"What are we doing here again?" asked Mateo, throwing a quizzical look at his cousin, as he spun the handle of the shovel he was balancing on his shoulder.

"Keeping quiet is what we're supposed to be doing." replied Irella.

"Yeah but why? This is the middle of nowhere. Nobody is going to turn up here."

Irella sighed loudly and reminded herself for the third time that day that she paid Mateo to help because he was the strongest drover of her extended family not because he was the strongest thinker in the family.

"We're meeting friends. I've already told you. Now - be quiet."

"What friends? Why are we being quiet? Whose going to hear us out here?"

"I can hear you Mateo. And I don't want to hear you. I don't pay you so I can hear you. I pay you to do what I tell you. And I tell you to be quiet. So be quiet."

The order was meant to be a forced whisper, but it was verging on shouting. She stared daggers at him, trying to force him to shut up with her glare, but he wasn't even looking at her. The ring dropped the moment she saw he was looking over her shoulder and was gripping the shovel like it was a weapon. She spun on her heel and immediately caught sight of the scout off in the distance.

Virtues bless him, Mateo was moving slowly forwards, gripping his shovel in both hands, presumably intent on protecting her. "What are you going to do with that?" she hissed at him. "Dig him to death?"

"Could be a bandit." Mateo whispered. "We should have brought real weapons, but I can fend him off with this."

Irella snorted "Don't be ridiculous, he'll be armed to the teeth. He'll cut you to ribbons if you try anything with that. I told you - we're itinerant labourers. And we didn't bring weapons because we don't need them. These are my friends."

"Friends?"

"Friends" she said emphatically, hoping it was true. She hadn't trusted Mateo with a weapon, but she had a fancy League stiletto strapped to each thigh... just in case. "Friends" she said again, as if asserting it would make it true.

Despite her nerves she was confident there wouldn't be any trouble. Her "friends" needed her more than she needed them - otherwise they'd be stuck with a bill of a good deal more than four rings on every ingot.

In fact the only problem she was anticipating was having to carry the heavy box back to town without attracting attention. That was where Mateo came in...

Overview

There are six great powers in the known world; the Empire; the Asavean Republic; the Sumaah Republic; the Commonwealth; the Principalities of Jarm; and the Sarcophan Delves. There are also countless smaller nations, four of whom are close enough to the Empire to have an impact on its politics - Faraden, Axos, the Iron Confederacy, and Otkodov. Each nation has their own agendas, sometimes in sync with the Empire but more often in opposition.

International politics are mercurial at the best of times, and in times of uncertainty and flux can change dramatically over the course of a single day. As such, the broad overviews discussed here represent only the state-of-play as it is generally understood at the start of the Winter Equinox.

This Wind of Fortune only covers the predominantly human nations. Developments involving the orc tribes around the Empire are detailed here.

The Liberty Pact

  • The Liberty Pact was signed by four nations - the Empire, the Sumaah Republic, the Commonwealth, and the Citadels of Axos.
  • Sanctions have been imposed on slaving nations - Asavea, Jarm, Faraden, the Iron Confederacy, and the Thule.
  • The definition of a person has been expanded to include hylje and daeva.
  • More details of the impact of sanctions on the Empire as a whole can be found here.

During the Winter Solstice, delegates from Axos, the Commonwealth, Sarcophan Delves, and Sumaah Republic meet in the Empire to negotiate a pact aimed at uniting the nations who do not practice slavery. Following the summit, the Imperial delegates - Ianthe Ravenswatch and Eska Crowspeaker - presented a treaty, which was ratified by the Senate. The Liberty Pact is unprecedented in recent history - a treaty between three significant world powers that divides the world sharply into two groups - slavers and non slavers - surely has major implications for international diplomacy going forward.

Shortly after the solstice, trade sanctions were imposed on merchants from the slaving nations as defined by the Pact. In the following weeks, each of the effected nations responds to these sanctions in their own way.

The Senate requested that the civil service prepare an appraisal both of the economic impact of the Pact, and of ways that impact could be mitigated. The report covers the effect of the trade sanctions on the Empire, and on a number of Imperial titles, and can be found here.

The Pirates of Attar

  • Grendel pirates and privateers continue to raid Imperial shipping.
  • During the coming season all fleets from Tassato, Sarvos, the Brass Coast, Highguard, or Urizen will suffer a 1 rank penalty to production if they engage in trade.
  • There is an opportunity to put an end to the pirate attacks. You can read about it here.

The pirates of Attar - the orc independent captains of the Broken Shore - continue to harass merchant vessels operating out of the territories along the Bay of Catazar. An opportunity exists to put a stop the pirate raids - potentially for the foreseeable future. You can read about it here.

Citadels of Axos

The Citadels of Axos are signatories to the Liberty Pact. Their involvement has lead to a major upheaval in their small nation, but the great powers have rallied round to help them cope with the turmoil. With a hundred wains of material provided by the Empire, a further hundred and forty from Sumaah and the Commonwealth, and promises of aid from Sarcophan, the Grand Ilarchs have enacted their anti-slavery policies - in the face of stiff resistance from the Chambers of Issyk.

Civil War

  • The Grand Ilarchs of the Citadels have outlawed slavery, and recognised orcs as people.
  • All former slaves are now free; resources donated by the other Liberty Pact members have smoothed the transition from slaving to non-slaving nation status.

Axos has outlawed slavery. All former slaves are now free whether they be human or orc. The council of Grand Ilarchs representing the people of the five citadels have recognised that "orcs are people" and can be citizens of Axos. The resources provided by the other members of the Liberty Pact have helped ensure this transition is relatively smooth - the loss in revenue suffered as a result of the freeing of slaves has been significantly mitigated by donations of white granite, weirwood, and mithril. According to the staff at the Imperial embassy in Kantor, the bedelaar huisbaas of the Sarcophan Delves have also helped, to cover the shortfall in available resources. Although details of the deal are not common knowledge there is a great deal of speculation on the docks at Kantor.

That is not to say that the change has been entirely without consequence. Perhaps understandably, the Grand Ilarchs have focused their resources toward providing a smooth transition for Kantor, Ipotavo, and Maykop rather than Issyk. The loss of slave labour has set the rebuilding of the Tunnels of Kaban back by several seasons. But for now it appears that despite Grendel interference, civil war in Axos has been avoided.

Not everyone has prospered however; word is coming from the Chambers of Issyk of a violent coup that has seen the former Grand Ilarch overthrown and executed along with their immediate family. The new Grand Ilarch Andronicus is believed to be a moderate, critical of Issyk's involvement with the Grendel, and much more interested in mending fences with the other citadels.

Orcs

  • Axos has instituted draconian new laws that carefully define the rights of orcs living in the nation.

As signatories of the Liberty Pact, the Axou recognise orcs, hylje, and daeva as "persons". Coupled with the criminalisation of slavery this has seen a large number of orcs suddenly freed from chains. Given that the Axou had largely been moving away from slavery anyway, there are not that many orc slaves suddenly released from chains - the civil service cautiously estimate no more than ten thousand across the entire nation.

This does not prevent a large number of Axou citizens being extremely concerned about what will happen now that thousands of orc slaves are suddenly released onto the streets of their citadels. The Axou have little exposure to orcs beyond the savage invasions of the Druj and the attacks of ruthless Grendel pirates. Surely, they argue, these orcs will seek to take revenge against the people who enslaved them? The citizens' fear is not without some foundation - some of the slaves are indeed angry about their treatment by their former masters.

Fortunately, Ilarch Maxatious is able to present legislation to the council that addresses the immediate problem. At the same time slavery is made illegal, a set of new laws detailing the status of orcs in Axou society are issued.

While orcs can be citizens, they are not permitted to own property - they can be employed at a business, farm, or mine but they cannot own one. They are absolutely forbidden to learn magic, whether invocations or ritual lores, and may not own magic items of any kind. They cannot hold any political office that would give them authority over a human. They cannot be interred in the catacombs beneath any Axou citadel. They can serve in the army, but only in all-orc units lead by human officers. It is illegal for orcs to carry any weapon larger than a small knife except when they are serving in the military.

At the same time, the vast majority of Axou religious sects have confirmed to their worried congregations that they will not permit orcs to join the priesthood. Many sects, especially those that embrace Vigilance, Purity, and Justice have banned orcs from any participation in their religion ceremonies. A very few - primaily those who honour the Axou versions of Ambition, Prosperity, and the unique spiritual force they term Understanding - appear to be permitting orc congregants. Even there however they mostly insist that orcs remain segregated from human celebrants.

These laws essentially consign orcs to a status of second-class citizen, with little or no recourse to improve their status. At the same time, any orc attempting to leave Axos to the north or west is assumed to be attempting to join the Druj or the Grendel and will be arrested. The situation remains, at best, volatile.

Religious Invitation

  • The Assembly of the Nine has passed a statement of principle with a greater majority inviting Axou priests to visit the Empire.

During the Winter Solstice, Cardinal Hywel Summercrow of the Way raised a statement of principle requesting that the Axou send one or more priests to Anvil in the Spring of 383YE to discuss religion and further mutual understanding. The Assembly of the Nine agreed, and the statement achieved a greater majority.

Unfortunately, the Axou have not responded. While the people of the Empire know about the statement, and a few Axou merchants are likely heard of it, the words of the Assembly of the Nine are primarily distributed to congregations in the Empire, and there are few if any followers of the Way in Axos. The civil service stress that this kind of diplomatic exchange can only bear fruit if it takes place as part of communication carried out by the Ambassador, engaging with their opposite number in Axos.

Obviously, the priests of Axos have spoken to the Empire before - both during the Symposium of Revelation and during a "lecture tour" of several prominent places of learning. While the latter may have appeared to happen as a result of a statement of principle; not only did this involve a greater majority of the general assembly issuing the invitation - and appropriate reassurances - it arose from following discussion between the diplomats of the two nations.

A lone priest, associated with the Black Sails Quay in Longbeach, on being appraised of the invitation, apparently chuckled humourlessly and remarked "I think we all understand each other perfectly well" before declining to be responsible for passing news of the Nine's statement to the leaders of her sect.

Trade with Axos

  • Imperial fleets visiting Kantor experience a -2 rank penalty to their production this season.

While civil war has been prevented, there has still been significant disruption in Axos. The sudden release of slaves, and the need for many wealthy concerns to reorganise themselves, means that the economy is in turmoil. This has had an immediate consequence on foreign trade, meaning there are significantly fewer goods available to purchase on the docks at Kantor.

Ilarch Maxatious has appealed to Imperial traders not to let this disruption discourage them from coming to the Towers of Kantor, and reassures captains that the chaos will certainly be short lived. Civil servants associated with the Imperial embassy in Axos are a little more cautious - they anticipate that the situation will be better following the Summer Solstice but trade with Axos will not resume normal levels until after the Autumn Equinox at the very earliest.

Iron Confederacy

  • The Empire has placed sanctions on merchants from the Iron Confederacy: the Suranni have responded with an embargo on Imperial goods. Further details of their impact can be found here
  • Further information about the liao trade and appeals from Suranni "freedom fighters" can be found here
  • The Imperial Ambassador to the Iron Confederacy is Lord Colwynn de Rondell of Dawn

As the new year dawns, relations with the Iron Confederacy are somewhat mixed, to put it mildly. The Imperial Senate ratified a treaty prepared by Lord de Rondell that included clauses disseminating Imperial maps of Suranni and Grendel territory, and criminalising trade of liao. At the same time, however, ratification of the Liberty Pact meant the imposition of sanctions against Suranni merchants and goods - and this would likely have been enough to disruption diplomatic relations by itself.

Unfortunately, the sanctions are not the only reason the Iron Confederacy is angry with the Empire.

The Border Incident

  • The Iron Confederacy is demanding that Imperial citizens accused of murdering a band of templars face Suranni justice.

Jeanne de Hibernet, the High priest of Ezra the Smith, claims that during the Winter Solstice Imperial citizens murdered nearly a dozen Suranni templars pursuing a dangerous fugitive. The criminal in question, Jean Valois was allegedly fleeing north from Arbonne into the Brass Coast. Ten templars were murdered, leaving only one to escape with their life. That templar provided sworn testimony including descriptions of several of the attackers. By all accounts, the Dukes are furious and the priesthood of Arav the Judge are said to be bordering on the apoplectic.

Among the Suranni, the usual punishment for assaulting a templar is death by beheading. If the templar dies of their wounds, punishment escalates to death by slow hanging. In an event such as this where multiple templars are murdered by an organised group, the guilty party is tortured until they name all their associates, then subjected to a slow death by chains.

Jeanne de Hibernet, diplomatic advisor to the Dukes of the Iron Confederacy, formally demands that all those involved in this attack against the very heart of the Iron Confederacy be handed over immediately for trial and execution - especially the leader of the assassins who was identified as Mordecai of Zephaniah's Lament but also all of their accomplices. Likewise, she demands that the criminal Jean Valois, believed to be hiding somewhere in the Empire, be returned to the Iron Confederacy, also for trial and execution. If the Empire cannot locate Valois, then they must give permission for Suranni templars to cross the border and seek him out themselves.

The Iron Confederacy is dispatching High Templar de Rolo to Anvil to ensure that the Empire understands the seriousness of these demands. They are expected to arrive on Friday evening and anticipate that the Imperial Chief Magistrate Stanislav Karkovich will make himself available to help them apprehend the murderers. While the tone of Jeanne de Hibernet's messages to the Empire is cold, recent events suggest that she does not anticipate it being too difficult to reach a resolution to this matter.

Trade with the Iron Confederacy

  • The Iron Confederacy has closed its borders to Imperial merchants and goods.
  • The port of Robec has been closed to Imperial traders

As of the start of the Spring Equinox, the port of Robec is closed to Imperial ships, as is the land border from the southern Brass Coast. Imperial sanctions still permit Suranni merchants to come north, but the increased tariff on their goods and the fact it is currently illegal to bring Imperial produce into the Confederacy, has seen the number of merchants drop to a trickle.

Jeanne de Hibernet claims that the Imperial Senate has applied their sanctions without any explanation or prior warning. This is an unacceptable insult to the Iron Confederacy, the latest in a long line of such barbs. Furthermore, she makes it clear that there will be no discussion of lifting the embargo until a satisfactory conclusion to the Zephania's Lament affair is achieved.

Faraden

Relations with the Faraden have taken a serious knock following the ratification of the Liberty Pact and the institution of sanctions against the western nation. Trade is the life-blood of the Faraden, and the Empire is one of their most significant trading partners. Faraden traders already pay a tithe to the Jotun for the right to pass through the Lasambrian Hills to reach the Empire. On top of that, they find they must now pay additional tariffs to engage in trade. To say the merchant families are angry would be an understatement. Especially as they were given no warning about these tariffs, nor invited to the summit where their imposition was discussed.

There is no sea-trade with Faraden, given their cultural distaste for ships and sailors, but traders from the west are a common sight across the Empire especially since the completion of the Blood Red Roads and the Sunset Roads in Segura. Now for the first time in years the number of Faraden visiting the Empire has shown a sharp decline.

Faraden Dissatisfaction

  • The Faraden are angry about the way the sanctions were imposed.

There has always been a divide in Faraden society when it comes to the Empire. Many of their priestly families believe the Empire looks down on them, denigrating their faith at every term. Since the powerful Ogudai warrior family turned against the Empire over the maiming of one of their beloved heroes, the voice of the anti-Imperial faction has grown in strength. Now, a number of merchants and magicians are likely to swell the number of families calling for fewer ties with the Empire and more focus on trade to the east.

Lady Saretta of the Red Moon, the primary advisor to the Lord of the Five Winds on matters Imperial, has requested further information. She has also asked for an official statement from the Ambassador explaining why the Faraden were not involved in these trade talks, nor given a chance to make their own case for exemption. Indeed, it seems the Faraden believe they should be exempt from these sanctions as they do not recognise orcs as people, and their human slaves are primarily debt slaves working through sentences for criminal activity.

Smuggling

  • There are rumours of smugglers avoiding tariffs along the western borders of the Brass Coast.

The land border with Faraden stretches along the west of Segura. With parts of the territory in the hands of the Lasambrian Jotun, especially the main route through Anduz, Faraden traders are reportedly seeking different routes into the Empire through northern Segura and Kahraman. There is some concern that by doing so they are actively avoiding the tariffs - essentially smuggling their goods into the Empire without paying for the privilege. At the moment the magistrates and civil service are stretched trying to implement the new tariffs (and appraise opportunities to mitigate their impact) so there is no evidence that smuggling is taking place - but if it is it may require additional measures from the Imperial Senate should they wish to put a stop to it.

Trade with Faraden

  • Faraden merchants are providing no metal to the public auction, but nor are they purchasing all the iridescent gloaming.

There is no direct trade, but a number of businesses especially in the Brass Coast trade with their merchants or send caravans west to visit the Faraden. With sanctions in place the number of merchants is beginning to decline. As an immediate consequence, the additional metals they were presenting to the Public auction are no longer available. On the other hand, this also means that they have been purchasing less iridescent gloaming and so the amount available on the Public auction has returned to normal for now.

Sumaah Republic

  • The Sumaah Republic are signatories to the Liberty pact.
  • Further details of the current relations between the Imperial Synod and the Houses of Virtue can be found here.
  • The Sumaah Republic still has possession of the Imperial Crown
  • The Ambassador to the Sumaah Republic is the Highborn Accalon of Felix's Watch

The Sumaah Republic are signatories to the Liberty Pact. The port of Zemeh has been opened once more to Imperial fleet captains. For the moment, however, that seems to be as far as relations between the Republic and the Empire have improved. There are still Sumaah missionaries in the Empire, and in the wider world, preaching that the Imperial Synod has lost its way and that Timoj is the true heart of the faith. The House of the People still holds the stolen Imperial Crown and shows little inclination to return it. While the two nations are united in their commitment to end slavery, they are still at odds in almost every other arena.

News from Sumaah suggests that the House of the People has not imposed sanctions on slaving nations but have rather gone straight to complete embargo of goods and merchants.

During the Winter Solstice, a mandate was upheld by the General assembly that sought to reach an understanding with the Houses of Virtue. Details of the outcome can be found here.

Finally, the Sumaah capital of Timoj is now open to pilgrims from across the known world. You can read more about it here.

Statements of Principle

  • News has reached the Empire of several judgements in the Sumaah Synod

As with the Imperial Synod, the Houses of Virtue in the Sumaah Republic wields its power through judgements. When a statement achieves a greater majority, it has an impact beyond the Houses themselves. Lacking a General assembly, and with no National Assemblies, the statements of the Houses of Virtue (the equivalent of the Virtue assemblies) are spread throughout their nation and beyond. Over the last three months, there have been a number of judgements concerning the Empire that have achieved the requisite level of support.

The House of Pride and the House of Prosperity both raised and supported statements of principle commending Eska Crowspeaker; Ianthe of the Suns of Couros, Timov of Sumaah, and Elspeth of the Commonwealth for their work in creating the Liberty Pact. It was the opinion of the House that their actions have the potential to bring many souls to salvation, and may provide an enduring legacy.

Likewise, the House of Ambition commends the Empire as a whole for taking the lead on the Liberty Pact. They acknowleged that while the Republic and the Empire do not see eye-to-eye on many topics, the ambitious nature of their plan could not be denied. There is some talk that the House of the People (the Sumaah equivalent to the Senate) should investigate more ways that the evil of slavery may be directly combated in conjunction with the other signatories of the Pact.

Trade with Zemeh

  • The port of Zemeh is open to Imperial fleet captains.

Imperial captains are free to trade with Zemeh. As Sumaah is a signatory to the Liberty Pact, there are no penalties for doing so.

Commonwealth

By all accounts, the Commonwealth have enthusiastically embraced the Liberty Pact. They have immediately instituted sanctions against the slaving nations, both the major powers of Asavea and Jarm, and their smaller neighbours who have not abandoned the barbaric practice. There has apparently been a great deal of discussion regarding the definition of personhood and the true meaning of slavery among the Universities - there is certainly a movement to attempt to define the qualities that make someone a person rather than relying on an arbitrary "list" of species considered to have those qualities.

One potential impact of the Liberty Pact is that it has caused relations with Jarm to deteriorate faster than expected, and brought the Lantir question to a head. The Commonwealth is putting pressure on all its neighbours to join the Pact, and that includes Lantir. Obviously, this has outraged the magician faction, and if Lantir does accept the Pact then war appears inevitable.

Trade with the Commonwealth

While the sanctions have hurt some merchants in the Commonwealth as they have in the Empire, their impact has been somewhat mitigated. They were already in place with regard to goods and services from the Principalities of Jarm, for example, and few of the nations neighbouring the Commonwealth still practice slavery. Going further, many of the larger guilds enthusiastically embrace the Liberty Pact - and that includes embracing merchants from other signatory nations.

Any Imperial fleet visiting Leerdam during the coming season will receive an additional dose of Bladeroot as a sign of this enthusiasm. Likewise, captains visiting Volkavaar will receive an additional vial of Artisan's Oil. It is not certain how long this enthusiasm will last, but it is anticipated to persist for at least a year.

Sarcophan Delves

Relations with the Sarcophan Delves as a whole remain positive. While they did not sign the Liberty Pact, their representative was apparently a keen supporter. Shortly after the Winter Solstice, the bedelaar huisbaas outlawed the slave trade, formally becoming a non-slaving nation. Since then they have been enthusiastically seeking out new trade opportunities in the wake of the pact. These opportunities are discussed in detail here.

Trade with the Delves

  • Trade between the Empire and Sarcophan remains healthy
  • The Kruidenkenner herbalists of Sarcophan are bringing additional herbs to trade at Anvil via the public auction

Imperial captains continue to be welcomed in the Delves. Indeed, thanks to the sanctions enacted by the Liberty Pact nations against Asavea and Jarm, the Delves is seeing more trade than ever before.

With the Kruidenkenner continuing to seek opportunities to invest in the Empire, there continues to be a marked increase in the amounts of all five herbs being auctioned through the public auction at Anvil, especially Imperial Roseweald.

Asavea

  • The Imperial Senate has applied sanctions to Asavean traders dealing with the Empire; the Nemorian Plenum has responded with sanctions of its own on Imperial merchants. Further details of their impact can be found here
  • The works of the Asavean Architect Almodin Oktístis have been denounced. You can learn more about this here.
  • Civil war continues to rage in northern Asavea.
  • The Imperial Ambassador to Asavea is Jarrigk Orzel of Dawn

Relations between the Empire and Asavea are somewhat inconsistent and increasingly complicated. The Plenum is furious that the Empire has imposed sanctions on Asavea, without warning or discussion. They have in turn placed sanctions of its own on Imperial merchants and goods. At the same time, the presence of the Temple of the Black Bull in Feroz and the Temple of the Seven Virtues in Nemoria continue to have a positive impact on trade between the two nations.

However, the Nemorians continue to solicit Imperial mercenaries to come to Asavea to help them put down the secessionist uprising in Marracoss and Emphedor. Indeed, it appears that a significant number of military commanders took their soldiers west to support the Nemorian efforts. While the Plenum may be angry about the tariffs, they are very pleased to see the Empire supporting their military efforts.

Contrarywise, it has not escaped their notice that a number of Imperial ship captains have been sailing to Fort Maragladia to provide weapons and other supplies to the rebel forces.

Inconsistent, and complicated, indeed.

Mercenaries

  • During the Winter Solstice the Senate voted to allow Imperial mercenaries to fight on either side of the Asavean uprising
  • The opportunity to support or suppress the insurrection in Asavea remains available to Imperial military units

While they are angry with the Empire over trade, the Nemorian Plenum is happy to receive mercenaries from the Empire. They appear unaware of any Imperials aiding the rebels. In the coming season, the option to suppress Asavean uprising continues to be available to Imperial military captains. The wages remain at their previous level. A standard military unit would receive a payment of 11 crowns for taking the action, but a more powerful unit would receive an additional 52 rings for each rank of upgrade or enchantment.

While it is not clear if any Imperial captains supported the rebels, they are still desperate for assistance from the Empire. Military captains can choose to support Asavean uprising. A standard military unit would receive a payment of 7 crowns for taking the action, but a more powerful unit would receive an additional 36 rings for each rank of upgrade or enchantment.

As before, in both cases citizens fighting in Asavea will receive a special report about the situation there. A list of citizens traveling to Asavea with their military units will be provided to the Cardinal of Vigilance and the Throne, though it is impossible to differentiate between citizens aiding the rebels and citizens supporting the Nemorian government.

Trade with the Rebels

  • Sanctions mean every Imperial fleet trading with Nemoria suffers a penalty of 2 ranks to production.
  • The opportunity to trade with Fort Maragladia and Timor continues to be available. Details can be found here

The two rebel ports of Fort Maragladia and Timor continue to be available to Imperial fleet captains, but their situation is becoming increasingly desperate.

Fort Maragladia received extensive support from Imperial captains engaging in war profiteering - nearly three dozen fleets in all visited the beleaguered fortification and came away with holds groaning with art treasures and other valuables. As a consequence their supply of ready cash and valuables is beginning to run low. In the coming season any Imperial captain trading with Fort Maragladia will receive 10 crowns for a basic fleet, and a further 40 rings for each rank of upgrade or enchantment.

By contrast, almost no Imperial captains visited the quieter port of Timor in Emphedor. As such, a basic fleet trading with Timor will continue to receive 7 crowns, with each rank of upgrade or enchantment adding a further 28 rings to this amount. The rewards are clearly much lower than at Maragladia, even though the benefit to the rebels of ships visiting Timor is much greater.

As before, if more than a handful of fleets visit either of these ports it will be impossible to conceal this Imperial support for the rebels from the Asavean government.

Trade with Nemoria

  • Imperial fleets trading with Nemoria receive a -2 rank penalty to their production.
  • Every Imperial Fleet trading with Nemoria receives an additional measure of iridescent gloaming and an additional ingot of orichalcum

The sanctions imposed by both the Empire and the Asavean government mean that any fleet captain trading with Nemoria itself suffers a significant loss of profit. The loss is perhaps not as severe as it could be, thanks to the positive influence of the two temples - one in Feroz and one in Nemoria - that still stand as a symbol of cooperation and mutual respect between the people of the two nations. For the moment, at least.

Principalities of Jarm

The House of Princes does not seem particularly surprised to discover that the Imperial Senate has applied sanctions to trade between their two nations. On the surface their response is comparatively calm; they quickly institute sanctions of their own against Imperial merchants and goods. In actuality, it is reasonably clear that the majority of the Magician-Princes are seething.

In a formal letter to the Empire, Lord-Magister Anton Trescher, who advises the House of Princes on matters of trade and Imperial diplomacy, expresses regret that it has come to this. He goes on to suggest that it is a shame the Empire has chosen to side with the warlike Commonwealth after years of excellent relations between Jarm and the Empire. As a formal notification from the House of Princes, Lord Trescher makes it clear that the Principalities of Jarm have absolutely no interest in restructuring their entire sprawling and diverse nation in line with the prejudices of the Empire and the Commonwealth. The Empire would do well to learn from the lesson of Rigia.

"But it is not too late," he writes at the end of his short communication. "The Empire can still step back from the brink of losing the friendship of the House of Princes if it wishes."

The White Seed

  • Sanctions have increased the cost of white seed throughout the Empire.

As a consequence of the sanctions placed by the Empire on imports of Jarmish goods, the cost of the white seed that allows Imperial magicians to improve the production of their mana sites has increased by around a fifth.

Trade with Jarm

  • Any Imperial fleet trading with Vezak or Kavor has a -2 rank penalty on their production.
  • The eastern port of Rigia remains closed to Imperial shipping.

Imperial fleets visiting Jarm are struck by not one but two sets of tariffs; one imposed by the House of Princes on Imperial goods brought to Jarm, and then again when they attempt to bring Jarmish goods back to the Empire.

Further Reading