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Ottilie eyed the various foods and fancies laid out on the table in front of her. It had been a while since she tasted syrah this sweet, or enjoyed much other than salted fish and rye-bread. Mending fish nets was just as hard on the hands as the regular ones but it paid a tenth the amount. She took another one of the sweet pastries, and savoured the rich taste. Hopefully there'd be plenty more of this if the plan worked!

"Ottilie. May I call you that?" the Dhomiro asked. Her mouth was full of pastry, so she nodded. It wasn't needed however, as the wealthy woman hadn't actually waited for an answer.

"Your idea. I've discussed it with my fellow parador masters. We all agree it is quite extraordinarily clever. We would most definitely want to support you in this Prosperous and Ambitious endeavour. We can arrange a meeting with the appropriate members of the Civil Service, they will be able to analyse your idea, turn it into a set of facts and figures the Imperial Senate can understand. It's like a business plan you see? You'll need that - we'll need that - to convince the powers that be to support your idea."

The woman paused to allow Ottilie to say something, but one thing she knew about wealthy folks like this was they didn't like being interrupted, so she just nodded her head in agreement and waited for the Dhomiro to continue.

"What we would like to do is offer one small improvement. One little extra element that might be included. It's just an extra option for people to consider. A way to ensure that not just you and the other riggers benefit, but potentially the whole Brass Coast. With our help, and the help of others at Anvil hopefully, your idea could be a source of Prosperity for every Freeborn. How does that sound?"

It sounds too good to be true, thought Ottilie to herself. Clearly the woman thought she was three coals short of a hot fire. She kept that thought to herself for now and smiled back at the rich Dhomiro "I'm listening..." was all she said.

They might have all the money, but it was Ottilie i Malune i Erigo with the big idea. They needed her more than she needed them, so this had better be good.
A Plan So Cunning.png
The Freeborn crave adventure, but disdain arrogance. A dangerous combination if you're a notoriously arrogant Grendel governor, perhaps...
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The territory of Feroz languishes in the control of the Grendel, suffering under the rule of the despotic Governor Rahab. It was a price the Empire reluctantly paid to buy peace with the Grendel, buying victory for other nations with Freeborn and Urizeni land. Since then, the Freeborn have become skilled at finding ways to thwart the Grendel, repeatedly tweaking Rahab's nose to snatch one victory after another from his vicious jaws.

This plan, however, just might be the most audacious scheme yet. It's an astonishing idea, a plan so brilliant, so brazen it might have come from the mind of Erigo herself, yet so simple a child could conceive of it. Ottilie i Malune i Erigo proposes that the Brass Coast steal the Scorrero Nets.

The Scorrero Nets

The Scorrero Nets are a massive series of poles and nets established along the banks of the Scorrero in northernmost Oranseri. Years ago, the Freeborn discovered that the river was washing tiny amounts of ilium down from the mountains. Once they realised that a king's ransom was sailing down the river and being swept out to sea, a plan was formed to capture the wealth before it could be lost. Vast nets were built that could be deployed at key points along the length of the river to sieve out the precious material before it was lost in the deep waters of the Bay of Catazar. The nets had to be continually repaired and periodically replaced, but in return for such Prosperous industry, the nets produced a regular supply of ilium.

Rahab quickly moved to take ownership of the Scorrero Nets once the Grendel seized Feroz. There seems to be little the governor cares about other than extracting as much wealth as physically possible from his prize. Feroz was a prosperous land, but the Scorrero Nets were the jewel in the crown. The governor turned the offices of the Scorrero Nets into his palace, allegedly so that he could be as close to the source of the precious metal as possible. That may or may not be true, but the spies are certain of one thing - the ilium from the Nets goes directly to Governor Rahab - it's delivered to him in person. And nobody knows what happens to it after that...

Maybe he sleeps on a big pile of it like a dragon in a child's tale? Probably not, the Nets don't produce that much ilium. But they are an immense source of wealth, the one thing the Grendel prize above anything else.

Stealing the Scorrero

Ottilie i Malune i Erigo knows the Scorrero well. She and her family worked the Nets in the days when Feroz was free and Freeborn, earning a good living for themselves. The Dhomiro of the Malune family is said to possess a jewelled headpiece made from two rings of ilium. Ottilie is not so fortunate, she fled north when the Brass Coast Assembly urged the Freeborn to flee Feroz and she has struggled to find work since. In this she is not alone, there are scores of displaced "netriggers" who have taken refuge in the Seguran town of Cerevado. They have eked out a living mending nets for fishermen, but as Ottilie says "it is poor work for folk who once stole the stars from the sea."

Her plan is expensive but extraordinarily simple. Cerevado is sited at a particularly dangerous set of rapids. The rocks break up the Scorrero into angry froth - and are just as eager to shatter the hulls of boats and ships. Whatever the philosophers may say, this is the same river that the Scorrero Nets are anchored in. The ilium that was once dredged up by the netriggers of Feroz, the same ilium now being dredged by Grendel slaves, must logically pass through Cerevado before it hits Feroz.

Back when the Nets were first established in Feroz, there was talk of instead building nets and traps near Cerevado. Some of the locals are still bitter that that plan never came to fruition and claim that "politics" denied the town the chance to oversee the Nets. Archivists suggest that their failure to secure the Bourse seat had more to do with the incredible danger posed by building along the rapids. Which given how dangerous the Scorrero Nets are, is saying something indeed.

But suggests Ottilie, why not rebuild the Nets on the rapids, upstream of Feroz, and steal all the ilium from the Grendel before it reaches them? There's nothing in the peace treaty that covers audaciously recovering ilium from the Scorrero, after all. And besides, Rahab is already so furious with the Empire, it's doubtful he could get any more annoyed. Still, it can't hurt to try...

The Cerevado Nets

  • For 200 thrones, the Senate could establish a new ilium Bourse Seat at Cerevado in Segura
  • The Seat would take three months to establish and have the standard 5 throne upkeep
  • Parador masters of Cerevado promise to pay 60 thrones to the Senate if they build the seat and allocate it to the Brass Coast
  • If built, the Cerevado Nets will destroy the Scorrero Nets, denying all the ilium to Governor Rahab
Establish Cerevado Nets
Type:Senate Motion (not a Commission)
Location: Lucksprings, Segura
Cost: 200 Thrones, 5 Thrones upkeep, three months
Effect: Creates a new Bourse seat providing 4 ilium each season

Ottilie has formed an alliance with the parador masters of Cerevado to present their plan together. The idea is to put the netriggers who escaped Feroz to work creating a new set of nets and traps across the Scorrero at Cerevado, incorporating the rapids below the town. The materials required are not cheap, and of course the workers will need to be well paid, but the Civil Service calculate the first ilium would be seen within a few months of putting the Nets down. The Senate would need to provide 200 thrones, but it would create a new Bourse Seat (which would require a 5 throne per season upkeep). The Cerevado Nets would be slightly less productive than the Scorrero Nets - providing 4 rings of ilium each season rather than 5. But if work began immediately, the Imperial Senate would be in a position to allocate the new Seat at the Spring Equinox. It would also deny all the ilium to Governor Rahab, making the Scorrero Nets useless while the Cerevado Nets were still intact.

There are obvious advantages to a new ilium Bourse Seat for the Senate - if it were an Imperial Seat it could be auctioned to help provide additional treasury funds to help bridge the so-called "Ilium Gap." Yet, predictably, the parador masters of Cerevado are not backing Ottilie's plan out of altruism. They want the Cerevado Nets to be allocated as a National Seat, appointed by Tally of the Votes by the fleet owners of the Brass Coast. To that end, they declare that if the Senate passes builds the new Nets, and allocates the Seat to the Brass Coast, they will donate 60 thrones to the Senate Treasury at the same summit the allocation takes place (the Freeborn egregore has agreed to handle the donation).

Of course any Imperial citizen can donate funds to the treasury, so they also urge their fellow Freeborn to put their hands in their own pouches to make donations of their own - whatever it takes to buy the good grace of the Senate. In this way, the Brass Coast might be able to make up for at least some of the ilium lost to them along with the Broken Shore Bounty.