April 2020 – Skirmishes and Contracts

Last month in March, a combination of a sizeable force of Mordok approaching and attacking the Shield of Mardrun combined with a mysterious illness that has spread and caused issues among the colonies and settlements has delayed Celestial Arragones expedition into the swamp.

While the Mordok force is nowhere near the size of the one during the Dirge Swamp war, it is large enough that constant hit and run tactics against the Shield could make a significant impact. Various Clanleaders and Chieftains of the Ulven are calling for aid to reinforce the Shield. Warriors have been seen in various settlements calling for volunteers and stoking the heart-fires of those looking to earn glory. The defenses of the Shield of Mardrun hold, but make no mistake… answering the call to arms and heading to the Shield to help will most definitely be dangerous.

Prince Aylin has been very busy lately being involved in the various economic expansions in and around Aylin’s Reach. With former Squallborn families getting setup or moved to new locations along with Clan Stormjarl solidifying their hold on the new territories, there is a lot of opportunity to get involved in various deals going on in the area. Representatives to the Prince have been open about several opportunities and are asking for people to signup in exchange for coin.

 

The Outcome of the Shield Defense

The last several months in the collection of outposts that make up the Shield of Mardrun had been largely quiet. Mordok forces occasionally made the journey south to apply pressure on the defenders, but concerted efforts to pass between the outposts were generally spotted by scouts and hunters with enough time to muster the necessary forces from the neighboring outposts to meet the enemy in the field and repel them before entering the civilized lands to the south. Occasionally some small count would slip through the gaps, but never in numbers high enough to wreak extended havoc. These small forces were always easy enough to hunt down and clear out before they made it too far south. Things changed in the end of March 269.

Hunters and scouts returned to their outposts north of Clan Whiteoak along the eastern areas of the shield, bringing with them reports of several Mordok forces marching south. Some are seen accompanied by their mysterious leaders clad in colors running from blue to teal while others seem to travel in more traditional packs. The southward moving forces were reported to not be to the scale that as seen in the Dirge War push of 267, but the numbers were significant enough to require additional forces on The Shield. Fortunately the hunters arrived with enough advance notice to allow the leadership to put forth a call for aid. Throughout Mardrun, the call was heeded by both Ulven and Colonist alike and with haste individuals and trained combat units marched north to defend their shared home.

The first few days along The Shield were largely quiet. Some Mordok had been seen in the area, but it seemed that the larger forces were still in the midst of their southward march. Some people spent the time sharpening their weapons and patching worn areas on their armor while others made themselves acquainted with their various comrades. Reports of the approaching Mordok traveled quickly throughout the ranks and with them stories  of the sightings of the teal-clad leaders. Many of the veteran Ulven of the shield had taken to calling these special Mordok the Beinbakadur. This word  proved difficult for many colonist tongues, but the Ulven were quick to offer a translation: Straight-Backed.  When the Mordok did come, the defenders were ready for them.

Throughout the eastern Shield, defenders marched from their outposts to meet the Mordok forces in battle. By and large the defenders made sure to keep themselves within accessible range to their home outpost and as the battles ebbed and flowed  this strategy proved to be incredibly beneficial for the combatants. Through the battles, many were wounded, but with the ease of access to support units, relatively few lives were lost.

By and large it seemed as though the Mordok had come with a strategy of their own. A handful of the Beinbakadur stood as something akin to field commanders shouting orders over the units in their command. The Mordok under these leaders seemed to fight with increased adherence to military tactics, but also with greater disregard for their own lives. Willingly these Mordok would throw themselves recklessly into the fray. Were it not for the close proximity of these battles to nearby outposts, an inordinate number of combatants would have lost their lives to this fanatical onslaught. Unfortunately however, a focus on immediate safety can lead to a slow response to new situations.

As the defenders remained in relatively close proximity to their outposts they were slowed to react to a series of Mordok forces that avoided scouts and patrols by taking a path that led through the open and inadequately watched areas between the outposts that make up The Shield. Without anyone to stop them they were able to spill southward into the northern reaches of Clan Whiteoak. In their efforts to repel the attacks from the north while remaining near to their outposts, the shield defenders were slow to notice this penetration, but when they did they rallied available units as quickly as they could to hunt these invaders down as the rest remained to continue to hold back additional forces. By the time the various units caught up to the Mordok they’d already managed to rampage through a handful of settlements, leaving bodies and destruction in their wake. 

Throughout the northern reaches of Clan Whiteoak the defenders of The Shield met the invading Mordok in battle. These battles were quick and decisive as the defenders managed to slay or rout their enemies back toward the north where they were cut off and slaughtered. Meanwhile to the North the allied defenders took the upper hand and were able to rout the pressing Mordok. In the end the defenders stood victorious over the Mordok invasion.

All across the shield, defenders began to slip into celebration after a long and hard battle, but this celebration was cut short as their comrades returned from the south with news of the civilian slaughter that had taken place before they were able to catch up to the Mordok forces. A somber mood fell over the defenders of The Shield as all were given a forced reminder that there is no such thing as safety in war; there’s always a cost.

Several groups of scouts and hunters were dispatched northward to verify the enemy rout and in the meantime the remaining defenders set to the task of building pyres to tend to the dead. When the work was done Ulven warriors and daughters of Gaia throughout the shield led people in rites of remembrance before encouraging them to tell stories and revel in the victory of a battle hard fought and well earned. Well into the night people shared stories of their exploits on the battlefield and boasted the deeds of their friends and comrades, but overall one story seemed to stand out from the rest. A tale of a Whiteoak warrior who managed to slay one of the Straight-Backed Mordok spread quickly throughout the shield over the following days. He tells a tale of a  brutal fight where he and several of his comrades fought this Beinbakadur and in the end only he was left. He claims that they rained blow after blow down upon their enemy who parried and blocked them with ease that they’d never seen and in the end it was nearer to dumb luck than skill when he managed to drive a dagger into the beast’s heart. Apparently this is where things grew even more interesting. The warrior tells of how the Straight-Back stumbled away from him and fell to it’s knees, raised it’s hands toward the sky and bellowed some words he did not understand, but with such visceral emotion that he will never forget them. “Nauhk-BEE-raav MOH-ah-vis.” As these words were spoken the Mordok fell to the ground and it’s body began to immediately rot and decay.

The following days along the shield were quiet as everyone waited to hear word from the various scouts and hunters that had been sent north to verify the rout. Eventually reports did begin to trickle in that the Mordok as a whole have indeed been pushed back and routed; The Shield has been defended with blood and sweat, but it has been defended.

 

The Outcome of Aylin’s Reach

Expansion brings many new needs to a territory. Infrastructure must be constructed to bring the new areas into cohesion with their new leadership. Roads must be built, trading posts must be erected, and through all of this supplies will need to be purchased and transported. 

As people begin to settle into the new normal in the regions that once belonged to Clan Squallborn eyes begin to shift focus onto the opportunities that arise from the increased needs and growth of the economic powerhouse of Aylin’s Reach. As warriors march north to defend The Shield of Mardrun, merchants and other economically minded individuals descend upon Aylin’s Reach to sell their wares and promises. The streets bustle with activity as people buzz from place to place, their efforts galvanized by word that Aylin will have representatives meeting with merchants and builders to secure contracts. This is not only a money making opportunity for many of these people. Many have come to build strong business ties in the area to make further contracts down the road easier to obtain.

It seems as well that the people of Squallborn that integrated with Clan Stormjarl have been coming along quite nicely. The alliance between Aldoria and Stormjarl has surely helped to move things along smoothly as they continue to pour resources into the area.

Through the month many groups and individuals of note travel to the area, schmooze with the locals, and return home with signed contracts for continued service. It seems that Aylin is indeed putting forth a strong effort to bring the entirety of the area up to his royal standards. Aylin’s Reach seems to be continuing its efforts to act as an alternative home for the colonists on Mardrun seeking to move out of City-State lands.

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