To loose the fateful lightning
The others were staring at him - they were four a little the worse for wear. The corsair regained his composure - just - with a herculean effort of will, and sat back down.
"It's too much," he said again. "We stopped them stealing the fishing fleet, we stole the Islanders out from under their noses, we burnt their shipyard, we burnt their palace, we burnt their castle, and we burnt their damn colosseum and still they don't know when they're beaten! It's too much."
Maria looked down at her own drink, saying nothing. Amos straightened his wooly hat, his face creased in thought. They had been drinking for the better part of two hours, practically since the Seagrass had returned to Candle Cove to find the Dancer of the Sea already in dock. The news from Feroz was not good. For that matter the news from across the Bay was hardly uplifting. Pirates everywhere, striking seemingly at will against any merchant vessel between Sarvos and Veroigne
"They're too proud," said Amos slowly. Maria cocked an eyebrow at him and pursed her lips but said nothing.
"Those animals know nothing of virtue," spat quiet Perrero, speaking for the first time since they had started drinking. Drowning their sorrows, really. His anger was understandable. Like most of the crew of the Dancer, Perrero had friends - family - all along the eastern coast of the Bay and there was no news from too many of them. He wasn't alone though - it was not only the Freeborn who were frightened for the fate of loved ones now in the hands of the Grendel. But still.
"They might be slavers, murderers, and barbarians," said the Highborn captain picking his words with care. "But they are still people, and they're just as able to understand the virtues as any other orc. There are solid orc captains on our side as well, remember, and they're a lot farther from home than we are."
Perrero looked like he was going to argue, but instead he just stood up without a word and walked out into the rain, slamming the door behind him. Amos half rose to follow him, but Carrera caught his eye and shook his head.
"They're too proud," said Maria, in the very precise tone she adopted when she'd be drinking. She nodded her head a few times. "They think that because they have an armada and we don't they can do what they like. That the Bay is theirs"
"They may be right" said Amos sadly. "The Empire is not a position to do much about that armada. As things stand, we may never be..."
He took another mouthful of fortified wine, and made a sour face when he discovered it was mostly dregs. He stood, a little unsteadily, and fetched another two bottles from the locker at the end of his bed. Carrera had an odd expression on his face. Thoughtful. Amos had seen that face before, and it unsettled him.
"You're right!" said the Freeborn captain slowly. "You're both absolutely right! They're proud and ambitious, and we can't do much about the armada right now... but there's more to controlling the Bay that navies. We've taught them that lesson once before, haven't we? Maybe it's time we teach them it again!"
Amos looked very skeptical, and suddenly found himself wishing he was not quite so drunk.
"Last time you were trying to teach the Grendel a lesson they nearly cut you in half and fed you to their shark god.." he began, but Carrera shushed him.
"That was then," he said, flapping one hand dismissively. A smile played across the Freeborn captain's face and his eyes blazed with excitement. "Our mistake has been thinking too small. Inconveniencing one Salt Lord or another is not going to get the attention of their whole council. I mean do we even know how many Salt Lords there are?"
Maria opened her mouth but Carrera pointed his finger at her until she closed it again.
"That was a rhetorical question," he said testily. "They're never going to take us seriously until we either burn their damned armada to the waterline - which we can't - or we send them a message they can't ignore."
He leaned back in his chair, nearly unbalancing. Amos and Maria exchanged a worried glance."The problem," mused the corsair, "Is that we've been too conservative. I think its time we try something audacious!"
The Pirates of Attar
- Grendel pirates and privateers continue to raid Imperial shipping.
- During the coming season all fleets from Tassato, Sarvos, the Brass Coast, Highguard, or Urizen will suffer a 1 rank penalty to production if they engage in trade.
- In the absence of a formal ambassador to Attar, diplomatic relations with the Grendel would be the responsibility of Skywise Fal the Imperial Consul. However the Salt Lords have made it very clear they are only interested in negotiating with the Imperial Fleet Master.
While the Grendel armada seems focused on the invasion of Feroz, the orc pirates of Attar continue to raid Imperial shipping. It seems, however, that the recent raids on Dubhtraig and Mareave have enraged the Salt Lords - rumour has it that they are offering bounties for Imperial vessels captured or sunk. Their claim to have uncontested mastery of the Bay of Catazar seems less convincing that it once was - given recent events on the Broken Shore - but it cannot be denied that the Grendel captains possess seemingly limitless hunger for Imperial goods.
As with previous seasons, any fleet based in a territory along the Bay of Catazar (Tassato, Sarvos, the Brass Coast, Highguard, or Urizen) receives a -1 rank penalty to their production if they engage in trade with foreign nations, representing either direct conflict with Grendel pirates or the need to take extensive detours. With morale riding high following the successes bought with the aid of Imperial ship captains, a daring plan has been proposed.
Why not take the fight to the Grendel? It is after all what the corsairs of the Brass Coast exist to do an they have centuries of experience dealing with hostile threats on the Bay of Catazar. With the Freeborn coordinating the ships of Imperial captains, the Grendel pirates might have their noses bloodied badly enough that they reconsider their claim to own the Bay. The scheme is likely to be more challenging than protecting the fishing fleet two years ago - but with sufficient support it could prove equally effective.
The pirates themselves clearly feel invincible - taking great risks to chase down and board Imperial trading ships. That disposition is slowly shifting - the reality of the raids in Autumn and Winter have seen to that. For the moment, however, their audacity is tinged with hubris and overconfidence. Flaws that could be exploited - if the Empire is organised enough.
Dominating the Bay
- Imperial fleet captains can participate in a wide-scale attack against the overconfident Grendel pirates that plague Imperial shipping
- The Grendel will fight back - meaning any fleet that takes part will certainly sustain some damage.
During the coming season, there will be an additional option accessible through the independent action dropdown menu - Dominate the Bay. This may be taken by any fleet captain, and represents an attempt to engage as many Grendel pirate ships as possible and disrupt their hold on the Bay of Catazar.
Each standard fleet assigned to the "Dominate the Bay" action effectively adds 100 points toward successful resolution of the opportunity. Each additional rank for an upgraded or enchanted fleet adds another 20 points. Rituals and other effects that increase the ranks of a unit undertaking privatering (such as Blood and Salt) will increase the effective strength for purposes of this special action. In a similar manner to a spy network, the total strength assigned to the opportunity will decide the outcome.
- If less than 10,000 military strength is assigned to support the action, the Grendel will be inconvenienced but nothing more.
- They will likely redouble their efforts to demonstrate their mastery of the Bay of Catazar going forward. The upside is that there will be no damage to Imperial fleets - it will soon become clear there is not enough support for a serious raid against the Grendel and ship captains will respond appropriately.
- If at least 10,000 military strength is assigned to support the action, the Grendel pirates will receive a bloody nose and retreat in disarray.
- Imperial merchants trading via on the Bay of Catazar will suffer no penalty for at least the next year, starting at the Summer Solstice.
- The Grendel pirates will likely find some other way to cause trouble, but just as the earlier action caused them to lose interest in interfering with the fishing fleet, so they will turn their attention away from ships trading via the Bay of Catazar.
- If at least 20,000 military strength is assigned to the action, the Grendel pirates will receive a serious kicking.
- They will become significantly more cautious about harassing Imperial shipping; while they will remain a threat, they will be unable to impede trade passing through the Bay of Catazar for the foreseeable future.
- The fleet will be able to raid coastal settlements dominated by Grendel pirates, especially in Shayeel and Ayereed. As well as damaging Grendel morale, this will provide a bounty of 12 wains of mithril and 6 rings of ilium which will be collected by the Imperial Fleet Master.
- Finally, Imperial ships will board, seize, or sink Grendel merchant vessels, inflicting significant damage to international trade undertaken by the Salt Lords.
- If at least 30,000 military strength is assigned to the action, the Empire will send an undeniable challenge to the Grendel.
- All the benefits listed above will apply.
- A large number of Grendel pirate ships will be destroyed, capture, or crippled. For the next year, Grendel navies will find it harder to resupply. The will only be able to benefit from natural or emergency resupply while in a territory they control. Furthermore, their rate of natural resupply when they are in their own territories will be halved.
- If at least 40,000 military strength is assigned to the action, the Empire will dominate the Bay.
- All the benefits listed for the previous two levels of success will apply.
- Imperial fleets will directly threaten the Salt Lords' holdings. Raiding into and near the larger settlements of Gainmeachdubh, Vorlach, and Sargasso. The leaders of the Grendel will be unable to ignore the threat posed by the Empire's privateers.
- Imperial privateers will disrupt the rites of Spring - an annual festival in which the bloodthirsty Grendel pirates honour the eternal Siakha and offer vile sacrifices for her favour. The campaign across the bay will culminate in a raid against the grand festival at the Tower of Tempest Jade in Raineach which will damage the temple (but not destroy it)
- Every fleet captain who supported the action will receive 2 vials of vital honey and 2 ingots of tempest jade in addition to other rewards.
- The Imperial Fleet Master will receive an additional 6 wains of mithril and 3 rings of ilium from the raids on the Salt Lord holdings. In addition, the raid will aim to steal one of the ritual texts allegedly used by the "priests" of Siakha to perform their vile magic.
- Participating fleets will experience a 2 rank penalty to their effectiveness for the next six months
Unlike the raids on Dubhtraig and Beoraidh, this will not be a surprise attack, or a lightning raid. The fighting will range across the entire Bay of Catazar and it will be impossible to take part without suffering some damage. Every fleet that supports the Dominate the Bay action will be depleted - meaning they will suffer a -2 rank penalty for the next six months. This penalty reflects the need for repairing vessels and recruiting new crewmembers.
- Participating fleets receive roughly half the production they would normally expect, but may secure additional rewards depending on the scale of the raid.
The focus of this action is on taking the fight to the Grendel pirate ships on the Bay of Catazar, looking to inflict as much damage as possible rather than looting. As a consequence, each fleet assigned to the action will see production equal to roughly half of what they would normally expect. The production will be in the form of goods taken from the Grendel, reflected by a grab-bag of materials, herbs, and money.
The Imperial Fleet Master
As they have on previous occasions, the expectation is that the Imperial Fleet Master - currently Esteban i Del Rio Blanco i Guerra - will orchestrate fleets to take part in this opportunity. The Civil Service will coordinate with the Fleet Master's office to deal with the complex minutiae of organising movements of vessels an ensuring that the ships are able to coordinate their attacks effectively.
The Fleet Master will also be responsible for disposing of any significant resources secured as a result of this opportunity - primarily mithril and ilium although the raid may secure a valuable ritual text if sufficient support can be gathered.
The Empire has only one opportunity to take advantage of the Grendel's overconfidence. By the Summer Solstice, the Salt Lords will surely have reigned in their pirates and independent ship captains. If nothing is done, they will continue to raid Imperial ships traversing the Bay but in a more cautious manner.