Shaintar_Legends Awaken_Rangers at Large

Crimson Crusade: Counterstroke Finale

Furalor is ours

Colonel Wolfhaven, Alexander

Commander of the Legio Heroes

Captured City of Furalor, Camon

Twelfth Day of Falling Ice, Year 3124 Under the Light

It is a new year and it brings great change for the fortunes of my country, my order and myself. I write this letter in the office of the Bishop of Furalor, upon his very desk. A desk once owned by Duke Baravold (of Furalor), before the Church of Archanon relegated his authority. Truth be told, of all the servants of the Prelacy, I have found most favor with the Duke. Even in defeat he has treated well. I detect an undertone of friction between the old secular authority and the church hierarchy.

A division, that might be used? I will leave that to the politicians.

Of the Bishop, I have seen only his scowl from the windows of the Cathedral. Once the city walls were breached and my forces reached the main keep, the city defenses quickly fell. A few pockets held out until the last man, fanatics and Deniers of Death. Those abominations received no quarter, though they were few and far between. Are they too losing favor with the Camonese? Who can say.

Nevertheless, with the keep fallen, most of the troops within the city surrendered. I gave quarter and allowed levies and those citizens from the town to return home after surrendering their arms and standards. No one is allowed to leave the city, but I believe we have little to fear from the citizenry. They seemed almost relieved. As for the captured members of the church, for the large part they are under guard now. A small contingent of half a score managed to retreat to the citadel with the Bishop who fled during our final assault of the keep.

Under his “leadership” they have holed themselves up and have declared that they will sacrifice their lives in the name of their false god. I have the wherewithal to storm the citadel and give them the end they so richly deserve. However, we are liberators, not barbarians and I have given strict orders that, so long as they do not molest our occupation, we will leave them in place. I will not provide martyrs for church propaganda. In truth, there is little they can do. I have mages and siege engines covering them from every angle. They know they are lost.

Far better for them to surrender or, even better, be forced out by order of their church superiors. We can win a far greater victory here with words and strategy than would be lost by mindless bloodshed. Still, I will be most pleased when the Cathedral is cleansed.

As I write this, Rangers and allied troops are making a house to house search throughout the city. My orders are clear. No civilian is to be harassed, no property taken and no liberties are to be infringed. We will treat these men and women as victims of the Prelacy’s oppression. Perhaps our behavior will show them a better way? Likely not. All to often we cannot see beyond our own bias. Still, I will give no cause to hate us if I can.

That said, any who resist or assault our forces is arrested, processed and held for questioning.

I must admit that this is all a strange feeling. From the first skirmish I have done nothing but defend Olara, and the the Ranger Corps, against all threats. Ever have I stood as a shield, always on the defensive. But now, I am a conquering general. I stand upon foreign soil, the occupier. It is…unsettling.

Nevertheless, our cause is just and our assault necessary if we are to save lives and prevent more atrocity.

But now, let me recapture the events which have led up to this.

CrimsonCrusadeConclusion.png

By the 25th of Dark Moons, all forces had assembled at Camp Wolfhaven per my orders. All told, there were approximately 15,000 troops station within the camp.

First to depart was my adjutant, Lt. Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw with just over 2,000 troops. These forces included 1,500 Olarans drawn mostly from Duke Lord Oleph Unger of Stagg, and men from the Manfrieds, Reinharts, and Volstaggs. Of those 1,500 1/3 were cross-bowmen of the Order of the Closed Eye, and 2/3rds foot both dwarf and man. The remaining 500+ included Lt. Hawksclaws personal Free Company of Echer’Naught and about 150 Rangers drawn from across the land commanded by elves from the Crystal Forest. I also dispatched a force of 100 horse of Hammerfall Riders to act as scouts and messengers for his army.

Under orders, their column stepped off just before midnight on the 25th and marched directly to Tarnn arriving on the 28th. Intelligence from an agent Cedruss, a companion of the recent Winter campaign, informed Lt. Hawkslcaw that the besieging Prelacy army had planned large Longest Night celebrations.

On his own direction, Lt. Hawksclaw delayed his own march to strike the Prelacy forces at the Tarnn-Bearheart-Thuls crossroads on the night of the 33rd of Dark Moons as to capitalize on their enemies weakened state.

His assault was successful and their lines were broken. Pressing on over night, by the 1st of Falling Ice, 3124 his advanced forces had engaged the extreme left of the enemy lines around Bearheart. The fight was a brutal open field affair, but through tactical brilliance and the caliber of troop, Lt. Hawksclaw broke the siege and forced the Prelacy force back toward Purity.

Resting for a day and being joined by the remnants of the Bearheart defenders, Lt Hawksclaw was forced to draw up his weary army and repel a counter attack by the enemy forces late on the 2nd. Through sheer determination, our forces managed to hurl back wave after wave of enemy troops. When the sun set upon the field, the Bearheart pass was well and truly ours.

For his troubles, Lt. Hawkslcaw lost 50% casualties (1000 men) of those, 37% (740) dead. Those able to be saved were treated at bearheart, then taken by wagon quickly to Camp Wolfhaven where chirurgeons saved whom they could. Many of those will never serve again, but they may stand proud for the services they rendered there.

A few hours before Lt. Hawksclaw’s force struck the cross-roads, Brevet Captain Panta was leading another force out of Camp Wolfhaven toward Stagg. This was comprised entirely of “cavalry” of various sorts. He led 400 Hammerfall Riders drawn from my own Harken, many from the Hammerfall camp in Echer’Naught. In addition, they rode with about 100 brinchie plainsrunners, 100 Rangers and half a dozen Aevakar scouts.

This force made excellent time over bad roads and arrived south of Stagg by late morning. Going into camp, they rest until just before nightfall. I had ordered a general assault along the entire line from Thuls to Stagg in preparation for our assaults.

Using this fire as cover, Captain Panta’s force punches through the Prelacy lines along the Howling River rode and made a night dash for the bridge crossings at Aladel.

From the reports I have received, they lost no more than a handful to darkness and enemy pickets during their scamper north, though for the great portion of the ride most of the forces lost contact with each other in unfamiliar territory

By dawn on the 2nd of Falling Ice, Captain Panta’s force had arrived at the supply base and stuck the camp before the drunken revelers were even aware of their presence. A small few guards and pickets managed to delay the assault for at time. However, by mid morning, the enemy supplies were in flames, the supply captains under guard and Captain Panta’s men held the west side bridgeheads.

Here I must relay a curious event. Per reports, my men were preparing for a counter attack from the Aladel side of the river when a member of the church’s administrative branch rode out to parlay with Captain Panta. The minister seemed to know the Captain and expressed that his “mistress” was aware or had caused a clerical oversight which would delay any significant response from the Prelacy forces in Aladel. He then rode away.

More surprising, from reports, no attacks were launched against our forces for nearly three days, that being on the 5th and even then the offensive was lackluster. I know not who this Mistress is, nor what game she plays at. No doubt, in the recent unrest in Camon certain forces being to vie for control.

Whatever the case, I do not trust anyone within Camon, save our own forces, have our best interests at heart and so I will use whatever time my enemy affords me but I will not come to rely on such considerations. I will leave it to wiser heads to speculate as to the nature of this unexpected boon. For my part, Captain Panta captured the supply base at Aladel in a little less than two days. And he managed the feat taking only 18% casualties (117) out of his original 650, none being fatal, though a number are missing in action.

With the bridges to the east severed and the pass to the north and west closed to the Prelacy, it was time for our primary objective.

As I made final preparations for my push into Prelacy controlled area, I took advantage of the Echer’Naught Accords to approach visiting dignitaries about a potential alliance in my endeavor. To that end, after the signing, I pulled together the leaders of Eon’Voltuh and Stahlheim and to them, and only them, I revealed the target of my plans: Furalor.

It was then that I asked for their endorsement and their armies.

I admit I was ill prepared for the outpouring of support I received. From King Banrick XIV, I had received a promise of 3,000 of Olaras finest troops, no small force. To lead them, Helt Commanders. Included in this force were 1,000 crossbow of the Order of the Closed Eye and nearly 500 dwarves pledge by King of the Forges Garog Stonecrown. Finer men for which I could not ask. Included, 200 Hammerfalls, the last I had to pledge joined my army. Many of these men I had served with, fought with. I felt confident that with such a force, I could take Furalor, but the price would be staggering.

To this, my allies and good friends added their strength.

From Landra’Feya, my neighbors and friends, came 500 druids and the finest elven archers in the land.

From Stahlheim came 3000 men, consisting of a total of 500 of the elite crossbowmen and 500 of the lizard riders. In addition there were 800 Elite Stahlheim Warriors joining 200 Ironreich Warriors. 200 of Stahlheims strongest Lore Wardens joined the attack. 400 Priests of Dranak came to help provide healing during the siege. 300 Assorted Dwarven Wrights, including 20 of Stahlheims most revered Legendary Wrights that specialize in creating Siege Devices, The Final 300 are Arcane Artificers specialized with Weapon and Armor crafting, 50 Master Artificers are among the Arcane Artificers.
The Ironreich Soldiers were lead by Captain Murvoth of the Stahlheim Army and Captain Rorauk Fyrforg was put in command of 200 of the Elite Warriors. There were two Captains leading the 500 Lizard Riders, three other Captains lead the remaining Elite Warriors, two Captains lead the Elite Crossbowmen, Among the the 200 Lore Wardens has one of their leaders among them, there are two Captains leading the Priests of Dranak, The Artificers and Wrights have also been placed under Rorauk’s Command.

I am also honored to say that 8 Additional War Lizards with a Lizard trainer were sent directly to Echer’Naught to give my city an opportunity to breed and train their own lizards, both for riding and for war. The lizard trainer will stay with the lizards for as long as it takes to teach a few of Echer’Naught’s breeders how to breed and train the Lizards.

Not to be outdone, from Eon’Voltuh Grundy Jarva, the Ogre Captain of the Eon’Voltuh Guard arrived with reinforcements. The Ogre Bloodsoother Grundy Jarva lead the reinforcements disguised in covered wagons as a merchant caravan. Of the Eon’Voltuh troops there were: Brinchie Rogue Warriors 338, Brinchie Plains Runners 113, Dwarf Warriors 293, Dwarf Tinkers 98, Goblin Rogues 270, Goblin Adepts 90, Aevakar Archer Scouts 248, Aevakar Priests of Light 83, Eldakar Sorcerers 225, Eldakar Rogues 75, Orc Warriors 203, Orc Priests 68, Dregordian Warriors 180, Dregordian Adepts 60, Ogre Ex-Slaves 158, Ogre Sorcerers 53, Korindian Wanderers 135, Korindian Druids 45, Alakar Druids 113, Alakar Rangers 38, Human Paladins 68, Human Sorcerers 23, and Various Other Troops 30+.

Though fewer in number, Ranger Outposts from across Olara also contributed forces to the fight. In fact 20 Sun’s Guard militia from my outpost in Sun’s Crossing acted as a contingent of my personal guard.

Even from as far away as Rool, Ud gave 100 warriors while the large town of Erlg sent 300, and along with other gathers a total of 600 Goblinesh marched to my banner under command of Rool Mak Torkash’s daughter Kiska.

All told, my army swelled to more than 10,000 men from half a dozen kingdoms marching under hundres of banners…but all falling the Ranger Standard and my own crest. In all my life, I have never commanded such a force as this. It was a sight to behold and will long be remembered.

With my army broken into three battalions of about 3300 apiece, with 1st Battalion under Sergeant Rorauk of Stahlheim, 2nd Battalion under Grundy Jarva of Eon’Voltuh and 3rd Battalion under Captain Helt, we stepped off to the beat of the drum and a trumpet blast at dawn on the 1st of Falling Ice.

For two weeks I had siege master Whit along with the siege masers of Stahlheim and Eon’Voltuh pouring over the intelligence we had gathered about the enemy fortifications over the past year. With their help, we planned to break through the Prelacy lines just north of Thuls where they had been so roundly defeated months before.

The roads were bad and we did not reach Thuls until the 4th. By this time, the major attacks had died down and both sides were engaged in a low grade exchange of artillery fire. My lieutenants attacks had capitalized upon the enemies inebriation and sloth. My attack utilized their complacency and false sense of security.

As we marched through Thuls, the streets and rootops thronged with crowds cheering as we passed in full review. Upon reaching the north side of town, we formed into ranks, Eon’Voltuh on the right flank, Stahlheim in our center and the Olarans on the left. In perfect order we marched through our own defense and into the open field.

What the Prelacy soldiers thought at that moment, I do not know. I do know that they appeared shocked at the sudden showing of force. I give credit to my foe for realizing their situation swiftly. They poured arclancer fire into us in the vain hope to break up our formations. It was not to be.

We stuck them like a thunderbolt. Though the fighting was intense, our numbers and sheer fury soon won out. Their lines were shattered by nightfall. We pushed on, marching out by morning on the 5th.

The terrain was still thick with snow in some places, but the spring sun had begun to turn the ground to mush. My men marched on, trudging through knee deep muck in some places. To more quickly facilitate the march, I sent the Olarans to the far west following a small road that maps indicated turned back toward Furalor before it reached the Furalor-Bearheart road. The men of Eon’Voltuh I sent by the most eastern route, their road forking to Aladel and Furalor. I rode with the men of Stahlheim and Rorauk as we trudged through the most difficult terrain.

Every so often scouts would encounter pockets of enemy resistance, but our cavalry was able to make swift work of these. It was not until late on the sixth when riders arrived informing me that the Olarans had encountered a significant force of men, presumably on retreat from their loss at Bearheart. I immediately had 1st Battalion turn east to support 3rd. At about the same time, 2nd Battalion also encountered a force retreating from Aladel. Though smaller, the force was still large enough to engage the men of Eon’Voltuh.

The fighting was vicious on all fronts. We fought all night over muddy fields and through small woods. It was hand to hand and bloody. Many good men fell never to rise again. But, mile after mile, we finally pushed them back to Furalor and on the 8th of Falling Ice, we could see the city.

The forces we had been engaging for a day and a half retreated to the city gate to form up with another force of men the city defenders had placed in the field just south of the city. Every town, thorpe and vill had been put to the torch to deny us cover or forage.

I rejoined my army, much depleted after 4 days of constant fighting. Though weary and battle-sore, the army was still ready for a fight.

So far, my plans had worked perfectly. The spring warmth had swollen the Howling River. What 2nd Battalion had encountered were the last of the enemy forces east of Furalor. So too, Lt. Hawksclaw had blocked up the Bearheart pass and we had just beaten the last forces west of the city. Now, only Furalor and her defenders remained.

But the city was not easy nut to crack. Other than the army sitting outside her gates and her stout defenses, the city had been improved with many arcmancer and arcfire devices. We had only the barest reports of those enhancements. This did not also take into account the War and Assault Golems powering up around and within the city. Taking Furalor was going to cost us.

I waited not a moment spending all of the 8th bringing my forces into line and having Whit and the other siege masters assemble the massive siege engines our Ogre porters had been lugging all the way from Camp Wolfhaven.

All night we dug in, set up camps and assembled dozens of massive trebuchet. In the pre-dawn hours of the 9th of Falling Ice, the first huge stones began to fall on Furalor.

My plan was simple. 2nd and 3rd Battalions would form up and commence the attack. I would start with 2nd which would attack until fatigued. As they pulled back, 3rd would launch covering the retreat of 2nd. When 3rd flagged, 2nd would resume the attack. By this method, I would keep constant pressure while not overtaxing any one unit. Meanwhile, 1st Battallion would provide cover for our assembled archers, crossbowmen and mages. I also placed 1st Battalion in position to capitalize on any breaches that appeared in the walls.

From each I withdrew 500 troops to create a reserve for of 1500 men.

To siege master Whit I instructed to find a weak point in the wall and bring it tumbling down. Sergeant Rorauk also dispatched his Lizard Riders around the city to wait for the breech. Their orders were to scale the walls and sweep the defenders from them when our armies made the final assault.

All morning our artillery battered the city walls as our armies hammered their forces in the field. By mid afternoon, we had all but scattered their men outside the walls and master Whit send me a message informing me that he would provide my hole soon. He was a man of his word.

Within the hour, we saw large chunks begin to fall just west of the main gate. By mid afternoon, the top gave way. As the long hours began to bleed into night, a huge section of Furalor’s walls crashed to the ground.

Without hesitation, Sergeant Rorauk blasted a whistle signalling the Lizard Riders and then gave the order to attack and 1st Battallion, led by his Ironreich Warriors under Murvoth, stormed the city. Arcfire rained down upon them as the arclancers turned their fire inward, but they pressed on, slamming into the defenders attempting to seal the breech.

Into this I poured 2nd, then 3rd Battalions. As the defenders began to waver, I sounded the Hammerfall Horn and then I and my knights thundered across the field, over the ramp of rubble, through the hole and shattered the enemy formation.

With Stahlheim’s Lizards on the walls with my brinchie warriors, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions fanning out into the city engaged in heavy, brutal street to street fighting, I led our cavalry straight down the main thoroughfare and right into the enemy keep.

The walls fell so suddenly and our assault happened so quick that the defenders were still trying to fall back to their last bastion when my riders rode over them. The Bishop had only enough time to grab his personal retinue and flee to the Cathedral before the inner defenses fell to my men.

Even though the horrific fighting with the walls continued for nearly a day as we overran the last vestiges of resistance, by the evening of the 10th of Falling Ice, 3124, the city of Furalor was ours.

But is was a costly victory. Costly for my army and for me personally. Alfred, my squire was struck down and very nearly killed. He was rushed upon his shield to the rear still clutching his sword. Thunder, my longtime companion and steed, was gutted by an enemy spear as we cleared the keep. By Archanon’s grace he lives, but it was a close run thing. I was very nearly unmanned in that moment of fear. The last hundred yards I fought on foot with Rorauk and Murvoth at my sides.

Of my initial force of 10,000, I suffered 72% casuatlies (7200). Of those, 15% (5700) may well recover. 15% (1500) will never see their families again.

Here, though, I must speak of conspicuous Valor, for this victory could not have been won without the heroic efforts of so many.

Of my lieutenants, Lt. Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw and Brevet Captain Macha Panta, I reserved the highest admiration for their perseverance, intelligence and leadership. Both men accomplished their given orders with utmost professionalism. All of the Southern Kingdoms owes them a debt of gratitude.

Of Sergeant Rorauk Fyrforg I have not the words to express my admiration and gratitude. He is truly a leader among men, a tribute to his line and an exemplar of the high ideals of Stahlheim. Even now, I pen a letter of recommendation to his uncle, Captain Grant Fyrforg, for his immediate promotion to Lieutenant. I pray he receives this reward.

What can I say of Murvoth, other than I have come to rely upon his I do my right hand. It gladdens my heart that he as agreed to come to my faire city and help me construct a shrine to Celesia, to honor her and those who server the Silver Unicorn.

I trust that all those who have served in this great endeavor would not think it ill that I say without reservation that our victory could not have been achieved with out master Whit, who has a standing invitation to join my Rangers of Echer’Naught and command the city’s siege defense if he should ever seek a change of scenery.

Chumley and Sir Landen stand as titans, braving the worst the enemy has thrown at them and never blinked in the face of it. I count Sir Landen as a friend and to him I oft turn my own security when amid my foes.

From reading reports, I must say that I am deeply impressed by the glowing reports I have received.

Before this task is done, I intend to meet this Kassagore and invite him back with me to Echer’Naught. He served well as Hawksclaw’s adjutant. I see a bright future for him among the Rangers.

Ah, Cedruss. How oft the fates of men turn on the tip of a knife. How many more would have been called to give their all were it not for keen ears and quiet words?

Nessius has proven himself time and again. He stands with Ash and others as my greatest magical resource. We are fortunate to count them among our number.

Shadewhisper and L’Merr, my brinchie. Stealth and power. Had I a hundred of you. Though, I will count it as one of my greatest accomplishment should ever come the day I convince Shade to take the Ranger Green.

Here I must speak of Gratien Lucien Frédéric Lambert Bonné, an Olaran and a Camonese. For his service and gallantry, I will personally see him raised as a knight. A Cavalier of Camon, if one can be found, or to my own order of Hammerfall. I would be honored to call him brother.

These are but a few of the heroes that answered the call and without whom, my plans, as well thought as they were, would have failed.

We have accomplished much, but our task is far from over. I am penning a letter to the Church of Archanon requesting an armistice and a meeting here in Furalor. I have my doubts that they will even respond. Yet, all honor and etiquette must be extended even to men such as they.

Should they refuse, our next step is clear. We have allies in the Northern Gathers and the rains, as mentioned, swell the rivers. I am prepared to send a force through the pass to link up with the recently re-taken Stoon and our forces at Sog. We can cut the bridges to Purity and push further into enemy territory. So too, with our allies in Galea, we can launch a simultaneous attack on Aladel from the west and south. I believe that without much issue we could evict the Prelacy from territories south of the mountain all the way to the Wolf river north of the Crystal Lake.

I imagine the Prelacy is aware of this as well. Perhaps with our recent success we may force their hand. Or not. I am content to push as deeply as I must to end this war once and for all.

In the meantime, I am dispatching my Rangers in groups here and to the occupied Olaran territory north of the Forges to begin a sweep of the countryside. Their orders are very clear. No harm is to come to the citizenry. They are to seek out and detain all church personnel, builders and arcmancers. All arcfire devices are to be gathered up and shipped south for disposal. Any Deniers of Death are to be eliminated on the spot.

Weather permitting, we should have this territory pacified by month’s end, though there will no doubt be resistance from some quarters long after this. Already reinforcements are heading to the Aladel crossing and to the Bearheart pass. It is unlikely our enemy will be able to retake this land in the foreseeable future.

All told casualties for the campaign:
Wounded- 6075
Dead-740+2240

Your most obedient servant,

A. Wolfhaven, Colonel

Captured City of Furalor, Camon

Comments

small correction, Kiska did not attend, Chumley “led” the Rool forces though mainly that consisted of “go that way, kill everything” :)

howardrbrandon howardrbrandon

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