Every Mid-Winter's Day, the whole college stages a campaign, to test our skills, to ward off cabin fever, to give us points toward our eventual placement as second-year cadets. Usually there are two teams. […] That's nine flags, rated according to each house's importance. You have to protect your own three and try to get the other six. Failing that, you do as much damage to your opponents as possible. […] Usually it's enough to incapacitate an enemy by seizing his or her token scarf. Lethal weapons are forbidden, […] but things can still get rough. That's why certain randon wander around masked, therefore technically invisible, to see that we don't all slaughter each other. But it is a time traditionally to settle grudges, so walk wary.
Timmon, Bound in Blood,
"Chapter XIII: A Day in the Life", VI

The Winter War is an annual military exercise, a traditional mock-battle, that takes place at Tentir.[1] In Jame's time, it takes place during the Bound in Blood. It is essentially a real-life version of the Kencyr strategy game Gen.

There are usually two armies, though in Jame's year there are three. The master-tens of each house compete to see who leads the army and who gets to choose another house to add to their army first. When the Lordans of three houses are present, they are automatically the commanders of their armies. Jame, Timmon, and Gorbel each lead one army in Bound in Blood. Each master-ten has a flag for their house, which are hidden. These are worth a certain number of points when captured, based on the size of the house in question.

The randon scarves of the members of the armies are also worth points. The commander's is worth the most, then the other two master tens, the ten-commanders, the five commanders, and the regular cadets are worth the least. When someone's scarf is captured, they are considered "scalped" and must stay where they are for the rest of the War, unless their scarf is returned to them. There are also several randon supervisors who, "invisible" and inviolate, ensure that no cadets are seriously injured or killed.[2]


  1. Honor's Paradox, "Lexicon" — "Winter War—an annual military exercise carried out within Tentir"
  2. Bound in Blood, "Chapter XVII: The Winter War", I — " 'Be mindful, also, to curb undue violence. No one is to be killed or even seriously maimed. To do so is not only against the rules but bad form. At the very least, it will cost you points. At the worst… well, your training here has been to effect results with as little force as possible. We are warriors, not common butchers. My eyes'—and here he indicated the watchers with a languid wave of his hand—'will keep me informed of your progress. You have twenty minutes to position your flags. Go.'"

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