Part 45: Pangaea - Turns 21-22
So, I guess TC decided to invade me for some reason! I did not see this coming at all, for a couple of reasons. First, and this is my fault, because I had just sort of been ignoring him; Lilli handled all the diplomacy relevant to his joining in on our war against Arcos. This was me being lazy and it was dumb. Never trust a third party to handle things like this, even if your goals are perfectly aligned in the short term. Second, and this is Feinne's fault, because I think he generally has a good head on his shoulders and this is the stupidest fucking thing he could possibly have done. Seriously. I've been putting this update off while I try to think of a nicer way to put it, taking into account all the new information I have from his perspective up to this point. It's not working; stupidest strategic move possible. He borders me, Lanka, and Arcoscephale. He has passed up the opportunity to participate in two different 3-on-1 fights in favor of a one on one slog with the nation which (despite being weaker on the whole) is harder to kill quickly than any other present in this game, in which he has no possible allies and has now betrayed over half the players in the game. He even has a significant enough research and income advantage that turtling up for a little while would be a better call than this.
Now, I'm initially pessimistic about my chances against him long term; he's got the aforementioned size advantage, but if you look at the forces above they're really not that impressive. His sacreds are blenders and he has a lot more numbers than I have pd, but there's no real mage support present. I'm going to make him bleed for this.
I am very sad to be abandoning my border fort, but his larger force is too close to my cap (which is the only province I own that has anything remotely resembling gold income), so I have to focus on breaking it. I'll hope to retake the fort someday but for now I write it off and direct every bit of force I can spare and quite a bit that I can't to intercept his southern army. The only exception is my pretender because I don't have the research she'd need to contribute anything significant to this battle and I am still desperately hoping that she might eventually turn up a source of fire gems.
My army is, naturally, bigger than his. In the south you can see centaur cataphracts I recruited in anticipation of dealing with Sauro's archers; I placed them to meet his warriors of the five elements because they've got the best defensive stats of any of my troops and I think they can hold the line while I kill his everything else. In the north behind my lines is a group of devils from that site I found; they have been instructed to hold and attack rear which I expect to fail, but what kind of gambler would I be if I didn't at least try?
My mages spend the first round of combat casting Swarm, which summons a bunch of small flying insects. Their job is to fly directly into TC's front lines and tie up his archers, minimizing the amount of time they get to spend shooting at my actual (mostly shieldless) troops.
Eventually a few of his archers get some shots off despite the distraction, but it's hard to spot the damage for all the bodies.
It's enough time for my cataphracts to close with his sacreds, who were on hold orders to leave his archers more time to work.
My devils decide to help. I am briefly puzzled by their decision to cut diagonally across the battlefield but other than the lone mage those are the highest value targets present, so I am okay with it.
My revelers make contact with his northern flank and do unspeakable things to the horsemen who were unlucky enough to be placed in front.
They run for it about the same time my Maenads make contact. His archers have failed to thin their ranks significantly.
The rest of his army decides to run for it; the mage escapes, but the majority of the sacreds are boxed in and torn apart.
I am momentarily hesitant to order a pursuit; losing the first turn advantage means his archers are going to inflict a lot more damage, and his pd is respectable. On the other hand I killed most of his sacreds so I think there's a reasonable chance he'll pull the survivors back and try to regroup. And more importantly, the dirty son of a bitch is still sitting in my earth gem province. I will salt the earth over his grave with the ground bones of his children for this injustice, if I must sacrifice a million Maenads more to do it. Onward.