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Conclave - News and Notes Turn 2
Summer Year 1 - 66 months to Armageddon.

General

No one yet has been appointed to the now vacant position of Archmage. In fact, the mage Andas has said that there are no plans to instate a new Conclave until the current crisis has been fully investigated and resolved. An official notice from Andas states that the Archmage is indeed dead and that the mages suspect either the Solists or some third part intent on causing trouble between the two sides. A number of mages are already investigating.

The beginning of summer brought the strange sight of flying mages on both continents. In the space of no more than a week, thirty flying mages were spotted, some flying unaided, others carried by giant birds. Where they came from, and where they were going, can only be guessed at. City leaders, however, request politely that mages refrain from startling their townsfolk and restrict their levitating activities to more isolated spots.

Mages are always asked to consider others when they are experimenting with new spells. A whole flock of sheep were turned blue this summer, while strong winds are becoming ever more a problem across Bernea. It is no wonder the Solists are gaining such popular support when mages wilfully destroy the property of ordinary folk in the pursuit of yet more extravagant spells.

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Bernean Homeland

The expedition to the Burnt Lands may have foundered due to all the backers suddenly becoming struck by pure altruism and donating their money to children's orphanages instead. However, a new mystery backer has now come forward and the families of the previous, lost, party of explorers are urging volunteers to contact them. So far no one has, although a young dwarf has been spotted wandering in the area.

A political alliance between Meridar and Squill may be in the offing, according to latest rumours. It is even rumoured that the Taskmaster is behind this, putting aside his personal ambitions in the interest of the defence of the southern regions. But how much can he be trusted? The latest word from Squill is that the council is considering the offer and, if they accept, they may withdraw some of their forces from Sher. Which is probably not good news for the citizens of Sher, as, undefended, they may just prove too tempting a target for the Taskmaster.

The situation in the north continues to deteriorate. Several reports have come in that the four Watch Towers are in ruins. But another report from Captain Justin Trevalion states that Lord Scale has returned to his Fire Tower and is rebuilding it. A number of elves, emboldened by a victory there over barbarian forces, have joined him. The Barbarian tribes have limited themselves to a series of small attacks on villages and farms over the past months so the people in the large towns are beginning to relax a little. The tribes have never had a big enough force to launch an attack on a major target. City leaders in Kalofane are said to be awaiting word from Earendil and Vohra the Red who have been on a scouting mission in the area. Meanwhile, most trade has been suspended and there is still a steady flow of refugees from the villages. The remaining trade caravans have banded together and are actively seeking mercenary guards to provide armed escorts between Kalofane and the elven capital of Kalevi. Elves are preferred, given Kalevi's hostile attitude to humans, but anyone who has the necessary skills may approach the merchants' guild in Kalofane.

Those aiding the defence of the north have talked of a mysterious force helping them. Refugees arrive in Kalofane talking of receiving a premonition of danger and escaping their homes just as barbarian raiding parties ride in. Coincidence, of course, or maybe the Great Forest does indeed exert some kind of protective magic over its people.

Cleon is still regarded as the safest of the northern cities. Jad Arden has not yet given up his claim to the throne, however, and appears to be gaining ever-increasing support from the Brown Friar movement. And the head of the Brown Friars has been seen talking to Solists. Which way the balance of power will shift next is anyone's guess but Tse-Kurak, leader of the temple of Pax Everstill is remaining strictly neutral.

Gershan Homeland

Word has leaked out that someone in Masud is recruiting a band of mercenaries for a dangerous but well-paid job. The identity of the employer and the nature of the task are unknown. Maybe it has something to do with the city leaders conference taking place in Masud next month. King Akenhaten of Masud, Mayor Padriac Takeri of Shu, Lili Bann, head of Niu and Reshef of Ottah are all said to be attending.

Meanwhile, the nomadic Near Camp has been closed off to all foreigners for a series of secret tribal meetings. Travellers are advised to stay clear of the area as nomad guards are on patrol and have threatened to execute all spies. There is still no word from the Solist leader, Amphion, who is rumoured to be travelling to the desert regions to meditate, however, in Tredl, Jan Fale has assigned guards to all major Solist buildings. He states that this is a precaution, though against what he will not say. Several people claiming to be from the Solist faction have been offering what they call a 'magical' amnesty. They are calling on ordinary people to hand in any magical items they might possess for the Solists to dispose of safely. However, in at least one case, it has turned out that these people are common thieves. In Ottah alone they have got away with more than twenty magical scrolls, a ring of invisibility and a flying carpet. The public are warned to be on their guard.

Shu and Masud are celebrating the arrival of a consignment of Cimian Red. This famous wine is one of the most sought-after brands, and these particular bottles come from the estates of Karagis, leader of Cimis, himself, which makes them all the more valuable. A bottle is selling for a month's wages in Shu, while in Masud, King Akenhaten is said to have snapped up the entire cargo. Captain Edmond Malkor, having delivered the wine, is now establishing trading contracts for transport of emeralds.

A momentary excitement in Shu last month, when a group of nine men were apprehended attempting to break into the palace of the mayor. They denied they had plans to assassinate him and even claimed they'd been invited to the palace to discuss a secret mission. Unable to provide details of this mission, they have been sent to work in the emerald mines until such a time as a formal trial can be arranged.

The attempted attack may have been the result of a recent 'magical amnesty' offered by the Gershan church in Shu. The church has constructed a large, closely guarded vault which will act as a safe depositary for all artefacts and scrolls. "These objects are highly dangerous and should not remain in the hands of the public," one priest said.

Looking northwards, the sudden disappearance of the Lorn thief has done nothing to stop the rumours concerning his identity. Now the Empress Charis Lorn herself has offered a reward of 100 gold crowns for anyone who can bring him to her alive. Nobody has claimed the reward yet, so it must be assumed that the thief is lying low somewhere in the city.

Lorn, too, has the dubious honour of announcing the latest prophecy of the dwarf Crazy Mathilda. The city crier has been seen at all hours shouting the following: "And lo shall the worm rip from the earth, and the godless one shall be scattered before it." The prophetess herself has not been seen for some time - probably just as well as latest reports say that she has taken to wandering around stark naked, only her long dwarven beard retaining any semblance of modesty.

On the far coast, in Cimis, the city leader Karagis is drawing criticism because of his defiantly pro-magic stance. The dwarf ex-thief turned politician has said openly that mages are welcome in Cimis on the same terms as any other settlers - which means if they can hold their own in the rough conditions they are welcome to whatever spot of land they may claim. There's also talk that some of the rabble of thieves and murderers are slowly getting themselves organised. There's certainly been far fewer street fights during the past months.

Notes

The deadline for the next main turn is 31st August. For those of you who can't wait that long, the deadline for subsidiary turns is August 14th. You may spend 3 action points on a subsidiary turn, leaving 3 to spend on the next main turn, and you may not order any action that needs an immediate response from another player (unless, of course, you're submitting turns together.)

Items: those of you who've created magical items (or who've owned them since setup), do feel free to give them interesting names; nothing like a bit of atmosphere!

A few people have asked whether they can sense mages of their own element. I can see that it would help diplomacy if you knew who else was in your element, but I can also understand that some people might not even want mages of the same element to know who they are. For next turn, then, I propose drawing up lists for each element and sending them to the relevant mages. Anyone who does NOT want to appear on the list should let me know on their turnsheet. In the meantime, those players who wanted to contact mages of their element this turn have had their messages passed on without receiving a list of who got them.

Finally, if there are any questions, or if you think we've missed anything out, feel free to contact myself or Mo at any time.


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