Chapter I: The Mountains of Carrana, Republic side Dec 8, 2017 8:19:19 GMT
Post by ashenmoon on Dec 8, 2017 8:19:19 GMT
turn 6: day 2, dawn - MAPS LINK
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?”