1214-1215 RE-- Winter News
Caliphate of Dusk
The main focus of the Caliphate has been keeping the ghuls at bay; more information can be found in the Sack of Khaldun Event. Political fallout from this ripples widely; the future of the Demeyen Bishak is in jeopardy, and the Sandspire army are camped in Khaldun for the time being, awaiting orders from the Komutan and the Caliph as to whether they will move against the Marrashi, or simply hold the border against more potential floods of ghuls. It is likely that they will call upon the Azdin Pact with Tarsikka for their mutual defense, or possibly supplies.
Dane Sverre Frosteye has officially withdrawn his support from his nephew, Sigmar Voluspa, in the Athral Isle. Several Septs are preparing longboats to overthrow Sigmar, and take the Athral Isle for themselves. In the meantime, there have been many more sightings of Nimori and Vampires crossing Gauntish lands and attacking various Septs. A varied group of Dane's Bulwark and others, including some Fallen Celestials, rove the countryside fighting these creatures, and defending the Septs. In spite of their aid, they are often barred from cities and towns, as most folk are disinclined to trust Fallen, regardless. There are rumors of a mysterious new cult arising in Gaunt, called the Dragon's Shadow. It is believed that the Dane himself might put off the pretense of Redwood Throne worship in favor of this new faith; which is purported to be more directly inspired by Lavine, the dragon of Gaunt. Bishop Viklos of Gaunt, a member of the Dane's Bulwark, hotly denies these rumors.
Following the official announcement regarding the withdrawal of the Dane's support from King Sigmar Voluspa, Athrals prepare for the worst as rumors of incoming Gaunts race far ahead of the first longboats. Reactions across the island-nation range from public outcry and massive gatherings by the Redwood Throne faithful to stoic digging in of the common folk as they prepare for the worst of the conflicts expected along the coast. Still others look toward the Nobility; there was yet another failed attempt to secure the release of Lady Trowbridge from the stockades where she's been held these last several months. The market prices of preserved meats and salt have skyrocketed; many poachers and highwaymen have dared to raid heavily armed travelers in hopes of securing non-traceable wealth and non-perishable goods to stockpile further inland. A few reports have surfaced of particularly effective strikes against Sigmar's tax collectors, with devastating effect as goods and materiel bound for the King's coffers have seemingly vanished into the wilds of the Geistwood. Local people remain characteristically silent on the matter when questioned, and all efforts to capture the parties responsible have been met with failure if not sabotage by the general population. As a result, King Sigmar has increased patrols of the known travel routes, angering the local Tharici and seagoing merchants who rely upon freedom of movement and who claim no connection with the mysterious raids.
Although there was an initial swell in morale by the common folk, the harsh policies enforced by King Sigmar’s forces as they have rallied and recovered are now more oppressive than ever and “reappropriations” of goods and foodstuffs have left hundreds starving and without recourse. While missionaries dispatched by the Redwood Throne have managed to curtail the worst of what could develop into a devastating epidemic, they are hard-pressed to stave off the worst of corpse-borne illnesses brought about by massive hangings and beheadings as King Sigmar’s men regain control of the populace. Where typically those who resist the King are able to offer aid and succor to those hit hardest by those loyal to the current ruler, heavy-handed tactics and an increase in the amount of patrols and arrests have left many questioning whether or not being seen as taking a continued stand against King Sigmar is worth the trouble, and pray that a change in the status quo happens soon.
Principalities of Verdien
In Eastern Trempa a long-simmering political situation finally boiled over when the Duke-Regent declared his allegiance to Milena II, supporting her claim against the recently elevated Matriarch Donia I. Matriarch Donia I recently took power following a popular vote swayed in part by the uprising and subsequent campaign of Redwood Throne Faithful associated with the area of Marath Suvla. While her ascension has been hailed by many as a much-needed victory for tolerance and integrity, others see her as a continuation of decade-old injustices and do not recognize her as Matriarch, viewing her appointment as invalid. Joined by the High Steward of Trayal who shares similar complaints against the Crown, the Duke-Regent of Eastern Trempa now aids Milena II in her crusade against Matriarch Donia I and those who remain loyal to her.
Western Trempa stands strong with Matriarch Donia I, and is joined in support by the Great Guilds of the Hulder, where the faithful of Matriarch Donia I gather to withstand the united forces of the Anti-Matriarch Milena II. The Emperor himself has shown tremendous support for the true Matriarch Donia I, demonstrating solidarity with the Great Guilds by employing many of them in an effort to stand firm against Milena II and her forces. Following his suppression of the rebellion among his nobles who mistakenly sided with a rogue General Tarmashin and his Lions of Brezha, Emperor Ludovic now calls to all those who would support him and the rightful Matriarch Donia I to show solidarity by joining the ranks of those who would stand against the threat of Milena and her allies. The Crown Prince himself signed a contract for the first of several Loans taken out with the Ledger’s Guild at a public ceremony within the Hulder, the first funding of many investments which will go toward the outfitting and training of the newest of these new forces.
The Redwood Throne’s missions abroad may soon see diminished support. A new following of the Dragon's Shadow has quieted many of the Throne faithful in Gaunt and beleaguered missionaries in Tarsikka are suffering under the threat of the Servants of Eternal Dawn have taken severe losses. In the Caliphate, the Redwood Throne has shown no real progress since the late fall and onset of winter, but state that they will continue to minister to the willing and those in need. Although there have been whispers and rumors of Matriarch Donia I considering the assignment of a new Bishop to the Athral Isle, supporters of the current Bishop of Gaunt decry this idea, stating that with the rising support of the Dragon’s Shadow a strong voice would be required to attend to the Redwood Throne faithful.
The winter has been a time of restoration and renewal for Oresund. Healing from the scars of the Frozen Castle conflict, the people are slowly regrouping and turning from recovery to growth. Led by Duke Alvegeir Stararm of Clan Nokkvi, the residents of Audleberg work with the Great Guilds to revitalize and improve the perception of their small town as a cosmopolitan center of modernity and trade. While most hail the efforts of Alvegeir as forward-thinking and progressive, others worry that this will cause undue difficulty with long-standing agreements and trade with the Tharici of the Glass River. Although several of the higher-ranking Apas of the Glass River have reportedly been diverted by the calling of a massive festival gathering near Marath Suvla, this hasn’t stopped some of the keener economic and political minds among the Tharici from continuing to work toward negotiations for new contracts with the Unbroken Circlet. Duke Alvgeir has been quite accommodating of the Tharici and has not yet made any sort of decision one way or the other regarding these proposed contracts, but the outcome of this three-way negotiation is yet to be seen.
The Tundra Guard is once again on excellent terms with the Unbroken Circlet, and attention has returned to the pursuit and dispatch of both Blackwind and the traitor Immolo Karvonnen; both have thus far eluded capture or death. Dorrit Eirun and Nilmer Preben have split the load of running down Karvonnen and do so by casting a wide net beyond simple tracking of the villain. Calling in favors and seeking out the aid of those beyond their borders has caused quite a stir but there are no doubts as to their determination. There has also been an increase in the acceptance of Celestials. One Celestial member of the Tundra Guard has been instrumental in the inclusion of his brethren on various patrols in the area, citing a desire for increased protection and unity throughout Oresund.
Not all are pleased with the outreach made to non-Oresunders, however; the King has seen increasing unrest and apparent displeasure with the increase in boons granted to his petitioners. The populace is divided as to whether or not the boons are rewards for deeds undertaken or greed for favor. Additionally, there is unrest amongst the Homunculi as more than one rebellion has been quietly ended. Details on the exact nature of the rebellions remain unclear, and sympathizers are quickly silenced before too many details become known. The increase in Light Under the Mountain and Redwood Throne worship as a direct result of missionaries and the patrols of practitioners is also causing some tension of a religious nature, but thus far the priests of the Pentavarate have remained officially silent.
Previously a quiet haven of scholarly research, the Library of Dunaldur has seen more visitors of late following the sacking of Khaldun. There has also been an influx of visiting researchers digging into the magical work of the famous wizard Isto, causing something of a historical magical resurgence. Library staff is thus expanding as it can to deal with this upsurge in the academic pursuits. It is unclear whether or not the caretakers of the Library are prepared for such a large influx of visitors, though they have been welcoming to scholars of all nations and some view the increase in guests as a positive sign that prosperity can only increase with an expansion of trade and intensification of Oresund’s involvement in global politics.
Without any real warning, the Intuneric has become a hotbed of violence. Redwood Throne missionaries and shrines fell victim to priests and followers of Light Under the Mountain. The attackers seek to purge the foreigner religion from Tarsikka. Count Tumul, Lord Nimic, and Baron Hideg have opposed this violence, with both Tumul and Hideg directing vassals to investigate and come to the truth of the matter. Lord Nimic has led numerous patrols of mounted knights to defend the Throne's missions in his lands.
The grain blight that began in the Barov Manor's fields last year has spread through much of Tumul County. It is likely to threaten Torca Barony soon. While many have offered alchemical or magical remedies for the blight, thus far there has been no slowdown to the crop-killing disease. Even when faced by these difficulties, Count Tumul has invited representatives of the Imperial Society of Smiths to his lands, potentially to discuss a revolutionary new relationship between the Great Guilds of the Hulder and the Tarsikkan lands. While it was initially believed that such an affiliation could potentially anger those involved in the recent renewal of the Azdin Pact, signatories of the Pact remain firm that the ties between them are strong. Even in the face of opening these negotiations, Count Tumul does not discount the relationship between Tarsikka and the Royal Societies of Akathia, in the form of an open exchange of research, resources and fighting personnel. Other rumors of low-key political conflict between various counties threaten long-standing friendships and alliances, but as of now those tales are but whispers.
Following the sack of Khaldun, the Countess Tija in Stele County offers a unique challenge which will undoubtedly bolster the Library of Atyuren as well as give permanent positions to three Akathian scholars seeking asylum. Of the multitudes seeking not only the ease of a permanent position but a generous stipend, the she has posed a series of riddles and questions; to three victors go the spoils.