Part 34: 1433-The Fall of Horus the HolyThe Fall of Horus the Holy
As 1433 began, the High Queen, Dagmaer, began to prepare for the coming of war, working great magics over the beginning of the year. In Fourthmonth, the power of the Stalwart Warrior suffused her armies, filling them with valor and with a sense of great purpose, steeling them for the rigors ahead. Then, in Ninthmonth, the power of the Serene Mother was instilled across the kingdom, filling all persons with new health and vigor, helping ensure that the armies of the Kingdom of Nine Crowns could endure the injuries and the hardships of war.
As this work was completed, however, more misfortune visited the kingdom, as more of the coin in circulation had to be withdrawn as more counterfeits were detected. Meanwhile, Horus, who had led the lizardkin under his rule to settle in Northerland, issued further threats, which made it clear that the peace with Horus could not endure.
The month following, the High Queen formally issued a statement condemning Horus, and repudiating the oaths of peace which they had sworn years before. In honor of those oaths, she did not yet take acts of war, but she prepared to strike.
Then, in Eleventhmonth, the war began with a flying ship harrying the lizardkin settlers of Shatterod from Northerland. Rather than endure the raids of the Royal Navy, the settlers scattered, fleeing back to their previous lands.
Moving military forces into an outpost automatically destroys it.
Meanwhile, Hrodvaldur, Vigny, their personal guards, and Hesed had been borne by the wind to Baronstown, where they prepared to confront Horus in the seat of his power. The city was strongly fortified, and garrisoned with five companies of holy knights, a company of priests, and the personal guards of three great lords of the Fairlands under Horus.
The bulk of the force was made up of holy knights of the high men. They were armored in plate and heavily armed with lance, sword, and mace, the pride of the military might of Fairlands. The shock of their charge could punch through much armor, and their prayers instilled might in the whole of the army.
Holy Bonus, as you may recall, is an army-wide boost to attack, defense, and resistance. Only the best holy bonus applies, so large armies of paladins at least don't add up huge holy bonuses to each other.
Field command was held by the Lord Marco, the chief of Horus' spy network and a skillful tactician, propagandist, and trainer of soldiers. Through Lord Marco's efforts, the fame and repute of Horus had been greatly magnified in his lands, and the training of the knights that defended it was perfected.
Armsmaster increases the experience gained by normal units every turn, due to the ability of the hero to coordinate training.
One who named himself Morphis led another detachment. He was Horus' closest personal advisor, who concealed his form in cloaks and masks, and whose history was unknown to all before Horus caused him to be brought forth. What was known is that he was a skilled magician and master of the sword, and had instructed Horus in many secrets of Sorcery. Through his power, he attempted to shield one company of knights from the bolts of Vigny and her scouts.
The 'Unknown' is notable amongst heroes in that they have no preset skills. All the skills of the Unknown are randomly determined each game, and so their strengths and weaknesses can vary widely.
Sardon was a brown man of great antiquity and learning, whose studies had greatly helped advance the knowledge of magic in the Fairlands. He used his not inconsiderable power to attempt to thwart any magics used by the Royal Army in their attack.
He would normally have a ranged magic attack listed, but since he used all his magic points on casting Counter Magic, it was not shown.
Despite Sardon's efforts, Hrodvaldur was capable of calling the blessing of the Stalwart Warrior upon the attacking forces, even as Vigny and the scouts dropped bolts amongst Marco and his guard, slaying them to the last man. With magic strengthening him and with his armor rendering him nigh-impervious to the blows of the enemy, Hrodvaldur then advanced, fighting his way through the knights guarding the gates of the city.
Before long, Hrodvaldur was in the city itself, while the scouts had slain Morphis and his lot, the priests, and a company of knights. Though the knights fought valiantly, they could not stand against Hrodvaldur, whose mighty armor granted him speed, strength, and protection beyond all estimation.
Soon the victory was taken, although the fighting had taken its toll on the city itself. A fire had started amongst some of the bakeries of the city, burning down a significant section of the city. Horus was cornered in his palace, and turned a knife upon himself rather than face capture by Hrodvaldur. The city belonged, now, to Dagmaer. Though the bodies of those who had defended the city were gathered for burial, Morphis' corpse was never found- only an empty cloak and mask amidst the bodies of his guard.
With the capture of Horus' palace and personal library, Dagmaer was able to learn certain Sorceries she was yet unfamiliar with, further cementing her mastery of magic.
Horus' domain, meanwhile, fell into chaos, for without Horus to unite them there was no successor to the crown that could be agreed upon. Many of the further reaches of his kingdom broke free entirely, while local lords disputing the succession tore the remainder of the kingdom apart.
With Baronstown taken, the surveillance by Sorcery Horus had held over the city was dismantled, as Dagmaer saw no need for such works. Further, the beginnings of the blessing of the Sagacious Counselor were brought to the city, helping it to discover new vitality even as it recovered from the scars of war and the strict rule of Horus.
The year brought further scouting of Arcanus by Dagmaer's puppet-spirit, and scouting of much of the Fairlands as the Kingdom of Nine Crowns finally committed to war.
The Kingdom of Nine Crowns as of Twelfthmonth 1433
Despite the prosperity of the kingdom on Myrror, the great expense of absorbing Baronstown has had a noticeable impact on the crown's finances. It seems unlikely that the crown could afford to conquer the whole of Horus' former territories, even if it wanted to, for each new conquest will be a drain on the treasury. Still, perhaps securing a portion of the Fairlands may be the best course to come. As Dagmaer has de-emphasised her personal efforts at research, she has been able to greatly increase the amount of power available for her to perform new works of magic.
Crownsail has grown and prospered over the last year, raising a major temple to the Bright Gods and levying a local militia to defend the town. It has become a notable commercial center, well-situated to handle trade between Westerland and Sutherland, and its local industries and artisans have begun to produce many goods for the consumption of the kingdom.
Learning and industry have grown in Caradas over the past year, with timbering, trapping, and hunting grown as industries and the iron mines of the district expanded. It seems that Caradas only continues to prosper.
Baronstown is a major city, rival of many of the cities on Myrror in size. It is poorly situated for major industry, with few mines to supply its forges, but over the years its commerce has developed and moneylending in the city has helped develop its prosperity. It is the site of both a major military naval base, suitable for building massive warships, and a training center for the army that has no rival on Myrror. The destruction of many of the city's bakeries has resulted in a sudden shortage of bread, but new bakeries have been built and should shortly remedy the problem. Its people are passionately religious, and a massive temple forms the heart of the city in a way unknown to dwarven towns.
Baronstown has a Maritime Guild, needed for the strongest ships in the game, and a War College, which allows all new units built here to start as Veterans. As it has no hills or mountains to work, it cannot build a Miners' Guild, and it lacks either a Wizards' Guild or Merchants' Guild. As you may note, the city is massively expensive to us, with fairly limited benefits from holding it- this will be a problem with any Arcanian towns we take, as none of them have the inherent magic generation to make up for their lower economic potential compared to dwarves.
With recent victories, the fame of the High Queen has surged to even higher levels. It seems likely she will go down in history to match even Jerome the Magnificent.
The High Queen has refocused her efforts on providing power to achieve new works of magic, while Tauron and Freya have joined in alliance in the hopes of standing against Dagmaer's might.
All her long studies have borne fruit- within a month, the High Queen Dagmaer should be capable of beginning the Spell of Mastery, having solved to her satisfaction the puzzle of what failed when the Red Sorcerer cast it. With command of all the magic of Arcanus and Myrror, she should be able to ensure a new age of peace and prosperity now, and forever.
While the Spell of Mastery is cast, however, the High Queen may have the opportunity to intervene to some extent in the civil war in Fairlands. What shall we take, as we head forward into the glorious future that awaits us?