LORDS OF THE EARTH CAMPAIGN 54
“LORDS OF THEEURTH”
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Turn Four Newsfax
o not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”
– William Butler Yeats
owever beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”
– Winston Churchill
m I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
– Abraham Lincoln
lory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte
A BRIEF PLEA –
In September 2005, my wife Vivian went to Louisiana to help rescue animals abandoned during Hurricane Katrina. In November, she went to Arkansas to help rescue some of those animals again, this time from a “shelter” that should never have been allowed to operate. They rescued hundreds of beautiful dogs and got them to adoption centers around the country. Vivian fell in love with one particular dog, an unnamed, loving, female brindle boxer she nicknamed “Chimuela” (gap-tooth). As we already have three dogs, we couldn’t take in another.
This sweet dog, now know to the Humane Society as “Angel” is one of the last to go unadopted. If you or anyone you know is willing to adopt Angel, we would be willing to foot the costs of transportation. Vivian says that she is one of the most affectionate, smartest dogs she has ever known. You can find out more at the web site of the Humane Society of North Texas: www.hsnt.com and clicking on “available pets”. Her ID number is: HSNT ID: 96871-25.
Thanks for listening.
1.READ THIS!This is the last turn in which I move fleets, armies or leaders if the player has not listed EVERY intervening sea zone and region through which they must pass. “Region X to Region Y, 3 AP” will FAIL, no matter how obvious the move is, or how critical to your plans. Every region on a separate line, please.
2. Don’t mix in movement AP with the AP for the next order. Put movement on one or more lines (one line for each region or sea zone) and the eventual order (combat, diplomacy, whatever) on a separate line. Otherwise, you won’t move, even if it made sense to you
3. The Base Rules say that if an Allied Leader successfully uses Diplomacy, the region or city gains its new status in relationship to the ally, not in relationship to your county. There is just no way I’m going to keep track of that! So in L54, Allies cannot conduct diplomacy, period.
4. The Have Children order can be given without costing AP any time the King, Queen or Heir is in the capital (not the homeland) and issuing the following orders: Rule, Administer, Defend, React or Govern.
5. See the FAQ for some important tips on how armies react to danger and invasions.
6. Leaders can cast (or assist) only ONE spell per turn.
|The Skane Jarldoms–
Ruler – Jarl Otho
Capital – Vanaheim
Dominant Race – Human
|The young Jarl soberly examined the kingdom he inherited and set to work trying to produce an heir. He first married his second cousin the red-headed beauty Anja. Sadly, Anja appeared to be barren, for the union produced no children.
Otho requested another cousin, the jarl, Bjornnen Bamsndvaerder, to assume the governorship of Vanaheim, and Bjornnen loyally agreed. For two years, the hardy old reaver worked to expand the harbor and build a number of much-needed community ovens. But Bjornnen was badly cut by a stray axe-blow during a friendly competition in the city square. He lingered for several days before expiring in 2798.
Many farms and villages were built in and around Skaneholme, attracting many new Skane to settle there. In the spring of the following year, several merchants complained to the King that they were being extorted by certain ne’er-do-wells among the newcomers. Days later, the shops of two of these same merchants burned to the ground. The complaints stopped immediately.
The Kingdom of Tirgonia –
Ruler – King Aramayne
Capital – Tirgon
Dominant Race – Human
||The Tirgonians took a five-year national holiday.
Priacles, Duke of Sirion, succumbed to an incurable case of the bloody flux in 2797.
|The Iron Empire of Daerond –
Ruler –Bishop Morbanes
Capital – Aicherai
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Nivaan [EA]
||Bishop Morbanes spoke in an unusual statement from his palace in Aicherai, in which he publicly supported the Black Duke von Taurek as his choice to succeed him as the First Lord of Daerond. Daerond had never had a peaceful transition of power. For centuries it was ruled by the lich-king Dyrethis (killed by the Tirgonians at the Battle of Dwarfbridge) and a bloody civil war had erupted out of the power vaccuum left in his wake. Only by brutal cruelty and bloodshed had Morbanes risen to his somewhat tenuous control of his fellow Black Dukes. This, then, was Morbanes’s first step towards the creation of a political dynasty.
After his statement, the Bishop then traveled to Nivaan, where he spoke with Black Duke Elerek for many months, finally convincing that lord to strengthen his ties to the Empire and to Morbanes personally.
Lord Tores Danaur, Black Duke of Lycia, died in his sleep in the winter of 2795/96. His plans for a fortress on the Narglaurith were not forgotten, however. His son labored for the next several years to complete it. The black granite edifice of Danur Tower now looms over the small natural harbor on the Lycian riverbank. With the tower complete, it is evident that the new Lord Danaur envisions much more than his father’s plans for a simple keep. A program of public works commences around the tower, laying the foundations for ramparts and outworks, shoring the riverbank for quays and putting in roads leading to the site for a future citadel, a redoubtable strongpoint in Daerond’s border defenses and the hub of a protected river port.
|Meanwhile, the brilliant general von Taurek took the field with a army of just under six thousand men, orcs and ogres. His force included the dour lords of Hinnom and the Hills of Terror, fulfilling their feudal obligations. From Hinnom, the army marched east into Ghedrosia, a region nestled amidst the towering Edgemoor Mountains. For months they pursued the wild orcish tribes that made the rugged region their home. In early 2797, the natives bravely took the field with some three thousand screaming orcs. But von Taurek’s army was ready for them and in a devastating four hours of slaughter were masters of all Ghedrosia.
But the army’s attitude changed swiftly when it came within sight of the awesome defenses of the impregnable mountain-city of Vanuma. Sheer rock walls rose hundreds of feet into the air on three sides and the fortress was approachable only across a narrow and twisting saddle of land guarded by an equally immense fortress. Though the spirit of his men was high, von Taurek wisely foresaw the absolute slaughter of his men should he attempt to assault this place without a force many times the size of the one he possessed, preferably well reinforced with siege engineers. He also saw that his force was entirely inadequate to lay siege to such a huge metropolis. The General withdrew into the hinterlands of Ghedrosia and sent word of the fortifications to Bishop Morbanes.
The Fortress of Vanuma
The Harkorian League –
Ruler –First Councillor Clytheus
Capital – Cadares
Dominant Race – Human
First Councillor Alastor died of a brain hemhorrage in 2796 at the age of 54. His death sparked a summer of contentious debate and secret deals in the halls and villas of Cadares. But the result was never really in doubt. The powerful sorcerer Clytheus had more personal prestige and better family contacts than any other Councillor and was recognized as First Among Equals by Northhale of that year. Clytheus spent the first years of his rule attempting unsuccessfully to improve the morale of his army, still struggling in the shadow of the defeat at the hands of Daerond. Councillor Gadaxes, governor of Erzerus, was successful in securing the city’s water supply by building a series of subterranean passageways leading from the river to fortified positions within the city. Councillor Ranos died in 2796 of the bloody flux and was replaced by his son.
The Edgemoor Orcs –
Ruler –Graulor Ten Arrows
Capital – Zaramaka
Dominant Race – Orcs
||King Graulor summoned his subject chiefs and commanded them to make ready for war. The folk of Viodun would taste the wrath of the orcs! Alas, Kaash, the new chief of the Wilding Vale succumbed to a festering weasel bite and fell dead on his way to obey Graulor’s order. The contentious orcs of the Vale immediately broke into fractious, feuding parties and returned home, each to defend his land from all the others, their allegiance to King Graulor forgotten. Zaas the Butcher also died, of a heart attack at the mature age (for an orc) of 44.
In the absence of Kaash’s cavalry, Graulor Ten Arrows marched his army of four thousand orcs into Viodun and declared himself absolute lord of all he surveyed. The Vioduni orcs begged to differ. They were nearly three thousand strong, and knew the hills intimately.
The eerie silence of the hills was broken by a long rolling ululation of anger and challenge as the local orcs swept down upon their invaders like an avalanche. For the second time in five years, Graulor found himself faced with a numerically similar force and a desperate situation. Once again, it was the king’s brash daring and personal prowess that turned the tide for the Edgemoor orcs. When the day ended, Graulor’s army held the field, but half his troops were injured or scattered. It took the remainder of the month to collect them, whereupon they immediately set about the systematic enslavement of the Vioduni.
The reaction of the Viodun orcs was, if anything, more violent than before, and this time, they outnumbered Graulor’s reduced army. With a bestial ferocity, the Vioduni resisted their oppressors, meeting them in small skirmishes and engagements that sapped the strength and will of the Edgemoor Orcs. By the onset of winter, Graulor’s orcs had had enough and had quit the field for the warmth and safety of their homes. Reluctantly, Graulor went with them, returning empty-handed. Survivors of the ill-fated expedition continued to return to the Edgemoors for the next several months.
Meanwhile, Azgon the Foul divided his time between governing the city of Zaramaka and raising spirits to help clear landslides and shore up cave entrances. He proved more effective at the latter than the former.
|The Brythnian Confederation–
Ruler – Queen Elianna
Capital – Carrenthium
Dominant Race – Taurid
Diplomacy – Hailh Endhor [F], Vilayan [F]
|Queen Pharsalia continued her quest to bind together all the lands of Brythnia under a common allegiance, and was not at all shy about using her beautiful, twice-widowed daughter to achieve those ends. The monarch and her daughter traveled to the plains of Hailh Endhor, where they intended to make Helyanwë, chief of that region into a Royal Prince by marrying him to Crown Princess Elianna. But Helyanwë died of a snake bite on the night prior to the royal party’s arrival. Undeterred, Pharsalia overawed Helyanwë’s young son Coromedrus and encouraged him to take long gallops through the countryside with Elianna. The two were wed in the autumn of 2797, and Coromedrus became a Prince of Brythnia. Coromedrus and Elianna returned to Carrenthium, where the Crown Princess acted as royal governor for the next two years.
Leaving the newlyweds behind, the queen proceeded through Lloricam and stopped in the Great Meadow, adding soldiers to her retinue in both places, and overseeing the start of a great effort for the Brythnian people – the cultivation of the Great Meadow.
From there, she traveled on to Vilayan, where she used her own considerable charm to convince Lord Finrod to become a member of her council and cause Vilayan to become a full part of the Confederation. Word came to the queen about this time that her general Barakor Wildaxe, a hero of the Worldspine Wars, had passed away in 2799 at the age of only 35. Lord Finrod himself passed away in his sleep in 2800. These twin losses appear to have greatly affected the previously vivacious queen, for she fell in in the summer of 2800 and died of a fever before the onset of the winter snows. After two weeks of mourning, Elianna was crowned queen.
Meanwhile, the rather inept Lord Artanis was “mysteriously” sent on a secret and dangerous mission. He returned to Tathlann, babbling and incoherent, in the summer of 2798. One centaur, a shaman of the Great Meadow, swore that the lord had spent a fortnight in his hut, raving that he had seen “Tarteros, the Pit and a burning cloud of fire.”
Ruler –King Otho Longacre
Capital – The Great Delve
Dominant Race – Halfling
Diplomacy – Great Lirien [-]
||No rain fell for most of 2796. In 2797, the wells began to dry up, and by 2798, a full-fledged drought threatened the people of Aelissia. Normally a green and watered land, the Aelissian soil became parched and crunched underfoot like old wood. Corn stalks shriveled and animals sickened. Prayers to Thandor and Roldein went unanswered, and no rains came, or were too little when they did. By 2800, the Aelissians were starving.
King Brandobaris knew none of this, however, for he died of influenza in 2796 at the age of forty-five, leaving behind a wife, an unmarried daughter and an unnamed son. The Moot convened to decide who (if anyone) should follow Brandobaris as king. Some pointed to Harcourt Blackgirdle, doing such a fine job as general down in the southlands, while others pointed to Maia, Brandobaris’s teenage daughter.
But the one was far away, while the other was untried, a mere slip of a girl. Much wrangling resulted in the election of Brandobaris’s old friend Otho Longacre as the new king (“Hegemon” was the word being used in the Moot, but most Aelissians preferred the old title: king).
Meanwhile, away south, Harcourt Blackgirdle and eight thousand Aelissian troops marched south in alliance with Queen Armallia of Corland in Operation “BugNorth” (See The H’rethek War, below).
Ruler –Queen Armallia
Capital – Khairais
Dominant Race – Human
||Queen Armallia marched south at the head of thirty-seven thousand men and halflings (some ten thousand of them her own troops). (See The H’rethek War, below). Before he departure, she named her son Armand her heir and gave the governance of the realm into the hands of her husband, Prince Tancred.
Tancred, a man with many outstanding qualities, turned out to be a fairly apathetic administrator, and spent most of his days practicing in the swordyard with his son or doting on his three daughters.
Duke Rambert of Mauredoc died during a boar-hunting accident in 2798. His heir, his nephew Godefroi, refused to send any taxes to the crown upon his accession as Duke, and only smiled knowingly when asked whether he was still loyal to Corland.
The duke of Varbonne was more direct – Khairais was too distant to aid the simple herdsmen and villagers of his duchy, and so he repudiated his allegiance to the throne, declaring Varbonne to be his own possession, loyal to none other.
The mage Beldaric was known to be performing some odd experiments in the palace dungeons that seemed to involve quite a lot of cut blocks of stone.
Ruler –The Hive Queen
Capital – Kal Primus
Dominant Race – Har’keen
||The Hive Queen and Brood Daughter #2 marched north into Kz’zk with the main H’rethek army.
(See The H’rethek War, below).
Ruler –King Aurelian
Capital – Armorica
Dominant Race – Human
King Artorius and Sir Marrick sailed for the Neldorean Wood with five thousand soldiers.
(See The H’rethek War, below).
The Whisper Wood –
Ruler –Queen Elevuil
Capital – Menelcandara
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Brandian [EA], Huareth [NT], Valdori [EA]
It was a busy time in the Whisper Wood. Queen Elevuil ordered the rangers of the Sunglades and the Long Barrows to plant large groves of healthful adalorë trees, the fruit of which is an elven delicacy. After millennia of hiding, the queen openly declared the presence of her capital, Menelcandara, in the Sunglades. Queen Elevuil then spent several years with Bayl, Lord of Brandian, convincing him to create closer ties to Menelcandara. Similar missions were undertaken by Prince Fealurë and Lord Talorn, who went to Huareth and Valdori, respectively.
All of these missions were made difficult by the spread of the Way of the Sword in the capital – the elven lords were deeply suspicious of this worship of violence and bloodshed. Convinced that the homeland had taken a wrong turn, Lord Vaire preached solemnly of the love and beauty of the Lords of the Grail to the people of the Sunglades, slowly convincing some of that host of elves to return to their old allegiance.
The Neldorean Wood –
|Ruler –Queen Nereil
Capital – Elenuil
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Manariyë – [F]
|Queen Nereil ordered the assembling of three thousand elven archers at Elenuil, to be added to the army when it arrived. She further directed the court wizards to prepare an enchantment to strengthen the army for its upcoming struggles. She dedicated her days to the welfare and governance of her people, acting as queen and judge.
Lord Táralom remained in Manariyë, eventually convincing Lord Delnoriël to join his folk fully to the crown of the Neldorean Wood.
Senelra, the mage who had stood with the King against the ravages of Urugall, directed the defenses of the Tarwood for a year, then marched to Elenuil to meet with the gathering allied Southern Army. Prince Lothran, husband of the queen, marched with the army as second in command.(See The H’rethek War, below).
In the summer of 2798, a great hero arrived in the court of Elenuil, offering her services to Queen Nereil. This was the wanderer Valessia of Celendor, an adventurer and distant cousin of the King of Celendor. Famous for the slaying of the Priest-King of Ajuhad and reputed to have stolen the Scrolls of Recursive Wisdom from the cult of the Bloody Hand, Valessia was hailed with great favor when she arrived.
The Holy Empire of Ianthe –
Ruler –Chief Archon Ulolis
Capital – Narranthus
Dominant Race – Human
|Life was surprisingly quiet in the “crystal kingdom.” Ulolis ordered the addition of a thousand Crystal Knights to the army, and the fortification of a hill or two in the Riftmarch, then turned his attention wholly to the governance of the realm.
Archon Athusian watched the massive military buildup in Neldorea with a steady, appraising eye.
Archon Kandorian, second in command of the armies, died in the Riftmarch in 2797 of a terrible stomach ailment which caused him to waste away. The following year Lord Mandarq died in the same region, having drunk too much in one of the Archon-sanctioned alehouses and picked a fight with several young soldiers who did not know who he was.
|The Exarchate of the Great Crusade –
Ruler –King Bleobaris
Capital – Pontezium
Dominant Race – Human
||King Bleobaris continued to husband his fledgling nation towards unity and economic stability. Villages and crofts were founded across the breadth of Querenia, while a dozen transport ships were built in Pontezium’s new harbor. The king also looked after the future of his dynasty, fathering two sons (2797 and 2799) and another daughter (2800).
Wizards in the Exarchate’s employ summoned water elementals to dredge canals in Querenia.
Sir Galahant, general of the Crusader States armies, set sail from Pontezium for Elenuil with two thousand men and thirty ships (See The H’rethek War, below).
|Meanwhile, Sir Maradoc tried unsuccessfully to summon a few elementals to pave the streets of Pontezium, and also failed at organizing labor parties to expand the docks in that city.
Unchecked, the new religion known as The Way of the Sword continued to grow in popularity, converting the entire region of Thelianis. The Bishop of Pontezium thundered condemnation of the apostates and told his flock that those who followed the Way of the Sword must surely die by the sword. Street preachers advocating the Way have reached Pontezium and Regaldros.
The Holy Order of the Dawn –
Ruler –Grand Master Marcus Sagitus
Capital – The Akasian Hills
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Echoriath – [OH]
||Spurred on by the exhortations of the Patriarch, four thousand desperate or pious souls took holy orders with the Order, including a thousand Knights of the Golden Dawn. Adding these to his army, Grand Master Sagitus set out westward for Khairais, capital of Corland. Along the way, several hundred deserted in Maenadia to join the growing number of free soldiers dedicating themselves to the Way of the Sword. Most remained true to their oaths, however, and marched into Khairais in the summer of 2797.
Meanwhile, the brilliant military strategist, Sir Brutus Arillius, joined the Northern Army under the command of Corland’s queen. He brought with him eight thousand highly trained warriors, including more than two thousand Knights of the Golden Dawn. (See The H’rethek War, below).
At the Order’s Fortress in the Akasian Hills, Sir Tiberius swore a great oath not to return home until he found the means of destroying Urugall the dragon. He promptly rode away.
THE H’RETHEK WAR
Sixteen armies from ten nations (Aelissia, The Conorrian Empire, Corland, The Great Church, Har’akir, H’rethek, The Holy Order of the Dawn, Lorraine, The Neldorean Wood and the Valesian City-States) all prepared to do battle for survival or the glory of the gods. The Battle plan was this: two great multinational forces would meet, one at Garromais in the north and one at Elenuil in the south and both would march towards H’rethek, killing all the har’keen they could find. Meanwhile, the H’rethek had a plan of their own. Their allies seemed poorly coordinated. They would slip around the static line of defenses along the Sarronne by breaching the swampy Cavadhe and stabbing at Corland’s main port at Oulenne. At the same time, the constant raiding of H’rethek’s coast would be stopped by an army of fliers sent to destroy the Lorraine fleet at sea.
Erdhonis, 2796 – Harcourt Blackgirdle marches the Aelissian army out of Quesante en route to meet up with Corland’s Queen Armallia at Garromais. They number eight thousand mostly light infantry, slingers and cavalry. Alongside the halflings march the five thousand knights and men-at-arms of the Order of the Dawn under the command of Commander Brutus Arillius. Far to the east, the Order’s Grand Master Marcus Sagitus leaves the Akasian Hills with five thousand reinforcements.
In Conorria, the Great Church assembles a force of five thousand crusaders at Conorr and marches south towards the tip of the Miletian peninsula. In Har’akir, Beldar leaves the city of Qadras and sails north. In Lorraine, King Artorius and Sir Marrick embark five thousand soldiers onto cramped transports.
In H’rethek, Brood Daughter #2 marches north with fourteen thousand warriors and drones, while Brood Daughter #3 buzzes towards the coast with two thousand fliers.
Agaleon, 2796 – The Aelissian and Order armies arrive in Garromais, where they join ten thousand Corland soldiers and twelve thousand crusaders of the Church, for a total force of more than thirty-seven thousand men and halflings. The Church’s general, Bishop Asterius, dies of a fever and is replaced by the universally disliked Bishop Iacobus (called “The Shrieker” by his men.)
In the East, the Church’s crusaders arrive at the port of Benemartius. In Har’akir, Admiral Feldar begins to load twenty-five hundred soldiers onto his fleet of thirty-five warships. In Lorraine, Artorius and Marrick set to sea. In the Imperial capital of Echoriath, Admiral Pederastes sets sail with forty warships, four thousand marines and twenty-five sturdy cogs.
Brood Daughter #2 begins to cross the Sarronne. Brood Daughter #3 arrives in Dal*kor.
Strynod, 2796 – The har’keen fliers begin to patrol the Corish Straits. A small fleet of ships leaves Pontezium in the Crusader States, bound for Elenuil.
Maravis, 2796 – The Northern Army under Queen Armallia begins to cross the Saronne. The Great Church’s crusaders begin to load aboard Imperial transports at Benemartius. The fleets of Akir Admiral Feldar and Lorraine King Artorius arrive at the Neldorean port of Elenuil and begin to disgorge rowdy human warriors into the tranquil elven city. Admiral Anaxes of the Valesian City-States sets sail from Orcholus with fifty warships.
Cleon, 2796 – The Imperial fleet sets sail from Benemartius. Valesia’s Anaxes arrives in the Akir port of Agazier and assumes command of the mercenary transports and warships hired by the Great Church (fewer than had been hoped – Accolon had paid more for hiring those they needed.) Brood Daughter #2 reaches the Cavadhe.
Daarlem, 2796 – Lorraine’s Sir Marrick took the kingdom’s ships and returned to sea to fetch more soldiers. Feldar’s Akir fleet returns to the Sea of Bells and is stunned to find it full of writhing sea serpents. The normally elusive beasts were fiercely aggressive and repeatedly attacked Feldar’s fleet. Most were too small to hurt the wooden hulls, but some were large enough to crush entire vessels within their gigantic coils. Three Akir warships did not return from that perilous crossing. The battle was not entirely one-sided, however, for Feldar’s flagship, the Vusseir, returned to port bearing a large serpent’s head nailed to its bowsprit.
Northhale, 2796 – The Northern Army entered the har’keen region of K’chak unopposed and made winter camp on the south shore of the river. Sir Marrick’s Lorraine fleet entered the Corish straits. The har’keen army burst upon a terrified Oulenne.
BATTLE OF THE CORISH STRAITS
It was eight bells of a blustery Northhale day when Admiral Sir Marrick was roused from his stateroom aboard the Gwynhwfyr by a shout from the crow’s nest. “Bugs!” the lookout screamed. “In the sky! Thandor save us!” But the will of the storm god was not in evidence that day. Running to the aftercastle, Marrick squinted into the southern sky, shielding his eyes from the sun and saw…a black cloud. It was moments before he realized that it was a mostrous flight of har’keen fliers, diving out the sun! As the wallowing, slow merchant ships turned to race for the western horizon, Marrick’s small band of warships turned to stay with them, knowing that if they separated, the ungainly cogs would be easy prey for the aerial marauders.
The Lorraine sailors and marines are among the best in the world, but they were hampered both by Sir Marrick’s indecisive leadership (“Squeaked like a lass what’s ‘ad her bottom fondled out’a turn,” reported one old tar) and by this wholly new and unexpected threat. The insectile har’keen fliers came on in angry, buzzing, chirping waves that shredded sails and sailors alike, carrying men aloft and flinging them casually into the leaden sea. The sailors fought back hard with swords and bows and boarding pikes, but for many, it was not enough. By the time the har’keen returned to land, fourteen ships had gone to the bottom with all hands.
Erdhonis, 2797 – The Northern Army under Queen Armallia’s command began a campaign to round up and subdue the har’keen of K’chak. The many thousands of Corish siege engineers took three months to bring down the fortress that guarded the region. Many har’keen sought in vain for the villages and churches which once graced southern Corland, finding only weird fluted hives and nightmare subterranean labyrinths, where the fighting was often dark, close and utterly without warning. Still, with the warriors away, K’chak’s hives were woefully undefended.
Valesia’s Anaxes and the mercenary fleet he commands enters the Sea of Bells and runs the gauntlet of sea serpents. His fleet loses only a few of its warships and merchants in the crossing.
Brood Daughter #2 and her vast army begin to subdue the helpless folk of Oulenne.
Agaleon, 2797 – Sir Marrick (and a great many sailors) refuse to put to sea again while the har’keen control the Corish Straits. Thirty-five hundred Lorraine troops are stranded on the island and unable to get to H’rethek.
Strynod, 2797 – Bishop Iacobus (“The Shrieker”) is killed in K’chak when he is overborne by a wave of angry drones and carried off into their tunnels. The Church troops are now leaderless and the Northern Army faces a crisis as many among the troops murmur that this is a sign from the gods that they should return home. Queen Armallia takes swift action, delivering a stirring speech to the crusaders about the souls of their dead companions who watch what they do. The crusaders agree to follow the queen to Kal Primus.
The Imperial fleet carrying the Church troops and the smaller fleet from the Crusader States both arrive at the Sea of Bells just as the fierce sea serpents enter their mating rut. There is great destruction. Great ships are rammed or crushed, sailors plucked from the rigging to fall screaming into a hissing gullet. Six ships and nearly a thousand soldiers and sailors are lost. Akir Admiral Beldar puts to sea but wisely avoids the Sea of Bells by traveling through Roldein’s Gate.
Maravis, 2797 – Now in complete control of K’chak, the Northern Army begins the systematic extermination of all har’keen in the region. The campaign against them is unexpectedly violent. More than a thousand of the allies will die in the uprising. The Conorrian/Church, Crusader States and Valesian/Har’akir fleets arrive at Elenuil, filling the city with an even larger host of warlike humans. The city is ringed with camps.
Now in complete control of Oulenne, the har’keen army begins to loot and burn.
Daarlem, 2797 – Grand Master Marcus Sagitus arrives in Quesante with the Order reinforcements and immediately takes command of the defenses of the city of Khairais.
The Southern Army, assembled at last on the plains of Elenuil, marches north through Belfirth. Led by Patriarch Flavius himself, it consists of more than thirty-six thousand men and elves from both Medahros and Vales. Anaxes of Valesia and Pederastes of Conorria decide to abandon their original plans to return home immediately with their fleets. Rather than brave the sea serpent frenzy needlessly, they remain in port at Elenuil when he armies leave. The Crusader States contingent, just under two thousand strong, remain in Elenuil as a rear guard.
The har’keen begin to enslave the humans of Oulenne. The human uprising will be considerably less volatile than it’s har’keen counterpart in K’chak.
Maravis, 2798 – Dirt-streaked and battle-hardened, the Northern army enters the har’keen homeland of Ehkek 7 and is stunned to find no har’keen army present.
Cleon, 2798 – The Northern Army assaults the extensive fortifications of Ehkek 7, perhaps the most extensive set of defenses anywhere in Theeurth. Redoubts, trenches, pits, moats and hidden fastnesses combine to make this region almost impossible to seize. Queen Armallia tells her assembled generals “If the har’keen army were here, we should simply have to retreat. It is only by the grace of the gods, gentlemen, that we stand here alive.” In the ensuing battle, they will lose nearly forty percent of their enormous force. The great number and strength of the field forts and castles cost them two more months than expected.
In Oulenne, the har’keen assault the city of Caxonne and its fortress. As the drones lock their jaws and legs on the carapace or jaws of the drone near them, they form living scaling ladders allowing the massive warriors to ascend the sturdy walls of the city and throw the defenders from the parapets. The bloody battle continues for four days and is followed by an horrific orgy of violence. Brood Daughter #2 is killed by pot of boiling pitch thrown from the ramparts. The Hive Queen assumes command.
Erdhonis, 2799 – The Southern army struggles into the stony wilderness of Dura, where the high passes are still clogged with snow. The har’keen loot the survivors of Caxonne.
Agaleon, 2799 – The Northern Army begins the systematic slaughter of all the har’keen in Ehkek 7. Corland’s Lord Rademund narrowly escapes death at the hands of a cornered warrior. The Southern Army begins its attack on the unaffiliated har’keen of Dura, chasing them from cave to hilltop to cravasse. King Artorius rides among his men wielding the legendary glowing weapon known as the Red Mace of War, while Akir Admiral Feldar is seen using a ring of Power, Hanjuro’s Ring.
Cleon, 2799 – The Southern Army begins to loot the caves and defiles of Dura. Little is found of value. The harkeen set fire to the ruins of Caxonne, starting blazes in wide parts of the city to ensure its complete incineration.
Daarlem 2799 – Queen Armallia, overall commander of the Northern Army, is killed during fierce fighting to slaughter the har’keen of Ehkek 7. Momentarily isolated from her army in the thick of the fighting, she and her loyal house-knights are overwhelmed by a surging tide of har’keen.
The har’keen begin their return trek by wading into the swamps of the Cavadhe.
Northhale, 2799 – The battered Northern Army rests, trying to recover stragglers, deserters and the wounded. Rademund is now in command of the Corish army and Sir Brutus, Master of the Order of the Dawn, is in overall command. Queen Armallia’s body is temporarily laid to rest in the land she fought to reconquer.
Erdhonis, 2800 – The Northern Army lays siege to the har’keen capital at Kal Primus. It is defended by a thick wall and a stupendous fortress (instantly nicknamed “Despair” by the awestruck humans and halflings.) Luckily, the Corland contingent includes over five thousand siege engineers who immediately begin digging trenches and assembling siege towers.
The Southern Army begins the extermination of the har’keen of Dura. Akir General Beldar is torn to pieces by an enraged har’keen drone which burrowed up into the camp one night.
The har’keen army, now led by the Hive Queen, crosses the Saronne into Kz’zk.
Agaleon 2800 – The har’keen army comes suddenly upon the human/halfling army fully surrounding the har’keen capital. Without waiting, the warriors throw themselve in waves at the interlopers.
THE GREAT BATTLE OF EHKEK 7
Ten thousand har’keen warriors and drones faced off against seventeen thousand humans and halflings on the weird hive-dotted plain of Ehkek 7, within sight of the forbidding walls of Kal Primus. The allies had reduced the fields and population of the region to dust, and now that dust rose as a great cloud at the approach of the Hive Queen. Though the allied line could have stretched far beyond the flanks of the har’keen column, they had learned from bitter experience of the ease with which the har’keen warriors could shred through a standard battle line. Thus, Brutus arranged his army in a dense wedge which he drove forward at the har’keen like a maul splitting a log of oak.
As the sun rose in the sky, the two armies, hammer and anvil, struck each other amid the swirling dust. The allies had numbers on their side, and the genius of the Order’s Sir Brutus, as well as thousands of the flower of Theeurth’s chivalry – paladins of the Great Church, Corland’s Knights of the Font, the Order’s Knights of the Golden Dawn, and elite Aelissian slingers. The har’keen had size, strength and training, as well as an excellent leader in her own right. Blood and ichor blended on the grass sword and claw rang in the dusty autumn air. By Noon, the two armies had shattered each other’s coherent units and the fight had devolved into a general melee. Up to this time, the slaughter had been approximately equal, but the chaos of open battle favored the har’keen and now the tide turned sharply against the allies. Unable to support each other effectively, the humans and halflings fell before the monstrous har’keen like wheat before the scythe. Nightfall provided the only safety or respite.
Individual humans and halflings crept, crawled or fled the battlefield, but no units survived intact to withdraw. A great many were captured as slaves. A small number of the survivors would later regather in K’chak for mutual safety. The Hive Queen had victory and rescued her capital, but her expedition to Caxonne had cost her both K’chak and Ehkek 7. There was neither elation nor sadness in the Hive. Only resolve.
Daarlem, 2800 – The Southern Army completes its obliteration of Dura. Neldorean Prince Lothran, husband to queen Nereil, disappears in the battle and is not heard from again. Neldorean commander Senelra raises a cairn to his memory. The army looks down into H’rethek proper, unaware as yet of the great defeat of their northern allies.
|The Airnim Horde –
Ruler – Tarl Wolf’s Paw
Capital – Hailh Endhor
Dominant Race – Human
||The destruction and looting of the Hammersea had been fun, but greener pastures beckoned in the south. At Tarl’s orders the tribes struck their yurts and loaded the wagons, causing the great encampment known as The Gathering to disappear in just a day. Then, they set about destroying everything in Thessol. Demoralized, the local orcs simply ran and hid from the terrible horse-lords.
During this time, Tarl’s new protegé, Krukbari, acted as bodyguard to his liege lord, testing every meal and inspecting all visitors. In Thessol, he thwarted a plot to assassinate the king. Blame for the poisoned mead to have been used in the plot fell at first on Khavas, an unpopular and outspoken tribal leader. But Krukbari, through diligent investigation, was able to determine that Khavas was innocent of the heinous offense. The perpetrators were not found.
|Then, Tarl and his twenty-eight thousand riders crossed the Smokestone into Orodea where they repeated the process. The Ascars were made of sterner stuff and fought back bravely but with no hope. The Airnim advance guard scoured their little army while most of the nomads never knew an action had been fought. With their wagons laden with the treasures of two kingdoms, they entered Lorricar and despoiled the fields there, then moved south again towards the passes of the High Forest.
As they entered that storied realm, the column stopped to see a small reptilian creature bearing a gnarled staff. The men laughed and made to ride it down, but Tarl stopped them with a single harsh command. Nodding, the little beast stepped forward, bowing to the king, addressing him in the manner of a herald. “Thus say the gods of the forest to the lord of the sea of grass: This place is not for man or elf or orc. Here the old gods still dream of the elder days and will brook no interference. Yet thee we know of old, Cupbearer, and for thy sake we will let thy nation pass. Yet once only. Return not hither with thy people, for they are alien to this place and we love them not. In memory of this, announce this ban to the peoples thou shalt meet, and the many more who shall feel thy yoke.”
The Airnim Horde
With courtly words in a speech none knew but the king and the kobold, Tarl responded. Satisfied, the herald turned and vanished into the wood. Tarl gave orders that no tree be cut, no fires lit and no game be slain within the wood, on pain of death. For four long months the Airnim struggled through the dense pine barrens and vast stretches of yew and alder eating only the supplies they brought with them and shivering by night,huddled with their animals. Yet none dared break the king’s command, as much for fear of the forest as of Tarl, for all swore they heard voices in the wood, and saw faces in the deep shadows.
But following the left bank of the Lyodan river, they came at last to the hills of Itherias where lately the taurids of Brythnia had done great slaughter among the orcs. And traveling further, they crossed the rushing waters of the Lyodan at a ford in Gistares and entered into the lands of Brythnia. The native centaurs were startled and fled before them, but the Airnim did not have conquest on ther minds. At least not yet. They paused a last in Hailh Endhor, setting up a great camp by the ancient stone bridge of the via brythnia, and merely kept the centaurs from scouting too close.
The Shadowed Realm of Ascarlon –
Ruler –Baron Gauros the Arisen
Capital – Denavine
Dominant Race – Human
The Ascar huddled inside their fortress-cities and prayed that the Airnim would spare them. Their wizards conjured meager amounts of food to try to avoid starvation.
The Worldspine Orcs –
Ruler –Vaurog Breakspear
Capital – Mount Kauroth
Dominant Race – Orc
Even wounded, the lord of the Orcs may not safely rest. With the ancient spear Harrowheart in hand, Vaurog drove his army before him, and was joined by his allies Azog and Maghor. Ten thousand wild orcs descended on the independent dwarven realm of Lenicum. There, they swept aside the defenders, looted and pillaged the dwarf steadings and enslaved the dwarves they found there. Then, from that base, they raided Jaelitus and Phaedon in twin lightning marches, so that they were gone before any could respond to their actions. They carefully avoided entering the neighboring Imperial provinces of Acaris and Quaethos, however.
|The Empire of Carhallas –
Ruler –Emperor Maugrath
Capital – Carcaroth
Dominant Race – Hobgoblin
First Spear of the Flayed Man Legion
|Emperor Reor died in his sleep in early 2796. Some whispered that his rage against the rebels had strained his heart. His teenage son Maugrath was crowned emperor ten days later. Duke Sharvlork acted as regent unit 2798, when Maugrath came of age. Sharvlork wisely spent his days assessing his lord’s domains and creating a new census.
But Reor’s plan of vengeance on the rebels was carried forward without him. While a strong loyal contingent guarded the emperor, two forces, one of Imperial troops under Duke Zradrach and the other of allied troops under the Duke of Cavakal, marched out to exact bloody revenge for the Borokoth rebellion. Zradach’s four thousand stormed across the Manndaran river into Emekh and Borokoth, looting all they could get their hands on and brutally enslaving the rebels. The allied troops scoured the region around the capital, defeating Hullumak and Daul, looting and enslaving. Neither force met more than token resistance.
The message was clear: All who opposed the emperor would find death.
The Great Kingdom of Annvar –
Ruler –King Udoin IV
Capital – Varthane
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Medinavai [T], Coinde [F], Gastos [-]
||King Udoin opened the long-hoarded treasury of Annvar, and used the funds to raise more than a thousand elite jaeger the snow-dragon cavalry that makes Annvar a force to be reckoned with. He also vastly improved the irrigation and silage of Asep and began a postal road from Rukai to Medinavai. The king spent most of his time monitoring the borders.
His son, Poddicar the Fey, traveled to the neutral region of Medinavai and, aided by sorcery and handsome gifts, took himself a wife from among the daughters of the chief of that land. Impressed by (and a little afraid of) his new son in law, the chief agreed to pay an annual tribute to Poddicar’s father.
Meanwhile, Lord Marvaith sailed down the Wolf River from Varthane to Coinde and convinced the chief men of that city to swear fealty to King Udoin. Lord Tellenor traveled to Gastos and urged the warlord of those steppes to swear a similar oath, but the warlord refused, insisting that while he valued his alliance with Annvar, his people intended to remain free and independent.
The Conorrian Heartland –
The Conorrian Empire –
|Ruler –Emperor Arcalas
Capital – Echoriath
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Cyclados [EA]
Emperor Varantius orderd an astonishing flurry of building across the Empire. The Conorrian heartland was blanketed in castles and strongholds. A powerful fortress (“Kastro”) was built to watch over the fertile fields of Adoria. A dozen new merchant cogs were built at Echoriath and the aqueducts of Faloricum are at last complete. When these orders had gone out, the aging Varantius took himself to the “Second City of the Empire”, Adamos, and attended to the governance of that city, leaving his son Aracalas in command of the Empire. Alas, the journey was too much for the elderly hero-king, and his heart gave out a year later. Arcalas was hailed as emperor and twenty days of games were held in his honor, including a mass battle of gladiators and beasts in the great coliseum of Echoriath, the Tarterum.
Arcalas sent a great deal of help to his allies. He sent Pederastes and the Conorrian fleet to ferry the Church crusaders to Elenuil (See The H’rethek War, above), and also sent the Church several tons of grain and foodstuffs. He sent a large wagon laden with gold to the fortress of the Order of the Dawn in the Akasian Hills. And most of all, he sent grain, gold and troops to the Dhûnazhar dwarves. Senator Dominus and several Conorrian client states marched north with seven thousand foederati to aid the Dwarves (See The War of the Worldspines, below).
A second tragedy struck the young Emperor. In 2797, he married a beautiful young Conorrian girl named Lucia. In 2798, Lucia died of complications from a stillbirth.
Prince Selanus, engaged in cleaning up the worst slums of Echoriath, died in his bath in 2798. In 2799 and 2800, Senator Flavius Sextius received four thousand clibinarii cavalry from the hand of the Emperor. He founded a scholae for elite cavalry and worked diligently to train them in the most advanced cavalry techniques. By the end of 2800, he had dismissed half of the troopers, but could proudly display two thousand superb horsemen.
Senator Gaius Calos traveled to the troubled town of Cyclados and worked closely with the city fathers. In the absence of any Thariyyan competition, the senator had little trouble convincing the town to create close economic ties to the Empire.
The Great Church of the Lords of the Grail –
|Ruler –Patriarch Flavius Vares Mentaurus
Holy City – Conorr
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Vastium [CH], Camistella [CH], Mons Llyrae [CH], Belfirth [CH], Elenuil [CH]
The Patriarch’s Standard
|The Primacy sunk vast sums of cash into the development of its organization, from scribes and heralds, to its vast network of priests spread across two continents. Equally large sums were spent on the religious education of the priesthood. The Church also paid to have bogs drained in the Akasian Hills. Construction continued on the “Grail College of Magecraft” in Conorr.
The Church also sent aid to the Order of the Dawn in the form of ten heavily-guarded and heavily-laden wagons that trundled west into the Akasian Hills.
Missionaries spread out in Maenadia and Carrandis, managing to return the former to the Lords of the Grail and making significant inroads with the the other.
The Patriarch personally raised and saw to the training of two thousand elite swordsmen, the paladins of the church. With these and a further three thousand trained soldiers, he marched to Benemartius, boarded Imperial transports and headed off to war. Bishops Iacobus and Asterius and twelve thousand soldiers of the Church also joined the H’rethek Crusade. (See The H’rethek War, above).
Bishops Palladius and Alecius traveled the western Valesian Sea and established churches in the Llyran Republic and the Neldorean Wood.
The Dwarven Realm of Dhûnazhar–
Ruler – King Valand Dragonsbane
Capital – Khelem Vala
Dominant Race – Dwarf
King Valand had no intention of lavishing his realm’s wealth on mere comforts. There were orcs to kill! He set the bookish Lord Roin to figuring out what assets the kingdom had left while the rest of the dwarf lords assembled an army at Khelem Vala (See The War of the Worldspines, below)
THE WAR OF THE WORLDSPINES
Assembled at Khelem Vala, Valand and his allies headed an army of eight thousand, including a thosuand of the fearsome King’s Elite guards. They were joined in the late autumn by Conorrian general Dominus and seven thousand Conorrian foederati (allied troops). The two armies then marched west into Endorwaith.
At the very moment that Vaurog Breakspear and his orcs were raiding dwarven lands to the south, Valand Dragonsbane and his Conorrian allies stormed into Endorwaith and overwhelmed the meager native troops. Met on a high plateau beneath a perfect cerulean sky, the royalist faction easily drove the defenders back towards a dangerous precipice. There, on the edge of the Abyss, Valand Dragonsbane gave terms of surrender to the defenders who grudgingly accepted. Leaving a thousand dwarves to garrison the strong places of Endorwaith, the army marched on west.
The allies met with stiffer resistance in the orc-infested Blue Peaks. The orcs fought them tenaciously for every cave, every ridge and every tiny vale. And, when the victorious allies began to slaughter all the orcs in the region, the resistance only became stiffer and more vicious. Nonetheless, by the summer of 2798 the mayhem was past, and the orcs of the Blue Peaks were no more. Valand and Dominus returned to Dhunazhar, while the feudal lords and their troops returned home.
North-Western Vales –
The Llyran Republic –
Ruler –Constans Harko Marova
Capital – Tarrentica
Dominant Race – Human
The Llyrans were engaged on stuff so super-secret that none of it made the newsfax.
|The Holy Matriarchy of Ahuran–
Ruler –Queen Jerzuul Moonshadow
Capital – Sedeskan
Dominant Race – Human
||Queen Beolaan lavished gold on the homeland of Ilmultorn, establishing a series of way stations on all the major roads. She also conscripted a significant number of laborers to build fortifications and castles throughout key portions of the nation.
She completed the powerful “Second Spire”, a home dedicated to the Daughters, an organization of adventurers dedicated to the Matriarchy. She also decreed a great conscription, and laborers by the thousands came to Sedeskan to begin building the delicate “Third Spire”, home of the Matrons, Ahuran’s elite collegium of sorcery. These are two of the three buildings (and institutions) celebrated on the nation’s flag.
While Crown Princess Jerzuul continued her education in the arts of statecraft, the Queen and her entourage of noblewomen traveled (along with five thousand soldiers) to the land of Rarraam to continue their mysterious quest. In 2796, Staraam Polina was found missing from her bed in a small roadside inn in Rarraam. Her guards were found poisoned and the other inn guests all soon died from the effects of a form of pox. The queen had the inn burned. A search failed to reveal the whereabouts of the missing Staraam.
Landress Harana of Haalthor died in her sleep in the summer of 2799. She was quickly followed by the queen herself, who took a chill one unusually cold night and never recovered. Crown Princess Jerzuul was crowned Queen of Ahuran three weeks later in the Cathedral of the Mother in Sedeskan.
The Queen’s companion Jana Steelwarden was named governess of Ilduskan in 2799, a task at which she succeeded admirably. Another minister, Ydrial the Green, was governor of Mahaaran in 2796, but accomplished little beyond amassing an enviable wardrobe.
In Ilduskan, the dwarf mercenary Khedem-Var continued to study the ancient plans for what he termed a “metalship” and declared that further study was necessary, perhaps in the Great Library of Sengkar.
Ruler –Regent Sultana Farida
Capital – Mar Awas
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Socphares [-]
|It was an exceptionally busy five years for the Guarded Kingdom. Sultan Mavoud decreed that nearly three thousand heavy infantry should be raised in Muzir, and given into the command of Admiral Feldar. The ports of Har’akir were declared open to the fleets of the Great Church and of the Valesian City-States.
Sultan Mavoud directed a complete restructuring of the nation’s merchant shipping, directing that nearly all Akir merchants would be employed in ferrying goods between ports in Har’akir, and henceforth cease their travels to foreign ports. The trade with the Conorrian Empire was the only significant exception. In addition, the Sultan forbade any further trade with the Warlocks of Accolon, despite their wealth.
In 2797, the Sultan sailed for the island realm of Socphares, where he had recently exiled the natives of the Adramagdus mountains. Prince Sacheem continued to rule in Har Awas. Admirals Beldar and Feldar began to ferry troops to the Neldorean Wood (See The H’rethek War, above). The Emir of Har Jadme, under orders to sail with Feldar, instead died of a virulent fever. His troops returned home and remained there until the election of a new Emir.
||Prince Sacheem died of a heart attack in 2797 at the age of 31. Word was sent to his father on Socphares. When Mavoud heard of the death of his son he, too, died of a broken heart.
When word reached Mar Awas that the Sultan was dead, messengers were sent to Admiral Feldar, but that hero was deep in the har’keen lands and could not be summoned. Mavoud’s widow, the Sultana Farida, stepped in to take control of the government. She had her young grandson Sococia crowned Sultan, and sent him back to his nurse until he should come of age. The formidable woman then ordered that the city of Muzir be enlarged and its harbor dredged as the Akir began to take an interest in the affairs of the Successor States and the H’rethek War.
Admiral Beldar died in the wilds of Dura in 2800 when he slipped and fell into a cravasse.
The Valesian City-States –
Ruler –Primarch Centorius I
Capital – Orcholus
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Hypylus [NT]
|The Primarch ordered that the vast canals of Ventas be expanded inland, and the mud thus dredged be spread across the tracts of farmland in the region, creating a rich and fertile soil. Thousands of men and crates of gold were expended on this mighty project.
The Primarch stayed in Orcholus for all of 2796, and fathered triplets – three healthy boys he named Tempus, Seleucus and Achmaenus. He then traveled, with naught but a servant or two for protection, to the lands of Hypylus, and negotiated a treaty with the petty kings of that region, allowing him to establish a city there. In 2798, just such a city was founded on the shores of the Valesian Bight, named Sirtis.
Two dozen warships were laid down and built at the port of Orcholus, and made ready for sea. These were given into the command of Centorius’s older brother, Grand Admiral Anaxes, who sailed with the Trierarch Antigonus for Har’akir and the H’rethek Wars. (See The H’rethek War, above).
Archon Meikos brought gold and settlers (refugees from the fall of Keferis) to Hypylus for the new city of Sirtis, then traveled south to treat with the halflings of Thuces. Though he tried to entice these diminutive folk into an alliance, they politely declined the invitation.
Finally, the Primarch established a Valesian adventuring company, known as the Silent Blades of Artorius. This intrepid band traveled to the new city of Sirtis, and then vanished into the south. As of 2800, they had not returned.
Ruler –General Zsalvi
Capital – Thedelos
Dominant Race – Sathla
||General Zsalvi raised three thousand light infantry in Thedelos, and hired two thousand human mercenaries. These were placed under the command of Astalis of Aysira and marched east towards Merwall (See The Fate of Keferis, below).
Meanwhile, Zsalvi holed himself up in the Royal Palace and saw practically no one for five years.
Several large wagons containing crates of tasty mice and small lizards were shipped to the Primacy, while a single ship was dispatched from Thedelos to Galim in Har’akir for an unknown purpose.
The Autumna Primacy
Ruler –Grand Priest Kyassthi
Great Cathedral – Thedelos
Dominant Race – Sathla
The Primacy invested heavily in its own organization, trying to create a school for priests of the fanged god. A prelate was sent to the Mykele capital of Oroyon to aid that government in bringing Autumna to all the people. Trade was started down the mighty Artaxes towards the Drormt capital of Breeka.
Grand Priest Kyssthi thundered the word of Udjo from the Cathedral of the Sun in Pyrayus, and many in Luxur heard and became serious about their faith. High Priest Slaasthess marched east with two thousand church archers and nearly five thousand sathla mercenaries (See The Fate of Keferis, below).
THE FATE OF KEFERIS
While the defenders of Merwal waited behind their massive walls, a huge sathla army marched into siege positions around the city, including ships and siege engines. Part of that force then marched south into Egu. It would take the defenders weeks to discover that most of their besiegers were merely illusions. The Luxurites had marched south to rampage into the Keferis hinterlands. General Ksonyos died before leaving Habu, and his command was assumed by Speaker Jesserek.
There were two Luxurite forces in Egu. The first, under command of Speaker Jesserek, amounted to ten thousand troops, including the human and sathla mercenaries. The second, under command of Astalis of Aysira, amounted to nearly five thousand. These troops quickly crushed the human opposition in Egu. Much to the surprise of the locals, they were not enslaved. However, every Keferis noble or government official was hung and quartered. Then the sathla marched on, leaving the folk of Egu to make their own way. The two armies then split up and the pattern was repeated in Arran, Itura and Gatz. These four battles were brutal but their results inevitable. The sathla then paid the mercenaries and returned to Habu.
With this example in place, the Valesian nobles still alive in Prophep, Chalmen, Phalego and Osaru simply renounced their allegiance to Keferis. Only the men of Merwal continued to fight on behind their enormous walls.
Ruler –Sauressh Sishtreth I
Capital – Oroyon
Dominant Race – Sathla
Diplomacy – Gigalgudar [H], Kuzsu [F], Naszgiri [-]
Sauressh Vaastassh I established trade relations with the Sendahl nomads at the sathla city of Ser Medhele, then marched east with a small force to improve relations with the sathla of Gigalgudar. Unfortunately, the notoriously prickly residents of that region were enraged by the Sauressh’s refusal to undergo their ritual of the Eighteen Painful Blows and so rose up and killed him, hanging his headless corpse from the branches of a spreading banyan tree. The entire region was inflamed by this outrageous insult and the chieftains thereof refused to have further to do with the barbaric leaders of Oroyon.
Unaware of his father’s fate, Prince Sishtreth journeyed to the region of Kuzsu to improve relations there. When the chieftains learned that Sishtreth was about to become the Sauressh, they agreed to the merger if the prince would marry the daughter of their lead chief. He agreed. They told him of his father’s death only after the marriage was consummated.
A third diplomatic mission, led by Jual’Teth into the region of Naszgiri, failed utterly.
Lords Lisal’assh and Heshtreth led a force of four thousand sathla into the jungles of Mudugea, where they enslaved their distant cousins, looted their homes and dragged them back to Sia in chains.
The Yurahtam Nomads
Ruler –Quor of the Seven Skulls
Capital – Yurahtam
Dominant Race – Orc
Spurned by the pagan orcs of the Nineser Hills, Quor and his vile (but large!) band of cutthroats have decided to carve out an empire for themselves!
North-Eastern Vales –
|The Kingdom of Thariyya –
Ruler –King Al-Kadem Vahdin
Capital – Uls Fakhar
Dominant Race – Halfling
Diplomacy – Hassar [-5 Yfc]
The Exarch had had more than enough of Conorrian arrogance, and the kidnaping of Lord Tole Albrin (no one believed it was anyone but the Empire) was the last straw! Calling together his court, Al-Kadem Vahdin ripped the imperial banner down from the walls and threw it before the throne. He trampled the insignia on his way back to his august (if diminutive) seat. Thariyya was no longer an exarchate of any great power, he announced, but a true power in its own right. Its people were a sovereign nation, and would treat with all other powers as equals or not at all. There was a roar of approval at this, and many knights and nobles came forward to trample the imperial insignia and swear allegiance to the halfling king.
King Vahdin then ordered “The Royal Edit”. Any book in public view, plus the 573 Thariyyan Constitutions (including the Provisionals, Addendums, Etceteras, Eratas, and Rewrites), were all edited to reflect the Thariyyan Kingdom’s name change. All mentions of “The Exarchate of Thariyya” were amended with footnotes that read, “The former Exharchate of Thariyya, now, lately, known as ‘The Independent Kingdom of Thariyya, United'”.
Vahdin proceeded to rule his kingdom and his household both, producing three a daughter and two sons.
Sezir Vahdin, the king’s brother, traveled to Hassar to speak to the local leaders, but so horrified were they at the reckless actions of Uls Fakhar that Sezir’s journey only made matters worse.
Ruler –Warlock Vardan the Necromancer
Capital – Dammarask
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Korrek [F]
||The time for discussion was past. Now was the time for blood, vengeance and obedience. The warlocks assembled an army of ten thousand at Dammarask, including many thousands of elite troops and siege engineers and added to that more than a thousand human mercenaries. Then they marched down the Ashen Way under the command of the Warlock Jordanes, fording the stream just above the site of the bridge being built across the Mulgaunt and eventually crashed into the fertile fields of Eumana. (See The Battle for Eumana, below).
Vardan the Necromancer ruled the nation, and hired both the human mercenaries that went with Jordanes and the elite band of adventurers known as Xuku’s Band. These marched down the Ashen Way in the wake of the army, returning in 2799 claiming to have a great prize for their employers. Elsewhere, Epiphetes the Diviner served as goveror of Dammarask for the years 2798-2800, but accomplished little, preferring to immerse himself in his studies.
Bishop Marakin Trollkin set sail from Agharra for the city of Korrek, where he prevailed upon the city’s masters to become a part of the nation of Accolon.
The Shadowed Primacy of the Dark Court –
Ruler –High Priest Gezz Half-Shadow
Holy City – Dammarask
Dominant Race – Human
|The Primacy slept. At least, that’s what they’d like you to believe.||
The Divine Theocracy of Eumana –
|Ruler –Theocrat Kandoz
Capital – Nuradeem
Dominant Race – Human
THE BATTLE FOR EUMANA
The Theocracy had not been idle. The fields bristled with castles and strongpoints, and the few mobile troops were dug in facing the Ashen Way. The clash between the two occured on the Feast of Blood, a day dedicated to the worship of the wild, bloodthirsty god Caravok, and it was a fitting offering to the crows of the god. The two sides were evenly matched at first, both in power and leadership. But as the sun started heading into the west and the crows began to circle, the elite Accoloni infantry began to outflank the fortifications and drive back the Theocracy troops. Once they began to withdraw, the Accoloni cavalry at last came into play, coursing among the broken Eumana ranks and slaughtering any who came within range of their sharp sabers. As many men died in the last hour of the battle as in the first ten. The few Eumana survivors fled within the protective walls of Nuradeem.
|During the course of the wild chase, a single arrow miraculously found its way to where Jordanes rode his pale horse. The wound was not fatal, but the warlock had to be carried from the field on a litter. Nonetheless, as the priests worked on him, Jordanes ordered that Nuradeem be taken…immediately. There were many present who counseled a siege instead. “We have them beaten, Master,” said one. “We can take the city at our leisure!”
But Jordanes would have none of it, and ordered his men to scale the walls of the port immediately. As it happened, it would be three months of recovery and reorganization before the assault came, and when it did, it was a bloody disaster. On the first day of the two-day battle, the two sides struggled for control of the walls, and when night fell, both sides had suffered losses but the defenders still held the walls. On the second day, the Accoloni brought up a great battering ram and under a storm of arrows and a hail of mystic fire, stove in the gates of the city and rushed inward to slaughter the defenders. But it was there that the Eumanans sprang their trap. For the plaza inside the gate had been thoroughly walled off and mined with tremendous pots of dragonfire, the alchemical substance the would ignite on contact with the air. As the Accoloni streamed in, the explosions began.
Thousands of Accolon troops were dead in a single, mangled instant, and the rest went streaming out into the fields of Eumana, shattered and defeated.
The Shadowguard of Marador –
Ruler –Queen Madariel Shadowfoot
Capital – Lantar
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Gaja [A], Laikwalambe [NE], Khithi [H]
||Queen Madariel directed thousands of elves and large sums of gold to improve the beloved homeland of Alako. Golden hearttrees were planted and nature spirits summoned to bring forth pleasing springs. But the greatest work of this period was the Circle of Summer, a ring of rune-etched granite monoliths which mystically keep the land green and pleasant all year round, moderating rain and wind and snow for the best health and beauty of Alako.
From the new city of Annuminas, trade began up the Mulgaunt to the men of the Valesian City States, while a new defensive wall (a thick hedge of thorns) was grown up around the city.
While Queen Madariel ruled the realm from Lantar, her daughter Ilwendil Swiftbow governed the city itself. Or at least, whould have done, if she wasn’t out hunting, riding and besting her mother’s knights at archery and footraces. Administration just wasn’t interesting to the young Crown Princess.
Princess Vaeril Fallingwater visited the Prince of Gaja and through long years of careful diplomacy, convinced that lord to become a close ally of her mother’s. Glorfindel of Beduina, on the other hand, was a warrior and a sorcerer, not a diplomat. So his brief visits to Laikwalambe and Khithi produced entirely different results. His blunt demands and careless approach bemused the sylvan elves of Laikwalambe, but his haste and lack of regard for local custom outraged the elves of Khithi, who, when they found him dallying with their lord’s daughters, threw him in a well. The Prince of Khithi announced his hostility to the nation of Marador.
South-Western Vales –
The Steaming Kingdom of Drormt –
Ruler –King Zhee’ka
Capital – Breeka
Dominant Race – Saurus
|King Zheeka was enjoying a typically relaxed Drormt monarch’s reign – long wet seasons, short dry seasons, the occasional land dispute to liven up a hot day. He’d fathered three more children (two daughters and a son) and built his masterpiece, “Zhee’ka’s Royal Raptor Herding Pens” in his childhood home of Drormt. He’d even put out a call for “all young saurus without fear” to train to be one of the elite Raptor Riders.
Zhee’ka’s newest lieutenant, Cuaq’lar, had been assigned the task of improving Breeka’s many canals, and had done an outstanding job of negotiating with the dredgers, fishers and merchants.
But in the depths of the dry season in 2799, the ground began to make strange noises. No one knew what to make of it, and the king questioned the royal shaman, who consulted the flight of birds and told the king that the water spirits were angry with the king. They would leave and not return until the king built them a fine temple.
That very night a thunderous shaking caused all the water to rush away from the city. When light came, the river had moved far away from the city, leaving nothing but a stinking mud flat for more than a thousand yards.
Ruler –King T*ko
Capital – Nyange
Dominant Race – Human
|The vast number of slaves brought to Desiket over the years had at last been enough to cultivate the wide grasslands of that region, but Sendahl lacked the funds to make the effort fruitful. Luckily, the same answer could be used as before. T*ko rode out with his kanka riders and ordered his vassal Gapa* to do the same. Those who had escaped slavery must now pay for their freedoms!
T*ko himself went south, raiding Idhe, Koher, Kalesigur and Paresther. Koher and Kalesigur were devoid of inhabitants (they were all slaving away in Desiket), but the others provided a few valuables.
Gapa* had more luck. He raided across a wide range of
regions, heading first to Durudin and raiding into Ibkurru, Galzus and Gulanabat, then into Uszudar, where he raided the savage jungle tribes of Gulalagu and Lugalnaam. Then, he turned to the far south and raided Menrat and Bargi, on the borders of Mekebele. After each raid, the men were given half the loot. Gapa* never returned home, however. He died in the saddle somewhere in Kakushoqe on the way home.
Upon returning home, T*ko began to worry about the line of succession. He was already an old man of 35, and had no children. He married and tried diligently to produce and heir, but his wife died of influenza in 2798. He then named his lieutenant Ba’keng as his heir, but the gods rejected his choice, causing Ba’keng to die of a heart attack in 2799.
Ruler –Emperor F’denge
Capital – Awayal
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Kaznuma [F]
||The emperor decreed a huge irrigation project in Jokari, where multiple water spirits were summoned and bound to deep wells and springs, so that the land would have water in plenty. He dispatched Prince Mufun to the port city of Kaznuma, and that worthy managed to convince the merchants of the city to swear loyalty to the shaman-emperor F’denge.
Warleader Bor’ufan proved that war was not his only strength when he was asked to govern the city of Awayal. In five years he built a handsome forum for the city’s gods as well as a public theater for the staging of dramas and executions.
South-Eastern Vales –
|The Dwarven Realm of Aurdrukar –
Ruler –King Norrim Forgemaster
Capital – The Brass Tower
Dominant Race – Dwarf
Diplomacy – Qiya [A]
Banner of Aurdrukar
|King Norrim ordered an expansion of the new port city of Dürn in Qiya, and had an impressive fortress built at the mouth of the harbor. This squat, slope-sided turret looms like some titanic beetle over all the ships that enter the harbor.
While the king ruled from the Brass Tower, Lord Gilfur governed the Tower itself, adding to its armories and forges in a thoroughly responsible and dwarflike manner.
Lord Belak, meanwhile, took
||counsel with the local human chiefs of Qiya and convinced them to become official allies of the Audrukar crown. They were equally impressed with the rapid expansion of the port of Dürn and with the mystic power of the Iron Orb of Oaths
Aurdrukar’s many feudal vassals patiently watched the border for trouble, particularly near Torquas.
For the first time in a decade, no agricultural trade flowed between Aurdrukar and Zikuyu.
The Elven Empire of Sengkar –
Ruler –Emperor Valoril Greenshield
Capital – Ezrand
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Radhrost [-]
|The Emperor added two thousand knights to his palace guard at Ezrand, and had several crystal monoliths placed around Sengkar to encourage the growth and habitability of the region. He ruled the Empire in peace and strength.
His cousin, Princess Gahaliel traveled to Radhrost for a few years and while there talked up the possibility of closer ties between the region and the Empire. But diplomacy was never this clever elf-maid’s concern, and nothing came of the attempt.
The lords of Kyelepe and Jarende both put for their power into the land and made them lush and green for a time, so that the harvests were abundant and many foodstuffs could be laid aside against lean times to come.
The Valraj –
Ruler –Sultan Valoon of the White Knives
Capital – Muddakir
Dominant Race – Human
||Sultan Valoon of the White Knives hired six hundred elite ghandoor foot guards, then traveled to Muddakir to take command of his father’s troops. He then marched out to the Monsoon Palace in Luud and watched the approaches to the capital from there.
His friend and ally Fayed, emir of Tanoxus, raised two thousand warriors and suspiciously eyed the Rhasdine river approaches. He may have smelled war in the air, but he saw none on the actual ground. Across the river, the Tas Darites minded their own business.
The Kingdom of Weshtayo –
|Ruler –King Nokrome, Red-Feathered Lord
Capital – Khulank
Dominant Race – Human
|King Okoumo ordered a series of narrow valleys fortified in the region of Bedraku. His sudden death in 2797 prevented him from carrying out his more extensive plans. Immediately upon the king’s death, his chamberlain, the chief eunuch Medowe, began a system of charging exhorbitant fees for access to the new king, Okoumo’s son Nokrome. Soon, Medowe was charging princely sums for appointments to the nation’s important positions. Corruption ruled in Khulank.
When young Nokrome had become aware of this cancer on his state, he purged the palace eunuchs, declared the now-fled Medowe a traitor to the state and had arrested anyone closely associated with Medowe’s schemes. Some of the best minds of the Weshtayo government were now dead or fled to other lands.
Prior to his accession to the red-feathered cloak in Khulank, Nokrome tried his hand at governing the capital city. Unfortunately, the young man preferred pursuit of young women to the pursuit of his duites and nothing of consequence was accomplished.
Lords Hakarome and Gamoray both died in 2977 when a captive elephant’s sudden trumpeting stampeded their mounts in the annual parade for the king’s birthday.
The Imperial Realm of Zikuyu –
Ruler –Queen Huwarra the Resplendent
Capital – Ivallkyu
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Chru [T], Hriteke [-]
||Beautiful queen Huwarra contemplated her nation’s situation. She had trade, strong allies, fertile land and many comforts. What Zikuyu did not have in abundance was people. So Huwarra decreed that there should be free bread and beer for those families with more than ten children, and that any man who would clear land and farm it in Qash, Thikyni or Zalu should receive a grant of that land from her own hands.
Naturally, there was a great rush into the countryside to farm land, and the next few years saw a great many children born. True to her word, the queen passed out thousands of land grants personally, and it was the occasion to see the queen, incarnation of the immortal Mogolla river that drew many of these, nearly as much as the grants themselves.
Elsewhere, the queen conferred with the lords of Chru and exacted from them an annual tribute. Her cousin, Qeemoy II had less success with the lords of Hriteke, who smiled and plied him with salt beer, but made no promises. The asfahn of Hriteke died in 2979 anyway, necessitating an end to the diplomacy until the rites of assumption should raise up a new asfahn to treat with.
The Despotism of Torquas –
Ruler –Despot Maugh the Wise
Capital – None
Dominant Race – Orc
Maugh the Wise
|Maugh looked north at the power of Sengkar and east and west at Aurdrukar and The Valraj and decided that his people must have a new home. He had heard of a small but wealthy human nation to the south, unrelated to the more powerful peoples of the north by blood or religion. These humans, called the “Ukanve” would make excellent slaves and offer a haven far from the bright steel of the elves.
Thus it was in the Spring of 2976 that Maugh hired over three thousand orcish mercenaries and ordered his people to assemble at Torquas with all their weapons, animals, slaves and belongings. The nation was about to march. This summons was obeyed by the people of Kaidola and Torquas, but not those of the allied region of Zhutetl, whose people refused to leave their ancestral homes and undertake a probably fatal journey.
And so, by summer, a vast horde of orcs (including more than eleven thousand warriors) was on the move from Torquas into the hostile mountains of Zhume’la, inhabited by evil and savage tribes. These the orcs of Torquas conquered and enslaved, though doing so took them all year and into the next. From there, the horde traveled to Yechikku and Maro, conquering and enslaving the orcs of both regions. By the time they also traveled through Khanken and Nyelru to Shoggen, their numbers were greatly reduced from years of non-stop warfare.
Barely four thousand warriors remained when the mercenaries took their pay and went home. But the nation of Torquas was now on Ukanve soil and had eight thousand valuable slaves in chains.
The Kingdom of Tas Dar –
Ruler –King Miakil
Capital – Darious
Dominant Race – Human
||King Jharen dedicated several years to the creation of a complete list of all the wealth of his realm. In the meantime, he ordered the establishment of a new capital in Tas Dar called Darious, and sent his ally Sendor of Lhoren Dar to colonize the elven island of Dreta.
Jharen’s cousin Miakil served as governor of Lhoren Dar, but fared poorly. The people of that allied but independent city took poorly to the idea of a Tas Darite “governor” and so Miakil was able to accomplish little.
Sendor set out for Dreta with many colonists, but failed to provide them with any protection. Within a few weeks of the colonists’ arrival in Dreta, they had all been killed by the native elves who brooked no interference with their rights to the land.
In 2977, a popular dancer was hanged by Tas Darite shamans for offending the gods (she had danced for a tavern full of sailors on the half-remembered solemn holy day of the Spider). The resulting riots and anti-religious backlash caused priests and shaman of all stripes to go into hiding for several years and weakened the already weak Tas Darite faith in the gods.
King Jharen died of a coughing fit in 2999,leaving no sons or heirs. The mood was tense for most of the year, but General Miakil immediately took control of the new capital and no one seemed inclined to dispute his right to the throne.
The Kingdom of Ukanve –
Ruler –King Damwen
Capital – Ukanve
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Rhundal [C]
King Damwen turned over his army to his lieutenant Mazool and spent two years developing a census of all the Ukanve lands. Then, he traveled by boat to the elven region of Rhundal and tried to convince the elves to join his growing kingdom. The elves paid the colorfully-dressed human little heed, and laughed when he publicly claimed their land.
Mazool and Vardoof of Hyrdrsha took their combined army of seven thousand human soldiers and crashed into the orc-dominated jungles of Nyelru and Tareng. They fought small but vicious battles in both places and enslaved the brutish orcs, bringing them back in chains to till the soil of Yezhu’u.
All were startled by the arrival out of Nyelru of a large horde of orcs (see The Despotism of Torquas, above) in the autumn of 2800. War was surely upon them.
The Grand Duchy of Meneen –
Ruler –Grand Duke Salene
Capital – Yaz Meneen
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Uthor Gil [NT], Sandor [-], Urvupal [NT]
This was an auspicious time for the Grand Duchy, which extended its trade far beyond its previous reach. The Grand Duke traveled to Uthor Gil, Sandor and Urvupal, managing to convince the first and last of these to allow him the right to base cities on their coasts. The Meneen fleet stood ready with settlers to do just that and swiftly established a city called Olonàr in the region of Urvupal, south of Kerendis. Messengers went out from this new port to all the ports of the Ymarian sea, opening trade with every port.
Rumors from Elsewhere –
Elven knights out of Celendor have suddenly rushed across the Taklamakas mountains and down the Wolf River valley for reasons unknown.
GM’s Tip #4 –
Each turn, I will use this space to present a useful rules hint. Eventually, all of you will know what LOTE GM’s and experienced players know.
RAIDING FOR FUN AND PROFIT
Anatomy of a Raid
Raid is a Combat-based Leader order designed to move in, steal goods and get out before the locals can react. It can result in the acquisition of GP, Agro or both, depending on what the player orders. It is not a set-piece battle, and so the presence of local troops doesn’t stop it (though they will reduce its chance of success and possibly kill some of the light-hearted lads doing the raiding.)
It is a very good idea to share half the loot with the raiding troops. Most LOTE games require you to explicity state this or run the risk of mutiny. In L54, it is assumed unless otherwise ordered.
It is important to realize that unlike the various Attack orders, Raid does not affect the region where raiding army is located. It affects an adjacent region. So don’t move your troops into the region you want to raid. Move them into an adjacent region and issue the Raid order, noting in the notes section which region you want to raid.
|Example – King Artorius of Lorraine wants to raid the H’rethek coast. He puts to sea with his raiding force of 10 w and 10xi.
Region Order AP Notes
Armorica Load Ships 1 Load 10xi onto the 10w.
Note that Artorius never moved into Dal*kor, Kz’zk or Q’klee. His raiding was done from the adjacent sea zone of the Corish Straits.
Factors Affecting the Success of a Raid
Positive Modifiers include:
- Raiding force is all light units and/or cavalry
- Raiding force has elite units
- Every 10 units in the raiding force
- Defending Force has heavy units
Negative Modifiers include:
- Raiding force has heavy units
- Raiding force is solely ships
- Raiding force is in hostile terrain
- Raid crosses a river (unless supported by ships)
- Defending Force is all light units and/or cavalry
- Defending Force has elite units
- Field Forts in area
- Every 5 points of defending troops in garrison
- Defending Force has a Leader
- Defending Force
How the Loot is Calculated
First, the GM calculates the available GP that could be stolen. This is a result of the GPv of the region and the amount of regional PWB present. Then, based upon the raiding leader’s Combat roll (as modified), a percentage of that total is taken in loot. From this it should be obvious that raiding unpopulated wilderness regions is going to generate only a very small amount of GP or Agro, whereas raiding a wealthier region has a much greater potential for loot (and opposition).
A region may be raided more than once in a turn, but the total loot taken cannot exceed the total available, and successive AP’s spent looting in a region increases the chances of a reacting army arriving to drive off the raiders.
The Results of Raiding
Raiding reduces the value of the public works, Primate sites, Religious Order sites and Merchant House sites in the region. If all of a region’s public works are destroyed, the GPv of the region will be reduced.
Page Completed 21 March 2006