Jotun forces secure Liathaven. They do not do so entirely without opposition. There are some reports of pitched battles in the north between orcs and what appear to be a force of pale, grim, human (?) legionaries who show no signs of Navarr allegiance. They do little to stop the orcs recovering the territory the Freeborn claimed before the Winter Solstice, and there is little reliable information about who they were or where they came from.
There is some Navarr resistance in the south, but again how much and how effective is not clear. The entire territory is in the uncontested hands of the Jotun. No more Navarr refugees come south into Kharaman. A grim silence has fallen over Liathaven.
Perhaps the Navarr and the Freeborn scouts deep in the lost forests of Liathaven know more; but if they do they are not telling. Not yet.
On the shores of the Westmere stands Westerhal, home to the small fleet of Kallavesi boats that keep the coast safe from Jotun raiders. Shortly after the Winter Solstice it becomes clear that Westerhal is not entirely up to the task. What works against a few raiders is no match for a significant force of Jotun .The decades-old call of the people of Westerhal for a fortification on the shores of the Gullet seems almost prescient in the face of the orc troops marching out of the west.
They come cautiously, but implacably, spreading south and east from a beach head on the western coast. With them march several warbands of Jotun champions, proud and terrible, who seek out the bravest of the Winterfolk defenders to test their mettle. Each time they come to a hall, they offer the inhabitants the choice - to join the Jotun as warriors or to lay down their arms and become thralls. Few take their offer. Those who do not are honoured with a warrior’s death, buried, and then the Jotun move on.
In three months, the Jotun have conquered perhaps half of the West Marsh and show no signs of stopping. Westerhal is their target, but after that nothing will stand between them and Rundahl should they wish to strike at the heart of the Wintermark nation.
A massive force of Jotun strikes into Kharaman from the forests of Liathaven. Estimates vary, but it is believed that as many as thirty thousand orcs have poured out of the forests into the Cinnabar hills. They strike with great force, targeting first Serra Damata and then Serra Briante. They do not offer the Freeborn who stand between them and their prize the Choice, but neither do they slaughter those who flee before them. Those who try and stand against them are shown no mercy. Their treatment of those who try to fight is very different to their treatment of the Navarr - they are treated with a modicum of respect and buried, at least.
In Serra Damata, the Jotun encounter the first of three fortresses. A great squat tower of smooth glacial ice and rough black iron appears amidst the hills above the Damatian Cliffs. Hulking inhuman soldiers garrison the walls, each appearing as an eight-foot-tall orc wrapped in thick fur. From head to foot they are marked with dull blue tattoos and spiral scars, and their eyes are the vibrant blue of a clear winter sky. Each is armed with a twelve-foot barbed spear of polished bone, and their voices rumble like a tide of snow in distant peaks. They are knights of Cathan Canae drawn along with the tower from her frozen realm by Imperial magic.
They give the Jotun pause - but only for a moment. Then the barbarians smash the citadel to pieces, send its defeated guardians back to the Lady of the Frost, and claim the Damatian Cliffs and the hills and orichalcum mines of Serra Damata for themselves. The Jotun are not focused entirely on their attack. Some of the orcs from the northern Jotun kingdom are more interested in plundering the Freeborn mines and the white granite quarries of Damata. Others stay behind the establish a camp within the broken walls of the town of Damata, while the rest push forward into Serra Briante, aiming straight at the Great Mine.
Here they encounter a second citadel, a monolithic fortress of ice and granite supported by troops from Fort Braydon, blocking their approach not only to the mithril mine but also to the town of Briante. The force of the mighty Jotun charge falters a little in the face of the glacial walls, and their attack eventually falls back to defensive positions above the valley. Without the two magical citadels, it is likely that both Serra Damata and Serra Briante would have fallen to the Jotun in a single stroke.
In a tragic twist of fate, several of the settlements inhabited by Navarr displaced by the original Jotun invasion lie in the part of the valley claimed by the Jotun. The orcs treat these settlements as they have the steading and stridings of Liathaven. Without mercy.
The Jotun have uncontested control of Liathaven, and have made significant progress towards establishing supply lines into Kallavesa.
Their southern force has claimed Serra Damata, the town of Damata, and the Damatian Cliffs. They have also plundered an undisclosed amount of the white granite that might otherwise have gone to Jeremiah of the Cenotaph (the Highborn seat holder). They have captured the frozen citadel raised in this territory, but luckily it will have returned whence it came by the time the Spring Equinox rolls round. The Jotun have also taken perhaps a fifth of Serra Briante.
The photograph is of the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sverd_i_fjell a monument in the Hafrsfjord neighborhood of Madla, a borough of the city of Stavanger in Rogaland county, Norway.