Swans will sing
"There's always something you can do Lotta. Always. If you're prepared to take the consequences." Singur nodded as she spoke, finishing a few last stitches, she snipped the thread and examined her work critically.
"Like what? What exactly are you suggesting Singur? We can't attack the Thule - it's impossible." Lotta took a sip from her glass, and looked stared intently at Singur, daring the woman to disagree with her.
Singur tugged gently at the cloth and was pleased with her handiwork. She set it to one side, and took a sock from her work pile. She examined it carefully before speaking again. "It's not impossible Lotta. It's just illegal. It's not the same thing at all."
"You're suggesting we break the law? Really is that your plan? They are foreigners now. Magistrates will say it was murder. If we're caught - we'll be executed for it."
Singur smiled wrly at her friend "You talk freely of a war with the Thule, you have the courage to face them in the mountains - but you're worried about breaking the law?"
Lotta looked unhappy, opened her mouth to argue, closed it again. Singur smiled, took another sip, and set to work darning the sock. There was silence for a few minutes, apart from the fire crackling. Lotta checked the bread she was toasting, spread a little butter (swearing under her breath at her burnt fingers), and deposited one of the two slices next to the whiskey at Singur's side. Finally she tried a different tack.
"It would be insane to attack the Thule. There are thousands of them, we can't achieve anything on our own."
"No of course not, we need to be wise and courageous. We need a rod and a line to catch our fish." Singur tugged gently at the cloth and was pleased with her handiwork. She put it aside, put down her needle, picked up her slice of toast, and met Lotta's gaze suddenly, her eyes full of fire.
"Everyone is talking about attacking the Thule. I want to take up my axe and shield and march into their lands and fight them. They took the Stonefield Ice Caves from us - so lets go and take something back and damn the consequences."
Lotta's eyes opened wide in surprise and she choked on a mouthful of whiskey. Singur took a satisfied bite of toast with a loud crunch, and reached out to pick up a glove from her work pile before continuing more calmly. "Everyone is talking about breaking the treaty. We need to do more than talk. If we're to come together and raid the Thule - we need someone to lead us."
Now it was Lotta's turn to get angry with her friend. "Britta is dead Singur, remember? The Thule killed her. The Senate are the ones who agreed the treaty. They are the ones I blame for this!"
"Don't blame the Senate Lotta. We invented it after all. It has gone against Wintermark this time, it will turn in our favour another time and someone else will be smarting because of it. They make deals, it's what they do."
"So who then?" Lotta spread her hands wide, demanding an answer."We need to look to our own... We need the Stormcrows."
Wintermark has weathered a great deal in 379YE; several vicious curses, for a start. A long battle with the Thule over the Silver Peaks which ended in stalemate, and then a peace treaty which cost them the Stonefield Ice Caves. Then came the relinquishment of Skarsind - a deed done with the best of intentions that lead to nothing but trouble that came with that.
Wintermark has lost a great deal in the last year; but the possibility exists to take some of it back.
There is a great deal of frustration in Wintermark, it is one thing to give up Skarsind to the Imperial Orcs, but to surrender the Peaks to the Thule has wounded their pride. As the winter drags on that wound has continued to fester.
The Wintermark national assembly could provide an outlet for that injured pride. If they make a statement of principle urging the people of the nation to take up arms against the Thule in Sermersuaq and Otkodov, they will be heard.
The assembly must name a single Wintermark priest, and that priest will be responsible for collecting liao with which to provide auras of Ambition, Courage, and Pride to those heroes willing to fight for the honour of their nation. This will manifest in the form of raids across the northern borders into Otkodov to take the wealth of the Thule as they have taken the wealth of the people of Wintermark.
While the likely effect is a small increase in the profitability of every business owned by a Wintermark character, the real benefits will fall to any Wintermark military unit that takes the paid work action. This bonus will apply to the resources of any citizen of Wintermark whose personal resource is based in Kallavesa, Hahnmark, or Sermersuaq. There is no requirement that the captains of the military units engaged in paid work actually engage in the raids against the Thule - the expectation is that those captains who do raid the Thule will leave lucrative contracts available for those who stay behind that might otherwise have been taken.
The effectiveness of the project would depend on how much liao the named priest submitted. The decision on how much liao to use is entirely in the priest's hands, once the assembly has appointed them to the task, and they may employ any amount they wish within the following guidelines (and assuming they have sufficient supply).
- If the priest collects twenty five liao, there will be several raids into the Silver Peaks. This will create a diplomatic incident, but the bonus to businesses and military units will be small.
- If the priest collects fifty liao, there will be many raids into both the Silver Peaks and south-western Otkodov. This is likely to cause a major diplomatic incident, but the bonus to businesses and military units will be significantly increased.
- If the priest collects a hundred liao, then a great many bands of Wintermark warriors will attack the Silver Peaks and southern Otkodov, almost certainly resulting in a major diplomatic incident; a significant bonus to businesses and military units; and the acquisition of wains of Bourse resources and ilium from the Thule, a portion of which will be given to the named priest.
In each case, if the assembly passes multiple judgements then multiple priests will be appointed and all will need to provide their own liao and set their own "level of response". Multiple priests will not have a cumulative effect however; only the highest will take account.
While attacks into Otkodov will result in a diplomatic incident, it is likely from the Thule treaty that raiding will lead to a demand for recompense of some sort. It will be up to the Empire to negotiate with the no-doubt irate Thule diplomats who will likely to attend Anvil in Spring to discuss the raids.
The magistrates will likely have an opinion on this matter, and both the priest presenting the judgement and the named priest are likely to face charges of encouraging and abetting crime. However, words are never criminal in nature. The magistrates will be able to act only after it is clear whether those words have had any effect. It would not be legal for the magistrates to interfere with the freedom of the priests to speak or to collect liao.
The named priest should collect the liao they wish to use to support their statement of principle and place it in their inventory at GOD. They should e-mail Profound Decisions at email@example.com to confirm how much liao they are spending on this project.
The word of the Synod will be enough to persuade a number of NPC captains to lead raids against the Thule. The civil service will be unable to track which player character captains have joined them. Consequently, if the national assembly passes the judgement and the named priest contributes the liao, you are absolutely free to roleplay that your paid work in the coming season involves raiding the Thule - but again, even if you do not wish to engage in raids against the northern barbarians you will still benefit.
However, actively raiding the Thule is still a crime. Any character who is caught by the militia or the magistrates will face serious charges - but the player has a great deal of influence over whether they are caught. The civil service will be unable to provide any conclusive evidence beyond the fact that military units that undertake paid work do not show up on the Imperial Roll of Honour, and it is unlikely the Thule will have much evidence to offer either. It will fall entirely to the roleplaying of the Wintermark characters whether they are caught or not.
There will be more details of the outcome of this opportunity when downtime opens, and in the winds of fortune for the Spring Equinox.
The Wintermark assembly did not pass any judgements regarding this opportunity. As the Imperial Orcs settle into Skarsind, and the people of WIntermark become more concerned about the Jotun in Kallavesa, it seems that the moment has passed.
This opportunity is no longer available.