Kaisa pounded the hammer up and down along the length of the blade, working as fast as possible, before the glowing metal cooled. Sweat ran off her brow, stinging her eyes, but she screwed them shut and ignored it. Years of working the anvil meant she could strike it perfectly with her eyes closed.

As soon as the glow started to fade she plunged it back into the coals. Keeping working the bellows she yelled at Rikka, the little apprentice she'd taken on from the refugees. He was a good kid - if he kept at it, he'd have the making of a fine blacksmith.

Miloš was waiting for her, stood patiently in the doorway. "You can come in" she called deliberately, knowing damn fine he preferred to stay outside. The heat of the forge was tough if you weren't used to it. Miloš of Delev was many things - but a blacksmith he was not.

Which made it odd when you thought about it. She was happy enough to buy his steel, and the fine silver wire. A good price, better than she could get anywhere in the Mark. But she couldn't understand why a man who made his living selling steel and buying fine Wintermark furs was suddenly looking to buy from her. She'd always bought her steel from Miloš - but he'd never had any interest in her work previously. And now her bloody apprentices couldn't make the mail fast enough.

Odd. She didn't like odd. She'd ask Miloš about it, but she knew he'd never answer. The little Varushka was always bloody tight lipped about anything to do with his business. He bought, he sold - there was never any chatter. Oh well - it was a good price, and now she could pay in goods, she was making double the profits. Perhaps she shouldn't complain.

Noonday Sword

The road from Delev to Kalpaheim has been growing quietly busier for the past few seasons. The dour miners of Varushka have found a new market - or rather, a much easier road to an old market - in the Steinr artisans of Hahnmark.

Wintermark is well known for its skilled artisans, especially the talented craftsmen of Hahnmark. The Steinr in particular, enjoy owning the finest weapons, armour and jewellery that the north can provide. But Wintermark is not a land rich in mineral wealth - and the caravan trails are long and dangerous - and traditionally little has come out of the east. The wealth of metals extracted from the rich hills have always gone to Temeschwar first, and then southward.

But now, a new road passes north of Mellfort and south of the Fingers, bypassing the rough trods of Hercynia, allowing a cart carrying rare metals and precious natural resources a much easier route west to Kalpaheim. As eager as these merchants are to sell their precious cargo to blacksmiths, jewellers, and artisans of the Mark, they are just as keen to purchase the goods these craftsmen produce. And so, over the months since the road's completion, Steinr-made weapons, armour and shields have become a more common sight outside of Wintermark, including a growing fashion trend developing in Temeschwar for Steinr portrayals of the Varushkan Virtue-animals.

At present this trade is limited to a handful of enthusiastic merchants, but Wintermark could choose to embrace and promote the trade with the other northern nations by building a grand Trade Hall in Kalpaheim.

Trade Profits

Total Money SpentProduction
7 Crowns5 Green Iron, 3 Ambergelt, 2 Weltsilver, 3 Bladeroot
17 Crowns10 Green Iron, 6 Ambergelt, 4 Weltsilver, 6 Bladeroot
35 Crowns15 Green Iron, 9 Ambergelt, 6 Weltsilver, 9 Bladeroot
48 Crowns20 Green Iron, 12 Ambergelt, 8 Weltsilver, 12 Bladeroot

Thule Trade (Urdur)

Total Materials SpentProduction
8 Tempest Jade8 Crystal Mana
19 Tempest Jade16 Crystal Mana
39 Tempest Jade25 Crystal Mana

Constructing the Trade Hall would require a successful commission - either a Senate motion or a wayleave. It would need 16 wains of weirwood and 32 crowns to create the Kalpaheim Trade Hall, but the work could be completed in a single season. Once done the Hall would help to encourage the trade coming to Hahnmark, effectively connecting Wintermark to the Northern trade network. That would allow the Mark to enjoy a share of the wealth enjoyed by their northern neighbours in the Imperial Orcs, Varushka, and Navarr.

... and also in Otkodov. Bringing the Thule into the trade network has been incredibly profitable for the nations of the north, allowing them to purchase precious mana crystals cheaply from the northern orcs. If Wintermark joins the Network then they'll get a share of that like everything else. But it's not what the merchants of the Hall were able to purchase that is bothering people, it's what they might sell...

The traders coming to the Hall would be looking to buy weapons, armour, and jewellery from the Wintermark crafters. And that would mean... Wintermark weapons flowing along the network... and inevitably that would mean them travelling north over the border to be bought by dark-cowled Thule merchants looking to purchase them for their dragon masters.

Out of the Grey Marsh

Mott of Fisher's Rock is largely unknown outside of Bregasland, but within the North Fens her name is a watchword for surliness, borderline craziness, and herbal mastery. This reclusive merrow rarely ventures outside of the tumbledown farmhouse she calls home - a centuries old cottage of unmortared stone and thick marsh reeds. Those who seek her out often end up prey for the vicious marshspiders that haunt the marshes near her home. She resists any effort to clear these vermin out - they leave Mott's cottage alone, and she sees no reason not to leave them alone in return.

While Mott is reclusive, the merrow does not live alone. At any given time she has between one and three apprentices studying with her in her rickety homestead. In the run up to the Autumn Equinox, the eel-fishers of Greywater report enquiries from one of these apprentices about the easiest way to get to Anvil in time for the summit. Mott herself is far too old and withered to make the journey; one of her apprentices has been dispatched on her behalf. There is business to be done, apparently.

Exactly what Mott is sending to Anvil is not clear, but apparently they consist of weapons that might be of use to Imperial citizens intending to fight vallornspawn - or indeed anything else that withers in the face of potent venom. In a slightly surprising move, she has requested that Twyll Eternal, the Blackroot Broker, help her apprentice find a suitable market for their goods. For a representative of so insular a people of the western Bregas to look to a Navarr rather than another Marcher has caused some tongues to wag along the route. She has let slip that while money is always acceptable, she is also prepared to accept payment for any of the good she sells in whole or in part Bladeroot or Beggar's Lye. Regardless the apprentice is expected to appear at Anvil around half past six on Saturday evening.

A Summer Seed for Sale

If you've heard of the Navarri brokers, the Fabledwing Striding in recent months, you'll most likely associate them with hunting down of creatures that threaten Imperial citizens, and maybe have your ear to the ground for when they will next be back, with tales of another village in distress. They're known to have worked with Wyvern's Watch, House Tallstag, The Calf's Head and the Vor'azi amongst others, freeing Tyr Uchaf in Deer's Folly from Vallorn-infested mandowlas and Seraya Derevnya in Temeschwar from plaguewulves who seemed to be lying in wait for something there.

If you've paid close attention to them, and the tales about them, you might also know that the Deer's Folly village of Bont Goch was instrumental in the founding of the striding, and that some of the unusual items they have brought to thank people for their help have come from the Elders of this village.

Llinos Fabledwing has sent word to the Civil Service that she is returning to Anvil this season with another item from Bont Goch. Called The Summer Acorn, an artisan of the village has recently re-enchanted it so that it functions once again as a Coven Stone, which allows the casting of an extra summer ritual each day. However the enchantment is the least of the Acorn's interest. The tale that goes with the seed is that it is an Acorn from The Great Oak of the Forest of Arden itself, not crafted, initially, but grown. And that it was either stolen from Hayaak in the days when he was Lord of the Forest, or given by him. Or perhaps both. If this is true, it is likely to be of great interest, not only to Hayaak, but also to Eleonaris in whose lands Hayaak is currently believed to reside and to Jaheris, the current Lord of Arden.

Llinos and her companion Ewan are intending to travel to Anvil to sell the Summer Acorn or to gift it to those who next help the Fabledwing in saving a village from threat. The rest of the striding are travelling the Empire looking for those in direst need, and Llinos expects to hear from them during the Equinox. She has told Civil Servants that she will pass by the Hub when they first arrives in Anvil at around 9.30 pm on Friday evening to see if anyone is directly interested to speak with her, and that she intends to spend later parts of the evening at the Navarr fireside, whilst Ewan will visit the groups with whom the Fabledwing have already forged bonds in their own camps.

The Senator's Palace

Everyone knows Cerevado! The home of great games in the Brass Coast, the heart of Imperial gambling, where laughing, daring corsairs and quick-witted merchants seize the chance to win big in the casinos which lie alongside the famous Scorrero rapids. In Cerevado, you can lose your shirt by lunchtime and be dressed in silks by dinner. In Cerevado, all you need is steel: one ring, and your nerves.

At least, that's what you've heard recently. Word is that there's a new venue with an ambitious owner, Dhomiro Ximen i Suerta i Guerra, who's keen to get the Senate's permission to build a great casino in stone. He says it would bring vast Prosperity to a town currently suffering somewhat from an influx of poor refugees - who surely want the chance to make something of themselves in their new home? He says it'll employ hundreds and bring together all the little fish in one profitable pond - and besides, isn't the Empire keen on long-term economic investment in its infrastructure?

Ximen i Suerta has come to Anvil before, trying to get the Senators of the Brass Coast to sponsor him, but to no avail. So now he's come to speak to anyone who can help him get hold of an Imperial Wayleave, a commission slot, or, dice forbid, a Senate Motion. He wants to talk to the famous, inspirational builder Lorenzo, to the Imperial Orcs with their fabulous dedicated Wayleave, and to anyone who might want to invest in the opportunity of a lifetime!

The Brass Coast dhomiro is expected to arrive at Anvil some time after eight o'clock on Saturday night.

Emblem of the Sun

Eli of the Seventh Step, a noted Highborn archivist, has discovered an ancient symbol whilst travelling in the northern Empire. They have made it clear they intend to bring this symbol, decorated with the sun, to Anvil and to the wealthy and intelligent. They have stated their intent to make it on the field by half past the tenth hour of the first night of the upcoming summit. They will be visiting the Forge as their first step, to gather interested individuals before moving to a mutually agreeable second stop.

Eve of the Seventh Step, one of Eli's former companions, stated that the reason she wouldn't be coming to Anvil was "It's cold in the shade of that sun." and urged caution in the face of the unknown.


Day Time Trader Trade Location
Friday 9.30pm Llinos Fabledwing A Coven Stone from the Summer Realm The Hub
Friday 10.30pm Eli of the Seventh Step An ancient relic The Forge
Saturday 6:30pm Mott's Apprentice Blades to fight the Vallorn via The Blackroot Broker
Saturday 8:15pm+ Ximen i Suerta i Guerra Opportunities! Unknown; the Brass Coast at some point presumably