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It was an anxious start to the day for the border forces near the Northern edge of the Empire. The previous days had been spent in chasing robber gangs and smugglers trying to sneak in. But now, there was an entire army lined up outside the walls of the Imperial stronghold. They bore the banners of the Sun Cult.

“To your posts, soldiers! Check your armours and ammunition. Gather your weapons and hurry!, Hurry! Enemy is at the gate. Take position near the walls.” shouted the Imperial commander as the soldiers bustled about, some still only half awake. Grabbing his sword from the armoury, he rushed towards the stairway to the top of the outer walls.

His confident gait betrayed his years of experience beating so many different kinds of enemies over the years. Striding multiple steps at a time, the commander reached the top and gazed at what lay in store for him. The picture that lay ahead surprised even him. There was no chest thumping, no bravado, just an enemy that was neatly organised in columns and gazed ahead, solemn and quiet. There were no siege weapons in sight, no attempts made at fortifications. This was definitely strange; even by the standards set by the followers of the cult.

While that spectacle was unfolding in front of the commander, he knew his duty. “Ready the guns!”, his loud voice rang around the fortress.
“No, stand down!”, a firm eerie voice ordered.
“Who the hell are you?”. The commander was not used to his orders being questioned, let alone challenged. He was outraged as he turned around and confronted the Vampire Count coming up behind him. And in response, the count only just slightly raised the right sleeve of his cloak revealing a black spider embossed on pale white skin. “Me and my soldiers do not answer to the intelligence”, he muttered seething to the indifferent vampire.
“Well, in that case, I would let you explain to Her Majesty why the Imperial forces were dragged into a needless war”, coldly replied the stoic vampire before stretching his hand which held a scroll towards the commander.

“Give it to me”, the commander snatched the scroll with disdain, tore open the seal and started to read. It was not hard to understand his state of mind from his mutterings from time to time. “….negotiations?!?…bloody bureaucrats….all of them, all?!…” As he finished reading, his nostrils were gushing out steam into the slightly chilly air and swollen with indignation. Finally, he proceeded to roll back the scroll and without looking at the vampire, motioned to two of his soldiers. “You, and you. With me. Let us go have a chat with these ‘dear’ guests…”

Heroes! Unexpected news greets us from the northern territories. The priests of the San Cult, also known as the Pharaohs, report that they due to certain events, their centuries-old curse has been lifted. But a long period under the.curse means not everyone rejoices at the long-awaited freedom. Many are frightened by the utter absence of purpose from their lives now, in sharp contrast to the days under the curse when they killed and made suicidal pilgrimages. And now the pharaohs are in the midst of a civil war, which has been made worse by the meddling of the treasure-seeking robbers. The pharaohs have petitioned for the Empire to help them put an end to the misery of their now mad kins - relics left behind by the curse - and of course the greedy vultures who seek to plunder. Her Majesty, the Empress, has agreed to negotiate the terms of a possible union.

The results of the negotiations are awaited.
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