The sack of Sarvos
"I think we've lost them," said Celi. Gill quickly peered back round the corner.
"No they're still coming. Come on!" she set off full-pelt down the alley, leaping athletically over a pile of crates. Celi was right behind her. They had moved not a moment too soon. A half dozen angry orcs rounded the corner behind them. Rough, vicious looking thugs from the Broken Shore in the front and behind them an exceptionally angry looking Grendel. They smashed through the crates, roaring and bellowing imprecations after the two women.
Gill risked another look behind. The orcs were slowly gaining. As they sprinted along a relatively straight alley, Celi unslung her crossbow, and just before turning the next corner spun round, took barely a moment's aim, and let loose. The bolt shattered against the wall near the lead orc, who let out an explosive oath and leapt back.
"That will slow them down," she shouted to Gill who was now a short distance ahead. Her partner slowed her pace to let Celi catch up.
"We don't want to slow them down too much," she muttered.
"Trust me," said Celi winking. "I'm getting them good and angry. We don't want them losing interest."
"After them you idiots!" the Grendel orc clearly did not need much in the way of encouragement. The two women, breath caught, started running again. A few minutes later, they turned left into a dead end.
"Oh no!" shouted Celi dramatically - perhaps a little too dramatically. Gill rolled her eyes.
"Quick - through here!".
They timed their dash through the door to make sure that the orcs got a good look at where they were going. The invaders thundered down the dead-end alley and through the door after them, weapons at the ready.
Well, most of them did. The Grendel leader hung back with his bodyguard - as he had at each of the buildings he had cleared this past week.
"Take them alive if you can!" he shouted through the door after his troops. "I want them to sweat out the last of their days in the mines of Vorlach!"
He turned to his bodyguard and in a quieter voice said "Stay alert - something about this is beginning to ...." he trailed off.
His bodyguard stared blankly ahead, and then dropped to his knees, then crunched down onto the pavement face-first. Six inches of crossbow bolt protruded from between his shoulder blades. The Grendel spun, opening his mouth to shout for assistance, but he barely got time to do more than draw breath before his assailant was on him. With expert skill she smashed his blade out of his hand with her mace, and laid him out with swift blows to the face and gut.
Sabrina caught him as he fell, lowering him to the ground, and then quickly closed and barred the door into the warehouse. Two ropes dropped down on either side of her and she was joined by Gill and Celi. They paused long enough to expertly tug the ropes loose.
"You took your time," said Sabrina as she grabbed the unconcious Grendel. She and Celi supported the orc between them.
"We've got about three minutes to get him under cover," fretted Gill. "If he bleeds out we'll learn nothing, and we'll never find out where they're holding John and the others."
As they fled the scene with the dying orc between them, smoke began to billow out of the high windows of the warehouse.
"There was a lot of merchandise in there," said Celi conversationally. "Even assuming none of the orcs manage to batter one of the doors down, someone somewhere is going to be very angry with us."
Sabrina shrugged as best she could with one arm of a bleeding Grendel captain wrapped round her shoulder."The battlefield is our canvas" she quoted mildly, and despite the seriousness of their situation, all three women burst into laughter.
The Grendel have invaded the southern League city of invaded Sarvos. Grendel ships disgorged thousands of Broken Shore soldiers into the streets of the city. The city is taken by surprise, and armed resistance quickly squashed. With the island of Cigno conquered - the orcs turn their attention to pillaging one of the richest cities in the Empire, if not the world.
For the most part, citizens of the city who do not raise arms against the Grendel are left in reasonable peace. The orcs have publicly declared that anyone who harms one of the invaders will be enslaved and transported to the southern salt mines. Anyone who so much as lays hands on one of the Grendel will be immediately executed, and their families enslaved.
Apart from this draconian martial law, the barbarians appear to be leaving the civilian population to its own devices - for the most part - while they concentrate on denuding the city of its wealth.
The Citizens of Sarvos
While Sarvos has five regions, without doubt it is the city proper that is the most important. The Grendel occupation has significant implications for the citizens of the territory.
Due to the nature of the attack, which happened some distance into the last season, the current production of those resources based in Sarvos is unaffected. However, if the Grendel continue to control Sarvos at the start of downtime then the production of all resources in Sarvos will be halved - as if the territory were completely conquered. The exceptions are the more mobile military units and fleets - these resources instead lose a third of their production or fighting strength (as appropriate).
This prediction assumes that the civilian population of Sarvos continues to at least partially cooperate with their new Grendel overlords - which may not continue to be the case (see below).
It is possible to use ritual magic to conceal some of the wealth of Sarvos from the Grendel - an effect such as the Vale of Shadows can protect a personal resource from the effects of the occupation, allowing it to provide its normal production as long as the enchantment remains.
The Wealth of Sarvos
The Grendel have already looted the Diora University, and the beautiful Capodomus Cathedral, among others. They have looted several centuries-worth of art works, cultural artifacts, money, jewelry, and even statuary. Nowhere is safe - in addition to art galleries, museums, and private collections the wicked barbarians have even broken open the tomb of Empress Giselle - carrying off not only the valuables interred with her but also allegedly breaking open her sarcophagus itself and removing her body. The treasures the orcs pillage being shipped back to the Broken Shore; the impact on this historic League city cannot be over-emphasised.
While this is primarily a blow to the pride of the League, it has also significantly impacted the taxation provided by Sarvos to the Imperial Treasury. Some of this reduction is likely to be permanent, reflecting the effective destruction of vital businesses and congregations, and the loss of citizens to the invasion and the subsequent martial law. The amount of taxation provided will not start to recover until Cigno island is liberated from the Grendel.
The Wrath of Sarvos
At the moment, the civilian population of Sarvos are keeping their heads down. Those who try and stand up to the orcs are either killed, or enslaved. Yet there is also a lot of pride in the city folk; pride in their heritage, and in their city. The Imperial Synod could harness that pride, and with the assistance of the Mayor of Caricomare, encourage the people to rise up against the orc invaders in bloody resistance.
If the League national assembly, or the general assembly of the Synod, call for the people of Sarvos to resist the invaders with a Statement of Principle, then they will rise up. This will require a named priest who would collect 25 doses of liao to spread around the city, creating auras intended to strengthen the virtue of the population. You can learn more about the procedure for enacting a synod opportunity here.
However this statement can only have a significant impact with the public support of the Mayor of Caricomare - as the most public and influential figure in the city proper. The Mayor can express this support in any number of ways - being named in the statement of principle; speaking in the Senate; or even simply expressing their clear support for the uprising to a League egregore. As the title of Mayor is to be re-appointed during the Spring Equinox, this support will only be effective it comes from the person who is Mayor at the end of the summit - which may or may not be Aria Notturno di Sarvos.
The precise effects of armed resistance are hard to predict with any certainty. It is extremely likely that a popular uprising will catch the Grendel off guard, giving ample opportunities to surprise and ambush the orc forces, sabotage their vessels, and inflict perhaps as many as five hundred casualties on the forces occupying Sarvos (both the armies and the naval vessels). The Grendel will certainly retaliate. Along with the loss of life caused by fighting the Grendel, the retaliation is likely to further increase both the short-term loss of production from personal resources and the taxation provided to the Imperial Treasury.
- 25 liao provided to endorse the uprising by Vitória Barossa di Tassato Regario
The Strategies of the Grendel
Despite leaving the majority of the populace to get on with their lives - albeit under martial law - the Grendel are making a special effort to arrest a specific group of people. In between all the pillaging, there are gangs of dour-faced orcs rounding up any builder, architect, or engineer they can find. A bounty has been offered for any information leading to the arrest of such an individual. The captured artisans are being kept under lock-and-key by the invaders and scuttlebutt suggests they are being set to work designing something for the orcs.
At the same time, dozens of civilians have been pressed into labour-gangs, and set to work flattening a significant area near the quayside. There have been reports of a significant number of wagons being brought to this area - wagons full of stone from the destroyed buildings, and from structures ruined during the invasion. One of the early casualties is the partially completed cargo dock at Caricomare - the Grendel foragers have stripped the building site bare, and destroyed the progress that had already been made. There is also some talk of tearing apart the buildings of Caricomare - rebuilt only recently following the devastating storms of 348YE that drowned the low-lying area of the city.
Agents still active in the city believe that the Grendel may be planning to undertake a significant building project on the conquered island.
Any player whose character's personal resource is in Sarvos can choose to roleplay that their resource has been damaged or destroyed by the Grendel.