Scouting Reports May 1105
Over the winter Cornwall has started to recover.
In the country, grain supplies have been sent out to the outlying villages. Imperial auxilia and rangers have helped with land reclamation work, and large amounts of drainage and tilling has been done. The land that was salted is starting to become healthy again and it is not known how the Empire are doing this.
The circles appear to be the most highly guarded parts of the duchy; ringed with Imperial troops. It is rumoured that powerful mages have been able to create transport circles as spurs off the main circles in Cornwall.
In urban areas, a large effort has been made by the Eighth Legion to dismantle the shantytowns and deal with the twin problems of disease and hunger that were developing there. Those people moved out of the camps are given paid work rebuilding villages and working in the fields.
Morale in the duchy has improved and Cornish pride is once again visible. Although the populace are grateful for what the Empire has done, they still regard them as little better than the Harts and are concerned by the prospect that the troops may well outstay their welcome. The Cornish are happy to be protected by the Empire but they defiantly want to be governed by their own.
Religion across the county has also seen a resurgence, and worship of the Architect (Lord of the Cities), Manannan (Lord of the Seas) and Taranis (Lord of Storms) has become wide-spread in a relatively short time. Worship of Igraine is also increasingly popular. The Empire themselves seem to support worship of the Architect, the Mother and the Hunter – and a lot of them give the appearance of being very pious.
Rosewyn herself is regarded by the vast majority of the populace as the saviour of Cornwall. Although she has placed other officers in charge of the Cornish Battalion, she still maintains tight control over them. Rosewyn also makes sure that she oversees what the Empire do – and the impression given to the people of Cornwall is that she doesn’t allow them to act without her consent..
Most of the border is now guarded by the Cornish Battalion … and although they are supported by the 1st Cohort of the Eight Legion defences are extremely weak. Internal security and law enforcement within Cornwall is mainly the responsibility of the Cornish Militia – apparently including the majority of the most anti-Albione amongst the Cornish.
Military camps around Cornwall are being dismantled. Most of the imperial scholars and bards who had journeyed to the duchy have now left, and it is obvious that they have either found what they were looking for or given up hope.
One legion of auxilia have moved south to Exeter and it looks as if the majority of the Eight Legion are also planning on withdrawing from Cornwall soon.
The feeling in Gloucester is one of nervous anticipation. The armies have started to mobilise and supplies have been brought in for them. Morale in the duchy is high and although they are aware that invasion looms determination and confidence outweigh feelings of despair and fear.
Worship of Nethras is now fairly prevalent across the entire Duchy and black-robed members of the Order of the Crone are a familiar sight in ever village.
The ethos of rural Gloucester has become one of self-reliance. In the villages, nearly every man, woman and child takes turns to work and helps patrol for potential threats. People in the villages are regularly seen training with staff and bow. Fletchers work through the night stockpiling arrows for use if Gloucester is invaded.
In the cities however fear in growing. Although the villages are prepared for war, the people in their walled towns react in a different way – stockpiling food and supplies, strengthening the city walls and preparing for an influx of refugees from outside their walls. Fear and distrust of the black-robed incantors is almost as high as the fear of the Imperial legions that they are preparing against.
Meanwhile in the Greenwood, hundreds of refugees are on the move. The south of the wood has been almost completely deserted as stories become rife of demons appearing from the darkness and butchering anyone who dares travel. Whilst the Keswick Battalion makes sure trade routes are left protected to Forest Glen, the armies in the South mobilise to engage the Empire and no men can be spared from there to protect trade caravans.
Even with the war with the Empire and the death of the Queen, morale in Keswick is at a high. They have seen the Harts defeat the goblin auxilia army and the Keswick Battalion is hard at work making sure that trade to Forest Glen is maintained.
A mild winter, coupled with talks of alliance with the Dragons and Bears factions has meant that the people of Keswick have spent their time sorting out their fields and land ready for planting in the spring. Work has been hard but crops and animals have been the priority rather than war.
Rumours of Conclave activity in Rockholme has been met with surprising disinterest, and although in the more well informed places there is a definite level of concern, in the minds of the general populous this is merely another reason why the Empire will never take Rockholme.
Even though the death of the Queen is met with sadness, the cities are filled with celebrations for the young prince. Bards tell stories in the tavern of his heroic rescue rather than the death of the Queen.
In the south of the duchy there are many who are worried by the demons emerging from the Greenwood, but confidence in the Duke of Keswick to organise the Harts into dealing with the matter is high.
There is rumour around the duchy are that the prisoners from jails across Keswick have been “given the chance” to fight for Albion. This has not only increased morale but also resulted in a visible reduction in crime … as the even the most dishonest fears being sent against demons or the Empire far more than the prospect of jail.
With the death of the Queen and the chaos that the release of prisoners from the Winchester jails has caused, morale in Winchester is at an all time low.
The Winchester Battalion has been working tirelessly with the sheriffâ€™s office to return the prisoners to their cells but around the Winchester area people have started to lock themselves away, and strangers are met with fear and distrust.
In Marchwood, Cornish refugees – many with family in the duchy- have come and brought with them disease. Prejudice and violence against the refugees is rife â€¦ and family or friends in Winchester who give them shelter are liable to find themselves shunned and treated as poorly as the refugees themselves.
There have been reports of several murders (supposedly either refugees or people of Cornish descent), however with a number of dangerous criminals still on the loose from Winchester jails it cannot be proved that such crimes are politically motivated.
Trade with Cornwall has completely stopped and this lack of business has meant that some people on the border now have to travel for many days to get vital supplies.
The trade wagons from Finmere must be guarded by Winchester Battalion to stop the drivers getting stoned by villagers. This is causing a massive distrust of the Harts armies and resentment of the fact that supplies are going to the â€œtreacherousâ€ Cornish whilst loyal Albiones go hungry elsewhere.
With spring starting the people of Winchester are fairly certain that they will be the next target of Imperial aggression, and are starting to prepare for travel north to York in the hope of thus avoiding the violence. Confidence in the Harts armies to defend them is very low and a virtual plague of malicious rumour only increases the fear.
A few isolated riots have occurred in parts of Winchester, however such incidents were easily contained and quickly quelled. Although a degree of anti-Hart sentiment has started to emerge, most of the populace believe that Imperial agents are the root of such unrest.
Problems in York are widespread and outbreaks of lawlessness have broken out in most of the duchyâ€™s major cities. Fighting between rival gangs of criminals has entangled many of the locals and death rates are increasing rapidly, whilst the sheriffâ€™s department struggles to keep the violence under control.
The York Battalion has been drafted in to help with the disorder, but they are stretched thinly between guarding the ritual circles (aided by half of the Keswick Battalion) and dealing with this crime wave.
A mercenary army in the service of the Harts has started to move into Londinium. The Northern Fleet has cut off the docks of this self-proclaimed free state, and efforts are made to evacuate loyal Albiones whilst the city is cleared of rebels section by section. So far the army has met only minimal resistance, although outbreaks of rioting and violence have started in places.
There have also been rumours of brutality by certain members of the army against some of the people of the city. Peasants have been found bloodied and beaten in acts of seemingly motiveless brutality.
Morale in the north of the duchy is a lot higher and although the death of the queen has been taken badly the new alliance with their old enemy – the Caledonians – has meant that people are a lot more at ease than they have been for years.
The new circle in York has glowing jewels and an indentation in the altar stone although it does not appear to be public knowledge what these are for. There is a heavy guard on the circle and they have strict orders to not let people near it.
Rumours abound across the city what this circle could be for, and some fear it could be a potential point of attack for Imperial or Conclave attack.