The Ji'Ardan clan was a wealthy family originally from another faraway land. Kel-Jadoni was the father and the head of household when they first emigrated to Rrerat. Having already lived a life too filled with adventure, he was looking to settle down, and Rrerat seemed about the most peaceful place he'd ever seen. He retired in the Red Blade Keep, and looked forward to the day when Abek, his first born son would take over the job of running the realm.
Unfortunately, Rrerat was a little too peaceful for Abek, an ambitious young man who decided to leave the safety and comfort of his family home for wild adventure in the land of Dwilight, one of the most dangerous realms in the whole world.
This left his second true-born child, Eva his one and only heir. Eva was similar to Abek, in that she was also ambitious, but where Abek saw a quiet land, Eva discovered otherwise, when she decided to become a Knight of Coralynth. Though her father was reluctant to have his precious daughter be put in harms way, he raised his children to be strong and independent minded, so there was no persuading her otherwise, once she made up her mind.
His second son, Gideone, who'd grown up reading the letters of his older brother's exploits in Dwilight, the moment he came of age, he knew his destiny would be to travel even farther than his older brother, to the most ancient lands in the world known as the East Island. He joined the Elven Republic of Sirion and after settling some personality conflicts with the brash former Judge of Sirion, Duke Erik, won election as Baron of Csopa.
His third son, Vylmyre was chosen to represent the family name on the South Island. He was raised as a stout and firm believer in Sartan, and thus faced religious persecution at the fanatic and fascist theocracy of Sandalak, which only allowed the worship of their king, the ignominious Kurlock. He wandered the continent for some time before finally finding a home in the realm of Taselak.
Abek's first son, Keljon (named after his grandfather Kel-Jadoni) recently came of age, and at age 17 became the newest member of the family to become a knight. He elected to stay in Coralynth rather than follow in his father's footsteps of exploring out on his own, due to the dark times Coralynth had fallen under. Though very young, he's already won several victories in battle, and was recently made a Lord of Coralynth.
There is at least one son of questionable birth, named Pyr, but Kel-Jadoni does not ever speak of him, and he is banned from the family estates. Neither Eva nor Abek know the mystery behind it.
After Eva became Queen of Coralynth, she was eventually able to convince her father to move into a beautiful new mansion she had built in Enlod especially for him, so she could once again have her father and her family close by.
- 1 Eva Ji'Ardan
- 1.1 Units Commanded
- 1.2 Notable Moments
- 2 Abek Ji'Ardan
- 2.1 Units Commanded
- 2.2 Notable Moments
- 3 Gideone Ji'Ardan
- 4 Vylmyre Ji'Ardan
- 5 Keljon Ji'Ardan
- 6 Bastards
Queen Eva Ji'Ardan, Duchess of the Dark Isle, and Margravine of Enlod, Archbishop of The Church of Sartan, is the second eldest daughter in the Ji'Ardan family. She is a mature women not yet in her forties, she still retains much of her youthful beauty. She is a strong and fearless leader, with a bright sense of humor (sometimes lost on all the brooding men she is surrounded by). More than a couple men have tried to court her, but none have succeeded. She is regularly found in full armor and practicing her swordsmanship, and is not above mingling with her men when they are not in the field.
Red Blade Spears
Her infantry unit, originally called the Red Blade Elites, were reformed as the Red Blade Spears. So called for the red wash their swords and spears are painted with right before they enter combat. Their captain goes by the name Klaus. They can be devastatingly aggressive in combat (if their equipment isn't falling apart!) Eva readily acknowledges that the exemplary performance of the Red Blades in combat is part of what got her noticed for the position of Marshal of the Shield.
In a particularly long and grueling campaign in the far southern reaches of the continent, she lost the Red Blade Spears to a savage ambush by a large group of monsters. She only barely escaped with her life, but her captain and all her men were slain. When she made it back to the capital, she decided to retire the Red Blade Spears name in honor of the brave soldiers who had given their lives for her and her King.
The infantry unit Eva commanded next as Lady Protector. They never gained quite as much battle experience has her original Red Blade Spears, but what they lacked for in experience, she more than made up for as a capable commander. She ran a rigorous training schedule with her men and forged them into a single fighting unit. They fought and distinguished themselves in the last battle against the Sun'Sera. Once Lady Eva became Queen, she retired the unit in Enlod to defend the city.
Coralynth had been without a cavalry unit for sometime, so once Eva was elected Queen of Coralynth, she could finally afford the exorbitant costs of maintaining a cavalry. The Royal Dragoons' captain is a man by the name of Heimar, who's skill and talent with horse is impressive. More than a couple of their numbers were recruited by Queen Eva herself while travelling throughout the Far East, by her growing reputation as a hero. They are fearless in combat and are eager to charge at any opponent they meet in battle.
The Royal Dragoons were almost completely wiped out in a disastrous battle against Ohnar West in Nbasah. The surviving members of the Dragoons have since been retired as an honored guard in the capital of Enlod.
After the defeat at the hands of Ohnar West in Nbasah, Queen Eva decided to recruit a new infantry unit. She found the best men in the Dark Isle and named them her Queensguard, led by Captain Valdred. Much of the original soldiers in the unit were stationed throughout the Dark Isle as militia.
When Coralynth entered a period of stability and peace. Eva decided to recruit another cavalry unit. Led by Captain Burgolf, their training regimen was extremely intense. So far they have only fought against monsters and undead that occasionally appear. They are eager to experience the thrill of battle.
Assault of Sasrhas
Viscountess Eva Ji'Ardan, Marshal of the Shield of Coralynth, stood tall, her long hair billowing out from under her helm. The morning sun was slowly illuminating the top of the fortress walls of the capital city of Ohnar West, while a massive host gathered in the surrounding fields. Her King within eyeshot, surrounded by nearly 900 soldiers of the Dark Isle and almost 2600 soldiers from all across the entire Far East.
She smiled inwardly, remembering the first and last time Lady Eva had ever visited Sasrhas was when she had first arrived in the Far East as a Knight. She had no idea that Ohnar West was an enemy of Coralynth and that travel there was forbidden to all Dark Islanders.
Now she was back, and while she'd been impressed with the city before, now the walls looked a little taller, more sinister. She was here to lead her army up those walls and slaughter the dragon cultists where they lived. Her god Sartan demanded it, and it was far overdue. The Ohnarians had offended too many, committed too many acts of sacrilege, made too many enemies. Sartan wanted the blood of their Taikun Ingall Altenahr, a name that sounded alien on her lips, and she would take it and offer it to him.
As soon as the sun had risen, the order was given to attack. A large line of infantry brought up nearly 60 siege engines to the tall fortress walls, while massive wave after wave of arrows flew over their heads.
She led her unit the Red Blade Spears up the ladders to the top of the wall. They met up with the North Wall Watch, a militia unit of the city. It was a bloody mess, five of her men were cut down and they were able to throw down the ladder. The viscountess gathered her men, they reset the ladder and they charged up the tall walls again. It would take more than a few lucky hits from a militia to keep her out.
The Ohnarians had managed to damage or destroy 10 of the siege engines, but it wasn't enough. More and more men kept flooding over the walls and through large holes that had been knocked down in several places. She felt the God of War was smiling down upon them all.
When she reached the top of the wall this time it was the Night Watch Macemen militia unit meeting the Red Blade Spears, and this time she was prepared for them. Two more of her men died in the melee, but the militia unit lost almost ten of their macemen.
They were now able to move into the city and attack at will. They met their first actual soldiers of the Ohnarian army, the unit called Last Shadow. She looked to identify the leader of the unit and the normally completely composed Eva's mouth literally dropped open. It was none other than the Taikun himself, there in the flesh. She felt a wave of energy flow over her that she could only imagine was the hand of Sartan himself guiding her right to her offering.
She drew her sword and led her men straight towards the Ohnarian king. Swords and spears clashed against armor and pierced flesh. The king looked at her with utter contempt.
Her men were falling to her left and right, if it were any other target she might have considered pulling back. She finally got within striking distance of the Taikun, his magnificent and legendary magic black war hammer glimmering evilly in the morning light, rising up to strike down the Marshal of the Shield. She tried to step out of the way of the blow and only barely managed it.
In the scuffle, someone on the Ohnarian side stepped in a pool of Coralynth blood, and slipped-- right into the leg of the Taikun. He stumbled and for a moment his guard was lowered, again she felt the hand of Sartan guiding her sword between the plates of armor protecting the king of Ohnar West. She saw his eyes go wide in surprise, and then he stopped moving. She pulled her sword out of the monarch, it was now dark and wet with his blood. His surviving men pulled their king away from the combat.
Before they could decide where to attack next another unit of the Dragon army approached, Dragon in the Sun led by Knight Wilhelm Altenahr of Attlel. Overflowing with adrenaline, the Red Blade Spears charged right into the enemy, and this time it was the dragon warriors falling left and right. Knight Attlel fell to her captain's sword, Klaus was sporting the largest grin she had ever seen the normally dour man display. Without their commander, the Dragon in the Sun fled before her men.
At this point there were so many soldiers inside the city, that she had trouble finding more Ohnarians to offer to Sartan. Almost at the same time, the Ohnarians realized they were now massively outnumbered and no longer protected by their high fortress walls. They fled the field in droves, the battle won.
Eva Enters the Capital As Queen
As Eva Ji'Ardan travelled the last mile of the King's Road leading to Enlod, she looked upon the capital and its high walls surrounding the city. Suddenly the realization was clear: this was now her home. She had lived all her life in Rrerat, so close to the capital, yet so completely different. Rrerat was a quiet, humble, pastoral place, with only the Red Blade Keep and the Temple of Sartan to indicate the power and wealth of Coralynth. Enlod was the opposite, busy, crowded, bustling, the markets, the academies, the various men at arms converging from all over the Dark Isle looking for employment in the armed companies of a knight or lord.
There was a crowd of people flooding around Rrerat Gate, waiting to catch a look at their new Queen. Surrounded by her Redspears infantry company, she led them towards the gate. As Marshal and Lady Protector of the realm, she was wearing good quality armor made by Enlod's finest blacksmiths, but it was still more functional than ornate, so she really didn't look all that much different than the men around her, (certainly she looked more like another road weary soldier rather than a Queen just yet) and so the crowds weren't entirely sure who it was that was approaching.
Suddenly, much to her surprise, her men all shouted in unison, "All Hail Queen Eva! Long Live the Queen!" Which caused the curious and twittering crowds around the gate to errupt into cheers and shouts of joy, as they passed through the gates to the crowds shouting "Long Live the Queen!" Eva not accustomed to being the recipient of such an outpouring of affection, blushed profusely, tried valiantly to maintain her composure while waving at the people shouting her name.
As they moved away from the gate, they left some of the crowds behind. If it ever got too quiet, her men would shout "All Hail Queen Eva!" and start the whole cycle over again. Fortunately the trip from the gate to the palace was not very long, and soon she was in the security and comforts of the palace. It was difficult not to think of this marvelous beautiful home as still belonging to King Azgath, she knew he would cast a long shadow on her rule.
While all the official administrative paperwork had been signed and notarized a day ago, Eva still felt it was important to have a coronation ceremony. She was only the second monarch to rule in the history of Coralynth, and Enlod had just gone through some hard times, and so the Queen felt a little celebration was in order.
She summoned her ministers and advisors to the throne room and issued her first official command as Queen of Coralynth, "Tomorrow there will be an official coronation ceremony, followed by a festival to be held throughout the city. Make preparations, and send the criers out to inform the people!"
An Adventurer is Summoned to Appear before the Queen
You are sitting comfortably in a small alehouse on the outskirts of Enlod. You ask for wine and are given queer looks by the barkeep, who nevertheless pulls out a dusty bottle and pours the dark liquid into a stein. As far as cities go, Enlod is one of the most pleasant places in all of the Far East. The food and drink is plentiful and quite affordable. The conversational chatter of the busy alehouse is genuinely positive. Listening in on several conversations nearby, you hear nothing but praise and blessings for the recently elected Queen.
As you finish your first glass and are about to ask for a second, the door to the alehouse opens and a tall imposing figure is revealed in the doorway. You can tell by the way he is dressed that he is a figure of some importance. His armor is weathered and has many scratches and dents all over it, but there are medals of various sizes and shapes affixed to the cape that drapes over his left shoulder.
He enters the alehouse and walks towards you, "Mr. Althalos, I am known as Heimar, captain of the queen's Royal Dragoon cavalry." Your eyes drift to the long sword hanging from his belt, "I am to bring you to her majesty, and ensure you arrive safely and unmolested."
You walk outside and see a small squad of six soldiers all bearing the markings and colors of the City Guard. They escort you across town toward the palace, led by Captain Heimar. There was a small commotion in the marketplace when a drunken peasant stumbled a little too close to your armed escort. Six swords were immediately drawn, and the surrounding buzz of the market immediately quieted down to a whisper. The peasant seeing six very sharp swords pointed in his direction quickly sobered up, and while bowing apologies ran backwards in the opposite direction.
You finally reach the palace, the guards standing outside the main portcullis immediately snap to a sharp salute upon spotting the approach of Captain Heimar. He escorts you through the winding passages and long halls until you arrive in the throne room itself. You hear your name announced throughout the court, "Mister Althalos!" The captain leads you through the throngs of people to the queen herself, sitting on the wooden throne, ornately decorated in silver and gold and various gems of many colors.
The Queen of Coralynth is quite beautiful, and would steal the breath of most any man. Her long dark flowing hair framed her piercing dark eyes. While she could easily be intimidating, being surrounded by the grand accouterments of her office, her smile was genuine and friendly and when she spoke a twinkle of joy could often be found behind her eyes. A large ornate sword rested across her lap.
The queen finally addresses you directly, "Mister Athalos, please recount for us the story by which you came upon this fabulous treasure!"
A Young Rider Seeks to Join the Royal Dragoons
Unotosa marked the northern reach of the great Empire of Arcaea, which spanned nearly 650 miles south, all the way to Idapur. Queen Eva quietly traveled west through the countryside with her Royal Dragoon riders, her four knights and their commands of archers and infantry. The rolling coastal lands were dotted with small fishing villages and shops catering to traders, but much of the land was empty of any settlements.
She conversed with her young knights: Mathias, Marche, Rolf and Wolfgang, who rode alongside their queen. She recounted for them some of the long history of these lands. How a legendary empire named Arachon once ruled here, before Sartania came and conquered it, and nearly defeated Arcaea then, as well. Sartania finally fell, and Arcaea and Arachon fought over what remained.
Arcaea grew into the great empire we know today, and marched north into the Dark Isle to defeat Arachon, leaving the island in a barbaric state. King Azgath broke away from Arcaea to found Coralynth, and then bent the knee to the Emperor and signed a treaty with the great empire to secure the future of our realm for all time. These were the same stories that her father told her when she was growing up. When she had finished recounting the histories of the area, a lone rider approached the company.
"Halt!" Captain Heimar, the queen's captain shouted. "You approach her majesty, Queen Eva Ji'Ardan of Coralynth, Lady Protector, Duchess of the Dark Isle, Margravine of Enlod, and Marshal of the Shield. State your business!"
"Sirs and your majesty, word has spread across the land that the hero Queen Eva was in Unotasa, and I knew that this was likely to be my only chance!" The rider was young, but sturdy for his age, and he carried a spear and a sword was attached to his belt. She could see the man's mount was a good breed as well.
"Your only chance to what?" Captain Heimar asked sharply. He was agitated that as his queen became more and more popular, a large part of his daily job was to keep the many suitors and so-called lotharios at bay.
The young man jumped down off his horse. Drawing his sword from the sheathe, he fell to one knee while holding the sword in the air over his head. "I pledge my sword to you, your majesty! Let me join your Royal Dragoons and prove myself a worthy recruit!"
Queen Eva looked at the man and smiled briefly, "If you can stay on your horse for longer than one minute against any one of my men, I will take you with us." The rider quickly jumped back on his mount. Captain Heimar barked orders to one of the queen's riders who came up to meet the stranger.
They faced off, the stranger and the horseman. The soldier was not impressed, he drew his sword and the two hacked back and forth at each other, while on their mounts. It was a duel, but not to the death, the goal was to unseat their opponent. Finally, the Royal Dragoon rider's skill and training caught the young man off balance, and he slid over the backside of his mount.
"Hah! Your minute is not even up yet and already you're off your..." the captain stopped speaking. While he was no longer on top of his horse, neither was the young man in the dirt. With all his strength, he was clinging to the saddle, still hovering inches above the ground.
At such a ridiculous sight the Queen allowed herself a laugh, and a smattering of chuckles could be heard throughout the rest of her company. "Captain?"
"Yes, your majesty!"
"I'm quite sure the young man's tenacious spirit has won the day," at which point the young man's spirits soared into the clouds. "I'd be proud to count him as one of my riders."
"Yes, your majesty!" The Captain turned to the rider, "Fall in with the other Dragoons in the rear! We will get you proper armor and attire when we return to Enlod. Until then, you will have a lot of hard training to do to earn your place here, keep your mouth shut and your eyes open!"
They continued on to Athios, their company now enlarged by one very happy rider who had just become the queen's newest cavalryman.
Eva Moves Her Family Home
Kel-Jadoni, the patriarch of Ji'Ardan family had raised his daughter to become a great woman, but never considered that once she became a great woman, it would become more and more impossible to refuse her.
The family home had been located in Rrerat for almost 40 years, ever since Kel-Jadoni first arrived in the Far East. His eldest son had moved away to become a great general in the far away land of Dwilight, and his daughter had risen up to become the second ruler of Coralynth.
Once Eva moved to Enlod to take her rightful place on the royal throne, the pressure had grown ever more to move the family home to Enlod as well, so the family would once again be reunited. Unfortunately Kel-Jadoni was now an old man (and more than a little bit stubborn), and the idea of moving away from the pastoral beauty of Rrerat into the hustle and bustle of a noisy city was not something that appealed to him at all.
"I don't care how much nicer or bigger our new home is. I like the peace and quiet of Rrerat... and the great fishing to be had along the Silver Shores," her father was in a particularly grumpy mood today.
Eva had almost endless patience for her father though, as they were very close, "I told you, I built this new mansion just for you. It's located in the quietest part of the city. And if you enjoy fishing so much, I will have a small lake dredged and filled with water, and stocked with fish so that you can fish anytime you want."
Kel-Jadoni snorted in discontent. It was hard to argue with his daughter when she would undoubtedly do whatever it took to please him, except for allowing him to stay in Rrerat, of course.
As soon as the new mansion was completed, she had a large group of movers load up all the family belongings and move them into their new home. Her mother supervised the workers, while she and her father walked around the outer grounds of the house. There was a small team of gardeners slowly turning a flat square of soil into what would eventually become a remarkable garden.
"Well, if it's not too expensive, a small lake over in that area would be very nice," her father admitted. She gave him a long hug and a quiet laugh, knowing she had finally won him over, something she had been doing since she was a little girl.
Duke Abek Ji'Ardan, Strategos of Astrum, Duke of Unterwald, Margrave of Unterstrom, Knight Crusader of Sanguis Astroism is a serious and stern man, but also willing to give someone a second chance. He does not chase a fight but will not turn away if a fight is called for. His eyes glitter with intelligence, and though he came to Sanguis Astroism as a late convert, he's come to believe that the Blood Stars do shine on his future and his fellow citizens. Some may call him suspicious or paranoid, but for those who fall under his suspicion, a traitor in fact is often uncovered.
Abek first gained notoriety as an up and coming commander of the Whitebow archery unit that distinguished itself with many victories despite some overwhelming odds. He first stepped into the spotlight with a battlefield promotion to Vice Marshal of the Defenders of the Blood Stars army right before a huge battle was to commence, while the Marshal was away under special orders from the Strategos. The Marshal ended up becoming the next Strategos, and as Abek had proven himself heroic and victorious in battle, he was the natural pick for the position of Marshal. As Marshal there was some friction with the Strategos at the time, due to differing styles of communication and leadership.
Once again the Strategos position became vacant during the troubling times of the False Prophet of Sanguis Astroism. Abek was finally in a position to run for election to the position of Strategos, the top general of all of Astrum's armed forces. He won the election handily with a large majority of the votes cast for his name. Unfortunately, the almost non-stop previous wars that Astrum had been embroiled in had left it's armed forces in shambles... and then arrived the monster hordes.
Astrum was forced to abandon its northern and western regions, just as its ally Corsanctum was failing as a state. Asylon, the enemy of Astrum had already invaded the poisoned Corsanctum and was attempting to carve out a refuge from the same monster hordes that Astrum was fleeing. Corsanctum and Astrum merged and together, with the forces of the Morek Empire, they repelled the Asylonian invaders once and for all.
Abek oversaw the conquering and settling of all the lands that were once Corsanctum, and secured them for the now resurgent Astrum. As a reward for his great service, the Vasilif made Abek the Margrave of Unterstrom and the Duke of Unterwald. He retired from the position of Marshal of the Austere Order to focus on running his duchy and performing his duties as Strategos.
An archery unit, noted for their deadly accuracy. Their bows are either painted white or made from a light colored wood, and the fletchings in their arrows are a crisp bright white as well, so they can be seen from quite a great distance. Their captain goes by the name Axelbrand, whom Abek trusts and confides in completely. When Abek is called to lead the Defenders of the Bloodstars as Vice-Marshal, he leaves the command of the Whitebows to his captain. Very few units can withstand a fully volley of arrows from the Whitebows and not be utterly wiped out.
When the Whitebows were slain during the War with Asylon & Niselur, Abek retired the name Whitebows in honor of his fallen soldiers. His new unit he called the Blackbows, and as the Marshal of the Austere Order and Strategos of Astrum, they saw continuous combat for quite a long time, and remained a core part of Astrum's offensive and defensive capabilities. The Blackbows, in honor of their long and distinguished service to Abek, were retired as a militia in the city of Unterstrom.
Ivory Heavy Lance
Ever since the Vasilif had retired his cavalry for archers before the fall of Eidulb, Astrum had lacked a strong cavalry. When Abek was made Lord of Unterstrom, he would finally have enough income to recruit and command a cavalry unit himself. Drawing mostly upon the Unterstrom Raiders recruitment center, he established the Ivory Heavy Lance as the premiere cavalry force in Astrum, with the assistance of horse master Captain Anshelm. The cavalry proved costly and difficult to transport on ships. Most were slaughtered when they were outnumbered by monsters in the Desert of Silouettes.
The current archery unit commanded by Duke Abek, they are lead by Captain Heinman. As Duke, Abek had no shortage of funds and spared no expense recruiting the finest archers in Astrum and training them without mercy. As Strategos of Astrum, he has been in the position of needing to leave a portion of his archers as a garrison in various regions to protect the land from marauders. He often carries far more archers than he needs to ensure that he has this capacity. They have only been in combat against the Lurians and were soundly victorious.
Becoming Vice-Marshall Right Before a Big Battle
Abek was relaxing comfortably with his unit near his command tent. They were celebrating their recent battle in Knyazes. It had been the Whitebows' first battle in a raging storm. All their advisers had said that their archers would be worthless.
"Tell that to Knight Batugan!" and the men laughed. The Farronite commander had left the battle field with their white-fletched arrows buried in his body.
Captain Axelbrand ran up to Abek ending their brief moment of light campfire banter.
"Sir, this just came in! Marshal Turin is in Sabadell. Duke Brance has just named you the new vice-marshal for the Defenders of the Bloodstars," the captain said to everyone, their faces slack-jawed, including Count Abek.
Abek responded, shocked, "He did what?" His men were shouting and clapping and celebrating the news. Abek and Axelbrand locked eyes and exchanged a grim silence.
He pulled his captain to the side and spoke quietly but quickly, "We need to get up to speed as quickly as possible. While I have command of our army, I will be depending on you to ensure the Whitebows continue to perform as we have both come to expect."
"Of course, Vice-Marshal," he said with a smile. He had always liked his Lord. Fearless in combat, friendly and approachable to his men, he had earned his Lord's trust and respect and would die for him without hesitation if it came to that.
"Dispatch a letter to the Lord Strategos, I need to know what our orders..." Count Abek began as a scout ran up to him and saluted.
A breathless scout interrupted, "Lord Abek, the Farronite peasants have formed a militia and are blocking our movement into the village!"
Abek looked over the reports of the "enemy" forces, "Grim work putting down peasants, but the Defenders will not be turned away." At least he could breathe a sigh of relief knowing that his first command would almost certainly be a success.
He dispatched runners to all the other unit commanders, ordering them into the "Archer Opening" formation, of course.
Once the battle was over, Count Abek pulled a flask from within his tent and shared a good stiff drink with his Captain. Reminiscing about days long past when, as a young knight, he had travelled back and forth across these peaceful lands in search of any way to earn a name for himself, and often arriving after the battle was over.
"Now we were at war against three enemies, above and below, and I'm in command of one of the largest armies in all the land," they both took another drink from the flask. These were certainly interesting times.
"It's time we talk to the Lord Strategos," his captain nodded and pulled out his quill and ink and began scrawling on a piece of parchment...
Realizing the Depths of Farronite Insanity
Finally, the last Farronite banner fell, splattered in blood, defeated. Their echoing screams could still be heard throughout the entire bailey.
A nasty ugly battle, that revealed one thing to Count Abek's mind: the Farronites were a lost cause. He had once believed that the Asylons had somehow tricked or bribed corrupt officials in the Farronite Republic in order to convince the rest to turn on Astrum, but even if it were true, it no longer mattered. The Farronites had thrown their lot in with Asylon completely, and whatever ties Astrum and the Farronite Republic had once shared, whatever hope there had been for them to come to their senses had died along with the 1500 soldiers of both sides on the walls of Farrowfield, a tragic unnecessary slaughter.
He could still hear the mocking laughter of the Farronite nobility in reply to his offer to spare the slaughter of their own countrymen. What kind of person laughs in the face of their own doom? Clearly, whatever light the Bloodstars shone within these heretics had long gone out, in its place a diseased flesh that seemed human but was not.
There was nothing to do but reap the diseased flesh of these lost heretics off the body of the Church, and pray to the Bloodstars that when all was finished, the Church would be stronger for this struggle.
A Plea for Unity in Dark Times
Abek wrote this letter to all his countrymen in an attempt to calm the division that was starting to splinter his people apart:
Honored and Noble members of Sanguis Astroism,
Let this be a warning to all: The maddening is bright. The cataclysm our world is going through, as well as the recent trauma from the false prophet (now utterly revealed to be a permanent enemy of the Church and all the true theocracies) has left us all vulnerable. Do not let your fears overwhelm you, nor prevent you from no longer being able to tell friend from foe.
We are only as strong as we STAND STRONG TOGETHER.
Paranoia, antipathy, discord, division, these are the fruits of our enemies and those forces that reject the Blood Stars. Bite into them at your PERIL.
We will fight this invasion with every last drop of blood, but have NO ILLUSIONS. We are not as strong as we were.
Astrum survived a war waged on it by 3 enemies, the betrayal of the traitorous Duke Karibash, and starvation and the hordes have reduced our kingdom by HALF. Yet still we fight on. Because the light of the Blood Stars flow through our veins, and their light shines brightly still!
Before you raise your voice to slander or defame your brothers or sisters, examine your own heart and the source from which your darkness originates. Let the light of the Blood Stars shine brightly in that darkness, and then you will see that we are all one FAMILY. A pain you suffer, is a pain I suffer.
Let our ties of light and love bind us together despite these tests and challenges set before us. We will come out on the other side of this a stronger, healthier, and more united Church than this land has seen in far too long.
Do not fail in this ultimate test of your faith, or we will all fall forever into darkness.
Strategos of Astrum
Count of Ammando
Marshal of the Austere Order
Knight Crusader of Sanguis Astroism
Facing King Grimrog of Asylon in Battle
Lord Strategos Abek had been marching his men all night and all day. Organizing the movements of a large army to defend against and attack a large enemy army was not an easy task. It tasks the patience of any general, even Lord Abek. He did not like being away from his soldiers when they were going into battle.
Asylon had tried to catch Astrum off guard, and indeed they did. When Asylon first attacked Eisinik, a good portion of the Astrum army had been journeying to or coming back from the capital in Mimer to repair their armors and replace their forces that had been left in Eisinik as a garrison.
Fortunately, the Blood Stars, as they so often had in the past, blessed the holy warriors with some luck. A significant portion of the enemy forces didn't arrive in Eisinik in time to participate in the battle; instead of it being a lopsided battle in favor of Asylon, both sides were almost evenly matched. Unfortunately for Asylon, Astrum's superior archery units were decisive in the battle, though Count Turin, the Strategos' predecessor had been captured.
Unfortunately for Astrum, Asylon still had a lot of reinforcements arriving at dawn. The second battle of Eisinik was a lopsided battle, and Lord Abek, the Marshal of the Austere Order army, was pained that he could not lead and fight with his valiant soldiers. Their mission was to inflict as much pain on Asylon as they could before what would almost certainly be a hasty and bloody retreat. Scouts reported spotting the King of Asylon himself among his troops wearing his trademark girdle and vest. The Astrum forces still had superior archery numbers, so the cost for Asylon would not be slight. The Marshal of the Asylon forces was wounded, but King Grimrog escaped the battle without a scratch.
As the sun was setting in Mimiravair, the Strategos had finally caught up with his men. The Vasilif of Astrum was by his side, the two of them commanded a large host of archers that represented almost half the fighting strength of the Astrum forces. As predicted, Asylon was attempting to push their advantage in Eisinik, but the Strategos was ready for them this time.
Astrum versus Asylon, Vasilif Sergio versus King Grimrog. This time the battle was lopsided in Astrum's favor, this time it was Asylon who was forced to fight without a Marshal leading and organizing their attack. The Lord Strategos sent out orders to all unit commanders, it was time to make the barbarians pay, and pay dearly for all their crimes against the Theocracies. Abek looked to the Blood Stars, felt their Light shine and glitter all around him, and noticed the wind die down as the sun dipped behind the horizon. That was going to make his archers very happy.
He commanded his Blackbows to fire, and fire they did. A sea of arrows flew at the Asylon invaders. Right from the start, the Vasilif and the Strategos' archery units each wiped out an entire Asylon unit, three other units were retreated or slaughtered. The Blood Stars were shining fiercely tonight.
The battle won, King Grimrog was forced to flee the battlefield in a panicked flight for his life.
A Celebration in Unterstrom
The Margrave of Unterstrom looked at the reports for his city, and shook his head. No one could say that the situation wasn't much improved, but still much work needed to be done.
The city had earned a reputation for being difficult to manage. Unterstrom had rejected control by Morek, been mismanaged by Corsanctum, and then been invaded by Asylonians barbarians. There was still a temple to the Bloodmoon Cult standing in the city, but if Lord Abek tore it down, a good portion of the city would likely riot in response. Being the Lord of a rural region was a piece of cake compared to this.
Abek summoned his ministers and small council and announced that he would hold court for the region. The process had only gotten started when a few trouble makers started shouting and shoving, before the guards were summoned to clear the room. It was an epic disaster.
He conferred with his advisers and decided his best course of action was to announce a large citywide festival tomorrow, in honor of Unterstrom now being liberated from the barbarians. Hopefully it would raise the spirits of the city, they had nowhere to go but up, after all.
The next day, long red banners draped down the walls surrounding the city, as the people of Unterstrom were celebrating. Drinking, flirting, dancing and merriment were going on everywhere, people walked hand in hand slinking off into a dark corner for a moment of private intimacy.
The city had seen so much war and starvation and instability, this was their first time in a long time to let off some steam and celebrate life.
By the time the sun had set, most every citizen of Unterstrom had been decorated as lavishly as the city itself. Groups of ladies with wreathes of garlands passed out flowers to strangers as they walked up and down the streets. Painters dabbled bright colors onto the faces of the younglings. All the bars in the city had lowered the prices on their drinks to attract the most customers. The food stands in the market square were all having trouble cooking their wares as fast as the people were eating them up.
The courtiers were hard at work behind the scenes, helping organize the city into a functioning government. The noble soldiers of the Austere Order, dressed in their armor of black and red, patrolled the streets arresting petty criminals and keeping order while the festivities continued on long into the night.
Lord Abek knew that the hangover that everyone would be suffering the next morning would bring the spirit of the city back down to the ground, but for tonight anyway, their mugs filled with mead, and their bellies filled with food, the people enjoyed themselves just to remember what it felt like.
An Attempt Made on Abek's Life
Somewhere on the road between Girich and Mattan Dews a dark shape moved within the shadows of night, deep within the ranks of the Austere Order. The figure made it past the outer watch and through a crowd of over 500 soldiers, all of whom were wary of being in enemy lands. As the shape approached the assembly of the Strategos however, the captain of Duke Abek's Blackbow archery unit, Captain Hadred caught the glimmer of moonlight on metal and immediately shouted for alarm. Soldiers everywhere fanned out looking for the assassin, but in the confusion he was able to slip away undetected and unknown.
As the sun slipped behind the horizon the armed forces of Astrum assembled alongside the Storm Legion of Swordfell, and prepared to destroy the last remnants of Asylon's forces occupying Swordfell's land.
The three armies clashed together, blood and steel exploding under torchlight and darkness. A scout reported that the Blood Star traitor Enoch Dishman was found among the enemy commanders. Duke Abek informed his men, that anyone putting an arrow through the traitor's heart would be awarded 25 gold in addition to whatever the bounty was on his head.
The armies were, from a certain point of view, more or less evenly matched. But Astrum and Swordfell had three times the archers Asylon did, and Astrum's archers were some of the finest in all of Dwilight. Strategos Abek's forces lost only 4 commands before the battle was over, while Asylon lost 8 of theirs. He lost one of his commanders to injuries, Asylon actually lost Enoch Dishman to injuries as well, but not by the hand of his archers, as his men were disappointed to discover.
Asylon's forces were scattered, there was no other force in the area to challenge the might of Astrum and Swordfell. He dispatched the Austere to sack the region and hunt the remaining Asylon forces down. His reports suggested there were still quite a few of them hiding in the area.
When the sun rose, there were a number of Asylon forces still holding their ground, but they had sustained heavy casualties the day before. Abek's forces returned to battle with much more of his strength intact, thus Asylon paid a heavy price for their reluctance to abandon Mattan Dews. Astrum lost another command to injuries, but all of Asylon's forces were decimated. Four of their noble commanders were injured including the Asylonian High Magistrate and their Storm General. The battle was decisively finished.
Asylon's attempt on his life was a desperate gambit to cause havoc in his army, but the Austere Order is not easily distracted from its objectives. Duke Abek sent many casks of ale (recently liberated from the stores in Girich) to celebrate their victory against their enemies. Many drank their full, but the casks were gathered up and secured once a few drank more than was appropriate for a professional soldier.
"Enoch, wherever you are," Abek clenched his fist tightly, "...as you recover from your injuries, know that as long as I am Strategos of Astrum, you will be a hunted man."
"There is no hole small enough or smelly enough to keep me from finding you, putting you in chains, and seeing you executed for your crimes," Duke Abek said to the distant hills behind which his scouts reported Enoch had retreated.
Two Dukes of Astrum
The two Dukes of Astrum lined up in the arena. Word of their impending match had spread throughout the capital, and quite a large crowd had already assembled to witness the engagement, more still were arriving.
The Strategos of Astrum had spent almost the entirety of his career planning and leading the armies of Astrum, that there had been precious little time left over to practice his swordplay. His younger brother Gideone was actually the best swordsman in the family. Abek had always preferred reading about strategies and tactics to the somewhat boring and mechanical practice of swordplay. All you needed to take down a great swordsman was a half decent archer.
That said, since he'd managed to bring Unterstrom under control, there'd been a little time to hire the best tutor in the city, and his skills had seen some improvement lately. But if Duke Torg was at all talented, this was likely to be quite a short match indeed.
"Duke Torg," he said, as he raised his sword in front of his face, "I look forward to seeing what you can do!"
When the training match began, a silence fell upon the crowd.
For a moment, neither duke moved to attack. Abek regretted not opening with a new maneuver the tutor had taught him just the day before. But that would have been reckless, and the Strategos was always such a careful man.
Abek tested Torg's defenses with a swipe of his sword. The lord of Mimer parried it away and sliced upwards with an attack of his own. The song of steel rang throughout the silent arena, the aura of excitement began building throughout the crowd.
Duke Torg was a native of Old Corsanctum, the realm that once ruled these lands. Duke Abek was a native of Old Astrum, that had sailed across the Blossomer Sea to escape the cataclysm that removed all the western lands from civilization. The two realms came together and defeated the Asylonians' last army in the fortress city of Unterstrom, that was now the seat of Duke Abek's duchy.
And while the Corsanctumites and the Astrumese were truly one people with one ruler in their Vasilif, there was a natural division in who was rooting for whom. Mimer was a modern and ancient city in the far west of the realm, wealthy beyond compare in almost all of Dwilight. Unterstrom was a restless and storied city in the far east of the realm, that was still recovering from years of misrule and occupation, though thriving well under the careful and diligent management of her lord and duke.
The natives of Corsanctum were maybe a little more polite and reserved in their cheering for Duke Torg, while the natives of Astrum were a little more raucous in their support of Duke Abek. Though it was hard for Abek to tell who was really cheering louder for who. Whether he and the younger Duke Torg were well matched, or whether his opponent was just keeping his cards close to his chest, it was difficult to ascertain.
Finally, Torg feigned an attack to his head, that gave Abek an opening to try that maneuver he was waiting to use. Abek executed the swirl and flourish that should have disarmed his opponent and won him the match. But the Duke of Mimer in the middle of his attack, dropped his sword into the Duke of Unterstrom's arm, that should have opened Abek up to launch a disarming move of his own. And because Abek's arm had not been where Torg thought it would be (due to all that swirling), the sword accidentally caught between two plates of his armor and cut deeply into his flesh. Blood splattered on the arena floor.
This was supposed to be a friendly training match afterall, their swords had blunted tips and were not even very sharp, so the crowd was not prepared to see real violence. Many of the ladies in the arena screamed out at the sight of it. Torg dropped his sword and cried out for a healer to come at once. Abek fell to a knee, holding his arm close to his chest.
"It seems you bested me, my friend." Abek somehow managed a smile despite the pain, "Next time, I will not be so easy on you!"
Count Gideone Ji'Ardan, Lord of Osslamar, in the duchy of Parm, in the Elven Republic of Sirion, and a member of the elite army the Red Dragons. He spent quite a long time travelling to the Eastern lands from the Far East, and though he is far out of his element, he has adapted to the strange ways and customs of his new brothers and sisters of Sirion. His hair is long and styled in the elvish tradition, as are the tribal markings adorning his face.
The Silverhawk Marksmen are still a young unit, only having been in service for a short time. They recently emerged as victors in their first battle against an angry horde of monsters. The Captain of the Silverhawks is a man who goes by the name Trubald, who's receding hairline is the source of constant amusement, but who's accuracy with a bow is deadly enough that only an utter fool would crack a joke within earshot of the old elf.
The Silverhawk Marskmen were lost when Perdan launched a surprise attack on Sirion. Gideone recruited a new unit and named them the Silverhawk Talons, to honor the memory of the original Silverhawks, and charged them with getting vengeance for their deaths. The Captain of the Silverhawk Talons is Bertolf, and he has proven himself time and time again that the Silverhawk Talons are one of the most fearsome archery unit in all of Sirion.
The Silverhawk Talons was selected as one of three finalists in a contest to determine the best unit name in all of Sirion. After a popular vote was held, the Silverhawk Talons won the contest.
Gideone's First Battle
It was less than a week ago that Gideone Ji'Ardan had first met and pledged his fealty to his lord, Duke Ryu, wherein he was granted a beautiful estate in the city of Karbala called the Mersault Plaza. There were reports coming in of monsters and undead rampaging throughout the lands, so Gideone's service as a new knight in the Republic was welcomed and appreciated by the Duke. Though he arrived with a platoon of competent and capable archers who called themselves the Silverhawk Marksmen, their number was too small and their experience was too green to take them into battle just yet.
After clearing up some concerns about the high level of taxation on his estate (the Duke claimed half of all of his earnings), Duke Ryu granted him some extra gold with which to recruit additional men and begin his own training in the long sword. Once he arrived in the capital, he found some capable archers who hailed from Al Amarah, as well as a new captain who went by the name Trubald (do not say a word about his receding hairline!) He had time enough for a little instruction with a sword master, though the tutor refused to let him even hold a sword until he had first "mastered the art of breathing and standing."
It seemed a crime to depart the magnificent jewel that was the grand city of Sirion so soon after arriving for the very first time. The way the sun caught the white granite in top of the ducal palace, reflecting its light brilliantly, it could be seen for miles around in every direction. While this had been his first visit to the capital of the Elven Republic of Sirion, Gideone knew it would not be his last.
A request for assistance had just arrived from Knight Garas of Sirion with a scout report of Limbar that indicated the local militia was about to be overwhelmed by a hoard of just over two dozen monsters. As Limbar was a short journey from Sirion City, it would be a good first taste of battle for his still green Silverhawks, and they should arrive in time to help Knight Garas and the local garrison.
As the sun came up, Gideone met up with the other commander that had heeded Knight Garas's call, Baron Tiberius. His reputation and honor were sterling, and his division the Domitius Honor Guard consisting of over a hundred archers far eclipsed his own meager platoon. Knight Garas commanded a platoon of just over thirty infantry that looked only slightly more experienced than his own green archers. Garas thanked us both for arriving in time and the battle was underway.
Unfortunately, the wind was not cooperating, and the creatures seemed undaunted by the large host that had arrayed to defend Limbar from their onslaught. When the monsters charged, the Silverhawk Marksmen were the first to maneuver into position and fire off an initial volley. The monsters were tough though and only a couple slumped to the ground.
Garas bravely led his Gabanus Guards into the field to confront the creatures, while the militia stayed behind their camp fortifications. The Silverhawks and the Domitus Honor Guards held their position and kept launching volley after volley of arrows. Almost half of the monsters were slain, mostly from arrow fire, but the Gabanus Guards were nearly completely slaughtered when they crashed against the deadly monsters.
Amazingly, even though there were only 10 infantrymen left under the command of Garas, they did not flee their commander and kept on fighting. Gideone positioned his archers closer to the bloody combat, so that his archers would have better shots at picking off the monsters engaged in claw to hand combat.
All but one soldier were slain in the next few moments, and Gideone now found his Silverhawks the lead unit in the battle. "All archers, FIRE AT WILL!" They scored many hits, but if it were not for the support of Baron Tiberius' archers, his entire unit would have been destroyed just like Knight Garas had witnessed. Finally the Limbar militia advanced out of their encampment and joined in the fray. And even though 8 of his men fell (7 of whom would never rise again), the last of the monsters were utterly and finally wiped out.
Limbar was safe, for now.
Gideone Rescues a Knight
Knight Cathal Úa Máel Sechnaill was standing with his last two remaining infantry soldiers in an open field in Sermbar, close to the dark wood in the north. They were surrounded by a large host of wickedly armed and armored orcs, it seemed that there was no hope for escape.
As the sun slowly rose up over the horizon, darkness turned to light. A horn sounded, that gave the Courtier Knight hope that he may escape this calamity with his life yet.
The bright banners of the Red Dragons appeared from within the darkness of the woods. Long wooden bows were stretched nearly to their breaking points, before loosing 70 arrows marked with their distinctive silver fletchings, that seemed to scream like a hawk as they soared towards their prey. The Silverhawk Talons had heard his distress call!
The Knight's valiant soldiers fought bravely, taking several of the foul creatures with them, before quickly being overwhelmed by the enemy.
Gideone Ji'Ardan, determined to not let a single monster escape with his wretched life, led his archers closer into the melee, and another 70 arrows flew through the morning sky. The monsters superior numbers were dwindling quickly, but if they were able to close the distance, his archers would be slaughtered without mercy.
His men knew what was at stake, "Knock, draw, LOOSE!" Gideone shouted.
Another volley of 70 arrows screamed through the shortened distance between the orcs and the elves. As there were less than 30 orcs remeaining, that meant that there were at least two arrows for each beast, and not a single arrow failed to find its mark. Some of his archers had even shown off a bit by sending their arrows into an eye socket, but there were no more orcs causing trouble in Serbar.
Count Gideone found Knight Cathal among the dead, and helped him to his feet, "You, my friend, are very lucky to still be alive!" His archers were all around, putting to death any orc that was still moving, and reclaiming the silver fletched arrows that had not been destroyed in the battle.
Winning Two Training Matches
This strife Gideone Ji'Ardan was experiencing within Sirion, his beloved realm, was causing him more pain than he could possibly admit. He had spoken out against a megalomaniac whom everyone should clearly see was only a moment's breath from setting to flame all the peace and prosperity that Sirion had won. The silent majority continued to say nothing as the old rogue lord laughed in the face of all consequences for his actions. It was difficult for the young lord to understand that Lord Erik was part of the fabric of Sirion, that on some level his peers tolerated and accepted him in a way that Gideone never could. He only longed for Sirion to be better than that.
He distracted himself by launching his Silverhawk Talons into battle with every monster hoard he could find. He slayed them all in Bruck, and Gadlock, and again in Bruck . He won his last battle two days ago in Oberndorf, but they were all hollow victories. His command had won honors and recognition, they were Red Dragons, chosen by Marshal Romul as the mark in their recent competition with the Army of Sirion. The Silverhawk Talons were invisible when they needed to be and ferocious when the time came to be deadly.
But now he was back again in Oligarch, restless. He heard his marshal was accepting training matches from all challengers. Gideone knew Duke Romul had made it to the third round of the recent tournament, while the young lord had only made it to the second round. But there is much wisdom to be gained in facing a stronger opponent, and it was well known Gidone did not hesitate in facing challenging opponents.
He had repressed much anger in his conflict with Lord Erik and so his impulse was to funnel all that aggression into the training match with his marshal. For some reason, which he was not entirely aware, he decided to do the opposite and instead opted for a defensive strategy. Duke Romul, perhaps in haste, chose to try and finish the match quickly by overrunning his position. Prepared for the assault, the advantage was his, as he sought out the weakness in the duke's onslaught, it was not long before the young lord bested his superior.
But he could not long celebrate his victory. He still had a fine of 200 gold on his head, which he did not have the coin to pay, even if he could go to the bank and cash all his bonds, which he could not do until the fine was paid. Gideone could not in good conscience accept a fine which he believed was unwarranted, unjust, and an attack on his right to freedom of expression.
Lord Gideone was challenged to another duel, by his fellow rural lord the Countess of Blaastambar. Lady Aednadh had gone as far in the recent tournament as he had, so he figured they must be about equal in skill. He did not know where she sided in the recent tensions, so he was unsure how she would proceed.
He chose a neutral strategy, in the hopes that it would give him some leeway no matter what strategy the lady chose, but she was just as aggressive as his last opponent, attempting to defeat the younger lord with one devestating opening attack. She had the advantage in the beginning, it was all Gideone could do to hold his ground. Whether through skill or luck, he was uncertain, but he managed to turn defeat into victory and in the end won his second match of the day.
He extended a hand to her at the conclusion of the match, "Thank you Countess Aednadh for a hard fought match. Your opening attack took a great effort to turn back. Sirion is fortunate to have such a great warrior defending her."
Vylmyre originally immigrated to the South Island with a group of Sartanists to the realm of Sandalak. Sandalak was a harsh realm, marked by brutal infighting, rampant superstition, and idolatry for their crazed leader Kurlok. Many Sandals were virulently hostile to Vylmyre's identity as a Sartanist and attacked him relentlessly. Despite Vylmyre's early promotion to a marshal of the Griffin Cohort, the general at the time did not allow any of his marshals any authority in commanding their own units. When Vylmyre protested such actions, he was summarily ejected from his estate. Feeling betrayed by all his comrades, he left the realm of Sandalak and journeyed to the realm of Ikalak.
When he arrived in Ikalak, his hopes were dashed. As bad as Sandalak was, Ikalak was worse. Paranoia and suspicions were rampant, no one trusted anyone, and the amount of infighting was over the top. He immediately left Ikalak and came to the last realm on the island Taselak. He presented his case to the queen, described the awful conditions in the other realms, and hoped that she would take him in.
There were many hostile to his presence in Taselak as well, those who wondered if he might be a spy or worse. Vylmyre knowing the pits of darkness that were the other realms, knew that he must make his home in Taselak or his dream of exploring the South Island would end in utter failure.
The original soldiers that travelled to South Island from the Far East. They distinguished themselves in several initial battles in Sandalak. They suffered heavy casualties and were wiped out when attempting to immigrate into Taselak.
When Vylmyre first arrived in Taselak, his estate in the capital was such that he could afford to recruit special forces. He named them the Bloody Blades so that he might strike vengeance on his former Sandal brothers, and named his estate in Taselak City the Bloody Barracks. The general of Taselak was only interested in winning arguments and not battles, so his men were needlessly sacrificed.
The Assault Marksmen are the current archery unit of Vylmyre, led by Captain Konrad. After extensive daily training, they have proven themselves to be capable in battle, even though they are still a young group.
Defending Taselak City
As the morning sun rose over the stronghold walls of Taselak City, Vylmyre looked out over the host of Ikalak soldiers arrayed below. They only just yesterday conquered his region of Endelee, so he was no longer an earl, just a hedge knight defending his queen's capital from the enemy. Vylmyre had sent out an urgent message to the realm alerting everyone to the imminent attack on the city, but no help would arrive until long after the battle was over.
Half the Ikalak archers opened for an initial assault. The bulk of their arrows crashing harmlessly into the tall walls surrounding the city, but the forces below had no such protections. Vylmyre's command, the Assault Marksmen rained deadly arrows upon them, grievously wounding one of the Ikalak knights, Itthordai Biz Oun. Unfortunately, the Ikalak archers got lucky and wounded the Lord Justice Aeneas as well as the Earl Cyperus. This left only three commanders actively defending the walls of Taselak City, all the other forces were garrisoned militia. The prospects did not look good for the defenders.
Ikalak managed to set 10 siege engines to the walls of the city. This was no attack of opportunity, they had clearly come prepared to for the siege. Fortunately, they did not bring enough siege engines, which slowed their advance on the walls. The first enemy that came in range of Vylmyre's archers were the Ikalak Spears, their deadly volley of arrows slaughtered a quarter of their helpless men, throwing them down from the fortifications. The battle seemed to be swinging in favor of the valiant defenders.
He ordered his men to aim at the next band of brigands, the Casur h-Icalaige infantry group, who were currently trying to destroy the walls with their siege engines. The Black Helmut militia also attacked them in hand to hand combat. The two Taselak units slaughtered half the enemy infantry and threw them off their fortifications. Nobles on both sides were wounded, and the Ikalak forces captured one of Taselak's lords. The attackers were paying a heavy price for their siege, but it seemed they were determined to fight on.
Vylmyre's archers were as of yet miraculously unharmed, but coming up over the walls was the famed Wall Climbers of Ikalak. He ordered his archers to lean over the walls and fire down on the men scaling the walls with their grappling hooks. The Assault Marksmen slaughtered nearly half the Wall Climbers, throwing them off their fortifications, and causing two more Ikalak banners to fall. The Ikalaks were losing two men for every Taselak soldier they killed.
The archers of Taselak were inflicting heavy casualties on the invaders, as hundreds of arrows continued to rain down terror. The nearest enemy unit was now the Serpents Cavalry command, trying to breach a gap in the wall. Vylmyre ordered his men to fire on the horsemen, wiping the unit out completely. His men cheered their triumph!
All the infantry and cavalry that Ikalak had brought for the siege was now entirely eliminated. The only enemy forces that remained were archers and special forces, none of whom were at the wall. Arrows flew back and forth from both sides, and despite the protections afforded by the city walls, this time it was Ikalak who proved decisive. Vylmyre suffered his first casualties of the battle from the Men of Mewun archery unit, seven of his men were killed and another Taselak hedge knight fell to enemy fire.
As one of the last remaining defending units on the walls, enemy arrows from three different units were being fired directly at his men. He ordered his men to return fire at the Agaema Mixed Infantry unit. The enemy took so many casualties, they were forced to retreat from the battlefield and they wounded another Taselak lord, but Vylmyre lost 17 of his Assault Marksmen in the exchange.
The Ikalak forces now had to be getting desperate, they were exchanging fire but were no longer attempting to approach the walls. Vylmyre ordered his men to attack the Branded Barbs archery unit, killing 10 of the enemy archers and wounding yet another Ikalak knight in the progress. The Marvin's Maniacs special forces command slew another 7 of his archers. More arrows rained upon his 50 remaining archers, the Assault Marksmen fired on the Men of Mewun, slaying 15 of their men, and causing those remaining to turn around and flee that battlefield. 10 more of Vylmyre's archers fell to enemy fire.
The past couple rounds of battle had ended in a draw, but that was not going to be good enough for the Ikalak invaders. It looked like Taselak may win afterall. Again he directed his unit to focus on the Branded Barbs, slaying half the enemy archers, and causing the remaining half to flee for their lives. Vylmyre lost another 9 of his archers.
The Ikalak Grace's Dragoon archery unit, which up until this point had received relatively few casualties came in range of Vylmyre's archers. After another volley, the enemy lost 10 of their archers before retreating from the battlefield. It seemed that the enemy was losing finally losing faith in their objective, however he lost another 6 archers to enemy fire.
There were only two Ikalak units remaining on the battlefield to the 10 Taselak units defending the walls of the city. The Assault Marksmen and the Marvin's Maniacs special forces units exchanged fire with each other. The Ikalak unit was nearly entirely slaughtered, but both units were forced to retreat from the battlefield. The commander of the Maniacs was an Ikalak Earl by the name of Marvin was seriously wounded by one of the militia archery units.
The last remaining special forces unit of Ikalak, the Iron Rain was mercilessly slaughtered by the remaining Taselak archers still standing on the walls, forcing the survivors to flee for their lives.
Vylmyre had lost over half of his men, and nearly 20 were still wounded but the day was won! Taselak city remained defiant against the daring Ikalak aggression.
The first of the third generation of the Ji'Ardan family to come of age. Named after his grandfather, his aunt is the Queen, his father a general and a duke of a faraway realm. He grew up among the long shadows of his family's great accomplishments, and was determined that the family legacy would not end with him. In his first two days of being a knight, he fought in three separate battles, winning every single one. That caught the notice of his peers and his queen, who could now promote him to a Lord of Coralynth without anyone whispering anything about favoritism.
Keljon's first unit was an archery unit called the Evergreen Guards. They are well equipped with with longbows and competently armored against attack. Some of the archers were initially uneasy about being led into combat by someone so young. After being thrown into combat multiple times within the first few days of their service and winning every battle however, Keljon won their trust and respect.
Keljon's 17th Birthday
Knight Keljon Ji'Ardan had just celebrated his 17th birthday, before being awarded his knighthood. There were, of course, whispers that he was knighted only because of his famous last name. Even though he was related to the Queen of Coralynth, he sought no special favors from his aunt. He could have sought an estate in the capital, the queen told him one would be available to him, but he would have none of that.
He loved his home, and he loved his family. And while he may have preferred to follow in his father's footsteps to some far off land like Dwilight, he knew Coralynth needed every ounce of strength it could muster to survive the upcoming months.
Keljon's first archery unit, the Evergreen Guards assembled around their young commander. They were well armed and armored, and most knew each other's names. They were a little leary about being led by someone so young, but there was honor in serving the Queen's nephew. They hoped one day to meet the Queen and march into battle with her, though none of them had yet to set foot on the Dark Isle itself.
News came to his men that there were monsters rampaging the local farmland in Athios. He had hoped to depart for the capital at once, but he would first have to defend his home from this menace. He would be experiencing his first battle on his first day of being a knight. He ordered his men to move out...
When the last monster fell, his men cheered their young commander, their doubts, for the moment, were put to rest.
He went to the local Scout Guild and hired two competent Athiosan scouts. He'd heard reports that Arcaean raiders had been in Unotasa recently, and he didn't want to get his men killed travelling blindly. But he needed to get to Enlod, and he had to travel through Unotasa to get there.
When his scouts returned, they reported that the raiders had pulled back for now, the path was clear. Sartan, it seemed, looked with favor upon the young knight.
Pyr is a commoner with some questionable connection to the Ji'Ardan family that is unclear. Not having the expectations and obligations of the noble-born children, Pyr has enjoyed exploring the lands to a much greater extent than his siblings. To date, his most notable encounter was the discovery of a special ring, the Brilliant_Band_of_Glory, he also recently discovered the Cursed_Chain_Mail_of_Sasat