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Conclave News and Notes Turn 11
Autumn Year 3 - 39 months to Armageddon.

Lorn has fallen!

The evil demon Lord Kotori is no more and the Empress Charis, his accomplice and, some say, lover, perished in the flames that engulfed her city.

The success of this venture depended on simultaneous assaults on the palace, the city gates and on Kotori himself.

The main assault on the city came from the massed army of Solists, nomads and River City soldiers, directed by the Prophet Amphion and Ubel Thais, Bishop of Shu. While the legions of the undead rushed to meet them, a giant metallic dragon, the creation of Tormir Sureforge, swooped out of the sky, tore the main tower off the palace, dropped it on the gatehouse then landed to disgorge a group of warriors and animated metal golems (another of Tormir's inventions.) They claim Aris Whitewillow fought alongside them, but as nobody saw her, this may be an exaggeration. Meanwhile however, Potus the Pompous and the mages who so recently escaped from Lorn began digging their way back in to attack Kotori's lair beneath the city. With them, for some reason, went a parrot. Rumour has it that a creature known only as The Avatar locked his mind in battle with Kotori, aided by Latcho Drom. With so much magic unleashed, there was only one way this could end: in an explosion.

Even so, no one was prepared for the scale of the destruction when it came. The exploding magic tore the palace apart and spread fire over the whole cities. Those buildings that did collapse in the shockwaves burst into flame. Many of the zombie army collapsed on the spot, others continued to fight and were cut down by brave Solist warriors, standing firm till the last.

Some survivors have already come out of the city. The army wishes to arrange rescue teams to search for any more. All volunteers are asked to report to the army commanders on site at Lorn.

Our congratulations and thanks must go to all those who put their lives at risk to defeat this great evil. For once, mages did the right thing.

Posthumous medals of honour go to Taran Fireblade and the parrot. Both will be sadly missed.

They told me, Taran Fireblade, they told me you were dead.
They said they found you on the ground with a spear stuck through your head.
And, oh, the news was bitter and I shed a little tear,
And I know I'll always think of you when I eat kebab, my dear.

But where was GROSS when all this happened? Surely, it is at times like this that mages need to show their commitment to the people of this world and use their talents for the benefit of everyone. Yet there has been no word. Is the great Lorthian too much a coward to come out of hiding and give help where it is needed? Or do the GROSS mages really not care what is happening to the world? If they care, they should show it by joining the Armageddon Council at once and seeking ways to prevent the terrible events in Lorn from ever happening again.

Cleon has fallen!

This is not a joke. From what we have been able to piece together, the chain of events started when The Taskmaster lured Xanthe of the Brown Friars to Kessel with a promise that he would hand over the real Jade Throne to her. Whether she intended to buy the throne off him or had plans to kill him is not known because her party was ambushed before they reached Kessel. A large circle of burnt grass and a few burnt remains give little clues as to what happens, but we know Xanthe was taken captive.

It then appears that, in the early hours, the BTC army and fleet took over Cleon, sealing all exits while Brindan and Rakim the Red Ravager entered the palace with a large number of Imperial Guards, animated statues and fearsome clockwork soldiers issuing gouts of boiling steam.

By daybreak Brindan had produced what he claims is the real Jade Throne and proclaimed himself Emperor First to swear allegiance was Tse Kurak of the Temple of Pax Everstill. Given the long history of animosity between the temple and the Brown Friars it should not be surprising that Tse Kurak would give his backing to anyone who opposed the Friars. As for the rest of the city, who can say? If Brindan has indeed returned the Jade Throne to its rightful place tradition states that he should be accepted as Emperor. Yet he has no support among the noble families of the city. Jad Arden has vanished and his mother has chosen exile over pledging loyalty to the new regime. Many of the Brown Friars, several hundred of them it is believed, are also missing following a battle on the outskirts of Meridar.

One last twist: when Xanthe was brought out for execution, it transpired that she was not Xanthe at all, but an impostor. So, was the real Xanthe working against Jad Arden as some claim? Did she withdraw from the city in order to leave it open to attack from the BTC? Or is this a tactical withdrawal, retreating now so she can attack from a position of strength in the future? The future is not at all certain.

Sadly, anti-Solist feeling is rising in Cleon. Earlier this season, a group of Solist gentlemen enjoying a quiet evening in a tavern were set upon by an elven ranger who has since taken up residence at the Temple of Pax Everstill. This unprovoked attack was obviously the idea of Tse Kurak who has always wanted to break the (extremely beneficial) influence of the Solist supporters in the city. So much for free speech. In the interests of public peace, the Solists have agreed not to retaliate to this attack.

The troubles in Cleon must have had something to do with the clash between Brown Friars and Meridar's army earlier this month. According to our reports, a fleet of 50 ships slipped through the BTC blockade around Meridar and launched an assault against the city. Once again, Xanthe's motives are not clear. Retaliation, maybe, or an attempt to manoeuvre into a new position of power, given the next piece of news...

The Taskmaster is missing. While Brindan was securing Cleon, The Taskmaster's party was attacked in Kessel, all ten guards were killed and The Taskmaster himself taken prisoner. There were no witnesses to the event. Meridar has angrily demanded an explanation. Duke Turkelme of Kessel apologises that the attack happened within the borders of his city but says this was a private matter between The Taskmaster and Xanthe and as such he cannot intervene.

Other news

Attention has been focused on Cleon and Lorn so far, and rightly so, but let us not forget the rest of the two continents.

The Hooded Man has completed a successful foray into the Burnt Lands. Some of his party, we hear, had to retreat, succumbing to the sickness that kills everything in the Lands, but all survived and the Hooded Man himself remained in the Lands for a little over two weeks.

It is our belief that mages created the Burnt Lands in the first place - one needs only to look at the Cimis disaster to see what happens when mages overreach themselves. Therefore, it should be the job of mages to repair the damage. We hope the new Elven Conclave will take note.

As winter is drawing in, other expeditions are also over. Justin Trevalion and his men are back from a foray into the northern wastes where they found large quantities of gold. And Earendil the Mariner has returned from his expedition to the Lost Continent bearing wondrous inventions from the native tribes he encountered there. His ship, the Black Swan, was spotted flying over parts of Gershan and Bernea during the last month of autumn.

We must bid a sad farewell to Caldicot the Minstrel who announced his retirement some months ago. He will be greatly missed, especially by the ladies of North Bernea.

Wolves have been spotted on the Mummers. People in surrounding farms are warned to keep an eye on their livestock.

More news of natural disasters - Bale Beacon erupted mere days ago. Thankfully, the damage is not as bad as could be expected. Most of the lava has so far run into the sea, but people are warned to stay well away from the mountain until it is declared safe.

The excitement of the eruption has led to the usual far-fetched stories. Dragons flying in from the east and alighting on the lower slopes. Small figures hurrying out of the path of the lava. Illusions caused by the smoke, all of them, or maybe Master Tormir decided to fly his artificial dragon to the volcano. Whatever the truth behind the strange sightings, the truth is not that the goddess Kaisha has returned. Any rational person will tell you Kaisha does not exist. Neither does Tadewi, though many people have claimed to have seen her in visions. Other people have claimed to see a god that is half man, half tiger striding through their dreams. We suggest they limit their intake of beer if they want to avoid such dreams in future.

The sport of Calvin Balls continues to spread. Latest to support the new sport is the Gershan church in Shu, which has agreed a sponsorship package with a number of teams. "Some of these people lost family and friends in the Solist siege," said Ubel Thais, Bishop of Shu. "It's only right that the church should help them discover some joy in their lives. The church is for fun." This sponsorship coincides with other generous donations to the poor of the city. It is not an attempt to win new converts, church leaders say, although they can't deny that the numbers of believes has increased steadily over the past months.

Sher is taking no chances. Mayor Rupar has ordered the building of a coastal wall in case of flooding and is considering other schemes for the long-term security of the town. The one worry now remains his fiancée, Rachil. Owner of the town's Magic Shop, she makes no secret of her magical powers, or the fact that she is the twin sister of Brindan, who has this very week declared himself emperor of Cleon. Surely, after escaping the clutches of Meridar and Squill, Sher will not allow itself to fall under the shadow of Cleon?

Further north in Bernea an arsonist is caught in his own fire. Sandor Greymist, who was responsible for a spate of fires in his home town of Ambar was found burned to death in a fire at the home of a prominent merchant. It is known that he once set fire to his parents' house in a moment of spite because they refused to fund his apprenticeship but why he started this new spree of arson will probably forever remain a mystery. Miraculously, no one else has been killed in the fires. Doctors have had nothing more than a few cases of burning to deal with. Terentia, assistant to the Mayoress says the matter has been fully dealt with and there is no further danger to the population.

Turn 11 subsidiary news

Following the Lorn victory, Latcho Drom and the Avatar have both vanished. Amphion has offered a reward of 100 crowns for information about their whereabouts. The Armaggedon Council wishes to speak to Latcho urgently, he says, and he wishes to congratulate the Avatar in person.

Elsewhere, all is surprisingly quiet. Pleas for peace between Solists and non-Solists in Cleon seem to have worked for the time being at least.

The Armaggedon Council is pleased to announce that the mage Lorthian has joined its ranks, on behalf of GROSS. The Council hopes the pooling of knowledge will be of benefit to all.

The Gershan church has seen a small revival, mainly in the small towns and villages. Quoting the scripture, 'God shall tear the unrighteous as a tiger,' a number of priests have confessed to sins including theft, adultery and idolatry. Other priests claim to have seen visions of God returning to the world in the form of a tiger. A few churches on Bernea are now boasting tiger guards, created by Gershan priests as images of God to watch over the righteous and punish the unrighteous.

There has been no official word from the church on these matters but church leaders are thought to be looking into it.

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