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"Long ago, long before the creation of the Empire, a plague lay heavy over the city of Temeschwar."

"We all know this story," interrupted Frederick. He was slurring his words, his chair balanced on two legs and his boots on the table. He and Gareth di Tassato had been having some sort of juvenile drinking contest. Lucinda threw a bread roll at his head.

"Shut up," she said as he tried to avoid toppling off his chair. "A plague of thieves and murderers, pouchpinchers, burglars, rapscallions and robbers, and scoundrels and snippers against whom the boyars of the time were powerless."

Gareth, also drunk, booed theatrically, She ignored him,

"Their schlacta," she savoured the unfamiliar word enjoying the way it felt in her mouth. "Were no help, enslaved by coin and vice they would have overthrown and killed any boyar who tried to get them to enforce the laws of ancient Varushka. The burghers -"

She was interrupted again. Bartholomew von Temeschwar, looking pained, tried to argue that there was no way the pre-League inhabitants of Temeschwar would call themselves burghers. She silenced him with a curt gesture and a glare.

"The burghers had no choice but to bribe the thieves, or fall prey to them. The city was on the verge of ruin, riddled with graft and corruption from top to bottom. Until one day... the youngest boyar in the history of Temeschwar took his seat at the high table. Most considered him little more than a joke, a boy who would be easy prey for the scoundrels and mountebanks who truly ran the city. His own schlacta mocked him."

Bartholomew opened his mouth again, thought better of it, but continued to twitch at all the historical inaccuracies.

"But this boy was ambitious!" Lucinda slammed her fist on the table. The rest of the company variously jumped and startled. "So throughout the first Autumn after he became boyar he had his trusted agents scour western Varushka for sell-swords and mercenaries, and paid them handsomely to come to Temeschwar in disguise. Then, on the coldest night of the Winter, he struck. Every citizen of Temeschwar - every single one - was roused from their bed, stripped naked, and searched for that tattoos that the gangs used to proclaim their allegiance."

"I like the naked bit," said Frederick.

"Shut up Frederick. And anyone who had tattoos was forced out of the city into the blizzard, where they froze to death or were eaten by monsters."

"Or became monsters," muttered Bartholomew darkly. But nobody was listening to him. Lucinda had stood up, and all eyes were on her as she finished her story.

"And from that moment on nobody mistook the boy-boyar for a child again. They knew they were dealing with a ruthless, ambitious man who would stop at nothing to achieve his goals! A man who laid the foundation for the city Temeschwar, that would become the third city of the League hundreds of years later when the Empire was formed. Imagine it!"

She paused, dramatically, for effect.

"And now imagine it as a three act musical ballet, with the finest Sarvosan costumes and masks, the best Tassatan musicians and dancers, the cleverest Holberger technical wizardry - Jeanette tells me she is reasonably certain she can create an actual blizzard as long as we've got people prepared to sweep it up afterwards. The young boyar putting on the garb of the Doctor to heal his city, transforming into the Prince at the climax - that's you Frederick, you absolute drunken arse. Gareth, you're the Bishop, strengthening and supporting in the guise of virtue. Roberta, you'll be the Mountebank - I've got in mind a scene where you gather the sell-swords, maybe a romantic subplot with a dashing Varushkan Captain - Clarisse. All on the stage of the Bloody Great Theatre in Temeschwar. Telling them the story they are desperate to hear, with a fresh new approach, uniting the best aspects of the League together and so on and so forth. Well?"

"It's ambitious," began Bartholomew slowly, frowning.

"Of course it is!" Lucinda slammed her fist on the table again, knocking her glass over. "It's the story of Ratibor, for virtue's sake! It has to be ambitious! And that, my lovely friends, is why we are going to Temeschwar, to tell it like it has never been told before!"

I call upon the priests of the general assembly to award a dose of true liao to Laughlan vi Temeschwar to consecrate Ratibor's Tomb to Ambition. Ratibor's ambition to see Temeschwar cleansed of the Vyig has allowed the city to be as great as it is today. When we are faced with as many internal threats as external, now more than every it is important for the people of the Empire that we look to his example.

Chessia Gordost von Temeschwar, Judgement of Rewarding, General Assembly, Autumn Equinox 384YE, Upheld (800-181)
Don't Blame Me.png
Consequences are the price of Ambition; no price is too high to realise your dreams.
Click for audio version


The Watcher of Ratibor's Torch guards the old prison where the boyar's bones still lie, giving regular sermons to the pilgrims drawn to the tomb and the attendant shrine. After the Autumn Equinox, Laughlan vi Temeschwar had the place consecrated with true liao as befits an inspirational tomb. A powerful aura of Ambition now infuses the entire structure, and those who visit are profoundly reminded of what can ultimately be accomplished by one strives for it - that nothing is out of reach if you want it badly enough.

Ratibor of Temeschwar never let anything stand in his way; ruthless in the extreme he did whatever it took to achieve his goals. It's easy to see that Maria Ivanova, Boyar of Temeschwar, finished what Ratibor had started when she brought the only city in Varushka into the League and wed its destiny to that of the three southern cities. These pilgrims gaze on the statues of Ratibor, and on his tomb, and they feel the warmth of the eternal torches on their faces. Then they step, blinking, out into the light, and they look at the city of Temeschwar all around them, and they wonder just what the future might hold for them if they are strong willed enough to grab it by the throat.

Of course Ratibor lived centuries before there was a League. Like all of his successors until Maria Ivanova, he was a Varushkan boyar. Yet nobody doubts for one moment that he would have fit in well in modern Temeschwar. Everything known about him indicates that he embodied the qualities of the modern Temeschwari - ruthless, relentless, cold, and hard. With his tomb consecrated, the people of Temeschwar are inspired to ask what he might make of the city today, and what he might make of the League. And what he might do in pursuit of their destiny.

A Tiny Miracle

  • The torches of Ratibor's Gate, and torches lit by them, do not go out easily

Ratibor's Gate - the old prison - is lit internally by flickering torches. The exterior gates are likewise flanked by old iron torches that give the place a particularly menacing air. Since the consecration, not one of those torches has gone out through natural means. No wind has extinguished them, they even continue to burn (albeit fitfully) during rain storms and blizzards. They can be extinguished intentionally (although it takes a little more effort than normal), and when removed from the vicinity of the Gate they return to normal. Other than this peculiar quality, they seem to be perfectly normal fire... almost. When someone lights their own torch, lantern, or lamp from one of the torches, the flame likewise becomes very hard to put out. People have carried lights lit in Temeschwar throughout the League and beyond; they're not as durable as lightstones in that they still seem to require air, and are quenched in water, but otherwise they are at least as useful as that magical mineral.

Anyone who has a suitable phys-rep is free to roleplay that their lamp, lantern, or torch has been lit from one of those at Ratibor's Gate. LED lights are appropriate phys-reps for such flames. They don't detect as magical or spiritual, and they don't seem to have any other peculiar properties, and any light lit from these secondary sources functions as normal.

The Price of Dreams

  • Ratibor's Ambition inspires the League

Ratibor's Gate stands as the only inspirational memorial of a paragon or exemplar in the League. There are other places bound to virtue, but Ratibor's Gate is the only one bound to a specific inspirational figure. Pilgrims from across the League are being drawn to Temeschwar to visit the Gate, ponder the life of Ratibor, and the inspirations he offers. As with many places consecrated with true liao, some come away touched by the spiritual aura of the place in a profound way. The experience of the Gate ignites the fires of ambition in those who visit, reminding them of what they can achieve if only they're prepared to act. The consecration of the 'Gate could not have come at a better time - with the competition proposed by Fransesca di Matos, there are a great many League citizens pondering how their city might become the greatest in the League, the Empire, and the world.

There are two mandates the League assembly might enact to try and harness this flowering of Ambition.

Ambition drives the people of the League to reach for the impossible, to seize it, and to make it real. Ratibor ignored those who told him that he could not reclaim his city, and showed them what raw ambition can achieve. We send (named priest) with 25 doses of liao to remind the people of the League that there is nothing that they cannot achieve if they are prepared to reach for it.

Synod Mandate, League National Assembly

If this mandate is passed then it will encourage people across the League to pursue their ambitions, especially those they had considered beyond their means. Every congregation run by a League citizen preaching Ambition will receive an additional liao and two additional votes in the Imperial Synod until the end of the Winter Solstice 385YE.

The League assembly could go further, however, especially in light of recent incidents in the League where ingenuity and ambition have seen cities such as Sarvos and Holberg overcome impossible odds to not only recover from the enmity of the eternals, but turn them to their own ends.

The driving force of the League is our Ambition to achieve the impossible. Ratibor's Ambition forged a city of beggars and thieves into one of the most powerful in the world, just as the three founders of the League bound cities together into a nation. We send (named priest) with 50 doses of liao to urge every citizen of the League that no price is too high to realise your dreams.

Synod Mandate, League National Assembly
Ratibor of Temeschwar.png
Ratibor by Alexander, allegedly a portrait of the exemplar, currently hanging in the foyer of the Bloody Great Threatre in Temeschwar

If this mandate is passed, it will have the same effect as the earlier mandate, but will go much further. People across the League will dedicate themselves to Ambition, seeking out anointing and hallows to help them pursue their goals, whatever they may be. A powerful new art style, focusing on pursuing goals, overcoming obstacles, and achieving the impossible, will sweep the nation. Ratibor will figure prominently in visual art, songs, and plays, but so will Aldones di Sarvos, Barell of Tassato, Maria Ivanova, Emperor Giovanni, Empress Lisabetta, Empress Giselle, Lorenzo and any number of other ambitious figures both historical and current.

The immediate benefit will be that the effects of the Blood Red Quays Art Gallery in Sarvos, the Blood Red River Museum in Tassato, and the Bloody Great Theatre in Temeschwar itself will change. Rather than providing benefits to congregations belonging to priests preaching Pride, they will permanently support priests preaching Ambition instead. At the same time, an opportunity to build a similar structure in Holberg will become available, as well as an opportunity to secure the materials required to finish repairing the Blood Red River Museum.

Finally, during the next few months, ambitious youths across the nation, or older folk who realise they are trapped in a rut, will decide to follow their dreams. A number of new businesses will be started in League cities; many will fail but those that survive will be sufficient to raise the taxation the League pays to the Imperial treasury by 10 Thrones, split between the four territories.

There is a downside however. Ratibor is Temeschwari. As mentioned previously, his Ambition exemplifies the Temeschwari character - ruthless, relentless, cold, and hard. If either of these competing mandates is enacted then for at least the next year, any opportunity that arises in the League is likely to be tinged with that spirit, and much less likely to be flavoured with sentimentality, caution, compassion, or mercy.

Tattoos, Torches, and Snow

  • The Vyig are still active; operating out of their old bolt holes in Varushka
  • These criminals must be dealt with decisively; it is time for a ruthless response to their crimes

Perhaps the most famous story about Ratibor is that as a young man he crushed the criminal organisations that had come to control Temeschwar. His response was calculated and remorseless, but it restored order to a lawless city. His act was one of monstrous brutality, but it broke the power of the gangs forever, and established the young Ratibor as a power not to be trifled with.

Some years back, Ratibor's example was cited during the purge that drove the Vyig - the descendants of those old Varushkan gangs - out of first Sarvos and then the rest of the League. In Spring this year, a pair of researchers from the Lepidean Library were kidnapped by Vyig from the very streets of Temeschwar itself. A ransom was demanded from senator Giuseppe Sanguineo von Temeschwar, but it is understood that the Vyig murdered the two Highborn scholars and destroyed their research into Temeschwar's first true ruler.

They also placed a bounty on the head of the Winterfolk cardinal of Loyalty Veikko Bondforger, who the idiot Vyig have apparently (mistakenly) decided is the reincarnation of Ratibor himself. It's clear that even after all these centuries the Vyig still hate and fear Ratibor, and it seems unlikely that this vicious criminal cartel will take the consecration of Ratibor's Gate lying down. It's most likely only a matter of time before they strike against Ratibor's Gate, and it's clear they have enough support to operate in the city in broad daylight.

In Temeschwar there's a strong sense that the purges of 379YE were a good start, but they did not go far enough. The Senate passed a law in the Winter of 378YE making membership of the Vyig and possession of their tattoos a crime. The magistrates have done their best to deal with the remaining criminals, but they do not know them the way the Temeschwari did. Arguably, the Vyig are a problem not only for Temeschwar, but also for Varushka; their corruption is rooted in the pre-Imperial north and there's little point pretending otherwise.

It seems that when the Vyig were driven from the League, they regrouped in old bolt holes in Varushka, and slowly rebuilt their power. There's a suggestion that they may have been providing funds to robber-boyar Alexi Iskandrova Isembrioch in the ruins of Isember. While his efforts to raise a bandit army in Karsk were decisively stymied, there's also evidence that the Vyig are deeply entangled in the bite trade. Again, the magistrates are doing their best, but if Ratbior has taught Temeschwar nothing else it's that decisively dealing with criminals often requires action that is ruthless, brutal, and hard.

Light the Torches

  • The League assembly can enact a mandate to urge the final destruction of the Vyig
  • This will create an opportunity for an adventure, and over the next six months strike an absolutely devastating blow against the criminal organisation
  • If the Vyig are destroyed it will also disrupt the trade in the drug bite, meaning the Magistrates will no longer need additional funds to deal with it

The Vyig have to go, and this time it has to be done properly. With Ratibor's example to guide them, the League national assembly can raise the following mandate:

The Vyig are an insidious corruption within the Empire. It may seem that there is no answer to their wickedness, but even the most impenetrable forest may fall one tree at a time. We send (named priest) with 100 doses of liao to light a torch, use it to find the places where the Vyig lair, and finally finish what Ratibor started.

Synod Mandate, League National Assembly
Legacy of a Thousand Torches
Of the priests initially entrusted by the Vigilance assembly to root out the Vyig from the League all those years ago, only Irada von Temeschwar is believed to still be alive; if the assembly selects them as the priest named to enact this mandate, the amount of liao required is reduced by 25. The name of Irada von Temeschwar, champion against the Vyig, is still remembered in the city of Ratibor.

If this mandate is enacted it will rouse the people of the League to bring an end to the Vyig once and for. Some will take part directly, by tracking them to their lairs whether in Varushka or further afield. Others will provide funds to pay bounty hunters, Imperial Orcs thief-takers, League bravos, and Varushkan sell-swords to engage on their behalf. The task will be performed within the law whenever possible, of course; suspected Vyig will be given a chance to surrender and be brought before a magistrate. Only if they resist they will be dealt with ruthlessly. It is likely that a few innocent people may be dragged before the magistrates, but those innocent of involvement with the Vyig will have nothing to fear, and the Ambitious well know that it is sometimes necessary to break some eggs when making a frittata.

The mandate will create an opportunity for military units from the League, the Imperial Orcs, and Varushka to take part in breaking the power of the Vyig. This takes the form of an adventure found in the independent action dropdown menu: Break the Vyig following the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Instead of their normal production, any military unit that takes part will receive 144 rings, and 2 random resources (ingots of metal or measures of forest materials). Military units that have been upgraded or enchanted receive commensurately higher rewards.

Regardless of how many military units take part in the adventure, by the start of the Summer Solstice the Vyig will be broken. The vast majority will either have been dealt with by magistrates after a trial, or dealt with more directly while resisting arrest. There will still be crime in the Empire - smaller fry will rush into the void left by the Vyig - but it will be disorganised and the magistrates will work hard to keep it that way. In addition, the bite trade will be massively disrupted. There will still be bite, and people will still crave it, but it will not flood the streets. As long as the drug remains illegal, the magistrates will no longer need the additional funds, and there will be no return to the disruption of 382YE. This means that the Imperial Senate will be able to reclaim the 25 Thrones each season currently allocated to support the magistrates in the fight against bite.

Alternative Mandates

Under normal circumstances a different assembly is not able to consider an alternative mandate. Ratibor, however, is as a much a son of Varushka as he is the father of Temeschwar. Varushkan priests may submit alternative mandates relating to this opportunity, as long as they relate to the Vyig.

Broken Hospitality

  • Travel through Metri is becoming harder
  • The upkeep of the Fortress of Salt has been increased and the Northern Trade Route ministries are being disrupted

During the Winter 380YE, something unnatural settled into the woods of Metri. Anyone that tried to bring violence against another person in Metri suffered bloody, unnatural judgement at the claws and teeth of the alien creatures haunting the region. In the years since, however, it seems that the creatures in Metri have become more and more free in their interpretation of what "violence" means. Shortly after the Autumn Equinox a merchant caravan travelling to the Fortress of Salt was all but wiped out. According to the survivors, one of the caravan guards, insulted one of their companions. The creatures apparently interpreted the words as an attack, and slaughtered the guard. When their companions tried to fight back, they gleefully tore into them and within moments the whole caravan was engaged in a battle for its life.

The immediate result is that caravans passing through Metri are finding it difficult to get guards, and this in turn makes them reticent to make the trip north to the Fortress of Salt, or east to Delev. This has had two knock-on effects. Firstly, the upkeep of the Fortress of Salt will increase from 10 Thrones to 12 Thrones each season until the problem is dealt with. Second, the five ministries of the Northern trade network are disrupted. Four of them Overseer of the Westward Road, Kalpaheim Tradeholder, Northbound Trademaster, and Broker of Treji Wayhouse no longer have access to the highest level of their trade ministry; the Bonesetter of Torfast Trading Post is impacted slightly less, losing access to the highest rank of their southern trade route ministry, but leaving the eastern route untouched. If the situation continues to deteriorate, it is entirely possible that Temeschwar will be completely cut out of the network.

For the moment, though, there has been no disruption to trade with the Thule - something that a small number of people find a little troubling. The northern orcs pass through Metri without any concern and when queried about it they appear confused. They have no problems because they are always sure to propitiate the Mirror of Spite whenever her servants appear. They hadn't mentioned it previously because they'd just assumed that the presence of the creatures was part of some deal the Temeschwari had made with the Queen the Thrice-cursed Court and did not wish to pry.

Shadow of Winter

  • The League National Assembly could take action, The Rod and Shield Conclave Order could become invoked, or both

"Enough," say the people of Temeschwar, "is enough." Ratibor would not tolerate strange monsters from another realm infesting part of his dominion even if they weren't randomly attacking travellers. Why should modern Temeschwari be any different? If the Thule are correct and these are servants of Skathe - and there's no reason to believe they are lying - then they need to be dealt with post haste. The fact they are present while the hag Queen is under enmity for her attacks on the League is triply concerning. The Bakers and Butchers Guild of Southern Metri - whose caravan was attacked - in particular call for immediate action. Light torches from the eternal flames at Ratibor's Gate, they say, and go into the woods and put an end to these creatures before their threat escalates even further.

Burn Them Out
The League Assembly can choose to enact the following mandate.

Ratibor would not tolerate magical creatures infesting his realm and neither shall we. We must take immediate action no matter how convincing the reasons to delay appear. We send (named priest) with 50 doses of liao to burn away the horrors of Metri with Ratibor's fire.

Synod Mandate, League National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, the virtuous of Temeschwar will take all necessary steps to deal with whatever is infesting the eastern woods. Armed mobs carrying burning flames through the city into the snow-cloaked depths of the dark forest will be disruptive, however. Every personal resource belonging to a League character from Temeschwar, with the exception of congregations, will receive a -1 rank penalty to production following the Winter Solstice. At the end of that time, however, the region of Metri will lose the haunted quality, and the disruption to the Northern Trade Network and the Fortress of Salt will end. Any treasures or evidence of wrongdoing that came to light in the process would be delivered to the Watcher of Ratibor's Torch, so they could determine what to do with them.

Ensuring Security
Alternatively, the people of Temeschwar could look to the Imperial Conclave for assistance. A declaration of Concord from anyone empowered to raise one could be used to ask the members of the Order of the Rod and Shield to deal with the threat presented by the creatures in Metri.

The manifesto of the Rod and Shield states that it should "Encourage magicians to use their powers in defence of the Empire." The heralds are a clear threat to the Empire, say the Temeschwari. The Order could organise cadres of battle magicians, and send them to Metri to deal with the problem there with expert precision. This would cause no disruption to the people of Temeschwar - while some League magicians might want to carry torches or lamps lit from Ratibor's flames, there is a difference between a group of battle-magicians doing so and a mob of angry people. The haunted quality would be removed from Metri, disruption to the Northern Trade Network and the Fortress of Salt would end, and any treasures or evidence gathered from the woods would be delivered to the Grandmaster of the Rod and Shield.

Double Tap
These two approaches are not exclusive; either will have the desired outcome. If both are enacted, this will add a little to the confusion, but both the virtuous people of Temeschwar and the warrior-wizards of the Rod and Shield would head to Metri to deal with the problem there. this might have unforeseen consequences, but the problem with unforeseen consequences is... well, the clue is in the word "unforeseen".

Do What It Takes

  • Some of those visiting Ratibor's Gate are inspired to pursue the goals they have thought impossible until now

Outside the walls of the city itself, Temeschwar is all but wilderness indistinguishable from that of Karov or Volodmartz. Even before the city broke away from Varushka and joined the League, the people had largely abandoned efforts to farm the sour soil, or extract the wealth of the woodlands. They felt that their real wealth lay in the trade that passed through the city, and perhaps in the mines of Metri and Locul. And yet... that attitude is easily seen as extremely short sighted. Trade is indeed the lifeblood of the League, but Temeschwar was once part of Varushka. Its wilderness is rich in resources, just waiting for someone to reach out and scoop them up. Ratibor wouldn't hesitate to do so - and neither should his modern descendants. There are two obvious sources of untapped wealth in Temeschwar. The mountains and mines of Locul, and the forests of the Vardstein Vale.

Tear Out the Earth's Heart

Mines of Temeschwar
Commission Type: Great work
Location: Locul, Temeschwar
Cost: 50 weirwood, 50 white granite, 200 crowns, six months to complete
Effect: Invests in the territory to provide 36 rings a season to mines, and 2 random ingots of metal to businesses in the territory; improves the ministry of the Custodian of the Assayer's Guild; increases taxation from Temeschwar
  • The Descent Guild of Ore Extraction calls for the mines of Temeschwar to be updated with the best technologies available to the League
  • This great work requires 50 wains of white granite, 50 wains of weirwood, 200 crowns in labour, and six months to complete
  • It would provide random ingots to businesses, and money to Temeschwari mines each season
  • It would also improve the tax revenue of Temeschwar by 5 Thrones each season to the Imperial treasury

The peaks and foothills of Locul are the site of many mines, especially those working green iron and weltsilver. One of the best known of these mines is Descent - a mining village built around a large open sinkhole at the foot of Mellfort Peak. But there has always been a certain... ponderousness... to mining efforts in the mountains of Locul. Ore is carried carefully along stairs and ramps and narrow roads built centuries ago and barely developed since. "Time," say the mining guilds of Temeschwar, "to do this properly."

Ridley von Temeschwar, merchant-prince of the Descent Guild of Ore Extraction, visited Ratibor's Gate to witness the consecration, and has been inspired to pursue their dream of making the mines of Temeschwar the most prosperous in the entire Empire. Ridley is adamant that there are countless veins of ore in the hills and peaks of Temeschwar that are going to waste because they are too difficult to get at, and too expensive to actually dig out of the ground. Rather than doing things the old-fashioned way, with rickety ramps and stairs, they want to implement the most up-to-date mechanisms developed in Holberg. Rather than trudge along winding old wagon trails, they want to drive brand new roads into the mountains to rip as much metal out of the ground as possible, as fast as possible, making as much profit for everyone involved as possible.

The great work they are proposing will not only modernize mining in Temeschwar but it will spur the creation of new mines across the territory. It will require 50 wains of white granite, 50 wains of weirwood, cost 200 Crowns, and take six months to complete. At the end of that time the Mines of Temeschwar will be some of the finest in the Empire. New shafts will be opened, and a wave of mineral wealth will flow into the city. Every mine in the territory will share in a bounty of 1080 rings every season; every business in the territory will get a share of 50 random ingots of metal. The Custodian of the Assayer's Guild is likely to be run off their feet, but new mines will also provide them with a lot of new business - they'll gain an additional two ranks to their ministry.

Along with the power of Ratibor's Gate seeping into the dreams of the young and the frustrated in Temeschwar, it'll also see the creation of a lot of new shafts. Some will fail, but those that prosper will bring additional money into the Imperial Treasury, increasing the taxation contribution of Temeschwar by 5 Thrones each season.

Log the Vardstein Vale

Vardstein Timbermill and Sorting Yard
Commission Type: Great work
Location: Vardstein Vale, Temeschwar
Cost: 40 white granite, 20 mithril, 180 crowns, six months to complete
Effect: Invests in the territory to provide 2 random measures a season to businesses; creates a title the Vardstein Vandal; increases taxation from Temeschwar
  • Vardstein Timber suggests that the Vardstein Timbermill and Sorting Yard be constructed in the Vardstein Vale to harvest the wealth of the wild forest
  • The great work requires 40 wains of white granite, 20 wains of mithril, 180 crowns in labour, and takes six months to complete
  • When complete it creates the title of Vardstein Vandal (who oversees a ministry), provides two random measures to the businesses of Temeschwar, and increases taxation from the territory

Another guest at the consecration of Ratibor's Gate was Marina Pretensa di Temeschwar of the Vardstein Timber guild which operates (as the name implies) out of the Vardstein Vale. The Vale has always been a forested wilderness. While the periphery has been cultivated with a number of small woodland reserves, most of the region was wild even before parts of it fell into the Foxhole (as many Temeschwari call the sinkhole to the south-west of Temeshwar). It is home to many predators, and serves as a place for bored merchant-princes to go hunting. It's also reputed to be quite beautiful. The trees have a kind of sweeping grandeur to them, a timelessness that some sensitive souls find inspires an awe of the natural world and the transitory nature of human lives.

It's also absolutely stuffed with resources, ready to be exploited. Or so says Marine Pretensa di Temeschwar. "Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder," she says. "To me it lies not in wild trees, but in stacks of hard and soft woods, properly seasoned, ready to be sold to the markets of the Empire." With that dream in mind, she wants to build the Vardstein Timbermill and Sorting Yard on the edge of the Vale. A massive sawmill with multiple mithril blades, accompanied by warehouses where wood can be stored and prepared. She also proposes a road connecting the wild forest to the safety of the city. Her proposals require 40 wains of white granite, 20 wains of mithril, and 180 crowns in labour. They would take six months to complete.

A Note About Taxation
Several of these opportunities increase the amount of taxation Temeschwar will provide to the Imperial treasury. It's important to note that these are a consequence of the specific nature of this opportunity and can't be duplicated just by clearing forest, or consecrating places with true liao. There is no reliable way to gain additional taxation for the Imperial Senate beyond bringing new territories into the Empire.

Once finished, the Timberyard would function as a great work, granting an two random measures of forest materials to each of the businesses of Temeschwar. It would also create an Imperial Title to oversee its operation and become custodian of a ministry. Marina Pretensa di Temeschwar initially suggested it be called the Vardstein Timber Liaison. When news of her proposals become public, however, a bitter artist sarcastically suggested Vardstein Vandal might be a better name. The comment was reported in one of the broadsheets, and rapidly became the preferred moniker in a section of the Temeschwari populace that values over sentimentality. Marina herself is not impressed - she runs a guild of woodcutters not vandals - only an idiot hops down trees willy nilly without preserving the woodland so they can continue to chop down trees for a very long time to come.

One of the side effects of the lumbermill will be that the edges of the forest will be slowly cleared away, providing valuable farmland. Likewise, with a new road passing through Vargat, it would be easier to access the fertile soil there. Citizens inspired by Ratibor's Gate to pursue their Ambition would look for opportunities to establish new farms and forests, and new businesses catering to them, increasing the taxation contribution of Temeschwar by an estimated 10 thrones each season.

Exploit the Thule

  • Schnecke of Temeschwar proposes building a market specifically for trading with the Thule
  • This would reduce the flow of mana crystals to the Northern Trade Network but massively increase their trade with Temeschwar
  • The market will cost 10 wains of white granite, 10 wains of mithril, 40 crowns in labour, and take three months to complete
  • A new title Master of the Temeschwar-Otkodov Mana Exchange would be created, with access to multiple ministries allowing them to trade metals and forest materials for crystal mana

Schnecke of Temeschwar spent much of his life as an unassuming clerk. Until very recently he worked at The Butcher of The Meat and Mana Market of Temeschwar but after visiting Ratibor's Gate he quit his job to pursue his lifelong dream of being a wealthy entrepreneur. After several weeks of asking pointed questions around the offices of the Northbound Trademaster he has come up with an ambitious, if slightly underhand, proposal for a way to help make Temeschwar even stronger.

At the moment. the Northern Trade Network connects Temeschwar with Hahnmark and Hercynia in the west and with Karov in the east, via Skarsind. But Imperial citizens are not the only beneficiaries of the trade routes. The Thule of Otkodov also participate, trading mana crystals for metals and forest materials produced in the Empire. Schnecke of Temeschwar points out that Temeschwar has one advantage over the other participants in the Northern Trade Network - it is a city while they are mere towns (although in the case of Kalpaheim, arguably a very big town). The Thule merchants seem to have little sentimentality, and what they mostly want is to exchange crystal mana for imperial resources as efficiently as possible. With that in mind, and after having made an awkward approach to one of the Thule traders, he has a suggestion. If Temeschwar builds a market specifically for trading with the Thule, taking some inspiration from il Volpe's mana exchange, and from the design of the Thule embassy, Schnecke believes that the Thule would be prepared to do most of their trade through the League - through Temeschwar.

The actual exchange is remarkably cheap; it is the idea that is most important. Building a market for trading with the Thule would require 10 wains of white granite, 10 wains of mithril, and 40 crowns. It would take three months to complete, and would create a title appointed by the League Tally of the Votes. The Master of the Temeschwar-Otkodov Mana Exchange would be able to trade amounts of orichalcum, tempest jade, green iron, and weltsilver to the Thule in return for mana crystals, Everyone would benefit.

Except, of course, the other Imperial nations that currently trade mana to the orcs. With a specific market catering to them in Temeschwar, the majority of the Thule traders will quickly gravitate to the League. The other participants in the Northern Trade Network would lose access to the top two levels of their Thule ministry, while the newly created Master would gain access to five equivalent ministries, one for each kind of metal, and one for beggar's lye. The Northbound Trademaster would unfortunately also be affected, but overall the ability of Temeschwar - and the League - to gain mana crystals from the Thule would be massively enhanced.

Son of Varushka

  • Statements of principle in the Varushkan assembly relating to Ratibor are likely to garner additional interest

As previously touched on, Ratibor is as a much a scion of Varushka is he is of the League. He lived long before the city of Temeschwar forsook Varushka; indeed he claimed the title boyar rather than anything approaching merchant-prince. A number of Varushkans have already made the pilgrimage to Ratibor's Gate to visit the tomb, and the Varushkan national assembly could encourage this interest. A statement of principle in the Varushkan assembly that received a greater majority might encourage more citizens of that nation to embrace the ambitious inspiration of Ratibor of Temeschwar, and the ruthlessness and rejection of sentimentality he embodies. It's hard to say what the outcome might be, but it is likely to prompt a spread of Ambition through the nation along similar lines to that spreading through the League.

The Vigilance Question

  • The question of which virtue Ratibor most exemplifies has been settled

In the past, there were questions about which virtue Ratibor actually inspired in others. Was it Ambition, or was it Vigilance? Some scholars still have an academic interest in the question but for the overwhelming majority of people, there is no doubt. Ratibor is an exemplar of Ambition - ruthless, brutal, cold, hard. Prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. Some of those inspired by Ratibor's Gate have even expressed the opinion that the Hallow of the Broken Shield should be renamed the Hallowing of the Boyar in his honour.

There is perhaps some irony, however, that Ratibor's Gate was consecrated with true liao harvested from the Lepidean Library, when the scholars killed in Temeschwar were carrying research that might have cast doubt on his status as an exemplar of Ambition. Ratibor, no doubt, would have appreciated that irony.

Further Reading