As the recent trial following the Inquisition of Fire commences in Starkhaven, rumors spread like wildfire among those unable to be in attendance. Some say the accused have already been executed, and the entire trial was a cover. Others imply that the citizens of Serai were themselves undead and were smitten upon entering the keep. Still more would have you believe that constant fights have broken out, leading to the delay in proceedings. Without attending in person, none can know for sure if any of these are true or not, though one thing is for certain: the outcome of the trial will be the news of the year.
As battered and broken warriors pull themselves from the grips of the swamp and the combined efforts of the militaries of Mardrun return from their campaigns of distraction, Marquess Madeline d’Argent Proudly proclaims to the world that the expedition, despite a number of unfortunate losses, was a rousing success. The Blackwing outpost was reportedly discovered and cleansed of the corruption believed to have driven out the original inhabitants and the Mordok were kept at bay long enough for a sizable group to break through into the swamp and determine that such a foothold could be taken and maintained with proper planning. Much was learned about the swamp and how to navigate its perils, allowing for easier movement in the future should more expeditions such as this be funded. More than that, however, she claims the venture was a political victory the likes of which have not been seen since the treaty was signed to end the civil war, bringing together clans, colonists, and individuals to prove that together, even the swamp cannot stand against us. Amidst this joyful celebration, however, lie the disgruntled murmurings of Haygreth Grimward. Pack Blackwing still retains a place of honor among Clan Grimward, and many still bear the name. The Clanleader has made it known that the outpost is still considered Grimward territory, and is insulted that such an expedition would be mounted without Grimward support.
In more news from Newhope, the Lord Baron Richards has proudly and officially announced that they are in possession of a cure for the corruption and are working tirelessly to refine it to make it more efficient and safer. This has led to a great migration into the colony as the corrupted all hope to be cleansed before they lose their lives. Many are beginning to panic about this recent development, however, noting that the number of sick inside the city could bring catastrophic consequences, and should the demand for a cure outpace the supply, desperate people will resort to desperate measures, possibly leading to unrest, protests, and even riots. The Newhope Guard has been mobilized to help combat these threats, though their numbers may not be enough if the tide of corrupted is not stemmed soon.
On a quieter front, little news has come out of the settlement of Daven’s Reach as of recently. While reports of banditry still permeate the surrounding countryside, their frequency has dropped to levels similar to the larger colonies, and most of the correspondence from them seems to be encouraging willing investors to send food or trade to the town in hopes of spurring their economy before the winter falls.
Painfully remembering the treatment of his cousin Kragen, the Chieftain Holmar Bloodmoon has begun to organize a rebellion within Clan Nightriver, shaking the largest clan to its core. While many, including much of the colonist population, laud Branthur for the diplomatic steps taken to end the war and ensure such atrocities do not happen again, others have branded him a coward who is now bending his knee to the demands of a defeated enemy. They feel he is showing weakness and are rallying behind Holmar. Though his following is small at the present, those in his movement are fervent in their cause and could prove to be a symptom of a much larger issue.
For months Clan Whiteoak has asked for help, for warriors or supplies to help them push back against the constant Mordok raids and festering corruption in their lands. Whether due to their past dishonorable actions or the active campaigning of Clan Axhound to keep aid from their ancestral foe, other clans seem hesitant to commit any support to Clan Whiteoak. The clan is beginning to grow ever more desperate, realizing that soon enough, something will have to give.
Hoping that their cries will not fall on deaf ears just as those of their Whiteoak neighbors, Clan Riverhead has once again taken to public forums to denounce Clan Stormjarl and New Aldoria for their conquest of Squallborn lands. They have applied what political pressure they can to those groups hoping to encourage them to give back the lands they took, while simultaneously pushing Clan Squallborn to sign the Nightriver treaty and preserve the lands they were able to keep. No word from either side of the conflict has been forthcoming regarding these demands.
As if the constant threat of Mordok hadn’t been enough already, the combined Shattered Spear and Grimward patrols have reported yet another disturbing development in the Mordok tactics recently. While in-fighting has always been commonplace among the Mordok, it often worked to the benefit of the Ulven, reducing the overall effectiveness of their opponents through disorganization and damage sustained from these skirmishes. If recent reports are to be believed, this has undergone a dramatic change in the last few weeks: the losers of these battles are now seeming to fall in line behind the victors, rather than returning to the swamp as they had before. Not only does this result in a larger force, but in a more organized group led by a single Alpha or Shaman, rather than several smaller, disjointed groups vying for control. How this will play out in recent months has yet to be seen, but it cannot be a good sign.