The people of Arginet are adapting over time to the threat of the Breaking. The most dangerous rifts are quickly cordoned off by Army detachments, and civilians of all classes have learned how to defend themselves from what monsters slip through. A few alien creatures have even been domesticated or otherwise exploited for human artifice. And humans from other worlds are gradually becoming established as residents in Arginet.
In recent months coastal sea travel has become possible again thanks in part to the adventurers of Fiveways. While monsters still lurk in the deep waters, a well-armed crew and the shelter of the coast are enough to keep a ship safe on voyages between Arginese ports. The Navy are sailing once again and doing their part to defend fisherfolk and merchants.
It is still not all sunshine and roses. At the end of winter, famine seemed all but inevitable in the Summer Coast and it was only the efforts of the adventurers that prevented widespread starvation. Insecurity and overcrowding still threaten the common people and further trials are sure to come.
And other nations are faring worse still. Occasional messages sent by magic from the continent paint a picture of anarchy in Listenesse, repression in the north, and a breakdown of trade and communication with the west.
The Breaking has by no means abated - new rifts appear frequently, and diviners warn that the damage continues to spread. However, two major discoveries have been made by the adventurers that might soon become important.
Firstly, they discovered (while hunting the ruthless sorceror Makepeace) that rifts are not one-way: with enough raw power it is possible to travel through a rift from Arginet to another world.
Secondly, they have identified the starting point of the Breaking, an as yet unnamed world whose inhabitants have combined machinery and magic to power their civilisation.
It seems inevitable that the defenders of Arginet must look beyond their own world to mend the damage of the Breaking.
In Fiveways the totem spirits have also made their voices heard for the first time in generations. The seemingly miraculous appearance of each of the Five in turn has led to feverish interest and a flowering of new animist orders. Bear in particular is becoming the centre of a major cult across the Eastern Reach and beyond.
The election of spring 1017 was one of the most colourful in recent history. A key issue during the campaign was the right of revenants to vote and this was granted, almost at the last minute, by the Royal Council. The final vote saw radical Sam Wellbeloved lose to constitutional monarchist Alice Thorpe, while the traditionalist Morgan Radcliffe retained her seat - leaving two conservatives on the Council and a feeling of resentment among the more hardline reformists.
In a shocking turn of events the remaining candidate for the election, Mattie Tollhurst, was found to be part of an arcane conspiracy involving crime kingpin Pouch and - even more scandalously - noble heir Tristan Ryence, who went so far as to attempt assassination of his mother, Duke Aldrith Ryence. Fortunately the Duke was saved by the quick action of the Fiveways adventurers, Tristan and Pouch were executed for their crimes and Tollhurst has gone into hiding.
With civil authorities pushed to the limit and the Council now lacking any political radicals, several reformist groups have become increasingly ruthless in their activities. One such group, the Black Flag Anarchists, found themselves fighting the law and losing, while others including the Butterflies, the Firestarters, and the Brazen Redemption have taken to vigilantism. The spirits have taken a keen interest and lent their favour to a number of reformist cells.
The Royal Armies have taken no particular steps toward a more direct role in politics, a situation reinforced by the Council’s decision not to use the Army of the South to suppress unrest in Suddene. They have focussed instead defending the realm from external threats.
However, the Armies have not been immune from internal strife. The most serious example was in the autumn of 1016 when Colonel Rufus Faulkner began sacrificing his own subordinates to gain the favour of the greater Earth spirit Stalwart Guardian, and ultimately led his regiment in open rebellion before being defeated, captured and executed.
In the meantime the Noble Houses have seen no reason to give up their intrigues. The Reach’s prominent families, including the house of Count Ghen and baronial houses of Tunshelf and Lyonette have sought help from adventurers in weathering the trials of the Breaking. The houses of Counts Tremblay and Larue have clashed in arenas both above board and underhand, but now seem to be mending their differences over a matter of love. And Duke Roland Cavall has surprised many by accepting the suit of the impoverished Baron Jacintha de Cassefort.
In October 1017 the monks of the Temple of the Fivefold Way will again open their doors to adventurers. This is the start of Breaking Worlds’ second year!