Thursday, 18 October 2012

History: The First Two Great Crusades (Steam)

The church has embarked on 4 major crusades across the Old World, each of which has resulted in the destruction of the churches enemies.

The first crusade, led by Thomorn Dragonsbane, was against the vikings of the South. At the time, the vikings controlled much of the Old Sea. The islands of the Old Sea, Atherstone, Riddlesden and Garrabost were all inhabited by viking colonies and viking colonies extended into the west as well, up the coast of the Old Sea and even parts of the White Sea. The vikings main colonies bordered the west of the Girga Desert, Stuttgart being the major viking settlement of the times

Thomorn took the churches forces first across the land from St.Peters, founding the cities of Valencia and Havensfield. He would continue all the way to the end of the Old Sea, the current location of Morristown, and formed the first of the monastery outposts known as Thomorn's Churches. Thomorn then returned to Havensfield, where ships had been constructed to take him across the sea. Thomorn sailed on Atherstone, then Riddlesden and finally Garrabost and rid them of the vikings.

Now, up until this time the vikings has mostly attacked villages and had avoided the cities. They lacked any way to threaten walls, preferring to harry there foes and steal livestock and gold. Thomorn mounted the first real attacks on the vikings and the vikings were ill prepared to defend themselves. The crusade swept through the old world quickly and the vikings were largely unable to create any sort of defense capable of defeating Thomorn. Massive siege engines where mounted on ships and priests called lighting from the skies to defeat the few fortifications the vikings had and, since the vikings settlements bordered the waters, Thomorns superiority both on the water and on land gave him a great advantage over his foes.

However, after ridding the islands of the vikings, Thomorn was forced to wait several months before his fleet could make the journey into to the south. In those months, the vikings prepared great defences to throw back Thomorn's fleet. When Thomorn arrived in Stuttgart it was to face a foe prepared. The vikings had stolen the technology for Thomorn's siege weapons and used there magic to cause the seas to destroy Thomorn's boats. When Thomorn's armies landed they faced a new type of viking, the huge warriors of Woden. These heavily armoured warriors were a far cry from the lightly armoured raiders Thomorn was used to.

The church did successfully destroy Stuttgart, pushing the vikings back into the southern forests. However, a terrible toll was exacted on Thomorn's army. All of the warships were destroyed and many of the priests and knights had fallen as well. Thomorn himsef was killed taking the city, slain by a huge avatar of Haldor, the vikings god of war. The avatar, created by animating massive effigies to the gods, is one of the few to have ever been seen by the vikings. While it was destroyed by siege engines from the ships the damage it wrought upon the army was terrible.

Thomorn's remaining forces attempted to cleanse the vikings from the old world, but were largely unsuccessful. While only a small number of vikings remained the viking warriors in the south were very different from those who has raided the coast. Riding light horses through the murky forests and using magic to turn the environment against the knights, the vikings successfully repelled the invaders, though it would be many years before there civilization would recover.

The Second Crusade, led by Richand Silverkin, would lead the church much deeper into the south. The crusade focused largely on the Lands of the Night Lords, a strange people who lived in the southern desert bordering the Old Sea.The Night Lords were so called because there people only came out during the cool desert nights. They lived in vast underground chambers which contained there markets and houses. Meanwhile, there crops grew outside these underground cities, flourishing in the blistering sunlight of the desert.

Richand Silverkin planned a brilliant campaign in which the church spilt its forces, sending half across the Old Sea and half across the Inner Sea. Richand accompanied his troops across the Old Sea and captured the city of Odessa from the Night Lords. He declared it his base of operations in the South, and troops from nearby Riga sailed across the sea to join him there. Meanwhile, Belhand Darkeye led the troops crossing the Inner Sea. They met little resistance and formed Luxor, which would later become a major trading post of the old world.

Richand's crusade pushed the Night Lords father back into the desert, but the cost on his own troops was great. It was difficult to get supplies in the desert, and Richand followed the Taia River inland in order to stay supplied with food and water. He conquered several minor cities though the Night Lords defended against him furiously. The Night Lords were unused to battling heavy cavalry, what cavalry they had was light and often used for chariots or horse archers. The Night Lords had access to little metal in the desert and largely relied on bronze, which was incapable of piercing the knights heavy armour.

Much like the vikings, the Night Lords quickly learned to fight this new foe. There first tactical change was to begin raiding at night with there lighter cavalry and troops. Richand's men's morale quickly dropped as the Night Lords began to nightly raid his camps. Accustomed to the darkness the Night Lord's men made short work of there targets while the knights, unaccustomed to such fighting, began to fall. Seeing that a quick action was needed, Richand struck out for Tanta, a large underground city that also housed the temple of the sun. Richand hoped to take the temple and so cripple the Night Lords morale.

Meanwhile, Belhand crossed towards Tanta, but unlike Richand his progress was severely hampered by lack of food and water. While priestly magic succeeded in keeping Belhand's knights alive, he lost almost all his foot soldiers to exhaustian.

Richand arrived at Tanta to find the Night Lords waiting for him. While the city was largely undefended, once inside Richand realized how poorly he understood his foe. The city of Tanta was unlike any he had seen before, spreading for miles in every direction underground and housing massive pyramids and stone monsters. The Night Lords forces, used to fighting in the caves, wreaked terrible carnage on Richand's army. Furthermore, they brought there stone creations to life, and great sphinxes and monsters statues cleaved through Richand's forces.

Not to be outdone, Richand's forces summoned forth angelic warriors to battle these creatures. Angelic choirs battled stoney sphinxes in the underground streets. However, these forces were not enough. Richand's forces were destroyed in Tanta and Richand himself was slain by a champion of the Night Lords army.

Several weeks later, Belhand arrived in Tanta to find the ruins of Richand's forces. The long trek across the sands had changed Belhand and his knights. They had been sustained so long by priestly magic that they had become half-mortal and half-celestial. Great wings sprouted from the knights backs and there weapons and armour glowed with holy flames. Belhand stormed the city to avenge Richand. The Night Lords fought viciously again, but the angelic knights proved a much tougher foe. The weapons of the Night Lords had little effect against them and the flight granted to the knights allowed them much more maneuverability inside the large underground city. Eventually Belhand stormed the Temple of the Sun, where he fought and killed the great Night Lord Ricice Samulkin. In death however, Samulkin cursed Belhand to die in a cowardly manner.

Belhand, having destroyed the temple, left Tanta, unable to destroy or hold the city with such a small force. Hoping to reunite with the churches forces, he traveled down the Taia hoping to reach Oddessa. However, it was not to be. During his travel the river flooded, turning the desert into a mire. Belhand and his men sought to use there newfound wings to save themselves, but were unable to fly far enough to escape the flooding. In the end Belhand and his men where killed by the Taia.

The second crusade is unique in that it is the first recorded instance of knights gaining angelic power. Since then it has become more common for knights, especially captains, to gain some angelic powers such as the flaming weapons or wings common to angels. The reasons for this are unclear, though some scholars believe that the increase in such powers is due to the increase in the belief that truly great knights will have these gifts bestowed upon them by God. While such reasoning is probably correct, it does not explain what caused these gifts to be given in the first place, when no one believed such things happened.

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