"Hot Cycle (Ymiden/Saun) 716 Calendar"
Trial 3: An avriel courier flies in haste from the east to the Temple of Glory. Humans in the lower sector of Athart are not even aware of this occurrence. Members of the "Free Minds", outside of the city for purely business reasons, mark it and report it. But few think it is of any real import.
Trial 17: Humans that try to go outside the city for any reason, are constantly and consistently ordered back inside the walls for the last two weeks in a row. Agricultural concerns are protested to representatives of The Aerie. Produce will be lost if workers are not allowed to tend the orchard or the farms. They are told that their concerns will be presented to the council. There is no issue with fishing, as this takes place to the west of town. This detail is noted by the human contingent, but left unspoken.
Trial 20: Workers are allowed back into the fields to catch up on the seasonal chores. Many questions are bandied around in taverns and shops, but any that let themselves become a nuisance about it are taken away by avriel Overguard. Those that protest this development are given stern warnings. Certain bystanders step in to calm these situations when they arise.
Trial 30: It is now noted, and whispered in certain quarters that the Shadow Wings and Overguard seem to be working double shifts, as if their numbers have been starkly reduced. Word gets out in the human community to make no mention of this observation, but covert operations rise sharply, and go unnoticed by these overworked avriel guardrel. Contraband is moved from stash locations to positions of strategic readiness; sabotage preparations are stepped up; several important slaves are spirited out of town.
Trial 40-45: A member of the Door Wardens reports that several noteworthy prisoners have been released from The Pit of Reflection. But they do not show up in town. a few days later, the Door Wardens engineer the escape of one of these prisoners and it is discovered that they are being made to teach defense techniques against magic to avriel soldiers. Open criticism of these prisoners, as traitors, is shouted in the streets, despite efforts by the unseen peacemakers to keep it quiet.
Trial 53: A city-wide assembly is called to the Presentation Stage, where slaves are usually auctioned. But the purpose of this assembly is far different. The avriel demand that the one escaped prisoner be turned over to them, both as a show of faith and obedience, and as a strategic necessity. It is finally announced publicly that the forces of Korlasir have attacked Nashaki, and that, as allies, Athart must do everything it can to help stop this incursion by the Raskithecal. There is shock and much hushed discussion in the crowd, but the prisoner is not revealed. A deadline of two days is issued.
Trial 55: A small contingent of Shadow Wings hover over the town announcing that punishment for "human belligerency" will commence if this last chance to give up the mage is not taken. A few stall tactics take place, but are shown to be dead ends. A relay of horns echoes off toward the Pit, and a few bits later the human population stares in horrified realization as the level of the Windshear River drops noticeably. It is "promised" that one level of prisoner cells in The Pit of Reflection will be drowned every trial until the prisoner is returned to avriel custody. This is said with the justification that refusal to cooperate must mean an alignment with Athart's enemies, the Raskithecal, and a betrayal of Athart's allies, the city of Nashaki.
Trial 56: The avriel make good their threat, as a dozen dead, graying, bloated bodies wash down the river into the sea. Some of them are prisoners only recently taken, for questioning the early blocking of workers outside of town. In a show of "leniency" the citizenry is given three trials until the next "phase of discipline", just in case the prisoner is more than one trial away.
Trial 58: The deadline is postponed as a curiously attired Ithecal slave is brought into town from the east. It does not take long for it to become known that the figure is not an Ithecal form Ivorian, but rather a Raskithecal member of Raskalarn's legions in the east, now a prisoner of the avriel. Citizens realize that this is why he did not arrive by ship, as most Ithecal slaves do; as well as why there was only one. What they do not immediately know is that the mage had been prepared to offer himself back up to prevent more drownings in The Pit.
Trial 75: The raskithecal prisoner is apparently being plied for strategic information regarding the eastern invasion, and is also appearing to be successfully resisting. The avriel resort to their common tactic of lifting victims high in the air and dropping them if they don't cooperate. It relies upon a few avriel positioned below to catch the prisoner. The increasing height and uncertainty of being successfully caught wear on the victim's resolve as he faces possible death over and over. Many of the citizens of Athart are driven by horrified fascination to watch this drama unfold.
Trial 82: The avriel appear to have decided that they will get no more from this raskithecal. This time, the trio that are tasked to catch him do not take up the position to do so. As he is dropped, horrified gasps turn to shocked silence as the snake-soldier is suddenly slowed magically to a descent that only results in mild bruises. A voice shouts a command and several humans converge to whisk the surprised raskithecal away into hiding. The avriel are too slow to react, and lose the prisoner in the confusion.
Trial 95: Now, under the heat of the Saun season, it becomes obvious why the avriel wanted the human mage back. The avriel, enraged now over the loss of both the raskithecal prisoner and the human mage, embark on an attempted campaign of retribution against the human sector. But from hiding, the mage, a master of abrogation, reduces the impact of virtually everything the avriel try. There are still many casualties, but the greatly reduced number of avriel leave things open for counter-attack and sabotage, due to lack of personnel.
Trial 110: Speeches, threats, violence, fire...Athart has become a hit-and-run battle zone, masquerading as a city. Both sides are reluctant to pursue hostilities to the extent that trade would be affected. But the bloodshed is obvious enough to foreigner visitors, who finish their business as quickly as may be and leave town. Both sides do their best to prevent collateral damage from impacting these trade partners, and seek a truce until things change in the east. Profits drop dramatically in every quarter of commercial pursuit. Produce is half what it was and the fleet of fishing boats has been
devastated by sabotage. Even the wealthy, connected families are going hungry.
Trial 120: A series of peace-talks create an atmosphere of truce. But both sides know that this may change, depending on developments in the east. Some feel that a Korlasir-based government would be an improvement. Others believe that the sweeping purges that would accompany such a change would just bring death, disguised as "political cleansing". But both sides have gained an improved understanding of how bloody it could become if outright rebellion ever occurs. there is nothing to do now but wait for things to resolve in the east, one way or the other.