Revision as of 12:43, 16 February 2023 by Rafferty (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Down that Road.jpg
The Brass Coast has lost much; it may loose much more before there is an end in sight.

Desperate Defence

Click for audio version

During the Spring Equinox, Imperial heroes used the Sentinel Gate to travel to Gambit in Kahraman to intercept a force of Jotun Yegarra. Led by Wallis of Sarcombe, the partner of the Yegarra warleader Stephen of Sarcombe, the Yegarra seized the initiative in the area, ultimately smoothing the way to the capture of the town of Rojota. The Empire managed to secure the area long enough for the defenders of the territory, especially the garrison of Fort Braydon, to recover and regroup. While the Lasambrians stole a march on the Empire, the ability of the Corazón raiders to sweep across the territory was greatly limited.

That does not stop them from trying, however. The Corazón focus their attention on attacking wagons transporting mithril from Briante and white granite from Damata, but they don't spare Freeborn paradors and caravans. The garrison of Fort Braydon, supported by some of the local dhomiro, does their best to intercept these raids but even with the advantages secured during the battle at Rojota, it is not enough. But then... something else begins to affect the campaign in Kahraman. Things start to go wrong for the orcs of the Lasambrian Hills - seriously wrong. During the Spring Equinox, a band of Freeborn magicians placed a subtle enchantment over Kahraman; Autumn magic channelled to help the Cinnabar Hills defend themselves against the raiders. Anyone trying to avoid the raiders finds themselves guided to safe paths. Some receive unexpected warnings that a group of thieves is nearby, and are able to take steps to secure themselves and their possessions before the orcs arrive. Misfortune and ill luck plague the Corazón at every turn; their scouts fall afoul of the Fort Braydon garrison, or stumble into the path of a group of kohan, or become confused and take entirely the wrong path on one of the mountain roads. Under normal circumstances, the enchantment would not be potent enough to protect the Great Mine or the Damatian Cliffs, but coupled with the Empire's successes outside Rojota, it completely stymies the Corazón raiders and also ensures that all the mithril and white granite reach the Empire.

Imperial magicians also act to defend Briante and Damata in more concrete ways, summoning magical castles from the Summer Realm rise in the hills in northern Kahraman. These bastions of stone and ice provide safe havens for the tired soldiers of Fort Braydon. They also supply additional garrisons - snow-haired ogres and iron-toothed bearfolk - who fight to preserve the hills where the enchanted fortifications rise.

It is not only the Empire that receives aid from the Summer realm; a legion of elfin warriors under the red-and-gold banners of the Fields of Glory fight alongside the Hierro. While the Lasambrian Jotun largely ignore the magical fortifications in Briante and Damata, these supernatural knights seek out every opportunity to clash with the warriors of Cathan Canae, somewhat blunting their effectiveness in helping the orcs to conquer Kahraman.

With the knights of the Summer realm too busy fighting each other, and the Corazón raids faltering, the responsibility to support the Lasambrian Jotun falls to the Yegarra that fight under the banner of Stephen of Sarcombe. Instead of returning to Bregasland to support Mathilda Fisher, the former Mournfolk remain in Kahraman. Rather than fighting alongside the Hierro or the Escuta, however, the Yegarra warband throws most of its support behind the Corazón raiders. Where the orcs are focused on securing resources for the Lasambrians, Stephen seems driven by a need to find out precisely who was responsible for the death of his beloved Wallis during the Spring Equinox. He has apparently sworn a furious oath that he and his Yegarra will not leave Kahraman until those responsible pay for what they have done.

We must embrace our past; we need never be ashamed of it. The only failure is to accept defeat; we will adapt our strategy and try anew. Nothing is beyond our grasp; not Jade Range, not Braydon's Jasse, not the red hills of Kahraman, not the golden grasses of Segura, and not the azure shores of the Bay of Catazar.

Lefsnir Red-armed, General of the Escuta

At Nestor's Bounty

Despite the citadels, and the Autumn aegis, however, the defenders of Fort Braydon are stretched almost to breaking point. The Lasambrian Jotun consolidate their hold over Gambit, and press east into Jade Range, quickly overwhelming the settlements in the western part of the region. There is very little death - the three Lasambrian armies seem to be going out of their way to reduce the number of casualties they cause in favour of taking land and overwhelming the defenders.

There is one decisive engagement in Jade Range - a pitched battle for control of the largest settlement in the region, Nestor’s Bounty. While the Hierro are at the forefront, and the Corazón spread their raids across the plains, the third army takes a slightly different tack. The Escuta still show signs that up until recently they were an army of the southern Jotun - the story of why it now marches under the phoenix banner of Lasambria is not generally known. But march it does. Led by the mystic Lefsnir Red-armed, the Escuta number among them charismatic godhi, thralls trained in the physick's art, and even a smattering of magicians wise in the ways of healing. While the healers minister to the bodies of their fellow Lasambrian orcs, the godhi minister to their spirits - preaching the Lasambrian interpretation of the seven Virtues and kindling something akin to religious zeal among them. The orcs are fired up with talk of Pride and Courage, and the bonds of Loyalty between the three armies and their allies are tempered and strengthened. They preach of the vital role of Vigilance in understanding an enemy and of how the Wise look for opportunities to employ what they have learned. They talk of the just reward that comes from fighting their enemies, and of the ultimate Ambition to reclaim all the land that once belonged to the Lasambrian forebears.

Their words are powerful, and Nestor's Bounty falls, and the Jade Range is taken, and the exhausted defenders fall back again to Braydon's Jasse.

The good news for the Freeborn is that this new virtuous zeal does nothing to change their attitude to the conquered Freeborn. They seem to still be guided by their particular take on the virtue of Prosperity, and continue to offer their unique version of the more familiar Jotun Choice. Join the Lasambrians; keep their land and their possessions, but agree to accept the conquerors as their rulers, swearing an oath of loyalty, and offering a portion of their wealth to the orcs. Or simply leave, with nothing save the clothes on their backs, a few sentimental keepsakes, and as much food as they can carry. Loyalty or exile, with death reserved only for those courageous few who refuse to choose either way. The steady stream of refugees from Kahraman into Madruga that began after the Winter Solstice soon turns into a flood.

Freeborn Archers.jpg
The Freeborn of the Cinnabar Hills will fight, but there is little they can do alone to quell the zeal of the Lasambrian Jotun.

Look to the Hills

With Jade Range and Gambit both secured, the Lasambrian Jotun turn their attention to the hills and mountains. Some of their allies know the high places of Kahraman well - the orcs that once lived in the passes overlooking Liathaven joined the western orcs some time ago after all. The raids against the Damatian Cliffs and the Great Mines of Briante may have failed to acquire any white granite or mithril, but they have provided valuable scouting information to the orcs. Away from the grasslands, and the best maintained roads, it is no easy matter to travel through Kahraman as the civil service assessment of 382YE pointed out. The caravans that carry Bourse resources from Kahraman to Madruga travel predictable routes, because there are no alternatives, and that leaves them vulnerable.

Worse, perhaps, is the news that the garrison of Fort Braydon is nearing its breaking point. They have been holding off the Lasambrian Jotun for six months now, and the strain is beginning to show. They've fought the Jotun before, of course, but this time something is different. The Lasambrian Jotun have taken the plains - the farms and the villages that support the hill dwelling Freeborn families and the crucial fort in Braydon's Jasse. Replacing those brave soldiers who fall trying to slow the Lasambrian advance is becoming more and more difficult. Emergency supplies are available - from Mournwold, Tassato, and Madruga, but getting them to the defenders of Fort Braydon can prove something of a challenge especially in the face of fast-moving Corazón raiders.

To conquer Kahraman, the Lasambrian Jotun need to capture only one of Braydon's Jasse, Serra Damata, or Serra Briante. The orcs know that, and the defenders of Kahraman know that. They have taken two fifths of the territory without suffering any notable casualties; their main opposition has been weakened by months of fighting a slow retreat back into the hills. Unless something changes, it seems inevitable that Kahraman will fall to the orcs of the Lasambrian Hills.

Game Information

The presence of Fort Braydon, and the two frozen citadels, prevented them pushing into the northern regions this season, but only just. The Lasambrian Jotun now control both Gambit and Jade Range. The control of these two regions has some strategic implications for the Empire - armies travelling to or from Segura will need to do so via Madruga, which may limit their ability to move freely.

The Corazón have been raiding in Kahraman, supported by Stephen of Sarcombe's Mournwold Yegarra. Thanks to the efforts of Imperial heroes during the Spring Equinox, and the Autumn magic placed on the territory during the Spring Equinox, these raids have had limited effect. No personal resources have been impacted, and the Bourse resources have not had their production reduced. This state of affairs is unlikely to continue; the only reason the white granite and mithril remained untouched was the Empire's partial victory during the Spring Equinox - the ritual alone is not enough to prevent the Corazón raiding. Indeed, there is some evidence that under normal circumstances, the Corazón are now much more effective at raiding Bourse materials than they have ever been - perhaps as part of the legacy of whatever it was the Lasambrian Jotun achieved in Segura. If they continue their raids with the same fervour, it is likely they will be able to claim half the production of both the Great Mines and the Damatian Cliffs in the coming season.

One Tree at a Time (Battle)

  • A major conjunction has been identified in Kahraman

There is a major conjunction that will reach Kahraman during the Summer Solstice. The Imperial prognosticators have examined the conjunction and believe it offers two opportunities. A chance to prevent the Lasambrian Jotun making a decisive strike into the northern mountains that will jeopardise the defence of the territory, and a chance to secure an advantage for the Empire if they engage the orcs in Kahraman this season.

Key Objective

  • Open as many of the three crates as possible and destroy the contents to prevent the Lasambrians isolating Braydon's Jasse, Serra Briante, Serra Damate
  • The locks can be picked or opened with the keys which are in the possession of the ghodi
  • Each ghodi has the keys needed to open one crate
  • The more crates the Empire destroys, the fewer regions will be affected

News has reached Fort Braydon that the Lasambrian Jotun forces in Kahraman are on the move. Their plan appears to be to destroy vital bridges and block key roads across Serra Briante. Even before the most recent invasion it has been common knowledge that traveling through the hills of northern Kahraman has become increasingly difficult. This is why the caravans from the Great Mines and the Damatian Cliffs tend to head south along the road past Rojota, rather than simply head east through the hills. The problem of travelling through the hills east-to-west has been a concern for the garrison of Fort Braydon for the last few years, and the Lasasmbrian Jotun plan to capitalize on this weakness.

If they are successful, travel through Serra Damata, Serra Briante, and Braydon's Jasse will be crippled. As a result, armies will struggle to move between Braydon's Jasse and Serra Briante, or between Serra Briante and Serra Damata. This will make it impossible for the invaders to attack more than one of these regions in the same season. However it will also deal a devastating blow to the effectiveness of Fort Braydon - and to any other fortifications in the surrounding area. Any fortification in Serra Briante, Serra Damata or Braydon's Jasse will be able to defend the region it is in, but will not provide any benefit in either of the other two regions. This situation will persist until the Empire is able to commit the time and money needed to repair the roads and bridges - something that will be difficult to do while the territory is under attack.

To enact their scheme the Lasambrian Jotun and their Yegarra allies need a lot of equipment - picks, shovels, spades, ropes, grapples, and the like. These tools are being transported into the hills of Serra Briante to be distributed to the Yeggara and orcs with mining and engineering experience under careful guard. Scouts have reported that the tools and supplies are held in weirwood rune boxes constructed by Jotun artisans. At the moment they are stored in a makeshift fortification in the southern hills of Serra Briante; they are due to be distributed on Sunday morning. Secured with mithril chains and locks, it will prove impossible to simply smash them up within the timeframe of a Sentinel Gate conjunction and moving them is not practical.

If the Military Council wants to foil the Lasambrian plan, they will first need to get the boxes open. The locks might feasibly be picked - although scouts have no idea how difficult that might be. If the Empire wishes to ensure their success, they will need to secure the keys to the padlocks. The keys are among the forces guarding the chests. In a show of mutual loyalty each of the ghodi has the keys to open one crate - a priest - from each of the forces present in Serra Briante. One set of keys is in the hands of the Lasambrian Jotun, one in the hands of the Mournwold Yegarra, and one in the hands of the Jotun orcs of Narkyst. Each ghodi has the keys needed to open one of the crates. Since these ghodi are also bannerbearers, their honour will compel them to remain on the field fighting alongside the troops they support.

There are three runeboxes on the field. If the Empire is able to destroy the contents of even one of them they will prevent the Lasambrian Jotun isolating Braydon's Jasse. If they destroy two, they will prevent the Jotun isolating Serra Briante, and if they destroy all three they will prevent the Jotun isolating any of the hills regions.

The Sarcombe Target

  • Kill Steven of Sarcombe to cause Steven's Yegarra to withdraw from campaign for two seasons and motivate the Mournwold miners to reinforce Fort Braydon for a season

In addition to the obvious threat, there is an opportunity here as well. Stephen of Sarcombe, the leader of the Mournwold yegarra, is present on the battlefield at the heart of his troops. Mad with rage following the death of his beloved Wallis during the Spring Equinox, he and his soldiers will be at the fore of any conflict in Serra Briante. He is a formidable opponent, and while he is full of anger and vengeance he is no fool. If he can be located and killed - he is not an Imperial citizen so capture is impossible - then it will strike a serious blow to his Yegarra. They will appoint a new leader in time, but they won't contribute to the conquest of Kahraman until after the Autumn Equinox.

More importantly perhaps, there are many from Sarcombe who would welcome the death of their town's most notorious resident. If his death can be proved by cutting off his head and delivering it to the Marcher egregore then she will convey word of the traitor's death back to the Mournwold. If that is accomplished, the residents of Sarcombe will demonstrate their thanks by send support to the exhausted defenders of Fort Braydon. This will increase the ability of the Fort to resist the Lasambrians during the coming season - effectively increasing it's strength from 3000 to 5000. Combined with the loss of the Yegarra for a season this could shift the defence of Kahraman decisively in favour of the Empire at least in the months immediately following the Summer Solstice.

Opportunistic Malediction

  • Curse Meketh of the Flames, General of the Corazón army

Finally, there is another potential target on the field. The general of the Corazón army, Meketh of the Flames, has taken personal responsibility on behalf of the Lasambrian Jotun for ensuring that the tools get to their destination. Their fast-moving army. with many raiders adept at moving through dangerous territory, is the perfect choice for distributing the tools and ensuring they are used in exactly the right location. Killing Meketh will have minimal impact on the Jotun armies - the orcs will simply appoint a new general, just as an Imperial army would.

However, the presence of an enemy general offers a magical opportunity. If Meketh can be captured, then a coven of Imperial magicians might be able to use the Law of Dominion to place a curse on the Corazón army. This is likely to be a challenging and risky endeavour - such a curse will need to be formulated by an Imperial magician as an arcane projection and the magical technique of a pronouncement of doom means that there will be only a limited window to deliver such a malediction. The ritual will most likely need to be cast on the battlefield, and must be delivered to Meketh while he is still alive.

Identifying the Enemy Targets

  • Each of the three ghodi will be bearing banners carrying symbols of the Jotun, the Lasambrians and the Yegarra respectively
  • Stephen of Sarcombe and Meketh of the Flames are too proud to hide on the battlefield

One of the key elements for getting the most out of this opportunity will be identifying individuals on the battlefield. Freeborn scouts are doing everything they can to ensure the generals can be briefed with as much information as possible. The fact the three ghodi are banner bearers should make it easy to spot them - they will not abandon their banners for fear of spreading panic in the ranks. Stephen of Sarcombe and Meketh of the Flames likewise should both be identifiable. As leaders of their respective forces they are likely to dress distinctively and to be surrounded by their personal warband. Given what is known of the characters of each antagonist, it is very unlikely they will conceal themselves - quite the contrary. Any kind of credible challenge or insult is likely to get them to reveal themselves.