|Event Name||Hadravian War|
|Dates and Times||March 10th - July 19th, 303 AC|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire, Masaya of Farah’deen, Hadravia, Saruhanna, Malifant|
The Hadravian War was the final stage of the wider First Songaskian War, that saw the hot hell of northern Farah’deen beset by troops from across Aloria. They fought each other either out of duty to the Regalian Empire or for the coin of the Songaskian Masaya. In the end, Regalia had to retreat from the region politically and militarily, but in their wake, they left a devastated Malifant and many Masayan troops dead. Currently, the region is fairly quiet, unaffected by direct conflict in the Second Songaskian War and the Songaskian Civil War. Eventually, however, there will be some form of warfare here as many sides are left unsatisfied with what they got from peace.
The Regalian Empire and the Songaskian Masaya had continuously exerted their political power over the northern states of Farah’deen, Regalia supporting the Ailor-dominated Hadravia against the Songaskian aligned states of Saruhanna and Malifant. While Regalia was against the fact that the Ailor population had converted to Shambala, the Songaskian religion, they saw the Ailor there as redeemable due to their race and also, maintaining the state would be an insult to the Songaskian ideology of superiority. The region had been involved in on and off warfare for decades as the Songaskian Masaya had to avoid attacking a people who were of the same religion as them and vehemently so. In the 280s AC however, the Regalian Empire had turned away to deal with the Essa Empire and issues in Daendroc like the Ranger Crisis, thus allowing the Masaya and its allies to plot against Hadravia unimpeded once again.
The conflict itself began not out of the Masaya’s ambition, but Hadravia’s. In the opening of the First Songaskian War, the Masaya has foreseen an attack from Hadravia. In the following months, when there were no signs of such an attack, the Songaskian border position was weakened when the Empire sent troops to aid Harron in its aggression against pro-Regalian interests in Essalonia. Unfortunately, this was what the Hadravian military had been waiting for, as they suddenly surged outward, invading Masaya territory to the south and east, crossing the desert to surprise attack Malifant. Much of this state was soon under Hadravian control, but they needed support as Saruhanna and the Masaya, wheeled their forces around and back to where they were required. The Regalian Empire uses finances and military troops acquired through the recent marriage of Alexander I to Queen Juliana de Lobo of Lusits, to craft the Fifth Army which was immediately sent to aid in the conflict. The war was on the shores of Farah’deen now.
The Fifth Army was initially successful in supporting the ragtag Hadravian Army in defending their old and newly acquired territory despite their lack of preparation for the desert climate. However, the wider Songaskian War soon weakened this position, as the Regalian Archipelago, having been invaded and held by the Masaya, now forced the occupying military out. This was not a fighting retreat. However, a ceasefire having been arranged with the Masaya-appointed governor, and so when the army reached Farah’deen once more, it was at full strength with plenty of plunder under its belt. On May 2nd, the Regalian Nobility received news that the Fifth Army was in desperate need of assistance and under attack from all sides, resulting in a unanimous vote to aid Hadravia.The Third and Fourth Armies mobilized quickly, rapidly recruiting from the Regalian Archipelago filled young men looking for payback due to the Occupation and the satellite states of the Empire.
Soon afterward, the Fourth Army landed on the beaches outside the Malifant-controlled city of Aslaqqa. Their goal there was to serve as a decoy while the Third and Fifth Armies performed secret movements elsewhere on the frontier. However, the initial landing party of 10,000 Regalians soon found themselves confronted by Isdevli Osmanli, the Prince of Malifant at the head of an army of 6,000. On the open ground before the city gates, the two sides did battle, the left flank of the Regalian Army pushing to confront the Songaskian army’s vanguard but were forced back. The right flank meanwhile, while disorganized due to issues with their leaders and their retinues, ultimately came in to smash the enemy’s left flank. The enemy’s center was now at the mercy of encirclement, and they fled, routed. The Prince, however, escaped alive along with his retinue and it would not be the last time the Regalians saw him. The Regalians then regrouped and marched into the Malifant city unopposed with only a few hundred men lost. It was a decisive victory, but one that showed this war was to be a unique one if those who distinguished themselves was any indication. Two Nelfin and a woman had distinguished themselves over the many male Ailor officers in the Army, which caused a stir in the Regalian Nobility and upper class. Regardless, the other two Armies neared their intended targets.
The Sieges of Watif Esballah
On May 8th, the Third Army moved on Watif Esballah, a great castle that was also a lynchpin in the Malifant supply lines. The infamous Songaskian general, Ils-Sal’Asbaqqah, had been stationed at the castle some months before and was well known for his hatred of Ailor. When he had heard of the Army’s approach, he hardened the defences effectively and quickly so that when the Regalians got there, he was waiting for them. Their army split into three columns to attack the castle, all aiming for a different target on each side, but as their tactician was flawed, the attacks happened all the same time ultimately forming a chaotic mess. The central column was the most successful, a force of a few dozen managing to make their way into the gatehouse, despite their leader being knocked off the wall and severely injured in the process. Despite the gate now open, the enemy forces now retreated into the keep where they fended off various attacks from the different officers and their retinues with practiced ferocity.
Ultimately, the Regalians tried one desperate final charge lead by the column leader Tristan Kade (then Lampero) against the exhausted defenders and the keep opened to them, Ils-Sal’Asbaqqah surrendering to the adrenaline-fueled attackers before being led away. 2,000 Malifant troops were captured overall, and over the next hour, Tristan Kade randomly executed them with his zweihander. Eventually, the overall army commander put a stop to it but instead ordered the enemy forces out to a march into the hostile desert where they would surely die, and many did. The victorious Regalians now chose to hunker down in the castle waiting for aid rather than press on with their weakened forces, which had been cut in half during the siege, set about repairing the walls as best they could. Unfortunately, this aid was delayed news reached them that the Fifth Army had been detained by an army led by Basrallah Dulliallahd who was now on his way. Upon reaching the fortress, he divided his 8,000 forces into five sections that then attacked the castle in a wave pattern. Up on the ramparts, two Regalian groups were forced back and suddenly, the gatehouse was surrounded from both sides and down at the front as one of the Malifant army sections moved around from their old position on the wall.
The Regalians there barely lasted until the other defenders rallied and pushed the enemy back. By that time, it was midday, and the Fifth Army finally arrived. Basrallah removed his forces from the castle, leaving them to what he thought would be reeling and faced down Karl von Teppenwitz’s army. Instead however as the battle got underway, the Regalians in the castle suddenly burst out in an attempted pinning maneuver. Unfortunately, Prince Marshal and future Emperor Cedric Kade who was leading this attempt was injured pushing a friend out the way of a mounted and charging Basrallah Dulliallahd. The Songaskian’s horse kicked him right in the chest but he was instantly dragged off to safety, and shortly afterward, Basrallah was faced by a more ready opponent. The Third Army commander challenged the enemy commander to face him one-on-one and ultimately, luck helped the Regalian commander force Basrallah into retreat on his horse. Seeing their commander fleeing, Malifant forces collapsed and were utterly destroyed. It was hailed as another victory, however, their injured Prince, reports of Saruhanna forces gathering nearby and Hadravia still having failed to supply its promised support units weighed heavily on the military leaders. There was no rest for the weary as, after some logistical changes, the Third Army combined with the Fifth Army and von Teppenwitz returned to Regalia to command the newly formed Sixth Army, the newly enforced Third Army began to repair the castle once again.
Counterattack by Prince Isdevlis
On May 24th, the Fourth Army was camped around an oasis on the move to approach their next objective after taking Aslaqqa as dawn began to break on the horizon. Suddenly, horns sounded and a mad scrambled began. Prince Isdevlis was back and leading an army of 10,000 right for the Regalian position. The Regalians were quickly organized, the commanders putting their forces into a quattuordent (four-pronged) trident formation. The Prince was put off by the switch in tactics but hurried formed a normal trident with a plan to push forward, break up the enemy rear and encircle each trident section. The battle was soon underway, the Regalian left flank and left vanguard soon finding themselves battered heavily by the larger enemy prongs, but there was no breakthrough as the Prince had few officers to relay his wishes and to take advantage of the enemy weakness. As this continued, the Regalians formed a rotating porcupine defense, cycling their troops from left to right like a spinning blade with their large kite shields. This ultimately ground down the Malifant prongs nearest to them.
Meanwhile, the right flank and right vanguard had officers who chose to be more offensive and charged straight through the Malifant lines with their retainers even as the enemy tried to encircle them. The enemy troops found themselves suddenly counter-encircled and were destroyed in a crush from both sides. The Malifant general retreat became a route and then a slaughter as the disorganized forces tried to flee from the Regalians only to be charged down by a wedge of cavalry. Prince Isdevlis fled, retreating into Saruhanna where his father, the Padishah of Malifant, reprimanded him for this failure and he did not return to the battlefield. Much of the praise for the fighting fell onto the levies and foreign troops in the Regalian army, who had endured hard conditions to deliver this victory. The Regalians then received new orders, the Fourth Army becoming the First Army and the Third Army became the Second Army before both groups began a march north on Saruhanna.
The Howlester Miracle
The First Army, now 15,000 strong, marched into Saruhannan territory, and quickly came upon an enemy army of 10,000. Commanding the battle was no pampered Prince but Fatiq Isla-Mullahr, a high ranking Saruhannan Al-Iqta, or general, a true opponent perhaps to the thus far undefeated Regalian commander, Ulric Typhonus. They both met before the battle to wish each other luck and honors before returning to lines, respecting the other enough to not try anything. Both sides formed four columns and then charged, clashing with each other from left to right along the battlefield. The Regalian first column was doing well before a Saruhannan Mage appeared and blasted the column commander and multiple other troops backward with powerful spells, forcing the Regalians to pull back. The second column had been fighting well until the enemy first column turned towards them and used their mage, forcing the Regalians back. Ulric Typhonus meanwhile, was now focusing his efforts on the third and fourth columns to ensure their strength.
He was commanding them from horseback at the rear as he did so. Suddenly, a line of crossbowmen in front of him turned and shot at him in two salvoes before they and nearby accomplices were immediately slain by the commander’s skilled retainers. The unconscious and gravely injured man was rushed back to the tents while the two remaining columns fought on, unaware of the betrayal in their ranks. The tactician of the third column successfully used a shield wall to defend from the growing presence of mages, but ultimately the Regalians began to break, and a retreat briefly opened a lull in the fight as the two sides separated. The head of House Howlester, a column leader, then stood on a rock and rallied the men to a final charge at the two large and approaching enemy columns before he lead the reinvigorated force into the thick of it. He came upon the enemy column leaders, the Songaskian officers Plaras Usballah and Walilah Sattaqu who he immediately engaged in single combat. He slew Walilah and forcing Plaras to retreat, the rest of the army pulling back with their commander, badly mauled. The First Army wasn’t in too good shape either, but it had won the victory in the end. The Imperial Court proclaimed an immediate inquest into learning who had betrayed the army’s leadership while also applauding the miraculous victory just barely achieved by William Howlester.
Capture of a Prince
On June 4th, the Second Army moved along the eastern coast of Sarauhanna as a distraction force for the First Army. They served their purpose as they soon came up against a small army commanded by Aliyah Allaslaha, a noted female Songaskian general who also had an all-female retinue as granted by her position. The fighting began in earnest with a standard center and two side formations. On the Regalian left flank, the opposing enemy section commanded by Aqtil Bissura attacked the Regalians with conventional soldiers before suddenly unleashing a large group of Mages on the Regalians, forcing them to retreat. At the same time, the Regalian section’s commander (Tristan Kade, then Lampero) had fallen into combat with the lethal Jalilah Tras-Lahi, the infamous Chain Queen of Saruhanna. He was ultimately defeated by her, but his troops grabbed and pulled him back to safety as a retreat was mistakenly called on the right flank as false information spread that at the center was losing. The Regalian center has not been losing and instead had defeated the enemy center into withdrawal but as the two enemy flanks came in, the Regalian flanks fell back, and Prince Marshal Cedric Kade (who had been chasing the fleeing enemy center) suddenly found himself surrounded. He was forced to surrender within sight of the aghast Regalian levies. The battle immediately came to an end with word flying back to Regalia where the Imperial Court responded with horror and received the Masayan ambassadors as a temporary truce was declared. On June 18th, Emperor Alexander I signed the Truce Agreement of 303 AC and was forced to pull all forces out of Hadravia in return for his younger brother and multiple other prisoners captured by the enemy throughout the campaign. The Hadravian War was over.
The Hadravian War is now seen today as a bloody battle which has taken on new meaning, but many still agree that there was no winner. For the Songaskian Masaya and the Regalian Empire, they had expended vast resources to support their allies to get very little in return. Hadravia itself barely lost any troops but gave up all the territory gained in the war for peace. Many of them felt that they had proved their point, they were no pushovers. Saruhanna meanwhile, was praised internally, suffering few losses and note was quickly paid to their high number of female officers. For Malifant however, the war was devastating to their economy and their leadership was deeply discredited, namely Prince Isdevli who stepped into private life for over a year following his embarrassing string of defeats. More recently, however, the war is seen to have set the stage for the Second Songaskian War, where now Emperor Cedromar I got decisive revenge on the Masaya as they took the fight directly to the desert empire’s shores.
- The Fifth Army’s original target before being called away to aid the Third Army was Fajadid, a major port on the “Juguou Sea,” the large saltwater lake found in northern Farah’deen that bordered Hadravia, Malifant, Saruhanna and the Masaya. This town ultimately capitulated to avoid being sacked by the First Army that passed nearby.
- The Imperial Navy played no major part in this particular war beyond resupplying Regalian troops as Saruhanna’s coastal defenses were extensive and well planned while Malifant’s gave way without so much as a shot being fired.
- Regalia’s levies were mainly made up of Velheimers from Nordskag who suffered greatly on the alien terrain.