Sunday, 5 December 2010

Holy Sigmarite Empire 195-210PC

By the end of the 2nd century PC Emperor Heinrich II had reached 60 and his son, Heinrich had finally produced a male heir. Prince Karl was born in 199 to the great relief of the Alptraum dynasty, although Princess Magda died soon afterward from complications. Never-the-less the line had been assured and the realm strengthened as those who sought power for themselves slunk into the shadows.

The period was also known for the easy going nature of the church. the Grand Theogenist Wolfgang keeping well out of political affairs and tending to the spiritual well being of the nation. As the 3rd century began, with the Dark Elf Dominion seemingly no threat to the HSE, the Empire enjoyed a period of extended peace.

The peace came to an end at the battle of Crockett's peak in 204. The Dwarfs had by this time reached the north of their peninsular home and were expanding along the mountain chain, digging tunnels, mines and strongholds in the rock. In 203 the dwarfs reached Canaur, well east of the Dominion, but an area of land the Holy Sigmarite Empire laid claim to. While negotiations were carried out in Sigmarheim between the Imperial court and dwarf diplomats (whose tempers were growing ever shorter), Heinrich sent an army east. Marching to the the north of New Naggaroth the Empire army faced a dwarf force in the mountains near the high and craggy rock known as Crockett's peak.

Despite the fact that negotiations were continuing, the two armies engaged in battle anyway. Neither side thought a resolution between the two sides would ever appear peacefully, as the dwarfs, baffled by the Sigmarite obstinacy, were already expanding into the area. The fact the HSE claimed the land was null and void.

The battle itself was hard fought, with dwarven artillery winning the duel and devastating the Imperial infantry. By contrast the Imperial rocket batteries were woefully inaccurate, on two occasions landing their payload amidst their own troops. The battle was eventually settled by a grinding infantry slugging match between the Empire greatswords and the elite dwarf units. The greatswords, thinned out by artillery, were no match for the dwarf host and were eventually ground down and wiped out. With the elite infantry gone the centre of the Empire line broke and the battle was lost, though there was enough time for the army's death wizard to gain petty revenge with a well timed spell.

The Empire cavalry faired better, breaking much of the dwarf right flank, but the combined fire of crossbows, cannon, organ gun and grudge throwers took their toll, and barely any of the empire elite troops survived the battle. The dwarf ambassador in Sigmarheim received the news before the messenger for the Empire had managed to reach the city walls, and he took great pleasure in informing the Emperor in person. Initially angry, once the confirmation had been received Heinrich realised to argue the point was futile. Dreams of settling the entire Canaur basin had to be abandoned, and he needed the dwarfs as allies. With one stroke of a quill Heinrich gave up all claim to the region, recognising Dwarf suzerainty. In the same week a trade and alliance agreement was drawn up, though significantly the wording made no mention of events at sea...

Despite its relatively small size, the navy of the Holy Sigmar Empire saw more battles as Emperor Heinrich II increased funding to the ports of Sudhafen and Galamory. Shipwrights were working on new designs, but these would not be ready for years. In 208 an expeditionary fleet was dispatched to investigate the Cullass Isles to the east. The battleship Heinrich's Glory was sent as protection, which was needed as the area of seas was claimed by the Dwarven empire.

Hope that the Dwarfs would let the Imperial fleet pass following years of peace were dashed as the armoured ships moved to engage. Both fleets took a hard pounding and though Heinrich's Glory was lost with all hands, the Empire managed to capture a number of Dwarf cruisers and return them to Sudhafen. The Cullass Isles could wait, the shipwrights began deconstructing the Dwarven ships to see what technology they could use for themselves.

The existing fleet was hastily pressed into service later in the year as Lizardmen ships were sighted near the coast. Admiral Otto Fischgeliebter believed, following previous form against the same opponent, that the lizards would be easily destroyed. He paid a harsh price for his overconfidence as the lizards, with the wind behind them, closed quickly and swarmed over the Imperial fleet. Fischgeliebter himself was hacked apart by boarding saurus warriors.

The Imperial fleet suffered its worse defeat for many years and Imperial tacticians were worried about the intention of the attackers, but the Lizardmen ships were reported to have turned around and returned to their territory. Scholars believe the raid no more than a petty revenge attack - raising worrying thoughts about the demeanor of the Lizardmen empire.

In 209PC Heinrich II celebrated 35 years on the throne and his 70th birthday. By 210 he was dead. His son, Heinrich III was crowned in the summer of the year.

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