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Yantl peered at his cards again, his face a mask of intense concentration. He tossed one of them down, picked up one of the playing pieces, and slammed it down on the board. There was a ripple of nods and approving noises as he leant back in his chair with a triumphant expression. Ayneyas picked up the leather cup, rattled the dice, and tossed them down. Kejak groaned. Yantl rocked forward, glaring at the dice, looking to the other players for confirmation of what he thought was the case. Ayneyas shook her head in mock sadness.

"It looks as if the.. ah... the Little Bad Piece... is going to cost you some of your white granite," she said in a tone of commiseration that did not match the sparkle in her eyes as she moved the little black circle onto one of the tiles representing mountains. Yantl shook his fist in mock outrage.

"Damn you, little Bad Piece," he roared. Laughter exploded around the table.

Eft shook his head, smiling at their antics. He was leaning against the wall with one of the other newcomers, Kashopeya, who was also in the mood to watch her friends have fun rather than be drawn into their boisterous circle. She offered him one of the rolled meat pastries the Axou - the Tamazi Eft corrected himself mentally - had cooked up earlier as part of their contribution to the meal.

"I really shouldn't." he said, patting his belly. "If I eat anything more, my shirt will split. I think I've had a dozen or more! So easy to eat them without realising how many you've had."

As if to illustrate his point, he picked up one of the folded delicacies and popped it into his mouth, chewing absently. Another wave of laughter and shouting exploded from the table. Kejak had done something terrible to one of the Tamazi players and there was a lot of hot talk of outrage and revenge and demanding more goats.

"I notice..." said Eft thoughtfully. "Whenever one of your people talks about the... ah... Little Bad Piece, they always pause. Just like that. Is there a reason?"

Kashopeya shrugged, and made a face as if she had bitten down on something sour.

"Kind of," she said slowly. "It might be better to talk of something else?"

"I'm guessing it actually has a different name and your people have changed it. Perhaps to avoid giving offence to your hosts?"

The other orc nodded, obviously uncomfortable. Eft was curious, but also conscious of his duties as host.

"It's alright if you don't want to talk about it. It's a delicate time." He glanced again at the table. He'd lost track of what had happened, but for some reason the game had been paused so Kejak could arm wrestle one of their guests. He didn't remember that being part of the rules, but he'd only been half listening as Ayneyas had explained them.

"It's alright," said Kashopeya. She took a deep breath and the words tumbled out in a rush "So the Little Bad Piece is unpredictable, it ruins your plans, it steals your opportunities, and it's got a couple of names - a lot of people call it the Sorcerer King - but we normally call it... the Creator. it's a joke mostly."

"Mostly?" echoed Eft.

"Mostly." replied Kashopeya firmly. "But we know your people have some odd ideas about religion and so..."

She tailed off. Eft laughed, and popped the last of the sweetmeats into his mouth.

"We have some odd ideas about religion?" he chuckled. "You should meet some of our neighbours!"
Click for audio version


When the Citadels of Axos became signatories of the Liberty Pact, they freed all their slaves. Never a nation that was particularly invested in slavery - and one where the Empire had been carefully eroding their commitment to the vile practice for some years - there weren't all that many slaves to free. Most of the slaves - human slaves - were swallowed up by the seething melting pot of the lowest classes and that might have been that... if not for the fact that a significant number of the Axou slaves were orcs. Fearing that the orcs might foment rebellion, or somehow serve as spies or agents for the Druj or Grendel, the Grand Ilarchs - the rules of Axos - imposed draconian laws that severely restricted their rights while still technically recognising them as citizens.

During the Autumn Equinox, Skywise Gralka raised a statement of principle to the Imperial Orc National Assembly calling out the situation in Axos, and demanding action. Following this, during the Winter Solstice, Gralka was empowered by the Assembly of the Nine to enact a mandate urging fleet captains to go to Axos and offer the orcs a new life in the Empire - whether the Axou liked it or not.

From the Book of Salt

  • Imperial fleets have brought every orc who wanted to leave Axos to the Empire
  • A small number of human former slaves have also taken advantage of the rescue effort
  • The Citadels of Axos are not best pleased

Just shy of a hundred-and-twenty Imperial fleet captains took the challenge of the Imperial Orcs and sailed to Axos following the Winter Solstice on a mission of mercy. Every single nation was represented by at least one captain, with the Brass Coast and Navarr making a particularly strong showing. These ships visited not only the docks at the Towers of Kantor and the Chambers of Issyk, but also the less accessible docks beneath the Halls of Maykop. While most ships travelled with trade goods to sell on the docks, they did not seek to fill their holds for the return journey. They were not truly there to trade, but to offer the orc "citizens" of Axos refuge in the Empire whether the Illes and illarchs liked it or not.

With many of these fleets sailed reavers and preachers, there to offer the sanctuary of Skarsind to their fellow orcs. The expectation was that they would need to hunt out the orcs, to spread news of the opportunity to escape Axos. In the end, there was no need.

To the surprise of the Imperial captains, they arrived to find a great many former orc slaves already waiting for them. While Snowbound Dukka and their friends had done their best to spread news of the coming ships, it seemed every orc in Axos had heard they were coming. On the docks at Kantor, Issyk, and Maykop waited orcs who had travelled from across the length and breadth of the nation, carrying all their worldly goods with them. A sea of serious, expectant faces awaited the first Imperial vessels to reach Axos. There was little in the way of pushing-and-shoving - at least not from the orcs. People were content to wait their turn, quietly confident that everyone would be able to find a berth. They spoke of having received a message shortly after the Winter Solstice. Voices speaking in their dreams, telling them of a grey old orc, and Imperial ships with white wings, of equal chances and choices, and a new mountainous homeland. Some spoke of the fluttering of unseen wings in the night, or of their certainty that it was the voices of their ancestors that spoke to them.

So they came. By ones and twos at first, and then in greater numbers, they came. Some of the ilarchs tried to stop them; others saw their exodus as proof of some paranoid fantasy about an uprising. Blood was spilled, but they still came. Once it became clear that this visionary dream, and the words of the preachers, were true even more arrived. Every Imperial vessel left laden down with families, ready to risk everything to get out of Axos and go somewhere they were actually wanted. Many of those boarding the Imperial vessels offered payment - a handful of Axou coins, a few measures of beggarwood, an ingot if metal or a carefully hoarded mana crystal. Some captains took the payment; many did not.

It was not just orcs waiting on the docks. There weren't many, but there were a few scattered handfuls of humans, also former slaves, who wanted to leave Axos. Most had heard by word of mouth that the orcs were leaving, and sought to throw in their lot with their fellow former slaves. It seemed the lives of many former human slaves were not much better than those of their orc neighbours. They were uncertain of their welcome at first, but few ship captains had the heart to turn them away. They were almost embarrassingly keen to make it to the Bay of Catazar, Most of them are likely to end up making new lives in the League, or the Brass Coast, but a few will wander farther afield and find new homes in Dawn, or Wintermark, or even Varushka.

Alistair renout MelioraDawn
Bronimir Kazyn JarekHighguard
Miralut JarekHighguard
DredgeImperial Orcs
Stormcrow DhagImperial Orcs
Stormcrow RorkImperial Orcs
TeachImperial Orcs
Aisling Dancing LeafNavarr
Bleddyn EternalNavarr
Darius TanglehornNavarr
Gelert AshbornNavarr
Giacomo FuchinNavarr
Ioan EternalNavarr
Llewelyn Y CaimNavarr
Murdoc No Qua'erNavarr
Rhys NighthavenNavarr
Talia SeaboarNavarr
Alazhar i Zantana i Firebird i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Alvaro i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Amarie ElidorThe Brass Coast
Arlo i Nunez i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Asbet I Muhajim I guerraThe Brass Coast
Azzam i Zaydan i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Beatriz i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Bonita i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Carlos i Del'Toro i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Chiara Zayden RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Cimmaron i Niebla i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Corwyn i Caballo i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Diego i Del Toro i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Edgardo i Ruiloba i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Elian i Carilla i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Enea y Corterra y EnigoThe Brass Coast
Estana I Mestiere I GuerraThe Brass Coast
Esteban I Del Rio Blanco I GuerraThe Brass Coast
Florina i Sol-Devorador i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Idylla I Orianza I RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Jagoda i Sulich i Valiente i Erigo.The Brass Coast
JamThe Brass Coast
Jarilo i Radah i GuerraThe Brass Coast
JavierThe Brass Coast
Jeziah i RadahThe Brass Coast
JoThe Brass Coast
Joaquin i Shartha i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Juuzou i Radah i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Karlos Shartha RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Khalama i Radah i GueraThe Brass Coast
Lucia i Radah i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Madia i Mestiere i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Marcelino i Zaydan i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Marco rieu gurreraThe Brass Coast
Matiaz i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Mauro i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Miguel i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Mont i Sawa i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Noordin I Mestiere I GuerraThe Brass Coast
Oria i Shartha i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Qayid DakerThe Brass Coast
Rahmah i Darwisj i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Reuben i Avalon i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Sadiq i Isa i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Sakar i Colabra i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Salah i adin i Valiente i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Santiago i Nadir i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Scevola i TazielThe Brass Coast
SebastianThe Brass Coast
Sofia i DelToro i RiquezaThe Brass Coast
Tatara I Mestiere I GuerraThe Brass Coast
Teo I Bravos I ErigoThe Brass Coast
Tobias i DelToro i RequezaThe Brass Coast
Umbar i Radah i GuerraThe Brass Coast
Vrael i Sol-Devorador i ErigoThe Brass Coast
Xenia i Alvera i ErigoThe Brass Coast
ZoraidaThe Brass Coast
Captain Markus DeVereThe League
Danica Lidija van TemeschwarThe League
Giovanni TemeschwarThe League
Grimandi Vascello di SarvosThe League
Lorelan ThoressThe League
Lupita di Marcela di CatazarThe League
Nathrach McNebThe League
Richardo Glostari di SarvosThe League
EbenezerThe Marches
Gidget Heggarty BarrelThe Marches
Quay StoneThe Marches
Little DogVarushka
Nadia Vasilisa EzmenovinaVarushka
Pavel NovakVarushka
Triska MarkovaVarushka
Anwyn TthurnWintermark
Corvid CrowsonWintermark
Inar Dunning the BlacksmithWintermark
Jambert WulfgarWintermark
Káre MarkusdottirWintermark
Manni OswisonnWintermark
Raal DunnWintermark

There were a few altercations, where Axou soldiers tried to disperse the crowds on the docks, but the presence of so many Imperial witnesses obviously made the illarchs cautious. While the Liberty Pact does not demand that a nation treat its citizens well, there is no doubt that fear of what the Imperial captains might report made the masters of the citadels cautious.

As the season drew to an end, and the last few Imperial ships left the docks of Axos with their living cargo, a significant number of Commonwealth ships turned up on their own mission of mercy - only to find that there was almost nobody left to rescue. Rather than being annoyed by their wasted journey, the Commonwealth ship captains seemed surprisingly pleased that the Empire had taken its own steps to deal with their neighbouring nation. While most of the captains (and their attendant marines) set off on the long journey home, a number were inspired to come visit the Empire - putting them in the perfect position to assist the evacuation of Feroz should the call come.

OOC Note: A list of all the characters who took part in the Provide passage out of Axos action can be found to the right.

The Tamazi

  • The former orc slaves of Axos call themselves the Tamazi

These new orcs are a very different proposition to the the Liberated, the former soldiers and gladiators of Mareave, and the septs of Ossium. For a start, they have already been technically free for almost a year by the time the Empire arrives. They're also a lot more used to cities than even many of the Imperial Orcs - the vast majority of them lived in one of the four remaining citadels as servants and menial labourers. For many this is the first time they have not been withing sight of stone walls, or under slate roofs, and quite a few evidence unease and even anxiety during the long sea voyage, preferring to stay below decks. Just as many seem to revel in the chance to see something new, and have to be asked to stop distracting the mariners with their constant questions. One Dawnish sailor comments that it is like having a League citizen away from home for the first time, only they're an orc and they don't go on and on about the theatre. The joke spreads ship to ship.

Reaching the Empire, there are plenty of guides to help them make the long trek overland to Skarsind. The ox-cart vendors of Sarvos do a roaring trade in the month after the first former Axos orcs arrive, and caravans heading toward Temeschwar are swollen with orcs, both Imperial and otherwise. During this journey, the Imperial Orcs escorting them get their first chance to really get to know the newcomer orcs.

Most importantly, they don't consider themselves Axou - they were never really citizens after all. They refer to themselves as the Tamazi - a very old word from a language that has long since faded from the world. It translates roughly as "united" or possibly "bound" in the context of both "bound together" and "chained." It's a term some of their ancestors use, and now that they are no longer in Axos, many of them are openly using the term again.

It seems Snowbound Dukka had misunderstood a few details about the Tamazi. Unlike the Imperial Orcs, they technically share a single origin even before they were enslaved. The Axou do not capture or enslave orcs in war, they simply kill them. GIven that the Axou mostly fight the Druj this is unsurprising. A very small number speak of having some distant connection to the Orcs of the Broken Shore, but they are few and far between and the links are long since attenuated. Rather the Tamazi claim descent from several large families of orcs who lived in what is today Axos before the coming of the Victorious Axis. Some of their ancestors remember a time when they were four families, but after their people were slaughtered by the Axou, and chained, they were forced to put aside their differences to survive. There are still strong bonds of identity between the orcs who lived as slaves in particular citadels, but they are all united by half a dozen shared ancestors whose voices they still hear loudly and clearly. Some of those ancestors are of the unhelpful kind familiar to the Imperial Orcs - the ones who urge them to fight - but the ones they listen to are the clever, wise ones. When their blood pumps, their ancestors urge them to trust their instincts, look for ways to turn situations to their advantage, avoid direct conflict, and rely on their companions.

Put simply, the Tamazi consider themselves to be a single, albeit large, very extended family.

The relationship they have with the spirits of their ancestors has some echoes of the Axou near-worship of their forebears, and maintaining ties to those ancestors who hold memories of a time before their descendants were enslaved. Many of them carry bones that came from a revered ancestor, handed down one to another over generations. Some of these bones are apparently very old. Indeed, the Tamazi seem to take a particular pleasure in making ornamentation and decaration out of bones - most have jewelry of scrimshawed or painted bone (sometimes orc, more often animal in origin). They are especially fond of dragonbone, eschewing materials such as gold, silver, orichalcum, or weltsilver to make their decorations.

The egregore is here, alongside the other Imperial Orcs, talking to the newcomers and patiently answering their questions. There's something about the Tamazi that makes them much less resistant to the idea of joining the Imperial Orcs than the septs of Ossium. Each night when the caravans rest, dozens of them become part of the nation, inspired by their guides, and welcomed by their new siblings. Like any Imperial Orc, they want many different things. Some of them plan to settle in Gildenheim. Craving the familiarity of a city, they are full of enthusiasm for one where they will be accepted as equals. Some of them, by contrast, are enthused about the idea of getting away from cities and carving out new homes for themselves; building for their own future rather than at the command of human masters. When these latter orcs learn that any Imperial citizen who serves two years in the Imperial armies receives a good plot of land, there is understandably quite a lot of interest.

The Call of Magic

  • The Tamazi are very keen to master the magic that the Axou tried to deny them

What all of these orcs want, however, is magic. They see the freedom to learn and practice magic openly as a key part of their liberation. Unlike those orcs who have previously been subjects of the Druj, the Grendel, and the Jarmish, there are already a small number of spellcasters among them. While knowledge of magic was severely punished by the Axou, this didn't prevent them from nurturing their traditions in secret.

There are not many Tamazi magicians, but there are those among them who understand all the familiar helpful spells. Only a small number are familiar with warlike incantations however. Spells such as weakness or repel were generally less useful for survival than heal or purify - too difficult to practice and too obviously dangerous to their Axou masters. Their magical tradition seems to be similar to the necromantia - they call on their ancestors and the spirits of the dead to help them work their magic.

Very few of them possess ritual magic, but there is a smattering of all the lores among these Tamazi magicians. By Imperial standards it is laughably rudimentary, and the largest actual coven among the fromer Axos slaves is only four people. Only in the realm of Winter magic is there anything approaching Imperial expertise, and even then there is only a limited number of rituals and nothing like Imperial Lore. This means that they are unable to perform any rituals spontaneously - only rituals they have mastered. The only exception to this are the small number of magicians the Tamazi call bonecarvers and they are a very different matter.


  • The bonecarvers are Tamazi magicians who practice ritual magic and creating bone amulets

The bonecarvers are all part of a small sect among the Axos orcs whose magical abilities far outstrip those of their peers. They are treated with great respect by the other Tamazi. While all the Tamazi favour bone jewelry or amulets, the bonecarvers are notable in that they bedeck themselves in amulets and talismans of carved or painted bone. Most of them are adept at making small charms and amulets out of bone; beautiful pieces of art for the most part but some of them infused with dragonbone possess magical powers.

At first, it seems they're spiritual leaders akin to priests or perhaps shamans. Once the Tamazi feel more comfortable with the Imperial Orcs, however, the truth becomes clear. Most of them are indeed shaman but the real reason they are so respected is that they are accomplished wizards and repositories of magical lore stretching back to the days before the coming of the humans. Their magic is still quite limited compared to that of the Imperial Orcs, and focuses around subtle protection and healing, with a strong flavour of the necromantia about it. Several of their rituals were used to protect their people from the ghosts and unliving threats of the Axos undercity, with one of the most potent being similar to the Hold Back Frozen Hunger but with a much longer duration. Another that they speak of in guarded tones is the ability to send a "bound ghost" to deliver a message, allowing the Tamazi to keep contact with their peers in other citadels without the Axou being any the wiser.

The bonecarvers claim that while some of these rituals were learnt in secret from Axou libraries, the others were handed down to them by their ancestors. Between them they apparently know several rituals that they have never performed due to fear of the magically adept Axou discovering them, taking their secrets, and executing them. For the moment, none of the bonecarvers have joined the nation; although they are not hostile to the idea they are biding their time. Given time, and given good enough reason to trust the orcs of Skarsind, however, and it is entirely possible they would become Imperial Orcs in their own rights,and then perhaps share their knowledge with their new nation.

The College of Warcasting

Warcaster ArmourProduction
7 crowns1 Warmage's Belt
9 crowns1 Sunfire Pectoral
16 crowns1 Vambraces of Regeneration
30 crowns1 Gravedigger's Vest (36 ingots)
Warcaster RodsProduction
5 crowns1 Tumultuous Gyre
7 crowns3 Windreaping Sickle
13 crowns1 Stormweaver
13 crowns1 Roaring Chimera Rod
30 crowns1 Radiant Torrent
Warcaster ShieldProduction
9 crowns1 Stormguard Bulwark
9 crowns1 Warcaster's Oath
20 crowns2 Stormguard Bulwark
20 crowns2 Warcaster's Oath
  • The Tamazi are keen to study at the College of Warcasting in Skarsind, but for them to do so the grounds will need to be extended
  • Altering the commission will require 12 wains of weirwood, 24 crowns, and take 3 months. It will likely require a senate motion
  • If the College is amended, the Tamazi will provide magic items of use to warcasters to the Preceptor
  • This will help speed the assimilation of the Tamazi into the Imperial Orcs

When they learn of the Skarsind College of Warcasting in Estermark, several hundred of these new orcs immediately petition to be allowed to attend. This creates a problem - the college is by no means large enough to accommodate so many students at once - and of course the former Axos are not the only orcs who want to attend. The College was never intended to cater to this many students; there are already a number of Sand Fishers studying here alongside the more usual Imperial Orc students. To allow so many Tamazi to join the College of Warcasting, the facilities will need to be expanded.

The kind of expansion needed will most likely require a Senate motion - the Legion Engineer cannot amend an existing commission. The proposed expansion would cost 12 wains of weirwood, and 24 crowns in labour, require a commission (as with any other amendment), and take three months to complete.

If the expansion is built, it would allow the College to deal with much larger classes eager to learn magic. In return for opening the doors to the Tamazi, they will offer their own expertise in working with dragonbone to supply the Preceptor with magic items useful to warcasters - it would be up to them how to distribute these items to best serve the nation. This would functions as a ministry, with the Preceptor able to effectively purchase magic rods, shields, and mage armour from the Tamazi artisans.

Religious Problems

  • The Tamazi are not very religious
  • They have some esoteric beliefs about the Howling Abyss, but minimal interest in the Way

The Tamazi are not particularly a religious people, certainly not in the way the Imperial Orcs are. But for once this works in the Empire's favour; while they are not especially excited by the Way, or the concept of Virtues they cannot touch, neither are they resistant to it. They honour their ancestors, perhaps a little more enthusiastically than some of their neighbours might like, but they don't try to evangelise their beliefs particularly. They aren't demanding special temples - any household who wants to is quite capable of building their own little shrine to a revered spirit. They aren't insisting on special treatment from the preachers - and there are certainly some among them who are open to hearing about the Virtues. They believe in the creed that orcs have one life and they believe that by emulating and listening to their ancestors they can cross the Howling Abyss. Mostly they seem politely disinterested in those elements of a religion that relies on special spiritual forces that orcs cannot wield, although as a philosophy they don't seem to have a problem with being ambitious, loyal, courageous, or what have you.

Actually, there might be a minor fly in the ointment. One of their more esoteric beliefs is that the Howling Abyss was made by a jealous Creator, intended to stop orc spirits from joining with their ancestors. It also seems that the Tamazi bonecarvers disagree slightly with the Imperial Orcs about what happens to spirits that fall into the Howling Abyss. Rather than being consigned to oblivion, they believe that orc spirits are torn apart and regurgitated to form part of the ethereal matter from which new orc spirits are created. They don't believe in reincarnation; just that the Abyss spits out the shreds of an orc spirit once it has finished with it and that fragments of memory or identity might go on to form a new orc spirit. Perhaps if they were a little more prone to evangelising this might be a problem; it remains to be seen if the Synod is prepared to tolerate this peculiar fringe belief.

Tamazi Look and Feel
Like their human former masters, the Tamazi favour robes. Where the Axou favour voluminous shroud-like robes, the Tamazi wear tighter, more practical hooded robes suited to those who often had to engage in hard labour, with sleeves that come down over the wrists. They favour dark colours, and hard-wearing materials. Even freed, they still feel more comfortable wearing this kind of robe.

The rest of their clothing has an eclectic, throw-together look very similar to that of the Imperial orcs. Used to wearing hand-me-downs, and heavily repaired ones at that, they might easily be mistaken for their Skarsind neighbours by an outsider. Many naturally favoured the neck and wrist wrappings seen among the Imperial Orcs for the same reason - to cover the scars caused by manacles - and those who join the Imperial Orcs are likely to embrace them in the same way.

Finally, also like many Imperial Orcs, the Tamazi favour bone charms and accoutrements. Often carefully scrimshawed, painted, or carved it is not uncommon for a former Axos slave to have at least one bone that used to physically be part of one of their ancestors. These ancestral bones are treated in much the same way as the Imperial Orcs treat items of worth. They also put a high value on dragonbone, particularly favouring its use in jewellry or the decoration on an implement or weapon.

The easiest way to handle this problem would be to ignore it. The Tamazi aren't interested in being forcibly converted to the Way, but that's mostly because they aren't a particularly religious people. They won't reject the Imperial Orc Assembly out of hand, but they'll likely ignore any urging to embrace the Way that isn't aimed specifically at them. If the Assembly does choose to try and encourage them to convert, it will need to handle the approach very carefully as it is more likely to alienate them than to get them to embrace the Way at this point.

So Much to Do

  • The Tamazi are enthusiastically settling in Skarsind
  • Many are choosing to join the nation, while not giving up their familial identity

Regardless of all this, by the time the Spring Equinox dawns, there will be several thousand Tamazi orcs finding new homes in Skarsind. Unlike the septs, they don't seem particularly worried about spreading out over the territory. While many settle in Gildenheim - swelling the population even more - there are families establishing themselves in many regions. They rely on their boneweavers to keep in contact with those with the rest of their extended family, both those who have become Imperial Orcs and those who have not.

Tamazi in Play

At the moment, it's not possible for a player to create a character who is one of the Tamazi. While many of them have embraced the nation, they are still exploring what it means to be Imperial Orcs. Many of them are still keeping a slight distance between themselves and their neighbours - albeit they are nowhere near as standoffish as the septs have been.

Opportunities to get a closer understanding of the Tamazi and their role in the nation are likely to be available over the coming events.

Diplomatic incident

  • The Citadels of Axos appear to be angry with the Empire
  • Imperial fleets suffer a 3 rank penalty to trade with the ports of Kantor and Issyk
  • The Ambassador to Axos is Tarquinius of Urizen

While the Tamazi are glad to be free of Axos, the Axou themselves are not so happy. There was no widespread violence in the face of the exodus but the rulers of Axos are livid that the Empire chose to ignore their wishes and interfere in their internal politics in such a disrespectful, ham-fisted manner. The Grand Ilarchs - the leaders of the citadels - have apparently convened an emergency council to discuss what they are going to do about this affront to their sovereignty. The first, obvious effect is that Imperial fleets are going to receive a chilly reception in Axos in the coming month. This will manifest as a 3 rank penalty to the production of any fleet trading with the ports of Kantor or Issyk following the Spring Equinox. The Civil Service predict that the penalty will slowly drop away - people have short memories - assuming nothing else happens to anger the Ilarchs.

The Ambassador to Axos may know more, with any further repercussions likely outlined in their Civil Service briefing.

We the preachers of Skarsind, our Nation's voice to our people call upon every orc living and settled in Skarsind to rise up in its defence. We were once a roaming army. Remember you past! Let your muscles remember their strength. THIS IS OUR LAND! Land gifted, long overdue in reward for the work of our lives, land that is ours by right to defend THIS IS THE PLAN, SKARSIND IS OURS TO KEEP! RISE UP! RISE UP SETTLERS OF SKARSIND AND DEFEND YOUR LAND! "We must prepare for battle!" - Thrace.

Skywise Fal, Winter Solstice 383YE, Upheld (Greater Majority (46--0))

It has been 60 years since the Imperial Orcs earned their freedom through Thrace's rebellion. We, the National Assembly, encourage every Imperial Orc to plant their banners, sound the drums, tell great tales of worth, and celebrate our liberation and continue to forge our names in this Empire.

Bleakshield Rukh, Winter Solstice 383YE, Upheld (Greater Majority 57-0)

Founding of the Nation

  • The Imperial Orcs are giving thought to how they might celebrate the 60 year anniversary of the foundation of their nation
  • A festival is being discussed to take place at the Autumn Equinox

During the Winter Solstice there were two statements of principle in the Imperial Orc national assembly that spoke to the pride of their nation. Skywise Fal spoke of the need to protect the nation, the "long overdue reward for the work of our lives". Bleakshield Rhuk pointed out that 384YE marks 60 years since the Imperial Orcs earned their freedom, encouraging every citizen to celebrate both past and future. The Autumn Eqinox this year marks the anniversary of Ahraz offer to the orcs of Thrace's rebellion - full citizenship to any orc who would swear to serve the Empire and freedom for all enslaved orcs. The anniversary is only six months away. The date is recognised in various ways among the Imperial Orcs over the years, but this is the first time there has been talk of something to officially mark the founding of the nation with a formal celebration.

The Night of Worth is due to be celebrated during the coming summit, both in Anvil and in communities across Skarsind. The festival itself is fairly intimate; a time for orcs to gather together and share stories about themselves and the things of Worth that they carry. It feels like a celebration of the founding of the nation - and ultimately the liberation that the Imperial Orcs won for themselves through rebellion and refusal to compromise - might merit something more extrovert in nature.

There is still time for discussion. Discussion with the egregore is one place to start, as might be statements in the National Assembly encouraging a certain tenor to the celebrations. The final test, however, will be the actual celebration itself. If the orcs who come to Anvil are successful in creating something iconic that enjoys the popular support of the nation then it will be embraced far and wide, and become a regular tradition among the Imperial Orcs.

Varushka's virtue shines across the Empire yet it is tarnished by an unvirtuous legacy of slavery. It is the ambition of the seekers of the woven path to address this legacy and rectify it. Courage teaches us to face unwelcome truths. We have spoken to our cousins, the Imperial orcs, and are guided now by the Wisdom and pride of Bloodcrow Udoo. The national assembly of Varushka charge the people of the Nation to follow Bloodcrow Udoo and the woven path; return the remains of all orcs who perished in chains in Varushka. Deliver them to Skarsind. Show loyalty, Return them home.

Yevshanka, Spring Equinox 383YE, Upheld (Primacy 234-0)

Bones in the Earth

  • A Varushkan statement of principle has prompted interest in how the Varushkans might help the Imperial Orcs

During the Solstice, Yevanshka of the Varushkan National Assembly proposed a statement of principle regarding the shadows of the past. It was upheld by the assembly with greater majority - with primacy in fact. In it they spoke of how Varushka's virtue is tarnished by the legacy of slavery, and the need to address this legacy and rectify it.

Some elements of the statement are broadly well received. The reality is that precious most folk in Varushka have gained a grudging respect for the Imperial Orcs. They have territory of their own now, and their two large armies are a terror to the Empire's enemies. From a military point of view It's a toss-up between them and Dawn for who would make the better allies. They're also clever traders, and skillful magicians and it's clear that the Empire has been enriched by their presence. Most Varushkans are happy to consider an opportunity to make amends for the crimes of the past.

Less popular is the way the judgement seems to single out Varushka. Many Varushkans find it tiresome to be repeatedly portrayed as the only people in the Empire who practiced slavery. The plain facts are that the rest of the Empire was no different - every nation other than the Freeborn kept orcs as slaves for centuries. The farms of Wintermark, and the Marches, the fighting pits of the League, and the forests of Dawn and Navarr were all worked by orc slaves just as much as the Varushkan mines were. Even the Urizen kept slaves - not every job can be done by ushabti and not every spire has magicians to spare to oversee their operation. It's not just the Empire either for that matter, the Varushkans fought brutal wars with the Druj, the Thule and the other antecedents of the Imperial Orcs all of whom took every opportunity to enslave the enemies they defeated.

But every civilized person now accepts that slavery was wrong, and there is genuine enthusiasm for the idea of finding a way to make amends, even if it rankles some to see the Varushkans singled out. There is however some concern about the idea of digging up the bones of those who have been dead for decades or even centuries. There is an absolute mountain of human and orc remains out there, many of them buried in unmarked graves. Is it right to disturb those graves - assuming they could even be located - to move the bones to a place none of those orcs ever even heard of? Worse, in Varushka in particular it is incredibly dangerous to go digging up graves especially when those buried in them might be angry, or vengeful. Sometimes it is best to leave the past buried, as the Wise Ones say.

Of course Yevanshka and Bloodcrow Udoo will know what they are doing and will almost certainly be able to exhume the remains of scores of orcs without disturbing more than a handful of dark powers. But most people are looking for a simple way to demonstrate their friendship with the Imperial Orcs, something a little easier, a little... safer. But also, arguably, something a little more expensive. You can't pay for lives with coin, but the Wintermarkers know what they're doing when they send a mediator to settle a blood feud. If people actually want to demonstrate genuine remorse, if they want to prove their regret, if they want to take real action to make amends, then they put their money where their mouth is.

By good fortune, an opportunity to do might just have arisen. Yevanshka plans to repatriate the bones of the former orc slaves to Skarsind where they might be interred with honour. But that raises the question of where so many bones might be stored? The obvious answer could be the great ossuary that the Illarawm asked the Imperial Orcs to build. The bones could surely be stored there? During the Winter Solstice Stormcrow Skred addressed the concerns of the Illarawm that their beliefs might not be welcome among the Imperial Orcs with a mandate upheld by the National Assembly. This has been well received by the Illarawm and now they are keen to begin rebuilding the bridge between themselves and their ancestors to cross the Howling Abyss. They are more relaxed in speaking about their beliefs in public, and when they learn of the possibility of the Imperial Orcs delving into their own past, to recover the remnants of their own forerunners, they are interested in helping. As such they are now even more keen to get to work on their great ossuary than before, and laying to rest the bones of Imperial Orc ancestors next to the revered remains of their own people would be an ideal way to mark the coming together of the sept and the nation.

The problem is of course the cost. The Ossuary would cost 60 wains of white granite, 120 crowns in labour costs, and take six months to complete. The Illarawm are penniless, they have nothing they can contribute and the Imperial Orcs have no bourse resources of their own to call on. Where then might 60 wains of white granite be found?

No-one wants to come out and suggest that the Varushkans build the whole thing... but the truth is they could if they wanted to. Varushka lacks the monetary wealth of the League or the rich fertile lands of the Marches, but it is the richest nation in the Empire for resources. There is a reason people choose to remain in this dark land. If the Assembly truely feels that Varushka should adress the Empire's legacy of slavery then what better way to discharge that debt than to actually help the Imperial Orcs right now? Why not work with them to build the Ossuary the Illarawm sect is so keen on? Or if not that, then the grand smithy of the Ethengraw, or the palace of flowers the Yerende are talking about?

Helping the Imperial Orcs strengthen their nation by incorporating one of the septs of Ossium feels like a significantly more useful thing to do that focusing on old bones and buried guilt. Much better to bury the hatchet once and for all and demonstrate that the Varushkas and the Imperial Orcs have a future together as friends and allies. After-all Varushka and the Imperial Orcs are neighbours now - and it's good for neighbours to be close. Especially when night falls.

Further Reading