|The Veer Wars|
|Event Name||The Veer Wars|
|Dates and Times||February 10th to August 1st 307 AC|
|Location||Norrland, United Verreland, Lokinge, Daen|
|People Involved||Houses Tyrannian, Harhold, Delmotte, Ravenstad, de Letoirneau, Peirgarten, van der Veer, and Black|
The Veer Wars of 307 AC may very well have been the largest-scale conflict that has ever happened in Anglian war theatres, occurring between the Houses Harhold and Tyrannian, and their respective allies, primarily over a dispute as to the rightful ruler of the Verreland island chain off of the west Anglian coast. Both families had long laid claim to its entirety as their own sovereign land, although the region was predominantly dominated by Gallus Tyrannian and the Veer Coalition, having protected the region from a Harhold incursion only a year prior. Though its name might suggest that the conflict occurred in the Verreland, the Veer Wars weren’t isolated to a single region, and had actually taken place in both the Archipelago and abroad. Multiple Houses have fallen from the graces of nobility as a result of their involvement in the conflict, and it saw the Angle Verreland united under a single banner, alebit only temporarily.
While prior conflict had existed, as both Harhold and Tyrannian had held involvement in the ongoing Old Gods rebellions in Dragenthal, it was only first in April 306 AC when the Duke Hengest Harhold laid his claim to the Anglian peoples of Verreland, believing them to be under his influence. Mirroring this, Duke Gallus Tyrannian had formed the Veer Coalition of several families in and around the isles, making the collective decision to invite a substantial population of the Old Gods rebels, most of who resented Harhold as a persecutor of their people, to inhabit the Verreland. An attempted incursion by Harhold troops into the Verreland as a show of force was defeated by these very rebels, distinctly forcing the Duke Hengest to travel back to his homeland alone and on a wooden raft filled with the corpses of his loyal hounds.
Months later, in February 307 AC, the Duke Hengest Harhold would be involved in an invasion once more, this time on the Velheim peoples of Norrland, a Lordship under the control of House Viduggla. 45,000 levies landed on Norrland shores and indiscriminately slaughtered the residents of nearby towns for three days and three nights. Promptly after this, a coalition of Velheimer nobles, as well as the two major Houses of Verreland; van der Veer and Tyrannian, and the aforementioned Old Gods rebels, launched a counteroffensive on the Harhold invasion, obliterating his force and drafting up the opportunity for an invasion into Vlissinghelm; House Harhold’s territory.
Invasion of Vlissinghelm
After House Harhold’s host in Norrland was defeated and captured, leaving the Duke Hengest with a significantly smaller army, the Duke Gallus Tyrannian and his van der Veer allies turned their attention to the Duchy of Vlissinghelm. The Tyrannians and van der Veers launched a swift invasion, touching down in the City of Kaartsendam with 8000 Tyrannian levies. Harhold warships made an effort to defend from the invasion but were eventually routed, and Harhold reinforcements from the Essalonian colonies were forced to instead land further down the coast in Dragenthal territories. The Tyrannian host marched deeper into Vlissinghelm, though once they reached the river of Bulderwaarde they were set upon by a small force of yeomen and knights of Buxton-Upon-Tyre, Candrwaldringham, and Blixford Dragenthal Barons, and were forced into a retreat to forts that they had captured in Polderwald. Shortly after this, the Dragenthal Barons retreated back into their own lands, removing themselves from any further conflict.
From herein the entire conflict would escalate into a much larger widespread struggle. Having perceived Tyrannian to have insulted them by sending diplomats into their lands to sow dissent, the House of Delmotte would declare war on Tyrannian too, backed by their allies Ravenstad and Peirgarten. The three of them declared themselves as aligned with House Harhold. But, this had its own consequences. House Tyrannian would enlist the aid of Houses Black and de Letoirneau, the latter of which being a rival family to Delmotte, and was eager to avoid having their lands encircled by hostile neighbors. A force of approximately 10,000 mercenaries paid for by House Delmotte, and ferried by House Ravenstad warships, landed on Tyrannian coastlines and ravaged the immediate areas, occupying coastal towns and forts unopposed. But, eventually regals stopped flowing into the coffers of these mercenaries and they departed from the Verreland, allowing all captured land to default back to House Tyrannian, albeit severely damaged.
Simultaneously, the two coalition fleets of Delmotte and Tyrannian would meet in the Anglian strait, with the former fleet including warships from Delmotte, Peirgarten, Ravenstad, and Harhold, totaling to nine warships. The latter fleet included warships from Tyrannian, van der Veer and de Letoirneau, and was numerically inferior having only seven warships. But despite the numerical superiority of the Delmotte fleet, the Tyrannian coalition was desperate to evacuate the beleaguered 8000 Tyrannian levies from Vlissinghelm and as such hand their hand forced. House Black arrived late to the party but their presence was enough to bolster the Tyrannian fleet, increasing their size to twelve warships. The combined fleets of the two sides would clash, but this would prove to be a disaster for Tyrannian. His supposed Black allies weren’t at all allied with Tyrannian, signaling their intent to betray Tyrannian with a semaphore coded message that read “Get the Fuck out of Dragenthal.” And thus the Tyrannian fleet was pincered between two hostile forces, being swiftly obliterated with only two de Letoirneau ships escaping the slaughter. As a consequence of their defeat at sea, the Tyrannian levies in Vlissinghelm were now stranded and would soon be met with a combined force of Harhold reinforcements (many of whom were the very same levies that had earlier invaded Norrland). The Duke Harhold had successfully ransomed them from Vidduggla in the promise that they would be sent to the Dread War, but later convinced the Imperial Marshal leading the conflict to allow half of the Harhold levies to return home. Ravenstad-allied knights, and a few thousand mercenaries dwarfed the invading force, with half of the Tyrannian levies being killed and the other half being forced into slave labor.
Invasion of Verreland
In response to the defeats in the Anglian Strait and Vlissinghelm, Houses de Letoirneau and van der Veer prepared for a retaliatory invasion into the Verreland. The de Letoirneaus funded a powerful force of 20,000 mercenaries to protect the Tyrannian lands from an Invasion, which would never arrive while they were there. The van der Veers pleaded for their manors to raise more levies but due to a disastrous conflict in the Essalonian colonies, they were reluctant and only agreed to raising a laughably small force which couldn’t possibly make a significant impact by themselves. This token force of van der Veer levies was told to intercept, seize or destroy any Delmotte cargo trains that passed through the region, but none ever arrived. The mercenaries paid for by de Letoirneau eventually abandoned the Verreland and instead sailed off to the colonies in Altery, deciding that they’d be put to better use blockading the source that the Delmottes derived most of their income from; their Altery colonial holdings in Daen. Immediately after this, mercenaries paid for by the Delmottes arrived in the van der Veer lands and again marched around entirely unopposed, but this time found themselves ravaging every square inch of the van der Veer lands, plunging the people into economic ruin and devastating communities. The lands were on fire, and. the van der Veers again petitioned for more troops but this time were met with outright hostility from their manors, criticizing the family for rejecting a perfectly good peace treaty that House Delmotte had offered them a week prior.
Meanwhile, the Houses Ravenstad and Harhold landed in the Tyrannian half of Verreland with a combined force of 60,000 soldiers and sellswords. While one might immediately assume that this colossal force would obliterate anything in its way, it was actually met by an even larger force, comprised almost entirely of mercenaries, numbering 70,000, which was paid for by the houses van der Veer, Tyrannian and Skarpsten. The Harhold and Ravenstad force was defeated, twice, and forced into a retreat back to where they had initially landed. After the battles, the mercenaries from both sides had dispersed, leaving Tyrannian with only 5500 levies, and Harhold and Ravenstad with approximately 40,000.
The Tyrannians would suffer yet another betrayal, this time from the de Letoirneaus, who after sailing their mercenaries to blockade Delmotte colonies signed an alliance with the Harholds. This resulted in the Delmottes unofficially withdrawing from the conflict, unwillingly to side with their longstanding rivals. However, shortly after this House Delmotte would acquiesce and also sign a treaty with the de Letoirneaus, entitled the Treaty of Corneuille, ensuring that no conflict in the Altery colonies would ever occur. Both Delmotte and de Letoirneau now remained otherwise quiet aside from the latter providing substantial financial backing to Harhold to continue waging their war. Despite the betrayals that Tyrannian had suffered from Black and now de Letoirneau, they continued to fight on, receiving support from Skarpsten, Krupp, Eliopolous, Blackjaw, and von Dietrich. Largely a collection of minor Baronial families, many would withdraw swiftly for a myriad of reasons, although it is fairly clear their aid proved crucial in securing the independence of Verreland. Seemingly out of nowhere, though not something that was at all surprising, the Van der Veer Baron capitulates to House Harhold and surrendered his Verreland lands to the Duke. With Hengest now possessing a much larger foothold on the isles (and only just avoiding a serious rebellion from the locals), a fresh counterattack was launched. Tyrannian, in an act of cunning desperation, issued a proclamation of Liberum Veto - In essence promising his local manors autonomy in return for a larger levy to be pressed into service. This, combined with Harhold’s sudden annexation of half of Verreland, led to the raising of a vast militia force under Tyrannian’s command. The subsequent Battle of Pilterdrope proved to be a bloodbath with a handful of Harhold’s troops defecting to the Tyrannian cause, and Ravenstad’s war support tanking in the aftermath.
In an act of stubbornness, supported by fresh mercenaries, the Harholds again engaged with Tyrannian despite their recent losses, and actually found some success. Two more engagements at Panne-Heuvel and then subsequently Steenbrugge saw defeats for the Tyrannian forces, with the third clash at Caerdam seeing the defending forces barely holding their ground and reemerging into a stalemate. With the intervention of the Gaekraan financial markets backing the Harhold family, they gained an extra rejuvenating boost. However, subsequent threats of the creation of a vast penal colony in the Tyrannian half of Verreland also raised the resolve of the Tyrannian defenders with greater fear than ever for the destruction and loss of their homeland.
With the growing body count and seeming pointlessness of the ongoing conflict, both the Ravenstad and Delmotte families (this time officially) withdrew entirely from the conflict, leaving Harhold against a bitter and resolute defense. Despite the support gained from the banks (as well as Ithanian financiers from Loiree-Bas), and Duke Hengest himself taking command of his army, the attempts to annex Tyrannian land prove fruitless as a vast Tyrannian militia force routed Harhold’s army back to the coastline, emerging into the formerly Van der Veer lands with overwhelming public support. The arrival of a large army of mercenaries in support of Harhold failed to turn the growing tide, with Tyrannian seizing the remainder of Verreland to officially unify it under his rule, with the invading armies repulsed.
The onset of the Imperially-backed Iron Peace shortly following would prevent the resumption of hostilities. Instead, a treaty would emerge between the previously warring families, managing to resolve existing tensions while also successfully crowning Gallus Tyrannian as undisputed Duke of Verreland. This immense victory is often posed as a miracle by many, or even a display of tactical brilliance by Tyrannian supporters, however the infighting between the invading forces; their indecisiveness and series of blunders with disregard to the conflict arguably presented Tyrannian an opportunity - one that was uniquely seized and will continue to define politics in the archipelago for many years following.
The Veer Wars had a devastating outcome for many of the families who had involved themselves, but this devastation was especially seen in the Baronial houses of van der Veer and von Dietrich. Both houses had spent all of their resources in the conflict, with the van der Veers having their lands capitulate to Harhold, and choosing to sacrifice their last assets to preserve their Tyrannian neighbours in an act of defiance, and the house von Dietrich attempting to spend every last dime on the Tyrannian war effort. The two families, as a consequence of their wastefulness, were disgraced by the Imperial Court and had their nobility revoked by Emperor Alexander Kade I.
With the ending of the conflict, the Verreland island chain had now been united under a single banner of the unlikely victor, House Tyrannian, whose patriarch Gallus Tyrannian is praised to this day for somehow being able to fend off such an immense coalition force. Additionally, while House Tyrannian may have had absolute dominion over Verreland, as part of the Treaty of Elkenburg it was agreed upon that House Tyrannian would recognise Duke Hengest Harhold’s self-proclaimed title of Rightful Revain of Zuiderpoort. The significance in this is that the first House outside of the Anglian mainland has recognised the claim. However, such a recognition is hollow now given that during the Iron Peace, House Tyrannian lost their role as the uniter of Verreland, and so the region has largely reverted to how it was before this whole affair began.
- A notable Kade onlooker to the conflict described it “Like a mud wrestling match between Harhold and Tyrannian, in which neither are wrestling one another, while de Letoirneau throws confectioneries at both, and Delmotte screams all kinds of threats at everyone from miles away.”, a unique satirical interpretation of the conflict.
- Rumours at court suggest that the number of families backing Harhold; Ravenstad, Peirgarten, de Letoirneau, Delmotte, and Rote to some varying degree, suggests some sort of grand conspiracy between the coalition of families, even more noted in contrast to the Southern Alliance between Lampero, Anahera, Wodenstaff, Pileran and Coivra that would later form. This is almost wholly dismissed as being a result of mires of inter webbing politics behind the scenes.
- Many news agencies throughout the city have dubbed the Veer Wars as ‘The Puppeteer Wars’ due to the enormous amount of outside funding that House Tyrannian received, defaming the idea that he fended off multiple opponents by himself.
- Despite Tyrannian and Harhold settling for peace, there has been no mention of the 4,000 Tyrannian soldiers captured in Vlissinghelm ever being released from their slave labor.