Once it is clear that an organization is initiating a conflict with another organization, the next step is for the GM to determine the time scale for each exchange between adversarial organizations engaged in conflcit. The time scale might be hours, days, weeks, or months. The larger the scale of conflict the more likely it is that the conflict will have a greater time scale.
Conflicts pit an organization's Skill scores against another organization's Skill scores over a series of exchanges. In the first exchange, the specific Skill scores involved (i.e., one on each side) relate to the Skill used by an organization to initiate the conflict. This Skill can be countered by the other organization with whatever Skill score makes the most sense in terms of the organization's initial response to the organization initiating the conflict.
So for example, a mercenary company could initiate a conflict with a merchant league by trying to use Fire (Force) to disrupt the league's trade routes. The merchant league could choose to respond by using its Earth (Resources) Skill to hire its own mercenary force, or use Water (Influence) to appeal to the government for protection.
In subsequent exchanges, each organization uses whatever Skills make sense for pursuing victory in the conflict. This may involve actions that involve any of the four organizational skills: Fire (Force), Earth (Resources), Air (Knowledge), and Water (Influence).
More on the series of steps involved in resolving each exchange in a conflict in the next post.