Part 22: 1420-The Crown of All MyrrorThe Crown of all Myrror
As the year of 1420 began, Queen Dagmaer sought to contact King Arbax of Bantanu through her magic and the intermediation of a goatkin savant of Bantanu, Thadak the Shaggy. Although she implored him to surrender the Black Brotherhood to her justice, King Arbax staunchly refused, secure in his pride and not fully comprehending the might of Dagmaer and her kingdom. Dismayed by her inability to achieve her end by diplomacy, Queen Dagmaer proclaimed war against Bantanu, and dispatched the field forces of the Royal Army against Bantanu. The three new companies of heavy infantry trained and equipped in Easthold were led by Hrodvaldur Gjafvaldursson, with Vigny Rolfsdottir and Eigil Einarsson also holding holding leadership positions in the force. Early in Firstmonth they took ship from Goldwash, making their way to Sutherland and Bantanu. The departure of Hrodvaldur, unfortunately, considerably slowed the work on the creation of the new crossbow Queen Dagmaer had designed, for she had relied on his considerable skill as an assistant in her work of wizardry.
In Thirdmonth, the force arrived and made landing, with the armies of Bantanu drawing up to meet the Royal Army near the town. Six companies of goatkin armed with heavy polearms and armored in mail marched to confront the Royal Army, with two minotaur nobles as the captains of their most elite company. Though they had an advantage in numbers, the dwarven arms and armor were superior, and Hrodvaldur's tactical skill was unmatched.
Standard beastkin units get +1 attack and +1 hit compared to 'default', making them slightly stronger on the attack but less durable than standard dwarves.
As the armies of Bantanu advanced, Hrodvaldur called upon the skill and blessing of the Stalwart Warrior, calling upon his inspiration and protection for every soldier of the Royal Army, before ordering Eigil to advance alone while the infantry drew up ranks. Crossbow shot from Vigny and her scouts began to fall amongst the soldiers of Bantanu, causing losses in their front ranks, while Eigil's mighty bronze form drew forward to confront the enemy alone.
The wisdom of Hrodvaldur's tactics quickly proved themselves. Although the goatkin fought desperately, their blows proved incapable of causing any meaningful damage to Eigil's frame, between his armor and his sturdy composition. Eigil's great fists struck down enemy after enemy, sweeping through several goatkin in a single blow. While Eigil fought, Vigny and her scouts continued to loose shot upon the enemy, cutting down more of the foe. In the end, the armies of Bantanu were shattered before they reached the dwarven lines, having inflicted no casualties nor even any noticeable damage upon Eigil.
Seeing the terrifying completeness of his defeat, Arbax instructed his son, Torbax, saying that he should willingly surrender the crown to the dwarven forces. Then, as the Royal Army took possession of the town, Torbax, by request of his father, took up his father's axe and struck his father's head from his shoulders, for Arbax believed that his failure as a king and a warrior which cost the lives of his followers and the crown of his family required a harsh penance. As the Royal Army took possession of the fortress at the center of the town, Torbax related this to the leaders of the Royal Army, bowing before them and offering his father's crown. He was supported in his story by the chief retainers of his late father.
Hearing this story, Hrodvaldur accepted the crown in trust, taking up governorship of Bantanu for the time, and taking Torbax as an aide while he set to his work. Bantanu had its central fortress and a great many savants and magicians, but its district was poorly-cultivated, with serf-worked fields only poorly-developed. Hrodvaldur set first to ensuring the serfs were freed, and encouraged that new agricultural methods should be taught to the folk of the district. He also engaged in much discussion and study with the savants of Bantanu in his stay, seeking to learn of what lore they had preserved in this place.
Most of the Black Brotherhood was swiftly apprehended and its members beheaded, although only a small fraction of the treasure they stole was able to be recovered. With this, justice was served, and the objective of the war completed. Those few that escaped fled into the wilderness, living a hard life as outlaws and fugitives.
While the Royal Army seized Bantanu in Thirdmonth, other news reached the kingdom from other quarters. The little town of Shadowwood in Westerland had grown to such an extent that it could truly be considered a town, and the dark elven settlement about it had truly tamed the frontier region in which it stood. Blademarsh, too, had become a major center of shipping, helping support the bustling sea trade of the kingdom.
Not all the news of Thirdmonth was so happy, however. The forces of Horus the Holy overcame the defenders of the orcish town of Charack subject to the Storm Tribes, and set the town aflame. The district was laid waste, its inhabitants scattered or put to the sword. Many of those who survived fled south into the harsh wastelands, hoping to survive long enough to seek refuge in the still-independent despotate of Kraag Pool.
A month later, as the shipyards of Fangrock were completed, news of a marvel and wonder spread throughout the kingdom. Work was begun on new merchant ships enchanted by the Sorcery of dragonkin savants, which could fly through the air with great speed. Although the Sorcery which supported them could only bear aloft small ships with light cargoes, for swift delivery of the most valuable cargoes these ships would be unmatched. If equipped with lighter dwarven steam cannon, they could perhaps also be adapted as warships, capable of supporting actions both at land and sea.
Dragonkin can't build Mechanicians' Guilds and thus lack the engineering for catapults, yet their air ships are equipped with what is essentially a catapult as a ranged attack. A little odd.
Air Ships cannot carry other units, unlike seaborne ships, and have a notably weaker melee attack than Galleys (presumably due to a smaller contingent of armed marines). They, however, have much greater mobility, with both higher base speed and flight, and are armed with a much more powerful ranged attack that makes them good for bombardment support. Although a little weaker on the attack than Steam Cannon, they have a much higher defense, flight, and more hits, which makes them notably more survivable- and we've seen the issues Steam Cannon have with survivability.
Queen Dagmaer had not been idle over the year, and both her studies and her work in enchanting the mighty crossbow she had designed continued. In Tenthmonth, she discovered how the favor of the Serene Mother might be called down sufficient for an entire town, filling the waters of a fountain with a peerless healing virtue.
That same month astrologers saw a trio of blue stars come together in the sky. All agreed that this marked a strengthening of the powers of Sorcery in the nodes of magic of the world, rising ascendant for the time over Nature and Chaos.
Over all the year the explorations of Dagmaer's puppet-spirit continued. The northern extent of the land linked to by the First Tower was mapped, further extending the borders of knowledge about Arcanus. Still, the world of Arcanus was far from fully-explored.
The Kingdom of Greater Dvergursheim as of Twelfthmonth 1420
Even with the new expense of administering Bantanu, the disposable income flowing into the crown's treasury has continued to grow as the kingdom has prospered. With the conquest of Bantanu, a single crown now reigns over every people of Myrror, and only the monsters that still lurk in nodes and the untamed lands beyond the limits of settlement remain as threats to the kingdom. The conjunction's effects and growing power supplied by her towns have greatly bolstered the power available to Queen Dagmaer.
The Cities screen is an excellent way to review net productivity of many towns at a glance, and can be used to jump to any specific town in order to manage it. Towns appear to be sorted by date of foundation on the Cities screen, with all towns that existed at game start coming before any founded by settlers later.
Work on the various temples to the Bright Gods in Darkshore continues slowly, while the town grows and goes about its business. Darkshore remains the least developed town on Dvergursheim, although it is a prosperous enough place.
Blademarsh has become a major shipping center, hosting a large and wealthy merchant class and nearly as prosperous as many dwarven towns. Engineers setting up triphammers, skilled architects, and other specialists providing advanced techniques in craft and industry are beginning to bolster the productivity of the town.
With a Merchants' Guild, Blademarsh now would produce as much revenue from population as a dwarven town with a Marketplace... if not for the fact that dwarven towns get greater benefits from the Prosperity spell, given their higher base income. The added upkeep cost also limits how much benefit we get out of it, but I presume that even if our low taxes render the net profit to our treasury from high-level commercial structures, they certainly provide extra prosperity to the general population.
The notorious secrecy of the savant caste of the dragonkin has begun to crack, with their members beginning to participate more actively in the intellectual life of the kingdom. Several small merchant vessels have been commissioned by the new shipyards of the town, providing fast, flying delivery ships for small cargoes or a few wealthy passengers. The Navy, however, has not yet chosen to commission any vessels at Fangrock's shipyards, letting the town's workforce focus on other matters.
With the supplies available from the booming alchemists' workshops of the city of Bloodrock and with the many magicians studying at the university there, great strides in the study of magic are being made here. A great school for the advanced study of magic and training of magicians is being established, a center for both teaching and for experimentation to push the boundries of knowledge of magic.
Leer's importance as a commercial and shipping center is growing, and its merchant class has begun to swell. It has joined Blademarsh as a commercial shipbuilding center, providing roundships for the great bulk cargoes of the kingdom's trade.
The expansions to the temple of the Great Lady in Darkhold have finally been completed, providing a large and beautiful center for worship and culture in the town. The studies of locals have led to a growing class of savants in the town, and work has begun on the establishment of a university here like those in Bloodrock, Blademarsh, and Leer.
Njallshold is now served by alchemical foundries and workshops, metallurgists processing ore in preparation for later forging. With the town's great wealth, it has been able to quickly establish a temple to the Bright Gods, which is still undergoing construction on outlying wings and taking in new decoration and furnishings.
The sawmills processing timber from Firesands' district now conduct a booming business, providing lumber for new construction in the town. A small monastery retreat for the town's priests has been established somewhat out of town, where they gather for meditation and contemplation, and a building intended as a town library has nearly been finished with being stocked with copied books.
The new library in Pyre has been completed, providing access to books for the entire town. Meanwhile, work has redoubled by mining engineers and technicians in Pyre, working to establish deeper mines, steam-driven pumps, cargo transport, and triphammers, and other such work to aid the mining and industry of the town.
Shadowwood has prospered quickly, its district being well-ordered and well-cultivated and its markets busy and flowing with coin. Much of the economy of the town is based on the export of raw coal and mithril, both of which are in high demand. Profits from its exports have helped finance a new library and the copying of texts from across the kingdom, providing a storehouse of lore for the new town.
Serfdom has been abolished as an institution in Bantanu. Many of the former serfs now work the fields of the landlords in exchange for a portion of their crop, while others have moved to seek their fortunes in the town itself. Merchant ships from Dvergursheim and Osterland now regularly put in at Bantanu, and usage of coinage in trade has become widespread in the town. Hrodvaldur, during his administration of the town, had supplied money and support to the cult of the Mighty-Thewed One, while simultaneously working to suppress the veneration of the Dark Gods, although it has been difficult to truly monitor the manticores and centaurs roaming the edges of the district.
Given Torbax's loyal service over the past year, Hrodvaldur has been preparing to return the crown of Bantanu to the minotaur youth, crowning him as a king subject to the crown of Greater Dvergursheim. A local militia is being mustered, to serve Torbax once he takes up the crown.
Horus the Holy and Queen Freya seem to be relatively assured of Dagmaer's good intent, although the Storm Tribes still fear and mistrust the strange wizard that Dagmaer is to them. Although the project to complete the crossbow she designed was much-delayed with Hrodvaldur's departure, it now is very near completion, soon to free her for other tasks.
1420 ends with every town of Myrror under Queen Dagmaer's rule, a glorious achievement. After twenty-one long years of rule, Dagmaer is still unmarried, seemingly having been too absorbed by her work to consider such things, and rumor and speculation as to whether she shall ever get around to such personal matters have begun to grow, and even some priests point out that honoring the Serene Mother properly would be a great deal easier for the Queen were she to take a spouse. Regardless, the kingdom remains strong and prosperous, thriving under the light and just rule of Queen Dagmaer. May its prosperity continue unbroken to the future!