State of the Compact, 02 September 1007
Under Princess Reese Grayson, sorties in the Gray Forest have been incredibly successful. It seems like tainted creatures and organized forces in the Gray Forest are backing off, recouperating from losses or simply destroyed under the combined efforts of the Compact. There will always be dangers in the wilds, but for now it seems to be quiet of supernatural threats. Is this hard-earned peace too good to be true? Time will tell.
But even as a fragile peace decends on the Gray Forest, the Mourning Sea is starting to churn again. Darkwater Watch has seen thralls vanishing in the night. And maybe not all of those are for inimical reasons, but that doesn't mean it's not noted. Is it trouble? Strange storms can be seen hovering over the Darkwater, and sometimes lightning cracks at the center of the Darkwater on the darkest nights.
The Marin'alfar delegation has arrived - and perhaps there's a small mistranslation, because instead of a group they've just sent one. Prince Venteri of the Marin'Alafar showed up to an Assembly of Peers, and while it seems he's willing to treat with the Compact, there seems to be some tension between the Nox'alfar and Marin'alfar ambassadors. Fish-face elf masks with bulbous cheeks and hands at their ears are suddenly popular.
A call goes out among the newly freed thralls, looking for those who want to go to sea and swear fealty to Thrax. For the thralls who volunteer this comes with a sigh of relief - many have lived most or all of their lives among Thrax, and though their conditions have vastly improved since their debts were purchased or forgiven in uncertain times a known quantity can be far more comforting than the unknown. Seraph Ailith buys a ship as a gift to Thrax from the Faith, and she and Blessed Aleksei are there to make sure that all those thralls invited to volunteer understand that this is not them being voluntold instead, and so there is a strange feeling among those who show up for training as they stare at a ship flying the dual sails of Thrax, and a banner of the Red Serpent over broken chains. Perhaps in a few years they will recognize it as hope.
The Prince of Maelstrom and his very pregnant wife Princess-Consort Alarissa are there to greet them, to take their oaths personally and to introduce a rather gruff and grizzled old man as their new captain. Those who served their time at the oars might recognize the Red Serpent's own captain, a legend among the sailors of Thrax and well known as the High Lord's most trusted captain as well. Prince Victus is clearly sending the best to make sure this joint effort succeeds. Sir Preston and Dame Thena, not forgetting that sailing is only one part of being a sailor on a vessel likely to see combat, send their own Templars and Knights. These offer aid with the swift training of these sailors in things like hand to hand combat, the basics of weaponry and ship-to-ship combat where appropriate as well.
The result is the Unchained - a vessel crewed entirely of freemen volunteers, sworn to Thrax, well trained and well supplied and answering directly to the Prince of Maelstrom. Their first set of orders is given - to protect the Mourning Sea, to root out pirates, to safeguard merchant ships, and to continue the fight against the Darkwater. It is an expensive step, but a good one. Throughout the Compact, even as Kennex surges and seethes, various Houses are starting to see even if Thrax isn't ending thralldom throughout their House today, they are taking clear steps toward ending it someday.