Valeria eyed the unfamiliar orc warily. His layered robes of purple and gold thread marked him out as a wealthy Grendel, but he was bedecked with innumerable trinkets displaying all manner of emblems and devices. There was an amulet shaped like a golden sun, a broach in the form of a chalice wrapped in thorns, several rings that looked to be made from beaten coins, and countless more. One that particularly caught Valeria's eye was a simple clay pendant carved with a circular labyrinth. Surely he couldn't possibly be a follower of the Way?

Danela wove her way between the tables heading for the kitchen with a tray of empty goblets. Valeria caught her eye as she approached and silently mouthed "who's that" while nodding almost imperceptibly in the orc's direction.

Danela shrugged to indicate she didn't know, but as she brushed past she whispered. "Not sure but I heard Enguz call him a 'questioner'."

Valeria couldn't quite suppress a shudder. She didn't like having the Grendel drinking in their parador, but thus far Enguz and his companions had paid their bills promptly and started no more fights than her regulars. In fact the presence of a dozen off-duty Grendel had ensured that even the most rambunctious kohan thought twice about starting anything Even so, she felt there was something sinister about the word questioner. Was he some kind of Grendel inquisitor? A torturer? What could he possibly want at the Parador of the Billowing Sail?

As she studied the newcomer, she realized something else. He'd arrived alone - and he was drinking by himself. Enguz and his friends made no move to join him, or invite him to their table. The Grendel never turned up by themselves... there was always at least two or three of them and usually more like half a dozen. Why would the others shun this one?

Danela came back from the kitchen, carrying a tray with a single plate of food and a fresh goblet of wine. "I'll take that" Valeria said, guessing it had to be for their new guest. The rich paella - spiced pork and chunks of freshly caught fish all cooked in golden spices - smelled mouth-watering. As it should - it was their most expensive dish they served after all.

She was eager to get a closer look at their new guest. He didn't look up as she approached; he appeared lost in contemplation of one of the many amulets hanging round his neck. As she placed the tray on the table and slid it under his nose, he suddenly spoke without looking at her.


He gently put his gnarled hand on top of hers as she let go of the tray. She wasn't sure how to respond. He didn't speak again, but after a few moments he raised his head and locked eyes with her.

Moments passed, but still the orc said nothing. He just held her gaze. After what seemed like an hour but was surely barely longer than a minute, his eyes shifted to the nape of her neck. Instinctively she raised her free hand to cover the pendant she was wearing. It was shaped like a tiny silver cup. Danela had bought it for her three years ago, and given it as a gift to commemorate the opening night of the Billowing Sail. A promise of the Prosperity to come, she'd said.

The orc released her hand, and looked down again, focusing on the plate of paella. Free to go, she turned back towards the kitchen. She glanced back. The "questioner" had picked up his wine goblet and his lips were moving quickly. Was he casting a spell? Performing a ritual? He slowly tipped the goblet, letting half of their most expensive wine dribble out onto the floor.

"What's all that about?" Danela mouthed at her as she hurried back. This time it was her turn to shrug. She tried to look indifferent, but the truth was the strange orc had unnerved her. Something about his intensity. She loved the Billowing Sail almost as much as she loved Dani, but sooner or later they they were going to have to seriously discuss whether it was time to abandon their home and flee while they still could.


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During the Autumn Equinox the Imperial Senate ratified a peace treaty with the Grendel orcs. As part of the treaty, they ceded the Imperial-held regions of Feroz to the orcs of the Broken Shore. The treaty specifies that until the start of the Spring Equinox 384YE, Imperial citizens are free to leave Feroz with their possessions, and the Grendel will not attempt to prevent them doing so. Any who remain in the territory after that will be subject to orc rule.

The orcs of the Broken Shore have spent the last three months consolidating their hold on the territory, moving soldiers into Afarjasse and Morajasse. Their control of Feroz is not uncontested. Thanks to the treaty, the Grendel are now foreigners; they have the full protection of Imperial law. Among other things this means that Imperial citizens are free to trade with them, and consequently they have made a number of overtures to the Empire, intending to make most out of this opportunity for profit. You can read about these trade opportunities in Everything has a price.

Claiming Feroz

  • Under the treaty, one season remains for Freeborn citizens living in Afarjasse and Morajasse to quit Feroz with their possessions
  • Many Freeborn from these regions have already left the territory, but those in the south remain trapped

The Grendel governor of Feroz, Lord Rahab, has already claimed extensive holdings in the territory. His representatives are everywhere, laying down Grendel law, which is draconian though perhaps not as bad as some feared - at least not at the moment. Any Freeborn who remain in the territory will be forced to pay significantly higher taxes; and there are restrictions against bearing arms and against practicing magic. Worse, punishment operates on a sliding scale depending on the social class of the victim which offends the sensibilities of those used to the more egalitarian approach of Imperial law.


Due to the Empire being at peace with the Grendel, it is not currently possible for Imperial fleets to attack Grendel ships. The civil service presence makes it impossible. Fleets taking the privateering action are assumed to be off elsewhere seeking plunder or adventure. As a consequence, when you take this action you should not roleplay that you have spent your downtime attacking Grendel ships.

However the element that has caused the most concern is that the Grendel favour enslavement rather than capital punishment. Execution is almost unheard of, crimes that might merit such a thing in the Empire result in the culprit being enslaved and sent to the salt mines. Worse, some crimes may result in collective punishment with a criminal and their immediate family all facing enslavement. Rahab's personal force of stone born are the primary peacekeepers in the territory, and are already zealously enforcing the governor's laws.

The treaty gives those Freeborn who dwell in Afarjasse and Morajasse six months to leave the territory and some have already done so. However, while the treaty guarantees their right to take their possessions with them, it is not possible to simply pack up a business that has been operated by the same family for two hundred years. You can't put a farm in a wheelbarrow and push it across the border to Madruga. Many citizens living in the north of Feroz are painfully aware of the orcs salivating on the sidelines, waiting for them to abandon their homes so that they can swoop in and pick over whatever they are forced to leave behind.

The situation is even worse in the South. The treaty says nothing about the rights of those Freeborn living in Fontargenta, Oranseri, and some parts of the Cazar Straits. Lord Rahab's soldiers have made it plain that they are not at liberty to leave and any who attempt to do so are risking enslavement to even attempt it. Rahab has been clear that he expects his new subjects to work hard to fill his coffers with gold.

Traditions and faith

Remember Kethry. It is a virtuous act when conquered to hold proudly to your traditions and faith. It is an act of virtue to face your foe and refuse to cede your identity or culture. Remember Kethry. The waves erode the strongest rock, and no force can stop the tides turning.

Sagremar i Zayden, The Freeborn National, Autumn Equinox 383YE, Upheld (236-0)
  • During the Autumn Equinox the Brass Coast assembly upheld a statement of principle encouraging the Freeborn to hold to their traditions.
  • Many citizens of Feroz are unsure how to proceed, and seek guidance from the Synod

The national assembly of the Brass Coast passed a statement of principle during the Autumn Equinox to encourage the Freeborn to hold proudly to their traditions and faith. The statement, raised by Sagremar i Zayden, drew on the example set by the paragon Kethry of the Kesh. Though the treaty with the Grendel guarantees that those who live in Feroz are to be untroubled (at least until the Spring Equinox 384YE) there is still the question about what happens after. As it currently stands all personal holdings based in Feroz, aside from military units and fleets, will soon see a steep drop in production as only the most inventive citizens are able to continue handling their resource and collect at least some of the wealth.

A common topic discussed in paradors across the Brass Coast is what the people left in Feroz should do next. Some suggest that the Freeborn should simply abandon Feroz for the next two years and return when the time of the treaty expires (accompanied by the Imperial armies of course). But there are others who see a grander picture and say that not only should the Freeborn remain in Feroz, but they should do it with Pride and Courage and make life as difficult as possible for the Grendel invaders. Still others suggest that it would be for the best to remain in Feroz, to cooperate with the orcs of the Broken Shore, and bide their time while the Empire marshals its forces.

This may be the last opportunity the Brass Coast Assembly - indeed any assembly of the Imperial Synod - has to influence the situation in Feroz. Once the period of free movement guaranteed by the treaty expires, it will be very difficult for priests to enact mandates that effect Feroz without the permission of the Grendel governor.

The Sticking Place

  • The Assembly could enact a mandate urging Freeborn citizens to stay in Feroz, and resist Grendel domination of the territory
  • The Freeborn inhabitants of Feroz would then carry out covert attacks on economic targets throughout the territory
  • This mandate would lead to chances for the heroes at Anvil to engage in action against the Grendel at the subsequent summit

The Freeborn Assembly could encourage their people to remain in Feroz and look for opportunities to resist the Grendel occupation. The resistance would do what they could to fight back against the Grendel; firing granaries, stealing supplies, and robbing caravans. There would be some loss of life among the Grendel but inspired by their corsairs the resistance would inevitably be focussed on economic warfare rather than murdering orcs.

Know your heart and what commands its devotion above all else. We are the Freeborn, no chain will ever bind us. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to encourage those who remain to take every opportunity they can to resist the Grendel.

Synod Mandate, Freeborn National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, it will have a punishing effect on the Governor Rahab's profits cutting into the wealth that he can derive from the territory. His main concern appears to be squeezing as much profit from Feroz as possible, so it will inevitably lead to reprisals from the Grendel. At the very least there will be a significant increase in the numbers of Freeborn condemned to slavery by the orcs of the Broken Shore (which may lead to even more people supporting the resistance of course).

The mandate will also create chances for the heroes at Anvil to support the resistance at the following summit. While a major conjunction would be out of the question, there will be smaller conjunctions that would allow groups of Freeborn and those minded to support them to travel to Feroz and aid the resistance by attacking Grendel operations, without automatically breaking the treaty.

The challenge with this mandate is that encouraging the people of Feroz to oppose Rahab will mean that many of them will face summary justice at the hands of the governor and his enforcers. A prolonged resistance will weaken the Grendel, draining their coffers, but it will also bleed the Freeborn of Feroz. The effects of this may not matter, beyond the tragic loss of life of course, provided the Empire returns to Feroz in force once the peace treaty expires. If the Empire finds themselves unable to liberate Feroz at that time, however, and the people are left waging a war they cannot win, then eventually Rahab will crush them. If the Empire waits too long then eventually there may be no Freeborn people in Feroz left to rescue.

A Sweet Sorrow

  • The assembly could encourage all Freeborn who are prepared to leave Feroz to abandon the territory
  • The Freeborn in the west could make the journey to Segura or Madruga
  • This would lead to an opportunity to smuggle fleeing citizens out of the eastern regions of Feroz the following season

Those who are able to leave Feroz and were keen to do so have already left the territory by the start of the Winter Solstice. The national assembly could use a mandate to urge those who are still uncertain whether to abandon their homes to leave while they can. Those as yet undecided would be persuaded to leave their homes and flee, with everyone searching for the best route out of Feroz.

Under the terms of the treaty, everyone in Afarjasse and Morajasse is free to walk to Madruga or Segura. The same is not true for those currently living in the Cazar Straits, Fontargenta, or Oranseri. However the open coastline in this area offers a chance for these people to escape, provided they can count on the support of their fellow citizens. Since nobody knows these treacherous waters better than the Freeborn, their fleets could slip in under cover of darkness and smuggle their countryfolk out from under the noses of the Grendel. The orcs would undoubtedly be furious, but by the time they knew what was going on it would be too late to do anything about it. And best of all, it wouldn't breach any part of the treaty.

Embrace your past; never be ashamed of it. When faced with the burden of tyranny, we walked until we found freedom. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to remind every Freeborn of our proud history and encourage them to abandon Feroz.

Synod Mandate, Freeborn Assembly

If this mandate were enacted, the steady stream of people leaving Feroz would become a torrent. While the Freeborn are not a charitable people by nature, there are ties of family and tribe that hold them together. Those refugees who had kin in Medruga or Segura would be welcomed with open arms, and a place would be found for the others to pitch their tents. By no means would everyone leave Feroz - there are too many people for whom such a journey is simply impossible even with the aid of the Freeborn assembly - but a great many would take this chance to flee the Grendel yoke.

At the following summit the civil service would present details of an opportunity for fleets and military units to take part in a daring operation to smuggle much of the remaining Freeborn population of Feroz out of the territory. This would be a risky endeavour, on a significantly larger scale than the rescue of the Zemress islanders. The Freeborn would have to ensure there were enough fleets sent to get everyone out - otherwise people who fled to the coast hoping to be rescued would be left behind to be captured and enslaved by the Grendel. They would also need to avoid as much conflict with Grendel ships as possible. But with sufficient fleets and military support, every Freeborn citizen prepared to leave Feroz could be rescued.

The more citizens that are able to flee Feroz, the less profit Governor Rahab will be able to wring from the territory. It would likely damage any attempts to negotiate with the governor in the future and certainly would weaken him politically and economically. There would be a permanent loss in the taxation revenue Feroz provided to whoever controlled it. However the civil service are confident that while there would be disruption in Segura and Madruga, once this died down the taxation of both territories would be increased by the new businesses, farms, and fleets that would find homes there.

Of course it would be a bitter blow to the Freeborn Pride to have to abandon Feroz and mean accepting that the Freeborn do not expect the territory to be recovered any time soon.

Remember the Wellspring

  • The Assembly could enact a mandate urging Freeborn citizens to stay in Feroz, and cooperate with the Grendel
  • The occupation would likely be less onerous for those Freeborn left in Feroz, but the Grendel would be free to secure their dominance in the territory

The national assembly could encourage citizens to remain in Feroz and cooperate with Grendel conquerors, securing their prosperity and safety as much as possible. They would cleave to their traditions, and maintain their Freeborn identity - albeit as subjects of a foreign power. Their Prosperity would hardly be assured - they would still face onerous taxation and the whims of their Grendel overlords - but all the signs are that Governor Rahab would welcome a compliant populace. Businesses would be frequented by orc and Imperial traders alike; fleet owners would be offered contracts by merchants looking to protect their shipping or exploit new markets in the Empire; and paradors would see orc soldiers eating and drinking in the same rooms as Freeborn workers.

Enjoy the fruits of your labour today; no one knows what the morrow holds. Until that day comes that we can retake Feroz, guard your prosperity and remember that everything has a price. We send {named priest} with 25 doses of liao to urge the Freeborn to cooperate with the Grendel and await the day we can return and drive them into the sea.

Synod Mandate, Freeborn National Assembly

If this mandate were enacted, most of the remaining Freeborn population of Feroz would chose to stay in the territory. They would face painful taxation from the Grendel, but they would be able to maintain their lives as close to normal as possible, looking forward to the day when they could rejoin the Empire. Cooperation would also ensure that there was the least possible disruption to their lives, and the fewest people possible would be sent to the salt mines. Freedom of movement between Feroz and the rest of the Empire would be limited but not impossible, and it might even be possible for priests to cross the border to minister to those still dwelling there, allowing the Synod limited ability to support them with statements of principle and mandates.

Of course it would also ensure the maximum profits for Governor Rahab. He clearly intends to squeeze his new subjects and tax them for every coin they can spare. The more people who cooperate with the new regime in this way, the more money he will make. While that is hardly a positive, it would lead to further opportunities to trade with the Grendel governor in Feroz and his allies, and maintain a cautiously friendly detente with Rahab's court.

However, the expectation of the Freeborn in Feroz would be that this is a "waiting game." They would assume that when the peace treaty expires in Autumn 385YE the Empire will move to liberate them. If this is not the case, then the populace are likely to be left feeling betrayed and abandoned. The more time that passes, the more those feelings will grow and any reassurance from the Synod will fall on dear ears.

Competing Mandates

These mandates are considered to be competing. As such, whichever is passed with the greatest margin would be considered to have been successful and the other mandate(s) fail. While in theory the actions of the Wisdom Assembly and the sword scholars would require a mandate to receive a greater majority, thanks to the spiritual pilgrimage called for during the Autumn Equinox, for this season only, mandates only need a simple majority to be enacted.

Lost Opportunities

  • Many imperial titles connected to Feroz can no longer be appointed.

There were a number of Imperial titles connected to the territory of Feroz that are no longer available to Imperial citizens. The civil service has compiled a short list.

  • Obviously, there continues to be no Senator appointed for Feroz. Should the Empire conquer enough of the territory that it is again Imperial, the Senate will need to pass a motion of assignment to determine which nation it will become part of - it will not automatically become a Freeborn territory.
  • The Scorrero Nets are in the hands of the Grendel; this Bourse Seat can no longer be auctioned by the Empire. Once Oranserai is back in Imperial hands, the Senate will be expected to pass a motion of allocation to determine if the ilium will be an Imperial or national resource.
  • The offices of the Broken Shore Bounty were captured during the Grendel conquest of Oran. The Bourse seat represented donations from coastal-living citizens, maritime merchants, and fisherfolk who recognised the hard work the corsairs of the Brass Coast undertook on their behalf, keeping the Bay of Catazar safe. Some of the ilium the seat used to produce is now being given as a gift to Esteban I Del Rio Blanco I Guerra, as long as they remain Imperial Fleet Master. The rest now goes to the public auction. With the ratification of the Grendel peace treaty, this title has effectively ceased to exist.
  • With the conquest of Oran, the Imperial Delegate to the Temple in Feroz lost access to their ministry. The temple still stands - and is unmolested - but as it is now at least in theory in the possession of the Grendel there has been a slow shift in focus for Nemorian merchants away from trading with the Empire and towards trade with the Broken Shore. The priests are still believed to be offering sanctuary to a number of Freeborn families.
  • The Spice Gardens of Feroz are now under Grendel control; Sadiq i Isa i Erigo, the Keeper of the Spice Gardens, should receive one last portion of herbs during the Winter Solstice but that will be the last time. The title has tenure, but provides no benefits until Morajasse is again in Imperial hands. If Sadiq i Isa i Erigo steps down, or dies, the title will remain vacant until the Spice Gardens are again in Imperial hands.
  • The Celesti Lighthouse was been captured by the Grendel in the lead-up to the Autumn Equinox. As such the Celesti Lighthouse Keeper - Bakar i Erigo - has lost their ministry. They retain the title until the Spring Equinox (when the title would normally be appointed) after which it will lapse. It would again be available for appointment if the Empire controlled Oranseri.
  • The offices of the Vizier of the Incarnadine Satchel are now Grendel property. Those officers who helped oversee the purchase of herbs on their behalf have either already left Feroz, or are focusing on their own survival. As such, the ministry has been lost. The title still retains its legal ownership of the Incarnadine Satchel, and its responsibilities. Xandra i Marusa i Riqueza retains the title and it will continue to be appointed. Even if Feroz is liberated, however, the ministry would need to be re-established. At any time, the Imperial Senate could commission new offices for the Vizier anywhere in the Brass Coast using the normal guidelines for establishing a ministry.
  • With the loss of Feroz, the Brass Coast can no longer support four armies. Even with the Iron Quanat it can only support three armies. Fortunately, it only has two armies at this time.


After the Winter Solstice, Finna i Fijadoz i Guerra enacted the mandate to encourage the citizens of Feroz to abandon the territory.

As detailed in the Winds of War, currently Lord Rahab's interpretation of the peace treaty, the conquered territory penalty will not be applied until the start of the Summer Solstice.

Furthermore, any Freeborn character whose personal resource is in Feroz is free to take advantage of this situation to evacuate the territory and gain a new rank one personal resource in another territory without the usual 2 crowns payment for changing a personal resource.

Further Reading