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Operation Hydra: Day 15by Alex Benson
Force A: The siege of Minrothad City continues. Adm. Helena is content to wait out the defenders. The various siege devices she ordered her troops to construct are progressing well. She has them constructed within sight of the defenders, hoping they cause panic with the defenders.
Force B: With the coming of dawn, Gen. di Cicero orders the bombardment of Harbortown renewed. The bombardment continues uninterrupted until a call is sent to halt. The troops of 20th Cohort under Gen. Valicius arrive at the Thyatian lines around noon. These troops are integrated into the siege lines and the bombardment renewed.
Adm. Serpico sends a message to the land force commander asking if he could initiate a landing to secure the piers. He cites the loss of the two piers earlier and chance of future pier losses. He is told to continue his bombardment as usual and prepare for a landing on the following day. Serpico takes this literally and opts for a night landing just after midnight. He has his marines stand down and get some rest, while the artillerists bombard the shoreline.
Force C: Gen Nikkos orders the troops of 28th and 4th Cohorts into Malfton to occupy it. He sends word to 6th Cohort to remain at its place at the mouth of the Quickhand and continue resting from its own recent actions at Cove Harbour. Nikkos meets with Kimble Nimblefingers. The two discuss the situation. Nikkos tells the halfling that Open Island is now part of the Thyatian Empire. Nikkos stresses that the hin now must choose what role they will provide for the Empire. Either they conform and contribute as citizens, or they can contribute as slaves. Nikkos stresses the former, as he has little love of slavery.
The Hin leader, thinking of the interests of his people, opts for the former. He signs a formal surrender of Open Island. In the armistice, are provision that highly favour the hin. The hin will be treated as citizens of Thyatis and bear all rights afforded to citizens. Nimblefingers thanks Nikkos for the fair treatment of not only himself but also his people.
Nikkos uses magical means to report the news to Adm. Helena. She is startled at the losses. Thinking that the real defence would be with the few Home Guard units, she had not expected the Hin to resist so strongly. Adm. Helena informs Nikkos that the Emperor has decided that he should act as military governor of Open Island. Nikkos is please at this. The promises he had made the Hin would have been difficult to be made official if he did not have that authority. He had overstepped his authority in regards to much of the terms he gave the Hin. Nikkos asks the admiral about terms, suggesting the Hin be offered citizenship in return for loyal service. Adm. Helena agrees. This is a relief to Nikkos.
Force D: Adm. Pentalon and his 5th Fleet continue their task of ferrying the captured loot of Cove Harbour back to Thyatis City. The escorting ships of 23rd Fleet are still present despite having no adversaries near. The admiral of 23rd Fleet requests permission to leave the convoy and return to Open Island. Still a bit paranoid, Adm. Pentalon refuses the request. He has access to 23rd Fleet for this last day before it returns to the war zone. As such, he wants their protection for the entire day.
The loot convoy sails ahead slowly but steadily. Shortly after dusk, the ships of 23rd Fleet turn back towards Open Island. The loot ships of 5th Fleet are in relative safe waters. They are but a few days sail from Thyatis City and it is doubtful that there are any Minrothad naval vessels in the area. Possibly there may be a few scattered vessels, but the ships of 5th Fleet should be enough of a deterrent.
Without the slow heavily weighted ships of 5th Fleet, 23rd Fleet can sail at full speed. Setting a course, they head back to Open Island.
Force E: Capt. Ostenphius and his troops continue onto Bright Cliff. Progress is good and by nightfall, the troops are within a day's march of the town. Morale is good and the men are ready to assault Bright Cliff and take possession of the lighthouse.
The mental state of the defenders of Minrothad City grows worse. The images of Thyatians building river and wall breaching equipment does much to shock them. Most expect an assault soon and the garrison commanders double the watch and place their troops on a constant alert.
Oran Meditor addresses the people of the city to try to calm them. He tells them that such panic is precisely what the Thyatians want. He points out that the defences of the city are probably among the world's most formidable. This helps to a certain degree but not much as the Thyatians beyond the walls are a constant reminder.
Harbortown's defenders are also bearing the siege badly. Most damage has been done by the Thyatian Navy. The Thyatian land forces seem content to batter down their walls. The recent arrival of another Thyatian Cohort really diminishes their morale. The worst aspect is their supply situation. Water is in abundance, yet food is beginning to become strained. The city had some food stored, primarily for trade. However, these stores were near the docks and several of the warehouses were destroyed by naval bombardment. Harbortown orders all foodstocks to be moved inward to safe areas and enacts strict rationing.
Matin Dirkson's Marines continue their journey to relieve Malfton. On the way, they discover the battleground between the Home Guard and Hin Militia against the Thyatians. Though the bodies were buried after the battle, the ground is strewn with a great deal of broken and damaged equipment, mostly of Guild construction. These scene slightly diminishes the high morale the force displayed earlier. Many troops voice their fears and apprehension.
Dirkson is undaunted and does much to reinforce the confidence of his troops. He reminds them that the Thyatian force was at a disadvantage. They had already fought in one battle and had placed themselves into another. Their losses and fatigue should balance things out. Dirkson goes on to tell them that the carnage they see is a sign of just how desperate their fight is.
Dirkson speech does much to rebuild their resolve if not their confidence. The MMF continues on its way, following the paths the Thyatians left. Their progress is good. By nightfall, the MMF has drawn within a days march of Malfton. Advance scouts report the Thyatians have occupied the town. They also report their numbers and large number of wounded. Also noted is the devastated state of the town's defences. Dirkson is confident despite the loss of the town. The Thyatians are weakened by their two battles. The condition of the defences means that his forces will not have too much obstruction in breaching them. Dirkson is also betting on the Hin rising up and assisting his forces.