1874-11-02: Aequor Weathers the Storms
Aequor Weathers the Storm
IC Date: 2 Novembre, 1874 IE
Related Information: BB 17/227-229
Bitralund.jpg

Western Aequor - extent of the Njorfolk conquest, advent of Kingdom of Bitralund

With the falling of autumn in Aequor and the first snows likely less than a month away, the northern Kingdom appears to have weathered a series of storms – one from the sea and one from the mountains - and maintained its resiliency. Though Aequor is badly battered, yet it stands, shield up and gaze steady.

Along the western coastland of what was once the Province of Evalle, the rush of Njorfolk in Juin under Jarl Reist Ragnessen have successfully carved out a land of their own. Two groups of Njorfolk initially came – those sworn under oath to Jarl Reist himself, many from the poor interior of White Hall, and the raiders from their homeland’s coast. Though Reist’s clan Ragnessen are from the coast themselves, it is known that the Jarl built up a significant following in the inland areas.

Those sworn to the Jarl primarily focused on capturing and then holding territory. The coastal raiders tended to band up with Reist’s retainers only for the capture of Aequorian towns and castles, thereafter pushing up the rivers in search of plunder. In this way, the capitals of d’Bellet, d’Attardo and d’Orianne were taken, sacked and eventually garrisoned by the Jarl's retainers, while the raiders left once sated. Both d'Bellet and d'Attardo families have disappeared, while Lord and Lady d’Orianne appear to be hostages held directly by Reist.

After the fall of the al’Morena’s Duchy capital of Alasce to a large army under Jarl Reist himself and the destruction of this ancient family in mid Juin, the city was viciously sacked by the shipborne heathens, and much of its population enslaved. However, Reist declined to make this his seat, declaring that he would not live ‘where the scum had been accursed by the Gods’, instead ordering that the fortifications be repaired and improved by the enslaved citizens. The city of Alasce is now known as Hjalmar’s Gate, after the Tuskanuld God of Vigilance, and is a shell of its former self. Since the repairs concluded, many of the enslaved citizens were transported to White Hall. It is likely that this is to be their strong hand in the north – potentially a base for further conquests one day, but for now a shield of their other holdings, and heavily garrisoned by Njor Vigamandr.

In mid Aout, Jarl Reist began shifting his focus to the south of Evalle, as most of the raiders pushed onward to the east and northeast up rivers, as deep as the al’Callenta Duchy of Murnord. While Aequor’s Argent and Arrani Legions began to combat the raiders with much success, Reist used his retainers to swiftly isolate the d’Geroux capital on the coast.

Attempts to push on Baron Eisen d’Geroux’s Fox Hollow and House d’Arx were stopped throughout Aout, after his banner conducted daring guerilla actions and a stout defence of their positions. Casualties were very high on both sides, but Baron d'Geroux remained in control of his towns, his fortifications and most of the hinterland. As with elsewhere, though, once the Njor took too many casualties, they simply stripped the countryside of supplies and then pulled back elsewhere, happy to leave the Barony to its own devices.

In early Octobre, Jarl Reist launched a night attack on d’Geroux’s county capital, repeating his success in the taking of Alasce in the early summer. Most of the d’Geroux family was killed, with Countess Talia being executed in the public square in front of the assembled citizens. However, unlike Alasce, the city was not sacked, though many of its residents were expelled or enslaved. Jarl Reist has made this his capital and renamed it Skjalfandi, which allegedly refers to the earth-shaking quality of Njor rams smashing down the d’Geroux gates.

By the time the weather began to turn cold, the Argent and Arrani legions had re-established themselves in forts that they had manned very recently against the legions of Kentaire, and were increasingly successful against the Njor coastal raiders. Meanwhile, the Royal Aequorian Navy and the d’Juliano Zephyr Legion have kept any further Njorfolk ships confined to the areas around their conquests, with forays towards Aequor’s capital of Lyionesse defeated by the realm’s sailors. Many of those raiders who had come only for plunder and slaves realised that the tide was turning and easy pickings gone and departed to return to White Hall with fame and riches.

On Spirit Day, 31 Octobre 1874 of the Imperial Era, Reist Ragnessen was crowned as King of the new realm of Bitralund in his capital of Skjalfandi. With much of the land fallow from years of conflict, a surge of settlers from White Hall have emigrated to Bitralund in their thousands to make new lives for themselves. Like many of King Reist’s stalwarts, they are from the poor and rather backwards interior clans of White Hall. The occupation of such rich land, then, is a true opportunity for them. Those stalwart Vigamandr who swore to King Reist combined with these newcomers are likely more than enough to fend off any attacks, but maybe not to conduct the same large-scale occupation and plundering that they did during the summer, at least, unless they are augmented with more allies next year. It remains to be seen whether they are subject to White Hall’s High Queen Romily, and if they will attempt to establish relations with their new neighbours, but as the weather chills, so does any movement, and it may be until spring or summer until things are clear.

The situation in the eastern County Hellsmouth is much simpler – little action, less movement. With the focus of Aequor shifted decisively to the west to combat King Reist’s forces, those soldiers who’ve stayed in the east to fight the Kultepex Melkete have adopted a wholly defensive posture. Active patrolling certainly continues to be pursued, and raids and skirmishes occur on a regular basis, but by and large things are static. Viscount Ludovic d'Korbina has steadily built up fortifications over the summer, seriously improving his defensive positions. Most of the Galenthians seem to have left for their garrisons in the south to do much the same on the Arkanin side of the border, and now man a series of stout forts both on the border and further in depth. The Imperial Colony of Paras, too, has remained static, building defences and conducting garrison routine rather than embarking upon a campaign.

None of this would have been possible if the Kultepex Malkete had launched an offensive, as it had seemed likely in the late spring. It appears that the Kultepex have been set upon in their rear by another group of Qatunax known only as the Mountain Peoples. While both the Kultepex and Mountain Peoples are Qatunax, they appear to differ significantly in dress, customs and way of war; the latter fight in smaller numbers but are better armed, armoured and trained than their lowland cousins. Of course, the fact that they are squabbling with each other should be no surprise – the Qatunax are famously fractious, and the High Malki of their entire people likely sees this as a way to channel aggressive warriors towards unconquered lands.

Indeed, beyond attacking their kin in the Kultepex, the Mountain Peoples have also thrown themselves at the Imperial Remnant along the eastern shores of Lake Constantius, which has occupied the Imperial forces here but also interdicted all supply lines to Paras. This logistical setback has meant that Paras has not had the capability to do much but remain in place, though at least no one is starving. As the snows inundate the mountain passes, it is unlikely that much movement will happen on the eastern front for the remainder of the year. Still, Aequor has adeptly managed to hunker down and absorb beatings on both flanks. It seems likely that their experiences during the Thirty Years War and the War of the West have taught the Aequorians the value of resilience, and it will take an absolute catastrophe to bring this proud northern Kingdom low.

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