Roskva checked with the miners that the ropes and chains were tight and secure, the jogged back to where Wylfrec stood. She wiped her bloodied hands clean on a scrap of cloth.

"It's looking good," she said. "We're ready. If you're ready?"

He took a firmer grip on his staff, glanced across the the others who stood in a rough circle around the entry to the gully. Each one nodded in turn, grim-faced, and he returned the gesture. Half of them turned smartly and faced outward while the others kept their attention focused in the vicinity of the great block of ice.

"We're ready," he said.

Roskva pulled a mammoth-tusk horn from her belt, took a deep breath, and blew a single mournful note. Immediately, the drovers slapped the arses of their oxen, and the ropes went taunt. With a terrible groaning, the entire rock began to shift. The slow thread of red liquid down its face began to flow faster, looking less like tears and more like the blood from a fatal wound. One of the ropes snapped with a noise like thunder, whipping madly and nearly crippling one of the labourers. Everything paused for a moment, a worried ripple running through the crowd, but after a moment the healer shouted that everything was fine. They started pulling again, and then without any warning, the ice rock gave, crashing down, sending chips flying in every direction. A ragged cheer went up.

Now the miners moved in, with picks, wedges, and hammers. Searching for natural weak points, they opened cracks and drove the wedges in, slowly but surely breaking the block into icy rubble, As each one came loose, it was moved by runesmiths with heavy rune-marked gauntlets to the copper kettles, also marked with runes of Victory and Ending. Whenever the rock was breached, there would be another gush of dark red sticky liquid. Two youths with buckets kept splashing salted water over the rock, partly to help speed up its destruction, partly to was away that bloody fluid.

Wylfrec sighed, a little sadly, and Roskva crooked an eyebrow at him.

"Most of that is vis you know?" he said quietly, only for her ears. "That much hearts blood would be worth a small fortune to the right people, no matter where it came from."

The icewalker stared at him without speaking, her crimson eyes unreadable, and he shifted awkwardly.

"That's part of the point," she said eventually. "If the rock was worthless there'd be no point smashing it. It's because its valuable that it's tempting. It's because of the vis that we need to do this. Do you think people turn to Blood-on-the-Snow for a handful of glittering rocks? No, they turn to him because his boons are powerful and useful and that-"

She was interrupted by another cheer. The great rock of ice had split into two halves, with a terrible creaking groan that reminded Wylfrec horribly, viscerally, of the moment when he was nine, and the sound the ice he'd thought was solid had made just before he fell through it.

"And that," finished Roskva, "is exactly why it's important for us to smash this rock to pieces and take nothing he has left for us."
Two minutes.jpg
Two minutes for a ritual to change the world, one minute for a declaration to shake the Empire.


The Imperial Conclave has undergone radical changes, but has quickly adjusted to its new methods of operation, and its new powers. The impact of the declaration of Concord, now it is being shared with all Imperial magicians, is beginning to be felt across the Empire and beyond in the wake of the Spring Equinox. The Imperial Magus has used one declaration to secure Conclave a measure of influence over the Throne elections, while the Grandmaster of the Golden Pyramid has set their order to support the Crucible of Fate in Zenith.

There were also several other declarations, each of which has done something to improve the Conclave's standing in the wider world.

Emissary to the Tchemetzi

Conclave asks the Celestial Arch to send a diplomatic emissary to the Tchemetzi family in Faraden

Declaration of Concord, Raised by Ashborn Trosk, Order of the Celestial Arch, Spring Equinox 385YE
  • A delegation of magicians from the Celestial Arch have spent the last three months in Pelabuhan

Last season Ossegrahn suggested that the Imperial Conclave could send a delegation in the form of one of their orders to meet with the Tchemetzi family of magicians in Faraden. Grandmaster of the Celestial Arch Ashborn Trosk proposed that members of their order should be sent as diplomatic emissaries to meet with them. The High Lord of Pelabuhan is one of the Tchemetzi, and the Senate is already working with them to expand the docks of Caitun to accept Imperial shipping. With a little nudge from Lord Rain, a diplomatic envoy from the Conclave receives a warm welcome. Which is just as well as the arduous journey across the Sea of Snow is freezing cold and beset by dreadful weather.

The delegation is met at the port and escorted through the town to a set of apartments arranged for them by High Lord Mukhali Tchemetzi. The magicians of the Celestial Arch present the High Lord with carefully selected gifts; a brooch made of knapped mammoth bone and an ivory wand inscribed with runes from the runesmiths of Kalpaheim, which are also warmly received. For the most part, however, the High Lord is busy with the business of running Pelabuhan, and other members of the Tchemetzi take charge of the magician diplomats. The family are adept in the gentle application of Spring magic; healing, dousing wells, and blessing farmers' fields with life-giving rain. This latter is a particularly important service in the relatively arid west. And service it is - the Tchemetzi are Faraden, and in some ways are more similar to the Golden Pyramid than the Silver Chalice. They are paid, and paid well, for their magic. Their expertise is sought by other High Lords, Ladies, and Lieges; they are well respected by their peers and heavily involved in Faraden politics. They were among some of the earliest supporters of Tchinua Ganbatar, the new Liege of the Five Winds, worried that the previous leaders were dragging their country inevitably toward a costly, pointless war with the Empire.

Tours of the Tchemetzi holdings are arranged, including a visit to the potent Spring regio, aligned with Lord Rain, where the Tchemetzi receive aid to perform much of their magic. The regio surrounds a pillar of weirwood - a relatively rare commodity in Faraden - bound in mithril. The regio itself is surrounded by a lush park and several large herb gardens, and almost every magician visiting comments on how gentle and restful the atmosphere there is. There are also several lakes, and each of them is home to a number of "Raincallers", heralds of Ossegrahn, who provide help to the herbalists and farmers in Menendram. After further discussion, the Celestial Arch magicians agree that this place is very similar to a fane - a place heralds can easily pass between their realm and the mortal world.


  • The Palace of the Frozen Night are intrigued by wider diplomatic negotiations between the Conclave and High Lord Tchemetzi
  • They have requested a ritual text of Regrow the Land's Heart and in exchange they will provide two vital honey a season to be endowed by the Conclave
  • If the Tchemetzi family receive the ritual text they will endorse the Conclave to Ossegrahn

The visits to various other regio, farms, and wells all go well, but mostly serve as a backdrop to the real business of diplomacy with the Tchemetzi. The days are for sight-seeing, but as evening draws in talk swiftly turns to matters of diplomacy and magic. The Tchemetzi do not have access to anything like the body of Imperial lore that the Empire enjoys. Each Faraden magician family carefully guards their own stock of magical lore, treating them as a vital commodity that is the foundation of their wealth and influence. There's also a lot of interest in the Conclave - again the Faraden magician families are by no means unified, and are caught up in a centuries long web of intrigue, alliance, treachery, rivalry, and retribution that is tricky even for the adepts of the Celestial Arch to follow. Once one adds in the other families, there is no way of keeping track of who is aligned with whom, much to the amusement of their Faraden hosts.

On the matter of their relationship with Lord Rain, they are surprisingly a little less hard-nosed. The eternal has always treated them fairly, and there seem to be genuine friendships between members of the family and his raincaller heralds. There is a little good-natured humour about the fact his children are always trying to persuade the Tchemetzi to give their magical services for free to those who need them, but it is treated as the peculiar habit of a respected elderly relative than anything more serious. They have several stories of Ossegrahn providing additional aid to them, and through them to the people of Faraden, in times of need such as the rare famine, or outbreak of serious disease. They're a little surprised the Conclave is still keeping him at arm's length.

As previously mentioned, their magic mostly revolves around healing and farming. They have access to several rituals that are not known in Imperial lore, which were crafted with the aid of the eternal. Each of those rituals represents decades of work however; the Tchemetzi have no access to a College of Magic, and each ritual text has been painstakingly codified by the family magicians. They are especially interested when they learn of the existence of Regrow the Land's Heart. The more they hear of it the more excited they are. The magic seems to be exactly the kind of thing they would find useful; it has obvious applications in both areas ravaged by war with the Jotun and in places where the soil is too barren to allow farms to be built.

They ask the Celestial Arch if the Imperial Conclave would be prepared to share the ritual text with them. Knowing that some Faraden magician families already provide bequests to the Conclave orders for aid received in the past, they would be prepared to offer a seasonal delivery of two bottles of vital honey to the Imperial Conclave to be endowed on whichever order they wished in return for a copy of that ritual text.

High Lord Mukhali Tchemetzi is clear that if such a thing is agreed to then it would be a strong demonstration of a willingness to cooperate that would greatly endear the Conclave to the family, and they would endorse the Conclave to Father Tarn. Thanks to the excellent impression created by the Celestial Arch, they are already discussing sending a small reciprocal delegation to the Empire in the next year or so, but such a gift would make that happen a lot sooner.

Before the magicians leave Faraden, rumour reaches them that a couple of the other prominent Faraden families have heard of their visit to the Tchemetzi. At first there is concern that a slight of some kind might be assumed, but it turns out nothing could be farther from the truth. It seems that a prestigious delegation from the Imperial Conclave has been broadly taken as a sign that the Empire approves of the new Liege of the Five Winds, is interested in dealing with the families, and that there might be opportunities for trade to be taken care of. The mere fact of the visit appears to have had a positive impact on Imperial-Faraden relations all by itself.


  • Any member of the Celestial Arch is free to roleplay that some or all the regular income they receive this season has come from trade and gifts whilst in Pelabuhan

Any member of the Celestial Arch is free to roleplay that they took part in the actions of the order over the past season in Pelabuhan and is free to create their own stories of their visit, within reason. If your character has regular income (mana, money, ingots, measures, or herbs) then you are free to roleplay that some or all of these were a result of trades and gifts whilst in Pelabuhan.

Just Rewards

  • Nine wains of mithril have been made available to the Conclave to endow by the Faraden magician family known as the Arshlan

The visit to the Tchemetzi is not the only thing that the Conclave has done that has improved relations with the Faraden. During the Spring Equinox, the Conclave agreed to support Arsenio Sanguineo Rezia di Tassato's declaration to disseminate a ritual text for Delve Deep, Beneath the Mountain as requested by a Faraden magician family. The Arshlan family, adept Summer magicians who specialise in bestowing magical boons (enchantments) have pledged in return to provide nine wains of mithril to the Imperial Conclave. The mithril has already been provided to the civil service in the form of a small stack of slightly worn Bourse notes. Some or all of the mithril can this be endowed on individuals as the Imperial Conclave deems fit during the Summer Solstice.

The Arshlan are keen to visit the Empire, assuming a delegation of Faraden magician families goes ahead. Furthermore, they are apparently quite well respected by some of the smaller Faraden warrior families; winning their approval has gone a little way toward chipping away the resentment some of those families feel toward the Empire.

The Quiet Hall

Expand the Quiet Hall
Commission Type: Sinecure
Location: Oakways, Miaren
Cost: 10 weirwood, 20 crowns, and three months to construct
Effect: Provides 3 Magpie Infusion, and 3 Ravenwing Infusion each season

For the Wayhouse, formerly, of Harad of the High Path to be endowed to the Custodian of the Lost in the interest of expanding the site into a hospital for the treatment of magical ailments

Brynn of Vision Enduring, Bursar of the Conclave
  • The Conclave chose to endow the Quiet Hall on the Custodian of the Lost
  • The former wayhouse will serve as an ideal location for the treatment of people harmed or corrupted by exposure to powerful magic
  • The Quiet Hall can be expanded using a commission, 10 wains of weirwood, and 20 crowns in labour costs. It would take three months to complete.

Last season saw some clarifications related to the position of Custodian of the Lost. Included in this was the endowment from Harad of the High Path of the wayhouse they constructed to be gifted to the Custodian of the Lost. The Imperial Conclave voted to support the Endowment raised by Brynn of Vision Enduring, Bursar of the Conclave, that the wayhouse be endowed to the Custodian of the Lost so that it could be used by them to support those harmed or corrupted by exposure to powerful magic.

The Quiet Hall is perfectly serviceable as a hospital as it is, but there is a possibility it could be expanded. Not every magical malady requires an over magical treatment; some are better dealt with via tinctures and soothing poultices, so a staff of skilled apothecaries would likely be a boon. After some discussion, some of the patrons who used to support the Spire of Twisting Shadows have agreed to do so again. Provided reasonable facilities are arranged - facilities that could be incorporated into extensive gardens that would also contribute to the restfulness of the new hospital - a cadre of herbalists trained in dealing with thaumaturgic injuries would be available to support the hospital. If commissioned, the addition of beautiful gardens would require 10 wains of weirwood, 20 crowns in labour, and three months of work. Once complete, the Custodian would receive 3 doses of Magpie Infusion and 3 doses of Ravenwing Infusion each season; the Infusions of Feathers are often useful for diagnosing magical maladies.

Breaking the Ice

Conclave agrees that Agramant is the eternal of broken boundaries, cursed gifts and transgressions. We know who he is. There is always a cost. Therefore the rock of bleeding ice is a magical threat to the Empire and must be destroyed.

Declaration of Concord, Raised by Tyburn Weaver, Order of the Shuttered Lantern, Spring Equinox 385YE
  • The rock of Bleeding Ice in Tanikipari has been destroyed

During their recent investigations in Skarsind, the Shuttered Lantern identified a massive ice boulder in a narrow valley in Tanikipari. The boulder literally bled vis - a steady drip-drip-drip of Heart's Blood. All the signs were this magical liquid was the result of an arrangement with the twisted eternal Blood-on-the-Snow, but it might have been possible to justify harvesting it and endowing it to one of the Conclave orders - most likely the Shuttered Lantern. The Conclave, however, chose a different path.

Tyburn Weaver of House De Rondell, the Grandmaster of the order, raised a declaration of Concord saying that the boulder must be destroyed. The Conclave agreed. In the weeks following the summit, a contingent of miners were employed by magicians from the Shuttered Lantern. In the secluded Tanikipari valley, they conclusively dismantled the block of ice. Several precautions were taken to ensure that the miners would not trigger a trap, or somehow invoke the wrath of Agramant, but such precautions proved unnecessary. The boulder proved to be exactly what it appeared to be - a solid lump of ice - and no march for good steel picks. The rubble was boiled in massive copper kettles until nothing remained except gently drifting steam.

The source of heart's blood was lost, but the Shuttered Lantern have sent a clear message to the Howler in the Wastes. They do not want his boons, and will not even stoop to stealing them.

Bats, Bottles, and Beginnings

The Conclave approves Sadogua's actions to bring Suranni wizards into the Empire.

Declaration of Concord, Raised by Elian i Carilla i Guerra, Rogue Declaration, Spring Equinox 385YE
  • The box of potions delivered to the Conclave is still available for endowment
  • Sadogua has thanked the Conclave for their endorsement of his actions

As previously discussed, several hundred Suranni wizards and their families have found refuge in the Empire. The Imperial Conclave was instrumental in providing them with a safe place to flee the oppression they experienced in the Iron Confederacy, along with the Brother of Wizards. Last season the Suranni wizards collected a chest of potions as a gift for the Imperial Conclave. The box, containing a score or so of potions useful to magicians, is still awaiting endowment in possession of the civil service.

The Conclave also upheld a declaration of Concord raised by Elian i Carilla i Guerra, using the Rogue Declaration. When informed, the eternal himself is believed to have said "You're welcome."

A Home in the Empire

  • With the aid of the Navarr and the Loyalty Assembly, the Suranni wizards have begun to settle in the Empire
  • The wayfarers and magisters of Highguard have also reached out to them
  • The Conclave thanked Sadogua for his assistance

But what of the Suranni wizards themselves? While they share a point of origin, and can be divided into several broad factions, the wizards are not a monolithic group. They want different things, and have different levels of interest in Imperial society. While the National Assemblies of several nations offered them sanctuary, all prioritised conversion to the Way. The Suranni wizards are united by a suspicion of religion - they come from a country where faith is used as an excuse to arrest, torment, and kill magicians.

Fortunately, the Navarr National Assembly took a different approach. During the Spring Equinox, they upheld a mandate sending Teleri Thornweaver to offer a place in their stridings and steadings to anyone who wanted it, and the aid of their guides in finding safe homes, without demanding conversion or embrace of the virtues. They were supported by the Loyalty assembly, using the Eyes of Loyalty who used a mandate of their own to send Raewyn Eternal to support the Navarr guides.

The majority of the Suranni wizards who do not already have contacts in the Empire have now become guests of the Navarr. The guides will help them to find places that will welcome them, suited to their individual temperaments and approach to magic. The support of the Loyalty assembly goes a long way toward lessening the suspicion with which most of the Suranni view the Way. By reinforcing the idea that the virtues do not try to dictate where one's Loyalties must lie, agreeing that it is entirely understandable to place one's own family and traditions well ahead of those of the Empire, they help soothe the most anxious of the newcomers' fears. Over the course of the next few years, Suranni families will build new homes in almost all corners of the Empire. Most will become Imperial citizens, and it is likely that in time they will come to an accord with the Way, even if some of them never entirely embrace it.

There are only three nations where they will not settle: on the Brass Coast, among the Imperial Orcs, and in Highguard. With regard to the latter, however, there is at least one positive development. The Highborn National Assembly enacted a mandate of their own, sending Exarch Luke (the Archmage of Summer) to urge wayfarers and magisters to welcome the Suranni to the Empire and aid them in settling bodies and souls for generations to come. The Suranni almost universally reject these overtures from the Highborn. Highguard is the most obvious symbol of the pervasive presence of the Way in the Empire, and the dominance of that religion is a source of fear for many of the refugee wizards. In the end, however, the patience of the Highborn eventually overcomes the anxieties of many of the Suranni. While it will take a generation before these people are entirely comfortable in the vicinity of the Highborn, the process has begun. Few of the Suranni attempt to actively flee and hide as soon as they see someone they recognise as Highborn, now.

Whilst we welcome the Suranni wizards to find their place in the Great Dance, whether they join our stridings and steadings or not, we must do our utmost to welcome and guide them in the Way and the traditions of Navarr. We should learn of their Ambitions and offer our support in their endeavours. Vigilance is important but breaking bread, sharing a meal, and inviting the Suranni to sit by the fire shares our prosperity and our nation.

Winifred Blackhawk, Spring Equinox 385YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 264-0)

While enacting their mandate, the Navarr National Assembly also upheld a statement of principle urging their nation "to welcome and guide them in the Way". While a noble aim, it is abundantly clear that this statement could easily have jeopardised the mandate's goals. The Suranni are enormously fearful of priests and organised religion and any attempt to put that first will make dialogue significantly more likely to fail at this time. Some stridings and steadings end up turning away Suranni families as a consequence; unwilling to embrace those who are not yet prepared to accept the Way.

Fortunately the guides dealing with the Suranni find the terms of the original mandate are sufficient to complete their goals, thanks to the support and help of the Loyalty Assembly. By pointing to the backing of the Cardinal of Loyalty and his Assembly, they are able to convince enough Navarr families to put their reservations aside. Though painstaking work, they are able to find homes for the newcomers with people who are prepared to accept their refusal to embrace religion. "If Virtue is worth anything," one guide says, "Then they'll come to it when they see how it can help them."

While most of the Suranni have little interest in Imperial politics at the moment, a few have expressed their interest in visiting Anvil and perhaps eventually joining the Imperial Conclave. For now though they are busy finding places to live, to work, and to settle. There is no doubt that while the majority will ultimately prove a boon to the Empire, some of them will ultimately prove problematic. Among them are members of the Hand of Dumon. Some of them are idolators who revere eternals, heretics and blasphemers who embrace malign spiritual forces, and straightforward criminals who will turn their magic toward self-enrichment or dominating their neighbours. Yet as one guide says with a philosophical shrug: "They're just people, like us, and while some of them may be bad people, everyone has to find their own place in the Great Dance."

Further Reading