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Eforwin hauled on the rope, straining every sinew to try and pull the net in. The small boat rocked slightly in the water, he was pulling that hard, causing Leofryn to curse his name as she grabbed at the rail to avoid being thrown overboard into the freezing waters of Ittanpari. "Careful!" she shouted, as if it was his fault the net was stuck.

He pulled again and it moved this time, coming slowly towards the surface. It should have jerked free if it was stuck on something, the fact that he was still struggling to pull the net in, implied something was caught in it. Something big... something heavy...

For a moment he worried he might have caught one of the hylje in his net, but that was impossible, they lived miles from here. What if it was something... dangerous. He'd heard someone say that Pine-in-the-Trees had released monsters into the wilds of Sermersuaq to feast on the Jotun. Him and his wife were both excellent swimmers, but the water was far too cold - this far from shore here, they'd never make it if the boat capsized. Five minutes in the icy cold of Ittanpari would drown even the strongest swimmer.

He reached for his hooked knife to cut the net free. Better to lose a net than a life he figured, but Leofryn's angry outburst stopped him in his tracks "What in the Seven Virtues are you doing?" she demanded to know.

"I... I think there's something caught in the net. Something big. I can feel it pulling. I think... it might be a boggart or something - but a big one... something sent by.... Pine-in-the-Trees" He whispered the last bit, afraid to say the fell creature's name too loud lest he draw that malevolent entity's attention.

"The Who?! Don't you dare cut that bloody line - we need this catch. Pine in the Trees? Just pull the bloody thing in already. What are you on about?" Leofryn's garbled stream of curses and questions left him in no doubt about the disdain she felt. None-the-less he noticed she'd picked up her spear and was moving to stand close by.

"It's Voice of the Pines," she hissed at him, "and he's not allowed in Sermersuaq, the ice walkers said so."

"T'aint stopped his monsters running amok though has it?" he responded. "What if one of them is in our net?"

Leofryn gripped the spear in both hands and planted her feet firmly on the deck but she had a great big grin on her face. "Then we'll die a good death like heroes - now pull the bloody net in."

He glanced again at his wife but she gave him another crazy grin, like the one he'd first seen that night they met at the Hot Springs in Tanik. The one that said together they could do anything. Or at least attempt anything. It'd been too long since he'd seen that overconfident smirk, so against his better judgement he started to haul on the net again.

Slowly it came up. He groaned with the effort to pull in every foot, but whatever was in the net was losing the fight. Dammit he thought, it might just be a herald of Pine-in-the-Water but it was clear who was stronger. Maybe there was nothing to be afraid of after all.

As that very thought crossed his mind, the net came to the surface, every inch of it writhing with a mass of silver scaled... fish. Great big tuna, each one a cubit long and fat and full bodied as any he'd ever seen. Leofryn dropped her spear in shock, but quickly regained her composure and started grabbing the fish, pulling them out of the net and into the boat.

They exchanged glances as they worked to fill the boat, each of them grinning from ear to ear.

And Good Riddance.jpg
The Jotun are gone, and Sermersuaq stands stronger for their storm.
Click for audio version


With the Jotun gone from Sermersuaq, there is an opportunity for the people of the Mark to take stock of what they have left behind. Those who have seen the devastation the Druj leave in their wake fear the worst, but the Jotun came to conquer not destroy. Their rule was hard, brutally hard, for those forced to toil for them as thralls. But there has been no wanton destruction or savagery and no murderous cruelty. Those who resisted the Western orcs were cut down, but those who took the Choice were put to work - some were set to gathering food, but many spent their days building a legacy the Jotun believed would endure. The territory is not untouched - the orcs did collapse the pass connecting southern Sermersuaq to Skarsind after all.

The clearest symbol of the Jotun's work are the two great fortifications built in western Sermersuaq, the Fortress of Kalant in Stark and Olgafsdottirshal in Tanikipari. Built to ensure the Empire could never retake the land the Jotun claim is their own, they now stand like impassive guardians ensuring the Jotun can never return. These two great castles are not the only evidence of the Jotun's stay here though - there are numerous projects undertaken across the territory. In their wake the Jotun have left a number of half complete commissions. They could be torn down... or they could be completed and put to the service of the people the Jotun intended to rule over.

Several years ago Rane Sherarding used a dose of true liao to consecrate the swamps of Kallavesa to Pride, allowing us the ability to support an additional army. Now we have retaken Sermersuaq we believe it is our virtuous duty to raise this. We, the Wintermark National Assembly, state our intention to raise a fourth army, born from and celebrating the traditions of the Suaq people.

Eska Crowspeaker, Wintermark Assembly, Autumn 384YE, Upheld (386 - 0 Greater Majority).

Hunt of the North

  • The Wintermark national assembly has called for a new army to be built around the traditions of the Suaq
  • A commission could be used to complete the construction of a vast new smokehouse at Atalaq, and smaller versions all over the territory
  • The commission would cost 40 wains of weirwood, 10 thrones in labour costs, and take three months to complete and would provide several benefits to the farms of Sermersuaq
  • The smokehouse would allow Wintermark to raise an army that would exemplify heroic Suaq traditions

During the Autumn Equinox the Wintermark National Assembly passed a judgement raised by Eska Crowspeaker, the Voice of Liberty. They called for a fourth army to be raised in Wintermark, with the traditions of the Suaq at its core. The Fist of the Mountains already draw on the mystics of Kallavesa to read the signs, and the Green Shield exalt the customs of the Steinr, incorporating numbers of banner-bearers who help them defend their allies as well as cut a swathe through their enemies.

Smokehouse of Atalaq
Commission Type: Great work
Location: Sermersuaq
Cost: 40 weirwood, 10 thrones, three months
Effect: Provides a share of 60 crowns to farms in Sermersuaq

Wintermark can certainly support another army - the consecration of the marshes of Kallavesa has seen to that. As long as the nation has control of three territories and the Kallavesa Marsh, they have sufficient resources to supply four armies. There are plenty of people in Sermersuaq, and more are returning every day to take up new lives or seek new opportunities on the cold plains. Yet that very focus on resuming old lives disrupted by the Jotun conquest, or carving out new lives in the land of lakes and mammoths, presents an obstacle to the stated goal of an army celebrating the Suaq. By no means do the Suaq all live in Sermersuaq, nor are all the people who make their homes there of a single tradition - such ideas would be ridiculous to the people of the Mark. But just as Kallavesa is the spiritual heart of the Kallavesi tradition, and Hahnmark the soul of the Steinr, so Sermersuaq is the fount of what it means to be Suaq. A symbol that recognises that would go a long way toward refocusing efforts not just on returning to how things were, but on looking to the future - and the fourth army.

The plains and lakes of Sermersuaq have always been full of life, and the Rivers of Life that have flowed there for the past few years have done a great deal to increase their fecundity. The Jotun had laid plans to benefit from access to this amazing quantity of fish and meat by constructing a huge new smokehouse at Atalaq, with smaller structures at several other key locations around the territory. The work was nearing completion when Atalaq was liberated, and would only require 40 wains of weirwood, 10 Thrones, and 3 months of work to complete. Aarne Ingasbairn, a Wintermarker taken by the Jotun as a thrall more than a decade ago, was brought back to Sermersuaq specifically to manage the project; they worked for many years in the Jotun town of Peråsen which has a similar vast smokehouse where dedicated thralls work tirelessly to preserve great quantities of meat and fish for the Jotun. Now that they are free, they have offered to oversee the completion of the smokehouse and the smaller structures in other parts of the territory.

There are several benefits to these smokehouses. Once they are complete, they would act as a great work providing a bounty of 60 crowns each season spread between the farm-owners of Sermersuaq who had attended the previous summit. The benefits to farming and hunting don't stop there. Any Wintermark citizen would be able to relocate to Sermersuaq to take up the life of the farmer or hunter without the usual payment of crowns needed to start afresh in a new territory. This would be doubly true for anyone wishing to lay aside their swords and axes for bows and nets. Any Wintermarker with a military unit who chose to take up a farm in Sermersuaq would gain a new resource of the same rank as their former military unit. Finally, for a year after the smokehouse was completed, any Wintermark citizen with a farm in Sermersuaq would be able to upgrade that farm for one fewer wains of weirwood (that is, to upgrade a standard farm for the first time would require one wain of weirwood rather than two, and so on).

It would also support the calls of the Wintermark assembly; the smokehouse would ensure that as long as Wintermark did not change their mind any new army they raised would have warriors of the Suaq tradition at its core, in the same way other armies represent the heroic ideals of the Kallavesi and the Steinr. It would be possible to commission the smokehouse and begin raising the army at the same time - but unless work on the smokehouse at Atalaq were finished at least six months before the mustering of the army was complete it would have no effect on its makeup. OOC Note: This would be reflected in the army qualities offered for the new army, some of which would certainly be unique to reflect the unique tradition of the Suaq. If the smokehouse were not built, the army could still be raised, and still have a Suaq flavour, but would require additional opportunities to focus it around their traditions.

The work the Jotun have begun is not going away immediately, but time will take its toll on the smokehouses. If the opportunity is not taken up by the end of the Autumn Equinox 384YE, it is lost.

Deep Pride

  • Following the raid of 383YE the Jotun began to expand the Pride of Ikka's Tears
  • The Senate could invest 200 thrones to exploit the work the Jotun have done
  • This would increase the mine's production by 5 wains each season without increasing upkeep

The Pride of Ikka's Tears is a valuable mithril mine that was discovered by chance in Winter 379YE by a civil servant exploring the Face of Ikka. The Jotun prize mithril more than anything, except perhaps star metal, and quickly moved to consolidate their control of the mine - even while fighting was still raging in the east of the territory. Recognising this, the Empire launched a daring raid against the mine, seriously damaging the Jotun operations there and stopping all production for a time. Rather than simply repair the damage inflicted in the lightning raid, it seems the Jotun set about a major overhaul of the mine. Their work was not complete before they were forced to retreat; but where the Druj might have collapsed the entire thing out of spite, the Jotun have done the opposite. There are signs of a concerted effort to "mothball" the construction carefully so that nothing would collapse in their absence - no doubt expecting to return within a season or two.

Complete Ikka's expansion
Type:Senate Motion (not a Commission)
Location: Suaq Fount, Sermersuaq
Cost: 200 thrones, three months
Effect: Increases production of Pride of Ikka's Tears by 5 wains of mithril each season

Previous estimations were that bringing the mine up to full capacity would cost 400 thrones and take six months; building on the Jotun work means those costs have been significantly reduced. The Senate could choose to complete the work the Jotun have begun. Finishing what the Jotun have started, and gaining reliable access to the deeper veins of mithril beneath the glacier would require an investment of 200 thrones from the Treasury. The work would take only three months (meaning that if it were authorised at the Winter Solstice, the holder of the seat would receive additional production at the Summer Solstice). Once complete the Pride of Ikka's Tears would permanently produce an additional 5 wains of mithril each season. This would not increase the upkeep of the mine.

Support Ikka's Tears
Commission Type:Senate Motion (not a Commission)
Location: Suaq Fount, Sermersuaq
Cost: 10 thrones, three months, 6 thrones each season additional upkeep
Effect: Increases production of Pride of Ikka's Tears by 2 wains of mithril each season

Bringing it Home

  • Additional investment could make it easier to transport materials and supplies to and from Suaq Font
  • The Senate could invest 10 thrones and increase the upkeep of the Pride by 6 thrones each season
  • This additional investment would increase the production of the Pride by a further 2 wains each season

One of the weaknesses of the Pride of Ikka's Tears is its remote location. Built in the howling wastes of the northernmost part of the Empire, underneath a glacier, on the very edges of the trackless wastes of Tsriku, it's one thing to pull mithril out of the ground and quite another to get it to somewhere it can be used. There are few roads in Sermersuaq - and little interest in building them among the people who live there. But a little investment could make it a lot easier to get to and from the mithril mine.

Regardless of whether they expand the mine, the Senate could choose to focus on improving the existing makeshift route between Ikka's Tears to Atalaq. Permanent stopping points would be built along the path between the mine and the town, and additional funds allocated to guards and caravans to ensure swift, secure transport of the mithril through the wilderness - especially relevant now that there are terrible monsters loose in Sermersuaq. This would require an investment of 10 thrones, and the work would take three months to complete. It would permanently increase the upkeep of Ikka's Tears by 6 thrones each season. The mines would then produce 2 additional wains of mithril each season putting them on par with the Great Mine of Briante or the lost Legacy.

Both improvements could be authorised by a single Senate motion, and the time required to complete them would be concurrent. This would cost a total of 210 thrones, increase the upkeep of the mines by 6 thrones, and improve production by 7 wains a season (to a total of 22 wains each season going forward).

Time is Not Pressing

Neither opportunity is going anywhere; provided the situation does not change significantly these opportunities remain available indefinitely.

Olgafsdottirs Legacy

  • The Wintermark Assembly could use a Statement of Principle to attempt to rename Olgafsdottirshal and the Fortress of Kalant if they wish
  • An Imperial Senate commission could be used to alter the existing fortifications to remove the signs and emblems of Jotun rule

This great stone keeps of Olgafsdottirshal is named after the Jotun architect who designed and built it and its sister fortification the Fortress of Kalant. Eldest child of the Jarl of Tromsa, Igya Olgafsdottir is a champion of the Jotun. Widely considered one of the finest siege engineers of the Jotun, she is known to be a respected advisor of Yrsa Jansdóttir, Queen of Kalsea. Who she is hardly seems to matter now - what does matter is the two great fortifications she left behind.

Olgafsdottirshal - the very name is bitter to some, an enduring legacy of the Jotun's conquest that some would rather forget. The Fortress of Kalant was apparently built for the Jarl of Kierheim and its name doesn't carry the same resonance. But Olgafsdottirshal - the hall of Igya Olgafsdottir - is hard to bear for some. They're calling on the National Assembly to rename it - perhaps with a name that commemorates the victory over the Jotun, or something memorialising the heroes who died to reclaim their homeland. This could be done relatively simply at this stage, a simple statement of principle would be enough, provided the name caught on with folk in the territory. The more time passes, the harder this would be to achieve, as people just get used to calling it Olgafsdottirshal. There's no reason the same judgement could be used to propose a new name for the Fortress of Kalant as well.

Easily done perhaps - but is it wise? Not everyone thinks so. Wintermark was victorious in the end - so now they could rename everything the Jotun built - but they can't change what happened. Defeat at the hands of the Jotun may have been a bitter blow to the Proud people of the Mark - better to remember what that felt like, lest people too soon forget. Let the name of Olgafsdottirshal stand as a reminder to everyone of the need to be vigilant.

Renaming the fortification will also infuriate the Jotun. They are known to place great store in names - they see them as a form of magic, and believe that an item cannot have worth until it has a name. Those who know them best claim they are certain to view renaming the fortification as a calculated insult. The Jotun only change the name of something when they want to wash away the shame of its history.

Olgafsdottirshal and Kalant
Commission Type: Fortification
Location: Sermersuaq
Cost: 60 thrones, three months
Effect: Allow architects to remodel the two fortifications including removing the legacy of Jotun's power and dominion

Of course if the Empire really wish to remove the Jotun's legacy from Sermersuaq then both fortifications would need to be substantially remodelled. That is quite expensive however, altering an existing commission is a significant undertaking for two such impressive fortifications. Normally it would require a commission and cost 55 thrones for each fortification.

There is a groundswell of support for this work here though - artisans, carpenters, stonemasons and sculptors would relish an opportunity to remove the marks and symbols of the Jotun people from the two forts and replace them with symbols that reflect the proud heritage of the Mark. If the Empire wished to take advantage of this opportunity, they could use a single commission to overhaul both fortifications for a "mere" 60 thrones of total expenditure provided they did so before the end of the Summer Solstice 385YE. After that point. they would need to pay the normal amount of money to refashion the fortifications.

No Thank You Igya

  • The Senate could decommission one or both of the captured Jotun forts

All this assumes the Senate want two fortifications in Sermersuaq - and it is they who will have to foot the bill. Each one has an upkeep of 18 Thrones every season; 144 Thrones out of the Imperial treasury every year to pay for these two castles that they did not commission. A Senate motion could be used to order one or both of the fortifications abandoned; at that point the Senate would no longer need to pay for the castle (or castles), but it would mean that they quickly deteriorated. They would offer no benefit to the defence of Sermersuaq and would lose 500 force every season until they were no longer considered fortifications.

Fishing for Stars

  • A Thule warlock speaking on behalf of the Dragons has contacted the people of Sermersuaq
  • She has two proposals, and in both cases is prepared to trade ilium for food

After the Empire failed to stop them, Hayaak's forces fell on the Thule warlocks, catching them defenceless and slaughtering scores of them. Bloodied and reeling, the Thule armies have retreated to the Silver Peaks to lick their wounds. But it is not long before the emissaries are back in Wintermark with new proposals. A voluble warlock called Askja of Volham comes with a proposal for the people of Sermersuaq. The Thule see the bounty of beasts and fish in the northern territory, and they want a part of it.

Without being explicit, she hints that the decision of the Dragons to make all of their slaves free - while obviously a wise course of action that she does not question - has caused problems in the mountains. There are mouths to feed that are no longer content to consume whatever weak gruel is given to them, and there are adjustments that need to be made to the way the hunters, fishers, and farmers of Otkodov go about their work.

Trading Hall at Wreck
Commission Type: Ministry
Location: Sermersuaq, East Floes
Cost: 8 weirwood, 16 crowns, three months
Effect: Allows the trade of food for ilium
Food for Ilium
CostSilver Peaks Ilium
23 Crowns1 ring of ilium
54 Crowns2 rings of ilium
88 Crowns3 rings of ilium
130 Crowns4 rings of ilium
180 Crowns5 rings of ilium

Meat for Metal

  • Warlock Askja asks that the Winterfolk build a trading hall near to Wreck
  • In return for regular caravans of food sent into the Silver Peaks, the trading hall would provide ilium
  • The trading hall would require a commission, 8 wains of weirwood, 16 crowns in labour costs, and take three months to complete

She proposes that the Thule and the people of Wintermark both contribute to the building of a trading hall near Wreck in the East Floes. Askja would take up residence there, and oversee caravans of food to be sent up to the Silver Peaks. The Thule are prepared to pay - and pay handsomely. Specifically, they offer star metal - ilium - in return for caravans of meat, fish, fowl, fruit, and vegetables from wherever the Winterfolk can source them.

What Warlock Askja proposes is a ministry requiring 10 mithril and 8 weirwood. The Thule would contribute the required mithril and associated labour costs, and the Empire would contribute the weirwood - a resource in short supply in Otkodov. It would cost the Empire a commission, 8 wains of weirwood, and 16 crowns in labour costs. Someone would be appointed to cooperate with Askja in organising trade caravans - Mediator of Wreck perhaps. The Mediator of Wreck would be a Wintermark national title, appointed by Tally of the Votes each year. It would control a ministry that allowed the purchase of ilium from the Thule, with money representing shipments of food.

Fed for Five Years

  • Warlock Askja has a second offer, to the people of Winterfolk
  • The Thule Dragons would like to buy permission for their people to hunt in Suaq Fount and East Floes for the next five years and to make use of the smokehouse at Atalaq if it is built
  • In return they offer a one-off payment of 15 rings of ilium for Suaq Fount or 30 rings in total for the right to hunt in both regions

In addition to the offers to trade some of Otkodov's "surplus" ilium to the Winterfolk, Askja has a second offer to make on behalf of the Eternal Dragons. The Undying Lords of the Thule wish for an opportunity to hunt game in the Suaq Fount and the East Floes for the next five years. They are prepared to offer the Empire a cache of thirty rings of ilium for these rights The Fount is vast and not densely populated, but Askja is keen to stress that their hunters would not trouble any Winterfolk who live there. East Floes is more heavily inhabited, so the Dragons would be prepared to negotiate on this point, and provide half the ilium offered for permission to hunt in Suaq Fount alone. A Senate motion would be required to make those rights official.

When questioned why the Dragons want Suaq Fount, Askja claims that the Thule have observed the effects of their magic on the territory, the explosion of wildlife in response to the powerful Spring rituals that have flooded the rivers and lakes with life. The Dragons want to move hunters, trappers, furriers and farmers to Suaq Fount, so that they might capture some of this bounty for themselves. They point out there is more than enough for both nations to share - but the Thule would need to come down from the mountains. They can't hunt seals or net fish from the Silver Peaks.

The deal then is fairly simple. If the Senate agrees to the Thule request, and grants license to hunt Suaq Fount, East Floes or both, then a warlock will be dispatched to meet with the Ambassador to Otkodov at the next summit to present them with the agreed bounty of star metal. What the Empire chooses to do with the ilium - how it chooses to split it with the people of Wintermark - is their business.

Some who hear Askja speak are moved to anger - Wintermark have only just reclaimed Sermersuaq - and now the Thule have the audacity to seek to buy access to the land like it was a flagon of cheap League wine? Others point out that the Thule played a major role in the liberation of the territory, and that the warlock is right on their main point. There is more than enough food for all to share in Sermersuaq... And as for cheap? Well there's no flagon of wine anywhere in the world that is worth 30 rings of ilium...

Time is Pressing

Askja needs answers from Wintermark and the Senate as soon as possible; these opportunities are only available in their current form during the Winter Solstice.

The Fortress of Kalant (Conjunction)

  • Jarl Ragnar is leading a scouting force towards the Fortress of Kalant in Stark
  • The force is clearing a path for engineers to travel towards the fortification
  • The Jotun are likely to be accompanied by a number of heralds of Cathan Canae
  • The Senator of Sermersuaq is responsible for intercepting the scouts and forcing them to retreat

Suaq scouts have reported that Jarl Ragnar of Peråsen, known as the Dour, is leading an advance force of Jotun into Stark. The Jotun are offering the Choice to anyone who gets in their way as they go and, based on information provided by the Suaq, are making for the Fortress of Kalant. This is a clear reaction to the loss of the Jotun's two fortifications in Sermersuaq.

If Jarl Ragnar's force is left to clear the way to the Fortress of Kalant then a number of engineers will be brought into the territory to destroy roads and burn the bridges around the fortification. This would see the garrison of the fortification unable to support other Imperial forces against any invader if they were to attack any region in Sermersuaq other than Stark.

Jarl Ragnar's force is primarily made up of Ulfur and supported by a number of heralds of the Breath of Winter. Given that this represents an attack on the infrastructure of the territory of Sermersuaq it is the responsibility of the Senator of Sermersuaq: Atte Arrow-Tongue Metsastajason.

Further Reading