“all the news that fits, we print”
Southron Forces Continue Northern Push, Hold in South
With the Third Cortalish War now in its fourth year, the Banite foe remains hard-pressed, but is fighting dearly for each hide of land in occupied Sylvania. The foe’s surprise winter offensives have pushed back some of our advances in the south, but the military continues to exploit last fall's breakthrough at Radzetsky pass, spearheaded by the loyal Silver Legion mercenaries and finally completed by the 2nd Andeaver Expeditionary Army's seizure of Ivangrad.
Lord High Marshal, Count Ethelwulf has exhorted the troops to continue the slow drive toward Gos, touring one of the recently liberated Sylvanian villages, where the Nuadan Inquisitors have already torn down the idols to Bane in the local chapel, and replaced them with those of Nuada. The local Sylvanians showed their appreciation to their Southron liberators, though several Cortal collaborators were shipped back to the Inquisitors’ headquarters in Bywater for reeducation. The Count assured the gathered villagers of Southold's intention to restore Sylvanian sovereignty once the Cortals are defeated, regretting that the Inquisitors' martial law would have to remain in place until then.
At sea, Lord High Admiral, Count Aldron III, led the navy to a pitched engagement which crippled the Cortals’ southern fleet at the Battle of Near Harad on 5 Mirtul. While the Royal Navy lost three war carracks and six caravals, enemy losses are estimated at twenty vessels. The Navy had long been held as a reserve as a hedge against a widening of the war given Cortal overtures to the Hulers and Minoans, with only commerce raiding and limited engagements after the initial year’s heavy naval losses on both sides. King Edmund awarded the Count, five captains, and three officers, and two sailors with the Canary Cross for their herosim.
In another minor victory, the series of humanoid uprisings plaguing the army last fall and this spring has finally come to an end, after the Cortal agents fomenting the goblin, orc, ogre, and hobgoblin revolts were uncovered and killed. Credit goes to members of the Silver Legion and Flaming Fist mercanary companies, as well as adventurers from the Deep Delvers, the Hunt, and the Lucky Seven.
Normality Finally Resuming After Vecna’s Disjunction
One year after the Arch-Lich Vecna, former Empire of the Cortalish Empire failed in his attempt at godhood and threw Grund into chaos, it can finally be said that normality has returned. The lich had tried to sever Grund from the gods using the mystical Yazakh stone circle at Tovag Baragu, in order to become all powerful. However, our own troops of the Third Bywater Expeditionary Army spreaheaded the way to the circle, and the Intrepid Paragon adventuring company, since disbanded, managed to foil the plan. The famed adventurers were recently all hosted King Edmund an awarded Southold’s highest honor, the Canary Cross, for their actions—Intrepid Paragon members present included Greywolf, Khoresh, Kliff, Elmo, Hernando, Stonne, Wildcard, Drake, and Agrippa.
Although the spell blockages on divination and such were lifted immediately after the Disjunction ended, some wild magic surges and such continued for months afterwards. Worst of all, the peoples’ faith in the gods has been shaken across Arik, with church attendance still down by a third compared to pre-Disjunction numbers. At least the apocolyptic cults, such as the flagellants, have largely disappeared. Crime, which was rampant during the darkest days of the Disjunction when respect for authority waned, has since fallen to almost pre-Disjunction levels. However, the innumerable minor wars, murders, thefts and such, perpetrated when people believed the world was about to end, will have repercussions in Arik for years to come.
Yazakh Refugee Problem Continues
The Yazakh refugee problem continues to plague Southold. The refugees emerged after the gods punished the Yazakhs for aiding Vecna in his Great Disjunction, turning their steppes into what is now called Lake Retribution with a divine deluge. Turned away--or enslaved--by the northern neighbors the Iron League trading states, the Videssian Empire to the East, and the Tarans to the west, the Yazakh refugees have largely found shleter in Southold, though some have continued onward to Hule through the Great Pass. Their numbers are thought to be several tens of thousands in Southold alone, creating a public backlash. They have overwhelmed Dunthrane’s always overworked House for the Homeless, and many sleep in the streets.
Despite calls for tolerance by the priests of Tyr, and active succor by the priests of Shinare, Selune, and Adora in particular, many Southrons still see the Yazakhs as an additional drain, a dirty, thieving lot like the Vistani gypsies. The great influx has lead the Temple of Selune--who Yazakhs venerate--in Dunthrane to expand substantially. While more Yazakhs are forming mercanary companies and fighting in the war, the vast majority claim they simply want to settle down and resume their old ways.
Council of Six Attempt to Assassinate Bigy!
The council of the six greatest Cortal Fire Wizards--themselves now one pillar of the triumvirate which now rules the Empire since Emperor Vecna’s fall--launched a daring raid against Lord High Wizard Bigy of the Fist in his great White Tower at the Royal Academy. However, the Archmage soon signalled for his allies in Southold's Conclave of Wizards, and within moments his allies Gondal the Great, Mekkari the Magnificent, Zenjik Demonslayer, and Otliuke the Illustrious were reunited and fought off the attackers. The Conclave used Bigby’s magical defenses to great effect, reportedly slaying Belten and the lich Xozyin, though the invaders teleported away with their bodies. Both the Conclave and the Council of Six have been increasingly active in the fighting this year.
Economy Holding Together
Lord High Chancellor, Rolf Geraldor announced that despite the effects of four long years of war and Vecna’s recent Disjunction, the Southron economy remains viable and the people behind the war effort. Geraldor complained that the Minoans and Iron Leaguers have maintained their neutrality and are unduly profiting from the continued warfare, with exorbitant prices for war goods and the diversion of commerce from the traditional grand trade fairs in Dunthrane and Bywater. The ambassadors for both nations have denied the claims emphatically.
Yet despite the Chancellor’s claims, any trip to a Southron market shows the increasing prices, particularly for luxury goods or anything remotely related to the war. In particular magic items have now increased in price by some three-quarters since the war began, with unique or war-related items more than doubling in some cases.
We’re looking for a few good men. Good with a sword? Loyal to Southold? Maybe you have what it takes to join the Flaming Fist Mercenary Company. Swords for hire, but loyally serving Southold in times of need since the War of Independence. If you think you’re good enough to join the best infantry regiment in Arik, come see us. Recruitment tests conducted the first day of every month, at the Flaming Fist barracks, Old Town, Bywater. Exercises witnessed by Colonel Eltan personally.
Want to beat the skyrocketing costs at the Royal Academy? Come to Algeth's Emporium, Dunthrane for minor enchantment items of all types--for weapons, see our partner Samuel’s Smithy and we can add a minor enchantment.
Palms read, future told. Contact Madame Zara, across from the Drunken Orc Tavern, Dunthrane dock quarter.
For the finest in classic Southron cuisine, come to the Old Bridge Restaurant on Athelstan Avenue, Dunthrane--officers get a free tankard of mead with their meal, our way of saying thanks.
Do what you can for the troops, donate your old metal goods for the war effort -- bring any metals to the Temple of Nuada to be forged into weapons for our troops. Long live Southold!
Want to join the Royal Navy, heroes of the Battle of Near Harad? See the world while serving your country. Those interested who have what it takes should report to Narwhal Manor at Dunthrane Harbor at noon any weekday.
For the finest meats anywhere, despite the war, come to Pig in a Poke Butchers, Athelstan Avenue, Dunthrane.