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Thread: [FACTION PREVIEW] East Empire

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    Icon3 [FACTION PREVIEW] East Empire


    FULL FACTION PREVIEW:
    Eastern Marches of the Empire and the Myr Addat


    *UPDATED WITH VIDEOS*



    Eastern Empire Faction Details - Basis

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    THE POSITION OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE




    FACTIONAL UNITS
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Gathered from the lowest rungs of society and hostages of conquered nations, the Legions are a formidable force to behold. Any man who joins is told it will wash any stain from his soul. They gain status, pay, and a new life. In return they must fight for the Empire and, if need be, die for it. Fight they do, and the slaughtered foes at their feet can attest to that.

    Wielding pikes thrice as tall as a man, these soldiers form the mainstay of any army put into the field by the Empire. Although primarily made up of young, conscripted men from the conquered provinces of the Empire, they are still a fearsome fighting force utilising highly organised formations to defeat any enemy foolish enough to challenge the might of the Empire.






    Gathered from the lowest rungs of society and hostages of conquered nations, the Legions are a formidable force to behold. Any man who joins is told it will wash any stain from his soul. They gain status, pay, and a new life. In return they must fight for the Empire and, if need be, die for it. Fight they do, and the slaughtered foes at their feet can attest to that.

    The Empire often uses those men recruited into the Legions from rural areas as bowmen. Whereas previously they used the bow to hunt game to survive, they now target the enemies of the Empire in great volleys of arrows with almost pinpoint accuracy.






    Gathered from the lowest rungs of society and hostages of conquered nations, the Legions are a formidable force to behold. Any man who joins is told it will wash any stain from his soul. They gain status, pay, and a new life. In return they must fight for the Empire and, if need be, die for it. Fight they do, and the slaughtered foes at their feet can attest to that.

    Those men who prove their worth amongst the ranks of the infantry Legions are promoted to serve as cavalrymen. Because of this, the Lancers are seen as the most prestigious of the Empireís Legions where veteran soldiers display their skill and prowess, often by defending the flanks of the less mobile pike formations of the Empire.






    These men are forged in the harsh northern provinces of Ancillia. From a painfully young age they are hardened beyond belief to serve the Empire. Before its existence they were sold to fight in the pits and arenas of the lands, but now they fight for honour. Despite these lofty ideals they still fight with teeth, claws, fingers, and various cruelly shaped blades. They are the embodiment of ferocity with only one rule in mind: kill or be killed. Killing is what they do well, and even as they fall they are known to bring several foes down with them. Even then some are reputed to have gotten back up from 'mortal' wounds and fight on without eyes, teeth, or limbs.






    Men of Atakash are able to paint, dance, sing, and read. They are also, however, able to fight like demons. Gifted the wings of angels from unknown elven beneficiaries, they can run more softly than other troops can and slay several foes at once in strange dances. They may look like angels, but they are angels of Death from the halls of Tsibi!






    The Pikemen of Dalthrasia are probably the best the world has to offer. Pikemen, as a rule, are not a popular fighting unit, as their mobility and adaptability are exploited mercilessly by the more fluid cavalry of other nations. However, the Dalthrasians are both disciplined and deadly, and the Empire is the best fighting force in the use of Pikemen. Imperial armies are well drilled, and their battle lines are strongly adapted to the use of pikemen. The Dalthrasians mere presence on a battlefield lends great confidence to any army, and a fearsome presence to enemy forces. It is said that they have never broken, and that they have never lost a battle, but the latter is quite possibly exaggerated. Dalthrasia is one of the strongest supporters of the Only Church, historically, and many of the best Temple forces were first formed there. Above all else, however, the Province is one of the most loyal to the Empire, and their pride is shown in the numbers of Pikemen they produce for the East.






    The Wardens of Duinir have been a uniting force for centuries; well before the Empire came to being. They remained separate from the normal people of the Province, and served as judges, a military backbone and a symbol of nobility and wisdom. Now they see themselves as Imperial by default. The Wardens are highly trained for their peculiar form of tactics and are able to live from the land; many enemies have been caught within their demesne and been either annihilated or routed. The Naugiri came, and much of this changed overnight. The first groups of Wardens to respond to their peoples' calls were either destroyed or forced back, and many tiny villages were abandoned; the Wardens fought for time, and many were slain, but they found methods to confuse the Orcs, found their weak points and the death toll of these invaders far exceeded their own within weeks. The Naugiri forced several armies through Duinir, but were harassed constantly. Their supply lines were crippled in raids, and the Orcs learned to fear the Ghost Shrouds, as they named them. The Wardens are fewer now, but they are excellent. In the East they are one of the best guerilla forces, if not the best, amongst humans, but they are unsuited to static battles, unless supported heavily by staunch units, allowing them to fight in the way they excel.

    Warden archers are marvellous hunters, but they only display their abilities in battle. They lack arrogance, yet are marksmen beyond compare, and they fight for the best reasons only. They send their men for the Empire, to fight abroad, but they remain mostly defensive in their own lands; most Emperors have seen this as their best use of such an asset; now the Naugiri have almost completely removed the need for any Wardens to fight elsewhere.






    The Wardens of Duinir have been a uniting force for centuries; well before the Empire came to being. They remained separate from the normal people of the Province, and served as judges, a military backbone and a symbol of nobility and wisdom. Now they see themselves as Imperial by default. The Wardens are highly trained for their peculiar form of tactics and are able to live from the land; many enemies have been caught within their demesne and been either annihilated or routed. The Naugiri came, and much of this changed overnight. The first groups of Wardens to respond to their peoples' calls were either destroyed or forced back, and many tiny villages were abandoned; the Wardens fought for time, and many were slain, but they found methods to confuse the Orcs, found their weak points and the death toll of these invaders far exceeded their own within weeks. The Naugiri forced several armies through Duinir, but were harassed constantly. Their supply lines were crippled in raids, and the Orcs learned to fear the Ghost Shrouds, as they named them. The Wardens are fewer now, but they are excellent. In the East they are one of the best guerilla forces, if not the best, amongst humans, but they are unsuited to static battles, unless supported heavily by staunch units, allowing them to fight in the way they excel.

    Wardens deploy mostly archers in their battles, but they have units of Spearmen to protect their archers. They learned many years ago that, although archers are highly mobile, if they are caught they are extremely vulnerable, so they began the use of Spearmen in reserve, to prevent such things. Their Spearmen are highly skilled and determined, but they are still fairly lightly armoured, so redirection of enemies is preferable to static combat.






    This unit was formed in the elder days of the Ghaurchlai Wars, when men were given the Eternal Flame to carry in small necklaces: a fire that drew from ley that would never perish as long as their hearts were pure. To the four corners of the Empire the Warflames carry what is right and just with them, uplifting virtue and felling their foes. They are the greatest soldiers of the world. Never have they given an inch of ground or fled the field. Warflames die where they stand.






    Sharing their heritage with the people of Saladir, considering their Ashapuri ancestors little more than degenerates, the proud Horse Lords of Kai Losson are born to the saddle, their bows handled with such precision that the plains run clear in their passing. Their halls are filled with the trappings of their lives, silvered bows, beautiful images in bone, silver and gold, these halls lie abandoned much of the time, as their Lords fight along the borders with the Hawkmasks of Ashapur and now the Sythys Cult Temple forces. Bitterly opposed to slavery, they have forged a life that is perfect for both defence against it's predations, and the swiftness to strike back at the vagaries of the culture itself. Their riders fight a ceaseless war, often in their own borders, equally inside those of Ashapur. Not even their Saladiri cousins fight with as much tenacity. The Horse Lords are hugely mobile, tough and fearless. Some say they collect the golden teeth of the Hawkmasks and send them to the Bandit Kings each year, to aid them in their struggle with Ashapur. There is hatred in subjugation to that extreme, ad the Kai Losson equal it in return. The Myr Addat call them 'Addalatar', the meaning of which is not entirely clear, but they do give them more respect than any other culture the Myr Addat know.








    The Emperor Valerian named this unit the lionhearts for their 'greatness of heart in battle'. These men are heavy foot and cavalry armed with swords. Men who face them on the field of battle and live to tell the tale call them 'knights'. Empire texts, however, refer to them as just Lionhearts. They are strong of mind, noble of features, and gracious in war. Many lines of spearmen have been crushed beneath the charge of the Karesi and their ancient armour - armour that has remained the same since they first wore it decades before.






    The Addati are a bizarre part of humanity. They area a tribal race, living in a stretch of desert known for it's cavernous, hidden sinkholes and the great Vakalarar that lay in wait in their depths, to devour the unwary, even in their hundreds. The Addati are bonded with Malech, through some arcane surgery or consequence. Through their veins runs Malech, the black metal that holds magic like wood does water. This metal is released via heart-plugs, to flow over body and weapons, solidifying to encase the warrior in a pliant metal that is far stronger than iron or steel, and absorbs and dissipates even magic. This metal, even after hardening, moves as the body does, responding to some quality in the warrior and his unique racial stock.






    These are known as the Silver Lords, cousins of the Horse Lords of Kai Losson. They are a wonder to watch, riding at breakneck speeds, covered in shining helms and mail, their long lances able to pierce shield and mail both. They ride at the front of any army they belong to; first to fight, vanguard or rearguard of a failed host, these men will not give to anything or anyone, and their allegiance cannot be bought, for they fight for higher purpose. Their hatred is reserved mostly for Ashapur and her slavers. They are proudly Imperial, and Valerian brought much strength to their nation, gave them the strength to never truly fear invasion and the freedom to skirmish along their borders, even into Ashapur in pursuit of any slavers to be found. Their dislike of the Slave Trade is not as fanatical as Kai Losson's masters, but they measure their noble riders by the amount of gold teeth collected; only on death are these sold, and the Empire buys these from the family of a slain Lancer, to prepare his family for life without him.






    The Attalian Prophets taught the warrior-born of the Sea of Grass how to tame and use the great Spurhawks of their lands for war. Called spurhawks for the savage claws they bear, these war-birds bear a single rider to battle, using lance or bow to savage their foes. With a thousand of these warriors, Valerian forged an Empire that stands 1300 years later still. The tribes of the Sea of Grass still stay within the Empire, and they still send some of their people to war for them, as proud as ever. More than this, they have bred the SPurhawks in greater numbers and their main livelihood is the training of these beasts. Ridden mostly by Legion warriors, the Spurhawks have made the lands they hail from a legend, and their power in battle is without equal on the Eastern continent. Their wingspan is enormous, making the single rider look tiny by comparison, and their impact is almost entirely due to the mount and not the rider.






    The followers of the Brazen Queen could not be entirely eradicated, and some were absorbed into Valerian's Empire alongside promises of fealty. Most kept to these promises. The Brazen Sons were crushed in the short war that saw the Queen's death, but now the descendants fight in the Imperial Army. These were the personal Guard of the Brazen Queen, and they remember her in their homes and mansions, yet they fight for the Empire as well as they did for her. Most are loyal in the absolute. Wielding great flaming swords, they are butchers in battle. Their countenance is fearsome and their battle cries and screams sound unearthly as their masks amplify them. Foes have run from these warrior-elites before they have closed to a hundred yards, depriving them of the joy of the massacre to follow.






    The followers of the Brazen Queen could not be entirely eradicated, and some were absorbed into Valerian's Empire alongside promises of fealty. Most kept to these promises. The Noble Sons were crushed in the short war that saw the Queen's death, but now the descendants fight in the Imperial Army. They ride golden chariots, heavy and yet swift, and older weapons, adopted by the magic-obsessed Queen are theirs again; small hilts form a launcher that fires devastating volleys of ley javelins at their foes. In close combat, they are ferocious, and their charge often ends the resistance of any units that they strike before such things matter. Proud, arrogant, their elder armour and face-veils lend a supernatural quality to these warriors; even if it must be in the service of the Empire, they jostle madly for the honour of battle, and they bear their manner well. Only a fool discounts warriors like these.




    UNIT SHOWCASE: Atakash Angelbloods
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Angelbloods are probably amongst the first five or six units I made for Dragondawn. I've updated them a little since, as I look back at the first batches of units and groan inwardly. They are pretty much my favourite unit for the Empire, and one of the top ten of all. Simply the idea of them, the name and the place they live in and the Province itself are great. I outdid myself with them, I think, and I don't say that sort of thing, ever. The ruling warrior-caste of a fanatical fighting-nation, aided by a form of ambient Ley in their 'wings', they travel quite swiftly, and their two blades make people hurt a lot. I was never sure they weren't a bit cartoony in places, but it translates in the engine well, and they don't look that way at all. They are a unit that will cut through stuff swiftly; they don't run away and they have morale effects that affect friends and enemies. They are vital in so many ways, as they can reinforce pretty much any front in the east. The inspiration was from nowhere....I knew I wanted them to be as good as I could make them and they just went from 'no idea' to what they are.





    UNIT SHOWCASE: Dalthrasian Pike
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Empire as a whole is quite hard from any point of view. You have to make them unusual; from their system of government, to base troops needing to be good to look at, then to making the Provinces utterly unique and different from each other. Most factions need a bit of uniformity, but the Empire really needs the opposite - they are nearly two-thirds of the world in size, three factions and cover many different nations and racial types. Where the Dalthrasians were concerned, they're 'just' pikemen, but it's also where the Church of the Only God started and became powerful from, so it was a really hard thing to get them looking okay. The Empire has Pikemen, so they needed to be totally different from them. I kind of tried to use a similar look to the Only Church's forces, so you could see something of where they had come from, too. The Dalthrasians basically are the most solid and dependable foot troops, and they are so strikingly different from any other Empire unit. I tried using them in other ways, but they just suit a pike unit. You can't make them horsemen, bowmen or anything, as it just doesn't look right, but they do for this. They are Bela's beloved unit, as 'the only non-dwarf unit I love'. If he likes them, they must have something right.




    UNIT SHOWCASE: Saladir Silver Lancers
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    On the face of it, they could be a boring unit. They are glittering lancers, but so are Elves. They simply ride a horse and wave a stick around, but they needed silver and they needed some form of nobility, as they are devout morally, probably the most elven non-elf unit in their 'goodness'. So, I made them elegant but also utterly non-elven, I think/hope. They're not super-heavy, don't ride barded horses, but they are mobile and lethal in the right circumstance. Again, there are lots of Lancers (I love the term 'Lancer', probably from my grandfather sitting me on his knee to watch the 'Charge of the Light Brigade' when weeny), and the Empire has Legion Lancers already, so this was a sod. I made two versions before this then abandoned them, as they just didn't fit...then I knew I wanted to finish the faction, so I did the Kai Losson Horse Lords and the Saladir at the same time...different, but not hugely, as they are from the same historical grouping; that split to these two and Ashapur, with the two Imperial ones taking the moralistic route.




    UNIT SHOWCASE: Telmior Noble Sons
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Right. These are in here because of their artistic feel. I really like them. They're weird, but then they come from the Telmior of the 'Brazen Queen', who was a pretty weird and flamboyantly evil human figure of the world; yet she remained mysterious and glowing, her mystical powers enormous. These had to follow the idea of 'Brazen', so brassy or shiny metal that ain't gold. I LOVE them! They have the coolest masks, are kind of eerie or otherworldly and the simple veils they breathe through finish it. Part of the idea is that the Noble Sons still maintain a link to their Queen, and still dress in historical battle-gear that's VERY old, handed down. The Empire took a chunk of their culture from them, but this is the bit they maintain. Chariots are rare, which fits them incredibly well, and I had to make a second unit, so two handed swordsmen seemed right. It's like looking at an ancient Greek warrior band sitting in medieval settings...they still work, are nasty, but they're out of place compared to most of the faction's units.





    FACTIONAL LORE

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    The Arrival of the Naugiri

    The Grinding, as we called it, began on a solitary Winter's day. The creatures of the Warden's Forest were either sleeping the deep sleep of the colder months, or were deep within the woods, their normal lives slowed in the frigid air and sporadic snows. A loud noise exploded from the sea on the Thirteenth Dark, gathering pace and volume, as the sea ebbed, disappearing from the shores, flooding back in on itself. Eerie calls sounded, and the ice on the trees cracked ans splintered. The Wardens set many small groups along the coast, to watch fro whatever hell awaited them. None imagined what would occur, for nothing could have managed that, in anyone's deepest imagination.

    The vast shadows could be seen from miles in distance, and they grew closer; not swiftly, but slowly and relentlessly. A massive tide struck the eastern coast four hours into the morning, and with it came the broken hulls of ships, for the Imperial fleets had forged ahead to view the awaiting doom; none survived this flow, and the waves, vast as they were, crashed into the forest, some sweeping hundreds of yards inland, to drag anyone they grasped back into the icy waters - survivors talked of the waters being hot, almost to the point of burning.

    The shadow of something vast grew, until we pulled back everything and everyone; hundreds of Wardens fled, animals running with them, as they called on their horns. Some of the sleeping beasts awoke, but most slept to their doom. As the mass neared, the snows melted before it, and trees burned when it was only hundreds of yards away, but we saw the light and smelled the smoke, even as we fled further and further - for many, this would not be enough.

    The Grinding, in it's initial minutes killed countless creatures and men; three of the larger villages disappeared entirely, as did all hamlets and fishing stations. The mass of earth and rock continued to smash through our lands, throwing up small mountains in it's massive impact. Where there had been trees, old and dark forests, there was fire, smoke and ruin. The sound of the impact could be felt ten miles or more deeper into the land, and huge boulders flew through the air, violently crashing into our homes.

    Terrifying as this was, it ceased suddenly, the grinding and smashing noises slowly receding; all of us could see the towering mass of mountains and crumpled forest grow still, and we gathered in groups; more for comfort than any other reason, and Wardens began to move towards the land mass, their immediate thought one of protection - it is said to catch a Warden unprepared is an impossibility, and the reaction was swift. However, we were caught unaware by what followed.

    It seemed like minutes before we heard the cries; wailing and screaming - a cacophony of ragged voices crackling through the fog of dust. Our Wardens began to force the people back, finally shouting to send them running to the deeper forests. The smoke was still rampant as trees burned and vision was reduced to almost nothing, yet we saw the figures as they flooded from the mountains into our lands. Some were huge, some smaller, and there were things in the air, screeching and howling. However, the Wardens are not without heart, and gathered into groups, ranks filling swiftly as the Great Wardens shouted their panic into wrath.

    Arrows hissed from bows, scything into the figures that hurtled through the fog. Creatures fell from the sky, to land unmoving on the earth or twisted in tree branches, and pain roared from the half light. Volley after volley cut the air, and were rewarded by screams, until the bowmen stepped away and spearmen moved to the fore. Seconds after, when spears were braced, the enemy erupted from the fog, crashing headlong onto the Warden spears. The impact buckled their lines, and pushed them backwards, as hundreds of the creatures of the Naugiri impaled themselves on spear tips. Swiftly cutting the dead free with their daggers, the Wardens tried to hold, but it was futile.

    The Great Wardens shouted, and the bowmen drew back, melting into the forest, leaving their brothers to die. Reluctant, of course, but sensible. Waves of blackened nightmares hit the spear lines, and the Wardens did their best. Rank by rank, they began to fold, and lines buckled then finally gave. The Naugir swept through them, and minutes of utter slaughter began. Winged creatures swept from the sky, to savage men as Uthgaat Urune, similar to the Trolls of the Khezdruli, simply battered men to the earth. The armoured warriors at the fore were cutting men to pieces. Blood and death were everywhere, but the Wardens died well, and their deaths allowed many to find hiding places, or retreat to the more defensible Weirden Tree fortresses.

    In the next few days, much of the front-line villages lay abandoned, and the forts filled. Some were sent further back, and refugees entered Dalthrasia by the hundreds. Tales filtered through of attacks on the Haladin, the Blood-Fed, and they gave strange satisfaction. Abhorrent as they were, it was said they bloodied the Naugiri terribly, despite their valleys collapsing on the borders. When evil was unleashed on evil, the Haladin beat them back, winning all of their lands back save for a few miles of valley and broken scree.

    There is not much to tell of what followed, save that the Empire responded well and swiftly. The fortresses were reinforced and the dependants were funnelled through to safety, but the Naugiri were simply gathering for an assault more determined and savage than anyone could possibly have foreseen. This was a beast of the unknown, a terrible enemy that had come from nothing. It was of our luck that the Naugiri also misjudged humanity, else the war they unleashed may have been the end of the entire East, Empire or not.




    The Eastern Federation

    The Federation has always exploited any weakness in the Empire. The West was sold to the Council of Nine when the Boy-Emperor was on the throne, sold to pay crippling debts, to line the pockets of corrupt Imperial Regents and to provide a way of silencing undesirables and political enemies of that regime, by shipping them to the Federation to be 'dispersed'. The West, however, is a wholly different story compared to the Eastern Federation. Where warfare in the West has been internecine and static (prior to Descati and Ilien), the East was taken by force.

    The Federation saw an opportunity in the East and took it mercilessly. The south of the East Empire was a swathe of territory known as the Carapathe. Here, the rights of the Lindiri were held in high regard, and the Empire kept it's lands closely to the Lindiri ways, allowing them occupation of some of that land to act as a buffer for the Lindiri, in actuality to claim ownership to prevent another, less desirable occupier from damaging Lindiri Elves' lives and homes. That accounted for the southern and western side. More of the Carpathe was occupied by independent clans and tribes, with a strong Imperial military presence along the coast and in a channel up to Saladir and the Myr Addat. The Sun Province provided a strong support to the eastern quarters. The land was held in a loose fashion, save for the coastal military where the Danegelde built their grand keeps. These were the kin of the people that travelled to become the Wolfborn, and they hated them. Imperial control was nominal, and this is what allowed the Federation to invade.

    The Danegelde were a fortress of hate towards the Wolfborn, and had been a major buttress, sinking their fleets and preventing much of their southerly raiding in their lands. Thus the Wolves raided the Sun Province and the loose clans near the Lindiri in the main. This was to change with the coming of the Federation. Only the Federation truly know the means by which they gained 'just right' to seize the lower East, as the Imperials burned the lengthy declaration of such things, but they engineered an invasion by Ashapur, supported by the Wolfborn, into these lands, and arrived to protect them denouncing the Empire as incapable of defending them properly. As it stood, the Empire was in the throes of strife, centred around the revolt of the Palatine Legions, and their forces in the area fought the Ashapuri and, with their Danegelde allies, stunted much of the Wolfborn, but they could not cope with the appearance of thirty thousand Federal troops, who obliterated the defenders on the coast, allowing the Wolfborn full access. Ashapur withdrew in feigned retreat, allowing the Federation to seize much of the rest. In months, the Carpathe fell, and the Imperial forces arrived too late, but in time to baulk an ill-fortuned Federation attack beyond the Carpathe, crushing it.

    Since then there has been a sporadic war, which has been brutal and unforgiving. Often the Wolfborn will fight alongside the Federation, and any time the balance has been tipping, the Ashpuri have evened the odds, using threats, bribes or military. Once, they drew elements of the Bandit kingdom in with them, and they have been close to bringing the East to it's knees. With the advent of the Naugiri and the loss of the Sun province, the Empire should be weaker, but this is not the case; it is actually strong, with no garrisons in unfriendly or overly large or distant realms, but they are more suited to a stubborn defence at this time. This may well have to change, and the Empire has ever reacted well to huge pressures.




    The Secession of the Sun Provinces

    The Rebels have their own stories of their secession from the Empire. Some is true, certainly true to them, but there was less and far more to that event.

    When the Naugiri burst from the huge cracks in the surface world, the Empire bore the brunt of their assault. Duinir had virtually been cut off, and Setantair couldn't ascertain whether they still existed at all. He was faced with three assaults by the Naugiri. The first passed north of the Sea of Grass, and he had no chance to react to this attack; it was halted by the Dalthrasians at first, and the Clans of the Sea of Grass flooded to them, as did Telmior and the Legions of much of the north, and Wardens from Duinir. He faced two attacks; the first broke to the south of his forces, and thankfully struck the Federation, but it's supply lines were broken as they had little idea that they could not live as humans did. The Federation and Ashapur dealt with this as it floundered.

    The attack that Setantair met with was one of the strongest, and it's supply lines were uninterrupted, as were reinforcements at first. He was faced with an impossible position. Atakash came to him in fullness, as did riders of Saladir and some of Kai Losson, alongside the Legions of Saladir and Atakash. The borders with Ashapur had to remain as strong as possible, and the Sun Provinces were of great concern. Setantair made the decision he thought best, and withdrew the garrisons of the Sun Province in the main, alongside enough Young Sons as he was able. He knew that the possibility of a revolt was high, as the people of the Sun Province were mostly unaware of the Naugiri threat. He reasoned that the Sun Provinces would be independent, yet still be a deterrent to the Federation even if free from Imperial occupation, at worst.

    With the largest force he could muster, he held the Naugiri, outnumbered yet strong. The Wardens of Duinir soon cut the lines of this third force, and, when they did, Setantair faced them in open battle. As he watched his men die, watched the Naugiri beaten, he learned of the revolt, of the return of the Sun King. He was also told of the garrisons he had there being released from their fortresses, allowed to leave rather than face extermination, and that gave him hope, made his gamble worthwhile. At worst, he had beaten the Naugiri and had regained the forces he felt he had abandoned within the Sun Kingdom, as it was now.

    There is a story of a meeting between him and the new Sun King. It is said they met on the borders of their lands, and an accord reached. He gave his recognition of the Sun King's right to rule, and the return of any Young Sons he had in his forces, and the return gesture of the Sun King was one of recognition that the Sun King was in as much danger from the Haladin as all humanity. They became allied in the containment of this threat. The Young Sons that returned were quick to relay the danger of the Naugiri and again, there was a form of accord. Both realised and admitted they had no other allies to call upon, and distance was closed, yet appearances of such a thing would remain hidden, for the benefit of both nations' populations.

    It may be a complete fabrication, or simply may not have been quite so successful, and few believe the tale when told.




    The Void Temple in the East

    The Void Temple itself is in the Western Empire, amongst the Daikini people, but it's reach is much wider. The Temple is a friend of the Empire, as they see it as the single most stabilising factor in the world. They view the Bandit Kings as the greatest hope, but it is not strong enough to make a real difference at this time.

    There are Void Cells far across the world, each of six men and women, operating in quiet, seeking to help the world resist evil; much of that threat is seen in a few places: the Ward of Descati, as they know his origins, and of the Ghaurchlai that lurk behind his plans; the Haladin Blood-Fed, as they fear the encroachment of the Abyss and everything the Haladin stand for, and now the Naugiri have become a threat of unknown proportions that can only be guessed at. There are others; perhaps the Only Church would number amongst them; certainly Sythys is worrisome. Their methods are to support those that stand against these aberrations and the possibilities they bring. The Temple is too few in number to fight pitched battles, but they have skills no other human has, and they use them as much as they can, and as much as they dare - for, spread thin, they are extremely vulnerable.

    In the East, they have several Cells within the Empire. These are to wards against the Sythys Cult, the Haladin Blood-Fed (for there are others in that land that oppose the magics of the Abyss) and the Naugiri; possibly more than this. These Cells are at the disposal of Setantair, as advisers, but they will take to the battlefield for him if needed. There was mention of a second Void Temple, but this would possibly violate their edicts. So, it is likely that Void Knights will take to the field of battle for the Imperial East, especially as events worsen. As the dangers increase so likely will the number of Void Cells, and far more likely in open war, upon the field of battle.




    East Empire and the Iryn Thaan

    After the Naugiri were broken and their three-pronged assault on the lands of men in the East scattered or slaughtered, The Wardens of Duinir came to Setantair in his campaign tent one night. There were three Wardens, and they brought several hooded figures. In their path, horses had reared and whinnied or flattened their ears as the figures edged past, for there was a fell air about them. Within the tent, guided by sentries of the Kadapayan Free Crops, the Wardens revealed themselves, their written word gaining them access upon the Seal of the Great Warden, and the markings of the Void Temple itself. Setantair stood, awaiting explanation.

    The first Warden stood and spoke. 'We bring news of Duinir, and within it, the advent of a possibility. Your wisdom is needed more than any other man available, but do not take this for a foe of yours, but of a chance of an ally against the Naugiri. As he spoke, three of the figures removes their hoods. Setantair inwardly gasped, and his soul felt the shiver of something that should not be within this world. The first figure was dressed in a soft white surcoat, bearing arms that had not been seen before in Setantair's world. It was a man in full mail, who removed his helm, to show a man of later age, his face worn and taught, the scar-crossed beard white, eyes of flint making his nobility apparent. It was not this figure that was the strangest, nor the most disturbing. With him was a large man-like figure, save it was covered with leopard-fur, in ermine colours, the head that of a Snow Leopard. This was a surprise, but he had seen the Ferakine of Rhuagh. Rather it was the third figure that chilled his soul; this was a man-like mound of tattered cloth, with a spiked helm much like the Ashapuri wore, save in age, as it seemed ancient, cut by strange means. Here, any semblance of normality ceased, for the spaces that could be seen, where flesh should have been, there was a grey shadow, which moved and pulsed. His eyes, if it had a sex, were glowing silver coals, shining softly, but with no true shape , without pupils, their stare deep and penetrating, where one would imagine it to be vacant.

    He knew without doubt what he was looking into; death was the name of this figure, or, at the least, he walked under the mantle of death itself. It bowed slightly, and the air grew colder. The Leopard, too, bowed, but the man exuded royalty, and he simply nodded grimly. The Warden spoke, his voice form and fearless, and carried no hint of threat or concern, rather simply an uncertainty. 'These are the Iryn Thaan, called Wakers of the Wind, as it howls in their lands, to the north of the Naugiri, bound in silence and ice.'

    'The man here is Kalial Thane, a Lord of these people, exiled from his ancient lands by the Naugiri, who hunted his people, destroyed a valiant kingdom, to the ice that embraced them. There, the Naugiri were stopped, as the men of Thane's command were found by the Ice Kith; the Leopard-folk of the north. They fought the Naugiri to a standstill, as they do not tolerate ice or the cold as others can. They tell me that the dead themselves came to them upon their discovery of their new home; amongst the city they found in the ice, there were graves of thousands, and that Blade himself manifested, to send them these warriors; the Yaga Dai, bargained for in the World of the Dead, at great cost to these gods. These Yaga Dai are with the Iryn Thaan, and they desire the death of all Naugiri, a vengeance upon them.'

    He continued; 'They tell of the Naugiri, of the extermination of their people, and of the movement of a vast land-mass, a continent, sent to strike Duinir, to bring war to us, humans, they call 'Parasite'. These creatures desire nothing less than our utter extirpation. We stand against a foe we hardly know, let alone understand, and these people have been destroyed. The kingdom this man hails from was more powerful than the East, and yet it fell in a few years. We are fortunate to not have the same numbers of foes arrayed against us, but we need more than we have to beat them and root out their deeps, enough to cripple them. If we do not do this, they will never cease to hate us. I have seen memories of this war, and the foes we face, and we have not seen their true strength, or their best or strongest weapons. What crushed this man's home is there, in the borders of this hellish race, and it has begun to gather it's strength. When it comes, we must be ready; even then it is not a good chance we have. The Iryn Thaan wish to alter this. They will stand against the Naugir, give them something to fear or distract whilst we gather our strength.'

    Setantair nodded, not trusting his voice at first. 'Then we had best know all of it, the worst, and we must match it with our own ferocity. You are welcome here, my lords. We can discuss everything and you can know my thoughts.'

    The man in ermine stood, shaking from some unvoiced emotion. 'Whatever you do, it will not be enough. We were caught unprepared, and much was lost before we could gather anything of note. You have this army, but how many others? Unless you can gather ten times this, it will not be enough.'

    Setantair paled. 'Then we will all be ghosts soon enough. Let us hope we each have found the right gods'.




    The Eastern Empire and the Haladin

    When the Haladin began to fall under the Iudruul, as they began to look into the rites of the Blood-fed, their own people were harvested. The lowland Clans are white of skin, almost alabaster, and their hair is blood red. They have always used Malech as a practical metal for weapons and armour, but the Iudruul discovered it's use from their darkening dreams and turned it on their own people. When the Kanaan resisted, the Iudruul had progressed to a stage where they were ready to force it on their kin, and war began. The Kanaan Clan are immactulate warriors, perfect and dangerous, and this began to tell in the war.

    The Empire was warned by the Void Temple, who themselves moved against the Haladin. The events that followed are noted briefly in the Imperial libraries, as they marked a brutal failure. Legions were sent against the Haladin, whilst Void Knights struck the strangely angled castles of the ruling caste. In the valleys, the Legions were drawn inwards, winning several small battles, whilst the Void knights determined the Iudruul as the core of 'evil'. The Imperial forces were drawn in far enough, finally, and they stood in a place that four valleys met; here they were hit by Haladin forces. The Cimrai low-clans were joined by many of the Haladin Nobles, using Blood-fed magic, and the Imperial forces were smashed apart. Their commander had eight legions; one of Lancers, three of archers and four pike. When the battle was obviously lost, he led the Lancers in a charge that scattered the Haladin flank, turning it. His orders came to the foot units, to retreat swiftly in smaller groups. As they fled, he used the Lancers to punish and dissuade the Haladin from pursuit. He was slain some five miles from the edge of the Earthspine mountains, along with his entire command, finally trapped by Iudruul warriors with metal wings; wings that beat like a bats, flexing and unflexing like something living.

    His death allowed just under two thousand men to escape. The Void Knights brought terrifying news; they feared that the Haladins' practices were linked to the Abyss, that their dreams were of the conscious of CThuguar and Kalacris. More, they had seen evidence that Cthonae were being summoned, but were vanishing upon the summons. They were unaware at that point that the power within Haladin artefacts were the trapped Cthonae inside Malech metal; this remained hidden until recent attacks on the Iudruul Bloodwells.




    The Imperial Navy

    The Navy of the Empire is fairly consistent across the factions. They possess a massive naval force, but it is stretched along huge coastlines. The East fares better now they don't have the Sun Provinces to patrol, but much of that fleet stands near the shores of the Haladin and the Naugiri. Over a third was destroyed by the Naugiri lands' arrival, sunk by impact or shockwaves. What remains is somewhat stuck, as they would need to pass through Wolfborn waters, then Federation and Ashapuri waters. Setantair has postulated that they may be best served by being sold to the Sun King.

    The Imperial Navy is a heavy force. They use Siege Ships to pound land targets, supplemented by Spurhawk Carriers and Heavy Cruisers, all supported by swift flotillas of Caesium-armed ships, War Shark riders, Spurhawk Riders and can be given Dragonships, bearing the lesser Dragons of Kadasandra and the West. They have the greatest variety of warships, armed with sky cutters, deck and sail cutters, catapults and Caesium charges. Other fleets can outfight them, skill-wise, as the Navy is not seen in the same way as their land forces, but they are strong.

    The East has two main fleets; one to the north of Duinir, the other to the west of Telmior. The are feared by Ashapur, but their leadership is not as good as the ship-lords of Ashapur or the Pirate-lords of Hanghaven. The investment in terms of money is higher, but few nobles see the sea as an honourable and glorious pursuit. Now, however, the Ildiri Swan Kingdom has offered firm alliance after an attack on their fleet by Ashapur; an attempt thwarted by Imperial help.




    The Mournguard and the Ice of Capa Hara

    The Mournguard were formed of the personal Household of Mournweaver, the first Warden of the East and the greatest human friend of Valerian. Upon the death of his Emperor and the victory at Saden Fields, the Ghaurchlai were placed under the ice, entombed 'forever'. A force was sought to patrol the Ice Cap, and there were several voluntary forces. The 'Kadapayan Free Corps' were one, the 'Constant Watch' another, both small, mobile forces, but Mournweaver was virtually broken by his friend's death. Until he realised that he was so desperately needed to stabilise the fragmenting EMpire, he went to the Ice with the best of the men of his personal command, known as the Mournguard - a name given by others in the Empire to undermine Mournweaver's position.

    When the desperate summons came to bring him to a swiftly fragmenting Court, he left the Mournguard behind, a legacy to his friend's memory. Between them, the Kadapayans and the Constant Watch, nearly seven thousand men watched the Ice. When the Federation launched their first exploration, they were caught on their return by soldiers of the COnstant Watch, who attacked them, driving them back to the sea, killing over half their number, but they had gathered the information they needed. The second expedition was an attack on the Constant Watch, catching them in their fort, wiping them out as a force of any means. Their survivors retreated to the Kadapayans, in time to warn them of the Federal presence. The Kadapayans met the Federal forces on the ice, defeating a good amount of their men. However, their base was captured by a large force whilst they were away. They were cut off from the sea or any supplies, but fled to the Mournguards' base. The Mournguard numbered four thousand in their main holdfast, and five hundreds guarded a hidden naval base.

    A series of battles occurred over the next week, holding actions in the main, as the Federation had unloaded a second force to take the Mournwatch out. They almost succeeded, and the Mournwatch fought their way back to the small Naval base they still held. Over a thousand dead littered their path, but they reached their fleet, where they had gathered all available boats, even raiding the Federal fleet that invested the Mournguard's base. Here, they sank three warships and captured four transports. The host of survivors boarded their fleet and struck north. A small voluntary unit stayed to hold up the Federal forces in an effort to veil their escape. Four hundred of the Mournguard stayed, fighting for seventeen days before they were wiped out. More than four thousand of the Free Corps, Constant Watch and Mournguard made it away from Cara Hapa. They sailed to the coast of the Lindiri, warning them of the Federal forces on the ice. They stayed in the borders of that kingdom for several months before departing. The Lindiri sent Weirden Ships, made of living wood, to aid their escape, and the fleet made it to the Bandit Kings' shores after weeks of avoiding enemy vessels. At the borders of the Bandit Kings, they were driven ashore, their fleet mostly crippled by storms. What remained possessed no strength in war, and they were forced to camp on the shores of the Bandit Kingdom.

    The Bandit King's forces allowed them entry, to send them to Sentantair, after seeing to their needs. They arrived at his side eleven months after their departure, battered and worn, little use for anything, their morale broken. Setantair began the rebuilding of these men, in spirit and mind, and he formed new units of them, sent to the Sea of Grass to train for use against the Federation, whom they hated with a bitter fire. They remain untested.




    SEVENTH LEGION AND THE BANDIT KINGS

    Imperial records do not show this as the record of the time. Beline was recorded as having fallen in battle with the Seventh Legion and it's followers; a battle during which the Seventh were destroyed, alongside nearly all of their allies. Despite this, he is marked as a poor Emperor, but it is said he fell valiantly whilst attempting to rectify his mistakes. The Seventh are marked as disloyal and their banners were burned in Kadasandra. The Palatine Legions still exist, but their duties are mostly within the five islands of the capital city. However, their training is superlative, and they are still regarded with awe by much of the human-world's military.

    "The Seventh Legion, best amongst the Palatine, having fought several skirmishes with Imperial Guard Legions, fell back into the Bandit Kingdom, aware that to be trapped was to be ended. With them came some of the Karesi they had rescued from Lionís Gate with Imperial troops from that garrison; they numbered in the thousands but still were hard pressed. A mile or so into the Broken Pass, the Imperial forces landed men behind them, to sever their escape, whilst the Emperor Beline gathered enough men to destroy them.

    The attack was simply an attempt to overwhelm them, but it ended badly for the Emperor. As he pressed forwards, the hidden men of the Bandit Kingdom, having suffered three times from Imperial aggression, acted. Their network of beggars and thieves had kept them well informed of events beyond their borders, and they could not leave the refugees to die.They fell upon the grounded Spurhawks, their riders and the Legion they had transported.

    In a swift battle, they destroyed the Imperial forces, and marched to aid the Seventh Legion, who were engaged in the pass.

    The addition of several hundred Khuzurudhul Dwarves and a thousand or more Bandit Kingdom soldiers was enough for the Imperials attacking. Nervous of being caught inside the mountains, their commanders forced a hurried withdrawal. The Emperor railed against this decision, ordering the deaths of two commanders once inside Imperial lands, and this was his final undoing.

    The commanders of the Legions acted. None stood against them, including most of the Ancillian Guard, who simply stood aside, turning their backs on the Ill Emperor. Surrounded by his few loyal men, the Emperor was arrested and taken to the towns his men had savaged. Here, he stood trial for his orders against his own people, and was executed by the Lord Warden of the Karesi, Jeame Keel.

    The Seventh Legion were invited to sit upon his trial, but they had made their home; upon the involvement of the Forlorn and other soldiers of the Fox King, their non-combatants had been moved to safety, and the Legion swore fealty to the Fox King himself. Beline was finally executed in the fields of a village that had been entirely massacred."

    The reason for the revolt of the Seventh are recorded in their own annals as an unwillingness to carry out the Emperor's orders, which had already resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and seemed without end, due to his madness and paranoia.



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    THE LANDS OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE
    The Imperial East, or the Ward of The Eastern Empire, is a land constantly threatened, constantly at war, never anything but a shifting mass that ebbs and flows, a roiling battleground in the wars between the 'non-subjugate powers' and the Empire - they face the might of Ashapur and the Federation as constant and consistent enemies, raided by the Wolfborn reivers, and the coats scourged by the slaver-pirates of Hanghaven. The Bandit Kings are a thorn in the Empire's side, mostly due to the rich mineral deposits that their destitute 'lords' have raised their parodies of cities upon.

    In the East, east of Duinir, lay the Naugiri, a predatory and hellish foe that moved their continent to crash into the Empire in order to scourge the lands clean of 'parasites'; meaning all humans. Duinir and it's Wardens bear the brunt of this, aided by many legions of troops, drawn up from the army that was to regain the Sun King, or 'Rebels'' lands, preventing a terrible war in the south, replacing it with a more terrifying war in the north east. Deadly, vicious, a war is fought under the eaves of Duinir, but occasionally spills out into the Sea of Grass and into Dalthrasia; one of the militarily strongest of the Eastern Provinces, with it's elite Pike units, often held back as reserves, to gauge which conflict needs them the most.

    The Rebellion freed the Rebel-lands (The Lands of the Sun King) from Imperial rule, and the coming of the Naugiri ended all thoughts of a re-conquering of them. In the south, the Federation gather, but are rebuked by the men of Atakash and Saladir. The men of Losson Province aid the Myr Addat in their war, and the fleet of the east tackles the Wolf Born and Hanghaven as much they can. The Bloodless Ones, or Cimrai, hold the tall mountains south of the Naugiri, and are constantly engaging in skirmishes with them - they have become less of a plague since the Orcs came.

    In short, the Eastern Empire is a liquid nation, shrinking and expanding, yet ever hanging on with bitter nails, their legions and massive wealth repulsing attack after attack. Make no mistake, the Eastern Empire is where it's wealth comes from, but the West is ever a military power, and the breadbasket of the whole Empire. It is not unusual for Western Provinces to commit troops to the East, but it usually come with an almost mercenary cost. Teetering valiantly, the East stands at a crossroads, one that will see it's pre-eminence or it's doom.

    LAYOUT OF PROVINCES







    UNITS: Myr Addati





    UNITS: Karesi Lionhearts Foot & Mounted





    UNITS: Ancillian Pit Dogs





    UNITS: Atakash Angelbloods







    UNITS: Dalthrasian Pike









    UNITS: Duinir Wardens Spear & Bow





    UNITS: Kai Losson Horse Lords





    UNITS: Spurhawk Air Cavalry







    UNITS: Saladir Silver Lancers







    UNITS: Telmior Noble Sons Chariots & Telmior Brazen Sons





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    CHARACTERS OF NOTE AMONGST THE EASTERN EMPIRE

    SETANTAIR - Warden of the Eastern Marches

    Setantair is a striking man. In his fourth decade, he has black hair laced with grey, a strength and grace in him that transcends mere physicality. His eyes are dark and piercing, yet he has a ready smile - a smile that has been seen less in the last few years. He was given office twenty years past, a descendent of Mournweaver, inheriting his tactical ability and his air of calm and dependability. He has felt bereft of hope in many ways, being the man who lost the Sun Province and straining to hold back the Naugiri, let alone the southern and western borders against Ashapur and the Federation. He fails to grasp a wider truth than this - few men could have made the correct decisions in the last few years, or held back multiple fronts and retained the core strength of the East. It is easy to say his men would die gladly for him, for many claim this, but he does not see that this is the ultimate truth. His sub-commanders hold utter loyalty in a situation that could have seen them scatter to defend their homes and shatter the East.

    KIMSON SELIS - 'The Silvermane' Lord Commander of the Province of Saladir

    Kimson is the epitome of the nobility at the heart of the Province of Saladir. He is a noble-born of that land, and he commands the Silver Lancers in war, which he is engaged in the majority of the time. With men of Atakash and the Myr Addat easily available, he has held against any attack from Ashapur, breaking their formations again and again. Pursuing the freedom of any slave forced into servitude by the people of the Silken Knot, he often oversteps his orders and hunts the Hawkmasks mercilessly; yet he has never simply executed them after a battle or skirmish. He sells them back to their people and uses agents in their country to buy slaves and bring them to Saladir and their freedom, or to the Bandit Kingdom. He sees the Bandit Kingdom for what it is, and respects their efforts, even as he feels they are doomed. It would not sit well with this Lord to war against the Bandit Kings, yet he would, should he be charged with the task. His loyalty is beyond any doubt. The glittering sight of a thousand Silver Lancers is something to be proud of, and he is the best of them by nature.

    AKATAEL AKTIR - Commander of the Atakash

    The people of Atakash are fierce in both life and battle. They hold to higher morals, but they see life slightly differently to most Imperial citizens. Akatael is ferocious in battle, yet is filled with fierce joy in his life. He has three wives and often voices his belief they are three times the trouble of just one, which would be enough in itself. He is quick to laugh, has a wicked and self-effacing sense of humour, and is instantly likeable, if not a little scary to people who don't know him. He is a warrior above all else, and the people of the Empire are more than pleased to have people like him on their side. Certainly they are glad not to have him as a enemy.

    BLOODFELL ATTALA

    The current high chieftain of the Clans of the Sea of Grass; the lands that gave birth to the first Emperor. Skilful in war, highly undiplomatic, he trains the riders of the Spurhawks for battle, and is very good at killing, if nothing else. He generally is loathe to leave his lands, unless for battle, and his people are pleased with his leadership. There is little say about him aside from this, as he simply doesn't care much for being ordered around. If he pledges to do something, he does it, and does not waver in this. Bloodfell is possibly the one leader who will happily commit atrocities in war, which cannot be underestimated as a resource. His people collect ears from enemies, and he is said to have over three hundred in his collection; he is proudest of the score of Naugiri ears taken during their first invasion.

    ACELSIS KALYN - 'The Sable Spear', Lord of Dalthrasia

    Acelsis is the main general of the Dalthrasians. Vigorous, disciplined and quiet, he commands respect, and he is hard on his military. The Province's pikemen are the greatest in the world, and they have been for as long as memory or written account stands. The Dalthrasians stopped the Naugiri invasion in it's tracks, allowing other forces to come to bear, with which he utterly destroyed them. His tactics are blunt; to use his men as a force to hold then strike ceaselessly, advancing slowly until the foe breaks. It works well. He has dignity and poise, as do the majority of his people, who are loyal members of the Empire. The Church of the Only God are prevalent in his lands, but he personally does not hold to their beliefs - much the opposite. As a commander, he works best in defence, and his tactics are layered with this in mind. He responds to others' plans, and he is very good at unravelling their tactics. Careful and thoughtful, he demands much from his men, and dislikes seeing their corpses after battle, seeing his failure measured in the number of dead amongst his own forces.

    KISMER GOLD - 'The Bitter Sun', Noble Son of Telmior

    The Telmiorans are the least trusted of the Eastern Provinces, yet they are highly talented fighters. Their Noble Sons fight on chariots and on foot, and their methods are feared by many. In battle, they chant litanies, and the 'Bitter Sun' leads them with flair and with a vengeful silence. He is talented in his own way, but is brutal, chasing fleeing foes mercilessly in his chariot. As a leader of Imperial forces, he is only slightly within his remit as a commander, but he is vital to it's war efforts. Unlike many in his lands, he is loyal, and he despises the rise of those that still follow the Brazen Queen's lifestyle. He aids the Empire in curtailing their efforts at sedition, and he has purged more than one Noble House of disloyal members. He enjoys war a little too much, and sees little difference between battle and politics. Both are pursued in the same aggressive fashion. He is tolerated due to his hold on dissenters in his lands, smashing several plots and foolish designs amongst the nobility.

    KIRITEEL SAYLA, Lord of the Horse Pact Host

    The leader of Kai Losson is master horsemen, as most of his people are. His men run like a swift of birds, altering direction instantly, their bow sending death to their foes, which, happily, are almost entirely Ashapuri. He leads by example, and eats and drinks with his men, taking no comforts that they lack themselves. He is much loved by his people, and his brilliance at mobile warfare is unmatched in the East. Their lives are constantly shifting. Despite the Empire having given them static homes, their armies prefer life in the field, and this man gives the 'lesser' command of these settlements are chosen by merit rather than birth or circumstance. He is not fond of the people of Telmior, but his hate is turned to Ashapur, especially to the Sythys Cult, which he actively seeks out, raiding inside the borders of Ashapur to cut to pieces. Slavery is utterly abhorrent, and he sends those he frees to the Bandit Kingdom, which he hopes to strengthen in his own way.

    ALAFEL DUNIS - The Great Warden, 'The Owl Lord', of Duinir Province

    Once, it was known that the Wardens of Duinir rode great owls, to better patrol their lands. Rumour suggests this man has carried on breeding such creatures, and he has been seen upon one on occasion. Whatever the truth, Alafel is a wonderful leader, hunter and warrior; he is wise cautious, wise and determined. His strength has held his people safe from the Naugiri, as much as he can. He has lost a third of his people and his army both, but hope is eternal in his eyes. Before the Naugiri, he led his people well, and often kept watch on the Haladin, whom he kept in their own lands very successfully. When the Naugiri invaded the East, he and his men constantly cut their supply lines, and harassed their forces, even within their own lands. He is one of the few that has seen the eruption-points of the Naugiri, and is rumoured to have entered one himself, in his need to understand the enemy he faces. Certainly, he holds the opinion that the Naugiri will mindlessly assault the Empire, and draws plans to prevent this as much as he can.

    CUTTERMORN - Lord of Ancillia

    Ancillia is mostly known for it's northern limits, where the Imperial Guard trains alongside the Pit Dogs of his own people. In that land, many die, but he limits this as much as is possible. The south has settlements of note, and Ancillia is wealthy and loyal. His men guard each Emperor, serving with honour. It is said that Cuttermorn is a vicious warrior, but he rarely leaves his land, unless it is to the Capital, Kadasandra. With the arrival of the Naugiri and the obvious signs of war to the south, he has begun to gather sizeable forces, and plans on marching to aid the war in the further parts. He is the first leader of the Ancillians to do this, and he is bound to be highly effective. He has beaten or killed many men in the pits, his warrior skills incredible. Time will show whether he can command armies as effectively.

    DIRIEL KARWIEL - 'The Pale Warden' Second Commander of the Imperial East

    Diriel serves under Setantair, and has been sent to the south, to gauge the defences there, aware that the Federation and the Wolfborn gather their forces. A large number of Legions have followed him, and his presence gives comfort to the Warden, who is camped near the border of the Sun King's lands, awaiting the need for bolstering the Empire's defences either against the Naugiri, Haladin or Federation. Diriel is capable, loyal and respected, but lacks flair in his methods. This actually endears him to some of the men far more than a more fiery, gifted man would.

    BRUNE KETEL - High Priest of Blade

    Blade, or 'The Trueblade' is a war god, worshipped widely by humans, mostly within the more civilised lands. His followers devote themselves to him both in war and peace, as he lends strength in untold ways. He is not simply a god of war, but of strength, skill, loyalty and confidence. These turn towards normal life as well as battle, but his main demesne is seen in war. The Militant forces of Blade are now seen in the field as support for the Eastern Empire, arrayed against their foes, as they judge all of them wanting. They are led by this Priest, whose amazing skill is aided by his god's insights. In the few battles he has become involved in, he has shone. He is resolute entirely and has no fear of death in battle. He is possibly a greater asset than he or anyone else is aware of.

    CLELISE TSIBI - Preceptor Knight of Tsibi

    The high servants of Tsibi are all female. Clelise is one of the few Militant leaders, and her presence in the field with the Empire is solely aimed at Ashapur and the Sythys Cult. She is cold and stern to many, as her veils and black robes seem to glimmer and smoke. To the few that have breached this gap, she is intelligent, dependable and utterly lethal. Her mind is bent on controlling or destroying the ability of the Sythys Cult to fight alongside Ashapuri hosts. If no one else was to do so, they are the greatest threat there is in her mind. She and her goddess feel that the Empire is probably the world's greatest hope of keeping a balance. Her role will lend mystical strength and very talented warriors to the Empire.

    CASIPINE LENDER - 'The Velvet Glove', Void Seal of the Void Temple

    One of the Seals of the Void Temple, Casipene was a Knight Seeker before his elevation; with the memories of all Seals of his line, he has access to vast knowledge and powers of many before him. His Seeker beginnings make him what he is, however, and the Seeker Knights are adept at being unseen, undetected and able to kill swiftly and silently, their Cloaking so enhanced that they create shadows where there are none, can even hide in direct sunlight. Assassin would be a poor word for their skills, but they have, on occasion, removed foes that were of such vast evil that no other action was morally justifiable. Casipine leads the Void Knights in the East with the subtle mind of a Seeker-knight, but the world topples enough that Void Knights may be seen on the field of battle in significant numbers. Such a thing is unknown since the Ghaurchlai Genocide, and the world remembers, in writing and testimony, their lethality in warfare. He has postulated the possibility of a second Temple, in the East, but the Seals believe this to be beyond their remit from the Elohim; unnatural and overbalancing an act, so he waits for the numbers promised slowly materialise from the shadows. As a leader, he will not hold back on their use in whatever way suits the world the most. If open battle is for the best, he will face the enemies of the world in open battle with little regret. Six Hundred Knights exist at any one time, and he hopes for nearly a third of them to fall under his hand. Outranked only by the Temple Shield and the Warmaster of the Temple, he is fearless to a fault.

    HALUDAN MAEDYR - 'Blackenrow', Highest Warlord of the Myr Addat

    Haludan is a direct descendent of the companion and bodyguard of Lisandra, Warden of the West, during the Ghaurchlai Genocide. His ancestor was a sublime warrior; fearless and vicious, and this man follows similar creed. The Myr Addat as a whole are largely underrated by the world, as they tend to be incredible fighters, but, more the point, damned hard to kill. They number maybe 5000 people as a whole, yet they have fought Ashapur for well over a thousand years without falling prey to them. The nature of their home defies any large scale attack on it, but they fight like demons. Haludan is foremost of their warriors, his leadership decided rather than natural by succession. He seeks the utter ruin of Ashapur and nothing less will do. He may possibly succeed in this goal, for his people have it in them to do so, with a little help from the Empire.

    GENERAL INFO
    Moral Leanings: 'Good'
    Military Strength: Superior
    Fleet Strength: Good
    Wealth: Superior


    Strengths: Well disciplined and organised army, with 'Regular' Legions in each province, plus the ability to recruit powerful 'Provincial armies', which are often by far the most effective troops available. Legions are readily recruitable and good basic troops. Set up to allow the player almost total freedom for the first few turns, to gather troops, hire and reinforcement; to prepare a defence.

    Missile: Very Good (Duinir Wardens)
    Cavalry: Very Good (Saladir Silver Lancers, Chariots)
    Air Cavalry: Excellent (Spurhawks missile and melee)
    Infantry: Very Good-Excellent (Angelbloods, Myr Addat)
    Artillery: Average


    Military Weakness: The more powerful units may only ever be recruited within the province they originate from. Imperial troops from Kadasandra limited. Low chance of Void Temple troops. Utterly surrounded by enemies. No magic to speak of. Wealth may not be enough, despite it's income. Should the original defence lines fold, they may have nothing to take them back. Liable for Kadasandra or the West to request aid of them.




    Willow's Waffle

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I am not normally a fan of the larger factions in a total war game, yet i would still play the Eastern Empire. They have access to large disciplined legions (which remind me conceptually of ancient Rome), and they also have access to a myriad of unique, province-specific units which creates a HUGE variety in the forces you can field, giving you nearly infinite tactical or thematic army compositions. I would recommend this for a first campaign, as the large economic, militaristic, and provincial base gives you a bit of a buffer zone- you can afford to lose some money, troops, and settlements without it being an absolute disaster, which makes this an excellent faction to play while gaining experience in this mod. Also, being in constant contact with nearly half the factions in the game straight from the beginning can teach you a LOT about how the different factions operate. However, while they sport all this military and financial power, the sheer number of enemies arrayed against them makes every decision an important one- look to hard at one enemy and another will make you fall.


    Bandit's Take
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    The Eastern Empire its sitting in much the same place as their western allies they have few allies and a long list of enemies. A wise commander would seek to fortify his borders allying with the bandit kingdom and sun kingdom two potential powerhouses they could deal with some of the empire's enemies. Then the general of the east could get down to dealing with the Nuagir and the Federation which are two powers seeking the end to the long standing dragon throne empire. I would have to say if I was supreme commander over the legions and was put in this sort of situation I would first look to my borders to close them tight and build a powerful economy on the interior territories. Then when the time I was right I would crush the Nuagir first. I would also be pumping money into the Bandit and Sun Kingdom and encourage them to attack the Ashapur and Federation keep them busy and mired in war until I could turn my powerful legions on them and help out my new found allies. Keep my eye on the big picture, there is some dark and evil coming and we better be ready for it.


    A Squeaking
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    The Empire is vast. We felt we had to break the faction down, not because of too much power in one faction, but simply so players weren't blown away and confused by so much going on and so many settlements - I think that it would be impossible to do at all well with just the one faction. Oddly, they are powerful, but they face the toughest test in a way, as their strength will be consistently put to the test. Hopefully, at no moment will you be able to sit back and think you're safe; no snowballing might that becomes unstoppable. The threats to the East are the greatest survivable ones in the mod. The West Federation is almost guaranteed to go under, leaving the East only to the Federal player, but the Empire will be hit again and again. Advancing swiftly outside the borders should be unviable. You'd need good planning and replace losses constantly. With the Provincial units, you have to decide where to use them, then keep a stream going there to keep the fronts alive. The Naugiri are hell itself without the worries of Ashapur, the Federation and others - the likelihood for the Federation is to maintain their gaze elsewhere, but they won't forever, and may not do so long enough to keep ramping pressure on the East. It's not all doom and gloom, as you have some of the best troops; their ability mix is awesome, the flexibility also so, but it may feel like a production line of dead soldiers at some points.


    Kaiser's Blurb
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    I canít say that Iím normally a huge fan of large factions in this game. But the Empire definitely stand out as an incredibly interesting faction to play as. The sheer number of different provincial units that they have available means that you can literally set up your army any way you want to. The Duinir Wardens can be used as a kind of light skirmishing force or the Dalthrasians can create an impenetrable wall of pikes. They also have one of my all-time favourite units: the Atakash Angelbloods. I first used them when I was testing for the first battle release and theyíve stayed as one of my favourites mainly because of how they look, with the red wings and dual swords, kind of like avenging angels fallen onto the battlefield. It also helps that the lore behind them is equally as awesome. Their starting position is one of the most challenging in the entire game. Despite being one of the most powerful factions, they are pretty much surrounded by enemies and potential rivals such as the Naugiri and Ashapur so youíll have a choice of trying to defend your entire massive border or giving up areas to concentrate on a single front at a time.


    Shankbot's Shamble
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    The Eastern Empire, part of the larger Empire, but a behemoth in its own right. It faces the advantages and disadvantages that plague all larger Empires - big borders, troop variety, border discontent, and enemies (or allies) at every corner. I always like trying out larger factions for a new game or mod so you get a sense of the scope of what is going on, and just how much there is to do! The same will be true for Dragondawn, and when it comes to East and West I always went East, don't ask why though - it was the same with Barbarian Invasion! The great variety of terrain, units, and the people you go to war against will mean this will be a faction where no two campaign is the same. I will spend hours setting up my little OCD sub-regions that aren't actually in the game, but just made up by me to entertain myself, organising the garrisons and unit recruitments, moving certain Generals all over the place, and then do what all great Empires do - explode out into all directions, it really is exciting just looking at the preview and I am already making plans to have a sneaky side-game where I declare war on the west and cave in... plus with units as cool as the Telmior Noble Sons and Atakash Angelbloods why wouldn't you want to try out this faction?


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    AS ASKED FOR...........

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    TELMIOR NOBLE SONS CHARIOTS








    Last edited by Shankbot de Bodemloze; March 19, 2014 at 04:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Kaiser Leonidas's Avatar Lord of the Cheese
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Lore Continued...

    *PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS MATERIAL RELEASED ELSEWHERE, BEFORE THIS MAIN PREVIEW*

    Myr Addati
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The people of Myr Addat, the Adati, are a very insular people. They are not numerous, they live in a meritocratic society and only the chieftain is 'blood-born', or given his position through right of ancestry. He has always had the right to abdicate and name successors from outside his family however, and some have.

    Their people live a dualistic life. Deep within the deserts of their land, there is a secret dwelling place, a secret city of the Myr Addat - the Hive City, many have called it. It's true name is Kedrawn, and it is a massively complex city, walled and fortified, surrounding a massive sandstone peak that splits the city clean in half, with many hundreds of tunnels running through it. Tunnels run everywhere, hence the name of the Hive City. It is vast, ancient and most certainly not built by mere men.

    To find the entryway is a task in itself, as it is both naturally and artificially concealed. Some have mentioned a waterfall of sand being the veil that hides it, and others mention bizarre carvings in a tunnel dug by no natural hands. Whatever the reality, the slavers of Ashapur have never found it, but this has always been assisted by the fact that the Myr Addat do not hide behind walls...every step into their lands is heavily contested and they are true masters of hit and run fighting.

    They breed the Dune-Hoppers - a strange creature indeed, with a rabbit-like head and ears but a body built to move across sand at great speed. This again has served them well - where other nations use camels, they move at blistering speeds and the Dune-Hoppers are adept at finding natural water, using their feeding tubes to taste the residue of water some distance below the shifting sands.

    The Adati people are an enigma. They alone possess the metal Malech in their blood. Some believe this to be an experiment of the Selediri and Lindiri from thousands of years past, but contact with these cultures has long since been lost. They have surgically managed this metal, and by pulling on a system of tubes and needles, they can leak it in a flood, the metal coating the body in seconds in a metal that can withstand massive punishment, yet remains flexible enough to move with great celerity.

    The past histories are recorded in the Hive City, and much of this deals with the constant war with Ashapur. In the entire world there has never been a more bitter struggle. The dead are said to be numberless, and many feel that this war is the sole reason that the Empire survives in the East. The Ahsapuri military is large, diverse and very highly trained. Most scholars postulate that the Ashapuri could have easily conquered the east in the years since Valerian's death; 1532 years in which to destroy an Empire at times in complete disarray.




    Telmior Province
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Telmior was ever pre-eminent amongst the First Kingdoms. They had a tightly ordered society, they were forward thinking, inventive and rich. They had the most fertile lands, were first to build walls, first to train a standing army, and they had one over-riding principle that this majestic society was built upon; slavery. For hundreds of years it had remained thus, and, in a few short weeks, they were to lose it all - for Ulaya, become Valerian, was to tear their world apart in a spume of blood and terror. The Empire of Telmior was going to fall.

    Telmior was a land of open plains and rolling hills. To the north was Ancillia - the broken realm, a mix of mountain, rough steppe and savaged by a volcano and sheets of black ice that rolled down through the Winter. The East lay Dalthrasia, slightly south of that land was the Sea of Grass, where the most prized slaves were found, and further south were others, too far to matter.

    Telmior revolved around the Brazen Queen, a woman always masked, the Empress of their world, lady of bronze, the whisperer of delights, she was said by most to be a true beauty, a wonder, by some a hideous crone who hid behind her mask. One thing was true - she never seemed to age or die, and that was reason enough for some to actually worship her.

    When the first walls were built, the Brazen Queen and her Noble Sons were tired of fighting the barbarians of the Sea of Grass. They were beset by foes on every side, and all lacked order. The walls swiftly grew, and her people were safe more often than before. Her vigil was constant. She built up trade with some of the settlements at the edge of her demesne, and sent diplomats out to sow accord. Her nation was rising, and she knew that they stood above all others. Whether the Elves had ever been here was unclear, but precious little of her rule bore any shaping by elves.

    Her rule expanded murderously. She sent her armies to conquer Ancillia, for fighting men could be trained from their stock, their harsh lives perfect for creating warriors. The few settlements in the south of the land fell in days. The northern half was harder to bring to heel, so she began a brutal campaign, burning the few fertile areas, salting the ground, brining them to starvation before accepting their surrender. These north men amongst the Ancillians were the best fodder for her new slave armies. In her cold chest her brazen heart sang.

    The Ancillians were made to construct their own walls, to maintain a garrison of Telmiorne soldiers, to provide a levy of slaves each year, to have to beg for scraps from her table, and their harsh lives got harder.

    She sent her forces two ways in the next hundred years; she raided the Sea of Grass constantly, for their quality as slaves was renowned, and she had found Ashapur, whose burgeoning slave culture caught her eye - she had an outlet for slaves, and Telmiorans were moving beyond their borders for trade, war and every other venture known to man. Daqlthrasia briefly fell to them, but they simply were asked to make a military tithe and a slave tithe each year; not as base as her 'accord' with Ancillia.

    Her men's forays were led deep into Duinir now, and she fought with the men of Saladir, although they made no good slave stock, preferring to die than submit - much like the Barbarians of the Grass Sea, save that she had discovered how to break these men, whereas those of Saladir, noble and high-moraled could not be brought to heel.

    The 'Empire' of Telmior grew, but more and more, the conquered nations became a vat of slaves to Telmior, even as the spread of this illness of conscience was festering within the very nations she ruled, as they came to depend on slaves from other nations within their own slave nation. The poison of moral decay spread, and she grew with it. She formed a new army, the Immortal Souls, slaves all, utterly hers to command and with them Telmior grew mightier still.

    We come to the birth of Ulaya. Here, the Brazen Queen had converted all of her clients and vassals to what she had wanted - a fat vat of money, slaves and goods that self governed and almost existed outside her demesne, yet were so inextricably tied to Telmior. The Queen had finally achieved perfection, and now the sole target or her desire lay in the Sea of Grass. Records differ hugely, but she began to send slaver armies into the Sea now, upwards of four thousand men at a time sometimes, and the slaves became regular, but not plentiful. They would never unite - they had done on occasion, and this had held her from conquest, but they were dissolute now, stuck into several bandings of tribe, clan, caste, and even differences in their general demeanour. SO fragmented were they that she at last became intent on conquest, but the chance never came to true fruition, for now the child, Ulaya, was a man, and the doom of Telmior was written in the stars.

    Ulaya was to become Valerian, and this name was taken from the books of Lore she kept, gathered from her lands, the names of nobles and high born men, which he stole from her.

    We come to the scene at the Calrion City, the city nearest the Sea of Grass. Here, at dawn, the guards pulled their governor, Demetir, from his bed. A large column of his slaving forces was to be seen approaching the city, with a massive crop of slaves from the clans. There seemed to be few guards, but many slaves. This was truly exciting, but, when they approached the gates, it was found that the slaves were his men.... nine men bound to one, all blinded save the tenth, who was leading them home.

    Such was the horror in his heart that he bore no consideration to what was happening elsewhere. As the blinded men began to clog the entry to the city, as the gates yawned ever-wider open, the forces of Ulaya attacked. Thousands of Spurhawk Cavalry dropped from the skies above, each carrying rocks that they dropped upon the city's defenders. From the tall grasses came two thousand Atlaians, 'Bloodhunters', who overran the gates in mere seconds, even as Demetri realised what his foe had done. Horsemen poured from the plains, more infantry. Thousands of barbarians from the Sea of Grass poured in to sack the second biggest city in the Telmioran Empire.

    The war moved swiftly. Two towns fell to Ulaya, both burned, but the worst thing, the travesty, was that he killed good free folk, and freed the slaves. Ancillia had declared themselves independent very quickly after the first blows of the war fell. Others may have well assaulted her on every side as they fell silent, watchful, eager even. Some settlements sent soldiers, others freed their slaves, and others simply barred the gates to the walls that Telmior had had them build.

    Within a month it became apparent that the Brazen Queens must meet Ulaya, now daring to call himself Valerian, in the field. She gathered the Immortal Souls, gathered her lesser slave legions, her allies that had sent forces, the mercenaries she maintained and the Noble Sons led the regular army behind their gilded chariots. She fielded 40,000 men, the largest force to have graced the East, and awaited the Men of Ashapur, who had promised half that number in addition; their full host to protect their interests.

    Valerian, hearing of their warcamp, accepted the surrender of the latest small town and marched immediately towards her forces. Never one to miss opportunity, he gathered all to him and arrayed his host opposite hers. He had less than twenty thousand, many of whom were very young clansmen or even were forces of the Telmioran slave army. To maximise his surprise, he had not had time to gather his best and his garrison troops, but his Air Cavalry were all present. Messages had been sent, but he dared not hope any would be in time. Valerian knew his foe and he also knew how effective his strategies were when in combination, and this battle held the greatest risk he would ever take, yet had the greatest plan behind it. He gave himself a one in ten chance of winning.... less of surviving. Yet this was not yet a dream of Empire, but one of revenge.

    With Dawn's rise, the battle horns sounded. Valerian's forces were arrayed in supportive ranks, having piled dirt up during the night for their archers to gain height, and their spearmen took the front ranks, protecting the better but less armoured soldiers of the clans.

    In her centre, the Brazen Queen of Telmior had the Noble Sons, flanked by thousand upon thousand of the other forces. As the chariots swirled around her, she signalled the Immortal Souls, and they split to take the far point of each flank, enveloping the forces of Valerian, each of those forces set in an enormous wedge. From almost any viewpoint, the battle seemed won, but it wasn't.

    As you may already consider, Valerian had been working on the slaves that formed the greater part of her host, but it was not a simple end to this battle. The first ranks clashed, and men and horses died. For an hour they fought, before the first slave and allied forces pulled back, retreating at speed. The loss of these men left gaping holes in her lines, and she ordered the Immortal Souls forwards, into battle - the others she would deal with at leisure.

    The armies clash again, and Valerian's lines seemed to buckle against the Immortal Souls. He ordered the Air Cavalry in, to strike the rear of the foe's legions, and the battle swirled back and forth. AT about the eight hour, the Brazen Queen lost her right centre, as her forces from the more eastern allies dissipated. She ordered her reserves of Immortal Souls in, to slaughter them, and the battle became chaotic. This was what he had prepared for. Valerian's gambit had paid off.

    He could never turn the Immortal Souls. None could. They were broken men, her slaves forever, her lovers, her children. So he turned to her people themselves. As the Souls renewed their assault, the Noble Sons drove harder into their flanks, whilst other household units began to cut down those next to them, the ones who hadn't turned.

    Valerian mounted his Spurhawk. Taking a thousand of his men, he drove straight at the Queen's massive chariot, and few stood in his way. The Immortal Souls that barred his path were slaughtered where they stood, much as they were elsewhere in the utter confusion that reigned. Valerian cut down her commander, his men scattered her Brazen Guard, and finally the man that was Ulaya stood before her. She stood tall, and her Kinsai blade swept a path towards his head. He sidestepped the blow and grabbed her mask, twisted and pulled her to her knees. They struggled for a few more seconds, then he cut the bindings that held the mask on, and her face was revealed in the sunlight. The Brazen Queen was a strikingly beautiful girl; she was not human, but bore golden skin like that of the Selediri Elves, yet her features were mean; she looked as foul as the Selediri were fair, and she would never tell her tale to a soul, for, as he held the mask in numbed hands, she pulled her throat into the blade that Valerian had cut her mask straps with. In a dire sort of majesty, she toppled sideways to the bloodied grass, lifeless.

    Telmior was done. Valerian was to spend mere weeks in negotiations, freeing all slaves, but executing those who turned on their previous masters. He stood as a King, and his judgement was seen to be divine indeed, for he began to mend the society that was broken - a task that would take a hundred years to truly fulfil, but at least had it's beginnings here.




    Ancillia
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Ancillia is a strange province. The south is not considered to be overly fertile, but sustains a decent populace, where plains slowly become steppe and then end in a broken mountain range. Legends speak of this range moving, of it coming to life before the terrified eyes of travellers, only to settle again in a different position. Some with the knowledge pos that it could one of the most ancient of Avatars; one so old that it has grown to be the 'small god' of an entire mountain range rather than a stream, pool, or oasis. If true, then it is mighty indeed.

    To the north of the mountains, the land becomes disastrous. A leaking volcano dribbles fire and poisons into a series of valleys, pooling around a large plateau that seems to cling to life, if barely. The plateau extends to the sea, and here Ancillia is visited by other horrors. From the coast one can see the many small isles that act as home to many Avatars, wild and abandoned, filled with sharp reefs and often clogged with strange predators that prevent the simple of fishing from brining succour to the land. In winter, the black ice comes from the north...it grows tall and shears from the polar caps, then gathers water to it as it journeys south, meeting the coast of Ancillia, driving up the beaches, to plough into deep grooves in the Plateau. Where the Black Ice meets the volcanic mass, strange things happen, and men have gone mad when exposed to the gases emitted. Many talk about the Black Ice as if it was haunted, or alive with malice, but that seems ridiculous to anyone sane.

    Ancillia was enthralled to the Brazen Queen of Telmior from its earliest days. Certainly in the south, her hold was strong, but in the north, her legions simply build one garrison town and sat there in fear. The culture of Ancillia was built of toughness, or survival, both even. The oldest tradition is Ancillia is that of the fighting pit. In the north, when communities or clans argued there was no war. They could not afford to lose their men in battle. Instead, they fought between champions and the winner was considered to justify his cause. These men slowly became more professional and were called 'Pit Dogs' by the Telmiori.

    In the south, she conquered the land fully, and it was under her sway, growing and becoming more decrepit and stagnant morally under her heavy hand. The battles for 'justice' ceased, and simply became games to wager on, blood to enjoy the shedding of and the crowds would escape their servitude and roar like lions at the death of their own people, especially when a Northman was brought south in chains, or a warrior from the Sea of Grass was torn apart by wild beasts.

    When Valerian crushed the Brazen Queen, the Ancillians revolted. It was no massive military action, but very sedate. They simply stopped paying attention to the Brazen Queen and her officers and officials were slain in the pits, dragged there by the hungry-eyed crowds. It was after the fall of Telmior that their problems really began. Several leaders came forwards, and a council of sorts was formed. In the time that it took from the fall of Telmior, through the capture of Acaserena, they had begun to look outwards, the ambitions of fools gone mad with power.

    In the north, the Telmior garrison was overrun and slaughtered, but little else changed at first. Then a leader came forward who changed much in the north. He was an old 'pit-dog', named the 'Mournweaver', on account of the amount of people he had slain. He had lost only once, but left enough blood and body-parts behind in that fight to be spared death by the victor, who had then fallen from a cliff when rescuing a stranded herd-beast.

    Mournweaver marched south, determined to have a voice in the future of Ancillia. AT this time, the Council saw fit to raise monies by hiring their pit-dogs out to neighbouring nations as bodyguards and, then to the Crown Prince of Dalthrasia in his attempt to replace his Queen as the ruler of that Queendom.

    When Valerian foiled this attempt, he lost good men, and his ire turned north, to Ancillia. The province was poor, but he was fascinated by the legends of the northern side, and his fury would be sent against the South.

    The Mournweaver gathered his men and marched to the westernmost town of Laseya, whereupon he was barred access at first. This wild-looking man and his warriors were recognisably Ancillian, but their councillor was in the new capital, Lysillia and the ability to make choice upon need had been bred out of them by the Brazen Queen. When he demanded access and succour, they shot arrows at him and his men, wounding several, and he fell back in a black mood. Two days later, he and his men assaulted the walls and killed every man in the town that bore arms against them.

    Word reached the capital quickly, and a force was dispatched to deal with him. This army outnumbered his by five to one, the best and the worst the fledgling state could offer. They marched swiftly on the town and invested it, swiftly building engines of war with which to shatter gates and walls. Their commander, Ederis did not like the option of facing North men on the walls. He knew what they lived through and their toughness and savagery.

    Valerian fell on the fortified town of Kirine and swiftly took the walls, then was dumbfounded by the stone keep within the wooden shell. The keep had a wooden roof under which archers could shelter, and Valerian could not bring his Air Cavalry to bear, so he began to ready an assault on the walls, costly though it may be. The citizens of Kirine faced no brutality at Valerian's hands, but their leaders were hung in the market square, their crime of regicide read at length to the populace, who had known nothing of this.

    Almost simultaneously, the forces of Valerian attacked the keep and the Ancillian attacked the breaches they had created, but the forces of Mournweaver beat them back in 5 day-long assaults. The Keep of Kirine fell swiftly once the Atlaians and the Royal Guards of Dalthrasia stormed the walls, vengeance and indignation in their hearts, where the defenders has little of anything in theirs.

    Valerian immediately set off east, and word reached him of the attack on Mournweaver. He paused momentarily, and led half of his force to the east. He fell in wrath on Mournweaver's enemies, and a brief battle was fought - in truth a slaughter. Barely two hundreds of Mournweaver's mean remained, but he met Valerian as an equal and was high in his esteem. Together, they turned west, to the capital, and they arrived precisely as the host from the host did.

    Swiftly, the capital, Lysillia, was invested. Every man defended the walls, and some of the best soldiers of Telmior had fled there after the Queen's death; this fight would not be an easy one. For three days, Valerian pounded the city, the deep coughing of war engines sending fire and death into the city, but he could breach the walls, and the inevitable assault began, with both towers and ladders brought up against the defences.

    Six assaults were made, and the war engines kept their fire upon the city between each assault, depriving the defenders of sleep, whilst his men rotated their numbers for each attack. On the seventh attack, Valerian himself led the most part, with Woundweaver at his side. The Pit Dogs were unstoppable, and the Atlaians that guarded their Emperor were equally driven, but of less skill in the brutal art of massacre.

    Punching a hole in the defenders' lines, he secured the gates and his army poured through into the city. They fought running battles, and the city fell, piece by piece. All that surrendered were spared, and their wounded were tended to. The last stand was made in the market square, and their end was merciless and brutal. Woundweaver led this assault, and he cut down dozens of men by himself. At the end of the defence, nigh on all defenders were slain, and the nation of Ancillia capitulated. Ready for a second despotic ruler, they awaited their punishment and indenture into slavery, but they were mistaken.

    Valerian gave them two years without taxes, money and men to rebuild all damage and installed Woundweaver as their confused new governor. The fortunes of the province rose greatly, and the Imperial Guard Legions were trained in the harsh north. Those that survived were toughened, and the pit-dogs of Woundweaver were taken as the Emperor's new bodyguard; honour and respect were heaped heavily upon them, and they never failed this amazing man, fanatically loyal and devoted in their duties. Wound weaver eventually was given the title of Warden of the East and led his legions to the west, to fight at Saden Fields.




    Kai Losson Province
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Kai Losson is not filled with a rich history. It is a Province 'forced' into being by Valerian and circumstance. The Province has few settlements at all; it's filled with a rich, fertile soil, and holds great potential for development, if it could increase it's populace - as it is now, it is the breadbasket of the East, and the rolling hills contain rich deposits of both metals and precious gems. These remained utterly unexploited until the time of Valerian, and, even now, they are barely exhausted at all. Telmior, Dalthrasia, Acaserena all manage vast fields of crops and boast good resources, but incomparable to Kai Losson.

    Valaerian moved to the province under advice from his ancient ones. He uprooted the remnants of Telmiori and deported most, killing those foolish enough to resist. As a man, he disliked slaughter, but sometimes it was necessary to prevent bloodshed on a greater scale and interrupt peace and harmony.

    The majority of the tribes of Kai Losson agreed to parley, and he convinced them of his intent, the safety he could guarantee, and the degree of autonomy he nearly always granted; enough to salve their identity and pride. The tribes lived far apart from each, gathering rarely, but he suggested a different path.

    He moved in the people he would need for growth. They established settlements, which were colonial in nature, peacefully so. Trade was established, mines, which tithed a good part of their productivity to the tribes. He respected the tribes' wishes, and strengthened the province vastly over the next decade. It would reach it's true potential for many more decades, but became vital, peaceful, and it's Horse Archers were integral to the strategy of the Eastern armies.




    Province of Saladir
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Imperial Province of Saladir in the East is a Principality as such, but they were placed under strict confines in this aspect by the emerging Emperor, after his swift, sky-borne, victory in the south. As with many conquered countries, the Skyhawks were vital in the conquest of Saladir. They simply could not defend against such a swift and decisive action.

    The quick and light cavalry of the Saldir army was able to outmanoeuvre anything that Valerian could muster; they knew how to fight in the sands and arid lands they occupied and used their cavalry highly effectively, and had superb horse archers. Their noble 'Silver Lancers' were an appalling foe, and the Queen's Horse were fine shots. Their tactics were to outmanoenvre foes and wear them down, before hitting them hard as they stood exhausted, overcome by the heat.

    Valerian brought in one army, making a defensive line around an oasis. Here, they were taunted and worn down. Dead littered the ground from horse archer fire. They sat for two weeks, leaving a force of 12,000 remaining from almost twice that. His was a decisive plan however. Behind the enemy lines, his air cavalry had already seized the capital city, Selis, seizing the Queen and the royal family. The massive hawk force had been silencing any messengers, and now struck the Royal Army from behind. Ten thousand Spurhawk riders hit them at dawn. As the air cavalry struck, Valerian led his cavalry, which had been hiding 1 mile hence, carefully wearing sand coloured tabards and cloaks. Three Thousand Legion Lancers hit the left flank, even as Valerian advanced on the foot troops of the foe. There was a terrible battle being fought - the Royal Army had no chance.

    The King died before Valerian could get to him, but the Royal Forces surrendered, and Valerian was always magnanimous in victory.

    The Queen and her sons were kept as the rulers of Saladir, but the sons would only ever be princes, not kings.

    To placate the populace, they were given three years of no taxation or tithes. Better water was drawn from deeper wells, a council was et up to help rule. This was made of equal numbers of peasantry, military and aristocracy. A chosen Imperial Governor was also appointed, to aid in rule. One hundred years after this, the Prince was given equal power to the governor, and the Council was given powers over all of the industry and infrastructure of the Province, whilst the Prince and Governor were placed in command of the society and military of the Province. Since then, Saladir has remained an utterly loyal, supportive and productive member of the Empire. Saladir is a noble and idealistic province, and have always served the Empire well.




    Acasarena Province History

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Some wars were fought hard during the first days of Empire. Valerian's invasion of Acasarena was not one of his finest hours, but it paled when compared to the murder of Telmior. At least Telmior had a reason for the hate it inspired in the clans of the Sea of Grass. Acasarena was another story entirely.

    Having seized Telmior, Dalthrasia, with the peaceful amalgamation of Atakash and Duinir, the road towards Empire was paved for the youth Valerian was. He moved forces against two more foes: Saladir and Acaserena. Saladir was a straightforward move - he would use diplomacy where possible, appeal to either the nobility or the people and engineer peace or a revolt.

    Acaserena was a different tale entirely. Valerian knew nothing about them or their culture. They were simply beyond the borders of Telmior, and seemed a tempting target. Acasarena was wealthy as such, and it boasted an army that people called the 'Lionhearts'. Whilst not numerous, they proved to be a difficulty that almost tore the throne from his grasp. In the end, sheer brutality won out.

    Diplomatic inroads were attempted, but all attempts were simply returned, always accompanied by the note 'A Lion does not bend its knee to a savage'. This infuriated him, and he began plans to invade. His usual tactics included heavy use of quick moving troops, of the Air Cavalries that he prized above all else, and of forced marches and daring manoeuvres.

    Valerian delivered a three-pronged assault. To the north of the province, he sent seven thousand of his clansmen, only one thousand of which were mounted, all of which were ferocious fighters and heavily blooded. The target was the principal chokepoint of the self-styled 'kingdom', which wound through to the north of Telmior, into Ancillia. The town of Salia fell to the army in one blistering assault.

    In the centre, Valerian sent four thousands of Spurhawk Cavalry, to assault the Capital of Acasarena; the city of Isiltir. Here, the plan went wrong. Hearing of the fall of Telmior and the lands to the south and east of the Sea of Grass, they had prepared their defences against aerial assault. Catapults had been raised to send shards of steel into the air; they had raised spikes on the walls, netted off areas of the city and had hired eight hundred crossbowmen from Ancillia to protect the city.

    The Dawn assault was perfect in execution, but the Spur Hawks were repulsed easily, with heavy losses. They had seized some sections of the city, but with no support from ground forces, they were forced to flee. Luckily they could manage at least this with some grace.

    In the South, Valerian moved his main force, twenty thousands of the main Imperial Army. There were men of Duinir, Atakash Angelbloods, more Spurhawksmen, Clansmen and men of mixed cultures who were the forerunners of the Legions that would soon be fully formed in Valerians' mind.

    They attacked the Lionsbreath - the narrow valley that held the Fortress of that name, nestled in a high vale, silver walls glistening, pennants flying in a mist - this was where the heart of the nation stood. With one blow, he could finish the kingdom as a threat or target. The Spurhawks swept up over the walls, and were met with heavy missile fire, but tore through into open streets. His other forces struck in three places; the front gate, an eastern tower and the southern central wall. Siege engines coughed, missiles flew and men on both sides died.

    Within hours, it became clear that this would be a hard fight, so when the Spurhawks came from the north, they were met with delight. The news they brought was not heard with delight. One thousand were sent north again, with dire orders, which were to be executed to the letter.

    The Lionsbreath was attacked three times that day, and the sounds of battle were heard twice more that night, but there was little movement on either side.

    Dawn the next day brought Valerian's anger down on the capital City, Isiltir. For hour after hour, the hawks rained pots of oil, pitch, bales of straw and possibly many other flammable chemicals. For a half-day, they did this, as the army from the north filed down into the plains before the city. Then, as the sun set, they dropped fireballs onto the city streets. The city burned for three days, uncontrollably. The screams rent the air, and all who fled from the conflagration were slaughtered as they ran from the walls. At the end of the third day, thousands littered the plains, and the city was lifeless. He had his victory, but at what cost to his own morality?

    When the news was delivered to Lionsbreath, the fortress surrendered unconditionally. Fearing for their people, they surrendered, and their nobility burned itself into the raw eyes of the young Valerian. He was said to have never forgotten it, and he paid for it every day in his own mind. In his youth, his temper had ruled his heart, and he had won, but he could never take away the truth, and never did. He paid minstrels to sing of the Lion-hearted men of Acasarena, and raised the province above most others in his new Empire. He was said to have poured so much money into the province's rebirth that he almost bankrupted himself, but by then, was invading north and south...still impetuous, but a little more restrained in his emotions.




    The Province of Atakash
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The People of Atakash are bound by a warrior-code. They are honourable, motivated and highly organised. They are also most certainly not fools.

    There is a religious sentiment in their society. It is held that they were visited many times by angels. It was these angels that gave the nobility their rule, and their blood is said to run in the veins of the Atakash Noble Families. There is a rite that is held as truth, laid down in history at the dawn of man. It tells of dealings with angelic figures, who taught them many things, but, more importantly, shared their blood with the greatest amongst the Atakash, as it imparted wisdom through shared memories. One hundred and twelve men formed the first tribe of the Atakash, and they are even now the 112 noble families of the Province; the Autocracy of Atakash.

    There are no singular titular heads of Atakash. The 112 families rule together, but all disputes are taken to a 'lowborn man', making there a hundred and thirteen members of the Autocratic Council. The last man, the lowborn, is given greater powers, and is the arbiter in any decision. He can veto edicts, given the support of a third of the Houses, but has a limit before he must resign. It's lands are divided into 113 'provinces', each under the lordship of a noble family, save the last, the City of Arakamesh, which is home to the ruling council, and the 'lowborn man'.

    The land was never numerously populated, but the sheer ferocity of its warriors allowed them to remain autonomous until the coming of Ulaya, the man who would become Valerian, first Emperor of the Dragonthrone.

    Their culture was never stagnant, but, like the Atlaia under Valerian, they had no dreams of conquest. Trade was left to the lower born, and each person occupied a vital role in the community, from the weaver to the Akurai, or commander of the Guard - a general for want of a better word. There was no colonial dream; warriors fought for dreams and ritual passage, only man versus man; battles were fought between Houses, but these were usually to bloody troops, to keep their abilities sharp and to rectify slights of honour. Combat could be arranged by champions, or a house could go to war with another. Should a war occur, no territory was conquered, and it was very rare that more than a few hundred fought. There were ancient alliances, but somehow, they invented an exceedingly complex system, which prevented the slaughter of thousand for political power. The ruling classes trained their sons every day, and for little but combat expertise.

    Early on they had fought various incursions, many of which were from Ashapur or even slavers from Telmior. The south was unconquered wilderness, inhabited by Fey folk and abnormal beasts. This they left to it's own devices.

    The nobility always formed the core of any army, gathered by family in units known as the Atakash Angelbloods. They were known by this name due to their exalted bloodline and for the wings they wore to battle. These wings were an ancient gift that allowed the wearer to offset some of the burden of weight from heavy armour, aiding the wearer in burden or over harsh terrain. They are agile, swift and deadly.

    Each family is made up from a Ashkarakai (a 'chieftain'), his immediate family, then a feudal grouping of lesser families that provided 1 noble Angelblood and 2 in every 5 people in their jurisdiction would be called as levies for war. The system certainly works. Many small nations rose and fell in the forming of the greater ones that consumed them. Atakash was never conquered or made subservient, despite many attempts to conquer them.

    When Valerian took his armies south to Atakash, he had taken Salidir and was fascinated by this new culture. He observed their society and gained great respect for them as a people. In all of this time, he never visited in state or armed for war, but is said to have made many journeys into their lands and settlements as a plain trader. His main observation lay in the gauging of the price of Conquest. He decided that it would be a long, bloody war that would have to break the back of a society he had come to like. Each and every Angelblood would have to die or be turned to his side, and he knew they would never betray their own, so it was murder to achieve domination of them. Each settlement was strong, down to single noble manses, and would be resistant, almost naively, to air attack.

    He entered the country with ten men. The favoured 'divide and conquer' approach was of no use, as was any direct assault, so he simply walked into the Grand Hall, where 86 of the Ruling Lords were debating, and announced himself. He talked quietly about the visions he had, of his view as to how the world should be and how he had won his battles. He gifted each House with a Spurhawk, and gave every word a song of humility. He was perfect. He promised protection from the enemies that Atakash already had, that the young Angelbloods would have the change to test and improve their skills in war. He would only ask that he would maintain a sizeable force of Angelbloods permanently, and that the province would need to provide the levies in the way that the Atakash already had agreed culturally. There would be no foreign interference in their society and it's culture and no taxes. He would, however, require a gift each year to support him, but no amount was ever set, and he would pay the Houses for their soldiers in the field. As it stands, Atakash gives this 'gift' once per year, and it contains what they can afford, no more, no less.

    He brought in his air cavalries, showed their manoeuvres and the Lords were greatly pleased. He then gave them 200 of his Spurhawk Riders as a force under their own control, and would train new legions to use the hawks for themselves, as well as train the lower castes into Legions should the Province be attacked. It was genuine, and the lords voted on becoming an almost totally autonomous province of the Empire. It was unanimous. Atakash would become vassals of this great man, Ulaya, now become Valerian.

    The first thing to change for the better was the great agrarians of the Empire...they sent many farmers and even Old Ones to Atakash, and the arid soil was enhanced, allowing better crops, water was diverted, better wells made - many valuable 'modernising' methods were introduced, but none would impact on their beliefs, nor change the way they were. Valerian was in love with their world, and he kept the Angelbloods by his side through every campaign, relied on them for their utter loyalty, and their ability to be able to show him a foolish decision he would otherwise have made, when others may stay silent for fear of their heads.

    Basically, the structure of Atakash is developed around martial prowess. It's not necessarily only the highborn that get to fight, but a warrior that is gifted can be elevated to the nobility for this skill. Since they became a part of the Empire, the lowborn soldiers they used to maintain are supplanted by the Legions (although the lowborn are often the soldiers that form the legions), so they field only the Angelbloods as a standing force.

    The Atakash Angelbloods are called Angelbloods because they, like most conquered nations or once great powers, still cling to their heritage, and they freely give their blood to the survival of their nation and it's ways. There is mention of the warriors being taught by angelic creatures, which is completely unsubstantiated, but lends a blood nobility to the high born amongst them....a right to rule and a benevolence in doing so.

    As warriors, they remain some of the best and most steadfast of all Imperial Forces, and abhor the very notion of slavery, so often fight in the vanguard of any action against Ashapur




    Imperial Province of Duinir
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Before The Empire came, Duinir was a deeply wooded area, where small villages lived in a loose community. Wardens moved through and protected these villages, and decided fair justice on those within. Trade was arbitrated by them, as were most matters, and the Wardens were idealistic and had integrity for the main. The Great Ward was a larger dwelling, dug out of an ancient Weirden Tree., ringed by smaller versions of the long dead father of the forest. The inhabitants of the Great Ward had no idea what a Weirden Tree was, or that the Lindiri had abandoned it some time before the Duinir moved into it. The highest amongst the Council of Wardens knew of the Lindiri; often they visited, as the tree was held in high regard, and those living there were determined to have given the forest the respect it deserved. Should the Lindiri have wished it, at this point in their history, the entire population of Duinir would be dead overnight should they have lived differently.

    Around 800 Wardens lived in the Great Ward, and a similar amount were travelling the villages of Duinir. These men were all that stood between their people and those would seek to harm them. The 20 Council members had been taught much of their knowledge, and their morals by the Lindiri. A few Wardens had been given the knowledge of Ley Channelling; they proved to be almost the only humans ever to have been able to use it...the elves will always state that man cannot Channel because of their state of mind, not because they just cannot. Weiridng magic is the way of man in the use of magic, as the College of Sorcery taught the first firebinders under Valerian's tutelage.

    Within Duinir, a large community of Lindiri still remained, deep in the forest, and it is likely that they do so now. The Wardens performed another task within their main shepherding of their people. They proscribed the areas the Lindiri occupied as places of no travel, although some did try entry; they either turned back on themselves are began where they had started, or a few were said to have made it to the spirits in the forest and came back much changed.

    For generations, this way of life had existed, and it had worked. New blood within the Council pushed the larger settlements forwards, building upon their lands, erecting new buildings, moving some of the populace where there was building to be done, and an influx of trade brought new people to their forests, swelling the population. Their easy, sedate lives were changing. Full councils, run by Wardens, were installed within the larger settlements. This development hit it's height when they built their first 'city' - In the Woodpike lived nearly three thousand people, and it was a wonder, consisting of a walled town and many building erected in the huge trees that rose around it, and passed through it. A militia had formed to deal with past threats, but this city began training a small regular army.

    As the walls were finished, there came reports of missing people to the East, and even an entire village had burned without any survivors. Here had come the first scouts of a foe they would later face in full. In the Great Ward, power was being transferred to individual settlements, and they were slowly becoming more isolated and insular. The Wardens in the settlements still behaved as they should, but the greater knowledge they had was held solely within the Ward. To meet this threat, the Great Ward mobilised its Wardens. Eleven hundred men and women marched to the east, to find this threat where the lesser skills of the towns-wardens would not endure.

    They came across the village of Tenbeam and stumbled into the mire of slaughter left behind the invaders. They discovered a small force of Lindiri camped nearby, who had also begun to track these foes. They revealed what they knew, and that was little. No one had seen the creatures the Lindiri described before, and that sent cold dread into the Wardens there gathered. AT this point a terrible tragedy was unveiled. A party of Lindiri scouts was ambushed by people of Duinir, sent from the settlements. Nearly 80 animist had been killed, alongside some few Fey, but they had fought hard. The Wardens from the Great Ward attempted to avoid any retaliation, but many animists marched in the deeper shadows of night, and the urban troops of Duinir were scattered, almost annihilated by them. The remainder were hunted down and slain - not one would return to their homes, and the Wardens could not argue against the Lindiri response.

    A second army was on it's way though, and numbered three thousand...a host of the men of Duinir, but one not of the Wardens. It became apparent that the urban councils had fallen away from their old way and old oaths. They were met in the field; this time by the Lindir and the old Wardens. In a shifting battle, the outcome was sadly one-sided. The urban army was smashed, and the 'Warden' leaders were brought before the Lindir and men of the Great Ward. They were summarily executed. Wardens were dispatched to all settlements, to remove any of the Councils that refused their oaths to be retaken.

    In some places, the Councils ran true, but in many, they're were utterly corrupt. Some welcomed the Wardens, others refused them entry, and others sent their heads to the Great Ward.

    SO the civil war began. The Great Ward gathered its men and women; messages were sent to the settlements that were true. Woodpike, the 'capital' of Duinir remained true, but was swiftly placed under siege. The corrupted Wardens lay siege to it, and they sent three armies against the other large settlements that remained true, alongside a force to burn the Great Ward. This was their mistake. The army that moved against the Great Ward began to bring up ladders, even to construct siege engines, but they were never used. The tiny garrison, two hundred only, were on the walls when the Lindiri attacked. Three thousands of Animists and another thousand Fey attacked this army. The Great Wardens sallied, and the enemy were routed.

    The Fey followed this up. They moved to aid the Great Wardens, and battle under the forest eaves was fought for seven years. The entire west and South of the province went over to the 'corrupt' Councils, but many of the Northern and Eastern settlements went to the Great Wardens. The West and South were far more densely populated however, and only the Lindir allowed them to hold. Slowly, they held their lines, and then slowly began to defeat the western settlements. It was the West that capitulated first. Their hearts were still tied to the forests, and it took only a show of force and three decisive battles to bring them back to the old ways. They would not take up arms against the Southern men of Duinir, but the held to the old ways. It seemed that a dense black cloud was lifting in the West. There was more to this that just simple corruption.

    The south had hired mercenaries from Dalthrasia and some from further south, amongst the Clans of the Earthspine - CImrai, they were called, although the nobles called themselves the Haladin. The civil war was to be a longer and more bloody affair because of this. The New Council of Duinir had amassed nigh on twenty thousand troops, whilst the Great Wardens numbered only 1100 Wardens, 6000 militia and 3000 Fey. More years passed, and the war was swinging back and forth, decimating villages and shattering the walls of Woodpike, which had held a four month siege in the spring, when the main strength of fey were locked in battle in the south west, tricked into a rash strike due to the burning of Weirden Trees. They destroyed the forces that were killing the great trees, then swung north at speed, and struck the besieging force. This time, the battle was not so single sided, but the siege was broken and it took days to burn the dead.

    The war entered its final stage two months later, as the forces of the Great Ward were being increasing fewer. Rumours told that more of the Lindiri were marching from the south, but the Great Ward may well have fallen, had not Valerian (still known as Ulaya at this time) come upon them. With a swift assault by Spurhawk Riders, he took two major towns, and his infantry swept up to link with those of the Great Ward. In Council, Valerian met the Lindiri and the Great Wardens, and terms were agreed. The Empire would aid them in their just war, leaving the Fey to their chosen lands in perpetuity, whilst Duinir would become a province of the fledgling Empire, under the terms that it would remain socially as it was, allowing for the development of the south into a defensive wall against these Haladin of the Earthspine Mountains. They would pay tithes to the Empire, provide soldiers, but would, in return gain stability, growth and the just laws of the Empire, and the promise of it's Legions in war.

    This lasted hundreds of years, with great peace. Duinir was one of the few Provinces not to see the scars of war. This changed with the coming of the Naugiri, the Orcs, whose scouts had so long ago destroyed a village in the East of Duinir.




    History of Dalthrasia Province
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Dalthrasia is a province of hills and flat plains, fertile, rich with metal deposits, even gemstone mines, it was, behind Telmior, the most powerful nation in the East before it encountered Valerian and his armies. Telmior was butchered, for the crime of slavery. Dalthrasia was won by other means.

    The people of Dalthrasia is inhabited by tall men, akin to the men of Duinir, but founded on different ideals, and boasts very little forest. The political system is Monarchic in nature, but Valerian changed much of that. The people of the province worked hard, built walled strongholds, and spent a hundred years fighting petty wars before uniting behind their first King, Lodens. It was his grand-daughter, Iriyin that Valerian faced. Her consort was Prince Telenyrn, who had a solid basis in economics, but little if any military experience. Iriyin however had plenty of experience. She had led the Lords of Dalthrasia against the incursions of Telmior, who were no allies of Dalthrasia. She fought for several years to repulse enough attacks to make Telmior think twice about sending more men tot heir deaths for small gains.

    She was a typical tom-boy; a girl who behaved in a most unlady-like fashion. Born to the saddle, wielding a blade of wood when four, she had made a great Queen at the age of fourteen, and now surpassed all expectations. She was not a fool. After Telmior toppled, she celebrated, but with the fall of other nations to Valerian, she saw the danger he presented ever more keenly, and knew he would turn his gaze to Dalthrasia; a prize for the taking, which would seal all borders of the Sea of Grass with allies or client-states.

    Her finest men were the Dalthrasian Pike. They were legendary men, who were simply the best soldiers in the East. They had learned tactics to eliminate the chariots of Telmior, and she trained them hard - harder yet since she slept on the growing fear of Valeiran. She had trained her archers to stand within the ranks of pikemen, who held pikes in differing lines, to cover the heads of the soldiers from this Hawk threat. Still, she could not see a victory in the coming conflict, so she sought other means for victory or simple peace. The secret counsels she held were, as all secrets are, leaked by some, and other nobles believed she would capitulate. They plotted to remove her, and ally themselves with whatever 'free states' remained. They sent men to Ancillia and Ashapur, even to Clans from the Sea of Grass who still remained apart from Valerian's unification.

    Iryin was to be removed, and it fell to her Prince Consort to remove her. As happenstance sometimes is, she changed her guard that night, and the men of the House of the Ebon Hawk were replaced by the House of the Glittering Spear, who proved to be loyal. Unbeknownst to her, there were some who grew aware of this plot, and they seized the chance to move against their traitor brothers. Three of the noble families stood by her, and they sent one of their own each to watch in her chamber each night. Luckily for her, they were present; usually she grew furious and shouted them out of her bower. Tonight she did not.

    The attack came at midnight. Three hundred men were let into the palace complex, and they seized the gate and other areas quickly and without alarm...few even tried to resist, and some joined them. With their numbers swollen, they assaulted the palace itself. Twelve of their number had remained inside the palace, and attacked her rooms. The Glittering Spears saw them with naked blades and barred the doors to them. It took them twenty minutes to break through to her chambers. Elsewhere, the sound of battle raged - the East Wing was under assault, and the West was unable to stave off the first attack. Their Palace Guard retreated further into the palace.

    The Twelve attacked the Glittering Spears, who has roused the Queen and her unwanted 'champions. They entered the fray, and soon the Glittering Spears lay dead amongst the bodies of five of the Twelve. One of her champions was wounded, and his blood ran freely. The surviving seven of the assassins closed in on her, and they threw back their hoods. Amongst their number was her Prince, whom she loved. As he revealed himself, she almost collapsed with shock. Her champions threw themselves at the assassins, enraged by his betrayal. In a brief clash two more of the assassins had died, but only one Champion stood unharmed. Another clash saw one of them dead, and it appeared hopeless.

    Else where in the palace, things were bad; the West Wing had fallen, and the East was sorely pressed. The central palace proved harder to force, but there was little chance that the hundred Glittering Spears that began that night alive could stave off over three hundred men. With the usual sound judgement, help came from an unexpected place. Men dressed in the red of the Empire dropped from the backs of Spurhawks, into the Palace grounds. As with all secrets, they often became exposed, and Valerian had many means to do so. He led a small force himself, landing on the Palace roof, above the Queen's chambers. He saw knots of men fighting, and saw that his own men needed him, as they struggled to gain a foothold. AT first, some of the Glittering Spears attacked them, but soon saw their purpose, and threw themselves into the fray alongside these red men.

    Valerian sent his band in two directions; one to lead the men below, and one squad to assist the Queen. The force he led dropped onto the balconies of the Queen, and saw her surrounded, one man standing between her and her would-be-slayers. Even this man shook and swayed, slick with blood. Valerian charged into the assassins, bowling two over, whilst his other men advanced somewhat more cautiously. Within mere seconds, men died and Valerian placed himself between the Prince and the Queen. The Prince's men desperately fought Valerian's men, but were dying one by one. The Prince-Consort duelled with Valerian, wounding him twice before Valerian eviscerated him. The Prince was a master swordsman, but he lacked Valerian's brutality and fearlessness.

    In the palace the fight raged for another two hours. Valerian's men were left with the Queen, but Valerian himself led the forces that retook the palace. As troops arrived from the city, Valerian became surrounded by the Dlathrasians, who openly argued about killing him. They almost did, but the Queen arrived in immaculate statehood and denied her people the killing of the man that could be the end of her Kingdom.

    She welcomed Valerian into her lands, and he gave her the best terms he could: her people adored him for saving her life, and he would love her in return, destined to be her husband and her Emperor in one. The Province saw six months of war after that night, as the traitor-elements within the nobility were ruthlessly hunted and slain. Promised soldiers from Ashapur never showed themselves, but Ancillia made the mistake of letters offering aid. No clans were ever found to be culpable in this. Mere months after the traitors were finished, Valerian turned angry eyes on Ancillia.


  3. #3
    HTVfanatic's Avatar Vexillifer
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Awesome will read soon and post thoughts.
    Thanks for this you just made my day!

  4. #4
    Squeaks's Avatar Being All Mimsy
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    Caught me on the hop there Cheese (Kaiser)!!

  5. #5
    Kaiser Leonidas's Avatar Lord of the Cheese
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by HTVfanatic View Post
    Awesome will read soon and post thoughts. Thanks for this you just made my day!
    You found this quickly . Hope you like what you see .
    Quote Originally Posted by Squeaks View Post
    Caught me on the hop there Cheese (Kaiser)!!
    You told me to post it whenever .

  6. #6
    Squeaks's Avatar Being All Mimsy
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiser Leonidas View Post
    You found this quickly . Hope you like what you see .
    Well, he posted when I did, I think.

    Hi HTV!! Always nice to see you!

    You told me to post it whenever .
    True. I did, and you have

  7. #7
    Evalation's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    You guys just made my day, im speechless. The Easten Empire is more elegant then I imgined, + rep.


    The Empire.


    Everyone else.

    Edit: Squeaks I gotta spread some rep before im able to rep you agian.
    Last edited by Evalation; April 09, 2013 at 01:07 PM.

  8. #8
    knight of meh's Avatar roghnaithe sciathŠn bŠn
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    read it .. loved it

    oh and when you release the full version i may have to move those angel bloods to other factions ... i just love them so much

    hope you don't mind

  9. #9
    DeVrie's Avatar Signifer
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    the Ancillian Pitdogs are badasses. I don't think I've ever seen any unit with claws in TW.

  10. #10
    Stath's's Avatar Equites Cohortales
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Excellent!! Beautiful!! Can't wait!!


  11. #11
    HTVfanatic's Avatar Vexillifer
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiser Leonidas View Post
    You found this quickly . Hope you like what you see .
    Ha, yeah I just happened to be browsing through at the right time. I have one question though, are the Myr Addat part of the empire? But great preview, I got to say the variety of units is really appealing to me. Like a lot of you I don't usually like big factions, but these guys look really interesting and challenging to play.

  12. #12
    danny X's Avatar M2TW Mapper
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    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Looks awesome, I love this faction.

  13. #13
    NekoGenijalan's Avatar Quietly Observant
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Ni na nebu, ni na zemlji
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Good job Leo


  14. #14
    Namorath's Avatar Discens
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Canada
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    excellent preview as usual dragondawn team
    long live the empire!

    I think I will take the advice given and play the empire first (even though im Dwarven at heart)
    defend the south and throw everything at the nuagir .... ooo I cant wait

  15. #15
    The Holy Pilgrim's Avatar In Memory of Blackomur
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Not that long ago, in a galaxy not so far away.
    Posts
    11,424

    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Excellent preview, you guys!

  16. #16
    Miles Invictus's Avatar Pili
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Sweden
    Posts
    1,919

    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Looks brilliant; cannae wait to have a go on it lads!
    Creator of Ab Urbe Condita (v2) and NTW: Slower Firing Animation Mod

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by legate View Post
    An old soldier once said to me that nuclear weapons keep the peace because the rich have nowhere to hide.

  17. #17
    Torak's Avatar Ashigaru
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Canada
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Yet again I am blown away by the overall quality of the work put into this mod. Cant wait for it to be finished

  18. #18
    ΔriŽl's Avatar Princeps Prior
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Ponce, (Colony) of Puerto Rico
    Posts
    1,300

    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Looks Beautiful .

  19. #19
    deusvult6's Avatar Cornicularius
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    IL, US
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Ave Dragonborn! Thanks for the extra work in making this preview, guys! No one would have held you to doing both of them but we're all very pleased you did. And just in case it needs to be said, I'm eagerly anticipating the Dragondawn release. Stay awesome!
    What's life like if you don't take a chance now and then? ~ Matrim Cauthon

  20. #20
    BanditKS's Avatar Hastatas Prior
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    680

    Default Re: East Empire Full Faction Preview

    Cant give any rep! stupid rep system
    Anyways! awesome preview Lord of the Cheese!



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