Here one will be able to locate most of the "news" items from prior months (two to a post, where length permits), apart from some minor details omitted for space considerations. We begin with the first month of Year 372 (officially, Year 61 of the Second Imperium, though I got tired of working with multiple dating systems). Note that the "news" will be about whatever happened the previous month, so the news for the first month of 372 is about Midwinter Court from 371. Note also, however, that you don't receive a monthly newspaper: these notices trickle into you as they occur, so in general they can be assumed to take place in the order they're presented. Following (usually) the news items is a summary of the most interesting rumors floating around, which can be presumed to arrive slightly after the events they're connected with. Other rumors, you'll have to seek out for yourself. Style and presentation (of both) may vary depending on who's at the scribe's desk at any given time. Months within the same post will be separated by --- --- TURN 1: Arat, Year 372 MIDWINTER COURT Year 60 of the Second Imperium (Year 371 Old Style); 12th Year of the Reign of His Imperial Majesty, Nikovar I, Tenth Emperor of the Second Imperium Evrefritz, Elector Duke of Eszerthagn, is confirmed in the title of Marquis of Niksmund. He is also confirmed in the title of Count of Grichfeng, his by right of conquest. In recognition of his achievements on the behalf of the Empire, Eszerthagn is elevated to the rank of Archduchy. The Emperor offers his condolaces to Sazomir, Prince Apparent of Maritsdor, and his mother and regent, Nestreza, and hopes that they will be able to call on His Summer Court. Viscount Ergon of Sakvikvegn is elevated to the office of Secretary of the Imperial Privy Council. The Emperor is pleased to confirm Wininga in her title of Duchess of Gyrfalconsrest. [A lengthy list of similar confirmations of counts, viscounts and barons is omitted here.] In the dispute over the County of Trebovilje between the Duke of Vahir-Dascu and the Marquis of Cantrescu, dominion is confirmed to remain with Cantrescu. The Emperor observes that he should also be well pleased if the County of Merchureadu were recovered in the coming campaign season. In recognition of the service done by Mercha, Countess of Gramanstadt, that realm shall be regarded as a County Peculiar. The claim of the Marquis of Hesjedal, based on the historical inclusion of Gramanstadt in the Duchy of Sondehagn, is not allowed, as the marquis is not that duke. A Charter is granted to the city of Esling. The Lord Admiral is commended for the suppression of piracy by the Esteros Islands. A remission of taxes is declared for nobles who provided ships to the Lord Admiral. The law regarding collective responsibility for murder is hereby abolished, save where the murdered is the Emperor’s man. [A lengthy list of less important changes in imperial law is omitted here.] The Imperial Progress of Year 372 is announced; His Majesty’s court will depart the Winter Capital on the 3rd day of Forlu, and shall visit his Duchies of Upper Fulgau, Elgau, Gyrfalconsrest, Alstein, Evanstad and Meinerthagn–wherein His Birthday Celebration shall be held–and shall take up residence at the Summer Capital on the 11th day of Inghitsi. It has been confirmed that Her Majesty is with child once more. - Midwinter Court rumor mill: The Duke–make that Archduke–of Eszerthagn has, by his conquests of the previous year, positioned himself to strike any of three possible directions into the Kingdom of Lorthegnar, and it is expected that he will take advantage of at least one of these. Two of the three directions would be almost impossible for the king to resist: defense of those regions would fall almost entirely to local troops. Grichfeng, by the way, was conquered from Lorthegnar; Niksmund was already part of the empire. The Lord Marshal has been canvassing support for a campaign to retake Merchureadu from the Kingdom of Kereszney. The Duke of Vahir-Dascu does not show much enthusiasm for undertaking such a campaign–not if the county is just going to be returned to the March of Cantrescu. If he thinks he might get it, and Trebovilje as well (which was cut off from the rest of Cantrescu by Merchureadu’s defection), he may “discover” that his lands aren’t as wearied from last year’s fighting as he presently makes them out to be. Meinerthagn had not originally been planned to be part of this year’s Progress; it was added toward the last minute–and the Duchy of Bergeheim removed. Hlunegrid, Duchess of Alstein, is elderly and said to be near death, and the emperor is very keen to see her once more before she passes. Prior to the change in the Progress, his birthday was to take place during this visit… though it’s likely the emperor’s eagerness has at least a little to do with the fact that she has no heir. For that matter, Duke Geserich of Evanstad isn’t much younger, though he’s said to retain much of the vitality of his earlier days. And Duke Graudiger of Elgau was actually born in the days of the First Empire–more than eighty years ago. At least both of them have successors. Members of the regency council for Elislet, the Duchess Apparent of Upper Fulgau, have begun actively scouting for likely husbands, though she is only nine at the moment. Seems they want her married as soon as legally possible so that she can inherit promptly. Some say they might even request a dispensation to allow a wedding to take place before her fifteenth birthday. The Marchioness of Sjaermund, Siguving, attended Midwinter Court without her husband for the first time ever. A noted expert on fortifications, he is said to be visiting the Count of Kasselberg… who was likewise absent, pleading “a touch of catarrh.” Her Majesty will not be traveling on the Progress, as her due date is expected to fall sometime in the month of Atsantu. The second wife of Nikovar, she is entering her 41st year, has had two stillbirths and at least one miscarriage; the only child she bore, a daughter, died at the age of two. Nikovar’s first wife died without issue. Nikovar is presently 52 years old. It has been bandied about that if an heir is not born, Nikovar will name his two-year-old nephew Kaledy, only child of his sister Kalinda (who died bearing him) as Heir Apparent–and in either the emperor case will seek to appoint a regency council to oversee the empire should he fall prey to misfortune before the child reaches maturity. The unofficial next in line to the throne right now is Nikovar’s brother, Sebeschar. --- --- TURN 2: Semanu, Year 372 News and Rumor from around the Empire The Duke of Muretsu is putting out feelers for volunteers for a summer campaign. The Countess of Gramanstadt is also advertising for soldiery, in anticipation of Vaesthegnar attempting to recapture it. The emperor’s youngest brother, Prince Tergiv, is in the March of Torgevegn, possibly concentrating forces for a counterinvasion of Vaesthegnar… though this would draw forces away from the defense of Gramanstadt if true. The exiled Countess of Grenteheim has petitioned the emperor to be allowed to return. Details are not known, but are rumored to include an indication she would be willing to abdicate her claim to the county–if a suitable wife can be found for her 22-year-old son. Considering his lackluster reputation regarding intelligence and hygiene, this may prove problematic, even with a coronet as inducement. His Majesty’s response to the petition has not been disclosed. Lord Kuropatnar, the Imperial Astrologer, has resigned. Those interested in the position should contact Her Serene Excellency the Lord Steward of the Imperial Household. Ships from the self-styled “Kingdom” of Rikiver are said to have been sighted off the northeast coast. Her Majesty is said to be doing well. The Duchess of Alstein is said to be doing poorly. The Archduke of Eszerthagn is said to be doing something, but nobody seems quite sure what. The emperor’s other brother, Sebeschar, is said to be doing nothing, which nobody believes for a minute.