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Holy Country post-Belintar


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Some of Jeff's FB notes on events in Holy Country, particularly Heortland, post-Belintar.

When Belintar died and did not return in 1616, the Holy Country quickly fell apart as a unified kingdom. As not one but two Tournaments of the Masters of Luck and Death failed to produce a successor, the local rulers of the Sixths quickly spun off and charted their own course, although they remained in contact with each other.
In most of the Sixths, the local rulers managed to hold onto their authority - for example, Hendira managed to rule Esrolia from Nochet, the talars kept control of the God Forgot Islands from Talar Hold, etc. However, in Heortland, the ruler of the semi-autonomous Volsaxi tribe (Broyan of Whitewall) proclaimed himself the ruler of the new Hendriki tribe, which encompassed all of northern Heortland.
Meanwhile, in Durengard, Rikard the Tiger-hearted, a Malkioni adventurer from the Castle Coast and his mercenaries proclaimed the existence of the Kingdom of New Malkonwal. This was a largely peaceful coup (imagine something like Baldwin of Boulogne's takeover of Edessa), and Rikard had the support of the Aeolings. Because his retinue was small, Rikard needed to use diplomatic skills to maintain that support, and married the daughter of a leading Aeolian noble family, and encouraged his retainers to do the same. Rikard managed to procure the service of bands of Malkioni mercenaries fleeing from the growing power of Tanisor.
Rikard and Broyan indecisively skirmished over control of central Heortland, but this became quickly irrelevant when the Lunar Army invaded Heortland in 1619. Northern Heortland was quickly overrun (with only Whitewall holding out), and Rikard was defeated in 1620. A thousand romantic tales have come out of the short-lived Kingdom of Malkonwal, spread by both Orlanthi and Malkioni poets. Ironically, it seems Rikard the Tiger-hearted was more far successful as poetic figure than he was as an adventurer.
> Broyan, Hendira, and Rikard all cooperated against the Lunar invasion. But they also viewed each other as rivals.
> After the Building Wall Battle, they [the Lunars] knew the Holy Country had a lot of power. First they spent a decade plotting to eliminate Belintar as a spirit. They brought the Field College of Magic, the Crimson Bat, Praxian mercenaries, Sartarite mercenaries, Sun Dome mercenaries, and even Dragonewt mercenaries, as well as Provincial and Heartland troops. They attacked at the weak point of post-Belintar Kethaela - Heortland, which was torn into two, instead of attacking Esrolia like in 1605. And they managed to secure Wolf Pirate assistance. Even then, the invasion of 1619 was a very near run thing until the end.
> Maybe they should have expected the local gods would be a little more involved.
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Jeff on the Invasion of Heortland with maps.

The Invasion of 1619, part 1
The Lunar Empire had never stopped eyeing the richer lands of the Holy Country to the south. But their failure at the Building Wall Battle in 1605 had made them cautious, so when they moved southward they went after great preparations.
Wilmskirk, a city subject to the Empire, was the primary storage area, and it collected grain reserves for years. The army also moved there over the winter of 1618.
The initial army numbered more than 25,000 troops, including Sartarite and Tarshite mercenaries, and dragonewts who had been obtained at incredible price. The army was divided into four sections, each with objectives and duties:
The Cavalry Screen, commanded by Sor-eel the Short
The Vanguard, commanded by Jomes Wulf
The Advance Foot, commanded by Jorad Sideburn
The Main Army, commanded by Fazzur Wideread
The army first units departed Roadend and Wilmskirk in Sea Season 1619. The Vanguard cavalary reached Whitewall, and discovered that Broyan was already prepared, with the local militia mustered and gathered in Whitewall, which was well stocked and supplied. An attempt to take Whitewall by assault failed, and after losing some 1500 soldiers, Fazzur realized that Broyan had concentrated everything he has on the defense of the ancient fortress. Fazzur leaves a detachment of mercenaries, magicians, hoplites, and cavalry to stay and besiege Whitewall, and the rest of the army headed south.
Upriver of Smithstone, the Lunar Army needed to cross the raging the Marzeel River. However, the initial assault on Smithstone failed, and the Lunars lost another 700 soldiers. The main army assaulted Smithstone at high cost, but was successful.
Karse was another matter. The defense of the city was fanatical and Fazzur ordered several assaults, but despite terrible losses to the dragonewts, the city held. Fazzur realized that the city was being reinforced by Esrolians using every boat that the Holy Country could muster.
The Lunars reinforced their siege of Whitewall with Sun Dome and Sartarite mercenaries, but the reinforcements were attacked by Esrolians with troll aid. The Sartarites were defeated and routed and the Sun Dome Templars surrendered after a long fight. Their surrender and ransom was arranged.
The Crimson Bat was later seen approaching the city of Whitewall. The Sun Dome Templars aggred to help defend the city with the Whitewall garrison and Esrolians. King Broyan and his household thanes and rune masters (including Kallyr Starbrow and Leika Blackspear) all launch an attack by teleporting themselves atop the Bat and slaughtering the priests there. They suffered terrible losses and Broyan was incapacitated by a Mind Blast, but his right-hand companion killed the High Priest of the Crimson Bat. The Bat lost control and did not attack Whitewall and flew off to the south. The defenders were triumphant.
In the south, a massive build-up in Karse by both Lunars and Esrolians. At Smithstone, the Esrolians made a desperate assault on the Lunar forces in Smithstone. They managed to breach the already shattered walls and some of them entered the city, but it was too late, for the Crimson Bat appeared and dropped on the them and devoured hungrily. Most of the Esrolians were slain or scattered in all directions. Even the Lunars were devoured by the Bat whose hunger knew no national differences.
In the evening, Malkonwall troops arrived outside of Smithstone, and they saw the Crimson Bat flying away southward. The city was held only by a few Esrolians, and their scouts also saw an enemy column fleeing southward. But the Malkonwal cavalry cannot catch them before nightfall stops pursuit.
>You can see there was some coordination or at least cooperation between the Volsaxi, Malkonwal, and Esrolia.
>As is clear, the Sea Season campaign was a bloody mess at the start. But some interesting alliances going on.
>Some say it was Starbrow who cut down the High Priest; others claim it was the Black Spear.
Q: Did Queen Hendira send volunteers or mercenaries to aid Broyan and were there Esrolians (and trolls?) inside Whitewall or out in the countryside?
A: both. But the main Esrolian focus was Karse. Some 8000 soldiers defended the city, most were Esrolians and Caladralanders.
Q: So Queen Hendira, leader of the Red Earth Alliance, supported Broyan against the Lunars…Any hint as to why she did so?
A: because she was the ruler of one of the Sixths.  once the Lunars won, Hendira pragmatically allied with the Lunars. After all they won.
May be an image of map
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Posted (edited)
Part 2 on the Heortland invasion posted by Jeff on FB plus some of his additional notes.
The invasion of 1619, part 2
By the end of Sea Season, the Lunar invasion of the Holy Country had stalled outside the walls of Karse. After being nearly destroyed in a Lunar assault, Smithstone had been retaken by Esrolian and Malkonwal forces. Whitewall remained free; worse yet, control over the Crimson Bat was lost and the Bat was last seen flying over the Mirrorsea Bay. The Lunar Army's Sartarite and Sun Dome Templar mercenaries had fled or even switched sides.
Fazzur took direct oversight to correct the situation. First, he rallied disorganized Lunar units near Smithstone that had old from the Bat, and pulled much of the Lunar Army outside of Karse back towards Smithstone. The Cavalry Screen was used to clear the Marzeel north of Smithstone. With some 8000 soldiers, Fazzur retook Smithstone from its Esrolian and Malkonwal defenders and fortified the position against Malkonwal counter attacks.
Then the Red Moon turned and the fortunes of the Lunar Army began to wax again. A Wolf Pirate fleet was spotted in the Mirrorsea Bay, and Caladraland agents reported that the Ditali were preparing for war. The Caladraland mercenaries in Karse made private arrangements to flee by boat while they still could and did so.
The Wolf Pirates brought with them Lunar soldiers from Prax - the Granite Phalanx and Silver Shields - and the Lunars made a two-prong assault on Karse. Losses were high on both sides, but in the end, Karse fell (although most of the Esrolian army escaped and returned to Nochet). Fazzur ordered Karse to be spared pillaging. The Wolf Pirates, feeling betrayed, withdrew from the Mirrorsea Bay.
Lunar agents reached out to the Queendom of Jab and encouraged the scorpion people to attack Malkonwal. The Warlord Rikard was forced to withdraw from the conflict around Smithstone to confront the Chaos threat. Lunar agents also encouraged internal dissension within Malkonwal.
By the end of the campaign season of 1619, Karse fully under Lunar control, Malkonwal was rent with internal dissension and a serious chaos threat from the Queendom of Jab, and the Esrolia and Caladraland armies were back in their homelands as insurance against the Western Barbarians. Only Whitewall held out in northern Heortland, besieged by a Lunar screen.
Q: So it was Wolf Pirates, not Lunar-crafted ships, that enabled to convey from Corflu!  Either Harrek’s hate of the Empire bows to his business interests, or was it independent captains?
A: yes Greg revealed to me that it was Wolf Pirates not Lunar-crafted ships that enabled the convoy from Corflu. Harrek already hated the Lunar Empire (and hated their leaders, priestesses, and goddess), but the offer was too great for him to turn down - the right to sack and pillage Karse (a rich trading city) and mastery over the Mirrorsea Bay.  Instead, Fazzur decreed that Karse would not be pillaged (he had goals of his own) and the Wolf Pirates were left empty-handed. After that Harrek rejected any offer from any Lunar or that would aid the Empire. And harming the Lunar Empire became a treasure for him as valuable as gold or silver.
Q: So the crimson bat attacks whitewall in 1619? not 1620 as stated in the Sartar Companion ?
A: correct. When I wrote the Sartar Companion materials, Greg no longer had access to his detailed information about the Whitewall campaign (it went missing around 1991 or so) so we had to rely on summaries and notes.  However a few years ago, a box filled with Greg's most important notes on Dragon Pass - thought long lost - showed up at Greg's place shortly before his death, courtesy of an act of great kindness. Greg sent the contents to me to incorporate into RQ. So you'll be seeing lots of that stuff in the Sartar Book, Cults Book, and everything else. Those pictures on this post is from the series of military campaign maps Greg made of the campaign, probably around 1979 or so.
May be an image of map
Edited by jajagappa
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