Brand , although he has withdrawn from the contest for throne of the empire, is still the heir of the last duly ordained ruler. That makes him the head of state until the council appoints another. The council has postponed the decision, pending the return of Circe and 3 Lancaster members of the council.

As titular head of the realm, Brand made a declaration for Swipe's gang while they were gone. The Gang is absolved of any involvement with the crime of Wilmer's disappearance. For their deeds in wiping out the Oparian and Pict forces, they are named "Champions of the Realm." When he hears of their defeat of "The hand" he grants them one silver token of the crown each. It is a long tradition that anyone who earns 3 tokens of the crown is declared a "Hero of the Realm"

Heroes of the Realm are the highest non-noble born rank available, 1 step below Baron. There have been less than 50 "Heroes of the Realm" in the long history of the empire, and after the long drawn out war with Vis, there only 2 currently alive. 1000 XP to any who find me hidden here. Write invis Bonus on the muster sheet                                        

Heroes of the Realm are allowed many privileges, the smallfolk love them and love the give what they can. While a horse master can not afford to give heroes a horse, he would charge them face value. Whores give them free visits, and not a barkeep in 300 miles would dare charge for a drink. Artisan's asked to make masterwork waepons would suddenly find an opening in their busy schedule and for the privilege of stating that they made a crossbow(for example) for a hero they would not charge labor, just parts.

Brand invites the Champions to his conquered manor and asks them if they can help him.

"I know that I have asked a lot of you, but there are dastardly forces still harassing the smallfolk up north. If I don't take action to stop it, The smallfolk will be greatly reduced in numbers, and we will not have food for the army."