Sunday, 26 September 2010

Of Aranur, it’s fall, and the founding of Aquila

An age before the arrival of off-worlders to Palurin a mighty empire spanned much of the world. The power and influence of Aranur reached the four corners of the globe, with hundreds of colonies and vassal states subject to the rule of the Senate of Aranur. Peace and prosperity reigned for many years, trade within the empire flourished, and order was maintained by the rule of law much more than it was by the sword.

Yet even so mighty an empire is not safe from its enemies within. Political unrest and unfettered ambition would tear the Aranur asunder. When the off-worlders come in force to Palurin they find a seemingly virgin land. The devastation of a savage and far-reaching civil war left little but isolated ruins, with almost all traces of Aranur lost. Now only Aquila remains...

-90BD Gaius Aquilus Tyrannus marries Drusilla Junus, daughter of the nobleman Consul Decimus Raeltonius.

House Tyrannus vies against the other noble houses of Aranur for power in the Senate. Marriages and pacts serve to align the Tyrannii to the other noble houses.

-74BD Aquilus Tyrannus elected Pro-Consul when electoral rivals (Decimus Raeltonius the most notable) are found dead, all under varying yet suspicious circumstances.

-69BD Aquilus repeals the ancient anti-slavery laws of Aranur with the support of senators loyal to him. The move is met with consternation by many and outraged plebeians riot in the streets.

-66BD House Tyrannus accused of murders of Senators Catannus and Metallus – two of the most outspoken opponents of Aquilus. Scandal and suspicion grips the noble houses of Aranur.

Rumours abound that House Tyrannus is a nest of occult worshippers and practitioners of dark sorceries.

-65BD The Eve of Blood. After Aquilus calls an emergency meeting of the Senate, members of House Tyrannus openly murder scores of unarmed Senators in the Assembly House. Surviving Senators and nobles flee the city.

The self-titled “True Senate” forms in exile in the Aranurian provinces, led by Titus Raeltonius, son of murdered Consul Decimus Raeltonius. They declare Gaius Aquilus Tyrannus an enemy of the state.

Aquilus declares himself Dictator and Custodian of Aranur.

-64BD Civil war fractures the empire of Aranur. Many provinces and vassal states are laid waste by war. The noble houses of Aranur on both sides of the conflict are decimated by the long years of war.

-61BD Battle of River Raynaan. Senator Longinus and his legions defect to ally themselves to the True Senate. In a swift surprise attack Longinus defeats and kills his brother-in-law Lupus Tyrannus, brother of Aquilus, and routs his army. Aquilus’ nephew Septimus Tyrannus is also killed.

-60BD Mistrustful after the betrayal of Longinus, Aquilus purges the army command and disbands the remaining legions. He raises legions of undead soldiers to march beneath the banners of House Tyrannus. The taint of necromancy in House Tyrannus is clear for all to see.

-59BD Battle of Branmeren Hills. Armies loyal to the True Senate clash with the undead legions in the thrall of House Tyrannus. Aquilus Tyrannus is killed in battle by True Senator Ogrissius.

In Aranur, Aquilus surviving son Lucius Dominus Tyrannus is declared Dictator and Custodian. He vows vengeance upon the “rebels”.

-57BD The Scouring of Palurin. Dominus pursues a scorched earth policy throughout the provinces of Aranur. Aided by his most powerful allies Dominus invokes a terrible rite of death that spreads a withering plague far and wide. The Empire is wracked by the ensuing famine. The armies of the True Senate starve while the undead legions of the Tyrannii remain unaffected. Indeed, they are bolstered by the catastrophic rising death toll.

-55BD The True Senate gather their armies and march on Aranur itself in an attempt to lay siege to the ancient city The armies of True Senator Corvus are intercepted en route and defeated. Senator Corvus is slain. Stragglers and survivors who escape the battle tell of terrible monsters fighting under the command of Dominus.

-53BD Battle of River Tiban. The combined armies of True Senator Raeltonius and True Senator Loydianus are defeated by newly-raised legions under the command of Dominus Tyrannus. By use of foul sorceries Dominus transforms himself into a horrific beast (earning him the moniker “Draconis”), whereupon he slaughters his enemies with abandon. The battle sees the destruction of the remaining Senatorial legions and brings the war to an end.

Dominus returns to Aranur in triumph. He is named Imperator. Nobles loyal to House Tyrannus form the New Senate, headed by Dominus as Dictator. The empire of Aranur, however, lies in ruin.

-52BD Dominus Draconis puts a proposal before the new Senate; the city of Aranur is to be renamed “Aquila” in honour of the fallen patriarch of House Tyrannus. The vote is unanimously in favour.

Aquilus is deified, along with other fallen family members and loyal supporters who died in the war. Statues of the old gods are torn down and replaced with the likenesses of the “heroes of Aquila”.

-50BD Dominus marries his cousin Cornelia Raeltonius, daughter of Titus, Granddaughter of Decimus, last surviving member of that noble house. He marries his sister Aquilina to Senator Quintus Vespix and thus secures House Tyrannus’ hegemony over the aristocracy of Aquila.

18PC The Skaven Infestation of Palurin sees the verminous tide sweep over the lands of Aquila. Dominus meets them in battle but is slain and his armies totally destroyed.

19PC Dominus’ son Claudius embarks on a campaign of conquest in the north, seeking to emulate the glorious conquests of his forebears.

24PC Claudius’ campaign meets with disaster as his legions are beset by Chaos raiders in the Cenebrae lowlands. Claudius never returns to Aquila. His cousin Glavius becomes Dictator of Aquila.

26PC-Present Glavius and his supproters have ruled Aquila for more than a century. Named Glavius the Decadent by his detractors, the Senate lapses into political lethargy. The ruling elite are weary of war (many of whom were lucky to survive the upheaval caused by the Skaven invasion). As waves of new foreign armies wash over Palurin, the ruling aristocrats sit by and indulge in idle pleasures and blood-soaked feeding orgies. Aquila's power and influence wanes.

Chaos expansion checked

After the failed attempt to expand the empire northward in 47PC, Tragean resolved to rectify the situation by conquering the territories to the south of Phallacia. Skirting around the ruins of an old city, the warhost of chaos travelled south into the land of Arnar, coming ever closer to the forests and the Wood Elf realm in the quiet glade. This was something the wood elf lords could not tolerate.

In 50PC a major battle was fought under the eaves of the great woodland which sweeps from the moors of mourn to the bay of Cullbain in the far north east. Tragean’s luck, or the will of the gods, was not with his army on that day, as the wood elves overcame his armies with comparative ease, as the Kaalroens discipline and equipment betrayed them. Despite the frustration of the Lord of Hovedstaden, the armies of Hjemland were defeated and the Kaalroen Empire’s expansion checked. The wood elves returned to their lands, tending the trees, while the wrath of Tragean saw many of his generals executed for incompetence in long and terrible ways.

New Arrivals

In 35PC the world of Palurin first became aware of a new threat to the free peoples of the lands, when Dark Elf corsairs were sighted for the first time by the principle nations of Canaur and Cullinor. Otto II was informed by his scouts that they had seen the raiders roving the lands of Armaethor to the south, and that pioneers setting out in that direction had not been seen or heard from in many weeks.

The Lizar
dmen Empire in Cullinor had better information. They knew that the Dark Elves had arrived some years before and had already set up the beginnings of kingdom on the Isle of Arvin, east of Armaethor, separated by the straits of Angfang. Realising this new power posed a real threat to their own interests, and those of Palurin in general, The great Slaan sent an army south in 35PC.

Once again the Ogre mercenaries of Graag were thrown into the fray and came upon a host of raiding corsairs in the scrublands of Armaethor. After scattering these forces the Ogre forces soon realised a much larger force of Dark Elves had crossed the straits and already controlled much of the land. In late 35PC a mighty battle occurred near the Dark Elf landing grounds and the strength of the Ogre forces broke the Dark Elf host and forced them from the land.

The first Dark elf war, as it later became known, saw further raids by Dark Elf forces and the Lizardmen were forced to keep large standing army in that land to prevent their enemy from moving north. After several smaller inconclu
sive battles in early 44PC, the war came to a climax that summer, when the two nations pitted their entire strength against each other in a titanic struggle for the future of Armaethor.

The battle was close fought, with both sides suffering dreadful losses, but the will of the Dark Elves to dominate Armaethor prevailed, and the Slaan’s armies were cast down before them. The Lizardmen, receiving news of a beastman outbreak far to the north grudgingly accepted that they could not overthrow the Dark Elves for now, and withdrew their forces, leaving the southern parts of Canaur and Cullinor at the mercy of Dark Elf dominion.

Further north, far from the reptilian kingdom itself, another threat loomed large. Tales of forests full of beasts which walked like mea
n abounded between 40 and 46PC, before the mighty warhost of Ug, united by his power, marched south out of the dark woods of the north.

The beastmen horde, numbering countless thousands fell upon the tribes of men of Canabrin, and many turned to the Kaalroen Empire to halt the tide. Tragean, beset by enemies to the north and south, but seeing that the defeat of Ug’s beastmen would secure the dominion of Chaos over all of Canabrin, sent an army north in 47PC, and on the plains to the south of the forest the army of Phallacia met Ug’s army face to face.

The battle of the plains was a brutal affair, with the Chaos warriors inflicting enormous casualties on Ug’s beastmen hordes, but the power of the warlord himself was undeniable, and he smashed apart the Phallacian armies, the defeat leaving a bitter taste in Tragaen’s mouth and thwarting his northward expansion plans, at least for a while.

Ug’s dominion continued to grow, and refugees from Canabrin fled south and west, forced over the mountains by the Kaalroens, who now had no interest in defending the nomadic tribes to the north of their realm. Eventually the Ogres of Graag decided to intervene when Ug’s army reached great dividing mountains, but even the might of the Ogre army could not stop Ug, who scythed through their ranks wreaking utter destruction.

The Ogres fled from Canabrin and by 60PC the beastmen dominion had grown to cover much of the forests of the north under a shadow of fear.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Gottlieb’s Crusade

In 40PC Arch Lector Gottlieb I announced that he had received a prophetic vision from Sigmar. In the dream he claimed to have seen a twin-tailed comet crashing into a tall mountain, far to the south of Sigmarheim. The mountain then erupted, smoke and ash rising to form a rune of evil origins.

Seeing this as a sign to reach the mountain Gottlieb petitioned Emperor Otto II to allow him resources and men to travel south and destroy the evil that lurked in the ashen peaks. Otto, glad to be rid of the troublesome religious influence in the Empire, was eager to send the priest on his way, though he was loathe to provide Gottlieb with any troops from his own standing army.

A force of several thousand was led south by Gottlieb, on an arduous journey that took over year. Despite small skirmishes against wild beastmen and goblins the crusade reached Boiling Peak and Gottlieb identified it as the mountain from his vision.

In a narrow valley the crusade was attacked by a large force of Skaven, the evil that lay at the heart of Boiling Peak. In a fierce battle both forces struggled to manoeuvre their infantry around giant blocks of basalt and dangerous vents of scolding gas. Still pre-prepared artillery positions made good use of the cramped terrain to destroy the blocks of Skaven infantry.

Spurred on by the fiery rhetoric of the warrior priests leading the crusade, knights from the Order of the Flaming Brand crashed through the centre of the enemy lines, smashing Skaven constructs and scattering rat-men. Meanwhile crazed flaggellants crashed through the rats and Gottlieb called upon the power of Sigmar to protect his army from dark magics.

The Skaven were all but destroyed by the crusade's assault, though the crusade had suffered heavy casualties itself. Still Gottlieb was satisfied with doing Sigmar's work. After placing warning runes around the Boiling Peak he ordered the crusade home. Barely 1 in 10 of the original crusade made it back to Sigmarheim but Gottlieb Rat-Slayer was rightly hailed and the power of the church had never been stronger.

To celebrate the victory Gottlieb I was permitted to expand the first church of Sigmar, building a new east wing and renaming the building the Cathedral of Sigmar in 44PC. By 45PC the population of the Empire had risen to 500,000 and the Nimarn valley settled ever further south, with the region of Kirchen tamed from the wild for the first time.

Something Rotten on Basslaer Island

During 29PC the wood elves of the Quiet Glade received ominous portents regarding the isle of Basslaer far to the west of their domain. For many weeks the elf lords pondered their response as it became clear that a daemonic portal was beginning to open in the far west. With no other learned races to turn to and the Lizardmen of Cullinor unwilling to help, the wood elves resolved to send an army west under Lord Ralain in 30PC.

After a long and secretive journey across the mountains, through Canaur and to the south of Cullinor, Ralain and his warhost reached the Isle of Basslaer. What they found was even worse than the rumours and shadows of their dreams. A mighty host of daemons had already materialised on the island, and their shambolic ranks formed up infront of the elven army. Ralain formed up his troops to do battle, alone against the forces of Chaos. the battle of Basslaer had begun.

According to official wood elf history the ageing lord Ralain, seeing that the battle was lost, sacrificed himself to allow his army to escape the Island. Other scholars have suggested that the wood elf lord arrogantly challenged the leader of the daemonic host, a mighty Bloodthirster, to single combat believing he could slay the beast. Either way Lord Ralain was unceremoniously squashed by the towering creature and the wood elves fled.

Expansion of the Kaalroen Empire

From 25-50 PC the central plains of Palurin west of the Branmeren hills saw the ever increasing might of the Kaalroen Empire, a conglomeration of northern ment worshipping forbidden Gods. Central to this Empire was Hovedstaden and the realms of Skraeland and Hjemland which was fully conquered by 40PC. New tribes were added and a second city founded further south on the lower Cenebrae river.

In 24PC the Kaalroen had received a major boost to its power after a major battle between the tribes of the lower Cenebrae and the Aquilan Empire. The Aquilans were looking to dominate the land as far north as the Cenebrae and the tribes of men who lived there turned to Hovedstaden for help. The result was an overwhelming victory on the field of battle which thwarted the Aquilan's plans for expansion northward for more than a decade. The victory also ensured the fealty of the southern tribes to the lord of Hovedstaden, Tragean.

The capricious and apparently immortal leader of the Chaos realm in 40PC now held sway over a vast territory and began to extend its influence east towards the sea. By 30PC the High Elves had landed on the Island of Mellvellon in the far east of Palurin. having been blown off course in time by the strange Palurin portals, despite having departed long before some of the other now established Empires.

Upon arrival in Palurin the High Elves established a kingdom on Mellvellon, and their power grew in the first decade of the new realm and their first victory in battle came in 23PC. An ogre army loyal to the Lizardmen of Cullinor was defeated after the Lizardmen took objection to a high elf sea expedition which arrogantly informed the lizardmen of their obligation to adhere to the High Elf plans for Palurin. The Lizardmen had no intention to be subjects of the elves and a brief period of hostility was ended by the battle of the tower, when the Ogre mercenaries were sent to dislodge the high elf expeditionary force from the west.

The Ogres failed, but without sufficient force to maintain their colonial presence the high elves returned to Mellvellon, patching up relations with the lizardmen and beginning their watch over the mouth of the Cenebrae. In 36PC those High Elves who desired open war with the Chaos kingdom of Kaalroen finally got their way but a disasterous expedition to Hjemland which saw the loss of over 2000 high elf warriors severely reduced their influence over the rulers of Mellvellon.

Meanwhile the Kaalroen Empire continued to prosper, its war economy benefitting from the continual small battles and wars with tribes on its borders, and watched with considerable growing alarm by its neighbours, even as far as Sigmarheim in east Canaur.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The War of Sigmar's Succession

By 24PC Emperor Otto of the Holy Sigmarite Empire was becoming increasingly unwell. After reigning for 24 years the Emperor was now 56 years old and suffering from gout. Otto had two sons, Otto and Karl, aged 23 and 20, both born after the Empire was founded and having no ties to their old world. Otto, the older of the two boys stood to inherit the title when his father died, but a new force in Empire politics almost succeeded in thwarting that succession.

Karl, being no royal heir, was educated in the ways of religion by the sigmarite priest Ulfius, who, in 19PC had founded the independent church of Sigmar in Palurin, taking on the title of Grand Theogonist. This initially provoked some outraeg, but Ulfius's supporters succeeded in quashing most objections and Emperor Otto granted approval, if grudgingly, to the church in 21PC.

The church's influence was strongest in the north, particularly Sigmarheim, while the south was decidedly less pious. Sick of the endless puritan sigmarite litanies at home, in 22PC Otto moved his court to Hellveg in the Nimarn Valley, clearly signalling that the church was tolerated rather than supported.

Ulfius (now Ulfius the 1st) wanted more than mere tolerance to religious belief. He wasnted a devote state where the church's teachings not only influenced law, but were law. These thoughts of a holy theocracy with church and emperor standing side by side for the good of the people, acting as one, Ulfius passed on to Karl Alptraum, Emperor Otto's 2nd son.

When the old Emperor died suddenly in 24PC Ulfius moved swiftly to take control of the nation through his puppet Karl. Declaring Otto II a heretic of little faith, Ulfius declared that Karl should rightly succeed his father and ascend to the throne of the Empire. Civil war was now inevitable.

Ulfius managed to raise a large army of mostly peasants and fanatical sigmarites to his banner, as well as one or two of the more devout knightly orders. Otto II meanwhile retained control of much of the Empire's standing army. For months only skirmishes occurred until finally in late summer 24PC the two main armies clashed on the banks of the Nimarn in the Battle of the Marshes.

Ulfius tried to ambush Otto's more professional army by creeping across the Nimarn through a swamp. The two armies had been shadowing each other for days prior to the battle but Otto would not give battle on ground not to his liking. Frustrated, Ulfius sent across his army in the early morning mist, and as the sun rose battle began.

Early on in the battle misfortune struck the sigmarite army. Karl, present riding a pegasus as an inspiration to the men, was struck by two chance arrows and killed. As word of this passed through the sigmarite ranks the enraged army began to surge forward. Hampered by the swamp the infantry didn't get very far, but the elite cavalry broke ranks and ran headlong into the Alptraum army's elite greatswords. Alarmed by this lone charge Ulfius tried to lend his support, but his mighty war altar was at that moment pinned in place by a counter charge by Otto's elite cavalry, led by his trusted Templar Grand Master Gerd Von Arnheim.

Without support the sigmarite cavalry was annihilated, while Ulfius looked on. On the sigmarite left flank meanwhile a late arriving unit of cavalry began charging through the marshes, causing dismay in the sigmarite lines. In the centre the flagellants had managed to destroy and rout Otto's state troops, but once again the elite greatswords turned to finish the fanatics.

Although Von Arnheim was slain by Ulfius, with his elite cavalry destroyed and his lines in disarray from the flank charge delivered by Otto's cavalry, the first Grand Theogonist of the Holy Sigmarite Empire knew the battle was lost. His army broke and within two days Ulfius submitted himself to Otto II's mercy, recognising him as the true heir to the throne.

Otto spared the priest's life, banishing him from the Empire and, in an attempt to heal the wounds of the war, he returned the court to Sigmarheim and began construction of its cathedral as a sign of the union of church and state.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Skaven Raids 22-24PC

Work on the diabolical machinery and arcane laboratories at Boiling Peak was proceeding well, but in order to complete it Grey Seer Typhus needed to settle a few last details. He needed further knowledge and unholy wisdom, the kind possessed by the followers of the dark gods. He also needed large quantities of warpstone to power his technology and pierce the veil between worlds.

Venturing from his laboratories for the first time in years, Typhus established a standing army commanded by his least untrustworthy lieutenants to keep control of the populous in the underground warrens and also a sizeable fleet to defend the peninsula and speed his expedition across the oceans.

In the north he finally discovered that which he sought. On locating the empire of Lord Treagan Typhus began raiding outlying settlements until one of Traegans warlord's came forth to offer battle. The chaos lackies were of course totally outmatched by Typhus' strategic and tactical brilliance and even his Clan Pestilens allies' despicable attempts to sabotage his plans by unleashing a plague onto the Skaven army failed to hinder his inevitable victory. The Skaven captured much warpstone and slaves from the chaos forces, including a coven of witches and warlocks who would provide the final pieces for Typhus' masterplan!