After the momentous events of 1108 and the disturbing news that came out of the Imperial Winter Court the war hosts of the Factions converged on Bad Tolz near to the ancient Black Forest of Teutonia to take stock of the various situations and to prepare against certain possible threats that had arisen that winter at the behest of King Hapsburg of Teutonia.
There were two pressing national problems within the area of Bad Tolz, the first being the main tribe of the area the Auedi. This large tribe was led by their Chieftain Clovis who was demanding independence of his tribe and their lands a situation that had de facto occurred during the recent Viper and Cobra civil war. There was no real historical precedent for this claim and obviously after so many years of the civil war having now finally united Teutonia behind him King Hapsburg was not of a mood to tolerate any further divisions within the nation. The other possibly more ominous problem was the reports that another tribe native to the area the Suebi had turned to Demon worships! Given the free peoples long standing problems with various Demons and their servants these reports would of course need to be investigated closely.
Soon after their arrival at Bad Tolz members of the Imperial Yakuza began to circulate rumours that in Fact Emperor Heyami had not been killed in a hunting accident a few years back at all but was in fact being held by a renegade faction within the Imperial court for unknown purposes! It was shortly after these rumours began to circulate that indeed a storm from the East did broke over the Factions when exhausted runners from the Jhereg and FirCruthen arrived to inform the other Factions that they had been attacked on the way to Bad Tolz by apparently Imperial forces! Both Factions had managed to buy enough time for their baggage trains to start to straggle into Bad Tolz but were themselves now both cut off from the routes to Bad Tolz and in dire need of support. Even as the news was being reported a small party of Imperial troops arrived to inform the war hosts that actually the forces attacking the Jhereg and FirCruthen were rebels under the leadership of his treacherous aide General Tei! Not only had General Tei led a revolt and had declared himself independent of Imperial authority he had promoted himself to the rank of Shogun and had the backing of large parts of the Imperial army of the north. The legitimate Shogun was also engaged against General Tei along with General Mak and was asking for assistance under the terms of the Treaty of Fayre 1103.
Plans were swiftly made and such forces as were readily available were dispatched initially to support the Shoguns forces as they were closest to Bad Tolz with plans to then push onto relieve the Jhereg and FirCruthen. Despite much hard fighting and many worrying moments the forces of the Factions were finally victorious sending General Tei’s forces fleeing from the field and uniting the war hosts once again.
Devastated at General Tie’s betrayal and his own inability to prevent both that and to locate the missing Emperor Heyami, Shogun Gensui Hiroaki decided that his only honourable course of action was to commit Sepukku according to the ancient traditions of his people. Needing both witness’s and a second should his courage fail at the last moment to deliver the mercy blow the Shogun went to the Hei Ravni camp and there with the assistance of Roshi took his own life in atonement for his failures.
Subsequent scouting missions determined that the defeated rebel forces had retreated to their larger main army and that this was moving forward to engage the united Factions, clearly this was war! So plans were made to deal with this threat and it was decided that the combined host of the Wolves, Jhereg FirCruthen and Steppe Alliance should meet this threat whilst the Teutonians, AlGaia and Lions would guard against any attempt by the Auedi or indeed any other parties to take advantage of the situation for their own ends.
Throughout the night the rebel forces could be seen and heard moving closer and at some stage they engaged in some type of magical activity that aggressively targeted the camps, how they did this is as yet unknown but possibly they had outside assistance as nothing like this had ever occurred before during the long years of the Imperial war.
The next day the war hosts set forth in great spirits and swiftly engaged the forward elements of General Tei’s forces gradually forcing them to retreat under their onslaught. Both side fought doggedly and with great bravery but it was soon apparent that the lessons learned at such cost against the Keltoi in the previous years were standing the Factions in good stead and giving them a decide edge against the rebel forces, some of whose moral and dedication to the cause could perhaps have been doubted as is often the case in these situations. However, it was not an easier battle at all and at many times the Factions found themselves hard pressed and in danger of defeat but despite these moments and the deployment at various stages of further long ranges magical attacks gradually the war hosts prevailed. The Factions soon discovered the source of the enemy’s long range attacks when they overran a hitherto unknown ancient Ritual Circle but once this had been wrested from rebel control at least that threat was removed. At some stages the rebel also deployed some magical siege weapons against the Factions but despite some initial success these proved to be difficult to move in a battlefield situation and were swiftly overrun by the war hosts.
Eventually General Tei was cornered with the last remnants of his forces and slain, thus his rebellion had been crushed not by Imperial forces but by the Factions themselves! Surely this would gain them great favour with her Imperial Highness Nigoussan. There was however no sign of Emperor Heyami so more information was sought from the Yakuza and scouting missions to try to establish if indeed he was still alive and if so his whereabouts.
Despite numerous attempts to negotiate a settlement with Clovis and the Auedi no agreement could be reached and so the stage was set to bring yet another set of rebels this time at least native ones to heal. It had also emerged that there was some sort of if not alliance at least an understanding between Clovis and the Construct forces of Von Beck and it was possible that these could also be expected to need to be dealt with, which indeed proved to be the case. As the Auedi were Teutonian rebels it was only fitting the King Hapsburg should lead the forces against them and so the next day the combined war hosts of the Teutonians, AlGaia and Lions set forth to deal with Clovis and his tribe along with anybody or anything else that attempted to interfere.
Despite their undoubted belief in their leader and their cause the Auedi were no real match for the heavily armed war hosts as most of their troops whilst brave individuals were clearly unused to fighting in formations and were less heavily armoured than their foes. This was especially apparent in any combats in open areas but in the confines of the forests these tribal warriors proved to be adept guerrillas and make life difficult for the Factions in these circumstances but slowly but surely the better organisation and armament of the war hosts prevailed until at last Clovis was forced to make his last stand for the freedom of his people. Don’t think to highly of his cause however because it soon became apparent that he and his folk were in alliance with the Constructs as a large force of them hurried to their beleaguered allies aid. It was to no avail however as the Factions swiftly defeated the Auedi and slew Chieftain Clovis and most of his warriors before they could intervene.
Now however the war hosts were faced with yet another foe and one perhaps more deadly than the lightly armed tribesmen that they had recently defeated. This was indeed a much harder fight for the Factions but again gradually their superior numbers and organisation began to tell as they forced the Construct forces backwards. During this phase of the battle some strange devices, mats to be honest were captured from the Construct forces but little could be divined of their use or purpose. Inevitably the enemy was finally defeated so thoroughly that it is believed that their power in this region was probably broken forever and the victorious war hosts returned to their camps full of cheer but bearing many wounds and scars from the days fighting.
In the meantime, information had been obtained to suggest that Emperor Heyami was still alive and being escorted east by some remnants of General Tei’s forces, a group was swiftly organised and despatched to effect a rescue before they could get beyond the Factions reach. Travelling swiftly the rescue party managed to catch up with the rebel party and after a short but sharp engagement managed to defeat them and indeed rescue Heyami from their clutches. The Emperor initially seemed dazed and even unsure of who he was but this soon passed as they journeyed back to Bad Tolz and by their return he was getting back to something like his normal self and promising rewards to his heroic rescuers and dire retributions on those responsible for his abduction once he returned to his lands!
Whilst all of these momentous events had been happening in the background almost forgotten about at times a mysterious individual known only as the Brood Kings and his minions had been working to secure an item known as The Crown against the efforts of the old enemy of the Factions the Swarm. Just before the war hosts decamped for the Stuttgart area he succeeded in his aim and the camps were struck by a powerful magical attack that laid many of the free folk low. Luckily there were enough healers present to ensure that few died from their wounds but it did prove to be a most unwelcome and painful sting in the tail to what had been a run of success for the Factions. But with few leads as to the Brood Kings whereabouts or any solid information on how deal with this new threat if indeed it was actually a threat the Factions decide to continue with their plan to move south to Stuttgart to deal with the Demon worshipping Suebi.
Following up the information gained at Bad Tolz the war hosts moved next against the threat of the Suebi Demon worshippers in area of Stuttgart in the heart of their tribal lands. Safe in the knowledge that after their defeat the remaining forces of the late rebel General Tei posed little threat to the eastern Teutonian border and that the Auedi all their efforts could now be directed to rooting out and dealing with these Demon worshipping tribes.
This area turned out to be a harrowing location filled with many strange creatures and events both new to the Factions and some old adversaries also dogged the free people’s efforts in this area. What became swiftly apparent was that the practice of minor Demon summoning to bind them for minor task was an ancient and widespread practice within the Black Forest region and was not thought of as evil at all by its inhabitants and practitioners. What had happened though was that some Suebi had taken this ancient practice into new and frightening areas recently, summoning ever more powerful Demons as opposed to the normal practice of summoning Imps and that many of these Demons were barely controlled or indeed had broken free and were pursuing their won ends. As if this situation was not enough the Brood King and his minions appeared and attempted to kill several Lord Generals but luckily all these attempt were thwarted by the swift and brave actions of the war hosts, nevertheless the Brood King and his minions continued to be a menace as they roamed the area seemingly impervious to much that the Factions could muster against them slaying any poor individuals who were unlucky enough to cross their path.
Despite this added and unwelcome distraction enough progress was made with the Suebi to ensure that the area was once again relatively peaceful and Demon free before the Factions set forth for Albion and the Scarborough Fayre.
After the frantic events in the Black Forest area of Teutonia the Factions set sail for Albion and looked forward to a hopefully relaxing at least relatively speaking Fayre near Marshall’s keep.
As was expected the Lions hosted a marvellous Fayre with many interesting and fun games such as ‘Whack the Rat’ amongst others but the highlight for many was the Bear Baiting especially when the Bear managed break loose from its handlers and turn on its tormentors! Indeed, may folk felt sorry for the Bear and calls were often heard for it to be released but sadly these were not heeded. The Lions had constructed a special tourney area where many could see the major contests run and most folk agreed that they had set up an excellent Fayre and that their grasp of fair play was certainly acceptable at the least.
The Lions were excellent hosts and had obviously put a lot of thought and effort into the organisation of the Fayre and most agree that it was an excellent event away from the trials and tribulations of the Men Po revolt and Demon worshipping cults etc. Sadly, nowhere in this world it would seem is immune to its troubles and travails but thankfully nothing major threatened the free folk at this event beyond existing cultural enemies and individual faction problems however even these were enough to ensure that despite it being a Fayre there was more than enough reason for folk to tread with wary feet at some stages.
And so it was that most of the combined Factions war hosts set sail back to Teutonia in the late summer of 1109 in good cheer and ready to face whatever new perils awaited them in that distant land.
With the news that another group of invaders presumably akin to both the Keltoi and the Amgeara had appeared near the Great Circle in the Black Forest region of Teutonia the combined war hosts faced another potential enemy alongside both the Constructs and the Demon worshipper’s native to that area. Clearly if the invaders were similar to the Keltoi and the Amgeara then it was likely that their ultimate goal was the Great Circle with all the power that would then come into their hands who knows what would happen, obviously this could not be allowed to happen especially with the need to continue the Ritual of Renewal also weighing on people’s minds. And so it was in good cheer after their happy sojourn in Albion but with a sense of foreboding that the free peoples set sail for Teutonia in the summer of 1109.
Upon arrival at the Great Circle the Factions found that in the many years since they had last visited it many changes had taken place indeed. The Teutonians had started the construction of a magnificent structure to surround the ancient Triptych alongside a crypt to house a Sarcophagus containing the remains of one of their ancient noblemen.
Many were impressed with these works and marvelled at the feats of engineering that had been achieved and were indeed still in progress. Sadly, all work had been halted by the presence of the nearby invaders who by now were known to the Factions as the Tagmatoi, this new enemy was not only akin to the Keltoi and Amgeara but also the same people who had briefly threatened the Factions from the Portal in Erin during Renewal 1108. From information cleaned from both Amgea and High King Owain ap Kernow the free peoples learned that they were a warlike folk probably bent on conquest. Thus with the Tagmatoi army gathering nearby the scene was set for the defence of the Great Circle.
The omens couldn’t have been worse as almost as soon as the combined war hosts had arrived and prepared their camps the skies darken and a thunderous storm and downpour descended upon them leaving many superstitious folk fearing the worst. Not all were downhearted however as the Mongols from the Steppe Alliance took the opportunity to give thanks to Irca One of their gods for the gift of rain on the land. Luckily the skies soon cleared and the Black Forest was blessed after that with good weather for the forthcoming Renewal.
As the Factions settled into their camps a disturbing situation developed between the Jhereg and the AlGaia and the Lions Factions which culminated in an armed conflict and the death of the incumbent Lord Jhereg! It would appear that this occurred due to the fact that Lord Jhereg had stated that if he, the Jhereg or indeed anybody else wished to consort with Demons or anybody else within the confines of their lands and hence their camps at the gatherings of the free folk then they should be able to do as it was their choice and decision and really nobody else’s business really as it was all down to each people’s cultural choices. As can be imagined this did not go down very well with either the AlGaia and the Lions or indeed some other people, however many thought that this was actually a minor concern compared to the main issue of the Tagmatoi and their armies threatening the Factions.
Regardless of any of the rights or wrongs of Lord Jhereg’s statement or the reaction of the other Factions the resulting skirmish and subsequent accusations that some people took the opportunity to ransack the Jhereg camp the fact remains that once again the free peoples were arguing and fighting amongst themselves instead of concentrating against their mutual enemies, one can only imagine the delight that this must have engendered in the minds of the Tagmatoi and indeed any of the other enemies of the Factions who heard about it.
Whilst it’s true that some of the other Factions tried to intervene to stop the conflict the fact remains that they failed and this event is likely to leave a sour taste in certainly the Jhereg’s minds and probably other peoples as well. Subsequent events including a trial of certain high placed individuals involved in the events that failed to result in satisfaction for many people only serve to gloss over the fact that severe damage had been done to the united front of the Factions and nobody knows what ramifications these events will have on the future of the world. Despite these events the Factions managed to patch up a united front against the Tagmatoi for the rest of Renewal.
In his homeland King Hapsburg formally ratified and signed a treaty between his people and the Keltoi invaders ensuring that peace should prevail between them and making them both liable to support the other under certain conditions. The power of Teutonia would once again seem to be rising after some fallow years and much of this is down to King Hapsburgs astute political actions and to the respect that the enjoys amongst both the free peoples and his own folk, indeed not a man to be taken lightly at all.
During the event a strange coffin was discovered in the forest surrounded by four orbs, further investigation linked these with the mysterious Von Beck and the recent problems with both certain Demons, the Swarm/Brood and also of course the Constructs, indeed the coffin itself seemed to attract Demons! After many false starts and much effort eventually the orbs and the coffin were destroyed and it is hoped that this will prove to be of great help in the fight against Von Beck and his cohorts.
On the second day the Factions were visited by their Imperial highness’s Heyami and Nigoussan with their entourage of General Mak and Kuge Nakamura to thank the Factions for their honourable rescue of Heyami from the forces of the late rebel General Tei. The Imperial party visited the Steppe Alliance camp for some time and were treated with great hospitality by Tamerlane Khan and his people and whilst they were there the Empress Nigoussan was quite intrigued by a lively and raucous drinking game that was being held by some members of the Steppe Alliance but perhaps wisely declined to participate. Whilst in the Steppe Alliance camp the Imperial party was visited by members of many Factions including noticeably the FirCruthen who presented the Empress with a doll for her Daughter with was received some initial bemusement by her Highness. Much subsequent talk with the FirCruthen centred upon the possibilities of trade between them with whiskey featuring strongly in those discussions! Much discussion was had with representatives of both the Jhereg and Wolves but noticeably not the Lions, was this a deliberate snub by one or both the parties or a simple oversight who can tell? Another noticeable visitor was King Hapsburg of the Teutonians who of course as host could have insisted that the roles be reversed and that the Imperial party visited him instead but in a show of magnanimity and statesmanship he merely invited the Imperial delegation to visit him if they had the time later in the day. Heyami duly said that he would be delighted to and thus saved some face. During this time General Mak asked for permission to visit the Hei Ravni camp to discuss certain long standing issues with them and this was granted by their Imperial highnesses.
The most important piece of information to come from this meeting was that the some of the Imperial continental lands had fragmented during the brief civil war that followed Heyami’s rescue by the Factions earlier in the year. Some had stayed loyal and Heyami announced that it was his intention not to try to recapture those that hadn’t but rather to consolidate his control over the lands that had remained loyal with the exception of an area to the north of the current Imperial territory which General Mak had been tasked with reconquering, a somewhat surprising statement as many would have expected the Men Po successors of General Te to be a prime target for Imperial retribution! Indeed, Kuge Nakamura seemed to go to great lengths to remind General Mak of his task and the fact that the campaign was expected to be concluded in short order and satisfactorily, there was some definite tension between these two over this matter and who knows what ramifications this may have in the future? Some of these other lands had stayed loyal to the successor to the Men Po rebel General Te, others had elected local leaders who were flexing their power and still others had descended into lawlessness. It would appear that with Imperial blessing there was now an opportunity for some Factions to regain at least some of the lands that they had previously lost to in the Imperial conquest, how practical this actually is remains to be seen.
A short visit to the AlGaia ensued where there was a noticeable degree of tension between some of the parties, though noticeably not the Eored or High Elves present. This may be attributable to the possible Imperial disapproval for the attack on the Jhereg camp because of the close ties between them or possibly something else entirely again who can tell what the inscrutable Imperial minds were really thinking or indeed planning.
This was followed by the agreed visit to the Teutonian camp via the Hei Ravni camp to be reunited with General Mak. Unfortunately, there was an attack in progress upon the Teutonian camp and so no visit was actually made, this could be construed as a further loss of face by the Emperor and Empress or possibly by King Hapsburg for not being able to ensure that his guests could travel to his camp safely within his own lands! Either way the fact remains that the agreed visit wasn’t completed.
Later this day a delegation from the Tagmatoi was attacked en route to King Hapsburg’s camp by some beings that many folks are referring to as Celestials but considering the current situation nobody least of all King Hapsburg was or should have been concerned about this particular incident. The surviving delegate demanded the submission of King Hapsburg in much the same way that the previous Keltoi delegations had done and was answered in much the same way, no! Somewhat superfluously at least to the free peoples the delegate stated that a state of war thus existed between the Factions and the Tagmatoi forces led by one known as the Megus Domesticoi and that the Factions could expect to be attacked at any time forthwith.
With war formally declared the Factions increased their scouting missions to try to learn as much information as possible about their new enemies and their dispositions. Many missions were successful but some inevitably were not and gradually a picture emerged that indeed it appeared that the Tagmatoi had a large force to the north of the Great Circle that seemed to be preparing to strike south presumably to capture that important objective. It also seemed likely that the Tagmatoi were preparing to leave a large force in reserve to guard their bridgehead and to exploit any success that their initial force could achieve therefore after much discussion and argument within the Factions War Council it was decide that the Teutonians, Wolves and Jhereg forces alongside the Mercenaries and Hei Ravni would remain in reserve to thwart any secondary assaults upon either the camps or the Great Circle by the enemies reserve forces whilst the combined hosts of the Lions, AlGaia, FirCruthen and Steppe Alliance would march out on the morrow to engage the likely initial assault by the enemy.
As the next day dawned and the Factions mustered their forces for their assigned missions disturbing news began to filter back that the Tagmatoi forces had moved swifter than had been anticipated and were even then moving swiftly in the direction of the Great Circle! Even this distressing development contained a glimmer of hope for the Factions because at least it confirmed their suspicions that this was the enemy’s ultimate objective, moving swiftly the Factions moved into blocking positions to defend the Great Circle and confront the Tagmatoi host. The Tagmatoi attempted to outflank the Factions forces by moving through the forests on the Factions left flank but the free peoples reacted to this threat by moving into those forests to engage the enemy. A long and hard fight ensued for possession of these woodlands with the Factions gradually gaining the upper hand and forcing the enemy slowly but surely backwards however disaster nearly struck the Factions when a hitherto unknown enemy force suddenly attacked from deep in the woodlands and threatened to surround the war hosts! However, after a period of confused and desperate struggle the Factions succeeded in stabilising their lines and forcing the main Tagmatoi force backwards whilst destroying their new flanking force thus securing their flank and rear from further enemy attacks.
The main Tagmatoi force retreated in good order into an open area and reformed both their existing force and received reinforcement units that were quickly integrated into their combat line thus showing a large degree of discipline and military prowess that suggested that this enemy was possibly more organised than the Keltoi a fact that had been alluded to in the past by both Amgea and Owain ap Kernow. Soon enough hostilities were resumed with the Factions recommencing their advanced against the Tagmatoi line that seemed to be slowly but surely being forced back but this may have been a ruse by this tricky new enemy as no sooner had the Factions ‘forced’ them back fresh Tagmatoi units stormed into the war hosts flanks with lethal effect. Luckily most of these new units seemed to be lightly armed skirmishers and after some initial difficulties the Factions succeeded in holding these new units advanced and indeed began to drive them back whilst maintaining a steady and unbroken frontage against enemy’s main force. It was possible to achieve this as the free peoples seemed to both outnumber the Tagmatoi and the Tagmatoi themselves seemed to almost be deliberately drawing the war hosts onwards and not attempting a decisive engagement at all.
What the enemy was attempting to achieve is open to debate but certainly what they were achieving was allowing the Factions to feel like they had the upper hand and indeed they were gaining ground all the time but perhaps without any attachment to the land the Tagmatoi were happy to allow this to happen. What was noticeably was that the Tagmatoi tactics did change sometimes depending upon their opposition and this gives weight to the idea that they were testing the Factions military capabilities perhaps for future reference, if that were the case then they would not appear to have set as much store in this battle being a decisive encounter and perhaps later events bear this out?
But we digress and so back to the battle itself, the Tagmatoi were steadily driven backwards as the Factions continued their remorseless advance until they were within sight of the reported fortified bridgehead position that the Tagmatoi apparently held. It was at this stage that several events seemed to coincide to result in a decision by the war hosts not to continue their advance and try to completely defeat the enemy! Firstly, it was discovered that a daughter of the new Fey Queen of the AlGaia Amgea who was previously reported to have been killed as the Amgeara fled the Tagmatoi was actually fighting with them in this battle! Upon recognising her daughter Amgea certainly changed her objective from defeating the Tagmatoi to rescuing her and most of the AlGaia followed suit and despite there being mixed reactions amongst the AlGaia to this unexpected development especially from Lord Hart himself they did succeed in capturing her. This Fey princess seemed somewhat distressed by the demise of her Tagmatoi allies and at least for a time seemed not to know her own mother or indeed be comfortable with her new position at all perhaps not surprisingly all things considered. It was at this stage that the AlGaia chose to leave the battlefield perhaps reckoning that their work was complete and indeed to many it seemed that it was as the last remnants of the Tagmatoi had been slaughtered in the meantime with their backs against a lake by the rest of the Factions, few escaped this final stand but notably none of the leaders who had been prominent in the days fighting bodies were found at this point and indeed some said that some had been seen leaving the final stand area and moving up into the dark and brooding woodlands of the hill beyond the lake.
Who could tell what enemy forces lurked in this naturally strong position and perhaps it would be unkind to say that the victory that day was compromised by the Factions failure to storm that final position especially after the hard fighting that they had all endured but the fact remains that enemy forces were left in a strong position still threatening the Great Circle. Perhaps even if the AlGaia had stayed the enemy would have been too strong for the war hosts but then perhaps not, no one will ever know now but what is certain is that this position would have to be taken at some point if the Tagmatoi threat to the Great Circle was to be removed for good.
After consultations that evening it was decided that the next day the combined forces of the Teutonians, Jhereg, Wolves, Mercenaries and Hei Ravni would attempt to storm the Tagmatoi position and eliminate their threat whilst the battered forces who had fought earlier that day would guard the camps and the Great Circle as best they could. It was decided that an early start was imperative to pre-empt any further attempt to gain control over the Great Circle by the enemy.
So the next morning the combined hosts of the Teutonians, Jhereg, Wolves, Mercenaries and Hei Ravni set out to engage the Tagmatoi in what was hoped would be a final battle to eliminate their threat once and for all. Disaster almost struck immediately as the Tagmatoi had also clearly prepared for an early battle and had got a small force almost within striking distance of the Great Circle but luckily this was clearly only and advanced force and was heavily outnumbered by the Factions and they quickly retreated when faced with the overwhelming superiority in the Factions numbers into the forests surrounding the Great Circle. The war hosts were about to follow them when it was reported that a larger enemy force was once again threatening to outflank them in the forests to their left! What would have been the result if the Factions had followed the smaller force with all their might nobody can tell but what seems certain is that they were a decoy force offered up to try to draw the free peoples forward and leave the Great Circle vulnerable once again to the second larger Tagmatoi force.
Luckily the enemy’s ruse was detected in time and the Factions deployed to meet both threats aggressively and thus the second battle was joined. Again the fighting in the woodlands was harsh and confusing but it appeared that the Tagmatoi plan to initially split their forces had worked against them this day as the war hosts were able to force both enemy forces back into the same area and threaten them with encirclement, sadly the Tagmatoi commanders managed to extricate and good portion of their forces from this potential situation and to form them up once again to meet the Factions in open ground. What then ensued was a similar pattern to the previous days fighting with the Tagmatoi steadily retreating in front of the combined might of the Factions but never really looking like they would break almost as if they were drawing them towards the hill but as this suited the Factions battle plans they were happy to continue to press the Tagmatoi ever backwards.
Soon the Factions had driven the enemy back to the lake area and indeed across it and as the last enemy stragglers melted into the brooding woodland the Factions were faced with the reality of being in a potential position to eliminate the Tagmatoi bridgehead but also possibly staring a death trap in the face! The reality of the situation was simple really either attempt to take the hill and thus hopefully eliminate the Tagmatoi threat to the Great Circle or to resign themselves to having to permanently guard the area with a force strong enough to thwart any further Tagmatoi threats. It was no choice at all really as nobody knew for certain what forces the Tagmatoi could deploy or whatever threats may appear that would require the full might of the combined Factions war hosts in the future, thus with heavy hearts but steely resolve the Factions begun to move across the lake and up into the brooding woodland.
It was not long before the first Tagmatoi position was reached and what a formidable position it was, steep slopes that were negotiable only at peril giving the Tagmatoi both the advantage of height and excellent fields of fire for their missile troops whilst the Factions would be forced to advance only along certain easier paths and all the time fighting at a disadvantage. It is perhaps not surprising that some lost heart at this stage but none left their places in the battle line. As the Factions pondered their next move the leader of the Tagmatoi who had been very vocal throughout the day appeared once again to alternatively taunt the free peoples and to offer them slightly better but still unacceptable terms, engaging in no doubt what he thought was witty banter with anybody who would talk to him and even saying that the Great Circle now belonged to the Tagmatoi which of course nobody believed at that time, almost as if he was buying time and delighting in delaying the factions assault, latter this was sadly found to be the actually truth but that is for later in this story.
Eventually tiring of this pointless banter and mindful of the need to drive the enemy away the order was given to assault their position. In a great show of discipline and martial prowess the Factions surprised perhaps even themselves in their swift and excellent execution of the assault and despite some minor setbacks succeeded in driving the enemy from their strong position in short order indeed, it appeared that for all his earlier bluster the enemy commander was struggling for both the numbers and quality of troop to hold his lines, perhaps the Tagmatoi strength was spent after all?
Despite some minor setbacks caused mainly by the nature of the terrain and by some ingenious traps similar to those employed at some stages by the Keltoi, who incidentally were represented in this battle by their High King Owain ap Kernow with some bodyguards in accordance with his treaty with King Hapsburg, the Factions steadily forced the dwindling Tagmatoi ever backwards. Finally, it appeared that they would retreat no more and perhaps they couldn’t for whatever reasons and the Tagmatoi made their last stand once again in a strong defensive position. The fighting here was some of the hardest of the day as the Tagmatoi fought to the death rather than pulling back and it was here that the luckless Wolves once again lost Thor’s Hammer as some Tagmatoi officers succeeded in magically spiriting it away during a particularly fierce encounter, where it went nobody knows because no trace of it was found on the battlefield at all. Despite this major setback the Factions were at last victorious as the last Tagmatoi fell to their bloody blades and all felt elated by their achievement that day.
Sadly, this elation was soon replaced with a feeling of utter dejection as after arriving back at their camps it was discovered that the seemingly vacuous boasts of the Tagmatoi general had not been mere boasts at all! During the battle a small commando force of Tagmatoi had managed to elude the Factions forces and gain entry to the Great Circle, once there they had placed a powerful magical device of unknown origin in it. This device had sealed the Circle with overwhelming power and already subtle changes could be seen to be taking place within the greatest Ritual Circle of the known world, a disaster for the Factions! All subsequent attempts to break the seals on the circle failed and upon the advice of Brother Joseph he was asked to place counter seals around the circle to prevent any Tagmatoi attempts to break out from the Circle in the future although there were no Tagmatoi in evidence at that time. Subsequent investigations determined that the Tagmatoi commando force had used a dried up river bed to elude the Factions and gain the Great Circle and so it would appear that it was possibly the Tagmatoi’s intention all along to draw the Factions away from the Great Circle so they could gain control of the greatest source of Ritual power in the world for their own ends!
Thus after placing both magical guards and physical guards in the form of the Teutonian and FirCruthen war bands many free folks left Teutonia for their distant home with heavy hearts and fear of what the future held for them all uppermost in their minds!
After the effective stalemate at Renewal 1109 and with the Great Circle of Teutonia sealed by both the Tagmatoi and Brother Joseph the Factions retired into winter quarters to rearm and regroup for the inevitable struggles ahead.