Through my sails
"The Empire is intransigent," she read slowly. "They understand that it must appear that they are siding with the Commonwealth against us but do not deny that that is what is happening."
Albin mixed vegetables with cream and ate another large mouthful. His hosts had been a little taken aback when he had requested something without meat - but they had not argued. Nobody argued with an agent of the House of Princes if they knew what was good for them. He had spotted them exchanging surprised glances and muttering in a language they assumed he did not speak. He put them out of his mind - what did he care what the staff of a random hostelry thought of him?
"It may be that the rumours are right," he said thoughtfully in between bites. "That the Lord Magister is losing his touch. There have been questions raised in the House as to why he was unable to persuade the Empire not to impose their trade sanctions on us. How he managed to lose preferred trade status with an Empire we know has a never-quenched thirst for magic. And so on"
Maja said nothing - she recognised when her superior was being rhetorical. Instead she flipped over a few pages, skimming quickly the rest of the document. Her stomach rumbled - she had not had time for a meal of her own - but she ignored it as best she could.
"There is some talk of a potential non-aggression pact. Trescher is not especially optimistic. Apparently there is a powerful faction in Imperial politics that wishes us to go to war with the Commonwealth, so that their allies can impose their shared ideals on us."
"I would have hoped their utter failure in Rigia would have dissuaded them from continuing to try and enforce their hegemony on us." said Albin, wiping his mouth with his cloth.
"They will never stop. Their religion forces them to try and impose their will on others, and their fanaticism blinds them to their failures."
Albin cocked an eyebrow disapprovingly. Maja blinked, worried that she had overstepped her mark.
"They are principled," he corrected her. "Idealistic. They are not blind to consequence, they merely believe that we would be better off if we accepted their truth as our own and cannot see why we resist their revelation. We shouldn't mock them for that, though."
"It is a very arrogant attitude, though." said Maja carefully.
"Probably. But it is also laudable in its own way."
He paused then to examine the pastry tray - a profusion of tiny delights from which he selected one, popped it in his mouth, and chewed thoughtfully.
"it is also useful," he said with his mouthful. "As Tarknõustaja says in his Dialects, when your enemy's heart is revealed to you, it becomes that much easier to aim your arrow."
Maja frowned, quizzically. Her superior sighed, shrugged, and ate another little pastry."It is pithier in the original tongue," he said with a sigh. "It means that people who believe things - truly believe things - are much, much easier to manipulate than people who believe nothing."
- 1 Overview
- 2 The Iron Confederacy
- 3 Axos
- 4 Faraden
- 5 Sarcophan Delves
- 6 Asavea
- 7 Sumaah Republic
- 8 Commonwealth and Jarm
- 9 Resolution
The Empire is one of six great powers who wield great influence over the known world. Two of those other nations, the Commonwealth and the Sumaah Republic are allied to the Empire via the Liberty Pact. Two others - the Asavean Archipelago and the Principalities of Jarm are slaving nations, targeted by sanctions by the Pact members. The last nation, the Sarcophan Delves, neither uses slaves nor upholds the Liberty Pact, cherishing the freedom to trade where it wills.
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 agenda. Only Axos is a signatory of the Liberty Pact and the Empire has placed trading sanctions against each of its other neighbours.
There is little constancy in international politics, and the complex interplay of politics and diplomacy can change the relations between nations in an instance. As such, the broad overviews discussed here represent only the state-of-play as it is generally understood at the start of the Summer Solstice.
The 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
- The title of Imperial Ambassador to the Iron Confederacy is currently vacant.
Relations with the Iron Confederacy continue to be poor. Having received no formal explanation from the Empire as to the sanctions applied against Suranni merchants, Jeanne de Hibernet declares that existing embargo of all Imperial trade will continue for the foreseeable future.
Espionage and Executions
A month after the Spring Equinox, ten Imperial citizens living in or visiting the Iron Confederacy - mostly merchants and traders in Robec - are arrested, tried, and executed by the priests of Arav. Following a demand for an explanation from the civil servants staffing the Imperial embassy in Robec, the Suranni government claimed that these citizens were found guilty of espionage. The Iron Confederacy has never made a secret of the fact they will not tolerate spies in their territory.
The ten dead citizens included four Freeborn (Jal i Covas i Erigo, Gorda i Marusa i Riqueza, Lisa i Marusa i Riqueza, and Oon i Ghurayb i Erigo), three League citizens (Maria Caruna di Sarvos and her husband Gillian Caruna di Sarvos, and Brock von Tassato), a Dawnish noble (Ser Flora Du Soleil), a Navarr (Hearc Stormsailor) and a Wintermark ship captain (Jayce Audricsson). As befits convicted Suranni criminals, their bodies have been burned, the ashes returned to the embassy in clay urns.
A fortnight after the executions, some six weeks before the Summer Solstice, there is a sudden flurry of activity around the Suranni embassy in Sarvos. Without explanation, almost the entire diplomatic staff leave the embassy and board a squat Iron Confederacy ship at the Caricomare docks. A week later, at the point where there are serious speculation that the Suranni are about to cut all ties with the Empire, an entirely new staff arrives from the Iron Confederacy including two new ambassadors - Lord Recard du Monet and Lady Anne de Breuil. Their first act as ambassadors to the Empire is to announce that High Priest Jeanne de Hibernet no longer wishes to hear from Imperial citizens. Any magical messengers dispatched to her will be burnt, unopened.
The Dukes of the Iron Confederacy have appointed Baroness Katerine Lavasse of Meore as their representative in matters of Imperial diplomacy. Not very much is known about the Baroness in Imperial circles, beyond the fact that she lives in the Duchy of Chaubrette on the southern coast. What is clear, however, is that she is not a member of the priesthood; there is speculation that by replacing the High Priest of the Smith with a secular appointee the Dukes are seeking a new direction in their relationship with the Empire.
The Border Incident
Following the border incident during the Winter Solstice, the Suranni demanded that all those involved in the murders of a dozen Iron Confederacy templars be handed over to them for trial and execution. They also demanded the extradition of the criminal Jean Valois. The Iron Confederacy sent High Templar de Rolo to Anvil to ensure that the demands of the Dukes were acknowledged. In the end, the Imperial magistrate overseeing the trial declined to hand Imperial citizens over to the Suranni, and instead levied a significant fine on the Highborn murderers.
The Iron Confederacy, needless to say, is not at all happy about this outcome. Almost immediately, Jean de Hibernet declared that this "fine" was an insult to the entire Iron Confederacy. There is no doubt, she said, that Mordecai of Zephaniah's Lament and his accomplices murdered a band of templars pursuing an escaped criminal, and they did so without provocation. The Empire has admitted this by assigning the fine; a fine which indicates that their magistrates consider the murder of Iron Confederacy citizens to be of little account. She has urged the Suranni Dukes to take the hardest possible line against the Empire, and called for an end to diplomatic relations.
The new voice of the Iron Confederacy, Baroness Lavasse, takes a slightly calmer approach. She acknowledges the Empire's decision, and expresses regret that their magistrates chose to exonerate the murderers. She suggests that this indicates that despite both nations having a strong commitment to the rule of law, it is unlikely that the Confederacy and the Empire will ever be able to cooperate in criminal matters and sadly suggests that this spells an end to current discussions about creating a treaty to allow criminals in one nation to be transported to the other to face trial for crimes committed there.
On the other hand, this has clearly brought to the fore the complexities around the border between the southern Brass Coast and the northern Confederacy - no doubt this entire business would have played out very differently had the Highborn murderers realised they were in Suranni territory when they committed their heinous crimes. As a consequence, she is advising the Dukes of the need to secure the northern border of Arbonne (the territory the Empire calls Kalino), and has gently chastised Duke Harold Guiscard for not doing so.
One piece of good news from the Spring Equinox is that, acting on information provided to the Cardinal of Vigilance by the Silent Bell, a major smuggling route transporting liao into the Iron Confederacy via Feroz has been destroyed. During the summit a band of Imperial heroes and militia launched a raid against a criminal stronghold in Afarjasse and, acting on information received, were able to identify the headquarters of the criminal enterprise. A fortnight after the Equinox, Freeborn magistrates and militia raided a parador in Afarjasse and arrested a number of criminals.
Baroness Lavasse has indicated that the Empire's decisive action has been a welcome change to the disinterested approach they have taken to the illegal trade in recent years.
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
The port of Robec remains closed to Imperial ships, as does the land border from the southern Brass Coast. A few Imperial citizens still visit the Confederacy, but they report being closely watched and following the executions at Robec even this trickle has largely dried up. Imperial sanctions still permit Suranni merchants to come north, but the increased tariff on their goods, the fact it is currently illegal to bring Imperial produce into the Confederacy, and the ongoing conflicts in Segura and Feroz means fewer and fewer are making the effort.
The Synod asks Virtuous traders to recognise the great progress Axos has made in outlawing slavery this season. Now is the time for any merchant or fleet captain who had previously refrained from dealing with Axos slavers to reverse their position and announce by their words and deeds "This is a change we wish to see in the world". In particular we call upon traders among the Imperial Orcs to demonstrate their prosperity and to show Axos an alternative to the false expectations they have developed as a result of interacting with the Grendel and Druj.Maximillian, Statement of Principle, Spring Equinox 383YE, Passed with a Greater Majority (1675-201)
- Axos is a signatory to the Liberty Pact.
- The Imperial Ambassador to Axos is Tarquinius Ankarien of Urizen.
The Citadels of Axos are still experiencing significant upheaval following their participation in the Liberty Pact and their decision to formally make slavery a crime and free all their slaves. This has come at a price, however, with draconian laws constraining the role of the freed orc slaves in Axou society. Their attitude to their Imperial neighbours remains positive, however. Even the Chambers of Issyk have softened their previously anti-Empire stance with their replacement of the previous Grand Ilarch.
The Imperial Synod
- The opportunity exists for a mandate to encourage citizens to deepen their trade ties with Axos
During the Summer Solstice, the General Assembly supported a statement of principle by Maximillian that urged citizens to embrace trading opportunities with Axos. This was in response to the appraisal carried out by the civil service that indicated that this might help to grow trade with the nation, reducing the impact of the sanctions. Encouraging merchants and fleet captains to visit Axos will help, but in the view of the civil service this approach will be most effective if all Imperial citizens sought out opportunities to buy and sell goods with Axou traders. As a result they have prepared a mandate based on the Synod's clearly expressed desire to encourage more trade with Axos.
The Axou have turned their back on slavery. The General Assembly urges every Imperial citizen to support the change we wish to see in the world by looking for new trading possibilities with the Axos. We send (named priest) with (amount) doses of liao to urge Imperial citizens to engage with the Axou traders and look for new opportunities to enrich us both by enhancing trade between us.Synod Mandate, General Assembly
If this mandate is enacted, then it will cause a flurry of interest in the possibilities of trading with Axos. At this point the civil service do not know what the benefits of the mandate will be, but they are certain that it will definitely create at least one opportunity for the Empire to act to deepen trade and enrich both parties.
Axos is a small nation, so the scale of any opportunities will be smaller than they would have been for the Sarcophan Delves or the Commonwealth. The number of opportunities will depend on the amount of liao committed by the Synod - if 50 doses of liao are used, then the priest will be able to inspire people in the territories along the Bay of Catazar leading to at least one opportunity. If 100 doses of liao are used, then the priest will be able to inspire people in the nations that adjoin the Bay, leading to at least two opportunities. If 150 doses of liao are used - the maximum for a situation like this - then the priest will have sufficient liao to inspire people in every nation in the Empire leading to at least three opportunities to create new wealth through improved trade next season.
This mandate takes advantage of the current economic dislocation caused by the sanctions imposed under the liberty pact - it encourages citizens to take advantage of the economic chaos caused by the pact. This is a one-off opportunity, reflecting that economic conditions are in turmoil at present.
Trade with Axos
- Imperial fleets visiting Kantor experience a one rank penalty to their production this season.
The transition from a nation where slavery was legal, if not widespread, to one where it is illegal has not been without some turmoil. The sudden release of slaves, and the need for many wealthy concerns to reorganise themselves, means that the economy is very much in flux. The immediate effect is that 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. Indeed, as per the civil service estimation, the situation has recovered somewhat since the Spring Equinox, but will not resume normal levels until after the Autumn Equinox 383YE at the very earliest.
- The Empire has instituted sanctions against the Faraden; the Faraden have not yet applied their own sanctions. Further details can be found here
- The current Imperial Ambassador to Faraden is Erasmo di Tassato of the League
Relations with the Faraden have suffered greatly from the ratification of the Liberty Pact and the institution of sanctions. Faraden traders now need to pay twice to trade in the Empire - a tithe to the Jotun for the right to pass through the Lasambrian Hills to reach the Empire, and then tariffs imposed by the Empire. The merchant families of Faraden are less than pleased.
We the Nine invite the Faraden to send us cultural attachés to Anvil to discuss freely all aspects of their culture with Imperial citizens within formal geographical bounds. Any discussion within this location should not be considered a religious crime. Citizens so inclined to this conversation are encouraged to consult with a priest on any means to support their virtue.Viviane de Coeurdefer, Statement of Principle, Assembly of the Nine, Spring Equinox, Upheld (8-0; greater majority and primacy)
During the Spring Equinox, the Assembly of the Nine issued an invitation to the people of Faraden to send delegates to Anvil to discuss aspects of their culture with Imperial citizens. It seems clear that what they are talking about by "culture" is "religion" especially given the reassurances that the discussion would not be considered a religious crime. There has been a curt confirmation from the Faraden that they will indeed be sending some representatives to Anvil during the Summer Solstice, expected to arrive at noon on Saturday and remain in Anvil for several hours (assuming that nothing causes them to leave early).
There is a clear expectation that the Ambassador will support the visiting Faraden, and ensure that a suitable location is selected in which they may talk with the representatives of the Empire. With that in mind it is possible the exact details of the meeting may change and anyone interested in speaking with these "cultural attachés" would be wise to consult the ambassador.
- The Faraden are angry about the way the sanctions were imposed.
- During the Spring Equinox the Senate passed a motion that presented a formal apology to Faraden for the way the sanctions were imposed.
The Faraden as a nation are divided in their attitudes to the Empire. For years the anti-Imperial faction in Faraden was composed largely of priestly families unhappy with the attitude of the Imperial Synod. Then they received support from the powerful Ogudai warrior family and their allies after a disastrous incident with one of their beloved scions. Now, a number of merchants and magicians have likewise turned their back on the Empire urging a stronger trading focus to the east... and potentially to the north as well.
The Jotun orcs are not great traders, but there are merchants among their number. The Empire generally thinks of the northern Jarl of Keirheim and their allies when they consider trade, but there are presumably Jotun in Narkyst who also look to trade with their neighbours in times of peace. With the influence of the Lasambrian Jotun and their understanding of Prosperity, there are potentially more opportunities for the Faraden - who are at peace with the Jotun for the time being - to trade with the orcs.
The Senate issued a formal apology to the Faraden for the speed with which sanctions were applied, and this has had some positive impact.
|Total iridescent gloaming Provided||Wains of mithril received|
|60 iridescent gloaming||2 wains of mithril|
|140 iridescent gloaming||4 wains of mithril|
|240 iridescent gloaming||6 wains of mithril|
The Gloaming Blight
- The Faraden Gloaming Blight as been brought to a conclusion
The insidious blight that struck the Iridescent Gloaming production of Faraden in 380YE has been causing a great deal of disruption in the west. The Empire was spared the sinister blight as the result of a joint effort between the Brother of Wizards and certain magicians versed in the lore of Night magic. Following a declaration of Concord in the Imperial Conclave during the Spring Equinox, the eternal Sadogua was given permission to share the cure with the magicians of Faraden in the form of larvae and grubs immune to the blight. The eternal has wasted no time providing the Faraden with the larvae and the means to quickly propagate them. Restoring Faraden gloaming production will not happen overnight, but at least it is now achievable.
Releasing the means to end the blight means that several of the trading and magician families unhappy with the Empire over sanctions have adjusted their attitude. Following some localised discussion, and with the encouragement of the Brother of Wizards, a consortium of Faraden magicians and merchants have offered a bequest to the Imperial Conclave. The bequest amounts to 3 wains of mithril each season. The Faraden have asked that the Conclave use a declaration of endowment naming the Conclave order that was most instrumental in ensuring the creation and distribution of the cure. The mithril would remain until the Empire went to war with Faraden or enacted an embargo against Faraden merchants.
Unfortunately, the release of the blight-resistant grubs spells the end of the Gloaming Road. Without the blight, Faraden merchants are no longer as desperate to acquire iridescent gloaming as before. The Gloaming Road has lost much of its appeal.
- Rumours persist of Faraden smugglers avoiding tariffs along the western borders of the Brass Coast.
Following reports of smuggling in the lead up to the Spring Equinox, there is still no confirmation one way or another as to whether Faraden merchants are entering the Empire in secret through northern Segura and southern Kahraman. There is an obvious incentive for them to do so, but currently no proof one way or another that it is actually happening. The magistrates and civil service are stretched already - if the Senate is concerned about these smugglers they will need to take steps of their own to determine if it is taking place, and if it is to put a stop to it. Potentially, if it continues unimpeded, more merchants will switch to smuggling, further reducing the amount of money that comes into the Imperial treasury from the tariffs placed on Faraden traders.
Trade with Faraden
- Imperial citizens cannot trade directly with Faraden.
There is no direct trade with Faraden, 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 has dropped significantly. In previous seasons, Faraden traders have brought additional metals to Anvil to present on the Public auction but they are no longer doing so.
- The Sarcophan Delves has recently presented several proposals to the Empire which are detailed here
- The current ambassador to the Sarcophan Delves is Thanmir Hrafnar of Wintermark
During the Spring Equinox, various families and guilds of the Sarcophan Delves presented the Empire with opportunities to cultivate closer relations between the two nations. These included an offer from the Gjullet family to build a dock at Siroc allowing for the purchase of white granite and weirwood and the construction of trading enclaves in the north and the south of the Empire. There were also proposals by the Kruidenkenner - a powerful Sarcophan guild of herbalists and apothecaries - to bring more Sarcophan herbs to the Empire. The Senate approved the construction of a Kruidenkenner warehouse at Meade in Mitwold, focusing on import of Bladeroot. There was also some interest in expanding the Kruidenkenner Magazjin at Crown's Quay - which would provide a significant boost to several other herbalist ministries across the Empire - but that motion was ultimately withdrawn.
The opportunity to build more Kruidenkenner Warehouses originally expired with the Spring Equinox, but with work on the Wortel en Stengelapotheek completed, the Kruidenkenner are prepared to extend that deadline slightly to the end of the Summer Solstice. Thanks to some further exploration of the Empire, they have added two additional potential locations to the list they had previously provided - as well as Dawn, Wintermark, and the League they would be interested in building a warehouse in the city of Seren in Miaren to take advantage of its central location. Opportunities to acquire Marrowort, Imperial Roseweald, and True Vervain remain available. Details of the Kruidenkenner Warehouse construction can be found here.
The extended opportunity to commission Kruidenkenner warehouses expires at the end of the Summer Solstice. The opportunity to expand the existing warehouse expires at the end of the Autumn Equinox; work on the extension must have begun by the start of the Winter Solstice. The Gjullit opportunity to build a dock at Siroc is available only until the end of the Summer Solstice 383YE. If work on the docks is not completed by the start of Winter 383YE the Gjullit will have to look elsewhere. The Van Basten Trade, offering the purchase of 100 wains of white granite, is available only until the start of the Autumn Equinox summit. The proposal regarding the Alivetti estates expires at the end of the Summer Solstice. The plan regarding Isember expires at the end of the Autumn Equinox.
- The bedelaar huisbaas are prepared to cede an area of land to the Empire to establish an enclave in the Delves
Following a request by the Imperial Ambassador, Bedelaar Huisbaas Annike has sent a formal message to the Empire as a representative of the bedelaar huisbaas. The Ambassador had requested that the Sarcophan cede an area of the Delves to the Empire as a reciprocal act, allowing them to build either a trading enclave of their own or a temple of the Way. As a gesture of good will, the Sarcophan have agreed to allow the Senate to build in the Buitenlandsewijk, an area of the Delves where foreign investment is welcomed and encouraged. The offer is made on the understanding that the Empire will in turn build one or both of the proposed enclaves in Sarvos or Karsk. if they choose to build both then the Sarcophan will allow the Empire to expand their enclave, effectively giving them space to build both a mercantile exchange and a temple.
Either enclave requires a commission by the Senate, and would count against the limitation of how much they can build in a single season. The beledaar huisbaas are aware of the Imperial wayleaves but regretfully say they will only accept the Senate decision as it is the Senate who has the power to let them build their own enclaves.
A mercantile exchange would require at least 40 weirwood and 30 white granite, and 140 crowns in labour costs. It would take six months to establish. At the end of that time, for as long as good relations existed between the Empire and the Sarcophan Delves, any Imperial ship trading with the Delves would receive an additional measure of Beggar's Lye and an additional ingot of weltsilver. In addition, the exchange would create an Imperial title - Sarcophan Trade Liaison perhaps - who would be responsible for ensuring that relations between the Empire and the enclave remained good, and would be able to purchase goods from Sarcophan merchants at bargain prices (essentially, a ministry).
A Temple would require 40 white granite and 30 mithril, with 140 crowns in labour costs, and would also take six months to establish. The effect would be similar to that of the Temple in Nemoria. It would create an Imperial title - perhaps Prior of the Sarcophan Temple - who would be able to acquire Sarcophan goods in return for ensuring a regular supply of liao to the Temple. Unlike the situation in Nemoria, however, there is already a community of followers of the Way in Sarcophan who would look to the Temple for guidance and support, and would view the Prior as a point of contact to raise religious concerns. Should the Empire choose to build a temple, however, the bedelaar huisbaas have instructed Annike to inform the Empire that they will make the same offer to the Sumaah Republic - that they too can build a temple in the Delves- on the understanding that if the conflict between the two nations escalates to the point where it impedes trade the Sarcophan will act decisively to end that conflict.
Obviously, if the Empire built one of these enclaves and then reneged on the promise to allow the Sarcophan to build their own enclave or enclaves, the Sarcophan would simply close them down.
The civil service is of the opinion that the Ambassador to the Sarcophan Delves could prepare a treaty that gave permission to build one or both enclaves in the Empire while announcing what the Empire would be building in Sarcophan. In the even the Empire chose to allow both enclaves, and chose to build both the temple and the mercantile exchange, they could be treated as a single commission both for purposes of the number of commissions undertaken in a season, and for the materials required to complete the project. In essence the larger enclave would become a single project requiring 70 white granite, 40 weirwood, 30 mithril, 280 crowns, and take nine months to complete.
There is of course no requirement to take immediate advantage of either building opportunity - the Empire could accept the Sarcophan offer and then build on the site at a future date.
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. 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.
- 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.
- The civil war in northern Asavea is drawing to a close.
- The title of Ambassador to Asavea is currently vacant.
Relations between the Empire and Asavea remain complicated. The Plenum remains angry with the imposition of sanctions on Asavean traders, and with reports of Imperial captains supporting the northern insurrectionist movement. They are very pleased with the number of Imperial captains who have consistently supported their effort to suppress the insurrection. However 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.
Then the news reaches Asavea of what the Synod has done to the statues of their gods that adorned the works of Almodin Oktístis...
- Half a dozen Imperial structures have been damaged, and then remodelled, to remove all trace of Asavean idols. You can read about this in more detail here.
- The Temple of the Way in Nemoria has been severely damaged.
- The Plenum has given permission to the Senate to repair the structure if they wish; this would require a senate motion, a commission, and 10 Thrones
The Imperial Synod upheld a mandate to tear out the features of the buildings built by Almodin Oktístis that reverenced the Asavean gods, and destroy them in such a manner as to send a clear message to the people of Asavea that their gods would not be tolerated. When the Asaveans become aware of this - when the new reaches them from travelers to the Empire - the Plenum appears nonplussed. Why would the Empire employ Almodin Oktístis if they were just going to then ruin the buildings he had made?
The response from the Temple of Baddu the Builder, however, is much more unequivocal. The priests of Baddu are influential - they are after all responsible for almost all construction in Nemoria and are considered the finest architects and builders in Asavea. They prevail not only on those tied to their temple, but to the followers of the other Asavean gods - many of whom have been directly insulted by the Synod's actions.
A week before the Summer Solstice, news reaches the Empire that an angry mob has stormed the Temple of the Seven Virtues in Nemoria. The mob smashed the stained glass windows, tore down many of the statues and icons, and started a fire. Several of the priests were seriously hurt attempting to protect the temple, and one is believed to have succumbed to her injuries and died. The authorities intervened but were unable to bring the mob under control before the temple had suffered extensive damage. They arrested the ringleaders, and currently have them incarcerated. The Plenum has drafted a hasty apology to the Empire, denouncing the attack on their Temple, granting assurances that those responsible will face the full weight of Asavean law, and of course reassuring the Senate that they have permission to repair the damage if they wish.
In return the Plenum is asking the Imperial Senate to likewise denounce the people responsible for the attack against the people of Asavea that this blasphemous treatment of their gods implies. They await news that the Senate has had the ringleaders arrested and prosecuted for their unacceptable vandalism.
Repairing the Temple
The damage to the temple is considerable; the remaining priests estimate it will cost 10 Thrones to repair due to the need to employ free citizens rather than the much cheaper slave labour. It will also require the approval of the Senate - and finding anyone local prepared to oversee the repair work is proving extremely difficult so an architect will need to be sent from the Empire (meaning that repairing the temple will count as one of the Senate's limited number of commissions should they choose to approve it).
Until the temple is repaired, the ministry previously available to the Liaison to the Temple in Nemoria will no longer provide any benefits, and the good will generated by the temple (in the form of additional materials gained by Imperial traders visiting Nemoria) will be lost.
- During the Winter Solstice the Senate voted to allow Imperial mercenaries to fight on either side of the Asavean uprising
- Neither the opportunity to suppress the insurrection in Asavea, nor the opportunity to support the rebels, remains available to Imperial military units
Information coming out of Asavea suggests that the Marracossan fortress of Maragladia has fallen to the Plenum forces, and that the Emphedoran town of Timor has capitulated rather than risk being sacked. The insurrection of the two northern satrapies is effectively over. All that remains now is for the Plenum forces to mop up the remaining revolutionary forces.
The Plenum was initially happy to continue employing Imperial mercenaries to help with one more season of consolidation in the liberated territories. While the presence of Imperial mercenaries supporting the rebels since the Spring Equinox caused some concern, the impact of those mercenaries was apparently countered by the presence of a larger force of Imperial warriors on the side of the Plenum. Unfortunately, it appears that the Plenum has since changed their mind. Rather, it seems that the Minister for Military Procurement - as high priest of the Red God of War - has changed their mind. Given what is being seen as an insult to the entire Asavean people by the Imperial Synod, the Minister regretfully says that it would not be prudent to continue to invite Imperial warriors to Asavea to fight alongside devout soldiers.
For their part, the rebels are in no position to employ Imperial mercenaries - they are by all accounts barely able to support their own troops and are seeing wide-scale desertion as their forces either surrender to the Nemorians or attempt to flee Asavea. The fate and whereabouts of Terentia Comasigne and her fellow rebel leaders is unclear - but it is reasonably certain that she is no longer in a position to pay mercenaries or receive winged messengers.
- The opportunity to trade with Fort Maragladia and Timor is no longer available.
- Imperial fleet captains can transport fleeing rebels out of Asavea in return for payment.
With the failure of the insurrection, a wave of desperation sweeps through the people of Marracoss and Emphedor. The Nemorians are unlikely to show much mercy to those who have defied their rule. Sumaash vessels will be focusing primarily on removing their warriors from the territories, and what room they have left over will go to those Emphedoran and Marracossan rebels who embraced the paths of Virtue. Of the remainder, there are a large number of former Asavean citizens desperate to escape the consequences of their failed rebellion.
The Sumaah have offered sanctuary to any who are prepared to become Sumaash citizens - which means accepting the seven virtues. There are other places where wealthy former rebels might seek sanctuary. The problem is going to be getting there. The Nemorians are prepared to board or sink any Sumaash vessel fleeing the two defeated satrapies; they will not however risk war with the Empire by intercepting Imperial ships. As such, another opportunity to make money exists for Imperial fleet captains prepared to take Asavean passengers.
As before, there are two possibilities for Imperial fleet captains prepared to take refugees to a safe location. While Fort Maragladia and Timor are no longer available as destinations, there are two new port destinations available on the trading dropdown; Aracossa and Telios. They represent two very different opportunities.
Imperial ships visiting Aracossa, the former capital of Marracoss, will find desperate insurrectionists eager to flee the reprisals of the Plenum forces. Unfortunately, the war and the continued war profiteering alike have sapped the funds of most Marracossan citizens. A ship that trades with Aracossa this downtime will receive 7 Crowns, with each rank of upgrade or enchantment adding a further 28 rings to this amount. This will represent the transportation of rebels and former slaves to safety either in the nearby Sumaah Republic, neutral territory outside of Asavea, or even in theory to begin new lives in the Empire.
By contrast, the people of Emphedor still have much of their wealth. Their position is less desperate than that of the Marracossan people, and they have slightly more time to arrange transportation. A ship picking up refugees from Telios will receive more money, but will be transporting wealthy citizens of Emphedor to safety in neutral territory. These people will leave their slaves behind. The fleet captain will receive goods worth 10 Crowns, with each rank of upgrade or enchantment adding a further 40 rings to this amount.
Trade with Nemoria
- Imperial fleets trading with Nemoria receive a -2 rank penalty to their production.
- Imperial fleets trading with Nemoria receive an additional measure of iridescent gloaming
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. That loss could have been offset by the presence of the two temples - one in Feroz and one in Nemoria. Unfortunately the Temple in Nemoria has been heavily damaged by the mob. As such, confidence among Asavean merchants trading with the Empire has been badly shaken. If the Temple in Nemoria is repaired by the Senate then the benefits of having an obvious symbol of Asavean and Imperial cooperation would resume.
The Temple in Feroz still stands, and the Grendel are permitting Asavean merchants to dock there, so for the time being Imperial captains visiting Nemoria are still benefiting from the goodwill that it provides. It is only a matter of time before that goodwill becomes directed to the Grendel however. It is likely that if Oran remains in Grendel hands for another season, the benefits it provides to Imperial captains will be removed until such time as the town is liberated from the orcs.
- The Sumaah Republic are signatories to the Liberty pact; they have embargoed trade with slaving nations.
- The Sumaah Republic still has possession of the Imperial Crown
- Foundations are being laid for a summit between representatives of the Sumaah and Imperial Synods during the Autumn Equinox.
- The current Ambassador to the Sumaah Republic is the Highborn Accalon of Felix's Watch
The Sumaah Republic are signatories to the Liberty Pact, and not only has the port of Zemeh been opened once more to Imperial fleet captains but Imperial pilgrims are welcome to visit the holy city of Timoj for the first time in history. Still, the House of the People still holds the stolen Imperial Crown and shows little inclination to return it.
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 both raised and supported with a greater majority a statement of principle calling on followers of the Way to grant sanctuary to those Asavean rebels who are prepared to embrace the virtues and turn their back on the cruel practice of slavery. The statement does not restrict this sanctuary to the Sumaash - it is a general call for followers of the Way throughout the known world to offer succour to any virtuous soul fleeing the failure of the Asavean rebellion. While they are not named directly, the implication is that the House of Pride includes Imperial citizens in their definition of "followers of the Way".
The House of Ambition denounced the Asavean suppression of people who wished to live outside their control, and called on all followers of the Way to use whatever means were available to oppose the tyrannical Plenum. The judgement received a greater majority, but only just. It appears that not every one of the präster dedicated to Ambition supported the insurrection, although their reasons for voting against the statement are of course opaque.
The House of Wisdom raised and supported with a greater majority a statement of principle calling on Sumaah followers of the Way to give the benefit of the doubt to orcs visiting the Republic. While the Sumaah Synod is still divided on what to do about the orc question, they argue, the people should not be afraid to talk to these peculiar people - and to share their thoughts on them with the präster.
The House of the Way raised and supported a statement of principle in response to the statement issued by the Imperial Synod, calling for delegates to be chosen to visit the Empire to discuss the future of the Way. They, likewise, call for delegates to be proposed and chosen with the intention of sending them to the Empire to discuss the future of the shared faith.
Finally, a statement by the House of Vigilance which received a greater majority calls on the House of the Way to first send negotiators to the Empire to determine the nature of the discussion; ensure there is a suitable location to do so; and ensure that there will be no heretical or blasphemous influences present.
Matters of Faith
- The Sumaah propose a symposium to discuss the Way take place during the Winter Solstice 383YE
- They intend to send a delegation to the Empire during the Autumn Equinox to determine how this symposium will take place and the scope of its discussion
The Sumaah have laid out the issues at the core of their disagreement with the Empire; some are matters of virtue and doctrine while others relate to the role of the orcs in the Way. The Imperial Synod for their part raised and upheld two statements of principle committing to joining the Sumaah in not making changes to doctrine, nor recognising new paragons or exemplars, until the current problems were resolved (or for a year), one by Lord Edward Novarion, and one by Jorma Steelhail.
There are still Sumaah missionaries in the Empire, and in the wider world, preaching that the Imperial Synod is not the sole arbiter of what is virtuous. For the time being however they have scaled back their claims that the Empire has lost its way and that followers of the Way should look solely to Timoj for guidance. While the two nations are united in their commitment to end slavery, they are still at odds in almost every other arena.
The Sumaah intend to send three delegates to the Empire in Winter 383YE; the House of the Way is still discussing who these delegates will be.
Following the advice of the House of Vigilance, the Sumaash Synod proposes to send a less formal delegation to the Empire during the Autumn Equinox to determine the scope of the meeting to be held later in the year. They are particularly keen to ensure that "outside influences" be kept to a minimum - that is that there will be no representatives present who are not followers of the Way - and also to hammer out which elements of the conflict between the two nations will be open for discussion and which will not be on the table. They are also keen to discuss precisely who will chair the meeting - they are apparently not convinced that any symposiarch should be an Imperial citizen given that they already have the benefit of being on their home ground.
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 and Jarm
- The Commonwealth is a signatory of the Liberty Pact
- The Imperial Senate has applied sanctions to trade with Jarm; the House of Princes has responded by placing similar sanctions on Imperial traders. Further details of their impact can be found here
- The growing Lantir problem is threatening war between the Commonwealth and Jarm.
- The Ambassador to the Commonwealth is Lucia Sanguineo di Tassato of the League
- The Imperial Ambassador to the Principalities of Jarm is Izsák Blár Skipstjóri of Wintermark
The Commonwealth have enthusiastically embraced the Liberty Pact, instituted sanctions against the slaving nations, and extensively discussed the definition of personhood and the true meaning of slavery. They welcome trade from their fellow Pact signatories, and from the Sarcophan Delves.
The Principalities of Jarm remain cordial to the Empire but are increasingly distant. The Liberty Pact is seen as much as an attack on Jarm orchestrated by the Commonwealth, who seek to rally support for their inevitable war against the Principalities. Imperial merchants are still welcome in Vezak and Kavor but the sanctions imposed by both nations significantly impact trading profits
Right now, both nations are more focused on the escalating situation in Lantir. The Commonwealth has given the smaller nation an ultimatum - if they want to continue to receive aid from their larger neighbour they will need to abandon the practice of slavery and impose trade sanctions against slaving nations - such as Jarm. While a number of the Lantiri nobles are at least open to the suggestion; unfortunately there is a great deal of opposition from the magical families who are both unwilling to give up their slaves and to sever ties with their friends in Jarm.
Trade with the Commonwealth
- Imperial captains visiting Leerdam receive an additional dose of Bladeroot; captains visiting Volkavaar receive an additional vial of Artisan's Oil.
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 at least until the start of the Spring Equinox 384YE.
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.