Monday, January 17, 2011

Grismeire Valley Campaign Turn 3 – High Elves Blue Army Attacking Beastman 1st Army at St. Mer-Eglise

The morning sun was just clearing the mountains to the east, its rays bringing a comforting warmth to the mists lingering from the night’s chill. Birds chirped in the trees, and the usual scuttle of the forests creatures was just beginning for the day as if nothing was amiss. Within the tree-shrouded vales were arranged, row upon row, nearly countless tents of the finest materials and the most brilliant white. Amongst the tents tall and elegant figures moved with a grace and swiftness that clearly marked them as members of the elder race; the blue and white panoply of their heraldry clearly marking them as High Elves of Ulthuan. In the forest of Chalons, an army made their camp. In one particular vale there were three tents, somewhat larger than the rest. It is to one of these tents a rider races, his cloak and tunic tugged by the wind as his mount carried him nearly faster than the eye could register.

“My lord, a herald from Calandras’ expedition requests an audience.” Declared one of the guards outside the tent’s entrance as the sounds of horses’ hooves and the jangling of its harness broke the reverie of the tent’s occupant.

“Show him in, Ilthalas. Show him in.” replies the tent’s lone occupant. He is an elf, to be sure. His frame is slight, moreso than those of his countrymen, and he is tall though age seems to be stooping him ever so slightly. His fine robes bear many runes and mystic writing and he carries a tall white staff, clearly identifying him as a mage of the High Elves.

Into the tent steps a clearly excited elf wearing light armor of shining mithril. He is dressed for war but lightly so. Removing his tall helmet and tucking it into the crook of his arm, he drops to one knee and bows low to the elder mage.

“Lord Folariath, arch mage of The White Tower, my master Calandras sends his greetings and bids me deliver news of his campaign to the north.” The herald says, his excitement making the words come out rapid and breathlessly.

“At ease, my friend. Be at ease. You are excited and unless my eyes deceive me you do not appear as though the campaign has met some doom. Your tunic and armor show no more than the dust one would expect on a rider from the Grismerie River Valley. Tell me, what news do you have of Calandras’ little expedition?” Folariath said, his fatherly tone helping to soothe the nerves of the herald.

“My lord, as you know, Calandras led a force to the north where Prince Tethelion of Caledor has been engaged in a campaign with the Bretons to defeat the foul Vampire and Chaos Beast hordes invading from the mountains to the North. My lord, Calandras came upon a sizeable contingent of the Beasts undoubtedly marching to engage Prince Tethelion’s forces, and engaged the Beasts in battle just this past afternoon.”

“Truly? Our purpose in these lands is to discover the lost history of our people, not to wage war. I’ve no doubt that Prince Laethelas will not begrudge Calandras for engaging an enemy but as I’m sure you are aware, every single life lost on these shores is precious. Pray deliver the rest of your report, and it best be good.” Folariath said to the herald, a slight hint of anger evident in his voice and the crackling of energy in the cool morning air.

“My lord total losses for the battle were five Sea Guard of Lothern, one Chariot of Chrace, and thirteen of the Sword Masters that campaigned with us. I am also very sad to say that Gaelith, noble son of Galen and bearer of the army standard, was slain by the foul Beastlord that commanded the enemy hordes. The Beasts, however, were slaughtered almost to the last foul creature. Indeed my lord only four of the creatures were left breathing to flee the field. Calandras was able to massacre the enemy and liberate the small Breton village, though the Beasts had already defiled it extensively.”

“Hmmmm. The loss of thirteen Sword Masters is a strong blow, but if indeed the Beasts were so thoroughly routed perhaps it may have been worth their sacrifice. If I am to make a report to Prince Laethelas I will have what details you are privy to.”

“Yes, my lord. When we arrived upon the field of battle, the Beasts had already defiled the village and arrayed themselves for battle. Their lord and a large unit of Bestigors held the center along with two large units of Gors. To the left of their line was a chariot, some hounds, and some Ungor scouts whilst to the right of their line were some Razorgor beasts, and another chariot. Calandras and Feluvian, his apprentice, could detect the presence of two magic users amongst the Beasts though it was not immediately plain to us where they were. On the final approach of our line, ghastly Harpies attacked upon our flanks. Our own lines were held at the center by Gaelith and the Sword Masters, flanked by Calandras and Feluvian each leading a unit of Sea Guard. The Chariot held our wide right flank, whilst the two bolt throwers were held to the rear of our lines in a support role.” The herald, recounting the order of battle, seemed to calm himself as he settled into the doldrums of the battle’s beginning maneuvers.

“Our forces held the initiative and struck first. Feluvian cast a spell from the Lore of Life which caused all manner of flora and fauna to erupt from the ground below the Gor unit with their battle standard. The dwellers below that unit decimated the beasts, virtually wiping it out and consuming the foul standard as well. Alas, the winds of magic overwhelmed Feluvian’s untrained mind and he burnt out… unable to harness magic for the remainder of the battle. On our left, a bolt thrower fired a salvo at the harpies and killed all but two and forcing them to retreat a ways. On the right, the bolt thrower fired at the main body of the Beasts’ line, and the two units of Sea Guard supplemented this with their own volley of arrows. The white shafts found their marks and the two blocks of Gors were further whittled by the accurate fire.”

“The Beasts attempted to close with our line but it seemed as if the loss of their center unit was too much. Really, all they managed to do was set themselves up for our attacks. One of their foul magic users cast some spell on his own troops, but the winds of magic were still raging from Feluvian’s miscast and the beast mage exploded, decimating his own unit. On our right, the Chariot engaged and wiped out the pack of hounds. The second bolt thrower fired at the Harpies but did not do significant damage. The Sea Guard and Sword masters moved forward to bait the Beasts and were rewarded with the foolish creatures charging. The outcome was obvious. One unit was wiped out. The other was decimated and fled. The Sword Masters had attempted to charge the Bestigors but were likely befuddled by the magical fury and thus were in turn charged themselves. They quite quickly inflicted heavy casualties and caused the Beasts to flee. On our left, the Sea Guard found themselves engaged by the beast Chariot and one of the Razorgors. The combat continued to be won by the consummate skill of the Lothern regulars. On the right, the Lion Chariot engaged and broke another Razorgor, but was in turn charged by the second beast chariot and their scouts, the Ungors. At the rear, our bolt thrower crews valiantly held off the two flocks of harpies but were caught up in the excitement and attempted to give chase upon the fleeing creatures. In the center, the Beastlord upon his chariot and the second beast mage charged the Sword Masters with reckless abandon and inflicted several casualties. Up until this point, our losses had been minimal. The Beasts’ lord was a force to be reckoned with and began to sell his life dearly. Feluvian’s Sea Guard charged the Beastlord in the flank but due to some foul magic items, he was just too hard to wound and continued to slay the Sword Masters.”

“Calandras began to fear total loss of the Sword Masters and started to position himself for a charge into the fray whilst at the same time Feluvian had an epiphany and ceased focusing on the Beastlord, instead focusing on the creature’s chariot and the Razorgor pulling it. The combat quickly turned; the Beastlord was defeated and run down by the Sword Masters. On our right, the Chracian Chariot had been bogged down by the Beast Chariot and Ungors. They were able to defeat the chariot, but at great cost. The bolt thrower on our right was then able to kill the chariot and more Ungors. As the battle wound down, we had slain all but three Bestigors, one Ungor, and possibly a heavily wounded Razorgor.” The herald let out a long breath of relief, having recounted the battle. Now, however, he began to wonder how the powerful mage lord would take the news.

“I see. Well, it would appear that Calandras’ tactics were sound though it would also seem the Beasts’ lack of fury played an equal part in their defeat. Indeed, the loss of the Sword Masters comes as a strong blow but one must weigh the fact that Calandras may have broken the Beasts’ back in that region. Perhaps it is fortuitous, then, and Prince Tethelion will benefit from this victory. I shall report to Prince Laethelas immediately. You have done well, herald. Now, you must return with all alacrity to Calandras and warn him that the Vampires are also about. Calandras must make ready, for I foresee another battle in his future and the Vampires will not be so easily bested. Go now, time is precious!” Folariath rushed the herald out and signaled his men to provide a fresh horse.

A victory had been won, albeit at a heavy price. Another battle, one more ominous than the skirmish that had just taken place, was looming like a dark cloud on the horizon.

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