Rise of the Battlemaster Book V
Change comes to all things. Sometimes it comes like a whisper in the night, subtle and unseen. Oft times it is a charge of cavalry, brutal and unstoppable. One can bend, like a blade of grass, or shatter like badly forged steel. I fear that our Eternal Empire is a brittle blade that will break when we need it most. Let us hope that we can reforge it in time.
– Audra Telesthyr, Loremaster.
attlemaster Thirn invokes the Rite of Spears. Liann, Fiann and Ordu argue bitterly against it but are bound by oath to obey the Laws. Thirn dispatches Warmaster Esten ban-Amadris to oversee reforming and re-arming the legions. Skitarii from all seven Houses are sent north to reinforce the garrison at Tor Nordia. He also tasks the Last Cohort with establishing a new Tower in the east.
As soon as troops are ready, Esten and Thirn lead them into the Westmarch. With the aid of the dwarves, the Battlemaster’s forces win a series of decisive battles against the blackbloods. The Warmaster cautions against overextending the Imperial supply lines and an uneasy frontier is established. Half of the Westmarch is still in the grasp of the blackblood clans.
Tor Egan remains sealed, with Almeth ban-Fiann claiming that Thirn is a pretender who seeks the throne. Short of laying siege to an Imperial city there is little that can be done to relieve the capital of the Westmarch. Esten is furious but stops short of declaring Almeth a traitor.
or Carath becomes a hotbed of suspicion and paranoia following a series of murders. The victims are all prominent scions, most notably those of House Ruwen and House Orwen, including Fathris ban-Orwen whom many had predicted to become the next Empress. The culprit is not found despite a thorough investigation by both the Congregation and The Companions.
Battlemaster Thirn struggles with the traditions and dictates of the Imperial court. He is an outsider in almost every way, only his Tower training counting for him in the eyes of the Assemblage. His inner circle includes the chaos adept Audra, who he names as his personal Loremaster, the twins Hema and Lorri, the Warmaster, and Justiciar Berennis, with whom an unlikely friendship is formed.
Even with the Rite of Spears in effect, the delaying and stalling of the Assemblage of Lords means that rebuilding the Imperial army will take years. Luckily the frontier in the west is relatively stable and the Northmarch is quiet.
he dwarves allow several humans to live in Haven and train in the ways of Creation. Kiernan’s disciples also take on students of their own. Audra and Badron urge the other members of the Black Sun cabal to reveal themselves, but they remain secretive. The siblings quietly steer prospective acolytes towards the cabal instead.
The assemblage of Lords remains deadlocked about the necessity of a Succession, lacking definitive proof of the Emperor’s demise.
Reports from the west indicate that the blackbloods are growing restless, once again threatening to overwhelm the Westmarch. Merchants are provided limited access to Tor Egan but much of the city remains sealed. Travellers circulate rumours that something dark and corrupt festers in the heart of the city.
Raiding parties are sighted in the Northmarch, perhaps a sign that a new Host is gathering.