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Alternate Alphatian timeline AC 1012

by Geoff Gander

Spring, AC 1012: The town of Ybod declares independence from the kingdom of Frisland. Claiming that his town has been neglected for too long, the mayor proclaims himself lord over the City-State of Ybod. He sends personal messengers to Stonewall, Qeodhar, Helskir, and Ostland in order to gain official recognition and military support. Over the ensuing weeks, many Frislander towns follow suit, declaring independence for themselves as speculation spreads concerning the king's failing health.

In Skyreach, Floating Ar, the Grand Council members from Randel convene an emergency meeting. In it, they angrily berate the other members for bickering amongst themselves and ignoring the pleas from Alphatians living in overseas possessions. Reading off a list of recent political problems, every member present is made aware as to how perilously close Alphatia is to breaking up. Eadrin's queen has been deposed, and the Bellissarian kingdoms seem to be going their own way, as is Qeodhar. Thothia is showing no respect towards the Imperium, as it advances upon its neighbours in an apparent effort to become a regional hegemony. Heldannic gains in Norwold are also reducing much of the empire's territory. Some of the wizards present question the audacity of the Randelian representatives, but they are shouted down as incompetents unworthy of rulership. The representatives from Randel storm from the building, saying that, one way or another, order will be restored.

Qeodharian warships sail into the port of Widzif, Frisland, much to the surprise of the locals. Before any resistance can be organised, the ships disgorge their troops, and the town is quickly overrun. Some skirmishes take place in the southern edges of town, but within a day Widzif is firmly under the control of Norlan's forces. Having established a secure landing point, more Qeodharian troops arrive over the next few days.

In Shiell, Edjer, king of Frisland, dies in his sleep, after having suffered from a mysterious illness for several weeks. There are no direct successors to the throne, and many members of the court begin to raise questions as to what this bodes for Frisland's future. Just as this news begins to spread, information concerning the loss of Widzif to Qeodhar reaches the capital. Military leaders are at a loss as to what should be done. With pro-independence sentiments spreading among the coastal communities to the west, and continuing agitation from the Sons of Argonath all over the kingdom, the times are grim, indeed.

The Vanguard Council of the newly-formed Republic of Alerin is dismayed to receive news that several settlements bordering Theranderol have apparently been annexed by that nation. The towns of Deipan and Ecem, both important manufacturing centres for the coastal nation, are rumoured to house over 5,000 troops from Theranderol. The council orders a general mobilisation of all available soldiers to meet this threat, as well as the creation of "peasant brigades" to maintain order within the heartland of Alerin.

On the Isle of Dawn, Thothian forces manage to punch a hole in Trikelios' defences, providing them with an opportunity to storm the city. As hundreds of soldiers pour through the breach, city folk frantically stampede to the docks, in the hopes of securing passage to a safe haven. Those ships that are present are soon filled to overflowing, as the din of battle grows steadily louder. Even as the ships head out to sea, the ordeal is not over; five Thothian warships round a peninsula to the east, heading towards the city. Mages on board the Trikelian ships use their spells to good effect, managing to sink one of the Thothian ships while buying enough time to allow them to escape. Those who are left behind are not so fortunate - sandwiched between advancing Thothians from the landward side of the city, and disembarking soldiers at the docks, the remaining defenders are overwhelmed within an hour.

Summer, AC 1012: In Esterhold, the citizens of Anchorage are shocked to see a thick black line appear over the southern horizon one morning. Within an hour, the thundering hooves of thousands of horses is clearly audible, accompanied by the faint shouts of their riders. Knowing this to be a large host of Jennite warriors, clearly on the warpath, the residents of the town flee to the port, and crowd themselves onto any ships sitting in the harbour. Some become so overloaded that they capsize, while others sit dangerously low in the water. Those wizards who are present in the city cast long-distance spells at the advancing Jennites, and manage to destroy a large number of them, but the best this seems to accomplish is a delaying action - nothing more. They manage to buy enough time to allow all those who are able to flee the town, to do so, though the wizards among the Jennites cast spells of their own, damaging the outer walls in several places. By the second day of the siege, hardly a soul is left within Anchorage's walls, and the wizards cast their last spells to allow themselves to escape, having done their best to hold off the enemy. When the Jennites finally enter the town, they find only a handful of infirm Alphatians, too weak to flee.

Not far from the town of Ecem, the forces sent by the Vanguard Council of Alerin meet those from Theranderol. Though highly motivated, the Alerinian forces are much weaker in terms of magic and in numbers, and within one hour of battle lose 70% of their personnel. Routed, they flee southeast, towards the coast.

Along the Randel-Alerin border, a large force of Randel soldiers, and a small fleet of eight airships, begins the long trek south...

In Limn, residents of the city of Trollhattan are surprised to find a large host of dwarves marching from the east, and a host of humans coming from the south, along the coast. The city's defenders watch in a mixture of contempt and anger as the humans and dwarves begin building siege towers and assembling catapults, while human wizards cast horrible flying phantasms that, while they do not scare the guards, do manage to unnerve the populace.

In Haven, Queen Kryndylya orders that all borders with other kingdoms be closed until the current period of unrest has passed.

On the Isle of Dawn, Thothian, Dunadaler, and Hillvalian forces clash roughly 100 miles southwest of East Portage. The past couple of months have gone badly for the two remaining Alphatian kingdoms. With the fall of Trikelios, Thothia has been able to bring ever larger numbers of soldiers to the north, knowing that it no longer has any enemies close to home. Over the past few weeks, skirmishes have broken out between the two forces, and, though the northern kingdoms have managed to win more battles than they lost, they have ultimately lost ground. Thothia now controls all former Alphatian territories more than 100 miles southwest of East Portage. Making matters worse are the increasing numbers of undead soldiers being used against the northern kingdoms - many of whom are recognisable as being former defenders of Ekto and Trikelios. Both kingdoms agree to make overtures to Thyatis for aid, knowing they cannot stand long against the Thothians.

Fall, AC 1012: The Vanguard Council of Alerin is surprised to receive news that not only has Theranderol been steadily advancing from the west; Randel has begun to advance from the north as well. What remains of Alerin's army has taken flight, and those peasant brigades who challenged the invaders were decimated within seconds. Seeing their dream of a revolutionary state being shattered, the council decides to declare Archport, so close to the battle lines, a point of no return - it must be defended at all costs. Messengers are sent to Dawnrim and Notrion, begging for aid.

The residents of Ybod are surprised to see the unmistakable square sails of Ostlander longships appear to the west. Thinking that his pleas for support and recognition have not been in vain, the mayor goes to the docks to await the newcomers. In a few hours, the ships pull into port, and several dozen warriors from Ostland disembark. Their leader, a jarl named Audun, proclaims Ybod to be under the protection of Ostland, and the first of its overseas possessions. He also says that the town is to be renamed Østfjord. The mayor begins to protest, but before he can say much Audun loudly denounces him to be a coward, and challenges him to one-on-one combat if he wishes to retain rulership of the town. The mayor quietly declines.

Qeodharian officials meet with Audun, jarl of Østfjord, to discuss mutual interests concerning northwestern Frisland. Audun is impressed by Norlan's representatives, who are themselves warriors of considerable repute. The two nations come to an agreement over the border that they will share between their new possessions, and they clarify their ambitions in the kingdom. Audun makes it clear that Ostland has claimed the entire western coast of Frisland for its own; more ships are already on the way to annex them. In turn, Qeodhar indicates that it wishes to control the northern coast of Frisland.

In western Alerin, north of Archport, Theranderolian troops are surprised to encounter soldiers from Arogansa. A quick discussion between the generals ensues, and it is made apparent that Arogansa has long had designs on the rich lands of western Eadrin, with their bountiful vineyards. Now that civil order is apparently absent, and central control is all but nonexistent, the time was deemed ripe to invade, as the kingdom must look after its own interests. The Theranderolian general disagrees, saying that his troops arrived first, and though Arogansa certainly has a legitimate claim, Theranderol will decide what may be conquered. Although dissatisfied at the exchange, both generals agree to co-operate for now, and divide their gains in the future.

In Limn, the capital city of Trollhattan continues to struggle in the face of a tough siege. Dwarvish and human forces have foiled several attempts to break it, and twice they have almost broken into the city. While the city's wizards pour magic on the attackers, dwarven engineers busily dig tunnels under the walls, trying to undermine them in places. All the while, boulders, fireballs, and lightning bolts rain down upon the buildings and the populace.

In a lightning raid, the Sons of Argonath surprise the defenders of Ydroyas, and overwhelm them. Expecting a rag-tag band of guerrillas, the citizens are surprised to find a disciplined force of 900 men march into town, under the forgotten flag of Argonath. The Sons spent the intervening time building up their strength and drilling hard, though speculation soon becomes rife that the group is receiving support from an outside power.

West of Qeodhar, Littonian warships clash with Qeodharian vessels. Word of the attacks against foreign fishing vessels near Qeodharian waters has reached Littonia, and King Uldis VI has decided to take action. The initial battles are inconclusive, but many lives are lost on both sides.

As Thothian forces draw near East Portage, slowly whittling away the defenders ranged against them, a meeting takes place in Newkirk between the rulers of Dunadale, Hillvale, and Westrourke. The Alphatian rulers state their case, providing information on Thothian actions taken since AC 1009, and requesting aid in stemming the invasion that is taking place. A decision is quickly reached between the three to make the defeat of Thothia their common cause.

Winter, AC 1012: In Rock Harbour, Esterhold, the town guards are surprised to see a small group of Alphatian farmers camped in front of the main gate. They demand to be let inside, saying that large groups of Jennites are encroaching from the highlands, driving all settlers before them. As the faint sound of thundering hooves echo from the north, the farmers begin to panic, begging the guards to open the gate. Realising the danger of the situation, the guards refuse, and sound a general alarm. Ships are dispatched to Port Marlin, and Notrion, requesting troops to hold back the impending assault.

Theranderolian troops scouting eastward come across the ruins of the Alerinian town of Idongor. Nearby, several charred bodies, wearing the uniforms of the Randel army, lie near. Before long, the main host of the army of Randel marches into view. Quickly, the two forces confer, and it soon becomes clear that an expeditionary force from Randel came through the area a few days before, and fought with the defenders of Idongor, resulting in the town's destruction. The Randelian general tells the Theranderolians that Randel is on a mission of mercy, putting down Alerinian revolutionaries and seeking out an heir to the throne of Eadrin who still lives. The entire eastern half of the nation has been secured, and a provisional government has been installed in that region. Both forces soon agree to put aside whatever differences they may have, and concentrate on destroying the last remnants of Alerin.

With a cry of glee, dwarvish engineers manage to undermine a large section of Trollhattan's walls. With moments, thousands of troops from Stonewall and Stoutfellow storm over the debris, slaughtering every humanoid they can find. Wizards and clerics among the allies also lend their talents to the effort, raining magical death upon the populace. If this were not bad enough, large gnomish flying machines swoop in low from the surrounding hills, dropping boulders and flaming oil on the city. Although the defenders manage to rally in certain regions of the city, it is too little, too late. The combined effects of the six-month siege, and the almost constant bombardment, have destroyed the resolve of the inhabitants. After three days of hard fighting, and wading ankle-deep through blood and carrion, the humans, gnomes, and dwarves are victorious - Trollhattan has fallen, and its king, Drushiye, has fled. Only 575 inhabitants remain alive, these being humans, and a handful of elves.

In northern Frisland, the port of Mafertat is surrounded by a large host of warriors, some bearing the banners of Ydroyas. Under a flag of truce, the leader of this group approaches the town's walls, and states that the time has come for all people of Frisland, "Alphatian and Argonathian", to renounce their ties to the old empire, and build their society anew. He says that if the town surrenders peacefully, no violence will be inflicted on the population. Seeing the battle-readiness of the newcomers, and the relatively poor shape of his own troops, the mayor of Mafertat agrees. By nightfall, the flag of Argonath flies over Mafertat.

Around the Qeodhar-held port of Witival, Qeodharian troops fan out into the countryside, annexing additional territory, particularly towards the east.

Along the Randel-Bettellyn border, a division of Bettellyn battle-mages unleashes their magical might on the Randel forces opposite the border, near Dmireton, on the order of their commander. Caught by surprise, the nearest Randel forces are decimated, and the troops led by the Bettellynian commander surge southwards. By magical means, news of this attack reaches Rardish in moments, and King Verothrics angrily asks Queen Llynara of Bettellyn why her forces have attacked his nation. She is perplexed, saying that she has no knowledge of the attack. Disgusted, Verothrics breaks contact. In fact, this attack was orchestrated by a small group of disaffected Bettellynian generals, who wish to see their kingdom become dominant now that central authority is effectively gone.

News of the destruction of Trollhattan, the Bettellynian attack on Randel, the uprising in Frisland, the continuing isolation of Shiye-Lawr, and the Jennite invasion of Esterhold finally reaches the Grand Council in Skyreach. After quick deliberation, they resolve to issue orders to all kings of the various Alphatian nations to submit to their authority, so that order may be restored. Their proclamation is received by all surviving Alphatian kings living in Greater Alphatia, and is soundly rejected by the kings of Randel, Stoutfellow, Stonewall, Haven, and Theranderol. Randel's reply is succinct: "Your effectiveness as leaders of the empire is questionable; we will restore order in our own way, and we are doing so regardless of whether you permit it or not. Join us, or stand aside, but the greater good of Alphatia must prevail over all, including your bureaucratic dithering." Incensed, the Grand Council members declare Randel to be a rogue state, and issues an arrest warrant for Verothrics.

The city of East Portage finally faces the encroaching Thothian forces in Kaldmont this year. Having fought the southern kingdom's forces on several occasions since the fall of Trikelios, the defenders of the port city are by no means raw recruits. Despite their smaller number, they are able to hold their ground, and, bolstered by Dunadaler skirmishers, manage to inflict casualties upon the attackers. Even so, the Thothians slowly push their way towards the western gate of the city, and, just when it appears the defenders are about to break, loud explosions are heard - near the Thothian rear guard! Suddenly, several large shadows appear overhead, and just as quickly vanish to the east, while on the ground the invaders try to regain their composure. Just as the Thothians regain control of the situation, the mysterious attackers appear again, and once more loud explosions and gouts of fire erupt amongst the Thothians. Realising that their Thyatian allies have joined the fight, the beleaguered defenders fight with renewed vigour, managing before the day's end to drive away their foes.

The village of Piwelta, in eastern Aeria, is assaulted by a host of Thothian soldiers, who quickly overrun the village and assume control. King Dormin of Aeria, upon hearing of the assault, issues a plea to Aegos and Gaity to lend their assistance in repelling the invaders.