Post by ashenmoon on Oct 22, 2017 10:30:36 GMT
turn 1: day 1, just past noon - MAPS LINK
turn ends: 25th October
Several unusual things happened swiftly while Constantin Noval was contemplating the flat rectangle of the Albalvo Dam, many miles down-valley. First, the skies turned a lurid red nuance with alarming speed, as strange billowing clouds swept up from the west; soon a muddy rain began to patter against the roof of his little stand.
Second, one of the mountain-men - unkempt and wild-eyed - walked up to the recruitment tent..
Constantin was not sure which was more surprising.
But, of course, the man was uninterested in joining Gustavius’ army. Pestered by a skeletal woman hovering in the near distance behind him, he related what he had heard from an uncle of his, having arrived from across the mountains earlier that morning.
“An army? Crossing the badlands to the east? Heading for Vanozza Fastness?” Constantin repeated.
“Look’t like ‘un,” the man shrugged. “So’s my uncle says, ‘neehow.”
The Vanozza Fastness was built by the Mason, aeons ago. At least the core of the fortress, squeezed into between the mountains in a deep valley. Over the years, the Old Empire, Dominion and Republican additions to the original defences have, like barnacles over a behemoth of the deep, crept across the sheer mountain-sides, spilled out over the valley.
The forward defences - twin arms, resting upon the heights above and stretching east and inwards to almost encircle a region the size of a small city - were, naturally, the first to spot the column of Malvernian soldiers snaking up the winding road. These days, only the north side - the Marble Towers - were manned, as the stairs leading to the south side were in great disrepair.
Alessandro de Cereso, watchman on guard, managed a single, feeble ring of the alarm-bell before a pride of manticores tore his body apart. The sound coincided with a strange rain beginning to fall from skies turned a muddy ochre, and the rest of the company stationed in the Marble Towers did not manage to break through to the bell. They sent runners up the mountain to spread the word instead, and fortified themselves in the depths of the Towers.
So it was that it was Marconi Escula, two weeks from retirement, standing upon the battlements of the Fastness itself, that first saw the Malvernian host spilling into the Inner Valley.
Soon, all the Fastness was ringing with alarms and shouts. The garrison lined the crenellations and looked down as more and more of the Malvernian army appeared.
But, for all their enemy’s numbers, the Republicans felt little fear. The Fastness had never fallen. Few were the fools who had attempted to attack it. Not even in the dawning age of blackpowder and cannons was the Fastness threatened: for who had better artillery than the Republicans defending it? A garrison half their size could hold off an enemy twice as great for weeks.
Then a figure emerged from the midst of the Malvernian host. Silver flashed in the gloom as he put a hunting-horn to his lips and blew...
Somewhere on the walls below him, Marco was screaming. Donato Khalez, colonel of the Fastness, could not make out the words, but the panic in the old man's familiar voice was clear, and contagious. He was about to bark some semblance of order back into his men - for shame, the battle had not yet even begun! - when a strange pressure blocked his ears.
In the span of seconds, the pressure built from surprising to painful. A strange sound climbed into the audible registers.
He noticed the mortar glueing the wall beneath his hand was… drifting away. Like dust. Quicker and quicker, as the sound rose in volume until it was as if he were standing beneath a waterfall.
A drawn-out roar somehow pierced the din and pulled his eyes up: on the other side of the valley, the Marble Towers were sagging, falling apart. Dust billowed into the air, met the low brown clouds above and churned into a chaotic miasma. More rain fell down.
“Jofré!” he shouted, and spun around.
The black robes of the Inquisitor fluttered in the doorway leading to the stairs below, as the garrison’s anti-magic defences fled.
Post by Timeon on Oct 22, 2017 20:12:50 GMT
He had come to these mountains precisely because they were desolate. In the far flung corners of the so-called Republic, there were peoples who had yet escaped the Inquisition. The Inquisition had enjoyed a long and prosperous existence across the past few generations, its tentacles suffocating the cities of all love and tradition. Yet in places like the Cattana mountains, simple folk yet believed in the older ways. They might not go so far as to worship Spirits - such would quickly draw the eye of Inquisition upon them.
The Stonefolk did not worship Spirits. But they did not abhor them, either. They accepted their existence and place in the world. Their shaman might even use them, in secret. Unlike the people of the Capital, the Stonefolk simply did not have the motivation to let their children die of illnesses when a Spirit might heal them. It was for that reason that Constantin Noval had made the long trek into the Cattana Mountains, away from his Emperor and the bulk of the Vulgar Army by the northern coasts of the Republic. Constantin Noval had come here to appeal to the ancient folklore of the mountain peoples, to reawaken their ancestral memories. Their memories and Dreams of Empire.
Standing upon a plateau and overlooking the valley beyond, he could see his banners raised. Well, not his banners. The iguana banners of the Palaienid, many now born aloft by over two-thousand of the Stonefolk he had accumulated across the weeks and months of his journey. They had arrived close to another Stonefolk Commune, but as always, it would take many days to rally their elders and convince them of the righteousness of the Imperial Cause.
Such were his thoughts as one of the mountain-men was brought to his attention at the recruitment tent.
“An army? Crossing the badlands to the east? Heading for Vanozza Fastness?” Constantin repeated.
“Look’t like ‘un,” the man shrugged. “So’s my uncle says, ‘neehow.”
The Malvernian Empire had seized Lunium by surprise some years ago, when the Republic had been intent to take it from the Dominion instead. That had been the first hint of a slumbering superpower opening bleary eyes. Then their armies had been ferried across the channel from Malvern, and the pieces on the board began to move towards war.
Yet such movements were eastern deployments. And the board was far bigger than the east.
As Constantin Noval looked out across the iguana banners of the Palaienid, as he pondered the Imperial Cause, he was no longer certain that the symbols and words chosen by his army were going to be unique in the Cattana Mountains. His mission here was to recruit, to grow the Imperial Cause.
But not at the expense of this land being conquered by the Empress of Malvern. However reprehensible the Inquisition in Sabria, the Republicans in these mountains deserved a better fate than slaughter. If he was to put Armant Freic on the throne of Jovinium, it would have to be earned by saving Jovinium.
"The western roads will have Inquisitorial patrols." Constantin grumbled, turning to his right hand man, Acastus. Scarred and battered, Acastus had been a Varantium noble during the Eclipse campaign, fiercely loyal to Radiance. Upon his capture, the Inquisition had tortured and ruined him. It had been Constantin who had broken his chains during the final hours of the Eclipse, and taken him with him as he fled. To Constantin's surprise, Acastus soon became a convert to the cause, and one of his best advisors. Acastus was a long way from home.
"East it is. One Empire's army may meet another." Acastus said through a gap-toothed grin.
"We save Jovinium so as to earn it for our own Emperor."
((Entire army is to head along the eastern road, guided by the Stonefolk Pathfinders, including those messengers who reported the potential invasion))
Post by Sp00ky on Oct 26, 2017 2:54:06 GMT
March of the Reptile
An account of the Imperial assault upon the Mountains of Carrana, by Colonel Donato Khalez
It was inevitable. Their massive preparations and blatant manoeuvring had been going on for years. They had been poised to strike at us from the moment our might was blemished before the walls of Radiance’s twisted lair.
Though we did not know it at the time, the armies of the Empress had put their sights on the Mountains of Carrana. These mountains, my mountains, were protected by some of the oldest and most impregnable strongholds in the known world. As powerful as they were ancient, those strongholds had never been breached. Whether assailed by Dominion steel or unwashed filth the walls had always held.
No force, civilized or otherwise, had ever been able to make it past the walls of the Fastness. This had been true during the reign of the old Empire, it has been true during the years of the Dominion and with the finest cannons at our command how could it not be true in age of our glorious Republic?
Defeat was impossible. Our garrison was invincible and to attack us was madness. That was the creed of the time. This was to us an unbreakable truth. Fastness was eternal. Fastness would always stand.
We never saw it coming.
I have often been asked what was worst that day. To fall, backside first, onto solid ground as our ancient bastion began to crumble? To watch, with shattered heart, as the Marble Towers came crashing down, and know as a fact that neither you nor anyone else could do anything to stop it? Or perhaps the knowledge that in that moment, the entire mountain shield of your homeland had been torn asunder?
All of these paled in comparison to the noise, an ear shattering and nerve breaking sensation echoing across the hills. This unnatural shriek, and the thundering horn signal before it, was the herald of Fastness’ demise. No sooner had it reached our ears before the very fabric of our stronghold began to diminish. The walls began to curve, our towers to bend and before long the very bulwarks on which I stood gave way beneath me.
I can only imagine how it must have looked for those who wished to enter the mountains, as the only obstacle in their path gave way like the snow in the face spring. A hundred millennia of history erased with the passing of a single moment. It was the single greatest tragedy in the history of the Republican Guard, and all of it had happened under my command.
I, Donato Khalez, had lost the Fastness.
This singular fact raged in my mind as I returned to my feet, bruised and hurting from my recent fall. There was no doubt that I would be punished for this, anything else would be unthinkable. But HOW would I be punished? That was the question that scared me the most – would I now be tied to a pyre and set aflame? Condemned as a traitor to lord and land?
Then there was the question of whom or what had caused our defences to falter. What army had the power to reduce stone and rock to molten sand? There had been no use of siege engines, neither cannon nor otherwise, and even such machines of war could not bring about what had happened that day. Not like this. Not this fast.
I did not have time to conclude my thoughts however; as I was fast approached by several elements of my beloved Hunter’s Regiment (K2). Though clearly troubled by the same sickening shrieking sound that was plaguing me, and apparently everyone else, they informed me the imperial attackers were quickly advancing towards our slowly melting battlements.
Since we would soon be left completely exposed, their Captain, an excellent man named Charlos, advised me to sound a full retreat. He suggested that we make our way to the northwest and into the mountains, after which we should seek out the other Guard regiments that he knew were up there. We would then go about the business of alerting the Republic of the Empire’s invasion.
While I saw no fault in Charlos’s suggestion, the Fastness WAS melting away, I completely refused to allow the imperials to claim her corpse. She had defended our borders for centuries, turned back invasions from any imaginable foe. No, the enemy would not have her. Like the Emperors of old she was to be burned, and the enemy would burn with her.
I am unsure whether this sudden lust for vengeance was a genuine display of patriotism, or if I was simply trying to save myself from the flame I feared awaited me. After all; would the inquisition truly burn a man who had made the enemy suffer for doing the impossible? Who had made them pay for every inch of land?
Whatever the case, I presented to him a plan that was to include the following central parts:
I. Rally the entire Fastness Garrison
II. Order the men to quickly sabotage our cannons and locate all available gunpowder barrels.
III. Cover the barrels in oil, place them in groups close to the sabotaged cannons and,
if possible, cover the barrels with flammable cloth.
IV. Link all barrels to each other with lines of oil and gunpowder,
V. Ignite the Fastness’ armoury and gunpowder magazine moments before we depart
VI. Have the Peakstriders (PS) ignite the barrel traps from afar as the enemy makes its way into the fortress and we make our way to the
These tasks would be carried out by our three hardened Mountaineer Companies (M1, M2 and M3) and our two heroic Ranger Squads (R1 and R2). I made it clear that at least a dozen or so oil soaked barrels be saved for future use.
The Peakstriders (PS) were to keep an eye out for any and all enemy commanders, all of whom were to be shot on sight. Since I had heard many tales about the flying monstrosities encountered by our armies during the Eclipse War, I would also instruct the Peakstriders to keep a watchful eye upon the skies. They were to move as far to the North West as possible, without losing their ability to spot and hit potential targets. They were, of course, also to be made aware of the part they had to play in our little disruption act. I could obviously not risk them moving so far out of the way, that they would be unable to hit their designated barrel targets. Losing a fortress was one thing, but ruining my very own scheme? Impossible!
This entire operation was to be protected by the combined might of both Hunter’s Regiment and Highlanders Regiment (K1), the latter of which was led by the stubborn but always reliable Captain Khastor. The two regiments would form a united firing line, using what remained of our ramparts as cover. They were to hold the enemy at bay, but avoid any risk of being overwhelmed. If such a risk became too great, they had orders to fall back and reform.
Our entire force was to gradually retreat northwest as the tasks were completed. As we made our exit the armoury and magazine were, as mentioned, to be blown to pieces. By exposing the enemy to randomly exploding traps, caused by Peakstrider fire, and one final inferno at the end, it was my hope to cause such death and devastation that the imperial army would abandon its plot completely. If nothing else, these vultures would find no meat on which to feast. The Fastness would burn, and so would they.
While his scepticism was clear, and for this I could not blame him, Charlos reluctantly accepted my chosen course of action.
Time was now of the essence, as even though the enemy would still have to scale the mountainside, it would not be long before the first enemy troops had made their way to the top.
As Charlos signalled the rest of Hunter’s Regiment to follow us away from the ruined bulwark, I pulled forth my signal horn. The tune I sounded was known to the Fastness’ entire Garrison;
Assembly! To the courtyard all!
All around me the proud sons of the Republic came running. They were well trained. They knew their duty. Charlos and his regiment had already begun taking tacking up position behind us, and from the North West came Khastor and his Highlanders. Moments later they all had their orders, from the mighty Regiments to the ever crafty Peakstriders.
The plan was in motion. The dice had been cast.
The Empire had come to seize our land.
The Fastness would burn.
And so would they.
Post by ashenmoon on Oct 27, 2017 13:43:33 GMT
Note: gold stars on the map indicate places where you can get more men (~3 points/star). Also, the compass of the map has been turned so that up=north. It was annoyingly confusing.
turn ends: sun 29 October
Vanozza Fastness was no more.
For a thousand years the works of the Mason, nestled in the deep valley, had blocked the entrance to the Carrana mountains. In as many heartbeats, the call of the Hunter had dissolved the very mortar of the fortifications. All that was left were precarious, crumbling structures, a great rubble-heap slowly sagging in on itself in clouds of dust. Here and there, towers yet perched upright; elsewhere, the walls were reduced to dunes of sand.
Mercenaries from the fringes of the Empire of Malvern rushed forth to claim dominance over the ruins. Ritually scarred shock troops waded through fine powder and clambered across blocks of stone that had, only minutes before, formed impenetrable defenses.
But rocks were not Vanozza’s only defenders. Just as the Scarred (red H1, H2) reached the tops of the mounds, men of the Republic charged against them from the other side, led by captain Charlos of the Hunter Regiment (yellow K2). Companies of highlanders and mountaineers navigated the strange new landscape with expertise.
The Scarred were pushed back. The Republic reclaimed their ramparts..
Longbowmen from the far south, led by princess Kassai (red A1, A2), unleashed wave after wave of arrows over the heads of the Scarred, as the latter were joined by Saktha exiles (red L). With visibility approaching zero, the battlefield dissolved in chaos, as men moved with the ebb and flow of combat.
An hour passed. A deadly cat-and-mouse game evolved, with companies of Malvern mercenaries reforming under cover, then charging forth under Republican fire to claim the wasting remains of some ancient bastion, only to yield it as indefensible shortly after. Squads of Republican sharpshooters scaled the heights of the valley sides and, through the ever-expanding fog of dust, fired down from unseen vantage points. The Republican defenders noticed, however, that sometimes it was as if the Malvernian troops were impervious to their fire: thus they learned of The Iron Curtain (green IC) - a coterie of arcane mages who strode through the maelstrom of battle untouched.
Another hour passed like it. It seemed the attack had all but stalled, and the defenders dared to push forward...
Then Malvernian forces issued down from the eastern valley-side into the defenders’ flank. A handful of Republican defenders, cut off from their brethren, had long tried to hold off a company of tireless golem-soldiers as they relentlessly worked to gain the east walls and build a ramp for a great concentration of Malvernian soldiers waiting in hiding. When, at last, the golems had cleared the wall and prepared the way, the flood-gates were opened.
The Hammer (green X) and the Second Chorus (purple SC) descended upon Charlos’ men and spilled into the narrow valley which the Fastness had been protecting. Wounded and tired Republicans fell back before the onslaught.
In a matter of moments, the Republicans signalled a hasty retreat.
The Malvernian mercenaries rejoiced as they passed over the blood-soaked ruins. Hundreds, if not thousands, had fallen in the dust-choked maze which was all that remained of Vanozza Fastness.
Ahead, another narrow valley climbed towards another set of walls; the Rear Walls of Vanozza, mostly untouched by the Hunter’s magic but in utter disrepair nonetheless. The Rear Walls loosely guarded the widening rim of the valley: beyond it opened up the Carrana mountains proper. The Malvernians charged towards it...
Then a shot rang out over their heads. Many would, afterwards, claim to have heard the specific shot, even to have seen the sniper’s muzzle flash from the western heights.
A great portion of the buried remains of Vanozza erupted in explosion. A red ball of fire rose in the air, spewing black, acrid smoke and painting the valley as a lurid vision of hell: the bloody and weary men, brown with the swirling miasma of dust they had fought through, streaked with sweat; and above them, the alien ochre of a gloomy sky.
Donato Khalez watched with satisfaction as fire bloomed in the murky darkness of the valley below. The Peakstriders’ aim had been true. It was difficult to tell how much of an effect the explosion had had, however, as visibility was obscured by distance, dust and smoke.
It is only later that he learn that the second mountaineer company had been cut off in the confusion, and had likely been still defending the Fastness when the explosion went off.
For now, however, he exulted in having exacted yet a higher price from his enemy. So far, the plan had gone more or less as intended, although Charlos’ Hunters had taken the brunt of the fighting and a great many casualties.
But now they were all safely out of the valley, exhausted men hunkering down behind the Rear Walls. The Rear Walls were little more than bricks piled along the rim of the valley below, but it seemed the enemy’s momentum had been stalled: he had some time to think through his options.
The Stonefolk Pathfinders led the way up the High Valley and across the mountains. Constantin Noval’s host climbed past the treeline, into a barren world of bare rocks and snow which never melted.
Along the way, they had passed by more of the mountain-folk - men Constantin knew could and would fight to defend their valley, but who were unconvinced of the threat Constantin was increasingly sure of was real.
The Pathfinders reported: if they continued due south, they would in a few hours reach the main road through the mountains. They could, however, head south-east instead: there was a road that led to the western walls through the mountains, and the small garrison that was stationed there.
In the midst of the Carrana Mountains, the deep Itrina valley - its sides pockmarked by marble quarries - is overlooked by the solitary tower of the Vaiparo Citadel. A single, enormous cannon is installed there, constructed on the spot and impossible to remove save by dismantling most of the Citadel itself. Carved runes bleed across its ancient, rusted surface: one of the very few cannons built during the Dominion. To reload it takes three men half a bell. It is a good thing that it does not require aiming, as it is all but impossible to shift out of position.
The commander of the Citadel’s garrison, lieutenant Muzio Doria, watched as a line of small, slim cannons wheeled by on the road below, pulled by muscular horses. Similar runes, neatly etched, snaked over their gleaming surfaces.
“Who was that?” asked his wife, watching with him as the strange entourage disappeared west.
“Au...”Muzio swallowed, mouth still dry from speaking with the man. “Aurelio Manza.”
A High Inquisitor.
Post by Timeon on Oct 29, 2017 12:30:18 GMT
From across the valley Constantin Noval's men assembled into orderly ranks and followed the Pathfinders up into the crags. Would their iguana Palaienid standard be distinguishable from Malvernians flags in the heated pitch of a melee? They stood for very different things indeed. His steed had some trouble with the winding slopes and paths they traversed, ever higher into the Cattana mountains, but he never hesitated. If the rumours were true, every hour might be precious.
The Companions made no complaint atop their steeds either. Two-score men in a variety of attire that signalled they might represent half the world, the Companions had followed Armant Freic since before his declaration as Emperor on the shores of Jovinium. They had come into being before the Vulgar Army itself, in truth, though they had only come to recognise themselves as the Companions fighting on foreign Dominion soil. Acastus counted himself amongst their number, that bearded, long-haired and scarred fellow who Constantin Noval had rescued from Republican captivity. Once a Dominion noble, Acastus was proof of the universal appeal of their cause. He did not lead the Companions, however. Counting themselves as equals in that ragtag band of heroes, champions and dreamers was a former Godslayer escaped from Falor during the Eclipse, a former berserker from Havsgard, a former guerrilla from Samar and an ex-Inquisitor in training, who chose not to turn mad for having Spirits imprisoned in his body. The tattoos on his body, though dormant, betrayed his origins.
They were the cream of Constantin Noval's army, carrying the orange iguana banner of the Pretender Empire. Behind Noval, thousands of leather-clad mountainfolk carrying muskets, rifles and hatchets at their belts told the next chapter in their story. They were the humble downtrodden masses, eager to overthrow the Inquisition and any foreign threat. Giving order to their ranks, the Ember Legion that had come all this way under Constantin's command from the Plutars, where their Pretender held court in exile. The Ember troops were mostly ex-Republican soldiers, and their tabards bore the Imperial iguana. Their ranks would not part, if the Stonefolk ever gave way for lack of training. Not until death.
Theirs was a brotherhood and fellowship that could not be any more unlikely. Yet here they were, marching through crags and crunching eternal frost underfoot, prepared to meet a threat they could only imagine.
At the fork in the road, Constantin Noval pondered. First of all, he doubted that the Malvernians would dare assault the strongest point in the Republican defences head on. And if the Ember Legion did walk straight up to the chief fortress of the Fastness, they were likely to face arrest from the Inquisition.
On the other hand, the Pebblehoof Nomads who had joined up with them some weeks ago would not be able to make their contribution so high in these mountains.
Rallying the Companions to him, Constantin Noval declared his intention.
"Acastus, take the Pebblehoof Nomads into the chief valley, where they will be of use should the Malvernians seek to breach the Vanozza Fastness via that path. I will venture east, should the Enemy make an appearance there. Once we know their intention, we will regroup. If they strike at the main valley, send word, and we will come to your aid."
Acastus smiled through broken teeth, and the Companions noded sagely.
They would be glad to give their steeds a valley to ride, rather than these peaks as ruined as their smiles.
"For the Emperor." Constantin Noval said, and smashed a fist against his breastplate. "We must nothing to chance. Chance no Inquisitorial arrest. But do not engage with the Inquisition. Instead, if it comes down to it, protect the Inquisition. For however misguided and evil they have become, they are men of Jovinium and stand with us against Archonic oppression. Prove to them our good intentions, by standing shoulder to shoulder. That is our creed. We prove our righteousness."
And he was met by cheers. Constantin Noval patted his sword, and veered his steed eastwards. The thousands moved to march with him, while the Companions and Pebblehoof began their descent into the valley.
((Pebblehoof, led by Companions, to ride into the main valley towards chief fortress of Vanozza Fastness, to aid against any Malvernian incursion.
Constantin Noval is to head to the eastern fortress with the Pathfinders and seize command of the garrison.
The bulk of the army is to cautiously continue south, while the Pebblehoof ride ahead boldly.))
Post by Timeon on Oct 30, 2017 22:27:34 GMT
((On behalf of Sp00ky and Zula as instructed))Lorenzo di Allegari, Mountaineers
He had been a colonel during the Eclipse campaign, and one of the few to survive and make it back to the Republic. The Inquisition had been hungry for scapegoats, and along with other veterans of poor fortune, Lorenzo di Allegari had been exiled to the Vanozza Fastness to live out the rest of his miserable dies in practical exile.
It was not an ideal retirement. But Lorenzo far preferred the cold to the scorching fire of an Inquisitorial bonfire.
But now it seemed that his retirement was to be cut short by a fire of an altogether different kind. The Empire of Malvern had come in numberless ranks, bearing screaming savages at its forefront garbed in colourful clothes and armour as diverse as the skin of the mercenaries beneath them. With them marched a Demon God, and unlike Radiance, this one did not slumber.
With that in mind, Lorenzo di Allegari spared little time to curse that though he had once been a Colonel himself, he was now taking orders from Colonel Donato Khalez. After all, for Khalez to be a Colonel at the Fastness, it meant that he had likely been somebody more important back in Sabria. Nobody in the Fastness was getting promoted. Thus, when Lorenzo found himself sprayed by Donato's mad spittle in the heat of battle, he took it calmly. As calmly as one could as foreign barbarians stormed the rear walls of the Fastness.
Their only hope lay in word of the invasion spreading... and a hasty retreat. But Colonel Donato Khalez, it seemed, had other ideas.
[R1 scouts are to travel the main valley floor towards the north-western fortress, spreading news of the invasion as they go along. They are to take a dead Malvernian soldier with them as proof. This exercise is to be repeated by R2 scouts, but following walls of the Vanozza Fastness themselves to reach the western garrisons and western Stonefolk village. After rallying these reinforcements with proof of the invasion, they are ordered to rendezvous these forces at Vaiparo Citadel if it is still standing - if not, they are to regroup at the north-western fortress.
K1 regiment is to replace the more tired K2 regiment in defending and holding the wall, while K2 rests. Bodies of fallen Malvernians can be used to reinforce the wall, and K2 is to use volley fire tactics
wherever the wall may be compromised.
M1 and M3 are to man the western walls to fire into the valley, near the PS (Peakstrider) snipers. The last barrels of oil can be rolled down into the enemy from there.
If necessary, the army is to retreat into the western mountains of the Fastness (near the Peakstriders), using their... mountaineering skills.
Peakstriders are to focus on disabling the enemy by assassinating their leadership.
-Giovanni Ganado of the Inquisitorial Legion
As the Inquisitorial procession passed solemnly by the shadow of the Vaiparo Citadel, Giovanni Ganado found himself slouching over the saddle of his horse, eyes heavy. The occasional spasm jolted him awake - the very same spasms which kept him from being able to sleep at night. Every Inquisitor paid a unique price for having demons trapped in his soul. A shivering gloved hand tightened on horse's reins, while the other brushed frost from eyelashes. Giovanni Ganado feared no demon, save his own personal ones, he sure did hate the fucking cold. A gust of wind knifed him and made him clench his teeth in hatred and pain. Yet pain was the price they all paid to keep Mankind safe.
As they advanced further along the road - a usual patrol across the Cattana valley, a ragged lone rider thundered towards them.
The news he brought banished the cold - even if for a moment - and replaced it with fire in Ganado's veins.
"High Inquisitor Aurelio Manza." the scout reported. "The Hunter is here."
[Aurelio Manza and the Inquisitorial Legion are to make immediate haste to join Colonel Donato Khalez in combat (not waiting for one another to arrive), and guide his troops against enemy magic in battle.
The cannons are to continue down the road until they find a safe, high vantage point, as high as possible, from which they can fire into the Enemy. If the Inquisition finds their cannons threatened, the Inquisitorial Legion is to return to defend them at the merest sign of danger.]
Post by ashenmoon on Oct 31, 2017 10:33:50 GMT
turn ends: fri 3 November
As smoke from the explosion cleared, the battle entered a new phase. Republican forces - with captain Khastor (yellow K1) in their fore - hunkered down behind the Rear Walls and desperately shored up the crumbling fortifications. The Hunter’s magics had not reached this far - the ruinous state of the Rear Walls were the result of centuries of neglect. No enemy had ever penetrated the central Fastness.
Now Malvernian troops spilled over the remains of those forward defences and filled the valley below Khastor’s regiment. The Malvernians called this next valley the Upper Valley; the Republicans who had made their home in the citadel simply called it “the back yard”.
Jelin longbowmen, faces torn with worry for their princess - injured in the explosion - took up positions on the floor of the Upper Valley and fired volley after volley over the Rear Walls. Republicans fired back, but found to their dismay that - despite their height advantage - the Jelins outranged them. When snipers crept forward with their long-rifles, they found their shots flying wild of their targets - the Iron Curtain covered the Jelins within a protective bubble.
Despite all that, the Jelins’ barrage came to little. The Republicans took cover behind the rocks of their walls and the mountains, and as the Jelins wearied, the initial fury slowed to a desultory patter of missiles. The Republicans suffered, but did not budge, as the rest of the Malvernian army began constructing siege equipment salvaged from the ruined fortress.
Two hours passed with little change. The sun began sinking in the sky towards the high mountains: night came early, in these parts.
Then captain Charlos (yellow K2) sounded the alarm from the Republicans’ flank: a Malvernian company had been spotted to the east - on the north side of mountains so sheer that only the best mountaineers could make the passage.
Charlos rallied the Hunter regiment and charged forth - for all the Republicans’ surprise, he knew they had the numbers - only to crumple to the stony ground, eye pierced by a sniper’s bullet.
The Hunter regiment faltered in shock, then fell back as they beheld The Steadfasts (orange TS) clanking inexorably towards them - metal husks, soulless and tireless golems. More Malvernians appeared out of the mountains - The Hammer, elite shock troops.
The Republicans manning the Rear Walls began to slowly fall back, waiting for the Hunter regiment to rejoin them - but barely had they left their positions at the walls when their eyes widened in disbelief. From across the valley, where Malvernian catapults had been set up, sailed a dozen enormous balls through the air. As those projectiles struck behind and into the Rear Walls, they unfolded into the armored Demolisher Giants (orange DG), as tall as two men, who immediately tore down what remained of the Walls around them.
The Republican defenders shuddered, then began to run. The Malvernians in the Upper Valley rushed forth.
Then a familiar sound, so far unheard on the battlefield, echoed between the mountains. Cannon fire struck The Steadfasts. Inquisitorial banners waved over the road leading into the mountain pass to the north.
Donato Khalez joined his men in a hasty retreat. Captain Charlos’ charge to retake the eastern mountains had faltered, for whatever reason - he would have to have a word with the man later - and now, giant monstrosities had taken the Rear Walls.
Constantin Noval had no trouble convincing the ranger garrison in the east to join with him and the Pathfinders. They reported that they had spotted a Malvernian cavalry company scouting the eastern walls a few hours earlier, but nothing else of note had happened.
[Constantin can reshape the ranger unit: 4 pts that can be spent however you want to create a new unit of any kind. Must be done before getting nearby enemies, or unit gets stuck as-is.]
It seemed a far too convenient coincidence to Giovanni, that a full regiment of nomad cavalry would appear out of the mountains just as the Inquisition rushed forth to reinforce the Fastness.
Then again, when the Republican defensive line crumbled before his eyes just as he arrived to lay eyes on them, he figured he would need some more luck before the day was through.
Post by Sp00ky on Nov 3, 2017 23:16:24 GMT
March of the Reptile
An account of the Imperial assault upon the Mountains of Carrana, by Colonel Donato Khalez
Part two: Flight
Everything had been going so outstandingly well. First the enemy had been kind enough to spring our devious little trap, suffering rather extensive casualties as a consequence. Then our efforts to delay the enemy proved to be surprisingly successful, if you ignore the fact that we were, and continued to be, hopelessly outnumbered by ugly, smelly and unwashed savages.
When one was slain, ten more appeared. Once they were gone, twenty more. Whether they shot, stabbed or punched it mattered not. More would come and we would slay them, until not a single swamp spawn remained. We could hold our ground until reinforcements arrived. Everything was going so outstandingly well. Until Charlos decided to play the hero. Until Charlos wrecked it all.
He was not supposed to charge blindly at the enemy the way he did, and when his attack finally faltered his men came running back like frightened children. The effect on moral was imminent. All around me my men began to question our chances. How, they asked, could they succeed when an entire elite force had just been routed?
I did what I could but the damage was done; under no circumstance could I make them stand their ground for much longer. Not without reinforcement. As the lines began to break I knew what had to be done. Once more my signal horn echoed across the battlefield. I had issued a quickened retreat.
I will flatly admit that what I did that day was to make official what had already happened. My men were pulling back, and since I could not force the issue I might as well accept it. My bitterness towards Charlos would have been tremendous, had the enemy not decided to toss a number of giant monstrosities into the mix. Against those things we would stand no chance, so in this way our flight had been inevitable.
I am grateful however, that our flight was heralded by the most beautiful sound in the world; the thundering roars of Republic cannon fire. As our enemy began to melt away in the face of this glorious onslaught, I lead my men to the North.
This had been the direction from which the music had come. Covered by cannon fire we would make our escape.We would unite with our thundering brothers and renew our defense of the mountains. The line would be reformed. We would make our stand a second time. I only hoped that whoever was in command of the battery would focus his guns on the still advancing monstrosities.
(The entire army is to move towards the advancing green forces - they will set up a traditional defensive line. They will return fire when fired upon)
Post by Timeon on Nov 4, 2017 14:50:54 GMT
They treaded broken roads which had been forgotten by all save the Stonefolk and their pathfinders. They led Constantin Noval and his entourage past peaks that had been smitten by lightning, past hollowed out forts along the walls of the Vanozza Fastness which had once been proud bastions of the Dominion. Some sections of the walls still bore scars from the era in which the Malvernian Empire had rebelled against Radiance, declaring independence and sovereignity from the Dominion. The bloodiest war in the history of the world, if some scholars were to be believed, when the Palaienid dynasty was transplanted from Falor to Malvern, its ancestral birthplace.
The Vanozza Fastness was primarily the legacy of that war - a war which threatened to repeat itself in another form.
That was why he was here. That was why he had come. It had been more than rumours which had drawn him to the Fastness.
As for the garrison they had come to pay a visit to - it looked as if the roof of the fortress had caved in. A trail of smoke issued from within - betraying that either the roof had collapsed due to a Malvernian attack - or else cold and desperate Republican soldiers were just trying to keep warm. Upon arrival, Constantin Noval found it was the latter. A garrison of a few hundred strong had lit up a great bonfire in the heart of the keep. As Constantin and the pathfinders fanned into the room, the Republicans began to surround them. Constantin had come expecting to find weak exiles, but he soon realised he had happened upon a very particular company of men.
Judging from their uniform beards, armour and cloaks, and the mountain ponies stabled in the courtyard close by, Constantin Noval judged that he had happened upon the Snowbiters. The Snowbiters were the mounted sappers and engineers of the Vanozza Fastness, patroling its length and offering what maintenance they could to it along the way. An unwinnable mission, but one they had grown quite talented at. Their leader, the grey haired Gioacchino, pushed his way to the front.
"Constantin. Most unexpected company." Gioacchino said, spreading arms wide, as more Snowbiters assembled about the newcomers. "So, the Inquisition finally grew tired of you, did it? And you have been exiled here, as well? To take up the long watch?"
Constantin Noval studied Gioacchino's face, searching for hostility. Some years ago they had stood shoulder to shoulder as equals in the capital, both trusted servants of the Senate and its Consul, Harmon Dermeticus. When Harmon had been assassinated, and the Triumvirate seized power, Gioacchino had been exiled to the Fastness to keep him out of trouble. High Inquisitor Gori, the First Citizen Avus Gula and High Admiral Jack Timbale and found a place for Constantin in the new military regime, but Gioacchino had been too close to the Senate. Now, even the Senate was gone, destroyed by the Inquisition. And Gioacchino found himself far from refuge.
"I am here of my own will." Constantin declared, raising his voice so that all the Snowbiters could hear. "I am here to defend our nation, from enemies external. And internal. I am here against the wishes of the Inquisition, who declare me an enemy of the state."
He had their attention. Gioacchino smiled, recognition in his tired eyes. Yes, this was the same Constantin Noval he had known before the Triumvirate, during the days of democracy.
"I no longer serve the First Citizen. The Triumvirate murdered our Consul, destroyed our Senate and led us to destruction and damnation. Now, the Inquisition reigns in our lands, and burns our brothers, fathers and sons at the stake for heresy. I was commander of the First Citizen's bodyguard - I saw up close the damnation wrought upon our land by our own leaders. I have forsaken their cause. I stand now with Armant Freic, who shall rule as our Palaienid Emperor. Against Malvern, against the Dominion. And against the Inquisition. Our numbers grow by the day. Stand with me, Snowbiters. Your exile is finished."
Gioacchino and the Snowbiters thudded rifles against the flagstones of the keep, entertained if not inspired. After silence fell, Gioacchino was the one to break it.
"You chose your side too late, Constantin." he said, gesturing at his troops. "You followed the First Citizen to Falor itself, and failed, abandoning us. It seems to me you have chosen the next winning horse that aspires to overthrow the Republic."
"Republic?" Constantin Noval laughed. "The Republic is dead. Tomas de Campo rules now, Gioacchino."
The hardened Snowbiters seemed to be drawing closer around Constantin and his pathfinders, and Constantin felt as if a noose had been placed around his neck.
"High Inquisitor Aurelio Manza is here on a visit." Gioacchino said through a nasty smile. "I wonder what he would make of the infamous Constantin Noval whipping up sedition in the Fastness?"
Then a horn sounded. Within minutes, a couple of bloodied soldiers were ushered into the keep, their eyes wild.
"The Fastness has fallen." one of them managed, spitting blood. "The Hunter is here."
[Reinforcements, pathfinders and Constantin to make their way towards the battle - and upon finding the battle, assist in the retreat.]
The Inquisitorial patrol had arrived on time - and a thousand fur and leather-clad nomads seemed to have arrived quite conveniently as well. It betrayed foreknowledge - their timing was too perfect indeed.
In the distance, giant golems tore down walls that had stood since time immemorial. Yet in doing so, they had made themselves giant targets as well.
"Blood and light." Giovanni Ganado howled, as the trapped spirits began to seethe under his skin, tattoos burning bright and hot. The desire to match destruction with destruction stiffened his manhood, and the cold winds and anticipation both brought tears to his eyes. At long last. He would feed. He would feast.
Cannons sang their music, runes adjusting themselves upon the metal surfaces. The languages of Hell.
[Cannons to focus on the giants and the golems, offering the Republicans a covered retreat. The Inquisition is to ride out and assist and protect the retreating soldiers. The Pebblehoof Nomads are to do the same, using their pistols, speed and range to break apart the false men of stone and clay while staying out of reach, and covering the retreat.
Post by ashenmoon on Nov 5, 2017 15:19:53 GMT
turn ends: We 8 November
|The main action had moved onto the plain to the north, ringed by mountains and bordered by a lake to the west and forested heights to the east. Though few among those present knew it, the Mason had once intended to build a city on the site, to support the Fastness ahead - but the civil war with Malvern of the Old Empire had moved on, and the region had lost its strategic importance. Sharp-eyed archeologists might have noted the unusual flatness of the terrain - as if a great portion of a valley floor had been levelled. The Republican defenders of the Fastness simply referred to it as “the Plain”, and grew their own crops in scattered fields there. |
Now cannon fire speared through the air, reaching towards the lumpy remains of the Rear Walls. Malvernian mercenaries took refuge behind the walls they had just conquered and watched as Colonel Donato Khalez signalled a halt to the forward Republican forces’ westward retreat. In the space granted to him by the Malvernians’ pause and the threat of the cannons - firing wildly at the very extent of their range - he turned his force around north - to rendezvous with the arriving Republican and Inquisitorial reinforcements.
Too late, tribal Fuma riders issued forth from the Malvernian masses - but the Republican forces were already reunited, and soon consolidated a battle line across the entire plain. The cavalry retreated from the bristling defenses, back down the Upper Valley.
The overcast skies dissipated just in time for the sun’s final rays to paint the eastern peaks pink. The first stars glinted in the firmament above.
Constantin Noval took heart in his newfound allies and rediscovered friend. They made good speed into a high mountain pass, then began to descend the western side. One of the Pathfinders - a man of extraordinary hearing - claimed to hear cannon fire from afar, though Constantin heard only the whine of the wind and birds greeting from scraggly trees the onset of evening.
But as they rounded another cliff and a wider valley opened out before them - the direct route to the Fastness - they found their path blocked by a small Malvernian force: a company and some squads.
The mounted Snowbiters (SB), Republican garrison-engineers under captain Gioacchino, darted forth, joined by the Stonefolk Pathfinder mountaineers (PF). After all, they outnumbered the Malvernians two to one. Certainly, they could spot the great, black, sleek hulk of the panther Melusine (ML), and that the Malvernian company - The Hammer (X) - was well-equipped. But they had the numbers, and from here the sounds of cannon-fire made it clear that battle was ongoing further west.
But barely had their charge begun, before it began to falter. Sniper fire peppered with uncanny precision into their lines: the Precision (PR) earned their name. As the Snowbiters got closer, more missiles streaked into their midst as The Hammer unslung their crossbows.
With several score dead in as many seconds, and the potency of their enemy hinted at, the Republicans fell back to the mountain pass.
Frustrated, Giaocchino led them on an alternative route north-west which, after several hours, took them to the main road through the mountains. Constantin could see the iguana banners waving further down the road in the gathering gloom.
Post by Timeon on Nov 8, 2017 19:29:21 GMT
As night fell, Constantin found "the Plain" a dark ocean lit by pinpricks of light. He rode catching up to the iguana banners of his Ember Legions, finding that they had set up camp mere minutes away from Inquisitorial lines. Calling for Acastus to be sent to him, the sentries soon returned with a score of the Companions, their eyes haunted.
"The Vanozza Fastness is fallen." Acastus breathed. This was his first foray into the Cattana mountains, but he had spent months hearing about the Fastness. Constantin was sure that more than shocked, Acastus would be disappointed that he never got to see one of the wonders of the world with his own eyes. No, it was Constantin Noval who was truly shocked.
"How is it possible?" Constantin asked, bringing his horse around to trot past the Companions. They averted his gaze, even as Constantin's eyes drifted back to the Inquisitorial flags visible by firelight in the distance.
"The Hunter is here." a woman's feline voice brought Constantin's attention around. One of the riders was no Companion, but one of the Binders - Aurelia dala Vachio, the niece of Paolina Caccini. He had met her in the Dominion, during the glory days of the Vulgar Army. "There were spells woven into the Fastness, secret spells that only an Archon could trigger - should the walls have ever fallen into Malvernian hands. Somehow, the Malvernian Archons learned of and deciphered these impossible runes."
"Not so impossible." Constantin grunted, then fixed his gaze on Acastus. The Companion knew what was coming. "And what brings you to lead our army into the waiting mouth of the Inquisition, Acastus?"
"You said it yourself, commander." Acastus straightened himself. "We save Jovinium first, and thereby earn it for our Emperor."
"Then let us hope that High Inquisitor Aurelio Manza agrees that we have a common enemy."
In the no-man's land between the Republican and Monarchist camps, Constantin Noval, Acastus, Aurelia dala Vachio and the Companions waited.
The darkness yawned, and from its confines, past fluttering banners rode the Inquisiton. Their steeds were uniform black, their coats red, violet and gold, depending on their function in their mad cult. Some wore caps, others went with their hair combed back freely and exposed. All of them, however, bore intricate webs of tattoos across most of their exposed flesh. Some even had tattoos on their faces. To study those tattoos too closely was to invite the sense of being watched by something invisble and menacing. Something angry.
Their leader soon became aparent, trotting forward and twisting his horse around at the last moment, to come within arm's reach of Constantin. It took all of Constantin's willpower not to draw his pistol. These were the men he had always learned to dread, the subjects of childhood stories. In Sabria, children were told spooky stories of Spirits coming to kidnap you at night. In the provinces, it was the Inquisitors who were far more terrifying. The fire-haired Inquisitor wore a little black fez atop his head, his golden robes overflowing across his steed.
"I am Magister Giovanni Ganado." the Inquisitor did not extend a hand. His nostrils flared. "I recognise you, Constantin Noval. I had heard the rumours of your presence in these mountains. Not all these heathen Stonefolk are as disloyal as you suspect."
"I am here to fight, yes." Constantin said, raising his voice. If not for the Companions at his back, he was not so sure he would have been able to hold his ground against the demon gaze of Ganado. "But I do not intend to fight you, not today. Not if the Hunter is here, and the Fastness fallen."
Like a villain out of a fable, Giovanni Ganado threw his head back and laughed.
"You will get no absolution for your SINS by switching sides yet again, Constantin!" His spit reached the head of Constantin's horse, though it did not flinch. "You are DAMNED."
"I am not here to ask forgiveness, pater. I am here to save you." Constantin's lips curved into a smile, though that smile never reached his eyes. "The Malvernians are flanking us. I encountered a company of men in the eastern mountains. Their jaws will snap shut around us."
"They will find our flesh too poisonous to swallow." Ganado leaned forward, evil eyes twinkling. "The garrison of this mountain has enjoyed some short rest. They will now do their duty and die for the Republic. The Hunteer will choke, yes."
"We must fall back to the Vaiparo Citadel." Constantin snapped, short and simple. "The weapon there-"
"The weapon there will still function if the Hunter escapes our assault." Ganado flourished a gloved hand, and turned his horse towards his Inquisitors. "We will slaughter and burn the Enemy, Constantin. And then we will come for you. But if your men stand their ground and fight, I promise you this. We will spare the worthy. You, however, you will take back to Sabria in chains. The First Citizen would be flattered to see his old friend again, of that I am sure."
"Be that as it may. My men are at your command. If you intend a night raid, my riders will ride with you."
This seemed to surprise Giovanni. He hummed, and then began to trot away, peering over his shoulder and flipping his cloak as he did so.
"Just because your life is at an end does not mean we need be unpleasant, all of us. High Inquisitor Aurelio Manza would dine with you, once the Malvernians are driven back to their bog."
When the Inquisitors had slunk back to their half of the camp, Constantin Noval turned to Acastus. And nodded.
[[M1 and M3, led by Colonel Donato Khalez himself, are to stealthily climb the mountains on either side of the Fastness, by the easiest routes, so as to flank the Malvernians who have set up camp in the Central Fastness. The Peakstriders are to accompany them.
This action is to be accompanied by the Inquisitorial Cannons drawing slightly closer and continuously firing into the Central Fastness as they go - both to keep the Enemy distracted and to inflict as much damage on them as possible.
Once the Mountaineers are in place - in a position to fire into the valley from either side, K1 and K2 are to join with the Inquisitorial Legion and are to enter the fray with the intention of butchering the Enemy in their camps, setting fire to supplies and inflicting maximum devastation. The Republican forces' Commando specialisation will hopefully kick in for this mountaineering and night action. The Pebblehoof Nomads, the Companions and Aurelio Manza are to make a devastating charge into the Enemy in the Central Fastness as well, combining anti-magic with gunpowder and horses' hooves.
Meanwhile, the Snowbiters are to lay mines in the mouth of the mountain pass just east of their current location, and are then to join the rest of the Ember army and Stonefolk in setting up a defensive camp for the night behind the Inquisitorial cannons, guarding the mouths of the mountain passes around them, and they are to rest. They will oversee and ensure the camps are established in a defensible fashion.
The Stonefolk Pathfinders, along with Constantin Noval, will venture out to stealthily track Melusene and the Enemy spotted in the east, without engaging, with intention to return to camp before morning.]]- Some Orders -
Post by Sp00ky on Nov 10, 2017 1:26:02 GMT
March of the Reptile
An account of the Imperial assault upon the Mountains of Carrana, by Colonel Donato Khalez
Part three: Bloodbath
Shock, sorrow and hatred. This sickening tirade of venomous thoughts was all I felt upon learning of Charlos's death. His passing left a lingering wound within my heart, for I had known him for many years. He was a true man of the mountains, born and raised by a family of kindhearted shepherds. Though most of his life had been spent in service to the military, he had never forgotten the calm and simpleness of his rural childhood. This was evident in the way he spoke. This was evident in his sense of humor. This was evident in the way he loved his wife and son.
I had wanted to punish him for breaking ranks, a lashing or two to prove the point, but now need for discipline had given way to a cry for vengeance. This time the goat-fucking bastards had gone too far. His life was not theirs to take, not theirs to even threaten. The Fastness Garrison had lost one of its greatest sons, and for his fate we would make them bleed.
The moonless night and the thundering onslaught of Republic cannons would be our cover. We would walk in the shadows, faces covered and bayonets fixed, coming at them like the specter of death onto a dying man. We had guarded those mountains for years. We knew every every inch and every rock. Though years of practice we had learnt to walk those grounds in utter silence. They would not see us coming. They would know only fear.
Our Mountaineers would stalk the mountains of ruined Fastness, their orders to secure unchallenged command of the high ground. From there they would dominate the valley below, unleashing volley upon volley of musket fire onto our hapless foes. Like the thundering cannons these brave men would aid our cover through death and carnage.
The Highlanders and the Hunters, now both under my direct command, would sneak silently through the pass under the cover of darkness. The night would hide our movement, while the continued barrage of cannon fire rained down upon the enemy ranks. We would strike in silence, unseen and unheard. We would be like the deathless fiends of ancient legend. We would slit their throats. We would pierce their hearts. We would make them fear the night once more. By stealth and steady hand, the enemy force would be made to break and flee.
It was time for butcher's work.
For the Republic!
Post by ashenmoon on Nov 10, 2017 17:29:02 GMT
turn 5: day 1, midnight - MAPS LINK (no map for the night)
turn ends: Tue 14 November
|The mountaineers followed Donato expertly as they ascended the cliffs surrounding what had once been their home. He led about half the force into the western range - the others went east. While they avoided the steepest inclines, in places, they had to climb. But the men knew this area as the back of their hands. |
Which made it all the more disconcerting when they found strangers ahead - enemy soldiers toiling along the paths behind the Walls, seemingly searching for a path down to the Plain from the side.
Donato and his men watched from the shadows, counting their opponents, taking their measure. Time passed. By now, the men on the eastern flank would be in position. The attack was waiting for Donato’s signal.
From what they could tell, the enemy about equalled them in numbers. But they were not ordinary men - for some of them were giants, twice as tall as any man; and something was off about the rest, a stiffness and synchronization to their movement. At last, Donato recognized them as the golems - The Steadfasts - that had made a surprise appearance on the Plain’s eastern flank earlier in the day. The force that had seen Charlos slain.
“We have the element of surprise. We have the night, our friend. We have our allies, waiting for us. And we have the mountains - our brother. Attack!”
For all that, the engagement swiftly turned into a bloody, protracted affair: the golems were tireless, and little affected by the nightly confusion which would have engulfed any mortal enemy.
Giovanni Ganado saw the flash in the western mountains. In deathly silence, he sensed the Inquisitorial Legion and garrison regiments rush forward. The cannons, having fired in the dark until now - an unceasing barrage that, hopefully, had struck close enough to the Rear Walls to discourage the enemy from venturing forth - went quiet.
Scattered gunfire. Horses whinnying. Men shouted, and then the noise of battle erupted like flowers in springtime from the darkness before him. Soon, the Republicans’ torches on the Rear Walls were silhouetted by dark figures. Then those figures were past the Walls.
The Rear Walls were retaken. Ganado looked to his side. The shadowy mass of Aurelio Manza nodded its head.
The cavalry swept forth.
With the sounds of battle wafting distantly through the night, Constantin Noval listened to the Pathfinders’ hushed conference. They had come upon the enemy’s spoor, that much seemed certain - but in the darkness and mostly rocky terrain, just where to continue the search was unclear.
He turned around and scanned the jagged geometry of the hillside, the giant boulders, the black nest of a copse of low trees below them on the slope. Everywhere he looked, he felt as if unseen eyes were watching. A nagging feeling told him that there certainly were hunters and prey out in the night - and that he and the Pathfinders belonged to the second category.
The Pathfinders had come to a decision. They continued further into the heights.
Post by Timeon on Nov 14, 2017 23:22:35 GMT
Continuing further into the heights, feeling the oppression of unseen but all-seeing eyes upon him, Constantin shared tired words of caution with the chieftain of the pathfinders. Few needed to be said for an understanding to be reached. They ascended the heights, in search of caves, which could shelter them until first light - upon which they could gain their bearings, and report back to Acastus and the rest about where the Malvernians were presumably headed. They could not risk being caught in the open a second time.
Men burned inside of their tents, screaming only briefly before the heat and smoke ruined their lungs. Trapped beneath skeins of flaming cloth and the ruin of their brethren, the Imperialists of Malvern found their foreign adventures at an end. Wading through the carnage, the Inquisition made itself known to the Empire at long last. This engagement was not the first between the two powers, but oh, there had never before been one quite like this. Waltzing in a thin line across the valley, the Inquisition moved like a weight upon the world, bending it around their passage. The Spirits trapped within them howled for death, but received none. It was others who died, squeezed by the magics they so foolishly thought to wield as their own.
Those who did not burn were gutted by bayonets in the dark, the cream of the elite of Republican commandos and mountaineers striding across ground they knew like the back of their hands.
Ganado spied a Malvernian commander, hopping through the chaos struggling to put on a pair of pants. He tripped over himself before scrambling back on his palms to get away from the Inquisitor. Ganado reached down and lifted the man into the air with the strength of the damned. He squeezed. The man kicked in the air, eyes bulging - but Ganado did not let him die. He tossed the man to the earth behind him, and signalled to two Republicans.
"Take him to camp. We will make a pyre of him at sunrise, for all the Empire to see."
Swinging back to the bachanal, Giovanni Ganado exalted apocalypse.
By sunrise, they would all be gone. The Republic, back to their own camp. The Malvernians, gone to Hell.
[Cannons to do what they can, especially in case of flanking attempts by the Enemy]
Post by Sp00ky on Nov 16, 2017 13:54:05 GMT
March of the Reptile
An account of the Imperial assault upon the Mountains of Carrana, by Colonel Donato Khalez
Part four: And off the sides they go...
What was done that night on the mountainside was bold, extremely bold. My critics would say I should never have made the call to attack those things directly, no matter how dark the night or how large my number of men. Those monsters, or machines, were not like mortal men. They dwarfed us in both size, strength and endurance. What they did not have however, was speed and agility. These were critical flaws when engaged with a force such as mine, and I would seem them exploited to maximum effect.
The key was to avoid to melee at any cost, for our weapons could not pierce their armored hide. Yes, the behemoths were strong, but they were also stupid. Whenever a volley hit its mark, the slow walking titans would move towards its point of origin. When struck from the right, then right they went. When shot from the left, to the left they would go. For all their might these things were as predictable as a senator's son in a bawdy house. When stuck on a mountain with a bunch of slow, heavy and dimwitted tin cans, it is not hard to imagine what we sought to do; we would lure them to the edge, with calculated and concentrated volley fire, and send them bouncing down towards their doom.
The mountain edges close to the fastness had always been frail and unstable. They were firm enough to hold a man, a horse or maybe a slightly loaded cart. Those behemoths however, would make them break like seasoned bread. Their weight and clumsiness would do the rest. Concentrated fire, avoidance of melee and the boldest ploy since the Eclipse Campaign. That was the rule of the night.
The remaining imperial soldiers, already reeling and bleeding from our onslaught, were of no concern to us. We would keep killing them, volley barrage upon volley barrage, until every last one of them was dead. They were pinned down, their cries of agony like music to the ear. They would not survive this, none of them would.
Once this engagement was done, and we had reached the enemy encampment in the pass, the Fastness Garrison knew what to do; slaughter everything... burn everything.
Break their back and shatter their spirit
The butcher's work continued...