|Event Name||Hadravian War|
|Dates and Times||March 10th - July 19th, 303 AC|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire and Songaskian Masaya|
The Hadravian War was the final stage of the wider First Songaskian War that saw the lands of northern Farahdeen beset by troops from across Aloria. Each side fought fiercely in the name of many things, from coin to duty to honor to a love of conflict, but in the end, it was the Regalians who had to retreat. In their wake, however, they left many Masayan troops dead, to be added to the Choir of Dreams in the mountains of Kouriyasui. The conflict is best remembered for its large melees in humid, arid terrain, far from large settlements or much in the way of geographic features.
The Regalian Empire and the Songaskian Masaya had been engaged in a cold war of sorts for over a century before the outbreak of the First Songaskian War. Diametrically different nations in many ways, the two great states engaged in espionage, and supported acts of piracy against the other, though those of the Masaya were often far more effective and aggravating to the Regalians. With the ascension of a new ruling dynasty to the throne of the Regalian Empire, House Kade, this state of affairs looked to continue. But, after a freak magical incident in the autumn of 302 AC, the Songaskian Masaya’s greatest priests read the signs, and felt the time was right for a grand action on the part of their nation. The Massya agreed, and so sailed his forces to Corontium, thus beginning the First Songaskian War. Affairs in this region did not go well for either party, and Farahdeen soon found itself invaded by Regalian forces in the south, who allied with the Qadir, while nearby, a pro-Regalian Eronidas and Dwarven force set about besieging a Pearl City. Then, on May 2nd, the Empire put a call out for the assembly of a second attack force to assist the war effort. Thousands of levies answered the call alongside nobles and their entourages, and very soon, the Third, Fourth and Fifth Regalian Armies were sailing across the sea.
The Hadravian War is marked by the landing of these deployments in the region known as Hadrav, found in the north of Farahdeen and near to the Pearl City of Timbardena. Unlike the conflicts fought before, the presence of Necroservants in the region was low as unique local customs saw such entities as undesired, so the Regalian Empire faced armies of flesh and blood to match their own numbers. The three armies then split up from their landing point, heading to confront different targets, though with the ultimate goal of capturing, or at least cutting off the isolated Pearl City nearby, and then marching south along their singular roadway to threaten the capital at the other end. The Fourth Army’s goal was to push directly south and threaten the environs of the Pearl City, hopefully drawing its forces into battle, while pulling attention away from the movements of the Third and Fifth Armies who were engaged in secret movements elsewhere on the frontier.
However, the initial landing party of Regalians soon found themselves confronted by Ikenna Doumbia, a young general and the son of Timbardena’s leading noble family. His smaller force confronted the enemy despite the difference in manpower, and battle was joined on the open, arid ground. The left flank of the Regalian force pushed forward to confront the Songaskian vanguard, but were repulsed, while the right flank suffered from disorder due to conflicts between the noble leaders and their retinues. Despite this setback, control was ultimately restored, and the flank wheeled in to smash the enemy’s left flank. The Masayan center, under threat of encirclement, routed, and its young leader escaped with them. The Regalians regrouped, having lost only a few hundred men, ultimately successful. In the aftermath, certain details caused a degree of gossip back in the capital, as two Nelfin and a woman had distinguished themselves over the many male Ailor officers in the Army, a sign of the changing times.
The Sieges of Watif Esballah
On May 8th, the Third Army moved on Watif Esballah, a great castle built out of the remains of a Qadir Hadriyta which served as a lynchpin in local supply lines. The infamous Songaskian general, Idrissa Samake, had been stationed at the castle some months before and was well known for his hatred of the Regalian Empire. When he had heard of the Third Army’s approach, he hardened the defenses of his fortress at a shocking speed so that by the time the Regalians arrived, they found the foe waiting for them with reinforced fortifications. The Regalian army split into three columns to attack Watif Esballah, each aimed at a different target on three sides of the fortification, however as the battle was to show, the Regalian tactician had made an error. Charging in all at once, the Songaskian defenders were able to fire, attack, and strike back anywhere, and meet a Regalian opponent, while on the ground, the Regalian advance was chaotic and hard to keep organized. Despite these problems, the central column was the most successful, a force of a few dozen levies and elite retinue members managing to make their way into the main gatehouse, despite their leader being knocked off the wall and severely injured in the process. While they opened the gates, and the plan of attack shifted to now fully overwhelm their foes, the enemy forces fought a slow retreat back into the structure’s keep, fending off various attacks from the different officers and their retinues with an intense ferocity. Denied easy entry into the keep, the Regalians engaged in one last desperate charge at the concentrated forces led by column leader Tristan Kade, then still a member of House Lampero. Fortunately for the Regalians, the defenders were exhausted from the fighting they had endured, and they broke at the weight of this intense charge led by the feared mountain of a man.
Idrissa bitterly surrendered to the adrenaline-fueled attackers before being let away, while the Regalians overall took 2,000 prisoners. However, the adrenaline remained high in some figures far longer than was desired, as for the next hour after their victory, Tristan Kade randomly selected and executed soldiers with his huge sword. The army’s lead general put a stop to this violence, but had a punishment just as cruel in mind. Since the Third Army could not sustain both an occupation of the castle, and the forces needed to keep the many prisoners under guard, the general ordered a march of the captured soldiers east, out of the arid terrain and into the scorching open desert. While the Songaskia were almost made to survive the harsh landscape of their homeland, the total lack of water, and problems from injuries, the exhaustion of the fight, and wild fauna lurking in the area proved deadly to these troops. It would later be estimated that of the 2,000 sent to their deaths in the desert, only about 160 managed to circle back to friendly territory. With this done, the victorious Regalians chose to hunker down in the castle to wait for aid rather than press on with their weakened force, cut in half during the course of the siege. They set about repairing what they could the castle’s defenses, but not much work was done as they expected their reinforcements to arrive shortly.
This belief proved false however, as their reinforcements and supplies, facilitated by the Fifth Army, were blocked by the approach of a new Songaskian army on May 15th. Led by the stern and meticulous General Babatunde Fofana, the Masayan army swung around from their delay tactics performed against the Fifth Army to slam into the castle. The 8,000-strong force was divided into five sections, and each then moved on assaulting the fortifications in wave pattern. While the Regalians held on, the cresting formations battered them, and suddenly there was chaos on the ramparts. Two Regalian groups were forced back, and suddenly found themselves pinned into the gatehouse from both sides atop the fortifications, while on the ground outside of the gate, a force had gathered to break through. The Regalians compressed into the gatehouse barely held their own, but were relieved by the other defenders who rallied to push the Masaya’s forces back. As the situation around the gatehouse stabilized soon after, at midday, the Fifth Army led by Karl von Treppewitz arrived. Thinking his forces had set the Regalian defenders reeling, General Babatunde pulled his forces off the walls and their attack to turn and meet the approaching Fifth Army. As battle between these two forces was joined, the Regalians unexpectedly burst out of the castle to attempt a pin maneuver. This rush was led by Prince Marshal, and future Emperor, Cedric Kade, but he was soon injured while pushing a friend out of the way of General Babatunde’s Maaris Cobra which was lashing its body out at the incoming attackers.
While the Prince Marshal was pulled to safety, the commander of the Third Army stepped up to challenge the Songaskian general to one-on-one combat. Babatunde accepted, and in the following duel, luck was on the Regalian general’s side, as he sent his Songaskian counterpart into flight. Seeing their general fleeing, the Masayan forces collapsed in a general rout that saw the entire force destroyed. The conflict was hailed as yet another victory, though the injured Prince, a lack of fresh recruits from the Regalian Empire and rumors of forces from the broader Masaya marching north to aid isolated Timbardena promised no rest for the Regalian military leaders. Despite these issues, their overall successes were lauded, and the Third Army combined with the Fifth Army while von Treppewitz returned to Regalia to command the newly formed Sixth Army. The newly enforced Third Army began to repair the castle in haste.
Counterattack by General Ikenna
At dawn on May 24th, the Fourth Army was camped around an oasis, the force having taken a pause in their march toward Timbardena to refresh themselves. This early morning peace was shattered by the blaring of horns, and a mad scramble in the Regalian Camp, as General Ikenna had returned, with an army 10,000 strong moving into position right in front of the Regalian camp. Despite the surprise the Songaskians caused with their sudden and stealthy appearance, the Regalians were quickly organized, and put into a four-pronged formation, an unexpected tactic. Now the one to be taken by surprise, General Ikenna changed his own formations into a more standard three-pronged formation, with a plan to push forward, break through to the enemy rear and encircle each trident section. The battle was soon underway, and the Regalian left flank and left vanguard soon found themselves battered heavily by the larger enemy prongs, which also employed the use of Mages. Despite the Songaskian push to break through the Regalians, they were failing, as unlike the Regalians, General Ikenna had few officers to relay his wishes or to take advantage of enemy weakness. As this grind continued, the left-side Regalians formed a rotating porcupine defense, each prong cycling their troops from left to right like a spinning blade with their large kite shields protecting their forces. This cycling of manpower, as well as the motion and effective defense began to wear down the Songaskian fighters in the surrounding prongs.
Meanwhile, the right flank and right vanguard had officers who chose a more offensive mindset. As the Songaskian forces slowly weakened on the left, the officers and their retainers sprang forward in a manic push for the Songaskian back line, even as the enemy tried to break through this unexpected thrust, and encircle a portion of this charge. However, in their haste to turn and fight this enemy now at their side, the Regalians broke through the prong formations, and the Songaskians found themselves counter-encircled. The trapped prongs were promptly crushed by a push from the Regalians, while troops from the rear now streamed up to lead the charge against the Songaskian rear. However, the young general had had enough, and fled, leading his remaining forces to rout, but then get slaughtered as they were unable to escape a charging wedge of Regalian cavalry which burst out of the Regalian line. This latest failure signaled the doom for the greatest noble house of Timbardena, who promptly fell from their peak of social standing, and left the city in political chaos as they tried to select a new general for the field. On the Regalian side though, the victory was a great success, and great praise fell on the levies and foreign troops who had endured hard conditions to deliver the Empire this victory. The Regalians then received new orders, the Fourth Army becoming the First Army and the Third Army becoming the Second Army, a highly lauded transfer of prestige from the Regalian forces in the south, now divided into the Third, Fourth and Fifth Armies as they continued to aid the Qadir in the continuing conflict.
The First Army, now 15,000 strong, marched deeper into enemy territory, and on June 3rd, came upon a Masayan army 10,000 strong. Commanding the enemy was the combat veteran Folami Maiga, a high ranking general who had sharpened his skills abroad before returning home to take a prominent spot in the Songaskian military structure. This man would not be a pushover, and would perhaps offer the thus far undefeated Regalian commander, Ulric Typhonus a real challenge. They both met before the battle to wish each other luck and honors before returning to lines, a unique mark of respect by both sides which saw no attempts at treachery. Both sides then formed four columns and charged, clashing with each other from left to right along the battlefield. The Regalian first column was doing well against their foe before a Songaskian Mage appeared, unleashing powerful offensive spells that sent the column commander and multiple other troops reeling back, forcing the Regalians to regroup in that part of the battle. The second column had also been fighting well until the enemy first column turned towards them and that same Mage again unleashed their power, forcing more of the Regalians back. Seeing his plan of battle beginning to break down, General Typhonus shifted his focus to the third and fourth columns to ensure their strength and success in the remainder of the battle. It was now that he was betrayed.
While commanding from the rear, the Regalian general suddenly found troops positioned around him turning to attack. The first were the backline of the archers before him, who turned and shot two volleys at him and his retinue. Reserve troops then unsheathed their blades and charged in for the kill, but thanks to the Wirtem general’s skilled retainers, all of these traitors were brutally cut down. Despite the retinue’s fast actions, the army’s general was now unconscious and gravely injured, and he was rushed to the tents for treatment. The two remaining columns fought on throughout this affair, fortunately unaware of the betrayal. A tactician helping to command the third column successfully had the soldiers raise a shield wall to defend from the growing presence of Mages, which stemmed the crushing weight of the enemy for a time. But, this defense weakened and the Regalians neared a breaking point, beginning a retreat which pulled them away from their foe, creating a lull in the battle. The head of House Howlester played a key role in stopping this retreat, helping to turn the Regalians around in a desperate charge at the Songaskian lines. He later came upon two of the enemy column leaders and defeated them in combat, with one dead, and the other retreating with the now-mauled army. The First Army was in poor shape as well, but at the end of the day, they achieved a tactical victory as General Folami pulled his troops back. The Imperial Court proclaimed an immediate inquest to learn who had betrayed General Typhonus while also applauding the miraculous victory just barely achieved under Howlester leadership.
Capture of a Prince
One day later, on June 4th, the Second Army was moving toward the great roadway that linked Timbardena to the Songaskian capital when they encountered an enemy army. Their role had been to serve as a distraction force for the First Army, but they had instead intercepted an enemy army which might have posed a great threat to them should they have reached the Pearl City. This force was commanded by Amaka Cissoko, a noted female Songaskian general who also had an all-female retinue around her, her group infamous and varied in their skillset. The plan had been for them to take over the defense of Timbardena as the political situation there had continued, but now they faced a larger Regalian force bearing down on them. Despite the surprise engagement, both sides leapt into action. The battle was a standard affair with regard to tactics, a center with two side formations, with fighting between both centers beginning in earnest soon followed by the flanks. On the Regalian left, the enemy army section was commanded by Alheri Togola, a cunning Mage-tactician who initially sent conventional soldiers in to fight the Regalians, only to unleash a large group of Songaskian Mages and their Necroservants, causing a retreat.
Meanwhile, the Regalian right’s commander, Tristan Kade, then Lampero, had fallen into combat with the infamous Mojisola Ouattara, the infamous Chain Queen of the Sands. Her speed and unconventional weaponry, chain whips with barbed attachments, defeated the Arkenborn commander, though he was pulled to safety by his retinue while the rest of the flank's force pulled back. Uniquely, this had not been a result of their leader falling in battle, but because they had mistakenly heard a retreat order as false information had spread that the Regalian center was losing ground. This was untrue, as instead they had pushed the Songaskian center back but now that the Regalian flanks had pulled back, the Songaskian flanks rushed in to begin forming a pincer around the Regalian forces. Realizing this, the Regalians began to pull away. However, before any further actions could be taken, disaster struck. Prince Marshal Cedric Kade, who had been chasing the fleeing enemy center, was suddenly too far ahead of the front line, and Songaskian units cut a swath around him, surrounding him within sight of the army. He was then forced to surrender, to the horror of the levies. The battle immediately came to an end, the Songaskian army flying back down the roadway to the capital, while the Regalians pulled back into their captured territory. Word flew back to Regalia where the Imperial Court responded with horror and received the Masayan ambassadors as a temporary truce was declared. Fighting on all fronts stopped. Finally, on June 18th, Emperor Alexander I signed the Truce Agreement of 303 AC. He pulled all Regalian forces out of Farahdeen, reset the accepted boundary between the Qadir and Songaskia to what it had been before Regalian assistance, and handed back multiple Songaskian prisoners, in return for his younger brother and multiple Regalian prisoners captured by the enemy throughout the campaign. The Hadravian War was over.
The Hadravian War itself had a limited impact on the Regalian Empire. Its string of victories in the region were heartening to many, though the often high losses, and unsatisfactory way the conflict ended left some hungry for more conflict. However, the conflict left a larger impression on some of Regalia’s client nations, who had supplied troops for the mission. One of the largest contributors of levies after the noble families of the Empire was Nordskag, whose forces suffered greatly in the polar opposite climate to their customary lands of deployment, as well as the numerical losses impacting them heavily. Many believe this negative treatment planted seeds which grew into the Nordskag’s desires from 310 AC onward to become a Heartland state, and gain greater independence from the Empire. As for its effects on the Songaskian Masaya, those were relatively limited. The unprecedented invasion of their homeland had already been underway through the Regalian forces helping the Qadir on the southern border of the Masaya, though a second prong was still unexpected, and deeply unwelcome. The attack was also a chance for the Pearl City of Timbardena to prove themselves, and while the results were mixed, many’s opinion of them rose as the local populace were seen as isolated and odd. But their spirit, and loyalty, to the Masaya was proven. However, beyond the loss of life, soon made up by migration into the area by external Races and other Songaskian populace, the lands of northern Farahdeen survived the invasion well. Little of material value rested in the region, and the Regalians never got close enough to threaten the lumber facilities of the Pearl City. In the end, the conflict merely set the stage, alongside the broader First Songaskian War, for the Second Songaskian War.
- Cedromar’s imprisonment is believed to have given him claustrophobia, resulting in a personal hatred for the Songaskia which he satiated by beginning the Second Songaskian War two years later.
- The Imperial Navy played no major part in this particular war beyond resupplying Regalian troops, and ensuring Songaskian pirates as well as what was left of their fleet following their attack into Corontium.
- The Regalian campaigns with the Qadir in the south during the same period were surprisingly dry affairs, as the Regalian troops served to guard the backlines, allowing the Qadir and their machines to push forward to do most of the fighting.