"You wanted to see me, Doctor Moretti?"

The doctor swallowed nervously and shuffled forwards. "Thank you so much for this opportunity, my illustrious prince, I am so grateful for this..."

The merchant prince cut the nervous man off before he could finish his sentence. "Yes, yes, Doctor. I'm illustrious, you're grateful... Marvellous. Now I'm also very busy, so lets see your proposal, shall we?"

"Sorry, sorry... my proposal, of course, of course! My proposal, yes..." he prattled on as he scrambled for his papers, all the time desperately telling himself not to prattle so as not to annoy the prince. In his haste, he dropped the plans, his hands were shaking so much.

With a click of the prince's fingers the beautiful cicisbeo swooped down, and snatched the plans from the floor. Before he could react she had placed them in her prince's hands. The prince unrolled the scrolls and began to study them carefully.

"We found Francesca's plans last week - it took us a few hours to work them out - but we're certain that they describe a vast naval arsenal that could..."

The prince held up a hand, interrupting the nervous academic once more. "Thank you, Doctor Moretti - I studied architecture at the university, as you know - I can read the plans just fine."

"Yes, yes, of course..." The doctor kept babbling, even as the voice in his head told him to stop, as it was clearly annoying the prince. The cicisbeo was staring at him now with what he was certain was a certain degree of contempt, which was only making him more nervous. She was said to be the prince's lover and deadly with a blade (weren't they all?). Stop prattling, he told himself, over and over - but words just kept coming out of his mouth. "The buttresses are really quite a unique design, it would be an architectural first..." Finally he managed to force his mouth to trail off as it dawned on him that nobody in the room was paying him the slightest attention.

The silence dragged on and on... the prince even took out a glass to study the plans in detail. Still no-one spoke. The urge to try and explain the many fine elements of the design was clawing at his mind, but he forced himself to remember that the Merchant Prince of the Carta Astaria was widely considered one of the most brilliant architects of their day - that was why he had come to them first. If the prince gave this project their backing then they had a fighting chance...

The prince sat back in their seat and smiled at the nervous academic. "You've done well bringing this to me first, Doctor Moretti. The Carta will be happy to endorse these designs."

"Wonderful - wonderful - I knew an architect as brilliant as yourself would wish to attempt such an ambitious design..."

The prince cut him off with a harsh laugh. "And that is why you are an academic, and I am a merchant prince, Doctor Moretti." They smiled at the last, to soften the tone of their rebuke. "It's not the architecture I am endorsing, Doctor - it's what it means for Sarvos... Dozens of fleets ply their trade from Sarvos every year - and yet we are forever doomed to play second fiddle to the Freeborn. When people think of the Empire's shipping - they think of Siroc, and Madruga, and the Brass Coast. But if we build this arsenal of yours, then the League will finally be the naval equal of the Brass Coast. Sarvos... will be the equal of the Brass Coast. Now that is an ambitious design..."

The Ships of Sarvos

  • A unique opportunity to build a powerful Naval Arsenal in Sarvos - and potentially a League navy.

During the reign of Emperor Barabbas in there was a great deal of Imperial interest in naval matters, and the League was no exception. Sarvos is a centre for maritime trade - foreign vessels throng the docks and a great many Guilds have interests in shipping and international commerce. Following the Grendel attack, a scholar repairing some of the damage to Diora University came a cross a set of plans, apparently drawn up by Francesca "Franky" di Sarvos, for a grand project to militarise the Sarvos docks. The plans would require some minor modifications to take into account developments such as the Colossus and the new Cavabianca Dock - but such work is easily undertaken.

The Sarvos Arsenal and Dockyard would consist of a squat white granite bastion and a set of quays and drydocks designed specifically for constructing and maintaining warships. Similar to a shipyard, it would allow a navy to be raised - but anyone could build a shipyard in Sarvos. There is more to the Sarvos Arsenal and Dockyard. The League cannot currently maintain a third army - but with the support from the citizenry it could support a navy using the Arsenal - especially one raised with the intention of protecting the city, or paying the Grendel back for their cowardly sneak attack.

The Arsenal would require 100 wains of white granite and 30 wains of weirwood - it is much easier to re-purpose the docks of Sarvos than to build them from scratch, so the weirwood requirement is not especially great. Labour would require 260 crowns, and construction would take six months. The Naval Arsenal would require an upkeep of 15 Thrones each season. When it was complete, it would offer the following benefits.

  • Firstly, it would function as a great port, providing a share of 900 rings to every fleet operated by a League citizen in Sarvos.
  • Secondly, it would provide refuge to any Imperial navy that put-to-port in Sarvos.
  • Thirdly, it would allow naval construction to take place, just as a shipyard does, following all the normal rules.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it would allow the League to raise and maintain an Imperial navy, the core of which would be supported by the maritime guilds of Sarvos. As long as the region of Cigno remained under League control, they would be able to support the navy, regardless of what other territory they might gain or lose. If they lost control of Cigno, however, the navy would be assumed to have insufficient suppy and begin to deteriorate.

We acknowledge the Loyalty and Courage of the people of Sarvos in defending their home. We encourage them to show their Pride and Prosperity by rebuilding their city with vigour.

Josephine Von Temeschwar , League Assembly

At the moment, there is some enthusiasm among the Guilds of Sarvos for the Arsenal and Dockyard, but that may not last much beyond the end of the year - memories can be short in the League - so the opportunity to commission this construction is available only until the end of the Winter Solstice.

A Chain Against Chains

  • An opportunity to construct a great fortification to protect the city of Sarvos from future Grendel invasion

The Arsenal of Francesca di Sarvos is not the only large-scale building project being discussed in the city, however. When the Grendel invaded, they did as little damage to the actual city as they could. It was not until the nights of rage, under the peculiar chaotic fog, that there was much actual destruction of property. In the months following the invasion, most of the destruction was repaired as the Sarvosans got on with their life. That said ... the ease with which the Grendel took control of the city still gives many of the residents nightmares. As a port city, Sarvos is very vulnerable to attack from the sea. Rebuilding is all very well, but when an armada of orcs could invade at any moment ...

Representatives of the Sarvos Chamber of Commerce have been in discussion with Menno Van Ritsjhof, perhaps the most skilled siege architect in Holberg. He has prepared a design for a grand fortification to protect Sarvos - a series of walls, towers, and barracks, coupled with great iron chains attached to blocks of white granite that can be raised or lowered to provide a nigh insurmountable obstacle to naval forces.

The fortification is ambitious and will not be cheap. To bring his vision to life will require 130 wains of white granite and 32 Thrones 4 crowns in labour costs. Construction would require a year to complete ,and obviously require a commission from the Imperial Senate. It would have an upkeep of 10 Thrones each season. The resulting fortification would have an effective strength of 3,000 against any conventional land forces invading Sarvos, or against any Shore Offensive in Bocche or Uccelini. Against any shore offensive aimed at capturing Cigno, however, the fortification would resist conquest with an effective force of 6,000 (OOC Note: bearing in mind that the benefit of a fortification in a region directly being attacked will effectively increase this force, this is a significant advantage).

The use of cruel tactics by any army is unvirtuous. Cruelty is designed to break the spirit and install fear. The use of the False Virtue of Fear as a weapon is unvirtuous. We urge all Synod members to provide spiritual guidance to the generals of their nations that use said tactics.

Cesare Enzo Di Trivento

Cold Welcome, Dark Mirror

  • An opportunity to encourage League citizens to support their armies - by condemning the armies of Varushka.

The Iron Helms are spending the Summer in Sarvos, giving the people of the League a chance to get a good look at them. Many citizens, bearing in mind the words of Cesare Enzo Di Trivento, supported by the League Assembly, do not like what they see. The Varushkans are seen as boorish, insular, peculiar, unfriendly, and in many cases their attitudes suggest they have more in common with the barbarians than the refined people of Sarvos. Indeed, some wags suggest that by comparison the Grendel made better guests.

The fact that the Iron helms are there to protect the city is fair enough - but there are also many stories of the atrocities committed by the Iron Helms in the Mournwold. It does not help that a lurid pamphlet claiming to depict the true events of the arrest of Dogri Thulebane begins to circulate shortly after the Summer Solstice - and it is quickly joined by numerous other cheap, thrilling publications ascribing all sorts of strangeness to the Varushkan army. Worse, when a brawl breaks out in a drinking house in the northern part of the city between a band of bravos, a half-dozen off-duty Varushkan schlacta, and a work-gang of College orc longshoremen, the tale rapidly spreads across the city and is wildly exaggerated with every street it crosses. The magistrates never get to the bottom of who started the brawl, but it leaves an inn ruined, blood on the cobbles - and the Iron Helms with a most-likely unjust reputation for savagery and anti-orc bigotry.

Several prominent citizens compare the Iron Helms very unfavourably with the popular Wolves of War and the Towerjacks, echoing the words of the League Assembly. There is a lot of murmuring and grumbling about what these uncouth northerners are doing in Sarvos - would they not be happier in Temeschwar perhaps?

The Iron Helms use the malign spiritual power of fear. That the Varushkans are prepared to use such a weapon speaks poorly of their entire nation. The Imperial Synod sends (named priest) with 50 doses of liao to remind the people what a virtuous army looks like - and urges them to shun the unvirtuous northerners and save their favour for the Wolves of War and the Towerjacks instead.

Synod Mandate

If the League national assembly successfully raises this mandate, and sends a named priest with at least 50 doses of liao to spread the word, it will have a permanent effect, encouraging the League citizens to support their own armies.

Iron Helms will travel to Sarvos under a solid defence, eye to the beaches and the sea. Iron Helms prepare to bring terror to the Grendel.

General Magnus Prochnost

Any League army that receives natural resupply in a League territory will recover an additional 100 strength each season (150 if the army is large). This represents the support of the wealthy citizens of the League for their armies.

By contrast, any Varushkan army that attempts to receive natural resupply in a League territory receives only four-fifths the amount they would normally expect. The Iron Helms, specifically, will instead receive half the normal amount of natural resupply.

The Old College Try

  • The orc slaves liberated from Jarm have graduated from the College

I encourage the people of Sarvos to show hospitality to the freed Jarmish slaves at the College of the Liberated, but to be vigilant to the possibility of Grendel infiltrators.

Casimir Marcelino di Sarvos, League Assembly

The College of the Liberated was commissioned by the Imperial Senate in Winter 379YE to deal with an influx of orcs from the Principalities of Jarm. In the nearly two years since, most of the orc students who have passed through its doors have moved on, one way or another. Today, the college provides education and apprenticeships to the poor and disadvantaged of Sarvos - and by doing so thereby increase the productivity of every business in the territory.

Of the three hundred or so freed slaves who came to the Empire from Jarm, only around a third remain in Sarvos, Some still live in Trivento, but most have been lured to the Jewelled City itself. Despite their time at the college, many struggle to compete with professional League citizens who have enjoyed more education and greater opportunities. While some are able to hold jobs as assistants to shopkeepers, most have ended up as labourers of one type or another - farmhands, dockworkers, miners, drovers. There are even a very few nasty rumours that at least one old-style "fighting pit" has been reopened somewhere in Caricomare, with orc gladiators providing the main attraction as they did in the bad old days before the Orc revolt.

Part of the problem has been caused by the sack of Sarvos, a mere three months after work on the College was completed. The Jarmish orcs are often treated with suspicion by citizens of Sarvos, concerned that they may be more inclined to support the Grendel than their human benefactors. There seems to be little basis for this prejudice - after all, there were no College orcs in Sarvos during the time of the invasion - they were all still in Trivento. There have been a handful of violent incidents of violence aimed at the newcomers, but for the most part the prejudice is less obvious.

It is no surprise, then, that two-thirds of the orcs educated at the College have chosen to move elsewhere. Most take the long overland trip to Skarsind, looking to find new lives for themselves. Ironically, they have little difficulty finding employment there. Many are more than happy to work in the mines the Imperial Orcs eschew, alongside the human miners who make up the majority of mineworkers in Skarsind. Others find the skills learned in their apprenticeship in the League to be rare among the Imperial Orcs, and settle into comfortable positions running or helping to run businesses - such as those associated with Torfast Trading Post. College orcs settling in Skarsind invariably bond to the Imperial Orc egregore, and set about industriously building new lives for themselves and their families.

As a result, Marcello's words have polarised opinion somewhat in Sarvos. Those already predisposed to view the College orcs as citizens make more of an effort to help them improve their status in the League. Those already suspicious of the orcs point to the possibility of Grendel orcs among them, and grumble. Most people don't care one way or another of course - this is Sarvos and there are more important things to worry about - but discussion between the two opposed sides is becoming more heated.

Those orcs who have moved to Skarsind and joined the Imperial Orcs are called the liberated.

Limited Opportunities

The opportunity to build a Naval Arsenal remains as is until the end of the Winter Solstice 381YE, after which it will need to be re-evaluated. The opportunity to build a grand fortification is not time sensitive - the plans exist. The opportunity to convince the citizens of the League to support their own armies at the expense of Varushkan armies is only available during the Autumn Equinox while memories of the Iron Helms and the recent mandate are fresh in peoples' minds.

Chieka held her son up in both hands, and leaned dangerously out over the edge. The boy made a happy gurgling noise.

"Do you see it, little tygrysek?" she asked in heavily accented Imperial. "Do you see the big statue on the bay? That is the Big Butcher, who watches out for danger from the sea. He will protect you, little myszko. They say the one who built him is ten feet tall, and wields a great sword in either hand! They say he started as a meatchopper and became the richest man in the whole Empire!"

The boy ignored her, paying no attention to the grand Colossus, happily kicking his tiny feet over the long drop into the bay. Her husband chuckled deep in his chest, the grey skin on his scarred face creasing into an indulgent smile.

"He is too young słodyczko." He chided. "He doesn't understand at all. Maybe when he is a little older..."

The little orc child began to struggle a little then, twisting round to look for his father. Chieka stood back from the edge, handing the boy off to Piek, and smiling a little ruefully.

"I just want him to understand a little bit, that is all." she spoke quickly, in their native tongue. "I don't think he will believe us when he is older."

Piek chuckled, and pulled his wife into an embrace. The little orc trapped between them began to grizzle as his parents hugged.

"Did you get the job?" she asked hopefully. She'd be dreading to ask fearing she already knew the answer. He would have said already.

Piek looked down, sadness filling his eyes. "No - it went to the Scapa brothers on Crank Street"

"But you're a far better carpenter on your worst day than Alfeo Scapa on his best!" She held her young child close, trying not to think about what this would mean. "We needed that job."

"I know, I know. But people are always going to put their own first. That's just how the world is." he smiled at the woman he loved, the mother of his child as he tried to explain. Most of the humans had been welcoming enough, but they would never be citizens while they remained in Sarvos. They would never belong, not really. "At least we still have the money from your door work."

"It's not enough Piek, it's not enough. You eat better than this in Jarm!" Things had always been difficult, but they had definitely got worse ever since this talk of Grendel spies had started. Alfeo Scapa only had three fingers on his left hand after a duelling accident and he charged near double what Piek was asking. It was just not fair.

Her raised tone caused the child to start crying. "Maybe we need to be among our own" said Chieka as she tried to comfort the bawling child. "I think ... Yes I'm certain. It's time we went north. Rusech said that he would have a place for us if we wanted to go find the egregore."

Piek smiled down at his wife. She would hate the north, it was cold there by all accounts and she hated the cold. But it was the right decision. Somewhere in this strange land there was a home for them and their son - he was sure of it.

Resolution

Neither the Imperial Senate nor the League Assembly chose to take advantage of any of these opportunities during the Autumn Equinox. As detailed above, the opportunity to build a Naval Arsenal remains as is until the end of the Winter Solstice 381YE, after which it will need to be re-evaluated. Likewise the opportunity to build a grand fortification is not time sensitive - the plans exist and can be implemented at any time unless the situation in Sarvos shifts dramatically.

Unfortunately the opportunity to convince the citizens of the League to support their own armies at the expense of Varushkan armies was only available during the Autumn Equinox, and that opportunity has been lost.