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The waters of Bregasland shiver with life, but even Spring magic cannot banish the darkness in their depths.
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Ring of Rushes

The waters of Bregasland are dark at the best of times, but as the Spring Equinox departs, the life that comes with the new year continues to flow through the creeks, burns, and streams. It pools in the lakes and the ponds - apart from those dead meres in Grey Fens where nothing grows. Even this potent Spring magic, it seems, is not enough to touch those barren waters. The Rivers of Life fill everyone in the territory with vitality, removing the risk of infection from the swamps, and ensuring every mouthful of fresh water has almost the same efficacy as a pot of Tom Drake's Tea.

The Strong Reeds spent the last three months lying low - passively resisting the Jotun invaders of Bregasland and moving among the Bregas in secret. After the Spring Equinox, that all ends. The 'Reeds rise, armed and ready, keen to make war on the invaders once again, regrouping at Ottery with the Bounders and the Tusks. Shortly after the Spring Equinox, the Marcher armies are reinforced by the Imperial Orcs - the Winter Sun, empowered by a potent Autumn enchantment of their own to make the long march north from Segura. The Tusks also wear the mark of Imperial magic - the supernatural clarity they possess will come in very useful in the months ahead as they navigate the shifting byways of Bregasland. Imperial magicians have also raised protective enchantments over Ottermire and the Rushes, and the Night magic that infuses the marshes offers sanctuary to the Imperials while bedevilling and confusing the invading orcs.

Marcher folk, Bounders and Beaters all. The horns of war blow once more and we march to defend our kin in the Grey Fens of Bregasland. You will harry their flanks, pick off their skirmishers and disrupt their movements. We will be their living nightmares. Striking from shadow and hide. For the Marches!

Ciaphas 'Black Jack' Dekar, General of the Bounders

The Imperial forces gathering at Ottery are supported by a smattering of independent military units, and all told, there are perhaps twenty thousand Imperial troops in Bregasland. They are opposed by an estimated thirty thousand Jotun, and an unknown number of splendid elfin knights drawn from the Fields of Glory, their golden armour and crimson standards miraculously untouched by the mud of the marshes. The orc armies seem to support the Yegarra under the command of Mathilda Fisher, but this is clearly a political fiction - it is the orcs that do the lion's share of the fighting for all that the Yegarra are at the forefront of each advance. After a season of cautious manoeuvering, both sides have roughly the same goal - to drive their opponents out of Bregasland.

Alright Strong Reeds? I'm Amberlain P. Black and I'm your new general. You've been laying low and harrying those Jotun bastards for long enough, don't you think? Now we will rise up together and start our grinding advance through Bregasland with our siblings in the Tusks and Bounders. Rise up and drive those Jotun and this false "Queen" Fisher back from our land! Get up and fucking go!

Amberlain P. Black, General of the Strong Reeds

Among the Dead Pools

Empire and Jotun clash first in the Grey Fens, the deepest, darkest parts of Bregasland. Before the Winter Solstice, the Empire made some headway there, and they seek to capitalise on their gains. The Imperial armies take a cautious approach to the conquest, gently testing the Jotun before committing their forces. The Tusks take the lead, pushing west out of Ottermire, ensuring that the Marcher soldiers avoid risky engagements, and withdraw from any confrontation that would lead to unnecessary loss of life. The Strong Reeds are behind them, consolidating whatever gains the Imperials are able to secure, ensuring that the larger Jotun force does not manoeuvre them into a vulnerable position. Meanwhile, the watchful Bounders do their best to trick the Jotun into withdrawing, striking at their flanks and exploiting every opportunity to deliver stinging blows calculated to slow their advance and make them slip back into defensive positions in the face of the Imperial advance. Behind the three armies, the Imperial Orcs provide a solid bulwark, and despite the labours of their forced march, they provide solid support to the three human armies.

The Jotun tactics by comparison are significantly less subtle. They strike down out of North Fens like a thunderbolt, a fell hammer roaring with the lust for battle and conquest. The orcs under the banner of the Mandowla's Roar lead the way, with Mathilda's Yegarra hot on their heels. The other Jotun armies follow in their wake, barely any less driven to the fray, an overwhelming assault of orcs seeking victory at any price. The strategies of the two forces are in direct opposition - the Imperials seek to gain territory with as few risky engagements as possible, while the Jotun actively hunt opportunities to clash with the strongest of the Empire's champions. And unfortunately, the risks the orcs are prepared to take reap dividends - especially with the disparity in size between the two sides.

Marchers. Last season we swallowed our Pride and left Bregasland to resupply. We have sown the wind, now the Jotun shall reap the fucking whirlwind. Tusks, we shall conduct a Steady Conquest into Bregasland. With our allies by our side we will advance and meet the bastards in battle. Be brave, and let us take it to them. Mathilda Fisher now claims the title of "Queen" under the Jotun. Let us disprove that bollocks, and set her head atop a pike in Ottery Square. Tusks, as one - rise and advance!

Tomothy Crowle, General of the Tusks

While there are some initial gains, the Marcher advance into Grey Fens slows in the face of the irresistible force the Jotun bring against them. Slows, then stalls. Stalls, then begins to turn back. The Jotun orcs and their Yegarra pawns are able to push the Marchers and their Imperial Orc allies out of Grey Fens altogether, back into Ottermire, with the enemy hot on their heels.

The Battle of Ottery

The Imperials fall back as slowly as they can, always probing the Jotun for any opportunity to stem their advance. Fighting in Ottermire is a very different proposition to fighting amidst the dead pools of Grey Fens. The Night magic that weaves through the marshes here offers succour and sanctuary to any Imperial soldier who needs it, hiding them from the Jotun and allowing them to more easily flank the advancing orcs - something the Bounders in particular use to great effect. There are also unexpected allies here. In addition to the Bregas households that take up arms to help defend their homes, there are angry pikes that lunge out of the waters ready to tear the leg off an unwary orc warrior, vicious black conger eels that rip chunks of flesh from exposed limbs and emaciated Lanternluggers who emerge from the deep waters when the sun sets to lure unwary Jotun to a choking death in the hungry quagmires. The enchanted marshes give the Imperial forces a chance to regroup at Ottery - gathering in the shadow of the little town's low walls for the second time in the season. There is some idle talk that the orc advance may have spent itself in Grey Fens, but the dour Bregas are not so optimistic. While the Bounders harry the orc lines, the Empire prepares to try and strike back against them.

Heroes of the Winter Sun, we have marched long in the sun but now our allies and friends in the Brass Coast must rest. Now we make a force march to Bregasland to prevent the Jotun and Yegarra from claiming one more inch of Marcher soil. Learn the marshes like we did when we first tasted freedom and make the enemy pay for every step.

Skywise Rykana, General of the Winter Sun

The people of Ottery are Bregas through and through, but while some openly offer aid to the Marcher armies camped around the town, others are more reticent. There is no overt hostility, but it is clear that not everyone has turned a deaf ear to the lies of Mathilda Fisher, self-styled steward of Bregasland. Nobody says anything outright, but on the night before the orcs arrive, a number of Ottery folk gather in the town square and march on the eel farm of the prosperous Pettaye household banging pots and shouting - visiting them with the rough music. By the time the procession arrives, most of the Pettaye have already fled - and the fact that they head north through the marshes rather than east along the Otterway provides more than enough proof of their treachery to the angry mob.

The clamour of the rough music is like a prelude of what is to come, when tens of thousands of Jotun begin to appear through the seething morning mists the next day. Drums pounding, horns blazing, thirty thousand orc voices raised in a hymn to the faðir they believe will carry them across the Howling Abyss if they die a hero's death. A death the Empire's armies are more than prepared to offer them.

The Imperials allow the Jotun no time to set up camps or secure defensive positions, sweeping out of Ottery to harass the Jotun lines before dropping back to the limited safety offered by the town walls. There are multiple pitched battles in the sodden farmlands around Ottery, bloody engagements among the eel farms, fisheries and flowering rush crops. Many of the Bregasfolk fight back, others lay down their arms and accept the inevitable - they would rather take the pragmatic choice to be Jotun thralls than be driven off the lands that their families have worked for untold generations.

These skirmishes are just a foretaste of what is to come, as the Jotun force pulls itself together like water pooling around a stone. The sheer weight of numbers, coupled with the Jotun enthusiasm for battle, again give them the advantage. The battle rages around Ottery itself - the Jotun seem more interested in engaging the Imperial armies than in seizing the town, at least to begin with.

What's been built can be built again.

Bregas proverb

Since the Jotun first invaded Bregasland, the Marcher folk have not been idle - fine Upwold wood, imported along the Otterway from Odd's End, has been put to good use constructing barricades and spikes. Several households have intentionally broken centuries-old dams and flooded parts of their own lands, creating dangerous hazards and obstructions for the Jotun. The orcs are much less familiar with marsh fighting than many of the soldiers they are facing, and Imperial Night magic compounds their confusion. One particularly zealous band of glory-hungry Ulvenwar charge through what they think is shallow water, only to discover a morass of sucking mud that holds them in place long enough for pike-wielding Marchers to butcher their entire unit. The barricades provide excellent opportunities for Bregasland beaters to launch volley after volley of arrows into the Jotun as they manoeuvre around the treacherous battlefield, before fading back into the welcoming mist that persists well past midday.

In the end though, the Jotun are victorious. Under a hail of withering fire from Marcher archers, the Mandowla's Roar charge straight at the western gates of Ottery, with the Fisher Yegarra in the van. The gates hold for nearly half an hour before the Jotun - wielding a great rune-carved tree trunk they have apparently transported all the way from Hordalant - smash the doors and pour into the town. Everywhere the Imperial soldiers are being forced to give ground, and the chances of the Empire holding Ottermire seem to go with them.

A lone horn sounds the retreat, cutting through the tumultuous roar of the battlefield. The Imperial forces withdraw. There is a breathless moment, a lull in the battle, during which they must decide which way to go. East along Odd's Way, to Odd's End, and the safety of Mitwold. Or south along Sallow Walk, to Sallow, and the uncertain sanctuary of the Rushes.

Past Sabbey's Mound

The Imperial forces retreat south; there is never really any question. Past Sabbey's Mound, fighting a disciplined retreat. The Jotun do not let up - but t last their energy is starting to wane. It seems for a few days that the Empire might still hold them, might still manage to hang on to some of the southern villages and farms, but as the Summer Solstice approaches, it becomes clear that this is a vain hope indeed. The Marcher and Imperial Orc armies have no choice but to keep to Sallow's Walk, all the way to Sallow.

The Jotun do not pursue. Once it is clear that the Ottermire is theirs, there is a subtle and unpleasant shift in the nature of the magic that shrouds the fens. No longer does it protect Imperial soldiers against the Jotun - quite the contrary. The mists of Ottermire are no longer allies of the Empire, and it is just as well that the magic will fade with the dawning of the Summer Solstice.

Imperial tactics, the Spring magic that lies over the territory, and the fact the Jotun strategy was to overwhelm the Imperial armies rather than merely slaughter their soldiers, has helped preserve Imperial lives. However, in spite all this, nearly fifteen hundred soldiers are left behind in the mud of Grey Fens and Ottermire. The Jotun have also suffered with well over a thousand casualties - while the Imperial strategy was to avoid costly engagements wherever possible, the risks the Jotun have taken in their disregard for the dangers of the marshes have cost them dearly.

With Ottermire lost, Bregasland falls to the Jotun. Mathilda Fisher declares herself the Steward of Bregasland, and calls on all Bregas to support her new independent nation. Imperial successes such as that gained by Imperial heroes at Dank Mere during the Spring Equinox, as well as exhortation of the Marcher Assembly, mean that most Bregas see Mathilda Fisher and her Yegarra as pawns of the Jotun. On the other hand, she is very persuasive. and there are still a few of the smaller households of North Fen and Grey Fen that have chosen to throw their lot in with the "returning" Steward. The vast majority give her short shrift, however. The Jotun are still giving Bregas who fall to them the Choice, but they are framing it in terms of serving the Steward of Bregasland - and it is reported that the orcs often forget to use the correct title and refer to her as the Jarl of the Bregas. Exactly how many people have genuinely fallen for Mathilda's lies is impossible to say, if only because many Bregas would rather knuckle-down and become thralls rather than be thrown off their lands or killed.

Game Information

While the Rushes and Gravenmarch remain in Imperial hands, Bregasland is now a Jotun territory. One impact of this change is that it will no longer be possible to enchant the territory with the Dripping Echoes of the Fen from Anvil.

A number of Bregas have moved south to the Rushes and Gravenmarch, where many of them have been (grudgingly) taken in by the Marchers there. Many more, however, have stayed behind either as thralls or in hiding in the marshes. At this time there is still a sizeable population of Marchers in Bregasland, and no sign that that situation is going to change any time soon.

The information presented here details the background and objectives for one or more conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate. Details relating to the day, timing, gate size, and any additional information will be summarised on the Wind of War page for the event.

A Little Time (Conjunction)

  • House Greywater intend to resist the Jotun occupation of the Grey Fens and Ottermire
  • The Jotun are sending forces to wipe them out, the Greywaters need time to gather their belongings and flee to the deepest parts of the Grey Fens
  • They have sent a message addressed to the General of the Strong Reeds asking if there is anything she can do to buy them time

House Greywater have a chequered reputation in the Marches, even by the standards of Bregasland. Poacher is a dangerous word to bandy around... but it's commonly said of the Greywaters that "they don't own a lot of land of their own, but they sure know a lot about other peoples..." What can't be denied is that they're skilful archers and they know the Bregasland marshes like the back of their hand. They also just happen to hate Mathilda Fisher. Apparently, some old, old grudge exists between the Greywaters and the Fishers involving a basket of stolen eels. They're not taking the Jotun conquest of Bregasland lying down - they plan to resist and they've not been quiet about it either.

Such resistance won't be tolerated by Matihlda Fisher and she has dispatched a force of Ulfur, the Jotun kirkja often sent to execute those the orcs believe have lost their honour. They intend to make an example of the Greywaters. It is clear the House are not strong enough to stand directly against them.

The steward of the House, Margary Greywater, has written a letter addressed to the General of the Strong Reeds asking for help. The House are desperately gathering their belongings and their allies; they intend to copy the example of the Strong Reeds and slip away into the depths of the Grey Fens. From there they will mount a guerrilla campaign against Fisher and her orc allies, using the cover of the marshes to make it impossible for the Jotun to bring them to heel. It's a good plan, but they need time. They desperately need the Empire to intercept the Ulfur and kill them.

There is a conjunction of the Sentinel Gate to the Greywater estate in Ottermire on the first day of the summit. Given the circumstances, this must represent the best chance to intercept the Ulfur and defeat them or drive them off. If the Imperial heroes can manage that, then the Greywaters will have time to gather their forces and slip away to the Grey Fens. From there they will be able to mount an insurgency against the Jotun.

Success and failure: Defeating or driving the Ulfur away will allow the Greywaters to finish gathering supplies and allies, and establish their guerrilla camps. This will create a network of support for the Strong Reeds - whenever they take the Lay Low order in Bregasland while the Greywaters remain free to help them, they will prevent any enemy army from being able to resupply, but will be able to benefit from both natural and emergency resupply themselves even if there are hostile forces present. Furthermore as long as the Greywaters continue to harass the Jotun, Grey Fens will gain the allied insurgents quality - similar to the under threat quality but benefitting the Empire - which means the Grey Fens will count as being a beach head even if the entire territory is in Jotun hands).

If the Ulfur are able to drive off the Imperial heroes however, they will be able to reach the Greywaters before they can flee. The majority will be executed, and the example will ensure that while other households in the conquered parts of Bregasland may hate the Jotun, they will be loathe to take up arms against them.

Heart of Oaths (Conjunction)

  • The eternal Sinokenon has provided information about the location of the Oath-Heart
  • Oath-Heart is in the possession of Dillion Fisher, cousin and staunch supporter of Mathilda Fisher
  • Rather than reveal the location to the Empire, Sinokenon has provided information to the Archmage of Day
  • Sinokenon expects the Imperial Orcs to take up this opportunity but asks they include a specific Dawnish yeofolk as well

During the Spring Equinox, the eternal Sinokenon arranged a meeting between one of its respected mandarins and the Imperial Orcs. During the meeting it seems that Turning Mirror told the Imperial Orcs that it could provide them with the location of the artifact known as Oath-Hearth - the shield of Loyalty. Shortly before the Summer Solstice, the Celestial Apex sends a herald to Anvil who lets it be known that it considers the Imperial Orc nation to exemplify the virtue of Loyalty in the Empire - they constantly sacrifice themselves to support their neighbours without asking for anything in return. In it's eyes, they are the ideal people to be able to recover the shield.

According to the herald that delivers this message, it is currently being wielded by Dillion Fisher, cousin and staunch supporter of Mathilda Fisher, the self-styled Steward of Bregasland. How Sinokenon knows this, and how Oath-heart has come into the hands of a Jotun yegarra, the herald does not disclose. Nor does it disclose the yegarra's exact location - all it will say is that those details are for the Imperial Orcs alone. As such, the herald will provide the location of the conjunction to Gralka the current Archmage of Day. Sinokenon knows for a fact that there is a suitable conjunction of the Sentinel Gate, and has shared some of the details, but makes it clear it is for the Imperial Orcs alone to determine who will join them on their quest - if anyone. The sole exception is apparently a Dawnish yeofolk named Galeas Seeker. The One Who Sits Above In Glory has not chosen to give any details, but it requests that the Imperial Orcs consider taking Galeas along with them when they travel to Bregasland.

An impression of Oath-Heart, painted shortly before the shield and its wielder were lost to the Druj.

As to Dillion Fisher, he is apparently a capable fighter, who also has a "knack" for rooting out disloyalty. He and his yegarra have been scouring the regions of Bregasland looking for pockets of resistance, or Marchers who pay only lip-service to the thrall oath, and executing any he finds that are secretly still supporting the Empire. His fervour is apparently quite unsettling, and each of the yegarra who fight under his banner are apparently caught up by his infectious charisma. He is very unlikely to give up Oath-heart willingly.

The shield itself should be easy to identify - it is a potent artifact that has been hallowed with the Hallowing of the Steward and bears a design of seven chains, radiating as the spokes of a wheel from the central boss, each chain having seven links.

Success and failure: Recovering the shield will restore a prestigious artifact to Imperial hands, the second of Ezra the Benefactor's Pilgrim's Shields. Legally, the shield belongs to the newly-created title of Champion of Loyalty, but until that title is appointed there is nobody to claim it so it will remain in the hands of whosoever recovers it. Killing Dillion Fisher will remove a competent lieutenant from Mathilda Fisher's side - one who could prove to be a serious thorn in the side of any civilian resistance in Bregasland.

Failing to recover the Shield will leave it in the hands of the Marcher folk. As a charismatic individual known for his Loyalty, Dillion Fisher would be in the perfect position to take over from Mathilda Fisher if she were killed. The opportunity to recover the shield will be lost.

OOC Note: The location of the conjunction will be in the pack of the Skywise Gralka, the Archmage of Day; given the limited window in which to take advantage of the conjunction if it is not in their pack they should speak to a referee..