At the outbreak of war, The Union was also engaged in the First Northern War. The majority of the Union's fighting strength, some twelve regiments under the command of Lord Marshal West, were in Angland and The North.
The Union was also racked by internal strife between the nobles and the crown. The disbanding of the merchant Guild of Mercers by the Inquisition had hurt many of the nobles financially. And also, the vote for the new High King of the Union was highly contentious. Lord Brock especially resented the election of King Jezal the First, who quickly married Princess Terez, daughter of Grand Duke Orso of Talins, to strengthen his fragile hold on the throne.
The Union and the Gurkish Empire had been in conflict for a number of years. The First Gurkish War occurred in Gurkhul, some nine years before. It ended in a victory for The Union, with Dagoska becoming part of the realm. Uthman-ul-Dosht on becoming Emperor, about one year before, declared his intention to recapture Dagoska. During Before They Are Hanged, the Gurkish forces put siege to Dagoska, and eventually captured it.
In the backdrop to this, is the conflict between the Magi Khalul and Bayaz. Khalul controls the Gurkish Empire through religion, while Bayaz secretly controls The Union through money and the bank Valint & Balk. This conflict is centuries old, and revolves around the death of their master Juvens and Khalul’s breaking of Euz's Second Law.
Soon after the fall of Dagoska in the Battle of Dagoska, the Gurkish Ambassador Tulkis was sent to Adua to offer a peace between the empires. Seemingly these overtures came directly from the Emperor, and were not supported by Khalul. However, Crown Prince Raynault was found murdered in the palace during this peace mission. Tulkis was convicted of the crime, and publically hung, drawn and quartered, despite his questionable guilt; his confession was achieved through torture, and the piece of cloth found at the scene was dubious evidence. In fact, it was revealed that Bayaz framed Tulkis to prevent the peace mission from succeeding.
However, it was clear that the Gurkish had prepared for this war for many years, including the secret construction of the massive invasion fleet.
Hostilities Open Edit
The Gurkish fleet lands near Keln in Midderland, a region controlled by Lord Brock. Seemingly Brock has been promised the throne of The Union within the Gurkish Empire, once the resistance is crushed and King Jezal executed. The Gurkish vanguard consists of five legions, with many thousands more to come, all under the command of General Malzagurt. In addition, Mamun commands the elite troops of Eaters, The Hundred Words.
Adua is thrown into uproar, with looting and rioting soon breaking out, until a curfew is put in place. Perhaps one third of the population flees the city within days of the landing.
- Two regiments of the King’s Own;
- The Grey Watch, tasked with guarding the Agriont, some four thousand men;
- The Knights Herald and of the Body, some five hundred;
- Non-combat soldiers armed in the emergency, some few thousand;
- The City Watch, non-professional soldiers;
- Some few Levies provided by some nobles, although many send only their regrets;
- And thousands of citizens, guilds, and veterans’ associations armed by the crown.
The King’s Inquisition is ordered to arrest any Gurkish spies in the city, although in fact all citizens of Kantic origin are simply interned. The Union briefly considers moving the government to Holsthorm in the north, but this idea is rejected by the King.
The Circling of Adua Edit
The Gurkish forces quickly close on Adua at the rate of several miles a day, despite some efforts to frustrate them. Within a week, the Gurkish are at the outskirts of the city, by which stage they field at least fifty thousand soldiers. Within days of reaching Adua, the Gurkish build a palisade of wooden stakes completely around the city. With the port of Adua blockaded by the Gurkish fleet, Adua is now completely cut off.
General Malzagurt and Mamun present the Union with terms if the city is peacefully handed over:
- King Jezal can retain the crown, as a subject of the Emperor, paying regular tributes;
- The citizens of The Union will be permitted to continue to live according to their own laws and customs;
- The Magus Bayaz to be delivered to the Gurkish in chains, that he may be conveyed to the Temple of Sarkant, for judgement by the Prophet Khalul.
King Jezal rejects the terms utterly and completely.
Adua Under Siege Edit
The Gurkish bombardment of Adua begins shortly afterwards, using three great catapults, night and day. The main assault is concentrated in the west of the city, and soon fires rage in the outer districts.
Casamir’s Wall around the outer city is eventually breached in the Three Farms district. The next day there is another breach, and another. The Gurkish are able to breach walls with gunpowder that would have stood a week of bombardment. Three days later, they carry the gates into the Arches district, and the whole western part of the city becomes one running battle. Casualties and wounded on both sides are heavy, and the Agriont is opened to the wounded and the homeless.
In time, the Three Farms are under firm Gurkish control, allowing them to move their catapults forward to throw incendiaries far into the inner city. Meanwhile, a wasting illness brakes out in Adua; a swift and withering plague. Unknown to everyone, this illness is caused by The Seed, which Bayaz and Ferro Maljinn have found in the House of the Maker.
Soon, the Gurkish bring down a long stretch of Arnault’s Wall into the inner city with gunpowder. King Jezal personally leads his Knight's of the Body to push back the first Gurkish assault on the breach.
Turning the Tide Edit
Two days later, the Union Army under Lord Marshal West returns from The North, having defeated King Bethod of the Northmen. With the Gurkish blockade of the port still in place, they land outside Adua to the east. Under Marshal West's command are:
- The remains of twelve regiments;
- Three hundred rebel Northmen led by the Dogman and Logen Ninefingers.
They march on Adua immediately. General Kroy’s division, with the Northmen, approach Adua from the north-east, to break through the Gurkish lines, and push westward towards the Agriont. General Poulder’s division approach the city from the south-east, to enter the city in force, and move on the docks, then turn northwards to the Agriont. Admiral Reutzer leads the fleet in an attack against the Gurkish ships in the harbour.
Meanwhile, the Gurkish mount an assault and overwhelm the defenders of Arnault’s Wall into the inner city. Not long afterwards, they manage to land men at the docks. Lord Marshall Varuz’s forces fight a rearguard action, before retreating within the Agriont.
Eventually, Poulder’s division succeed in recapturing the docks, with Collem West setting up his headquarters there; although the General himself dies in the initial charge. Admiral Reutzer’s engagement with the Gurkish fleet also succeeds, when Duke Orso (King Jezal’s father-in-law) and his fleet suddenly appear, and rout the blockade. He also puts ten thousand troops from Talins at the Lord Marshal’s disposal. They are ordered to clear the Gurkish from the Three Farms district. In the meantime, Kroy’s division have made it to the Four Corners, but the Gurkish still hold the Agriont well surrounded.
At this time, the Gurkish use gunpowder to breach the Agriont itself. They also unleash their elite troops, the Eaters of The Hundred Words, on two missions.
Firstly, three Eaters are sent to kill King Jezal. A sizable host of Knights of the Body manage to kill the first, a dark-skinned man in armour of white and gold. Marovia kills the other two, The Twins, with The Divider, before revealing himself to be the Magus Yoru Sulfur having taken on his form.
The other Eaters are sent to capture Bayaz. However, Bayaz has prepared the forbidden ritual to use The Seed in the Square of Marshals. Bayaz summons forth the power of The Seed, and blithely swept away Eaters and Union men and buildings alike in a mighty whirlwind of distruction. Bayaz smiles throughout the death and destruction. Eventually, Ferro forced him to stop, by using her last strength to put The Seed back in the dark metal box.
Soon the fight goes out of the Gurkish, and they go into full retreat. The Gurkish army in Adua is utterly routed. Some few are pursued towards Keln, where they try to flee on the remnant of their fleet. Duke Orso’s fleet soon put an end to that. The traitor Lord Brock flees The Union along with the last of the Gurkish. The Gurkish invasion is over, and the Union are victorious.
The Aftermath Edit
The human casualties in the war for The Union, both citizens and soldiers, are huge. In addition, hundreds of cases of the withering plague continues. Bodies are stacked in heaps, chest-high. Notable casualties include:
- Lord Marshal Varuz
- General Poulder
- Commander of the Knights Herald Lord Valdis
- High Justice Marovia
- Harding Grim
- Lord Marshal West (presumably)
- Arch Lector Sult (presumably)
- Lord Admiral Reutzer (presumably)
The physical damage to Adua is enormous. A colossal circle of destruction is carved in the western end of the Agriont, by Bayaz’s whirlwind. The outer city beyond is torn with black scars, from the fires and fighting during the siege. The costs of rebuilding will run to many millions of marks. Funds are raised from harsh taxes on those nobles who did not provide support in the war, the sale of Lord Brocks assets and titles, and loans from the banking house of Valint & Balk.
The human losses for the Gurkish are also colossal, including the thousands of prisoners captured and left to starve. Notable casualties include: