(1874-11-30) Battle of Alnburgh
Battle of Alnburgh
Summary: The Parthian push on the Sokar fortress of Alnburgh
Date: 30/11/18
Related: Fortress Alnburgh, Concurrent with the Battle of Duval
NPCs: Prince Kalid of Belgrazahal (The Blood Hammer)
Players:
Cervantes  Dertan  Jarret  Lillian  

The Fortress Alnburgh, Central Duchy of Riverwatch
Alnburgh is one of House Sokar's Great Fortresses, situated along the Great Salt River west of the border between the lands directly controlled by House Sokar and the County of March. This fortress is managed by the Sokar Heir, Sir Jarret, and is the residence of his family. The fortress has been improved in the years Sir Jarret has managed it, although it has never become a very rich place.
30 Novembre 1874 IE

Frowning as the soldier comes crashing in, Jarret gets to his feet and moves over in the man's direction. "Yes? Take a few moments to catch your breath, man. It would take far longer for me to trying to piece together what you say otherwise." He looks a little concerned, looking around, then back to the soldier.

It doesn't take a deaf person to notice the sounds of battle drums and the loosing of arrows into the night sky.

Cervantes, having already been awake, stands up. "SOLDIERS! POSITIONS!" his voice loud, like a battle drum in itself. Within moments, Arkanin and Bordeaux soldiers are gearing up and getting their weapons. Archers on the walls, a line of Arkanin spearmen behind them in the event of ladders, and behind the walls, lines upon lines of Elite heavy spearmen with their tall shields: The Sentinels of Murias.

The Viscount is already in full armor. He was in the courtyard, placing his sheathed greatsword on the proper strap on his back. "no rest for the wicked."

Lillian, quite to her dismay, was within the keep, not far from Cervantes, seeing to the appropriation of supplies to be delivered to the healers still on the ground outside, when the sound of drums began to rumble through the air. She began to move towards the entrance to the walls where they normally managed to sneak out, but the rush of horsed archers pushed her back towards where she had originally been. Her soldiers knew her too well, and it was not strictly defying her orders, was it? They were simply, accidentally on purpose, blocking her way and forcing her to turn back to where Cervantes was preparing for the battle that they knew had to be to come. "I should have stayed outside."

To the north a dozen light horsemen are briefly silhouetted as they pause atop a ridge to look south towards the fortress. They soon duck back out of sight, replaced moments later by the glint of light upon rank upon rank of spear and pike as several hundred infantry start to steadily starting moving into battle order. Out at the front, mounted on a pair of pretty white horses, is the brigadine clad form of a Lord wearing a distinctive green plumed helm and a white and black clad lord bearing a banner showing the black snake of Kaedon.

The soldier nods to Jarret and then gulps air in as he steadies himself. "Partharian Your Grace." He says. "Huge blocks of Spear supported by Crossbows and Thousands of those slave troops. They have rams and ladders. They're coming here your Grace." His eyes look wild and full of fear as he speaks, his eyes looking into Jarret's for support. However he isn't done as he continues. "Heavy Cavalry is on the flanks, the watch commander thinks they're wheeling to face the forces outside, they're supported by thsoe damn Horse Archers of theirs." He takes a deep shudderring breath. "It's an all out attack Your Grace."

Cervantes and Lillian see just that. Huge blocks of Partharian Spear with those long pikes and hand axes and javalins. He sees the Heavy Cavalry peel away and head north. He sees the thousands of slaves in ragged groups and lines. Men beeating on drums in a steady stucato beat.

Dertan looks down the ridge and sees two three wings of Cavalry. Men on horse back with bow approaching directly at the front and drawing as they ride. The heavy cavalry heading for two hills that come up the ridge. Thunder begining to fill the night air as the hooves pound the ground with the ground begining to shake.

Jarret lets out a breath as he hears that, frowning as he does. "I see…" He sounds quite calm, as he moves to get himself ready. "Send word to the various commanders," he says, moving to get into place where he can help defend the wall.

"I prefer if you were inside…but now hell is upon us." Cervantes says aside to Lillian, without looking at her. His eyes narrow, before that devil of a smile comes forth from the Abysswalker. "REMEMBER THIS DAY MEN!" his and Lillian's shoulders both listen to Cervantes.

"For it will be yours for all time."

"ARCHERS! WHEN THEY GET CLOSE, FIRE AT WILL!" The Wolves knock in their arrows, of the armor-piercing variety, and wait…

Cervantes looks to Lillian. "Lillian, prepare the Serpants" those viscious horse-archers of their own…the elite force of Bordeaux. "If they break through the walls, or if we find a way to get them outside to where they can pick away at the enemy, they will be invaluable."

"If these walls come down around us, there will be no escape for any of us. I will pray that Galenthian stone is strong enough to withstand this assault." If they were outside, they could at least retreat, but here? Lillian said no more, moving back and away to rally her troops. The fortress was large, and if the One willed, the horses would have the room they needed to maneuver. If not, it would be sword and knife work for all of them, should the arrows fail. Her voice lifted, and the riders came circling around their commander, awaiting her orders, before the moved off to cluster in defensive positions at the weak points of the walls.

Dertan furrows his brow as the cavalry turns towards them. A word is given to the bannerman and then the pair start to ride along the lines of infantry, giving words of instruction and even encouragement that cause the men to tighten shields and prepare to meet both the charge and the impending storms of arrows. As time gets short, before he's in any danger but not so soon that it might look hurried, he heads to a point near the center and starts to prepare to support the fight. A quiver of fresh arrows is offered up to him and the Kaedon bow drawn from its quiver and half drawn in preparation. "Remember that they cannot break you." He calls out to the unit as a whole. "You have already triumphed against worse."

The next hour is brutal, with fighting erupting all over the walls of Alnburg. Archers fire as much as they can, soldiers push ladders off, or stab climbers as they try to take the wall top. All the while the rams drew closer and closer. Pushed by slaves, and covered by men holding large shields. It isn't long before there is a shuddering BOOM. Followed by a second and a third. The rams have arrived.

There is something to be said for terrible timing. A day earlier and the Kaedon spearmen would have been supported by the archers in the fortress. A day earlier and the force would not be forced to dig down and huddle under the scarce protection of shield and longspear for a long, long, hour as horse archers harry them from a distance that the infantry can never hope to close. Without the regular impacts of cataphract against the lines, impacts which the wall stands up to with relative ease, the spearmen wouldnt take all that much damage from the arrow walls. But each time the heavy horse come in, forcing men to maneuver shields to the more immediate threat of lance and hoof, arrows snake into the gap and men clad in white and black fall under the shafts. The hundred or so cavalry that support the Kaedon force (Who knew Kaedon even had such a thing?) tries to harass the horse archers, pulling them away from the main lines, but just doesn't have number enough to make more than a token impact to the situation before they themselves are forced to retreat to a safe-ish distance. Its whilst the second wave of cataphract is moving to slam against the wall of shield and spear that Dertan finally dismounts and allows his men to use their shields to protect both the banner and his own high-value hide. He weaves through the ranks as necessary, guiding the men against each the heaviest attacks, trying to take cataphract down with daring archery, and reminding them that horse archers cannot maintain this effort for much longer before both horse and arrows fail.

Cervantes' eyes widen when he sees the thousands upon thousands ready to break this wall of stone to dust. "One help us." Cervantes moves along the lines. "ARCHERS! KEEP FIRING! REST WHEN YOU'RE DEAD!"

Then the booming of rams.

Cervantes gives a glance to his wife, before looking to the 300 Sentinels. "CHOKEPOINT THE GATE! PHALANX FORMATION! Halberdiers behind them and Spearmen behind THEM! ONE AFTER ANOTHER!"

This hour is a hard one indeed.

Up on the wall, there's a hard battle. The slave forces try forcing themself up, and succeeds a few times, but each time Jarret's forces manages to force them back down. It's a tiring fight though, and quite bloody on both sides.

Lillian managed well enough in the chaos to use her riders for as much support as their positions allowed, but there was no escaping the reality of their situation. She was a Knight Reliant. Trained and bred to save lives. And sometimes, the lives that needed to be saved were not those who found themselves on a sickbed or fallen on a battlefield. Lillian forged her way from the center of the courtyard, making her way up towards Cervantes, trying to move and fight between the lulls in the assault, "Van! We cannot withstand that ram!" She glanced down to where Cervantes forces were moving into formation, her own horsemen moving in to assist in providing cover. But the glance back towards Jarret was more worrying. "They will take this place, and him, at whatever cost." For was not the Duke the ultimate prize?

With a shuddering boom and a splintering cracking sound the gate on Jarret's side of Alnburg is smashed open by the ram there. While the slaves continue to try to take the wall on his side Partharian professional Spearmen start to charge toward the broken hole in the wall. Thunder crashes in the night sky and a man at least seven feet in height and in lightsilver etched armor wielding an ENORMOUS lightsilver warhammer begins to walk forward. He points a finger at the gate and says in a calm voice. "The Prophet demands this Fortress. For the One! For the Prophet! For your Prince …. " he makes a slashing motion and the Spearmen surge forward with a warcry that washes over the battlefield.

The Archers on horseback continue to wither away at Dertan's troops. A man takes a shot in the side next to Dertan and falls screaming from the ridge. A woman grabs Dertan's shoulder. "We need to do something about thsoe damned Archers!!!" Dertan can see the moral of his men flagging.

Not far away another man watches the battle. He wears Red Robes and smiles. "Oh Blood Axe. You are Splendid. But let's see how the Blood Axe fares against the Blood Hammer." He raises a pair of Opera style glasses to his face a grim smile on his lips.

The Arkanins are ready to roll! Atop the wall, Cervantes's soldiers are holding the wall steadfastly in the fiercest fight any of those men have ever been in. They kick down ladders to watch them fall upon the enemy, and the shieldmen push, kick, or stab any soul unlucky enough to end up on that wall.

Those archers light up the enemy as well, and Cervantes is trying his damndest to hold the line. "I KNOW!" Cervantes calls back to Lillian, and it's when that thunder of a sound cracks that he turns to see the gate has opened. "Shit." he draws his great sword, while watching the rear. This is bad. Very bad. They will fight hour after hour.

"TO THE LAST MAN, TO THE LAST SPEAR, TO THE LAST DROP OF BLOOD-" The arkanins howl in a battlecry the world will remember.

"-WE FIGHT!" the Arkanins howl such a battlecry as they fight on. They will not pass this line.

Cavalry slams into Dertan's force and each time the men hunker down putting shoulder to shield and relying on brute force and the bristling combination of spear and pike to keep them from getting their strange lance/glaive combinations into the play. Whilst the heavy cavalry is still mostly being fended off it is not without cost. Each time they wheel into position spears get moved down away from the sky and arrows wing their way into the gap. Men fall screaming and the blood soaks into the ground so that boots churn soil to mud and men have to struggle even harder to brace their shields against the impacts. Late in this hour, as its starting to get obvious that this battle is far from over, the cataphract split to charge from two sides at once.

The banner starts to bob its way towards the right hand side, suggesting that this is where Dertan is moving, but this is just the first part of the feint. The right holds, horses being fended off by pike and spear or shield at last resort but the left.. opens up and lets their momentum carry them into the formation before wrapping back around them to form a corridor that passes all the way through. Inside that corridor of men spears stab up between the legs of their friends, seeking the vulnerable belly of the horses and ripping many of them wide open. Horses scream and tumble as they are disembowled or lamed, throwing their riders down to be clubbed and stabbed to death, even as their comrades enact their revenge on the briefly more vulnerable forces they ride through. The Kaedon forces slam back into their original formation as the remains of the cavalry wind stream through only to be set upon by the Kaedon cavalry that was waiting and watching for such an opportunity a few moments later. A cheer goes up as the cataphract who escape the trap move to join their comrades. The serpents fangs still hold but for how much longer?

Lillian, in the midst of it all; the screaming of men and horses, the boom of the ram, the splintering of the door as it nearly explodes, in all of that, she stops. Tucking herself away into a corner, out of the way of the roiling fighters and the rain of arrows, Lillian withdraws, her head falling, hand falling still on her sword as she prays. Silently, fervently. She has always had her faith, and she has never needed it more than she does now. Not only for herself, or perhaps not at all for herself. But for her husband, who might well be wading into his death. Or the Duke, who is set to meet his greatest enemy. For every soul still standing who might well not see the dawn of the day to come.

Still keeping on fighting up on the wall, Jarret's troops manage to hold, even if it's rather hard. But then the gate breaks, and the enemies are trying to swarm through. Frowning as he notices the tall man with the warhammer, Jarret lets out a bit of a breath. "We need to bring down that one with the hammer!" he calls out, both to people on the walls and below, frowning as he moves to continue the fight. Can't give up!

The Blood Hammer walks through the Gates of Alnburg.

It's just a simple act. He doesn't charge. He doesn't rage. He just walks. An Arkanin Cavalryman charges the man, and is decisively brought down when the Blood Hammer swings his weapon. It moves terrifyingly fast form his shoulder and sweeps to impact the horse's head with a sound that is sickening and terrible to hear. The head simply liquifies, the horse flying sideways and the soldier fling through the air to slam into the ground breaking his neck with a neck. The Blood Hammer stops and looks, his eyes supernaturally drawn to Jarret. "Jarret Sokar. I am the Prince Kalid, called the Blood Hammer. Your fortress is lost. Surrender, or I will kill everyone in this place."

On the Ridge the Archers are forced to try to find a way to the Snakes, but can't as Dertan leads his men into the trees. The Cavalry however, surges into the woods after their foe, ready to cut down the Sokar Vassals or crush them beneath their hooves.

Dertan gives the woman a stiff nod before pushing his way back towards his horse. A foot in the stirrup allows him to pull himself up over the heads of all his men, nearly taking an arrow for his brief act of bravery, and get a good look at the surroundings before jumping back down and starts talking rapidly to the woman who spoke to him before. Ripples through the ranks start to betray the fact that the unit is going to move and then they start to steadily but slowly edge their way back towards a copse of trees. Soon the spot they were occupying is nothing but a muddy field strewn with white and black clad corpses (and presumably injured) and the dead horses of the cataphracts who seem to be just a little warier than they were half an hour ago.

Once that temporary refuge is reached Dertan catches one of the handful of Shadowsnakes he brought along. "See if you can find us a way out of this." He catches a different Shadowsnakes forearm. "Take word to the response force and let them know what's happening here." and the next. "Take the rest of the Shadowsnakes and set traps for the cavalry. Whatever you can do quickly and safely." Its the serpents fangs and militia he turns to next. "Take a squad and start cutting some of these young trees. Lay them here. Here and here. Like this." Lines are drawn in the dirt to demonstrate. "The rest of you back in formation. Lets give them time to make the barricades." He moves to join to half climb a tree behind the front line of defenders. All the better to shoot and see.

Massacre.

Cervantes and his men are getting slaughtered. The Viscount kills one or two, but they do a good job of keeping the forces that attack the rear at bay. now it's time for a fight.

"Show no mercy and give none neither!" Cervantes howls, attempting to inspire his men to fight.

Lillian took what little time she had to her prayer, before she ducked back out of her hiding place, driving back into the battle as she came down closer to the courtyard, weapon drawn, her voice, honed by many years yelling from just these types of walls, ordering her men on into the fray, the sound of hooves on stone ringing, even in the midst of the battle. The Arkanin forces were being decimated, but the horsed archers were doing what they could to protect and save whomever they could even at the cost of so many that their bodies and those of the horses lost began to make their own sort of chokepoints on the ground.

As the wall is lost, and Jarret is driven down to the courtyard, he narrows his eyes as he sees Kalid's arrival. "What is to say that you, or whatever person you're being a slave to will not murder us all even if we surrender?" That comes out with a bit of a growl as he spits some blood. "You're being used by someone, Kalid Blood Hammer, and I'm sure they will turn against you as soon as you beat us. If the one I fought in the Fallow Lands is behind it, it's in their nature to use and abuse everyone for their own evil plans." There's a quick glance to the chaos around him, then back at the Partharian Prince.

But Tides can change in war and the Blood Hammer looks to Jarret and nods his head. "I am liekly being used. Just as you are Duke of the Sokar." He frowns once. "It appears I mispoke." He bows formally to Jarret. "We'll meet again Blood Axe. Then we can perhaps see who is being used better no?" He then turns and strides out of the Fortress.

As if it was a silent signal, the forces of Partharia begin to withdraw orderly. Fighting as they go, and giving as good as they get. At the walls, the assaults continue and the Slaves who took Jarret's section set fire to anything burnable, before quickly getting down their ladders and retreating.

It doens't take long before the night is filled with the crackle of burning buildings, and the sounds of the wounded.

Near where Dertan battles. the enemy Cavalry is brutalized in strategic traps as the Serpeants are now fighting on THEIR territory. From the shadows and the forests. The enemy eventually realizes this and pulls back quickly after heavy losses. From hsi position, Dertan can see formations of Infantry taking up positions and Horse archers behind them Though he's won this section of the battle, he's sieged as much as if he was in the Fortress itself.

There is nothing quite like galloping through a forest infested by Kaedon's to put you off an attack. As the cavalry attacks start to reduce Dertan moves his infantry behind barricades made of nothing but a few stacked lengths of greenwood. Slowly Dertan relaxes the tension on his bowstring and looks down towards the nearest man of rank. "Rotate the men between resting, guard and reinforcing the defenses." he jumps down from the tree. "I will show them what is needed." A waterskin is accepted and he guzzles down half of it before handing it back with a nod of thanks before turning to the cavalryman that handing it to him. "Take a half dozen men and get eyes on what is going on outside." He shoves his bow back into the hip quiver with a fair bit more force than is actually required and starts walking towards the nearest ditch-to-be. "I need information."

Once the enemy forces sound their retreat from the own massacre they were experiencing, Cervantes is down on one knee, his hand covering his side, which is bleeding from a fairly deep sword slash wound. "Yeah, you better run motherfuckers…" The brave Viscount stands with help from his greatsword, looking to the enemy as the Wolves of Murias continue to rain down hellfire upon them in the form of arrows. They whittle away as many as they can, with spearmen cutting down any unfortunate soul who runs past them.

But now he searches for his wife.

"Lillian?!" Cervantes calls out, looking around almost startledly. then he shouts to his men. "Reform the line! Anyone without a weapon, aid in rebuilding the gates that were shattered. Archers, rotate the guard on an hourly basis. Go now!"

Faith is a wonderful thing. And the Bordeaux forces have it in spades. In themselves, and in their ability to hold the line. Which they do, despite the crushing losses, despite the show of force of the Blood Hammer, the man terrifying enough to make souls quake in fear. Still, the archers press on, holding back the invading forces, even when some few of them, of those that remained were forces to fight with bow and blade both. As for Lillian, she pressed on, making her way down into the courtyard, the glaring white and red of her tabard marred by blood and fouler things. In the end, when the forces finally withdrew, there was barely anything white left on her at all, as she finally made it back to Cervantes, moving immediately to tend to his wound. "I'm here." Once a healer, always a healer. "We cannot stay here, Van. No amount of reinforcement is going to keep them out. If we are lost, three Houses will be left rudderless, and too many good men will be dead for nothing. We must speak to the Duke."

Pausing as he sees the enemy Prince just heading off, and bringing his forces too, Jarret looks quite unsure of how to react. Watching their enemy as if expecting them to turn around and attack, he grimaces, ordering people to reinforce the line, to try putting out whatever fires the enemy started. Stepping back a bit, he leans heavily against his poleaxe, glancing around to make sure as few people as possible sees him.

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