She staggered through the smoke and the screams, desperately searching. There were shouts and cries of alarm from the darkness and ahead she could hear the sound of booted feet pounding out an angry drum beat as they marched over rock.

A man staggered into view, moaning and gripping the bloody arrow shaft that protruded from his chest. She locked eyes with him for a moment, but it was clear he didn't see her, he was so overcome by shock. He dropped to his knees, his jaw moving as if to speak but no words issued forth, as she ran past him.

The smoke parted to reveal a formation of soldiers, coming up from where the ships had docked. They wore heavy looking armour, formed of curved steel bands and carried spears and heavy shields. Their commander was shouting orders in a language she didn't recognise, but his intent was clear. He was ordering them to attack.

Panicking, she turned left, ducking into the narrow alley that ran between two houses. One of the buildings was shattered and burning, some great stone covered in burning pitch hurled from the ship had smashed its way through the roof and set everything alight. There was screaming from inside the building, and desperate pleas for help.

There was nothing she could do. The attack had come without warning - everyone who had stood to fight had been cut down... or worse. The only hope was to reach the water's edge and try to escape. But first she had to find her daughter.

International trade, and international diplomacy alike, both involve a frankly inordinate amount of paperwork.


The Empire is one of six great powers who wield influence over the known world. Two of those other nations, the Commonwealth and the Sumaah Republic are allied to the Empire via the Liberty Pact. Two others - the Asavean Archipelago and the Principalities of Jarm are slaving nations, targeted with sanctions by the Pact members.

The last nation, the Sarcophan Delves, neither uses slaves nor upholds the Liberty Pact, cherishing the freedom to trade where it wills.

There are countless smaller nations in the Known World, but those that neighbour the Empire are of particular importance to Imperial citizens. Faraden, Axos, the Iron Confederacy, Otkodov, and the Broken Shore are all home to nations whose proximity grants them an unexpected level of influence over the much larger Empire they surround.

Each nation has their own agenda, and the waters of international diplomacy can be choppy indeed.

The Liberty Pact

  • Axos is boycotting the meeting of the Liberty Pact that was planned for this summit
  • The Commonwealth have proposed that the meeting be postponed to the summer
  • The Ambassador to the Commonwealth is Lucia Sanguineo Rezia di Tassato of the League
  • The Ambassador to the Sumaah Republic is currently Accalon of Felix's Watch of Highguard
  • The Ambassador to Axos is Fintan Nighthaven of Navarr
  • All members of the Liberty Pact enjoy free trade with each other

There was due to a meeting of the four signatories of the Liberty Pact at the forthcoming summit. While the treaty does not contain any provisions for regular meetings, there is an informal arrangement that those who have joined the Pact will meet at Anvil at the Spring Solstice to discuss matters arising. However it seems that serious problems have arisen. The Axos have sent word that they intend to boycott the meeting - moreover they refuse to send official delegates to the Empire until the current diplomatic conflict is resolved.

In light of this situation, the Commonwealth has informed the Imperial civil service that they are not in a position to send a representative to the Empire at this time - apparently the situation with Jarm is too precarious. Rather than cancel, they have indicated that they would like to postpone their attendance for a season. They have written to every member of the Pact to explain the issues they wish the Pact to raise. If the Empire indicates that a meeting is possible, then they will travel to Anvil for the Summer Solstice to discuss their proposals.

With two nations absent, it is not possible for the Pact to make any legally binding changes to the agreement. As a result the Sumaah have also sent their apologies. They have indicated that they are amenable to a meeting at the Summer Solstice if the Empire is prepared to host it. Each of the nations have made clear to the civil service that they expect to receive agenda items to be raised by the Empire from their respective ambassadors this season if there is anything the Empire wishes to raise.

Rebuilding Rachensgrab

After defeating the slave lords of Rachensgrab, we have left Rachensgrab in disarray. We encourage Imperial citizens to investigate how to help those left behind to follow the way and rebuild their futures.

Hembeneth i Guerra, Winter Solstice 384YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 7-0)
  • The Commonwealth have claimed the Tears of the Moon
  • They are willing to accept Imperial support in wains

Following the assault on Rachensgrab a small force from the Commonwealth have moved in and claimed the Tears of the Moon. When a number of zauberer who are studying at the schloss are informed of the judgement raised by Hembeneth i Guerra in the Assembly of Nine there is some confusion, but they are quick to confirm that the Commonwealth would be willing to accept the offer of aid. If the wealthy of the Empire were willing to gift mithril, weirwood, or white granite they would be most grateful and it would go a long way to helping to restore structure to the islands.

They want to be clear that the only people living in Rachensgrab who were there a year ago are the former slaves who are now working alongside the Commonwealth to establish order. The few of the "old guard" who remained after the Empire left swiftly faced retribution from those freed by the action.

Trade with Axos

  • The docks at Issyk have been torched by the Grendel
  • The Axou have ended a number of their trade deals with the Empire

A few weeks after the Winter Solstice a large Grendel force attacks Issyk's docks, looting the warehouses and burning the piers and jettys down to the waterline. The sanctions that the Axou had placed on the Grendel, the choice to side with the Empire over the Grendel, the refusal to agree to terms and treaties with the Grendel. It seems to have simply been too much for the orcs of the Broken Shore to accept. Since they could not negotiate further with the Axou of Issyk they have decided to make sure that nobody else can either.

This, along with the ongoing diplomatic problems that face Imperial and Axou relations, has seen the start of effects on trade with the Axou. The Eastern Broker has lost access to their ministry From Issyk, and both their Mana and Materials ministries have lost their highest rank for the foreseeable future. It is highly probable that other trade agreements will suffer if the most recent round of troubles are not dealt with.

The Freedom Accord

  • The Asavean Plenum declared war on the Empire during the Autumn Equinox 384YE
  • There are reports of a surprise attack carried out by Asavean warships against an Imperial settlement
  • The Imperial Senate has embargoed the Principalities of Jarm
  • The Principalities of Jarm have severed ties with the Empire
  • The Ambassador to Asavea is Pakt of the Imperial Orcs
  • The Ambassador to Jarm is currently Ariadne of Urizen

In response to the attack on Chalonsio, Asavea issued a declaration of war against the Empire at the end of 384YE. All trade with Asavea ended, their ports were closed to Imperial shipping and the Cavabianca Docks fell silent. Despite this, the Empire declined to respond in kind and at first there appeared to be few other consequences.

That may be about to change. In the final days before the summit at anvil, there are wild rumours everywhere of an attack on the Imperial mainland by a flotilla of Asavean warships. Nobody seems to agree on the details, some say it's five ships, some say fifty. Some reports say that Sarvos has been attacked, others say Siroc has been fired, or Trivento. There are fears that Asavea may have somehow moved a navy to Imperial waters, but even if they haven't they could pose a serious threat. The Empire knows how much damage can be done by a committed force of small military vessels.

At present there are no confirmed reports, nor is it clear who might know. Only someone who was there at the time of the attack is likely to know the facts.

Sarcophan Delves

  • The Sarcophan Delves are delighted by the Imperial Senate's decision to extend free trade to their merchants and traders
  • In gratitude their ambassador has asked the Gjullit family to renew their offer to take over the Pallas Docks for another season
  • The Sarcophan have opened Betovering Docks to the Empire's fleets
  • The Ambassador to the Sarcophan Delves is Thalia of Netherwatch of Urizen

Relations with the Sarcophan continue to improve. They make little secret of their delight at the decision to allow their merchants to trade freely in the Empire on the same terms as the other members of the Liberty Pact. In response they have been as good as their word and opened Betovering Docks in Sarcophan to the Empire's fleets. They look forward to welcoming Imperial captains to the Delves.

At the request of the Ambassador to the Delves, Thalia of Netherwatch, the Sarcophan have encouraged the Gjullit family to keep their offer to take over the Pallas Docks on the table for another season. They caution that the Imperial Senate will need to give the Gjullit a response this season, otherwise the family will be forced to dispose of their weirwood elsewhere.

The Vandersaar are now looking elsewhere for other markets to sell their ingots and measures, however a few Sarcophan families and guilds have taken an interest in the Cavabianca Docks, which have also stood idle since relations with Jarm broke down. The ambassador has been presented with some initial proposals, with a view to working up a fully detailed offer if the ambassador indicates that the Empire might be interested.

Diplomatic Endeavours

  • Vito Danierri de Sarvos has offered to support the ambassadors of the Empire
  • Vito is the merchant-prince of an expansive trading cartel with connections across the known world

The merchant-prince Vito Danierri de Sarvos is head of the Golden Sugar cartel and wants to help support the various ambassadors of the Empire to ensure that they can continue to do the role they were elected to do. As such Vito, who has been head of the Golden Sugar cartel for close to sixty years, has made an offer to the various ambassadors of the Empire. They can send him a letter to pass on to their counterparts in the various nations of the known world. Obviously there might have been some issues with getting letters to nations the Empire is currently at war with (or that have declared war on the Empire) but de Sarvos has made an oath that the letters he is given by ambassadors will make it to their counterparts unread.

Vito Danierri de Sarvos cannot offer the same to other Imperial citizens, or other titles. He offers condolences to the Imperial Consul that he cannot offer help but as the Golden Sugar cartel's motto goes "The only bad drink is one without sugar".

OOC Note:
Players whose characters are an ambassador can email a letter after each event but before downtime ends. The letter must follow the same restrictions as those for a single Call Winged Messenger. This is something that we are trialling as a quality of life improvement for the roles of ambassadors, who face an expectation that they have to discuss matters with their counterparts via letter.

Further Reading