We've been here forever
"Did you get all that Orrin?"
"I think so. At least I wrote it down. But she can't ask for that? Can she?"
"She can ask for whatever she likes. And since its a matter between Civil Service departments, its going to be down to us to sort it out"
The Highguard scribe made a sort of squeaking sound.
"Its all right. John of Meade owes me a favour or two over some particularly good Sarcophan Cheeses I managed to pass his way. And its not like they use the place all day. The Lion of Summer can send her representatives along right near the start of the Equinox"
Orrin's pen scratched and spattered ink across the table.
"I'm more worried about how the Archmage is going to take it. A private audience after the public one and a complete refusal to discuss the main topic he raised is probably not what he was hoping for."
"His problem though"
Jorgen grinned at the young scribe, he knew where that particular phrase came from.
"You're right. His problem. And I daresay there's going to be plenty out there fighting for a spot to offer tribute. They say she inspires fearsome loyalty when she wants to. Now, let me check those notes of yours and make sure we've got all the details right. It's not exactly a simple Parley and I rather think that making sure the Archmage understands exactly what kind of formal reception is requested is our job too"
Orrin muttered under their breath.
"What was that?"
"If you're going to come out with that kind of Highborn nonsense you better request a department transfer. Let me tell you I wish I could get leave from the Castle of Thorns to go to Anvil and see the full glory of the Lady of Pennants spread out. See this?" Jorgen jabbed a finger at Orrin's ink spattered notes. "She might be expecting tribute, but she's also sending four different cohorts of Heralds, musicians, fighters, diplomats and strategists and The Leonine Child, who hasn't been seen in Imperial Lands for countless years according to record. This is honouring The Empire. Who knows what could come of it in the future?"
Orrin's looked down.
"I'll draft the notices"
- Eleonaris, Yaw'nagrah, Azoth, Zakalwe, Kaela, and the City of Gold and Lead have publicly responded to plenipotentiary messages from archmages.
Each archmage has the ability to send a plenipotentiary message to an eternal once during each summit. Following the Summer Solstice, six eternals have responded to these messages and either confirmed that they accept a formal parley, or in the case of Ephisis, declined the parley but agreed to a meeting nonetheless.
In each case, the eternals have specified the topics about which they or their representatives will discuss. Within the bounds of the parley, they are likely to refuse to discuss matters that fall outside the potentially rigid list of things they have agreed. It is still possible to try and bring up topics outside of the matters agreed on in advance, but there is absolutely no guarantee the representative of the realms will want to discuss them - and some of the more formal entities might well be annoyed enough to end the parley early if they are badgered by (for example) a crowd of magicians all wanting their opportunity to explain why the eternal should pay attention to them.
- Eleonaris will send the Leonine Child and courtiers to a formal reception in the Senate building at 7pm Friday.
- Prior to the reception there will be an informal meeting between two courtiers, the Summer Archmage, and anyone who wishes to be considered to present formal tribute
- Following the formal presentation in the Senate, courtiers of the Leonine Child will spread out across Anvil to engage in less formal meetings with citizens.
The eternal Eleonaris has agreed to a request for parley from Solomon, the Summer Archmage. Unexpectedly, however, she has requested that the parley take place not in the Hall of Worlds, nor even in a chamber beyond the mortal world, but in the Imperial Senate.
Her "Statement to The Empire", as recorded by Orrin, Civil Service Scribe, has (perhaps unsurprisingly) caused some consternation.
Two courtiers will visit Anvil in advance of the ceremony, to meet with the Archmage and Imperial Citizens who would like to participate in the formal reception. At the reception the Leonine Child will receive tributes from Imperial citizens for a duration of no more than half an hour. We will be delighted to receive the Banner offered to us by Caius Aurelius, and have no doubt that others will have thoughts on appropriately fitting and Glorious gifts to offer alongside it. We trust that the Archmage or their representatives will choreograph such a ceremony so that it will be truly glorious for all concerned.
After the reception, we wish for our courtiers to share the glory of the Summer Realm with the Empire, across the field of Anvil, for a further hour. We shall send:
Musicians, who will both performers and audience be to those who would enjoy such exchange
Strategists, who would see your military maps and speak with those that care on matters of Glory in War
Champions, who would fight those who seek Glory in single or group combat
Diplomats, who would meet with the Assembly of Pride, and discuss goals that they might share with the Summer Realm
Immediately after the formal reception, the Leonine Child also anticipates a short private audience with the Archmage, for whom we have some particular advice.
We stipulate one condition with regard to our generous response to the Archmage's plenipotentiary request, however.
At no time during the formal reception or informal discussions afterwards should any Imperial citizen, be they Throne, Archmage, or of any other status, make request of us, of our courtiers, or of the Leonine Child for any kind of boon. It is neither in demands, nor in begging requests that trust, respect, and glory are to be found.
Her Resplendent Highness Eleonaris
Eleonaris expects the meeting at the Imperial Senate to be held under the auspices of parley; it is not clear at this time whether she expects the same protections to apply to her courtiers when they leave to begin their hour of festivity in Anvil, nor how that would work with regard to who may speak, nor the supernatural consequences of breaking the parley. Presumably the Archmage of Summer will be able to establish the protocol that will apply to the second part of the parley.
From half past six on the Friday evening of the Equinox, two of her courtiers will be in the Hub, where they wish to meet with the Summer Archmage and any who wish to deliver tribute during the official reception.
- Yaw'nagrah offers parley with the Spring Archmage at 10pm on Friday
Three weeks after the Summer Solstice, a small Navarr striding passing through Brocéliande heading north along the trod from Greenstead toward Ulvenholm is accosted by more than a dozen handmaidens of the Green Mother. Despite their threatening appearance, the creatures do not attack the striding. Rather, they bear with them a messenger. The great gnarled tree-creatures tower over what appears to be a short briar woman, her face concealed in a deep hood, but her lineage plain on her arms - bark over growing her brand's tattoos. She delivers the message of Yaw'nagrah in a confident, passionate voice.
During the Autumn Equinox, the Green Mother will meet with Fabiene Acoucher, the Archmage of Spring. Alone. She will send an emissary to collect the Archmage at ten o'clock on Friday night, and the parley will take place in a chamber between the Realm and the mortal world. She will not risk any of her children to the Hall of Worlds nor allow any other than the Archmage to attend; the Empire has already demonstrated it cannot be trusted to keep to the bounds of parley.
Message delivered, the handmaidens and their briar companion melt back into the forests of Greenstead. A chilling reminder that potent as the restraints placed on an eternal by the enmity of the Imperial Conclave may be, they do not extend to those dark places where the Empire does not hold sway.
- The eternal Kaela will meet with the Archmage of Winter at midnight on Friday
A fortnight before the Autumn Equinox, a cadaverous messenger in dusty robes brings a response from the Lady of the Grim Host, the eternal Kaela. The messenger is clearly of Axos extraction, but her parchment-coloured skin, and the eerie glow in her sunken eyes marks here as one of the undying legions that attend upon the End-of-Strength. The message the herald delivers is short and sharp.
While Kaela has no interest in helping the Empire to stave off its inevitable end, she does have two gifts. Neither of these gifts will help the Empire militarily; they must be satisfied with the aid she has already given them. Or not, as they see fit. The Cold-hearted will engage Archmage Emilia with a short parley to talk on other matters. A guide will be sent to the Hall of Worlds to collect Emilia at midnight on Friday. The archmage will come alone.
- Representatives of the City of Gold and Lead will attend an open market in the Hall of Worlds at 11am on Saturday
- This will not be a formal parley; Ephisis expects the Archmage of Autumn to help to ensure that the heralds attending will not be harmed.
A week after the Autumn Equinox, a messenger from the City of Gold and Lead in the Autumn Realm is received at Anvil. A red-skinned herald in sumptuous crimson and gold silks, every inch of their body covered in intricate quicksilver tattoos, they bear a response to a parley requested by the renowned Archmage Marcus of Endsmeet, called the Ender of the Hours.
The invitation to the City of Gold and Lead is accepted. Entrepreneurs and traders will attend the Hall of Worlds at 11am on Saturday. So far, it has been confirmed that the following representatives will be present:
- The Braided Rope Coster will auction a number of items purchased from boxes sent to the city of Gold and Lead from the mortal world; they expect to be paid in Imperial coinage.
- Yield, agent of the Expeiters, shall be hearing pitches for projects that would benefit from his assistance, mentorship, and advice.
- The jeweler Kosmim of the Delicate Eye will be trading jewelry for all purses. Each ring, necklace, or bangle for sale possesses magical provenance, and they are looking not only for imperial coinage but also herbs and the produce of the Empire's forests.
- Mayfand the Factotum of Hammers, representing the eternal Estavus, shall purchase tempest jade from Imperial citizens in return for Warm Ashes. They shall also be selling several boons of the Prince of Shikal to those who are interested.
- Zola, herald of the City of Bridges, has indicated that despite the recent snubs the Imperial Conclave has doled out to the Golden Spider, she will be at the market, with secrets from the Loom to trade for favours of power.
- Lanster, agent of the City of Chains, will be opening two tontines. Entry to the High Tontine will require a throne per entrant, whilst the Low Tontine will cost only a crown. The High Tontine will be held no matter how many participants, whilst the Low Tontine will only take place if at least fifty entrants are found. As an incentive to encourage this particular form of investment, Callidus will make a contribution from his own purse to each pot, without taking any shares in the investment. Contracts will be available to view during the market.
- The Voivode of Chains, Pharam Vex, who will be available to speak to anyone interested in his particular wares.
The "market" will not be a formal parley. The restrictions on who may talk, and how, would make engaging in meaningful trade extremely difficult. Rather, the City of Gold and Lead will provide some security for its citizens, and anticipates that the renowned Archmage will do the same. The messenger is confident neither side wants anything to imperil trade between the City and the Empire.
- The "new" eternal Azoth will meet with representatives of the Empire at four in the afternoon on Saturday
Precisely midway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox, two peculiar figures cause some consternation as they emerge from the Imperial regio at Anvil amid clouds of multicoloured smoke. The creatures appear very much like orcs, but with skin swirling with rainbow arabesques, clad in robes of finest multicoloured silk. They bear a polite message for the Conclave, which they announce freely to anyone who asks them about it.
The eternal Azoth, the Union of Opposites, has received the invitation of Elyssiathain of Urizen Archmage of Night. It shall receive Elyssiathain for a formal parley at the Autumn Equinox, during which time it will seek to craft a greater mutual understanding between itself and the Empire. A guide will be dispatched to the Hall of Worlds at four in the afternoon on Saturday, to bring the Archmage and a small number of their assistants into the presence of Azoth. Azoth has a specific gift for the Conclave, and would like to deliver it into the custody of Ifan of the Darkwater Forge; the eternal requests that he be among those accompanying the Archmage.
- The eternal Zakalwe will send representatives to the Hall of Worlds at on Saturday
The day after the end of the Summer Solstice, an armoured herald from the Realm of Day approached the Civil Service in the Hub at Anvil. A representative of Zakalwe, the herald delivered a polite, concise message for the Archmage - a response to a request for parley from Gancius della Notte di Sarvos. The Hunter of Tides will send representatives to the Hall of Worlds at seven o'clock on Saturday evening. One of the heralds will be empowered to restore the magic of the Circlet of the Master Strategist; Zakalwe is pleased with the use to which the magicians of Urizen have put it. He also intends that a broader discussion of strategy take place in the context of a game, and will be interested to see what lesson the Archmage may take from it.
On one matter, however, he is perplexed. He is unsure what the Archmage is talking about when he speaks of a an "ancient crystal crown lost in Brocéliande". To the best of his knowledge, no significant item of this kind has been lost in the deep woods of the vallorn forest. It seems like there may be a misunderstanding at work here.