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  1. Somewhere in the jungle, El Oleonda, May 624 Rain was falling on El Oleonda. The violent storms that had flooded the island's southwest had finally ended, and water had finally returned to the riverbeds, but cloudy skies and heavy showers were still taking the place of the endless summer of New Haven Seas. It was not like the cold rainfalls of Eranos woods, slowly soaking your clothes and freezing you to the bones: instead, the large, warm drops seemed to hit the ground violently, almost with anger. Everything in the defensive position was still, apart from the rain. No other movement could be seen, no other sound could be heard. The position seemed completely abandoned, but this could have easily been a trap: on El Oleonda, every little imprudence could be paid with the life of someone... yours, most likely. That day, however, there was no trap waiting for them. The trenches were filled with rainwater almost to the rim, and weeds had started to grow on the earthworks. One of the chasseurs moved closer and closer, while his companions prepared to cover him. At the end, with a silent prayer, the man stood up. Nothing happened. "All clear, General! There's no one here! This place seems abandoned!" Tristan advanced, followed by the rest of the unit. After the return from the rescue operation in Neuburg, Tristan's unit was taking part in the search operations into the jungle, between Seawatch and the Great Northern Bay. And, once again, they had stumbled across an abandoned Lotii position. Apart from occasional skirmishes with bands of Lotii stragglers, this was all they had found up to that moment: trenches, well-positioned batteries, warehouses... all completely deserted. The enemy had retreated after the Battle of Seawatch, but how far remained a mystery. Well, now they could move a little forward the line on the map, and mark a new site for the engineers recovering abandoned artillery pieces. Tristan didn't understand. From a position like that one, a company of soldiers could have repelled a regiment, allowing an ordered retreat of the rest of the army. They were distant enough from Seawatch, and the Coalition forces had not pursued the enemies that far. Still, the commanders had not managed to rally their soldiers. But why? Was everyone still in panic, after the defeat and the attacks from Du Pont's Tigers? Or was that place considered unsafe for some other reason? In any case, they wouldn't have found any answer in that place, this was clear. There was no point in remaining there, standing under the rain. Tristan ordered his men to set up the camp, but also to double the usual number of sentries, just to be safe. He would have also ordered not to light a fire, but with the tropical rain, unfortunately, this seemed completely superfluous... If the Lotii had abandoned that place in haste, it was better not to lower the guard. ----------------- Overall view: I don't know if or when the Lotii will be removed from El Oleonda in Era III, but I still want to "use" them for this storyline. As with the reconnaissance operations before the Battle of Seawatch, only isolated patrols or individuals will appear, and nothing about the real plans of the Lotii commanders will be defined.
  2. Somewhere Southwest Seawatch, El Oleonda, April 623 All the pieces were in position, the chessboard ready. The marching songs, the chants of the native allies, the last nervous jokes...everything was replaced by an unreal silence, as every unit reached its starting position. Finally, General Hercule François roared: "Unfurl the colours. Remind everyone who the greatest warriors on this battlefield are." And louder, so that everyone could hear him: "Men of Oleon!" He roared, his voice carrying back all the way to the artillery. "I know you can gut this cowardly enemy and wipe them from this isle! But now I want you to prove it to me! Pour le Roi!" The soldiers echoed, with a deafening yell: "Pour le Roi! Pour le Roi! Pour le Roi!" It was the time. "Monsieurs, send them all you've got!" Said General Tristan Rimbaud, a fierce grin on his face. In less than a minute, all the artillery pieces assigned to his unit were blazing. The soldiers cheered loudly as, seconds later, the jungle in front of them was shattered by a series of violent explosions. Tristan had specifically required mortars and howitzers, capable of firing on high-arching trajectories... and, even more importantly, capable of firing explosive shells. "Captain du Motier! Two more salvos, then fire forward!" At this point, Tristan was yelling at the top of his lungs and waving his saber, to overcome the clamor of the battle. "Soldiers, forward! At the double! It is time to destroy our enemies!" ----------------------- Tristan and his men marched forward, with the shells whistling above their heads, and a hell of explosions in front of them. A grenade fell short, dangerously too short, but none of the soldiers was hit. As planned, the assault group reached the Lotii trenches immediately after the last explosions. If du Motier knew his job, the next salvo would have fallen a few hundred meters behind the first line, just in front of them, to hit and paralyze the Lotii reinforcements. Otherwise, Tristan would have probably had little time to regret his choices. Tristan jumped in the trench, followed by his chasseurs. The walls had collapsed in several points, allowing an easier descent. The earthworks were scattered with the corpses of several Lotii soldiers, but everyone was more concerned about the ones -alive and armed- who were running towards them. The barrage had been brief but extremely violent and, now that it had moved forward, it was cutting that position out from orders and reinforcements. The bluecoats stormed the enemy positions before the Lotii could set up an organised defence. The grenadiers, who were following closely the first vanguard, started throwing their weapons across the ditch, where some enemy musketeers were trying to form a defensive line. Other soldiers, with the muskets on their shoulders, were carrying light wooden ladders, useful to quickly climb the trench walls. Tristan didn’t plan to conquer that specific position: instead, his assault column aimed to slice through the enemy lines, to attack the artillery batteries behind them and the closest command point. The Lotii soldiers were determined and well-armed, but still disorganised. Moreover, Tristan had gathered some of the most elite troops available… including the grenadiers, who were definitely not sparing their weapons. As the battle was still ongoing, the teams in charge of the light mortars placed their weapons and opened fire. The assault column could have easily been outnumbered, but only if the Lotii could recover from the initial shock, something rather difficult if everything around kept exploding! Soon the regular infantry, the feared “blue line” would have arrived in their support… or, if everything went by the plans, to collect the wounded and the prisoners. If everything went by the plans… the soldiers had no way to know how things were going in the other areas of the battlefield, if they were rushing to victory or if they were going to be encircled. But, for Hades’ sake, their charge would have been remembered! Overall view --------------- Note: as Fort Arltrees couldn’t seem further from the frontline, and the new Gardens of Poseidon are opened, the Second Battle of Seawatch has begun. As news from the frontline have not reached the settlements yet, we still don’t have any idea whether this is a glorious victory, a limited success, or the prelude to a defeat. Credit to the (impatient ) @Ross Fisher for the general’s speech! I’m sorry for the little technical inconvenience of the half-completed story, for the next time I swear I’ll avoid that!
  3. Operation Hephaestus Hammer  Commander: General Hercule François  Forces involved: 6 battalions (2 line infantry, 1 light infantry, 1 artillery, 1 cavalry, 1 engineers). 540 EGS soldiers.  Aims: engage and destroy the Lotii army south of Seawatch. Plan summary: 1) Advance Our forces continue their advance, with extensive scouting by cavalry and light infantry. Increased patrols from Seawatch, in the meantime, localise the Lotii forces and fix them in position. 2) Contact  As the other armies of the coalition advance and engage the Lotii front, our forces engage the left flank of the enemy. Our forces advance in oblique order, attacking the enemy and closing the gap between our left flank and the right side of the coalition forces. 3) Press the assault Our forces advance along the whole front, pressing the enemy forces. We organise our attack in three waves: -after heavy, concentrated shelling of few selected locations, columns of elite soldiers (chasseurs and grenadiers, with a few light mortars) attempt to crack the enemy lines. If successful, they will march on, attacking supply deposits, command centres, second line mortar and rocket batteries, etc. (in modern military terms, we attempt a thunder run). -immediately after, our forces attack along the whole line. The chaos and the panic generated by the thunder runs, by the contemporary attack on two fronts (from Fort Arltrees and from Seawatch) and by the guerrilla operations on the supply lines (Operation Pandora) is expected to make the enemy line to collapse in several points, with the resisting units encircled or forced to an orderly retreat. -final blow: if necessary, we commit all our reserves against the enemy, turning the retreat into a route. 4) Exploit Our forces (cavalry and light infantry) chase the enemy to kill and capture the enemy forces. This, together with the forces from Jiangkai, should also force our enemy to abandon artillery, ammunitions and supplies, and to retreat in disorder to Luyang. ———————— Note: I’m just reposting our battle plan (with @CapOnBOBS’ great vignettes) as a separate thread, as required by the combat rules. I’ve just expanded a little bit the text, but the general plan is the very same we presented in the coordination thread. ———————— @CapOnBOBS @Ross Fisher @Capt Wolf @Ayrlego @LM71Blackbird @Bregir @Garmadon @Professor Thaum
  4. Jiangkai, El Oleonda, March 623 If the enemy know not where he will be attacked, he must prepare in every quarter, and so be everywhere weak. Everyone knew that the plan was dangerous, but still the problem was turning down volunteers, not finding enough of them. The citizens of Jiangkai had seen their city invaded, sacked and destroyed, and they would have never allowed that again, at the cost of their lives. For sure, they would have never forgiven their former compatriots, responsible of both the forced evacuation of 620 and the raid of summer 622. They were the enemy, and now it was time for them to pay and to bleed! As the main forces of the Royal Armies marched from Fort Arltrees to crush the Lotii forces outside Seawatch, a young officer of the Jiangkai Tirailleurs was authorised to harass the enemy supply lines and delay enemy reinforcements in any possible way. The forces available were not large, but they would have been sufficient to make the life of the Lotii army much more difficult! Operation Pandora Commander: Captain Guillaume Tiger Dupont. Born in the Eranos province, he spent several years on merchant ships, mostly in the Southern Seas. He later joined the infanterie de marine, serving in the Second Terraversan War. He speaks fluently in Lotii and Monomonto, plus some words of the other Southern languages. He knows very well the Lotii culture, and often even quotes the texts of the Wu Cru. Respected by his men, he will soon be feared by the enemies! Forces involved: a company of light infantry (1 platoon of colonial chasseurs, 2 platoons of Jiangkai tirailleurs), plus native guides. 30 soldiers in EGS terms. Aims: harass enemy forces, block or delay supplies and reinforcements headed to Seawatch frontline, divert enemy troops to irrelevant areas. Plan summary: the company will leave Jiangkai and head north-northeast, across the roads from Oryant and Luyang to Seawatch. Once there, the soldiers will start guerrilla operations against Lotii supply lines. The soldiers will avoid direct engagement enemy troops, and will instead ambush supply convoys, small units, messengers, etc. Moreover, they will interfere as much as possible with the enemy movements by placing obstacles on the roads, damaging bridges, and creating false trails and signals. The unit will move continuously, waging attacks in distant locations and occasionally sparing a vulnerable target, to create confusion about the area of operations. Significant increase of Lotii patrols would keep our soldiers out of some areas, but also divert forces from the garrisons and/or Seawatch front. ————————————- OOC, a note for the GMs: this operation starts from Jiangkai (30 EGS soldiers involved) and is independent from the main attack, but it’s coordinated with the attacks in the Seawatch area. Please manage it as you think it’s better for the game dynamics. @CapOnBOBS @Ross Fisher @Capt Wolf @Ayrlego @LM71Blackbird @Bregir @Garmadon @Professor Thaum
  5. The Labyrinth, El Oleonda, December 622 "Enemies ahead, take cover!" Shouted Tristan, as his men started to kneel behind the ruins or in the thick undergrowth. "Open fire, at will!". Bullets started flying in all the directions. The chasseurs aimed carefully before each shot, but also the Lotii were in a good position. After the Lotii had disengaged from the siege of Seawatch and had -likely- returned to their bases, nothing seemed really different from two years before: both armies were hidden somewhere in the jungle, as invisible as if they had been an ocean apart; only small patrols crawled in that green hell, hunting one another and looking for any sign of the enemy forces. Things, however had actually changed a lot since then: the recruits just dragged from the West had quickly been replaced by battle-hardened jaegers and chasseurs, the Lotii militiamen by the finest warriors of the four banners. Now all the fights had become fiercer, and any mistake was paid in soldiers’ lives! That day, Tristan was crossing the Labyrinth with a company of light infantry, when they surprised a group of Lotii soldiers coming from the opposite direction. The huge complex of ruins represented one of the few reference points between les Colines du Roi (the King’s hills) and Seawatch, and could either represent a safe shelter or a deadly trap: the Lotii knew that place too, and dozens of men could in any moment be -completely unseen- just a few buildings apart. The place must have been an important city, the largest among those discovered on El Oleonda. Now, however, only a few large palaces were still standing, covered by the vegetation, among a web of alleys, canals and low walls. One of the Lotii fell, wounded or dead, as his comrades continued shooting. The two groups were just a few metres far, but the ruins offered them a good protection, and most of the bullets just shattered some old bricks. The Lotii were fighting well, but they were outnumbered, and soon they started to disengage, disappearing again among the ruins. Everything finished in a matter of minutes, then the jungle was silent again, as if nothing at all had happened. Even though the soldiers of Oleon had won, their victory was almost pointless. The chasseurs owned the battlefield, but the enemy had disappeared, as always, and very next day it could have been their turn to die or to run for their lives. That evening, Tristan scribbled just a few words on his diary: “Lotii scouts engaged and repelled. Still no trace of the enemy army. All quiet on El Oleonda”. ——————— I put together this moc quite quickly, but I’m very satisfied by the result! I hope to show soon more of the Labyrinth, actually a ruined city somewhere on El Oleonda (since there are no official “King’s Hills”, it could basically be anywhere). In the campaign, it should be considered as a minor skirmish, part of the recognitions from the advanced positions often light infantry. C&C are welcome, as always! I hope you enjoyed the build and the story!
  6. White banner soldiers on Jinzi (El Oleonda) From Jameis Farstrider’s Guide to Halos: White, the Wind Dragon Banner - When called upon, the White Wind Banner levies its troops from the Empire easternmost province, straddling the border with the Bouton and Peri protectorates. As such, it is not uncommon to find mercenaries from those nations amongst its ranks. From left to right: 1) Banersbi warrior: Native of the southern archipelago of Banersbi, these warriors often fight as mercenaries in Lotii (but also Gerlo and Monomonto) armies. Accustomed to fighting in the jungles of their motherland, they will probably be particularly useful in the skirmishes on El Oleonda. Banersbi warriors usually fight using firearms and exotic-looking blades, called kriss and mandau. 2) Nakay tribe head hunter: With a custom considered barbarian by foreigners, the warriors of some Banersbi tribes keep the preserved heads of killed enemies as amulets. Here a Nakay warrior shows with pride a shrunken head, the result of a complex and highly ritualised procedure. 3-4) Lotii musketeers: While cavalry dominates the armies of some banners, the soldiers of the easternmost Lotii provinces and of the vassal kingdoms fight almost exclusively on foot. Lotii musketeers fight in close formations, very similar to Madrician line infantry. White Banner soldiers can usually rely on efficient flintlock weapons, far superior to the matchlocks of other units. 5) Wei Lang, high officer of the White Banner: Lotii commanders usually wear elegant civilian clothes and traditional hats instead of a real uniform. Generals often carry decorated fans or other symbols of power, and sometimes a dao or a similar sword. 6) Lotii swordsman: A musket is a powerful weapon but, when the gunpowder finishes or gets wet, it becomes nothing more than a club. A sword, instead, remains deadly also under tropical rain. Charging the enemy with a sword and a shield can seem antiquated, but can still be surprisingly effective 7-8) Bouton warriors: Warriors from the vassal state of Bouton wear bright, colourful clothes and sometimes bell-shaped bronze elms. Known as fierce fighters, Bouton warriors fight with spears and short swords. Some of them are also equipped with firearms, usually antiquated but robust matchlock muskets.
  7. Clan Amagai samurai and ashigaru on Jinzi Island (El Oleonda) From left to right: 1) Ashigaru musketeer: in traditional Monomonto armies, the ashigaru (literally “light feet”) are basically all the soldiers not belonging to the samurai class, ranging from peasants with clubs and spears to heavily armoured warriors. The introduction of gunpowder turned ashigaru into a formidable fighting force: anybody can learn how to shoot in a few days, and bullets have little respect for courage or nobility. Although not as disciplined as Madrician line infantry, or as the “new-doctrine” soldiers deployed by other clans, the Amagai clan musketeers can be deadly, especially when fighting in tight formations. 2) Naginata samurai: somehow similar the the knights dominating the Madrician kingdoms after the Empire, the samurai are skilled warriors following a code of rules, the way of the sword. They live with honour and die with honour, following their lord to victory or death: surrendering or retreating is not an option, and they consider killing their enemies more merciful than taking them as captives. Even if samurai are mainly known for their swords, their main weapon is usually a spear (yari) or a sort of halberd (naginata). 3) Samurai wearing the Amagai sashimono: Monomonto warriors are extremely heterogeneous in clothing and equipment, even if when they belong to the same clan. Weapons are often taken from defeated enemies, and an armour can change owner several times. To recognise foes and friends, warriors and commanders have therefore to rely on the sashimono, a little flag worn on warriors’ back. 4) Amagai Ieyasu: daimyo (feudal lord) of the Amagai clan. Warrior from tip to toe, hard and inflexible as the steel of his sword, he is seen by many as a living incarnation of the way. He led his men into countless battles, often against stronger warlords, and he always won, becoming a sort of legend. Times are changing fast, however, and famous warriors have already fallen on the island, killed without honour by Carnite grunts. The old warrior is now in front of a difficult choice: embracing some of the foreign innovations, or leading once again the charge of his samurai towards the guns of the enemies, possibly to a glorious death. 5) Amagai Nanako: while almost all the samurai are men, nothing forbids women to follow the way of the sword. Second daughter of Amagai Ieyasu, Nanako is a skilled warrior and a respected leader. 6) Samurai swordsman: a samurai showing his famous swords, katana (the “true” sword) and wakizashi (the long knife); as sharp as razor blades, thes weapons can literally cut an enemy in half. Samurai spend their all life training with swords, and only a very few Madricians could defeat one of them in a duel. 7-8) Tamaco tribe ashigaru: with war raging on Jinzi Island, several of the tribes of New Haven Seas got involved in the conflict, either siding with one of the nations or attacking anyone entering their lands. Several warriors of the Tamaco tribe joined the Monomonto armies as auxiliaries: for them, this is just a different way to continue their ancestral war against the Tyree’De and other rival tribes. The Tamaco warriors can be easily recognised from their red war paint and their helms carved from shark skulls… some of them, however, gladly replaced their traditional equipments with the far more effective Monomonto steel!
  8. Seawatch, El Oleonda, February 622 After days of heavy tropical rain, the sun was finally high in the sky. With the warm weather, the luxuriant vegetation, and the parrots singing, the day seemed perfect for a picnic outside the town, apart from a little detail... the Lotii army besieging Seawatch! The enemies were less than a mile far, but everything was weirdly calm. The attack, however, could begin at any moment... in an hour or in a week, the enemy troops could have been right there, trying to storm the outer defenses of Seawatch. The defenders of Seawatch were ready to face them, musket in hand. They would have held that advanced position as long as they could, then they would have retreated to the second defensive line: those positions outside the city were precarious, but still allowed to keep the enemy cannons far enough from the city. Carnite soldiers and civilian volunteers were fortifying a small abandoned farm outside Seawatch: placing a few wooden spikes in a choke point required minutes, but could stop the charge of a whole cavalry company. Reinforcing the small garrison with conscripted civilians, however, had some downsides: some were undisciplined but brave, while others had clearly never held a musket before. A small group of Oleonese "merchants", coming from Fort Arltrees, had reached Seawatch right before the siege and was coordinating the defenders in the outer positions. Curiously, their leader seemed strangely expert about urban fights and irregular warfare. When asked, he always mumbled something about having fought in Charlatan Bay and quickly changed the topic. This was likely false, but the Carnite officers didn't actually care, since his suggestions were helping to keep the Lotii out of Seawatch. At that very moment, the "leader of the merchants" was discussing with a Carnite officer where to bury some gunpowder barrels to create a fougasse, using those very barrels as an improvised tactical table. His real name was Emmanuel Perrault, and he was an officer of the Oleonese military intelligence... but, there in Seawatch, he was Luc Delacroix, an Oleonese merchant trapped with his partners by the Lotii siege. He had had worse aliases, but it was still strange thinking that he would have received a medal -or he would have been buried- with a false name. He rolled the map and walked to another position, yelling orders to the militiamen... there was no time for sentimentalisms, as Emmanuel Perrault or as Luc Delacroix, he still had a siege to win! Overall view I hope you like my build! As a side note, I'm using it to introduce a secondary character, Emmanuel Perrault... I don't know when I'll use him again, but I wanted to have someone (more sacrificable than my main characters) in the besieged Carnite city. PS: After taking the photos and dismantling the build I realized that one of the muskets was chewed by one of my cats... nice!
  9. Ibn al'Sayeed was heading west. There were business he needed to attend to in the old world. In Pan to be exact. Personal business. But he was not in such a hurry that he could not make a stop underway to meet an old friend. Very old, in fact. Zhen Chao was one of the few, and one of the first, Lotii to have made it to the Halosian colonies. Very few knew why he had left home, or what his story was, but everyone in Port Raleigh, at least, knew of the Cherry Blossom Tea House, run by Chao. It was a very popular establishment, and served some of the finest tea in Terra Nova. Many people met there, as the quiet atmosphere and discrete location made it suitable for private conversation. The guests included naval and army officers, government officials, merchants, politicians and others of note. The tea house took its name from the ever blossoming Lotii cherry trees planted outside and presented an exotic and beautiful garden draped in colours rarely seen in the tropical heat of the colonies. "Al'Sayeed, my old friend!" Chao exclaimed with a smile, hobbling closer. "Come share a cup of tea and tell me all of your recent exploits." Discreetly handing over a sealed folder of documents and a small pouch of gold. "And perhaps you have something to share with me, about the Lotii/Carnian conflict in New Haven? Or perhaps... other business?" ______________________________________ I started building something for Port Raleigh, and it ended up looking rather oriental, so I thought, why not? :) I needed Ibn al'Sayeed going west, and Port Raleigh could use the love. C&C welcome.