[Please find below a recap of the state of the war and winter raging across the Empire] In Wyndael At the outbreak of hostilities the 2nd and 3rd Imperial Legions along with a contingent of House Giefer’s House Guard under Lord Yuldus Passerholm invaded Wyndael from the south, burning a swath to Stormbreak Keep and meeting up with House Mithril House Guard forces from the west. The area around Stormbreak Keep and the manorhouse of High Magnates Keenan and Ryatt are besieged and traffic cut off from the area. The 2nd Legion guards the southern portion of the area, while the 3rd and House Giefer forces under Lord Yuldus guard the east. House Mithril Forces under Overlord Nolon Platnumspike watches the western approach. A large fortification of orcs, reportedly under the control of Goretounge now that The Harbinger is gone, holds position to the north, just south of the Frostbite Mountains. So far Imperial forces are content to avoid the area, trusting in the dangerous cannibal orcs to prevent much travel to and from the area on that front rather than risking a major battle. Meanwhile efforts are made by the Empire to capture or destroy Wyndael’s food supply in the face of the coming winter. The Empire makes continued probing attacks on the Manor house, but refrain from taking it. This requires the High Magnates to keep troops and resources focused there, rather than consolidating in Stormbreak Keep or for an attack posture, lest they risk losing the manor house. Harassing attacks on Imperial lines are periodically made, presumably by former Blood for Blood members loyal to Loray, and these cells are able to coordinate with House Verger to smuggle some food into the besieged area as well as raid some Imperial supplies. These efforts are limited when successful and do not generate large amounts of food in the scheme of things. The winter is the harshest anyone can remember, even worse than the previous winter. The snows reach the height of men’s chests at times. Beyond a few skirmishes and some guerrilla strikes by Wylderkin the Fighting largely stops during the winter, as troop movement is largely impossible. Small bands of kin make small isolated strikes on vulnerable imperial troops or supplies, as Imperial legionnaires spend much of the winter wary of threats (real or imagined) hiding in the woods. Unconfirmed reports of some sort of golden bear stalking Imperials is also discussed, but largely dismissed as sounding like the stuff of fables. Even if the Imperial Forces were not surrounding Stormbreak Keep, traffic to and from it would be prevented by the enormous amount of snow. Even the dwarves, who live in the cold temperatures of the Frostbite Mountains, are heard to complain about the bitter cold. Those in Wyndael find food hard to come by. Strict rationing is enforced by the High Magnates via Cabinet Member Sasha Greymantle for those within the siege. For those citizens outside of the siege areas, they must rely on hunting or scavenging. Due to the war with the orcs the harvest was not good for the province, and only efforts late in the summer and a Bountiful Harvest ritual cast by the Healer’s Guild prevent a full on famine. Additionally Imperial forces harass local areas to show Wyndael’s inability to defend them in an effort to undermine public support for the High Magnates.The Legion openly offers to handsomely reward any who abandon their support for House Wyndael to assist their efforts or provide intelligence. These rewards range from official pardons, to coin to food. Given the situation, most commoners accept food in payment. Some Wylderkin starve, preferring death to ever helping the Empire. Many wonder what will claim more lives, the harsh and hungry winter, or the bloodshed that will resume once the world thaws again come spring. To the shock of many the snows have lasted well into the month of May. Once the snows finally do start to thaw, people and animals begin eating the vegetation that sprouts, however by not waiting until it is ready they damage plants preventing successful harvests deeper into the year. Empire at Large To the west, House Verger has been battling with the 4th Imperial Legion (who have a permanent presence in the Verdant Lands to defend the border from Orentis and the Western Wildlands). House Verger forces also clashed with House Mithril Forces under Highlady Dofrae Broadshield, who is holding Iceforge. In the east, the Imperial Navy blockaded Meerport immediately, easily overwhelming the small patrol fleet that House Meer had for naval defense. From the land side, forces from Grunhold and Baumweld, backed by elements of the 1st Legion, besieged House Meer territory. This has effectively bottled up House Meer forces before they could offer much of a fight. Although House Heinlein vowed to only defend their lands and not field any troops under the banner of Luin Giefer, Ellbogenstadt and the area have become a bloodbath. House Giefer forces that remain loyal to the Passerholm family and the Crown have fought with elements of House Giefer who pledged themselves to Luin Giefer. The 5th Legion marched into House Heinlein territory to back up the Passerholms, which prompted retaliation from House Heinlein forces. However, House Heinlein has not been quick to ally with the former slavers of those loyal to Luin Geifer either. The result is a region badly wracked by warfare where just about any given has been controlled by any given fraction on any given day. Elements of the 1st Legion quickly captured the small amount of territory owned by House Sterne north of the Sudenburg Mountains and took up siege positions guarding the approach up the mountain. An army fighting its way up the mountain would be sure to take heavy casualties, but the siege has prevented food from reaching the settlements in the mountains, including Berghalten. Thus far, the settlements in the mountains are surviving off of gran supplies, many of which were moved into the caves at the outset of the war. Within days of the beginning of hostilities a squad of Gryphons from Talon Company flew into Berghalten, quickly seizing the Library of Memories and a two block radius around it. House Sterne forces retaliated, but were quickly fought to a standstill, resulting in a small but solid pocket of Imperial control within Berghalten. The city has also been subjected to air strikes from Gryphons hitting local military (and occasionally civilian) targets at random intervals. A few weeks after the conflict began, Regent Vikkin issued an edict allowing Prisoners of War to be given over to House Giefer to be used as labor to facilitate the war effort. House Heinlein has protested this decision as “slavery with extra steps” but the Crown ignored this complaint. Captured enemies, or those accused of supporting the enemy, have been seized and forced to perform labor for the Crown until the war ends.