Lo! It is the end of the year 510, and the civil war in the Empire rages on. Mercenaries have been summoned from the Goblin Lands, and chests of silver and gold go to the dark Overking to pay for his troops. Hob knights and goblin archers filter down into the Serpent Baronies and make war on the rebellious lords of the Empire, all at the behest of the emperor's paymasters. The war has dragged on, with the rebels under the Lord of Amvor gaining ground in Colona and the Coast of Scythes.
The Black Wolf, Lucanus of Martel, has been named the Grandmaster of the Order of Miles following the death of Haerus at the Battle of Tabor Bridge. The Knights have followed the Black Wolf for the past six months, and word of his dark blade, Smoke, has run through the lines of the rebel foe. He has been seen on the frontlines with Smoke in hand, hewing through the banners of the rebellion.
At the same time, the Young Serpent, Hydrophis Schoolman, has gathered his clan of exiles and cast-outs, the slaves freed by silver paid to the Overking. He has named them the Schola renewed, and taken up residence in the ruin of the old school. As of last week, the Young Serpent has issued the promise of a lordship and land for any who slays one of the fled Magearchs and returns a stolen fragment of the Schola's library.
Quintis, the Beauclerc, has not been seen in Miles for four years. The healers have refused to follow the army of the emperor, though they have been working day and night to heal those who returned to the city.
The Imperial Tagmata has been battered and torn by the war and now stands badly depleted. Likewise the Escurae Varani, who have fallen in many battles. There are those who wonder at the emperor's power to keep the empire together. Indeed, there are many in the kingdoms surrounding the empire who are beginning to make plans against the hour when its final shattering is at hand. There are even nobles in the capital who believe the Overking is waiting for his moment to strike and destroy the empire, as soon as its weaknesses are made clear.