Sunday, June 11, 2017

Librohn the Liberator

At the imperial court in Lyn Seprhl, the twin emperors, Ghorkil and Rahkard, learned of the insurgents' successes in surprising and defeating various imperial forces sent to punish and subdue the towns and villages between the Seprhl river and Kanti forest. Blame was sought for the defeats. But rather than point to Antania's commanders, the twins lashed out at their own subjects. A couple of dupes lost their heads (to join the lengthening row of rotting skulls decorating the walls over the city gates). More troops were raised to deal with this Librohn and his chief lieutenant, Sir Skoluh'r Dehpudzy. The price on both their heads was raised.

A full battalion of Knights was provided as the core to this reorganized and reinforced army. It was not to divide up, but rather to descend upon each village en masse. If Librohn refused to offer battle, the pressure was to increase with each utterly destroyed rebel town and holding. The people would see the futility of supporting Gerath and Ebrohs.

A large part of the reconstituted imperial army was comprised of feudal troops, a mixed bag of heavy cavalry and spearmen, light mounted "serjants" with javelins and bowmen of the militia. Sword and spear and longbowmen were recruited to replace the heavy losses suffered by those troops in the earlier ambuscades. The Knight Commander, Hamartolon, was placed at the head of this enlarged army. And the Thug captain, "Tubby" received a new unit of Thugs out of the Masterless Quarter.

Discipline was lacking among this polyglot army. The feudal contingents were, of course, banded together; but the general feeling amongst their ranks was that it was beneath themselves to fight alongside such scum as these troops provided by the sorceress Antania. In addition to this general malaise of discontent, the feudal contingents were possessed by distrust of each other, because back home their border holdings did not exactly get along: their own petty lords had been, for some time, aggrandizing themselves at each other's expense during the breakdown of law and order occasioned by the civil wars. Although Ghorkil and Rahkard imposed a rough and immediate control over their subjects, the recently unrestrained bellicosity of the feudal lords had sown lasting discord. It was a divided host that the twin emperors had sent to deal with the insurgency in the north.

But Librohn was not reluctant to engage in pitched battle, as it turned out. The first village that the imperial army descended upon was saved by the appearance in their rear of a sizeable army of insurgents and an almost equal number of elves. This prodigy of unexpected support by the denizens of the Kanti forest was too much of a danger to Hamartolon and Tubby's army: it would have to be dealt with before the village could be attacked. So it was decided to turn about and form for battle on the outskirts of the village.

The defenders approached. And Hamartolon gave the signal for a general advance to meet them.

On the imperial right wing were the longbows in a line with the spear and sword. The center was composed of the Knights and Thugs. A small wood separated these from the feudal contingents of the left wing: heavy spearmen with militia archers on their flanks, and the extreme left end of the army being the heavy and light cavalry. These last mentioned troops started at speed to outflank Sir Skoluh'r Dehpudzy and his combined battle of men-at-arms and serjants. The erstwhile marshal at first pulled his horsemen in behind the elves, but then decided to meet his foes boldly, and turned back, forming his column into a line.

In the center of Librohn's army stood the largest body of elves, commanded by Dahryl the White Wing. They began to pepper the approaching Thugs and Knights at long range. On the left of these moved Librohn and the warrioress Meaghanne with his company of swordsmen. The left wing of the insurgents faced the imperial mercenaries with a similar sized force of longbowmen and infantry bearing mixed two-handed weapons.













As the centers closed, the elven arrow storm penetrated the plate armor of Tubby's men. His own person was battered by the incoming shafts but thus far he had not received a wound. But his men were not so blessed with luck: all down the line Thugs roared and screamed in pain and dropped like ten pins. Their bodies were not up to the deadly hail of Kanti arrows! (One-hit-apiece Thugs don't pose much of a resistance: the die roll to see if their drug and alcohol-laced bodies were primed for the fray failed!) Their "high" had passed sometime before the battle; the timing was off; perhaps the lack of discipline, combined with over-confidence, had allowed too early imbibing; in any case, these Thugs were garbage and promptly routed, carrying Tubby off with them. The flanking Knights could not have cared less to see their lowly comrades quit the battle. But the enveloping line of feudal troops were impressed by the disaster and promptly deserted the attack. Elven arrows had already decimated the ranks of militia bowmen, who had scarcely gotten in range and loosed a single volley before their remaining numbers were in full rout.
 

 
 

 
 


Dehpudzy kept his men under control and pursued for a limited distance, to assure himself that these craven horsemen were in fact quitting the field for good. He delivered up command of his battle to underlings. Then he detached himself and turned toward the center to see if his prowess could be more beneficial to the cause if he faced the center of their enemies. But the battle was already as good as over.

What the erstwhile marshal saw was this:

Elves and Librohn's men were finishing off the last of the Thugs. Librohn, Meaghanne and Dahryl pursued Tubby, wounding him several times, but he skedaddled successfully and escaped (managing to lightly wound the girl in the bargain; she had then fallen back and let the other two heroes do the pursuing). Hamartolon had met swords and axes (who had rushed him before his battle could charge), killed some and then withdrawn from combat. At that moment the men of the village had sallied across the fields toward the rear of the imperial center and right wing.

Hamartolon commanded a general withdrawal from the doomed battlefield: his cavalry turned about and charged through the loose ranks of peasants (who did their best to scatter out of the way), successfully abandoning the battle without a single casualty. The imperial right wing turned from a thus far successful fight against Librohn's infantry (the imperial longbows had been shooting down Librohn's archers), and double-timed off the battlefield to the east.













Librohn and his men and elven allies were victorious. But the imperial army had escaped largely intact, so swiftly had they fled the ignominious encounter.

Upon learning of this degrading defeat, the twin emperors arrested the "usual suspects" (as usual, a feudal petty lord or two and a score or so of unfortunates who were decimated as an example), and the walls of Lyn Seprhl provided a feast for the crows.

The imperial army was reorganized and strengthened. Meanwhile, "Librohn the Liberator" found himself the center of a recruitment of volunteers as a steady stream of heartened men joined him. The elves mostly bade him farewell and returned to their forest realm. But Dahryl remained with his kinsmen to bolster the cause of his friends. From north of the Esgroth mountains, the brothers of the twins, Ebrohs and Gerath, sent what troops they could spare to reinforce this timely resistance, unlooked for by themselves. They had feared an overwhelming attack from Ghorkil and Rahkard, before a proper defense of the passes could be organized. Having this "Librohn the Liberator" rise up unlooked for had benefitted the revolution (or "rebellion", depending on which side you adhered to, as always). In the interim, Ebrohs and Gerath were given the time that they needed to recruit and organize formidable opposition to the seizing of power by their older twin brothers ...