She sighed, shuffled some of the papers together, and leant down to put them in the box that was serving in place of a drawer.
When she sat back up properly in a chair, there was an orc staring at her.
Reesa startled, recoiling back in her chair hard enough to make it rock onto two legs. The orc's face broke into a broad predatory smile, revealing teeth that had been piled to points. The orc was one of the ugliest she had ever seen, its face covered in scars that twisted its expression permanently into a sneer. Unpleasant blue and green tattoos coiled down from its scalp and across its folded naked forearms. It wore leather armour, and sheathed on either hip was an unpleasant looking curved short-blade. Everything about it suggested danger.
"How did you get past..?" she scooted back in her chair. The orc was between her and the door but she might be able to make it to the window...
The orc didn't respond, just watched her panic with its arms crossed. She felt like a mouse being watched by an owl.
"I have a message from the Queen of All Spiders," said the orc. Its tone was bored but it was still staring at her with a terrifying intensity. "For your Imperial Archmage."
"Which one?" she said, realising as soon as she'd asked the question that it was probably a stupid one. The orc ignored her.
"The Crowned One has received the Archmages message. She has no interest in a public, formal meeting. Not with the Archmage alone not with any Navarr."
Its mouth twisted as it said "Navarr" but Reesa could not really read its expression.
"However, tell your archmage that the message has been received. The Death-Inescapable understands its content. She will take the logical next step. Do you understand this message?"
Reesa nodded quickly. The orc stared at her again for several heartbeats, then turned its head side to side to look around the office. It made no effort to conceal its disdain.
"Then my task is complete."The orc turned on its heel and walked out of the office without a backward glance. Reesa realised she had been holding her breath and let it out in a great gust. She jumped up, rushed to the door, looking left and right. There was no sign of the orc.
- Arhallogen, Phaleron, Cathan Canae, Ephisis, Sorin, and Lashonar have all responded to plenipotentiary messages from the Imperial archmages.
Every summit, each of the six archmages has the ability to send a single plenipotentiary message to an eternal. The Winter Solstice is no exception. In the months leading to the Spring Equinox, six eternals have responded to messages from the archmages; some have agreed to a formal parley, others have made different arrangements.
Those eternals who have agreed to meetings have specified the topics that will be discussed, and will most likely refuse to talk about other topics.
- The eternal Phaleron will grant a parley at 11pm on Friday night
- At the start of the Spring Equinox, the Archmage of Day is Skywise Gralka
In response to a request from Archmage Skywise Gralka, Phaleron the Celestial Library offers a formal parley. It requests the presence of the Archmage of Day, and the Urizen egregore Menos, an hour before midnight on the first night of the summit. The parley will take place in a chamber prepared by Phaleron that will be accessed not through the Hall of the Worlds, but from the Imperial regio at Anvil.
In addition to the Archmage, Menos is invited to bring every member of the Urizen nation who wishes to attend. Only those properly bonded to the egregore - and thus the Urizen nation - will be able to attend but thanks to the nature of the portal and the egregore bond there is no requirement for any of those accompanying Menos to perform the operate portal spell themselves. Phaleron is keen that every Urizen who wishes to attend the parley be able to do so, whether they be magicians or not.
The usual rules of a formal parley - that the Archmage or their proxy shall speak and all others speak only with their permission - will be in place.
Finally, the library requests that the ritual Gift of Knowledge not be placed in Imperial lore and instead asks that the Archmage of Day bring the ritual text with them when they attend the meeting if at all possible.
The Imperial Conclave, it says, has made it clear that they do not want these offers of aid; that is its prerogative of course.
OOC Note: Only Urizen citizens will be able to attend this meeting, which will be reached by the portal at the regio directly not via the Hall of the Worlds. Everyone who wishes to attend must come through at the same time. There will be a short walk involved, but there will be no combat.
- Lashonar opens the doors of the Caucus Forum at noon on Saturday
- At the start of the Winter Solstice , the Archmage of Night is Elyssiathain of Urizen
A week before the Spring Equinox, a message comes to the civil servants associated with the Conclave. The Chatterer, Guardian of the Southern Skies, Keeper of the Gates of Wisdom, Eater-of-Silence, Speaker in Dreams, Conscience-of-Kings, Loquacious Lashonar will open the doors of the Caucus Forum to the Archmage of Night, the Imperial Consul, and one other during the coming summit.
Within the Caucus Forum, the three Imperial diplomats may meet with the warchief of the Hierro clan, and their two companions. The doors will open at noon on Saturday.
The Gibbering Ambassador cautions that the law of peace lies upon all those who enter the Caucus Forum. Any violence by either party will be revisited upon the instigator threefold. Lashonar's retribution will fall upon the person themselves, upon the people for whom they speak, and upon the land from which they hark. Furthermore, as the meeting has been arranged with the formal request of the Archmage of Night it will be considered a parley with all that implies if a party foolishly choose to break the law of peace.
As with previous meetings, Lashonar does not hold with the idea that the Archmage alone determines who speaks and who does not. As such, while the meeting will be formal in all other regards the eternal expects that everyone there will speak as they wish.
Before leaving, the emissary reiterates that this ability to invoke the Caucus Forum is now a permanent right of the Archmage of Night, as long as Lashonar is not subject to enmity. With this powerful magical tool, it is the hope of the eternal that Imperial citizens may continue their excellent work resolving differences with the power of negotiation rather than with swords.
- Cathan Canae has agreed to formal parley at half-past-two on Saturday
- At the start of the Spring Equinox, the Archmage of Summer is Luke of the Shattered Tower
Two weeks before the Spring Equinox, an emissary of Cathan Canae, the Queen of Ice and Darkness, stomps out of the Imperial regio and accosts passersby until it receives directions to the Hub. Towering over the humans and orcs preparing for the upcoming summit, the giant messenger brings the word of its mistress, which it delivers at the top of its lung to the first civil servant it encounters (and half the field)
The Mistress of Blizzards extends an offer to the Archmage of Summer for formal parley. It will take place at half-past two on Saturday during the Spring Equinox. The Queen of the Amaranthine Glacier demands that the Archmage bring with them four very specific other individuals.
First, three folk from Wintermark - one who has the respect of their warriors; one who has the ear of their senators; and one who has the voice of their magicians. Furthermore, each must be a representative of a different people - one Suaq, one Kallavesi, and one Steinr. Second, one person who can speak as a representative of the forces of Dawn and Varushka who invaded the Druj territory of Ossium. Finally, to bring the number to an even half-dozen, the Summer Archmage (or their representative) may bring a single other person of their choice. Everyone who comes must bring a weapon and, if appropriate, a shield.
There is one other restriction - none of these people (other than the Archmage) may have served as a champion of Eleonaris or Jaheris ever during their life, nor may they be the current Master of Ice and Darkness for similar reasons.
This meeting shall be a parley, but on the understanding that at any time any member of either delegation may formally renounce the protection of the parley.
During the meeting, as requested, the topics of conversation shall be the conflict between the Lion and the Unicorn, and the relationship between the Mistress of Blizzards and the Empire.
- Ephisis has declined an invitation to parley at this time
- At the start of the Spring Equinox, the Autumn Archmage is Edmundo of Damakhan's Forge
Three days after the completion of the Summer Solstice, a peculiar figure appears at the Hub in Anvil. With the body of a muscular human woman but the head of a bull, the creature wears loose robes in the Freeborn style. Despite looming over all the civil servants it speaks to, its polite demeanour and cultured voice soothe everyone it speaks to. She reveals herself to be a professional courier from the City of Gold and Lead in the Autumn realm - the city whose sovereign lord is Ephisis, the Lady of the Counting House.
Ephisis declines a parley with the Archmage; the recent business with the incarceration of Reckoner of Hours means that the wealthiest citizens of the City are likewise a little leery about dealing directly with the Imperial Archmage at this time. That is not to say that there will be no response to the plenipotentiary; several specific offers have been prepared for the attention of the Autumn Archmage. You can read more about these offers here.
- Arhallogen has declined to offer a formal, public parley
- At the start of the Spring Equinox, the Archmage of Spring is Ser Fabienne De Miel
A fortnight before the Spring Equinox, an orc appears in the temporary offices of the civil servants at Lomaa in Ossium. The figure claims to be an emissary of the Queen of All Spiders responding to the request of the Imperial Archmage. It appears otherwise unfamiliar with - and disdainful of - Imperial custom and traditions.
The Queen of All Spiders wishes the civil servants to tell the Spring Archmage that it has no interest in a public, formal meeting, neither with the Archmage alone nor with any Navarr. It does however want its emissary to confirm that it has received the message, understands its content, and will take the logical next step.
Following that enigmatic comment, the orc simply turns on its heel and departs as quickly and unobtrusively as it appeared.
- Sorin declines the request for parley
- At the start of the Spring Equinox, the Winter Archmage is Syn Truth-Walker Returned
Three weeks after the Winter Solstice, an emissary of the Tomb King comes to Anvil to speak to the civil service. It takes the form of a cadaverously thin humanoid in ivory-white armour.
Sorin has received the request of the Archmage of Winter for parley, but believes that they are labouring under a misapprehension. The Hungry Wolf has no interest in amity, and thus no interest in discussion about how the Empire might be convinced to bestow it. However, it has some mild interest in what the Archmage hopes to achieve by securing that status for the Tomb King. As such it will send an emissary to seek out the Archmage of Winter during the Spring Equinox and they might discuss what has prompted this request for a meeting.
This emissary will arrive in the Hall of Worlds at half-past six on Friday evening.
|Friday||6:30||Sorin||Winter||Declines Parley; Herald coming to speak to Archmage|
|Friday||11pm||Phaleron||Day||Formal parley; entirety of Urizen may attend|
|Saturday||12 noon||Lashonar||Night||Caucus Forum meeting with the Hierro warchief|
|Saturday||2:30 pm||Cathan Canae||Summer||Formal parley (but anyone may formally remove their protection under parley at any time)|
This Wind of Fortune can also be found here, read by Autumn Bailey.