Post by ashenmoon on Dec 8, 2017 8:19:19 GMT
turn ends: New Year's
|Dawn’s early rays threaded through peaks in the east, tracing shadows over long lines of tired men and scattered warbands roaming the Plain. Gunfire rattled unevenly, piercing through hoarse cries and battle-shouts. |
Republican forces, climbing out of the Upper Valley, emerged back onto the Plain - many stumbling with weariness and clutching wounds. A strange mood prevailed among them: a core of triumph slowly yielding to panic.
Malvernian cavalry soon gained the Plain behind them - and, beyond the horse companies rushing forth to harry the retreating Republicans, was heard the steady rhythm of infantry marching in orderly formation.
The night had been long, and confusing. It was not until well into the day that the generals of the opposing armies could form a coherent picture of what had transpired.
Some hours after midnight, the fresh regiment of Scarred (H3) who had held the Rear Walls and so formed the front lines of the Malvernian camp, spotted gunfire in the darkness of the Plain. With the Republican main camp visible in the distance, lit by small yet seemingly settled pools of light, it was first believed that this was simply a small skirmish between enemy scouts and the Malvernian cavalry sent forth to patrol the no-man’s-land.
This view was shattered when the cavalry - who had in fact stumbled across the better portion of the entire Republican Hunter regiment (K2) creeping through the darkness - came rushing back into camp in disarray. Almost the instant before the enemy appeared in the light shed by torches set in the Rear Wall, the cannon fire - which had been relentless throughout the night - ceased.
The sudden silence was immediately broken as the Hunter regiment rushed forth, firing swift volleys and taking the eastern portion of the Rear Walls. Soon, they gained the heights on that side of the Upper Valley, and began firing into the confused concentration of troops where the Scarred and cavalry companies were still trying to bring clarity into the situation. They would have wreaked untold damage then, had not the Iron Curtain cadre of mages been present - and the storm of bullets became instead a light pattering.
At the same time, the Highlander regiment (K1) pushed back the defenders on the western arm of the Walls, and descended into the sleepy camps of Malvern’s forward units. While elements of the Highlanders soon became embroiled in chaotic melees with Scarred units, as well as an alert pike company carrying ensorcelled armour (MP), the rest of the Highlanders descended upon the camps of Malvernian tribal allies.
In the centre, the Inquisitorial Legion appeared at the lip of the valley just as the Scarred defenders had reformed: for a while, the Republican advance was halted as heavily armed tribesmen rushed forth to hold the walls. Then the Legion fell back - opening the way for several hundred cavalry to charge through.
Although split in two, the Scarred would go on to fight to their very last in bloody melees flowing across their burning camp, doggedly holding their positions and keeping the Republican cavalry charge from ever gaining momentum. Through their sacrifice, disaster was averted.
Although the Highlander regiment ravaged the east portion of the camp, and the Inquisitorial Legion - under Giovanno Ganado - burned all they could reach in the centre, their reach ultimately never extended very deeply into the Malvernian camp. With the massed Republican cavalry never managing to reform their ranks and launch an unhindered charge, they instead swarmed this way and that, seeking opportunity without finding it. As the attack wore on, it became clear that the main instruments of the charge - the Highlander and Hunter regiments - were as much a hindrance as use as many, too exhausted to continue the fight, began to stumble back to their camp.
With the time bought by the Scarred, and the shelter provided by the Iron Curtain, plus the distance afforded by the depth of their camp, General Nikaioforos’ headquarters - although retreating several times from Ganado’s approach - had time to form a core of defenses. First the Third Chorus, then more and more joined the force, and Malvernian cavalry reformed behind them.
With the first rays of sunlight reaching the highest peaks in the west, and the tide turning against them - spearheaded by Malvernian Fuma riders charging forth - the Republicans sounded retreat. Although the attack had been spectacular, and several Malvernian units had been completely wiped out, the urgency with which they now had to leave soon sent trickles of fear down the Republicans’ backs. Seeing a pillar of black smoke rising from their own camp did little to steady their hearts.
Up in the western mountain, Donato Khalez and two companies of his mountaineers had engaged Malvernian golems not long after midnight. Over several hours of nerve-wracking fighting, the mountaineers managed to bring down the Iron Giants, one by one - many falling to their ruin after being lured to the edge of a great precipice.
When, finally, the last Golems were either dead or retreated, the mountaineers proceeded to descend from the heights, following the ruined remains of the fortified staircases that connected to the Vanozza Fastness.
There, positioned in between the two halves of the Malvernian host and ready to strike the back of Nikaioforos’ slowly forming defensive line, they would have been able to do great damage, and undo much of the gathering cohesion among the Malvernian defenders. But, for the third time this night, the Malvernian army was lucky: the Triune Riders camped nearby, almost alone in the wreck of the Fastness.
While Donato’s men managed to set fire to several of the great catapults the Malvernians had stationed there, they were defenseless against the Triune Riders’ sparkling magics, and when the Triunes were joined by Scarred heavies and a Finger of the Malachite Hand, the mountaineers retreated up the paths they had just descended, taking many casualties before finally breaking free.
The Republican cannons had fired throughout the night from the centre of their camp: when the main attack began, they were finally quiet. For a while. As the Republican troops engaged the Malvernians on and then behind the Rear Walls, the cannons were rolled forward and began firing blindly deeper into the Upper Valley.
While this did not have any great effect on the battle as it developed there, it did leave the cannons in a position between the main camp and the force ahead. Although escorted by a large troop movement - a full regiment and several smaller companies - from the safety of darkness, hidden eyes perceived an opportunity.
First, soldiers of the Stonefolk commune took a sudden and shocking series of volleys fired into their midst. The Hammer outranged the Stonefolks easily and, under withering fire, the Stonefolks charged out of position to engage the enemy.
Next, a company of Ember Pike found a great, sleek black shape storming through their relaxed formation like a hurricane. Melusine, the giant panther, tossed men like toys, left and right, and had all but routed the Republican company before a group of binding-tattooed Ember Priests arrived. Chanting their grating voices, their spell was awarded a yelp of pain and the disappearance of the black phantom back into the night.
In the opening thus created, a group of elite soldiers - the Malvernian Lapsed - seized the opportunity. The night was briefly lit by a great explosion - the gunpowder stores of several batteries of cannons turned against themselves, and leaving ruined wrecks where shining metal cylinders had stood before.
As swiftly as they had come, the Malvernian attackers fell back - with most of the Republican camp charging after them.
Constantin Noval and his men emerged from the forest in time to see the Republican camp in uproar, most of them pursuing a small Malvernian force towards the east - that same force, he realized, he had been chasing after during the night.
Further south, towards the Upper Valley, he could see the attacking force spilling out onto the Plain. Even from this distance, their exhaustion was easy to see.
Entering the mostly-abandoned main camp, messengers were grateful to find a senior commander to report to. Donato’s rangers reported the imminent arrival of reinforcements, from the north as well as from the west - companies of Rangers and others who had marched throughout the night. Although weary, they were eager to join the fight.
((in the north, barely visible, reinforcements that can be re-formed as the team wishes: R01, R08 equal 5 pts. in the west, R02, R06 also 5 pts))
They had accomplished much, Giovanno Ganado knew, in the burning core of his heart. Thousands of enemies had been slaughtered. And yet, the stench of fear he smelled belonged to Republicans. Many had begun running, fearing the approach of the enemy cavalry from behind.
A muffled scream made him look down.
Bound and stumbling behind his horse was the Malvernian officer they had captured. As the sky had brightened, however, he had perceived that it was a woman, dressed in the clothes of a man.
“Princess Kassai of the Jelins,” he mused, “and close confidante of General Nikaioforos, as I understand it… what am I to do with you?”
Post by Sp00ky on Jan 1, 2018 1:14:49 GMT
All forces under the command of Colonel Donato Khalez are to make an organized retreat towards the mighty Vaiparo Citadel, covered by cannonfire and the heroic carvery soldires. The moral amongst the men and Khalez himself is one of joy and pride, as they are confident that their efforts are breaking the back of the enemy army. Once they arrive at the Citadal they will take up defensive positions within its walls and prepare to outlast the enemy. Due to the nature of the threat posed by the invading Imperial Army, Khalez believes that now is the time to light the Beacons of Carrana, a network of signal fires linking the mountain chain to the Republic capital and heartland. The Vaiparo Citadal is the location of one of the beacons and once it is lit, which Khalez will do immediately upon his arrival, the other far away beacon posts will be lit as well - alerting the Republic to what is happening in the mountains. Khalaz, being of the opinion that the Republic is winning this engagement, believes that the arrival of Republic reinforcements will be the end of the Imperial invasion. The endgame and downfall of the Imperial force has, in his opinion, begun.The fires will be lit.. and the Homeland will answer
The new reinforcements, called into action by scouts sent by Constantin Noval
, has been placed under my ingame control. I have invented a character named Zophia, who is the acting Captain of the arriving army. She is an old flame of Khalez's, who has often wondered what became of him after their passionate interaction in a barn a few years back. She is confident in the strength of the Republic forces and is, like all officers in the region, accustomed to the land and is to be considered a veteran in her own right. She knowns that it will be her duty to cover the organized retreat of the Republican army. She will follow and join them at the Vaiparo Citadel, where she and her men will bolster the garrison that Khalez, Constantain and all the other Republican forces will be setting up there.
Post by Timeon on Jan 2, 2018 13:34:31 GMT
Smoke and blood, and the piercing cries of guns and men woke the dawn.
Retreating from their bacchanal of murder, the Republican mountaineers staggered across the plains, back towards their camp. The Malvernian Empire gave chase - but were confronted by Constantin Noval's own cavalry units, covering the retreat of Republicans who had been their enemies the previous night. It was almost comical how a common enemy could so closely unite former rivals, to the point that they would die for one another.
The Republican camp billowed smoke as well, as some of the cannons had fallen to saboteurs. Those cannons which had escaped the attack now fired incessantly at the Malvernians, providing yet further cover to the retreating Republicans.
Constantin Noval rode down into camp, where he found that orders were already underway for the army to march westwards as soon as the retreating Republicans had returned safely behind friendly lines. They were heading for the Vaiparo Citadel, home of the god-killing gun. Having been put into place after the Malvernian secession from the Dominion, and having been tucked away in the mountains, it was not unlikely that the Malvernians would fall for the trap. They no doubt knew the gun existed, but unless they had extensively scouted the Vastness beforehand, they would have no idea they were marching into the maw of the god-killing gun. At least, that was their best bet. The gun had been put into place for just this contingency, though many had doubted it would ever see use.
[[Following Donato's orders, the Ember Legions will protect the Republican cannons and provide cover for the retreating mountaineers and Inquisitors, and will then join them on a defensive, close-knit retreat towards the Vaiparo Citadel and its cover. Cannons and cavalry are to cover any retreat.]]
Giovanni Ganado of the Inquisitorial Legion
As they retreated across the planes, drunk on pain and enslaved Spirits, the Inquisition relished the hours ahead. It was not truly a retreat, Giovanni mused. It was a trap. The Malvernians would follow them, yes, but they would follow them into Hell.
Aurelio Manza and his entourage led the way - apocalyptic horsemen breaking the very dawn - moving like the shadows left behind by clouds across the earth. When an explosion came from camp, Manza himself could be seen throwing his head back and screeching in a multitude of tortured voices - a man well and truly possessed. Glorious.
But the pulse of magic that emanated from camp, that scent, came not from the cannons destroyed. No, it was the aura of the perpetrator which attracted the Inquisitors. Some great Spirit had led the attack, and used its might to inflict harm upon them.
The prize was too tempting for Aurelio Manza and the most damned of his kin to ignore. The High Inquisitor and his beautifully insane elite thundered forward, in search of the Spirit who had wronged them. Desperate to consume it.
Post by ashenmoon on Jan 3, 2018 20:31:59 GMT
turn ends: sun 7/1
|An hour has passed after the sun rose over the Plain. Death hovers in the hazy air above the mountains of Carrana, cawing his many-throated glee from black-winged vantage. |
The Republican raiding force - victorious, confident - headed north across the plain, towards the pillar of smoke marking their cannons’ position and reinforcements. But close though it seemed, it would prove just too far away.
Malvernian cavalry (C1, C2, C3) charged into their backs. Republican cavalry - the Pebblehoof nomads - rode forth to screen the retreat: but their mounts, as weary as their riders but without their masters’ urgency, were too slow. The Malvernian charge struck full force, and the Hunters (K2) had to turn and fight. Their swagger soon was replaced by shock, then panic - made worse by the realization that the High Inquisitor, Aurelius Manza, had left them behind. Giovanni Ganado and the Inquisitorial Legion yet remained, disbelieving the sudden reversal in fortunes.
At the western passage out of the Plain, a new knot of Republican forces coalesced. Donato Khalez and his mountaineers, returning from their battle with the golems in the night, met up with Captain Zophia and her Republican garrison from further west along the Wall. For a moment, it seemed they would charge into the bloody and confused melee engulfing their compatriots… but they turned north, towards the Republican camp.
The Inquisitorial Legion fought rabidly, surrounded first by Malvernian cavalry, and then facing a fresh wave of infantry - the Three Choruses. They cursed their enemies to the bitter end: and then, with their last breaths, cursed the Monarchist traitors - the Pebblehoofs, who escaped east while they yet could. The Hunters regiment, trapped as the Inquisitors, fought no less desperately - but when they could see hopelessness of their situation, they surrendered and were led down the Rear Valley.
Of the main Republican raiding force, only the Highlander regiment (K1) made their escape to the western force, fighting off cavalry and suffering a steady hail of slingshots from the rested Goma Slingers (A3).
On the eastern flank, a company of Fuma cavalry (C2) charged after the retreating Republican Pebblehoofs; soon they found themselves embroiled in a swirling, loose melee with Stonefolk mountainmen (S2) returning from having given chase to Melusine and the Malvernian raiding force. Galloping this way and that across the plain, forming and shattering knots of resistance, the Fuma were stalled and in turn stalled their opponents, until light Saktha warriors (La) and the Third Chorus arrived to shore up a loose, wary battle-line.
All this time the cannon had fired but a few, high shots, unable to strike the enemy without going through friendly lines: but now, as the Malvernian Choruses and cavalry charged forth against the Ember Hawks (EH1, EH2) that guarded the artillery, they fired unhindered. Many died, and they diverted west - taking cover by contesting Donatos’ western force’s attempt to rejoin their allies. Soon, Donato’s force found themselves assailed on two fronts - from the east and from the south, and with slingers threatening the third front - and only by a personal, and desperate, counter-attack did Donato stabilize his line: many of his close companions fell then.
But in the gap of the Malvernian line left by the Choruses’ diverted attack, a new company revealed itself: two hundred heavy cataphracts (C4) in gleaming armour, scions of Malvernian nobility. Blowing trumpets of silver, they thundered across the field in a sudden charge, they smashing aside the stunned Hawks - pushing them into pikemen rushing forth from behind, confusing the Republicans’ lines, and inflicting great casualties.
And now - this all had happened so swiftly, so suddenly had the Republicans been cast from their expectations of victory and an easy retreat - the Triune Riders followed in the cataphracts’ tracks and almost casually captured several batteries of cannons (IC2). The other cannons escaped their grasp - pulled by powerful horses and on rattling great wheels, the cannoneers escaped west and behind Donato’s force.
The Triunes looked north: there Constantin Noval’s Monarchist banner flew over a swiftly approaching formation, fresh and organized. In the west, Donato’s force struggled to defend itself. In the east, beyond a loose, wavering no-man’s-land, a full Republican regiment was approaching.
All hung in balance as the tide, once again, began to turn...
Aurelius Manza was close to his prey. He had only his own, closest men with him, and a squad of snipers they had found along the way. The prey was numerous, but oh, so infested with demons - their stench sweet like rot on the air.
But they were not toothless, this prey. A group of them (PR) carried magicked firearms, ensorcelling the mechanism of firing while leaving the projectile itself untouched. He could almost admire their wit: this would allow them to bypass magical defenses, yet strike with magical precision. Quite beyond the challenge presented by a full company of clearly elite soldiers, that single squad of enemy snipers could put a sudden stop to any attempt to get close to his prey.
Post by Timeon on Jan 8, 2018 21:12:13 GMT
It had all gone so disastrously wrong - somehow. One minute the Republican army had been entrenched behind barricades, erected by the Snowbiters, safely in camp, protected by cannons. The next minute, the army found itself back at the Fastness, split into three different forces, blitzed by Malvernian forces, with numberless casualties.
As what remained of the Republic's rearguard marched towards the battlefield, Constantin found himself in charge of men who did not even consider themselves his superior. Yet they accepted his instruction regardless, such was the chaos.
He would never have thought he would find himself ready to die for men and women loyal to the Inquisiton. Yet, the threat of a common enemy ever did unite people behind a cause when in all other situations they would be enemies.
Raising a sword in the air and holding firing a pistol from the other, Constantin led his men into the fray, cutting between the two flanks of the Republic's divided forces. He would pick particularly on whichever Malvernian side was more at risk, so as to reunite two out of the three splintered forces, before attempting to free the third. Then they would make their hasty retreat to the Vaiparo Citadel.
As they moved forward, they caught sight of Aurelio Manza's banners in the hills behind them, and it became clear that they were being flanked by saboteurs. The very same saboteurs, no doubt, who Constantin had tracked through the night.
He passed instruction on to his ranks - in case the saboteurs tried to hit them in the rear, they would fall upon them and concentrate all their firepower to eliminate them. Exhausted as they surely would be, any attempts to attack the Republic in the rear had to be turned into a pincer movement and a death sentence. His Binders took particular note of those instructions.
Either way, there was bloody work ahead. To death, or perhaps to life, they marched.
[[Try to win a decisive victory and commence the retreat to Vaiparo Citadel before the rest of the Malvernian forces arrive. Strike hard and fast. Cover flanks.]]
Aurelio Manza is to follow and harass the saboteurs, trying to slow them down, using mounted mobility and snipers to inflict damage without taking any serious risks. The main aim will be to keep the saboteurs busy so they do not stirke the Republic in the rear. Anti-magic aura and sniper range to come into play.]]
Post by ashenmoon on Jan 9, 2018 16:37:45 GMT
turn 8: day 2, two hours after sunrise - MAPS LINK
turn ends: sun 14/1
“Khalez!” screamed a voice from behind. Through the din of battle, Donato would hardly have noticed it - had not the fury been so hateful, so desperate, so… betrayed.
A gunshot, close by. He spun around to behold a commotion, a soldier - a Highlander - being wrestled to the ground. His rifle, smoking, was kicked away from his clawing hands.
“What is this? Polano? Is that you?”
“Fuck you,” the so-recently green recruit growled into the gravel. “Fuck your hunt for glory! You and the fucking Inquisition sent us all to our deaths - you abandoned us! Everyone is dead. Marco…”
The man transformed before Donato’s eyes. From raging beast, with barely a transition, now a slobbering wreck.
“Get a hold of yourself! Take him away. This battle isn’t done yet. Get those cannons installed! Zophia! That cavalry is about to ch-”
Turning around, he saw who the gunshot had hit.
Porphyro Lekapenos, master of the Triunes, listened to General Nikaiofaros’ messenger, nodded, and exchanged glances with his two companions. They had known each other for most of their adult lives - the Triunes lived, fought, and died in threes.
A moment of silence descended around them. Only two hundred meters away, guns were spewing acrid clouds into the morning air, and the world was dust and blood and sweat. The cannons which had escaped them were being surrounded by more Republican soldiers. That was to the west: to the north, a large force - perhaps as many as two thousand men - were approaching.
“Get the cataphracts. If we are to delay the enemy reinforcements, we will need more than twenty-one Triunes.”
Soon, his companions returned with Lord Theophan Mousele, every twitch of his enormous battle-steed setting his all-covering armour ringing with metal chimes. His cataphracts disengaged from the western enemy force, and formed up in three wedges, pointing north.
All in all, they numbered some two hundred men.
“Charge!” Porphyro called, and they thundered forth to their doom.
Now the situation was thus: on every flank, Malvernian forces pushed to defend their advantage. In the east, Fuma tribesmen skirmished with their Pebblehoof counterparts, chasing them once more away from the battle. Saktha and Scarred warriors, likewise, pushed Monarchist Embers and Stonefolks back. In the west, similar compositions of Malvernian tribal allies pushed against Donato Khalez’ ailing defences.
And in the north the cataphracts and Triunes, with astounding speed upon the level Plain, weathered a hail of gunfire and burst through Constantin Noval’s approaching reinforcements. The strength of their charge was such that the reinforcements were stopped in their tracks.
But the tide had already turned. A fresh regiment of Stonefolk mountainmen shored up the Republican east flank and pushed forth. And on the west, the Malvernian charge - bereft of the cataphracts’ momentum - faltered. Then the remaining batteries of cannon were set up, and soon the tribesmen were in full retreat.
A fresh wave of Malvernian tribesmen appeared from out the valley - but too late to do more than to form a defensive core around the Iron Curtain, serving as a lodestone for the scattered companies falling back across the plain.
The few surviving Triunes and cataphracts, sensing their allies were safe once more, disengaged and fled across the Plain, shedding weapons and armour for speed.
Republican cannon fire and Stonefolks chased them - but the latter soon faltered as long-ranged Jelin archers began assailing them from the Rear Walls. The former pushed the Malvernians further and further back - until the cannons eventually quieted, and the reunited Republican forces headed north, leaving the Plain.
In the woods northeast of the battle, a game of cat and mouse had played out. The Malvernian raiders - led by Denios Troklos - had been peppered from the trees by Republican snipers. Giving chase, they found the snipers knew the ground well - very well. It took her far longer than it ought to have, but at last, the giant panther Melusine found a group of them crossing through a glade. She pounced, revelling in having captured her prey…
… and found herself weak, powerless like a kitten. “Inquisitors!” she howled. Only by luck was she saved by the squad of Precision marksmen, trading fire with the Republicans while dragging her back over the forest floor, too injured to fend for herself.
Post by Timeon on Jan 14, 2018 20:21:55 GMT
Thousands dead or missing - blood, missing limbs and above all, the groaning, babbling and screeching of broken men, as a trail of tears wound its way through the central pass of the mountains.
The Republican soldiers had taken the very worst of it, while Noval's own Ember monarchist forces had rescued them, though at no small cost. The Inquisition, too, had been humbled. Their utter failure of leadership saw the remaining Inquisitors riding at the flanks of the army, shamed wraiths, spurned by the rank and file. Aurelio Manza had lost control of his army, and of the mountains. Superstitious Stonefolk, who had never been their friends for the pain of seeing loved ones burned as heretics, now formed the bulk of the remaining resistance.
Their destination was common, however - the Vaiparo Citadel. And their goal the same. To survive. Perhaps to purchase another day for the Republic - thrice may it be damned.
When the wailing of one soldier, missing a leg, became too much - a Stonefolk clansman buried his axe in the man's skull. Nobody raised a fuss.
The imposing turret of the Vaiparo eventually loomed before them, though word of the invasion must have reached the fort - for the god-killing cannon could not be seen. Cloth and other tricks had hidden it from sight, somehw, despite its enormity.
Only as the army reached the Vaiparo's very gates, did they begin to open.
The fur and plate clad guards beyond stared down judgementally. Their vigil, unbroken.
As scouts and the beacons were lit, to call all remaining garrisons and aid for this stand, Constantin and Donato prepared for their common destiny.
[[Army to move to Vaiparo Citadel and catch what rest they can. The badly wounded and devastated mountaineers are to retreat farther down the mountain pass to rest, regroup and recover when possible, rather than be expected to make a useless stand. Those capable of putting up a fight are to garrison the Vaiparo Citadel, and the Snowbiters are to further fortify the mountain pass and Citadel, and trap the basin.]]
Post by ashenmoon on Jan 20, 2018 15:03:49 GMT
turn 11 (skipped ahead by 3): day 2, nightfall - MAPS LINK - one map showing the battle view, another showing the geography between this area and the previous
turn ends: thu 25/1
Except for distant clots of Malvernian skirmishers shadowing them for many miles into the mountains, the Republican hosts marched for several hours without seeing a soul on the winding mountain road. Bare and brown, sheer mountain-sides flanked them on every side. Past noon the road turned west and they descended into the Itrina valley.
Green fields sprang up, and scattered squalid farmsteads appeared nestled into the hills climbing to either side of the road. And where the mountains had been an even, featureless dun, their sides were now pockmarked by the bright patches of marble-quarries. Far above, white glaciers glistened beneath the clear sky. Dust rose from a few spots along the valley, where active quarries seethed with distant figures passing to and fro mottled working camps.
Itrina town had never lost its frontier attitude - much of its sprawl was taverns and cheap accommodation catering to the marble-miners, and most of its population were people passing through. Times of late had been hard on Itrina’s trade, though - with the turbulence of the past few years, the demand for quality marble had trickled to a near halt. The mostly mined-out quarries to the north side of the mountains were sufficient to meet that supply.
The confident men marching under the Iguana banner drew looks: they had, after all, not passed through here on their way to Vanozza. The manner in which the familiar-looking mountaineer troops walked - dejected, in the shade of the Monarchists - suggested strange tidings. Perhaps emboldened by this curious air, some townsfolk jeered at the sight of limping Inquisitors. A few, unseen, voices cried out:
“Blood and light!”
It was clear that de Campo’s reign and his Inner Crusade had bought little love in this corner of the Republic.
After Constantin Noval had met with Muzio Doria, lieutenant commander of Vaiparo citadel, the latter promptly set about evacuating the valley. Along with the most injured troops, the population of the valley took the mountain road on north. Within a few hours the valley lay all but deserted, the distant din of its quarries leaving an emptiness in the air.
A single rider approached from the south - a Republican soldier, a Highlander mountaineer, riding on a lamed horse. He was brought to the citadel, and passed on a message from General Nikaiofaros of the Malvernian army:
"Falorian Officers. I beg your forgiveness for our intrusion and for the loss of life in the past two days. I offer you a ceasefire for two days so we may bury our dead, tend to our injured, and pray forgiveness for what has been done."
As night fell over the valley, however, sharp-eyed scouts reported they spotted a company or two of enemy cavalry having arrived to the valley.
Donato Khalez wandered the abject remains of his command. Two days ago, the Highlander and Hunter regiments had numbered nearly two thousand. Now, barely a tenth of that number remained.
Zophia was in the care of the field surgeons now. The bullet had been taken out of her shoulder, but there was no guarantee the wound would not infect and kill her nonetheless.
Word arrived: additional reinforcements were arriving from the north, marching through the dark. Two companies from the north side of the mountains. Consulting his memory, Donato drew the dreaded conclusion: this would be the men from the town of Amalla, at the north end of the mountain pass, and the last force of trained warriors in Carrana. The closest reinforcements would be days away.
[Reinforcements at Vaiparo and the new force from Amalla together come to 8 pts]
Post by Sp00ky on Jan 31, 2018 14:33:09 GMT
All battle ready forces serving under Khalez's command are to reinforce the bulwarks of the fortress.
The offer of case fire is denied. The enemy may try to gather their dead at their own peril. We will show no mercy.
Khale'z ensures that the great signal fire, visable from signal posts miles upon miles way, is lit so that the Republic may we warned of what has happened in Carrana. Even if the Empire should win this engagement, and there is no conclusive evidence that they will, the main armies of the Republic will ensure that no lasting strategic advantage will be gained. They have lost so much, the Imperial dogs, let them know that the full might of the Republic is coming for them.
The enemy may choose to remain and be hunted down, or flee with the goal of their campaign denied.
Post by Timeon on Jan 31, 2018 15:51:13 GMT
Some dimly lit hall of the Vaiparo, with a citadel overlooking the valley beyond, served their needs well enough. Constantin Noval, who had no place being here, found himself suddenly a centre figure of command of the very place he had been at pains to avoid the previous day. The Vaiparo Citadel was the symbol of Republican might in the Carrana mountains, an Inquisitorial pit from which more men entered it than ever left.
Its commander, Muzio Doria, looked like he had perhaps seen torture, but never combat. His armour and uniform hung loosely upon his malnourished form. Despite all of that, he looked very much in control of his surroundings. This was his home, and he was very much a part of the furniture. Like it or not, even the devilish High Inquisitor Aurelio Manza himself was a guest in this place. The High Inquisitor reclined on one of the chairs, fingers placed as a steeple before him, face hidden by a long hood. Across from him, Colonel Donato Khalez cleaned his fingernails with a dagger.
The sun was casting its first light outside, a wall of light slowly inching towards their table. Constantin Noval was sure it would reach Donato, but not Aurelio Manza who was level with him.
"What is the state of the Gun?" Constantin asked.
Aurelio Manza sneered, and Commander Doria looked as if to play dumb. But Donato Khalez played no games.
"Fully functioning. We have already ordered it disguised."
"Good." Constantin stated. "It must only come into play at the crucial moment. When-"
"When the Hunter shows himself." Aurelio Manza lifted his head, high enough to show his beard, though not yet his face. "When the Archon comes."
"And how do you know he will?" Muzio Doria tittered. "What if they know of this, this weapon? They have taken prisoners..."
"I will lure him here." Aurelio Manza gestured idly. "He is the Hunter. I am sure he hunts."
"What of-" Commander Muzio began, turning his head towards Constantin before he was cut short.
"The monarchists are with us. End of." Donato Khalez interrupted. "They've shown which soil they'll bleed for, no matter the mark upon their banners."
"And when this is over?" Muzio continued.
High Inquisitor Aurelio Manza smiled and lifted his head further yet, betraying mad eyes glimmering in a mad face.
"Then their leader burns, like a candle."
Constantin Noval met the mad gaze unflinchingly.
"But that's later, isn't it."
"Later." Aurelio Manza sighed. "Yes, later."
Constantin Noval walked onto the wide terrace, surveying the valley below. The bastions were teeming with men. Yes, this would be different. This was no Vanozza Fastness. This place was not as old, though its spirit-hating runes were no less potent. The Hunter might yet become the hunted.
[All rested forces to consolidate the Vaiparo Citadel.
The two scouting saboteur units under Donato Khalez, the Stonefolk Pathfinders, Aurelio Manza, and the Peakstrider snipers are all to take up position in the abandoned town and in the vicinity, with the intention of launching a stealth mission to sabotage enemy siege weapons, crucial supplies or assassinate key leaders - and to wage a guerrilla war without ever getting pinned down - also making use of Snowbiter traps and barricades. The Snowbiters are to finish fortifying and trapping the town to that effect, before returning to the Citadel to help hold it with their skills.
Aurelio Manza is to also counter the eagles, with the help of the snipers, and may lure the Hunter to his doom should the opportunity arise.
The reinforcements on the map are 4 different units, and you've said between them 8 each, so therefore I presume each unit has 4 points to spend. Therefore each of them will be companies thus: Quality, Heavy, Range. To take up position in the citadel.]
Post by ashenmoon on Feb 1, 2018 15:47:18 GMT
turn 15 (skipped ahead by 4): day 3, dawn - MAPS LINK
turn ends: mon 5/2
Another released prisoner arrived to the Citadel after dark, with another message from General Nikaioforos:
"Faloran Commanders. I am sad to not have heard any response for my offer of armistice. My old heart it gladdened to at least be spared from too much bloodshed today. At midnight our army shall commit to mass prayer in memory of the fallen. It would surely please their souls if you were to join us, even if we must be so apart."
Aurelio Manza was pleased that the enemy would be thus distracted, and resolved to use the opportunity for his night raid.
Thus it was that he led his task force through the night with no great hurry, and only well after midnight - when the final, yapping cries of Malvernian tribal mourning were nearing its end - that he struck.
It was almost too easy.
There were barely any guards. Small knots of Malvernian soldiery were easily caught off guard, picked off one by one. Soon, Manza and the Pathfinders - with the rangers laying down covering fire from a safe distance - were roaming the enemy camp with near impunity…
… because there was barely anyone there. Most of the tents were empty.
Eventually, he turned back - a few Malvernian companies had finally coalesced from the sprawling emptiness of the camp. There were magics there, which he hungered for - but nowhere did he sense the great prize: the Hunter, let alone the panther-spirit Melusine. He did sense Charger, the centaur-majordomo of Hunter and leader of the Armistice’s Band, who would indeed have been a worthy prey. But, there was something going on which needed clarifying - where had the enemy gone?
Shortly after dawn, the Companions returned. Constantin had sent them out, along with other scouts, once Manza returned with his report, to find their enemy. They had been gone longer than expected: they had found the camp completely deserted, and continued on east.
Eventually, they had found the Saktha warriors and magi, hurrying away. The Companions followed the enemy until they departed from the main road, and there no longer was any doubt as to their intentions.
The Malvernians were heading north, to the Long Valley - following the exact same route Constantin and the Monarchists had taken on their way to Vanozza.
Post by Timeon on Mar 16, 2018 2:15:46 GMT
They had been deceived.
What to do... what to do.
A good portion of the might of the Malvernian Empire, led by the Hunter himself, was marching straight for Sabria. The beacons had been lit, but help was far away. The Republic´s armies were tied up along the frontiers by Lunium, engaged in back and forth skirmishes with Malvern. Were they to pull back to defend Sabria, the front lines would buckle. Either way, it was unlikely they would make it on time.
It was up to the border guard to give chase...
One of Manza´s nostrils flared. The stench of demons grew stronger. Hunter´s majordomo was indeed near, and drew nearer still. There were signs that the Malvernians in camp were preparing to retreat towards the Long Valley, their ruse successful.
There might never be a better chance to face down Charger without the might of the Empire protecting him.
Manza´s mind was made up. And in that instant, Aurelio Manza let go. All self-control he yet possessed was focused on his Binder tattoos, on keeping the myriad Spirits within himself trapped and tormented. As for the rest of him, Aurelio Manza devolved joyously into a screaming shadow, a black shape in the violet of dawn. Leading his forces forward, he intended to break and scatter the Malvernians with shock, awe and the horror of Charger´s inevitable enslavement.
"For the Inquisition! For Gori!" Manza howled, cloak and silks billowing in the fresh morning wind. As the sun broke over the mountain peaks, his elite fanned out into a spearhead formation, waving runed swords in the air above them. Riders in Black. Tailed by snipers, pathfinders and other men of skill, they headed to their Last Battle.
The Empire was headed through the Long Valley.
Of course. Of course.
For all his long years, Noval had made one crucial mistake. He had overestimated the ego of the Enemy. The Archon - a veritable God - did not, it seemed, suffer from the same profound decadence as the Falorans of Varantium. The Malvernians were a different breed altogether, and this was the first time that Noval had faced them in battle. Their blood ran different. They were a more temperate people, born of a harsher climate, and more barren and hostile frontiers.
And they had turned down the option of a glorious final confrontation. They were heading straight to Sabria.
Pacing in the great hall of the Citadel, Noval did not have long to ponder the news in peace.
Muzio Doria, the Citadel´s commander, shuffled over to him, wide eyed.
"They are not coming." he rasped, relief plain in his tone. "We are saved."
"Saved?" Noval guffawed. Then he smacked the man. "We have failed. Sabria is doomed."
A tense silence descended, Muzio Doria massaging his jaw.
"Is that such a bad thing?" Muzio Doria near-snarled, his upper lip twitching
Constantin Noval blinked.
"Such a bad thing?" he mused aloud. And hesitated. Sabria´s Senate had been blasted in a terrorist attack, and the Republic had ceased to be on that day. It was an Inquisitorial tyranny in all but name. And the people knew it, for they all suffered it. It was for that reason as well, besides ancient bonds of allegiance, which compelled the Stonefolk, Pebblehoof and many more people of tradition to rally behind the Monarchist banner.
Noval had joined forces with the Inquisition to defend his homeland from invasion. His Emperor, the man still known to many as Armant Freic, would have no throne to reclaim should the Republic not fall to him, but to the Empress in Malvern.
One way or another. Sabria had to fall. And the Inquisition with it.
"You must hate the Inquisition a great deal, Commander Doria." Constantin Noval stated with a smirk.
"Who does not?" the commander gave his cheek one last pitiful pat, and then inclined his head.
Constantin Noval put his arm around the man´s shoulders, and together they walked onto the Citadel terrace, to behold the virgin valley below, crisp morning slow glittering in the light of a new day. The wind no longer chilled, but refreshed.
"We let the Hunter destroy the Inquisition. And once they have battered one another, we move in. And place Armant Freic upon the throne of a new Empire."
"And broker a peace, if you will." Muzio Doria pleaded in a shrill voice.
"Perhaps." Noval said. "Perhaps."
"You will have to put on a show of doing all you can to save Sabria, of course." Doria did add, however.
"Of course." Noval wiped the corner of his eye. "Of course."
Then he squeezed the commander's shoulder.
"I will ensure nobody ever bothers you again. There will be a mansion to retire to in the new Sabria, when all this is over."
"Oh, I am quite happy here. This is all I have ever known, and I do not much like change." Doria said. "But it would be a relief if the Inquisition stopped poking its nose in my fiefdom. I quite like my privacy, you see."
Constantin Noval kissed the man on the cheek and laughed.
"Oh, you will never hear from the Inquisition again, I am sure. Only one thing is left to do, it seems. I must speak to Donato Khalez."
"Oh, you will not be staying? Not even for tea?" Muzio Doria feigned offence.
"I am afraid not, commander. Time is short. We must give chase."
"Long live the Emperor." Muzio Doria hailed, and kissed Noval´s signet ring.
"Ten thousand years!" Constantin Noval laughed again. And stared out across the valley, one last time.