The Curious Pastime Tales

Here is my tales, My tale of woe, Yet please gather round, As I tell my tale, of The Curious Pastimes.

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6. 1107

1107

Now, we begin in the history of these lands, the year is 1107 and it started with the shocking news that Erin had once more been invaded but this time by foes unknown! The Free Peoples met at Polgooth in Cornwall to discuss this grave matter and to celebrate the spring equinox at the invitation of Lord Godfrey Beaumont, Lord Protector of Albion and High King Morgan of the Fir Cruthen.

During this meeting grave news arrived indicating that two enemy fleets were sailing up the estuary where the Factions were meeting apparently heading for the only two suitable landing points! A swift Council of War was held and it was decided to deal with both threats by dispatching some Factions against each fleet, there were also rumours that the intervention of some of the Gods of Albion would be sought. Whether or not this is true who can tell but what is true is that a thick sea fog descended on one of the landing points and delayed the invaders for some hours.

Fighting against a new and as yet unknown foe the Lions, Vipers and the Mercenaries suffered a terrible defeat not only losing the battle but losing many great heroes and heroines including Lord Godfrey himself and several items of power including the Banner of Albion and the Great Sword of Teutonia. After defeating the Factions, the invaders started to dig in and to fortify a defence line. After taking council once again it was decided to try to drive off the second fleet the next day rather than to try to defeat this strong position. The next day armed with the knowledge of the foe’s tactics etc. The Wolves, Algaia, Jhereg, FirCruthen and Steppe Alliance fared much better driving the enemy back from the beach, however even in this battle there were many times when it looked like the Invaders would triumph or inflict heavy losses on the Free Peoples, at one stage even managing to surround the Algaian host until the Steppe Alliance and the Fir Cruthen managed to break through to relieve them.

With the enemy firmly entrenched it was decided to leave a strongly garrisoned force to try to hold the enemy within Cornwall whilst the leaders of the Free Peoples and their retinues travelled to the Imperial Island of Alexandria to meet with the new Empress Nigousan the widow of the late Emperor Heyami, who it was rumoured had died in unusual circumstances. Rumours also started at this time of attacks on shipping and isolated coastal towns apparently by Greenskin raiders, possibly Tokra. No doubt if it was Imperial forces this would be discovered at Suukou Kaigi, the Supreme Council on Alexandria.

The Factions arrived at Alexandria and were met with great courtesy but also with some conditions the most interesting one of all being the fact that the Imperial forces would allow neither the College of Celestial Magic nor its leader Brother Joseph to leave their ships! All the Factions even those considered to be possible enemies of the Empire of the Golden Throne were met with great courtesy and treated well but unsurprisingly Imperial politics regarding the election of a new Shogun spilled over to involve the Factions and some people were killed at the event by assassins!

This caused much embarrassment to Her Imperial Highness but eventually the culprit a minor aid to Kuge Nakamura was apprehended, confessed to his crimes and committed Seppuku, thus was Imperial justice shown to the Factions. Eventually Gensui Hiroaki was declared as the new Shogun and appointed his apparent ‘rivals’, Gensui Mak and Shoukan Tiichiwina as his advisers along with Kuge Funichi. This turn of events was not to the liking of all of the Imperial Court it is rumoured.

The question of the identity of the Greenskin raiders was apparently settled upon as renegade Tokra who are not Imperial citizens and as such hated by the Imperials possibly as much as by the Factions. Imperial naval aid was promised to seek out these raiders bases and to deal with them. Sadly, the new leader of the Lions of Albion High Inquisitor Martinique fell afoul of the Imperial Court due to the Vampire Lord known as Silver appearing in their camp. This caused much dishonour to fall upon the Lions as the Imperials are known to abhor all undead and were mightily insulted by what they saw as the Lions bringing such foul creatures onto Imperial territory.

More disturbing news followed with the arrival of some of the strange Invaders from Albion/Erin intent on attacking anybody that they met. A small battle ensued in which all the factions fought well and impressed the Imperial Court’s representatives including even the Lions. The Empress Nigousan made a favourable impression on most people who met her and indeed the feeling was that perhaps the recent troubles and misunderstandings between the Factions and the Imperials were the result of Imperial politics as much as anything else. The Empress announced her intention to travel to the upcoming Fayre of Siberia hosted by her allies the Jhereg.

So the Factions travelled to Siberia and the island of Nexis at the invitation of the still mysterious new Lord Jhereg for what promised to be an interesting Fayre with the apparent offer of items of diverse value and power on offer to the winners of the games, some of which promised to be deadly indeed! Travel to the island site itself was dangerous as many strange monsters and beasts roamed the area apparently this was thought of as entertaining and used as a recreational area by some Jhereg! The games seemed to be enjoyed by most people with indeed a deadly slant on certain games such as the Great Hunt etc. Also there were many sideshow type games and other events to involve all comers.

The Imperials sent a delegation that sadly did not include the Empress as it was announced that whilst travelling to the Fayre she had given birth to an heir, a baby girl! Both Shogun Hiroaki and Kuge Nakamura seemed less than comfortable with the news but probably for different reasons! These two Imperial delegates then proceeded to visit various folk and Factions for whatever inscrutable reasons only they know.

Rumours continued at this Fayre regarding the Tokra Raiders along with the bizarre tale that they were being led by the Blood Queen! Frankly this seems preposterous as she had been destroyed by the Factions in 1105, but with many strange things occurring who can say that anything is for certain? During Fayre other strange creatures began to appear apparently motivated by retrieving dead bodies or parts thereof! Despite the appearance of strange creatures and the inevitable dark rumours the Factions set off from Fayre for Renewal in Albion in good heart, ready to deal the Invaders a deadly blow and to recover Cornwall.

During the absence of the Factions the frontline in Cornwall had stabilised along a line between Tintagel on the western coast to the coast of the estuary that separates Cornwall from Wessex. The Invaders had originally pushed past this line and across Bodmin Moor before retreating leaving behind them a desolate no man’s land of burnt crofts, slain people and animals. The Factions camped on the eastern side of the estuary north of the fens of Wessex and south of Vale Fort. From here they could threaten the Invaders at numerous points and hoped to thereby confuse the Invaders about their actual attack points. Lord Martinique and High King Morgan welcomed the Factions and almost immediately war councils were called to try to decide the best way to proceed.

Rumours of the actions of the Tokra Raiders latest attacks continued as did the persistent rumour concerning the alleged return of the Blood Queen. In addition, the Factions camps were being plagued by more and more of the strange creatures first encountered at Fayre, collecting dead bodies and parts of them. What strange reasons compelled these creatures in their bizarre task who can say but strange they certainly are.

Sadly, the Imperial Court sent no representatives nor aid to the Factions at this time, unsurprisingly in the light of events at Suukou Kaigi, but rumours abounded of Greenskins being present around the encampments.
Throughout the last two years’ folk have sought the parts of the Staff of Trask who was the principality of magic. At Renewal in an unprecedented outcome all the pieces were united within the Ritual Circle by Dengezich of the Jhereg the hero who slew the Blood Queen. This resulted in Dengezich becoming the new Principality of Magic and thus balance was restored even if it was late in the day according to some.

Many plans were mooted but in the end it was decided to launch an attack over the estuary towards Cerne Abbas and Bath to cut off the Invaders northern frontline from any reinforcements and then to push northwards to deal with the enemy’s army that was holding this defence line. Issa of the Eored from the Steppe Alliance was nominated as the battlefield commander for the assault towards Cerne Abbas and Bath and he led the Lions, Steppe Alliance, Fir Cruthen and the Vipers out to do battle with the Invaders.

All went well in the initial stages of the battle as the enemy was pushed back by the combined might of the Factions but upon reaching Cerne Abbas the Lions in particular suffered heavy casualties as it appeared that the Invaders had somehow warped the ancient symbol of the Cerne Abbas Man to their own sinister purposes and many magical effects afflicted the Factions. However, the Factions pushed on from there and succeeded in routing the enemy and driving them back into a forested area around Bath.

Sadly, at this juncture the enemy proved to be too strong for the Factions as their resistance and fighting prowess seemed to improve once in woodland. Despite many heroic attempts to drive the enemy back further eventually the Factions had to conduct a fighting retreat from the woodland, losing many brave souls but saving many more who would surely have been lost if they had continued to try to advance. Nevertheless, the Factions had succeeded in establishing a large beachhead and containing the enemy around Bath so it was tactically not a defeat and indeed the power of the enemy in that area was spent as an offensive force.

The next day the forces of the Wolves, Algaia, Jhereg and the Mercenaries set out to push northwards and defeat the enemy’s northern forces under the command of Bothvar, Lord Wolf. Again all went well in the initial stages but once again when the enemy had been pushed back into the area of the Morgaine Forest their resistance seemed to stiffen and their fighting ability seemed much improved. Many fell that day under those ancient trees but also many of the enemy were slain as slowly but surely the enemy was pushed back. The Factions however lost not just valiant warriors but also some ancient Faction Talismans such as the Algaian Staff of the Goddess, indeed the enemy seemed in this and other battles to delight in taking such prizes.

Finally, and despite the enemy throwing in some of their leaders which experience of them so far indicates they only do as a last resort, the Factions pushed the enemy back into a clearing that contained apparently magical stones of a triangular shape. These Stones mimicked magical effects until some banners behind them were taken at which point the remnants of the enemy routed from the field. These Stones were taken by some Factions and what will be discovered about them and their powers remains to be seen. In a tense meeting after the battle some Factions wished to station large forces in Cornwall to ensure that the enemy could not return in their absence. Lord Martinique agreed that sufficient forces should be left in Cornwall but only until the Factions could launch an assault to retake Erin.

Despite the grievous losses in brave heroes and heroines along with the loss of some items dear to certain Factions Renewal 1107 was a successful one in terms of the war against the Invaders as with the defeat of one of their field armies and the containment of the other reports soon began to emerge of their abandonment of Cornwall! In addition, of course the balance between the principalities was restored also by Dengezich’s sacrifice.
As winter approached and more of Cornwall was retaken a pattern began to emerge of the Invaders policies in taken lands. The indigenous people were slaughtered and all land and livestock taken over by the Invaders and their families, it would appear that they came to settle not just to slay. Many scenes of atrocities were discovered from the few month long occupation of Cornwall, no one is sure what awaits in Erin after a year of occupation by these strange, fierce alien invaders? With such an intriguing year that was 1107, we could only wonder what 1108 had instore for us all.
 

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