The Empire has always been at war and this Summer is no exception … yet even in war there are moments of silence. A stolen breath between beats of the drum, a chance to pause and take stock.
After nine months of savage warfare, the wardrums in Segura fall silent. Lasambrian orcs hold their positions in Anuzjasse, Yellow Chase and Burnish. The Freeborn soldiers and the orcs watch each other warily, but neither side engages the other. They are waiting, to see if diplomacy can end the war between the hills and the plains.
Reikos still labours under the lash of the Druj. The territory has fallen ominously silent - no word has come from the scattered resistance groups in the ruined Highborn territory since the Summer Solstice. Scouts risking the barbarians to try and make contact have not returned, or have come back with stories of homes and camps emptied and no sign of the inhabitants.
The forests of the Navarr are silent - or as silent as they ever are. The Jotun still control northern Liathaven. The vallorn still squats at it’s heart. The southern settlements still in Imperial hands continue to be isolated from the rest of the empire by distance and predatory bandits. The last few Thule in cold Hercynia try to drive off the thorns defending rebuilt Treji. but they are ridiculously outclassed, and retreat into the deepest parts of the wood nursing their wounds. The damp forest of Therunin is safe again - no Druj out of Reikos trouble the shadows beneath the trees. The dredgers of Feverwater in the south-east bring up occasional treasures, and have seen nothing of the threats the civil service predicted. So far. Only in Broceliande is the silence broken - the orcs have left Elerael but the forest has not remained empty for long. Monstrous insects have swarmed through the empty glades from Dark Ranging and Vale’s Lament, and wicked ettercap hunt where once barbarians hunted.
The Barrens are a hive of activity - with the aid of the Dawnish at Drycastle, hidden places and remote outposts have been resupplied and Imperial scouts scour the territory, hoping at last to uncover it’s secrets and the details of the war being fought there between rival orcs. The first reports from the field are beginning to trickle in - of the Spires of Dusk under siege, of orc slaughtering orc, of shapes in the Great Forest, of stranger things to come.
And in the Mournwold, in Overton, the scarecrow ring is slowly losing it’s strength but the Jotun remain cautious. Work has begun on an armoured garrison to shore up the defenders for when the magical defences fail completely. Hopeful stories drift out of Jotun territory that Marcher folk thought lost forever are returning to their homes, tired but alive. The wind whispers across the chalk hills - there is an air of expectation but what the wold is waiting for is impossible to guess.
[Lots of other things are going on; it’s impossible to do a proper roundup but here are some of the relevant ones that I lots of people might know about.
The photo is Alaska, of all places, but I liked the colours and the forest in the background. Its from here → flickr.com/photos/blmiers2/]