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Nobody moved.

The moonlight danced on the thick, spiralling fog that lay across one end of the gulley, suffusing it with an unearthly glow. The only other light came from two lightstones, held in the sweaty hands of a pair of Freeborn hakima. They were flanked by two warrior-mages in mage-armour of embroidered silk, the stars picked out on each piece reflecting the lights above.

Directly across from them huddled a small band of tired, scared looking people, wrapped in practical homespun wool, the muted and natural colours an odd contrast to the bright reds, yellows, and oranges of the Freeborn across from them. The two groups stared at one another.

"We're here to help," said Jaliella i Erigo again, raising her lightstone. "The Imperial Conclave has charged us to reach out to you and..."

"You are Freeborn." The woman who spoke took a half step forward. She had a wooden staff in one hand, and her face was no less gnarled. A scattering of deep blue scales outlined her dark eyes, and when she spoke, there were flashes of her little fangs.

"We are, and we have..." Jaliella began but the woman interrupted.

"The Oracle Pig said there would be friends waiting once we were across the border." Her voice was hard. "I do not see friends."

The hakima shared a worried frown with her companions. This was not what they had expected at all.

"There is a camp at the base of the hill," she explained. "Food and water. From there we can take you to Anduz. You're safe now."

"Safe? In the Brass Coast?" The woman laughed, harshly. A rumble went through the group behind her. An angry rumble.. "Is that what you told the slaves of Arbonne?"

Now the face of Jaliella i Erigo matched that of the Suranni woman opposite her, but she still sought to defuse the situation.

"You've come a long way," she said. "You're tired. Your little ones can barely stay awake. We are magicians like you, and we need to get away from the border. What happened then... it was a very different situation. Please, trust that we are not your enemy, here. The Conclave is not your enemy."

The angry rumble from the Suranni returned, louder this time. One of the men hefted a four-foot length of stout oak, and there was a brief shimmer of light around the end of it. In answer, Orlando i Erigo stepped up beside her, casually shifting his grip on his own tempest jade infused rod. Jaliella could not believe that things had gone so bad so quickly.

"The Oracle Pig said there would be friends to meet us," said the Suranni woman, clearly the leader of the group. She held out one hand across the chest of her companion, and he lowered his rod. Orlando did the same. Nobody made any move to cross the last few metres of the gulley, though.

It was then Jaliella became aware of movement behind her, someone approaching at a jog. It was one of the League magicians from the camp lower down the hill. The young one. He took a moment to catch his breath, and in a quiet voice asked the hakima to let him have a go at talking to the Suranni. At this point Jaliella was prepared to try anything to prevent the situation deteriorating further. He nodded, and gave her a tight lipped smile, and she was again surprised at just how young he was. He had the beginnings of a moustache, and he was so slight she could barely believe he could stand under the weight of the heavy fur cloak he was wearing.

He stepped between the two groups, and held out empty hands, angled down and away from his body, with his fingers spread.

"Hello," he said. "I am Robert von Temeschwar, who was Robert i Kalimar i Guerra of the Brass Coast, but before I was either of those things I was Robert of Shavronne. The Oracle Pig told me you were coming and that I should head here to meet you because... well. Because sometimes he is smart enough to know when there is going to be trouble, I suppose."

The Suranni looked at one another and muttered.

"Shavronne?" the leader of the Suranni asked, taking a few steps forward and studying the young man's face.

"Yes, Shavronne." He said. "A drover saved me from the soldiers. My sibling and I, but... not our parents."

He chose his words carefully, his voice even, but everyone in the gulley could tell that he was leaving things unsaid.

"Please," he said and his smile became a little more desperate. "These people are not your enemy, not tonight. There is a camp, and after that, there are decisions. You're free here, as free as you want to be. And if what the Oracle Pig tells me is true, then I'm here to offer you a home with my troupe in Temeschwar."

"Temeschwar?" The word tasted exotic in the woman's mouth. "Where is Temeschwar."

"It is a long way from here," answered the young man earnestly. "And a very long way from Arbonne. We can talk about it more on the way, if you like?"

The woman nodded slowly, but turned to discuss further with her friends. Jaliella i Erigo relaxed, now that the tension seemed to have gone out of the air.

"Well done, Master von Temeschwar." she said in an undertone.

"Thank you," he said. But he did not look back at her, and his eyes remained fixed on the small group of tired magicians outlined against the gently seething mist, trying to decide what their future would look like.
Possibility days.png
The Imperial Conclave has made it possible for several hundred Suranni wizards to escape persecution in the Iron Confederacy and seek sanctuary in the Empire.


Magic. The rulers of the Iron Confederacy consider it to be power stolen from the benevolent gods by the evil Dumon, granted to his worshippers to allow them to vex their servants. In the Empire, as in most of the rest of the civilised world, it is a skill like any other. Some are born with a natural talent, others learn it through study and practice, but it is ultimately used for either weal or woe depending entirely on the user. Given their view of magic, it's no surprise that the Suranni persecute anyone who uses magic. From the mildest healing spell upwards, any use of magic is considered to be drawing on Dumon's power. Fundamentally anathema. Magicians either surrender to the priesthood and spend the rest of their lives in prison or in "contemplation of the divine". Those who do not surrender, who are caught out by the priests of Arav, or the secular lawgivers, are executed quickly and efficiently.

It's no wonder that some choose to flee this persecution. The Imperial Conclave has offered them sanctuary, and with the help of the Brother of Wizards, a large number of Suranni wizards have reached the safety of the Empire. The worst part of their journey is over, but there are still challenges ahead - both for the wizards, and for the Empire.


  • Several hundred Suranni magicians and their families have found safety in Imperial territory
  • There has been no sign of any diplomatic incident as a consequence

The Imperial Conclave accepted the offer of the Brother of Wizards. The Celestial Arch arranged the endowment of a significant amount of crystal mana from the font to the eternal, to be used to help the Suranni wizards reach sanctuary. The Celestial Eclipse coven of the League raised Penumbral Veils over Madruga and Segura which the Eater of Secrets seized and wove into a wall of drifting fog that now covers the south-western borders of the Empire, hiding those who pass through it from any Iron Confederacy pursuers. The Celestial Arch also urged the Empire's magicians to accept the refugee wizards, and the Imperial Conclave concurred.

The net result of all this hard work is that by all reports several hundred Suranni wizards and their families have fled the Iron Confederacy by land and sea over the last few months, and successfully made their escape to Imperial territory. So effective were the Conclave that there is (currently) no indication the Suranni authorities know what has happened - no international incident has raised its ugly head. As long as nobody with the authority to speak to the Iron Confederacy on behalf of the Empire tells them what has happened, the Conclave should get away with it.


  • Imperial magicians help the Suranni exiles to get to grips with the realities of life in the Empire

Sadogua had asked the Celestial Arch or the Shuttered Lantern to urge their members specifically to welcome the wizards. Instead Raficci Vicente Barossa, Grandmaster of the Celestial Arch, took what many see as a more nuanced approach. They urged Imperial magicians to "reach out in welcome to those fleeing persecution in the Iron Confederacy, and help them establish new lives as virtuous, law-abiding citizens of the Empire." While this has led to a more varied, less unified response it has still meant that almost all the Suranni wizards coming to the Empire have been met by their Imperial peers, and helped to find places of safety. Knowing that they are going to meet fellow magicians, who will help protect them, encouraged some of the more frightened and conservative Suranni to risk expending their personal reserves of power and wealth in attempting the long trek to the Empire - and they brought others with them as well.

This welcome does, however, make clear three of the problems the Suranni wizards represent. The first is that the majority of them are very, very scared of priests. Attempts to explain that the priests of the Way are not monsters, and will not execute them, are made worse by the tendency of some of the wizards to panic as soon as they are faced with religious people. It's not that they dislike the virtues - once they are explained to them many of these magicians quickly see the appeal. The problem is that they associate priests and organised religion with persecution. Worse, all of these people were raised in the Iron Confederacy. While most of them know that magic and liao ceremonies do not come from some capering villain, a number of them still accept the Suranni pantheon, and have a particular fear of liao as a gift of Dumon the liar.

They're also from a country where attracting the attention of the authorities or the "powers that be" most likely meant either imprisonment or more likely execution. As such the majority are frightened by anyone in heavy armour, especially if that armour is surmounted by heraldric devices. Essentially, many of them get nervous and anxious around knights of Dawn, Highguard cataphracts, armoured Marchers... people of that nature. Mostly they try to get away, but on at least one occasion the "flight or fight" instinct has lead to an immediate attack. These misunderstandings are sorted out without anyone being killed, thanks to the intervention of the Imperial magicians, but it could have been a lot worse. For similar reasons, they are very reticent about cooperating with the magistrates or the militia. The magistrates remind many of them of the priests of Arav who seek out rogue magicians, and the militia are all-too-reminiscent of the lawgivers who hunt followers of Dumon.

Which brings up the second problem. Some of these wizards are almost certainly adherents of the Hand of Dumon. Indeed, the more a Suranni is at ease with the idea of the virtues and the use of liao, the more likely they are to be a member of that infamous - and illegal - cult.

A Gift for the Conclave

  • Some of the Suranni Wizards have collected a small gift to give to the Conclave in thanks for their help

Most of the wizards are exhausted from their journey. Some groups are as suspicious of each other as they are of the new people they are meeting. Some are much more organised and prepared, however, or have limited prior experience with Imperial magicians. A self-styled "Friend of the Oracle Pig" (a pet name for Sadogua used by a very small number of Suranni wizards, apparently) named Sephora of Sylaire is among the first to arrive in Segura, quickly makes the acquaintance of a number of the wizards in the "welcoming committee", and then sets to work helping liase between the more suspicious Suranni and their Imperial peers. She's fascinated by the Celestial Arch, and makes no secret of the fact that once she has found a suitable nation in the Empire to join, she'll be keen to see what the order has to offer. Her attitude is not entirely common, but over the next few months a few more with a similar mindset - more well-travelled, more open-minded wizards - appear in Madruga and Sarvos.

It's Sephora who contacts the civil service a few weeks before the Spring Equinox to explain that she has been gathering small gifts from those Suranni wizards who can afford it, and wants to see those gifts presented to the Conclave, as a gesture of thanks. The gift takes the form of a box of potions useful to magicians - twenty in all - running the gamut from Mageblood, through potions useful to practitioners of ritual magic such as Bronze Spider Balm and Philosopher's Stone. After discussion with the civil servants, she has presented the potions as a bequest - to be endowed on someone who can ensure they are put to the "best use". There's no requirement for the endowment to be made during the Spring Equinox - the potions are now in the possession of the civil service and are not going anywhere.

Wonder of Worlds

  • Some Suranni wizards are intending to visit Anvil during the Spring Equinox
  • They are expected to arrive Early on Saturday evening
  • They represent a broad cross-section of the Suranni refugees

In addition to her bequest, Sephora of Sylaire mentions that some of the other wizards she has spoken to have expressed an interest in coming to Anvil during the upcoming summit, with the intention of meeting their peers. They represent a lot of different groups within the wizards themselves, and she hopes the Grandmaster of the Celestial Arch in particular will be available to help make them feel welcome and answer their questions. They're expected to arrive early Saturday evening, but a precise time is difficult to nail down.


  • Any magician can have helped serve as part of the Suranni welcoming committee

Any magician who is not already doing something else this downtime is welcome to roleplay that they have spent time helping support the Suranni wizards. There should be enough information here to create some stories of your encounters with them. Most are frightened, exhausted, and hungry when they get to the Empire - usually in Madruga or Segura, sometimes by boat into Sarvos. They're eager to see friendly faces, but suspicious of the Empire, it's priests, and anyone wearing heavy metal armour or heraldry that reminds them of home.

Who are these people

  • The Suranni wizards, and their families, represent a diverse group of people with differing beliefs and backgrounds

The Suranni exiles are a very disparate bunch. For a start, only a half to perhaps two-thirds of them are actual magicians; the remainder are their family members, friends or collaborators. Of the magicians, most are spellcasters with little capacity with the lore of the six realms. Most are much more familiar with nonviolent spells than with any kind of battle magic. Anyone who has the training to be an actual battle mage tends to be either a radically dissatisfied enemy of the Suranni state, the defender of an isolated community of wizards, or a member of the Hand of Dumon.

Those who do have understanding of ritual lore, likewise, tend to focus on healing, divination, and low-magnitude enchantments. The most common lores among these magicians are Spring and Night. Most of their magic is designed to operate below the eyeline of the Suranni authorities for obvious reasons. There are also, however, a few handfuls of wizards who are surprisingly adept with Winter lore, but they tend to make Imperial magicians who talk to them a little uneasy. Those who are adept with Winter magic master curses and baleful enchantments that they use to destroy their enemies or anyone who crosses them. It's not a universal indicator, but prowess with Winter magic is a potential warning sign that someone is a follower of Dumon - meaning that those wizards who have made a study of it tend not to reveal that fact.

These people also come from many walks of life, and come from all over the Iron Confederacy. The majority seem to have lived in isolated rural communities, among the peasantry, barely a step or two up the social ladder from the slaves of the Iron Confederacy. Some of these communities have been "blasphemous" in nature - in Suranni terms - where everyone was accepting of wizard folk. Others represent small covens or isolated wizards who offered their magical services to a rural community in return for money or favours. A few however are clearly much more affluent - there are a number of small covens that lived quite well among the Suranni. Merchants, traders, doctors, and magical criminals who sold their services to the nobility are all represented. They might have chosen to stay in the Iron Confederacy had not the recent crackdowns risked exposing them; these represent the group most eager to find out more about Urizen and the League, and are usually the only ones likely to have made much of a study of Autumn magic.

The wizards are also heavily divided in terms of religion. The majority seem to practice a form of agnosticism - they don't deny the divinity of the Suranni pantheon but they do not believe that all magic comes from Dumon the Liar; it is just a skill that some people can learn and which the nobility and the priesthood fear will undermine their power. Another large group don't care about religion at all, and just want to get on with their lives. Many of this latter group espouse philosophies that Imperial scholars would consider atheist - denying any divinity or innate spirituality in the world of the heart of humanity. Despite everything, some remain devout followers of one or more of the maidens (most commonly Farod or Evra) and claim their magical abilities are gifts from the gods. These misguided folk hate the priests of the Iron Confederacy in particular, but they are also often the most vocal opponents of Imperial priests, their misconceptions about the Way filling them with hate and fear. A very small group among the refugees agree that magic is the gift of Dumon, but claim that the Suranni priesthood and the so-called Hand of Dumon are both equally wrong about the maiden. They honour an entirely different version of the Suranni god that they claim is the true divine figure - an enigmatic trickster who preaches love, acceptance, and joy. This group is the smallest so far identified, apparently because both the priests and their rivals in the Hand of Dumon hunt and murder them wherever possible. One group that isn't represented among the wizards now seeking sanctuary in the Empire are those who believe that magic is a curse from Dumon, and innately wicked. Those poor souls tend to throw themselves on the mercy of the Suranni priesthood and live out the remainder of their lives as prisoners.

Finally, there are the Hand of Dumon. Obviously none of them advertise their affiliation. It's impossible to guess how many of the wizards are part of that illegal cult but there is no way some of them have not made their way to the Empire. Identifying them is almost impossible - they are consummate liars after all, they have to be. It's the only way they have survived as long as they have.

This season, the Imperial conclave has made efforts to aid Suranni refugees escape into the Empire. They have expressed interest in settling within Wintermark, Varushka, or amongst our own numbers, we encourage any Stridings who are able to accompany them, and steadings who are able to shelter them as they partake in this journey and seek to help them find their place within this Empire and the Great Dance.

Teleri Thornweaver, Winter Solstice 384YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 220-0)

Varushka welcomes the refugees from the Iron Confederacy. We encourage people to welcome them to our hearths and allow them to grow in virtue and the Way.

Goran-Sokolov Xaytsev, Winter Solstice 384YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 140-0)

We invite those Suranni persecuted by the laws of the Iron Confederacy forbidding the use of magic and liao ceremonies to journey and make their new home in the Imperial controlled territories of Urizen. We encourage them to embrace the Way of Virtue as well as the culture and customs of Urizen.

Aristeia Starchaser, Winter Solstice 384YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 224-0)

A Place to Call Home

  • The Suranni wizards are not causing disruptions, but there are still questions about where they should go now they are safely in the Empire

Most of the wizards who arrive in the Brass Coast out of the mists are keen to keep moving, and few of them want to stay in territories bordering the Bay of Catazar. Some just want to get as far away from the Iron Confederacy as possible, but a number of others are worried that if they don't get away from the Freeborn they'll be handed back to the Suranni authorities. Many of them are aware that the slave rebellion three years ago ended in the Empire allowing Iron Confederacy soldiers to cross the border, round up all the fugitive slaves, and drag them in chains back into Arbonne where the rebel leaders were executed. They don't really trust the Freeborn, and the incident further reinforces their suspicion of Imperial authorities and the priests of the Way.

During the Autumn Equinox, the Varushkan assembly and the Urizen assembly both upheld statements of principle encouraging their people to Accept the Suranni - but in both cases prioritised the refugees embracing "virtue and the Way" - something the wizards are not really prepared to do at the moment. While the people of these nations may prepare a conditional welcome, the wizards of the Iron Confederacy mostly ignore their overtures.

The Great Dance

  • The Navarr Assembly can pass a mandate to embrace the Suranni wizards and offer them sanctuary in their steadings and stridings
  • This will help them integrate into the Empire, but will also help those with malign intent to find allies more effectively

The Navarr Assembly, on the other hand, upheld a statement from Teleri Thornweaver which stressed the importance of helping them "find their place within this Empire and the Great Dance" - crucially without placing any restriction on how that welcome would be provided. As the Spring Equinox approaches, more and more of the wizards reaching the Empire are explicitly asking to speak with Navarr magicians, and there's some speculation that the agents of the Father of Bats is actively encouraging them to do so. The Navarr, of course, have a long-lasting tradition of actively helping people find places where they will live happier lives; it is part of their theory of the Great Dance after all. By taking the Suranni wizards into their steadings and - perhaps more critically - stridings they are best positioned to get them where they will best fit in. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this. While most of the wizards genuinely want to find new homes and lives, there are some among them who could pose a threat to Imperial peace. The obvious example is the Hand of Dumon, but the Suranni are only humans. There are some among their number who would be criminals in the Empire, not only in the Iron Confederacy. Some whose flaunting of the dictates about magic in the Iron Confederacy are part of a wider disregard for the authority of the law.

We believe that everyone should have a chance to find a place they will belong, where their partners in the Great Dance will be right for them. We send (named priest) with 50 doses of liao to urge guides, vates, and brands to seek out Suranni wizards and offer them sanctuary in their steadings and stridings, and help them find a true home for their spirits.

Synod Mandate, Navarr National Assembly

If this mandate is upheld, the majority of the Suranni wizards who do not already have contacts in the Empire will become guests of the Navarr. Some will stay at steadings, while others will travel with their stridings as they criss-cross the Empire. Over time, they will find new homes for themselves in the Imperial nations, but it will not be instantaneous. Many will end up in Varushka and Urizen, many more will stay with the Navarr, but a few will start new lives and build new homes in all corners of the Empire except among the Imperial Orcs. Over time most will become Imperial citizens, and some might even embrace the Way. But it will be a process that takes at least a year, perhaps even longer.

The downside of this mandate is that some of those wizards will definitely not have the best interests of the Empire at heart, and they will also have the freedom to move all over the Empire alongside their Navarr hosts. They, too, will be looking for new places to live but they'll be drawn to places where their particular brand of magical philosophy will be welcomed. This will include the Hand of Dumon, but it will also involve idolators who revere eternals, heretics and blasphemers who embrace malign spiritual forces, and straightforward criminals who turn their magic toward self-enrichment or dominating their neighbours.

Exarch Luke has offered an alternate mandate, using the Partners of Greatness power, to the Highguard National Assembly.

Having been refugees in our past, we Highborn understand the plight of those having fled persecution into a new land, and a new future. Inspired by our Navarri siblings; We send {named priest} with 50 doses of liao to urge Wayfarers and Magisters to help embrace and welcome the Suranni into the Empire and to aid them in settling their bodies and souls for generations to come.

Synod Mandate, Highguard National Assembly

If this mandate is passed then the Highborn will reach out to the Suranni magicians in an attempt to welcome them to the Empire. Given the wizards' opinion of priests in general it is unsure what effect this will have. One thing that is certain is that it will not see the Suranni settle in Highguard.

Someone Else's Problem

  • If left to their own devices, most of the Suranni will eventually end up in small villages, enclaves, and ghettos in various Imperial nations

Left to their own devices, the Suranni wizards will find places to settle down. The risk is that without the aid of the Navarr, they will find it harder to integrate into Imperial society. Instead they will form their own enclaves, where groups of Suranni wizards will band together to create private settlements in the wilderness. Many will end up in Varushka or northern Urizen, but they'll found their own villages and stay apart from their neighbours, while others will seek out wild places in Wintermark or Navarr territories far from the Iron Confederacy. Some will seek to create enclaves in the League cities, hoping to blend into the great mass of humanity especially in Temeschwar and Holberg. Few will find the Marches particularly appealing, or receive much of a welcome there. None will settle in Highguard or Dawn, due to fear of priests and fear of the nobles who will remind many of them of the Suranni knights they have fled from. None will settle in the Brass Coast, for fear of being turned back over to their Suranni persecutors.

They won't automatically cause trouble, but they will become another population of people who are not Imperial who live inside the Empire's borders. Few will seek to become Imperial citizens, and few will accept the Way. They will simply create new lives that are mirror-echoes of their old lives - treating authorities both secular and mundane as the enemy.