He stood at the window, watching Pris and the others gather in the courtyard below. She's just seventeen he thought bitterly to himself, too young to march off to war. He loved his daughter more than life but the undeniable truth was she'd passed her Test of Arms more easily than she mastered her poise. No surprise that when the priest came calling bearing Aurum's mandate, his daughter had been the first to commit.

Whisper-quiet his partner drifted to his side, placing a hand on his shoulder, their touch light as the sun and heavy as a heartache. "She'll be back," Nar whispered and flashed him an encouraging smile.

He signed and nodded, wanting nothing more in all the world than to believe they were right. "I just wish there was something we could do," he responded, his voice weary with resignation. They'd both offered themselves in Pris' place, but a pair of fifty-year-old architects whose abiding talent was producing ever finer buttresses was nobody's idea of an ideal soldier. In many ways that was what hurt the most - knowing that their arete was useless at this singular moment. "We need to do something... anything.."

Nar nodded and smiled again. "We do. And we will. We will play our part just as Priscylla is playing hers. We will not be shamed by inaction."

He looked at his partner, his face pleading for her to go on, yearning for some Wisdom that would silence the critic in his soul.

"The Citadel Guard need more than just our sons and daughters - they need our support. Veikko Bondforger has called on..."
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The Highborn armies that remain in Zenith have not rested on their laurels, but continued to press the virtuous crusade against the Druj.
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The Imperial invasion of Zenith is finally making progress. Spearheaded by the Citadel Guard and given wings by the Highborn crusade the combined might of six Imperial armies has proved unstoppable. This season the crusade continues - the Valiant Pegasus has pulled back to Bastion to resupply, but the Granite Pillar and the Seventh Wave continue to attack in ways that prove an inspiration for all who witness them.

Last season, that crusade brought invaluable benefits, as the brave Urizeni flocked to support the Citadel Guard, bolstering their ranks. Hundreds of volunteers have flocked to Nicassia's banner, from fresh-faced recruits to gnarled veterans, all are eager to drive the Druj from their homes. All this was forecast by the Empire's prognosticators, but there have also been unlooked-for benefits from the actions of Veikko Bondforger, the Cardinal of Loyalty who called on the Assembly to throw their support behind the Citadel Guard.

For Virtue! For Urizen! For the Empire!

Asenath, General of the Granite Pillar

An Enduring Loyalty

  • The Citadel Guard will not suffer supply problems until the end of Summer 385YE as long as no regions of Redoubt or Morrow are lost

Everyone who was able to answer the call of the Urizen Assembly to support the Citadel Guard has done so. With the new recruits bolstering their ranks, the effective military strength of the army has increased by a thousand, just as the prognosticators predicted. However, the Cardinal of Loyalty, calling on the faithful to support this mandate above all others has had an enduring effect. Spires, citadels and temples all across Urizen have committed to providing additional supplies, resources and personnel to support the Citadel Guard for the year ahead bolstering the ability of Urizen to supply its army and keep it in the field.

As a result, the Citadel Guard will not experience any difficulties due to insufficient supply for the year ahead, provided that Redoubt and Morrow remain firmly in Urizeni control. As long as no regions of either of those two territories are lost, the ability of Urizen to supply its army is restored until the end of the Summer Solstice 385YE.

At present, the Citadel Guard are not suffering supply problems, but that is only due to the détente with Salt Lord Kaliact, the Grendel ruler of Spiral. Technically the terms of that deal end at the end of the Summer Solstice, so the Citadel Guard were expecting to face supply problems again next season. Now that danger is foreclosed, for the next twelve months. The Salt Lord is apparently keen to negotiate with the Empire further, and the wily Grendel is doubtless planning to leverage the benefits of access to Spiral's people and wealth in return for more concessions. It may be that Imperial negotiators can use this new development to give the Salt Lord an unpleasant surprise. Whatever happens, Urizen can now be proud that the bonds of Loyalty have ensured that the strength of the Citadel Guard will not be compromised in the year ahead.

An Inspiring March

  • The General Assembly could pass a mandate that will secure enough liao to anoint every Imperial soldier in Zenith
  • If the mandate is enacted, Imperial armies will suffer no negative effect from the Druj miasma in the coming season while attacking in Zenith
  • In addition, armies fighting in Zenith will become unbreakable - they will disband only if their strength is completely depleted
  • These benefits apply to Urizen and Varushkan armies only if the mandate achieves a greater majority

The Highborn armies that remain in Zenith have not rested on their laurels, but continued to press the virtuous crusade against the Druj, determined to drive them from Zenith. Inspired by the words of their generals and committed to the cause no matter the cost, they have thrown themselves against the hated enemy, determined to bring death to the Druj. With Dawnish, League and Wintermark armies come to the aid of Urizen and Highguard in their fight, the eyes of the Empire turn to Zenith, and the hearts and minds of all are lifted by word of the victories that are coming at last.

With their hearts stirred by word from Zenith, there is an opportunity for the General Assembly to build on the crusade and encourage all the faithful to support the fight against the Druj with the following mandate.

The Urizen and Loyalty Assemblies call for others to join in this Virtuous Crusade for the salvation of Zenith. Let every priest in the Empire commit to the defeat of the Druj. We send {named priest} with 25 does of liao to urge the priests of the Empire to tithe their strength so that we may bring swift death to the Druj.

Synod Mandate, General Assembly

If this mandate is passed it will cause priests all over the Empire to lend their support to the crusade in Zenith. As a result every congregation in the Empire will produce one less dose of liao for the next season. The liao they would have gained will instead be sent to Zenith, where it will be used to anoint hundreds, maybe thousands in the fight against the Druj.

As a result of this mass anointing, the Druj miasma will have no effect there in the coming season. Any Imperial army attacking in Zenith will fight unimpeded by the Druj curse, their spirit unbowed, their determination unchecked. In addition, every Imperial army fighting in Zenith will become unbreakable for one year while fighting the Druj in Zenith. They will simply never break no matter how many of them are killed, and regardless of what opposition the Druj bring against them for the coming year. Even though Imperial armies are terrorised, to destroy an Imperial army, the Druj would have to kill every single soldier - an almost impossible task.

Both these effects will last until the start of the Autumn Equinox 384YE, assuming the mandate is enacted. It is possible that not every Assembly will be affected. The mandate will take effect if it is passed with a majority by the General Assembly, but it will have no effect in Varushka, or ironically Urizen, unless it is passed with a greater majority. If it passes, but does not get a greater majority, then the penalty to liao will not take effect in Urizen and Varushka and the miasma will still have no effect in the coming season - but their reticence to support the mandate means that the Citadel Guard and the Varushkan armies will not become unbreakable.

The Empire comes to the people of Urizen and speaks of Loyalty and sacrifice. We have sacrificed enough. The Empire has shown us they only value our army - not our people, not our home. If the armies of the Empire abandon Zenith, I urge all loyal Urizeni to support the disbanding of the Citadel Guard. The Empire will not benefit from our army if they will not save our people.

Clytemnestra, Urizen Assembly, Spring Equinox 384YE, (Upheld with a Greater Majority, 140-0)

A Clear Threat

  • A powerful statement of principle from Clytemnestra makes it clear how seriously Urizen takes the situation in Zenith

Urizen has suffered grievous wounds. The Druj invasion tore Zenith from the nation, a strike that ripped the beating heart of the people from their chest. While they were bloodied and reeling from that blow, the Grendel armies invaded Spiral and were rewarded with the territory when the Senate bowed to their demands. Half the nation now lies in barbarian hands, not because the Empire didn't have the strength to stop them, but because the armies of the Empire were away fighting elsewhere. While Urizeni magicians were being dragged from the spires in chains, the Empire was busy waging other wars.

We have sacrificed enough says Clytemnestra and the Urizen Assembly unanimously agrees with her. The Empire constantly speaks of sacrifice, but the ineluctable nature of sacrifice is loss. Something must be given up, something must be surrendered. The last five years of Urizen's history has demonstrated one cold hard fact; those who first to sacrifice for the Empire are the ones who bleed the most.

We have sacrificed enough says Clytemnestra and she speaks for the cold fury in the hearts of many Urizeni. The armies of the Empire are here now, fighting to drive the Druj out, but for how long? How long before they tire of the campaign and the armies are called north to aid in the conquest of new territories for Dawn or Varushka? How long before they are called west to face the Jotun? What happens if the Druj sue for peace... will the Senate leave the spires of Proceris, Lustri and Occursion in Druj hands?

We have sacrificed enough says Clytemnestra and she calls on the Urizeni to hold the Military Council to their course with a clear threat. The Empire will not benefit from our army if they will not save our people. For as long as a single region of Zenith remains in Druj hands, the Urizeni Assembly can enact the following mandate.

Ambition, Courage, Loyalty, Pride, Prosperity, Wisdom, Vigilance. There are seven virtues of the Way and sacrifice is not one of them. We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to urge the Citadel Guard to stand down. Your vigil is at an end. We have sacrificed enough.

Synod Mandate, Urizen

If this mandate is enacted then the Citadel Guard will disband over the course of the following season. One final season of campaigning will be completed, and the Citadel Guard will cease to exist by the start of the next summit. The Imperial title of General of the Citadel Guard will be dissolved.

The skilled veterans of the Citadel Guard will not vanish when the army disbands. Sentinels will return to their citadels, sword scholars to their temples and magicians to their spires. The ability of Urizen to defend itself will be dispersed and distributed through the territory. This is not unprecedented, as anyone who is familiar with the history of the Towerjacks can confirm. The architects who built the Heliopticon and founded Imperial lore will find new ways to defend Urizen. But the nation will no more heed the call of the Military Council to sacrifice Urizen for the good of others.

Poise is the practice of allowing yourself to feel your emotions as deeply as possible yet retain perfect self-control. Practitioners seek to hold themselves in a state of equilibrium so that they channel the strength of their emotions at the perfect moment.

Urizeni Cultural Tradition