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Author Topic: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401  (Read 113512 times)

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #150 on: September 08, 2015, 11:05:58 PM »
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"... my old suggestion is forget it, take two aspirins and go paint" steveb

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

"Until death it is all life." Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #151 on: September 09, 2015, 03:46:55 PM »
I checked the first post of this thread, yet didn't see a map.  Then I began reviewing the first page of this thread and located the map in another post, yet recall seeing that one at the time it was posted.  Then I went down through this page of the thread and found the map inserted at the beginning of the most recent story.  I noticed there are a lot of characters through out this campaign event.

Which in itself is pretty awesome. This really reads like a good story.
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #152 on: September 09, 2015, 03:49:42 PM »
Oh dear
Feel free to elaborate.

'Cagicus' is the player playing the part of Arch-Lector Calictus II, ruler of Remas, and he is leading the crusade (at least like a monarch would rather than like a general would, although he is with his crusading army). He has left Scorcio behind him on his route north to fight the undead. And now an army of ogres is acting somewhat aggressively in his rear!

@ Cagicus: Wait til you see the next part of this report then you may want to add some more 'oh dears'! I'm working on it now, but getting the steam iron to send gouts of steam at just the right time and in just the right place for the photograph, whilst holding both the steam iron and the camera at the same time, is NOT easy.

@Xathrodox86: I am growing to really like some of the characters. I need to work on making them more 'characterful' however. The story drives itself, what with the politics, religion and the fighting pushing my writing along, but I do feel I need to improve giving characters personality.

If anyone thought things were complicated now, there are going to get moreso!
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: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #153 on: September 10, 2015, 08:15:10 PM »
End of Season 6 General Report, Part 2 of X

Divided We Fall

Outside the Walls of Viadaza

The city of Viadaza was belching black clouds, foul and noisome fumes drifting eastwards, inland. The dead, both those once undead and those lucky enough never to have stirred post-mortem, were being burned by the thousand. For two whole days the army of the Reman Morrite Crusade had busied itself with piling corpses in the city squares and upon the stone built wharves, then after a generous dousing with oil, tar and pitch taken from the well-stocked warehouses, had set them alight. Within an hour there were few who could bear to stay within the city walls, not because of the heat, but because of the vile, vomit inducing stench of burning mountains of flesh. Most of the crusaders removed themselves to the sprawling army camp outside, where the smoke was lifted by its passage over the walls, then carried by a westerly breeze to pass mostly overhead, only occasionally lowering heavy, greasy coils to sicken those below.



The camp contained of hundreds of tents and sod-walled huts, in places arranged tidily, but largely consisting of a higgledy piggledy confusion of different sized structures placed wheresoever the soldiers happened to stop. Dotted throughout were fires and braziers, originally intended for cooking and to illuminate the otherwise ominous night, but now either heaped with smoking herbs and green sticks, or filled with smouldering incense to fend off the horrible stink pouring from the city. Near the southern stretch of walls stood a large tent of brightly painted canvas, belonging to the crusading army’s military commander, General Urbano d’Alessio, the hero of Pontremola. Above it flew two flags, the highest, and thus pre-eminent, was the cross-keyed standard of the Reman Morrite Crusade, while the lower was the raven-winged hourglass of the Viadazan crusade, now the general’s personal standard. The general himself, in full armour, casually shouldering the massive blade with which he had slain the vampire duke of Miragliano, stood before its open front. Beside him was Father Biagino, the unassuming Morrite priest the general had now recognised as a sturdy ally in the fight against the horrors of the north, being not only insightful and useful, but increasingly influential. Best of all, he was not remotely aloof as were so many clergy, and was willing to suffer a soldier’s lot without complaint.



Not that Biagino looked like a soldier, what with his tonsured head and a paunch evident even in his loose cassock. Nor that he would describe himself as happy with his lot, for his sleep was wracked with nightmares and his waking filled with doubts, the two difficulties feeding off each other in a miserable spiral. But he was resigned to his fate. He had barely left the general’s side during the last few days. Now he was listening to what a Reman captain had to report to the commander.



It was not good news. The captain and his company had been scouting the Trantio road some distance south of Busalla, where he had learned of the sacking of the town of Scorcio by a large force of ogres. He returned quickly to the camp, binding his own men to silence. He knew, however, that there were others with the same story to tell, and had indeed encountered several groups of refugee Scorcians on the road. Most admitted they had fled this way not merely because it was the easiest escape route, but because the crusading army had gone this way and who better to offer them protection than the soldier-servants of the gods?

“I reckon before it grows dark the entire army will know,” the captain said. “The news is spreading fast, your excellency, even as we speak.”

Biagino felt the now familiar panic welling inside. Yet again, he had dreamt this, and more than once. His oneiric visions had repeatedly twisted this Reman Crusade and the doomed Viadazan crusade of last year into one, so that the cheers of soldiers celebrating battlefield victory unfailingly transformed into the wails of citizens as yet another town fell to the enemy. He had thought the nightmare was born of his weakness, allowing fear and doubt to hold him in their grip, yet now he saw the truth of it. Morr had guided his dreams, and although the foe’s true face remained hidden, it was revealed that they would strike a terrible blow just as the crusaders’ backs were turned, and so turn victory into defeat.

The general drew all that he could from the captain, learning that the ogres were Campogrottan, perhaps bolstered by mercenaries come over the mountains; that they had looted the town as thoroughly as they had done to every settlement in the city state of Ravola; and that their leader was Razger Boulderguts, the tyrant general commanding the mysterious wizard Lord Nicolo’s forces. He then turned to Biagino.

“What happens then, father, when this news does the rounds in the camp?”

Biagino frowned. “It doesn’t bode well for harmony amongst us allies. If Scorcio is fallen then the young Lord Silvano may not wish to march any further with us. He was made ruler of Trantio by his father, which makes Scorcio his.”

“His father stole the realm of Trantio, and now the brutes are doing so too,” said the general. "Is there really any difference?"

“I do not think the young lord sees it that way. I have spoken to him. He idolises his father – seeing neither greed nor cruelty, only stern nobility. His father humbled the Astianans when they threatened to strangle Pavonan trade, then marched north to remove a warmongering tyrant from Trantio, thus freeing its people. To him his father is a hero, the stuff of myth and legend, but these ogres are nothing more than cruel robbers.”

“Well,” said the general, “Lord Silvano is right about the ogres, at least. Worse than looting and plunder, the brutes have probably eaten the populace too. But will Silvano leave us, forsaking his oath to serve Morr on holy crusade?”

“Considering what he did to Ravola, Razger Boulderguts probably considers Scorcio a mere aperativo, the city of Trantio being the main course. How can Lord Silvano stay here with us when he is honour bound to protect Trantio?”

“Ha!” laughed General d’Alessio. “He is honour bound to complete this crusade. And besides considerations of this duty and that oath, even if he did leave this very night he could not hope to reach Trantio in time to save it from destruction.”

“He is young and hopeful, and will likely try anyway,” said Biagino.

“Yes, probably so,” agreed d’Alessio. “Silvano fought beside the Campogrottan brutes in the battle, did he not?”

Biagino had forgotten that. “Yes, he did. They fought the undead riders together, and for some time, before he was saved by the timely intervention of his foot-soldiers.”

“So, while he and the brutes stood together against the foe here, the brutes’ cousins were robbing him of his possessions to the south? It seems to me that there is a cruelly clever cunning at play here. This Campogrottan Wizard Lord sends his soldiers, man and ogre, to join the crusade, and then when the Pavonans march north with them, he begins plundering their undefended towns. He fights as both their ally and their enemy at one and the same time.”

Biagino now wondered about the Wizard Lord Nicolo Bentiglovio, remembering a niggling doubt that had tickled at the edges of his mind. Driven from his realm many decades ago, Nicolo returns unnaturally old and retakes it, with an army of mercenary ogres. Was he in fact a vampire? Did that explain his remarkable longevity? If so, perhaps there was an alliance between him and the vampires to the west? Perhaps they intended to carve out the north of Tilea between them. He did not voice these concerns, however, for if it were true he had no doubt the general would work it out for himself, and if it were not true, he did not want to encourage a misconception. Besides, he had dreamt nothing of the sort, and so could not hope that this particular insight was gifted by Morr.

The general was thinking, scraping the edge of his shouldered sword against his steel pauldron as he did so. “It seems,” he announced, “that we are to be tested in even more ways than I ever imagined – and in truth I thought I had imagined the worst. We are now surrounded by enemies, to the north and south, and even if we do not divide the army to march both ways, it could well do so of its own accord. Furthermore, we have potential enemies in our midst too, a whole battalion of Campogrottans. We must take measures to ensure they cannot do us harm. I must speak with his Holiness.”

The Reman captain coughed - not the sort of wracking cough gifted by the miasma emanating from the city, but short and sharp. Both general and priest looked at him.

“Yes?” asked the general.

“Beg pardon, your excellency, but the Pavonans already know what has happened. I noticed considerable noise and fuss in their camp as I came here to you. They looked to be arming themselves.”

“Leaving already? Without seeking my permission?”

“They looked to be readying themselves for a fight,” said the captain, “not for the march.”

Suddenly Biagino understood. “They’ll be after vengeance against the Campogrottan brutes in our army. They have been tricked, and mocked when the brutes helped their young lord in battle. All Pavonans are proud, even the common soldiers. They think their faith is more perfect than everyone else’s; that all they do is right and proper.  If they can hate dwarfs so much as to banish them from their realm, how much more will they hate these brutes? They probably expect us to thank them for the slaughter they are about to cause.”

“We must act now,” said the general. “No time for an audience with his Holiness.” He turned to the Reman captain and the Cathayan officer by his side. “Gentlemen, muster your men and make haste about it. Not only do we need to restrain the Campogrottans, we must get between them and the Pavonans. If we act quickly we might prevent this army mortally wounding itself.”





Causing a Stink

While the arch-lector’s soldiers marched to the Campogrottan quarter, Father Biagino hurried to find young Lord Silvano. The lad had always seemed amenable, and honest – perhaps even too much so for the world of Tilean politicking – and Biagino hoped to persuade him to order his men to stand down.  Near to the Pavonan camp the stinking smoke thickened as the breeze died away and the noisome pall descended to linger a while. Looking around, Biagino quickly realised he was probably too late. There was hardly anyone about, the soldiers had already gone. Outside Lord Silvano’s pavilion there was only one guard, and a handful of wounded men hobbling near the huts.



“I wish to speak with Lord Silvano,” said Biagino.

The guard, a large and moustachioed fellow, sniffed. “Not here,” he answered, a rudely brief reply considering he was addressing a priest of Morr.

“Then where is he?”

The guard grinned. “Gone to teach the Campogrottans a lesson in manners, but not the kind they’ll get to put into practice later.”

Biagino pelted off through the camp as fast as his legs would carry him. He had never been much of a runner, and the thickly foul air did not make it any easier. But then, he hoped, it may have slowed down the Pavonans too. As he approach the rocky outcrop behind which the Campogrottans had settled, he could hear shouting. Unwilling to hurtle into the middle of a skirmish, he slowed his pace and picked his way more carefully between the huts. The first Pavonans he saw were handgunners, who were making ready their pieces. Halting, he consoled himself that he had not yet heard any shots, and so the fighting had not yet actually begun.



He stepped back, then crept behind the huts in the direction the Pavonans had been facing. Crouching behind a large barrel he peered over to see what exactly was confronting them. He was much reassured to see that it was a regiment of the arch-lector’s Cathayan Guard. They had arrayed themselves to block this particular access to the Campogrottan’s camp – an opening in one of the many rocky ridges that peppered the land around the city. As the Pavonans were not moving on, he decided there must be other loyal troops blocking the other gaps, no doubt also facing bands of angry Pavonans.



The Cathayans had formed into a double ranks of crossbows, the first rank kneeling, while behind them stood a body of soldiers armed with the somewhat odd looking halberds they preferred. An officer and a sergeant stood beside them while their banner, bearing a single Morrite key, fluttered above. It was not them doing the shouting.

The Pavonans stood close, so close in fact that a volley from the crossbows now would prove very bloody, very deadly. They were somewhat disorganised, and although neatly liveried in their blue and white (as always), they looked more like a rabble than a body of soldiers ready for battle. Biagino wondered if this was because they were unofficered, acting without orders, without direction. They certainly seemed to lack discipline. As well as the handgunners, he could see halberdiers and swordsmen, muddled together, and all as tense as an angry crowd set upon lynching a hated felon.



Some Pavonans were coughing, the stench here threatening to overwhelm them, but all had drawn their blades or were preparing their handguns. Moving around a little Biagino looked to see who was doing the shouting. He had already decided it was not Silvano, but he wondered if the young lord was here, watching, or with another mob at another gap. Perhaps he had lost control of his unruly soldiers, whether willingly or not. Then he could see the man doing the shouting. It was a stern looking fellow, armed with somewhat oversized hammer and pistol, which nevertheless he wielded with ease. By the steel plate hanging at the man’s chest, Biagino recognised him as a provost.



Trust the Pavonans, he thought, to have a provost who stirs up trouble rather than quelling it.

The provost was clearly agitated, moreso than the men behind him, his voice straining to speak so loudly whilst breathing the poisoned fumes fogging the camp.

“This is folly. Why would you defend such villains? You have no right to bar our way. I would see justice done here this day, yet you would protect them. Their very presence here befouls this holy crusade. Perhaps you do not see it for you yourselves know not the glory of Morr. Your lack of faith means a lack of understanding. Besides, what is it to you? This is Tilean business, Pavonan business; you have no right to prevent us meting out justice.”

The Cathayan captain spoke with a heavy accent, and much more calmly than the provost. “We have our orders. You are to return to your camp. The matter is in hand.”

“It is not! While those abominations live justice is ill served. They are enemies, who have raised their hand against our prince. And you would have us leave them be?”

Behind him the Pavonan soldiers’ protests grew louder, yet they did not press any further forward.



“You are not arguing with me,” said the Cathayan, “but with General d’Alessio, whom your own master has accepted as his military commander, and who serves in turn the arch-lector. It is by the general’s order that we are here. Leave or I will give the order to shoot.”

The Pavonan provost laughed. “The arch-lector is not the apex of power, but holy Morr, who is above all men and their offices, above all gods. It is not for the likes of you to tell Tileans how to cleanse their own land and make it good in the eyes of Morr.” He turned to his men, raising his hand, then shouted: “Handgunners to the fore. Form on me. Two ranks.”

The handgunners began to move hesitantly forwards while the others stepped aside to get out of their way. Just then a sound was heard from beyond the rocks – a growling roar at once both angry and pained. The Cathayan officer turned to look. Biagino was impressed that not one of his soldiers so much as stole a glance, simply standing at the ready awaiting orders, the very definition of discipline. The advancing Pavonans halted, uncertain, straining to peer beyond the ranks of Cathayans.

Biagino could not be certain but it sounded like an ogre.
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 Xathrodox86

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #154 on: September 11, 2015, 06:41:06 AM »
That steam adds so much to those pics and story. How long did you had to take pics and how many of them? :ph34r:
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Offline cagicus

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #155 on: September 13, 2015, 04:48:25 PM »
oh dear o dear

Offline cagicus

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #156 on: September 17, 2015, 05:38:07 PM »
re "oh dear"

yes  The arch lector's religion means the undead are the enemy. We had a perfectly good crusade going and the first of many glorious victories. If only these foolish living creatures would only stop fighting each other. I'm sure the arch lector is frustrated that they can't just accept the obvious priority to cleanse the world of the undead, and only then could these petty squabbles be dealt with (under his holiness's guidance of course)

This work of art by padre is amazing and possibly unique?

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #157 on: October 02, 2015, 11:41:41 PM »
It is very apt that Cagicus posted the comment immediately preceding this, as he co-wrote the first part of this next installment. Thank you Cagicus, it was great fun and I like the result. Now I hope to co-write some more stuff with you, and perhaps other players, in the future.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

End of Season 6 General Report, Part 3 of X

The ‘Incident’

Near Viadaza

 “We have arrested all those we could find afterwards, both Campogrottans and Pavonans,” reported General d’Alessio. “They are now in custody awaiting your pleasure. At the very least they are guilty of improper conduct and insubordination, at worst, murder, although in the circumstances it might be unfair to consider them murderers.”

Biagino noticed the general had left his famous broadsword behind, probably aware how inappropriate it would be during a meeting with the arch-lector. That, along with the blue sky, the pleasant surroundings of the gardens of the Palazzo Sebardia and the absence of stinking smoke, made for a very welcome change. Compared to corpse burning in the dark and derelict city streets and a threatening air of tension in the army camp, this afternoon felt most civilised. The palazzo was situated a little south of Viadaza, constructed of the same grey stone as much of the city, and similarly of a design influenced by more northern architectural fashions. A walled moat of calm, deep waters sat to the side, and all around were full grown trees to provide ample shade to those who wished it. There was, decided Biagino, no sign here at all of the nightmarish horrors which had gripped this realm until the vampire lord and his foul forces had been driven out.

Yet it was not possible to forget the war, for the arch-lector’s guards were posted throughout the gardens: crossbowmen watched the trees, while halberdiers stood sentinel at every door and even along the wall of the moat. Nor were they idle, for their eyes were busy scouring the surroundings for any sign of trouble.



“I cannot say whether we caught all those involved,” continued the general. “Some Pavonans may have slipped away before we could find them, back into the fold of the mob gathered around the Campogrottan camp. Those we caught were nearly all wounded. The Campogrottan men had also been badly mauled, leaving as many dead as injured. As for the brutes, there was not one alive.”

“You accounted for all of the brutes?” asked the lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini.

“We think so. There were no sightings of ogres anywhere else in the camp, and the art of concealment is not exactly their forte.”

Biagino laughed inside at the thought of an ogre attempting to conceal himself. It was an idea as ridiculous as the poppet play he had once seen in which snotlings attempted to play chess.

The arch-lector, however, gave a heavy sigh, then spoke the words of a prayer: "Morr guide us, Morr take us and Morr keep us." Looking down at his clasped hands, left thumb over right, he let his eyes lose focus for a long moment while the others stood in respectful silence. Then he turned to fix the captain general with a direct gaze. "Now General d’Alessio. Exactly what did happen at the Campogrottan’s camp?"

For the briefest moment d’Alessio looked uncomfortable, as if a sliver of doubt pricked at him, then he continued in the same matter of fact voice as before. “I hold myself partially to blame, for I had noticed the archers harboured bad feelings towards their brute comrades. I thought it nothing more than that which all men feel when in the company of ogres. Of course, it is obvious now in hindsight. These men were filled with hatred - probably just biding their time until a chance arose. The archers are no more or less than oppressed Tileans, who rose up against brute and foreign oppressors. Campogrotta is a conquered realm, with a monstrous army keeping all under their thumb. Lord Nicolo perhaps even sent the archers away to remove such trouble causers from his realm.”

“If so,” queried the Lector Bernado, “then why did he send two companies of ogres as well?”

“That I do not know," admitted d'Alessio. "Nor, I think, shall we ever know now that the ogres are dead. It may well be that they planned some sabotage of their own, perhaps even to attack any Pavonans or their allies amongst us when news of their brethren’s attack on Scorcio was received? If so, then it may well be a good thing that they have been killed.”

The arch-lector regarded d’Alessio sternly. Like the lector standing behind him he wore a wine coloured, hooded cloak, although the cassock beneath was of a much richer, velvet cloth, decorated with silken braids and golden zucchini. His hands were no longer clasped together as if in prayer, which Biagino took as a sign that his holiness was not in the mood for ifs and maybes. Luckily, the general seemed to notice too, and returned to answering the question.



“It should all become much clearer once we question those involved - perhaps, by your leave your holiness, in a court martial? Just now it is clear that the Campogrottan men, nearly every one, took the news of the attack on Scorcio as a signal that they should begin the slaughter. As they went about their bloody business they were joined by several Pavonans who had arrived with exactly the same slaughter in mind. The soldiers I sent to isolate the Campogrottan camp prevented any more Pavonans getting in. But it was too late, for although the handful of Pavonans who had already slipped through could not have prevailed alone against the brutes, joined with the archers they had sufficient strength. Nevertheless it was a hard fight, and the men were severely mauled, losing a good half of their number. Both Pavonans and Campogrottans seemed willing to risk all in the attack.”

“Yes. Of course, I see that,” said the arch-lector. “Their homes and families conquered by these brutish creatures. But still. These brutes did Morr's work for a time. And that work is not done yet. I will not see their killers released from Morr's service until it is.

“I understand, general, that military discipline must be maintained, but there is more to this. We have an abomination to the North. Every living being has a duty to cleanse this world of the undead scourge. All right thinking people know this is so. Each life given in this crusade is well received by Morr. Each life wasted in petty squabbles over territory or plunder is an insult to his name.

“Tell me, did Lord Silvano order this attack on the brutes?”

General d’Alessio shook his head. “As far as I know, your Holiness, although my officers have yet to ascertain the details, he does not seem to have done so. Not directly, at least, and he certainly did not lead it. None of our men witnessed him at the camp. His soldiers were disorganised, driven by anger rather than an officer’s commands. It is not known whether he otherwise encouraged the attack, merely allowed it to happen or was entirely ignorant of it. In truth, we have yet to establish even his whereabouts at the time.”

The arch-lector turned his gaze and reached out his right hand in the gesture of free speech. “Biagino! I left many of my trusted advisors in Remas. You have seen much and learned more. I would have your counsel if you would give it. Tell me of Lord Silvano. He joined our crusade eagerly, but does he truly serve Morr? Will he stay with us or shall we let him fly?"

Biagino had spent some time with the Pavonan lord, finding him likeable, open and honest. Whether or not Silvano would order such an attack as this, however, he could not say. Luckily, the arch-lector was not asking that.
 
“The young lord does seem devout in his service to Morr. He has his own confessor, of course, and has never spoken to me of any Sagrannalian heresies or schismatical Pavonian beliefs. I took his willingness to join our crusade as a sign that he was happy to be guided by your Holiness and the true church. In truth, although he never used these exact words, I believe he would much rather fight this holy war against evil than die like his brother in a war of vengeance against the living. Yet …”
 

 
Here Biagino faltered and it was the arch-lector who picked up his thought: “Yet will he leave now that Trantio is threatened?”
 
“I cannot say for certain, your Holiness,” admitted Biagino. “But I think he will. He is proud to be the Gonfalonieri of Trantio, even if the honour is clouded by his brother's death. Now he has learned of Scorcio’s suffering and the very great threat to Trantio, he must surely be torn between continuing this holy fight and defending that which he rules. He swore oaths to do both, and in his naivety, I suppose, did not imagine the two duties would conflict. But the boy loves his father, can see no wrong in the man. Filial duty will win out.”
 
The lector of Viadaza stepped forward to address the arch-lector. “We can do nothing to stop Lord Silvano leaving if he so wishes. And in light of his rank, the noble son of the ruler of a sovereign state, we have no rightful authority to try him. Besides, if we did, how would we weigh one oath before the gods against another? If we had evidence that he himself espoused heretical doctrine then we might proceed against him under church law. If he ordered this attack and we chose to see it as the act of an enemy, then we could make him a prisoner of war. In so doing we would be declaring war against his father, which is madness with the vampire duchess north of us and now the tyrant Boulderguts to the south. We have more than enough enemies.”
 

 
Biagino was not surprised to hear Lector Bernado talk so easily of the Campogrottan ogres as enemies. The arch-lector had not actually declared them so, yet they seemed keen by their burning and robbing to make themselves enemies of all.
 
“Lord Silvano is indeed untouchable in terms of military law,” said General d’Alessio. “He is the commander of his own brigade, sworn as a willing ally, not as a serving soldier who is duty bound to obey my every command. If he lost control of his men, that does not mean we can prosecute him. If he failed to keep some vow, that only shames him. And even if he ordered the killing of the ogres, that is nothing more than a lord seeking retribution for crimes committed against him. However, with his permission, we can proceed with a court martial concerning his men’s actions, at least to question them.”

“What would that gain?” asked Lector Bernado. “We have a war to fight, general. Why waste time with enquiries?”

When all turned to hear what the arch-lector had to say, Calictus again allowed a long moment to pass, as if he were reaching out silently for some guidance. Biagino wondered if the arch-lector could feel Morr’s presence – not through riddle-filled dreams as he himself experienced, but rather to know the god’s will directly. If a lowly priest such as himself was blessed with divine visions, surely the highest ranking clergyman of the church had access to much, much more? There was no way of knowing, of course. Whether the arch-lector was merely weighing his advisers’ words or waiting for a sign from Morr, no-one else could know. 

When Calictus’ attention returned to his company, his eyes seemed to light up, as if an amusing thought had tickled him. “Good Lector Bernado,” he said, “you have shown your grasp of the situation. I have no desire to do anything more than offer advice and help to Lord Silvano and his father.” He then turned to Biagino. “And good father, not only do I think you see much more than most when you look upon a man, it seems to me that Morr has guided you, blessed you, so that his will might manifest through you. You both speak well. We must recognise the inevitable and move with it rather than against it. We should aim to support Lord Silvano when he moves south to retake Scorcio.

“Might I ask, your holiness,” said Lector Bernado, “how can we make this situation serve Morr's greater purpose?"

“First we must bring this matter of unrest in our army to a close, without making any more enemies than we already have. You may hold a court martial, general. We must be seen to follow a proper process, and the rule of law must prevail. Let the Pavonans and Campogrottans express their anger, explain their justification. Bernado, I would have you attend, for the deed was done within your diocese, and by soldiers serving in Morr’s holy army.”

Both Lector Bernado and General d’Alessio bowed to show their obedience.

“It will be done, your holiness,” said the lector of Viadaza.

“What sentence do I pass when they admit to their deeds?” asked the general.

Again Biagino saw a glimpse of humour in the arch-lector’s eyes. “The Pavonans should be returned to their own brigade to be dealt with as Lord Silvano sees fit. The Campogrottans will be found guilty of misconduct, and will await my pleasure. In the meantime, I shall consider how best to deal with them.”

It was very clear to Biagino that the arch lector already knew full well what he intended to do, and equally clear that no-one but the arch-lector knew exactly what that was.



(Continued Below)

« Last Edit: July 24, 2016, 05:49:37 PM by Padre »
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #158 on: October 02, 2015, 11:42:30 PM »
(Part 3 of X continued)

Court Martial

In Viadaza

The gnomish clerk of the court was bringing the legal preamble to a close, his somewhat squeaky voice being both audible and authoritative despite its inauspicious nature, “… and as the matter to be investigated concerns soldiers serving different sovereign princes, so that none of their own officers has authority over all the parties involved, then General Urbano d’Alessio will himself act as judge, in that he carries the baton of command over all brigades, granted him by the authority of the arch-lector …”

Biagino was not one of those Morrite clergy officially attending the trial, for that honour fell to the Lector Bernado and the lesser priests under his immediate jurisdiction. Needless to say, there were not many lesser priests – two, to be exact. Times had been more than hard for all Viadazans, including the clergy. So much so, in fact, that some of the previously walking corpses cremated over the last week wore grey and red priestly robes, ragged and filthy but still recognisable. That priests of Morr might become the living dead was beyond most Tileans’ imaginations, yet it had happened here in this hellish place.

The square in which the interrogation was to be held was not large, made smaller by the collapse of the building lining its southern side. Biagino presumed the damage had happened either during the recent siege or the earlier fall of Viadaza to the undead. Attempts had been made to tidy the rubble, creating a kind of wall behind which a group of observers had gathered, Biagino amongst them. Several of the arch-lector’s own liveried bodyguard regiment were scattered about the place – a drummer to beat the appropriate flams as prisoners were brought forward or removed, an ensign to bear the arch-lector’s standard, and the rest to escort the prisoners and guard the various portals around the square. A second gnome assisted the clerk, while a priest of Morr was ready with a holy book upon which those to be examined might swear an oath that they would speak the truth.



As Biagino stepped forwards to get a better look, the first soldier to be examined was being brought into place. As the prisoner and the guard came to a halt Biagino noticed the large stone block behind them, decorated with chains and manacles. Now he knew why this particular square had been chosen – it had obviously served a similar sort of purpose in the past, back when Viadaza was filled with a living populace rather than soldiers and ghosts. The prisoner was a Pavonan, his blue and white quartered garb unmistakeable. Unlike most prisoners Biagino had seen over the years, this man was clean, combed, his linen white and unstained. The court might be going through all the usual motions, but it was obvious that the sort of ‘back-stage’ cruelty and deprivation that was a prisoner’s usual lot had not been inflicted.

Once the Pavonan had been sworn, he was ordered to give an account of what had occurred.

“It weren’t anything,” he said, an element of disdain evident in his tone. “We heard what the brutes had done and decided we ought to teach them a lesson.”

“You decided?” asked the general. “Not Lord Silvano?”

“Lord Silvano was not with us when we heard the news. We knew what must be done without him having to tell us. Besides, to find him out would have meant delay, and we were in no mood for that. They say patience is a virtue, but not always.”

“So you were acting without orders?”

“The brutes were revealed as enemies in our midst, no doubt with some bloody intention to add to the deeds done at Scorcio. We did what was best, and what Lord Silvano would have wished.”

The general raised his hand to silence the soldier, his face registering annoyance. “Never mind what you think Lord Silvano wanted, or what was best. Answer me straight, did Lord Silvano give orders to attack the Campogrottan brutes?”

The Pavonan’s confidence was ebbing. He glanced around as if to look for help. “No, your excellency. He gave us no orders.”

The general gestured to the gnomish clerk. “Write that down,” he commanded.

As he did so, his scribbling hand not faltering for a moment, the gnome raised his bushy eyebrows, registering a kind of surprise. Biagino noticed, and smiled. The gnome was no doubt thinking: ‘What do you think I am doing?’

“Did Lord Silvano in any way indicate that it was his intention that you attack the brutes?” asked General d’Alessio.

“He is Gonfalonieri of Trantio, and Scorcio is his to rule. He would not want the comrades of those who had attacked his own possessions to go unpunished. We did …”

“Quiet!” barked the general. “And listen. This time I want you to answer the question put to you, and only that question. You have ears, use them!”

The Pavonan nodded, now definitely discomfited.



The general waited a moment, took a breath as if to compose himself, and then asked, “Did Lord Silvano in any way whatsoever encourage, embolden or advise you to do this deed? Did he indicate his happiness at your intentions, or at the least suggest that you might do as you wished?”

“No. He couldn’t, see? Because Captain Minnoli took him away upon some errand before anyone could tell him what had happened.”

Now Biagino understood exactly why young Lord Silvano had not been present at the incident. His men had tricked him away, perhaps to prevent him from interfering, or to ensure no blame could be put on him. Perhaps both?

General d’Alessio was not subtle in his satisfaction. He brought his hands together in a clap and turned once again to look at the gnome. Before he could speak however, the gnome, without lifting his eyes or even pausing his quill pen, said, “I’m writing it.”

Biagino almost laughed at this. Gnomes had often had a comical way about them, a kind of pride, manifesting most often as sarcasm or rudeness. They were very good at what they did, yet men had a tendency to confuse their squeaky voices and short stature with childishness. He could not read the general’s subsequent fixed expression, but he knew the man well enough to know it was more likely to be an attempt to conceal the general’s own mirth rather than anger at the gnome’s impertinence.

General d’Alessio now turned to the crowd. “This man acted without his commanders’ orders, neither mine nor Lord Silvano’s. Lord Silvano bears no blame for the deed. This man speaks for himself and the rest of the Pavonans involved in this incident. It is not my place to discipline another man’s soldiers, and so this man and the others will be returned to their camp, there to suffer whatsoever punishment Lord Silvano sees fit to inflict. They are his to do with as he wishes.” Addressing the guard holding the prisoner’s manacles, he said, “Take him away.”



Biagino was surprised at the speed at which the investigation had been conducted. Of course he knew that all those officiating had already been briefed as to what must be done, and that the whole event was for show, but he had thought the general might make more of an effort to appear thorough in his examination. Still, there was a war to fight, against a most terrible enemy, and so little time for the niceties of procedure and tradition. He watched as the Pavonan was led away and a Campogrottan brought to stand in his place.



This man too had an air of defiance about him, like the Pavonan had when first brought forward, but his eyes revealed he was more nervous. He was dressed in a colourful green and yellow doublet and a blue artisan’s hat. His hands were bound before him with rope, and he was prodded into place by an intimidating, broadsword wielding guardsman. Biagino knew this Campogrottan was on much shakier ground than the Pavonan, as he and his comrades had no officers they could be returned to. They had killed their commanders when they killed the ogres!

The gnomish clerk declared that this man had been chosen to speak for himself and his comrades, then read out the man’s name, describing him as a retinue archer. The general seemed intrigued by this, asking, “A retinue archer? Whose retinue?”

“Sir Bruno Dalila, knight of the Hollow Order.”

“There are no knights in your brigade.”

“No, your excellency. The brutes killed them all.”

The general nodded gravely. “And this was the cause of your action?”

“It was, your excellency. Lord Nicolo and Boulderguts have killed or imprisoned every noble in our realm, lord, lady and child, excepting those who managed to flee or hide, which were not too many. They stole the whole of Campogrotta, enslaved every living soul, then they took Ravola to steal all they could from there too. Now they’ve set upon Trantio. They’ll burn the whole of Tilea if they’re not stopped.”

“You have grievances a-plenty,” acknowledged General d’Alessio. “I see that plainly. But you had no orders, and no right to take matters into your own hands. You are soldiers serving this holy army of Morr, and ought properly to have awaited orders. We would have dealt with the brutes as best we saw fit.”

The archer stared down at his feet. Biagino wondered whether the act of rebellion had given the man any real satisfaction, considering all that he had likely lost to the brutes. It was a small revenge for the conquest and looting of an entire principality. The archer could hardly be said to look proud about what he had done. Or, thought Biagino, perhaps he was simply afraid of the potentially brutal consequences of being caught disobeying orders in a time of war?

“Look now,” commanded the general. “You will tell us exactly what happened. Speak.”

The man winced, then began his tale. “News came of what had happened at Scorcio, the brute Gollig one of the first to hear it. He was laughing, which wasn’t like him, and I wondered what was so funny. Then Enzo, who’d heard what had been said, stepped up to him and stuck him with a knife, deep into his belly. That stopped the laughing, but o’course it didn’t put Gollig down. He broke Enzo’s neck with a back-handed blow, then started shouting that we were all maggots, and asking who else wanted a slap. I could see he wasn’t himself, but whether that was the knife still buried in him or because he knew there was going to be trouble now that he and his kind had become enemies of the very army they were serving with, I don’t know. Enzo’s brother, Luca, sent an arrow to accompany the knife, then umpteen lads started filling him with shafts too. Even before he fell some of the others had run into the brute’s tents to cut their throats before they woke. And some managed it, but not all, because the brutes were roused by the noise and began fighting back. A lot of men were killed, we were hard pressed, and it were going bad for us until the Pavonans turned up and joined in the fight. They had halberds, which cut broad and deep, and the blood flowed freely. It wasn’t easy, and a lot of good men died, but between us we did what had to be done and killed every one of them.”

It went very quiet in the square. For a moment Biagino thought that there might be applause for the prisoner, but none came. He sensed it was being held in check - there was probably no-one present who had anything but respect for the prisoner.

General d’Alessio glanced over at the gnomish clerk still scribbling at the paper. Then he spoke: “In light of the cruel tyranny of Boulderguts and his ogres, and their treacherous attack to the south of us, I am minded to excuse your actions. You and your comrades showed courage, and were willing to suffer as a consequence. Also I would have it known that you bear no blame for the attack upon Scorcio. But I cannot forgive your indiscipline. Soldiers should act upon orders and not upon impulse, and so I hereby judge that you will serve a term of parole, under conditions to be set by myself and the council of war.”

“This court martial is adjourned.”

Biagino once again was surprised by the abruptness with which the general brought things to a close. He knew exactly what the arch-lector had ordered – that the Pavonans be released into the custody of their own commander, and that the Campogrottans be freed only on provision that they continue to serve the arch-lector in whatever capacity he saw fit – yet had not realised how quickly such a declaration would be made. Only two out of more than three dozen men had been questioned, and neither had been pressed to reveal anything other than what they wanted to say. Perhaps this was the military way? No room for lawyers and cross examinations; no place for bickering, wrangling or disputation.

Not that he was unhappy about it, for now they could get back the important matter of waging war against the vampires. Or should that be the war against vampires and ogres? 

« Last Edit: October 03, 2015, 05:05:24 PM by Padre »
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Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #159 on: October 06, 2015, 09:34:12 AM »
Superbly written and I dread to think how many minis you actually posses. A lot is my guess. ;)
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #160 on: November 11, 2015, 10:59:03 PM »
(Yes, Xathrodox. .. a lot.)

End of Season 6 General Report, Part 4 of 4

A Letter to Lord Lucca Vescucci of Verezzo

To my most noble lord, from your loyal servant Antonio Mugello. May this missive find you blessed by all the gods, in good health and prosperous. I humbly present all that I have learned from my travels and conversations over these last summer months concerning the realm of Tilea. Having carefully sifted, examined, compared and weighted all that I have learned, I humbly believe this report comes as close to the truth as is possible for a mere mortal to ascertain.
..
Arch-Lector Calictus II at last launched his own holy war early this summer, for he personally led an alliance army of his own troops, several Viadazans of note and a brigade of Campogrottan ogres and men. While Duke Scaringella remains Captain General of the armies of Remas, he also remained in the city, and so it is General d’Alessio, the Viadazan hero of Pontremola, who commands this great Morrite alliance army upon the march and in the field of battle. Of course, his holiness Calictus II attends the army’s councils, acting as would a liege lord, but chooses not to shoulder the burden of tactical command.

At the town of Scorcio they halted to dwell a while in the army camp constructed for their use by the Pavonans, and there they were joined by the Pavonan Lord Silvano Gondi, Gonfalonieri of the newly conquered city realm of Trantio. The young lord’s father, Duke Guidobaldo, had left him to rule while he himself returned to Pavona, and there has been considerable debate concerning whether the duke intended his son to abandon the city so soon to join with the army of Morr! Lord Silvano took a substantial brigade of veteran Pavonan soldiers with him, making the conjoined force mighty one indeed. And yet even more was on the way, for another force, paid and sent by Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore, consisting of the arabyan mercenaries known as the Sons of the Desert, intended also to join them. But they were sent too late to reach Calictus this summer, and are now believed to be close behind. They could thus provide a ready source of reinforcements some time in Autumn, and will no doubt be most welcome to the arch lector in light of what happened at the end of summer (which I will detail below in its proper place.)

This holy Morrite army moved quickly to attack and capture Viadaza – or I suppose, as the Viadazans amongst their number would say, re-capturing it. The defeated vampire Lord Adolfo fled away with the ragged remnants of his army using the last remaining ships and boats in the harbour escaping even as the arch lector’s soldiers began pouring in through the breaches blasted by their cannons. The victors then began the horrible business of cleansing the befouled city, burning putrid corpses by the thousand in order to prevent them from rising yet again to fight, and to prevent disease ravaging their camp. Of course burning the dead is not the usual way of the Morrite church, but when it comes to corpses tainted by evil magic apt to stir once again upon unholy nights if allowed to lie in the ground, the church actively encourages cremation. Indeed when there are mountainous heaps of them, I doubt there is any other sensible way to proceed.

This victory brought hope to those who dwell in northern Tilea, being the first occasion  in two years the undead had lost something which they had taken, the first truly effective blow delivered against them. Even when the vampire duke perished at Pontremola and his decimated army retreated from the field, nevertheless the undead dominion widened, for Viadaza was captured and corrupted that very same week - thus the victorious peasant crusaders lost their home even though they won the battle. Now, however, a battle was won and this time the enemy had definitely been pushed back. The vampire Lord Adolfo fled with his tail between his legs, in all likelihood running to his wicked mistress. Perhaps she, being a heartless creature of evil, would kill him as punishment for his failure? Whatever she did, she would surely recognise that her hold on the north has weakened. The victory failed to bring much joy to the Morrite alliance army, however, as they were busy about their nauseous and noisome task in the city. Instead they felt only trepidation concerning when the vampire Duchess would strike.

There are very few alive who can reliably report on exactly what is happening within the far north-west, where the walking dead shuffle and shamble about their foul errands. According to the handful of  brave Urbiman spies who have ventured forth into that hellish domain, the vampire duchess Maria has now established her rule both in Miragliano and Ebino. The first was once her uncle’s realm and would now be hers by right of inheritance if she were still alive; the second she herself ruled before she turned. The Urbiman spies report the undead fought bitterly amongst themselves over the winter and spring months, which is why their advance southward slowed. Most educated men agree this is most likely, for when the vampire duke perished, his lieutenants were left leaderless. Such cruel and vain creatures most likely set upon each other to claw their bloody way to power, and in the end the vampire duchess Maria won the struggle. As to what strength she can now muster in the field no-one knows. Nor can anyone claim knowledge of her intentions, but her realm is large, with a plentiful supply of charnel pits and graveyards from which she can increase her marching strength. Perhaps she had intended Lord Adolfo to hold Viadaza, but now perchance he will instead join her in to increase her marching strength? But I must write no more concerning this in case I might give the false impression that I have any real understanding of these matters. The far north of Tilea remains a darkly shrouded place, despite the vivid nightmares it weaves across the whole of Tilea.

At the end of summer terrible news came to the grand Morrite alliance army’s camp at Viadaza - the town of Scorcio, in the northern part of the realm of Trantio, had been attacked, looted and razed by a large force of ogres led by the Campogrottan Tyrant Razger Boulderguts. This led to a bloody, arguably mutinous, incident in the army camp as the downtrodden men of Campogrotta turned against their brute masters and killed them. They could well have been looking for an opportunity to do this for some time, but until now were hindered by the fact that the arch-lector seemed to consider the ogres a useful and important addition to his force. They were helped by several Pavonans, themselves looking for vengeance over the sacking of Scorcio, one of their young lord's possessions. I have heard it said more than once how these two make strange bedfellows – the Campogrottans being a conquered people, the Pavonans being conquerors. An alliance of convenience, perhaps? Considering the Campogrottan men are merely peasant soldiers, and outcasts from their own realm, it is no alliance of equals. How this internal conflict will affect the holy army of Morr has yet to be seen - their losses in ogres were just as bad in the incidient as in the assault on Viadaza. Yet there is an entire mercenary army of Arabyans on its way to them so perhaps the arch-lector’s field strength can be maintained despite these difficulties? What the arch-lector will do in response is a topic of much speculation. If he considers Boulderguts his enemy, which most folk assume must be the case, then he is close to being entirely surrounded by foes, and cut off from his own city. Will he turn south again now, his fight against the vile undead very much unfinished, or can he risk lingering in the far north to complete what he has begun?

It is a much discussed mystery why the Campogrottan Lord Nicolo and his tyrant ogre Boulderguts sent a force including ogres along with the Morrite alliance army, when he apparently intended simultaneously to attack the Tilean realms also supporting that army. Many suppose that if the ogres had lived they would certainly have gone about some other treacherous, murderous activity. Of course, the Campogrottan brigade set off many months before Trantio was taken by the Pavonans, so it cannot be presumed that the ogres had particular enemies in mind. Perhaps their presence was intended to poison the Morrite army, to weaken it fatally, or at the least to make it unfit to return to Trantio to aid its defence? When Boulderguts discovered the realm of Trantio to be ruled by servants of the Pavonan Duke rather than the Trantian Prince I doubt he would have thought twice about continuing his assault, for why would it matter to him who exactly he looted from? He consumed the realm of Ravola leaving only the barest of bones to show what once was. In truth it was perhaps inevitable that the ogres would turn south to continue to feed their lust for loot. I am loathe to admit that I failed entirely to recognise that Bouldergut's assault on Ravola revealed his true nature, and what (of course) he would do again and again until stopped.

I now wonder whether there is an evil alliance between the wizard Lord Nicolo and the vampire Duchess Maria. It has for some time now been conjectured that Nicolo, impossibly ancient as he is, is himself a vampire. If so, then it occurs to me he may well have been the root cause of the curse that so recently brought Miragliano so low. Perhaps the vampires that have come to dominate the far north were begotten of him? One might counter that vampires lead only the armies of the dead, which means Lord Nicolo cannot be so, but why couldn’t a vampire hire an army of ogres to fight for him? Perhaps he believed them to be a better fighting force than the shambling hordes of undead, and in an urge to gain power by the best means possible, preferred living muscle to magically animated sinews? Perhaps Lord Nicolo recognised that the people of Campogrotta would never serve him, even begrudgingly, if they suspected what he was, and so thought it best to rule through the whip-wielding hands of brutes?

The existence of such a vampire alliance could explain the timing of the attack upon Scorcio, for both sides have gained much - the Campogrottan ogres able to plunder almost freely now that the fighting men of Remas and Trantio have marched northwards, while the Duchess Maria benefits from the confusion, doubt and weakening of the grand alliance army just as it began to get to grips with her newly won realm. Furthermore, my lord, I would ask you to consider this: As the ogres satisfy their hunger - looting, slaughtering, devouring - they leave behind them a wasteland – exactly the sort of ruinous realm that would suit vampires perfectly. Once the ogres are sated and have moved on elsewhere, the undead could simply move in to take possession of the strongholds and raise hordes of servants from the unguarded graveyards and tombs to re-populate the realm. Both parties obtain exactly what they desire. If the wizard lord Nicolo is indeed a vampire, then sending a hired horde of ogres before him to destroy the land could be considered a strategy of terrible and wicked genius. I admit that this is mere speculation on my behalf, for no-one seems even to have witnessed the wizard lord of Campogrotta, not even those Campogrottans who escaped his ghostly yet tyrannical regime (which in itself could lend more weight to the theory that he is a vampire, hiding his face from his conquered people).

The only good to come so far from this situation - and I do not write this flippantly but rather as you commanded my honesty in communications - is that  Duke Guidobaldo’s recent unwarranted, unfair and untrue threats against your lordship, the ogres’ assault upon his newly won territories might well be considered good news, for he must surely now be too distracted to continue his aggression. How can he continue his attempts to inflate his feigned grudge into another reason to go to war and thus further increase his possessions, when a massive force of plundering ogres are even now rending their way through his Trantine possessions? Surely he must now look to defence rather than attack?

...

As the garden of war in the north blossoms with blood red blooms, in the south its tired, browning petals are falling away. The forces of the VMC continue to pursue the scattered remnants of Khurnag’s Waagh. Even though many of the goblinoids apparently dissipated at the ultramontane mercenaries’ mere approach, nevertheless enough remain to require the VMC's continued efforts. The greenskins, however numerous, have been fatally wounded by the lack of a leader to unite them. Such has always been true of goblinoids, who harbour a hatred for each other just as strong as that they feel for men, a flaw that can only be subdued by an awe-inspiring warboss. When leaderless they become more a constant annoyance than a real danger.

As nothing has been heard from Monte Castello in several months, not one boat nor even a lone traveller coming thence, it is supposed that it fell to the greenskins some time ago and that any Tileans who remain there are either dead or held prisoner. No-one knows the fate of Pugno, but its isolated situation, sitting beside the very route many of the greenskins are thought to have travelled from the Border Princes, does not bode well for its survival. Thus it is that even though the VMC are unlikely again to face a grand field army like that which attacked them at Tursi, they may well still have their work cut out if they are to secure the south-eastern parts of Tilea: to make Alcente and Pavezzano safe, and to clear Monte Castello and Pugno of squabbling bands of goblins. It is commonly complained that the VMC will only complete their task if there is profit in it, and that if a goblin infested settlement was irreparably ruined they would simply pass it by as of no interest. I myself am not so sure of this loast contention for they have rebuilt Pavezzano and invited many to settle there under their protection, and that was presumably in a very bad state of repair after its occupation by the goblins of the Little Waagh!  Some others claim that the VMC would be happier bribing the goblins to leave, although most laugh at this suggestion, pointing out that the northerners have fought well enough so far, not only defeating Khurnag's Waagh but somehow finding the time to punish Raverno along the way. These are not the actions of a wary or weak force. If anything, the VMC will become more of a threat once the greenskins are dealt with, for surely they will turn their attentions to other potential sources of profit, and will care not if said sources are in Tilean hands. As is commonly heard on the streets of Pavona: “A foreigner is a foreigner, whether his ears are pointed, his skin green or his accent northern.”

Last I wish to tell you of something that is most likely already known to you. If so, pray forgive me and know that I would be remiss if I did not mention it. The Estalian brigade Compagnia del Sol has begun sending letters to various rulers and powers in Tilea, suggesting that in light of the conjoined threats of vampires, ogres and greenskins, their military skill and strength are surely needed. They boast that through the hard fighting they have experienced in Estalia fighting against the rebellious northern and eastern lords, they have become a much more dependable force than their recently dispersed Tilean cousins ever were, and they claim that they are of at least equal strength. They intend to land agents at the western coast port cities, and have already begun to suggest that one state alone need not pay them entirely, for it might be arranged that two employers might share the cost, perhaps several many sovereign states each paying a mere portion of their fee, so that all can benefit from the protection of a large and potent fighting force which would otherwise prove too expensive for their purses. If then joined by detachments of native militia and troops to further bolster their numbers, an army the likes of which has not been seen for decades in Tilea might be forged. I cannot say whether or not their boasts and promises are true, but as a good many of them are Tileans by birth, and are only called Estalian due to dwelling this last decade in that place, then they could indeed prove to be sturdy warriors in the defence of Tilea.

I eagerly await your further instructions and remain your obedient servant.
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Offline Zygmund

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #161 on: November 12, 2015, 05:20:50 PM »
This thread is an epitome of the spirit of Warhammer: sharing into an epic yet human story!  :::cheers:::

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Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #162 on: November 13, 2015, 07:20:20 AM »
That's what I've wanted to hear. :D Anyway - great summary. Can't wait for the next season. :smile2:
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #163 on: November 13, 2015, 09:31:59 PM »
Interesting sunmary, bravo! :icon_cool: :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #164 on: December 31, 2015, 03:53:10 PM »
The First to Leave
Prequel to the Fight Outside Astiano
Trantio, early Autumn IC2402

On almost any other occasion what they were doing would be considered reckless, culpably so – to ride so fast, almost a gallop, through the city, especially as it was done in the middle of the day when the streets were at their most crowded. But they had orders from the duke himself specifying all haste, and they would not wish to disappoint their employer. What with the duke’s own officers watching their passage, a leisurely ride would not do. They had a reputation to maintain. And besides, it was fun.

Today the streets were even busier than usual, jammed with every cart, coach and carriage the city possessed, all those that could be taken from the surrounding farms and villages, as well as mules, donkeys, asses and servants. All were to be loaded with goods and possessions, and if not already packed, then they had goods piled about them yet to be hefted, whilst more still were dragged from every house. As Gillvas and his comrades clattered along, their mounts’ hooves throwing up sparks from the stone paving, the cluttered narrowness of the way meant umpteen citizens had to throw themselves against walls, dodge hastily into doorways or even duck beneath the wagons. Whereas normally they might gasp and gawp at such riders, elves being a rarity on Tilean streets (certainly armoured elves upon snow white horses) now, however, there was little time for such curiosity, what with the pressing need to avoid being trampled at the forefront of most people’s minds.



It was a shame, thought Gillvas, for he knew that his company was a sight to behold – finer than any gaudily bedecked Tilean knight sweating and grunting beneath heavy plate, more skilful and nimble than all but the very best of human horsemen. The mercenary Sharlian Riders favoured green for cloaks and barding, and even their scaled skirts and horse barding were lacquered to match. Although the rest of their garb and trappings were of more muted, natural hues, the flawlessly white hides and manes of their mighty mounts gave them a brightness which more than matched any red, blue or purple surcoat or shield. Gillvas held his finely carved lance aloft, and like his companions had eyes suitably keen and wits sufficiently quick to ensure he always dipped it just in time whenever they rode beneath a laundry line or balcony. The only thing marking him out from the other riders was that he wore a hood, a habit that had brought laughter from his blonde-haired companions the day they realised he did so because of his black hair. As Phraan had pointed out, it was a dilemma – to hide that which made him different he had to make himself look different. To which Ruven riposted it was only a dilemma because Gillvas refused to wear a yellow periwig.

Gillvas noticed how several onlookers frowned or scowled as they rode by. He doubted that this was because their thundering passage was troublesome, or merely that they were elves, nor even due to them serving Trantio’s recent conqueror, Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona. No, it was because their unusually rapid progress gave every impression that they were leaving the city hurriedly, before everyone else. He couldn’t help smiling at the thought, for it was in fact true. They were indeed leaving, although it was not an escape, it was obedience. While everyone else was to travel south to find refuge elsewhere in the Duke’s realms, the Sharlian Riders were to travel north, carrying orders to the Duke’s only surviving son, Lord Silvano, then to serve him as reinforcements for his own little army.

As they rounded a bend in the street onto the stretch that led to the Ponte Grande and the city’s eastern gate Ruven, riding upon Gillvas’ right, shouted to him: “Have a care, Gillvas. Those mules can give a nasty kick.”



Nearly all Ruven’s utterances were jests, which before battle could be a welcome thing, and was thoroughly entertaining when carousing in some tavern. The rest of the time it could be bothersome to have to weigh each comment to determine whether it was based on some truth or mere fancy. When he glanced at the mules in question they were pulling away from the galloping horses, no threat at all. Then something upon the other side of the street caught Gillvas’ eye. Two children, hurtling down an alley, now stumbling and halting in surprise at the sight before them.



Ragamuffin boys come to see the fey riders, their eyes wide and their heads filled with whatever nonsense some uncle or grandfather had told them concerning elvenkind. Better they consider what they have heard about ogres, thought Gillvas, and be about packing or carrying or whatever else their mothers or masters have told them to do. He knew only too much about ogres. Children like that were nothing but morsels of meat to a hungry brute. He felt a pang of guilt, or sorrow, or both, but it was soon diminished by the thought that the population was leaving and so the boys stood a chance of surviving.

Outpaced only by the company’s pennant-bearer, and a little ahead of Gillvas, Captain Presrae rode his ‘unicorn’. It was that beast which caught most eyes, and most probably was responsible for the two boy’s sudden awe. Humans will fall for almost anything, thought Gillvas, and not just children, but full grown men too - if the subterfuge is subtle, the legerdemain apparently legitimate. Only the youngest of elves would look at that beast and think it any other than a wild-mained stallion sporting a false horn of oversized proportions.



Amongst men, however, it was an easy deception. ‘You can look, but do not approach too close. Moondown is a proud and fierce mount who allows only a few to touch him.’ One young Reman had spent more than three weeks in the painting of the horse, and sold the likeness for a considerable sum, paying the agreed proportion to Captain Presrae of course. Not once had the captain divulged his secret, or let slip some remark to give the game away. Only his own men knew the truth, and how to mix the necessary glue (so that not once had the huge horn dislodged itself). Even now he rode Moondown in all apparent earnestness, no saddle nor harness nor bridle, like some legendary hero. It was an act that paid dividends. How many mercenaries in Tilea had lords tumbling over each other to contract them? Duke Guidobaldo himself was so taken by Moondown, and the rest of the company, that he paid ridiculously well to hire them, as well as recompensing the arch-lector the full amount in gold which he had originally paid to hire them. The Sharlian Riders had only come to Trantio to escort a priestly emissary with complaints about the War of the Princes, and were meant to return to Remas. But who says no when a duke offers to pay twice for you?


“There’s our noble commander that was,” said Ruven, pointing towards the wizard Belastra, acting governor of Trantio. “I still say we are not the strange ones here.”

“We’ll have real Tilean nobility ordering us soon enough,” said Gillvas.

“True. Although t’would be better it were a man and not a boy.”

Belastra had an armoured guard by him, bearing a plume that showed him to be a Pavonan state army captain. He himself carried a wooden staff and wore loose robes of a somewhat arabyan fashion. Unusually for a wizard, he had become lieutenant-governor of the city while the new Gonfaloniere ‘for life’ Lord Polcario was away. Perhaps he had relished the prospect of ruling an entire city state? If so, then receiving Duke Guidobaldo’s orders to strip the city bare of all wealth, supplies, livestock and people, then flee, must have come as a disappointment to him. He had to do so quickly, before the ogres arrived, so it was unlikely he had much time to brood over the vagaries of fortune. The Pavonan duke wanted to deny the ogres all that they enjoyed – their pillaging and looting, their cruel sports and tortures. It just so happened that in the process he had also denied Belastra whatever sports, cruel or otherwise, he had been looking forward to.



Of course there was no scowl from the wizard as they passed. He knew exactly where the riders where going and why, for it was him who had passed on the orders. Instead there was something else writ in his stare – trepidation, perhaps even fear. Gillvas found it hard to be certain, human faces were not easy for elves to read, twisted as they were so often into grotesque distortions of a kind rarely employed by elves. It was likely to be fear, he decided, for the Sharian Riders would have made a vast difference to the martial escort of such a train as was about to leave Trantio. There were very few, if any, could compare to them for outriders and scouts, and as horse-soldiers they packed a lot more punch than any Border Princes stradiot or Estalian jinette, whilst outmanoeuvring any Tilean man-at-arms with ease. (None of which, it so happened, were available to Belastra.) Soon to command a city-sized rabble of refugees, Belsatra must surely have regretted having to send the elves away.

Beside the wizard was a bunch of mercenary crossbowmen, no doubt acting as his guards during such troubled times. It is no easy thing to make the entire populace of a city the size of Trantio abandon their homes and livelihoods. Although some were willing enough, for fear of what was coming, many believed it would be better to defend the city, and of those a significant number went beyond thinking to voicing their opinion, shouting their disagreement, perhaps even swinging a fist to make their point a little more forcefully. No surprise then to find the man tasked with ensuring their obedience so guarded.



The crossbowmen were the last surviving fragment of the once large Tilean Compagnia del Sole mercenary company. Their comrades had all either perished during the War of the Princes or afterwards during the furore over the death of a certain Reman ambassador carrying important letters from the arch-lector requiring immediate cessation of that war. These men, one of two large companies of crossbowmen who had been defending Trantio’s walls, had somehow negotiated the tricky path between being enemies and allies. In fact, they had done so so successfully that they had now been paid twice! Ruven had laughed for an hour after seeing Captain Presrae’s face upon hearing the news. The Sharian Riders had similarly been paid for twice, but they themselves received only one of the payments. These men, formally enemies of Pavona, and hated ones at that, had received both payments: the first to contract them as a standing force for the city, serving to guard the duke’s newly won realm from both unrest within and enemies without; the second came only a few months later when their contract was re-negotiated entirely to make them a part of the Pavonan marching army. For half an hour Ruven’s merriment arose from his description of the captain’s immediate reaction to the news, then for the next half hour it was fuelled by his lyrical exploration of Ruven’s subsequent thoughts as he no doubt wondered how he might do the same. Only Ruven could turn several moment’s silent expression into a tumbling comedic wordplay lasting an hour.



One of the crossbowmen’s sergeants stood upon the flank gesturing towards the riders with a quarrel. Perhaps he too, thought Gillvas, was waxing lyrical about the very same topic? What else do such mercenaries concern themselves with, if not money? Maybe wine and wenches, but foremost comes money, for it is that which makes the wine more accessible (and better) and the women more amenable.

It was with that thought in mind that he glanced to the other side of the street and saw three Trantian maids watching from the doorway of a mean looking house. One glance and he knew they were exactly the type known to the crossbowmen. One stood apart from others, hands on hips, yellow bodice pulled tight, a wry smile on her face as if what she knew amused her. The others were clutching hens, which made Gillvas smile. The people of Trantio were even taking the poultry with them! If the ogres did not hurry they would find not one morsel of flesh, fish or fowl, not one egg, olive nor even a grain of wheat, and them with the sort of appetite that took whole hogs to satisfy, and thirsts requiring gallons of wine rather than cups. It almost made him feel sorry for them.



Then he spotted a grey priest lurking close to the wenches, watching from the semi-concealment of a little alleyway. An ugly sort of man (although there were few men that elves did not think somewhat disagreeable in appearance), with a tonsured pate and garbed in a coarse, woollen cassock and sandals. Gyllvas was not surprised – one could go nowhere in Trantio these days without meeting a Morrite cleric or two. Luckily for him and his comrades, the priests had no desire to preach to elves. He had thought Remas an overly pious sort of place, swarming with the devout followers of Morr wailing about the undead, but it turned out the Pavonans had their own kind of Morrite faith, which they claimed to be the most perfect form. It was certainly the most onerous, for it was expected that one’s every thought must be pure, not just one’s actions, and that each failing in this regard required some sacrifice or penance. What with Trantio having been, according to Pavonan propaganda, under the rule of a cruel and tainted tyrant prince, as soon as the soldiers had captured it a swarm of lesser Morrite clergy followed to begin the work of admonishing, instructing, correcting. The Trantians had not exactly been overjoyed at this holier-than-thou guidance. Right now they must be wondering why they had put up with it at all if they were to lose all they had regardless. Such sentiments probably explained why the priest skulking in the alleyway had a Pavonan handgunner by his side.



“Think of your death, Gyllvas,” shouted Ruven. “There’s a jolly priest watching us.” Gyllvas could not help but laugh, for only the night before Ruven had regaled the company with a cruelly rhetorical discourse concerning how the Reman priests of Morr had marched north into a land of walking dead to face legions in battle, while their brethren, these Pavonan clergy, bravely battled daily to teach the Trantians the correct words for their prayers and the proper procedure for their rituals. Still, it did not matter whether the people enjoyed their reformation, or were happy with their new lords, if they wanted to live at then they had to leave as ordered. Whether they would all go where they have been told to, carrying burdens for their Pavonan conquerors and mercenary guards, that remained to be seen.

At the head of the riders flew their pennant of green silk, bearing a white branch.



Over the bridge (no mean feat what with the wagons clustered at either end) and out through the gate they rode. As he emerged onto the ancient road Gyllvas glanced back at the walls. I wonder, he thought, will they burn the city? Why leave the ogres shelter when they were so thoroughly removing everything else? What with vampires and ogres, and now Tileans razing their own settlements, it seemed possible the whole northern half of the peninsula would soon be in ruins. It was not the happiest of thoughts while riding northwards.
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 Xathrodox86

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #165 on: January 05, 2016, 12:43:09 PM »
A mew year and a new post from you. Tis' a great time indeed. ;) Awesome stuff, as always but then again you know that I'm your no.1 fan. :-P
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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #166 on: January 05, 2016, 03:49:57 PM »
A well done stage setting scene. :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"... my old suggestion is forget it, take two aspirins and go paint" steveb

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #167 on: January 07, 2016, 09:03:00 PM »
What Happened Outside Astiano
Battle Report, Part One


The boys had found a place to talk where they would not be disturbed. As the city was so crowded with newly arrived soldiers and the survivors from Trantio (though nowhere near as crowded as it might have been if things had turned out differently) there were few places left where the boys could talk without being overheard or, more annoyingly, someone telling them they ought to be doing something else. Here in a damp anti-cellar beneath the last remaining ruins of the ancient amphitheatre they would not be disturbed. It was hardly habitable, and certainly no-one would think to sleep there (what with the abundant stories of ratto uomo lurking there. But it seemed fine for an hour’s talk, during the day.

Tommi had been the first to go in, as always; Vitty was the last, as always. Aldo, his head still reeling with all that he had seen, hadn’t noticed if Fran went in before or after him. Not that he cared either way – not like Tommi or Vitty.  Once in he sat down straight away. He was not sure what on, only that it was hard. Tommi lifted some rubbish out of the way, and pushed a rotting crate aside, to clear a little area, while Vitty repeated “Is it alright?” several times. Finally, Fran said, “Yeah, Vitty. S’fine. And anyway, we’ll keep an eye out for trouble.”

As soon as they had all agreed that this was the place to talk, Tommi, the biggest of the boys, turned to Aldo. “You can’t have seen it all. It makes no sense. You weren’t outside and you weren’t on the wall.”

Aldo smiled knowingly. It wasn’t that he was feeling cock-sure, rather that he had always corrected Tommi with that smile and so it just happened. “You’re right,” he said. “I wasn’t in any of those places. I was in the gate tower, and I had a window all to myself.”

“You’re lying,” said Fran. “There was a cannon mounted on that tower which burned up bad. If you were there then why aren’t you burned?”

“And why would they let you stay there?” asked Tommi.

“They didn’t know I was there, because whenever anyone passed through, up or down and either side, I hid in a pile of sacks. I climbed in one, see, and when I heard anything close I closed it over me. Just one more sack in the pile.”

“So why aren’t you burned?” asked Vitty.

“Did you run away before it blew up?” added Tommi in a mocking tone. “Or was the sack a soggy one?”

“Shut up, Tommi. You don’t know anything. The cannon was up above me, a stone roof between me and it. I heard it, felt it.” He hesitated. “I looked up afterwards, when it went quiet.”

The others stared at him with bated breath. He said nothing, his own eyes suddenly seeming to lose sight of his friends, as if he could see something else.

“What did you see?” said Vitty. “Was it horrible?”

Aldo frowned. “Yes. It was. But it wasn’t the worst thing I saw.”

The others just waited now. Aldo knew he was going to tell them about the battle – why else had they come here? But now, just as it was expected of him, he wondered if he could. Then, surprising himself, he suddenly realised he had already started talking.

“The soldiers from Trantio arrived first – all foot and no horse. There were two lots of crossbowmen and a crazy looking engine that looked like a barrel of handguns tipped on its side. Behind them – some way off, was a train of wagons, and lots of people: men and women and kids too. I thought the soldiers would stop outside the walls, to make sure the people and the wagons got in. But they didn’t. They had two grey haired men with them, in robes and carrying staffs – wizards, real ones – who shouted them in, so they marched straight through the gate. Then I had to become a sack again because they came up onto the wall and passed right through the chamber. They went both ways out onto the wall until one lot was on one side and the other was on the other. I thought the engine would come in through the gate too, but one of the wizards shouted there was no time – no time to mount it he said - and so it halted just outside the gate.

“Then I heard screaming outside, so I looked through the window. The men, loads of them, had come away from the crowd with the wagons. It was the women and children who were screaming, and I thought the men were going to run through the gate like the soldiers had done leaving the others behind. But they didn’t. They all came together, marching like soldiers off beside the wall, with some big fella shouting orders.



“But they weren’t soldiers. They passed close under my window. They had no swords, no armour; just sticks, pitchforks, clubs, scythes. Sharp and nasty stuff, but not soldiers’ weapons.”



“Where were our militia?” demanded Fran. “They mustered, I know it ‘cos I saw them a-marching through the streets, flag held high. They’ve got proper weapons – pikes, so they must have gone out to fight.”

“I saw them alright,” said Aldo. “Marched right up to the gate they did. But they didn’t go out. One of them wizards shouted ‘Hold!’ and they stopped. I heard him clear ‘cos he was only on the other side of the door to me.”



“That can’t be right,” said Vitty. “What with them Trantians outside being chased. The militia must have gone out to help them.”

“No,” said Aldo, going pale. He sniffed. “I wish they had. I didn’t know it then – I just wondered what was going on. But now I wish they had. They stood on the inside of the gate, and close. I thought it might be some sort of trick.”

The other boys already had an idea why Aldo was upset - there were rumours all over the city - just now, however, they were beginning to get an inkling that the truth might be more horrible.

“There was a lot of banging and clattering up above, where the cannon was” continued Aldo. “And someone shouting ‘Make her ready’. I heard that a few times later on, in between the bangs. The voice got quieter I think, but my ears were ringing so maybe it was just them playing up?



“Then someone else cried the same words and I looked out the window. Down below the war engine that came from Trantio was being cranked and three iron balls were rolled into it from a plank they had been sitting on. The gunners were Pavonans, blue and white – like the men on the cannon up on top.” Aldo had wondered at the time why the soldiers had made so much effort to get that to Astiano first, before the wagons and the poor folk of Trantio, but he didn’t mention that now.



“Complicated it was, that engine, a mess of levers and gears. I couldn’t make much sense of it so I looked out across the field to the wagons. They were crammed with stuff, piled high, and the horses pulling them looked to be in a bad way. There was no room left for people on them, so a little crowd came alongside them.”



The other three boys looked at each other. They all knew the deadly fate of that crowd, just not the whys and wherefores of what happened.

“Why didn’t they just come in with the crossbowmen?” asked Tommi. “Why’d they lag behind like they did?”

Aldo frowned. “I think they were going as fast as they could. Lots of them were old, or little ‘uns. And the mothers amongst them were carrying even smaller ones. And all of them had bags and other burdens. I think when the men marched off they left their stuff with them.”

Now it was Vitty’s turn to frown. “Why would the men do that?”

“Oh, I don’t think they left to run away. They were still trying to look after them. I think they went off so that they could try to stop the brutes.”

“You saw the brutes then?” asked Vitty.

Aldo stifled a laugh. Not a happy sort of laugh, but the nervous sort that can turn into sobs. “When they came I thought they were nearer than they were, ‘cos they were all so big. Grey skinned, wearing nothing but breeches and plates of armour, and carrying blades the size of doors. And there were monsters in amongst them, like giant, hairy bulls, with more brutes on their backs. I always thought they’d be a bit like the brute caravan guards, except more wild and ragged, all screams and wailing and cavorting about, but they weren’t. They came on in a great long line, like the militia on parade, neat and tidy and in step; and some were shouting with voices like drums, or horns pretending to be drums. I think that’s what kept them in line.”



“They didn’t stay so neat, though, lined and ready for a battle. I reckon they saw that some of the of Trantians were already in, and that there was no-one apart from a little company of handgunners and the Trantio mob between them and the walls, so they broke into a run, which made the ground thunder. And everyone on the walls was shouting ‘Steady, steady’ over and over.”

……

Game Notes:
This time I’m gonna put these in but keep them separate from the story sections.
What follows is the scenario rules I had made up and modified over and over:

Forces:
Ogres = 2600 points not including the ruler lord.
Pavona = 750 Empire troops, 350 points of Astiano standing force (Empire) + a free mob of Trantians, guarding 3 wagons (each worth half a campaign supply point in loot) + crowd of women & children (worth half a campaign supply point in loot).

Objective(s):
To enter the city the Pavonan wagons must make contact with the gate.
The ogres must contact with the wagons to count as taking them. Ogres cannot overrun wagons, but halt before the wagon to count as securing the loot. They can then move from there next turn, dragging the wagon (or crowd) with them if they wish.
But … this is a campaign game. The players might have different motives. Maybe destruction? Maybe damaging the enemy’s fighting strength in the hope that a later battle will be easier? And although the players might try for the above objectives if they wish, their priority might well be the survival of an effective fighting force, again for next or subsequent turns. Who am I as GM to dictate what they are trying to do? I just adjudicate the game, take the pictures, write the battle report, and gamesmaster the campaign turns, etc.

Rules:

The Ogre deploys in the far corner from the gate section.  If there is insufficient space then the remaining units can arrive in the second or subsequent turns.
The Pavonan fighting forces can deploy anywhere on their half of the table, but as either side’s units are placed, no-one can deploy within 12” of an enemy unit. (First deployment could thus be important – forcing either side back.)
The wagons can be deployed however the player likes, behind the 19” (from the gate) line. This means that one, maybe two, could reach the gate in turn 5, and one, perhaps two in turn 6. As soon as they touch the gate they are removed (counted as having passed through to safety).
The draught horses can be whipped. GM to come up with charts in-game. (See later – yes they were whipped.
The women and children can march move, and are also removed if they touch the gate. Their move rate is 3” (old women, young women burdened with babes and possessions, children, old men). This mob also starts anywhere behind the 19” line.
The ogres cannot besiege the city walls as they have been pelting here at full speed and have not made any ladders to do so. (If they do decide to besiege that would be in the next campaign season turn.)
All other ideas and tactics would be GM’d on the day.

Casualties:
Casualties are recovered as per the ‘drawing armies’ rules. Either side is too focused on the loot to worry about chasing after the enemy, and both sides have lots of opportunities to avoid further fighting (either the defenders getting into the city by another gate or the attackers wandering off to look elsewhere for loot and grub). These rules (see below) mean that the Pavonan player can keep his baggage simply by not letting the ogres capture or destroy it – he does not need to get to the gate. If the ogres haven’t captured it by the end of turn 6, it will be presumed to have got away and gone through some other city gate. Also any refugees or soldiers who are still alive outside the walls will escape back to the city too.

Quote
Drawing armies (i.e. who agree to cease hostilities or cannot fight on for other reasons)
All troops on the table survive. Regain all troops who routed off the table, plus one third of all casualties on the table (rounding down). Lose all casualties from Destroyed units. Dead heroes are recovered on 5+ roll, unless they were “over-killed”. On D6 roll of 5+ recovered characters roll on the Character Injury Chart. Only lose baggage if it was destroyed or captured during the battle.

Battle to Follow
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 09:14:26 PM by Padre »
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: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #168 on: January 10, 2016, 06:54:11 PM »
What Happened Outside Astiano
Battle Report, Part Two (Turns 1 and 2)

“They were whipping the draft horses something rotten,” said Aldo. “I could hear the beasts’ braying. Some moved a bit more quickly but others foundered so the wagons got strung out a bit. The women close by had stopped their screaming, but I could still hear the children crying. Then came the first bang and the room filled with dust. My ears went funny, but I managed to get my eyes to work again and I saw one of the hairy monsters was rearing up. I reckon the shot had landed right in front of it, maybe even clipped it.”



“It didn’t slow them down though, and I don’t think the other brutes even noticed.”

“Anyone would notice a cannon shooting at them,” said Fran. “You don’t miss a thing like that. We could hear it from the Via Strogsi.”

Aldo was shaking his head. “You didn’t see the brutes. They had cannons themselves, loads of them. Not on carriages with wheels - they were just carrying them. There were two gangs hefting them. Think about it, if you’re brute enough to carry cannons into battle, you think you’d flinch because one fired from hundreds of yards away?”

Fran said nothing. Aldo knew that all the boys had seen ogres before, even in the city: warehouse guards, bodyguards, and performing in the annual spettacolo. They knew full well the feats of strength the brutes were capable of, even the sort of domesticated ogre who lived among men. Boulderguts’ army was made of the real thing, however, as brutal as they get, from the wild east and beyond. They were surely stronger, tougher, meaner and cruel beyond human measure.



“When the brutes used their cannons it was like thunder rumbling off in the distance. I think they killed some of the handgunners behind the wall around the hut, but it was hard to see which ones were just hiding behind the wall and which had fallen. The Trantian mob kept marching on, and I thought maybe they’re just going to march away, off to another gate, 'cos they were getting really far away from the wagons. The soldiers on the walls were shouting at them, angry words, so I wasn’t the only one who wondered what they were doing.



“Then I saw something bright out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to look I saw it was coming right at me, a burning ball as big as the sun at midday, and getting bigger. I ducked down as quick as I could to put the stone between me and it, and I still felt the heat wash over my back. It didn’t burn me, 'cos it wasn't really coming at the window - it was aimed at the battlement.”

Tommi was agitated. “That’s when the cannon blew up!”

Aldo shook his head. “No, not then.”

“You just said it was,” insisted Tommi.

“No I didn’t. I just said there was a ball of fire. It hurt the crewmen – I know that ‘cos one of them was screaming. But another was shouting, ‘Cover the budge barrel’ and ‘Douse the carriage’. Then the screaming stopped and the voice said ‘Make her ready’ again.

"When the smoke had cleared a bit, I looked out the window again. The wagons were slowing down now, the horses stumbling. Some women and old men had fallen down and were being dragged up by the others. I could hear a strange chanting from the wall at the side of the chamber, then another voice almost the same from the other side, and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was the wizards, it had to be. They were conjuring up magic and it made me feel dizzy, but I had the window to hold onto so I watched to see what would happen.



“When the chanting stopped, at first nothing seemed to happen. Then I saw it. The giant bull monsters, which had moved ahead of the other brutes, were slowing down, and the foot were catching up to them. I knew it was the magic that had done it because the brutes on their backs were thrashing the reins and beating at the heads, but the breasts were stumbling as bad as the horses on the wagons; not just the one that had reared up at the roundshot, but all three of them.

“Just when I thought they really were leaving, the Trantian mob turned, swinging around to face the enemy. I think they wanted to get at the brutes from the side, to lure them off from the wagons and the womenfolk. Way up ahead the little line of handgunners fired again, but the sound of it was nothing compared to the blast of the brute’s handcannons.



“It really looked like the wagons had a chance now, if the horses could be kept on their feet and pulling …



“… but they were so slow it was horrible to watch. When the gun above me went off again it made my head feel like bursting and it started my ears a ringing. I had to rub my eyes hard to make them work this time, and now I saw one of the monstrous-bulls on the ground.”

Vitty was nodding. “Yes, yes! They killed it. I saw its corpse from the wall after the battle when I took wine up to the men on the wall, umpteen crows a-feasting on it.”

“It was the cannon," agreed Aldo. "I thought the crew would start cheering but I couldn’t hear a thing. Maybe they did? Maybe they couldn’t hear it themselves? I went back to watching and I saw the handgunners  running away. They weren’t cowards, no way – they'd been up closer than anyone else – they just knew staying up there was stupid.



“But they’d left it too late ‘cos a bunch of brutes in the middle of the line, the closest to them, were running too and they came on so much faster than the men. When the brutes caught up with them they just ran right on, right over them, the handgunners disappearing underneath. Then the brutes stopped, like they wanted to take a breath or two and have a look around.



“Those ones looked meaner than all the others. They had the biggest weapons, swords bigger than the sails on a windmill, and a hammer that looked like it could smash the city walls down.”

“Could it?” asked Vitty, tears welling in his eyes.

Aldo expected to hear Tommi or Fran laugh but they didn’t. They were looking at him just as intently as Vitty.

“I dunno," said Aldo. "Maybe. But the brute carrying it would get stuck with hundred bolts if he tried.” This seemed to reassure Vitty somewhat. “The rest of brutes were someway behind this front lot now, all bunched up, getting in each other’s way.



“The Trantian mob were now the closest to them. They didn’t charge though, they just stood there, waving their weapons around. They didn’t have a flag to wave; they didn’t have drums to beat; but they were doing their best to look like they meant business. They had to be brave men, ‘cos there were four brutes in front of them carrying those cannon barrels …



“… and they hadn't fired them yet!”
 
…………………………………………
Game Notes (end of turn 2):

When the Pavonan player whipped the draught horses, I made up a quick D6 chart favouring an increase in speed but with the possibility of hurting the horses too much. Two wagons went 2” faster, one went 1” slower. I had warned the player that next turn there would be another chart to reflect the consequences of this potentially cruel treatment, and that if the whipping continued there would be an even more potentially harmful chart. When the whipping stopped second turn, the player nevertheless rolled badly for all three wagons and they moved 2” instead of 4”. Overall, he had gained nothing, in fact one had fallen behind where it would otherwise have been.

In turn one, when the Firebelly ogre cast his fireball spell at the cannon, he miscast and went down to level one, losing the spell in question. (This was a sign of things to come.)

In turn two I got really excited when the Mournfang unit failed its first panic test, but it passed its second (12” from standard) and the drama was not to be.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 03:39:18 PM by Padre »
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #169 on: January 17, 2016, 04:59:53 PM »
What Happened Outside Astiano
Battle Report, Part Three (Turns 3-6)

“The Trantian mob now went straight towards the brutes with the cannons.  Not running, just walking. The big fella was shouting but they were too far away for me to know what he was saying, even if my ears hadn’t been ringing so bad. They kept together, packed tight, and there were so many of them I thought maybe they could beat the brutes.


 
“The women were close to the gate now - a few more steps and they’d be through. Some soldiers on the wall were shouting, ‘Hurry up,’ and stuff like that. I wondered if there was a prayer I could say to help them, but all I could think of was my Morrite prayers and it didn’t seem right praying for their souls like they were about to die. Then I heard a clackety sound - the Pavonans below the window were cranking the weird engine. One of the crew poured powder into a funnel and another blew ashes off a matchcord on a linstock. They were going to shoot it.



“I wondered if it would be louder than the cannon, what with all them barrels, but it was outside not overhead, and besides my ears were already ringing so bad I doubted it could hurt them much more. The wagoneers were whipping more cruelly than ever– there was blood on the horses’ hides. “Another boom sent my head a-spinning again. When I looked out to see if it was the engine below there was no smoke and the crew were hopping about, agitated. I think it was broken, ‘cos they hefted it up and dragged it towards the gate, getting right in the women’s way. The boom must’ve come from the cannon on top, but when I looked I couldn’t see where their shot had gone.

“The ogres were really close now …


 
“… and the ones near the Trantian mob laid into them. It was horrible. I saw two men hurled through the air like nothing more than dolls - they hit the ground and didn’t move after that. One of the cannons went off right in their midst, which send more spinning out the back, and others staggering out like drunk men. None of the brutes fell, and in a moment the Trantians were running. The brutes went after them, their blood up. If it weren’t for their heavy iron burdens they would’ve caught them and killed more, but the Trantians outran them back towards the wall.

“The hairy bull monsters were close too. They had umpteen horns on their heads and their mouths looked like the gargoyles on the Church of Santo Anredo the Furtive. If my ears had been working I bet I could have heard them snorting. The brutes on their backs were riding so high I wondered what tricks they used to get up there.”



“Then it happened,” said Aldo, before going silent. He covered his face with his hands, and even though that meant they could not see it, the other boys knew he was scrunching it up.

Vitty put his hand on Aldo’s shoulder. “It’s alright,” he said. “You don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to.”

“No,” said Tommi. “He does have to tell us. He said he would.”

Aldo wasn’t really listening to the boys, but he did notice they had stopped talking. He steeled himself and the words began once more. “There was smoke coming up from under the window, and I thought maybe the weird engine was on fire. I was wrong. The smoke was coming from the crowd of Trantian women and children. It was as if someone had dug a fire pit all around them, set it alight and then dumped damp straw on it to make thick, white, heavy smoke. They stopped, wide eyed, like they didn’t know what to do. It all happened fast, I know that now, but it felt horribly drawn out. Sparks flickered in the smoke, then changed into flashing veins.



“I think the soldiers on the walls were shouting again, because some of the children looked up. One of them saw me. He didn’t look frightened, just bewildered, and he waved at me! Before I could wave back the smoke itself burst into flames, becoming a wall of fire. Even at the window it felt like a torch being held a foot from my face, but I had to keep looking. If I’d been down on the ground it would have been bad enough, knowing the women were inside that burning wall. Being above them, I could see them all. A few of those on the outside began screaming, batting and patting at the flames on their skirts and cloaks, or on other people’s clothes, and this made the others push inwards, forcing themselves backwards even though some fell underneath their feet. They were crammed together, trying to push past each other. It took them a moment for them to realise the fire was all around, not just on one side. The Pavonans pulling the engine just carried on. They were right beside the horror, yet still kept dragging their burden, even when some of the women tried to run through the flames and came out ablaze, collapsing beside the soldiers. Then the gun disappeared under the window, through the outer gate, so I went over to the grate on the murder hole and looked down to see it below. I could hear the sounds coming up through the hole in the stone, even with my bad ears. Someone shouted, ‘It’s in!’ and then I heard the clang of the outer gates shutting.” (Aldo was shaking his head as he spoke.) “I couldn’t get my head around it. The wagons were still outside, the women and children, and so close. I thought it had to be some clever trick. But it wasn’t, and I knew it because the walls went quiet, and the men down below the hole stopped moving altogether. None of the soldiers were shouting any more. They’d closed the gates and weren’t planning on opening them again.”

Fran’s face screwed into an angry frown. “So they decided to save the gun and not the people?”

Aldo nodded. “The Trantians were frantic, umpteen were already trampled, then they lurched all of a sudden to one side, which turned into a running leap through the fire and out the other side, where they fell, writhing and burning. Only two got past the mess of dying folk, a small boy and a man with his arm in a sling. I don’t know why they were so lucky.


 
“Outside the brutes had caught up with the wagons.



“They swatted the wagoners aside and even though the cannon sent a ball right into them and the crossbowmen on the walls showered bolts down, felling three of them, they just turned the wagons around and began lugging them away, as if they cared nothing for the shooting. I saw one who was dragging a dead wagoner by the leg turn around to come back and grab one of the dead women by the hair. He dragged them both away, the bodies jolting along behind him, the woman smoking, with three bolts hanging from his back and others in his belly.



“The smell was bad, like burning hair, and then there was another stink like brimstone, and flames curled through the window from above. A burning man fell right past, without a sound. I knew something bad was happening, and I wanted to get out the tower, but as soon as I went towards the steps there was a massive boom, more than one I think, and the whole tower shook, and it knocked me to the ground. I don’t know how long I was down, but when I got back up I went to over the window – I don’t know if I knew what I was doing. It was like a dream. I couldn’t hear a thing now, but I could see. Outside the brutes were moving away, but one of them had stopped and turned. He was covered in paint, or tattoos, and he had some sort of mask on his face. He was dancing, his arms up in the air, and then he suddenly jerked to one side and … disappeared! He was gone, like he had jumped through a door. But there was no door.”

The other boys were all staring intently at Aldo. Vitty’s mouth was hanging open, while Tommi had has hands locked behind his head like he was holding it in place. Talking about it brought back the crazy feeling Aldo had felt at the time, and he now had to stifle a giddy sort of sob. He did not entirely succeed.

“That’s when I went up to see what had happened to the cannon. Like I said, it was like a dream and everything felt unreal. The cannon was there, all burned, and the crew were there, still burning, and the smell was worse than ever. So I said sorry, and went back down again. Back at the window I could see that the brutes who weren’t stealing the Trantian wagons were standing their ground, shooting handgun sized pistols and their carriage-less cannons at the walls.



“Shots pinged at the stone around the window time and again. The flecks of stone kept stinging me.” As he spoke Vitty reached out at touched one of the scratches upon his cheek. Aldo didn’t notice. “They shot again and again,” he continued, “and the men on the walls sent crossbow bolts raining back at them. Twice I saw flaming balls streak out from the wall and splash into the brutes.

“And then all of a sudden the brutes just upped and left. I couldn’t hear what was going on on the walls but then one of the soldiers appeared at the door. He looked right at me, so I jumped over to the stairs and ran down.”

“Did he chase you?” asked Vitty.

“No. He was too busy,” said Aldo.

“What’ya mean, ‘busy’?”

“Spewing his guts up!” answered Aldo.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Game Notes:
Three times Pit of Shades was cast on the ogre Tyrant and his unit. Twice it was dispelled but once it was successful. If the player (Jamie) had failed his test his own player character (Razger Boulderguts himself) would have been lost. The death of a player’s own PC always causes difficulties in my campaigns, in that the player then usually ends up getting a new character, who isn’t necessarily in charge, or, if they are, has a bunch of problems to contend with as a consequence of the previous character dying.  The exact nature of the problems and difficulties to overcome depends on the circumstances and all sorts. (NB: The boy Aldo, our NPC eyewitness in the above story, didn’t notice the failed Pit of Shade spells (of course), but nor did he notice the successful one either – when that one occured he was going up the steps to see what had happened to the cannon up top.)

The description of the burning crowd of Trantian women was my ‘take’ on the fulminating flame cage spell the firebelly ogre wizard was using. I know the 8th ed. book describes rods of fire shooting out and forming a cage, but (and I do know it is silly to say this) that sounded silly to me! So I turned it into a wreath of smoke manifesting around the unit which then transformed into fire – which just happened to fit the photo of the cotton wool we used to represent the spell on the tabletop.

And yes, it does sound very cruel of the Pavonans to close the gate on the Trantian civilians and let all that horrible stuff happen to them but … the player (Matt) had his competition wargame campaign head on, filled with considerations of points and strategies etc. He always looks at the game this way, which is why his game-world alter ego seems aloof and heartless, which is why I describe him as aloof and heartless. The Trantian women were worth 0.5 Supply Points to him, a value which could be turned into 100 pts of troops. BUT, the helblaster was worth more. So when it misfired he cut his losses and dragged that in.  Then he closed the gate to ensure that there was no way this game would turn into an invasion into the city by the ogres. If they got in that would likely mean he lost the whole city plus all his forces there, and right now.

You might wonder why he played things in such a way that the wagons and men didn’t even have much of a chance to get in. He chose to place virtually all his fighting strength inside the walls (bar the handgunners, technically a detachment but house-ruled as allowed to be out at the hut, and the Trantian mob). The Trantian mob, however, cost him nothing – they weren’t part of his forces, and they weren’t carrying any Supply Points (unlike the crowd of women), and he couldn’t use them as soldiers at any other time, so he used them disposably. The wagons were worth 1.5 Supply Points altogether, but if he tried to protect them by having troops outside the walls the potential losses to his own forces would be much more expensive. Why save 2 Supply Points of loot (etc) from Trantio by losing more than 2 Supply Points worth of troops?

I think the following summary information should shed some light on who came out of this squabble best.

After calculating recovery of troops according to the campaign rules the Pavonan player had lost their 2 Supply Points (worth 400 points of troops) as well as 230 points of troops. So, 630 points down on the start of the game. The ogres had gained 1.5 Supply Points (worth 300 points of troops) but had lost about 500 points doing so (including their Firebelly wizard and one of their Mournfangs). So they were technically 200 points down on the start of the game.

BUT the ogres are a long way from home, and they cannot turn the 1.5 Supply Points into reinforcements unless it is at one of their settlements. They can consume it as ‘upkeep’ (a game mechanic to keep troops existing supplied in the field) but their field strength is effectively down by 500 points, whereas the Pavonan player managed to save the bulk of his Trantian garrison soldiers (crossbow, two wizards, helblaster) and still has the Astianan pike militia. He also still has Astiano.

Who now has or can gain the upper hand really does depend on what happens next, and depends upon proximity of reinforcements and relief, as well as other strategic considerations. Razger Boulderguts’ force has been noticeably weakened, and his mercenaries ‘Mangler’s Band’ whereabouts are unknown (well, to everyone else, possibly not to him), whereas if you don’t count the loss of Trantio (which was possibly un-saveable) the Pavonans have lost only a cannon, 6 handgunners and 6 crossbowmen, and the first two of those were part of a standing force and so could not have served in a field army.

So, tactically, sacrificing the wagons and women while chipping at the ogres’ fighting strength could have been a sensible move. However, Matt is going to have to employ considerable political and diplomatic savvy if he doesn’t want the Pavonans to get a reputation for being cruel and heartless. I suppose he is lucky that his own player character, Duke Guidobaldo, was not present. Then again, it is possible he doesn’t care about gaining such a reputation – fear can be a useful strategic weapon too!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 07:13:41 PM by Padre »
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Offline Zygmund

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #170 on: January 18, 2016, 04:09:13 PM »
Who now has or can gain the upper hand really -- -- depends upon proximity of reinforcements and relief, as well as other strategic considerations.

A proper Kriegspiel you've got there!

Always enjoying the read.  :-)

-Z
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Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #171 on: January 18, 2016, 08:47:33 PM »
Who now has or can gain the upper hand really -- -- depends upon proximity of reinforcements and relief, as well as other strategic considerations.

A proper Kriegspiel you've got there!

Always enjoying the read.  :-)

-Z

I second that! :smile2:
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #172 on: February 11, 2016, 06:41:15 PM »
Thank you Xath and Zyg!
...
Morr Divided
Viadaza, early Autumn, IC 2402

At first, Biagino had not thought it unusual that a fellow priest should wish to speak with him in private. When he discovered it was to be a secret rendezvous with a Pavonan priest by the ancient ruins at the side of Lago di Scandarro, that did strike him as odd. Perhaps it was the young messenger carrying the invitation who stirred up his suspicions? Although the lad had looked like a gangly novitiate, barely able to stand still for more than a moment, he was tonsured and wore a cassock so he must at least have made his temporary vows. The purportedly schismatic Pavonan church had less strict requirements concerning the age at which priesthood could be bestowed. In the days of the Trantian Sagranalian sect there had been a veritable army of boy-novitiates. Biagino had heard it said on several occasions that the Pavonan schism was an off-shoot of old Father Sagrannalo’s theology, of a kind that fortuitously permitted the noble and rich not only to remain in power, even fortifying that power. The giddy boy-priest made him wonder whether this meeting was an attempt to draw him into some radical Pavonan design. 

Of course, he let none of this dissuade him. Considering all he had experienced, to now shy away from merely speaking with a fellow clergyman, even in secret, seemed ridiculous. If the priest had bad intentions, then it was best that Biagino learned of it; and if the man proved to be a true servant of Morr, then that certainly required his attention. Either way, he must play along.

It was late afternoon when Biagino approached the tumbledown temple. All was calm, the lake waters adding to the peacefulness. Were he still a boy the chance to sit by the water’s edge and skim stones would have been irresistible. The only urge that vaguely tugged at him now was to take advantage of the quiet, to lie down and sleep. That would mean dreaming, however, which for him was not at all restful, for in sleep his mind ran fast and deep into realms different in both time and place, there to reveal horrors. The urge to rest was a remnant of his youth - no longer an activity his to enjoy.



There were four men waiting. The priest who had invited him, Father Claudio, was immediately obvious: a large man of many chins, clothed in a grey, course, woollen cassock, yet so well fed that he was likely to be a priest of some authority, standing ahead of the others and elevated a little by the lie of the ground. There was also boy-brother Biagino had already met, while the other two were either lay-brothers, flagellant-dedicates, or some admixture of both. 



The boy-brother carried an axe, more tool than weapon, held in such a way that it was clearly intended as the latter. One of the dedicates had a very vicious looking, barbed mace, and a lit torch in his other hand. It was not yet dark, so why the fire Biagino struggled to guess. (Had they made their way here through some underground tunnel? Were they intending to burn something, or scare wild animals away? Neither theory seemed likely.) The other dedicate lurched drunkenly, his arm extended as if to steady himself against some unseen support. It occurred to Biagino that the man’s condition might be due to over-exuberance in his self-administered punishments – a common cause of injury or worse in flagellants.

Father Claudio had apparently been engaged in prayer as Biagino arrived, and now gestured the conclusion of his prayers by bringing his hands together. “Good day to you, Brother Biagino,” he said. “Holiest Morr protect and guide you and yours. Are you alone?”

“There’s just me, brother,” Biagino answered cheerfully. “Why, were you expecting others?”

Father Claudio simply smiled, shaking his head so that his jowls wobbled. “You have the ear of the arch-lector, yes?”

Biagino had expected this, just not so soon.  Ever since the raising of the Viadazan crusade army he had received appeals, requests and entreaties of all varieties, to be passed on to those in power, whether that be military, secular or clerical. It was rare that petitioners were so abrupt, however. He chose not to answer and instead asked, “You’ve come from Trantio?”

“Sadly, yes, we have,” said Father Claudio. “A terrible thing, the fall of such a great city to plundering brutes. It greatly shames Tilea that such can happen, yes.”

Biagino wanted to ask, ‘Was it much worse than the fall of the city to the Pavonans?’. Instead he said, “There are wicked foes all about. This is not an easy time for Tilea. Yet Khurnag’s Waagh has been defeated in the south, and the vampires in the north now face our holy army, having already lost a battle. If the princes in between would stop squabbling amongst themselves and deal with this Razger Boulderguts then all would be put right again.”

“Squabbling? Ah, hasn’t it always been thus - the way of things in Tilea, yes? The goddess would diminish to nothing if it were not so. Yet it is one thing for Tileans to wrestle over matters of honour and revenge; another thing entirely for orc, vampire and ogre to loot, burn and murder. Our Duke Guidobaldo knows full well when it is time to put aside territorial disputes and slights against his family and his people, and instead make a stand against evil.”

The duke certainly took his time to come to this realisation, thought Biagino. “It is a great shame that the realm of Trantio had to fall, not once but twice, and the second time to be left abandoned and ruined. Where have its people gone?”

Father Claudio gave no indication that he recognised any implied criticism. “Those who did not perish fled – some south to Astiano, some west to Remas, and some – as you can see – north to Viadaza.”

“Come to join our holy war against the undead?”

“Come to ask the arch-lector to recognise the war is now made larger, and that he cannot leave central Tilea to its fate while he completes his vow to destroy the vampires in the north. To do so would be folly, yes, for there would be no home for his victorious holy army to return to, nothing left of what they are trying to defend.”

“So you want me to ask the arch-lector to commit forces to fight against the ogres?”

“He must. Not to do so would be folly.”

Biagino began to wonder whether Father Claudio was working entirely on his own initiative, as his words and the Duke’s actions did not sit well together. “But the duke himself has ordered that his son and the Pavonans force he commands continue in the service of the holy army of Morr.”

“As is only proper,” replied Father Claudio, “for Duke Guidobaldo is Morr’s truest servant, and his son has made a holy vow. The arch-lector has other forces, however: his garrison at Remas, a whole army of mercenary Arabyans already bound to his service, and plenty more mercenaries available for employment. My lord will do all he can to defeat Razger, that goes without saying, yes, but if his strength should prove insufficient it is not only Trantio and Pavona that will suffer. Boulderguts cannot be ignored by Remas, nor can the fight against him be delayed, whether that be until the war in the north is won, or until Razger is before the walls of Remas.”

“The arch-lector is guided by holy Morr,” said Biagino, “divinely inspired to know when and how best to act ...”



“… Yet you are right, he cannot know the desires of Tilean princes unless he is made aware of them. Holy Morr concerns himself with the fight against the undead, guiding us securely to his garden so that we may rest undisturbed for all eternity. To him it matters not when our end comes, only that we do not succumb to evil after our death. It is for us, his priests, to concern ourselves with the living, for we ourselves are living and cannot do otherwise. Yet it is not right to hasten our own end, for Morr wishes to take us when he is ready, not when the servants of foul gods’ desire our deaths.”

Father Claudio chortled. “I thank you for your sermon, brother, but I too am cognizant of the church’s teachings.”

The torch bearer raised his arm a little causing the flame to sputter audibly. His eyes were glaring, sunk deep into his face like that of a starving man, yet his bare arms revealed muscles a-plenty. “When Morr tests us,” declared the man in a Trantian accent, “it is no easy thing. He doesn’t play with us, tickle us, tease us, like a loving mother would her infant child. He teaches us through suffering. We become strong through those trials, and so ready to thwart any necromantic curse upon our death. The undead are the enemy, Razger’s ogres are the test. To fight both is not easy because to serve Morr is not easy.”



Biagino now knew for certain the man was a flagellant-dedicate, for his words contained the mantra of such creatures. Besides, only someone filled with an agonising commitment to Morr would fail to baulk at interrupting the conversation of two senior priests. He was probably a captain amongst the flagellants.

“My companion Brizzio knows the truth of it,” said Father Claudio. “It is scarred into his flesh. We must indeed fight both undead and ogres. If we fail against the ogres then Tilea is burned, the dead are unguarded, and the vampires will work their evil more easily, raising wicked legion after legion of to serve them. The fall of Trantio is most assuredly a sign of Morr’s displeasure. It is clear now that our lord’s removal of the tyrant prince was not punishment enough for the people of Trantio, and that Morr saw fit to allow the city to fall completely, despite our worthy attempts to cleanse it. All Tileans must work together to prove to Morr that they are indeed deserving of his love. We cannot rely on Morr's promises without obeying his commands, nor can we expect to enter his garden without accepting his wrath. You must surely recognise, yes, that Morr is not merely the king of gods but the god of gods? If the lesser gods think to test us, how much moreso the god of gods?”

Biagino looked at each of them. One dedicate with his crazed expression, the other reeling unsteadily, the boy-priest hopping from foot to foot as if upon a hot griddle, and Father Claudio staring down at him like a disapproving teacher. These were indeed disciples of Pavonan schism, Claudio had openly admitted it. They were strange in their belief as well as their ways. Of course, he wasn’t going to tell them this. Not when he was here alone, unarmed apart from his hidden stiletto. 



“Your request would be taken more seriously if presented formally and with proof of Duke Guidobaldo’s agreement,” Biagino advised. And if you and your companions were not schismatic fools, he thought.

Father Claudio nodded. “That can be done, yes. I shall speak with Lord Silvano for he knows his father’s wishes. If he knew also that the arch-lector was likely to listen, then he himself would present our case.”

Biagino now wondered who it was had most likely sent these men to speak to him. The young Lord Silvano had not shown his face at the army’s councils since the trial of his men for their ill-disciplined attack against the Campogrottan ogres. It had been supposed that he was wracked with indecision concerning whether to leave and return southwards or stay with the holy army of Morr. Perhaps instead it had been the youthful embarrassment at having to admit that he had lost control of his troops, while that they had lured him away so that they could do what they desired? Mind you, knowing the boy’s family, it might instead be that he was annoyed at himself for not having given the order for the assassinations. And if neither of these, then it could be a matter of pride – the need to know his request will be taken seriously rather than risk being shamed by a brusque refusal. Whatever the truth, it seemed likely these men had been tasked with obtaining an invitation from the arch-lector to attend upon him, thus saving the boy’s face, and allowing him to present his father’s wishes.

Taking leave of the party, Biagino returned the way he had come. He decided that Lord Silvano's inexperience must be to blame for the bizarre and round-about method employed to gain an audience with the arch-lector, if indeed that is what it was. It also occurred to him that the arch-lector, the very definition of experience, should perhaps have recognised the need to reassure Polcario that his presence was still desired at the council table. Once he began to ponder the request to assist the fight against the ogres, however, any clarity he was feeling slipped away to be replaced with a heady concoction of doubts, fears and frustrations, riddled with images from half-remembered, and less than half-comprehended, dreams. Was this the time, as Tilea faced doom at the hands of vampires and ogres, to pander to schismatics? Could this be a gangrenous rot growing at the core of the Tilean church of Morr? Was this the beginning of the end of the joint-rule of the lawful gods in Tilea?

« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 03:34:21 PM by Padre »
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Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #173 on: February 15, 2016, 08:57:08 AM »
That terrain back in the background is great. How did you managed to do the blue sky? Some fabric? As usual, great stuff! :eusa_clap:
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #174 on: February 15, 2016, 09:40:48 AM »
Thanks Xath. The blue sky is a big piece of card - I have two blue shades and a star field. Very amateur but works most of the time. This card looks a bit creased in the photos above (which I didn't notice until now) so I might not use it again.

I'm a bit embarrassed just now 'cos I've done some pictures for the next little story piece and they seem to have come out well, but I used a new technique of scattering flock to hide the bases and the black edges I put on all my bases for some crazy reason. After the photo I just swept the flock back up into the pot. Quick and easy. The embarrassment is due to not having worked out this technique before. All those campaigns, all those thousands of photos, and I've never thought of this really simple technique.

Also I just noticed this week for the first time that my eyes might be growing older as I am noticing detail in photos I can't see when painting. I've always had great close up vision but was a little short sighted. Now, maybe, I am of an age where the near vision starts to fail too!
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/