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 damaged 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 capture it.
In the backdrop to this, is the conflict between the Magi’s 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 overture 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 is revealed that Bayaz framed Tulkis to prevent the peace mission from succeeding.
However, it is 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 landed near Keln in Midderland, a region controlled by Lord Brock. Seemingly Brock had been promised the throne of The Union within the Gurkish Empire, once the resistance was crushed and King Jezal executed. The Gurkish vanguard consisted of five legions, with many thousands more to come, all under the command of General Malzagurt. In addition, Mamun commanded the elite troops of Eaters, The Hundred Words.
Adua was thrown into uproar, with looting and rioting soon breaking out, until a curfew was put in place. Perhaps one third of the population fled 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 sent only their regrets;
- And thousands of citizens, guilds, and veterans’ associations armed by the crown.
The King’s Inquisition was ordered to arrest any Gurkish spies in the city, although in fact all citizens of Kantic origin were simply interned. The Union briefly considered moving the government to Holsthorm in the north, but this idea was rejected by the King.
The Circling of Adua Edit
The Gurkish forces quickly closed on Adua at the rate of several miles a day, despite some efforts to frustrate them. Within a week, the Gurkish were at the outskirts of the city, by which stage they fielded at least fifty thousand soldiers. Within days of reaching the Adua, the Gurkish had built a palisade of wooden stakes completely around the city. With the port of Adua blockaded by the Gurkish fleet, Adua was now completely cut-off.
General Malzagurt and Mamun presented the Union with terms if the city were peacefully handed over:
- King Jezal could retain the crown, as a subject of the Emperor, paying regular tributes;
- The citizens of The Union would 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 rejected the terms utterly and completely.
Adua Under Siege Edit
The Gurkish bombardment of Adua began shortly afterwards, using three great catapults, night and day. The main assault was concentrated in the west of the city, and soon fires raged in the outer districts.
Casamir’s Wall around the outer city was eventually breached in the Three Farms district. The next day there was another breach, and another. The Gurkish were able to breach walls with gunpowder that would have stood a week of bombardment. Three days later, they carried the gates into the Arches district, and the whole western part of the city became one running battle. Casualties and wounded on both sides were heavy, and the Agriont was opened to the wounded and the homeless.
In time, the Three Farms were under firm Gurkish control, allowing them to moved their catapults forward to throw incendiaries far into the inner city. Meanwhile, a wasting illness broke out in Adua; a swift and withering plague. Unknown to everyone, this illness was caused by The Seed, which Bayaz and Ferro Maljinn had found in the House of the Maker.
Soon, the Gurkish brought down a long stretch of Arnault’s Wall into the inner city with gunpowder. King Jezal personally led his Knight's of the Body to pushed back the first Gurkish assault on the breach.
Turning the Tide Edit
Two days later, the Union Army under Lord Marshal West returned from The North, having defeated the King Bethod of the Northmen. With the Gurkish blockade of the port still in place, they landed outside Adua to the east. Under Marshal West's command were:
- The remains of twelve regiments;
- Three hundred rebel Northmen led by the Dogman and Logen Ninefingers.
They marched on Adua immediately. General Kroy’s division, with the Northmen, approached Adua from the north-east, to break through the Gurkish lines, and push westward towards the Agriont. General Poulder’s division approached 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 led the fleet in an attack against the Gurkish ships in the harbour.
Meanwhile, the Gurkish mounted an assault and overwhelmed the defenders of Arnault’s Wall into the inner city. Not long afterwards, they managed to land men at the docks. Lord Marshall Varuz’s forces fought 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 died in the initial charge. Admiral Reutzer’s engagement with the Gurkish fleet also succeeded, when Duke Orso (King Jezal’s father-in-law) and his fleet suddenly appeared, and routed the blockade. He also put ten thousand troops from Talins at the Lord Marshal’s disposal. They were ordered to clear the Gurkish from the Three Farms district. In the meantime, Kroy’s division had made it to the Four Corners, but the Gurkish still held the Agriont well surrounded.
At this time, the Gurkish used gunpowder to breach the Agriont itself. They also unleashed their elite troops, the Eaters of The Hundred Words, on two missions.
Firstly, three Eaters were sent to kill King Jezal. A sizable host of Knights of the Body managed to kill the first, a dark-skinned man in armour of white and gold. Marovia killed 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 were sent to capture Bayaz. However, Bayaz had 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 went out of the Gurkish, and they went into full retreat. The Gurkish army in Adua were utterly routed. Some few were pursued towards Keln, where they tried to flee on the remnant of their fleet. Duke Orso’s fleet soon put an end to that. The traitor Lord Brock fled The Union along with the last of the Gurkish. The Gurkish invasion was over, and the Union were victorious.
The Aftermath Edit
The human casualties in the war for The Union, both citizens and soldiers, were huge. In addition, hundreds of cases of the withering plague continued. Bodies were 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 was enormous. A colossal circle of destruction was carved from the western end of the Agriont, from Bayaz’s whirlwind. The outer city beyond was torn with black scars, from the fires and fighting during the siege. The costs of rebuilding would run to many millions of marks. Funds were 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 were also colossal, including the thousands of prisoners captured and left to starve. Notable casualties include: