Author Topic: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)  (Read 32202 times)

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #195 on: October 21, 2019, 09:18:24 PM »
I know what I did with that photo. I copied the wrong sort of code from Imgur. Should be fixed now.

So, here's the next piece - the final part of the general report. Hopefully my turn around times are reaching satisfactory levels Damian!


Another excerpt from Bonacorso Fidelibus’s work: “The Many Wars of the Early 25th Century”

Autumn, 2403 continued

In the central parts of the peninsula, war had wracked the realms as would a violent storm or a great wave washing back and forth repeatedly, wrecking all in its path with each passage. The city of Trantio, ravaged by the War of the Princes, wasted by the plundering progress of Boulderguts’ brutes, then polluted when possessed by the putrid army of the Church of Nagash, had now been captured by the Grand Alliance army commanded by Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore. Having driven the undead force from the field of battle in the Valley of Norochia, then decimated the rest of the army as it fled north, a large portion of Lord Alessio’s great army had been forced to tarry some time, due to the need to cleanse the realm of corruption. Just as had happened twice at Viadaza, there were thousands of corpses to be destroyed, so that the evil that had animated them might be prevented from doing so again. Great pits were dug for the burning of the corpses in the necropolis valley, then the land was re-consecrated, while every corner of every building, street and alley in the city was scoured for now dead undead. Bones both bloody and dry were piled upon carts, most of which were taken to the valley for burning, but some were burned in lesser gardens of Morr within the city precincts. Here a severed limb still twitched, there a lipless jaw snapped shut, while many a rotting hand clutched and grabbed, as the evil curse that had once gripped the city lingered. Priests accompanied all the labourers and soldiers as they went about their horrible work, praying incessantly to ensure that the dead remained dead until they could be turned to ash.



Lord Alessio led the rest of the army, by far the biggest contingent, north, moving as rapidly as possible in the hope of catching what small fraction of the enemy had escaped his army. By the time he reached the ruins of the walled town of Scorcio, however, he had come to accept he could not hope to catch the foe, for the enemy’s tireless legs made him quick. Furthermore, both Scorcio and Preto had been as badly tainted as the city of Trantio, and to leave them unremedied would have been dangerously reckless. And so the great army’s advance was temporarily prevented by the necessities arising from its already achieved successes and progresses. 

The last of the enemy, reduced to a mob of once-dedicant zombies, who even in undeath remained frantic and strange in their motions, as well as a company of more ancient, osseous warriors, were commanded by one of the duchess’s favoured servants, her archpriest Biagino. Once he served Morr, gifted by visions and so driven by inspired purpose to be one of the leading agents in the raising of the god’s holy armies, but now, since his capture, he had become a twisted mockery of his once-living self. Running night and day without halt, taking the most barren and inaccessible route to make pursuit all the harder for any who attempted to do so, he led the last remnant of his army back towards his beloved lady.



Some powerful and wicked sense, a gift of his cursed affliction, directed him towards Ebino, where the Duchess Maria was. She had utterly overwhelmed the army of Morrite dedicants who had marched to face her, killing them to a man. Their bodies lay thickly about the earthwork defences they had fashioned for their camp, along with the cooling corpses of dishonoured Reman palazzio guard (sent to serve Father Carradalio a consequence of their inaction during the Discplinati’s seizure of Remas).



While a living commander would have been faced with the inconvenience of clouds of fat flies and the overpowering stench of a thousand corpses requiring burial, she and her necromantic servant Safiro saw only an opportunity to increase the fighting strength of her army. For hours and hours, perhaps days, she and foul Safiro conjured dark, magical energies to coalesce within and animate the corpses …




… so that one by one, the once-holy army of the Disciplinati di Morr and the Reman guardsmen struggled to their feet, then staggered, ungainly, away from the defences …



…  to muster themselves awkwardly outside, there to await the duchess’s further command.

Perhaps the unnatural strength and agility possessed by so many vampires allowed (that which was once) Maria to stroll easily, even regally through the carnage of battle …



… to beckon up the dead with a calmly sinister gracefulness? Whatever the truth, the ultimate fate of blessèd Father Carradalio’s Disciplinati di Morr, in horribly direct opposition to their most earnestly, painfully determined goal, was merely to swell the stinking ranks of the duchess’s Ebinan army. Round and round the horror churned, as now yet again another army would have to face the foe in battle, to kill that which was already dead.



In Campogrotta there was a new ruler - or at least a ruler-in-waiting, serving an apprenticeship of sorts before obtaining sole possession - for King Jaldeog of Karak Borgo had gifted the entire realm, in a sorry state indeed after the harsh rule of the ogres, to the condottiere commander of the Compagnia del Sole, Captain Bruno Mazallini. This was done in part as payment of debts, for the king had hired the company to assist in his war against Boulderguts’ lieutenants, but then won the war before the mercenaries arrived. But mostly it was done because it was the quickest and easiest way to bring about the return of the realm back to health and security. There were contractual clauses to abide by, of course (such is the way of dwarfs), and a good number of King Jaldeog’s bearded servants yet remained in the city as friendly advisers. Within only weeks life in the city was beginning to return to normality.

Yet other hirelings, the Bretonnian Brabanzon, were marching north, with their fiery new commander, the Lady Perrette, as well as the still-sickly Baron Garoy and a strong contingent of Karak Borgo warriors, making their way to the realm of Ravola there to drive out the last of the brute-bullies Razger Boulderguts had left behind when he embarked upon his bloody chevauchee into the heart of Tilea.

In the city the Bretonnians had so recently departed, the taverns were once again filled with men and dwarfs, clattering tankards and puffing upon pipes, as they forgot their troubles and discussed the opportunities ahead of them.



But for many a week and more it was only those who came from outside the city who could feel any sort of true happiness. Those who had been in the city during its occupation, much reduced in number and to a person grieving the loss of neighbours, friends and family, wore haunted looks upon their faces and struggled to find words for even the most mundane moments. Perhaps some part of them sensed that the apparent return to their old, familiar way of life was transitory? That the future held new horrors sufficient and more to rival those of the past?

For unknown to almost everyone, sly and sinister agents already inhabited the shadows of the darkest hours, creeping surreptitiously through the streets, hither and thither …



… some to watch, others to whisper; for the hour of their coming, for which they had long prepared with complex machinations and conspiracies so deep as to be unfathomable, was at hand.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 09:37:45 PM by padre »

damo_b

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #196 on: October 22, 2019, 01:10:56 PM »
great report,
kill one army of undead and another raises.
still a little slow but getting better  ;D

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #197 on: October 25, 2019, 08:36:05 AM »
Well, with a little help from you, Damian, we have now moved on a bit!

For any others reading the thread, this story was put together by Damian (who else, as the story involves a conversation between himself and his closest adviser) and then re-written by me to better fit the campaign style of writing. Lots was swapped around, but nothing much was changed in terms of what was said. I did change a bullet hole in a map into a knife, but that was for the picture's sake ... after all, who would even have been able to see a minuscule, pin-prick bullet hole in a map 1 cm by 1.5 cm?

The story>

.................................................................


A TENT IN THE MIDDLE OF WAR
Somewhere in the realm of Trantio, at the end of Autumn 2403

Lord Alessio was glad he was alone. The flash of fury that had just driven him to thrust his knife into the table was not something he would wish his servants and officers to see.  He had a reputation for calmness and self-control to maintain. Still, he thought, he need not beat himself up about his impetuousness, for the news he had received would drive even the most meditative of monks to distraction. If his weakness was nothing more than the mere momentary desire to stick a knife into a map, then it truly paled into insignificance when compared to the weakness of the man whose actions had instigated his action - Duke Guidobaldo.

As his anger subsided, which it quickly did, he looked at the knife and chuckled. It had struck the map exactly where he intended, obliterating the inked name of Pavona in the process.

Movement at the entrance of the tent caught his eye, and he looked up to see Lord Black leaning into the tent.

“My Lord,” said his visitor. “May I?”

Alessio gestured to his friend to enter. As Lord Black strode in he looked immediately at the knife.

“I see you’ve heard the news,” he said, apparently understanding immediately what had just happened. “It never rains but it pours, eh? First the Sartosans sap us of the Luccinans, and now the soldiers of the VMC have become somewhat distracted by war against the Pavonans.”

“We are attempting to fight a war to save all of Tilea, Ned,” said Alessio, “against the enemy of life itself. And what does every other Tilean ruler do to help?”

“They set about attacking each other?”

“Of course! What else?”

Ned leaned upon his scabbarded sword and looked at the map. “Well, at least they’re all willing to fight,” he said.

Alessio gave a pained chuckle.

“So, what do we do?” asked Ned.



Alessio pondered a moment, then spoke, “As I see it, we have three options. We could march to Pavona in an attempt to convince the VMC not to sack the city, then deal with the duke.”

“So, you don’t believe his claim that the VMC murdered Lord Lucca?”

Alessio just rolled his eyes, then continued, “Or we could leave them both to their misery and return home. Whichever squabbling fools survive will have to face the duchess themselves.”

“Aye, and if they then lose for want of sufficient strength, we will end up fighting their walking corpses when the duchess makes them her own.”

“Which leads me to the third option,” said Alessio. “We can press on with the forces we have at our disposal regardless, to try our luck against the duchess despite our lack of allies.”

“Several have tried that before without much success. Do you think the army she commands is as strong as that we defeated in Norochia?”

“If she wiped out an entire horde of fanatical Morrites at Ebino, then she’s not lacking in strength.  I had thought of sending word to the mountain dwarves and the Compagnia del Sole to request that they dispatch a force to join us, but I’ve a feeling they’re still too distracted by the recapture of Campogrotta and the need to deal with the ogres remaining in Ravola. And now that Verezzo has been so badly wounded we can hardly expect their payments to continue, which makes simply feeding our army more difficult. I like and respect his son, as you know, but Duke Guidobaldo picked a terrible time to pull one of his bloody tricks. One would hope the VMC had been here long enough to realise that revenge is a dish best served cold.”

“Can we not put the spending at home on hold a while?” asked Ned. “Do we need a new harbour right now? Cannot Hakim wait a little longer for his lighthouse to be completed? And in light of the threat, even the Ravernans might be willing to show patience over the pace of the works in their realm.”

“We could save gold at home, yes” agreed Alessio, “but if the Sartosans move north then that gold will be needed at home.”

“So, which is it going to be?” asked Ned.

Alessio prized the knife from the map and pushed the torn edges where Pavona used to be flat again.

“That’s the question,” said Alessio.


padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #198 on: December 20, 2019, 05:44:15 PM »
Back Again!

This was the second time young King Ferronso had to return to his city in shame. It seemed strange to him to suffer the ignominy twice, but such was his life recently! Nothing was going right for him.

Once again, the sky was darkening angrily as a storm brewed, and like before he knew there would be no warm welcome awaiting him, rather scowling faces and half-heard grumblings. He had expected to return a conquering hero, yet this was as far from that as could be imagined, which laced his shame with heart-wrenching disappointment.

His one consolation was that his people did not know just how deep his guilt ran. If they had known, then instead of mere, muttering sullenness there would be mockery, the hurling of insults, even rocks. His own silence and that of his guards who shared his secret shame, was all that was needed to conceal the truth. It did not, however, stop guilt wracking the king himself.

That summer, Ferronso, brimming with hopeful pride, had ridden off with Lord Alessio of Portomaggiore to join the holy war against the vampire duchess’s servants. In his absence, his city and the realm surrounding it had been invaded and overrun by Sartosan corsairs, who stripped it of everything of worth, ravaged every lady, maid and wench they could find and killed any who complained or stood in their way, even those who merely looked askance at them. Meanwhile, just before the great battle of the Valley of Norochia, doubt suddenly assailed the young king, filling him with such a fear for his realm that he abandoned the ‘holy’ cause, leaving behind just sufficient strength to save face and hurried homewards with his royal guards. Returning too late to stop the pirates, he had now failed doubly: breaking both his vow to fight the vampires as well as neglecting his kingly duty to protect his realm.

But neither of these failures were what really troubled his conscience, rather it was the fact that when he had returned the Sartosan pirates were still there, ransacking his realm, and he had dared not interfere. His guards told him it would be not only tactical folly but almost certain death. So, he had hidden in the trees and watched as his enemies plundered all they could. Worse still, he had felt comforted by his soldiers’ words, for they meant he did not have to place himself in danger.

He had watched his people suffer while feeling relief that he should not interfere!

Now, under an ominous sky, he and his companions skulked home. An observer who knew nothing of what had happened would never have thought to employ the word ‘skulk’, for the king and his guards were gloriously attired in their most fashionable and expensive armour, plumed in copious ostrich feathers, riding the finest of mounts, barded in colourfully enamelled plates. But to the king, skulking back was exactly what they were doing.



Ferronso was deep in thought as he and his company drew near the city, wondering if his name had already been tarnished for the rest of time, before he had even fought one battle. ‘Ferronso the Absent’? ‘Ferronso the Fool’? The glowering sky reflected his dark mood. The city was quiet, as one might expect from a wounded animal, curled up in anguish. Although perhaps, thought the king, there should be the sound of whimpering?



He could hear his royal standard fluttering by his side, the jangle of harnesses, the clattering of armour and the thump of hooves as the heavily burdened, heavy horses trotted along. Although he knew the outskirts of the town were now close, he could not bring himself to lift his head and look, but instead fixed his eyes on his hand clutching the reins. Strange, he thought, those are the reins I had on my pony as a child! The memory was not a happy one, for he had taken far too long learning to ride, fearful first of the pony, then of falling, then of failure, and he had known even at the time that everyone noticed his fear. Had his guards witnessed a similar fear when he watched the pirates from the trees? Would his people see his fear as he rode through the streets to his palazzo? How could anyone hope to hide so much fear?

Reluctantly, he lifted his head and glanced at a little knot of people close by, and yes, they seemed as sullen as he had expected. There were not many of them – some children, some old folk, a few women and a monk. Not the crowd a returning hero would deserve, the crowd he had imagined when he had set off months ago with Lord Alessio.



Was it terrible, he now asked himself, to wish the pirates had burned his city and butchered these wretches, so that his present shame would not be witnessed? Of course it was, he chided himself. He would never want such a thing. In truth, what he really wanted more than anything was the privacy and comfort of his palazzo, where such pitiful folk could not see him. Let them live their miserable lives, as long as they could not heap that misery on him.

To reach the street leading to his palace, he had to ride further along the city’s periphery, and as he did so more people came out to watch. Like before, he tried not to look at them, but he could not help himself. This time he saw there were men among the people, some sturdy fellows too.

Where had they been when his city needed defending?

Why should he shoulder all the blame?



Then he realised the men were armed! This was something the Sartosans would never have allowed while they occupied the city, which meant these fellows must surely have fled, returning only after the pirates had departed. What base cowards could do such a thing? Or perhaps these men hid their weapons during the brief and brutal occupation, cowering before the pirates and begging for mercy? What annoyed most was such men were able to stand amongst the people without any apparent malice directed towards them, while he himself had to suffer every sharp, accusative stare!

Something was niggling at him, more than his shame, more than his disgust that the men did not look ashamed too. There was something wrong about them. He could see a long-barrelled musket, a bearded fellow clutching two axes, a blunderbuss in the hands of a … dwarf!



A horrible thought struck him. Had some pirates stayed here in his city? Were his subjects so bruised and bewildered that they had feebly allowed these men to remain amongst them?

It made no sense. Unless … was this treachery? Had Barone Vettorio lied when he said the Sartosans had gone? Did his own courtiers and guards despise him so much that they were willing to hand him over to his enemies? Was he to be given as a hostage until the pirates had whatever else they wanted?

All these thoughts were surely madness. His burning guilt must be broiling his brains and addling his mind. It was the barone who had advised him against challenging the pirates with a force entirely insufficient to defeat them. If any should be blamed for inaction and made a hostage, it should be the barone!

Or did that make no sense? He shook his head in confusion, unable to straighten his thoughts, nor order them sensibly. Who had done what to whom with whose help? And why, oh why had they done it?

There were more people gathered further along. Once again, he stared at his horse’s reins to busy his mind with the act of riding and so avoid looking upon his subjects. The reins were not those of his old pony as he had first thought. Of course not. They could not possibly be - his horse was far too big for them. What had he been thinking?

Then something caught his eye – another gun! More than one! And more vicious looking men. And … unbelievable! The gurning, green face of a goblin, armed with a monstrous handgun decked with a barrel-load of barrels! Worse than that - two goblins and an orc!



They were there right in front of him, standing among his subjects, who paid them no heed. This was impossible. Was everyone blind?

“Look, look there,” he ordered Sir Ormanno, the royal standard bearer at his side.

Ormanno did not seem to hear him, or perhaps did not want to hear him. Indeed, Ferronso spied a flash of disdain in Ormanno’s face, as if he found the very sound of the king’s voice annoying.

Ferronso felt no anger at this, however, for he was so nonplussed at the presence of greenskins in his city that there was little space left in his thoughts for other concerns.

“How?“ he began. “Why?“ His words faltered. He did not know what to ask, nor who to ask it of. Words failed him entirely.

There was a sudden noise from somewhere within the city. A thunderclap. Yet the sky, though dark, was surely not quite heavy enough for a storm.  The came another boom, like the last.

Was it cannon-fire?

His horse seemed oblivious to the sound; his guards ignorant of it. Why could only he hear it? More than this, there were other sounds too that made no sense. He could hear wind and lashing rain, despite there being no such things. And though the people, including the greenskins, stood silent, he could hear shouting too.

I’m not going into the city, he decided, and pulled on the reins. But the reins were rotten and snapped, leaving him clutching their ragged remnants. His company of guards, despite his unvoiced wish to flee, were turning to go into the city; his horse, unyielding to any command and now reinless, was drawn along with them. Before them stood more people, almost a crowd. This time they were pirates all, plain as day, including goblins, brutish orcs and sea dogs clutching every kind of gun.

Why couldn’t his guards see?



Why had Vettorio allowed him to come here? Where was the barone? Everything was wrong. It was obviously not safe to return to the city.



Another boom sounded, startling him. And someone was shouting.

“Wake up sire! Please, hurry!”

There was a man before him, sharply silhouetted by the bright light flashing through the window behind.

“The Sartosans came back, sire. Wake up!”

It was Vettorio’s voice. A peal of thunder followed the flash, the same as the sound in his dream. As soon as Ferronso sat up in his bed, Vettorio took his hands and began hauling him out.

“The storm must have forced them back,” said the barone. “The streets are swarming with them! Hurry, please sire, we must leave. We must get you to safety!”
« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 12:31:59 PM by padre »

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #199 on: February 18, 2020, 09:40:11 AM »
By Your Leave
Before the Walls of Pavona


“Still hungry?” asked Jorien absently as he picked at a spot of rust in his handgun’s pan.

Nikolaas groaned. “Please, not again,” he said. “It’s not funny anymore.”

“I never said it was. But at least it was a new joke when I first said it.”

“What?” asked Nikolaas, shaking his head.

“Well, we’ve never been hungry before in Tilea. The company has always kept our bellies full, ‘til now. Fleshmeat twice a week, sometimes more’n that, fish a-plenty, and if not beer to lull us to sleep and ease our aching limbs, then wine in lieu of it. And not bad wine, either. Even when we took on the orcs and gobs, we always fought with a good breakfast inside us. These last two weeks it’s been biscuit and pottage, in meagre portions, and not scrap of flesh.”

At first, it seemed Nikolaas would not answer, perhaps in protest at Jorien’s annoying joke, but it turned out he was merely pondering things.

“Do you think they have wine?” he asked, pointing at the walls. “And food?”



Jorien looked back at the walls too. “They must have, otherwise they’d have sallied out by now, or someone would have tried to take supplies in. They’ve an army in there, good sized too, as well as all the citizens. That’s a lot of mouths, yet it’s been more than five weeks now and they’ve done nothing but shuffle about on the walls, waving flags now and again.”

“I heard there was some shooting last Tuesday,” said Nikolaas.

“That’s because half a dozen new arrivals were trying to creep in, so the handgunners on the walls wanted to lure our attention elsewhere. The sneaky sods got in quick too, helped by the fact they had little with them – certainly no supplies of any consequence. Besides, the Pavonans can’t take in supplies when there’s none to be had. They must’ve already taken everything in from miles around while we were trying to cross the river. ‘Twould explain their lack of concern about our blockade.”

Nikolaas shook his head. “I don’t they think they did. I’ve been out scrounging three times now, and good deal off a-ways too. Every place I saw, big or small, looked to have been dead for some considerable time, ghostly-quiet. Wim reckons the ogres razed everything but the city last year and the Pavonans have been suffering ever since. He said that’s why the Pavonans robbed Verezzo.”

“I can’t argue with that,” agreed Jorien. “You only have to look at the walls to see why the ogres didn’t even try to assault the city. They are the most substantial walls I’ve seen in Tilea, and I’ve seen a few.”

“If their land was razed completely,” said Nikolaas. “That’ll mean they’ve had no harvest, nor swine or kine to butcher. They must be living off whatever they robbed from Verezzo. And I doubt that’ll last much longer. They even lost some of the Verezzan loot trying to cross the river before we got to them.”

“Just a matter of waiting, then.”

The two of them fell quiet for a while, staring at the walls, which just happened to be exactly what they were supposed to be doing.



Then Jorien piped up again, “Why do you keep getting picked to go scrounging?”

“Don’t start complaining. I already told you there’s nothing to be had out there.”

Jorien frowned. “It’d get me out of these works for a change of scenery and a stretch of my legs.”

“The sergeant has nothing against you, Jorien. He picks my file because he knows we did a good job the time before.”

“And the time before that.  And the time before that,” said Jorien. “At this rate no-one else will ever get to go. I wonder if he’ll pick you to go out when he wants a forlorn hope, what with you proving how good your legs work?”

Nikolaas grinned. “No, he’ll pick your file because he knows you’re good at staying put.”

“Very funny,” said Jorien.

The two of them then noticed a little more movement on the walls than usual and went quiet for a while they watched to see if it looked likely to amount to anything. When nothing much seemed to come of it, Jorien continued the conversation.

“You know, when you think about it, philosophical ‘n all that, we’re here because the Pavonans robbed Verezzo. But if they only did that because the ogres robbed them, then the ogres are the real reason we’re here. You know I’m not the biggest fan of Tileans, but it was the ogres who started this mess.”

“The ogres were always the reason we came north,” said Nikolaas. “Them and the unmentionables. But we’re not here because the Pavonans robbed Verezzo, we’re here because they then told the world that we were the robbers. General Valckenburgh can’t have people slandering him, and the company won’t profit if no-one trusts us to trade with.”

“Then profit’s the real reason, as it always is,” suggested Jorien. “It’s gold that drags us across the world, though we ourselves only ever see silver, and that rare enough. You know, we should be being paid almost full wages right now. They can’t deduct much for meat and drink when it’s little more than biscuit and peas, and while we tarry here, they aren’t giving us shoes in lieu of pay either.”

Nikolaas tutted. “Find a better complaint, Jorien. There’s nothing to spend silver on while we’re stuck in these works. We don’t have to pay for the view.”

“I’ll grant you it is nice to look at.”



As Nikolaas smiled at this they both looked out at the city again. The walls remained strong, which might not have been the case had the VMC’s guns been plying iron against them. Instead, for want of orders rather than powder or shot, the guns had remained almost wholly silent. The gunners had been told to fire upon any who tried to leave or enter, and otherwise do nothing but be ready. A stalemate had thus set in, then dragged on. As it was winter, the northerners in the army, mostly Marienburgers and mercenaries from Middenland, Reikland and Westerland, could at least be thankful they were not too hot, as they surely would have been had it been six months earlier.

“Wait a moment,” said Jorien, suddenly and loud. “What’s all this?”

A little party of men had emerged from one of the sally ports, preceded by an ensign sporting a white flag.

“Looks like someone wants to talk,” said Nikolaas.

“Well they took their bloody time about it,” complained Jorien.



As the party drew close to the siege works, it became clear that Duke Guidobaldo Gondi’s son, Lord Silvano, had been tasked with the negotiations. The armoured nobleman who approached was far too young to be the duke yet was accompanied not just by the white flag of truce but the ducal banner also - apart from the duke, only his heir would be allowed to do so.

Lord Silvano had already acquired fame as a brave commander, a dutiful son and for dedication to the war against the undead, despite his young years, and despite also losing his older brother in the war against Prince Girenzo of Trantio. He was with the holy army serving the arch-lector Calictus when they assaulted Viadaza, and drove the vampire Lord Adolfo from the city, and by all accounts acquitted himself well in the fight. It was his men, along with the enslaved soldiers of Campogrotta, who had murdered the ogres marching with the holy army, but it was generally accepted (as indeed it was by the court martial held at the time) that he was not at all responsible for their actions, neither ordering, assisting or by deliberate inaction allowing them to do what they did. After much of his army was ordered south by his father to help in the war against the tryant Boulderguts’ double army, he himself rode with his Sharlian riders to further assist the arch-lector of Morr, Calictus II, in the holy war. He was at the Second Battle of Ebino when the arch-lector died, having charged deep into the terrible foe and later escaping the field with the mere handful of his elven riders who survived. He made his way south and was reunited with his father just in time to join the Reman/Pavonan allied army that pursued the ogres from Pavona and then prevented their approach on Remas at the bloody Battle of the Diocleta, where he sought the fiercest of the fighting and was badly wounded leading a charge against a body of mournfang mounted brutes. His recovery took several months, in Remas, while his father failed to catch the ogres, but as soon  as he could ride in armour again, he joined with the grand alliance army commanded by Lord Alessio of Portomaggiore and was present the Battle of the Valley of Death in the necropolis of Norochia. Only after all this had he returned to Pavona, ordered by his father to do so in case the ogres had circumnavigated the allied army to return southward and finish what they had begun.



When the young lord was brought before General Valckenbugh and his officers, however, he began by saying little of himself or his past deeds, other than that he was his father’s sole surviving son and wished only to serve his father loyally. This elicited much angry muttering from the officers, but Valckenburgh silenced them with a mere look.

"You yourself do have the reputation of being an honourable nobleman, and a courageous fellow to boot,” said the general. “In light of events, I might well have baulked at speaking with your father. As it is you, however, I am willing to listen to what you have to say, despite suspecting it is your father’s words you must deliver. Before you proceed, sir, know that I will not brook one more Pavonan lie. Have a care to speak only that which you know or wholly believe to be the truth.”



Lord Silvano showed no sign of displeasure at the implied accusation. Perhaps once a person has faced the living dead in battle upon repeated occasions, the nervousness or bitterness a meeting like this entails must surely pale in comparison? He simply acknowledged the general’s words with a bow.

The officers of the VMC glowered at him, their anger palpable, especially that of Luccia La Fanciulla, the bearer of the VMC’s blessed Myrmidian standard. Of course, she of all of them, valued honour, discipline and martial prowess. She had as yet barely been able to bring herself to speak of the Pavonan duke’s treachery and lies.



If Lord Silvano noticed, he gave no sign, and began to deliver his speech.

Continued in the next post


padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #200 on: February 18, 2020, 09:41:10 AM »
By Your Leave, continued ...

“Good general, by your leave, I would have you know it was my father who originally wrote to Lord Alessio and other Tilean rulers last Autumn to propose an alliance against Bouldergut’s ogres, before Pavona was even attacked. Sadly, but of dire necessity, my father was forced to raze Trantio and several of his own towns in order to deny the ogres the plunder they so desired, after which he then helplessly witnessed almost the entirety of the rest his realm being ravaged, knowing that to attack Boulderguts’ double army with his own weakened force would mean the pointless death of many a brave Pavonan soldier. I confess freely that I myself bear a large portion of the blame, for I had entreated my father to allow me to march away with much of our army in order to join in the arch-lector’s war against the vampires. All my father could do was defend the city itself, successfully ensuring the ogres could see the folly of attempting to storm its sturdy defences.

“My father then joined with the Remans in the war against the ogres, while single-handedly brokering the agreement which saved Remas from being engulfed in a suicidal civil war between the established church and the Disciplinati di Morr, myself being unable to assist at the time. When he marched homeward, he graciously allowed me to join with Lord Alessio’s grand army in the war against the vampires, and to command, once again, the largest part of our army.



“On his journey home my father was required, by necessity of war, to travel near unto the Verezzo. He did not, however, intend to ride through any part of that realm, due to the old animosity between Lord Lucca and himself, which had been exacerbated by Lord Lucca’s insulting slight against my father concerning the nulling of the marriage contract between my noble brother and Lord Lucca’s daughter. Nevertheless, my father cared little for such grudges, what with the dire circumstances of the wars and the much more terrible acts intended by the vampires and ogres. He sought only to return home and to avoid any trouble arising from the old animosity.”

General Valckenburgh raised a finger to silence the lord momentarily.

“I am wholly aware of the constant, internecine rivalries of the Tilean city states,” he said. “If there were not that disagreement, then I do not doubt there would be some other. These are particularities of little interest to me, considering the unforgiveable slight your father made against me and those under my command.”

The young lord simply nodded, apparently unperturbed by the general’s words, nor showing disdain either.

“By your leave, general,” he continued, “I mean to say only that my father was returning to his sorrowful realm, a city surrounded by wasted ruins and fields empty of livestock, believing his last surviving son was many leagues away facing unknown horrors - he could not know of the ease of the victory at Norochia – whilst fearing with the dreadful prospect that vampires, ogres or both might yet attack his beloved realm before he could return to defend it. The last of his concerns was the old rivalry with Verezzo, if he thought of it at all.



“It was then, in this hour of deepest distraction, my father received the report that during mine and his absence from the city, and indeed Lord Lucca’s absence from his own realm, a band of Verezzan brigands had raided and robbed Pavona, taking ruthless advantage of its weakness. It was not a big raid, indeed only a handful of Pavonans died, but the news of it made my father furious - that Verezzans would so cruelly exploit Pavona’s misfortune and at such a dangerous time for the whole of Tilea. Being so close to Verezzo, he decided he must exact immediate revenge for the insult. He knew that were he to inflict merely like-for-like injury it would be seen as a sign of weakness, nor would it serve as a suitable punishment for such a crime, and so he intended to plunder Verezzo of sufficient riches both to recompense for the losses his own realm had suffered and to teach the Verezzans that if ever they were so wickedly bold again they should expect a swift and suitably punishing response.

“Instead of attacking the city of Verezzo itself, my father moved against Spomanti, for he believed that Lord Lucca was, like myself, with the grand alliance army, and could not possibly have been behind the raid, nor even known about it. It had been, by all accounts, Verezzan brigands and so Spomanti seemed to be a more appropriate target.

“For what then happened, good general, my father sincerely offers you, Lord Lucca’s family, the people of Verezzo and holy Morr, an honest and heartfelt apology. The force under my father’s command contained, of military necessity, several companies of mercenaries, including a large body of Reman bravi, who set about plundering Spomanti more thoroughly and cruelly than my father ever intended, and in so doing first spurred and then, by their continued disobedience and the delay it caused, allowed the Verezzans to dispatch a relief force to Spomanti.

“What my father could not know was that Lord Lucca himself was in command of that force, for he fully believed Lord Lucca was still with the allied army to the north.

 “The fight that ensued was bloody, and Lord Lucca was slain. When my father was rightly appraised of the matter, he was aghast, even ashamed. He knew that such a mistake would never be believed. He also felt heartily sorry for the poor people of Verezzo, for he was, howsoever unwittingly, responsible for the death of their protector just when the danger was greatest, what with the threat of the vampires and brute ogres.

“Wracked with guilt, my father decided he must help the Verezzans, yet he understood that they would never trust him if they knew he had commanded the very same force that killed their lord. Thus it was, by dire necessity, he had to concoct a story that would engender the Verezzans’ trust, for their own good. When he heard of the claims that the Portomaggiorans were behind the raid (an easy mistake to make what with the similar liveries of the two realms) he realized this might mean the Verezzans would distrust yet another ruler who wished only to protect them. And so, with little time to weigh any other possibilities, nor consider the myriad consequences, he declared it possible that soldiers from your army of the VMC must have been to blame, disguised as Portomaggiorans.”

Every pair of eyes drilled into the young lord in this moment, the VMC officers’ hatred and anger positively palpable. Silvano seemed not to register.



“As you are foreigners,” he said, “the superstitious and ignorant Verezzans would expect no better from you, and in so misdirecting their ire, my father could then do what must be done to help them.

“He knew at the time that it he was issuing a deplorable slur, but he was acting in the midst of war, to help a people he knew already distrusted him, when not to do so could mean their utter destruction. Not only did he need to return home quickly, he needed to convince the Verezzans to travel with him immediately, so that there they might be much better guarded against the several many foes. As such, despite the untruths and slanders necessary to convince the Verezzans to trust him, he believed his ploy to be a desperate gamble worth taking.

“He is now willing to reveal the truth to the world and in so doing clear your name and that of the VMC completely and entirely: That he had fully intended to inflict punishment upon the Verezzans for the crimes against his own people, but that then he lost control of his own forces (admittedly not the Pavonans amongst them, but the base bravi from Remas), and that afterwards he slandered your name in a misguided and desperate attempt to fool the Verezzans into allowing him to guide them to safety.

“My father offers prayers of confession even now, day and night, to most holy Morr, and vows to suffer all the penances the holy priests see fit to prescribe.”

Here Lord Silvano fell silent. His words had no hint of arrogance, nor passion. Instead they had been delivered calmly and unhastily, like a messenger might carefully recount the message he had been instructed to carry; words that were not his own and so could not be used against him.

Van Riekert and his officers had listened to the latter part of his elaborate explanation with stony faces. When the young lord was finally done, the commander of the VMC breathed deeply as he considered what had been said. He then coughed, as if trying to find his voice, and spoke,

“Your ... explanation of events paints an unfortunate picture of your father and even worse of his hospitality towards an ally who marches in the field to defend land, lives and property that will profit me not one iota.”



“When news of the insult heaped upon my men reached them, my honest and valiant soldiers, who have taken this land and her people into their hearts, were filled with fury. It took all the discipline of my officers to hold them back from making an immediate assault, which had it been carried would have seen Pavona burn. But that disaster was averted, and it seems time was thus granted to your father, or more certainly for you, to realise the folly of his actions.

“Your father’s offer of apology, and his suggestion to put publicly declare the truth, will do little to salve the wounds done to the reputation of honour of the VMC. Once a lie is released into the world, it will fester in dark corners like vile goblins or ratmen, no matter how much the flame of truth scours the land.”

The tension amongst the officers had, if anything, become greater. They stood more rigid than ever, adopting the formal stances of officers at such a gathering, but with an anticipation that added a tremulousness to their postures, as if it took a great effort merely to stand remain quiet.

“But,” said the general, “my purpose here in the more northern parts of Tilea, away from my duties in Alcante, is to fight a common enemy ...” Here he paused a moment, perhaps needlessly because all present hung upon his every word, “… not to be drawn into the internecine rivalries of city states. While the forces I have at my disposal could surely carry this siege, it would serve in the long run only to weaken Tilea’s defences, and thus strengthen the hand of our mutual enemies.”

The disconcertion of his officers was now very visible, as each of them now realised what it was their general was about to do.

“So, Lord Silvano Gondi,” said the general, pointing directly at the Pavonan prince, “On your word of honour, my armies will break camp and get on with the crucial business of making war against the undead and the ratmen …”

Lord Silvano’s face just noticeably registered the slightest sign of surprise at the mention of the ratmen. General Valckenburgh did not seem to notice.

“… but rest assured,” the General continued, “If your word is broken, so shall be the walls and the very back of Pavona.”

damo_b

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #201 on: February 20, 2020, 05:53:33 PM »
Good Work again Padre,
looking forward to the next one and some battles this year.
Damian