Saturday, 1 December 2012

Refugees flee the Holy Sigmarite Empire

The fall of Sigmarheim in the spring of 670PC saw an exodus of aristocrats, once loyal to the Alptraum cause, now fleeing to safety in the south where Sudhafen and Galamory stood as the last bastions against the Drazkharov hegemony.

Close links to the Imperial fleet had made it possible to maintain the continued support of the Navy. Though the Drazkharov armies now dominated the land there was still a large and formidable Imperial presence at sea. Lord Larkin and Count von Schaffernacke had kept the ports safe from the rebels. Now they would orchestrate the evacuation of the many noble families who clamoured for passage to the safety of distant Ulrichshafen and the colonies in their attempt to escape the reach of the new masters of the Empire.

However Galamor Bay had been subject to unrelenting blockade by the corsairs of the Dominion for the duration of the war. The Imperial captains would be forced to run the gauntlet of some of the world’s most seasoned pirates.

The Navy determined to weigh the odds in its favour as best they could. With Sudhafen and Galamory now a bristling defence it would be some time before the Drazkharovs could mount an assault against the south. This bought a few valuable months in which the Navy could re-arm and up-gun every vessel at their disposal.

As early autumn mists swept over Galamor Bay the Imperial fleet captains seized their chance. Under the cover of thick morning fog, they slipped from the harbours as a single mighty armada. As one force, the colossal fleet closed on the blockade to punch through the line by sheer force of weight. Indeed, the obscuring fog allowed the Navy to accomplish this task as the Dominion ships were within firing distance before they sighted the approaching armada. The exchange was brief but fierce as Imperial vessels raked the corsairs, who were desperately trying to bring the strength of their many vessels to bear. The swift dominion ships harried the Imperials as they passed through the blockade, but the mighty cannon volleys of the Navy guns broke the line and the majority of the Imperial armada escaped to the open ocean before the full strength of the vast Dominion fleet, strung out in blockade all along the Canaur coastline, could be brought up in response.

The Imperial fleet was not without its losses. A good many went down with their vessels in the desperate escape from the bay, taking many able sailors and doomed refugees with them. But joyful was the arrival at Ulrichshafen when the fleet safely made landfall, delivered (they hoped) from the Drazkharov grasp.

Back in Sudhafen and Galamor, the defiant army defending the independent south waited anxiously for the promised return of the fleet, ready to embark at a moment’s notice to escape west to the safety of the colonies. While Lord Larkin and Count Toumas fervently shared this hope for salvation, both had already privately admitted a terrible truth; should a rescue attempt even make it back across the seas and through the Dominion blockade, it would be unlikely to appear before the arrival Drazkharov army, which messengers reported was now marching south from Sigmarheim. The two generals steeled themselves for what they hoped would not be their final battles.

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