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First Week

Kaldmont 1, AC 1018: Black Where He Belongs.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: A caravan of weary adventurers arrives in the city, escorting a slowly recovering Ludwig von Hendriks. The adventurers are a group commissioned by the Council of Princes in Glantri to bring the Black Eagle back to Karameikos. The villain is remanded to a prison in the city, where he will be held until he can be transported to the Five Shires, for fulfilment of his execution sentence in that country. The adventurers are given a brief thank you and reward from the king, and then dismissed. It seems there is little import given to the prisoner they have risked life and limb for over the past several months.(See Fy. 14, Fy. 22.)

What This Means: King Stefan is not overly pleased to have his villainous cousin back in his clutches once again. He thought he had washed his hands of the Black Eagle years ago, when he closed his borders to the man's barony, effectively leaving Ludwig open to justice at the hands of the hin of the Five Shires, whom the Black Eagle had terrorised for years. Though sentenced to die at their hands, the Black Eagle was rescued, and has spent the last seven years in Glantri. The king agreed to allow the extradition of the Black Eagle, more to placate his allies in the Five Shires than because it would solve any troubles at home in Karameikos. He is eager to have the man out of his hands again, but is somewhat reluctant to send him off to a known death sentence.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs may be those chosen to escort the Black Eagle to the Five Shires when the time comes, particularly if they were the ones who brought him from Glantri. It is possible that they may be hired to either safeguard the Black Eagle while he is in town, or to rescue or execute him by those with other motives.

Kaldmont 1, AC 1018: Economy Hurts the Reaver.

Location: Reaver Construction Site, Kingdom of Aquas, Nayce. AS

Description: The recent economic decline in Nayce has spread far and wide, and now it is impacting the Naycese submersible project. Many commoners have not been paid for their for their work in over a month, and some of the expenses for some of the lesser enchanters are also being cut now, which has resulted in a lot of discontented people, especially among the commoners who cannot feed their families without money.

Xerathis and Tredrigon have decided to appeal to Nayce and let it be known that the project is being hurt. They are shocked when they are told the Reaver project's expenses will have to be cut by one quarter. (See Ei. 21, Fe. 1.)

What This Means: Nayce is in economic trouble, and the council is too divided to stop it. Although Xerathis and Tredrigon are outraged over this, the submersible project is actually one of the projects that still receives the most support in Nayce because the traditionalists on the council currently have the upper hand and support these types of projects. The reformists were more inclined to start projects that supplied work for the commoners, but cutting the expensive submersible projects by one quarter is all they have been able to achieve. As a consequence of this, many commoners will leave the submersible project, but the Reaver construction will continue, although much more slowly.

What the PCs Can Do: Beyond experiencing yet more evidence of Nayce's failing economy, there is little the PCs can do here. It is unfortunate that the Naycese Council cannot see what is probably obvious to most PCs. It is also unfortunate that they will not listen even if the PCs try to tell them.

Kaldmont 2, AC 1018: The Return of Sigmund von Drachenfels.

Location: Town of Leenz, Principality of Aalban, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: In the dead cold of the Glantrian winter, a freezing, bedraggled, undressed man is found wandering the streets, muttering frantically about "half-metal half-flesh golems" and "brain probes" and "their evil grey sorcery." When the Aalbanese constabulary is called in to detain the man, they finally recognise him as none other than Sigmund von Drachenfels, the son of Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels who had mysteriously disappeared a month ago! Though Herr Sigmund has always been known as a bizarre eccentric with his crackpot inventions, his recent abduction has severely traumatised him to the brink of insanity.

With little ceremony and much severity, Herr Sigmund is returned to Ritterburg to be under the care of the Drachenfels family. (See Am. 27, Ei. 2; Ka. 22.)

What This Means: The kidnappers of Herr Sigmund von Drachenfels were oards, an alien race of time-travelling cyborgs, who had come to Glantri in search of the FS Beagle ship. Its engine had been magically transformed into the Nucleus of Spheres by the Immortals, and is the source of the mysterious magical power called the Radiance. One of the oards had disguised itself as Sigmund's cousin, Viktoria von Drachenfels, and using their unwitting pawns from the Free Anachronic Society of Aalban, arranged to abduct Sigmund and investigate what he knows about the Beagle and other such technology ("grey sorcery" is an archaic Glantrian term used to refer to scientific technology, as opposed to true magical wizardry). Finding that Sigmund was indeed ignorant of the Beagle, and at best a practitioner of technomancy and not true technology, the oards let him go.

The future of Sigmund, the oard disguised as Viktoria von Drachenfels, and the Free Anachronic Society, remains to be seen.

Kaldmont 2, AC 1018: Surveyors Released.

Location: Headquarters of the Stonewall Expeditionary Corps, Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Finally they surveyors are free again. Once the fighting ceased in Arkan for Stonewall, the time for diplomacy and negotiations had come. Lord Jintar was able to convince the Stonewall generals that the surveyors were not military. General Selcomad has decided to set them free, and Rogart, who organises the release, even apologised in the name of the general for the mistake. (See Fy. 8, Am. 2; Ka. 6, Ka. 12.)

What This Means: The weeks of negotiation have finally been successful. The request from King Koblan, who has asked about the status of the affair, has helped too. So Jintar could finish the talks successfully. The apology is a diplomatic one, of course; there will be no compensation for the capture.

The surveyors are free, but their work is not yet done. Now their only wish is to return home. The survey of the Shiell-Crystal Canal section is further delayed, and so is the start of digging.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs with knowledge in surveying can volunteer to take over the job the unlucky first team was not able to finish.

Kaldmont 3, AC 1018: A Night of Terror.

Location: Near Town of Landersfjord, Kingdom of Vestland. OW

Description: During the middle of the night, Bergthor Haraldson's camp is hit by localised earthquakes. The camp is turned to rubble as men are swallowed by the ground. Meanwhile the giants attack, flinging boulders into the panicking camp. Bergthor Haraldson manages to rally his men, who drive the giants from the area. By dawn the king surveys the damage. Nearly a hundred men are lost, and most supplies have been destroyed, disastrous for a winter campaign. (See Ei. 24, Ei. 26; Ka. 8, Ka. 12.)

What This Means: King Haraldson has been blinded by his belief in his own skills and in the might of his army. This night he is taught a painful lesson, as the Modrigswerg turn their full powers of magic against him, as well as a finely coordinated attack by their giant allies. If not for the valour of Vestland's soldiers, he might well have lost everything this night. As he personally takes to the front, he manages to inspire his men to turn this into a small victory, but he is unable to prevent his winter supplies from being destroyed.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs acting as part of the Vestlandic army will have a perfect opportunity to distinguish themselves during the fighting. King Haraldson will take note of any particularly heroic people.

Kaldmont 3, AC 1018: Prelude to Going Out.

Location: City of Shireton, Shire of Seashire, Five Shires. OW

Description: The hin preparing to set out on their expedition to find the origin of their folk gather at Clanmeet Hall in Shireton to decide on the ship's roster. Almost 2,000 hin and other folk are in attendance at the meeting. (See Th. 10, Am. 1; Ka. 10.)

Kaldmont 3, AC 1018: Invitation Declined.

Location: Kingdom of Lagrius, Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: Overtures are made to Milos Formiesias to bring his Travelling Exhibition of Wonders, and the mighty Earthshaker, to the Kingdom of Alpha, in Norwold. The representatives of King Ericall are searching for an impressive exhibit to bring to Alpha next year, and are willing to pay handsomely. Milos politely declines the offer to come to Norwold, but says that he will consider doing so in the future. (See Ya. 26, Fy. 14.)

What This Means: The representatives of Ericall are actually agents of Boyar Viktor Zhucharnov, who are trying to figure out how to lure Milos and Earthshaker to Norwold. The sum of money offered was quite large, making Milos suspicious-it sounded more like a bribe than a legitimate bid to retain his services, and the price was surprisingly similar to the one offered by the freedom fighter hoping to overthrow the evil King Ericall several months earlier. Still, if the King of Alpha were willing to pay such a sum, it would certainly look better in his purse than someone else's...

Kaldmont 3, AC 1018: The Jennites Consider the Future.

Location: City-State of Draeh and Town of Rock Harbour, Esterhold Peninsula. SK

Description: With the war essentially over, the various leaders sit down to consider what will happen now. In Draeh the free Jennites decide to leave the city to the former rebels. Talin returns to his position as leader, while Lotam leads the free Jennites back to their home in the plains of Esterhold and beyond, though some tribes settle in the newly gained lands of the peninsula. The leaders of Draeh decide to rebuild much of the city, starting with the harbour so they can trade with ships in the future.

Little is happening in Rock Harbour for now. The Jennites are holding the town, preventing the Alphatians from returning, but they don't have many plans for it themselves. (See Ei. 16, Ei. 25; Ka. 10, Ka. 14.)

What This Means: Draeh will eventually have to trade with other nations of Skothar such as the Thonians, the Minaeans, or the dwarves of Thorin, who might eventually become interested in the mines near Rock Harbour now that they are under Jennite control. The Jennites must settle the matter among themselves first, however, as some will more than likely feel the mines are inherently evil because of the slavery that used to go on there.

What the PCs Can Do: Jennite PCs who had impact on the recent events should have their say here. If they helped, they will certainly have Talin's attention.

Kaldmont 5, AC 1018: Harsh Winter.

Location: Kingdoms of Wendar and Denagoth and Principalities of Glantri. OW, NW

Description: Winter is particularly frigid at the moment, with snowstorms and hailstorms covering the whole western part of Wendar in an icy tomb (including Woodgate and the semi-deserted Forest of the Curse). Southwestern Denagoth and northwestern Glantri are also experiencing a particularly harsh winter.

Bensarian's agents report strange movements inside the Baamor Woods, but none of them have dared to enter them after the disappearance of the first set of agents. Some rumours (the communications are difficult due to the harsh weather) report the dead are restless and are rising from their frozen graves in western Wendar. (See Fe. 7, Am. 6.)

What This Means: The epicentre of the cold weather appears to be the Dark Woods of Baamor. Whatever is going on in the woods spells trouble for Wendar.

Kaldmont 5, AC 1018: In Search of the Ultimate Weapon.

Location: Town of Kammin, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: While overseeing the ongoing efforts to improve Kammin's fortifications, as well as supervising efforts to deploy troops into the surrounding lands, Ordensmeisterin Anna von Hendriks issues a new directive. While her forces prepare to engage the enemy, she has ordered her best thinkers to devise a means of attaining military superiority, since the much-vaunted Heldannic warbirds are no longer operational. (See Sv. 6, Ei. 10.)

What This Means: There is currently a stalemate between the two factions-Anna holds Grauenberg, Heldland, and the coast stretching from Kammin south to the Vestland border, as well as Thurgau, while Ordensgeneral Heinrich Straßenburger controls the interior of Heldann proper, as well as Landfall and Freiburg-with neither side being able to dislodge the other. Nevertheless, Anna's spies have reported that enemy troops are gathering east of Grauenberg and north of Freiburg; no doubt this is the prelude to a sustained offensive. Anna has no interest in fighting a protracted civil war-even if her faction does win, she could very well end up ruling a ruined country that might be susceptible to an invasion from Ethengar or other hostile nations.

If some means were devised to provide her faction with a technological or magical advantage, many lives might be saved, and the war could be shortened considerably.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are intelligent, imaginative, and well-travelled, the PCs might be approached for this task. If so, they would be called upon to try to remember special tactics or items employed by other races or cultures in their wars, which might be applicable here.

Kaldmont 5, AC 1018: Canal Section Opened.

Location: City of Greenwood, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: One section of the Foresthome Rim Canal between Greenwood and Soctel is opened with a small ceremony. Queen Kikania is satisfied with the progress made and promises to continue as quickly as possible. Lord Abolon expresses his great pride in his work and his joy in participating. (See Fl. 17, Fl. 28; Ka. 10.)

What This Means: With the opening of the first real section of the canal the project has really begun to change the look of Alphatia. While there is still a lot of work to be done, two of the four inactive harbours of the kingdom are operational again. One of the construction crews is already on its way to Orfil, and the other back to Soctel to start the next section.

Kaldmont 6, AC 1018: King Qinn Addresses the Grand Council.

Location: City of Andaire, Kingdom of Alphas'ar, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: King Qinn appears before the Grand Council of Alphatia to explain the current situation in Arkan. He explains that there is now an agreement between Arkan and Stonewall. There will continue to be a Stonewall presence in Arkan, but Qinn is still king and will remain so, except for the regions claimed by his former allies Foresthome and Ambur. This won't be easy for Arkan, but as king he will do what he must to save his nation.

Few members of the Grand Council are satisfied, but Qinn's speech does calm things down a lot. (See Ei. 18, Ka. 2; Ka. 14.)

What This Means: Qinn may have talked in favour of Stonewall, but he didn't exactly sound very enthusiastic about it, nor did he try. In fact, Qinn fully intended to let the Grand Council get the impression that he was to some extent being coerced to say what he did, and many of the aristocrats in the Grand Council noted the subtleties of his statements and choice of words. Qinn is already plotting against Stonewall. Either way, the Arkan war is essentially over for now.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs with Stonewall could escort King Qinn to and from Andaire.

Kaldmont 6, AC 1018: Winter Arrives.

Location: Final Range. NW

Description: The first major snowstorm of the year sweeps through this region of Norwold, dropping from 6 to 18 inches of snow on Stamtral, Vyolstagrad, Moonland, and Ironwood. The heaviest snow falls in the surrounding hills and mountains of the Final Range. (See Ei. 17, Ei. 28; Ka. 28.)

What This Means: This is a natural occurrence typical to Norwold. It is the first of many snowfalls this winter. The harsh weather will not help the people of Vyolstagrad, who have little food, and have been suffering from continued raids by the northern barbarians.

Kaldmont 6, AC 1018: Return of the Master.

Location: Town of Krakatos, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: In the late afternoon, a rumour runs through the Karameikan School of Magecraft that Master Terari is present. This rumour is sufficient to put Queen Olivia's spies into a frenzy, until finally they locate him, discussing with some other high-level wizards. The spies close in on Terari and his fellow spellcasters, and order the wizards to leave while they take Terari to meet with King Stefan. The spellcasters are enraged at being commanded that way, but before tempers flare too high Terari asks them to abide, and says he will come with the Karameikans and go meet the king. The Alphatians obey, though grudgingly, and Terari is escorted to Mirros. (See Th. 15, Ei. 25; Ka. 7, Ka. 17.)

What This Means: Although he has been living in Nayce for quite some time, Terari still had some things to take care of in Karameikos. He expected he would be summoned to the court at Mirros to explain his behaviour, and he didn't intend to avoid the chore. The circumstance of what appears to be an arrest greatly annoys the Alphatians, who used to be aristocracy in Alphatia and resent when they are not treated as such in this land of exile. It reinforces their growing feeling of wariness toward Karameikos, which has become manifest since Terari left and has only been increasing as Queen Olivia's spying has not gone unnoticed. There is a growing malaise between the former aristocracy of Alphatia and their land of adoption, and the only person that may be able to defuse it may be Terari.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs were hired by Queen Olivia, they will hear the rumour of Terari's return. It is up to them to decide what they will do about it, and if they do find him how they will go about arresting him (or not). Smooth PCs may find a cooperative Terari, while rash PCs may well heighten the tension with the Alphatian community to an unbearable level.

Kaldmont 7, AC 1018: Terari's Leave.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Terari and his escort quickly cover the distance between Krakatos and Mirros during the night, and ride straight to the royal palace. He is immediately taken to the throne room, where the king and queen give him audience. Stefan is obviously displeased with Terari, which he rightly accuses of treachery, and possibly treason, for abandoning his duties as minister, and also as headmaster of the Karameikan School of Magecraft. Terari does not deny the charge, nor does he hide the fact that he spent all that time in Nayce. He indicates that he has decided to settle for good in Nayce, where he has a role to play, and resigns from all his positions in Karameikos, stating that he did what he came for and that now the Kingdom of Karameikos is on the right tracks to become a prosperous and magically-inclined nation. He suggests that the king finds him worthy replacements, from the ranks of native Karameikans to entrench wizardry into national culture. Unwilling to arrest the powerful wizard for treason, the king lets him return to Nayce. (See Ei. 25, Ka. 6; Ka. 17.)

What This Means: Though Terari's departure last year without warning may be qualified of treasonous, the king must agree that the wizard served him faithfully, and did a fine job of creating a magic school almost from the ground up, in the magic-poor nation of Karameikos, and rapidly making it the equal of the famed Glantrian School of Magic. Under his guidance Karameikos has become one of the most advanced nations of the Old World, combining the sophisticated Alphatian wizardry, the practical Thyatian spellcraft, the dark Traladaran sorcery, and the natural elven spellcasting. Yes, he has kept his part of the bargain, and although the circumstances of his hasty departure are troublesome, bordering on treason, the king prefers to be indulgent and let the old teacher leave for his homeland. Queen Olivia, however, suspects foul play.

Second Week

Kaldmont 8, AC 1018: Ostland Raids Vestland.

Location: Coasts of the Kingdom of Vestland. OW

Description: King Finn of Ostland, honouring his deal with Jarl Throfar of Gråbjerge, has allowed his jarls to raid Vestland. This morning sees all coastal lands and towns under attack by raiders from Ostland. The raiders plunder and sack what they can get, then flee to Ostland before the Vestlanders can retaliate. (See Ei. 24, Ei. 26; Ka. 12, Ka. 28.)

What This Means: Seeing that King Bergthor Haraldson of Vestland marches on the Modrigswerg dwarves, King Finn, having listened closely to Throfar, has sent out invitations to his jarls to participate in a punitive raid against Vestland. Most of the jarls looking for easy plunder agree whole-heartedly. Both the king's mother, Yrsa the Deep-Minded, and his priestly adviser, Asgrim the Bowed, were left out of this decision, and they grow increasingly worried about Throfar's influence over the young King of Ostland.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs fighting for Ostland will have the opportunity for rich plunder in the, at the moment, poorly defended settlements of Vestland, while PCs fighting to protect Vestland will have a hard time against the Ostlander raiders, who use quick strike-and-fade tactics.

Kaldmont 10, AC 1018: The Day of Going Out.

Location: City of Shireton, Shire of Seashire, Five Shires. OW

Description: The great ship Blue Turtle sails from Shireton in the Five Shires for Ierendi, then the Serpent Peninsula, and then parts unknown, seeking the legendary homeland of the hin. (See Am. 1, Ka. 3.)

What the PCs Can Do: Most of the Blue Turtle's crew are inexperienced, and unprepared for the dangers of the unknown southern hemisphere, and a band of brave adventurers can find the adventure of three lifetimes before them by signing on.

Kaldmont 10, AC 1018: Kalin and Favian Discuss Plans for Blackrock.

Location: City of Skyfyr, Province of Blackrock, Republic of Esterhold. SK

Description: Kalin returns to his position as Governor of Blackrock and discusses what will happen now with Favian. Though Talin decided to stay among the former rebels in Draeh, Kalin will not abandon his position either. But even so, it might be possible to build a bridge to the more independent Jennites of Draeh in the future. With Kalin in charge, Skyfyr could act as the bridge between the Alphatians and their former Jennite slaves. (See Ei. 25, Ka. 3; Ka. 14.)

What This Means: Skyfyr cannot become self-sufficient because the area has poor farmland, so the city will have to sustain itself on trading, probably with various Skotharan nations. Draeh could be one of those.

Though the brothers Talin and Kalin remain separated in their cities, they are no longer estranged. It will take time for them to digest all that has happened between them, but the hostility is at an end it seems.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who aided Kalin and Favian on the Alphatian side during the conflict can advise them on what should happen now. If they are skilled diplomats, they could go to Ionace to help Favian convince Nayce to settle the matter with the Jennites.

Kaldmont 10, AC 1018: The Work Continues.

Location: Towns of Orfil and Soctel, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The crews have arrived, and without delay they start digging the connecting canal section between both towns. (See Fl. 28, Ka. 5.)

What This Means: The Foresthome Rim Canal is becoming something normal. A ceremony for continuing the work no longer seems appropriate. Elsewhere many people interested in trading have already begun to acquire fitting trading ships.

Kaldmont 11, AC 1018: An Exile Returns.

Location: Hutaatep Highlands, Southern Kingdom, Nithian Empire. HW

Description: In the craggy wastes of western Nithia, a weary traveller gazes upon her homeland once again. The voices have stopped, or at least quieted down enough for her to think clearly again. It was the voices that drove her from Nithia; the voices that caused her so much pain. The whispering voices of evil must pay for what they have done to her! After many circles of wandering in madness, Senkha has returned to Nithia. (See Sv. 1, Ei. 10.)

What This Means: Senkha was driven mad by the Towers of Soth and Sekhaba and eventually driven from Nithia. Her faculties have returned somewhat after several circles in the wilderness, and she has now returned to exact vengeance upon her tormentors. The fight against the towers will not be easy.

What the PCs Can Do: Senkha will need allies in her fight against the towers and could recruit PCs to her cause.

Kaldmont 12, AC 1018: King Bergthor Retreats.

Location: Near Town of Landersfjord, Kingdom of Vestland. OW

Description: As King Bergthor Haraldson is leading the fighting against the Modrigswerg forces and their giant allies, a messenger reaches him with news of the attack by Ostland. Bergthor Haraldson sounds the retreat, and decides to reinforce the towns of Vestland, and to send emissaries to his allies before continuing the battle. (See Ka. 3, Ka. 8; Ka. 28.)

What This Means: King Haraldson realises that he has made another tactical blunder. He has failed to provide adequate protection for his communities, since he has raised too large an army to fight the Modrigswerg. As he has lost most of his supplies for the army, and his shores are too weak to withstand assaults from other nations, he reluctantly disperses the army, and tries to contact his neighbours to make allies before continuing his campaign against the Modrigswerg dwarves.

Kaldmont 12, AC 1018: The Work Continues.

Location: Town of Tirenlos, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Zas Ubul and his construction crew have arrived at the harbour town on the northeastern shore of Lake Llyn. This town will be the southern end of the Llyn-Shiell-Crystal Canal, and it will be very important to supply the men and women constructing the canal. From here the canal will lead to the northeast to avoid the Lonely Forest. The region is only sparsely wooded, and at the western bank of the Snake River there are even plains without forests. Later on the canal will head north to reach the Roaring River. It will be extended for a few extra miles downstream, but not before some more surveying is done. (See Kl. 24, Ka. 2; Ka. 16, Ka. 26.)

What This Means: The senior officers of the navy have decided to start the project although the situation in the north has not yet settled fully-neither politically nor topographically. It is a big financial risk, but to wait would be one too. They hope that they will be able to dig a canal from either Arreghi or the mouth of the Roaring River to the mouth of the Snake River, and to connect this canal section with the Roaring River. Due to the wilderness at the other end of the canal, Zas Ubul has suggested digging only from the south. He is thinking about a provisional opening of canal sections so that all necessary goods could be shipped by boat for a good distance.

The final name of the canal system is not clear either. Until now it has been tentatively referred to as the Llyn-Shiell-Crystal Canal, but some propose Three Lakes Canal.

Kaldmont 13, AC 1018: Grappling for the Glory.

Location: City of Corisa, Milenian Empire. HW

Description: To the surprise of the Milenian sailors patrolling the Gulf of Corisa, a lone three-masted ship, moving swiftly with the wind, sails past them, breaking the blockade. Several galleys give chase, but others maintain their position, assuming that the renegade ship is a diversionary tactic of some sort.

The vessel is a Merry Pirate ship, the Leap of Faith, captained by Carola the Grappler. She sails away from the pursuit and heads straight for Corisa, entering the city's harbour. The people of Corisa, thinking that this is the initial stage of a major attack, panic and make preparations to defend their homes. The Leap of Faith encounters only sporadic artillery fire from the towers protecting the harbour, but the pursuing galleys are still approaching the narrow harbour mouth. Carola responds with fire of her own, mostly to cover for her shore teams which have disembarked for the merchant's docks. Chaos reigns in the harbour, as Carola steers her ship to elusively avoid the Milenians' fire. But her tactics do not work forever-the artillery begins to intensify and the Leap of Faith takes several hits. Fortunately for her, the shore teams quickly return, carrying whatever valuables they could loot in short time.

Meanwhile, a short distance up the River Corius, a galley bearing Milenian heroes, including Tassia Red-Hair, has responded to the crisis and headed downstream. The galley closes on the pirate ship and manages to grapple it astern. A fierce battle ensues between the ships' crews as the Milenians struggle to board, and the pirates fight to repel them. With the larger war galleys growing closer, Carola realises that she must unfetter her ship from its attackers if they are to have any chance at escape. Carola leads a charge of whooping pirates and meets Tassia Red-Hair at the ship's rail. Tassia lunges with her spear and wounds the pirate captain, who responds with a masterful wrestling move, driving Tassia back over the side into the water. Rallying, the Merry Pirates cut the grappling lines and break away from the smaller galley. But two of the war galleys have reached the harbour mouth, threatening to trap the Leap of Faith, forcing them to fight to the end. In a desperate move, the Leap of Faith cuts between the two galleys, sideswiping one, and taking heavy fire from the Milenian archers, but she makes it past! From there on she can out sail the Milenian warships and head for home. (See Ya. 17, Ei. 5.)

What This Means: Carola has succeeded at raiding Corisa, although the risk to reward was hardly worth it. Her ship and crew have suffered considerable casualties for a paltry pay-off. However, the Grappler is not concerned with the financial gain, but rather the fame and prestige that will come from her successful escapade as the first Merry Pirate to raid Corisa.

Her success was possible due to the outright shock of the Milenian sentries and naval forces, which had never dreamed of seeing a pirate vessel sail right into Corisa harbour. The disbelief allowed her enough time to pull off the stunt before an effective defence could be employed. The Milenians are stunned and fearful that they were so vulnerable. Rumours circulate that the pirates are planning even more raids, spreading uneasiness amongst the seaside populace. This is an egg-in-the-face incident for Emperor Adronius and the imperial navy, who had heightened the empire's naval defences to prevent pirate raids. The incident serves to further fuel the fires of Adronius's detractors.

What the PCs Can Do: If Milenian, they can help to thwart the pirate raid on their capital, and perhaps capture Carola. If sailing with the Grappler, they can fight off Corisa's defenders, or lead a shore team to loot the city.

Kaldmont 14, AC 1018: Sir Leonid Falls.

Location: Farmlands of the Barony of Rugalov north of Dymrak Forest, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Sir Leonid and his men, on their mission for Baron Yuschiev to rid the barony from the goblinoid threat, come across a large number of orcs. A fatal battle takes place in which Sir Leonid and most or all of his men are slain. (See Ei. 24, Ei. 26; Ka. 27.)

What This Means: The grim fate of Sir Leonid and his men is only described by later reference in the Dark Knight of Karameikos novel, but it is nonetheless essential to the story.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are among Sir Leonid's men, they might survive and escape to warn Baron Yuschiev. Given that the Amulet of the Marches is returned to Baron Yuschiev, they might either take it from Sir Leonid's body as proof of their story, the goblinoids might give it to them and then tell them to go home and warn Yuschiev not to trouble them again, or Sir Leonid might see that he is doomed, then tell them to go back to Mirros and warn Baron Yuschiev giving them the amulet as proof.

Kaldmont 14, AC 1018: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining.

Location: Town of Port Marlin, Province of Marlin, Republic of Esterhold. SK

Description: With the news of the end of hostilities, Alinda speculates about Marlin's fate and makes a few announcements.

The saddest of these is that she is forced to tell the settlers from Southrock that they will be staying in Marlin permanently since Southrock is apparently lost to the Jennites. But things aren't really so bad for Marlin itself. With the increased population and the advances made against the Jennites, Marlin now covers the entire area south of the central escarpment, and the many new settlers will need that area for new settlements.

Some of the Verothian mercenaries could be a problem, however, since they continue to offer protection against the Jennites while imposing an illegal tax of their own upon some settlers and inhabitants in the areas away from Port Marlin itself, and some of the settlers feel pressured into paying them. (See Ka. 3, Ka. 10.)

What This Means: Marlin could eventually become self-sufficient, since there is some fertile farmland in the area. Seeing that they will not return to their homes, the many refugees from Verdan, Anchorage, and especially Southrock will settle down, and some begin farming the lands around the town. The Verothian mercenaries are guaranteed to become a problem at some point unless a good compromise is reached with them.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs have fought for the Alphatians in Southrock and Marlin, their opinion might be important to some people. They could even be invited to share their insights by Alinda, the Governor of Marlin, or Favian Vern at some point.

Kaldmont 14, AC 1018: New Hope, New Paths.

Location: Kingdom of Arkan, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Lady Ardana and a couple of noble friends sets sail on her private yacht Island. All of them leave behind their estates and most of their slaves and servants. Their vision is to find or to create a new place to live. This special place should be a floating island where they would be relatively safe from attacks such as their kingdom just has suffered. (See Ka. 6.)

What This Means: Lady Ardana has decided that she has had enough. She does not like the people from Stonewall, and she does not want to live among them. Her friends think likewise. So she has proposed creating a new kingdom which should be located on one or several floating islands. Of course this idea is a rather old one as she is speaking about recreating the glorious past of her kingdom. She is the only one in the party who realises it, though, as she is the only one who remembers Alphatia in the outer world.

Although this is a very humble begin, the visionary power of the idea might lead to great result, perhaps. Lady Ardana and her group are leaving Arkan for the unknown.

Third Week

Kaldmont 16, AC 1018: Talks Begin.

Location: City of Greenwood, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The mercenary Admirals Halzunthram, Clarendon and Solturnun arrive in the capital due to an invitation by a group of important Foresthome nobles. The speaker of these nobles is Lord Hydroxenium, a patriarch in the service of Protius, the Old Man from the Sea. He also is the newly appointed minister for waterways. The nobles want to take over the project of the Llyn-Shiell-Crystal Canal. The representatives of the Navy of the Lakes are here to negotiate this matter. (See Ya. 1, Ka. 12; Ka. 26.)

What This Means: The opinion of the Foresthome nobility about the various canal projects has changed in the last few months. Foresthome can connect the three great lakes with canals that can be built entirely on Foresthome territory. This project was started last circle by the Navy of the Lakes, commissioned by both the kingdom and the empire with imperial subsidies. Finally the nobility has seen the great opportunities Foresthome will have through this canal. For this reason the kingdom has taken over Arreghi. At the same time the nobles have begun to worry about the fact that an obscure mercenary/trade organisation will operate these canals. The fact that the navy has been working for the kingdom for a long time seems to be irrelevant to those nobles. The new minister has decided to shift control over the canals from the navy to either the kingdom or, better, to a group of Foresthome aristocrats and lords. He is expecting long and hard negotiations, and he is even willing to expropriate the navy to get the control. He chose his name when he became a cleric many years ago, an affected gesture but not an unheard one among Alphatian nobles.

On the other side of the table the three admirals are by far not so determined to keep those canals as Lord Hydroxenium is expecting. The navy is not really interested in operating the canals. Its primary interest is that the canals exist and that they are allowed to use them. Additionally, the still-unfinished survey missions in the north are becoming a huge problem as the navy is in danger of running short of money despite the imperial subsidy-the navy was never a prominent organisation, until it came into the spotlight when its old ideas of canals gained support in a sea-deprived Alphatia. Solturnun, a member of the Great Council, was not initially invited, but has been made part of the team by Halzunthram, the head of the navy-his special role being to generate respect, of course.

Kaldmont 17, AC 1018: An Attempt to Cheat.

Location: City-State of Serenia, Confederated Kingdom of Minaea. SK

Description: Three assassins make an attempt on the life of Zulda, this year's Trio winner, who is determined to take part in the next (AC 1019) competition. The assassins break in his home silently and enter his bedroom. However, Zulda is awakened by his dog, a Minaean mastiff, and reacts promptly, killing one assassin, and capturing the other two. They come from Adunapolis, and this act is considered a great offence by Zulda and all of Serenia. A message is sent to the monastery of Ares, Bringer of War, to inform them of the fact, while the local guards take care of the assassins to avoid their being lynched by the enraged mob. (See Nu. 1, Nu. 4; Ka. 26.)

What This Means: Hopefully Adunapolis has nothing to do with the assassins. Otherwise, this would be something really serious: the peace between the two city-states is kept mostly at the cost of the athletic competitions, and nobody has ever dared to cheat-also because of the patronage of as furious and intransigent an Immortal as Ares.

Kaldmont 17, AC 1018: Concordia Home.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: The Concordia, after a long stop at Ionace to conduct extensive repairs made necessary by the violent storm encountered at the pole during her return voyage, finally arrives in Mirros. There are no special docking bays for flying ships in Mirros's harbour, but because her Alphatian design makes her frame similar to that of sea-going ships, she can simply be lowered to sea level and sail like a normal ship, and then dock alongside Karameikan and foreign crafts. The procedure does not go unnoticed, however, as it is performed in harbour rather than out at sea.

Captain Nikolai Delarius and his commissioned officers go to the palace where they will recount at length to King Stefan about their adventures and discoveries, giving oral accounts and writing detailed reports. Claransa, who was part of the expedition, joins them, though she also shares her experiences with fellow wizards and sages, notably from the Karameikan School of Magecraft. (See Sv. 23, Ka. 7.)

What This Means: The arrival is conducted in a grand fashion intentionally-the Concordia is, after all, the most magnificent ship of the Karameikan fleet. King Stefan is not particularly pleased with the damage the skyship sustained on her return trip, because building her was already a severe drain on the treasury and he didn't expect such high maintenance costs.

The debriefing will take a long time. It is the first time a nation other than Alphatia and the Heldannic Order returns with extensive information about the Hollow World, and Claransa intends to share that information with the community of sages, notably by giving lectures at the Karameikan school. King Stefan-and, maybe even more, Queen Olivia-may disagree with sharing freely what may be considered state secrets, gained at a cost to Karameikos; after all, neither Alphatia nor the Heldannic Knights disclose all their knowledge, either.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs were part of the expedition, they too may be asked to give report, depending on their exact status on board. In addition, they probably will want to catch up with events in their homeland and beyond, and they may have a lot of things to take care of after such a long absence.

Kaldmont 17, AC 1018: The Madness of Prince Harald.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: For three days Prince Harald Haaskinz has been missing his classes at the Great School of Magic, nor has he been seen at the parliament or any political venue. His mistress, Rowan Zarovan, the only other person with access to his private chambers at the Great School of Magic, finds his personal laboratory flooded ankle-deep with strange ice-cold water, with books, papers, and magical paraphernalia floating about. Lying helplessly in the frigid water, glowing an eerie blue light and clutching his Radiance-stricken arm in agony is Harald Haaskinz. Rowan calls for assistance from the Shepherds of Rad to heal the grand master.

When Harald comes to, his first nervous utterance is that he was hearing voices. Was it the voice of the Radiance? Was it the voices of his own troops he violently drowned at the Siege of Sablestone? Was it merely exhaustion from his magical and mundane work? Or is he going mad-like his psychopathic uncle Saghir? (See Ya. 10, Sv. 1)

What This Means: Prince Harald's breakdown was brought about by a combination of several circumstances: He had been wearing himself out, physically and mentally, particularly investigating the mystery behind the radiant voice. The continued exposure to the Radiance greatly aggravated his weakening condition and not so youthful body. But the greatest factor of all-one that Harald is increasingly becoming aware about-is that the Radiance, or at least the radiant voice, is a sinister force that has pervaded the Radiance and is weakening its users, and perhaps trying to take over their minds.

Harald will soon realise the necessity of warning the rest of the secret Brotherhood of the Radiance of this danger-but how can he do so without employing the power of the Radiance itself?

Kaldmont 18, AC 1018: Ejlker Dauw.

Location: Town of Thariss, Plains of Avien, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: Envoys from Idris Tower come to Thariss to collect "Ejlker Dauw" (as Professor Dove is now called) and bring him to the high priestess. However, just before leaving the town, a large group of horsed Avienite tribesmen surround the town and demand that the Father of all Beasts be given to them for proper execution. In the ensuing skirmish, Dauw/Dove manages to flee and take refuge in the woods. However, he is pursued by some Avienites. (See Ei. 9, Ei. 27; Ka. 28.)

What This Means: Dove has eluded capture by the high priestess, but the Avienite horsemen are still pursuing him through the woods.

Kaldmont 20, AC 1018: Dark King of Limn.

Location: "Kingdom" of Irsch, Underside, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Not far from the edge of the Underside, below the Kingdom of Limn, Zandor's minions are attacked by a group of vampires and their servants. Some of Zandor's minions lie dead again before the fighting ceases, after little blood has been shed-because, as both sides realise, the two gangs are undead.

The spokesman for Zandor's minions invites the Limnese to embrace the rulership of Emperor Zandor of Omesro, or Alphatia of the Dark, a.k.a. the Alphatian Underside. The liege of the Limnese aristocrats, Lord Bussnox, answers that he will accept the offer if Zandor recognises him as King of Irsch (Limn of the Dark). Zandor's minions cannot speak for their master, though-they know better-, so they ask Lord Bussnox to present himself before Emperor Zandor in his palace in Izchnizoy and personally offer his allegiance. (See Fl. 8, Fe. 8.)

What This Means: Lord Bussnox is a vampiric aristocrat from Limn who, like many kin, preferred to move underground rather than remain trapped in his estate bathed with rays of the eternal sun. He used to be a noble of minor, but not insignificant, power within Limn. An enemy of The Count, whose authority he refused twice, his power was undermined by the constant harassing of various minor leaders of Limn that The Count's agents would manipulate to prevent him from ever becoming a threat. Fleeing underground caused Lord Bussnox a further loss of power; he moved deeper and deeper until he went all the way through, as he reasoned that The Count and his cronies would surely control the upper levels closer to Limn's centre of power.

Both groups were looking for living creatures to use as sources of food or subjects when they crossed paths. Bussnox does not care much about Zandor, of whom he knows little as he mostly spent his time in Limn and not at the court in Sundsvall. It is, however, an unexpected opportunity to gain a tremendous amount of power-something he often dreamed about in his wildest fantasies. Bussnox does not know the actual amount of power Zandor has, but he intends to find out, for better or worse.

What the PCs Can Do: Limnese PCs might be the ones that fled from the Red Sun instead, and meet Zandor's minions.

Fourth Week

Kaldmont 22, AC 1018: Shell Game.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Under cover of darkness, a band of gnomes arrive in Mirros, taking possession of a house with a view of the queen's offices in the royal palace. Large telescopes, elaborate flying machines and crates of pigeons are packed away inside the house, where a sign reading "Whizbang Holding Company" is erected in the morning. When questioned, the gnomes claim ignorance of telescopes, flying machines and animals, as well as continuing incidents of dark clad gnomes slipping in and out of windows, across rooftops and through poorly concealed secret doors at all hours of the day and night. This all sends the queen into a frenzy, and her agents have the building under constant surveillance and frantically try to keep tabs on every gnome in and around the capital. (See Ei. 18.)

What This Means: The gnomes are playing with Queen Olivia, playing an elaborate-and lengthy-joke on the queen, whom they see to be the epitome of human humourlessness. The gnomes of the Whizbang Holding Company are meant to annoy her, and distract her spies' attention from Highforge's real spymaster, who has been in place in the capital for over a decade, and was promoted from number two to number one when Rubik was exposed.

What the PCs Can Do: The Whizbang Holding Company is a great source of employment for local adventurers and ne'er-do-wells, all of whom are paid quite handsomely to perform endless mysterious tasks around the capital, such as painting a rooster in red paint on the side of a stable near a tavern frequented by the queen's royal guard. When questioned about the purpose of these tasks, the gnomes suddenly seem to have a hard time remembering how to speak any language other than Gnomish, spoken slowly and loud, as though the adventurer was very deaf, and very stupid.

Kaldmont 22, AC 1018: Frau Hildegarde Prepares for a Duel.

Location: Schloß Ritterburg, Principality of Aalban, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels arrives from the capital to conduct a private inspection of small regiment of highly-disciplined, rigorously-trained military wizards, secretly assembled in the Schloß Ritterburg courtyard for Frau Hildegarde von Drachenfels, the indomitable Aalbanese matriarch of House Ritterburg of decidedly militaristic traditions. The prince's sister, Frau Helgar von Drachenfels, is fully engaged in the underground castle vaults, preparing the most potent of arcane treasures and deadliest of enchanted weapons. Frau Hildegarde herself devotes the day in her private chambers, casting a methodically planned series of spell upon spell, with only a few scheduled moments to meet curtly with selected relatives and advisers.

Many of the occupants of Schloß Ritterburg-including most of the younger Drachenfels-are unaware of the meaning of all the ado of this day, and those who dare ask are severely warned of maintaining the privacy and secrecy of the Drachenfelses. (See Ei. 12, Ka. 2.)

What This Means: Almost twenty years ago, the indomitable Aalbanese matriarch of House Ritterburg, Frau Hildegarde von Drachenfels, had achieved the fifth circle of power in the Secret Craft of Earth Elementalism. Since then, she has patiently and continuously plotted and conspired to acquire the status of High Mastery of Earth Elementalism from the present high master, former Prince of Caurenze Innocenti di Malapietra. When the devastating events of the Great War (which destroyed all of Caurenze save for Innocenti) and the many world-changing upheavals of the Glantrian political landscape did not eliminate Innocenti, Frau Hildegarde decided to take matters into her own hands.

After years of magical experiments, expeditions into the Elemental Plane of Earth, collecting and crafting of deadly magical treasures and weapons, and duels in magical combat-practice and actual-Frau Hildegarde has set into motion her ultimate plan to confront High Master Innocenti in the ruins of Caurenze and kill him.

The first phase of her plan is to retreat into the Elemental Plane of Earth, until after the Day of Dread on Mystara. As soon as the magic-negating effects of the Day of Dread are over, she plans to return to the Prime Plane, exactly within the ruins of Sirecchia and launch a high-precision strike on Innocenti.

On this day in Aalban, she bids farewell to her son, Prinz Jaggar, and her daughter, Frau Helgar, with a solemn promise that she will return victorious early in AC 1019.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are loosely connected to the Drachenfelses at this time, the best thing they can do is not to get involved or discuss this.

Kaldmont 26, AC 1018: The Dragon Rests.

Location: Shire of Seashire, Five Shires. OW

Description: The gold dragon Azem is seen in the skies over Seashire, in the Five Shires. Sharp-eyed hin report that she appears to be badly injured. The dragon was reportedly drifting downwards, labouring to keep aloft, but managed to return to the cloud layer above after a few minutes of being visible to the folk below. (See Fl. 13, Am. 20.)

What This Means: After many months, Azem has defeated the adventurers' scheme to steal the artifact she holds in her keeping, the Ivory Plume of Maat, but at great cost to herself. It will be some years before she is seen in the skies over the Five Shires again.

Kaldmont 26, AC 1018: Canals Are Sold!

Location: City of Greenwood, Kingdom of Foresthome, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: Halzunthram and Hydroxenium sign the treaty to hand over possession of the project and the upcoming canals. The navy will act in an advisory capacity, as it already does for the empress and the queen. (See Ka. 12, Ka. 16.)

What This Means: The negotiations have been hard, but not so hard and tenacious as could be expected for such a difficult affair. Lord Hydroxenium has his control, and the navy has the money and, someday, the canals for its ships. Should the nobles fail to complete the canal the navy can retake control for a certain price. The lords and ladies would lose a lot of money (and prestige) though, so their motivation should be strong enough.

Kaldmont 26, AC 1018: The Justice of Ares.

Location: Trio Fighting Grounds, border between the City-States of Serenia and Adunapolis, Confederated Kingdom of Minaea. SK

Description: The monks of the monastery of Ares, Bringer of War, in collaboration with Serenia's guard, have determined that the assassins were employed by a single Adunapolite man, the wealthy merchant Gheorgophilos. The man is brought by an official delegation sent by Adunapolis to the monastery, where the monks decide on his punishment. There, Gheorgophilos is sentenced to exile. If he ever returns to the lands of the confederated kingdoms, he may be killed without any legal backdrop, as if he were a fly or a lizard. Gheorgophilos decides to leave on a Minaean ship headed for Bellissaria, on the morning of the next day. (See Nu. 4, Ka. 17.)

What This Means: Further investigations in Adunapolis revealed that Gheorgophilos had a lot of debts and hoped to win money through clandestine bets on the Trio (bets are not allowed for the Trio, because it is a sacred event, but obviously there are "underground" bets). However, the underground bets are made before the champions of the two cities are nominated (the exact date is Kaldmont 23). Gheorgophilos bet on Adunapolis's victory, because he thought that Zulda would not present himself for the fifth time in a row, but when he did, he feared that the Serenian would win again, and he had absolutely no money to pay if he loses. So he employed some assassins and sent them to Serenia to deal with Zulda. However, things went quite wrong for him.

Gheorgophilos's act has cast a mark of shame upon the Adunapolites, who are enraged even more than the Serenians by the attempt. Now most of the population thinks that Ares, Bringer of War, will side with Zulda and his two team-mates on the day of the Trio...and this will not help the morale of the Adunapolite champions!

Kaldmont 27, AC 1018: The Amulet Returns.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: The Amulet of the Marches is returned to Baron Yuschiev as proof that Sir Leonid has been slain and that his mission has failed. Baron Yuschiev immediately calls upon Sir Grygory to complete the mission. (See Ei. 26, Ka. 14.)

What This Means: This is the real beginning of the central plot in the novel Dark Knight of Karameikos.

What the PCs Can Do: The novel doesn't describe how the amulet returns to Baron Yuschiev, but it could have been taken to him by the PCs, which would make for a challenging adventure, but only if they are Traladarans. The PCs are less likely to be among the men who subsequently follow Sir Grygory to the Barony of Rugalov.

Kaldmont 27, AC 1018: Shadow Lord Remains Quiet.

Location: Idris Tower, Lothenar Forest, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The Shadow Lord's army of undead has been surprisingly quiet. Many members of the Onyx Ring suspect he is weaving a powerful spell to further his plans. They have seen strange things in their dreams and feel the very land under their feet pulsing. Many in Denagoth witness bad omens, but the High Priestess of Idris remains surprisingly calm and quiet. (See Sv. 28, Ei. 18.)

What This Means: The Onyx Ring knows the Shadow Lord is up to something and fear that the high priestess's policy of "wait and see" only plays into their enemies' hands. The high priestess's confidence leaves some members of the Onyx Ring thinking she has some secret weapon to defeat the Shadow Lord.

Kaldmont 28, AC 1018: Ragnar Is Free.

Location: Jarldom of Boddergard, Kingdom of Soderfjord. OW

Description: During the Day of Dread, the enchantments binding King Ragnar into amber are dispelled, and he suddenly finds himself in an enemy household, alone and unarmed. He manages to sneak away from the domain and heads for his old household to find out what's happened. (See Ei. 8, Ei. 22.)

What This Means: Though Modrigswerg magicks are powerful, they can't stand up to the Day of Dread. The Modrigswerg hadn't anticipated this; they used an ancient artifact to curse Ragnar, and thought that its powers would withstand the Day of Dread. Besides, they didn't want their human allies to think that their magicks weren't more powerful than that of simple human wizardry. Ragnar is free, but will be less than pleased when he finds out what has happened during his imprisonment.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs seeking a cure for Ragnar will have learned that the only opportunity for dispelling the Modrigswerg magicks is on the Day of Dread. They will have to penetrate Jarl Guthorm Brittle-Bone's defences and enter his household in Boddergard to free Ragnar, and then smuggle him out of the domain safely.

Kaldmont 28, AC 1018: An Unhappy Populace.

Location: Duchy of Vyolstagrad, Final Range. NW

Description: As magic fails throughout Mystara, the people of Vyolstagrad take to the streets and snow-covered fields to protest their worsening condition. In the town of Vyolstagrad, the peasants march from the Church of Vyolstagrad to Duke Nevik's castle, demanding food and better protection from the hostile forces to the north. As word spreads throughout the dominion, peasants of other villages also rally in protest. In the village of Stryna, the protests are particularly virulent as the peasants there take up weapons and clash with the town guards, who are forced to flee. Duke Nevik appeals to the peasants outside his castle, and has his soldiers bring food and blankets to those in need. This appeases the grumbling townsfolk, and they return to their homes. (See Ei. 28, Ka. 6.)

What This Means: The people of Vyolstagrad are steadily losing confidence in Duke Nevik. Nothing has been going right for them recently, so they have little recourse other than to take it out on their ruler. The situation is not inflamed enough for an armed rebellion, but there is certainly more than a little tension in the air. Further hardship could easily lead to an armed insurrection.

What the PCs Can Do: Depending on their sentiments, PCs can help to disperse the protesters, or stir them to even greater action. PCs close to Duke Nevik could advise him on how to handle this crisis.

Kaldmont 28, AC 1018: The King Counts His Allies.

Location: City of Norrvik, Kingdom of Vestland. OW

Description: The emissaries sent by King Bergthor Haraldson contact him. From Soderfjord comes dire news. That nation has split into squabbling factions with the loss of its king, and cannot be counted on to provide any sort of help while in this turmoil. The dwarves of Rockhome agree to a joint venture with Vestland in clearing the Vestfjord Gap and Vestfjord Pass [the pass between Vestland and Rockhome, by the Vestfjord River. Ed.] of Modrigswerg presence. Plans are laid for the assault. Emissaries sent to the Western Defence League nations have yet to return. (See Ka. 8, Ka. 12.)

What This Means: King Haraldson is learning the virtues of patience and allies. He has lost much this year, and made a royal fool of himself, and will have to make alliances to get back his territory and his prestige.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs could have acted as the emissaries, in which case they'd have to plan on how to get into Rockhome through Modrigswerg-controlled territory, or how to properly gauge the situation in Soderfjord. Obtaining reliable results will get them in the good graces of King Haraldson, who is looking for good, reliable men to do his work on the field.

Kaldmont 28, AC 1018: Dove Finds Safety?

Location: Swamp of Despair, Great Forest of Geffron, Kingdom of Denagoth. NW

Description: The Avienite horsemen are still pursuing Dove. Just as things are getting grim for Dove, he is saved by a mysterious elf. The elf guides Dove into the swamp and the two disappear inside a cave. (See Ei. 27, Ka. 18.)

What This Means: Dove has been spared the execution the Avienites promised him, but he is unsure what his mysterious rescuer has in store for him.

Kaldmont 28, AC 1018: Day of Renewal.

Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: Amidst celebrations throughout Thyatis on the Day of Renewal, Emperor Eusebius makes a short speech before the senate, outlining the condition of the empire and his intended policies. The empire is stronger now than it was when he took the throne, he says. Its population is recovering, its borders are secure. In the core areas of the imperial mainland, the duchies where most of the population lives are protected by a screen of border counties along all frontiers save the northeastern-most, which is partially screened by the friendly Emirate of Tameronikas. Imperial lands have been recovered in Ochalea and the Pearl Islands, and the empire's position in Davania strengthened. The recent freeing of Oceansend has increased Thyatian influence in Norwold.

Then he makes an announcement that shocks some senators and pleases some others. He says that in his opinion the empire has reached its natural territorial boundaries, and nearly all the areas amenable to rule by Thyatis are within the imperial fold. It would, he believes, weaken rather than strengthen the empire to go after other regions, which would be less accepting of Thyatian authority. In the immediate future the empire should strengthen the bonds between the empire and its current colonies rather than trying to expand further. He says that the empire should work to influence, but not control, other lands. The sole exceptions to limiting expansion, he believes, should be in creating small enclaves useful for trading purposes, and strengthening the empire's position in Davania and Norwold. (See Fy. 12, Sv. 7.)

What This Means: For the foreseeable future, Thyatis is not going to attempt to conquer additional realms. Eusebius wants to focus on enriching the empire through trade, consolidating its hold over current territories and colonies, and restoring the population of the mainland to previous levels while also increasing the population of the outlying regions through colonisation. In part this will be done by encouraging immigration, while the rest can be done by natural growth of the still large population base of the mainland.

Of the senators, many of them agree with Eusebius's plans, but others are disappointed and believe the empire has many opportunities to seize large additional territories now that Alphatia is gone and Nayce is apparently weakening. The last part of Eusebius's remarks satisfy some of the senators who favour expansionist policies, but many notice that Alphatian territories and Karameikos are left off of the list and that apparently Eusebius has no plans to attempt to recover Karameikos by force or attack the Alphatians of Nayce. The speech is, however, well received by most of Thyatis's neighbours, whose ambassadors were present to hear it. A less aggressive Thyatis is something they would welcome. Many will want to see if Eusebius means what he says, however.

The fortifications built or expanded along the borders in the last couple years not only help protect the empire but seem to establish firm borders. The size of the mainland territories was increased by approximately 5% last year in the agreement with Karameikos and the war with Ylaruam. But the cultivated area of the empire's mainland has increased by over a tenth with the settling of former Imperial Territories in the last couple years. A good chunk of this land lies along fertile river valleys and is very productive but much of these lands are more suitable to raising animals than growing crops, while the rest is even more rugged. But using the newly settled lands for pasture allows crops to be grown on some of the rest, and some of the rugged areas are used for growing vines, olive trees, and similar crops. This, plus measures to increase yields undertaken last year and productivity by using less slave labour, will not only increase the empire's wealth but enable its population to be better fed.

That population has rebounded to 2,900,000 with the inclusion of Milenian refugees, Vyalians and others along the borders, dwarven and other immigrants, and natural population recovery. Over 900,000 additional citizens live in the colonies with the inclusion of the Oceansend and Latela regions (due to their current client-state relationships with Thyatis) and the Thanegioth colony (and over a million if Heldun is included).