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  1. {!} In a smoky corner of the Basking Turtle tavern in Beznov, Adria, Ahren Jaeger lay slumped over his usual table, seemingly half-dead. An inordinate number of empty Euler Max bottles lay strewn about the tabletop. Traces of smoke rose from the tip of his quill. This meant only one thing: the siege engineer was writing another essay. Some time later (after taking some herbal remedies and alchemical concoctions for his liver) he would travel around the various realms of Aevos, distributing printed copies of the following essay series to any public library that would accept them. For more centralised discussion, he would also pin a copy in a corner of the Adrian Quest Board along with a blank sheet of paper for people to write feedback on. {!} Right beneath our feet By Ahren Jaeger The Harrower readies his next strike from right under our very feet. Deep below the soil on which we stand, his forces are digging the world’s largest network of underground tunnels. He is likely using them, along with sections of the Aevosian Underdark, to move troops, equipment, and supplies around the continent undetected and unopposed. He and his forces can wreak a lot of havoc with such tunnels at their disposal. The only thing limiting their sheer destructive potential is human imagination. The Harrower’s tunnel network could pose a serious threat to the realms of Aevos if we fail to enact timely and effective plans to neutralise it. I thus urge realm leaders to prepare their troops for tunnel warfare and commence countermining operations as soon as possible. It appears that the Harrower’s forces have already made a lot of construction progress, so it might not be very long until they do something truly terrible. Preface As of the time of this pamphlet series’ publishing, there exists a powerful Darkspawn entity known as the Harrower. He appeared a few decades ago, enthralling the tribes of Ailmere under a wicked curse and enshrouding the northern taiga in a fog of voidal darkness. He still leads his legion of brainwashed Ailmerians in a war of subjugation against the rest of Descendantkind. The Harrower’s forces suffered no few costly defeats some years ago, and have since retreated back to the northern taiga to lick their wounds. But while, on the surface, it might look like they’ve put their campaign on pause, it would be a mistake to assume they’ve been lying dormant. After a skirmish involving the Harrower’s elite Chosen warriors, a concerning map was found on the body of one. This map, which consists of intricate carvings on a stone tablet, suggests the existence of a continent-wide underground tunnel network. It also implies a new, potentially more troublesome phase in the Harrower War. The Harrower War will probably feature quite a lot of tunnel warfare going forward. It isn’t something that happens very often in Aevos. And it’s reasonable to assume most fighters in most realms aren’t very experienced in it. Tunnel warfare requires a very different approach and mindset to more conventional warfare on the surface. So I am writing this pamphlet series to help people understand it better. The main goal of this pamphlet series is to equip the leaders, soldiers, adventurers and prospective combat engineers of Aevos with some basic knowledge of how tunnels are typically used in warfare and some idea of how to go about detecting and countering them. So when the Harrower tries invading our homes from below, at least we won’t be completely blindsided. An introduction to tunnel warfare Table of Contents Part One: Common uses of tunnels Part Two: Detecting tunnelling activities Part Three: Scouting for tunnels Part Four: Destroying tunnels Part Five: Tunnel fighting Part One: Common uses of tunnels The pickaxe and shovel can be more devastating tools of war than any blade or cannon. Descendants have been weaponising tunnels in warfare for thousands of years, and often to decisive effect. They’ve brought down grand fortresses where massed artillery bombardments failed. They’ve empowered rag-tag bands of insurgents to fight much greater armies to a standstill. And more. The mundane hole in the ground can determine, and has determined, the course of entire battles. The utility of tunnels should not be underestimated. This section will go into some detail about a few of the more common military applications of tunnels. In siege warfare, engineers dig tunnels to undermine well-defended and artillery-resistant walls. In guerilla or asymmetric warfare, tunnels can benefit numerically and technically inferior forces as excellent force multipliers. They may dig tunnels to stealthily manoeuvre around an area, allowing them to flank and ambush superior enemy forces. They can also act as hidden bases of operations and as a strong means of area defence. Knowing that these applications exist and why they work will be a good starting point for understanding the potential threat posed by the Harrower’s tunnel network and how to go about dealing with it. Undermining Some walls are so heavily reinforced that they will never topple over no matter how many rocks or cannonballs you lob at them. In these cases, siege engineers can still breach those walls by using an age-old tactic called ‘undermining’. Undermining basically consists of digging a tunnel directly underneath a building’s foundations, building temporary supports to prop up the structure, and then destroying those supports (usually either by burning them away or blowing them up). A combination of gravity and mechanical stress will then cause the building above to fall into the tunnel. The tactic features heavily in sieges, in which walls are its usual target. When the Attacking side undermines a wall section, the resulting collapse often creates a huge breach in the defences through which their troops can assault the interior and eventually overwhelm the Defending side with superior numbers. The Defending side, having just lost their main advantage of fortifications, often surrenders before they get slaughtered. The threat of undermining should be a compelling reason why fortress commanders and city rulers should keep around dedicated teams of engineers and miners in times of war. Oftentimes the only viable ways for them to stop a besieging force from tunnelling under their walls is to either 1) dig a moat deep enough to reach the local water table or 2) build their own underground tunnel or ‘countermine’ to intercept and destroy the enemy’s before they can get too close. How to undermine a wall The basic process of undermining a wall hasn’t changed too radically over the millennia. The besieging side’s engineers figure out exactly how far away the target enemy wall section is, calculate how big a tunnel they need to dig or how much explosive ordnance they need to achieve a breach of a desired size, and then plot a path for their team to dig. Miners then dig into the ground with shovels and pickaxes, deep enough to avoid exposing themselves to enemy fire on the surface, but not so deep as to hit the local water table and end up flooding their entire tunnel. Along the way, carpenters make shorings and supports to hold up the walls and ceilings. The team then sets up these supports, hauls debris to designated dumping areas outside, and keeps careful track of their precise location in relation to the target wall section. When they end up directly underneath the target wall section, they then destroy the supports under it while maintaining a safe distance. This finally collapses the wall. The two most popular methods for initiating the collapse involve the use of fire and explosives. The first method involves simply starting a large fire underneath a target structure to burn away the wooden supports. The second method replaces the slow-burning fire with a gunpowder explosion contained behind a sandbag wall. A small explosion should be sufficient to near-instantly destroy the tunnel’s supports. A larger explosion involving massive amounts of gunpowder can more thoroughly weaken or destroy a structure’s foundations, shake the entire structure at its very core, and potentially achieve even bigger collapses. The effectiveness of undermining compared to artillery bombardment It is perfectly possible to build a wall so thick and shock-absorbent that even cannonballs will bounce off of it, dealing negligible damage. Seeing this, it’s no wonder why the rulers and inhabitants of cities with such walls so often boast of their strength. They may even go as far as to claim their walls are invincible. This is a common folly. For while they can resist artillery bombardment, no land-based structure is completely invulnerable to undermining. At the moment, cannons are the most powerful mundane artillery available to Descendantkind. They launch projectiles at high speeds using the explosively expanding gases of burning gunpowder confined inside and funnelled through a gun barrel. But even their power has its limits. By far, the most common type of cannon ammunition is a solid and somewhat loose-fitting spherical projectile called ‘round shot’ or ‘solid shot’. The destructive power of a cannonball mainly depends on its kinetic energy, which is proportional to its mass and the velocity at which it impacts its target. Basically, the heavier the cannonball and the faster it is flying, the more damage it deals when it finally hits something. Cast iron cannonballs and corned powder have rendered many classical fortress designs practically obsolete, but the combination remains far from a be-all-end-all. Gunpowder can only propel an object so fast. And there also seems to be a soft limit to the weight of ammunition gunpowder is capable of launching at practical ranges and forces. The very largest of siege bombards and mortars on Eos can fire stone or metal projectiles weighing a little more than a metric tonne. While these can utterly obliterate most classical-style curtain walls and castle towers with ease, defense-minded military engineers have innovated many ways to mitigate the effectiveness of artillery. For example: solid shot fired from these same cannons would struggle against the thick and shock-absorbent brick-and-earth walls of a modern bastion fort or Oyashiman ‘shiro’ (castle). Of course, it is possible to make specially crafted ammunition or ‘Craftsman’s Shot’ that depend on more than just the projectile’s kinetic energy. For example, engineers may incorporate explosive charges using low-density boomsteel or blasting potion gas. But these tend to be prohibitively difficult and expensive to manufacture at scale. So militaries generally stick with solid shot for the most part. When even concentrated artillery fire proves lacking, siege engineers must find other ways of achieving a breach. And oftentimes they resort to undermining. Against artillery-resistant walls, simply collapsing tunnels directly beneath them are often what ends up creating the breaches a besieging army needs to finally take a fortress by storm. This is because undermining weaponises the force of gravity and turns a structure’s own mass against it. At least for now, there are very few man-made weapons that can compare. Destroying large structures Various forces constantly act upon the things we build, even when we’re not actively trying to destroy them. To specify a few: Gravity always exerts a downwards force on our buildings and seeks to sink them into the ground. Wind blows against their walls, wobbling taller structures and constantly threatening to knock them over. The materials we make them out of also need to be able to withstand the ever-shifting weight of their moving occupants and the things said occupants put inside them. In areas prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, flooding, and hurricanes, they also need to be specially reinforced with Acts of God in mind. And of course, any building needs to be able to support its own weight so as to not fall apart on its own. One of, if not the most, important contributors to what keeps a building standing is its foundations. Foundations are critical to structural integrity: they bear the structure's load, they safely and more evenly transfer its weight onto the ground, and they stabilise it against horizontal movement. Without good foundations and a solid connection to the ground’s bedrock layer, larger and heavier structures will eventually sink into the soil and crack themselves open without any outside intervention. The job of the foundations becomes more difficult as the mass they must support increases. As a structure is built bigger (and thus heavier), its foundations must be exponentially stronger to support its weight and prevent the entire structure from collapsing. This is because of the Square–Cube Law: if you double the size of, say, a cube, its surface area is quadrupled, and its original volume is multiplied by eight. Essentially, as a structure grows linearly in size, its mass grows exponentially. So the larger a structure is built, the more it will take to keep it standing in the face of the various forces and stresses constantly seeking to displace it. And at some point, enlarging a structure becomes counterproductive; it becomes more prone to collapse as the inherent strength of its constituent building materials (or at least the ones available with our current level of technology) gets pushed to their limits. Undermining basically deletes foundations from the equation. Remove the ground below a target building section, and the only things left to hold it up are its connections to adjacent building sections that are still touching the ground. The entire weight of the undermined section continues acting as a strong downward force. But without any connection to the ground to support it, and the weight of the foundations themselves now heavily contributing, it puts itself and adjacent building sections under extremely high amounts of stress. The bigger and heavier a building, the greater the downwards force it will exert on itself, the greater the stresses it imposes on its own structure and constituent building materials. With larger and heavier structures, like castle or city walls, the inherent material strength of even strong building materials like stone brick often proves to be no substitute for solid foundations. And so, the undermined building section collapses, often taking parts of adjacent sections along with it. Sometimes, this may even start a domino effect that inflicts even more devastation against other parts of the building. Even the grandest of castle keeps, the tallest of city walls, and most imposing of evil villain towers are still very much susceptible (or are perhaps even more vulnerable) to undermining. No matter how strong people believe their walls to be, no one should ever feel complacent. The ground may just open up right under them. Guerilla warfare Tunnels feature prominently in guerilla warfare because it helps insurgents operate out of sight and often out of mind of enemy forces, which tend to be numerically and technically superior. As soon as guerillas get caught in a prolonged engagement or pitched battle, they typically get annihilated. They only manage to survive in the long term by avoiding battle until they find good opportunities to inflict great damage on the enemy while minimising their own losses. To that end, forces finding themselves fighting at a disadvantage often find great utility in tunnels. Tunnels as covert avenues movement Underground tunnels allow guerilla forces to covertly move around fighters, equipment, and supplies without being noticed by enemies on the surface. If guerillas move around on the surface, they risk getting spotted and engaged even if they’re covered head-to-toe in camouflage. However, if the very ground is blocking direct line of sight and muffling sound, an enemy patrol may pass by on the surface completely oblivious to the fact that there’s an entire tunnel system in active use mere metres beneath their feet. When travelling on the surface is too dangerous and risky, tunnels can be a very stealthy and safe way to get from Point A to Point B. This can be exploited both offensively and defensively. Tunnels can enable fighters to covertly outflank their enemies and strike from various and unexpected angles and locations. In raiding operations, a tunnel could let them bypass enemy watchtowers and fortifications, strike targets deep inside enemy territory, and vanish before any large muster can be rallied against them. In the defence of an area, tunnels can be especially useful tools. Tunnels as underground strongholds With tunnels, a military force can maintain a powerful and prolonged presence even deep inside enemy territory while staying hidden. Engineers can expand rudimentary underground tunnels into veritable underground fortresses. Such tunnels may have all sorts of amenities such as sleeping quarters, storerooms, hospitals, training areas, latrines, recreational rooms, deep wells, and kitchens. A tunnel can be expanded so that even large military units can comfortably live within and operate from them for extended periods of time. If a tunnel network is allowed to develop to such great size and complexity, it can become extremely difficult for attackers to dislodge enemies from them. Underground tunnels also give great advantages to its defenders, making them difficult for attackers to clear out. Situated beneath layers of soil and perhaps even solid rock, they are naturally resistant to artillery bombardment and aerial attack. Through the use of trap doors, air locks, water locks, and ventilation pipes, larger and more complex tunnel networks can no longer be destroyed by simply bellowing fire or poison gases into an entrance. The narrow confines of small tunnels also make it easy to funnel intruders into booby traps like punji sticks, venomous animals and insects, and pitfalls. Adding to the difficulty of clearing out such tunnels, fighters who inhabit a tunnel system will likely grow intimately familiar with all its nooks and crannies over time. In defending it, they will use their superior terrain knowledge to their full advantage. It is also common for long-time inhabitants of a tunnel network to run drills simulating defending it in complete darkness. They may train their senses of smell and sound to extremely keen levels, such as to the point they can differentiate friend from foe just by how one moves and breathes around the environment. Attackers will often find themselves taking heavy casualties to traps and ambushes. Besieging a tunnel network and trying to starve out the defenders can also be rendered an ineffective tactic. A tunnel’s occupants may have tunnel sections unknown to the attackers or build entirely new branches leading outside the cordon. These could be used by the defenders for resupply or escape. They could also be used to launch sorties from beyond the cordon, allowing them to strike the attackers from the more exposed rear. When operating in an area where the enemy is known to use tunnels, one should never drop their guard. If such well-developed tunnels are encountered, there is typically no ‘easy’ way to get rid of them. The odds are that troops will need to delve inside and eliminate the tunnel’s inhabitants in hand-to-hand combat. And unfortunately for the attacking side, tunnel fighting tends to be a very brutal and messy affair compared to combat on the surface. Predictions for the Harrower’s strategy With uncontested control of the underground realm, a continent-wide underground tunnel network opens up a whole new world of tactical and strategic possibilities for the Harrower’s legion. It is likely that their new offensive strategy will involve many of the tunnel uses described above. The Harrower’s legion will likely build a number of underground bases. Given their current track record of invading Aevosian lands, any forward operating base they build on the surface outside of Ailmere will probably be destroyed in short order. But if they build their bases underground, they will be a lot more difficult for Aevosian forces to detect and destroy in a timely manner. These bases can be developed into excellent staging areas for offensive campaigns. They can also make hidden supply depots to sustain large forces far away from Ailmere. And even if these bases do get discovered, clearing them out will be easier said than done. This is probably their best bet at projecting power beyond the borders of their enshadowed homeland, at least until they can regain enough strength to capture and hold significant territory on the surface. Tunnels would also enable them to wage asymmetric warfare campaigns within the realms of Aevos. For example: they can attack merchants and travellers on the roads, raid lightly-defended settlements, and ambush troop columns on the march before disappearing back underground. Kidnapping people to create more mind-slaves for the Harrower would also have a higher success rate, as nearby tunnels entrances would be a very convenient means of escape. With escape routes more conveniently close-by, they can muster the confidence to pull off all manner of other shenanigans. With tunnels, the Harrower’s forces could do a massive amount of damage by the time quick response forces arrive to stop them. Undermining will also probably play a key role in sieges. The Harrower’s forces can branch out from their main tunnels and dig upwards to the base of almost any fortification that gives them trouble, should the local terrain permit it. They will probably rely on undermining a fair bit because they seemingly have very limited access to gunpowder. Instead of cannons, they rely on older and weaker siege weapons like trebuchets and onagers. Theoretically, they could match the firepower of siege bombards and mortars by building absurdly large trebuchets capable of launching massive boulders. But such projects would, realistically, be destroyed by fire arrows, sallying forces, or cannonballs long before they can be completed. Alongside the First Zenith’s Portal magics and the Chosens’ Shadow magic teleportation, undermining is one of the few viable means the Harrower’s legion have to deal with the average city wall. Things get even more complicated and unpredictable when you throw magic into the mix. The Harrower is an extradimensional Voidal entity whose powers are continuously growing and expanding. And among his followers – or at least the ones that we currently know of – are a number of powerful sorcerers: he commands Frost Witches, Necromancers, his Shadow Magic-wielding Chosen, and several generals with unique magical abilities such as Portal summoning and Self-cloning. Together, they can probably brainstorm and pull off any number of creative, unexpected, and devastating stunts by pooling their spells and combining them with the utility of tunnels. But rather than theorising what they could do, it would probably be more productive to try and physically shut down their ideas before they have the chance to surprise you. The Harrower’s tunnel network can not be ignored any longer. If the stone tablet map is anything to go by, his legion already made quite a bit of progress. Their tunnel warfare strategy must shut down before it can bear fruit. The more we idle and fail to challenge their campaign preparations, the more we endanger ourselves to the Harrower’s machinations.
  2. 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
  3. THE DEFENCE OF WARSOVIA Description of the unexpected siege, from the point of view of the Defenders of Warsovia C. 1909 [ ♪ ] Depiction of Warsovia It was a sunny day, a day like any other in the mountains on the western border of the Kingdom of Aaun. Lord Jan and Lord Wiktor were just finishing their work when Prince Ottomar von Alstreim came to the castle. Due to exhaustion, Wiktor went to rest while his nephew Jan received the Prince and sat with him by the fire. Count Jan and Prince Otto are close friends, so the conversation between them was quite informal. They talked about everything and nothing, gazing into the dancing flames of the bonfire. When their conversation, as it usually did, descended into the subject of politics towards Petra, which was still at that moment in a state of civil war a sudden sound came from behind the two men. The sound of quick footsteps and as if with a whip Prince Ottomar suffered an axe blow to his black polished armour. "Jan! Look out!" exclaimed the red-haired prince, but in vain, as another blow went Jan's way. After a blow from his attacker, Prince Alstreim miraculously dodged the fire and fell right next to it. He picked himself up and ran at the thug, disarming him. Breathing heavily he offered his hand to Jan to get him up as well "What was that?!" muttered the Prince, fixing his hair. "I have no idea..." said the Lechian Count, equally confused. Their tranquillity did not last long, suddenly a horn sounded and the clatter of feet sounded behind the palisade they were just looking at - dozens of footsteps resounded through the mountain valley. "What is that sound Jan?" asked Ottomar, "I don't know..." Jan repeated once more and shrugged his shoulders before taking out his sword, "Get ready Otto, it's not over.". Little did they know what awaited them. Immediately, siege hooks appeared at the top of the palisade and the ropes to which they were attached tightened. A siege began that neither Warsovia nor Grodno had experienced. The two Lords stood in their armours and with swords in their hands - ready to face their opponents. The first wave of a dozen mountain bandits poured out from behind the palisade, leaping onto the compacted earth one after the other. The two men nodded at each other then went into battle together - slashing, piercing and dismembering their inexperienced opponents. The courtyard filled with bodies after a while of struggle. The Lords emerged victorious from the battle, yet their struggle was far from over. After the first wave of aggressors, a voice resounded: "Lord Ottomar, Lord Jan! We have surrounded the fortress, surrender immediately!" For these two, surrendering to unknown attackers was not an option, so they collectively replied " You will have to take us by force!" - and so it happened, the ropes tightened again, and more hooks came landing not only on the palisade but also on the walls. There was no turning back now. Bandits flooded the courtyard of the ruined Grodno, no longer in tens but hundreds. The fight was fierce, and in the course of it Ottomar disappeared somewhere. Count Jazloviecki managed to get to the castle where he closed the gate and woke up Wiktor. The two kinsmen wearing armour grabbed their bows and arrows and ran as fast as they could to the wall. The Lechians sent arrows into the enormity of their enemies one after another. It didn't do them much good and it was clear from a distance that the invaders had opened the gate and were drawing even more troops inside. In response, John instructed Wiktor "Shoot as many of them as you can, I have to inform the King!" and ran along the wall towards the aviary. The Count wrote two letters as quickly as he could - one to King Charles and one to his soldier Kazimierz, who was staying at Minitz that day - then sent the birds towards Neu Brandthof and the Aaunic capital. Enemies were not diminishing; on the contrary, the crowd seemed to be thickening. Jan joined Wiktor and they defended the castle together for just over an hour before a bird sat on the wall with an answer to one of the letters sent towards the capital. "Hold your ground, we are coming to relieve you, brothers!" ~Brandt Barclay So it was decided, help is on the way. This news gave the Warsovia defenders a boost. Arrows flew from the walls even more frequently - killing even larger swathes of enemies. Unfortunately, the vigour was not endless as Wiktor tapped Jan on the shoulder and said "Kurwa we are out of arrows!". Without a counterattack, the fall of the castle was inevitable - the only salvation was reinforcements from the King and Herzog of Minitz. Suddenly, siege hooks got on the gate and the attackers started to climb up the gatehouse. Unable to face the outnumbered enemy, the two Lechians were forced to flee to a nearby tower where they desperately defended themselves against the onslaught of swords. Then, after a few minutes of fighting the assault seemed to quiet down and a familiar shout came from the gate "REINMAR!". Depiction of Brandt Barclay waiting for an opportunity to break through the enemies to the castle The first reinforcements have arrived - Lord Brandt, heir to Herzog Leon, and Kazimierz, Thane of Warsovia. Jan and Wiktor knew they had to break through to the gate to let their allies inside, so they began a suicidal battle against a mass of opponents. God was with them - opponents in the gatehouse were defeated, and the way to the gate mechanism was free.With the power of their muscles, they set the mechanism in motion and let the two riders in. After a brief conversation, Kazimierz and Brandt joined the defence. They knew that they had to survive until support from the combined Minitz, Adrian and Alstion armies arrive. The sun was already setting and the smell of corpses was in the air. The defenders were exhausted after a long struggle, morale was waning. Suddenly the sound of hooves resounded, it resounded the same way as the footsteps of the opponents a few hours earlier. Kazimierz raised his head and looked out over the wall. His pupils dilated and he exclaimed: "Konni jadą!" then he took a moment to clear his throat and spoke in common once more "They're coming! Herzog Leon, Duke of Adria and King Charles!" Depiction of the Aaunic forces riding to Warsovia's rescue At the sound of hooves, the heads of the opponents turned towards the gate from where a large group of horsemen poured into the courtyard of the ruined castle. Armed with lances, spears and bows - soldiers of the allied armies of Alstions, Minitz and Adria came to save Warsovia from her inevitable defeat. The bandits besieging the gate were forced to retreat to assist their comrades who were being stifled by the fast cavalry, giving the defenders a chance to counterattack. So it happened, Brandt Barclay rose and, catching the bloodied sword in his hand, raised it to the sky "Lechs! Who believes in God - after me!". Wiktor opened the gate but was shot in the arm just moments later and forced to stay on the wall - he fulfilled his duty. Accompanied by Jan and Kazimierz, the young Waldenian fearlessly set off on his enemies. As the defenders poured out of the castle and the cavalry continued their recurrent attacks on the bandits, there were fewer and fewer of them left in the square. The sun was setting lower and lower, and the enemies began to flee in fear. At this point, everything was all but certain - victory belonged to the defenders. Defeating the last enemies, King Charles, Duke Heinrik and Herzog Leon rode up to the tired and bloodied defenders, even wounded Wiktor managed to get out of the castle to greet those to whom he owed his life. "Greetings Lord Jan, sorry for the delay but the Alps don't have the best roads." said his Royal Majesty, Charles Alstion "We came to the rescue as quickly as possible, ja." Herzog Leon added to that. After a brief conversation, from which nothing could be deduced - neither who ordered the bandits to raid, who they were, nor why they had come here in the first place, the army leaders thanked their soldiers and, after a moment's rest, departed back to their own lands. Depiction of the Warsovian battlefield THE SIEGE HAS COME TO AN END A battle like the siege of Warsovia has probably not been seen by any fortified stronghold in the history of Arentania. From that day on, Warsovia had a debt to repay to anyone who abandoned their business and rushed west to help, and anyone who has soiled their sword with the blood of bandit invaders can call themselves a friend of the Jazlovieckis. To commemorate the event, Count Jan ordered the creation of emerald pins for each of the defenders to honour their bravery. The aid given by the Aaunic Lords in the year of our Lord 1909 will live long in the memory of Warsovians...
  4. [!] Letters, printed in the vivid inks of jungle berries and flora, make their way to all corners of Almaris [!] ✦✧―――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――✧✦ To all those who participated in the Siege of the Shattered Skies, In efforts to properly record the whole truth of those brave and honorable actions taken by every living being who fought against the cursed Undead, we invite you to send recollections, details, or even mere snippets of your valiant efforts taken during this glorious Wagh. These missives will be collected for publication and annotation within the next issue of our newspaper in a record breaking epic of an upcoming headline article. Whether warrior, paladin, archer, medic, shaman, citizen, even those of the Dragon-blood or users of the voidal scourges; All are welcome to reply. Of particular interest would be record of our brave allies who fell in battle defending the lives of us all, so they may properly be remembered and welcomed into the stars above wherever their souls might go. And even if you are some still rotting enemy, wishing to let the world know of your continued existence... Kor'garr will spread your name as well, so we can make sure to crush you more permanently next time. Please send responses by bird or contact Kor'garr the Clanless in person at Blarg Nyx (Zero) in the city of San'Velku, Wagh Nation of Krugmar. Thank you all. May Ghorza bless your travels, The Staff of the Kaktuz Weekli. ✦✧―――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――✧✦
  5. The day, that day, would one be burned forever into the Hyspian Princesses mind. It’d haunt her dreams, her waking moments, awakening her as her frightened gaze darted about those first nights since. She’d weep and cry and pray, much like she did the day of the siege. It was still all so fresh. --- Princess Sofia de Pelear, merely fourteen years old, had awoken within her recently renovated tower of the Ciudad de Plata palace. The ministrations of day to day life was had, a Lady-in-Waiting brushing her hair, breakfast being delivered upon the table as she sat with her family, uttering out a prayer before breakfast. It was all so simple. Peaceful in its own way, with its mundane likeness to the young girl. It was simple until it wasn’t. Her father, Viceroy Cesar de Pelear stood tall, strong as he rallied the house guard, this coming shortly after breakfast as he was called from their table. They were to protect Haense, to protect their people and ensure the day was not lost. Her guard, her friend, she’d taken Wyn to the side mere moments before they left for the capital. Teary-eyed and frightened, she peered up at him and with all of her usual demands bleeding into one, and her vulnerability and moment of weakness showed, she’d state with no lack of strength to her tone. “If you die, I will kill you.” And so they marched. Armor, it felt so cold against her skin at first. The pieces a bit too big, fitting not quite right as she’d never donned it in her life. Soon, though, that cold turned suffocating. Sweat beaded. Had she ever sweat before? Had she ever felt that sweltering heat bearing down on her? The soldiers gathered, from many a nation, many a vassal and she could feel her heart thudding frantically in her chest. Thump. Thump. Thump. If she hadn’t known better, she may have thought she was running a fever. Her gauntleted hand clasped at her sisters, that feeling all too strange as she felt Veronicas small hand in her own and as the words of her father came down the line, they were sent to the palace to await what may happen. --- And so they rushed. The jostling and clanking of armor sounding, the heavy breaths and pants as they paused in the grand foyer. Fabric rustled, a medic preparing a med-bay for those injured during the siege and footsteps sounded. The Princess Royal was soon leading them, the woman keeping careful steps as it went round and round deep into the crypts, grip ever so tight against the wall and pews, movements tight due to her pregnancy. They’d made it. Sofia removed her helmet, taking in the stale crypt air with shuddering gasps leaving her as she kept close to her sister, worried for her family and friends undergoing the siege outside. They sat upon a mattress, and the scent of blood soon seeped into the crypts, cloying the air and the stench choking up the space. Many a time, a perfume bottle rose, spritzing the area around them but it’d only help so long. Leathery scents adding to the blood, honeyed scents only highlighting it in turn. Then, the prayers began. Never had she prayed to GOD so much in a day and yet, the prayers spilled out, leading the fellow children within the crypts in prayer as the adults spoke in their own corners, worrying over what was happening above. "Saint Edmond, as our soldiers go into battle today, grant them fortitude and protect them. Pray for God to show mercy to the dead, and that in hoping for victory today, we may win the peace tomorrow.” One after another, it’d come forth, whispered and cried as the thudding booms crashed and rocked the ceiling above. Dust and debris filtered down, and more joined them. The Princess Royal, she’d collapsed against the wall and her water had broken. Medics overwhelmed by the injured above, it was the mothers, mothers who’ve had babies of their own previously that saved the day. They led the woman through her birth, even as the cries and prayers of the people echoed around the crypts. And so a little girl was born amidst dread and disaster. --- A meteor struck soon after. It rocked the palace, delivering destruction and renewing the cries and prayers with a fervor. The Princess Royal seized, and the injured were delivered down below as the scent of blood grew only stronger and the children in the back prayed and pleaded, wishing to be with their parents, to go home, to see another day. And yet, the crypt was not safe. The buzzing of bugs within the walls sounded, echoing and shaking the walls. The Haense gates at the front were overtaken. And evacuation went underway. The previously seizing Princess is carried, her newborn baby lost within the crowd as the girl is brought to safety. Sofia kept her hand in Veronicas, frantic whispers sounding as she feared losing her sister in the now converging crowd. One last prayer was said and they were off. Rushing up the steps with Ser Walton leading the way. Coverings taken from windows, the carpets, a dress to protect from the flames raining down. Feverish pleas and cries coming forth from the evacuees, as they made way for Reinmar. Fire. Fire was the first thing Sofia noticed upon the exit of the palace. It overtook the sky in a terrifying kaleidoscope of burnt oranges and bloody crimsons, almost beautiful in its misery. The plop of something wet was felt as they made their escape. Then another. And another. Blood. Blood rained down on them, drenching those in their escape. But they did escape, they made way to Reinmar, taking refuge within yet another basement. This one was smaller. The press of the bodies were all too tight. The stench of blood, sweat and fear clogging the very air as the children of the group pressed close, frightened they may lose each other in the chaos. More injured are ferried in. News came, as her dear friend Wyn entered, delivering more injured. He was okay. Uninjured. Her father is alive. And then he was gone, back off to fight. And news soon came, of the triumph in the battlefield. The group rushed, pushed as they exited the basement of Reinmar, cries of joy and relief sounding as they poured forth in their effort to go home to Karosgrad. Her family made it. Her friends are alive. She is alive. --- As she went home that night, peeling off bloodied pieces of armor in favor of silken dresses and dinner around the table with her family following a prayer, she knew one thing. She’d never think of it as mundane again.
  6. The March Onwards “This time we will not forget the siege equipment.” - Atandt Irongrinder, remembering the Siege of Mynebor. The cowardly Orenian army has retreated. The road to Southbridge is open. The enemy continues to throw their forces into us, only for them to be defeated time and time again. The Tripartite Accord will avenge those of our brothers and sisters that have fallen. Each soldier should understand that our efforts in this war are unmatched, the Orenian Army quakes thinking of our army. The Pretender, Philip III, wishes not to face us in a traditional battle. Therefore, on orders of the the Tripartite High Command, we do hereby declare the Siege of Southbridge, beginning in this year, 58 of the Second Age. The Pretender and his army will be defeated, justice shall be served. WARCLAIM Wargoal: Conquest of Tile 91 Attackers: The Grand Kingdom of Urguan (Lead) The Kingdom of Haense The Ferryman Band Defenders: Holy Orenian Empire Siege: Southbridge, more details to be decided soon. EDIT: Further details decided and provided below. ((This was done by a very tired man at 1 in the morning, and that man is me, I did it.))
  7. (a similar depiction of what a bridge ballista would look like) Background Lore Several months before war was officially declared on Norland, the Dwarves knew that armed conflict was inevitable. They had the numbers, and the resources to bring to the fight to their enemies, but a seemingly unsurmountable problem stood in their path. The island fortress of The Krag. In preparation of attacking this seemingly impregnable bastille, scores of Dwarven engineers were assigned to develop an efficient means of entry. Experiments ranged from explosives, to catapults, to highly dangerous prototypes of flying machines, but all seemed too expensive, or too inefficient to meet the needs of their current dilemma. That was until, the suggestion was made to think of a redesign of an old favorite, tried and true for hundreds of years. Old blueprints created by Nalro Grayhammer, the greatest ever dwarven engineer where dug up from engineering books within the vault of the great library of Kal’Omith. These blueprints, the first concept of the bridge ballista, were originally made to be used in the siege of the Shadow Castle during the dwarves attack on Oren, however were scrapped for a more simple approach through the use of just bombarding the walls. These blueprints were eventually put into use by the current Master Engineer Ogdan Frostbeard, in preparation for the attack on Norland. Thus the Vath-Kahrkrumm (Wall Attacker) otherwise known as the bridge ballista, was put into production. An incredibly useful, yet fickle machine, it utilizes the same mechanics of an ordinary ballista, but instead of bolts it launches two powerful anchors made of black steel meant to be driven into the stone walls of a mighty fortress. In the wake of these anchors follows a bridge, made of rope and dubiously unsafe and flimsy wooden planks. Although strong enough for several armored dwarves to walk across at a time, the fragile bridge is prone to swaying in high winds, and can be easily broken through by a prepared defender. The reliability of this war machine is low at best, and it is often prone to misfires, or simply not reaching it’s intended target. However, by time constraints and the expertise of Dwarven engineering inspectors, it was deemed ready for battle. In Game Operation Each ballista is mounted on wheels and is mobile, however only has the potential of one shot. Loading it and firing it is the same as a normal ballista, however after it’s first shot has been fired, it cannot be reloaded. If a shot does manage to hit, the siege moderator should worldedit a bridge of appropriate length to the target location. If defenders manage to hit the bridge with a siege weapon, it should be destroyed, and any on it at the time should fall or be damaged once the bridge is removed. Suggested Rolling Stats Perfect: 19-20 With a perfect shot I would suggest that the bridge land right on it’s target, with perhaps only a one block difference of high or low. What a perfect attempt would look like: https://i.gyazo.com/fad9a73a3c1a251c8846651eed7b538e.mp4 Good: 16-18 With a good shot, I would suggest the bridge land within the general area of it’s target, perhaps 3-5 blocks off in any direction, requiring the need to deploy ladders to reach it’s intended location. Fair: 12-15 Although not terribly far off, a fair shot should land somewhere around 6-8 blocks from it’s target. Bad: 9-11 Essentially a miss, this shot will land nowhere near it’s intended target, but may still be useful with a bit of ingenuity. Fail: 1-9 The mechanism fails, causing the bridge to fire down into the trench, or the mechanism fails entirely. What a failed attempt would look like: https://i.gyazo.com/011688bc01bf1b9beaf8c4e9093fbaaf.mp4 What it looks like within minecraft: This lore is not set in stone by any means, and we are open to suggestion for changes that may help this piece get accepted. If any player or LM has an opinion or suggestion to make this happen, please do not hesitate to reply or message us.
  8. Draydon's county leader, lord Dain Hanover, with Baron Greyhame all sit at the main hall enjoying their meal along with the bannermen, then suddenly one of their spies arrives upon his horse. "My Lords, he said while at the same time he catches his breath. I have news about an old enemy of these lands, Invictus company is sharping their swords and cleaning their shields once more, against you my Lords. They might be mercenaries and having contracts but I heard no such thing of a contract against them my Lords." Dain Hanover looks Ulfric at the eye and Ulfric otherwise, then Ulfric Rises his voice towards the Bannermen and Lord Dain. "Men of Draydon County it seems the enemy is planning to attack us, but this time, Ulfric raises his voice louder, I say this time! We will make the first move and make sure this time those savages will end up with no lands! For lord Hanover!” Women and men started to sing war songs. Commander Jason Blade, a man of trustness started to train the bannermen and prepare them for the upcoming siege. Ulfric was honored to lead the assault and the rewards were told to be big and mighty. The blacksmiths started smithing swords and armour. The Craftsmen started to craft bows and arrows, the bannermen where finnaly ready for the assault. OOC: WARCLAIM Type of Battle Siege (Battle via Land) Time & Date Tuesday 30th (4pm est) Manpower Attackers: Hanovers+ Allies Defenders: Invictus+ Allies Location and Boundaries: At their castle called Kythera and around their town. ((Sorry for the color mistakes and line number, its my first warclaim, thanks. ALL ALLIES AND OF HANOVERS MEET UP AT KAROVIA ONE HOUR BEFORE THE BATTLE, THANKS!))
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