The whole world
"What's this?" he asked.
Alemenus of Kantor glanced down.
"Water pipe. Our hosts already pump water up from the river - with some slight changes we pump it into these pipes through the furnace room here and then along these sections of the wall here and then when someone turns the wheel here it pours boiling hot water all down the sides of the wall. You need to watch the pipes, mind, but it's pretty effective. Plus, if you have the time you can arrange the sluices so that this bit drops down and channels the water so it pours out - like the spout of a kettle - and catches the third and fourth ranks as well. They're often not expecting it."
"Uh huh." Matthijs took another bite of spiced chocolate and chewed thoughfully.
"And this bit?"
The Axou looked a little shifty.
"Well I'm not sure whether to include that bit. Back home there'd be... uh... some defensive creatures there."
"Flesh hungry unliving horrors?" Matthijs arched an eyebrow. The Axou shrugged noncommitally.
"Something like that. It's hard to tell what will annoy the Imperials, so I'm not sure if I shouldn't just just fill them with rocks and bits of metal and dump them on the heads of anyone who gets past the sally ports. Blocks the passages as well which is a nice bonus. Especially if you work a couple of curses into the stone, but that gets expensive obviously. Much easier just to let your ancestors eat... oh hang on we're starting."
The Axos Ambassador's attention had been captured by movement at the other end of the room. He deftly rolled up the plans he and his countrpart from Sarcophan had been discussing and slipped them into a bone white tube of probably ivory. The gentle hubbub of conversation quieted down. Eyes began to turn to the stage toward the western end of the ballroom. The sun was just setting, painting the great windows behind a thousand shades of red and pink. The Jarmish ambassador had stepped up onto the platform, resplendent in a florid crimson gown, bedecked in golden chains hung with priceless rubies and polished tempest jade. The music became quieter and quieter but did not entirely cease.
Cionek Rangalla, the new Ambassador from Jarm, threw one arm wide and began to declaim in a loud, formal manner.
"Imperial friends, honoured guests, we face a common threat...."
"Here we go," said Matthjis. He took a sip of his wine as the Ambassador continued to talk. "I wonder if this is going to end with her telling the Imperials that her government has set fire to another one of their few friends in Jarm?"The Axou ambassador choked on his canape, attracting disapproving glances from the Urizen nearby. Matthjis slapped him on the back and offered to refill his glass as the younger man shook his head, barely concealing his own expression of amusement.
- 1 Overview
- 2 The Variable Price of Liao
- 3 Principalities of Jarm
- 4 Sumaah Republic
- 5 Asavean Archipelago
- 6 Faraden
- 7 Citadels of Axos
- 8 Sarcophan Delves
- 9 Iron Confederacy
- 10 Commonwealth
- 11 An Opportunity in Cargo
The Empire maintains diplomatic relations with several foreign nations - both the powerful nations that lie many weeks away by ship, and the Empire's independent neighbours. These relationships are subject to change based on the actions of Imperial citizens - the information here is correct as of the start of the Summit. As always with the trade winds, and with foreign diplomacy in general, the situation remains subject to change.
The Variable Price of Liao
- Demand for liao has increased, raising the price once again to 18 rings a dose
Demand for liao in other nations remains high. The establishment of the temple of the Seven Virtues in Nemoria has driven the price up, of course, but it is not the only source of increased demand. Both Faraden merchants keen to acquire the substance for use by their own priests and Sarcophan traders looking to exploit liao's more narcotic qualities have driven the price up. Imperial citizens who lead congregations continue to be able to sell their liao for 18 rings each dose instead of the recent rate of 12 rings per dose.
Principalities of Jarm
- The southern port of Vezak will supply an additional crystal mana to each visiting ship.
- The northern port of Kavor provides no additional materials.
- The eastern port of Rigia is closed to Imperial shipping.
A fortnight after the Winter Solstice, Lord-Magister Anton Trescher of the Hidden Hook announces to the House of Princes that Eriktho, the Ambassador from Jarm to the Empire has stepped down from her position to focus more time on her magical studies. Three days later, Magician-Prince Barbara Radz of Rigia is dead. Details are sketchy at this time, but it appears that she has been overthrown in a violent coup, apparently lead by members of her own alliance. The port of Rigia has been closed to Imperial ships - ostensibly due to the need to rebuild following damage caused during brief but extremely violent clashes between factions of the Eastern alliance. The Imperial embassy in Rigia has been damaged during the fighting.
While the majority of the civil servants stationed at the embassy are reported to be alive and well, and taking sanctuary in Vezak as guests of Anton Trescher, several are still unaccounted for. Lord-Magister Trescher, speaking on behalf of the House of Princes, offers sincere apologies for the damage to the Imperial embassy and requests that as compensation the Empire keep the ritual text of the Immaculate Architect that was on loan to the Conclave. He strongly encourages the magicians of the Empire to add the ritual to Imperial Lore. Further, he is at great pains to reassure Imperial citizens that despite the chaos in Rigia, they are still very much welcome in Vezak and Kavor, and the entire House of Princes hopes that this unfortunate internal development will not sour relations with the Principalities.
The Ambassador to Jarm, Oswi Twiceburned, is likely to know more about what has happened. Any Imperial captain visiting Rigia will have found the city in turmoil, with armed confrontations between rival factions openly fighting in the streets and several buildings damaged by fire.
(Note: Even though the port at Rigia is currently closed, the Synod mandate discouraging trade with Vezak and Kavor still stands. Imperial captains trading with either of these ports receive two fewer crystal mana than they might normally expect.)
- Sumaah remains at war with the Empire; a ceasefire is in place until the start of the Summer Solstice.
- The port of Zemeh remains closed.
- A diplomatic contingent is visiting Anvil to discuss permanent cessation of hostilities.
A Sumaah diplomat made a short visit to the Empire during the Winter Solstice to discover if there was any chance of finding common ground between the Empire and the Republic. This season, a small formal delegation is due to visit Anvil to discuss resuming diplomatic relations. They are expected to arrive on Friday evening around nine o'clock.
So far the "war" with Sumaah has been entirely one-sided, primarily restricted to undermining Imperial religious presence overseas. Given the distances involved, it is unlikely the Sumaah will ever arrive on Imperial shores with war vessels and armies, but that does not mean they cannot make life difficult for the Empire. There are plenty of traditionalist followers of the Way in the world who find the Sumaah orthodoxy appealing - there have already been problems in Jarm for example where Sumaah is increasingly seen as the "true" home of the faith rather than the Empire. Similarly, the Sumaah have a much closer connection to the pilgrims of the Way among the satrapies and rebel slaves of the Asavean Archipelago than the Empire does. While they might not, for example, funnel aid to the orcs the way some other nations might if relations collapse catastrophically, they do not lack the ability to create obstacles for the Empire on the international stage.
There may be wider considerations as well - Sumaah is, after all, the only nation that produces liao in volumes approaching that of the Empire. Ships visiting Zemeh returned with this valuable spiritual substance alongside more mundane supplies of dragonbone, orichalcum; and the herb that Imperials know as Imperial Roseweald. The Imperial Synod can always use a little more liao, after all.
- Every Imperial Fleet trading with Nemoria receives an additional measure of iridescent gloaming and an additional ingot of orichalcum
- Imperial fleets no longer receive herbs from Asavea; a standard fleet trading with Nemoria will receive 36 rings rather than 2 Cerulean Mazzarine.
Imperial relations with Asavea remain stable and reasonably positive. Imperial fleet captains are eagerly received. A liason to the Temple of the Way in Nemoria has been appointed and preliminary reports suggest that the temple is proving popular - although wiser heads realise that this is most likely due to with the novelty of the "new" religion more than anything spiritual. There is some minor opposition to the temple - the Way is closely associated with slaves and rebels and the despised Sumaah Republic in the minds of many traditionalists - but critics restrict themselves to angry speeches in the Plenum rather than any direct action.
Unrest continues to grow among some of the Asavean satrapies - the subject nations ruled by the Plenum. While none are in open revolt, the use of Asavean legions to root out sedition and suppress discord seems to be adding fuel to the coming fire. The Plenum will not stand for open rebellion, and the situation is likely to turn ugly. Missionaries from the Sumaah Republic continue to be blamed - although there has been some attempt to link the growing dissatisfaction to the Temple of the Way in Nemoria, only the most hysterical give such rumours any credence.
The Asavean high priest of the war god - who is also the Master of Military Procurement - has announced that until the current crisis is over they are enforcing certain legal powers related to securing support for the armies. For Imperial captains this means that it is now extremely difficult to acquire healing herbs in Nemoria - there is no True Vervain or Cerulean Mazzarine available for trade to foreign captains. Rather, captains visiting the port have the opportunity to sell herbs and acquire luxury goods. This means that any fleet visiting Nemoria will receive money rather than herbs. A standard fleet trading with Asavea will receive 36 rings rather than 2 doses of Cerulean Mazzarine; upgraded fleets will receive commensurately more money proportionate to the herbs they would otherwise have received.
The Master of Military Procurement has also expressed an interest in acquiring significant stocks of healing herbs - especially Bladeroot and Marrowort. Marrowort and bladeroot both grow poorly in Nemoria. Marrowort is a valuable healing herb that can be used to treat any number of life-threatening conditions, while bladeroot is a required component for such valuable potions as ossean solution, tranquil nostrum, philtre of strength, and oakenhide tonic. The Master of Military Procurement is not interested in dealing with individual merchants and anyone interested in exploiting this opportunity should probably speak to the Imperial Ambassador to Asavea, Jarrigk Wegwandelaar, who will know more. Merchants from the Sarcophan Delves are believed to have already opened negotiations - herbs are their speciality after all - but a narrow window exists during which there may be an opportunity for Imperial citizens to profit.
Almodin Oktístis, the Asavean priest of the Builder god, has been in the Empire for just over a year. In that time he has overseen a number of commissions for the Senate: the Pallas Docks, several great works, a fortification in Varushka, and even the newly completed runeforge near Cargo. In return he receives a regular stipend from the Imperial Senate.
Having settled in a little, he continues to enthusiastically embrace every opportunity to design large structures that the Empire offers. He is, in fact, prepared to go further. At the moment he is overseeing two new commissions each season, but that is the limit of what he can manage by himself. However, if the Imperial Senate invites some more of his fellows from Nemoria to come to the empire, he believes that together they could oversee a third commission each season (provided of course it was worth their time - nothing costing less than 30 wains. He might even be persuaded to waive the stipend he is currenlty being paid by the Senate - but only in return for a little quid-pro-quo.
The Asavean builder-priests would require leave to construct a temple of Baddu the Builder in some central location (ideally Casinea, Astolat, Miaren, or Temeschwar). There would be no cost to the Empire for materials or labour, and it would count against the limit of commissions the Senate could announce each season. Once the temple were complete, which would take a single season, the Senate would enjoy the additional commissioning ability.
There is one major fly in the ointment. A fortnight after making his announcement about bringing in additional priests Almodin Oktístis learns that the fortification he built in Karsk, Aleksandra's Watch, has been "defiled by philistines" with the full approval of the Senate. The sensitive engineer is apparently beside himself with grief and fury, and for a few days it looks like he might quit the Empire in a rage. He calms down however, but sends a clipped letter to the civil service warning them that designing structures for the Empire is a profoundly spiritual act for a devout priest of Baddu. If another of the structures he has built is defiled in this way not only will he not encourage more of his fellows to move here but he will immediately quit the Empire. If this happens, not only will the Senate immediately lose their additional commission opportunities, but any construction he has been retained to oversee that has not been completed will require another motion from the senate to continue building and count against that season's construction tally.
(Note: The wind of fortune in which the Asavean architect appeared initially said he would only work on certain types of commission. This has been expanded to include anything listed on the commission page except armies and navies.)
In order to improve understanding between the Empire and Faraden, the Synod invites Faraden priests to visit the Empire and discuss their understanding of the Way with Imperial Priests in good standing with the Synod. This invitation is made with the understanding that Faraden will make similar allowances for Imperial Priests in Faraden. Discussion would only be allowed at the specific places of learning listed below. Additionally, if a purpose-built structure were constructed for religious debate in the Empire, future debate would be consolidated at that location.
Places of learning: the School of Epistemology, League; Seminary of the Hall of the White Ravens, Skarsind; Pickham, Marches; Towers of Anduz, Brass Coast; Chantry of the Silver Skull, Highguard; Legion’s Rookery, Skarsind; Meagenstede Hall, Wintermark; Spire of the Waxing Sun; Magisterium of Antearein, Urizen.All religious debate in the Empire would be conducted in the same manner as the recent Symposium in Winter 380YEMazo i Zabala i Erigo, Winter 381YE, General assembly, upheld 991-97
- The completion of a trading enclave in Upwold brings prosperity to the Marcher territory.
- The number of Faraden merchants visiting the Empire is on the rise thanks in part to the enclave, and in part to the Blood Red Roads.
Relations with the Faraden remain balanced between broadly positive relations with the merchant families and parts of the priesthood, while the remainder of the priests and many of the military families remain critical of the Empire. Following the success of Moonwater Hall in Upwold, work has begun on the planned extension of the Blood Red Roads that will link Anduz in Segura with Madruga. Once complete, this project will allow Faraden merchants easy access to almost every corner of the Empire.
During the Winter Solstice, the Synod passed a Statement of Principle inviting Faraden priests to visit the Empire and discuss their understanding of the Way with Imperial priests - on the understanding that the same opportunity be extended to priests of the Empire. The statement has encountered a mixed reception in Faraden, however. While a significant number of priests supported the judgement, it did not achieve a greater majority. As such, for now, the Faraden have declined the invitation and likewise have not issued an invitation of their own. Some priests may visit the Empire to speak of their religion, and a few missionaries may continue to visit Faraden, but no formal exchange of theology will take place.
The presence of Faraden traders, especially in the western Empire, continues to see an increased amount of orichalcum and weltsilver on the public auction. Furthermore a small coterie of Faraden merchants have asked the civil service to handle the auction of several wains of mithril, transported through Jotun lands at some expense; as long as their returns remain significant they will continue to auction their metal through the Bourse. A side effect of increased Faraden trade, however, has been a drop in the amount of Iridescent Gloaming available through the public auction. As the Gloaming Road indicates, Imperial Iridescent Gloaming continues to be in high demand in Faraden thanks to the decimation of their own crops by a recent blight.
Citadels of Axos
- Axos remains friendly to the Empire.
Relations with Axos remain largely positive. Of the four active citadels, only Issyk continues to express anti-Imperial sentiment. Captains visiting the Towers of Kantor receive a reasonably warm welcome. The long term plan, endorsed by the Imperial Synod, to encourage the abolition of slavery continues to be supported by Imperial captains. However, there is some concern at the higher levels of Axou society about attempts to enforce Imperial culture on their people - how far will this "Imperialisation" go, they ask? While slavery is by no means a common practice, there are a number of very wealthy Ilarchs whose prosperity is based on the use of slavery. They stand to lose a significant portion of their wealth if the Grand Ilarchs decide to outlaw slavery - and between them these wealthy merchants possess considerable political influence.
There are also reports that at the same time the Empire is encouraging total abolitionism, canny traders among the Grendel orcs are offering cheap slaves to wealthy patrons in the Chambers of Issyk, extolling the virtues of workers that do not need to be paid and warning of the economic disaster that could occur if the Imperial agenda is carried through. The Grand Ilarchs of Kantor, Maykop, and Ipotavo are unlikely to embrace full abolition of slavery in the face of opposition from Issyk - they have no interest in potentially starting a civil war over this issue. Especially not when it is clear that the economic benefits of making slavery illegal are entirely dependent on the largesse of their Imperial neighbours.
The issue of slavery in Axos is largely one of economics - most of the Axou regard slavery as tawdry and uncivilised but the grim reality is that the nation has a great many slaves who work the mines and quarries that provide the the Axou with their wealth. It is near certain that a number of powerful and influential families would face ruin if the Axos simply outlawed slavery and freed all their slaves. Moreover the threat to reverse the position in the five years subsequent to that is inconceivable. Slaves are expensive and difficult to come by - they couldn't easily get new slaves to replace they ones they had freed.
In light of the Imperial interest, as demonstrated by the fleets turning up to trade at Kantor, the civil service push the Ilarch to put a firm credible proposal on the table. There is some reluctance on their part but eventually they do come up with a definitive proposal. If the Empire are able to sustain the recent trading levels for the following two seasons, then the Grand Ilarchs will agree to pass a law forbidding the purchase or sales of slaves and outlawing any act of enslavement. This won't free their current slaves of course - and people born to slaves would legally remain slaves but it does mean they will not acquire any new slaves and could no longer trade slaves between themselves. If those laws were passed the Axou lands would see a consistent gradual decline in the numbers of slaves as the practice withered away over the next few decades. Furthermore, if the Empire continued this current level of trade for a further five years, then the Grand Ilarchs would be prepared to free all slaves and outlaw slavery completely in Axos. Obviously this is a long time scale - but the costs involved for the Axos are huge and the risks to them are significant.
However if the Empire and its allies were prepared to make significant investments in Axos - provided the much needed raw materials to create the infrastructure needed to replace the lost slaves - then the Grand Ilarchs would be prepared to act sooner, and more decisively. Reading between the lines, they are talking about mithril, weirwood, and white granite. Significant amounts of these materials; a hard number has not been publicly discussed but estimations of a hundred wains of each would not be inconceivable.
- Situation continues normal
Imperial relations with the Sarcophan Delves remain politely friendly as long as discussions remain focused around purely mercantile affairs. Their ships are regular visitors to the ports along the Bay of Catazar and their traders cheerfully travel far inland to secure the best deals.
Their open agreement with the Grendel to ensure their ships remain unmolested continues to cause some discontent in ports along the Bay of Catazar, as does the open secret that their merchants are just as keen to trade with the Broken Shore as with the Empire. The Sarcophan continue to largely ignore their critics. They are pragmatic merchants and traders; they largely do not care where their goods come from and they are happy to buy from and sell to anyone who treats fairly with them. The Empire's problems with their neighbours are their own affair.
- The port of Robec is now open to the Empire
As well as developments in Feroz, relations with the Iron Confederacy appear to be improving. The port of Robec has been opened to Imperial captains, and a small number have taken advantage of this to visit the Iron Confederacy. The Suranni are cautious around Imperial citizens, and the welcome received by traders from the Empire is cool if not actually chilly. Reagrdless, the merchants seem happy enough to trade green iron, ambergelt, Cerulean Mazzarine and assorted luxury goods (hardwoods, stone, fine jewellery and the like) with visiting captains.
Despite the potential increase in trade between the two nations, the High Priest of the Smith, Jeanne de Hibernat, has made several statements cautioning Imperial visitors against bringing contraband into the Iron Confederacy. She makes sweeping statements that attempts by Imperials to bring narcotics, crystal mana, or blasphemous philosophy to the Confederacy will see the port closed immediately. Likewise if any Imperial citizen is found guilty of espionage, or of aiding the enemies of the Suranni people while in the Iron Confederacy, the port will be closed until appropriate reparations are made. She does not seem to be restricting her concerns to the port of Robec, either - any evidence that the Empire is undermining Suranni law will be met with sanctions.
The civil service have cautioned that it is currently not a crime for an Imperial citizen to trade narcotics - which the Suranni consider to include liao - or crystal mana to Iron Confederacy citizens. Likewise, it is not illegal for priests to preach the Way in Robec or elsewhere. The Imperial Senate could institute laws criminalising these actions of course, which would send a clear instruction to the civil service to intervene in preventing such trade when they were aware of it.
The Regario Dossier already has spies in the port of Robec, as of the Senate decision of 379YE. The Suranni are believed to be unaware of that situation at present - the statements issued by Jeanne de Hibernat appear to form a clear warning rather than any direct evidence - but if they did become aware of Imperial activities there then there would definitely be some diplomatic repercussions. (OOC Note: In line with our guidelines about secrecy, the Iron Confederacy will only uncover the presence of the Regario Dossier agents as a result of player action during an event. Likewise we will not run a plot in which NPC citizens are trading contraband to the Iron Confederacy without the involvement of player characters.)
As always the Imperial ambassador to the Iron Confederacy, Zadkiel de Coeurdefer, may know more.
Relations with the Commonwealth have not worsened. They continue to be distant yet polite. While the Empire continues to extend favoured-trader status to the Principalities of Jarm, it is unlikely to be easy to improve this state of affairs. Imperial captains are still welcome at Leerdam and Volkavaar, at least for the time being.
An Opportunity in Cargo
- Three nations have an interest in aiding in the defence of Cargo
The Druj have conquered Zenith in Urizen, and among other places now directly threaten the region of Limus in Redoubt. Among the spires and valleys of Redoubt is one of the jewels of the Empire - the town of Cargo. In recent years, the Empire has not only build three embassies there (for Axos, the Principalities of Jarm, and the Sarcophan Delves) but also the valuable Concordium Dock that brings white granite from the Delves, and the Pallas Docks that bring weirwood from Jarm.
Cargo is vulnerable, and this makes the ambassadors and foreign merchants who live there nervous. Independently, each embassy has made formal inquiries about the defence of Cargo - and made offers of assistance to their hosts.
"And in summary, I remain your gracious friend, blah blah blah, Matthijs de Ligt etc etc etc..." He waited a few minutes for his aide to painstakingly ink out his name and formal titles and then snatched up the parchment to read it through. "Excellent... good... yes... good." Having confirmed everything was as dictated he handed it back to the aide "Send it to Huisabaas Vandersar as quickly as possible".
His aide received the letter carefully curling and rolling it before preparing the wax seal. Her tell was obvious immediately, that subtle way she repeated each motion once more than necessary. The poor girl was as transparent as glass to a skilled student of human nature like Matthijs. "You don't approve Mariëlle - what are you concerned about?"
Mariëlle bit her lip nervously - she was always getting things wrong - but Matthijs encouraged her to ask questions anyway. Said it was the only way she would learn. After a moment's pause she finally found her voice "It just seems... expensive.... costly." She waited for him to respond but it was clear from his silence that he wanted more so finally she said "Couldn't we just buy the Druj off? Surely it would be much cheaper than this?"
"Good sentiment Mari - bad strategy. Think it through. We pay the Druj to leave us alone... and then what? Assuming they keep their word - assuming - they sweep down from the mountains, slaughter every Urizeni they can catch and burn every building of significance to the ground. All except our embassy... left mysteriously unharmed, an island of calm in a sea of Druj destruction. Now how do you imagine our hosts might view that act of startling serendipity? How would our Jarmish and Axou friends react when their ambassadors are on Druj spears... while you and I are sipping on spiced cocoa? Can you imagine what the Sumaash would say if they knew we'd paid bloody money to people like the Druj?"
"Ah... I hadn't thought of that... I'll send the letter immediately ambassador."
"That would be best Mariëlle, thank you".
The Wealth of Sarcophan
- Matthijs de Ligt, current Ambassador from Sarcophan, offers cheap white granite to protect Cargo.
The Sarcophan Delves are wealthy. Their entire nation is based on trade and the flow of money and goods. They are also as practical as only a nation with any strong draughir bloodlines can be. They seem convinced the Empire will see the wisdom of building fortifications in Cargo and they are prepared to pay their share. Specifically, they will make a large shipment of white granite available to the Imperial engineers at a bargain price - on the understanding that work will begin on the fortifications immediately. The docks already exist to bring this material to Cargo, and the Bedelaar Huisabaas Vandersar has already confirmed his vessels will carry the stone to the Empire.
Provided the fortification of Cargo is commissioned during the Spring Equinox, the Ambassador to the Sarcophan Delves Thanmir Hrafnar, will be empowered to purchase up to 40 wains of white granite at an absolute bargain price of 23 crowns a wain. If the Senate chooses to commission a larger fortification, the Sarcophan Ambassador is confident that more white granite could be made available, but that would be a matter for the Imperial Ambassador to determine. The fortification must be built at Cargo however - building it elsewhere in Limus or Redoubt will not be good enough.
The Builders of Axos
- Alemenus of Kantor, currently serving as Ambassador to the Empire, has suggestions for an Axou-style fortification to protect Cargo.
The Axou also have significant amounts of white granite, and their Ambassador is confident that if their Imperial counterpart Tarquinius of Ankarien approaches the Ilarch Maxatious of the Towers of Kantor (who advises the Grand Ilarchs on matterrs of trade and foreign diplomacy) some arrangement might be made. More importantly, the ambassador casually mentions that as an idle exercise last year they arranged plans for a fortification in the Axou style to protect the settlement from attackers. They are quite happy to make the plans available to the Empire.
Unlike Imperial fortifications, Axou castles and forts include extensive provisions for injuring and killing attacking soldiers rather than just protecting the settlement itself. The fortification the Ambassador from Axos proposes would cost 80 wains of white granite, 40 wains of mithril, and 240 crowns, but would inflict half again as many casualties on any attacking army as a construction of similar size as long as the Axou were free to offer their assistance to the garrison. Indeed, the Ambasador suggests that if the Senate wants a larger version of the structure they are more than happy to work out how to enlarge it to be an even more effective deterrent if Tarquinius requests it.
The Magic of Jarm
- Cionek Rangalla, the new Jarmish Ambassador, offers magical assistance should the Empire act to protect the embassies.
The previous Jarmish Ambassador, Eriktho of Auricspire, stepped down during the Winter Solstice. Her replacement pro tem is a corpulent woman of remarkable appetite who tells everyone she meets that she expects to be recalled at any moment. She has, however, brought several members of her family with her. She seems less concerned than either her opposite numbers from Sarcophan or the Axos about a potential Druj attack, but then out of the blue she throws a large banquet inviting representatives of all the local spires - and several of the refugee magicians camped outside the walls of the town. In a rambling but passionate speech at the banquet, she absolutely commits herself and the resources of her embassy to the protection of Cargo if the orcs attack. She is very vague about what form this defence might take in practical terms, but she is crystal clear on one matter. If the Senate begins work on a fortification to protect Cargo, the Jarmish magicians will use their magic to speed the process. However long it might take to build, she say emphatically, it will take half as long. It doesn't matter if they build a disappointing little castle or a grand citadel on the scale of the Castle of Thorns; whether they build a nice wall or the maniacal deathtrap the Axos ambassador suggests. The amount of time it takes will be half what the Empire might expect.
The Unpredictable Druj
There is of course no certainty the Druj will press on into Redoubt. If they do, however, they are likely to begin their assault in Limus and that puts Cargo at risk. If the Druj treat the town the same way they have dealt the other settlements they have captured in Zenith, then they will without a doubt destroy the embassies and both sets of docks, inflicting a serious blow to Imperial diplomacy (and trade). They might not come... but even if they do not, a fortification at Cargo might still be a wise and vigilant investment. There are more threats than the Druj, after all - Limus is no stranger to organised bands of orcs who attack without warning - and there is more in Limus than just the embassies. The new runeforge, for example, is literally only a short walk down the road from Cargo towards Necopolis, and it is no more immune to fire than the embassies and the docks.