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"It all seems a little.... much... sometimes. Am I bad for saying that?"

"What does?" Araunah slipped her bookmark between the pages of her novel. She recognised Zalmonah's tone of voice. It meant there was something on her mind and she wanted to talk about it, and there'd be no more reading until they'd thrashed the matter out.

"Helping. Being the elder sibling," Zalmonah gestured vaguely at the enormity of it all. "Being the partner of greatness, being the kinship peer, supporting everyone else. All of it."

Aranuah was a little taken aback. Outwardly, Zalmonah was always proudly talking about Highguard's role as the birthplace of the Way, about the importance of inspiration, about destiny and virtue. To hear her speaking like this was troubling. She registered for the first time the darkness beneath Zal's eyes, how pale and tired she looked. Inwardly, she cursed herself for not spotting the signs earlier.

"Can I ask, are you looking to talk about this or just for me to listen?" She asked after a few more moments thought. Zalmonah half-laughed a little awkwardly and shook her head.

"Oh, it's alright Aran," she said. "No need to look so serious. I'm just... sometimes the enormity of it gets to me a little bit. Sometimes my heart swells so full of Pride it might burst, sometimes I'm lifted up by that feeling of Loyalty to all the people of the Empire, and the world, already born and yet to come, and it starts to... it starts to overwhelm me. There's so much wrong in the world and sometimes it feels like it's just me, that I have to fix it all. I'm sorry, I'm babbling."

"You're not babbling, Zal." Putting her book aside, Aranuah joined her on the seat by the window. "I know exactly what you mean."

"You do?" Zalmonah noticably relaxed, letting go of the worry rising up inside her with a low sigh. "I was worried it was just me. It's such a... responsibility. I'm glad we're helping the Freeborn, I'm so happy we're talking with the orcs in the Barrens and in Varushka. I'm excited by the thought of helping build a beacon of the Way in Bastion. It's fascinating reading the statements of the other national Assemblies but sometimes it's a little too much."

As Zalmonah spoke, Aranuah passed over the plate of spiced biscuits, and ate on herself, nodding along in agreement.

"Nobody expects us to do everything at once," she interjected when Zalmonah paused for breath. "Nobody who matters, anyway. Empress Maarika wrote that when you're at war with the whole world, you've got to pick your battles, remember?"

Zalmonah smiled at that, genuinely, and some of the tiredness shifted from her shoulders.

"She wasn't wrong. As I was saying to Maester Aveyan the other day, 'so much to do and so little time'."

Aranuah laughed, then caught herself. "Are you quoting Emperor Nicovar at me? That's unfair and... wait who were you talking to?"

"Maester Aveyan. They're one of the Grendel merchants we've been negotiating with. They're after herbs, and paying good money for them. It's easy to forget sometimes that we're probably going to be at war with their people again by the end of the year. They're so easy to talk to, and they seem genuinely concerned about virtue and the problems Highguard is facing and..."

She trailed off, her eyes widening, a grim realisation blossoming. Aranuah bit her lip, leant forward to take Zalmonah's hands in hers.

"I'm sure it's fine." she said, calmly, reassuringly. "I'm sure they were just trying to make friends so they'd get a better rate. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about, Zal. I'm sure of it."

But Aranuah was not sure, not at all, and the two women stared at each other in worried silence.
Words Resounding.jpg
We study history not to argue over the facts but to identify lessons that can inspire us today..


The people of Highguard, especially their priests, look outward toward the rest of the Empire, ready to offer aid to their younger siblings. Their peerless kinship is directed towards the Brass Coast, offering their insight in Kahraman and their strength to their Freeborn cousins in retaking Feroz the same way they helped the Urizen reclaim Zenith. The Granite Pillar raced across half the Empire to accompany the Marches in securing the borders of Bregasland. Their unconquered, magisters and wayfarers have offered their peerless kinship to the people of Varushka as they seek out the orcs that share their forests and work to secure their eastern borders. In the process they found their own answer to the question of the virtue of the Thule, and answer that potentially has far-reaching implications.

Of course not everyone welcomes the Highborn, nor sees the value of their aid and support. Yet the desire to reach out to their neighbours and cousins, allies and friends in the other nations is not diminished. When Highguard puts its mind to a virtuous course of action, very little can dissuade them from the path.

Kinship and Greatness

When one nation reaches out to another seeking only to help we should not cut off our own arm to refuse it. Any nation that refuses any and all help from Highguard or any of our Empire's nations has severely misunderstood why Loyalty is so important: collaboration is our greater strength as ten nations under one throne.

Astrea of the Crystal Skies, Loyalty Assembly, Spring Equinox 385YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 287-0)
  • Several assemblies enacted mandates during the Spring Equinox related to Highguard
  • The Highborn have three more opportunities to use their peerless kinship

Eli, ageing custodian of Walter's Tomb, proposed that the Empire is like a family of ten siblings, each with their own strengths. As the eldest, Highguard's primary role is to support their family, not only in war but in all things. In general, the other nations have at least tolerated the Highborn as they attempt to put this theory into practice. Astrea of the Crystal Skies in particular praised the virtue of the Highguard aspiration, and the Loyalty assembly agreed. However not all the nations agreed.

Three nations welcomed the Highborn interest in their statements of principle, and reciprocated. Ophelia Sanguineo Rezia di Tassato of the the League, Anastasiya Volkov of Varushka, and Tarquinius Ankarien of Urizen were each sent out to urge their peers to witness the judgements of the Highborn Assembly by their National assemblies. The priests of these three nations can now respond to a mandate offered to the Highborn Assembly. They can submit an alternative mandate before the summit begins - just like a regular alternative mandate - but this mandate will be in their own Assembly and will affect the priests of their own nation. Just as with the Highborn, they may choose to react in support of the issue or in opposition to the issue - as with any alternative mandate - but it will be their own nation that is most directly affected by the outcome - not Highguard. This ability remains available until the start of the Spring Equinox 386YE.

However the League Assembly also chose to reject any Highborn attempts to aid or assist them. Sofonisba Amilcara di Sarvos was chosen by the League national assembly to "urge the people of the League to take pride in our history and refuse all aid from the Highborn." As a consequence, Highguard cannot choose the League as the target of their peerless kinship. This leaves five nations who can be aided - Dawn, Imperial Orcs, the Marches, Wintermark, and Varushka. Urizen, Navarr, and the Brass Coast have already received their aid, and the League refuse to accept it. As explained last season, a statement of principle in the Highborn assembly can name a nation to offer aid to, and the priests of that nation can use statements of their own to direct that aid where they think it will be most helpful to them.

OOC Note on Alternative Mandates

Highguard has a limited ability to raise an alternative mandate as a response to a mandate in the assembly of another nation. The League, Urizen and Varushka can raise a mandate in their own assembly in response to a mandate in the Highborn Assembly. In all cases the effects of these alternative mandates will be felt by the people of the nation that enacted the mandate.

A priest can urge people to pay attention to a problem or situation affecting another nation - but the response will always be in their own nation. This may lead to priests cooperating with each other, or it may lead to them acting at odds, or it may even mean that the nation responds to a similar problem in their own nation. In most cases it will not make the effects of the original mandate more powerful - it will simply produce a related response in another nation. As with any alternative mandate, the outcome will be made as clear as possible when the mandate is submitted.

Eyes of the Basilisk

My soldiers of the Seventh Wave, I am proud of what you have achieved. We are going home, to rearm and resupply. We shall not be idle, for idleness breeds vice. We shall be running a series of exercises to assess the strength and preparations of our shore defences. Any weakness in these defences, or spies compromising our security, shall be found, and in vigilance, for we know the Grendel plot against us.

Barachel of Adina's Charge, General of the Seventh Wave
  • The Seventh Wave have uncovered a Grendel espionage ring in Necropolis

The Seventh Wave have not been in Highguard since 382YE. Since then they have fought the Grendel in the Brass Coast, spent a year fighting to liberate Zenith, and took part in the savage fight that ultimately saw the Barrens liberated from the Druj. Now they have returned, resupplying and regrouping in Necropolis. Where another army might relish a chance to be on furlough, the Seventh Wave under Barachel of Adina's Charge refuse to rest, Vigilantly guarding the gates and doing whatever they can to try and secure the Highguard coast against the orcs of the Broken Shore.

Since the peace treaty signed by the Imperial Senate two years ago, the Grendel have been sending merchants and traders to every port and town along the Bay of Catazar. Indeed, recent months have seen discussion in the Highborn Assembly about the virtue or lack thereof of trading with Grendel desperate to secure a last few deals before the treaty comes to an end and war inevitably resumes. Their navies have been sighted visiting every Imperial territory still remaining along the shores of the Bay - Madruga, Sarvos, Necropolis, and Redoubt, demonstrating their dominion of the seas.

It may come as no surprise then, to discover that the Highborn soldiers quickly uncover signs that the Grendel are engaging in extensive espionage in Necropolis. They have a long-established espionage ring in the territory, something akin to a spy network but much more difficult to root out. Any Grendel merchant that has visited the territory in the last two years might well have been a spy, or had a spy among their entourage. Any off-duty sailor visiting Sanctuary or Crown's Quay could have been reporting back to a spy master; any Highborn citizen who spent time in casual conversation with an inquisitive mariner or merchant might have inadvertently revealed useful intelligence to a Grendel spy. Yet the Grendel do not do all their espionage work themselves; far from it. Instead, they are adept at finding citizens of the territory - human as often as not - prepared to occasionally send a little letter about what is going on in Necropolis to a friendly handler in return for money. Lots of money.

If the Grendel had just built a spy network, and had their soldiers sneaking around peering at things, it might be relatively easy to dismantle it. As it is, actually rooting out this poison in the fields of Highguard represents a significantly greater challenge.

Suck the Poison

  • The Highborn National Assembly could use a mandate to empower the Seventh Wave to scour Grendel espionage rings from their territories

The main problem is that while there may be a few Highborn who are cynically selling out their own people in return for money, many more are either innocent dupes or are deluding themselves into the belief they are doing the right thing. One way to remove the insidious poison of the Grendel spymasters directly would be for the Highborn assembly to persuade their people they must consider the behaviour of their friends and enemies, and that they can sever their ties with the Grendel without being punished. This would take the form of a mandate.

Vigilance teaches us to seek out falsehood, and reveal the truth. We send (named priest) with 50 doses of liao to urge the unconquered and the priests of our nation to help the Seventh Wave root out the poison in our fields.

Synod Mandate, Highguard National Assembly

If this mandate is enacted, then for the next year the Seventh Wave will be able to root out a Grendel espionage ring from a Highborn territory by issuing the Guard the Gates order while in that territory. They can only do this if they previously confirmed the presence of the ring or found evidence of its activities in some way - its not enough to suspect one is present or be told that there is espionage taking place. They will need to phrase their orders in such a way as to make it clear they are dealing with the spies and dismantling the Grendel's espionage ring. Only the Seventh Wave can take advantage of this mandate - it requires an army with the scouting quality and it can only be done in a Highborn territory; if soldiers from another nation tried to do it they will inevitably cause extensive disruption. Winding up an espionage ring will create at least one opportunity to gain a piece of potentially useful or interesting information about the Grendel forces and strategies in the Bay of Catazar as part of their spying report, or as part of a skirmish opportunity.

Using the Seventh Wave, however, is by no means the only way the espionage ring in Necropolis might be dealt with. For that matter, the confirmation of spies in Necropolis raises a whole host of other questions.

Be Alert to Dangers

  • It's likely the Grendel have spy networks across the entire Bay of Catazar

It seems very unlikely, almost inconceivable, that the Grendel have only established spies in Necropolis. They almost certainly have espionage networks in Madruga, Sarvos, and Redoubt as well, and possibly even Tassato (it's never been entirely clear how many of the Salt Lords consider Tassato to be on the Bay of Catazar even though the city itself it is some distance inland). There may also be spies in Spiral that Salt Lord Kaliact is unaware of who may need to be dealt with.

Any Imperial army able to take the Guard the Gates order can try and find an espionage ring, but as mentioned above it is no simple matter to actually root the Grendel out. Their spies are well embedded in the territory, and there's no guarantee that each nation's people have responded the same way to approaches from "inquisitive orc merchants." Regardless, the first stage to removing the spies is to determine if they are there, and where they are.

While the Highborn National Assembly can use a mandate to support the Seventh Wave, that's only one possible solution to the problem. The Assembly of the Nine could instruct the Silent Bell to look for an espionage ring in a territory, or try and dismantle one that has already been discovered. The Shuttered Lantern could also be engaged to root out or destroy an espionage ring. The Imperial Senate could instruct the Prognosticator's Office to appraise methods of finding and shutting the Grendel spies down. It's not possible to predict what opportunity would arise, and there are any number of other ways that an espionage ring might be found or disrupted. What is certain however is that none of these methods are likely to be cheaper or easier than that presented to the Highborn.

Of course the Empire might decide that it doesn't matter that the Grendel know what their armies are doing; or that the orcs may be engaged in a complex double-bluff hinting that there are spies where there are not to spread uncertainty, in which case they can ignore the potential spies. Either way the Empire needs to be cautious about how they proceed; simply telling everyone there are Grendel spies and traitors among them is a recipe for people taking the law into their own hands - especially in the League with the inspiration of Ratibor fresh in peoples' minds. Creating this kind of disruption at exactly the wrong moment is likely playing straight into the Grendel's hands.

Glare of the Noonday Sun

  • The priests of Highguard have taken direct action to destroy the last major Druj miasma pillars left in Zenith
  • The Urizeni of the Hall of the Newborn Sun propose a gift be given to whomever was most responsible for removing the hateful miasma from Zenith
  • The arbiter of the temple spire has asked the Imperial Conclave to determine who is the most suitable recipient of the gift, ideally making it part of their regalia
Hall of the Newborn Sun
The Hall of the Newborn Sun is made up of questors and illuminates whose temple once stood in Occursion. When the orcs came some of the inhabitants were able to flee with the aid of the Highborn armies but many of the most devout were captured attempting to rescue the centuries of philosophical texts held in the cathedral library. They were left to labour as slaves of the Druj until finally the desperate rescue of 383YE brought them to safety. The reunited priests founded a new spire - the Hall of the Newborn Sun - in the mountains of south-eastern Morrow, not far from the Three Watchers. Their new arbiter, Aphrodias of the Newborn Sun, recently arranged for one of their grimoires, the Book of the Restless Spirit, be included in Urizen lore, eventually securing a judgement from the General Assembly that recognised the practice of Lucidianism was neither heresy nor blasphemy as long as it did not lead to preaching desecration.

After a great deal of argument, it appears that the majority of the Urizeni living at the Hall of the Newborn Sun have decided to stay in Morrow for the time being, perhaps establishing a new spire in Zenith in a generation or so once the place begins to feel a little cramped. But they still feel a connection to their former home, and keep a close eye on what is going on in the liberated land.

With the Granite Pillar needed elsewhere, it fell to Isaac of the Silent Tide, Speaker of the Highborn Assembly, to deal with the last major Druj miasma pillars in Zenith. They gathered a cadre of priests, exorcists, guardians, and cataphracts, and with a sack of liao proceeded to Clypion and destroyed the remaining pillars, completing the work of the Imperial Senate and General Asenath. As the Summer Solstice approaches, the last of the hateful miasma that still hung in tatters across the territory fades like early morning mist beneath the noonday sun of virtue.

Many Urizeni feel a sense of gratitude to the Highborn - a significant number of them are still alive because the armies of Highborn fought the advancing Druj to allow them time to flee west to Morrow. In particular, the questors and illuminates of the Hall of the Newborn Sun in Morrow have been tracking the destruction of the miasma pillars with interest. Now that they are gone, after almost a month of arguing, they have announced their intention to offer a gift of thanks to those who helped free the territory from the oppressive aura the pillars created. Unfortunately, they cannot reach an accord on who precisely to give it to.

The plan is proposed initially on the assumption it will be given to the Speaker for the Highborn Assembly; there's little doubt that the priests of Highguard have been heavily involved in removing the miasma. Then another faction argues that it is the Highborn generals who should be recognised - their commitment to freeing the people of Zenith was made very clear on numerous occasions. A third, roughly equivalent faction instead agree with the National Assembly judgement that it was actually the Courage of the people of Urizen, and Clytemnestra of the House of the Wanderer especially, that ultimately allowed the Druj to be defeated; without that first victory there would have been no opportunity to remove the miasma at all. Others point to the general of the Citadel Guard, or to the League generals whose timely aid bolstered the armies enough to win the war.

In the end, arbiter Aphrodias of the Newborn Sun steps in and puts an end to the argument. It's clear that everyone is in agreement that someone should be recognised for the fact the soul- and thought-destroying miasma is gone. Rather than split the temple, they call on the Imperial Conclave to decide exactly who gets that gift of recognition. A solution, it must be said, that makes everyone equally unhappy, and perhaps demonstrates why Aphrodias is able to keep their position as arbiter of a particularly argumentative spire.

The gift has been handed to the civil service, and its disposition is left to the declaration of Endowment. The Halls of the Newborn Sun ask that if at all possible the item be made regalia of an Imperial title rather than simply bestowed on an individual. They have suggested Speaker for the Highborn Assembly, or any of the Generals who fought in Zenith, but they understand the Net of the Heavens enough to know that the obvious person taking action is not always the person most instrumental in making that action take place. As such, if the gift is endowed on a citizen who does not have a title, or whose title is incidental to their role in helping remove the miasma from Zenith, then they will understand. They only ask that the declaration of Endowment make clear why their gift is being bestowed on the recipient. There is no immediate rush - the gift will remain in the hands of the civil service until it is endowed, or until the Conclave reject the gift (with a suitably worded Endowment or Concord).

It seems that the gift they are delivering is a rare piece of Urizen and Highborn history - one of the original three Atun's Rings given by the magisters of Highguard to the mages of Urizen during the earliest years of relations between the two nations developing diplomatically.

A Sacred City

We show our virtue through deeds, not folly. The piling of stone in Bastion may suit the whims of Highguard, but we shall not let our own Prosperity or Pride suffer for its execution. We urge citizens of the League not to assist in the aggrandisement of the White City, except when through fair trade their own Prosperity might grow.

Fabio Costas de Sarvos, Spring Equinox 385YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 306-61)
  • The grand project to create a city dedicated to the Imperial interpretation of the Way to eclipse Timoj is still being discussed
  • An inspirational design has not been settled on; the project cannot yet be commissioned
  • The League National Assembly criticises the scheme, and may urge their people to have nothing to do with it

Following the appraisal commissioned during the Winter Solstice, a plan to build a wonder of the world at Bastion was laid out. Before any work can begin, an inspiration of appropriate scale and grandeur is required. The virtuous contest proposed by the Highborn chapter of Pharos' Water is ongoing; the Assembly of the Nine has not yet issued a statement of principle indicating the design they think should serve as the basis for the grand project to rebuild Bastion as a beacon for the Imperial philosophy of the Way.

Not everyone, however, has welcomed the appraisal and discussion about this sacred city. The League National Assembly supported a statement of principle raised by Fabio Costas de Sarvos, denouncing the entire scheme as unvirtuous and urging citizens of the League not to assist in the aggrandisement of the White City.

This plan to aggrandize Bastion and the priests of Highguard is folly, and we will not let our Prosperity and Pride suffer for its execution. We send (named priest) with 25 liao to urge all citizens of the League to focus their attention on their own cities, not those of the Highborn.

Synod Mandate, League National Assembly

If this mandate were enacted, it would prevent any aid from the League towards the holy city in Bastion. Furthermore no statements of principle calling on the League to support building efforts outside of their own cities would result in an opportunity for at least the next year.

Dinah of Jeremiah's Welcome has offered an alternate mandate, using the Partners of Greatness power, to the Highguard National Assembly.

The Assembly of the League name our efforts to exalt Bastion to be ‘folly’, as if the construction of splendid cities were not the very deed their nation is founded on. Let us respond to this insult with Pride and demonstrate what we can do without the League's aid. We send {named priest} with 25 doses of liao to remind our citizens why the founders of the League approached Bastion to discuss the White City's place in their nation, and why we declined.

Synod Mandate, Highborn National Assembly

If enacted this mandate would stop any work being done on the grand project of the Way if the design chosen was submitted by a citizen of the League.

Virtue and Reward

Remodelling Bastion with a Grand Inspiration of the Way will be the work of ages and a legacy of our Empire. The sizeable resource investment required (1000 wains of white granite) means a collective effort will be required. We propose that the virtue fund is utilised to provide some of this and bring the project to a swifter completion. The project is not yet commissioned, but for something of this scale and obvious virtue Wisdom dictates we start preparing now.

Pontus Figures, Judgement of Rewarding, Spring Equinox 385YE, Upheld (740-369)
  • The Constitutional Court has reviewed the status of titles that can remove money automatically from the Virtue Fund and identified an error
  • The Seer of the Gateway, the Imperial Chaplain Consular, and the High Exorcist will lose their power to withdraw funds
  • Administrative motions have been raised for the Saturday evening Senate Session to determine if the removed power will be replaced with a stipend
  • The General Assembly, and the assemblies responsible for each title, may be able to secure additional support for these titles with statements of principle

On the subject of the sacred city... during the Spring Equinox Pontius Figures of the Words, Numbers, Figures, and Knotes organisation in Dawn raised a judgement of rewarding calling for a "sizeable resource investment" and a "collective effort" to provide the white granite needed. They proposed that the Virtue Fund be used to provide some of the money needed to buy resources, even though the project has not yet been commissioned. Indeed, they finished by suggesting that "Wisdom dictates we start preparing now" and there are several priests who agree with them. There's still plenty of opportunity for individual National Assemblies to urge their nations to support the project if they wish, but it might not be impossible to arrange something with regard to the virtue fund that goes beyond a simple Rewarding. Before such a thing could happen, though, a well-worded statement of principle in the General Assembly that achieved a greater majority would be required.

Words in the Head.jpg
Thoughts and feelings are never virtuous or vile. It is only the actions that you undertake that demonstrate your worth.

The rewarding does, however, focus the attention of the civil service to the Virtue Fund. Naomi of Virtue's Rest, the prognosticator who arranged the appraisal that lead to the proposal of the Sacred City has been following discussions around the scheme with particular interest. While reviewing Imperial Synod records however, she noticed something that struck her as odd, and raised it with her superiors. Specifically, the fact that the Imperial Senate has given several Imperial titles the ability to automatically take money from the virtue fund through judgements of Rewarding that cannot be opposed. Is this constitutional, she innocently asks?

After weeks of argument, the Constitutional Court has been forced to admit that it is simply not constitutional on any level. Just as the Senate cannot create a title with votes in the Imperial Synod that is appointed by any house other than the Imperial Synod, so it was wrong for them to allow the Senate to give any Imperial title the ability to simply take funds from the Virtue Fund without the approval of the Imperial Synod. Those funds are the property of the Imperial Synod, the Senate cannot access them in this way. If the Senate wishes to reward a title with funds, they must do it from the Imperial treasury via a stipend, not take it from the resources of another house. The Court acknowledge their error, and apologize for not identifying this at the time and preventing it then.

The titles affected are the Seer of the Gateway (5 Thrones), the Imperial Chaplain Consular (5 Thrones), and the High Exorcist (7 Thrones). Regardless of the amounts involved, it is simply not legal for the Imperial Senate to give an Imperial title the ability to take someone else's property in this way without any possibility for them to gainsay the decision. This situation cannot continue, and these power to Withdraw Funds must be stripped from the titles, but they are keen that the titles involved not be "punished" for the Court's failure.

As such the civil service will be raising three administrative motions to amend each of the titles, allowing the Senate to vote on whether to provide them with a stipend following the normal rules for providing funding. If the Senate votes against the motion, the title receives nothing. If they vote in favour, they will have the usual ability to vote on how large the stipend should be. To give the citizens involved the opportunity to speak to their Senators and rally support from their assemblies, the Constitutional Court has requested that the administrative motions take place at the start of the Saturday evening session of the Senate. The Office of the Speaker - the Civil Servants who support the Senate - has suggested that the three affected title holders could come to speak with them at the Hub on Friday evening to sort out how best to proceed and to offer advice or guidance as needed.

It is also possible that the Imperial Synod may choose to step in, and call for the people of the Empire to help support these titles. Suitably worded statements of principle that achieve a greater majority may lead to an opportunity to support one or more of the titles. This will be most likely if the Statement is raised in the General Assembly, but the Assembly of Nine might also be able to secure some support for the Seer of the Gateway and the High Exorcist, while the Assembly of the Way might be able to secure support for the Imperial Chaplain Consular. It's unlikely that a statement in a National or Virtue assembly would create a response unless the wording of the statement was clear about how the duties of the title supported the goals of the people of that nation, or of that virtue. It's also worth noting that there is nothing to stop anyone calling for support for one or more of these titles even though the Senate has agreed to provide them a stipend.

Regardless of what happens, the three titles will not be able to use the withdraw funds power going forward, and the Constitutional Court are clear they will allow no future titles to be granted the ability to take funds from the Synod. By extension, they would also not approve a title that could take mana from the Conclave font.

OOC Design

Following the last event we noticed there was a significant error on our part in allowing the Imperial Senate to give to titles the power to take money from the Virtue fund. Rather than fund these titles with the money they control, the Imperial treasury, the Senate was funding the titles with money they categorically do not control, the Virtue fund. It's a crucial part of our game that we put key limits in place on what the Imperial Senate can and cannot do, otherwise as the most powerful body in the game, there is a risk that all power ends up in the hands of senators. The idea that the Senate can give out the funds allocated to other houses is very bad for the game - so in-character it is completely unconstitutional and illegal for them to do that.

While we appreciate that the title holders will be disappointed to lose their access to the Virtue fund, it is important to be clear that that power should never have been allowed in the first place. It is fine that they have enjoyed the benefits for some time, the actual title holders have done nothing wrong. This is our error, not theirs - however we can't keep letting these tiles remove significant amounts of money from the Virtue fund without the approval of the Synod. The point of the virtue fund is for priests to argue over the disposition of funds, having someone able to remove the money without that element goes completely contrary to the game design.

We've presented the update here as part of a wind of fortune, but we want to be clear that this is a game update that we've made for OOC reasons around game design, and ongoing management of the game. We've included it as part of this wind of fortune because we want to provide in-character encouragement for the title holders to petition the Senate for the support the Senate indicated they should be getting and to create an opportunity for them to encourage the Imperial Synod to push for these titles to get additional support.

Obviously any Imperial priest can submit a judgement of rewarding, asking the Imperial Synod to authorise a disbursement from the Virtue fund for one or all of these titles. There is absolutely no problem with these titles being granted money from the Virtue fund by the Imperial Synod - but that has to be a decision the Synod takes each time, it cannot be something that Senate determines happens automatically.

Further Reading

  • Pieces missing everywhere - 385YE Spring wind of fortune dealing with Highguard and response to their new direction
  • Blood will thicken - 385YE Spring wind of fortune dealing with the appraisal leading to the sacred city proposal
  • Full of sacred sound - 384YE Winter wind of fortune talking out the new abilities of the Highborn assembly
Captain Saul stared at the report with a sinking feeling. "There's no possibility this is a mistake?" he queried.

"I'm afraid not sir," said Ruth replied shaking her head. "All the evidence points to this. It's well hidden - we'd never have found the evidence if we hadn't spent the season scouting the area. And it's well-established, I dread to think how long it's been there but it's at least two years. We don't know exactly how they've done it, but they've definitely got some kind of well-organised espionage ring based here in Necropolis."

"How is that different to a spy network?" Saul queried. The report laid everything out in excruciating detail but he wanted to check his understanding before he reported to General Barachel.

"It's not one single location. We can't just find their headquarters and roll it up. This is a network of agents distributed across the territory. It will be much harder to root out the poison, assuming we even can. With a network, you can track the movements of scouts and other soldiers to work out where it's based from. They aren't using military scouts to operate this network, they're using merchants and money to get their information. It's probably more expensive but it's much more subtle and it'll be harder to counter."

Next he asked how long it had been happening to which she shook her head. "We can't be certain at this point," she caveated, "but we think that all things considered it probably started after the peace treaty was signed. It would be incredibly hard for them to send merchants to the Empire looking to buy information while we're at war with them, but we can't rule out that they've had agents - knowing or unknowing - in Necropolis for a long time."

"We let our guard down I suppose..." Saul mused. "Peace has always has a price, Emperor James taught us that," he said wistfully. He contemplated the report and tried to think what questions the general was going to throw at him. "How come we don't do this?" he asked, almost rhetorically.

Ruth shrugged. "Maybe the Grendel are just a lot more obsessed with spying on their enemies than we are Captain?" she guessed.