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INTO THE JUNGLE - A LION - OUT A MOUSE Beneath the southern sun, the armies stood. Across the expanse of Hippo’s Gorge, broken only sporadically by freshly-sawed palisades and earthen bulwarks, the forces of the Grand Covenant stared northward at the Veletzian-Krugmar host. The Orcs and reavers cheered and heckled as their cavalry formed lines between the brush. Though outnumbered, they showed no fear; they were, after all, the great victors of the Battle of Westmark, where they had brought the advance of the Covenant infantry to a screeching halt, and it was they who had left no land unscathed by raids and pillaging over the long Saint’s winter. The mounted legions of the Covenant stared down their foes amassing on their horizon, and they raised no cheers of their own. And yet, as the banners of Norland, Petra, Balian, Numendil, Aaun, Urguan, Hyspia, and Haense streamed in the wind, and thousands upon thousands of steel-tipped lances gleamed in the sunlight, it was not despair that gripped them. Instead, it was defiance. That defiance smouldered in Viktor Daemonsteel. The Duke of Vidaus gripped his poleaxe, from which tassels in the colours of House Ruthern flew, as he glared across the gorge. He had earned his moniker in the heat of Valdev’s forges, where he had hammered countless iron and daemonsteel day and night to replenish the Covenant armoury. That defiance burned in Patriarch Josef. The Patriarch of Jorenus sipped his canteen of vodka as he squinted through the sunlight, and his mare struggled to hold his weight. Throughout the long winter, he had lived in the barns and stables of the north to procure fresh hides to sate the endless demand for leather. He had become the bovine reaper, feared by all cows, and he had defended those barns with every fibre of his being. That defiance blazed in Queen Amaya, the White Flame of Haense. As she sat atop her horse, enwreathed by her gold-worked satin cloak, she no longer trembled as she held her weapon. She had learned the nature of war in that winter, for she had been taken captive when she took up arms to fight in a raid. But she did not fear; not anymore, and her radiance instilled the same bravery in the Haeseni horsemen at her side. When the battle began, that defiance blazed through the Covenant army like an inferno. Like a bolt of lightning, Captain Banjo led his fabled warriors of the Yachtsmen as skirmishers on the rear of the battlefield, biting devastating holes into the Veletzian flank with each pass. Under a hail of arrowfire, the main cavalry under King Aleksandr held their ground as they waited for their opportunity to charge. Beneath their visors and faceguards, their jaws were set grimly, and their eyes burned with the heat of that inferno. When Captain Banjo signalled the first charge, King Aleksandr led the cavalry in sweeping tide of deadly lances into the disorganised right flank of the Veletzian army, and it was with a fury for the capture of Queen Amaya that the Haeseni riders sliced the flank into ribbons. When the second charge came and the Covenant cavalry thundered across the Gorge once more, it was with a vengeance of the Red Coronation that the Balian defenders with a malice never before attributed to them. With the third charge, the Petrine Knights exacted their blood-price for their burnt and murdered clergy. Finally, the Covenant horses turned and fell back to their palisades in a feinted retreat. When the remnants of the Veletzian invaders pursued, it was then that Captain Banjo charged his Yachtsmen through the brush, and slammed into the midriff of the Veletz column; Balor Ireheart, Sigrun Ireheart (stonehammer), Otto Ludovar, Ser Garen, Sigmar, Emilio Jr, Ser Rickard (and his herd), and other valiant Yachtsmen. With the final trap sprung, the Covenant banners were hoisted high as the main cavalry veered around, and galloped into the Veletzians as they were caught in the Yachtsmen lances. The Veletzians, who entered the battle as lions, scurried in defeat like mice from the battlefield. As fifteen-thousand horses bore down on their foe, the Covenant roared with that defiance. As fifteen-thousand warriors charged into the frey, any question of their unity was silenced. As fifteen-thousand lances struck in unison, the Battle of Hippo’s Gorge was won.
ONE LAST SWIM TEST “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.” - Captain Banjo As Captain Banjo looked out from his war camp - his gaze met his former students on horseback repping their green bandanas. Hidden from his soldiers, a smile enlightened Banjo’s face as he recognized many of the faces of those fighting against him. He thought to himself: “Perhaps, this is the day my students surpass their Captain.” He chuckled at the thought of it and as the bombardment of the siege equipment commenced, he charged out with a small detachment of the Covenant’s finest - Garen and Sigmar Baruch, Vasili Vanrov, and others. His men engaged the horsemen with their bows, but seeing the war camp pummeled with fire - he decided to charge upon the enemy’s cannons. “Charge!” He yelled, commanding the entire Covenant force to charge at the enemy’s entrenched positions. Fear must have struck into the poor Van Aerts & Ferrymen’s hearts who were manning the cannons as they saw the legendary Captain Banjo at the forefront of the charge and the first on their battlements. As the skilled captain and his personal guard quickly slayed the enemy’s fear-struck soldiers, the remaining Covenant forces poured into the enemy’s position quickly slaughtering the enemy and destroying their cannons. Satisfied from their push, the Covenant forces pulled back to their camp to continue their bombardment of Brasca. Not shortly after, the enemy returned to their positions on the lower cannons. Captain Banjo pondered: “Why? Did Vyllaenen, Istvan, and Gustaf Van Aert not learn?” Upon seeing this, the mighty Captain and his companion, King Aleksandr III, ordered another charge upon the enemy lines. The enemy died just as quickly as they did returning to their beloved cannons. As Covenant artillery battered the enemy fort with their fire, Captain Banjo took his special force - Yacht Team 6 - to the western tower of the fort where many of the Ferrymen were. His small band clashed with the Ferrymen and their allies before the Ferrymen retreated back into their tower behind their gate. It was there he laid his eyes on his pupils - Django and Vyllaenen - and right next to them the gate controls! He raved as his former apprentices attempted to leverage one of his own strategies - gate trapping - to beat the Captain! “Ah - the classic gate trap strategy. It has a 100% success rate against Orenians” As soon as the gate opened once again, the Captain stormed the tower, but when they closed the gate thinking they trapped him, the Captain outwitted his students and used the gate controls to let in his remaining soldiers. It was in fact here where Vyllaenen met his blunder, as he was slayed, along with his Van Aert companion. “Perhaps the student still needs to learn a bit more - at least Django was smart enough to live!” He rejoiced knowing at least one of his students had learned something. As he reunited with the main force, the Covenant men committed to one last final push to break the remaining Adrian & Ferrymen forces. It was here where most of the enemy ultimately met their fate. As he reflected on his victory, he could only be disappointed by his former men’s performance. He wrote to his former ferryfriends, “Today’s lesson of the day: the swim test. Those who cannot swim should follow the Captain on his ship - not drown following those who cannot lead.” Signed, Banjo, The Captain of the Ferrymen, Savior of the Common and Free People, Pillager of Elvenesse, Liberator of Man, The Bringer of Equality, Capturer of the Bastion, Defeater of Racism, Debearder of Grand Kings, Sailor of the Seas, 2x Mr. Almaris, Emperor of the Roads, Lord of Shipwreck Keep, Occupier of New Providence, 40 Star General, The Greater Lobster Fisherman, Premortem Saint of Epic Ballads, Grand Admiral of Haense, Emancipator of the Scallywags & Sailors, Steward of Breakwater Ruins
ADRIFT; A NEW HARBOR “If you’re going to be onboard - be onboard. If not, just sail away because you’re just a scallywag” - Captain Banjo “Django… Vydrek… Jesus… Brick… Andronikos… Leonidas… Valentin… Adzy… Lyulen… Father…” He murmured as he looked upon his depiction of the original founders of the Ferrymen in his galleon. As he sat on the helm of his newly acquired galleon (financed by his victory over the Van Aert family), a dream in his sleep - a message from Godan himself. [Chat GPT write a message from God calling Banjo to fight for Haense/God] As Banjo awoke abruptly from his slumber, he reached over to his night stand and grabbed his green bandana once more - one last final time. He made his way to the helm of his galleon, making way to the shores of Aevos. Invigorated, he put up his sails and walked to the hull of ship where the previous name of the ship read: “King Phillip’s Folly” And put an X through the name of the ship, before writing next to it: “Vyllaenen’s Blunder.” As he docked in the harbor of Haense, his oldtime ally, with his newly revised and upgraded flag, he strutted off his ship and made way to the royal palace. THE FOLLOWING TERMS HAVE BEEN AGREED UPON BY BANJO AND ALEKSANDR II: I. Captain Banjo and his yachtsmen will rally their banners to fight with the Covenant. II. Captain Banjo will be titled ‘Grand Admiral of Haense’ and given supreme authority over (naval) wartime decisions. III. Captain Banjo will be given stewardship of Breakwater Keep ruins for the rehabilitation for any Post Siege Stress Disorder (PSSD). IV. Captain Banjo will emancipate all sailors and scallywags from the influence of Van Aerts. V. The agreement between Banjo and Aleksander II will be voided at the conclusion of the war. HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, Aleksandr II, by the Grace of Godan, King of Hanseti and Ruska, Grand Hetman of the Army, Hochmeister of the Order of the Crow, Prince of Bihar, Dules, Lahy, Muldav, Slesvik, Solvesborg, and Ulgaard, Duke of Carnatia, and Vanaheim, Margrave of Korstadt, Rothswald, and Vasiland, Count of Alban, Alimar, Baranya, Graiswald, Karikhov, Karovia, Kaunas, Kavat, Kovachgrad, Kvasz, Markev, Nenzing, Siegrad, Torun, Toruv, Valdev, and Werdenburg, Viscount of Varna, Baron of Astfield, Buck, Esenstadt, Kraken’s Watch, Kralta, Krepost, Lorentz, and Rytsburg, Lord of the Westfolk, Protector and Lord of the Highlanders, etcetera. Banjo, The Captain of the Ferrymen, Savior of the Common and Free People, Pillager of Elvenesse, Liberator of Man, The Bringer of Equality, Capturer of the Bastion, Defeater of Racism, Debearder of Grand Kings, Sailor of the Seas, 2x Mr. Almaris, Emperor of the Roads, Lord of Shipwreck Keep, Occupier of New Providence, 40 Star General, The Greater Lobster Fisherman, Premortem Saint of Epic Ballads, Grand Admiral of Haense, Emancipator of the Scallywags & Sailors, Steward of Breakwater Ruins
Get off Our Lawn 5th of Malin’s Welcome, Year 48 of the Second Age “‘Run trough dem’, but also turn back on dem.” [!] The missive would be posted around Almaris, specific copies of the missive would be sent to Urguan, land of the Dwarves. The reign of terror of the Ferrymen is now a mere memory of those who met our swords, but that does not mean we are vanquished. We lure in the dark, a retirement so call it, until we are brought back into the world to fight once more. A beast in slumber must not be poked, lest you wish to deal with a terminating conclusion. Once we are brought back into the world to serve our mission once more, it is not only Urguan who will suffer but the world. You have attempted to take advantage of our slumber Urguan, kicking us out of lands we were granted by Grand Kings before you. Your greed and stupidity will be your downfall. My terms are simple: You have but two options, the following which you may choose from: Get the **** off of our lawn. Leave our lands alone, our forts alone, and allow us to live peacefully in retirement. OR The nation of Urguan, for as long as I am Captain, will never be able to hire out our services. The nations of Almaris shall once again feel the fear of the Ferrymen. I expect your decision to be swift, a meeting if necessary can be arranged. Pick wisely Urguan, for the fate of the world rests in your hands. Signed, Banjo, The Captain of the Ferrymen, Savior of the Common and Free People, Pillager of Elvenesse, Liberator of Man, The Bringer of Equality, Capturer of the Bastion, Defeater of Racism, Debearder of Grand Kings, Sailor of the Seas, 2x Mr. Almaris, Emperor of the Roads, Heir to Shipman Keep.