Revision as of 10:49, 22 May 2023 by Rafferty (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
"I'm not sure what you want me to do," said Chief Magistrate Karkovitch carefully.

"How can you say that?" Jorgen was not happy. "Look at it!"

The letter continued to sit on the table. Neatly folded night-black parchment continued to do nothing overtly threatening.

"It's just a letter, Jorgen," said Karkovitch gently. "Do you want me to go and get someone else to deal with it or..."

The civil servant snorted. Sighed. Took a long pull on his mug of lukewarm coffee. Stared at the letter. Drank again.

"No, it's fine," he grunted after a few moments. "But it's clearly trouble. i want your word you won't arrest me for reading it."

Karkovitch shook his head. "Jorgen, that's not how this works. That's not how any of this works. You know this."


The civil servant snatched the letter off the desk with poor grace. He rubbed his thumb over the smooth, multicoloured wax of the seal, then cracked it open with an exaggeratedly deliberate move. The pages were covered in dense, barely readable, spiderlike scrawl. The ink gleamed unpleasantly in the morning light, and he couldn't shake the suspicion some of the words changed when he wasn't looking at them.

"Great," he said. The bottom corner of each page was decorated with an illustration of unsettling theatrical masks that seemed to be laughing at him.

"Just as I thought." He held the letter out toward the Chief Magistrate who did not look particularly enthused about reading it.

"Trouble," said Jorgen, with the grim satisfaction of a man doing his level best not to say "I told you so."
And the saddest feat / Comes creeping in.
Click for audio version


  • Six eternals responded to plenipotentiary messages from the Imperial archmages.
  • Four have requested formal parleys
  • One has declined a parley but still requests a meeting
  • One has declined a meeting but laid out a way that a future parley may be achieved
  • The Arcane Colloquium begins at 15:00 on Saturday afternoon

All six archmages have the unique power to send a message to an eternal of their realm each season. This plenipotentiary is most often used to secure a meeting; the archmage stands as an emissary of the Empire and treats with the eternal or their servants on equal footing. An eternal who receives such a message is bound to respond, although they do not always do so in a way that the Archmage expects.

As the Winter Solstice approaches, some of the eternals have responded with offers of parley at the coming summit - a special meeting where both Empire and eternal are bound by powerful laws of hospitality and respect. Others... have not done that.

This summit also sees the first Arcane Colloquium, when the archmages will address their peers. The Arcane Colloquium is split into six quarter-hour sessions, each given over to one of the archmages. Seniority is given to the archmage who has served in the post for the longest uninterrupted period. The running order is based on the length of service of the individual archmages. The current order is Day, Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer, and finally Night.

Whisper Gallery

  • The Whisper Gallery have consented to meet with the Archmage of Night
  • They reject a formal parley
  • The meeting will take place in the Hall of Worlds at 14:30 on Saturday afternoon
  • The current Archmage of Night is Elyssiathian

Nobody sees the message delivered; it is found on the desk in the Hub when a sleepy civil servant clears some papers away at the start of their shift. Sealed with a blob of multicoloured wax, written in silver ink on a sheet of black parchment, it is quite difficult to read. It bears a communiqué from the Lord and Ladies of the Court of Scandal - the Whisper Gallery. They consent to send some of their number to meet with the Archmage of Night. Shortly after reading it, the civil servant found that the letter had simply disappeared. Yet the contents remained firmly lodged in their mind, and they were able to transcribe the details of the letter.

The Whisper Gallery consent to a meeting with the Archmage of Night in the Hall of Worlds at half-past-two on Saturday afternoon. They begin by mentioning that, sadly, there is no chance that Elyssiathian will actually be able to achieve their ambitious goal. But that is no reason not to have a meeting! Especially in the face of such a polite invitation. This is one of the reasons they do not request a formal parley. The letter claims this is not because they are planning to engage in any kind of treacherous assassination against Imperial magicians. Perish the thought! But rather because they find the regimentation of who can speak and when to be endlessly tedious. Anyone who attends must be able to speak freely, apparently. They anticipate that anyone who wishes to attend may do so - especially those who have a vested interest in helping the Chiaroscuran Inquisitors to overthrow the unjust enmity to which they have been subjected.

They also request the presence of certain specific individuals: whoever is in charge of the Anvil Library of course; the Minister of Historical Research; the Imperial Advisor for the Feni; the Seer of the Gateway; the Imperial Seer; the Imperial Archivist; the Advisor on the Vallorn; and of course the Lepidean Librarian. With regard to that last, they express apparent delight that the Empire has created yet another Imperial title dedicated to poking their nose into matters that do not concern them and then telling everyone about it.

On a more delicate matter they mention that it might be a little awkward if the Archmage intends to send their proxy "Lucky" on their behalf. The Courtiers of the Shadowed Threshold have had to step back from their previously close relationship with Luciano Vivaci Rezia di Tassato due to growing doubts as to precisely whose side he is on. Unlike his dearly departed mother, they suspect that the numerous promises he has made to aid the Troubadours of the Onyx Labyrinth have not been entirely sincere. As a consequence of this regrettable state of affairs, the Monarchs of the Empty Throne are very much in the market for new agents and urge anyone who is interested in betraying the Empire to attend the meeting to place their petition. Alternatively they might perform Whispering Shadow Courtiers on Friday evening, uncover the requested secrets as proof of their abilities, and make themselves known to the Patrons of the Invisible Key in a more subtle fashion. There are many benefits to working with the Consortium of Quietude - trinkets to empower Night magic, secrets, access to hidden lore, unique substances with the most delightful effects, and of course the joy that comes from knowing your efforts are appreciated by a powerful patron..

The Imperial Archivist has already expressed in no uncertain terms that he has absolutely no intention of going anywhere near this not-a-parley and urges anyone else with half an ounce of common sense to do likewise.


  • The eternal Prospero agrees to attend a parley with the Archmage of Autumn
  • The parley will take place at 20:30 on Friday evening
  • The Archmage is invited to bring two specific guests: Loom-Master Borys and Boyar Vasiliy Strascovich or their representatives
  • The Archmage of Autumn is Edmundo of Damakan's forge

As the weather worsens across the Empire, an emissary from the City of Bridges appears at the Castle of Thorns in Astolat. The genial herald bears a message for the Archmage of Autumn - a response to "intriguing" plenipotentiary. The Sovereign Lord of the City of Bridges welcomes another parley with Edmundo, of course. The herald "suggests" that the parley take place at half-past-eight on Friday evening; while this will leave only a short window before the start of the Conclave meeting at nine, the herald is confident business will be concluded in time to allow the Archmage to attend.

Candidly, the sensitive matters raised in the plenipotentiary mean that the herald cannot say too much about what will happen during the parley and the fewer people involves the safer for all concerned. The Archmage (or their proxy) is invited to bring two other Imperial citizens with them - specifically Loom-Master Borys and Boyar Vasiliy Strascovich, both of Varushka, or their representatives. Prospero himself will not be present; he has entrusted the matter to a favoured lieutenant who has a personal interest in the topic under discussion. This lieutenant - Maestro Fisetojin - will be bringing a few guests of their own to the meeting. These are mortals with particular insight into the matter raised in the plenipotentiary whose discretion can be relied upon. Prospero requests similar discretion from the Archmage and the Varushkans, of course.

Off the record - inasmuch as a herald serving as a messenger between the Autumn realm and the Empire can ever be "off the record" - the herald apologises for all this "mask and knife rubbish". The Maestro has had to make assurances to their guests. Their lives would be at risk if their identities became common knowledge. Presumably the Archmage and guests' discretion can be relied upon?


  • The eternal Sorin will send a delegation to a parley with the Archmage of Winter
  • The meeting will take place in the Hall of Worlds at 22:30 on Friday night
  • The current Archmage of Winter is Ematius of the Great Library of Ankarien

As the first snow dusts the fields of Anvil, a pair of armoured warriors - at first taken to be Dawnish knights - appear at the Hub. Their shields are wrapped in sable cloth, and their features are hidden behind strips of black wool. Their crimson eyes and cadaverous skin seem to betray a draughir lineage - but they may well be heralds rather than humans. Regardless, they have been charged to deliver the Tomb King's response to the Archmage of Winter's plenipotentiary. The Master of Whelps agrees to a parley, to take place in the Hall of Worlds at half-past-ten on the first night of the summit after the Conclave has concluded its business. He will not be in attendance himself, but rather sends members of his court to meet those chosen by the Archmage to speak. Before the meeting, however, the Tomb King wishes the Archmage to be aware of certain caveats.

What weakness does Archmage Ematius see in the Empire that needs to be tested? The Empire is strong. It drives its enemies before it. There will be no test of the Pallid Charm in the coming year; there is no need of it and the Tomb King has learned as much as he wishes to know about the strength and weakness of Imperial citizens. Indeed, he questions if there in anything in the Empire to hold his attention; its people seem well versed in sacrifice and strength.

In their plenipotentiary, the Archmage requested boons from the Basalt Throne, but there was no talk of tribute. It will fall to the Bonelord's emissaries to discuss these matters, and how the Warden at the Black Gate might be inclined to look favourable on these requests. For each of the supplicants If Enchantress Remys believes the Empire needs the power of Sorin's whelps to protect its borders, would they be prepared to sacrifice something of true value? Would they be prepared to give up their precious shield against famine to win the favour of the Blade of Hunger? If Winterwise Lutobor Branislavovich Glinka invokes the little sacrifice of the "year of hunger" to gain a boon from the Winnower, what form do they think a boon secured by such a minor lesson might take? If the cambion Tuktu of the Saker wishes to win the favour of the Father of Draughir, are they and Raziel prepared to do what is required to win that favour? And if the Archmage wishes the power to ravage the weak, what suitable tribute do they offer to show they recognise the value of what they have asked for?

According to the heralds however there is one matter which has already secured the attention of the Hungry Wolf; the matter of those ambitious folk who seek the Imperial Throne. After reflecting on the matter discussed with his lieutenant Carrion during the Summer Solstice Sorin has an offer that will ensure whoever takes the Throne is equal to the task. If the Conclave asks, Sorin will open the Gauntlet of Fangs to the Empire and allow all those who think themselves ready to rule to enter. As is tradition, the gauntlet will be sealed behind them and the Wolves of Sorin will assail all within until only one remains alive. Whatever happens in that chamber, those who fall will be claimed for the Tomb Legion. The one who emerges victorious will not only have proved that they are fit to sit at the head of the Senate, but they will have Sorin's favour likewise. It has been a very long time indeed since the Empty One has opened the Gauntlet of Fangs to any citizen of the Empire, and taught them the lesson of Ambition's Price. Should the Imperial Conclave wish Sorin to test the candidates for the Throne in this manner then let them simply pass a Declaration of Concord to that effect. They will need to bring the candidates for the Throne to the Imperial Regio at the Spring Equinox, and then the Gauntlet will be opened for them. Let there be no more talk of weak curses and petty "marks". If the Conclave is sincere in its desire for Sorin to help them test those who want the Crown, let it call for the Gauntlet.

With this final unsettling announcement, the messengers turn to leave. At the last moment, however, they turn back. There is one final matter that must be mentioned. The Father of Draughir favours those who bear the mark of the Winter realm. In deference to the Archmage, he has not required that all those who speak in the parley bear the Cold Wisdom despite the urging of some of his court. While dealing with the favoured of Sorin however, those who are marked by other realms might take care to ensure they are civil and deferential to those who bear Winter's mark lest the parley end prematurely.


  • Kimus has agreed to a parley with the Archmage of Day
  • The parley will take place in a chamber between the worlds at 15:30 in the afternoon on Saturday
  • The current Archmage of Day is Skywise Gralka

A fortnight before the Winter Solstice, a tall figure with long hair and significantly more eyes than any human or orc has ever had, arrives at Anvil. They bear a message from She Who Watches, agreeing to parley for the Archmage of Day during the coming solstice. The meeting will take place immediately after the Archmage completes her participation in the Arcane Colloquium - at half past three on Saturday afternoon. A herald will come to the Hall of the Worlds to escort the Archmage - and only the Archmage - to a place where they may meet with three of the Satrap of the Dawn favoured viziers. After due consideration, Kimus declines to engage in parley with the other five Archmages. They are interested only in observing the Archmage - whether they be Skywise Gralka or someone else, or one sent as proxy.

The Seer Clad in Raiment of Light wishes Gralka to prepare herself for a certain measure of disappointment. The One-who-watches cannot see the place she has asked about. It lies within a shroud that by its essential nature cannot be penetrated by the Eyes of Truth not matter how much they might wish to do so. However, that is not to say that they cannot see places that power touches, and so there may be a way that the Unsleeping can assist the Archmage to increase her understanding of those who enter the "Empty Palaces".

It seems the Unblinking Auger still remembers a time when their relationship with the Imperial Conclave was "particularly strained" and there is still some distance to go before that can be entirely put away. In spite of that the One in the High Places appreciates the accommodations made with regards to some of their observers in recent months. They have consequently instructed their viziers to prepare gifts for the Archmage: "a key to a door that opens only outwards; a list of names that should be forbidden; and a fire to reveal what must be seen".

The messenger can provide no further information about these gifts, and swiftly departs once their communique has been delivered.


  • Eleonaris has agreed to a parley with the Summer Archmage
  • Her representatives will arrive in the Hall of Worlds at 17:00 in the evening on Saturday
  • The current Archmage of Summer is Brother Luke of Highguard

The sun is at its height when the herald appears at the Imperial regio; a lion-maned individual in bloodgold chain. They sound their spindly trumpet three times, and announce in a booming voice that the Lady of the Pennants greets the Archmage of Summer warmly and acknowledges their plenipotentiary message. Her noble majesty, the Sovereign in Scarlet and Gold is minded to accede to Archmage's request.

To this end, she gives notice that her subjects will convey the dais of the Queen of the Fields of Glory, the fabled Seat of Judgement, into the Hall of the Worlds for a formal parley to take place at five in the evening. If the Archmage has the strength of will, they may ascend to the seat. If they do so, then their empery will be tested, for all to see.

In addition, the Lady of the Pennants will ensure there will be one among her heralds who can accept the gift of vengeance offered to the Hawk Lord.

Finally, the herald declaims that their mistress wishes the Archmage to know that there is no need to rebuild friendship between the Empire and the Lion Throne. The matter of disrespect has been addressed; friendship is restored. The statue that guards the Golden Causeway speaks to the enduring good relationship between the Fields of Glory and the Catazarri Empire. As long as all involved treat each other with grace and respect, there is no reason this friendship should ever falter again.

Of course, the herald points out, the Seat of Judgement is being offered under the terms of a formal parley... if it is not returned to the Summer Realm in exactly the condition it left it, the fury of the Lion of Summer will burn brighter than the hottest forge. Hot enough to melt steel and stone...


  • Llofir does not consent to a parley
  • In response to plenipotentiary it has laid out a way the Empire may repair its relationship with the eternal
  • The current Archmage is Ibiss Briarheart

It is shortly after nightfall when an eerie phosphorescence blossoms at the Imperial Regio at Anvil. Over the course of an hour an impossibly tall, thin, bone-white-and-seashell-pink mushroom sprouts in the centre of the ring of markers. Its smooth cap inflates and deflates rhythmically, as if breathing. A small crowd gathers at a safe distance, including several civil servants. There is a great deal of discussion about what is going on and whether someone should do something. The debate is brought to an abrupt end when the "mushroom" speaks. It has a high, piping voice that has an unsettling effect on the more sensitive members of the crowd, several of whom will later report disturbing dreams of being lost in a riotous jungle of fungus and mould.

This is an emissary of the Spring Realm, bearing a message from the Rotlord. The creature's voice remains calm throughout, but if anything that evenness to its mien makes its message all the more disquieting. When last the Lady of Spores spoke with an Archmage of Spring, it laid out its position very clearly. It would be an ally to the Empire, aid in the destruction of the vallorn, and be a friend to Imperial magicians. All it required in return was that its garden in Tamarbode be left alone. It refuted every lie that it had some "secret agenda" and restated its position of honest friendship. In response, the Conclave declared Llofir an enemy, and sent armies to ravage its garden, destroying everything living there.

Only a year has passed since the Empire attacked the Great Fungus and slaughtered its children. While some of the other creatures of the Spring Realm might be mercurial, Llofir has a long memory indeed. It is not interested in providing boons to its enemies. It offered aid against the sickness that breeds along the Empire's borders once before - sent its children to walk the trods and study the vallorn - and it saw how the Empire responded. Nor is it impressed by storms. The destruction they bring is transitory. If the Archmage of Spring truly wishes to repair relations with Moulder then they will have the conclave remove Llofir's enmity and instead grant it amity during the Winter Solstice. As soon as that is done, the eternal will grant its blessings to the Empire in its guise as the Despoiler of Grain. It will ravage the farms and gardens of the Empire with fungus and mould as Imperial soldiers ravaged its own garden with fire and steel. It will take its retribution, and when that is done, it will forgive the Empire's transgression and be ready to hear of parley and plenipotentiary from an Archmage of Spring once more.

As the herald finishes its speech, the civil servants in the crowd become quite agitated. Even before the mushroom has shrunk away, returning to the distant realm of the Ender of Empires, they have hurried back to the Hub to consult old records and the like. A few days later, they present their findings. If Llofir's carries through on its threat, amity will certainly give it the opportunity to do so. Even if that amity persists for only for a single season, the impact will continue to be felt throughout 385YE. Every farm in the Empire will suffer; there will be widespread starvation; and every Imperial army will be subject to the problems caused by insufficient supply until the start of Spring 386YE. Ultimately, however, as with all matters related to the eternals the final decision about whether to accept Llofir's offer rests with the Imperial Conclave.

Game Information
If the Conclave grants amity to Llofir at the Winter Solstice as requested, and it follows through with its threat, the civil service predicts that every farm in the Empire will see its production halved until the start of the Winter Solstice 385YE. Every Imperial Army will be assumed to have insufficient supplies - they will all suffer deterioration - for the same period. There will also be widespread starvation among the populace especially in the League and Urizen, both of which rely heavily on food imported from other Imperial nations. Obviously there may be opportunities to address the effects of the famine. It's possible that the Keeper of the Breadbasket might be able to mitigate some of the effects in Upwold and Mitwold for example, but even that is unlikely to do much to help the wider Empire. Attempting to find ways to weather a year without food will require an appraisal by the Imperial senate once the extent of Llofir's retribution has been established. That is, even an appraisal is unlikely to turn up many options until after the eternal has begun to take its revenge.


These meetings are taking place either in the Hall of Worlds or in an encounter tent. The times, and the eternals involved, are summarized here.

Day Time Eternal Realm Note
Friday 20:30 Prospero Autumn Parley; Chamber between worlds
Friday 22:30 Sorin Winter Parley; Hall of Worlds
Saturday 15:30 Kimus Day Parley; Chamber between worlds
Saturday 14:30 Whisper Gallery Night Not a Parley; Hall of Worlds
Saturday 17:00 Eleonaris Summer Parley; Hall of Worlds

About Plenipotentiary

As of last event we changed how plenipotentiary messages are delivered. The message is now delivered by casting operate portal at the Imperial Regio while clearly naming the eternal who is the intended recipient. The physical message can then be handed to the referee at the regio. This should reduce the amount of walking around needed to perform a plenipotentiary.