This should be read in unison with the world progression here: https://forums.massivecraft.com/threads/world-system-progression-6.86015/ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Viduggla/Kreiburg conflict Conflict continues in the Ustyeurt region in the North as the siege of the province’s capital gets well underway. By now the Northern army had dug in quite well with Ardige Viduggla still as the acting General for the Viduggla force. Three Viduggla warships patrolled the coastline around Usteyeurt, Vlavosko, and Tuva, thinking this could hold back any potential reinforcements from Kreiburg whilst also preventing Kreiburg troops from departing. Orders had reached the Ustyeurt garrison that they were to abandon the hold and reinforce an attack on the Veerle Harhold region, however with the siege already in its second stage; unless liberation was coming from land the Kreiburg troops were stuck within the city's walls until help would arrive. Ardige was tried and tested as a General and knew that this siege would only last a week or so more. The small garrison combined with the assault ongoing, whilst factoring in supplies, logistics, and reinforcements he knew were coming, he was confident of a swift and easy victory. The reinforcements however wouldn’t arrive. While Viduggla troops had been hammering on the city’s external walls, a fleet of 5 Kreiburg ships, 5 Black ships, 3 Peirgarten ships, 2 Sorenvik ships, and finally a single warship captained by capable Athalon Elfessi came crashing down on Viduggla’s token blockade. Ardige could hear the cannon fire from the siege; just off yonder from the village of Barysh and he knew exactly what had happened and was powerless to do anything about it. Despite the Kreiburg Fleet having no Admiral at its command, the significant size of it, numbering 16 strong, was just far too engulfing for the 3 ship Viduggla blockade. When the first ship sank from over barrage, the other two were forced into retreat. What was once a Viduggla blockade was now a Kreiburg one with clear Sorenvik involvement. Not too far away, the Viduggla Patriarch Garth Viduggla alongside Commanders Valbrand Haagenvig and Hjalmar Haagenvig were preparing to make the sail from Breznigrad into Usteryeurt. However, when the army reinforcements of 5,000 reached the transport vessels they were turned away, made aware of the blockade that they had little chance of making through alive. What had happened was a clever stroke of genius by someone on the Kreiburg side. Although Usteryeurt would remain under siege, what had happened was that these Viduggla troops as well as their magnum opus General, Ardige Viduggla, were now completely trapped in the region with no way to escape unless the blockade was lifted. This would buy the Kreiburg conglomerate time to formulate another plan of attack. ------------------------------------------------- Kintyr Naval and Land Escape Meanwhile in Kintyr, once again swords were raised and ships were sent into the fray. For a while now, Abelhard Latimer held the blockage, boasting Naval superiority in preventing assistance to come to the 30,000 Harhold troops that were still dug into the region. One might have thought this the end of the Harhold host in Kintyr but they’d have been dead wrong. Unbeknownst to the Ariamorel alliance, Hengest Harhold, Julius Peirgarten, and Dianne Black were about to engage in one of the riskiest but shrewd attack strategies in the war thus far. On the morning of Tuesday the 28th, the Latimer blockade was alerted to an incoming fleet of ships to their South, all of which were flying House Black banners. As the Latimer ships formed up into a defensive circle, the Black ships open fire upon them. The 17 Latimer Ships were surprised to quickly realise that the Black fleet was disorganised and not heavily equipped to tackle Abelhard’s tactics in any fashion and deduced that this had to be the result of the fleet failing to have an admiral in command. Seeing this as an opportunity to send a message to his rival Naval family, Latimer engaged with as many ships he could muster, despite the Black ships seemingly veering off course each and every time. This however would prove to be a cleverly constructed ruse. As the Latimer fleet concentrated on the Black’s, Julius Peirgarten was able to utilise a merchant ship to slip through the distracted blockade and into Coltyr territory where he quickly rendezvoused with the 30,000 Harhold troops amidst what appeared to be a ceasefire while terms of surrender were being drafted. Julius Peirgarten then gave a rousing speech, gaining the support of the Harhold levies just in time. With surrender no longer being an option, Ariamorel’s combined force under Emmeline Latimer charged forward, 34,000 strong against the 30,000 Harhold host. The battle was vicious and bloody as both hosts were being led by Generals of equal calibre. Harhold morale was less than optimistic and while Latimer had had a streak of wins, the unwillingness of the Harhold force to throw in the towel, put a damper on theirs as well. With each army in its formations, the battle persisted with neither line seeming to break. Julius sent commands to the troops’ Field Generals who formed a ‘v’ formation in counter to Emmeline’s clever attempt to box them in to push the force into the sea. Neither side would see any ground being made just yet. Meanwhile, the Black’s attempt to distract Latimer had proven fruitful and despite Abelhard having sunk one of the Black’s ships, they seemed to be giving him the metaphorical runaround. “Admiral! Look!” one crew member called out. On turning, Abelhard was taken aback to see reinforcements on their way to his fleet’s location. Flying the Harhold banner, a full 14 additional warships under Wolvard od Albion, Latimer’s former skirmishing rival in the weeks prior. The full might of this additional fleet came crashing down atop Latimer’s when the Black ships also turned to engage. Now with an Admiral and numbers superiority, the Harhold navy blasted their way through the Latimer ranks; sinking a ship of theirs before they realised they had to retreat. They had been caught with their trousers around their ankles, and the position of the blockade was far too compromised to attempt to repair, and thus, they sailed away to safety, leaving the Black and Harhold ships to finish their mission. A handful of the ships sailed up the strait while the others ensured no counter-attack from the Latimer force. On arriving at the location in which Julius was holding out, cannons open fired on the coastline, forcing Emmeline to route her troops into a retreat to save numbers. With artillery support, the 30,000 Harhold troops were able to successfully vacate Kintyr and begin their way home to Vlissinghelm. ------------------------------------------------- The Battle in Vlissinghelm Although Harhold would expect reinforcements soon, they would not arrive as quickly as to prevent the next attempt by Reinard to gain footing in the region. While Reinard gave the command to push forward; setting Generals Deo dei Termini and Cinna Celedwenn on a course to specifically pincer the Harhold force with two armies instead of one large bolstered one. Splitting his force into two hosts of 27.5 thousand each, the two armies battered and smashed their way into Harhold’s numbers as the three hosts traversed across Vlissinghelm as Hengest attempted a hasty retreat. The Generals soon realised that, although they had a flight-enabled mage in Aeawyn Syllbess, providing additional aerial support in terms of identifying enemy formations, communication between the two armies was difficult and the loud screaming and clashing of metal meant she could not quickly and efficiently relay information to more than one General at a time. While moderately successful in getting back to Vlissinghelm to set up defences, the pincer and splitting of the armies had worked wondrously. Harhold casualties stemmed into a couple of thousand while Reinard had lost only a fraction of that number. Numbers had beaten Hengest back and once again the Reinard army found itself right on the capital’s doorstep but with 30,000 reinforcements on their way to even the odds. Morale undoubtedly took a turn for the worse for the Harhold men. The turbulent nature of the war had taken tolls on both sides of the conflict. While most of the Harhold troops fought for their homeland, others were starting to wonder if this would just be a war in perpetuity. The same could be felt on the Reinard lines, who felt like this minor victory would merely be a fleeting one and eventually, they’d be forced back again. Only time would tell if the military tactics and numbers would win out for one or the other.