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I'm dancing on my own; I make the moves up as I go.
The eternals move behind the scenes, watching, meddling, offering aid with one hand, bringing problems with the other.
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Much as foreign nations engage in politics and diplomacy with the Empire, so too do the eternals of the six realms. Most formal contact between the Empire and the eternals goes through the archmage of the appropriate realm, but eternals who have not been marked as enemies can still send their heralds to bring messages on their behalf. Even those who have the enmity of the Conclave, who are designated enemies of the Empire, can sometimes influence Imperial citizens - just as the barbarians beyond the borders can impact the lives of those who should be safe within them.

These eternals love to meddle in Imperial affairs, sometimes via the Imperial Conclave, sometimes directly with Imperial citizens. Sometimes they offer opportunities - agreements that benefit the Empire just as much as the eternal. Sometimes they present problems, and working out a way to overcome the challenges they create can tax even the most cunning mind.

Sanctuary for the Suranni

  • The Conclave has politely rejected Meraud's offer to help the Iron Confederacy wizards
  • They have accepted Sadogua's offer, but the eternal requires assistance if he is to help Suranni magicians find sanctuary in the Empire

Prior to the Autumn Equinox, the eternal Meraud of the Summer realm responded to the Summer Archmage's plenipotentiary not with a parley but with an ambitious offer to help the magicians of the Iron Confederacy. The Conclave had already made an offer of sanctuary to those Suranni wizards who could escape to the Empire provided they converted to the Way. During the Winter Solstice, they confirmed this offer of sanctuary and rescinded the requirement of conversion. They also turned Meraud's offer down; perhaps due to the potential for a major diplomatic incident if Imperial magicians helped the Lord of Summer Stars destroy Axiom prison. By all accounts The Fire Mage has metaphorically shrugged and turned his attention elsewhere - he has many more concerns than the wellbeing of Suranni magicians.

During the Autumn Equinox, however, the Brother of Wizards attended a parley called by the Archmage of Night during which some Imperial magicians prevailed on him to offer his aid to the Suranni. The Globbersnotch was interested, but required the Imperial Conclave to formally request him to interfere, as he did not want to imperil his good relationship with the Empire if anything went wrong. Clérabéla Vicente de Metri secured the theoretical support of the conclave for the eternal's plan to aid persecuted magicians. The Black Sloth has apparently begun to move on this; reaching out to the scattered Suranni magicians and a small number of covens urging them to seek a sanctum in the Empire.

Support for Sadogua's plan to aid persecuted magicians.

Clérabéla Vicente de Metri, Declaration of Concord, Passed

Support to welcome persecuted magicians who flee to the Empire even if they do not follow the Way..

Clérabéla Vicente de Metri, Declaration of Concord, Passed

The Conclave encourage mages to provide crystal mana to the Archmage of Summer to help those who seek to flee persecution from the Iron Confederacy.

Brother Luke, Declaration of Concord, Failed

A Lot Of Mana

  • Sadogua has asked for practical aid from Imperial magicians

Good intentions only get a magician - or an eternal - so far however. During the parley, Sadogua apparently mentioned a sum of crystal mana that would help to ensure as many innocent magicians as possible made it to Imperial soil. Since the Autumn Equinox, several of his heralds have visited the magical colleges of the Empire and confirmed that this is the case. "At least a hundred crystal mana," they say. "ideally two hundred." It seems an awful lot of mana, but according to the heralds of the Father of Bats the Suranni magicians are scattered across the entire Iron Confederacy and they will need a lot of help - a lot of magic - if they are to get to safety. He also stresses that he's not particularly dealing with the Hand of Dumon - who tend to have their own resources - but with a combination of minor sorcerers, magical families, random scholars, and similar. All of whom are at risk from the war the Suranni are waging with the Hand. The Wyrm-King has suggested several ways that the Conclave might be able to support his schemes - and the Suranni magicians.

Most straightforward, a declaration of endowment could be used to contribute crystal mana directly to the cause. As long as the declaration specifies as part of its detail that the mana is for Sadogua to aid the Iron Confederacy wizards, he swears to distribute it as promised.

Secondly, he has come up with a method for individual magicians to help as well. The ritual Tithe of Bats allows a parcel of iridescent gloaming or dragonbone to be sent to the eternal, and in return he provides them with crystal fire. For the duration of the Winter Solstice, however, he will instead provide a combination of the resources and the vis to the Suranni magicians. Gloaming and dragonbone can be used for bribes, while crystal fire is effective for weaving shrouds and disguises. He estimates that every twenty measures contributed in this way will be the equivalent of a dozen mana towards the total required.

Third, he mentions that while getting to the Empire's border is difficult, the problem doesn't end there. Actually crossing the border is a challenge. He proposes weaving a magical shroud - a fog - across the south-western borders of the Empire. It will help anyone fleeing on foot, or taking a ship north, to actually get to the Empire. He can't do it by himself - or he isn't prepared to risk angering the Conclave it's not clear which. If Imperial magicians use Drawing the Penumbral Veil on both Segura and Madruga with a magnitude of at least 24, he will exert some of his personal power and weave the shrouds the Night magic creates into what he calls a "cunning mist" that will specifically hide Suranni refugees and confuse Iron Confederacy border guards or templars pursuing the magicians. it will also allow him to guide fleeing magicians through Feroz, although his heralds won't explain how exactly that will work. If this is done it will reduce the amount of mana needed to help the Suranni by 50 crystals.

A Properly Safe Haven

  • The Conclave could use a Declaration of Concord urging magicians to help Suranni refugees find homes far from the border and safe from Imperial magistrates and Suranni lawkeepers

Once the Suranni reach the Empire, they will need help to start new lives without interference from the Iron Confederacy. The Imperial Senate has ratified a treaty with the Iron Confederacy that instructs the magistrates to co-operate with the Suranni templars in tracking down members of the Hand of Dumon, and Sadogua fears that this will discourage Suranni wizards from seeing the Empire as a safe haven. He also believes the Suranni lawkeepers will treat any magician who flees the Iron Confederacy as tantamount to a member of the Hand. He has requested that either the Celestial Arch or the Shuttered Lantern use a suitably worded declaration of Concord urging their members to help magicians seeking new lives in the Empire to find safe homes far outside the reach of the Suranni. Ideally in Varushka, or Wintermark, or among the peripatetic Navarr. Knowing that they are going to meet fellow magicians, who will help protect them, will encourage some of the more frightened or conservative magicians and their families to risk expending their personal reserves of power and wealth in attempting the long trek to the Empire - Sadogua believes it will reduce the amount of mana required for a successful project by 25 crystals.

There are of course already Imperial titles with an interest in helping refugees start a new life in the Empire - the Hand of Guerra for example - and the Toad King is too politic to say anything about them directly. But reading between the lines, he believes that any such enterprise associated with the Imperial Synod is going to be more interested in making sure people follow the Way than that they are safe from the Iron Confederacy persecutors.

Sand Slips Away

  • Sadogua needs the Empire's aid now if he is to help the magicians of the Iron Confederacy
  • If less than a hundred mana is acquired, only a few Suranni will reach the Empire
  • If at least a hundred mana is acquired, a significant number of Suranni will reach the Empire, but there will be a significant incident
  • If at least two hundred mana is acquired, the Suranni magicians will be able to make their way to the Empire stealthily, meaning no significant incident
  • If enough Suranni reach the Empire, there will be an opportunity for the Conclave to benefit from their arrival

The Brother of Wizards stresses that the Iron Confederacy magicians need the air of the Empire now. Three months have already slipped away, and it is his opinion that if the Conclave doesn't act quickly the opportunity to get Iron Confederacy wizards to the safety of the Empire will be lost. How much aid the Empire is able to give will directly effect how successful this rescue effort turns out to be.

If fewer than a hundred mana crystals are acquired, then a small number of Suranni will reach the Empire. The majority will not be prepared to risk it, and those who do will be as likely to flee to Faraden as the Empire. There will be no diplomatic incident, but also no noticeable impact on the Empire or the Iron Confederacy at all.

If Sadogua manages to secure a hundred mana crystals, or their equivalent, then over the next year a large number of Suranni magicians will quit the Iron Confederacy for the Empire. The exodus will be quite obvious however, and some of the magicians will be called on to fight their way to safety. As such there will certainly be a diplomatic incident with the Iron Confederacy; while nobody involved will confirm the Conclave is involved the Iron Confederacy will view magicians sneaking into the Empire as support for the Hand of Dumon or interference in their affairs.

If at least two hundred mana is secured, however, then the exodus will be much more careful and cautious with a focus on stealth rather than speed. A large number of Suranni magicians will still come to the Empire, but the Iron Confederacy will not know for sure that that is where they are going. There will be no diplomatic incident as long as the Ambassador to the Iron Confederacy (or someone of equal standing) does not tell them what is going on.

Either way, the majority of these magicians will genuinely be fleeing persecution, many of them with their families. Unfortunately there is no way to be certain that all of them are entirely innocent. There is a risk that some of them might actually be guilty of the kinds of crimes the Suranni priests accuse them of. There is also no doubt that some of the Hand of Dumon will take advantage of the Conclave's compassion to sneak into the Empire and avoid the gaze of the magistrates. The Brother of Wizards seems broadly unconcerned about this, obviously - they are all magicians after all.

Regardless, those magicians who do reach the Empire will be relieved to find new homes, especially if the Concord Sadogua has suggested is passed. They are not warriors or battle-mages; the majority are specialists in magical healing, divination, or enchantment. With the urging of the Brother of Wizards, and assuming they are able to find actual sanctuary in the Empire, they will share their lore with the Conclave. It is unlikely to be especially potent, and they are unlikely to have access to much magic that requires an entire coven to perform, but there will be at least one opportunity for the conclave to benefit from the presence of the Suranni refugees in the coming months.

Lord of the Crossroads

  • At the Winter Solstice the heralds of Barien will be holding court at the tent of the Scarlet Guard in Urizen
  • The heralds will be in Anvil between 19:00 and 21:00 on Friday night
  • They have a challenge scroll for Tarik of Ashenhall
  • The heralds are keen to speak to the following people; Eadric of House du Froste, Eadric Fjellravening, Rin Geirskogul, Adón i Martán i Erigo, and the Voices of the Unbound Storm
  • Those who wish to host the heralds at the Spring Equinox are encouraged to make an offer

Another season passes, and once more the heralds of the Iron Duke descend on Anvil to oversee the progress of those who seek a challenge from the Iron Duke. This summit they have chosen to seek the company of the Urizeni in order to conduct their business, where they will be taking visitors on the Friday evening of the summit between the hours of 7 and 9. There is one challenge scroll to be given out this event, and the Iron Duke calls upon Tarik of Ashenhall to come receive their quest from Barien's servants.

One new challenger approaches as one comes to the end of their journey. Revel, servant of Barien, sends missives to Eadric of House du Froste to come discuss the matter of their recently requested challenge, while Rin Geirskogul has declared their task complete and so the heralds now issue the invitation to a triumphant rewarding.

The Voices of the Unbound Storm, Eadric Fjellrevening, and Adón i Martán i Erigo are also encouraged to seek out the heralds to assess their progress in their ongoing quests. The heralds welcome any other who would like to strike up a conversation about a prospective challenge. If for whatever reason the heralds cannot find everyone they need to on Friday, they will return on Sunday afternoon and attempt to seek out those they need to talk to.

If any group would like to host the Lord of the Crossroads' heralds at the next event, Revel encourages them to find the heralds on Friday and discuss the matter.

A favour for a Duke (Conjunction)

  • Jarl Roneth of Overgaard has recovered their ancestor's sword and needs to return it to Overgaard
  • Barien has requested the aid of Weigher of the Worth in helping challenge the Jarl
  • The Jotun are likely to be accompanied by a number of heralds of Cathan Canae
  • The Weigher of the Worth is responsible for challenging the Jarl Roneth's group

Two weeks before the Winter Solstice there was a small commotion at the Imperial regio. The Curator, a brash herald of Lord of the Crossroads, arrived and demanded to meet with Irontide Wessek, General of the Summer Storm. Upon finding out that Wessek had sadly died on the battlefield in Zenith the Curator was visually taken aback but let the civil servant know that Barien was instead asking for a favour from Frith, the Weigher of Worth.

Jarl Roneth of Overgaard is currently trying to complete a challenge that Barien had set for them. They were tasked to recover their ancestor's sword from Lake Lansipari and return it to Overgaard. Having recovered it they are now on their way back to the border of Skallahn. Barien does not consider this to have been sufficient challenge for the Jarl. He is asking the Weigher of Worth to put together a group to present a real challenge for Jarl Roneth - as a personal favour to the Iron Duke.

Jarl Roneth's force is primarily made up of Ulfur and supported by a number of heralds of the Queen of Ice and Darkness. It would be a tough fight, but the Jotun guard their honour closely; Barien doesn't want anybody's throat being slit when they fall. All that the Iron Duke is asking is that the Weigher of Worth finds a way to make this fight as tough as possible for those who have challenged the Iron Duke.

If the Weigher of Worth can help then the Seneschal of the Road has a boon prepared to give them in thanks - even if the Jarl is able to make it back to Overgaard with the sword. If the Weigher's champions are able to defeat the Jarl and return the sword to Barien using the operate portal spell at the Imperial regio then the Weigher of Worth will receive an item of worth as well as the boon.

Callidus and Bartimaeus

  • Bartimaeus of Zenith Ascendant has been invited to a meeting organised by Callidus
  • The chamber will open at midnight on Friday; a herald of Callidus will be in the Hall of Worlds to accompany them to the meeting
  • Bartimaeus is invited to bring no more than two additional guests

Shortly before the Winter Solstice a herald of the Prince of the Argent Tontine named Florin of the many coins arrived in a flurry of silks at the Anvil regio. They delivered an invitation to the Hub at Anvil which was initially mistaken for an additional parley, it appears to be for Bartimaeus of Zenith Ascendant, custodian of the Great Mine of Briante, rather than the Archmage of Autumn. Florin gives no indication as to why the "collector of relics, artefacts, and curios" might have arranged such a meeting, nor who it is with. They will only say that the Sovereign-Lord of the City of Chains expects Bartimaeus and up to two guests to be in the Hall of Worlds at midnight on Friday.

Torbjörn, Gwen, Safir, and Wise Rangara

  • Torbjörn Raedrigsson and Gwen Tendfallen is invited to meet with a herald of Wise Rangara
  • A herald of Wise Rangara will be in the Hall of Worlds to accompany Torbjörn and Gwen at 13:00 on Saturday

Another eternal has laid out an invitation for the Winter Solstice. A feathered-and-beaked herald of Wise Rangara has fluttered and squawked its way to Anvil to announce that Grandmother Winter wishes to meet with Torbjörn Raedrigsson and Gwen Tendfallen, the beneficiaries of the boon she extended to the Summer Children a year ago. The meeting is for only Torbjörn and Gwen, but Wise Rangara asks that if they can that bring Safir du Cercle of Dawn along - should they be in attendance. There seems to be some confusion around this, because the herald mentions that Safir du Cercle may well be dead; but that if they have any sense they'll turn up to the Hall of Worlds and meet Torbjörn Raedrigsson and Gwen Tendfallen there before they go to see Wise Rangara. Safir is to remain silent until Wise Rangara's business with both Torbjörn and Gwen is complete.

Torbjörn Raedrigsson and Gwen Tendfallen may each bring one other with them if they wish provided that other is also aware that they are not allowed to speak during the meeting save with the approval of Raedrigsson or Tendfallen (much the same as if this were a formal parley, and Torbjörn and Gwen were both archmage). The herald gives little context for the meeting, save that there will be someone ready to meet them at the Hall of Worlds at one o'clock on Saturday afternoon, and that they might end up being entangled with some foolishness going on in Dawn after the meeting concludes.

Swan's Polite Request

  • The Eternal Ylenrith has sent a messenger to ask the Archmage of Day to consider sending her a plenipotentiary at some point in the coming year
  • Ylenrith is currently considered an enemy of the Empire

During the WInter Solstice three years ago, Skywise Gralka, acting as proxy for then Archmage of Day Gancius della Notte di Sarvos, declared that Ylenrith was an enemy of the Empire. The Conclave concurred. Since then, there has been little contact from the eternal. As such it is understandable that when a herald wrapped in a robe of white feathers appears in the Hall of Worlds claiming to speak on behalf of Ylenrith, there is some consternation. Calling themselves Termé, the herald politely explains that they are here with a message from The Mistress of Music and Mathematics for the magicians of the Empire, but that their mistress does not wish to intrude unnecessarily. The message is quite straightforward; it has been some time since Ylenrith has spoken with an Imperial magician, and she requests that at some point in the coming year the Archmage of Day consider extending an offer of parley to her. The herald does not expand on this request, but shortly before departing the Hall of Worlds mentions that they advise the Archmage to speak to their mistress "before agreeing to meet with any unfamiliar eternals of the Realm of Day that might attempt to make contact in the coming months."

Strategic Invitation

  • Zakalwe is sending a lieutentant to secure five heralds for a contest at the Spring Equinox
  • The herald Agon will be visiting Dawn at 4pm on Saturday evening

The eternal Zakalwe is by all accounts pleased with his relationship with the Empire. He has assisted Imperial heroes against the Druj, and continues to watch their efforts on both the eastern and western fronts with interest. During the Winter Solstice, he will be sending his trusted lieutenant, Agon to Dawn to present an invitation to warriors and strategists there. At the Spring Equinox, Agon will oversee a game of strategy, if Dawn is interested. Zakalwe has sponsored such games before, combining elements of board game with historical recreation of past military campaigns. This time, the historical conflict he wishes to explore will be inspired by the final battles of Empress Brannan and her failed attempt to conquer the Barrens. Obviously, rather than a strict historical recreation, the game will involve some abstraction. Zakalwe is eager to see what modern Dawnish strategists would make of a campaign involving some of the challenges Brannan and her supporters faced in 257YE.

During the Solstice, Agon is mostly interested in meeting with the people of Dawn, and helping them select a team of five to participate in the challenge at the Spring Equinox. He's also interested in hearing about the challenges the modern Dawnish are encountering in their own war of conquest in the Barrens. He is expected to arrive at the Dawnish camp around four in the afternoon on Saturday.

Bad Lore and Black Drops

  • A number of additional rituals relating to the Black Drop have been added to Urizen lore
  • Every one of the rituals in the Black Drop call on the power of Agramant
  • The last surviving member of the Black Drop Society appears to have been murdered in Kahraman

The Winter ritual Treacher's Quill was added to Urizen lore just three days before the Autumn Equinox 384YE. Treacher's Quill, part of the collective life's work of the Childer of the Black Drop was the first of the rituals to become available to Urizen ritualists. Now, just three days before the Winter Solstice, another five rituals from Ceremonies of the Black Drop Society have become part of Urizen Lore. The Winter rituals The Crimson Feast, Loosen the Shackles, Mark of Agramant, Thirst of the Devourer, and Unleash the Beasts Within are all available to be mastered (although, given that Agramant is currently under enmity, they are quite illegal to perform).

Apparently the attendants of the Great Library are deeply uncomfortable with these rituals and their presence among Urizen lore, more due to their illegal nature than any sentimental concerns about their origin. They were apparently all submitted at the same time as Treacher's Quill, but Phaleron itself intervened to delay their appearance in lore while it pondered how best to respond. In the end they have decided to do the only thing they can; present the rituals to the Urizen as part of their lore as agreed when Urizen lore was created. The Celestial Library does not enjoy causing trouble for its Urizeni allies, but the Gift of Knowledge is available to every Imperial citizen; it cannot pick and choose who can contribute rituals via the ritual. If it is any consolation, there appear to be no further rituals waiting to enter Urizen lore relating to the Black Drop.

On the subject of the Black Drop: the body of Jodeya Watiker di Tassato Mestra, believed to be the last remaining member of the Childer of the Black Drop, has been found in "The Gecko's Nest" a shithole of a parador in the Jade Range, Kahraman. She died during the Autumn Equinox during or immediately after a meeting with three strangers - none of them Freeborn. The night barman was present for part of the meeting but did not hear what was discussed; Jodeya dismissed him and when he returned half an hour later she was dead. He reports that the visitors were a mixed assortment - a Marcher, a Navarr, and an Urizeni, although the barman believes the Marcher left before he did.

It seems the killers came via the Sentinel Gate from Anvil and left the same way. The death was reported to the magistrates at Anvil who dealt with it accordingly. A sorry end to a sorry tale but hopefully it closes the page on this chapter in the Empire's history.