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'But it's been destroyed. I don't see why are we bothering with it, it's just a ruin now. It's hardly important.' Canvilla remonstrated with her sister, Solhia, determined to get her to focus on what really mattered.

'Everything is important. Either that or nothing is, I prefer the former.'

Canvilla groaned at the sacharine bromide. It was something their father used to say to both of them when they were children. An earnest exhortation to remember that one must not neglect the concerns of others in pursuit of one's own poise and arete. "Yes, yes - and father also used to say that the secret of the Net of the Heavens was to understand that everyone can be a node. It's a lovely thought, it's just not actually true."

Her sister cocked her head to one side as if to consider her sister's rebuke. 'Isn't it? I always thought it was one of the wisest things father taught us.'

'Oh please... It was charming, I'll grant you, I'm not sure it was actually wise. Not everything is a node. What you chose to leave out is as important as what you put in.'

'Quite. Someone must create Zenith's Map of the Heavens. What they choose to leave out will be every bit as important as what they leave in. Our job is to give them that choice. Which is why we must be sure to leave nothing out.'

Canvilla rolled her eyes but she knew she'd lost the argument. "Fine" she said snatching up her quill, 'I'll include it, but I still think it's a waste of time. It's over - it's ended.'

'No.' Solhia's voice was calm, but her eyes flashed with anger. 'The Druj are nothing more than a fever in the flesh. We will draw their poison from the land like a physick draws the venom from a snakes bite. They will not be how this ends. We will write our own ending.'

A New Arete.png
And I can go anywhere I want, anywhere I want, just not home
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The Empire has finally regained complete control of Zenith. The armies of the Empire have forced the orcs of the Mallum out of Lustri and sent them fleeing into Sarangrave. With the land liberated, the territory was quickly reassigned to the nation of Urizen. Now the Empire seeks a way to restore it.

Masters of the territory for almost three years, the Druj have left a bitter legacy in their wake. They have immiserated those left behind and destroyed everything that could not be stolen. Their fetid pillars dot the land, anchoring the oppressive miasma. They deliberately released sinister cephalopods into the waterways of Proceris. The beasts breed quickly, and by all accounts have begun to infest the lakes of Occursion as well. Everywhere, spires have been destroyed, libraries looted and burned, and anyone who darted to resist has been put to the sword.

Now every sinew of the Empire's body strains to the challenge of restoring Zenith. The Imperial Senate has instructed the civil service to carry out a full appraisal of the territory. The Imperial Synod has asked the followers of Prosperity to pursue opportunities for commerce and development. Imperial magicians have laid beneficial enchantments over the land to begin the healing. And while the Imperial military pursue the last of the Druj, at least two armies have devoted their efforts to gathering information and uprooting the Druj's poison. The war for Zenith is won, now the Empire must make something of the victory.

Salt and Stone

The Highborn National Assembly has mandated that we root out the poisonous legacy of the Druj in Zenith. Send out our Unconquered. Find every trap, every tortured Soul, Every pillar of Blasphemous miasma. Let us bring salvation in our wake.

Barachel of Adina's Charge, General of the Seventh Wave
  • The Seventh Wave have ensured that Zenith will not suffer the terrorized quality
  • The armies have secured the borders of Zenith ensuring that no region is under-threat from the Druj

Urged on by the priests of the Highborn Assembly, the Seventh Wave have turned aside from the fight against the Druj and focussed on rooting out their poisonous legacy. A legion of problems beset liberated Zenith. The Highborn soldiers hunt down tormented souls, putting as many as they can to rest. The lingering Winter spirits unleashed by Imperial ritual magic are hunted and dispatched, sent to lurk in the wild places as far from civilisation as possible. Druj guerrillas are rooted out from the caves and deep dells they have made their lairs. The virtuous crusade has removed any chance for the Druj to inflict a permanent terror on Zenith, but there are still problems to be solved.

The Pillars of Immiseration

  • The miasma pillars remain in place, making life in Zenith miserable for those who dwell here
  • There are currently four regions affected by the miasma
  • The Imperial Senate could pass a motion to clear the pillars taking one season and 75 thrones for each region affected
  • An Imperial army could spend a season in the territory performing a heroic stand and remove the pillars from one region

During the Autumn Equinox, Imperial heroes were able to destroy the miasma pillar in Occursion. At least four others still stand however. No Imperial army is more skilled at unearthing what the enemy has hidden than the Seventh Wave. Their scouts scatter over the territory, seeking out any trace of the Druj and their foul magic. Every miasma pillar is located and those that cannot be rooted out and destroyed immediately are carefully marked on maps.

Stifled by Miasma: Rules
At present Zenith is "stifled by miasma". The grim curse inflicted by the Druj towers continues to sap the spirits of everyone in Zenith. While the pillars remain the territory will provide no money to the Imperial treasury. Imperial actions such as a Senate motion might cause an increase in costs associated with the territory, but the tax revenues will not improve until the miasma is cleared from all four remaining regions.

At present there are miasma towers in Proceris, Iteri, Clypion and Lustri.

As long as the miasma remains potent it will continue to spread misery - an invisible fog that chills the blood and saps the soul of everyone living in the territory. Even if people can be persuaded to return to Zenith, the numbing effects of the miasma mean they will struggle to start new businesses or access Zenith's abundant resources. Imperial taxes are collected from those who own and operate a resource, so there will be no increase in taxation from the territory until all four regions are clear.

Now that the Seventh Wave have mapped out the locations of the pillars, it is relatively straightforward to remove them. The Imperial Senate could pass a Senate motion instructing the civil service to hire sentinels, sword scholars, magicians and priests to work together to systematically remove the pillars. It would not be cheap: it would cost 75 thrones taken directly from the Imperial treasury every season that the miasma endures. But one region would be completely cleared of miasma each season until the work was done.

The other way to clear a region would be for a general to order their Imperial army to take a heroic stand in Zenith. Soldiers from the army would actively engage the tortured souls, winter spirits, and any Druj that remain in the territory. They would take no casualties from this action, but they would be engaging with enemies and so could not benefit from any resupply. Each Imperial army that spends a season in the territory on heroic stand orders will remove the miasma pillars from one region (the general should issue suitable orders to indicate which region will be targeted). It is possible for more than one Imperial army to cooperate to clear the area faster if they wish.

A Border 'tween the Mountains and the Moon

  • A fortification built in Lustri would guard against further invasions from the Druj
  • A fortification requires 80 wains of white granite, 160 crowns, and a year to construct
  • An emissary from Tsark has offered to provide 40 wains of white granite to support the construction

The Seventh Wave, ably supported by the Granite Pillar and the other Imperial armies, has rooted out many bands of Druj scouts and skirmishers that were attempting to seclude themselves in Zenith. This prompt action has ensured that the borders of the territory are secure and that no region is considered to be under-threat from the Druj.

Citadel of the Moon
Commission Type: Fortification
Location: Zenith
Cost: 80 white granite, 20 thrones, one year
Option: If the Empire agrees to the terms presented by Sage Apollion of Tsark, then the People of the Moon will provide 40 wains of white granite to support the construction of the Citadel

However successful the Imperial armies have been in securing Zenith's borders, they might still return. The armies that have retreated out of Lustri into the Sarangrave will not take long to resupply. The most effective way to slow their return would be to build a substantial fortification somewhere on the border. Such things are not cheap - a basic castle would require 80 wains of white granite, 20 thrones and take a year to construct. Magic could be used to speed the construction along, but there is nothing magic can do to defray the costs.

A possible source of help has appeared - and from a very unexpected angle. From Zenith's southern borders comes a wizened orc dressed in long flowing robes and calling himself Sage Apollion. He is accompanied by a pair of human servants who treat the ageing orc with a great deal of respect. Apparently sage is a title, and a position of seniority and importance among the people of Tsark. Apollion claims that the people of Tsark, who he refers to as the People of the Moon have "observed the conflict between the People of the Horse and the People of the Marsh" and while they want nothing to do with either side, they do not wish to see such destruction as was wrought in Zenith reoccur. To help prevent such a repeat, they are prepared to assist in the construction of a fortification in Zenith provided three criteria are met

The fortification must be built in the region of Lustri as far from the borders with Tsark as possible. General Barachel's scouts have identified an ideal location on the border of Lustri. Mount Kerion overlooks the low-laying marshlands, and is both well away from the border with Tsark but also eminently defensible if the Druj attacked.

The People of the Horse must swear never to permit any of their people to enter Tsark under any circumstances ever. The Sage is adamant that the only terms the People of the Moon will accept is a sworn oath that no Imperial citizen enters Tsark ever. Any attempt to suggest a shorter time-scale for such an agreement is dismissed out of hand. When asked about the absence of any reciprocal arrangement, the Sage seems bemused that anyone would want a reciprocal arrangement since Tsark is entirely dedicated to peace, but is more than happy to provide appropriate assurances.

The People of the Horse must swear not to attempt to open diplomatic channels with the People of the Moon unless invited to do so. The Sage explains that Tsark does not wish to receive any formal attempts to open diplomatic channels, such as to request trade, an alliance or anything of that nature. Obviously if the Empire wishes to warn them of an incipient attack, they are happy to receive information, provided the Empire does not ask for anything in return. They do not wish to be in the Empire's debt and they most definitely do not wish to ally or trade with the Empire under any circumstances.

The Sage is resolute that they will not travel to Anvil under any circumstances of any kind. They trust that their message will be conveyed to the leaders of the People of the Horse and that an answer will be forthcoming, either yes... or no. They do not see any value in discussing their proposal: either it is acceptable to the Empire or it is not. If the arrangement is agreeable to the Empire, then Tsark will provide half the white granite required to complete the fortification and agree that none of their soldiers will ever cross the border into the Empire. The Empire has a year to agree to the terms set out. After discussion with the civil service, they confirm that the Imperial Consul could present these terms as a treaty for ratification by Senate motion if they wished.

Despite the formal tone of the Sage's offer and their refusal to engage in further discussions, they seem affable and friendly in their demeanour. In a candid moment the sage explains that the People of the Moon have elected to make this offer in light of the warning from the Empire received by Sage Kristoph regarding an imminent attack by the Grendel (who the Sage calls the "People of the Sea"). While Tsark wishes to have absolutely nothing to do with the war-loving People of the Horse, they appear to view the warning as demonstration that the Empire are worthy of more trust than the Druj, even if the tone of the missive was by all accounts a little perplexing.

By the Numbers

  • The Cardinal of Prosperity has asked dedicates to investigate opportunities for profit and prosperity in Zenith this season

There are three things that should never be made: food that goes uneaten, coin that goes unspent and magic that goes unused. We send Darian Numbers with 25 liao to Zenith to urge all prosperous citizens to seek out new opportunities for commerce and development in their lands putting forward their proposals for consideration at the next summit. Take this opportunity for the prosperous to show the Druj we will not be torn down and build back greater and better than ever before.

Darian Numbers, Prosperity Virtue Assembly Assembly, Summer 384YE, (218-13 (Greater Majority)

The Cardinal of the Prosperity Assembly has called on those who follow the Virtue to seek out opportunities in Zenith. Over the last year their work has brought valuable benefits to other territories, but it is an uphill struggle to identify such opportunities in Zenith. Before the Druj came, the territory was known for its Pride and Ambition rather than its Prosperity. After years of ruination under the Druj, there are few truly Prosperous citizens remaining and those that do are finding it difficult enough just to survive.

However, Virtue shines brightest in adversity and even in Druj-ravaged Zenith there are a handful of opportunities that the Empire could take advantage of - albeit some are less savoury than others.

Golden Cascade
Commission Type: Great work
Location: Zenith
Cost: 60 weirwood, 15 thrones, six months
Effect: Provides a share of 100 random herbs to farms and 30 crowns to herb gardens in Zenith

Golden Cascade

  • The Golden Cascade could be rebuilt to provide a benefit to farms and herb gardens throughout Zenith
  • The Cascade would also help to secure the supply of the Citadel Guard
  • The At the dog and pony show Wind of Fortune presents another option related to farming in Zenith

The simplest and most obvious thing to do would be to rebuild the Golden Cascade. This series of terraces carved into the foothills was supported with powerful ritual magic, and great polished mirrors that ensured that the fields received as much sunlight as possible all year round. It contributed significantly to the wealth and prosperity of the territory so it was one of the first things the brutal Druj targeted when they invaded.

It would require a great deal of time and work, six months in all, to clear the wreckage and rebuild the Cascade, as well as 60 wains of weirwood and 15 thrones. The benefits would be significant however producing a bounty of 100 random herbs which would be spread between the farms in Zenith, and 30 crowns spread between the herb gardens in the territory every season..

Most importantly of all, completing the Golden Cascade would provide a significant boost to food supply all across Urizen, easing pressures in Zenith and even in neighbouring Redoubt and Morrow. That would mean that Urizen could continue to fully supply the Citadel Guard indefinitely, even if they lost all access to Spiral. Recent events mean the army is being supported by the Synod's intervention, but that situation will expire at the end of the Summer Solstice 385YE. Rebuilding the Cascade would prevent further losses to the army, provided Urizen retained control of all three current Urizen territories. Without the Golden Cascade, losing control of a single region of Redoubt or Morrow would see the Citadel Guard begin to decline again.

OOC Note: The At the dog and pony show Wind of Fortune presents an alternative to rebuilding the Golden Cascade. Both can be undertaken, but the ability to support the Citadel Guard does not "stack" to the point of allowing a second Urizen army.

The Lost Sinecures

  • The priests of prosperity have identified an opportunity to rebuild the three mana sinecures that were destroyed by the Druj
Starlight Drift
Commission Type: Sinecure
Location: Occursion, Zenith
Cost: 6 mithril, 7 thrones, three months
Effect: Provides 8 crystal mana and 6 bladeroot to the Custodian of the Starlight Drift each season
Storm Vault
Commission Type: Sinecure
Location: Proceris, Zenith
Cost: 8 mithril, 10 thrones, three months
Effect: Provides 10 crystal mana to the Custodian of the Storm Vault each season
Tower of the Fall
Commission Type: Sinecure
Location: Occursion, Zenith
Cost: 6 wains of mithril, 9 thrones, three months
Effect: Provides 10 crystal mana and 6 Heart's Blood to the Keeper of the Tower of the Fall each season

The Empire could also attempt to rebuild some of the sinecures ruined in the invasion. These valuable commissions were systematically looted and destroyed by the Druj - but in some cases, parts of the original workings might be restored. Doing so would require less materials, but perversely would increase the financial costs required due to the sheer amount of work to clear the site before construction could begin. The resulting commissions would always retain a somewhat "patched up" visage, but perhaps that is no bad thing. While some are understandably keen to forget the horrors of the Druj occupation, others warn that those who forget history are doomed to get invaded by the Druj over and over again...

Haunted Drift
Of the sinecures that were ruined, three have some potential if they were restored. The one with the best prospects is the Starlight Drift of Shimmering Snow - a cliff face near Endsmeet in Zenith that was once a site of outstanding beauty due to the luminous veins of ore in the stone. Those are gone now, and the place is rumoured to be haunted by at least one ghost. The mournful spirit clearly doesn't present a serious danger however, since the Druj were able to extensively cultivate bladeroot among the ruins. These gardens still remain, and it would be a relatively simple matter to have ushabti tend them alongside the crystal mana. If it were restored, the Starlight Drift would provide 6 bladeroot in addition to 8 crystal mana each season.

Infested Vault

Tempest Veins
7 crowns12 ingots of Tempest Jade
17 crowns24 ingots of Tempest Jade
30 crowns36 ingots of Tempest Jade

Sadly the Storm Vault is in a more parlous state. While it is not haunted, it has been extensively ruined and the area overrun with dangerous vermin. Restoring the Vault would need more mithril than the Starlight Drift, and more money to clear the ruins of vicious little predators. Once the area was secured however it would provide as much mana as it did at the height of its productivity. Perhaps more interestingly, it appears that whatever Druj were responsible for destroying the vault opened up mine workings here. There is little finesse to Druj mining - they have simply torn apart the face of the mountain near where the Storm Vault stood - and sent narrow, cramped tunnels into the depths of the peak. If the Storm Vault was restored, these tunnels could likewise be expanded with ushabti workers. It appears from a preliminary examination that there is a wealth of tempest jade here. Useful in the creation of covenstones (among other magic items) and in the casting of several rituals relating to storms and destruction it might represent a source of additional prosperity for Zenith.

The custodian of a newly repaired Storm Vault would be able to pay for the tempest jade to be extracted, giving them access to a ministry as well as a sinecure.

Ill-omened Tower
The Tower of the Fall is potentially the most controversial of the three. It was almost completely destroyed by the Druj, but rather than loot the ruins, the precious materials were dumped into the waters below. The Druj clearly intended to ensure that nobody could ever make use of the flows of magic contained in the rushing waters, but it is possible they have miscalculated. It would be expensive to clear the waters, but once the task was complete more of the materials used in the original construction could be reclaimed.

The real problem is not the cost so much as the presence of a malign spirit in the area. As the Empire was preparing to drive the Druj from Zenith they found some way to unleash the Endless Stalker, a terrible servant of Agramant. Further investigation by Frumence the Retainer of House Vonsesse, the young and somewhat bookish Winter mage who had a chance encounter with the beast, has revealed that the Druj were able to perform this feat of magic by calling on the power released by the destruction of the Tower of the Fall. With the aid of The Howler they were able to create a stable Winter regio.

With a proper structure of mithril built around it to siphon off the magic, ten crystal mana and six doses of heart's blood would be produced each season. This is far and away the best return of any of the prospects from the lost sinecures. The problem is that Agramant's monster is still out there in Zenith somewhere. There's no obvious sign that it was using the Tower as a lair but... a Winter regio... created by Agramant... tied to the summoning of a dreadful beast? Well it doesn't exactly portend well...

Old Roads, New Horizons

  • A subtle enchantment has fallen over Zenith

Following the Equinox, a curious enchantment falls over Zenith. A cunning Autumn magic that takes advantage of that realm's resonance with trade, travel, influence and prosperity, its effects are powerful but subtle and hard to observe. Magicians who investigate the magic are able to confirm that the enchantment causes those who travel to, trade in, or settle in Zenith to be drawn into a chain of Prosperous coincidences. The magic seems to operate almost by happenstance, folk fortuitously finding themselves drawn along routes which take them to Zenith's most extraordinary sights or serendipitously discovering that the very location they have chosen to live just so happens to be well located to exploit a valuable resource.

The enchantment is clearly the result of an exceptionally powerful ritual, but the impact is subdued due to the limited numbers of people looking to settle in Zenith at this time. Thanks to the precise influence of the Autumn realm, those who are prepared to face the miasma find good fortune greets them at every turn... but they are still few in number. The heroes of Anvil may have the heroic strength or reserves of magic to bear the miasma, but few ordinary Urizeni do. Perversely that only seems to make the ritual work more effectively for those who do make the journey, as if the effects are more concentrated by dint of having so few people to share the bounty between.

The enchantment is already beginning to fade by the time the beginning of the Winter Solstice, its effects if any having run their course for the most part.

The Ritual In Play

  • Any Imperial citizen may swap their existing resource for a farm, business, mana site, herb garden, mine, forest, or congregation of equivalent level in Zenith
  • Any character who choses to move their resource to Zenith may chose to experience a roleplaying effect.

Any Imperial citizen who wishes to have a resource in Zenith can swap their existing resource for a new one in the territory. If the new resource is a farm, business, mana site, herb garden, mine, forest, or congregation, then there is no charge to change resources, and the new resource is of the same rank as the resource they give up.

OOC Note: You must abandon your current resource; you will receive a new resource of the same level as your current one at the point where you make the change. Players may benefit from these effects any time before the end of next downtime by emailing These benefits reflect the subtle influence of the enchantment which provides valuable rewards to those heroes able to face the miasma.

Any character who chooses to change their resource to Zenith, can choose to experience a roleplaying effect "You feel a desire to make use of any good fortune you enjoy in ways that will strengthen and enrich your home".

For What it's Worth

  • The Imperial Senate has instructed the civil service to carry out an appraisal of Zenith

To appraise opportunities in Zenith to stabilise and restore the territory, with a focus on supporting returning Zenith refugees and offering succour to those still living there.

Proposed: Zenith, Seconded: Morrow

During the Autumn Equinox the Imperial Senate passed a motion instructing the civil service to "appraise opportunities in Zenith to stabilise and restore the territory". Raised by Cadeus, newly elected Senator of Zenith, the motion did not specify a prognosticator to undertake the work. The Imperial Auditor Gerard La Salle chose Naomi of Virtue's Rest to lead the research. Naomi is a highly experienced prognosticator who is known to favour diplomatic solutions to problems.

Bereft of Hope: Rules
At present Zenith is "bereft of hope", a bitter harvest growing from the desolation of the Druj. While this situation endures there will be no spontaneous winds of fortune that benefit the territory. Imperial actions such as a Senate appraisal will function as normal, but no other plot opportunities will arise here.

In addition, any mandate that specifically targets Zenith will require twice as much liao to take effect. If it would normally require 25 or 50 doses of liao then it would need 50 or 100 doses of liao respectively. In addition any statement of principle that attempts to encourage people to settle here will fail to produce any opportunity or mandate.

Never highly-populated, many of the former inhabitants escaped to Morrow and Redoubt to avoid the Druj. The Synod encouraged these refugees to put down roots there, uncertain how long it would be before Zenith could be liberated. Having embraced a new life in the western spires, few are enthused at the prospect of returning to a broken land. This problem is further compounded by the loss of the ushabti. Thousands of these loyal servants were destroyed by ignorant Druj, and until they are replaced the territory can never be restored to its former glory.

The destructive nature of the Druj occupation force can also be seen in the ruins that dot the territory. The shattered remnants of former glory symbolise another loss - the loss of Pride. Zenith was once home to the Halls of Knowledge, but with the poorly-explained aid of Sadogua it was moved to Peregro in Morrow... just in time to be destroyed by the marauding Druj. The Arch of the Sky, the most famous observatory in the Empire was destroyed by the marauding orcs. The Golden Cascade, a wonder of the world that once fed all of Urizen was destroyed in an act of wanton vandalism that led to the flooding of Proceris. Everything that once made Zenith noteworthy now lies in ruin.

All of these injurious trials, the loss of Pride, and the resulting desolation of the spirit have left Zenith bereft of hope. To cure that ill, Naomi proposes to employ the same approach employed in Sarvos after that city was devastated by the Hag Queen's curse. She believes that the territory must find a new sense of purpose, a new source of Pride - in short she suggests that the territory must find a new arete. Her proposals are bold, and they are not cheap. In each case Naomi has approached experts in neighbouring nations to ensure that the designs employ the work of the crafters, artisans, and artists the Empire has to offer. As a result each of her three possible proposals for Zenith offer valuable benefits to some of Urizen's neighbours. Naomi hopes that Urizen might be able to persuade one of these beneficiaries to support their efforts to rebuild their home.

The Eye of the Heavens

  • The Empire could install a set of matching telescopes across Zenith - allowing the territory to embrace a new destiny as the Eye of the Heavens
  • The proposal is most likely to benefit stargazers and astronomancers

Zenith was once renowned for its astronomancers. The Arch of the Sky was a collection of spires on the tallest mountains in Zenith where stargazers and masters of celestial magic from across Urizen would come to observe the night skies, and debate the Net of the Heavens. When the Druj conquered Zenith they destroyed one of the finest observatories in Urizen if not the Empire.

The Eye of the Heavens
Commission Type: Folly
Location: Iteri and Occursion in Zenith
Cost: 30 mithril, 20 white granite, 10 weirwood and 15 thrones, six months
Effect: Creates a mandate for Zenith to embrace its status as the Eye of the Heavens and thereby cease to be bereft of hope
One-off Benefit: 100 crystal mana spread through businesses in the Brass Coast

One of the surviving stargazers, Delius of the Night Spire, has an ambitious plan that would enshrine the legacy of the Arch of the Sky and make Zenith the indisputable home of astronomancy throughout the Empire. She proposes to create not one, but five separate observatories. Three need to be in Iteri, at Mount Tion, Mount Blackfire, and Magfell Summit. The other two would be in Occursion, one at Mount Resthome and one at the Last Climb. These five sites have been meticulously chosen because Delius believes that they perfectly mirror the heavenly positions of The Key and The Lock. The placements will allow the stargazers who operate the observatories to make coproxamol measurements of the stars. Sharing their combined readings will bring them closer to understanding the mysteries of the stars than any mortal has dared to dream.

The great work could be undertaken using a single commission, but it requires 30 wains of mithril, 20 wains of white granite, 10 wains of weirwood, and 15 thrones to build the five observatories. The construction would take six months to complete. The construction does not include the materials needed to create new spires to support the great observatories, but there are habitable buildings near most sites and Delius says that Urizeni magicians are certain to take up residence nearby once the commission is authorised by the Senate. Stargazers and astronomancers from across Urizen will seize on this opportunity.

Completing the great observatories would provide a huge boost to the spirits of the people of Zenith, presenting an extraordinary opportunity for magicians to develop their arete. It would create a mandate that the Urizeni National Assembly could endorse to encourage Zenith to embrace a new destiny as the Eye of the Heavens. Zenith would no longer be bereft of hope - rather it would become renowned as a territory where people lift their eyes to the heavens, able to perceive the subtle truths woven by the movements of the stars.

To make even a single telescope needs a large amount of glass of the highest possible quality which must be shaped and polished to perfection to provide precisely the right optical strength. The telescopes needed to create the Eye of the Heavens require several great lenses to be ordered, produced, and delivered to Zenith. There are only a tiny number of workshops anywhere in the Empire that can produce such high-quality work and all the most reputable ones are to be found in the Brass Coast. Urizeni magicians are prepared to pay for the lenses using supplies of mana. Naomi has negotiated contracts with a number of prominent Freeborn families. As a result of these major transactions, once the observatories are built the Freeborn would benefit from a one-off payment of 100 crystal mana split equally between the businesses of the Brass Coast.

The Crucible of Fate

  • The Empire could commission a vast foundry in Iteri - allowing Zenith to embrace a new destiny as the Crucible of Fate
  • The proposal is most likely to benefit architects and artisans

A different proposal has been put forward by Arbiter Lagan, formerly of Spire Calator in Iteri. According to history, this ancient spire was where the secrets of ushabti production were first codified. It was always a home to artisans and scholars who gathered to study and perfect the craft of these valuable magical constructs. The spire was split between two schools of thought - those who favoured artistic concerns over prosaic function and those who valued technical accomplishment over aesthetic considerations. Most of the inhabitants fled when the Spire was conquered toward the end of 381YE, but Lagan is keen to try and entice them by reforging the spire.

The Crucible of Fate
Commission Type: Folly
Location: Iteri in Zenith
Cost: 20 mithril, 30 white granite, 10 ilium and 15 thrones, six months
Effect: Creates a mandate for Zenith to embrace its status as the Crucible of Fate and thereby cease to be bereft of hope
One-off Benefit: 140 random ingots spread through businesses in the League

As well as a capable artisan, Lagan is a respected architect - a firm believer in a utilitarian approach in which form follows function. His plan involves a complete redesign of the workshops at Calator to make it easier for artisans to pursue their work. His dream is to turn Calator into a spire whose facilities would attract the best Urizeni artisans, a place where like-minded magicians could work together to master their arete as they sought to create new ushabti. Lagan waxes lyrical about how Calator could become the crucible that forges the fate of Zenith and Urizen.

This Crucible of Fate would require 20 mithril, 30 white granite, 15 thrones and take six months to complete. Lagan's revolutionary designs would also need 10 rings of ilium that would be employed as part of the construction. Fortunately Spire Calator is more than large enough to house the artisans and architects that the new workshops would attract. The Druj despoiled the spire, destroyed its ushabti and robbed its treasures, but the Spire's great stone buildings have survived untouched by the passage of centuries; they were more than a match for the orcs' spite.

Once complete, the artisans of the Crucible would be able to quickly fashion dozens of ushabti, which would be a major boost both to Zenith and to Urizen as a whole. These constructs would be invaluable in rebuilding Zenith, providing a much needed source of labour in mines, forests and herb gardens across the territory. It would take time of course, but it would convince everyone that the loss of the ushabti to the Druj could be remedied. That alone would lift spirits here, but the crucible could also shape the future of Zenith. Architects and artisans from all over Urizen would be keen to come here to study, share techniques, and learn from each other. It would create a mandate that the Urizeni National Assembly could endorse to encourage Zenith to embrace a new destiny as the Crucible of Fate. Zenith would be no longer be bereft of hope - rather it would become renowned as a territory whose people were masters of their own fate.

Unfortunately Lagan's designs require a number of critical components that can't be produced in Urizen. Countless tiny brass cogs and gears are required - and each would be need to be manufactured to the highest standard. This is the kind of work that the Wunderkind in Holberg excels in, but such skills are found in workshops across the League. Urizeni artisans are prepared to pay for the instruments and devices using supplies of precious metals, so Naomi has arranged provisional contracts with the leading guilds. As a result of these transactions, the Empire would benefit from a one-off payment of 140 ingots split equally between the businesses of the League in the season the crucible was completed.

The Radix of Truth

  • The Empire could commission an awe-inspiring temple in Occursion - allowing Zenith to embrace a new destiny as the Radix of Truth
  • The proposal is most likely to benefit questors and illuminates

The final proposition is one put forward by a young illuminate called Soloman. Zenith was once home to a passionate community of illuminates, housed in the Hall of the Risen Sun. The spire was a beautiful edifice of white granite, polished marble, and orichalcum mirrors which served as a great cathedral for the faithful of Zenith. Like everything else it was looted and destroyed by the Druj, who cannot stand the sight of virtue or beauty. Some of the survivors have gathered in the mountains of south-eastern Morrow to found a new spire, but Soloman is more interested in persuading the Proud and Ambitious philosophers to support the construction of a new temple devoted to the great truths in Zenith. By doing so, he hopes to urge inspire those who dwell in Zenith to never forget that those who grasp the Net of the Heavens may use it to perfect the world.

The Radix of Truth
Commission Type: Folly
Location: Occursion in Zenith
Cost: 30 white granite, 20 weirwood, 200 orichalcum and 15 thrones, six months
Effect: Creates a mandate for Zenith to embrace its status as the Radix of Truth and thereby cease to be bereft of hope
One-off Benefit: 200 herbs spread through congregations in Highguard

The Radix of Truth would require 30 white granite, 20 weirwood, and 15 thrones and take six months to complete. In addition to these costs, 200 ingots of orichalcum would be needed to create a set of beautiful golden mirrors that would beam the light of the rising sun throughout the halls. Light, as any Urizeni child can tell you, is a powerful hearth magic that brings clarity and dispels confusion. By focusing and reflecting the light, the Radix would create a numinous temple that would inspire everyone who experienced it.

The plans for the new temple are ambitious. The centrepiece would be a large central atrium containing seven great stained-glass tableaus, each of which would be illuminated by the light reflected from the mirrors at different points during the day. The resulting dioramas would demand deep contemplation allowing pilgrims to discover new truths as they passed through the structure. The best Imperial artists producing virtuous work in stained glass are found in Highguard, so Naomi has made an agreement in principle with a group of benefactors. They will supply the necessary artwork in return for a donation of herbs to the Highborn congregations who supported the liberation of Zenith. Urizeni herbalists are prepared to pay for the art using supplies of herbs taken from the fleeing Druj so the Empire would benefit from a one-off payment of 200 herbs split equally between the congregations of Highguard in the season the temple was completed.

Like the other proposals endorsed by Naomi, completing the new temple would dramatically improve morale in the territory. Ambition and Pride would suffuse the hearts and souls of the people of Zenith, reminding them that everyone has a role to play in perfecting the world. Visitors would have their spirits lifted and the place would become a site of pilgrimage for questors and illuminates. It would reify a new destiny for Zenith as a land where people seek the truth. It would create a mandate that the Urizeni National Assembly could endorse to urge everyone in Zenith to accept that the true essence of these mountains is the Radix of Truth Zenith would be no longer be bereft of hope - rather it would become a place of pilgrimage for all those who seek to find what is hidden.

A New Arete

A New Arete: Rules
This wind of fortune presents an opportunity for players to determine what stories begin in Zenith in the future. At the point where we create new opportunity involving Zenith, then we will take whichever of the three mandates players choose as our starting point when deciding the nature and direction of any plots. If player actions means Zenith remains bereft of hope, then we will use that as the basis for any new plots involving the territory instead.

The Imperial Senate could choose to commission to any, all, or none of the follies listed above. If they do commission one or more of Naomi's plans - then any one of them could become the basis for a new future for Zenith creating a unique opportunity for the territory to embrace a new arete.

As soon as one or more of the three commissions above is complete then a mandate will become available to the Urizen Assembly to encourage the inhabitants of Zenith to embrace the possibilities embodied by the new structure. This mandate will not be affected by the penalties imposed by being bereft of hope. If endorsed it will set the course of the mountains of Zenith for the future, helping to define the territories identity and arete.

In theory there is no reason why Urizen could not choose to support more than one of these commissions, perhaps to demonstrate to the Druj how badly their efforts to crush Urizen have failed. But whatever happens the territory can only truly have one arete, so it can only pass one of the three possible mandates. If more than one commission is completed at the same event, then each commission will create its own competing mandate.

At the point where the Urizen Assembly embraces a new future for Zenith by endorsing a mandate in favour of one of the three commissions then the territory will cease to be bereft of hope. Until that point, any other mandate that might affect the territory will require twice as much liao to be effective. Moreover no statement or mandate that encourages people to settle in the territory will have any effect until an appropriate commission is completed and a new future embraced. Without a vision of what Zenith might become, those who have fled the territory will never be persuaded to return.

This encounter is not intended to feature fighting and is classed combat unlikely or contained. Attempts to solve the problem with force have been unsuccessful. This is an opportunity for Urizen and Highborn to pass through the Sentinel Gate for a mixture of roleplay, investigation, and performance in a calm yet unnerving atmosphere. It will take place in a fixed spot on the field a short distance from the Sentinel Gate, and will be on flat ground, with players being welcome to bring seating with them.

Aura of Solace

During this conjunction everyone present will experience the following roleplaying effect: You feel calm, relaxed and focused; you find meditation and rational discussion preferable to physical action. All emotions and pressing concerns are muted; physical action and behaving in an impassioned way are both tiring. Violence requires a major effort of will.

This can provide a source of supernatural strength, allowing you to overcome an unwanted roleplaying effect so long as you roleplay being calm and focused. When you leave, the unwanted roleplaying effect will return if it has any duration left. This includes the normal negative roleplaying effect that accompanies any visit to Zenith under the Druj miasma.

Tortured Solace (Conjunction)

  • An Urizen spire attempting to return to their home in Zenith have found it occupied by Tormented Souls
  • A powerful calming aura from a nearby Day regio means they are not an immediate threat, but they will not submit to a rite of exorcism
  • A conjunction to the Ring of Solace Ruins at 11pm on Friday will allow up to 50 people to visit the area
  • The Arbiter of the Ring of Solace has asked the Archivist of the Echoing Obelisk and the Senators of Urizen to organise people of Urizen and Highguard to come and address the problem

With the Druj driven from Zenith, the people of the Ring of Solace Spire recently returned to the ruins of their former home in Occursion in the hopes of salvaging some what they had left behind. Their search was fruitless, but they were relieved to find the nearby Day regio was unaffected. This particular regio is not especially strong, but it radiates a powerful calming aura similar to that created by the ritual Solace of Chimes. They were less pleased to discover a handful of Tormented Souls, both Urizen and Highborn in origin, had taken up residence in the regio. The aura seems to be having a particularly calming influence on the spirits, blunting the hatred that consumes most of their kind. They appear to be safe to interact with, but still pose a significant spiritual threat.

During the Winter Solstice a conjunction of the Sentinel Gate will allow a group to travel to the regio at eleven in the evening on Friday. Arbiter Portia of the Ring of Solace, has suggested a mixed group of Urizen and Highborn could use it to try and each of the unfortunate former Imperial champions to allow a rite of exorcism. She asks the Archivist of the Echoing Obelisk and the Senators of Urizen to work together to gather a group of people from both nations who can visit the site and help resolve the problem.

Salvation in our wake (Conjunction)

  • The tortured souls Tibera and Gaiu of the Arch of the Sky are active in Iteri
  • If they are not put to rest then they will continue to torment the people of Zenith
  • The High Exorcist is responsible for putting the tortured souls to rest

The unconquered of the Seventh Wave have managed to track down a cadre of tortured souls that are active in Iteri. Whilst a number of the blasphemous creations of the Druj remain throughout the territory this is the largest remnant still plaguing the citizens of Zenith. If they are not put to rest by Imperial heroes then they will continue to harrow the people of Zenith.

Tibera and Gaiu of the Arch of the Sky were inseparable siblings in life who fell into the hands of the Druj when they conquered Proceris. Now, in death, they seem to be equally inseparable and in place of their profound loyalty to the nation of Urizen, they now seem to take twisted pleasure in slaughtering other sentinels.

The tortured souls will be accompanied by a force of the Druj that still linger in Zenith. Heroes attempting the skirmish should consult with the Master of the School of Exorcism to ensure that they have made the right preparations to deal with these monsters. Given the danger represented by the torture souls the responsibility for this conjunction lies with the current High Exorcist; Finna i Fijadoz i Guerra.

Whole once more (Conjunction)

  • Sentinels of the Citadel Guard have uncovered the location of a set of miasma pillars in Lustri
  • Destroying the miasma pillars will cause the miasma over Lustri to dissipate over the coming season
  • The Senator for Zenith is responsible for destroying the miasma pillars

After the failure of the Imperial heroes to destroy the miasma pillars in Lustri during the Autumn Equinox the Druj were able to cast a small shroud over the area. A small unit of sentinels serving in the Citadel Guard were able to once again uncover the location and have reported back with more details. The pair of linked miasma pillars remain and have been reinforced by the arrival of the tortured soul of Aureli Major who patrols the area around the pillars. In life Aureli Major was a respected battle mage and talented practitioner of Winter magic. Deadly with staff and spell, in their reign of terror they have made a point of targeting healers and other support magicians.

Aureli Major is accompanied by the loose rabble drawn from across the arkad. The scouts have also indicated that at least two more tortured souls are present here. Heroes attempting the skirmish should consult with the High Exorcist or the Master of the School of Exorcism to ensure that they have made the right preparations to deal with these monsters. Given that this represents a direct threat to the citizens of Zenith, the responsibility for this conjunction lies with whoever is appointed as the Senator for Zenith at the upcoming summit.

Druj Miasma

  • Both the Salvation in our wake and Whole once more encounters in Zenith take place under the Druj miasma
  • The miasma weakens anyone exposed to it who does not have the ability to overcome it
The miasma weakens anyone exposed to it who does not have the ability to overcome it. The easiest method to overcome the miasma is to receive an anointing, but particularly heroic individuals, or those in possession of certain enchantments or magic items may also be able to counteract the effect. In particular, those of the changeling lineage are able to fight the effects of the miasma, but at the expense of becoming extremely angry - which can cause problems all its own.

Further Reading