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Conclave News and Notes Turn 7
Autumn Year 2 - 51 months to Armageddon.

A Happy New Year to everyone. Don't forget the Conclave pubmeet in Oxford on the 19th of January.

Missing Persons

Still no word from the mage Latcho Drom who went missing during the summer. His companion has now purportedly vanished as well. The nomad tribe who were taking care of the boy say he left the camp one night and has not been seen since.

Also missing is Pock'H, travelling the seas in search of a mysterious lost continent, some say. What he hopes to do when he finds it is a mystery - land his mountain in the middle of it and cause an earthquake most probably

Gershan

The Forbidden Mountains have remained quiet. No more earthquakes, no sightings of dragons, and many of the treasure hunters have given up and gone home. According to Taos, mages are currently working in the mountains to repair the damage done by the earthquakes. People are asked to keep clear until they receive word that the area is safe.

In Taos itself, Tormir Sureforge is up to something. Large quantities of best quality steel have disappeared into the dwarven craftsman's workshop, which remains strangely silent.

A particularly gruesome murder carried out in Lorn has raised fears of a new cult in the city. A beggar was found with his throat slit and his heart removed. The ritual nature of the killing suggests it was carried out as part of some demonic sacrifice and is most likely the work of a rogue mage. We can only hope that this was a random act of violence and not the start of a new trend.

The political situation in the south remains tense. Solists retain control of Niu while the River City army controls the Lyvan river and has formed a defensive barrier cutting Niu off from the rest of the continent. Supplies are still getting in, however, thanks to a new, independent, trade network that specialises in basic food rations.

Meanwhile, rumours are growing that the political leaders are all working with some unknown enemy to bring about a great war that will end the world. In all the major cities, tools of warfare increase and the city walls grow daily. Leaders are calling for calm but there is an increasing sense of panic everywhere. Street riots in Ottah were quelled by the city guard. The City Council have ridiculed the latest story that the Solists have a secret weapon of mass destruction. If they had such a weapon, they'd have used it by now, they say.

Back in Niu, Captain Gan Mudskipper, who has served loyally under Amphion for the past year, has been accused of treason. His fate is at yet uncertain. And, one of Amphion's rallies was interrupted last month by a display of magic that showed a giant image of the Prophet stealing into a mage's house and accepting money from the occupant in a manner than can only be described as 'furtive'. Amphion has denounced the display as a trick and an illusion, wholly untrue, but certain factions in the city are not so sure. It has already been rumoured that Amphion is in league with demonic powers. If the leader of the Solists himself is making secret deals with mages then we have nothing to oppose them, and then what will we do when the end comes?

In response to these recent events, Amphion has issued the following order to the city of Shu: "Surrender. You will be next."

At least the situation in Cimis has improved. The city, hit by magical earthquakes and tornados two months ago, has started its recovery. While not admitting responsibility for the accident, the GROSS mages offered their services in the rescue teams and the mage Lorthian opened up a number of magical portals allowing the transport of goods from cities across Bernea and Gershan. The Magicke Shoppe also made a substantial donation to the rescue and building fund.

The time of the mages in Cimis is, however, over. Even while rescue operations were underway, GROSS packed up its belongings and slunk out of the city. No one knows for sure where the organisation is based now, although there have been sightings of large ships heading up the coast of Gershan in the direction of the Forbidden Mountains.

This is typical of mages, everyone agrees - making use of a place until they cause a catastrophe, then moving on to do the same elsewhere. We trust that no other city will make the same mistake of offering them shelter. Incensed by the actions of GROSS, Karagis has wisely ordered the closure of the Magick Shoppe in Cimis along with the confiscation of all magical goods in the city. In a public statement, he has said that he is not, as rumoured, converting to the Solist movement, but he is no longer prepared to offer mages a safe haven in the city. For the safety of everyone, the practise of magic within the city walls is outlawed until further notice.

The Solists have made great efforts to help Cimis in its hour of need, sending in supplies of food, medicines, building equipment and workers. The site of the GROSS academy has been turned into a city orphanage with funds left by Kinnon as he fled. It is being staffed by Solist volunteers.

From Lord Jan Fale

A reward of 300 gold crowns is offered for the arrest of the evil mage known as Crazy Matti. She was last seen travelling towards Lord disguised as a tall, black-haired man with red eyes, a black beard, black cloak and high black boots.

Bernea

In Sher, a group of BTC guards, led by Vohra the Red attacked and killed the Bailiff Phila Naal. Coming days before Meridar took control of the town, this attack was one of three incidents of its kind. In similar attacks, the mage Magnus Thorne led a group of guards into Veluta and killed one of the council members and the mage Andas, missing for months, reappeared suddenly in Kessel and fired a poisoned arrow at the son of Duke Bravon Turkelme, killing him instantly. In all cases, the attack group appeared suddenly out of thin air, let loose a volley of poisoned arrows and disappeared again just as suddenly.

If it was just Sher that had been attacked, we'd have thought the Taskmaster was behind it. The attacks on the other two cities, however, suggest that there might be a wider conspiracy afoot. There has been no sign of Andas since, and Magnus Thorne moved his tower, giving no reason. He and Vohra the Red deny all involvement with the murders, but once again we must wonder how far we can trust the word of a mage.

In the wake of Bailiff Naal's death, Meridar has taken control of Sher and in a surprise turn of events has ordered an independent council to be formed headed by former political prisoner, Rupar (who escaped from the town gaol on the eve of his execution and made his way to Kessel before returning to Sher to take over the reins of power.) The current situation is uncertain, but it is thought that Meridar intends Sher to remain as an independent ally, ruled by the new council. After the disarming of the remaining Squill guards, the Taskmaster's army withdrew from Sher as an act of goodwill and is now camped south of the town.

For the benefit of those who were not there, here follows a rundown of events:

  1. The political prisoner, Rupar, accused of treason, is sentenced to be executed.
  2. Meridar's army is spotted advancing on Squill. Squill recalls the troops it sent to defend Sher along with half of the Sher garrison.
  3. The political prisoner, Rupar, escapes from the town jail with the aid of a mystery man 'wielding two swords an axe and a flaming dagger' according to guards.
  4. Bailiff Phila Naal of Sher is assassinated by a group of Bernea Trading Company guards led by Vohra the Red. She denies all involvement.
  5. Meridar forces approach Sher from the north, masquerading as Squill reinforcements. They enter the town, seal the gates and overpower the remaining garrison. Sher citizens wake the next morning to find Meridar in control.
  6. Rupar returns to become head of the new town council. A new garrison is established, remaining Squill soldiers are taken to Meridar as prisoners of war and the Meridar army withdraws to camp south of Sher.

The situation in Sher is now said to be stable with most townsfolk happy with the new arrangement. Squill, however, is gathering its forces ready for a massed counterstrike and are expected to launch an attack within the month.

More strange reports of magical phenomena have arisen. In Kessel, the toilet of a popular restaurant suddenly bloomed with red roses. In Veluta, a flock of pink birds spontaneously appeared and disappeared. The River Taze turned purple and stayed that way for two days while the Annuin River still flows bright yellow and tastes of custard. Meanwhile, people have been visiting local herb-doctors, complaining of diarrhoea and feelings of lassitude. Doctors have called this mystery illness SAD - sleepiness and diarrhoea - and predict that it might worsen with the onset of colder weather.

If you're a mage and you live in an invulnerable glass tower, what would you do? AiEsha Dalgroth has become a wholesaler of foodstuffs, extending her herb farms and buying a pair of shops in the middle of Ambar. Suspicious? You should be. On the other hand, if she can grow vegetables three times as big and four times as tasty as any others, you can't blame people for buying them. Actually, yes you can. If people buy things from a mage, they only have themselves to blame for the horrible consequences that are bound to follow.

Mages have occasionally been known to move house, but never in such a spectacular fashion as Magnus Thorne, who magically shifted his tower from its location near Squill to a new home somewhere in the Larkwood. Large crowds gathered to see the tower apparently walking along the bank of the Annuin River. Some witnesses say they heard strange howls from inside, and others saw a flock of carrion birds circling overhead. Coming so soon after the attack in Veluta, this is surely an indication of Magnus Thorne's guilt. Why would he move if he was innocent, after all? Countess Grimsby of Veluta has invited the mage to visit her in the city so this matter can be cleared up once and for all. No one believes he will accept her offer.

Further north, Herrick's Watch is being rebuilt. There have been more sightings of zombies crawling out of the sea but in almost every case, they were attacked by large carrion birds who literally pecked them to pieces. In the few cases where the birds didn't get them, the northern defence force moved in to burn, hack and blast them to death. This series of small victories has so inspired the local population that they have set up vigilante groups to track down and destroy remaining zombies. Meanwhile, shops are stocking up with holy water, garlic and wooden stakes, all said to have special zombie-destroying powers. A new defence force, under the command of the Brown Friars, stands by in Cleon ready to repel any further attacks. The new Emperor has given the Brown Friars exclusive trading rights within the city's area of influence, a blow for Master Gromicron who had plans to take over all trade in the north. He seems to be taking the news well and has even been heard to express his admiration for the young Emperor.

The high point in Cleon, however, came last month when crowds of well-wishers gathered to see Earendil the Mariner off on a voyage to the mythical 'Lost Continent.' The expedition, funded by the Emperor himself, is described as a voyage of adventure and exploration, to sail beyond the sunset and the bath of all the western stars, to boldly go where no man has gone before. Along with all in Cleon, we wish the adventurers good speed.

To mark the occasion of this momentous voyage, Herrick's Watch was rebuilt and its fire relit. The lighthouse is now in the control of Rakim the Red Ravager who, it is rumoured, has plans for linking it to the Watch Towers to provide a complete defensive system across north Bernea.

With luck, the defence system will not be necessary. The barbarians have been quiet all autumn. Maybe they've lost too many people, maybe they're bored with fighting. Maybe they're gathering their forces for a new attack. News from Kalevi says that the Empress has been talking to one of the barbarian leaders. We're still awaiting word from Justin Trevallion who left on a peace mission to the northern wildwoods many months ago.

Turn 7 Subsidiary News

Cimis

The Solist faction have made a large cash donation to the city. Their leaders, who wish to remain anonymous, issued the following statement:

"Although the destruction of Cimis was caused by mages, we wish to pledge our support in the rebuilding program. Karagis has made the right decision in banning the practice of magic within the city. The departure of GROSS shows how little mages can be trusted. They want a safe place to carry out their so-called research and when asked to give something back to society, they move on. Mages are parasites, and destructive ones at that. We must save ourselves from them at all cost."

There has been no more word from GROSS.

Bernea

Potential peace talks between forest elves and the barbarian tribes were disrupted by a group of zombie attackers. The elves beat off the attack, although the human, Justin Trevalion, is now missing. Peace negotiations have not ended, however. The Empress Cha'Rissa and barbarian leaders Scarface and Chu'Si have called for a mass peace council to take place in a neutral location in north Bernea. It is thought that as part of the agreement the barbarian elves will be given unoccupied parts of north Bernea as farmland.


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