"1 year in Erde Fold:"
*all events in this post is subject to approval and maybe re-edited upon request.
Map of Twilight Coast and the surrounding region:
Scholars had said that the full 6000 years History of Erde Föld can be summarized as chronological backstabbing with everyone and everything... Houses, Cities, Individuals... constantly striving to be on top, only to be eventually bough down in a repetitive cycle. This was justified for the sake of progress and balance. No one can reign absolute as the individual struggled, adapts, and seek to rise above his peers while constantly watching over their backs, lest they fall prey to those below them. Thus as the individual gains strength, the society as a whole gains strength; those that are weak, lacks cunning, or unable to adapt to changes were weeded out and no longer a burden to Erde Foldian Society.
That was the way of Erde Fold.
Yet however there's changes so great that it even threatens that belief, and shook the very foundation of society itself. Change was not for change's shake and the backstabbing denizens of Erde Fold, who has been like ants fighting on top of their little ant hill, has found themselves not alone in this vast, wide world. A devil has came from the North, and strange voyeurs who peeks at every corner of the land with magic somewhere far in the east. The few wise and powerful people realized that a threat was looming above them all, and everything will succumb to the powers outside if changes didn't take place inside Erde Fold.The Third Assembly (cira. 3301 15th Month, Day 9)
After the diplomatic breakdown from the first few attempts to discuss matters between the head of the major city-states in Erde Fold, they've finally agree to assemble via a system of Quicksilver Scrying Mirrors recently invented by the Lich, Zak-karum Il-dar, to grudgingly hear what Isabella of House Agrippina, First House of Nyr (and to her enemies, The Wicked Bitch of the West, for having connections, if not outright control of most cities in the Western Part of Erde Fold) has to say.
The Scrying Mirror system itself is an intriguing piece of work. Each participants in the Assembly were given a Mirror that was magically connected to a pairing mirror in a secret location that only the three most powerful Lich in this land knows. The Location was rumoured to have been magically shielded, and then wrapped in a bubble of anti-magic. No magic in this world could have reveal this location and communications between members assembly would be secured. The Participants will be able to view from their own mirror the image projected by other mirrors from other Participants. Only then would it satisfy the safety and secrecy in the Assembly. The mirrors are delicately placed so that everyone can see each other and they are looking below at everyone from their own vantage point, as one of the conditions for the assembly was that everyone should be treated as equals. Larger metropolitan areas have three representatives comprising of the Senex Summus in that city, smaller cities sent their First House, while the most powerful House represented their region in less populated areas. The quicksilver mirror could not convey sounds, and as such the participants could only communicated in the Erde Foldian sign languages.
Isabella of House Agrippina spoke of her grand vision of 'reaching to the furthest corners of the world' (in her own words) and to seek out opportunities beyond what this land provides. Negativity and doubt swept over the assembly at first, and many waved their reports on either the devil from the North, or the strange dominant magical power looming from the West as proof that the world outside is extremely dangerous. Venturing out of the known world could bring disasters, perhaps even destruction to Erde Fold as these powerful foreigners could invade their land. Isabella spoke valiantly and gave reasons an expedition: 1) The outside world has already know the existence of Erde Fold from recent events 2) in the case of war it would be advantageous to at least survey the surrounding lands, if not establish an early warning in the form of a buffer zone against an impending invasion.
Her already impressive influence, along with her conviction, eventually won the super majority needed to sway the Assembly into action. It was decided that there will be a grand expedition North of the land as the Fleet would sail along the coastline. 1) It was the closer and more likely path to new lands and thus carries less risk, 2) Erde Fold acknowledge their lack of knowledge in dealing with outsider and this will serve as a small test in their practice of diplomacy, 3) Recent events have place more stocks and renewed interest in The adventures of Manfred the Mad some 600 years ago, pointing out that civilizations North of Erde Fold could be a likely possibility.
Even then it was extremely difficult for everyone to agree upon a single course of action. This is where Isabella demonstrated her political guile. Between the time of the 4th and 5th Assembly, Isabella compromised and ended up from a grand expedition to a smaller surveying team of 12 ships. House Agrippina surrendered control of the expedition. Her closest allied houses were to man the expedition and most of her political opposition were placed in charge. This was actually a wise move by Isabella. If the expedition were to fail, her allies would suffer sufficient losses that they would not be powerful enough to turn against her, and in turn she could deflect the blame upon her enemies leading the expedition.
It took another 3 months for the expedition to retrofit their ships for longer sea voyages (reinforced and enlarged ship hull to increase cargo space and increase ship's structural integrity, stock supplies for various needs, more mast for faster speed, training, and other necessary preparations.) Winter had landlocked the port, but finally in 3302 3rd Month 15 day, the first expedition in the last 600 years departed from the port of Dag'on-this and set sail in the annual spring upwind blowing along the gulf from the south to the north.
The first few weeks were quite uneventful by Erde Foldian standards. The fleet fend off two Kronosaurus, and encountered more Sand sharks and Giant sea scorpions when the cartographers tried to survey the beach. An expedition team had found an ancient city that was built along the side of the cliff. They’ve fled the place upon seeing statues, the iconic ancient hieroglyphs, and other evidences of the elder gods, but not before losing the rest of the team from induced madness, strange creatures that lurked in the darkness, and the ensuring chaos that forced the team to left some of their members for dead. (It was explained that a group encountered a creature that could turned into the likeness of one of them and also absorb their memories of the ones they murdered. The whole team ended up killing each other, leaving one survivor who was then killed by his direct superior to ensure that he wasn't that creature that he spoke of.) Eventually the expedition found refuge in a place they dubbed "Fortress Frontier": A giant network of natural caves hidden in the sheer side of a mountain that could fit an entire fleet of ship. They stayed in the water network inside the mountain for 2 weeks waiting for a violent storm to pass. All in All, One Ship was devoured by Kronosaurus on its first attack, another ship was overran by sea scorpions (mostly due to the person on watch fell asleep, thus allowing sea creatures to climb aboard the ship without notices), One ship floundered after sailing too close to the reefs, and finally two ships were lost to the storm as they never made it to safety inside the mountain.
The most senior officer left in charge of the expedition, Jim Tiberius of House Magellan, sent a magical message reporting the current status of the fleet and awaiting decision to either press on return to Erde Fold. An emergency assembly took place back in Erde Fold around midnight triggered a divide amongst the members of the Assembly. After three days of nonstop marathon debate, a majority decision was reached and the fleet was told to press on. By mid morning, Jim Tiberius and his remaining fleet had reached the Lowland in the Twilight Coast and found evidence of humanoid activity.
Over the next 5 months, the expedition fleet was reinforced with 2 scores of ships all under the command of the now Vice-Admiral Jim Tiberius Magellan. Most of the fleet stationed itself in Frontier Fortress and reconnaissance team, comprised of mainly vampires and mages, gather information regarding the land and its inhabitant. Most of their operation was spying from afar, learning what they can while avoiding detection. When they saw the Gnomes
they thought they are just children and was wondering why a village would only contain children of that race. Occasionally some children size people with beard call Dwarves
came from somewhere far from the north to trade with the Gnomes. They also noticed an even smaller sized humanoid living along side the gnomes called Leprachauns
. It seems like the Leprachauns are the only race that uses magic in the land.
The Twilight coast itself was full of dense forest and rolling hills (much like New Zealand). Its namesake was from the strange pheromone of extended Twilight hours within a day in this region due to its distinct geographical location. The population in the Lowland congregate in small villas across the land, undertaking agricultural production such as farming wheat and other curious and never seen before vegetables or grazing flock of animals. Most often then not, a gnome would used miniature dire-wolfs to guide a bunch of white fluffy animals across the rolling plains to graze. Eventually they will harvest their hair on those creatures and used it to weave into thread and then clothing. Larger creature were used for either tilting the soil or for milk. The Gnomes dug themselves a hole along smaller hills to form a nice decent (if not low ceiling) dwelling. The spies of Erde Fold does not notice any military capacity in the land, and only a few villas have palisades built around them. For most Villas, a bell watch tower was deemed sufficient enough.
To Erde Foldians, The Twilight Coast was a paradise. The climate was warmer and the fluctuation between season more moderate due to being on the tail end of the wind in the weather cycle. The land was rich from sediments carried by the river from the mountain from the west. The mountain also protected the narrow strip of coastline from the desert on the other side. The land itself was remarkably hospitable: pack of smaller dire wolves and the occasional brown bear seems to be the only hostile creatures of this land. They've gathered a few samples fruits and vegetables and found them to be extremely tasty. Another report was submitted by the now Vice-Admiral Jim Tiberius Magellan to the assembly while he continued to map out more of the Lowlands.
While the Gnomes in the southern part of Lowland had not been aware of The Erde Fold Forces, they've felt the presences of something dark and sinister... always watching them. There was rumours of big but extremely pale folk stalking in the shadows at night with huge fangs they've used to suck blood. The Leprachauns sensed magic they've never encountered before. Their livestock were unease by some wolves almost as big as a cow. A few people noticed that occasionally some of their crop and other mundane item went missing.
The 7th Assembly back in Erde Flod were furiously divided upon the next course of action. Smaller, ambitious houses desire a full scale invasion on this rich and venerable land so that they may strike their own fortunes; more cautious Houses were wary of hostile actions and fear repercussions. Trade, they argued, would be more effective in brining wealth then conquest and occupation. All Representatives of Menzil-Bazzan and Llurth Rlytlar withdraw from the assembly, seeing they are too far to profit from any gain in either actions.
A captain named Janet Cook (some say, under the instructions of a significantly influential house) went on ahead with a an attempted diplomatic contact with the inhabitants of the Twilight Coast. Captain Janet Cook took with her house crescent, a white flag of truce, and a small escort team including her first mate and host zombie servants and marched into the town of Aderyn Wynn. It was speculated that Captain Cook was under orders to secure a deal of Twilight Coast vegetables with Erde Foldian Gold. Unfortunately, the Mayor of Aderyn Wynn (as well as a Cleric of Lancita, Goddess of Nature and Reason for Gnomes in Twilight Coast), already fearful of the rumours and now seeing a legion of giant corpses attacking his villa, called upon his divined goddess to smite what he sees as monsters and abominations. The results was the death of Captain Janet Cook, his escorts, and the prelude to 'The Short War of Twilight Coast'.'The Short War of Twilight Coast'.
Upon the report of this incident, the assembly were once again united as the murder of Captain Cook under the flag of truce was seen as a breach of international protocol. The Assembly took the liberty to held the vice admiral accountable for this action and demote Jim Tiberius Magellan. The Naval expedition were told to cease all activities in the Twilight Coast region, destroy all evidence of their presences, retreat and stay in total magical silence in Frontier Fortress until the arrival of the Invasion fleet. The newly appointed Grand Marshal Medina of House Sidonia arrived and took over command, tasking Captain Jim Tiberius Magellan with securing the supply route and supply runs with a bunch of smaller vessels, namely the HMS Conglomerate.
Most assessment predict the war would end in two months. Medina Sidonia envision a multi-prone attack with speedily Dire-Wolves Calvary sweeping out resistances on land while the rest of the forces slowly occupy the scattered villages in the land. The Navy would conduct raid along the coast and land more troops for a swift occupation of the Lowlands. She had grossly miscalculated and a few factors contributed to the failure of the initial invasion. 1) The power Gnomish navy, more experienced sea man, combined with knowledge of the local waters, crushed the technologically inferno Erde Fold Fleet at a major naval engagement. 2) The local gnomish militias, known as gunslingers, were proven to be deadly marksmen with their slings, shagged mountain ponies were at least equally mobile in uneven terrain and combined they’ve proven to be excellent skirmishers that does hit-and-run attacks, inflicted sufficient causalities upon the Erde Foldian combined army and held them at bay. 3) Erde Fold Armies were comprised of separate regiment from different houses, each seeking their own interest instead of working towards a united goal. While they are excellently trained in Urban battles and sieges, the concept of large scale open field warfare were relative new to them.
The invasion were akin to a nightmare coming to reality from the perspective of the Gnomes living in the Lowlands. They’ve lived in peace in centuries ever since the last war with the Dwarves up north. Most were still not sure what to make of the incident in Aderyn Wynn. While the Highlands was constantly threaten with the northern barbarian tribes; the Lowlands was a peaceful frontier and they do not know the existence of any land south of them. The invaders were giants in comparison to their size, the zombies seems like an endless swarm, and skeletons a complete horror. The gunslingers fought valiantly, but their foes seems endless and constantly gaining ground; The Naval Victory at Heathrow Bay gave the Lowlanders some breathing room and hope, and the Gnomish fleet set sail to investigate the southern waters while a message was sent north to plea for aid from the Highland Dwarves.
Representatives of the Assembly ‘relieved’ Medina Sidonia of her duties by a swift dagger strike from her back, and Jim Tiberius Magellan found himself again temporarily as the highest and most experienced in command. He had witness the Battle of Heathrow Bay, and came to grow a newfound respect for these short folks. The captain realized that they cannot match the Gnomish Navy and devised a protocol in future naval battles in this war. Instead of large ships, Jim favoured smaller and faster ships sailing in convoy to constantly transport more troops and supplies to the warfront. Smaller ships were faster, more readily available, easier to construct, presents a smaller target against the Gnomish devastating cannons, and can hide in shallow waters and reefs where the Gnome’s larger ships cannot venture that close to the shores. Fire boats, life-rafts lid with gunpowder, were used as mines against the Gnomish Navy to throw off their pursuit. For the rest of the War, Jim Tiberius Magellan and the fleet under his command avoid any direct confrontation, instead relied on the troops and supplies they’ve transport to win the war on land. The Gnome’s fleet never discovered the location of Frontier Fortress, nor do they dared venture further south. Kronosaurus and other giant sea monsters indiscriminately prey upon Gnome and Human ships alike.
The war had drawn on for three more months and the once optimistic Assembly became impatient with the progress of the Invasion. Quinctilius Varus, Georgia of House McClellan, Glacis from Clan Nivelle each took turn as Commander of the Invasion and suffered sufficient blundered and was 'displaced' in turn. Even in victories, the losses for Erde Fold were deem as ‘unacceptable’, and war coffers began to dried up as Houses in the assembly sees this investment as too costly. The Lowland Gnomes did their part in inflicting heavy causalities with their hit and run attack, roaming and retreating fast on their own soil, and eluding the Main Erde Foldian’s host. The front would crumble if not for Erde Fold’s superior numbers, Gnomes fear of the Undead, and Erde Foldian’s advanced edge in Magic. Even then the Invasion were eventually grind to a halt until Major Alexia, from a minor sub house of Brusilov, completely annihilated a company of gnomish Gunslingers in the Third Battle of Riverrun Pass. After two costly attempts at crossing the river, Alexia deployed another round of zombies to stage an attempt at crossing the quick running river under the cover of skeleton archery fire. This was only a diversion as two bands of Dire Wolves Rider sneaked across the river further upstream. The zombies troops were almost completely depleted out when the Dire Wolves Calvary came from behind the Gnomish Gunslinger and pinned them against the River. In close quarters the Gnomes and their short swords were no match against the Erde Foldian raiders and the ponies became breakfast for the hungry Dire Wolves.
Alexia were promoted to Commander, a post hardly anyone else would have wanted at this point. He quickly reformed the structure of the army under his command. Troops were reassigned so that each regiment were mixed with soldiers from different houses. This was to ensure obedience to the ranks and files trumped loyalty to their respective houses and clans. Zombies, skeletons, humans were to be used in combined operations and serving different roles in the army. Alexia’s military doctrine suggested a united large front whereby zombies marched in an endless line across the whole front supported by skeletons. While the lines became extremely thin, The Gnomish Gunslinger often does not engage in melee combat. Gnomes penetrated the zombie lines were met with the superior human fighting forces that was train to quickly respond to Gnomish threats and surround to engage the Gnomes in close quarters and provide no chance of escape. These entirely unconventional tactics brought upon many objections, but even the Assembly were eventually silenced as the War slowly swung back into their favor. While this methodical attrition were too slow in the Assembly’s opinion, casualties were reduced to mostly zombies who served as fodder and bait.
By 3301 8th Month 2nd day, The Combined Erde Foldian Armies stood within sight of the Gates of Khord, Capital of the Twilight coast.
To the Short Folks living in the Twilight Coast, the Brave Gunslingers were there to buy time to evacuate the Lowlanders and for the Dwarves to develop an ultimate weapon against these marauding giants. Most of the dwarven armies were tied down defending against the Barbarians north of the coast. Even the mighty mountain fortress of Khord was deem insufficient against the Erde Foldian army. The dwarves, with the assistance of the Gnomes in exile, came up with a Giant War Machine, seeking to outsize the human invaders. The giant 30 ft steam operated machine, built to fit a battalion of Dwarfs inside, along with mounted Arquebus, rolled out from the Gate. Hastily built and never tested, the War Machine malfunction. It toppled the gate and a vicious blaze spread across the fortification. Instead of taking the opportunity to slaughter the now helpless dwarves the humans came to their aid. The War was as abruptly ended as it began and the two sides settle their differences and began negotiation in earnest. Quicksilver mirrors were provided to the Dwarven Thane, who spoke on behalf of its people.
News has spread that occupied Lowland wasn’t an invasion of hellish as most Gnomes once thought. The human invaders mostly left the gnomes alone. In truth, the Houses were interested in the wealth the land could provide; destroying properties and enslaving the short people yield less value then conducting trade with them. Even before the war ended, steady trade had already established. To the Lowland Gnomes, Erde Foldian Gold were as good as any. At the end of the war,the Assembly of Erde Fold returned all occupied land back to the Gnomes, assessing that gnomes had more know-hows and were able to be more productive with the land. Instead the Assembly would trade for its needs, mainly its farm products. Over the last few months, the diet of most Erde Foldian has completely changed. Entire house where forced to switched production as the populace favor the new food sources. To maintain the balance of trades, representatives from houses seeks to factor any goods that draws Gnomish and Dwarven interest. Dwarves have no use for silk, and while Gnomes have interest in silken clothing it was seen as an luxury item not many could afford. That also goes for any exotic items such as Ocean Phantom noodles, SandShark Hide, and most Magical devices. Dwarfs prefer their own metalcraft as stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the superiority of Erde Fold smithing and refining techniques, even then Erde Foldian Metal doesn’t justify its transportation cost. The Twilight Coast banned the import of Opium outright under the advice of the Grand Leprachaun Scholar. In the end, both dwarves and gnomes crazed for Erde Fold spice and tea. While the twilight coast grows and produced their own spice and tea, Erde Fold’s spice were often stronger in favour and the tea more variety. Like any other Erde Fold’s products, they were easily mass produced and conveniently packaged. The Leprachauns, having never seen tobacco before, were unable to warn the dwarves of its harmful effects. As such, both smoking and chewing tobacco became another favourite product amongst the Dwarves.
Necromancers had once tried to raise dead gnomes, much to the horrors of the Lowlanders. Erde Fold mages found that shorter corpses carried no advantages while still possess the shortcomings of both undead and gnome. Still, it was the Dwarven Thane’s first order of business to ban all necromancy onto its subjects anywhere in this world. Opium were banned as a second request, and finally the short folks demand that all should obey the laws of twilight coast as long as they are on its soil. The Assembly complied with these demands in return for Naval technologies and blueprints of Cannons and Arquebus. The Assembly also seek fair laws within Twilight coast in regards to the people of Erde Fold, open trade, and mutual defense agreements along the coastline. The laws of the Lowland was especially complicated as each Wynn have their own laws. They were also not technically under the governance of the Dwarven Thane. Two months of continuous negotiation resulted in the Treaty of Twilight. The Twilight Coast were essentially part of Erde Fold due to heavy trade dependency between the two lands. As per agreement, No houses in Erde Fold were to intrude upon the Highland and the Lowlands. The Thane was also welcome to join the Assembly, but after one meeting he swore off partaking any future discussions. “It was like watching a nest of vipers trying to devour each other
.” He quoted.
As reward for his pivotal role in the Short War, Captain Jim Tiberius Magellan, commander of the newly redesigned/re armed HMS Conglomerate, were set sail further North to assist the dwarves as well as assess the barbarian threat, to explore, seek new life and seek civilization, and to boldly go … (you know the rest.)
The House of Brusilov were bought to prominence as the exclusive house for military… but only after Alexia’s head was bought to the Assembly on a platter. He was deemed too dangerous and the balance of power would be upset should be became influenced to aid any one side.