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  1. Terraversa, East of King's Port, August 620 "Thousands of feet march to the beat, it's an army on the march. Long way from home, paying the price in young men's lives." The first battle had been won, and several bridgeheads had been conquered all over the island. The losses had been relatively mild but, still, they were the highest suffered since the Juniper War. And that damned island was still largely to conquer. The first, rather obvious objective was the capital city, King's Port: the city had the largest harbor and was right in the middle of the excellent road system of western Terraversa. The capital city of the island also had a strong strategic and politic value: its capture marked the turning point between an island successfully resisting to the invasion and some minor strongholds still in enemy hands... and, for foreign nations, it could also make the difference between joining a war or supporting isolated pockets of resistance. Therefore, they had to conquer King's Port, and quickly! During the T-Day, the forts of the city had been shelled and stormed, and the vanguard of the army had entered the city from South and East. However, refraining from a brutal bombing with heavy artillery had had its cost, and the bluecoats were still fighting in the streets, with the local militia clinging to buildings and barricades. The troops landed West of the city, so North of the King's River, on the contrary, had successfully captured fortifications and batteries but were still too weak to attack the city and defend themselves by a counterattack from Pamu, so they had entrenched and were waiting for reinforcements. And the easiest way to bring those reinforcements was crossing the King's River from the South, building a proper bridge, and using it to bring soldiers, supplies and artillery between King's Port and Pamu, cutting the city off from the Kingshead district. The designated crossing point was a few miles East of the city, where the King's River was nothing more than a fast stream... quite easy to cross for a man, but an insuperable obstacle for a cannon. Combat engineers and common soldiers started working hard, reinforcing the riverbank by hammering long wooden poles in the sand. More poles were hammered directly into the bottom of the river, creating a robust anchorage for the pontoons... for sure a difficult and uncomfortable job. On the other side of the river, the bank was cleared from the bushes and the sand was leveled with shovels and spades. The next step was far more difficult, especially considering the fast flow of the river. Empty barrels were thrown in the water and secured to the poles, creating a sort of floating platform: the buoyancy of each barrel could barely sustain a single soldier, while the complete structure will hold men, horses and even cannons. While the privates worked, the officers planned the next moves with the chief engineer: according to him, the bridge could be completed in half a day, enough to let the column rest and to complete the siege before the evening, if they marched quickly enough. Soldiers and sailors followed the instructions of the combat engineers, trying to keep the barrels in position before they are dragged away... and trying not to be dragged away themselves while working in the deep water! The bridge quickly started to take shape, at first as a simple row of ropes and barrels... ...and then, when planks and earth were cast over the structure, as a robust floating platform. For sure not a bridge intended to last, but a fast solution to bring men and cannons onto the other side of the river. The soldiers marched forward, platoon after platoon, ready to face the enemy on the battlefield. Among them, the veterans of the Mardierian Legion. Several of those soldiers lived on Terraversa -or were even born on the island- before the "Terraversan patriots" forced them to flee with their families. Some were members of the garrison, others were simply political opponents of L'Olius or Oldis, who had ended up in proscription lists for a reason or the other. For them, the war was something far more personal... a chance come back to their land and to get their deliverance! -------------------------------------------------------------- A series of three builds I've done for the invasion liberation: the river banks remain the same, with the soldiers progressively clearing the bushes and building the bridge. Probably it would've been better using a larger river, this one doesn't really seem worth of a bridge... but I imagine that it would still be a problem for our cannons!
  2. Westface 29 Sept 620 With the invasion in full swing, Westface now stood as the lone Terraversan held settlement on the southeastern side of the island. The military had begun fortifying the city, preparing for the imminent attack that would one day come. Refugees and sympathizers streamed through the gates daily, eager to join one of the many militia groups forming to augment the army, or looking for protection from the invading forces. Among the refugees, two particularly gruff men were admitted through the city gate. While nothing of their appearance was of note, an onlooker with a keen eye and plenty of time on their hands, may have found their behavior to be quite interesting. They began methodically walking through the city streets, skillfully keeping to the shadows and alleys, avoiding the regular Terraversan army patrols. In normal times, this may have caught some eyes, but with the almost frantic atmosphere in the city, no one had any thoughts other than an army of bluecoats materializing on the horizon charging for an attack. As such, the two men continued unchallenged through the city streets, the first man making notes of any notable thing in a small ledger in shorthand, the other, hatchet in hand keeping a watchful eye for anyone who may make sense of their purpose in the city. _____________________________________________________________________________ Since I was on vacation last week, I decided to try my hand at doing a digital build. Its been many years since I've done so, and only used LDD at the time. Switching to Studio made a world of difference, but definitely takes some practice and time to learn all of the functions it offers. I'm still a bit slow at it, but the customization it offers for colors and the like made it perfect choice for this build.
  3. Régiment des 5e Vele by Capt. Genaro, on Flickr Dearest Madeline, Oh, what joy it is to finally be able to write from dry land. Weeks of sea, those damp, cramped quarters (I word I use most loosely, my dear, as the canvas walls offer no more privacy than a thin veil might) have taken a toll on me. To finally be able to walk without the ground rolling with my every step, and to finally sleep on a solid surface without having to be lashed into my cot. Not that our new lodging is much of an improvement, for you see the local garrison simply doesn't have enough room for the influx of troops flooding Breshaun as of late. The wealthier officers have rented rooms in the hotels or private residences, but myself and the other junior officers (or at least those too poor to afford better) have resigned ourselves to a crumbling warehouse previously occupied by one of the Guelph regiments. Still, I suppose it is better than the tents and hard earth the men must endure, but Captain Dupleix assures us we shall not endure it for long as our orders are to proceed to Terraversa as soon as the rest of the reinforcements arrive. Fear not, my love, for my safety. Daily it seems there is news of yet another victory from the island. Already we have secured most of the smaller settlements with thousands, maybe tens of thousands of the wicked foe dead or captured. We have nearly captured all of Kings Port, and have driven the coward Oldis to hide behind the skirts of women and children. I assure you it is true, every word of it. Apparently our fleet quickly destroyed the fortifications, and as our soldiers landed Oldis ordered his men to hide with the civilians. Instead of facing us on an honorable field of battle he ordered his forces to cower behind those poor people he has spent his lifetime exploiting. A true, blackguard, as any honorable man would attest. I fear this must be the end of this letter for now. Perhaps I will have a moment to pick up the quill again before we depart, but if not know that I think of you with my every waking moment. With all my love, Henri Debussy Lieutenant, Régiment des 5e Vele 2e Batallion Ire Compagnie Régiment des 5e Vele by Capt. Genaro, on Flickr Régiment des 5e Vele by Capt. Genaro, on Flickr I decided to go with an epistolary method to tell the story behind this build. I am still on the fence if it worked out, but it was fun for a challenge. As always comments and criticism are welcome.
  4. King's Port Batteries, Terraversa, 16 August 620 (T-DAY-1) "And all around the shore, where cannons still roar, they're haunting my dreams, they're still there when I sleep" The Terraversans called them "Oldis' Fist", according to the intelligence. Probably it was one of the heaviest souvenirs left by the Mardierian army... and everybody could easily guess why it was left behind. That massive 64-pounder was for sure quite difficult to move by itself and, furthermore, it was on top of a steep cliff. For sure, it represented a real threat for an attacking fleet: that beast could throw a roundshot up to three kilometers far, or a shell filled with dozens of musket balls on a shorter range. If the defenders had the chance to make those "gift" rain on the ship decks or on the crowded longboats, it would have been a massacre. Moreover, the small promontory was surrounded by reefs and shallow waters, which made the approach difficult for bomb ketches... running aground in range of enemy batteries wasn't a great perspective! This was the reason why, the night before the main landing, Tristan and his men were in those small canoes, rowing towards a coast just slightly darker than the night sky. As several other times in the past, darkness was a good friend for them: they couldn't see the landing point, this was true, but they were also hidden from their enemies... and, if everything had gone as planned, they didn't need to find that small beach on their own. Flashes of light broke the pitch-black night, as a man waved a lantern on the coast... two flashes, a pause, two more flashes. The conveyed signal! Their man on Terraversa was telling them that the way was clear... or somebody had captured him, and now was dragging them all in a trap. Trying to be as quiet as possible, the rowers headed towards the shore, while the other soldiers, Rimbaud's Raiders and mountaineers of the 5eme regiment Pride of Guelph, grabbed muskets and sabers, ready to fight tooth and nail if they had been betrayed. The canoes scraped on the shoals, avoided some surfacing rocks and, at last, reached the small beach. Their man was waiting, hidden among the rocks and, fortunately, alone. That beach was too small for a proper landing, with only an old, half-crumbled mule track leading to the top of the cliff. A patrol checked it, now and then, but they were almost outside King's Port defensive system... if they had met a few soldiers, they would have easily got rid of them without noises, with knives or bows: some of the Raiders had spent years living with the natives and could use that weapon quite well. That night, however, they didn't meet anyone, either on the beach or along the trail. After a few hours of climbing, sliding and muffled cursings, the commando reached the top of the cliff. It would have been almost impossible without their local guide, and this explained that little hole in the Terraversan defenses. It was dawn. Below them, on the shiny sea, they saw the spectacle of the Oleander fleet: an endless row of ships of the line, frigates and galleons, with support ships and bomb ketches moving around... sails and flags waved in the wind, and hundreds of cannons shined in the gunports under the morning sun. It was impressive, but it also meant that they were late: they had to take the battery immediately, before it could fire on their comrades. There was no time for a plan, for a flanking attack, for a reconnaissance. A few cannonballs, fired from the distant fleet, stopped right in front of the battery, hitting the low wall with almost no force and sinking in the soft ground... Damn! A frontal assault was a bad perspective even without the risk of friendly fire! Reloading would have taken a few minutes, so that was their chance... hoping that down below they had good spyglasses! The Terraversans artillerymen were surprised as they were loading the first shot, but reacted quickly, grabbing weapons and tools. However, they were only a few, and they were not trained at all for close-quarter engagements... the fight to take the battery would have been fast and relatively easy. At least, in theory, thought Tristan as a Terraversan tried to split his head in half with a shovel. The bluecoats climbed the low wall and charged forward. That cannon would have not fired that day: whatever the cost, they would have taken the battery, and would have held it against the enemy counterattacks. Meanwhile, along the coast, dozens of cannons were blazing, and at least as many had been destroyed by the massive artillery barrage. One of the forts was burning, but also one of the largest battleships was tilting, and the sailors were jumping in the water. That day was going to be the longest in the whole life of hundreds of men. That day they were making history!
  5. After the first wave of brave troops took the beaches, they were soon followed by supplies. Shot, rum, food, money. Everything was needed. A cart had already taken off to bring more ammunition to the men pushing past the beach. A watch tower had been erected, and a captain was looking at his map to see where they would be going next.
  6. Landing Point Charlotte, Terraversa, 17 August 620 (T-DAY) "Hell is waiting where the ocean meets the sand"  The soldiers of the first wave got onto the small rowboats, that were immediately lowered into the water. Somebody whispered a short prayer to Poseidon, others hummed a popular tavern song, most remained silent... only the platoon of legionnaires assigned to the ship continued chatting and laughing till the last moment, as if their assault was nothing more serious than a pleasant walk. The cliffs in front of them started appearing from the morning fog. It was almost the hour. In a few minutes, they would have started rowing as madmen towards Plage Charlotte, one of the designated landing points... not thehardest target, but still well under the crossfire of forts and batteries! Everybody knew that a lot of things could go very, very, wrong: according to the plan, they would have reached the shoreline immediately after the first artillery barrage, overwhelming the shoreline fortifications and opening a safe passage for the second -and more consistent- wave; meanwhile, their artillery would have hammered the remaining forts, turning them into ruins. Suddenly, the capital ship shot the first volley, immediately followed by hundreds of other cannons. On the shore, a battery exploded, immediately followed by another one. With a savage yell, the soldiers started rowing, while dozens and dozens of cannonballs flew over their heads. Small clouds of smoke announced the first return volleys. A few seconds later, jets of water exploded from the sea, and a nearby ship received two blows. As the artillery duel continued, the small boats reached the shore. The bigger coastal batteries continued their barrage against the fleet, but the mortars and the small culverins were waiting for them. One of the boats was annihilated, directly hit by a grenade. After what seemed an eternity, the keels of the boats hit the sand and the soldiers jumped forward. The rain of iron and fire began immediately, as the soldiers arrived in the range of Terraversan blockhouses. Organ guns and wall muskets started firing, giving rise to a hellish concert of bangs and rattlings. In just a matter of seconds, dozens of bullets were flying in every direction.  Some soldiers fell after a few steps, mowed by mortar fire and organ guns, but most charged forward, taking shelter and starting a strong cover fire with their muskets. One of the organ guns fired again, but those damned weapons were inaccurate and slow to reload... with the soldiers moving and scattering along the beach, this time most of the bullets hit only the sand.  An officer of the Zouaves, the tirailleurs from New Oleon, started yelling orders, reorganizing the soldiers for the charge: if they took the fortifications before the Terraversans could reorganize, the first bridgehead would have been taken! Only a few dozen meters and they would have reached the blockhouses... a run through the Tartarus, towards the guns of their enemies, but also the road towards King's Port and the victory!   A few more pics of the battle:   The Terraversan organ gun:   Obvious credit to @Khorne for the foreign legion and the zouaves, something I never had the chance to depict. Ps So it begins... as soon as possible I’ll add a link in the AMRCA thread!
  7. This topic is for sharing recurring characters throughout our various Oleon stories. Oleon is looking to build stories that intersect. If you'd like your character to venture into other stories, share your characters here! Please use the Oleon Intro Topic to discuss. This topic should be for characters only. Feel free to post multiple characters in one post. The following general format is recommended for each character: NAME OF PERSON: A brief description with whatever information you feel is necessary or important to know. Please keep it under 200 words. [Single Small Image] [INSIDE A SPOILER: Additional pictures of the fig along with relevant links to their story]
  8. "They shall not pass!" Outskirts of Nola Mar, Terraversa, August 620 After the long calm, after the time of plots and conspiracies, the day had finally arrived. In Nola Mar, weapons were taken from the secret hideouts and passed from hand to hand: in just a few hours, the militias gathered in the agreed locations and marched towards the main strategic points all around the settlement. All the main roads from Sillitholina to Pamu were blocked by barricades and improvised defenses, all the forced passages were occupied by small military units. Everybody knew that there was no coming back: if the plan had succeeded, the whole island would soon have been in their hands. Otherwise, they would have fought to the death... there was no mercy to expect from Oldis' servants or L'Olius' henchmen! The role of Nola Mar rebels during the first days of the war was quite simple, but all the same essential: they had to block any possible movement of enemy troops along the Coastal Road, the shortest connection between King's Port and Westface, or at least slow them down as much as possible. In practical terms, this meant blocking the reinforcements from Westface to King's Port and, if the landings would have been successful, cutting the retreat route from Pamu to Sillitholina and preventing the reorganization of Oldis' troops. Small contingents of Oleander soldiers, mainly light infantry, had joined the local irregulars in the most vulnerable zones: cracking the line of the chasseurs and of the Mousquetaires du Roi wouldn't have been an easy task! Far south, in the last stronghold before the territories controlled by L'Olius, tension rose minute after minute. While the older veterans chewed some tobacco or absently rubbed whetstones on the blade of their knives, the recruits walked nervously back and forth, continuously staring at the horizon. Here, the presence of the Oleander soldiers was a little stronger, with a few small cannons quickly dragged there with horses and oxen. More soldiers and cannons would soon have come from Nola Mar, provided that they could leave the city undefended. However, nobody really knew if they would have seen arrive the blue coats of Oleander soldiers or the dark blue uniforms of L'Olius' minions. In that case, they would have sold dearly their skin. "Horsemen! Horsemen from Sillitholina!" Everyone grabbed his musket and rushed to the parapet. The gunners lit the fuses and loaded the cannons. Nobody uttered a word. "Damn, they are still too far! I cannot see the uniforms. Hold fire until my orders!" The soldiers stood still, looking at the tiny cloud of dust growing bigger and bigger... Just a small prequel of the battle for Terraversa, while the fog of war still covers the island... Overall view-1: Overall view-2:
  9. "How's it looking back there, boy?" The captain asked as he looked at his little rumstained blueprints. "Oh this is strong!" "The castle?" the young man asked. "No! The rum!" the captain replied. And it was. He had heard Emile Perrault's rum was good, but this far exceeded his expectations. "But now that you mention it, how does it hold up?" "It's almost done," the trooper answered. "Just need to finish packing this bit down... and... there! She is finished!" "It looks just like the plans!" the captain shouted, a tad drunkenly. "Want some rum, boys? Is the little waterfall working? WAIT! Should we add rum to it?" "Let's just let it be..."
  10. My dear Emile, I hope you are well. It has been far too long since I have heard from you. I pray you are safe. Lots of things have been happening since I last heard from you. Oleon is raising forces? I pray you can have leave to visit me soon, although I fear you will not be able to. Outside one of the taverns we supply, soldiers have set up and begun recruiting. The children seem to love it, the idea of playing soldier. Was this you when you were younger? They are buying people drinks and women to get them to join up, promising them more on the other side of the sea. I hope you are not partaking, although that is the life I married into. Please come home soon. I've heard from Gilbert and William since you sent them to El Oleonda, and somehow they ended up on the wrong side of the war! Can you imagine that? I'm sure you can, love, those two always seem to get themselves into trouble. Please stay safe, and come home soon. All my love, Elise After seeing merc's build of Eltina's walls, I figured I had to continue with them for continuity. Thanks for an easy addition, merc! For raising troops, I am raising a platoon of 10 men.
  11. Gunpowder made its appearance in Madrician wars centuries ago, at least since the War that Forgot to End. With time, cannons replaced the loud but ineffective bombards, muskets and rifles took the place of hand-cannons and arquebuses. Firearms became finally more dangerous for the enemy than for the user, and started deciding the result of battles and wars: while in the Forty-Nine Years War pikemen still had a place on the battlefield, in the Juniper War, only a decade later, they had completely disappeared. The obvious consequence of this evolution is that, year after year, armies and navies are requiring more and more gunpowder and, accordingly, more and more raw materials are needed to cope with the demand. As you probably know, the gunpowder in a powder horn, or in the ammunition store of a ship, is a finely ground mixture of saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal. What you probably don’t know, however, is how difficult can be finding or producing the three ingredients: charcoal can be easily obtained burning wood in a buried pit, but sulfur can only be found in a few volcanic areas, such as Astrapi, Charlatan Bay and, as recently discovered, El Oleonda. About saltpeter, well, here you are! For centuries, this white salt was scratched off the walls of caves, cellars, wineries, stables and even latrines, obtaining only little quantities of material, usually of barely acceptable quality. The few mines scattered in Madrician Peninsula, in the Mokolei Empire and in the New World represent the main source of this precious mineral, but their yield is still quite low. However, saltpeter (or potassium nitrate, in modern terms) can also be produced with a complex and quite unpleasant process, probably one of the most disgusting things in the civilized world. Everything begins with carts full of “organic materials”, meaning vegetable waste, garbage, manure, dirty straw from the stables, residues from tanneries or slaughterhouses and so on. The disgusting blend is thrown in a pit lined with stone tiles and mixed thoroughly with earth and ashes. After several days, enough material has accumulated in the pit, and the next step of the process can begin: the material is piled in a fresh and shady place and is kept constantly moist with water and urine. Each nitrary (that is a saltpeter factory) employs a different method for the piling: in general, experience showed that better airflow results in a higher yield. Here, the workers mold the material in small bricks and pile it in a sort of wall, protected from rain and direct sunlight. What happens next remained a mystery for centuries: in their comfortable and warm homes, billions and billions of bacteria live and proliferate, fuelling their tiny lives by slowly turning ammonia and amino acids into valuable nitrates. After a year or two, the transformation process is complete: the workers can so recover the disgusting “bricks”, now simple clods of earth, and begin the extraction process. The material is washed several times with the same water, obtaining a concentrated solution rich in salts. Wood ashes are usually poured inside the solution since this seems to “improve saltpeter quality”, even if the workers don’t know why: actually the potassium carbonate contained converts most of the nitrates in potassium nitrate (the best saltpeter) while removing the useless calcium and magnesium. In the last step, the solution is further refined with a long boiling, that removes other unwanted salts, and then is dried with the aid of the tropical sun. For sure this is not a job for sensitive stomachs since a nitrary can be smelled from miles away… however, at the only cost of some water and some wood, disgusting garbage is converted into a strategic resource, ready to feed the ever-hungry gunpowder mills. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is my first process-build since a loooong time... I hope you enjoy it! I tried to depict all the essential phases (probably I should have chosen a simpler thing... or a bigger base ). With a gunpowder mill and a brimstone quarry, I think that Astrapi is the best location for this little, smelly step towards "fireworks". To be licensed as a small factory (34x22 longer side, 34x18 shorter side)
  12. The road from Breshaun to Eltina, June 620, Le Bellan Le Bellan, the most prestigious colony of the Empire of Light, represents the beating heart of Oleander commercial routes. In spite of this, however, the infrastructures of the island are quite old, absolutely insufficient for the huge traffic of people and goods moving every day from Breshaun to Eltina and vice versa. The ancient trail of compacted earth, with small wooden bridges and even a couple of river crossings, was built decades ago, in a completely different time: a road for a couple of reckless riders, some wondering merchants and a few hunters... definitely not enough for the continuous flow of heavy carriages transporting wood and sugar from the inland, silver and wine from Breshaun outskirts, but also all kinds of goods crafted or imported in those bustling cities. And, obviously, it's not enough for the movement of naval artillery from Breshaun foundries to Eltina shipyards, where the largest and most beautiful ships of all the Brick Seas are built. As often happens in the colonies, the difficult task of building a road, a bridge or even one of the few tunnels cutting the mountains is done by the army, rather than by civilians. While it may seem a dull manual job, building a road that will last more than the first hurricane requires knowledge and expertise. Mile after mile, the red flags will be replaced by the milestones, sand and crushed stones will give way to a regular, tidy pavement. While most of the men are simple diggers and bricklayers, the officers are expert engineers, who attended Breshaun military school: the use of measuring tools and the difficult calculations needed, in fact, require several years of studies and remarkable skills. The Ingènieurs du roi are often employed in similar civilian tasks, but also in the construction and repairing of military structures or fortifications. This, however, shouldn't deceive you: if the situation requires, military engineers must operate under enemy fire, opening a safe passage across obstacles or even assaulting fortifications. If destroying a barricade or building a bridge requires the... well... dislodgement of enemy soldiers, the Oleander military engineers are ready for that! A quick build to show my version of Oleander sappers. Soon you'll find more about them in the Grand Military Encyclopedia.
  13. Not far from Fort Arltrees, May 620, El Oleonda Tlaloc, the native scout, was right as usual. A few broken branches, a bush cut by with a machete, some light footprints in the mud... that was enough for him: he understood that a band of Lotii was following a small Carnite patrol, and that they both were dangerously near to Fort Arltrees. After several hours of march, almost following a straight line towards the coast, the Oleander soldiers finally reached their target. Quite unsurprisingly, Tlaloc sighted them first. Tristan, by gestures, ordered his men to crouch in the tight undergrowth, and slowly crawled towards the small clearing. He already knew what he would have found... The Carnites weren't used at all to the brutal, disloyal fightings in the jungle, that was clear. Exactly as all the Madrician Nations during the first wave of colonization, they arrived in the archipelago with flamboyant uniforms and shiny armors... they expected pitched battles and glorious victories, but they found themselves trapped in a green, suffocating hell. Exactly as the other Madricians during their first battles in the New World, they were completely unprepared. They marched slowly in the undergrowth, plodding in the mud and stumbling on roots, but they couldn't find a single track of the enemies... until the enemies were all around, fast and lethal. How the Lotii had learned to fight so well in the jungle was a mystery... maybe they had found themselves in a similar situation against one of their neighbors, or simply they followed more flexible tactics, but for sure they had the upper hand in the war. Only half of their soldiers had firearms, mainly antiquate matchlocks, but they almost always prevailed in the jungle skirmishes. That day, things had gone in the usual way. The Madricians had made their camp in a dry river bed, an exposed position surrounded by thick vegetation... not a great choice, since they were taken by complete surprise during the lunch and forced to surrender. Only the officer, who was on guard, had a chance to grab his sword, but he was wounded and captured with his men. Unfortunately for them, however, the Lotii had no intention of dragging prisoners with them in their operations, and had chosen a radical solution. One of the soldiers started begging for mercy: "Wait, wait... Please don't kill me! We have found them, we have found the shipwrecks! I'll tell you everything, but don't kill me!". The Lotii laughed. Probably they didn't even understand a word, or they didn't believe him. "Shut up and die like a man!" Yelled the Carnite officer. The Lotii soldiers laughed again. Meanwhile, completely ignoring the brutal spectacle, the Lotii commander was pointing something on a map. Probably, he was planning the itinerary, looking for the next prey. Tristan had definitely seen enough. At first he wasn't so sure about attacking the Lotii band, but he couldn't just sit there and watch unharmed prisoners being slaughtered in front of his eyes. Moreover, those Lotii were dangerously near to Fort Arltrees, and he probably wouldn't have had a second chance before they noticed the settlement. With only five soldiers and a native scout, his forces were largely inferior in numbers, but Tristan had learned an important lesson during his previous campaigns, from the woods of the Varcosian border to the alleys of Charlatan Bay: if you appear out of nowhere, screaming as madmen and shooting on sight, the enemy will hardly have a chance to react, regardless the real force balance. Not exactly what instructors teach in the Royal Military Academy, but simple and quite effective. Or, at least, this was the plan... if things went wrong, Tristan wouldn't have had time to regret his mistake! Well, there was no more time to think now... Tristan gave the signal, a low whistle, and jumped forward, followed by his men. Soon, the Lotii would have learnt that some Madricians knew irregular warfare too! As they had already done in similar circumstances, the Raiders attacked the musketeers first, before they could become a real treat... ...while other soldiers ran towards the guards, blocking the execution and setting the prisoners free. The Carnites were taken by surprise too: most of the prisoners simmply ran for their lives... ...while others remained motionless, paralyzed by terror. The officer alone, probably the only veteran, attempted a reaction, trying to disarm one of the enemies. A Lotii warrior... ...and the last thing he sees! The battle was fierce but short. The Lotii fought well, but were surrounded and disorganized, and soon everything was over. Tristan Rimbaud would have had something quite interesting to write in his relation, including the exact position of the Lotii settlement and of some mysterious shipwrecks, probably the remains of the lost Lotii fleet. Moreover, he had just saved a Carnite patrol from annihilation, probably gaining some useful allies... not bad, for a tiny skirmish in the jungle! Overall view
  14. Breshaun, May 620, Le Bellan Renè Duchamp walked towards the Colonial Admiralty in Breshaun. Only one wing of the large building was already operative; soon, however, it would have become one of the most important administrative buildings of the New World, coordinating the activity of La Royale with merchant fleets, collecting the newly chartered islands in cartographic atlases, gathering and providing updated information about safe harbors and pirate raids... Renè, however, was there for a different reason: even the most enterprising and daring Oleanders must submit themselves to a certain ballast of bureaucracy. During the last years, the Rimbaud family had launched several ships, and some "administrative procedures" were required... in other words, piles of papers, taxes to pay and boring discussions with a row of officials! The correct term in bureaucratic language was "Request of authorization for setting up a commercial or military fleet above the limit accepted for private citizens", but the meaning of that was actually quite simple: an authorization was required for owning more ships, more sailors and more cannons. A little price to pay, but also a great success for the Rimbaud Family, that a few months ago only owned a little fishing boat! Well, this time paying taxes seemed almost a success... definitely something strange! I used a work in progress build that, likely will require a lot of time and a lot of bricklinking for completion, for my ship limit increase build. With Le Phénix, the Scamander and the Tartarus, in fact, I crossed my default ship limit of 10.
  15. Usually ships are equipped with one or more cannons. In this case, a very big cannon is equipped with a hull and a couple of masts. The Tartarus is not an elegant ship, if "ship" is the correct term… basically it is a sturdy barge, masted as a ketch and designed to carry a large siege mortar. Floating batteries are not very seaworthy and, although they can sail in open waters, their maneuverability is very low, so they are usually towed by other ships to their destinations. Moreover, due to their backward sail configuration and to their sturdy hull, they can't reach a great speed even with wind in favour. These ships, however, are far from being a deadweight for a fleet, since their several weaknesses are well compensated by a huge firepower. Mortars are very heavy, compared to naval cannons, and have a terrible recoil… however, they can also throw an explosive shell at a distance of almost two miles! Differently from most artillery pieces, a mortar is fired at a very high angle; therefore, the shot will follow an elegant arch and will fall almost vertically on its target, easily surpassing walls or ramparts. For this reason, mortar ships are usually employed in naval sieges, to shell the fortifications from a safe distance. However, they can be very effective against enemy ships too: with a short fuse, the shell will explode above the deck, in a deadly rain of fire and splinters; with a long fuse, the shell would easily pierce the planks and explode inside the ship, for instance in a crowded gundeck. The Tartarus is manned by sailor and artillerymen of the Mardierian Legion, an Oleander unit of volunteers and expatriates. Here you can see two of them loading the mortar, that uses two large bags of gunpowder... ...to send the enemy a "candy", that is almost fifty kilograms of iron, gunpowder and bad intensions! For obvious reasons, the Tartarus carries a considerable amount of explosives, so it should remain prudently far from enemy cannons… sane people don't enter a battle with a floating powder magazine! Spare masts or heavy logs are sometimes used to build improvised barricades at about half ship: this should better balance the recoil of the mortar and protect the ammunitions, or at least this is the hope of the sailors.. being on a floating battery, in case of an enemy attack, would be as dangerous as being in front of its cannons! The signalling flags, used to communicate with the rest of the fleet… "Oleon expects every man to do his duty!" (semi-quote) The captain, or chief gunner… it depends if you consider te Tartarus a ship or a battery! Well, I hope you enjoyed this ship! The sails are intentionally primitive, but I hope I didn't go too far in that direction! This project started with a hull I built and discarded for its awkward shape and a mortar I built with no good reason… putting them together was quite fun, even if the mast look somehow wrong. Historically, floating batteries were usually old, sturdy ships or robust rafts, towed near to the enemy harbour and loaded with guns too big to fit on a conventional ship. They had a very low maneuverability, and were extremely vulnerable to enemy counterattacks. However, they were quite cheap and could literally send a hell of iron and fire on the enemy fortifications. After some successes and some failures, floating batteries were gradually substituted by purpose-built ships, fully rigged and equipped with "normal" cannons too. At the very end of sail age, armoured floating battery appeared on the battlefield once again, before being made obsolete by steam-propelled monitors and ironclads. BTW, probably you can easily how I'm employing my spare time due to the "stay at home, stay safe" policy!
  16. New Haven Sea, May 620 The Warship Scamandre, a Sixth Rate Ship of the Line, has just arrived in the New Haven Sea region. Built in the Royal Shipyards of Breshaun, this ship was sent to secure the interests of Oleon in this remote area of the world. A few months ago, this ship reached El Oleonda itself, one of the hottest areas of the New World: in a semi-clandestine operation, avoiding all the main routes, a small contingent of soldiers founded a little outpost on the island, Fort Arltrees. This ship takes her name from a minor fluvial deity, represented by the figurehead: an intimidating warrior god, flanked by two even more intimidating 12-pounders. This ship carries a total of 26 "good arguments" to enforce Oleander diplomacy: even if the Scamandre is not a large battleship, her firepower is more than enough for the small naval battles typical of the New World. As usual for ships stationed in the colonies, however, patrolling the naval routes and hunting enemy vessels represent only two of the many tasks: exploring, safely transporting soldiers and colonists, delivering supplies and even providing additional space in trade convoys are by far the most common activities! Today, for example, the Scamadre is mapping the coasts of El Oleonda. Two sailors calculate longitude, comparing the height of the sun over the horizon with the time in Granoleon: curiously, according to that clock, it should still be late night! Other sailors are evaluating the depth of the water using a rope and a lead weight, a simple but effective way to know if a bay is a suitable port for large ships. The Scamandre also carries a scientific officer, members of the Oleander Royal Society of Science (far less famed than its Corrish counterpart) and a chaplain, usually a priest of Poseidon… who probably are thinking completely different things about the wonders of the nature! A flag code allows communication with distant ships or, in this case, with Fort Arltrees Lighthouse: orders, warnings, news or simple greeting can be exchanged easily using a few dozens of coloured flags. Since exploration missions may last several months, a ship like the Scamandre always carries large amount of supplies: fresh meat and vegetables for the first week, then more durable stuff, like hardtack, salted beef, pork or cod, cheese, potatoes and onions. A few recent innovations, such as barrels of apples, sauerkrauts and bottles of lemon juice, further improved mariners' diet and prevent, in most cases, the insurgence of scurvy. There is a little of disappointment, however, about the canned food of a well known Corrish trade company: the horse stew contained is almost inedible, with pieces of bone, cartilage and, concerningly, small drops of lead. However, it may represent a fundamental emergency ration, resistant to water infiltrations and even to the most stubborn worms! With the tropical weather and serious troubles in food preservation, the ship doctor has always several things to do. Well, it seems that those inviting red berries growing in the jungle are actually a little poisonous, too bad! On the lower gun-deck, a soldier is cleaning his musket. He's quite far from home, but it's not unusual seeing soldiers from Guelph Peninsula in Oleander Army. Despite their weird clothes, they are usually very good soldiers, brave and disciplined. Additional pics of the ship: A trap door, connecting upper deck and gundeck An additional view of the gundeck A bird's eye view The helm wheel and some of the sailors The bow... ...and the stern. A complete view. Very bad angle, by the way… it seems a lot shorter! You have just visited the Scamandre, a Sixth Rate Ship of the Line (that is, a small frigate, considered strong enough to fight in a battle line even if as a minor unit). I will license it as a class 6. As usual, C&C are welcome!
  17. Somewhere in the jungle, April 620, El Oleonda The Carnites didn't tell them all the truth, that was clear. Probably the archaeologists were actually studying the ancient ruins, but this was only a part of the story: their report on the Lotii expedition was surely too detailed for someone who considered the treasure a little more than a legend, and they said too many times that it was impossible to find. However, those idiots had neglected the most obvious thing to do: ask the ones who could know something... but the people of Carno were new to the New World, and considering the savages as something more than a part of the local fauna hadn't probably even come to their minds! Finding a Tyree'De on such a large island wasn't so easy but, once again, the remains of the ancient civilization helped Tristan and his men: if the ancient inhabitants of El Oleonda had built their cities in the best locations, probably the Tyree'De had chosen the same places for their villages… and the Oleander expedition had literally a comfortable road to reach them! After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, therefore, they found what they were looking for: a place where the inhabitants weren't only snakes and scorpions. What Tristan and his men found surprised everyone: probably the Carnites wouldn't have even noticed that, but the "natives" themselves were a clear answer to the mystery of the lost expedition. Most of the Tyree'De had the same somatic tracts of the indigenous people of archipelago, this was true, but others were clearly born in a different part of the World; moreover, their straw hats and the peculiar rice fields, similar to the ones seen in Mooreton Bay, were definitely something unusual among the native tribes. Tristan asked to meet the leader of the little community. Fortunately, the Tyree'De language was quite similar to the one of Astrapi natives, so communicating with them wasn't too difficult. He was brought into a ruined stone building, another trace of the ancient inhabitants; inside, the Tyree'De had built a little wooden hut. The old man waiting for them, despite all the amulets and the paintings on his body, was clearly a Lotii. All the pieces of the puzzle were now in the right position: the mysterious motherland of the Tyree'De, located "southwards"; their interest for tools and weapons, the things that they couldn't repair or replace without a smith and a real forge; their riches, probably a part of the fabled Lotii treasure. Against all the odds, some of the Lotii sailors had survived: the old man, once the helmsman of the junk Nan Feng, confirmed Tristan's reconstruction. When it became clear that no help would have come from the motherland, the survivors realized that remaining in the camp meant certain death: the supplies were running low, and so many people couldn't survive by hunting in a little area. Therefore, they formed small groups, split the treasure, and went in different directions. Some of these small bands were unlucky, and all the men were killed by hunger, diseases, or in fights for the scarce food remaining. Others built rafts or small junks, and were never seen again. Most of the surviving Lotii, however, peacefully lived their lives with the natives, becoming the Tyree'De ("new tribe", in the language of the natives). The newcomers repaired some of the ancient canals and taught the natives the art of rice farming… hard work, but also a source of food by far more abundant and reliable than hunting and gathering. Many married local women and had children with them: most of the living Tyree'De knew the Kingdom of the Lotus only from the tales of their fathers, and some of them already considered it a sort of myth. When El Oleonda was "discovered" by Lotii and Carnites, the survivors of the old expedition had already lived there for almost thirty years… they had settled on the smaller islands of the New Haven Sea, grown their crops, and formed their families. In the motherland there was nothing left for them: everyone considered them dead, and they had been forgotten. So, the old Lotii decided to remain forever the Tyree'De, the mysterious tribe from the South. They visited the Halosian settlements and bought agricultural tools with gold and silver, shiny souvenirs of their past. Tristan asked the old man if he knew something about the nautical maps but, unfortunately, the answer was negative: the chest with the maps was lost decades ago, disappeared in the jungle with large treasures and with the lives of several men. "I've been completely sincere with you, Rimbaud San." a word that Tristan didn't know, but that sounded very respectful - "Here we have found a new home, here we have found peace. Now I want a promise from you. If somebody asks you about our unfortunate expedition if they ask you about us… tell them that we are all gone!" ---------------------------------------------------------- An overall view
  18. Somewhere in the jungle, March 620, El Oleonda Heading towards these ruins was almost a shot in the dark. During one of the first explorations of the interior, following a little river with no name (by the way, River Rimbaud sounded quite well), Tristan and his men found something quite surprising: a complex system of little canals, clogged by vegetation but still functioning, that brought water towards the inland. That luxuriant jungle, somewhere in time, must have taken over fields and gardens, swallowing any trace of an advanced civilization: no known tribe of the archipelago, not even the Myzec of Cascadia, could have built something similar. The canals, now feeding only bushes and undergrowth, were by sure a sophisticated artefact: they were built with bricks and stones, and their slope had probably been carefully calculated… proof of that, they were still functioning despite the abandonment. Even though that discovery was completely unexpected, Tristan was more interested in something different: far inside the jungle, above the treetops, there was a wisp of smoke… the only trace of human presence they could find. With no other clue, Tristan and his men moved in that direction, following the remains of a paved road… another strange thing to find in the New World, but that made the men save a lot of time and fatigue. Now they were almost there. The scouts had told Tristan that the bivouac was only fifty meters onward, among some ancient ruins, but he couldn't see anything yet… damned jungle! Tristan's only hope was that the men in front of them were Carnite and not Lotii: the orders he had received included exploring the island and trying to discover what the two nations were fighting for, something by far easier if you can understand a word of what the others say. Tristan murmured a short prayer to Poseidon and moved forward… he was going to do something very, very stupid. "You are entering a military site of the Empire of Carno! Don't make a step forward or we'll open fire!" Bingo! They weren't Lotii and they didn't shoot on sight… it was already something. Tristan stopped, trying to appear as calm and relaxed as possible. Entering from the front door was by sure the best way to get quickly a lot of information, but it was also quite risky... now he had to play his cards well if he didn't want a bullet from a nervous Carnite sentinel. "I am Tristan Rimbaud, Regiment General of the Oleander army." -He replied in an acceptable Carnite- "You have at least two good reasons to lower your guns and let me pass. The first, and the best one, is that I come in peace: I don't have any hostility against you. The second one is that I ordered my men to take position in the bushes right behind me... touch the trigger, and you'll receive enough bullets to turn that ruins into a lead mine." Tristan knew very well the rule of thumb of diplomacy: raising a white flag can be a good start a negotiate, but it works by far better if the counterpart knows that you have twice his guns. A moment of tense silence followed, immediately covered by the deafening rumors of the jungle: the chatter of parrots, the rustling of leaves, the sounds of the little streams of water... and the buzzing of bugs, that disgusting horde of tiny vampires. Three more Carnite soldiers emerged from the bushes. They were in a good position, but Tristan was almost sure that his man would have taken them down before they could shoot, if things had gone in the wrong way. "Calm down, Gustav! They are clearly not Lotii cutthroats!" Tristan had barely noticed that man before… a civilian, unarmed, who now seemed to be the leader of the Carnite garrison. "And welcome, Herr Rimbaud, on behalf of myself and of the inhabitants of this place, dust since centuries. I am Hans Schneider, archaeologist, and this is Gustav Weber, head of my guards… forgive him, but we all are a little on edge, given the situation! By the way, aren't you Oleanders a little far from home?" Tristan, relieved, walked into what seemed an ancient city, similar to several ones scattered in the archipelago… also in this case, everything seemed abandoned for decades. "Nice to meet you, Monsieur Schneider" replied Tristan. "You are right, we are quite far from home! The war between your nation and the Lotii has raised some anxiety in our colonial authorities… and has also raised a lot of questions. This island is quite large and rich, but it's not the only one in the archipelago. Why the hell didn't the Lotii colonize another of the large islands? What do they think it's worth dying for?" Tristan didn't really expect an answer: if there actually was something precious enough to start a war, the Carnites wouldn't have revealed it so simply. The archaeologist, however, surprised him again. "Well, Herr Rimbaud, I can be completely frank about that: my nation is here for what always makes the empires move: lands, gold, commercial routes, valuable crops… we were a little late in the run towards East, but now we have our piece of land under the sun. For the Lotii, however, the situation is different: they arrived on El Oleonda without any warning, and they attacked our forces on the Eastern tip of the island. The incredible thing, however, is that probably they don't care at all about conquering the island… they are looking for something." "And... do you know what are looking for?" "I'll tell you a story, Herr Rimbaud. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's all I know. A story that began thirty years ago, in the Lotus Kingdom. You know that after the discovery of the first islands in the Sea of Storms, half a century ago, voices of rich lands East of Terraversa started to spread… rumors about paradise-like islands, possibly even continents, where spices grew everywhere, and gold could be found below any single rock. So, after a lot of hesitation, the Emperor decided to roll the dices and send his ships to the North: also the Lotii had their Armond Basker and their three caravels, actually a fleet of twenty ships and almost two thousand mariners. They left the capital, cheered by the population, and nobody has ever seen them again: two thousand men swallowed by the sea, the whole fleet destroyed… and a considerable amount of gold, silver, and precious gifts for the sovereigns of the mysterious new continent lost with them. It was a real disaster, and somebody says that the old emperor was killed by the sorrow. Here ends what we know for sure, but a few years ago a new trace was discovered by some Lotii fishermen…" "How was it possible? What did they find after so much time?" "A man… even if I'm not sure he still could be defined so. They found him on a little atoll, where apparently he had lived alone for decades. He was completely mad, and could barely mutter a few words. However, before losing his mind, he had carved his memories on a piece of wood. I had a chance to read a copy of it, after our fleet captured a Lotii junk, and I can assure you that I didn't sleep for days. The only reason why that poor soul didn't commit suicide was that he knew something vital for the Kingdom, something he wrote down when he was still sane: the fleet was destroyed by a storm, as everybody supposed, but several ships survived and were stranded on a large island. The admiral decided to try the return voyage with the only ship that could still set sail, promising to the survivors that he would have returned with help. He left on the island hundreds of men, all the treasures and, even more importantly, most of the maps he had drawn up to that moment… maps of this archipelago, and of all the other lands which could exist between the Lowers and the Lotus Empire." "But he wasn't lucky enough." Concluded Tristan. "Indeed. The ship sank, and the only survivor was driven mad by the sun and the loneliness. But his sketches seem to show that the ships were stranded on El Oleonda, and so the Lotii are here. For the treasure of the lost fleet and those old maps, even if I don't know whether the streams of gold and pearls or the blessed lands described did ever exist outside the mind of that unfortunate sailor…" "And so the Lotii are here for some maps that could even not exist at all and for treasures lost decades ago, possibly on this island?" "Exactly. They are convinced that their predecessors may have hidden their gold before hunger, diseases, attacks of the natives or time took them all. Maybe in these very ruins, or in some abandoned temple in the forest, who knows. In that case, it will probably decorate forever the homes of scorpions, spiders, and bats." "And you? Are you hunting the Lotii gold too?" Asked Tristan. "I thought you considered the treasure lost forever, but still you are digging among these ruins..." "We are archaeologists, not treasure hunters!" Replied Herr Schneider, apparently a little offended. "We were studying these ancient ruins, abandoned at least a century ago by a mysterious civilization… but now we are trapped in a damned war theatre!" The archaeologist continued: "I don't know if the treasure exists, or if the survivors decided to throw it in the sea when they realized that nobody would have ever come. What I know for sure is that only their maps and documents, if they still exist, could reveal to us the complete story of the unfortunate expedition and the lands they visited. More probably, however, they will remain forever in some forgotten temple, no matter how much the Lotii will search." An overall view: Without colour adjustment This is my entry for cat B. It required a lot of text, pictures, and time, and I hope you like it. As usual, C&C are welcome. PS Everything I depicted is part of the build: the treasures and the skeleton are in little niches in the two buildings
  19. A Napoleonic inspired Ship of the Line for glorious Oleon. Heavily inspired by Wellesly's HMS Persephone and Invicta's hull/tumblhome technique on YouTube. She has 84 guns and three decks. 36-pounder guns on the lowest deck, 24-pounder everywhere else. The galley and chimney.
  20. El Oleonda, March 620, Fort Arltrees Fort Arltrees is a small military outpost, nothing more than a rudimentary palisade surrounding some tents and a couple of large huts… this is how all the settlements begin: it strange to think, but even Breshaun, during its first days, was nothing more than that. Any real possibility of development, however, is delayed until the end of the hostilities, when the arrival of civilians, regular shipping of supplies and, in general, the construction of more permanent builds will be possible. Living in Fort Arltrees in fact, is something very, very dangerous: an attacker wouldn't do any distinction between soldiers and civilians. However, a place where soldiers have no way to spend their wages offers a lot of opportunities to merchants who are brave enough. Sutlers are civilian sellers who follow soldiers almost to the battlefield. Sometimes they are hated and considered profiteers, but they also represent the only ones who can provide anything beyond rations, uniforms and weapons: tobacco, paper and writing implements, candles, a good knife or a whetstone, a linchpin or a mug, even some liquors… these little commodities are not cheap, up to five times their real value, but they can make far more comfortable the permanence in such a desolate place. In Fort Arltrees the sutler's shop, actually a large stall with a few improvised tables, represents the only place where soldiers can spend their free time: it soon has become a sort of little tavern, a meeting point that the soldiers simply call "the store"... there is no possibility of mistake about which store, since it is the only one! Soon a little kitchen was established too: soldiers have to pay, but food is by far better than ordinary rations. Even if this little commercial activity drains money from the soldiers' pockets, it represents a fundamental step for the growth of Fort Arltrees: taxation on little activities like this one provides to the commander of the fort some extra funds for the development of further projects, such as attracting settlers and starting some little farms. This, however, will be only possible after the end of the Carno-Lotii war… provided that the settlement will survive that long! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is the first economically relevant build in Fort Arltrees. I wanted it to be a very simple, provisory build, and I think I achieved the result… now I think that the next step is starting building something a little more sophisticated, maybe a blacksmith or a real canteen! Any idea? What would you like to see next?
  21. Fort Arltrees, February 620, El Oleonda The fort giving the name to the new Oleander settlement was finally completed. Fort Artrees was not much more than a palisade surrounding a few buildings, but now nobody could dislodge the small contingent without a hard fight. Lieutenant Marcel Dubois, the officer in charge of the garrison, was quite satisfied by the result: now, at least, nobody could take them by surprise, and more soldiers would soon have flowed towards the settlement… or at least that was the plan. Meanwhile, he had decided to reinforce all the weak points with additional defences: the soldiers built some cheval de Frise to protect the cannon loopholes... ...and deployed a real forest of pointy poles to prevent an attacker from approaching the wall with ropes and ladders. The garrison spent the rest of the time doing little jobs, such as unpacking tools, sharpening a blade with a whetstone or "testing the quality" of some Oleander aquavit. Others spend some time gambling, something strictly forbidden in most garrisons, but allowed in Fort Arltrees, considering the absence of any leisure or distraction. Everybody, however, was ready to run to his position in case of need… and more than grateful for the 24-pounders just unloaded from the warship Scamander. Overall view: Not so much to say about this build… I wanted to show the complete fort before licensing it. Despite the plot size (32x32) I will license it as a small fort, due to both the simplicity of the building and, storywise, the rushed and not exactly irresistible defences. Thank you for watching!
  22. Infero Pordejon, December 619, Charlatan Bay Tristan followed the instruction received… an abandoned warehouse in Lowtown, no guards, just before the dawn. He couldn't refuse the "invitation", considering that it came from a department of the Oleander administration in charge of some "special duties", but the possibility of disappearing without leaving a trace worried him a lot. By sure, he thought caressing the hilt of his sword, he wouldn't go without a fight. Fortunately for him, Tristan's suspects soon proved to be wrong. In the old warehouse he only found a man… he didn't seem the one that he had met in the morning, but the men of the Secret Service of Oleon were known for their ability in disguises. "If you want to assassinate me, you should try now… by sure, you chose the right place!" Said Tristan with a half smile. Not to find a platoon of hired killers waiting for him was a great relief. "Nice to meet you, monsieur Rimbaud. You know who I work for, and I think you understand that we don't want anyone to hear or see to much. We are in a turbulent settlement, but the elimination of witnesses may always rise some troubles. I'll be brief: some big wigs wanted you to be charged with treason, but in general the colonial authorities were satisfied by your personal endeavour here in Charlatan Bay. Bringing here regular soldiers was impossible due to the political implications, but the stabilization of the pirate settlement was functional to our interests in the region. Probably you will even find a medal waiting for you in Astrapi, where you must return as soon as the circumstances will allow. In this letter you will find all the instructions you need for now, but our men in the settlement will give you more details." The man didn't show any emotion saying this. Curiously, Tristan noticed, he was speaking with a light Altonian accent, probably part of his cover identity. "I imagine that there is something more than simply some handshakes for my role in the end of this awful civil war, isn't it?" He knew well that the man wouldn't have said anything he had been ordered not to say, but still hoped in some more details. "What do you know about the Lotus Empire?" Replied the man. Tristan was completely surprised by the question. He answered frankly: "Almost nothing. I know that some commodities are imported from that state, such as expensive pottery, tea, silk and a salty sauce beloved by our aristocrats; on the contrary, we export there only a few goods, mainly tobacco and silver, but in both directions goods pass through several hands and borders, while direct contacts are very rare. Once I met a sailor who claimed to have visited a Lotii port, but I don't know how much was true and how much a tavern history…" It had happened almost eight years before, but by sure it was enough to ignite the imagination of Tristan, at the time a young captain hunting for Saleeki pirates. The sailor described a lively and rich settlement, with beautiful women… ...floating markets, selling fruits never seen before... …exotic foods, such as a strange roll of seaweed, rice and raw fish. The settlement, said the young sailor, was called Sazanparu, that meant roughly Pearl of the South... one of the evocative names that make sailors dream. -Far more pictures in the spoiler- "Did you hear me?" Tristan was recalled from his juvenile dreams of adventure and exploration. "I said that Lotii activity was recently reported by our agents in the New Haven region" "The Lotii? Here in the New World?" "Yes... and what's more, it seems that they are going to start an open war with Carno, due to their conflicting interest on El Oleonda. I don't know much more, but all the details are in the letter. Read the new orders, then destroy it." Tristan cracked the seal and started reading, while the other man walked towards the door. "Wait a second! -uttered Tristan- YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT???" Overall view. The little warehouse in Charlatan Bay is in truth the base of the tower on the left… A little of magic, time travel and teleport!
  23. Pagoda by the Lake Previously: All in good Order - Prelude Next: -- Dramatis Personae: To Halosians, the Kingdom of the Lotus was still largely an enigma. That far to the South, few travellers had ever made it there - and fewer even managed their way back to tell the tale. Rumour had it Lotii tended to sudden extreme outbursts of violence when offended. Others claimed there was a quota of foreigners that were eaten alive. He was relaxed though, bathing in the peaceful atmosphere here around the capital city's lake district, knowing that in fact His own agents were responsible for the spread of misleading information about the Lotii back home. And looking at the tall structure in front of Him the faint idea of a smile appeared on His face - as in Oleon decisions of importance were taken in temples. Common ground was established, everything was going as planned... My entry for category A; finished way to close to the deadline - some things just never change About: As usual, all can be built. Besides that... not that much to say here, except fortunately, there were no height restrictions. Not sure though what the Lotii seem to compensate for ---------- Thanks for watching, C&C welcome. Vive le Roi!
  24. Fort Arltrees, February 620, El Oleonda "Now you are a lieutenant, Marcel, and you are the new governor of this metropolis… you are climbing the ranks, my friend!" "You too, Monsieur Regiment General. Before the end of this story we'll probably have a new Maréchal." Or they all would have been dead, thought Tristan. With the crisis between Carno and the Lotus Kingdom turning into an open war, the plans of the Etat majeur required a foothold on El Oleonda, nothing more than a little fort to secure the landing point for the contingent. A clever move, Tristan had to admit, but with the risk of losing the whole contingent sent forward… an hypothesis that Tristan didn't like at all. "Coming back to the plans… tomorrow I will leave with twenty men and our native scout for a long range recognition. We must be sure that we are far enough from both Lotii and Carnite forces. I don't know how far our diplomacy has gone up to now, and our presence could be… a little unwelcome. As I was saying, Lieutenant, you have the command of the fort until my return. You should provide for the needs of the garrison, and prepare for the arrival of more soldiers from Lavalette. A little pier could be useful, but avoid being noticed." "Yes, sir! The mouth of the nearby river could be a good place for a sheltered landing point, at least according to our native scouts." "I agree with you, it could also be a good starting point for our expedition in the inlands. According to the map drawn by the scientific officer, we could go upstream it for several miles, going faster than crawling in the jungle. Probably it's also the best option to find out something about the presence of other troops in the area." "Another thing sir… What about the other empires? Do you expect hostile activities?" Tristan feared that question. He decided to be sincere, also because everyone in the contingent knew the answer. "As far as we know, we are the only ones on the island, apart from the Lotii and the Carnites. We should avoid any hostile activity but, if we are attacked, we will defend with all our strength… that currently isn't that much. However, the high command intentionally leaked some secret information about massive troop raising in the West, and that should be enough to deter any attack against us." Otherwise, their bones would have remained on El Oleonda. The Oleander Army would have avenged them, but in case of large scale attack everybody in Fort Arltrees would have been killed. They all knew that, and they all were ready to give the life for Oleon, but nobody liked the idea of being sacrificed as a pawn in a game of chess between empires. Currently, however, the moral was quite high: after weeks at sea, the cook was finally preparing a real soup with some fresh meat… the ship rations were acceptable, but both hunting and sauces were completely absent from the mariners’ diet. Better not to waste too much time: waiting in the jungle, knowing how precarious their position was, would have worn down the soldiers. The expedition in the interior was also a mean to keep them active and, who knows, possibly to discover something about the Tyree'De, the mysterious natives of the New Haven Sea. Before his return the building of the fort would have been completed: the soldiers were cutting down the bushes along the outer palisade... …while the inner structures, currently just skeletons of poles and beams, would have soon be completed. Fort Arltrees was rising, currently nothing more than a small outpost in the jungle. May the Gods help him and his men, or it would soon have become also their tomb! An overview of the building: This is an official action, even if I still have to figure out exactly how to complete the paperworks. With this Tristan Rimbaud is starting a squatter settlement on El Oleonda, in a position still to be defined (I though somewhere near to the Eastern Coast, let me know if it is possible). Tristan is officially doing this as a personal initiative, but as you can understand he has a certain level of endorsement and backing from the faction Edit: I accidentally published the post before it was complete… sorry!
  25. Somewhere in the South Prio Sea, February 620 The chessboard was ready, and the pieces had started to move. After months of planning in the shadows, of deception, of hidden preparations, everything was ready… Tristan and his Raiders would soon have been once again in the heart of fire. The Scamander rolled gently, while the bow sliced elegantly through the waves. Every inch of sails was hoisted to catch the wind: after the departure from Astrapi and the short stopping in Lavalette, wind had almost been in their favour… a good omen or, more likely, a confirmation that the Eastward winds blowing south of Prio Island are almost perennial. Suddenly, a shout broke the silence: "Sails! It seems a Corrish lugger!" Tristan made a quick calculation, then ordered the helmsman to turn 30 degrees South. The mast of the other ship was lower, so they couldn't see the Scamander yet… better to slip unnoticed towards the destination, the mission was too important to waste secrecy so early. Huge forces were moving and, when the interest of the empires collide, it's far too easy to be grinded between them. Tristan Rimbaud was informed about the plan only a few months before, when in Charlatan Bay he was approached for the first time by a member of the secret service. The man approached Tristan in an alley of the port, when his escort soldiers were still behind the corner. He only showed Tristan a letter with a seal that any Oleander officer knew, and whispered an address before disappearing in a side street. Tristan's guards didn't even see him… nothing to say, that man surely knew well his job! Credit to @Bodi for this build The whole build; again, all credit to @Bodi --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A new storyline has just started, this time in a joint storyline with other members of my faction. The next build is ready, and will serve also as my Cat A entry… I just need to wait tomorrow to have a better light!