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Author Topic: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401  (Read 94390 times)

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401
« Reply #625 on: May 05, 2021, 01:38:03 PM »
Thanks GP.

Now back the the campaign's 'present day' ...


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Pavona’s Hero
Summer, 2401, The City of Pavona



The sound of drums could be heard, growing louder. Giovacchino leaned forwards to look over the crowd between him and the street. When the strong ale in his pot sloshed and threatened to spill, he relaxed a little turned to his companion.

“I think this is lunacy,” he announced. “There’s a new war brewing, right on our very doorstep. I think the bloody Verezzans believe they’re strong enough to take us on. Even if they’re not sure, they might be bitter enough to try anyway. Yet Lord Silvano is taking nearly the entire army away on another foreign war! We should finish off the Verezzans first - put an end to their pathetic whining and make sure they don’t try anything else.”

Corporal Aldus was also peering down the street, and answered without glancing at his friend, “Why don’t you take the matter up with the duke?”

“I’m taking the matter up with you!” said Giovacchino. “Look, see, I know this is what Lord Silvano does - riding off to fight monstrous foes - but there’s a time and a place for that sort of nonsense. This ain’t the time at all, and Campogrotta’s too far away to be the right place. I mean, do the Campogrottans even need our help? They’ve an entire bloody army of their own, and that the gods-forsaken Compagnia del Sole, cousins of the very enemy that put us to all that trouble years ago. Why in all the hells are we sending our boys to do the fighting for them? I tell you, there’s no part of this makes sense.”

A company of drummers, being the first in the column, were now passing by, beating up a jaunty march indeed, which was everything to do with this sort of parade and nothing to do with battle calls.



“So, let me get this straight,” said the corporal. “You’re questioning the duke’s orders, yes? Well, my answer to you, my friend, would be that you should think hard about what you say and who you say it to.”

“No, no, no! I’m no fool,” replied Giovacchino. “I’m not saying the Duke is wrong. I just want to understand it myself.”

“Look, the duke’s a hard man, noble, yes, but a man of war. He takes whatever he believes is his by right. He doesn’t suffer fools and exacts swift vengeance on all who trouble him in any way whatsoever. And yet, all that said, what father would deny his only beloved son?”

“Aye, well, that only shifts the blame to the son. Doesn’t make the decision any less foolish.”

Corporal Aldus fixed his stare on Giovacchino. “You’re really not listening, are you? I already warned you - have a care! There are many would take offence to such words. I shall assume you’re trying to understand why Lord Silvano wants to go.”

“That’s it. That’s all. Why?”

“That’s easy. Lord Silvano is what you call a hero, always has been. I reckon since his brother died fighting Prince Girenzo, he’s been desperate to prove himself a worthy successor in his father’s eyes, to show he’s afraid of no challenge and willing to take on any foe.”



“So, you’re saying our army marches off when we’re at our weakest, and when our closest neighbours and others besides have a whole bag o’ bones to pick with us, because a young lord wants to prove his mettle? Maybe he should worry more about being a worthy successor to rule Pavona when his father dies, and to do that he needs to be alive, and there needs to be a bloody Pavona left to rule.”

“You can’t help yourself, can you? Your mouth’ll be the end of you one day, if you don’t die on the end of an enemy’s blade. Stop complaining. We have the city militia, and I reckon there’s many an old soldier would happily muster for the city’s defence if it proved necessary. Pavona will survive and grow strong again. Who cares how loud the Verezzan dogs bay and howl? Any one of us could take on three of them.”

The drummers had passed by, although the sound they made was still filling the street. Now came the colours, marching together as a little company of ensigns. All were quartered blue and white, with some little extra added to each to mark them out on the field – a border, or tassels or a symbol upon the white.



Giovacchino sniffed. Then in a quieter voice said,

“It’s not just them though, is it? The VMC scum have unfinished business with us – they left off their siege only because they were persuaded the undead were the bigger problem. And the Verezzans may have been weak in the past, but everyone says they’re building an army squarely intent on revenge for Lord Lucca’s death. Their petty, brigand robbers have already begun the fight, sneaking about in the shadows to pick off our soldiers when they can get away with it without risking a fight. Scouting for them; learning the lay of the land.”

Corporal Aldus grinned. “Then it’s no bad thing Lord Silvano is marching our boys away, ‘cos then brigands won’t be able to kill them.”

Giovacchino spoke even quieter than before. “Except we’ll be among the few that remain, and it’ll be us they’re loosing their arrows at.”

Still cheerful, despite the notion, the corporal said, “I didn’t think of that.”

Now came a body of handgunners, one of which stared over at Aldus and Giovacchino as they passed.



“There’s Mariano,” said Aldus. “Does he still owe you sixteen silvers?”

“Aye. He’d better bloody survive ‘cos I need that money.”

“He’ll survive. He’s always been careful. Once told me he never fired his piece in that fight in the Trantine Hills. When I asked him why, he said it was so he wouldn’t have to clean it afterwards.”

“That’s the wrong sort of careful. The stupid sort!” laughed Giovacchino. “Aldus, you say be careful of my words, but it seems to me most people ain’t too pleased about the army leaving. The best anyone could say about this crowd is that it is respectful. None would claim any signs of enthusiasm.”

“They’re just tired,” said the corporal, whose head still ached from the old wound.



“Ha!” laughed Giovacchino. “They’re tired? They want to try marching all the way to Trantio and back, with only fighting to break the journey. If Lord Silvano has the urge to fight a righteous war, then why isn’t he going off to help in the march on Miragliano. The priests are always preaching that we live in Morr’s most cherished realm. Shouldn’t he be fighting the undead?”



“Oh, it’s too late for that,” said Aldus. “Duke Guidobaldo announced in his address that the war against the vampires is all but over. The enemy lost army after army trying to take on the Portomaggiorans and Remans, and now they’ve got the VMC against them too. All that’s left is the filthy job of cleaning up Miragliano, and I wouldn’t waste Pavonan lives on such nasty work. I reckon more’ll die of disease in such a wretched realm than in battle! If that war is over, then Lord Silvano obviously wants to make sure that the ratto uomo don’t gain an advantage while the living realms are weakened by the fight against the undead. Verminkind love ruinous places, and the north is one big ruin right now.”



“Not just the north,” said Giovacchino. “Pavona’s no better! All Boulderguts left us is the city and the southern side of the river. Astiano and Trantio are ruined too. Every realm hereabouts is as sickly and broken as the north.”

“Then praise the gods that our brave young lord is helping to quash the threat of ratmen before they grow too powerful.”

As the corporal spoke, he gestured to the street, for Lord Silvano himself, clad in brightly silvered armour and sporting a tall panache-crest of blue and white, his lance lowered as if to indicate his intention to advance, rode into view.



By the young lord’s side rode his knghtly standard bearer, and behind him rode the city’s young nobility, their shields decorated with Morr’s fleshless head, crowned as king of the gods.

“If you have the answer to everything, Aldus, then tell me this: Why didn’t the duke send Visconte Carjaval with the army instead of his only son and heir?”

“Oh, that was the plan. The Visconte had orders to that effect. But then the orders changed. You didn’t attend the temple this morning, did you?”

“My head still hurt from last night. Why? D’you think my soul’s in need of cleansing?”

“Ha! That and the rest of you!”

Giovacchino sniffed at his armpit, spilling some of the ale as he did so, then cursing.

“What about the temple?” he demanded. “Did you receive divine enlightenment? That’d explain all your answers.”



“The priest prayed for Lord Silvano’s success, then told us how the duke knew his son possessed a compassionate heart and a desire to serve the lawful gods, Morr Supreme above all, and that he yearned to defend the innocent, weak, the young and old, from all further upsets. Apparently, the duke even said his son was the better man than he, for where he had always taken rightful anger to bloody conclusion, his son was willing to temper his reactions with an urge to understand and forgive.”



Giovacchino frowned. “That doesn’t sound like the sort of thing the duke would say.”

“Maybe not, but that’s what the priest told us. And more than that, he said the duke had vowed to live ‘quiete and pacifice’ until his son’s safe return from victory.”

“Oh, that’s lovely,” said Giovacchino sarcastically. “It’s like poetry, ain’t it?” Then, more seriously, he asked. “Doesn’t sound like the duke either. Tell me though, is it true? Will the fighting end?”

Aldus shrugged. “I suppose if the Verezzan brigands stop what they’re doing, and everyone else leaves us alone for a while, then why not? Besides, the answer’s right in front of you. The army’s marching off. Say farewell to the young lord and our army.”

“Ha!” laughed Giovacchino. “And say hello to some peace and quiet.”



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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401
« Reply #626 on: May 11, 2021, 08:46:20 AM »
I am still working the campaign 'at both ends", so to speak!

Part 10 of Tilea's Troubles is done, in which Prince Girenzo of Trantio plots against his rival, Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona.

https://youtu.be/ns-_0mULANY



I am, right now, working on scenery and figures (well, bits of figures - fiddly indeed!) for the next new story. Set in a marsh!

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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401
« Reply #627 on: May 17, 2021, 06:13:30 PM »
Part 11 of the video account of my campaign is complete. It is a battle story/report, in which victory was determined by whether or not the Duchess Maria could escape across the table! 

https://youtu.be/HZQiSoXFW-o

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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401
« Reply #628 on: May 20, 2021, 09:53:56 PM »
Now back to the other end of the campaign, the (ongoing) present day ...

...
This to Reginaldo Scalise, Sindaco of the city of Portomaggiore, from Chimento Gagliardi, Chief Clerk to Lord Alessio Falconi.

My Lord Alessio has commanded me to inform you of the allied army’s current circumstances and condition. He wishes me to deliver a comprehensive account, for as his deputy in his beloved city, you must better understand the army’s requirements, the urgencies arising from our situation and the necessities of the daunting struggle before us. Furthermore, there is a task you must complete without delay. 

We had rendezvoused with a brigade of the army of the VMC at Ebino, led by the Myrmiddian priestess Luccia La Fanciulla.



It was a force considerably weaker than that which was expected, and most disappointingly, lacking in guns, yet Lord Alessio was nevertheless undeterred. He ordered the entire allied army, including the Reman brigade under Captain Soldatovya’s command, consisting of mercenary dwarfs, crossbowmen and Reman bravi, to march along the dread road leading west towards Miragliano.



Our scouts reported that the watchtower of Soncino had been abandoned, which the army council took to mean that the enemy was aware of our approach and most likely drawing in its foul servants to concentrate his strength.



The army marched boldly to the watchtower’s vicinity and set about making an orderly and defensible camp.

As this work was accomplished, our scouts travelled further abroad to learn the villages of Leno were as quiet and empty as Soncino, having also been abandoned by the foe. The city of Miragliano itself, however, swarmed with the vampires’ servants, and its ancient, grey-stone walls hosted a force of rotting-but-walking corpses.



What most concerned the army council was the news that the putrid waters of the Blighted Marshes had been allowed to overspill their artificial bounds to claim the land around the city walls and, most likely, a good deal of the city within.



For several many years the dykes built to protect the city from the vast expanse of wetland to its immediate west have been left untended, so that now the once noble city seems to be sliding inexorably into the filthy waters. Even the road leading to the city has sunk beneath the mire, and the moat has merged with the wide expanse of stinking swamp stretching out for almost a mile in places, riddled with bloated corpses and bustling with clouds of filthy, fat flies. Miragliano is become, as indeed most of those in the army council had ominously anticipated, like a behemoth’s noisome corpse, washed up on the shore of a murky, accursed lake, infested with a host of maggots.



Lord Alessio spoke the plain truth when he said all this was only to be expected of a realm wracked by necromantic magics for so long. He ordered the army to march to the closest dry land to the city, there to build a strongly defensible camp …



… and dispatched the scouts with orders to patrol orbitally about the camp to ensure nothing could approach unnoticed. The siege-master Guccio was instructed to begin work on siege towers and a ram able to approach the city walls. Meanwhile, a force drawn from both our army and that of the VMC should venture into the marshes there to clear out and burn the corpses, so that none remained to be re-animated by the foe in the oncoming assault.



Captain Guccio willingly took on his task and began pressing the men needed to better speed the work, from all three allied forces. Having questioned the scouts closely, he learned that the swamp may be crossable by foot soldiers, but only with great difficulty, thus it is he intends to mount the two towers and ram upon large rafts, which can then be poled, paddled or pushed to the walls, whichever proves feasible.



While Guggio’s men laboured to fell the necessary timber, much of the rest of the army set about not dissimilar work, building the camp on a large, relatively flat hill, about two miles from the city. Guards have been set in watches, ordered to maintain strict vigilance both day and night, with execution promised for any found to be derelict in this duty in any way whatsoever.

Having been here almost a week now, it has become evident that the enemy is in no rush to sally forth to give battle but seem content instead to lurk behind the city walls and the enveloping marsh. Whenever the wind, even but a breeze, blows from the direction of the city, the stench it carries is almost overwhelming, even for soldiers inured to the noisome airs of Ebino. Every day, soldiers bring the freshest water they can find to the camp, yet there is always corruption lurking in the taste of it, eliciting many a complaint. Our supplies of ale and wine are low, for we are now at such a great distance from the living realms, and there is a dearth of foraging opportunities within reach. Worse still, a considerable proportion of the supplies we brought with us - salted flesh-meat, cured fish, even the grain – has prematurely rotted. Perhaps inevitably, although still surprising considering how little time we have been here, a number of men have contracted a camp fever and their misery rings throughout the camp as they moan and thrash delirious upon their pallets!

The scouts have, so far, consistently reported that there is nothing out there. The land around us is truly dead. They know little concerning the marshes as it would be deadly for their horses to attempt to pass through such, so for several days we knew nothing concerning the areas closest the city and out to the south and west, where the marsh has overwhelmed the land. Until, that is, the clearing party returned from their attempted labours.

The VMC’s commander, Luccia La Fanciulla, acceded to Lord Alessio’s request to employ some of her troops for the cleansing of the marshland approaches. She ordered her mercenary ogres, under the command of a Captain Ogbut, as well as the wizard Serafina Rosa to join with the crossbowmen from both Remas and Portomaggiore, the latter commanded by Captain Lupo.



This force returned, however, after two days, reporting that they were entirely unable to complete their task, claiming that to do so was impossible, for not only did the marshes contain the dead, but hide the undead too. Concealed beneath the stagnant waters and quicksands, bloated and slimy zombies would suddenly reach up to clutch with a deathly grip at the legs of anyone attempting to pass through.



Several crossbowmen perished, dragged to their doom by an enemy that the others often could not even see, never mind kill. They had tried, shooting into the waters whenever they espied ripples, or the sudden appearance of a clutching, black-fingernailed hand, but learned quickly this was simply a waste of quarrels.



One of Ogbut’s ogres also perished …



… tripping in the undergrowth as he tried to reach a skeletal corpse, and so tumbled into quicksand …



… there to be grabbed and pulled down, head-first, to join with the undead below.



Half a dozen crossbowmen have apparently been frightened out of their wits, and to add to those who perished, half as many again have since succumbed to the sickness assailing the camp.

Before they left off their grisly, impossible labours, this same party discovered that the city’s moat has become an impassable stretch of noisome water, which merges with the marshland reaching out, passable but, as already revealed, dangerous, some way from the moat. The road to the city, despite becoming submerged, is wadable, like the swamp, and indeed possibly passable all the way to the gate. In answer to Lord Alessio’s query, the wizard Hakim agreed that his colossus could most likely use the road, very much doubting that any bloated zombies lurking beneath the waters could either slow or hurt it, but he immediately warned that there would be the risk of the brass, mechanically-magic giant straying from the road and succumbing to the marsh, becoming stuck or perhaps even sinking below the surface completely.

The siege master attempted to reassure the Lord General by reporting that he and his men were making good progress on the rafts, towers and ram, which should much more safely allow soldiers to reach the gate and walls, first by dragging and pushing, then by use of barge poles or oars, so that even the moat would prove no obstacle.



Lord Alessio accepted that Guccio’s ingenious moat bridges had had great success at Ebino, but stated that here there were many more difficulties to overcome, and that even should the rafts reach the gate and walls, it was unlikely that sufficient soldiers could be carried thereby to successfully overcome the defences. The rest, were they to follow by wading behind, might succumb to a multitude of dangers.



This is why Lord Alessio ordered that I write to you and to several other rulers and governors of the realms between here and Remas. He is thinking of a way in which our forces might be better enabled to reach the city. What he has I mind will require a great workforce, consisting of expendable labourers and not the soldiers needed for the assault.

You are commanded to empty the gaols and prisons directly of all able-bodied prisoners, including debtors and those awaiting either trial or execution, and to gather all sturdy vagrants and beggars (whether imprisoned or not), no less than 1,000 in number, and send them all here to us, under sufficient guard to ensure that none can abscond, by whatever means and route is the quickest. You shall inform them that they are to be employed upon essential and righteous work, and furthermore, that should they survive this reparative labour, they will be pardoned of all past misdemeanours, felonies, debts and wrongdoings of any kind. And if insufficient numbers are thus obtained, then you are also to press into service all common youths unengaged in either apprenticeship or gainful employment that they too might be dispatched to us forthwith, to serve as guastatori sappers, for which service they will be suitably rewarded at the completion of this campaign.

Make haste and obey these orders in full, for the fate of Tilea lies in the successful conclusion of this war against the vampires.  They cannot be allowed to recover their strength, nor even lick their wounds, but must be exterminated completely as soon as possible.
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401
« Reply #629 on: June 02, 2021, 10:23:33 PM »
And now back to the other end of the campaign! A new video. This one took longer to put together. I can't wait 'til I get to the stories which don't need all the pictures re-doing!

Part 12:  https://youtu.be/r2bzYe_zUCg



Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401
« Reply #630 on: June 11, 2021, 01:14:34 PM »
My campaign video part 13 is now completed. 'The Little Waagh', a battle report involving a wholly goblin force taking on professional and modern Marienburg soldiers. You might already see where this is going!

https://youtu.be/pkn6dlVycd4

Booglebor says: "Watch it. It's fun!"
Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline S.O.F

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Re: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401
« Reply #631 on: June 12, 2021, 06:04:55 PM »
Wonder when HBO is going to buy the rights to this new fantasy epic ;)
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