The Western Land
The second hour of noon,
19th May, 475 - AVC
The Conclusion of the Battle of Crobobozi
The last of the barbarians were being slain, unallowed any quarter. They had been led to a massacre by their incapable leader, Zosimid, who was now laid before Commander Adaeus, bloodied in the Earth, choking for air. Zosimid had considered himself a liberator, seeing opportunity in the tenuous grip that Tylis held over Tomis. But the barbarian was no warrior, nor a tactician. Adaeus felt no remorse or pity as he brought his sword overhead, carrying it down in an arc to the base of the so-called liberator's neck. Adaeus surveyed the battlefield bitterly, letting the blood run freely along his blade.
The Tylisian warband had taken very few casualties: a good thing by all means. The people of Tylis were not Celts, and very few citizens practiced the way of Druidism. Hence, it was a difficult task indeed to 'convince' parents that their sons should serve in an army. It took a month to replace every five men that fell. And so Adaeus had to conserve his men at all costs. Just under a hundred of the six thousand Tylisians died killing four thousand barbarians, hunting them from Tomis to Crobobizi. Adaeus had been warned ahead of time by a curious missive about the barbarians, and their attempt to seize Tomis; he responded with a distinct lack of mercy.
Adaeus had lost a brother in securing this land. Any man, woman or child who thought themselves worthy of taking it would need to taste steel.
After their crippling defeat, the remaining barbarian peoples in the surrounding countryside decided to put down their arms. As Shamans, they saw rule by Druids preferable to rule by Greeks.
Commander Adaeus mounted his horse and called for the triumphant return of the warband to Tylis.
The 11th hour of morn,
10th February, 476 AVC
Cerethrius sat alone in the villa of the deposed Archon of Tomis, a small map unfurled on the table before him, his scouts had confirmed his fear. The Crown of Ardiaei had colonized the province of Moesi, lands that lay to the west of Tylis, over the mountains of Suci. The Chieftain did not give a damn that they were expanding. No, they were merely more Hellenistic demons spreading their filth across the world. What the Chieftain cared about was that, once again, the girl with hollow eyes had made a prediction that ran true. He could not stomach it.
Was she truly able to glimpse the future? Was she really a mouthpiece for Andarta, the goddess of war? Or was she simply a clever spy with a grave capacity for lies? Either way, the girl had given him advice, and that was to invade Ardiaei and seize their two provinces. Their Capital of Scodra was an ideally placed city. It was coastal, which gave good opportunities for trade, and additionally it was civilized enough to colonize the fertile lands around it...which in turn meant that the first true Celtic provinces of Tylis could lie to the west.
They would be able to briskly expand with these new lands at his disposal.
He had no divine mandate, not for the conquering of foreign nations. However, the Oracle Comyn had claimed that in order to survive, horses must be secured for "the good of the people".
Comyn and his brood merely enjoyed their venerated positions, their practical deification, andd their extortionate demands for gold to help placate the populace. If he wanted horses, Scodra had them. He would likely be displeased at the course of action they were taking, and the civillians would also stir at the thought of another war so soon, but there was one thing Cerethrius knew. They needed lands. Lands of Druids. Lands of Celts. And Ardiaei was the place to get them. The scouts had been busy; the Crown's forces were only two thousand strong. The only problem would be entrapping them. Cerethrius rose from his seat, determined to change the face of the landscape for the better.
There was no casus belli.
But the coffers ran dry, and the army too large, yet fragile.
They must once again go to war.
The 3rd Hour of Noon,
27th of June, 476 AVC
The Warcamp in Moesi
The army of Tylis had marched acros the mountainous & barbarous region of Suci and filed uniformly into the province of Moesi without any resistance. The city quickly surrendered to the force of six thousand men, and Tylis had a place to rest before plotting its next move, and a hasty war council was called in the warband's camp; spirits were high, however, and the soldiers talked loudly amongst themselves, eager to finish the war swiftly.
There were few present in the Chieftain's tent; Adaeus Tirid as Commander was present again, Cerethrius himself, and a young newcomer to the world of military tactics, Rubobostes Adonid. In addition, a few captains and attendants from the various regiments were present.
"The problem we have here" Rubobostes continued "is that the enemy is much smaller and yet far more mobile than us. They may only have a thousand men, but it's a unit of cavalry and a unit of horse archers. Their general is also very talented from what our spies have surmised, and is a
match for anything I could throw at him. Numbers are what is on our side here."
Adaeus spoke harshly "Rubobostes, I think it's simple what we must do. Take the whole army and march into Scodra. There's no chance for them to resist us, now, is there? We'll kill them where they stand."
Rubobostes held his tongue for a few moments, seeing that Adaeus was not terribly welcoming of the newcomer. "Commander" he began, "if we take the entire military force to bear against them in Scodra, it's more than likely they'll be able to outmaneuver us and retreat back here, to Moesi. We don't want to waste precious lives hunting them across the countryside, attrition is a concern here."
Cerethrius nodded, deciding to end the argument between the two before it began.
"I want you two to divide your forces evenly between you. Three thousand to Adaeus and three thousand to Rubo. Adaeus, you march on Scodra with the cavalry, the javelineers & one unit of light infantry. Rubo, you'll take the remaining infantry forces and form a defensive line in Moesi to catch them on their return. If they flee to the barbarian lands in the northwest, we have no concerns."
Adaeus nodded grimly, and Rubobostes agreed as they both left, the Captains and attendants trailing out behind.
The Battle of Scodra, and Tatta's Gambit
Tatta Artid watched carefully as the Tylisian forces advanced. He could feel his own mind grinding in anticipation of the coming battle, and his men grew restless. He gave the order to advance at a light canter, banking heavily on his plan to survive the coming storm. The Tylisians only had one cavalry unit, and the goal here was not to be victorious, but to survive and deal a grave hand of damage to the forces of Commander Adaeus. Adaeus gave the order to move the javelineers into position, and Tatta gave the order to charge.
The cavalry thundered across the plane in a line formation, whilst Adaeus' unit responded with a cavalry charge of its own. Just as it seemed the two forces were to clash, Tatta's horsemen split and divided, parting like the red sea before the wedge; behind them, a hail of arrows rung out from Tatta's horse archers, striking Adaeus' wedge at the head in a wave of arrows. The sudden shock to the horsemen was followed by Tatta's heavy cavalry cutting at the exposed flanks of the now confused cavalry, reforming on the other side as the horse archers broke formation. It was effective, but costly.
Adaeus was wounded and his unit gutted.
Tatta blew his war horn, and the cavalry struck softly at the Tylisian light infantry, a collective feint before breaking into full gallop into the forests from where Adaeus' forces had come. They had done heavy damage to Adaeus' cavalry unit, the only thing capable of matching their speed; they bound with their weakened force for Moesi.
A few days later, however, and Rubobostes realized what Tatta's gambit truly was; he intended on abandoning Ardiaei's land altogether to ride for Tylisian lands, and as the few reports of enemy cavalry filtered through his scouts, he knew suddenly that they were in danger; the Ardiaei could overwhelm Crobobozi & Tomis given enough time, and they would be difficult to follow. However, bizzarre reports reached the young commander's ears. Scouts assigned to follow Tatta's units as they attempted to discern their next course of action had returned with news that barbarians in mountainous Suci had arisen and ambushed the horsemen. They had been brutally defeated, and all passage east to Tylisian lands was blocked, forcing the few scattered survivors to flee north into the unknown.
Apparently, some 'deity' of the barbarians had informed them of the Aridaei's attempts to invade their fellow barbarian's lands, and they had arisen to stop any incursion attempts. The concern was, briefly, that the barbarians would now turn on Tylisian lands with their force of six thousand, but fortune smiled upon them and they invaded the nation of Dardania to the south instead, overthrowing its government. Rubobostes wondered aloud at what had triggered this uprising and saved Tylis irreparable damage.
Cerethrius muttered quietly, already knowing the answer.
Ardiaei was broken, annexed, and the future of Tylis looked a little brighter for the dour Chieftain.