Sunday, 31 October 2010

Campaign of Sigismund (119-122PC)

In 114PC Emperor Konrad I took the reigns of power in the Holy Sigmarite Empire, and the sixteen year old ruler was highly influenced by the Grand Theogenist, Englebert, who became his chief advisor and almost like a second father to the most powerful man in the realm.

For six years the Empire prospered peacefully, but by 120PC the growing threat of raiders from the north led Konrad, under the watchful eye of Englebert, to organise a great crusade against the Chaos raiders, warriors from the Kaalroen Empire and marauding hordes of beastmen from the far northern Domain of Ug, who were both pillaging the plains of Pellenar, an area the Empire wanted to expand into. Sparsely populated, Pellenar had little in the way of resources, but expansion east was a key policy of the Empire in the 2nd Century PC.

The campaign of Sigismund, as it became known for the general who led the army on behalf of the young emperor, lasted two years and was a great success. In spring of 120PC the grand army of the Empire finally tracked down the largest Kaalroen force in Pellanar and defeated it soundly in the Battle of the Upper Canaur.

The battle, which only saw Sigismund commit just over a third of his whole force, was a one sided massacre, dominated by accurate artillery fire and devastating spells from the armies Death wizard. While Sigismund’s army turned up en masse, the Kaalroens arrived peacemeal and never stood a chance. It was the first victory for the Empire over Chaos and ensured Empire hegemony over Pellenar, if Sigismund could defeat the beastmen in the hills to the north.

The following year the “Battle of the Beasts” put an end to the beastmen raids of Pellenar of the early 2nd century PC. After marching his army right up to the Mallvass mountains, Sigismund faces a mighty horde of beastmen in late 121PC. The Templar Grand Master drew up his battle line and allowed the beastmen to attack. They did this with fury, attacking all parts of the Empire line simultaneously, denying the Empire force room to manoeuvre.

The Sigmarites however, imbued with faith in their general and showing incredible stubbornness did not break with the initial charge of the beast horde. Gradually, and thanks to not a little luck, the beastmen faltered, then broke, and Sigismund personally led the charge which routed the beast lord’s elite infantry.

The battle was also notable for the escapades of the fire wizard, Hans Shenklemann. The wizard somehow managed to evade the crazed attacks of a razorgor, survive the catastrophic effects of a devastating miscast and then flee successfully from an enraged beastman battle standard bearer. From then on the phrase “Lucky Hans” became common in the Empire, denoting a miraculous escape from certain defeat and destruction.

Upon his return the Empire rejoiced at the successful crusade and Konrad was hailed Konrad the Protector. The influence and power of the Empire in Palurin rose to its highest, and the Sigmarite realm of men expanded, its population reaching over 700,000.

The period of Sigismund’s campaign also saw the founding of Weissbruck, in the north of the Empire, and the establishment of official divisions of the Empire, ruled by a Graf. Schinderland, the Empire’s most eastern territory at the time, saw the biggest benefit from the crusade, expanding as far as the Great Canaur.

The increasing power of the Empire was noted around the world of Palurin, and in 125PC the Elves of Mellvellon, possibly invited by Englebert, sent envoys to Sigmarheim. On the advice of the Grand Theogenist, who wanted once and for all to put the dealings of Konrad’s father with the Dominion behind him, Konrad accepted the representatives from Dragonspire and a trade agreement, based on caravans travelling the Great Easting Road, was drawn up. Celebrations and a joust marked the event, which the elves apparently found amusing, if barbarous.

The trade agreement flourished until 128PC when Mellvellon questioned the quality of the gold the Empire was offering in exchange for elven goods. It is widely suspected the Dominion substituted good Empire gold for poor quality counterfeit coins, but no proof was ever uncovered. Insulted, the hot headed young Konrad, now thirty years old, impounded all Mellvellon goods en route to the Empire.

Infuriated at this response the dragon lords of Mellvellon sent an army along the Easting road, surprising the Sigmarites. The Elf warhost reached the Canaur in late summer and made camp add the inn of the Twinned Tailed Comet, an important trading post on the route.

Rapidly Konrad sent Sigismund with a new army to the river and after a day of unsuccessful Parley, the “War of the elf pate”, named after the goods impounded at the trading post began, and ended, settled in a single day’s battle on the banks of the Canaur.

Despite bringing a dragon, the elves were thwarted by accurate rocket battery fire and the skill and ferocity of Sigismund’s cavalry and the greatswords of Sigmar. The greatswords slew the dragon and the elf general leading the army, while the elf infantry was worn down in a titanic struggle with Sigismund and his knights. Despite being badly wounded by elf great weapons, Sigismund routed the elf warhost and took the victory.

Following the victory Konrad (again possibly influenced by the ageing Theogenist) sent a mission of peace to Mellvellon. Anxious to restore peace and to maintain the friendship of the powerful Empire of men, the high elves accepted the restoration of trading and the alliance of Konrad. The strategic position of the Empire in relation to the Dominion no doubt influenced the decision of the dragon lords.

With peace restored trade flourished, and at the time of Englebert’s death in late 128PC and in the following years, the town of Niederdam grew up around the trading post and the ruins of Luvallium, an old settlement of Aranur, were found and researched by Empire archaeologists. The investigations were fruitful, and much treasure was discovered, adding to the Holy Sigmarite Empire’s growing prosperity.

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