The scribe thumbed the parchment again, flicking back to another sheet, then forward again. She picked up another sheet from the floor, glancing through the flowing lines of writing, notations and numbers before placing it on a pile on the chair to her side. All around her were pages arranged into different stacks, smaller slips of paper folded around them to create bundles. She turned to a map of the Western Empire sprawled across a table behind her. A number of small wooden discs lay upon the map, the icons of the Imperial armies carved into their surface, indicating the location of armies from the Freeborn, the Mark, Dawn and the Imperial Orcs. Piles of worn rings held down further scraps of paper in a number of territories, noting the nations that had sent personal retinues and household warriors to support the defence against the Jotun raiders. Her eyes flicked back and forth again; Bregasland to Kahraman, Sermersuaq to Tassato, Upwold to Liathaven. Back to the desk she turned, moving notes around once more.

Her gills rippled as she let out a deep sigh. So much to comprehend, so few clues to provide any sense of what was happening. Two reports of a large warband moving south past Rest in Kallevesa, a heavy raid on five properties at Fisher's Rock in the North Fens and a lone sighting of three Jotun scouts spotted at the Gilded Peak in Kahraman. When reports were filed they were received by her office. Last season her desk had overflowed with news, those opposed against the Jotun, what transpired in the many engagements, the anecdotal reports, the scouts debriefs, the Winged Messengers, the names of captured raiders, the directions in which they travelled, the numbers seen in each party, the distances between villages put to the torch, the sites of interest in the areas attacked, the places left untouched. And then suddenly it had gone dead. No there was simply not enough evidence to decipher what the Jotun’s true plans were.

The silence was broken as the door swung open, the dawn light spilling in and a fresh breeze disturbing the low-burning candles. In strode her colleague, his stride purposeful and full of energy, his antlers just missing the lintel, his purple robes billowing behind him.

“Another report came in last night from the Grey Fens, nothing, they have gone…”


“Yes. Gone. The Winter Sun hasn’t seen any raiders for a week now. They know the Jotun better than most. I trust their reports.”

“But, but, but… This isn’t right, I need more reports. We've got to get more scouts out, get more information about where they are. I can’t work out where they will strike next without knowing more. This isn’t right. It's half a moon until the Equinox and we've got nothing to advise the generals on how the Jotun will raid this Autumn. Somebody must have seen the Jotun - we have to got to get more information on what they are doing."

“Serena, listen, they have gone. The Jotun have stopped raiding. Stopped. Gone. It is over. You should stop trying to make this something it isn’t. We have triumphed. Fort Fidelis and Fort Braydon have not reported any movements all season. The armies along the border with Kalsea have turned back any raids they encounter. I hear my cousin with the Hounds of Glory led a band of knights against raiders who tried to attack the stoneworks ongoing in Tassato - it was a slaughter. It is over. We have triumphed and that is all there is to it. The Empire has won.”

Overview and Significance

The recent raids across the Western Empire by the Jotun have been faced, and countered, by the forces of the Empire. A combination of fortifications and Imperial armies provide stiff resistance to the raiding orcs, and they have been driven back across the border into their own lands.

This season there has been no hint of any imminent Jotun raids and barely any Jotun scouts anywhere from Wintermark to the Brass Coast. The significance of this is not lost on military historians - the Jotun have stopped raiding because the clan warriors have been called back by their Kings.


The Jotun are about to invade the Empire.