ThunderHawk3

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((The deadline for orders has now passed. I will not accept any new orders or changes to old orders from this point on.))
 

Marschalk

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To the Lord Marshal, Baldwin Montague;

We find your inaction in the north of our realm whilst barbarians raid and pillage our lands to be most distasteful. We have appointed you Lord Marshal entrusting in you the duties of leading and marshaling our troops during times of war, consequently this is such a time albeit not against a kingdom but against uncultured foreigners. We order you to put your men on alert, to begin posting patrols along the main roads throughout the north, to begin erecting defenses in the untouched villages and to recruit as many men as necessary. Do all this in our name and with due haste, the loss of more lives is unacceptable.

His Majesty, Hugh Bordelon, By the Grace of Namid, King of Hendal, Lord of Burnhem and Protector of the Realm


To the Lord Chancellor, Anders Wyngarden;

We find it most displeasing that you waited not for the Royal Seal before proceeding on your planned canceling of contracts with the mercenaries. You are to with haste inform them that their contracts do in fact stand and that they are expected to continue their duties on the border. Nonetheless, We recognize that you do serve Us with the best of intention and thus We wish to award you the honorific title of Count of Etela, to be inherited in perpetuity by your heirs. Serve Us well.

His Majesty, Hugh Bordelon, By the Grace of Namid, King of Hendal, Lord of Burnhem and Protector of the Realm

To His Majesty, Maximilian III of House Briarling, By the Grace of Namid, King of Meddelands and Ardan, Defender of the Realm, Grand Duke of Kandon and Keeper of Justice;

Our Great and August Brother,

We greet you warmly and take great pleasure in receiving a letter from You. Indeed, to Us the prospects of further cementing ties between Our great kingdoms by way of marriage is a most welcoming idea. We have Ourselves three children without consort: Our eldest and heir, the Crown Princess; Our second son and Our third son. Furthermore, Our sister has been widowed from her first husband and is still at the age of childbearing. We would welcome a response and further discussion on this mater.

His Majesty, Hugh Bordelon, By the Grace of Namid, King of Hendal, Lord of Burnhem and Protector of the Realm


((All are obviously private))

((Private))

Our Great and August Brother,

It is truly joyous for Us to hear from Your Majesty and We do hope that everything is fine within Your Realm, blessed by Namid and prospering under Your just hand. We are indeed supportive of the idea of mixing our blood, pure and uncorrupted, furthering the ties between Our familes and Kingdoms. Our House is blessed with a number of maidens, which may be of interest to you - Our sister, Anne, known for her beauty as the Fair, has reached the age of tweny-five and been widowed, being suitabe for marriage. Our beloved daugther, Beatrice, known as the Redlocked, is currently sixteen and is ready for childbirth. Our eldest son, Crown Prince William, named for his bravery Sharplance, is nineteen and is in need of a young wife of august or noble blood. Perhaps we can reach a mutually agreeable arrangement

- MAXIMILLIANUS REX
 

ThunderHawk3

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The Summer of 500​

The Summer of 500 would be one of the hottest in recent memory, with day after day of scorching weather and the earlier spring rains disappearing almost entirely. Farmers feared that the overabundance of heat would badly affect the harvest, while laborers and soldiers sweated in the hot sun. Everyone from prince to pauper was grateful for a drink of water when available.

By mid-summer, the Namidist Kings were beginning to suspect the Holy Alliance was not worth the paper it was written on. Hendal had nearly laid off, then re-hired a fifth of its army, and continued to fight the Northern barbarians without any indication that reinforcements from the other Kingdoms would be coming any time soon. In Dalmira, the highland Dukes had signed the Magnus Charter, which would have significantly curbed the power of the King to respect the terms of the Holy Alliance - under pressure from these same dukes, Magnus began to speak of repealing the "internal threats" clause in the Alliance charter. Meanwhile, Meddish soldiers camped on the Bar River, hearing of the lowland Duke's rejection of the Magnus Charter and Tydreach-Gottor's warming stance towards the Ardans, began to suspect that no Dalmiran assistance would come in the event of war - and they would have been less surprised to see a dragon coming to their aide than Hendal troops for, if the rumors were to be believed, half of North Hendal had fallen to barbarian raiders.

Hendal

With North Hendal returning to a relative state of calm after Baldwin Montague's marginal military victory against the raider warbands, Hendal returned to questioning how the deficit could be reduced. The issue of the mercenaries did not help - the King ordered the mercenaries re-hired after they'd been laid off earlier, and a considerable amount of coin was necessary to smooth over bruised egos.

The King also took decisive steps to stop the Tavan Morin incursions, drawing three great lines across the map where he said he wanted fortifications to be completed. Only a meager amount of work was completed in summer, however, as it took time (and money) to design and organize such a project. It was suspected that some of the lines of fortifications would take years to complete, as they stretched for kilometers.

A curious man also arrives at the Hendal palace with a strange message - the man claims to be a ransom broker who has in his custody the bastard son of Conrad the Black (held at an undisclosed location). With no ransom paid for the bastard, the ransom broker asks for payment - a hundred ducats - to transfer the man to Hendal custody. He offers as proof a locket with Conrad the Black's crest, which supposedly was taken from the prisoner. Though this might well be a scam, if it proves to true it could be earthshaking, as the bastard would be a claimant to the Dalmiran throne.

Prince Henry easily found some clerks and administrators to tell him about from the navy - with the additional offer of coin, he could hardly fail. He learned a good amount about the administrative operations of the navy, payroll, logistics, recruitment, and so on, but he could not say for sure how much of this information was practical. Four ships were easily loaned to the Lord Treasurer, though no one knew for what purpose.

As per Laurens Jansingh's orders, the Royal Bank of Hendal cut its rates to encourage lending. This worked quite well, and respectable people began to take out loans from the bank. However, the bank continued to have no depositers. Hendal's looming cash crunch was well known and people feared that the King (who was not exactly known for his empathy for his fellow man) might again try to raid the bank for cash if his own reserves ran dry. Additionally, the slashed interest rates lowered the fees the bank could pay to depositors, making it less attractive. Hendal's wealthy elite remained content to either manage their own money domestically (and preferably in secret) or send their fleets to Meddeland to deposit large sums.

Jansingh also prepared for a naval voyage, taking receipt of the four ships - though no one knew exactly where he was going.

With the mercenaries rehired, Anders Wyngarden was forced to take more drastic measures to stabilize the budget in the form of taxes. He ordered the Sound Toll raised - which was done almost immediately - as well as taxes on goods that passed through the Hendal borders and "internal trade" - which was essentially taken to mean tariffs between cities.

The internal trade tax was essentially scrapped as Sanapiro traders successfully argued that the exemption for sacked areas of North Hendal should apply to them. This left only goods between Burnhem and Etela to tax. The tax was assessed on trade passing through certain gates of these cities but was essentially dropped due to various administrative difficulties - no one could tell where the goods were coming from, if they had already been taxed, etc. It ultimately garnered very little revenue, but did succeed in angering the populace.

The tax on other trade by sea was assessed with difficulty, but it ultimately was assessed, as collectors stood at the major ports and inspected cargo as it came in. This proved to be a significant bottleneck for traders and it did not bring in as much revenue as was hoped.

The tarrif on foreign goods imported by land was probably the most easily assessed and most successfully executed. Little trade passed over the treaty line but it was trivially taxed at the wall. Most of the trade over the land border with Arevmarch was also quite easily assessed.

These taxes were commonly resented by the general public as the prices of imported goods increased, though nothing came of it other than a lot of grumbling. Trade began to taper off due to the taxes, but revenue was not sharply decreased.

Rhett managed to gather together a large number of serfs (he could not say if it was quite the 5,000 he wanted, but that was immaterial) and began construction on a winery on the Kitrine Sea. Progress on construction went amazingly quickly and the winery was finished within a few months; it did not even cost anything as he brilliantly managed to force the serfs to collect all the materials themselves and work for free.

Talinus Blackgate trained at his family estate. His swordsmanship probably improved, though no one could say if his leadership skills had improved much. Unfortunately, he failed to find enough backers to fund the construction of a military academy.[1]

The Iron Hands took on enough contracts to sustain their numbers in South Hendal but did not grow much this year. News of potential action in North Hendal, however, encouraged the men and their internal training went quite well. Their cultivation of a cavalry arm went exceptionally well for a first year, with their green cavalrymen picking up the basics quickly.

[1]((Zex, I can't execute your second order as you formally don't have any money to invest. Only characters with special traits, like Trading Princes, start with meaningful sums of money.))

Dalmira

In Dalmira, the King increasingly began to appoint his own relatives, friends, and courtiers to household roles. Though this did not affect the Kingdom at large - as they were mainly for domestic roles - and no one questioned the King's authority do so, it did increase court expenses somewhat and these appointees began to step on the toes of the servants...

The King begins a breeding program of his dire wolves in the summer. This goes extremely well, as it transpires the 6 wolves are 5 females and one male and all the females are in heat. By the end of the summer several litters have been born and the breeding program is well underway, though it is expected to take years to build up a good number. Additionally, the hound-keepers who have been charged with the particulars of the program begin to suspect that the animals may not be domesticable as dogs are.

A second attempt to build a road system goes much better, as the summer sun has dried the previously impassably muddy ground and put an end to the ferocious mudslides that impeded previous progress. By the end of the season, Halbstadht's workers have cleared undergrowth around traditional footpaths and established smooth and even (albeit dirt) roads throughout the King's domain. It remains to be seen if this will encourage trade or have other economic consequences, though most agree it is a positive development. Vasa takes over the project after the King leaves; his brilliant administration greatly reduces its cost.

Vasa also succeeds in finding some workers for the new mines - mainly serfs rather than full-time miners - but the mine is not operating at full capacity. The sale of land to the Superiacy and his holy orders goes through without a hitch.

The King gathers together his standing army of 4,000 and begins a march for North Hendal as per the terms of the Holy Alliance - an act that demonstrates to all that the alliance is more than just talk. Though the soldiers are not necessarily thrilled to be going to the aid of the Hendal, they follow their king without dispute. After the forces are mustered and his other business wrapped up, the King sets out in midsummer; day after day of marching in the hot sun takes its toll. By the end of the season, the King has only just barely reached the city of Arevmarch.

Prince Vytautas heavily focused on the domestic economy during the year. He succeeded in encouraging artisanal wool products somewhat, though it did not have an effect on his balance sheet. However, he failed in expanding weapons manufacturing for trade to the other dukes - for the moment, no one was buying. The attempt cost him some coin in lost investments.

He also, sadly, did not profit from his attempt to show the sword to the local clergy. Almost as soon as he saw it, the local bishop declared the weapon to be evil, corrupting those around it, and insisted it be discarded immediately. It remained to be seen if the prince, who had grown quite attached to the weapon, would comply.

In the Lowlands, Duke Wiegraf - who had joined Igskada in refusing to sign the Magnus Charter - arranged for marital ties between Duke Riosh and himself. His land reform and construction programs continued, with some new peasants attracted - however, mindful of the budget, construction on various farm-related buildings was ended. This reduced the cost - though of course, it also meant that potentially helpful buildings were not built. Between the land reform and the recent crackdown on crime (not to mention his hardline stance against the King, which proved to be very popular among the local nobility), Wiegraf was shaping up to be a fairly popular Duke.

The wizard eagerly converted to Namidism. Once released from prison, he revealed himself to not only be a talented wizard but also a talented artist, and painted a splendid portrait of the Duke as a meager token of his gratitude. The picture drew favorable comments from Wiegraf's courtiers and visitors, though they did not know who had painted it.

Sofia begins her combat training in earnest and benefits from it. Her skill in using concealable weapons improves... though towards what end she will direct these skills is uncertain.

Henry Stolgen is able to open a mine with the help of several experts but not much revenue is generated - a series of early setbacks and mining collapses mean that little revenue is generated and the mine is still not running at nearly full capacity. On the other hand, he proves wildly successfuly at expanding the metalworks. With a potential war in North Hendal heating up, it transpires that the country is hungry for iron exports. The metalworkers are easily convinced to expand their workshops of their own accord. Stolgen does not even have to pay any money to cover the costs. The new Hendal taxes, however, prove to be an annoyance and it is not clear how much trade actually increases.

Prince Augustyn of Weldheim sends a team to prospect in Weldheim and excitement breaks out in the city a month later when they return, hoarsely gasping that they have struck gold in the northern hills, where no one ever expected it. The gold deposits have yet to be exploited, but surely this is a positive development for cash-strapped Weldheim...

The Prince's further investigation into the dragon statuette, however, bear little fruit. He is able to determine that the object is several hundred years old and is said to date back to a dragon attack in the depths of the past, but more clues elude him.

Another fire breaks out in Weldheim in the heat of the summer, causing some damage - though fortunately, the fire is easily extinguished and the Duke does not have to pay for repairs.

Igskada constructs a road network with some difficulty owing to the size of the duchy, but they do succeed in the end despite various difficulties, with simple dirt roads stretching across the length and breadth of the duchy. Some uptick in trade is noticed almost immediately, as the roads make it easier to transport goods from Igskada to other places (and merchants also claim taxes in Hendal have something to do with it). Unfortunately, the project proves to be quite costly, as the project takes thousands of laborers who demand pay.

After a promising start to his ducal tenure in Spring, Odal'in found himself nearly besieged in summer. He signed a trade agreement with the Ardans to find a less-than-enthusiastic reception from his own people and local nobility, who did not think that the Duke should be getting quite so friendly with a pack of heretics. Pressure from the church exacerbated this view, and much of what Odal'in had achieved in smoothing over relations with his nobles last year was lost. Though he received funds from Ardans for the construction of trade houses, it remained to be seen if these houses would ever be built - construction was not initiated in the summer. The stated tarrif also was not levied. Trade did initiate between Ardans and Gottor-Tydreach but was less than robust.

Dal'Athgar an Odal'in Uthbar's attempts to create a "Buirdeasach" in Gottor-Tydreach failed more or less completely, as he did not (perhaps forgetting) to tell the serfs that if they joined the Buirdeasach they (or their family, since rents were often charged by household) would be forgiven half their tithe. As no one was willing to sign up for military duty and pay for the privilege, the project was more or less a failure.


Meddeland

In Summer, the surprise end to the policy of "royal secrecy" that was aimed at protecting the lives of the King's family brought an additional unexpected result - the King's second son, Prince Phillipe Briarling (who the public had only just found out about), announced his engagement to a young noble woman of good standing. The public, particularly the nobility and burghers, followed the marriage with interest.

The offer to buy the King's salt monopoly expired in summer without the King having accepted it.

Alfons Windfell began a state lottery to generate funds for reconstruction and civic improvements. This went quite well, his skills as a merchant serving well as he did so. It generated a fair amount of money for the crown, though it remained to be seen if this was a one-off event or meant to be a persistent revenue-raising measure. His attempts to impose a city tax failed because, of course, the King did not have the right to levy that or virtually any other type of tax.

King Maximilian took great interest his own holdings in the summer, establishing weekly markets and fairs within his demesne for the general benefit of commerce and the farmers. These proved somewhat successful but not wildly so and were generally popular with the farmers. It cost some coin. The establishment of a Royal Commission to compile a manual of recommendations on farming - the Field Manual - was also generally successful, but the commission had yet to report back and the book compiled. Experts told the King that the manual probably would not be completed until winter, as the Commission wanted to make various observations at harvest-time this year before making any final recommendations.

An attempt at land reform was initiated by Sane Thunderfalcon. The goal was two-fold - first, that strip holdings should be exchanged for more compact holdings, and second, to move villagers out of village communities and into farms.

On the first point, this was accomplished within the King's own lands (with farmers being moved onto different, more compact plots) but could not be done in most of Meddeland - farmers arguing successfully that the crown had no right under the Council Code to confiscate their private property without compensation (which of course, it did not). The enclosure of the farms at the end of serdom, many decades ago, had largely already put an end to strip plots and transactions between farmers had generally already disposed of irregularly or inconveniently scattered plots that might have popped up one way or another. It was uncertain that rearrangements on the King's old lands would yield any positive results, as swapping farmers to new land in the middle of the growing season seemed unlikely to work in anyone's favor in the short term.

Similarly, villagers refused to move out of their village communities. Thunderfalcon reasoned that they did not need to be groups into villages as they no longer had local lords to rule over them from a nearby manor house (the fact that many tenant farmers actually did still pay rent to a local lord even though they were no longer serfs escaped him), but he completely ignored the fact that most peasants lived in village communities because they liked or needed to live in village communities. It but them close to friends and family, gave them access to markets, churches, smiths, public houses, other professionals, and so on, and often they had been living there for generations. Efforts to push people further out of the villages for the sake of making them work more land were ignored outside of the King's direct holdings, and much resented within it. Riots nearly broke in some places - and indeed, it might have come to rioting if were not for the King's more popular measures initiated at the same time.

Compilation of the Orshaftsbook, the nation-wide survey of production, resources, and valuable goods continued. Work continued at record speed, and though the book turned out to be instead be a set of books - incorporating tens of thousands of pages and cross-referenced notes on resources and production - its compilation was just finished by the end of summer.

Kishburne continues to torch his way through North Meddeland, setting fire to numerous buildings - this time targetting mainly churches, abbeys, and other religious structures. With no army to stop him, local citizens begin to form "anti-mage" groups, which amount to militias and lynch mobs. These mobs do not succeed in catching Kishburne but do lynch a number of innocents on suspicion of being wizards. Local authorities began to write to the King, warning of a looming breakdown in public order.

Along the Bar River, Francis II of Vantage, regarded as a True Hero of Meddeland for his outstanding actions in the past, took command of the army. Morale - which had been suffering - was greatly increased by his presence and patrols along the Bar River were doubled and executed with extra discipline and zeal. His efforts to drill the troops also went extremely well, with the new recruits easily integrated into the forces and even some of the regulars put on their toes by his methods. It was obvious he was quickly whipping the flagging Meddish army into shape.

His presence also attracted about a thousand more soldiers to the army, but he could hardly effectively recruit and lead the army at the same time.

An Ardans agent - Argent Grancour - is captured on the Meddish side of the Bar River.

Ardans

In Ardans, news of the unprovoked attack on the army near the Bar River spread quickly and incensed Ardans nationalism. It drove the so-called "petty concern" of substandard payment out of the minds of the soldiers - at least temporarily. Public outpourings of support for the troops also led to small amounts of donations flowing into Ardans coffers. Local militias - composed of men who lived near the Bar River and wanted to fight for their country - began to arrive near the Bar River - these militia units rapidly grew to thousands strong as tensions ran high on the border.

Shortages of wood, however, would stop effective defenses from being constructed along the Bar River. The soldiers and militiamen take to taunting the Meddish, shouting jibes and insults across the river. This does boost their morale somewhat, though it also riles up the Meddish.

Decades of Superiarist occupation had left the Old Statist church scattered and divided. In the summer of 500, a collection of Old Statist clergymen, local priests, self-declared bishops, and other preachers met in Moraille to discuss whether or not trade with the Superiarist infidels should be allowed. Ultimately, the conclave did not reach a definite conclusion and the clergy released an ambivalent statement on this and other subjects. They had not been able to agree on many issues of dogma. It was not thought to be a good sign for those who hoped the church would again centralize.

Haaken the Vandal was removed from his post in the Moraille mountains and sent out on maneuevers, to much fanfare, including a pompous announcement from the marcher. This was publicly well received. Construction on toll boothes to begin collecting the tax more formally, however, did not go well amid local opposition.

Funds were tranferred to Gottor-Tydreach for construction of trading houses (as per the agreement signed by the Marcher), and both the new Minister of Trade and the Marcher began to encourage trade with the duchy. There was indeed some trade flowing by the end of the year, where previously there had been none.

Michel Szabolcsi was tasked with performing the Marcher's census, and with all the preparation done the previous season, the survey proved to be wildly successful. Though it was less ambitious than the Marcher's previous grandoise plans for an extremely comprehensive census, this may have played to the census' advantage - fewer questions meant less paperwork. Census-takers completed the survey rapidly and returned the documents to a central repository in Moraille, their efforts having reached all corners of the nation, not just the cities. Though turning the hundreds of thousands of census forms into a useful form would take more time, it was already benefitting the city poll tax implemented in the spring, with revenues increasing.

Argent Grancour, acting as a Ardans agent, attempts to cross over the Bar River to the Meddish side for covert operations. However, he is captured by Meddish patrols.

Tavan Morin

The Tavan Morin war parties returned to the rest of their people in the summer, largely resting on their laurels after their defeat at the hands of the Army of North Hendal. Though about two hundred had died in that engagement, the trinkets, baubles, and gold they brought with them as spoils of war outweighed the fears and concerns that the minor defeat inspired. More hardy men came forward to join the warbands.

Ja'hani Chisan - who had conducted his own raids rather than join the Dagch Morin's assault - continued to inspire fear in North Hendal. He encountered no patrols but looted several villages, exacting a toll in gold from others. His efforts to take prisoners generally failed as his men had heard that the Dagch Morin had declared no prisoners should be taken.

Among the Tavan Morin, a small number of fights broke out over the spoils of war - as raiders began to argue about what was rightfully their share of the loot. A few cases of some robbing others as a result of particularly egregious disputes were heard by the Dagch Morin.

The "Onion Sage" continued on his way towards Sanapiro. His decision to not be the center of attention proved prudent and he had a number of interesting conversations with local elders and scholars. By the end of the summer, he had more or less learned the language.

Other

The Superiacy's work on a new city for the faithful and a new high church begins in summer, with hired laborers working in the sweltering heat, somewhat mitigated by the altitude. An old saying, "Victorsburg was not build in a day," is on the lips of many as they watch this progress. It seems likely construction will take years. After his dispute with the Duke, the Superius also send missionaries to Gottor-Tydreach, who begin to preach zealously about the evils of Old Statism and ensure no heresy spreads there.

Much of the church remains doubtful of the mission to build a new high church.

Dwaler begins work on a castle for the Forgiven Knights, downstream of the new church-city. This work goes slowly, with many of the local workers having been engaged by the Superiacy. It also seems likely to take years. The work of attracting people to the Forgiven Knights also proceeds slowly.

((end of update, though there is an incoming mini shortly after this. Next deadline will be in a week, ie: next Saturday.))

Hint: The more orders you submit, the less likely each one of them will be to succeed. The broader or more expansive the orders, the bigger the penalty.
 
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ThunderHawk3

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Die Wacht Am Bar​

The situation along the Bar River in the summer of 500 was more than tense - it was quite simply a powderkeg. Doubled Meddish patrols meticulously paced along the east bank of the river while incensed Ardans soldiers and militiamen shouted insults from the west bank. Javert Dupont, the commander of the Bar River army, was determined to get revenge for the attack on his troops. In fact, many of the taunts and the insults were at his encouragement. He sought to provoke the Meddish into another attack, which would give him an excuse to launch an assault of his own on the Meddish army. However, this was not to be. After the attack on Ardans patrols in the spring, the Meddish were determined not to allow another lapse in discipline. Under the watchful eye of Francis of Vantage, who was widely regarded as Meddeland's finest general, no such lapse occurred. The Meddish bore the insults (on the occasions that they could hear them) and the two armies stared at each other from across the racing river with distaste.

Dupont was not satisfied with the stalemate. He wanted a fight and he would get one. After the capture of Argent Grancour, a Ardans agent, on the east bank, he ordered his troops into action. They scouted out a possible crossing point and began to plan a potential attack across the river. With the main bridge destroyed during the Battle of Bar River, they were forced to fabricate makeshift rafts and boats to carry them across the river. On a suitably dark night, Dupont dispatched a force of about 4,000 to cross and launch a sneak attack. However, as with his Tavan Morin and Hendal counterparts who had attempted night attacks, everything did not go to plan.

The boats they had made turned out to be unsuitable for the crossing (they had not tested them for, of course, the Meddish might have seen them). Most of the boats started to leak; about halfway across, the first wave of rafts were knocked around terribly by the current and banged into each other, capsizing several and sending the formation into disarray. The splashing and shouting of soldiers in the water drew the attention of Meddish patrols, who immediately roused their fellows, and the Ardans attack was aborted. The Meddish, for their part, did not even have to mount a response, as no Ardans had made it to the east bank in their boats - most had sunk on their own, Meddish bowmen had killed many more Ardans on the opposite bank as they attempted to cross. Ultimately the Ardans lost about 1,800 soldiers. Most drowned or were shot by the Meddish bowmen, though about 400 made it to the east bank, gasping for breath, and were captured.

But this was not the most extraordinary part. The most extraordinary part was that the Ardans tried again. Dupont dispatched scouting parties to find foot-crossings. Another wooden bridge about 12 kilometers south of their current position was found - though it was not nearly so wide as the one that had once stood on the Bar River. Dupont attempted a night crossing across this bridge after giving a terrifically rousing speech to his men that greatly increased their appetite for battle, even after their recent defeat. Sadly, the crossing itself was as disastrous as the last, with the redoubled Meddish patrols detecting them halfway across the bridge and setting fire to the structure, killing another 600 Ardans between the fire and the archers.

Realizing that his own crossing attempts might go just as badly, Francis did not order a Meddish crossing, restricting them to arrow-fire across the river where distance would permit (which wasn't often). For the moment, he rested on his laurels.

This did not nearly make up for the Meddish defeat at Bar River previously, but it nevertheless greatly boosted the morale of the Meddish army, who were starved for victories. Many had a hardy chuckle at Ardans ineptitude.

They weren't laughing for long.

Henrik dan Vant, the Marcher of Ardans, had not sanctioned the attack and in fact was said to howl with rage when he heard what Dupont had tried to do. Nevertheless, he understood that battle was joined and he had to commit to the war. He activated his contingency plans for the war.

Haaken the Vandal had indeed been expelled from the Moraille pass, but not to go out on maneuvers, as had been announced publicly. Instead, he had led a second army of 16,000 men to the very edge of the Ardans border, less than a week's march from Vantage. When he heard news of new fighting breaking out, Dan Vant sent word to Haaken to march into Meddeland. His army, now deemed the "National Army," crossed into Meddeland. Marching at speed, were at the gates of Vantage by the time word of the invasion reached Kandon. It faced little opposition aside from scattered attacks from local militias that did little damage.

Vantage heard of the approaching army before it arrived but had little time to stockpile grain; it was made somewhat harder by the Vandal's relentless destruction of the surrounding farmland as he marched (though he largely focused on marching). When he reached the walls of Vantage, Haaken demanded the surrender of the city, pointing out that it had no garrison to protect it. The city's mayor send back a scathing negative reply. A local militia force of about 300 men was mustered to defend the walls, but most realized this would not last for long in the event of an assault on the walls. Hopes still ran high in the city that they could resist a siege if they were resupplied by sea.

The Marcher himself arrived on the outskirts of Vantage the next day to take command of the army. Leaving Haaken in command of the siege party (a force of about 5,000), he took the remaining 11,000 soldiers of the national army south to Brier, a march that took him about 12 days, just as the summer was ending. Brier had more notice, and the Marcher arrived at the walls of Brier to find the city barred against him. He demanded the surrender of the city and received the same sort of scathing rejection that Haaken had received. About 1,600 militiamen were on the walls.

Haaken and Vant both begin to construct siege ladders and rams, preparing to storm the cities, which are in both cases ill-defended. The Meddish situation was looking grave. Despite Ardans losses, the Bar River Army was still substantial and all but pinned the Meddish army against the river. Meanwhile, two of Meddeland's cities were under siege. Hearing of the news, the Great Council met in emergency session and released another 300 ducats (collected in the form of a rapidly collected property tax) to the crown to fight the war.

Hint: Public opinion is important. If public opinion of you drops too much, you may have a rebellion on your hands.
 
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ThunderHawk3

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((stats - budget+notes))

((This post contains information about each of the nations/factions in the game. Note this stats post was spoiled because I made a stupid mistake and is no longer historically accurate.))

Hendal

Kingdom of Hendal
((Maxwell500))
Absolute Monarchy - Burnhem (the seat of government)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 865 ducats (-245)
Currently at peace
Notable institions: The River Watch
-Iron Hands (2,500 strong)
-Spoils System
-Information Network in Burnhem
-Sound Toll Bureaucracy
-Messenger corps/mail system
-Winery on the sea
-Project: 3 lines (20%)
-Royal Bank (very low interest)
-Jailbreak
-Anticorruption purges
-Bureaucrats given raise [paid around 45 centimes per season]

Census: (taken Spring of 500)

Population: 2.91M (population excess 438k)

Non-excess: ((the non-excess is primarily engaged in subsistence activities, generally food production))
1.87M Serf Farmers
479,000 Fisherman
82,000 Freehold Farmers
41,000 Tenant Farmers (freemen who rent land)

Excess: ((the population excess is portion of the population not engaged in food production))
123,000 Laborers (typically miners or builders, not serfs)
116,000 Burghers (regardless of trade or function, essentially medieval bourgeoisie, includes misc)
59,000 Mariners (professional sailors who are not fishermen)
44,000 Soldiers (professionals, including unlanded knights and hedge knights)
41,000 Mercenaries (not mercenaries currently in the service of the crown, rather mercenaries originating from this country - see military section for mercenaries in current service)
26,000 Servants
17,000 Bureaucrats (includes bailiffs, tax collectors, judges, etc., not servants)
10,000 Clergy (including associated monastic orders, etc.)
2,000 Nobles (all remaining nobles in Hendal are minor nobles)

Estimation of the value of all trade through Hendal in a season (taken Fall 500):
-4,500 ducats (sea)
-2,000 ducats (land)
Total: 6,500 ducats

Since last census (Spring of 500):
-Tavan Morin pillage and loot dozens of villages in North Hendal (2.25)
-Continued Tavan Morin intrusion

Military notes:
-North Hendal Army practiced (1)
-Militia/Recruits in Sanapiro

Budget:

(serf tithe not in season)
+300 ducats (city tax)
+650 ducats (sound toll)
+200 ducats (land tariffs)
+75 ducats (landing fees - essentially a tithe from fishermen)
+50 ducats (other port tariffs)
+10 ducats (internal tariffs - now pretty much cancelled)
~0 ducats (rents - there theoretically are some but they're basically negligible)
1285 income

-300 ducats (orders)
-405 ducats (army salaries, note the river watch pays for itself)
-400 ducats (mercenary salaries)
-200 ducats (naval salaries)
-100 ducats (naval upkeep - dramatically reduced by serfdom)
-75 ducats (administration)
-20 ducats (mail)
-5 ducats (special inventory upkeep)
-25 ducats (court expenses - the crown and court sure do have ostentatious tastes...)
1530 expenses

Dalmira

Kingdom of Dalmira
((Canadian_95_RTS))
Feudal Monarchy - Halbstadht (the seat of government)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 763 ducats (-98)
Currently at peace
Notable institions: The Superiacy

-Road system (dirt - linked with Igskada)
-Found new iron vein (partially exploited)
-Dire Wolf breeding program (started Summer of 500)
-Castle construction in eastern pass (11%)
-Ruins discovered (50% excavated)

Recent events:
-Notorious criminals caught

Budget:
Royal revenue is primarily generated from the King's demesne, which is about a tenth of the Kingdom and centered around the capital.

(serf tithe not in season)
+30 ducats (city tax)
+12 ducats (iron monopoly)
+5 ducats (tolls)
47 income

-90 ducats (orders - equipment, smithies, excavation)
-35 ducats (army salaries)
-5 ducats (administration)
-15 ducats (court expenses)
145 expenses

Meddeland

Kingdom of Meddeland
((Marschalk))
Limited Monarchy - Kandon (the seat of government)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 1080 ducats (+405)
Currently at peace. De facto ceasefire with Ardans.
Notable institions: The Great Council
No Current known threats to power

-"Orshaftsbook" finished
-Various government buildings burned by wizard (4)
-Ardans border incident
-"Farm Book" begun (expected completion Fall/Winter of 500)
-Royal Wedding
-"Land Reform" (King's demesne only)
-Noble hunting expedition
-Draft riots (national south and center - suppressed with force)

Military notes:
+5000 soldiers recruited (Spring of 500)
+1000 soldiers recruited (Summer of 500)
-Army drilled and inspired (Summer of 500)
+12,000 soldiers recruited (Winter of 500)

Orshaftsbook (survey taken Spring/Summer of 500)
Estimates of values of various production (in a year)

Agriculture:
Crops (cereals) - 1500 ducats
Crops (non-cereals) - 750 ducats
Crops (all) - 2250 ducats

Fishing - 15 ducats

Mining and Logging:
Salt - 1000 ducats
Iron - 500 ducats
Bronze - 250 ducats
Timber - 200 ducats
Copper - 65 ducats
Total - 2000 ducats

Industry:
Tool Smithing - 500 ducats
Textiles/Weaving - 400 ducats
Luxury Goods - 250 ducats
Alcohol - 250 ducats
Construction - 200 ducats
Other Woodworking - 100 ducats
Weapons Smithing - 50 ducats
Misc - 250 ducats
Total Industry - 2000 ducats

Estimated Total Value of Goods Produced in Meddeland: 6265 ducats/year

The surveyors of the Orshaftsbook, responding to the directive to find difficulties in production, make the following notes:
1) The crown salt monopoly is overbuilt compared to the rest of the raw labor industries. Though it provides direct revenue to the crown and is useful as a preservative (for salting, etc.), salt is not particularly useful as a raw resource beyond that. Though there are currently no known unexploited metal reserves in Meddeland, surveying missions may prove useful. Copper is particularly valuable; if copper desposits could be found and exploited, they would doubtless provide more revenue per worker than salt.
2) Farmers have been increasingly focused on cash-crop production, which has proved lucrative and fuels certain industries. For example, flax and linen are necessary for the production of textiles. However, in general, cash crop production is not as lucrative as the activities of the burghers and city guilds. Increased urbanization might prove profitable to the nation as a whole, though it would not directly benefit the King's purse. The compilation of the Farm Book (currently under order by the King) may elucidate which crops are not economically useful.
3) If the total value of goods produced in Meddeland is, as this survey suggests, 6265 ducats a year, then the burden of the King's wars on the Meddish economy has been enormous. Large percentages of all moveable property have gone to the crown to fund the fighting, which has probably directed workers and money for investment away from various industries, which is likely inhibiting growth. This book has not elucidated how soldiers spend their wages, but if the money goes to drink then it is not useful to Meddeland, as this would only fuel the church's alcohol monopoly.
4) Many of the mining and farming operations we have surveyed have been constrained by lack of investment (see point 1) where full exploitation is not possible because the operators lack the funds for various needful tools, workers, land, etc., but the value of full exploitation would easily exceed the costs. We suggest that this is because the Meddish banking sector has so far only been accessible to the burghers and the crown. Perhaps if finances were made more readily available to rural farms, mines, and other holdings, productivity would benefit.

Budget:

(serf tithe not levied in this country)
+650 ducats (GC grant)
+75 ducats (Royal salt monopoly - all salt mined in the Kingdom belongs to the King)
+150 rents (literally rents from the King's demesne - is smaller than a tithe, but paid all year round)
+40 ducats (lottery)
+30 ducats (short-term loans)
+30 ducats (sale of titles)
975 income

-50 ducats (orders - investments, information campaign)
-135 ducats (counterfeiting)
-330 ducats (army salaries)
-25 ducats (military upkeep - non-salary expenses, upkeep of forts, siege weapons, etc.)
-5 ducats (special inventory upkeep)
-15 ducats (administration)
-10 ducats (court expenses)
570 expenses

Ardans

State of Ardans
Marcher Jerrik Vant ((oxfordroyale))
Oligarchy - Moraille (the seat of government)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 425 ducats (-75)
Currently at peace. De facto ceasefire with Meddeland.
Notable institions: The Oligarchy, the Cult of the Skyseeker
No Current known threats to power

-Thousands of bureaucrats recruited for 20 ducats
-Soldiers on 2/5ths wages
-Rumors that the Vandal is robbing convoys (ended)
-Trading houses in all major cities
-Trade with Gottor-Tydreach (some)
-Conclave of Old Statism (ambivalent)
-Census taken (Summer of 500 - still being compiled)
-Meddish propaganda claiming the Oligarchy betrayed them during the last war
-Marcher gives a good speech
-Grain stockpiles in Cirtirus

Military notes:
-Army drilled
-Border incident with Meddeland
-Nationalist outpouring (Summer of 500)

Census results: (taken Summer of 500)

The Census has revealed, to no one's surprise, that Ardans is much more urbanized than either of its neighbors, but also has a much smaller population. The tax base has been partially updated to account for the census, though large discrepancies between the census information and tax returns remain.

Population: 2.04M (population excess 555k)

Non-excess: ((the non-excess is primarily engaged in subsistence activities, generally food production))
775,000 Farmhands (freemen who work on a farm but are not renters)
710,000 Freehold Farmers (freemen who own their own land)

Excess: ((the population excess is portion of the population not engaged in food production))
250,000 Laborers (typically miners or builders, unskilled workers, not serfs)
190,000 Burghers (regardless of trade or function, essentially medieval bourgeoisie, includes misc)
30,000 Soldiers (professionals)
30,000 Militia (persons who are currently acting as local militants full-time)
27,000 Servants
10,000 Mercenaries (this is largely Ardans serving as mercenaries abroad)
10,000 Bureaucrats (includes bailiffs, tax collectors, judges, etc., not servants)
8,000 Clergy (including associated monastic orders, etc.)


Budget:

90 ducats (city tax [ie: the head tax] - don't get this from cities under siege or rebelling...)
25 ducats (mining tax)
115 income

-45 ducats (orders)
-120 ducats (army salaries - armies are currently on a quarter salary... they were previously militias, essentially drawing no salary at all... but after the Liberation, they may expect a proper wage if they are to continue serving the nation)
-20 ducats (administration)
-5 ducats (court expenses - the oligarchy is not a royal court, but it still has expenses)
190 expenses

The Tavan Morin

The Tavan Morin
Dagch Morin Octar Dengizich ((baboushreturns))
Tribal Despotism - No Government Seat

Dashboard:
Treasury: 77 ducats (+27 loot)
Currently at peace
Notable institions:
No Current known threats to power

-Roc tamed and rideable
-Way to Sanapiro discovered
-Octarz ((Mikkel Glahder)) warband especially fast
-Onion sage learned a lot of the language
-Infighting over loot (dispensed)
-Some speak out against the Dagch Morin

Warband Sizes:

Octar Dengizich ((baboushreturns)) - 3,300
Rizzo "Agsaldai" ((Firehound15)) - 2,200
Doba Morin Kh'azaro Octarz ((Mikkel Glahder)) - 2,100
Jo'chi Hasar ((mrlifeless)) - 1,800

Superiacy

The Namidist Superiacy
Superius Xavier VII((king cruel))
Theocracy - Victorsburg (location of the high church)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 4810 ducats (+140)
Special Inventory: Wand with feathers hanging from the tip

-New site for Superiacy found
-Work on new city (10%)

Budget:

(serf tithe not in season)
+500 ducats (alcohol monopoly)
+200 ducats (pass-through income from lesser churches)
+100 ducats (donations)
800 income

-10 ducats (orders - booze census)
-200 ducats (grants and pass-through expenditures to lesser church levels and parishes)
-200 ducats (education - the church takes responsibility for most education in Makria)
-100 ducats (good works and charity)
-100 ducats (administration; the Superiacy often funds ecclesiastical courts)
-50 ducats (court expenses)
660 expenses

Igskada

Duchy of Igskada
Ethan of Riosh ((BlackBishop))
Duchy - Igskada (seat of government)
Population: 620,000

Dashboard:
Treasury: 312 ducats (-0)
Special Inventory: An ancient document from the Superiacy certifying the borders of Igskada

-Roads (dirt)

Budget:

(serf tithe not in season)
+5 ducats (tolls)
+15 ducats (port fees)
+2 ducats (landing fees - basically a tithe paid by fishermen)
+2 ducats (rents - literally rent paid by freehold farmers)
24 income

-15 ducats (army salaries)
-4 ducats (administration)
-5 ducats (court expenses)
-24 expenses

Erdheim and Rortzen

Duchies of Erdheim and Rortzen
Vytautas Krasnickas ((iisbroke))
Duchy - Erdheim and Rortzen (seat(s) of government)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 1105 ducats (+79)
Special Inventory: Nothing.

-Outposts along the Rortzen/Ardans border
-wool products encouraged (somewhat)
-stone roads (25%)

Budget:

(serf tithe not in season)
+88 ducats (city tax)
+40 ducats (gold monopoly)
+10 ducats (iron monopoly)
138 income

-35 ducats (orders - road construction)
-0 ducats (army salaries)
-4 ducats (administration; hint: this cost will fall when you appoint new nobles)
-20 ducats (court expenses)
-59 expenses

Victorsburg and Foldgart

Duchies of Victorsburg and Foldgart
Maximillian Wiegraf ((KaiserBeer))
Duchy - Victorsburg and Foldgart (seat(s) of government)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 340 ducats (+56)
Special Inventory: A self-proclaimed wizard is being held in your dungeons.

-New farmers attracted by land re-allocation (2)
-Farm structures built (mixed success)
-Crime crackdown
-Wizard in his court
-Portrait of himself

Budget:

(serf tithe not in season)
+50 ducats (diplomatic balance)
+54 ducats (city tax)
104 income

-30 ducats (army salaries)
-8 ducats (administration; hint: this cost will fall when you appoint new nobles)
-10 ducats (court expenses)
48 expenses

Tydreach and Gottor

Duchies of Tydreach and Gottor
Dal'Athgar an Odal'in Uthbar ((Otto of England))
Duchy - Tydreach and Gottor (seat(s) of government)

-Improved peasant farming practices
-Established noble armories
-Dispute with the Superiacy
-Namidist missionaries
-Trade with Ardans (cancelled)
-Buirdeasach (11,000)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 335 ducats (-24)
Special Inventory: A Void Demon, a dangerous incorporeal being that appears as purple smoke, with the power to phase through solid objects at will, is being confined by magical wards in your bestiary. It looks vaguely humanoid but has no discernable face and has made no effort to communicate with you.


Budget:

(serf tithe not in season)
+30 ducats (city tax)
30 income

-5 ducats (orders - recruiting for the Buirdeasach)
-40 ducats (army salaries)
-4 ducats (administration; hint: this cost will fall when you appoint new nobles)
-5 ducats (court expenses)
54 expenses

Stolgen and Arevmarch

((leader resigned))

Duchies of Stolgen and Arevmarch
Henry Stolgen ((sneakyflaps))
Duchy - Stolgen and Arevmarch (seat(s) of government)

-Found additional iron vein (minor exploitation)
-Metalworkers expanding trade with Hendal
-Meeting/tour by Stolgen

Dashboard:
Treasury: 300 ducats (-53)
Special Inventory: You have an an antique set of platemail armor, detailed with silver. It's a relic of the House of the Stolgen, worn by your forefathers.

Budget:

(serf tithe not in season)
+45 ducats (city tax)
+11 ducats (iron monopoly)
+56 income

-0 ducats (orders)
-100 ducats (army salaries)
-4 ducats (administration)
-5 ducats (court expenses)
109 expenses

Weldheim

Duchy of Weldheim
Augustyn Landau ((Jeeshadow))
Duchy - Weldheim (seat(s) of government)

Dashboard:
Treasury: 88 ducats (-56)
Special Inventory: You have a statuette of a dragon with ruby eyes. It looks strangely alive... and you think you've seen one like it somewhere before. You also have some books on magic items, purchased for the purpose of identifying the dragon statuette.

-Gold in them thar hills (medium exploitation)

Budget:

(serf tithe not in season)
+50 ducats (city/castle tax)
+12 ducats (gold monopoly)
62 income

-10 (rebuilding after fire)
-100 ducats (army salaries)
-3 ducats (administration; hint: this cost will fall when you appoint new nobles)
-5 ducats (court expenses)
118 expenses

Other

Forgiven Knights; Dwaler ((TJDS)) - 360 ducats (-60) -
7000 people (upkeep -35 ducats)
-Castle (42%)
 
Last edited:

Dadarian

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Fishburne looked over to the trembling messenger, then looked back at the crier's note he held in his hand again.

"This correct?"

"Yes Ishwari," replied the messenger quickly, sweating profusely.

Fishburne was unimpressed, lifting only an eyebrow at the shivering wreck.

With a sigh, he burned up the message and the messenger, turning away without a second glance.

"Meddeland invaded? Perfect."


Orders: Let's continuing burning things, killing people and slaughtering animals. If someone comes at me, they can burn too. Isn't life fun?
 

ThunderHawk3

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Meddish Front, Fall Campaign​

Day 1 - No Action

Realizing the direness of his situation, Francis II immediately ordered his army to prepare to march for Brier to break the siege there, leaving behind a 10,000 man rearguard to hold the Ardans Bar River Army at the River. Though he ordered his army to make it look as if he had not left, this plan failed miserably and in the most spectacular may possible - a Meddish officer got drunk, fell into the river, and was captured by the Ardans. Documents found on his person revealed the whole plan and the Ardans on the west bank were aware of Francis' plan even before his departure.

Day 2-3 - No Action

Francis scrapped his plan to withdraw in secret, realizing that the plan had been compromised. He did not dispatch three-fifths of his army, as planned. On the second and third days, he instead conducted patrols in force and demonstrations along the bank of the river. On the opposite bank, Javert Dupont mirrored the maneuvers with symmetric patrols. Work on makeshift rafts and boats on the Ardans side obviously continued, with the boats looking quite a bit sturdier than last time.

Meanwhile, the siege of Vantage entered its third week. While Haaken could probably have sat outside the walls for twenty years without breaking the city (as it had good access to the sea and therefore supplies), his work on siege weapons had progressed considerably. A good number of ladders had been finished, though his men had yet to build suitable rams. The countryside had been liberally pillaged for equipment.

Day 4 - Vantage Falls

On the fourth day, Francis begins a slow march away from the east bank with 16,000 soldiers, leaving a 10,000 man rearguard as per the original plan. This is executed in full view of the Ardans but they take no overt action against him, continuing to work on their rafts and patrolling. Leopold Zweigler takes command of the rearguard, who also begin working on rafts, an action the Ardans scouts spot and report.

The Marcher orders Haaken the Vandal to take Vantage from its meager defensive forces. The battle on the wall proves to be much bloodier than anyone could have anticipated as the small number of Meddish defenders fight furiously for the walls, but the Ardans take them by midday. Street fighting ensues, continuing throughout the night, and a staggering 2,000 of the 5,000 man Ardans force is lost between the wall and street fighting. Nevertheless, the city falls and by the next morning, the Ardans flag is flying over Vantage.

Day 5-6 - No Action

On the fifth and sixth days, the Ardans held back and generally continued to work on their rafts while patrolling the west bank. The Meddish continued to march northeast, this time at a quickened pace. Francis dispatched an additional 3,000 soldiers to reinforce the rearguard but the Ardans did not detect the increase in troop numbers on the east bank until the next day, which time it was too late. The rearguard under Zweigler continued work on their own rafts.

Day 7 - Rearguard Action

On the seventh day of the standoff, the Ardans - satisfied from their scouting reports that Francis would not return soon - attempted yet another river crossing against the Meddish, this time using makeshift rafts. Unlike previous crossing attempts, this one was attempted in broad daylight, which may have been for the best. It was discovered by the Meddish at this point that the Ardans had equipped their rafts with makeshift wooden shields to protect the troops from arrows while they crossed. These absolutely failed at their intended function of stopping arrows, as the Meddish bowmen began to fire flaming arrows, which rendered the shields more liabilities than boons.

Nevertheless, the Ardans rearguard quickly rafted their way to the east bank, with much greater speed and organization than their previous two attempts. Luck was also on their side, as a heavy fog descended over the morning, preventing enemy archers from effectively targeting them. Meddish infantry were shocked by the quick appearance of Ardans pikemen on the east bank - they were already demoralized, as news of the fall of Vantage had reached them that day. After hours of fierce fighting, the entire Ardans army miraculously succeeded in crossing the river and pushed back the Meddish rearguard, at a cost of just 400 of their own. The Meddish rearguard lost closer to 1,500 and was forced to cede the field to the Ardans to avoid being surrounded.

Day 8-9 - Rearguard Action

The siege of Brier entered its second week by the 8th but little progress had been achieved in the Siege of Brier. Hardly any work had been done on the siege equipment, as wood was scarce and the locals had destroyed most supplies that might have been useful before withdrawing into the walls. Frustrated, the Marcher summoned Haakan and 2,000 soldiers from Vantage to reinforce him at Brier.

Dupont demands the surrender of the Meddish rearguard, which refuses. He then launches a general assault against the rearguard, which gives ground and sends out skirmishers to delay the Ardans. These tactics generally fail as the Ardans succeed in hitting the main Meddish lines and inflict additional casualties on the inferior force. At the end of the day the Ardans had taken virtually no casualties while the Meddish rearguard lost another 2,000 soldiers.

The next day, Francis returns to the battlefield on the east bank with a force of 2,000 cavalrymen, launching attacks against the Ardans army on two axes and continuing to use skirmishing and raiding tactics to harass the Meddish force while the rearguard continues to deploy skirmishers. This new strategy succeeds in preventing the Ardans from pinning the rearguard. Neither side takes many casualties.

Francis' infantry, meanwhile, continue leaderless towards Brier. Francis had made heavy demands on his forces, desiring them to march every-other night in addition to every day, but they simply cannot keep the pace he requires of him. By the ninth day of Fall, they have marched 150 kilometers.

Day 10 - Rearguard Action

Francis orders the rearguard to retreat to a safer distance to prevent it from being pinned; it begins to evacuate northeast, with harassing attacks by rearguard infantry skirmishers and cavalry on the opposite axis to prevent the Ardans from pursuing at speed. The Ardans deploy their own skirmishers to try to fend off the cavalry attacks and infantry skirmishers, but they ultimately do not succeed in breaking through at sufficient speed to catch the rearguard.

The rearguard retreats through the night and by morning has marched 40 km and are clear of the the Ardans; they have more or less escaped the enemy army. Cavalry harassment was successful in preventing the Ardans from pursuing but came at a cost. Not for nothing is the Ardans army almost entirely pikemen - harassing tactics against the famed Ardans pike squares inflict losses on the Meddish cavalry. 400 cavalrymen were lost, along with nearly a thousand Meddish infantry trying to hold back the vastly superior Ardans force. The Ardans themselves lost 500 soldiers over the course of the day.

The Ardans army is down to about 18,000 soldiers, as compared to the Meddish rearguard's 8,500, plus 1,600 cavalrymen under Francis' command. Despite the tall odds, the battle is far from lost as the infantry have retreated to a safe distance.

From the foot of the Brier walls, the Marchers dispatches messengers to Ardans requesting supplies for the siege, but with the nearest Ardans military outpost 250 km away, no one can guess when such help might arrive.

Day 11-12 - Skirmishing

The next day, Dupont turns his attention towards Brier and begins a long march in the direction of the besieged city to try to reinforce the Marcher there. However, in the next two days he marches little more than five kilometers as Francis' cavalry unit begins a series of skirmishing attacks on the Ardans column, harassing their supply train as it is floated across the Bar River and skirmishing with the flank guards. This tactic is highly effective in reducing Ardans speed to a crawl, though neither side incurs significant casualties.

In the mean time, the rearguard retreats another forty kilometers. Ardans scouts would shadow them until late afternoon on the second day, when the scouts - harassed by Meddish cavalry - would be forced to turn back and lose track of the rearguard.

Day 13-17 - No Action

Realizing that he must return to command his own forces or risk having them face the Ardans marcher leaderless, Francis withdraws with his cavalry. It is a hard five-day ride before he rejoins his own forces. The rearguard army is left under the command of Leopold Zweigler and begins to retreat northeast.

Similarly, the Ardans Bar River Army strikes out towards Brier on a more easterly path. Dupont sets a punishing pace but supply issues, inclement weather (which also affects the marching of his Meddish enemies), and scattered enemy partisan action inhibits his pace somewhat. The Meddish have more than week's headstart and he does not even seem to be gaining on them.

Ardans messengers, on the other hand, reach the Marcher's camp on the 15th of Fall, well ahead of the enemy and despite enemy efforts to stop them, informing him of all that has happened. The siege of Brier is not going well, as the city is supplied from the sea and has no shortage of food or water - the Marcher is beginning to believe he will never break the city. On the other hand, there is some good news, as some of the requested supplies have miraculously made their way to him, and the work on siege ladders is nearing completion.

Day 18-24 - No Action

Outside Brier, the siege would soon enter its third week. With supplies no longer arriving from Ardans (presumably having been cut off), progress on the siege equipment went slowly; though the ladders were done, work on the rams had barely started. Ardans scouts concentrated their efforts to the south, watching the southern approaches with hawkish vigilance in anticipation of sighting an approaching Meddish army, with much of the Ardans equipment moved to the north of the river in preparation for such an assault.

The Ardans were therefore shocked on the 24th when their scouts reported that the Meddish had been sighted, between 10 and 15,000 strong, approaching from the north rather than the south. Francis had taken the long route with the intention of cutting the Brier siege camp off from Vantage - and though the march had taken him the better part of a month, it had yielded benefits. He was now just 40 kms from the city and bearing down on the Ardans quickly.

Day 25-26 - Sortie

The Marcher would order a large-scale sortie on the 25th, deploying 8,000 men to harass the Meddish van, hoping to catch the Meddish at a vulnerable moment while they were still exhausted from the march. This much was certainly true - the Meddish were indeed exhausted from the march despite Francis' efforts to set a more tolerable pace towards the end of the journey. The Ardans force would meet the Meddish force in a plain early on the 26th, about 20 km from the city of Brier itself. To the great shame of the Meddish cavalry, their scouts failed to realize that the Ardans were attacking until they were practically on top of the Meddish column.

The day would prove to be cold and gusty but not rainy. Francis, on sighting the the Ardans formation, hastily ordered a cavalry charge to repel them - this would prove to be almost disastrous as the the Ardans pikemen repelled the charge with relative ease, costing Francis another 300 cavalrymen and sending the rest of his heavy horse fleeing back to friendly lines. Fortunately for him, the subsequent Ardans charge would be equally ill-conceived, costing them about 700 infantrymen for 400 of their Meddish equivalents, making their losses about even on the day. The Ardans continued to launch sporadic harassing attacks on the Meddish column, successful in inflicting casualties but not much else, for the rest of the day before ceding the field and withdrawing back to their own lines that night. It had been an inconclusive exchange by any standard. The Meddish had hardly advanced a step further towards Brier and taken about a thousand infantry losses and 300 cavalry, while the Ardans had also lost a little shy of a thousand infantrymen.

Day 27-28 - Sortie

The next day the Marcher would abandon the siege of the Brier - on which he had made little progress anyway - to commit all of his forces to the battle against the Meddish. Francis was practically camped within sight of the city itself, and his scouts quickly realized what was happening - reasoning that an attack was coming, he ordered his forces to spend much of the day preparing rudimentary defenses. They did prepare some extreme rudimentary barricades, but little could be done in the time they had.

Battle was joined at about midday on the 28th day of fall. It remained extremely windy, with the gusts making archery almost impossible over meaningful distance and even footsoldiers having to steel themselves against the powerful breezes. While this made for poor combat conditions in general, it played somewhat to the advantage of the Ardans. The Marcher ordered an assault against the Meddish camp (not wanting to outflank the camp for fear of drawing himself too thin and provoking a cavalry charge). With archers unable to fire in the almost storm-force winds, the Ardans advanced slowly, only break into a charge in the final few dozen meters. What Francis lacked in numbers he made up for in valor, personally dismounting and leading his own infantry to fight off the Ardans at the barricades. In the ensuing bloodbath, the Ardans would lose almost 2,500 infantrymen, for merely 1,000 Meddish infantrymen.

Day 29 - Withdrawal

Faced with severe losses, the Marcher would order a withdrawal on the 29th, instructing his troops to march to the Brier River and cross it. This would prove ill-timed, as that morning, breathless Meddish scouts would report to Francis that an Ardans column, several thousand strong, was approaching from the North - the detachment from Vantage, led by Haaken the Vandal. It was the reinforcements that the Marcher had requested almost three weeks previously. However, news of Haaken's arrival would not reach the Ardans scouts until midday, by which time the Ardans had nearly begun their withdrawal. The delay would cost the Marcher his chance to launch an attack on two axes against the Meddish before they were prepared.

Fortunately for the Ardans, Francis was not able to turn the situation to his advantage. Confused by conflicting reports that enemy troops to the north were advancing on their camp while enemy forces to the south seemed to be preparing to withdraw, he ordered his troops redeployed to secure his rear and his flanks and continued work on camp defenses. This did not go well as he had hoped, as materials were in short supply, and he ultimately could not deploy any meaningful defenses beyond some meager earthworks on his rear. The winds continued into the night.

Day 30 - No Action

As the first month of the campaign drew to a close, the Marcher appeared unsure of how to proceed. He ordered the siege weapons broken down and used to prepare defenses, which went extremely well - by the end of the day, they had converted the ladders into serviceable barricades.

Though he was an expecting an attack from Francis, the opposite happened. Believing he was about to be surrounded by the Ardans, Francis would order his camp struck and marched another ten kilometers north. Meanwhile, Haaken marched around the former Meddish position to reach the remainder of the Ardans troops. The army consolidated on the evening of the 30th day of fall, now 9,500 strong, nearly at parity with Francis' 10,000 or so.

Day 31-33 - No Action

The Ardans would continue to cautiously hold their positions - positions which would become increasingly tenuous on the 31st, when Ardans scouts would report the sudden appearance of the Meddish rearguard - 8,500 infantry all told, bringing Francis' forces up to 18,500. However, the news for the Ardans was not all bad, as their scouts also reported that the entirety of the Ardans Bar River Army - fully 18,000 soldiers - had reached the city of Brier and was rapidly crossing, the river, marching towards the Ardans camp and expected to arrive in two days.

Francis knew this as well, and - expecting an Ardans offensive, withdrew another ten kilometers to increase the buffer between the two armies. Powerful, nearly gale force winds, accompanied by light, sprinkling rain, swept the coast on the 33rd, but Dupont's Bar River Army arrived despite it, bringing the total force under the command of the Marcher to almost 28,000 soldiers. This was bad news for Francis - he had failed to destroy the Marcher's army and, despite the heroic efforts of the rearguard, the Bar River Army had linked up with the Marcher's army, meaning he was facing nearly the entire Ardans military on a windswept coastal plain, 40 km away from Brier.

Day 34-35 - Pursuit

The Ardans advanced with the intent to attack on the 34th, with Francis ordering his own column to withdraw. It turned out that neither of these things went particularly well as both forces found out why the weather had been so bad recently - a huge storm hit the Meddish coast on the 34th, with gale force winds, thunder, lightning, and heavy rains doing little for the ability of either army to move. The Ardans gained on the Meddish slightly but did not catch them.

Francis' order came as a surprise to his men - and certainly it was no help to their morale - as they were now convinced they were retreating. The weather calmed on the 35th, as it became cool and clear. The Ardans pursued the Meddish and caught them in the afternoon - the Meddish were unfavorably affected by their withdrawal as the storm had scattered their supply train and damaged their camp and they were forced to do more to strike it. The Ardans van struck the Meddish rear, killing about 2,000 Meddish infantrymen. It was a bad blow to Francis, who had been planning to withdraw in order.

Day 36 - Fighting Withdrawal

On the morning of the 36th, with it obvious that he could no longer simply march away, Francis began to plan for a fighting withdrawal, deploying skirmishers to cover his rear, while the bulk of his force marched away. The Ardans moved to outflank him with great attention to how he would move the column; Francis did not pivot the column at all, but instead continued the withdrawal. It would not be wholly successful, as the Ardans would succeed in outflanking not just his skirmishers but also the tail of his column. Francis ordered them to form up and fight on the move in the hopes that could avoid being completely surrounded; this proved more or less successful as his forces generally managed to withdraw. About a thousand men were surrounded and forced to surrender with little Meddish effort.

Having failed to outflank a large part of the Meddish column as he had hoped, the Marcher rolled up his lines of battle and ordered a general charge against the Meddish rear. Ardans forces were principally commanded in this by Haaken the Vandal, who had taken command of the Ardans center, rather than by the Marcher. They hit the Meddish rear hard again and killed another 2,000 in ensuing fighting. The Ardans would lose about a thousand infantrymen, leaving the Meddish with a total of around 13,800, little more than half of the Ardans' 27,000 soldiers.

Day 37-39th - Further Withdrawal

Francis, fearing the Ardans would encircle him, marched his army away at a ferocious pace during the night - the Ardans would wake up the next morning to find that he had fled 40 km away. However, they would be in no shape to chase him the next day - nor would Francis be in much shape to withdraw further, as the storm of two days again returned, with winds and rain forcing the men into camp. The skies again cleared on the 38th, but the Ardans would only cover 10 km across the muddy ground to Francis' 20. By the 39th, the Ardans had lost track of Francis, who had retreated northwest and was now thought to be at least 80 km, perhaps as much as a hundred, away from them.

Day 40 - No Action

The Ardans would send out scouts to search for the Meddish army but the effort would prove fruitless, particularly as fog rolled in off the ocean and continuing rains inhibiting visibility. Francis had disappeared.

However, this was not all that happened on the 40th day of fall. More than a thousand kilometers away, on the Ardans border with Dalmira, Prince Vytautus Krasnickas, at the head of a force of 4,000 soldiers, crossed his own line of watchtowers and entered Ardans territory. He had already marched for almost a month, moving 650 km as he went from Erdheim to Rortzen and from there to the Cirtirine mountains, intending to make war against Ardans and lay siege of the city of Cirtirus. On the 40th, he entered the Western Cirtirine Pass, a 90-km long winding route through the mountains and into the valley beyond.

Of course, while the Ardans city of Cirtirus would hear of this quite quickly - the Marcher, almost a thousand kilometers away, would know none of it. He would continue his pursuit of Francis.

Day 41-48 - No Action

Having failed to find Francis, the Marcher bid his army march back to the city of Vantage. If Haaken's journey had been any indication, this journey would take at least two weeks. They did not see any sign of Francis along the way.

However, on the 48th, an urgent message from Cirtirus - sped along as if the messengers had Caex's breath at their back, and finding their mark with considerable luck - reached the Marcher, telling him of Duke Krasnickas' intrusion into Ardans territory.

Total Campaign Casualties:
Meddish: 9,200
Ardans: 10,000

Army Info:

70km Northwest of Brier:
Ardans National Army: 27,000 (almost entirely infantry)

Unknown:
Meddish Army: 13,800 (mostly cavalry and archers)

((I should explain that this is a campaign post, a format I'm kind of experimenting with. I'm going to edit in new information as I get orders from generals. This will typically mean I'll ask the generals for new orders for each day or so of the campaign and add in new information and orders resolutions for each day of the campaign.))
 
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A Private Letter From a Vassal of House Riosh



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House Dolos

To the Honourable Duke Ethan of Riosh,

My sincere congratulations on your rightful ascent to the Dragon-Salt Chair. Namid blesses us truly, and sees fit to right the wrongs of the past. I understand you are a student of history, and must no doubt find irony in such a letter of good intent bearing my crest. Long ago my family saw fit to support Vreburg's revolt against your house. I am ashamed that my ancestors played such a role. Yet here we are, your house vindicated through the wisdom of King Magnus. I surely hope that no ill will lingers and that we may all move forward under your promising reign.

Let me also congratulate your recent betrothal to Lady Wiegraf. It is a most wise union on your part, and forges alliances that false pride of old may not have allowed.

It is my hope, my lord, that you will not hesitate to call on myself in times of need great and small. I pledge my support to you, and will serve you in good faith.

Your loyal vassal,
~Edon Dolos,
Count of Fridal Valley






Sir Weld,

Keep your eyes open, and be mindful of Vreburg's agents. The marriage with the Wiegraf harlot will surely complicate things, but we will move ahead as planned. I shall play the role of fawning vassal, while you gather anything we can use. Watch the harlot, there may be some way we can use her to our own ends.

As always, burn this letter upon reading.

~E.D.
 

Gen. Marshall

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Die Wacht am Bar

"Die Wacht am Bar" (The Watch/Guard on the Bar) is an Ardans patriotic anthem. The song's origins are rooted in the historical Ardans-Meddish enmity, and it was particularly popular in Ardans during the Liberation War and the Extended War. Written in a local dialect, the song's lyrics were hard to understand for the majority of Ardans, but nevertheless the song gained immense popularity throughout the State.


Origins

During the Liberation War of 499, Ardans Marcher Henrik dan Vant advanced the claim that the Middle Bar River should serve as his country's "natural eastern border". The Oligarchs of the fledgling state feared that Meddeland would be planning to send their invasion armies through the Bar Valley, as it had done in the 4th century, and would indeed do in the months leading up to the Battle of the Bar later that year. The Bar river would prove a formidable line of defense against any such army.

Nikolaus dan Bäck responded to these events by writing a poem called "Barlied" in which he swore to defend the Bar. The Desroisian merchant Max dan Devert, inspired by the Ardans praise and Meddish opposition this received, then wrote the poem "Die Wacht am Rhein".

In the poem, with five original stanzas, a "thunderous call" is made for all Ardans to rush and defend the Ardan Bar, to ensure that "no enemy sets his foot on the shore of the Bar" (4th stanza). Two stanzas with a more specific text were added by others later. Unlike the older "Praise Thee in Victory" which praised the Meddish monarch, "Die Wacht am Bar" and other songs written in this period, such as the "Ardanslied" (the third verse of which is Ardans' current national anthem) and "What is the Ardans' Fatherland?" by Ernst dan Arndt, called for Ardans to unite, to put aside sectionalism and the rivalries of the various Old Statist communities which had become divided under Meddish rule, to establish a unified Ardans State and defend the State's territorial integrity.

Dan Devert worked in the Duchy of Gottor, and his poem was first set to music in Gottor by Dalmiran organist J. Mendel, and performed by tenor Aaren Methfessel for the Ardans ambassador. This first version did not become very popular. When Charles William, musical director of the city of Moraille, received the poem in 500, he produced a musical setting and performed it with his men's chorus on the 11th day of Summer, the day of the second Battle of the Bar and the renewal of the conflict with Meddeland. The new version received a substantial boost in popularity from these events and would become universally known through the Ardans State. In popular history, the anthem is also associated with this failed attempt at crossing the Bar river.


Text

The following is the complete text of the original five verses.

"The cry resounds like thunder's peal,
Like crashing waves and clang of steel:
The Bar, the Bar, our Ardans Bar,
Who will defend our stream, divine?

Dear fatherland, no fear be thine,
dear fatherland, no fear be thine,
Firm and True stands the Watch, the Watch at the Bar!
Firm and True stands the Watch, the Watch at the Bar!

They stand, a twenty thousand strong,
Quick to avenge their country's wrong,
With filial love their bosoms swell
They shall guard the sacred landmark well.

He casts his eyes to Namid's blue,
From where past heroes hold the view,
And swears pugnaciously the oath,
You Bar and I, stay Ardans, both.

While still remains one breath of life,
While still one fist can draw a knife,
One foe still vanquished with one hand,
No foe will stand on this Bar sand."


((And for your enjoyment; the original German version at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZujhoHZBsg))
 

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A Letter sent to the Lords of Dalmira



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House Riosh


To the lords of the realm,

You are hereby invited to attend the joyous union of the esteemed Lord Ethan Riosh and the venerable Lady Elise Wiegraf, to be held within Igskada Castle. A grand tourney is to be held in honour of the couple, following a ceremony of Namid's blessing. Lords are invited to test their mettle within the jousting, melee and archery contests. Namid smiles upon His combatants.

Come and enjoy the comforts of Dalmira's lowland breadbasket, partake in the fruits of the harvest, and bask in Namid's light, reflected through the lovely couple.

Reply if you please, and voice your interest in attending the festivities.



Orders
Ethan Riosh will dispatch stewards across the dutchy to ensure an efficient harvest. ((collect harvest tithe.))

Ethan shall wed Lady Elise Wiegraf in a decadent affair within his castle, as well as holding a grand tourney to celebrate the occasion. Participating lords shall contribute 5 ducats to participate, the earnings to be doled out to the winners of the tourney. ((this is to generate a boom of visitors to Igskada City, in the hope of increasing landing fees for the autumn months.))
 
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A Private Letter From the Vassals of House Riosh


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House Vreburg

My liege, the rightful duke of Igskada, Baron Ivar Vreburg,

I bid you warning. I have it on good authority that a sealed letter from Victorsburg arrived the very night before I write this letter. I do not know specifics of what Duke Wiegraf wrote to the usurper Riosh, but whatever it was, it has stirred up the castle like a viper's den.

Ethan and Eadesrick, the newly appointed Marshal, have been locked away in the Duke's chambers for most of the night, and messengers have been dispatched across the realm under close guard. What ever was in that message, I doubt it was a mere menu for the upcoming wedding.

As to my orders regarding Lady Elise, I have had little opportunity to set eyes on the lass - she has brought some Victorsburg brute along with her, a prickly knight who won't let her out of his sight. Do not fret, I will have her in my grasp soon enough.

For Vreburg, for Igskada!

~Varyn Vreburg
Master of the Patrons' Guild
 
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iisbroke

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((Time to get hitched))
Orders:
1) Marry the Sister of Duke Henry of Stolgen, as had been previously discussed here.
2) Begin construction on a stone highway (imagine a traditional roman road), between Erdheim and Rortzen.
 

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Criers throughout South Hendal spread word of a jousting tournament held among The Iron Hands

Public Announcement

"Hear ye! Hear ye! The Iron Hands are pleased to announce that during the spring and summer several jousting tournaments will be held for the entertainment of the public at large, while contestants are restricted to only members of the illustrious mercenaries all are welcome to attend the event. If one wishes to join The Iron Hands they may do so via a local representative. Bring glory to you and your family while earning riches!"

Orders:

The Iron Hands will use their growing finances to very slowly buy out the Mercenaries of other outfits in an attempt to absorb other organizations that operate in South Hendal to increase their numbers. Meanwhile "The Crow" will petition government officials for an allotted space or building within the capital of Burnhem to act as their headquarters as well as their primary recruitment and training center. Lastly, The Iron Hands will organize a small handful of private jousting tournaments with moderate size purses/prizes to help elevate the training of their fledgling cavalry units for the year.
 
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A Private Letter From a Vassal of House Riosh



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House Eadesrick


Baron Ivar Vreburg,

I write this letter on behalf of Duke Ethan Riosh, and with his full authority. You have yet to swear an oath of fealty to your new liege. You are summoned to Igskada Castle to affirm your allegiance. Furthermore, you are hereby ordered to strike the ducal crown from your sigil.

I await word of your arrival.

~Ser Bertran Eadesrick,
Marshal of Igskada.





393a7eeb72e2e80ffd56b5e4127898bb

House Vreburg

Ser Bertran Eadesrick,

Inform Duke Ethan that I am making preparations to leave forthwith, and look forward to meeting him in person. Please apologize on my behalf for the lateness in which oaths are exchanged, as much work had to be done in the wake of my family's departure from Igskada castle.

~Baron Ivar Vreburg,
Baron of the Greenway.
 

m.equitum

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Letter to Reynald dan Haaken
(Private)



Most Excellent Member of the Ardans Oligarchy, — I have heard tell that the ramparts of Vantage now fly the Ardans’ banner, the citadel having fallen to your superior forces. Having captured the ancestral seat of Duke Francis, the newly appointed commander of the Meddish Host, there may be an inclination to inflict upon the people of the captive city a treatment even harsher than would otherwise be imposed.

Indeed, as your epithet, the Vandal, suggests, a severe punishment upon captured populations may in fact be a matter of course. I urge you to resist this impulse. Upon hearing of the fall of Vantage, it would no doubt be remiss of me were I not to set pen to paper to express a heart-felt desire that the inhabitants of Vantage are treated equitably. Citizens throughout Meddeland have come to expect only barbarous treatment from the Ardans, and any unjust acts against the people and property of Vantage would simply confirm what every man in Meddeland [having scarcely met a fellow from Ardans] has been led to believe: the Ardans are a cruel and uncivilised, to be put to the sword at every opportunity.

I have come to know well the cruelty and incivility of the Ardans – having spent time in your dungeons – but I have also come increasingly to realise that the Ardans can be a hospitable people, and are in many regards undeserving of the unflattering reputation that has been attributed to your people. As to the fate of Vantage – it may be noteworthy to recall that Duke Francis, and his forefathers before him, have governed the duchy with a gentle and wise hand, knowing well that the people of Meddeland are free men who will jealously guard their rights. It would be great folly for any Meddish nobleman, let alone a foreign occupier, to attempt to strip these citizens of the rights and privileges which they have come to expect and enjoy.

In closing, on your recent victory you have my congratulations. Of course, it cannot be said that I wish you well – indeed, it would be regarded as most unseemly for a Briarling Prince of the Blood to express such a sentiment – but I will say that I hope your men fight valorously.







Your Captive Prince,
H.R.H Benjamin Briarling, Prince of Agarre
Agarre
 
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A Private Letter from the Vassals of House Riosh


4afd9e0b846112fadd3ed213083e46e6

House Eadesrick


Dearest brother,

May this letter find you well. I fear my plans for you in Igskada City will not be coming to fruition. You are to remain home, minding my hall and overseeing the harvest. Though I advised the Duke to name you steward, given your gift with counting and numbers, he has instead spurned my counsel. It is his fear that the nobility will view us as being looked upon too favourably. I see his point, as we are uncles to the Duke, and I have been raised high in his esteem, so I cannot begrudge him on that account. However, what begrudges me to abide is his choice in replacement.

He has named Count Edon Dolos his chancellor, a fine enough choice, given the power he wields in Igskada. The count will prove valuable in swaying the minds of the nobles and perhaps beyond the duchy. As for steward, he has chosen Ivar Vreburg! Yes, your eyes do not trick you. He has sworn a pretender to the ducal crown into his council! I did my best to dissuade him, but he seems to have become emboldened by the support of Duke Wiegraf. It is of his mind that Vreburg will be placated by a seat on the council, and can be closely watched.

And so, among my duties to train these peasants for war, I must now cast an eye ever upon Baron Ivar Vreburg. It is a most grievous lapse of judgement on Duke Ethan's part, I tell ye.

Despite this setback, I suppose it matters little. Ivar's brother may have been a man to be feared, but the Black King put an end to that - Ivar himself will fall by my blade should he step out of line.

Good fortune upon you, brother.

~Ser Bertran Eadesrick.
Marshal of Igskada
 

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Letter to the Chief Steward of the Princely Estates in Agarre
(Private)



Chief Steward, — As you are no doubt aware, I yet remain detained in the erstwhile Province of Ardans – which, as you also know, has sought to wrest its independence from Meddeland by force of arms. On account of present circumstances I must communicate by means of correspondence what instructions would otherwise be given to you in person vis-à-vis the administration of the Princely Estates in Agarre. I trust, of course, that you have continued to keep all things in order, running the castle to the highest standards of excellence, in keeping with the high esteem in which I hold you and with the special dignity that the post of Chief Steward engenders. Indeed, I would expect nothing less from so valued and loyal a servant. As the war rages on and old certainties disintegrate, I am reminded of a line my father used to say: “the oceans may boil and the mountains fall, but that doesn’t mean one stops polishing the family silver.” Propriety cannot be abandoned, even if all else fades.

News of the fall of Vantage and the siege of Brier will assuredly have travelled to you; such information has, I imagine, been spreading like wildfire throughout Meddeland. Of course, such news brings with it a sense of panic, which in turn leads to fear that the Ardans’ raids will make their way south to Agarre. While I doubt that the Ardans will launch such ambitious sorties so deep into Meddeland, the prospect cannot be wholly dismissed.

First, I urge you to remain calm. It is your calmness in the face of this distress that must serve as an example to others. Second, prepare the defences and hold the fortification of Agarre against an intruder wit all means available to you. Banish from your mind all concern as to the impact of your resistance may have upon my fate at the hands of the Ardans. Last, I ask you to pray in earnest, holding vigils and trusting that Namid will abandon neither Agarre nor her Prince in these uncertain times.






Your Leige,
H.R.H Benjamin Briarling, Prince of Agarre
Agarre
 

Gen. Marshall

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((Private))


Letter to Reynald dan Haaken
(Private)



Most Excellency Member of the Ardans Oligarchy, — I have heard tell that the ramparts of Vantage now fly the Ardans’ banner, the citadel having fallen to your superior forces. Having captured the ancestral seat of Duke Francis, the newly appointed commander of the Meddish Host, there may be an inclination to inflict upon the people of the captive city a treatment even harsher than would otherwise be imposed.

Indeed, as your epithet, the Vandal, suggests, a severe punishment upon captured populations may in fact be a matter of course. I urge you to resist this impulse. Upon hearing of the fall of Vantage, it would no doubt be remiss of me were I not to set pen to paper to express a heart-felt desire that the inhabitants of Vantage are treated equitably. Citizens throughout Meddeland have come to expect only barbarous treatment from the Ardans, and any unjust acts against the people and property of Vantage would simply confirm what every man in Meddeland [having scarcely met a fellow from Ardans] has been led to believe: the Ardans are a cruel and uncivilised, to be put to the sword at every opportunity.

I have come to know well the cruelty and incivility of the Ardans – having spent time in your dungeons – but I have also come increasingly to realise that the Ardans can be a hospitable people, and are in many regards undeserving of the unflattering reputation that has been attributed to your people. As to the fate of Vantage – it may be noteworthy to recall that Duke Francis, and his forefathers before him, have governed the duchy with a gentle and wise hand, knowing well that the people of Meddeland are free men who will jealously guard their rights. It would be great folly for any Meddish nobleman, let alone a foreign occupier, to attempt to strip these citizens of the rights and privileges which they have come to expect and enjoy.

In closing, on your recent victory you have my congratulations. Of course, it cannot be said that I wish you well – indeed, it would be regarded as most unseemly for a Briarling Prince of the Blood to express such a sentiment – but I will say that I hope your men fight valorously.





Your Captive Prince,
H.R.H Benjamin Briarling, Prince of Agarre
Agarre

Prince Briarling,

Your letter reaches me as we stand at the gates of Brier, held back by a sturdy wall, some two-thousand militiamen and a steady supply of grain flowing into their dockyards. You will be delighted to hear that this city is determined to hold its footing, defended with a similar patriotic vigour as which I had the delight of experiencing in Ardans troops during our War of Liberation.

You will be similarly delighted to hear that while, as you caustically remarked, I am convinced that it is an army's duty and right to pillage the lands of an invader so heartless as your brother, Ardans is mostly governed by more sensible fellows. The Marcher and military duty called me away; Vantage stands. The city is damaged by ferocious street fighting, but its citizens and their personal posessions remain unharmed. The same cannot be said of Neverreach and Brier, unfortunately. Reports have reached us that your brother is forcing inhabitants of Brier to make far-reaching personal concessions to cling onto the city, while Meddish governance over the North of your country has collapsed entirely into anarchy. Any solution to this conflict must guarantee an end to all crises and stability on and over Ardans borders.

It must be said that we are a race of patriots. Decades of oppression, being left to fend for ourselves, surrounded by two Superiacist Kingdoms, have made us Ardans strongly united yet deeply mistrustful of the King of Meddeland. Maximillian III is one of your most hawkish and disdainful officials; as he refused to relinquish his title as "King of Ardans"; as he styled himself "The Just"; as he was not willing to pay a single ducat to see you home safely, I remain worried that we might not reach an agreement to end this war before many of both our countrymen have fallen. Ardans has no designs on your homeland - yet with your brother in power, can our eastern borders, wherever they lay, ever really be safe?

As you are an experienced statesman, you will undoubtedly see the urgency of this matter. It is my opinion that as Ardans is ruled by Ardans, Meddeland should be ruled by Meddelanders. And yet, while your brother remains King of Meddeland, unwilling to acknowledge the former, we remain wholly unable to guarantee the latter...

Signed,

d.Haaken
 

aedan777

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96XJpLe.png



Letter to the Chief Steward of the Princely Estates in Agarre
(Private)



Chief Steward, — As you are no doubt aware, I yet remain detained in the erstwhile Province of Ardans – which, as you also know, has sought to wrest its independence from Meddeland by force of arms. On account of present circumstances I must communicate by means of correspondence what instructions would otherwise be given to you in person vis-à-vis the administration of the Princely Estates in Agarre. I trust, of course, that you have continued to keep all things in order, running the castle to the highest standards of excellence, in keeping with the high esteem in which I hold you and with the special dignity that the post of Chief Steward engenders. Indeed, I would expect nothing less from so valued and loyal a servant. As the war rages on and old certainties disintegrate, I am reminded of a line my father used to say: “the oceans may boil and the mountains fall, but that doesn’t mean one stops polishing the family silver.” Propriety cannot be abandoned, even if all else fades.

News of the fall of Vantage and the siege of Brier will assuredly have travelled to you; such information has, I imagine, been spreading like wildfire throughout Meddeland. Of course, such news brings with it a sense of panic, which in turn leads to fear that the Ardans’ raids will make their way south to Agarre. While I doubt that the Ardans will launch such ambitious sorties so deep into Meddeland, the prospect cannot be wholly dismissed.

First, I urge you to remain calm. It is your calmness in the face of this distress that must serve as an example to others. Second, prepare the defences and hold the fortification of Agarre against an intruder wit all means available to you. Banish from your mind all concern as to the impact of your resistance may have upon my fate at the hands of the Ardans. Last, I ask you to pray in earnest, holding vigils and trusting that Namid will abandon neither Agarre nor her Prince in these uncertain times.






Your Leige,
H.R.H Benjamin Briarling, Prince of Agarre
Agarre

As Steward and Regent of Adrans in the absence of the Marcher, this letter is confiscated, and burned. Benjamin Briarling would do well to remember that whatever hospitality he is treated with, he is still a prisoner of Ardans.

-Michael Szabolcsi, Steward and Regent of Ardans, Oligarch of Sevala
 

m.equitum

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96XJpLe.png



Letter to His Holiness Superius Xavier VII
(Private)



Your Holiness, — Detained as I am amongst the heretical Ardans, I send this letter with faith that by the unstoppable will of Namid, Master of All Things, it shall reach Your Holiness in the sacred city of Victorsburg.

The purpose of my writing this letter is to seek your dispensation to be relieved of the obligation of weekly church attendance during the period of my captivity amongst the Ardans.

Whereas I believe it likely that the Marcher of the Ardans would permit me to worship within the ecclesiastical houses of this land, I cannot imagine setting foot in such a den of heretics. Confined to the fortress at Moraille, I have no means of partaking in the sacred rites and rituals of our faith save the prayers I recite daily and nightly within my quarters.

I implore Your Holiness to pray that the purity of my noble blood will not be tainted by living in the midst of these heretics. May Namid preserve me from their heterodox and profane religion.






Your Faithful Prince,
H.R.H Benjamin Briarling, Prince of Agarre
Agarre