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"And then, it bit off half of my hand!" Ruud gestured with the limb in question. His entire left arm was swaddled in bandages. A few dribbles of dark blue salve had soaked through the linen and run down toward the elbow like the wax on a dribbling candle.

"Amazing!" Marja had been agog for the last half hour as Ruud - pausing occasionally to take another sip of the thick marrowort tea he had been given to help him cope with the pain - regaled her with the incredible story of his recent trip to the Commonwealth.

The physick, a glowering draughir man in a wimple, frowned over at them. He had warned them twice already to keep their voices down - there were other patients trying to sleep. Ruud smiled weakly and tried to look recondite. Marja smirked despite herself. The mass of thick bark covering the left side of his face pulled his cheek and lip up in a peculiar way that made his expression look more constipated than conciliatory.

He made an effort to keep his voice low as he drew his tale to an end.

"Anyway, despite all of that, we managed to make it back to the Rainbow Orchid with both crates, and almost all of the shipwrecked Commonwealthers. They were astonishingly grateful, and you will never guess! When we reached Volkavaar it turned out one of them was the nephew of a professor at their University. Can you believe it? The captain and the senior officers were wined and dined in the faculty lounge, and they seemed very interested in our adventures with the Imperial spell. I tell you Marja, the Shark Dodgers are going places!"

Marja shook her head. If even half of what Ruud had told her was true he'd had quite a time of it. And at the back of her mind she was calculating how much a bed in this, one of the most prestigiously expensive hospitals in the Delves, would have cost and her sums kept coming up "Golly that's a lot of money!"

"So tell me more about this spell," she said in a slightly wheedling tone. "What did you say it was called?"

"It's called The Golden Voyage," he said taking another mouthful of medicine from his mug and grimacing as he accidentally swallowed the bitter dregs at the bottom.

"I'd be very interested in seeing it for myself," she said. She put her hand on his undamaged one, and looked deep into his good eye as she spoke. He just grinned at her.

"Of course you would be," he said cheerfully. "And I'm more than happy to talk to the coven about it - after all it's what friends do for each other...."

Her smile broadened.

"... but I warn you now it is not going to be cheap. News of our success is spreading like wildfire and already the Beggar's Hoop and the Nine Seas Transport Coster are banging on our doors!"

The smile froze on her face, and her lips twitched slightly as she bit back the urge to say something unconstructive. Ruud didn't notice though - he was already gesturing for the physick to bring him some more of the marrowort tea. The very expensive marrowort tea.
Final impression of the Cathedral of the Navigators.
Click for audio version


There are six great powers in the known world, of which the Empire is just one. It is allied with two of those nations - the Commonwealth in the east and the western Sumaah Republic - through the Liberty Pact. The Principalities of Jarm and the Asavean Archipelago are increasingly unhappy with the Empire, in part due to the sanctions imposed on their trade by all Liberty Pact members. Only the Sarcophan Delves remains neutral, carefully guarding the freedom to trade where it wills.

There are of course other nations in the world, but the ones that have particular relevance to Imperial citizens are their close neighbours - Faraden, Axos, the Iron Confederacy, Otkodov, and the Broken Shore, and perhaps even the mysterious nations of Skoura and Tsark. While they are small and lack influence on the world stage, their proximity grants them a level of influence over Imperial affairs beyond that merited by their size.

The Liberty Pact

  • The Liberty Pact had its first annual meeting during the Spring Equinox

The Empire is a founding member of the Liberty Pact - an international alliance whose goal is to end the practice of slavery in the known world. During the Spring Equinox, the first annual meeting of the Pact took place, with delegates from the Commonwealth, Sumaah Republic, and Axos meeting at Anvil. The delegates discussed the broad strategy for the coming year, and according to rumour some of their proposals will be presented to the Imperial Senate during the Summer Solstice. The Voice of Liberty has the ability to present amendments to the Liberty Pact as if they were an ambassador amending a treaty - with all the suggested amendments being able to be presented as a single senate motion.

Anyone wishing to know more about the outcome of the Liberty Pact meeting would be wise to approach the Voice of Liberty, who is currently Eska Crowspeaker of Wintermark.

Oars, Free Trade, and a Cathedral

  • The Ambassador to the Sarcophan Delves remains Thanmir Hrafnar

Merchant vessels from the Sarcophan Delves are a common sight in ports all along the Bay of Catazar, and Imperial ships continue to receive a warm welcome in the Delves. This is especially true of those dealing in herbs - every Imperial captain continues to receive an additional bounty of Imperial roseweald and marrowort when they trade with the Delves. As usual, it is matters of trade that mostly concern the Sarcophan Delves. News has reached the bedelaar huisbaas that the Empire may be considering removing all barriers to trade with fellow members of the Liberty Pact. While the Sarcophan are not themselves members of the pact, they are keen supporters of its work - indeed they made it illegal to own or trade in slaves to ensure they could remain friends with its members. If the Senate is considering such a move, then the Delves are also keen to be included - they already refuse to apply tariffs to ships trading with in Sarcophan. If the Senate were to do so then the bedelaar huisbaas would be prepared to open another port to foreign trade - either to the Empire alone or to members of the Liberty Pact if they could be persuaded to likewise offer favourable trade conditions to Sarcophan. The Ambassador will know more.

We agree with Catalina Novarion that both the Empire and Sumaah preach the True Virtues. Where we have differences of opinion, we still acknowledge our shared Ambition to spread the Way and guide souls in Virtue. When preaching in the Sarcophan Delves, priests of the Empire will not impede priests of Sumaah in preaching the virtues.

Clarice Novarion, Assembly of the Nine, Spring Equinox 383YE, Upheld (Primacy 7-0)

The Cathedral of the Navigators has been completed in the Buitenlandsewijk (the foreign quarter) of the Delves, meaning that the title of Bishop of the Navigators is due to be appointed for the first time during the Summer Solstice. The Bishop will be responsible for liaising with the priests at the gorgeous new cathedral - and smoothing over any conflicts between them and the local populace. The new Cathedral is not the only sanctuary for followers of the Way in Sarcophan; the Sumaah Republic is building it's own cathedral in the Buitenlandsewijk, work being expected to complete shortly before the Autumn Equinox. There is a sizable community of followers of the Way in Sarcophan who will look to both the new temples for guidance and support. The bedelaar huisbaas have been quite clear that they won't tolerate any conflict between the two that risks impeding trade. Fortunately, the Assembly of the Nine has been very clear that they expect Imperial priests to respect and not interfere with priests of the Sumaah Republic (and not just in Sarcophan, for that matter).

Finally, during the Spring Equinox, a cabal of Sarcophan magicians called the Haaienvermijders (their name apparently translates as the Shark Dodgers) traded a useful ritual with the Imperial Conclave. That ritual - The Muffled Oar - was by all accounts put to good use during the recent evacuation of Feroz. For their part, the Haaienvermijders seem very pleased with the copy of Golden Voyage which the Imperial Conclave provided in return. Indeed, they have apparently been unable to resist bragging about its effectiveness, making several of the other Sarcophan "magician guilds" massively jealous.

Extended Ultimatuum

  • The Principalities of Jarm have closed their ports to Imperial traders
  • While Imperial ports are still open to Jarmish merchants, the House of Princes discourages its citizens from trading with the Empire
  • The Ambassdor to the Principlaities of Jarm is currently Gelert Ashborn

After several seasons of growing tension between the two nations, the Jarmish House of Princes delivered an ultimatum to the Empire during the Spring Equinox. Lord Anton Trescher, the diplomatic advisor to the House of Princes, declared that the Imperial Senate had until the start of the Summer Solstice to reassure the Principalities that they did not intend to participate in "any unlawful war against the Principalities or their neighbours". If such reassurance was not provided, then the House of Princes would sever ties with the Empire and make it a crime for Jarmish citizens to trade with Imperials. Among other things this would shut down the Pallas Docks, remove access to white seed, and reduce the amount of mana available to the Tassato Mana Exchange.

Shortly before the Summer Solstice, however, a second message was received from Lord Anton. According to this missive, the new Ambassador to Jarm, the Navarr Gelert Ashborn has convinced the House of Princes to allow an extension to their ultimatum. Consequently, the Imperial Senate has until the end of the Summer Solstice to make a statement, but in return for their forbearance they require a stronger commitment. In addition to reassuring the Principalities that they do not intend to participate in any unlawful war against the Principalities or their neighbours, they ask the Senate to encourage their Commonwealth allies to seek diplomatic solutions to it's rivalry with the Principalities rather than engaging in unwarranted violence.

If the Imperial Senate makes such a statement, reassuring the House of Princes and encouraging the Commonwealth to engage in further negotiation rather than warfare, then the House of Princes will reopen Jarmish ports to Imperial citizens, and commit to remaining neutral in the Empire's own conflicts. If the Senate does not issue the statement, then they will go ahead with severing diplomatic ties with the Empire, and it will also damage the credibility of Gelert Ashborn with their Jarmish opposite numbers.

Invitation to Otkodov

  • The Thule maintain a military alliance with the Empire against the Jotun and the Druj
  • A meeting with representatives of the Thule will take place at 18:30 on Saturday evening in Lashonar's caucus forum

The Thule maintain their alliance with the Empire; their armies continue to fight alongside the forces liberating Sermersuaq from the Jotun invaders. The garrison of their fortification in Ossium has fought to defend the Varushkan territory against the Druj. At the same time they have completed their consolidation of Mierchernya and the Webwood, as ceded to them by the Senate as part of the Winter treaty.

During the Spring Equinox, there was a meeting between representatives of the Thule and the Empire using Lashonar's Caucus Forum. The meeting mixed diplomatic and military discussion, and during the process the Thule suggested that future discussion of the alliance's strategy would be done via the Ambassador to Otkodov, Yevgeny Katzev. Since that agreement was made, the Ambassador's Thule counterpart Rak Who-Speaks-For-The-Dragons-Undivided has contacted the embassy in Wendell's Hope admitting that a mistake has been made. Ambassadors communicate via Call Winged Messenger (and similar rituals), and it can take anywhere from several hours, to several days, or even weeks, for the missive to be delivered. This is, obviously, not tolerable when two proud nations are engaged in a military alliance.

As a consequence, the Thule have secured the use of the caucus forum during the Summer Solstice, and again during the Autumn Equinox, They invite the Ambassador to Otkodov to attend with two others of their choice - presumably including a representative of the Imperial Military Council - so that they can discuss the military campaigns in both Sermersuaq and Ossium. This will also present an opportunity to deliver the crystal mana offered to the Thule to support the potent enchantments they placed on their armies during the recent season of war. 120 crystal mana would be sufficient, although the Thule will also accept measures of quintessence in place of crystal mana (treating one measure as equivalent to two crystal mana).

A herald of Lashonar will collect Yevgeny and their companions from the Imperial Regio at half-past six on Saturday evening.

Unhappy Necromancers

The removal of the Tamazi prior to the Spring Equinox proved to be a bone of contention, but anger is slowly ebbing away. Imperial merchants visiting the Axou ports of Issyk and Kantor struggle to make a profit but they are slowly rebuilding their relationship. The Ambassador to Axos, Tarquinius Ankarien sought approval from the Senate for a treaty with the Axou that may go some way towards improving relations back to where they were before the orc "citizens" of the citadels were liberated.

While the people of Axos might be unhappy with the Empire, however, it seems their commitment to the Liberty Pact and the alliance of nations is broadly undiminished. Indeed, it appears that a number of Citadels are still keen to work with Imperial mercenaries for the joint enterprise proposed by the Grendel orcs.

Thus, there is still disruption to Imperial fleets trading with Axos, but as predicted by the civil service it has dropped. Rather than suffering a 3 rank penalty, Imperial merchants in Axos will experience a 2 rank penalty after the Summer Solstice. This still makes trade with the Chambers of Issyk an unappealing prospect for most Imperial captains, where it combines with the parlous state of the docks there to inflict a sizable 3 rank penalty on all such endeavours.

Common Good

  • The Commonwealth are signatories to the Liberty pact; they have placed sanctions on trade with slaving nations
  • The magicians of the Commonwealth have access to Imperial lore
  • The current Ambassador to the Commonwealth is Lucia Sanguineo di Tassato of the League

Imperial merchants continue to be welcomed with open arms to Commonwealth ports. Following the Spring Equinox, a significant force of Commonwealth ships and soldiers - initially intended to help liberate the Tamazi from Axos - took part in the evacuation of Feroz. These same vessels and soldiers have already left the Bay of Catazar - sailing west to the Sumaah Republic, there to meet up with a number of other Commonwealth warships to help destroy the Asavean slave trade.

A number of Commonwealth magicians - their zauberer - have taken up residence at the Lyceum Schloss in Madruga. Their number includes Professor Michael Enden of Volkavaar university and an expert in large-scale enchantment who has by all accounts settled in very well with the otherwise Imperial faculty. The Commonwealth students have brought a welcome enthusiasm for learning to the Lyceum, and have already established a popular duelling club, dedicated to the mastery of battle magic.

Professer Enden also brings a reminder that the magical masters of the University at Volkavaar are still waiting for a response to their offer to share magical rituals with the Imperial Conclave. Once the Conclave has made up their minds, they can use the declaration of endowment to decide which of the grandmasters will receive the rituals. Given the nature of the bequest, a single declaration of Endowment can be used to assign any or all of these four ritual gifts to any number of Orders. The Empire does not have a great deal of insight into Commonwealth magic. The Civil Service believe that while their magicians are masters of battlefield magic, especially of the realms of Summer, Autumn, and Spring, they still possess a reasonable breadth of ritual knowledge that covers a number of topics. As such any of the Orders would make suitable beneficiaries for their offer.

Finally, the Lantir problem remains unresolved, but the ports of Leerdam and Volkavaar are far from the border and so there is little sign of the obvious military build-up taking place in the north-east of the nation.

Stone and Prayers

The good news is there has been no particular deterioration in relations between the Asavean Archipelago and the Empire. Mind you, that isn't saying very much. The Plenum remains barely cordial, with the strong anti-Imperial faction missing no opportunity to discredit the Empire. There have been further developments with the Temple of the Seven Virtues in Nemoria. Work on the temple has been completed, with the final touch apparently being seven large bronze statues of humans and animals installed in the interior. Not that anyone can say for certain - visitors are not encouraged and only those prepared to go through a lengthy "initiation of dedication" are allowed to see the interior. Portilium Traposdo - the man who bought the ruins from the Plenum - has declared themselves the First Priest of Virtue and begun debating the nobility of Virtue with passers-by. Their oratory is somewhat simple but hits a fairly benign, if shallow understanding of the Way, and apparently has extended to making several speeches about Virtue within the Plenum itself. The Ambassador is likely to know more about this situation.

The Cavabianca Docks

  • Two proposals have been put forward by the Heraclien and Ragnabe family for things that might be done to maintain the trade in white granite
  • If nothing changes, the Cavabianca Docks will cease trading after the Summer Solstice as the Asavean families begin selling to the Grendel instead

An emissary from the Heraclien and Ragnabe - the families who support the Cavabianca Docks - has indicated that they may need to seek new markets for their white granite following the Summer Solstice. Not only are they being pressured by the Tarquinius, Coriolani, and Ilotari, it's also become clear that the Grendel are very interested for them to come to Dubhtraig rather than Sarvos. The sanctions placed by the Empire following their embrace of the Liberty Pact have seriously cut into their profit margins and coupled with the political pressure, continuing to deal with the League is simply not viable any more.

Unless the Empire can improve their relationship with the Plenum in some way, the loss of the Cavabianca Docks appears inevitable. During the Spring Equinox 383YE, the appraisal indicated a couple of ways the Empire could improve its relationship with the Asaveans. It seems very unlikely that anyone in the Imperial Senate has any interest in building temples to the Asavean gods, but the Heraclian and Ragnabe have a different suggestion. The sailors bringing the white granite to Sarvos are already receiving blessings at the Temple in Oran, so an actual temple is not necessary. Instead, they suggest that the people of Sarvos might raise a statue of Balo of the Foam (a figure with a large jar or ewer) or Lord Isso Mãos de Ouro (a merchant with hands extended slightly off balance to suggest scales).

A folly of the kind the families are suggesting would require 15 wains of white granite, cost 30 crowns, and take three months to raise at the Cavabianca docks. It would not need to be ceded to anyone, and could be built by a Bearer of an Imperial Wayleave. It would make life easier for the Heraclien and Ragnabe, and ensure that they would continue to trade with the Empire for as long as it was legal for them to do so. Alternatively, a much larger statue could be built requiring 30 wains of white granite, 60 crowns, and three months to raise. If this were done, the families would go all-in on trading with the Empire, adding a third rank to the Cavabianca Docks ministry permitting the purchase of 15 wains of white granite for 840 crowns..

The other suggestion made as part of the appraisal was that the Empire might make a statement supporting the Plenum. While the rebellion that such a statement was originally intended to support has been crushed, a formal statement might still quiet some of the dissenting voices in the Plenum. The obvious thing to do, claims the Heraclien and Ragnabe representative, would be to make some kind of commitment to finding common ground, recognising similarities between the Plenum and the Senate, and playing down religious and political differences. At the very least, they think such a statement would allow the Cavabianca Docks to continue operating for the next year. Assuming nothing changes.

Of course, if the Senate supports the Sumaah Republic in their plan to Chalonsio then all bets are off. No amount of statues or platitudes will be effective if the Empire takes part in that raid.

Marchers are defined by working the land. If we do not work it we do not own it. Fisher's ancestors left their lands much as we did when we left Dawn. We have no claim on those lands so why should she on ours? Anyone of Marcher ancestry is welcome to return and earn land through hard work as free Marchers, instead of serving under Mathilda Fisher, who wishes to be queen in all but name.

Friar Hugh, Marches Assembly, Spring Equinox 383YE, Upheld (Primacy 152-0)

Nation of Bregas

  • The Imperial Consul has authority to treat with the Jotun

Mathilda Fisher and her Jotun "allies" have conquered three-fifths of Bregasland. Imperial armies are still in the territory - in Ottermire and the Rushes - but that has not prevented the self-styled Steward of Bregasland sending an emissary to the Imperial Consulate in Tassato under a flag of truce. The emissary is accompanied by a Jotun orc who speaks on behalf of the King of Narkyst, one of the two rulers of the western orcs. Their proposal is as straightforward as it is likely to prove extremely unpopular - not least because the Marches assembly has been very clear of its opinion of Mathilda Fisher and her attempt to set herself up as "queen of the Bregas".

The Steward of Bregasland intends to complete the conquest of Bregasland during the coming season. She is still committed to creating an independent state in Bregasland, and the Jotun are prepared to recognise them as a free nation. Mathilda again asks the Empire to do the same. If the Imperial Senate cedes the remaining regions of Bregasland, or if the Imperial Military Council simply withdraws their forces from Bregasland, then Mathilda will come to Anvil along with a herald of the King of Narkyst, and negotiate a treaty with the Imperial Consul during the Autumn Equinox. The details will need to be agreed at the time, but Mathilda is clear that as part of the neutrality of Bregasland the Jotun will agree not to use the marshes as a base of operations from which to attack the rest of the Marches. If such a treaty is not secured, then Mathilda will need the continued support of the Jotun jarls. This will almost certainly mean that the only way to secure Bregasland will be to support a Jotun invasion of Mitwold and Mournwold and further bloodshed in the Marches.

As a codicil, once Mathilda's "offer" is made public, the Constitutional Court offered some additional guidance on the use of concedence that seems particularly apposite.

Grendel Diplomacy

During the Spring Equinox the Imperial Senate passed a somewhat convoluted motion to build an embassy with the Grendel at Cargo in Redoubt. No actual progress has been made on the structure so far, and the Senate decline to build the grand edifice the orcs of Attar had proposed. It further reinforces the role of the Imperial Fleet Master as the ambassador to the orcs of the Broken Shore.

The situation with the Governor of Feroz has already been discussed (as detailed in The power behind our moves), which also touches on the Grendel response to events in the territory. Salt Lord Kaliact and her court - the current rules of Spiral - have made their own arrangements, and if anything appear to be relishing the humiliation heaped upon Rahab.

The Citadel

  • Salt Lord Kaliact will renegotiate the conditions whereby the Urizen in Spiral are free to continue supporting the Doyen of the Spires and the Citadel Guard
  • There will be no change before the Autumn Equinox
  • The Salt Lord has begun constructing two fortifications in Spiral

It has been six months since Salt Lord Kaliact - the Grendel governor of Spiral - agreed to allow the Urizen living in "her" territory to continue to support the Doyen of the Spires and the Citadel Guard. Her light touch also means that those Urizen still living in the territory are not experiencing the rough treatment of those few people left in Feroz.

Before she makes any further decision about whether to allow it to continue, the Salt Lord is interested to hear what the Urizen are prepared to offer her in return for her forbearance. Her representative will be accompanying Speaker Morna when they visit Anvil during the summit (as outlined in The power behind our moves wind of fortune). She does however offer one reassurance; whatever happens during the negotiation, as long as the Empire is still at peace with the Grendel and her representative returns unharmed, she will do nothing before the Autumn Equinox. An Empire that would so comprehensively and audaciously humiliate a fool such as the Governor of Feroz deserves nothing less.

News from Spiral is that the Salt Lord has begun constructing not one but two fortifications in Spiral. The first is in Ossuary - not at the Legacy as might be assumed but at the southern end of the Twilight Gate. The second is at Apullian, where she has commissioned great walls and a fortified palace. In both cases, the Grendel are paying Urizen citizens of Spiral to work mithril nets into the constructions to protect them from the oppressive influence that hangs over the territory. These Urizen report that powerful Autumn enchantments have been used in both cases to greatly speed the building process - six months of work have already been done and if the magic continues both castles will be completed before the Autumn Equinox!

North Mareave Trading Consortium

  • The Grendel are keen to purchase white granite and weirwood
  • They have been forced to limit the amount of material they can purchase in the coming season due to overwhelming demand
  • They are now offering 42 crowns per wain for weirwood and 36 crowns per wain for white granite

The North Mareave Trading Consortium are apparently backing Paymaster Muireall's audacious plan to raid the Mountains of the Moon - perhaps unsurprising given by all accounts they have done very well out of trade with Imperial merchants.

Before the Spring Equinox, these Grendel entrepreneurs offered an opportunity to Imperial traders. It appears the orcs were surprised by the overwhelmingly positive way this offer was received in some parts of the Empire. However, having such large stocks on hand has forced them to adjust their prices. As the Summer Solstice approaches, they announce that they are prepared to buy 50 wains of white granite and 50 wains of weirwood this season. They are also adjusting the base price they are prepared to pay; they will now buy weirwood for 42 crowns per wain, and white granite for 36 crowns per wain.

Anyone who wishes to take advantage of their offer need only send a Winged Messenger to the representative on the Consortium in Apulian. They will arrange transport of the materials, and pay any annoying tariffs that might be incurred. If they receive offers for more than 50 wains, then they will need to decide whose offer to accept - in this case they mention that the prices quoted are the ceiling on their offer - if any Imperial with material to trade wishes to ask for less than that amount per wain they would of course be accepted first.

OOC Note: As before, any character can take advantage of this offer by sending a Winged Messenger to the provided address detailing how much of which resource(s) they wish to trade, and how much they want in return if they are prepared to sell for less than the maximum price, and ensuring the Bourse materials are in their inventory. We will then remove the resources from their inventory, and reimburse them with the appropriate amount of money.

The Wrath of Arav

  • The Iron Confederacy have responded positively to the Senate's decision to criminalize the Hand of Dumon
  • An envoy from the Iron Confederacy will be visiting Anvil at 2pm on Saturday to discuss stamping out the wicked conspiracy
  • The Ambassador to the Iron Confederacy is Lord Colwynn de Rondell

The port of Robec remains closed to Imperial ships. Imperial sanctions still permit Suranni merchants to come north, but few consider it worth their time (especially now that Feroz is in the hands of the Grendel). Despite this unfriendly relationship, news does come north from time to time.

Last season, there was news of a frightening spate of curses, kidnappings, sabotage, and murder from the Hand of Dumon - the conspiracy of wizards following the teachings of the evil god Dumon. In response, the priesthood of Arav the Silent Judge declared the Suranni equivalent of an inquisition against anyone even suspected of sheltering the degenerate magic-wielders. During the Spring Equinox, the Imperial Senate denounced the Hand of Dumon, making membership of, or support for, the organisation a crime until Imperial law. News of this decision by the Senate has reached the Iron Confederacy and the response has been surprisingly positive - from the government at least.

Breaking the Hand

  • Baroness Katerine requests the support of the Empire in stamping out the Hand of Dumon

Baroness Katerine Lavasse of Meore, the Suranni counterpart to Lord Colwynn, has indicated that the Council of Dukes welcomes this move by the Empire. While the common folk of the Iron Confederacy continue to view the Empire as a den of wicked serpents, the rulers of the nation are - at least for now - are taking a slightly more positive view of Imperial/Suranni relations. Provided the Empire is sincere, of course.

To that end, Baroness Katerine formally requests that the Empire go slightly further. The priests of Arav, she reports, have routed the Hand of Dumon. Some of the murderous criminals will certainly seek refuge in the Empire, assuming that they will be welcomed by Imperial magicians. They are unlikely to try and flee into Feroz - the Grendel will simply enslave them - but the Suranni territory of Arbonne has a long border with southern Segura. Likewise, they may be able to hijack or stow-away on the small number of Suranni merchant vessels trading with Imperial ports despite the sanctions. Ideally the dukes would like the Empire to grant them the freedom to send templars north to hunt the Hand of Dumon; baroness Katerine is significantly more practical however and knows this is unlikely to be a workable solution.

Instead, she asks the Imperial Senate to agree to cooperate with the Suranni in stamping out the Hand of Dumon and ensuring they do not take root in the Empire itself. Much as they dealt with the rebel slaves a few years ago, Baroness Katerine asks that any Hand of Dumon member that seeks sanctuary in the Empire be handed back to the Suranni for trial and execution. She believes that the magistrates and militia in Segura and along the Bay of Catazar could be instructed to work with representatives of Suranni law enforcement to capture any fleeing Hand of Dumon terrorist. This would require a senate motion, and would cause some disruption to fleets trading from the Brass Coast, League, Highguard, and Urizen. Fleets from these nations would have a 1 rank penalty to engage in trade following the Summer Solstice.

The Baroness recognises that this will not be an easy decision for the Senate; as an inducement she assures them that if they go ahead with the senate motion she will be able to re-open the port of Robec to Imperial ships and encourage Suranni traders to deal with Freeborn and League citizens. Unfortunately, it would be a little too problematic to encourage them to deal with Highguard or Urizen for obvious reasons. Not only would the port be available following the Autumn Equinox, but until the start of the Spring Equinox 385YE, League and Freeborn vessels would gain a 1 rank bonus to trade there.

With the Senate's help, Baroness Katerine is confident that the Hand of Dumon could be destroyed. Dumon always manages to find new agents eventually, sadly, but at least a whole generation of Suranni children could grow up without fearing that they will be sacrificed to the Dark God by His deranged cultists.

Without that help, the Hand of Dumon will still be crushed - there is no doubt of that - but Baroness Katerine is concerned that some at least will escape to the Empire. If they do so she believes they will continue to represent a threat not only to the Suranni but also to Imperial citizens. After all, the God of Liars teaches that it is the right of His children alone to rule, and that all other lawful authority must be overthrown in the pursuit of personal power - which presumably includes the Imperial Senate.

Baroness Katerine has sent her favoured envoy Ser Pippin Lavasse to discuss the matter of the Hand of Dumon with the Ambassador; he has apparently had first-hand experience of their depredations. He is expected around 2pm on Saturday afternoon.

Last Grasp

  • The Hand of Dumon wants sanctuary in the Empire

Prior to this move by the Senate, parts of the Empire have had a much more ambivalent relationship with the Hand of Dumon. While the Imperial Synod has more recently begun to question Imperial support for the Hand, they have in the past encouraged Imperial citizens to offer aid to them. The Imperial Conclave likewise has not been particularly opposed to the Hand in the past - while their recent declaration of concord calls for an investigation of the Hand of Dumon, there has been rumour for some time that Imperial magicians may have found a way to trade Imperial rituals to self-confessed Dumonite Adal de Gevaudan in return for Suranni mithril.

Regardless, in the run up to the Summer Solstice, a message reaches the Empire from magicians claiming to be representatives of the Hand of Dumon. They claim that they are being murdered, slaughtered without mercy by the Suranni templars because they are magicians. They beg the Imperial Conclave to offer them sanctuary - to make a declaration of Concord urging Imperial magicians to shelter them from those who are hunting them. If such a declaration is made, they will be able to smuggle not only as many of their members as possible across the borders, but also potentially some of their ritual texts which they are prepared to share with the Conclave in return for safety far away from the Bay of Catazar.

If the Conclave is not prepared to offer them sanctuary, however, then they cannot guarantee that proof of the support they have received from Imperial magicians and priests will not fall into the hands of the priests who are persecuting them... in fact they believe such a thing to be an absolute certainty.

Further Reading

There are a number of other diplomatic opportunities presented by foreign nations during the Summer Solstice which receive their own wind of fortune pages.