - 0).
The Wardens of the Souls Road
The Wardens of the Souls Road are a warden brotherhood based in the town of Kosti. They are led by a charismatic changeling woman called Sobena Strogobor who lives somewhere in the town. The brotherhood are known for their dislike of heralds and eternals, there have been a number of notable incidents where the group have attacked servants of various spring and winter eternals. According to local legend, Sobena's father was executed years ago by the militia for executing a servant of Tharim who unfortunately turned out to be an Imperial citizen. She has always been something of a firebrand as a result.
None-the-less few people thought anything of the group at the time. Most sensible Varushkans expected them to get themselves killed at some point when they inevitably went too far in opposing a sovereign. To date that hasn't happened however, and the group seem to have been inspired by their participation in the destruction of the idolatrous statues that were built by Almodin Oktístis as part of the work to create the fortification at Aleksandra's Watch. That work was all done legally - it was approved by the Imperial Senate and personally ordered by the boyar of Ivarsgard.
However the Wardens seem to have taken the action as inspiration to take the law into their own hands. They have started small - destroying the statue of Janon in Temeschwar - but they have made clear that this is only the start.
In Summer 380YE, the Imperial Senate permitted the commission of a statue of Janon in Hanuri in Temeschwar. At the time, the Imperial Senate had chosen to delegate the power of commission to a number of imperial titles - so the commission was done with an announcement rather than a vote. The piece is relatively small, the entire statue was constructed from a single wain of white granite, but it made a powerful statement.
According to the plaque at the base of the statue, it claims that the sculpture is of the the eternal Janon, and is dedicated to his Vigilance for seeking out and rewarding priests of the Empire and its bards. Janon is an interesting choice for such a statue. The eternal has given support and inspiration to the priests of Ambition, Courage, Loyalty and Pride in the past - but it has also offered succour to cults of Anarchy and Vengeance.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the piece, it is no more. The statue has been now been completely destroyed. Sobena and her fellow wardens set about the statue with great hammers early in the morning. By the time the militia arrived to investigate the ruckus, the thing had been so thoroughly pulverised that only rubble remained.
The group have made no secret of their identity, so nobody is in any doubt who did the crime. Catching them is not as easy as identifying them however. They fled the scene shortly before the militia arrived and have been careful to conceal their whereabouts since then.
There was some concern locally that Janon might be angered by the destruction of the statue. However Richard Von Temeschwar, a noted local artist who claims to be inspired by Janon and who often liked to paint in the plaza where the statue was housed suggests that people would only assume that if they know nothing at all about Janon. He has not provided any explanation beyond that, so the only way to really verify the claim might be to talk to Janon in person.
Regardless of Janon's response, the act was clearly criminal in nature.
A Fire Is Lit
In a clear signal of defiance, the leader of the wardens has written to the Assembly of the Nine. In her letter she makes clear that she is seeking the approval of the Assembly for their courageous act and that if they receive it, then this is only the beginning. The Wardens have outlined a number of recent constructions, all of which they claim are idolatrous and thus a risk to the eternal souls of the Empire's citizens. They state plainly that if the Assembly of Nine will pass a judgement raised by the Cardinal of Courage identifying an idolatrous construction, then the group will endeavour to attack the thing and destroy it if they can.
The civil service are at pains to note that while they think it is not illegal to approve of the actions taken by the brotherhood, directing the group to take further action is probably a more serious matter. They strongly suggest that the Assembly of Nine consult Stanislav Karkovich, the chief magistrate, regarding the legality of this offer so that they may make an informed decision.
In the opinion of the civil service, the risk is that any member of the Council might be culpable if a commission was attacked as a result of a judgement raised and supported by them. That that might put the cardinals in the position of being fined or worse for their actions. Of course they might be able to secure clemency, but the best possible advice can be obtained by speaking to the chief magistrate at Anvil about the matter.