Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Dark Elves defeated at Sudhafen

In 102PC Emperor Heinrich, who had ascended the throne promising to expand and secure the Empire's borders, proclaimed the nation's newest city, the port of Sudhafen, to a joyful people. The proximity of the city to the Dark Elf Dominion however meant that immigration was far lower and the city struggled to thrive with the constant threat of Dark Elf Raiders.

Heinrich responded by sending an army to Sudhafen, totalling nearly ten thousand armed men. The raids stopped for a time, but such an armed force in Armaethor was a threat and an afront to the Dark Elf Dominion, and war was always going to be the result.

In 103PC Lord Seragond of Har Ganeth sent an army to Sudhafen, but Grand Master Halsdorf's spies picked up their movement, and the army of the Empire intercepted the dark elf host in Armaethor to the south of the Empire city.

The battle was incredibly bloody, even for its time, with less than half the soldiers on both sides surviving. On the Empire right flank the battle centred over an important ford in a shallow river, where the Empire Greatswords broke and destroyed the Dark Elf corsairs. On the left flank the elite infantry of Seragond's host, the black guard, were annihilated first by concentrated magic, then by a decisive charge by Halsdorf's cavalry, timed to perfection while the Dark Elves were still reeling from the magical onslaught.

In the Empire centre the army of men suffered. A monstrous Hydra destroyed the majority of the swordsmen and their detatchments, while the Empire handgunners, crossbowmen and artillery were all annihilated by ravenous bloodthirsty harpies.

At the end of the battle however the dark elves had lost. Leaderless and with only their cold one knights intact, they fled from the much weakened but still intact Empire lines. The battered remnants of the army returned to Sudhafen to a hero's welcome and Heinrich travelled south for to congratulate and reward the Templar Knight.

The Dark Elves left Armaethor, at least for the time being, but remained a potent threat in the south, occupying Arvin Isle and east Canaur in the Dinethinan Valley, fashioning it "New Naggaroth". Attempting to protect the Empire and concentrate on growth and expansion, in his later years Emperor Heinrich began making overtures to the Dark Elf Dominion about making a peaceful settlement. To his surprise the lords of the Dominion were not unreceptive.

Sigmarheim and New Har Ganeth exchanged diplomats, although Lamentation remained unresponsive. In 107PC, while the Dark Elves fought their kin in Aranur they realised a treaty, at least for now, would not be without its advantages and so talks began. At first there was little progress, but gradually the negotiators began to reach understandings on sphere's of influence and free travel out of Sudhafen. The Empire even managed to get the Dominion to agree never to make slaves of men of the Sigmarite Empire, and for a while in 110PC it looked like a peace deal was on the table.

Not everyone in the Holy Sigmarite Empire condoned the Emperor's actions, especially Grand Theogenist Englebert "the outspoken". Again and again he criticised the Emperor in public, and very nearly accused Heinrich of blasphemy. This in turn almost led to Englebert being arrested for treason, but his popularity in the north caused Heinrich to hesitate. By 109PC Sigmarheim was a seething cauldron of unrest with factions for and against the monarch and his argument with the church.

Englebert was powerless to stop Heinrich however, and a significant proportion of the populace favoured peace. After all the notions of good and evil did not really apply to elves, why should the men of the Empire have cause to hate the Dominion, whatever they did and whatever they worshipped? Such an attitude was becoming prevalent, and in 110PC Englebert made a bold move to prevent the peace with the Dark Elves, writing in person to the High Elves of Mellvellon.

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