Second Songaskian War
|Second Songaskian War|
|Event Name||Second Songaskian War|
|Dates and Times||May 19th - July 24th 305 AC|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire, Songaskian Masaya|
The Second Songaskian War occurred in the year 305 AC and spanned the course of three months. While brief, it was a savage conflict that firmly set the stage for the reign of the newly crowned Emperor Cedromar I. A military-focused man, this was the first war undertaken during his time as leader of the Regalian Empire and while it would not be the last, it is perhaps one of the most successful. While it did end before any sort of true killing blow could be landed, the years since the conflict have seen relations between the Songaskian Masaya and Regalia ease, but they are not nearly as positive as some hope for.
Following the First Songaskian War that occurred from 302 to 303 AC, the Songaskian Masaya suffered a series of political problems stemming from their throne. First, their previous Massya died and his successor, Musamansa Koné, was dethroned by his usurper uncle, Kusamanu Koné. “The Usurper”, as he is now known, immediately sought to track down his nephew for what is presumed to be execution. However, Musamansa’s mother entrusted the young man’s safety to the Regalian diplomatic delegation in the Masaya’s capital, who promptly left the nation and successfully brought the young and now exiled ruler to the Imperial Court of Regalia. Musamansa lived there for the next two years while his uncle focused on rebuilding his nation’s naval strength and continued to train troops on the ground. The Regalian Empire itself eventually saw a change in leadership, with Alexander I replaced with Cedromar I, the man whose capture had preemptively ended the First Songaskian War.
It is broadly believed today that Cedromar was itching for payback against the Songaskia, given the rumors that he was tortured and aggressively confined to the point it gave him claustrophobia during the First Songaskian War. Even if this is true, he had to wait as the Empire recovered from the Bone Horror Crisis. While that took place, the Masaya joined with Elven nations in the west, creating the Magic Covenant, in opposition to Regalia’s Crown Alliance. This was another step towards conflict, but Cedromar did not waste time. By the spring of 305 AC, a new military system was devised to help divide the Empire’s focus between several Marks, each leader in these armies chosen for their competence in commanding over any birthright. The new system saw its first test not long after, as on May 19th, the Masaya declared war on the Regalian Empire due to the harassment of Songaskia shipping routes by the Regalian Navy- actions likely taken at the behest of Cedromar. The Regalians were now off to war in Farahdeen once more.
An Opening Statement
After a period of organization and recruitment, Emperor Cedromar I gave orders to Ostmark troops under the command of House Typhonus to lay siege to the Pearl City of Shaqq-Turnaal and exterminate the city’s Songaskian populace. On the morning of June 3rd, 305 AC, the city was entirely surrounded by sea and in the sands as naval landings disembarked thousands of Regalian troops. As the siege began, the Regalians purposefully left a gap in their lines to the north, along the coastline, as bait for the Songaskia. They unfortunately fell into it, with thousands of civilians seeking to evacuate only to be slaughtered in cavalry charges, fulfilling Cedromar’s orders. As the battle progressed, the Pearl City was devastated more and more, with Regalian artillery raining down destruction on the unprepared populace. Yet, the Songaskia were not entirely out of the fight. Late in the day, the Emperor himself was suddenly trapped in an enemy ambush, saved only by the heroic actions of others on the battlefield. By the battle’s end, as the sun was setting, an estimated forty thousand civilians alone had been butchered by Regalian siege forces, and the settlement fell under Regalian control. The Emperor had earned the victory he desired for his desert campaign and set the tone for the battles to come.
Victories and Losses
In an effort to follow up on the crushing victory delivered to the Masaya, a Regalian admiral chose to divide his forces and destroy yet another Pearl City. Unfortunately for them, a Songaskian fleet sailing in the opposite direction came upon the smaller half of the Regalian naval force. Pouring fire from their ships, the Songaskia destroyed several of the surrounding Regalian vessels, though the weakened fleet was able to disengage and flee. While this naval engagement proved a failure, another further north went much better. Another admiral and their armada laid a far more successful siege to their targeted Pearl City, with the pristine walls soon crumbling, and much of the city’s interior similarly collapsing under the weight of fire poured down upon them. Following the brutal bombardment, the city’s leadership offered full surrender if the city’s residents were permitted to live on as prisoners of war, an offer taken up by the attackers.
Following the events up north, the successful admiral was ordered to again another Pearl City and this one soon surrendered under Regalian fire as well. However, the Emperor now began to order more peaceful relations with the locals, as the war’s stunningly successful progress meant it was not required. When the Regalian troops entered the city, no hand was raised against the shell-shocked populace. At sea, the failed admiral now returned, keeping his force together, and, with now expanded numbers, he hunted down the fleet that had so recently inflicted a humiliation upon him. Their destruction was almost comically quick, but also brutal, and no ship was left unsunk. All of this occurred within less than an hour. The Regalians then moved to begin bombardment of yet another Pearl City nearby, who had been supporting this fleet, and rather than suffer hours of attack, they immediately surrendered. This now left three Pearl Cities taken into Regalian hands in a matter of weeks.
The greatest incident of note, however, was the Regalian attempt to take the fortress of Altaqq, a defensive outpost guarding the vast roadway between Shaqq-Turnaal and another Pearl City. With a large portion of the nobility joining forces under one banner, the combined force of 19,000 Regalians marched for the fort. Prior to reaching their target, however, the combined noble army encountered a Songaskian force nearly 30,000 strong. It was painfully clear that the Masaya had finally mobilized their armies against the Regalian forces, and this was just one of many forces moving along the great and ancient roadways. Left with no option but to stand and fight, the Regalian army dug in and prepared for what became known as the Battle of Altaqq. With two commanders leading columns out in a desperate defense, the initial force of the attack was stifled but for only a few minutes. The Songaskia fought with great ferocity, slamming into the Regalian defensive line like cannon fire. Within the hour, the Regalian defense collapsed, turning into a disorganized route. The casualties were astonishing with mercenary companies on the Regalian side losing ninety percent of their troops on average, and noble levies suffering an average casualty rate of sixty percent. With the noble army unable to provide proper resistance, the Songaskia retook the recently captured city of Shaqq-Turnaal which had been left relatively undefended.
The Merciful and the Merciless
Following a period of stagnation in the war, many of the Regalian’s prisoners of war were rounded up in one of the other Pearl Cities by order of Mark leadership, beginning a brutal series of executions that were soon halted by Cedromar himself. Having realized that executing the civilians would only add more fuel to the Songaskian side of the war, the Emperor declared that they would be spared should they not interfere with Regalian forces, with many released back into the Pearl Cities under Regalian control. As small battles began in Farahdeen, other battles were taking place back in Corontium. A minor insurrection in Velheim lands fostered into being in secret by the efforts of the Wirtem Chancellor of the time, gave him the ammunition to call in overwhelming force to crush these forces. Hundreds were executed and in the end, several thousand were dead, with the remnants of the Skagger lodges in Corontium cleared out as the ultimate end result of the whole affair. This diversion of forces, both at sea and on land, caused a slowing on the Farahdeen front, which was perhaps the auspice from the universe Cedromar had been waiting for.
- For more information on the Burning of the North, click here
An End to the War
One night, while many Regalian troops were asleep, fires sparked across the remaining Pearl Cities of the Masaya. Multiple loyalist factions were suddenly rising up against the Usurper uncle, calling for the return of their true leader. While at the time, this event seemed like a complete surprise, it is known today that Regalian spies sought to build a network among these divided parties, but further details on potentially accomplished deals are unknown. By the next day, Cedromar I declared a formal end to the Second Songaskian War, and soon, the young Massya returned to his homeland, whereupon the Regalian forces evacuated the region, leaving the cities they had taken under the nominal control of the young Musamansa Koné.
Given the conflicts that came later, the Second Songaskian War is often viewed today as yet another short but splendid war that showed the merits of the new Mark system of the military on a small scale. The high competence of those in charge, mixed with the high degree of effectiveness of the Regalian forces, saw considerable gains, which might have increased if the conflict had not ended so abruptly. Why the war ended so quickly is a question on the minds of many scholars and those who lived through this time. On a base level, the actions of the Wirtem Chancellor have largely been a source of blame, with many believing Cedromar realized he had a dangerous political operative at home stirring up trouble. Given the rogue move the Chancellor engaged in while Cedromar was still in Farahdeen, the aggressive move west to attack Elven regions that kicked off the Altaleï-Regalian War, this is a logical assertion. However, Cedromar hadn’t actually blocked any of the man’s political actions, despite how it stalled the Farahdeen conflict, and might have desired him to eventually “crash and burn” as they say. A second theory has emerged that Cedromar might have been compelled to a lighter touch in Farahdeen either by factors internal to the Imperial Court or to the first stirrings of his Draconic nature as the Imperial Dragon. As Cedromar is an intensely private person, much has been left up to speculation on this front. In summary, the conflict was executed well, and while it suddenly came to an end, it created a group of military officers eager and ready to launch themselves into the newly emerged war with the Elves.
As for the effects on the Masaya and the Songaskia overall, it was devastating in the short term. Their great Pearl Cities, jewels in the crown of their enormous state, were intensely battered, and their great defensive shortcomings exposed to all. In the south, the Qadir rejoiced at the Masaya’s losses and pushed the border hard, but the brief status of the Second War meant any gains they made were reversed in the coming years. The rightful Massya was able to eventually win the civil war among his people, but this conflict kept the region out of its obligations toward the Magic Covenant before the young Massya fully broke off from the agreement. In the years since, however, the Necroservants of the Songaskia have rebuilt much of what was destroyed, and politically, the Masaya has entered a bizarre inverse of its former standing. Despite being fostered and protected by the Regalian Empire at a critical juncture, Musamansa Koné remains aloof and neutral to the Regalians in the modern day, while his uncle, kept alive after being himself deposed, now seeks Regalian assistance in rather transparent plots against his nephew. Why Musamansa allows the man to both live and to plot against him is unknown, but some believe it may be down to both familial ties and the respect the two men have for each other. Compared to the cold war of prior decades, however, many prefer the modern state of neutrality, and cordial relations the two nations share, with the violence and bloodshed seemingly at an end.
- The young Massya of Farahdeen was a child in the eyes of his people when he was taken into Regalian custody, and he was largely treated as such among the Regalians. When he returned, he was a man in the Songaskian tradition.
- Why Regalia did not enlist Qadir Ailor aid for their conflict remains unclear, especially since the Qadir had just joined the Crown Alliance. Some believe it was baseless prejudice against the Qadir by the military, but others believe the ceaselessly unchanging southern border between the Songaskia and Qadir, a site of stalemate for centuries, and also a site of little gained in the First Songaskian War, held no interest for Cedromar who deserved to strike hard and swift against his foes.
- The Songaskian civil war was rather limited in scale. While some initial skirmishes were carried out by the Usurper trying to dislodge his nephew, Musamansa proved highly adept at diplomacy, forcing a political stalemate that ground on until loyalist control of the Pearl Cities proved absolute, threatening to cut off the interior settlements and the capital from vital supplies.