Little Light.jpg
Where there is darkness...

A Flickering Light

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A little over three years ago the Druj swept out of the forests of Lustri to begin the conquest of Zenith. Out of the Sarangrave they came, and one by one the spires went dark. The Highborn armies held them at Proceris for six months, but then the disastrous destruction of the Golden Cascade saw the tide turn and the last Imperial soldiers forced to abandon the territory. Three long years of darkness and despair ensued - but even that darkness was not absolute. There were moments of light and hope. The Urizen know that no matter how bleak the shadows may seem, they will always ultimately fall before the light.

Sometimes it is easier to curse the darkness that to light that light, however. After an abortive first attempt, the Empire has managed to establish a precarious presence in Zenith, but that might change at any moment. The Druj seem absolutely set on ensuring that Zenith remains their twisted playground. In the months leading to the Spring Equinox, they held their ground, preventing the Empire from liberating Clypion. Imperial heroes won a significant victory during the Equinox, venturing through the Sentinel Gate to prevent the orcs poisoning the ruined marshes at the heart of the territory. Now the Imperial armies need to try and capitalise on what the heroes have achieved. And try they do.

Citadel Guard, we have pushed our way into Zenith, we are here and we are not leaving until Zenith is ours once again. We will use our wisdom to avoid the Druj traps. We will show our loyalty to our fellow citizens that are suffering and we will take pride in reclaiming our land.

Nicassia Avicia of Phoenix Reach, General of the Citadel Guard

While the Valiant Pegasus, the Wolves of War, and the Iron Helms are needed elsewhere, they are replaced by the Towerjacks and by the Fist of the Mountain. The latter marches across the entire breadth of the Empire from Kallavesa, empowered by Autumn magic to find the best path to bring them to Zenith in time to join the attack. With the arrival of the warriors of Wintermark, there are nearly forty-thousand Imperial soldiers in Zenith, including nearly ten thousand warriors from units fighting under the spired banner of the Citadel Guard. These warbands are effortlessly folded into the strategy of the sentinels alongside whom they fight - Autumn magic ensures that they are bound together into a seamless whole greater than the sum of the parts. The Granite Pillar, the Towerjacks, and the Seventh Wave are also supported by valuable Imperial magic. The soldiers of all three armies fight with the Clarity of the Master Strategist, allowing them to make and execute strategic and tactical plans more effectively whether individually or in unison with their fellows.

The People of Urizen need YOU, Eastern Sky. Let us prove to them that Dawn has not abandoned them and that our loyalty to them as fellow Imperials runs deep. I, your new General, will be marching by your side from now until my final day. Death to the Druj!

Dame Aurum De Castellan, General of the Eastern Sky

It's not the only thing that binds the Imperial forces together. There is an almost subtle aura of grim camaraderie between the soldiers of the five nations who fight in Zenith this season. Perhaps it is the influence of these enchantments; perhaps it is the orders of the generals that remind their soldiers of the bonds that tie them to their fellow Imperials; perhaps it is the unwavering gaze of the Three Watchers; perhaps it is the inspirational virtue of the Granite Pillar and the Seventh Wave; perhaps it is a reaction to the painful anniversary of the Druj invasion. Perhaps it is some combination of these things. Whatever it is, for the first time in several years, there is something new stirring in Zenith despite the smothering despair. A spark kindles in the darkness; a fragile hope blossoms in the barren soil among the mountains of Zenith. Fragile indeed, in the face of the relentless hatred of the Druj and their foul miasma.

Smothering Darkness

There may be forty thousand Imperial soldiers fighting to free Zenith, but there are an equal number of orc warriors here. Bound by the magic of the Citadel Guard, the Druj have chosen to fight rather than retreat into the Sarangrave. Those who were trapped here are joined by further orc troops, marching out of the dark forests of the north-east. They seem to want nothing less than the absolute destruction of the Imperial armies, and to rout of all those they cannot slaughter back into Morrow.

We are one Empire. Our siblings in Urizen bleed and suffer. We march to stand at their side, as virtue guides us. March in Pride as the Eastern Sky before us. Shields to the front, step to contact.

Kindra Edasdottir, General of the Fist of the Mountains

The Rivers of Life flow through Zenith - any wound that is not fatal will be healed overnight - but that does nothing to quell the reckless fury of the Druj. At the forefront of the Druj counterattack are those under the banner of the Poison Crane, whose warriors take every opportunity to engage in wanton bloodshed. They leave the matter of actually driving the Empire out of Clypion to others; such considerations are secondary to their goal of murdering as many Imperial soldiers as possible.

They are supported in their crimson endeavour by the skirmishers of the Hidden Widow and the Deadly Blade, who take every opportunity to set up ambushes, feints, and traps that lure Imperial soldiers into deadly situations. They are encountered everywhere, distributing poisoned weapons to their allies and employing spears doused in Serpenttooth blade venom to deadly effect. The wounds these warriors inflict rapidly turn sour and septic in spite of the wellspring of healing power that infuses the territory. After the first few engagements, the seers of Urizen report that it seems these two Druj armies are under the effect of a Spring magic enchantment that empowers them to spread pestilence and suffering. The waters may burgeon with life, but that only serves to blunt the effectiveness of their magic; the Empire is lucky they are not facing these armies under more normal circumstances - or worse trying to fight them while the Rivers Run Red.

Towerjacks, once again we try to drive the Druj from Imperial territory. Guided by the Clarity of the master strategist we will steadily move into Clypion and if possible Iteri. Show the people of Zenith we stand with them against the Druj. Steel guard our bodies, virtue guard our souls.

Natalia 'The Falcon' Barossa, General of the Towerjacks

The rest of the Druj forces are a little more cautious, although they also possess deadly allies. As well as the Druj themselves, there are the tormented souls of former Imperial heroes now trapped in undying bondage by the malice of the buruk tepel. They sow a particular terror among even the bravest - everyone who encounters them cannot help but fear that the same unspeakable fate might befall them.

The Druj have woven their dark magic in western Zenith, raising their enchanted fortifications over Lustri and Proceris. Scouts report that the former at least is familiar; the woods are dark and deep and rich with Spring magic that seeks to devour the enemies of the Druj. The enchantment in Proceris, however, is something else. The Imperial heroes stopped the main thrust of the Druj plan, but they have woven malign magic into the marshes, and the enchanted fortification they have raised there is a terror indeed. In the days after the Spring Equinox, a great creaking labyrinth of sigil-studded rotting wood and mud and coiling mist rose around the dripping ruins of the Golden Cascade. The scouts speak fearfully of the things that dwell there - wide-eyed orc-like creatures cloaked in living shadow, able to move unseen through the fog, and whose touch sears like a blazing brand; venomous octopuses the size of small dogs that seem equally at home in water and air and seem to have an insatiable lust for warm flesh; and worse things in the heart of the labyrinth.

Sisters, brothers, siblings, take Pride! Your courage and Loyalty in standing by the citadel guard to protect the people and souls of Urizen has been recognised. The Urizen and Loyalty Assemblies call for other to join in this Virtuous Crusade for the salvation of Zenith. The Druj are many, rattled and angry. The will make us bleed. Our example will echo long after our deaths. Look to the West and see proof of your inspiration. Wintermark comes from across the Empire to join us. Urizen does not stand alone and neither do we. For Virtue! For Urizen! For the Empire!

Asenath, General of the Granite Pillar

The Mountains Run Red

Two nearly equally matched forces, with magic on both sides, both fighting for control of Clypion. The irresistible force of the Eastern Sky at the fore, the thunderous flame of the Highborn armies flanking them, the Empire throws itself into battle. Time and again the Empire and the Druj clash. The lines shift to and fro across the foothills of Clypion. At first the Druj have the advantage, but then the Fist of the Mountain join the fray and the Empire pushes the orcs back. Then the Druj reinforcements arrive from deeper into the Mallum, and the tide shifts the other way and Imperial troops lose the ground they have taken. In the end, though, despite all their malign sorcery and all their hate, the Druj are pushed back. The Empire - only just, only by the slightest margin - gains the upper hand. The Druj are pushed east, and the Empire is able to hold the ruined and battered spires it liberates.

There are few people left in Clypion, in this high battlefield, but those people who do remain, who have survived the tender mercies of the Druj domination, finally come out of hiding. Inspired by the virtuous auras created by Aurum of the Nightingale Temple and buoyed up by the Imperial victory, they take up arms and flock to join the Citadel Guard. They are joined by many former refugees, eager to return to Zenith to fight alongside the Citadel Guard to free their homes. The light spreads, the embers quicken in more hearths. The darkness is driven back...

Seventh Wave, will bring Virtuous Crusade alongside our siblings from the other Imperial Nations. May we bring swift death to the Druj.

Cuth, General of the Seventh Wave

But only a little. For all their conviction, the Imperial armies are unable to complete the liberation of Clypion. The eastern hills, the last handful of spires - the pillars that anchor the will-sapping miasma of fear - these remain in the hands of the Druj as the Summer Solstice approaches. The Druj are more interested in murder than protecting ground, but the effect is similar. The Empire is able to consolidate their position but they still do not have the beach head in Zenith. There is a very real possibility that the Druj might still rally, and drive them back again into Morrow.

It is a galling thought, but what victory the Empire has secured was in part ceded to them by the Druj strategy. If the orcs had been less focused on slaughter, and had instead fought to defend the territory - or worse yet, had adopted tactics specifically designed to drive the Imperial armies out of Clypion - then the heroes of the Empire might have been denied the progress they did manage to make. A progress that has been dearly bought. The Rivers of Life have greatly reduced the number of humans and orcs slain, but more than two-and-a-half thousand Imperial soldiers have still laid down their lives in Zenith this season fighting the Druj. The orcs themselves have lost far fewer of their own warriors - but only because the Empire's focus was on defeating rather than slaughtering them.

On the other hand, the Druj have been driven closer to losing their stranglehold on Clypion. The Empire has beaten them, stopped them reclaiming the mountains, and pushed them back. That has not gone unnoticed. Not by the soldiers of the Empire, not by those flocking to the banner of the Citadel Guard, and not by the remaining Urizen left under the heel of the Druj.

The Trods of Zenith
Shortly after the Spring Equinox, the tattered trods of Zenith finally collapse. While it has been extremely difficult for stridings to get into the Druj-dominated territory to walk them, they should have held together for at least another few years. It seems likely that someone or something associated with the Druj has taken action to tear them down. Some vates speculate that it might be a side-effect of whatever magic the ghulai used in Proceris to reinforce their magical fortifications; others wonder if the Twisted Basilisk's ravaging of mana sites and regio in the lead up to the Spring Equinox might be to blame; while a few mutter darkly about the twisted magicians from the Palace of the Sleepers rumoured to be in Zenith. A few point to Kavor Eyepeel, the wicked buruk tepel responsible for the creation of the tormented souls, and opine that this is all a part of their sinister master plan... whatever that might turn out to be.

Regardless, the fact remains that the trods have unravelled and the Dance of Navarr and Thorn will need to be performed once more. The presence of the Citadel Guard means it might be possible to restore the trods from Anvil during the coming summit. Some vates are not convinced this is the wisest course of action - if the loss of the trods is due to enemy action, what is to stop them tearing them down as soon as the Navarr replace them? Or anyone else of course - one consequence of the Dance of Navarr and Thorn being part of Imperial Lore is that anyone can use the ritual to create trods, not just the Navarr vates, so the decision might theoretically be taken out of their hands.

Game Information

The Empire has made a small amount of headway in Zenith; they are now nine-tenths of the way toward capturing Clypion. If they are able to take the region, Iteri will be isolated from the rest of the territory and it will be harder for the Druj to defend it.

Over the course of the last few months, the Citadel Guard received significant reinforcements thanks to the mandate upheld by the Urizen Assembly. Their numbers have been bolstered by 1,000 additional troops. If the Citadel Guard remain on campaign here until Zenith is retaken and no more land in the territory is under the control of the Druj, then the new recruits will gladly serve. If the Citadel Guard leaves Zenith to fight elsewhere, or if the attack falters and is repulsed, then those Urizeni recruits will desert. The new troops would abandon their positions and the Citadel Guard would immediately lose a thousand points of effective strength. If that reduction took the remaining army strength below a thousand, then the army would break. You can read more about this opportunity in a little thing done perfectly.

There is a Druj miasma covering Zenith that weakens the Imperial ability to claim territory. In addition to that, Zenith still has the Terrorized quality; the tormented spirits that the Druj have created from Urizen and Highborn captives continue to use their supernatural strength to slaughter the weak and exploit every vulnerability they can identify. As a consequence any Imperial army in Zenith that drops to 1,500 strength (or 2,250 if large) will disband. The only way to permanently remove this quality would be to deal with the threat presented by the tormented souls, which will require an opportunity - most likely a battle. Finally, as a consequence of Druj magic wielded in Zenith during the Spring Equinox, the region of Proceris has now permanently gained the Nightwoven quality; any Dripping Echoes of the Fen enchantment that targets that region is significantly enhanced in strength as long as the quality remains.

During the Spring Equinox there were two opportunities for Imperial heroes to deal with the hungry dead lose in the territory. At Lutum Descent the Empire were successful in destroying the temporary regio and preventing the winter spirits from threatening Imperial forces. Unfortunately, they were less successful at Kyrinian Spring, meaning that the Druj were able to deal with the threat of winter spirits attacking their own troops and leaving a dark pit of hungry dead in the depths of Clypion. Between the Rivers of Life, the vigilance of the Imperial armies, and the cunning of the Tainted Basilisk's magicians, this means that while there were certainly unliving horrors in Zenith during the last few seasons, the problem has largely been dealt with - apart of course from those clustered at the Kyrinian Spring.

Let It Shine (Battle)

  • A major conjunction has been identified in Zenith
  • The Druj Miasma is in place across the battlefield

The Imperial prognosticators have identified a major conjunction that will reach Clypion during the Summer Solstice. They believe it offers an opportunity to claim the beach head in Zenith, as well as a chance to capitalise on the renewed hope of the Urizeni people - inspiring the spires of Redoubt and Morrow. Along with former Zenith refugees, a clear victory over the Druj might create an opening for those citizens to offer significant assistance in driving the remaining Druj out of Iteri - potentially leaving Imperial forces free to address the daunting challenge of conquering ruined Proceris.

Key Objective

  • Kill Karvor Eyepeel to collapse the salient at Mount Ossa and seize a beachhead in Zenith
  • The Druj leader will be attempting to sneak across the battlefield

The Empire is finally gaining the upper hand in Zenith, in the face of fierce opposition from the Druj. With the forces on either side so evenly matched, progress is murderously slow, but on the eve of the Summer Solstice, an opportunity has arisen for the Empire to turn the tide of the campaign in their favour.

Karvor Eyepeel, the loathsome Buruk Tepel, has been personally responsible for much of the callous brutality inflicted on the territory. Granted control of the territory by the leaders of the Druj, he has turned Zenith into a hellscape, raising the miasma pillars and exacting agonizing deaths from any Imperials who dare resist his rule to create an army of tortured souls. Unusually for the Druj, he has been frequently in the field, inspecting his forces and issuing orders, apparently unwilling to leave such things to his subordinates.

It seems the Buruk Tepel has been overconfident. He gave his generals orders to push the Empire back out of Zenith. Outwitted by General Nicassia the Citadel Guard pulled back while their allies held firm. The resulting pincer movement has trapped the advancing Druj in a dangerous salient in the shadow of Mount Ossa. The plan was for the Empire to attack the Druj position on all sides and wpie them out, but it is now clear that the strategy has succeeded beyond all expectations, with the Druj leader trapped in the salient along with his personal retinue.

Having finally realized the danger he is in, Karvor is attempting to reach the safety of the Druj lines, but the only avenue of escape from the salient is to flee through Tempest Woods, a Druj-held partially-wooded ravine that connects the salient back to the relative safety of Proceris. If the Imperial heroes take advantage of the conjunction to travel to the ravine they have an opportunity to intercept and kill the Buruk Tepel when he appears.

Killing Karvor will cause of the collapse of the salient at Mount Ossa, forcing the Druj to rout and abandon their positions in the Clypion Hills. The Imperial armies will take the region, seizing a beachhead and cutting Zenith in two. The magicians of the Citadel Guard point out that seizing Clypion in this fashion during the summit will raise the possibility of Imperial magicians conjuring a Frozen Citadel of Cathan Canae in the rugged hills, and using the fortification and magical garrison to further improve their situation in Zenith.

Vital Supplies

  • Kill Karvor's tepel and loot the precious herbs to weaken the Druj forces in Iteri
  • The tepel will be attempting to sneak across the battlefield, they will be carrying a bag or satchel containing herbs and potions
  • Each tepel killed means the Empire will need one less victory point to take Iteri if they attack next season

The successful advance by the Imperial armies into Clypion this season has threatened the Druj supplies to their garrisons and forces in Iteri. Desperate to hold on to the region, Karvor is being accompanied by a half-a-dozen tepel, each of whom is carrying potions and herbs that will be essential to reinforce and resupply the Druj defending the western region in the coming season.

The tepel are trying to flee the collapsing salient with Karvor, but they won't be fleeing in one group, since the valuable resources they carry are at risk of being robbed if brought together in one spot. Instead, they will have split up and will be attempting to make their way through the Imperial lines back to the relative safety of the Druj lines.

All Imperial heroes taking the battlefield should keep an eye out for any Druj carrying large sacks, satchels or bags. Killing the tepel who carry them will weaken the Druj leadership, and provide valuable potions and herbs to the Imperial heroes who claim them. Crucially denying these essential supplies to the Druj will weaken their forces. For every tepel that the Empire are able to kill and loot, they will require one less victory point to take Iteri if they attack there in the coming season. If the Empire doesn't attack Iteri next season, then any benefits from this opportunity will be lost.

Like Karvor, the tepel will be looking to sneak across the battlefield avoiding any conflict with Imperial forces.

Battlefield Assistance

  • Zakalwe has sent three heralds who can help the Empire locate Karvor Eyepeel on the battlefield
  • If the Empire can capture the two mine workings and escort one herald to each at the same time then they will be use their magic to signal Karvor's position

Tempest Woods probably takes its name from the extensive seams of Tempest Jade located in the enclosing mountains. Before the arrival of the Druj, there were two simple mine workings located in the valley, with tunnels extending from each, deep into the surrounding rock. The tunnels were excavated by ushabti and are much too small for a human or an orc to enter or pass through. However, their continued existence creates a way for one of Urizen's eternal allies, Zakalwe, the General of Day, to offer aid in the coming battle if the Military Council chose this option.

Karvor Eyepeel won't be present immediately when the battle starts, he is due to arrive some time after the fighting would begin. When he does appear, he is very unlikely to do anything foolish to give himself away on the battlefield. Karvor is a herbalist, he is not a powerful warrior - defeating him won't be difficult for Imperial heroes - but finding him might well be - especially in the dense woods. He won't care how many Druj die, his only concern will be to escape the battlefield as safely as possible.

To help the Empire locate Karvor, the Master Strategist stands ready to send three heralds to the battlefield. The entrance to each of the two mineworkings is protected by a crude wooden stockade, simple defensive structures that are currently held by the Druj. If the Empire can capture these two stockades and successfully escort one herald to both locations, then the heralds will be able to invoke the power of Zakalwe to help the Empire.

To achieve this magic, there will need to be one herald in each stockade at the same time. If that happens, then Zakalwe will be able to extend his senses through the fine network of tunnels that criss-cross the valley floor. With his abilities boosted by the presence of the Tempest Jade, he will be able to sense the arrival of Karvor Eyepeel as soon as he appears in the valley and, even more importantly, give a signal to indicate his position to the waiting Imperial forces.

The information presented here details the background and objectives for one or more conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate. Details relating to the day, timing, gate size, and any additional information will be summarised on the Wind of War page for the event.

Stolen Knowledge (Conjunction)

  • The minions of Cintra Blackstaff have looted a valuable magical text from the Spire of Sleet in Proceris
  • There is a chance to recover the text before Cintra Blackstaff is able to get their hands on it
  • The Grandmaster of the Unfettered Mind is charged with ensuring that the Empire must stay at the apex of magical knowledge
  • The Druj Miasma is in place throughout the area

The Spire of Sleet is often considered to be cursed, caught as it is in an ever-circling wall of winds that pummel the area with frozen rain, snow and sleet. The impossible climate is an unavoidable, if unpleasant, consequence of the unique Spring regio that is found here. Those who studied at the Spire suffered the miserable conditions for a chance to master powerful Spring magics. The spire was abandoned when Proceris fell to the Druj and has been largely unoccupied since then.

Recently a band of vikari in service of a ghulai from the Sarangrave called Cintra Blackstaff have been observed searching the abandoned spire looking for something. The war scouts report they have appear to have located the magical text they were clearly looking for and are now bearing it back to the Palace of the Sleepers in Kroll. They have identified a conjunction to Sleetstorm Pass, a wooded valley in south-western Lustri that the Druj will be passing through on their way back to the Sarangrave. This creates an opportunity to intercept the group and attempt to recover the stolen magical text before it falls into the hands of Blackstaff and is presumably gone for good.

The Conclave order of the Unfettered Mind are dedicated to expanding the body of magical lore practised through the Empire and ensuring that the Empire stays ahead of its rivals. As a result, the Grandmaster of the Order has been asked to arrange for a group of Imperial heroes to successfully intercept the Druj and recover the text so that a decision can be taken on what to do with it next.

Success and failure: Recovering the magical text the vikari are carrying will deny it to the Druj, and depending on what exactly it is they have stolen from the ruins of the Spire of Sleet, may prove valuable or interesting to Imperial magicians.

Stolen History (Conjunction)

  • Khelver, one of the Druj champions and a veteran of the war in Casinea has been spotted in Proceris
  • Years ago, Khelver stole a priceless Highborn relic, the Amulet of Truth, from the Tabernacle museum in Reikos
  • The Curator of the White City Museum has been asked to seize this opportunity to recover this piece of Highborn history
  • The Druj Miasma is in place throughout the area

Khelver is something of a legend among the Druj. Stories claim he is seven foot tall and so powerful he can stare down a Buruk Tepel. While all of that is clearly fanciful, he is notorious not only amongst the Druj but also with more than a few of the Highborn survivors of the Druj campaign in Reikos. It was Khelver who led the attack on the Tabernacle museum in Reikos where he personally slew Reuben of Tabernacle, the last curator of the museum. As his reward Khelver claimed the Amulet of Truth, an ancient necklace that as bequeathed to the Museum by the heirs of Ruth and was worn by the curators since the museum was founded.

The Museum was destroyed by the Druj, and even the remains are long gone now,. The ruins were swallowed up by Llofir's magic and replaced with fresh new growth. The White City Museum was established after the attack on Tabernacle to serve as a repository for items recovered from the ruins by heroic Imperial action.

Imperial prognosticators have discovered a conjunction to the ruins of the Golden Cascade, the last known location of Khelver and his warband. Determined not to let a chance to recover the Amulet of Truth slip away, the survivors of Tabernacle have asked the Curator of the White City Museum to arrange for a group of Imperial Heroes to use the conjunction to hunt down and kill Khelver, and it at all possible, recover the Amulet. Regaining the lost amulet will not be easy. By all accounts Khelver is as strong enough to cleave a warrior in two with every blow of his sword. Regardless the survivors believe the Curator is the best person to wear the necklace, to honour Reuben and the others who fell to Khelver's cruelty, and to continue the traditions of the Tabernacle museum.

Success and failure: If Khelver were killed and the Amulet of Truth recovered it would be a huge boost to the morale of the Highborn armies campaigning in Zenith, reinforcing the success of the Virtuous Crusades they have pursued these last two seasons. If Khelver is slain, then news of the victory coupled with the virtuous example of the Highborn will mean that both the Granite Pillar and the Seventh Wave will gain the unbreakable quality regardless of whether the mandate described in To ride the earth is upheld, and each army will retain that protection from disbanding until they are destroyed or they leave Zenith. If the Amulet of Truth is recovered and made an official part of the regalia of office for the Curator of the White City Museum it would also permanently increase the benefits provided by the sinecure by one liao and 2 votes each season to reflect the improve prominence and importance of the Museum.

If Khelver is not dealt with, he and his warband will move again and there is no guarantee there will be a future opportunity to confront them during the Zenith campaign.

Stranger Things

  • Both of these conjunctions are classed as combat unlikely or contained indicating that combat is as unlikely as it is at Anvil or it has been planned to take place in a contained location.
  • The encounters involve walking to the start in the woods and moving around at a slow pace, but no need to run.

Not every conjunction to Zenith this season leads to a direct confrontation with the Druj. There appear to be two large groups of Druj prisoners-of-war that have been effectively abandoned in Zenith but nobody knows why. The groups not armed, but each group seems to be in some way afflicted and despite being freed the prisoners have taken no steps to move from where they were abandoned and rejoin the Imperial Armies. There are rumours that Ghulai Vilewrither and his bodyguard have been seen on the trods in Clypion which has raised concerns that these groups of prisoners may represent a new horror the Druj are planning to inflict on Imperial souls - perhaps even something on the scale of the Reikos flux.

The prognosticators have identified two conjunctions that will allow Imperial heroes to reach areas of Clypion where these former prisoners can be found. There do not appear to be any Druj in the area - the locations are some distance behind the front lines. Given they reports it is likely that physics will be needed to assess these people, and not impossible that priests trained in liao ceremonies, magicians who have mastered healing or divination magics, and apothecaries familiar with many different forms of potion might be able to help determine what fate has befallen them. If these people present a threat it will need to be dealt with - and if not it will be important to know exactly what has been done to them so that they can be given the best help to recover. If that is even possible.

Allied Groves (Conjunction)

  • A group of captured Imperial soldiers need help
  • The Alliance in Exile have asked the Grandmaster of the Order of the Silver Chalice to arrange for a suitable party to investigate the camp
  • The Druj Miasma is in place throughout the area

The first conjunction leads to the Allied Groves, one of the woodlands nestled in the foothills that were once home to the Clypion Alliance. The people there bear the garb and colours of most of the Imperial Armies that fought in Zenith last season. From the reports, the ex-prisoners seem to be both agitated and in pain.

A small group of the Alliance in Exile has come forward to request the aid of the Grandmaster of the Silver Chalice, urging them to collect varied groups with plenty of different areas of expertise. These magicians have come blinking from their dusty books and esoteric theories grumbling that they are tired of everyone thinking them to be unfeeling. The groves were their gardens, and they do not want them used for torture or other Druj tricks.

Success and failure If the prisoners can be saved - or helped along in their journey through the Labyrinth if they are beyond saving - then the magicians of the Alliance are prepared to make a permanent bequest to the vaults of the Silver Chalice, in the shape of 9 random herbs each season for the foreseeable future.

The Grove of the Halls (Conjunction)

  • A group of former Druj prisoners appear to suffer under some kind of malediction
  • Kefry, a war scout from the Mark, has asked the Herbalist of the Hearth to organize a party to save them
  • The Druj Miasma is in place throughout the area

The second conjunction leads to the Grove of the Halls - not far from the former site of the Halls of Knowledge - and things are somewhat different here. Kefry Lanesson, a war scout that was sent to investigate describes the ex-prisoners there as weary, disinterested, even confused - in a way that is disturbing to be around. He makes it very clear that this it was much more than just the Druj miasma that was disturbing him. It is the former prisoners themselves that have unsettled the hardened war scout and left him afeared. As he said in his report "it's not any kind of magic as near as I can tell. These folk were good people of the Mark and yeomen of Dawn and bravos of the League and all the rest just trying to earn their bit of land - its not right that they’re so empty now".

Kefry is determined to get over his fear and help these prisoners, and pledging to meet the Imperial party wherever the portal will open for them, he has sent a plea for the Herbalist of the Hearth to organize a party to travel to his position so that Wintermark can demonstrate what it stands for and how when the Fist of the Mountains fights alongside other armies, all soldiers become a community to be saved.

Success and failure: Some of the Wintermarkers suffering the malaise are from Kronehal in Hahnmark. There are many skilled and prosperous grimnir dwelling there, and they are keen to see to the safety and wellbeing of the folk from their Hall. To that end they have promised a pair of herbs, one true vervain and one other, for every ex-prisoner that can be saved - but only if they are saved. The people of Kronehal are Proud and Ambitious descendants of Sigrid Alvsdottir, one of the legendary heroes of the Mark and they refuse to accept that anyone is beyond saving while they are still alive.