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Operation Hydra: Day 16

by Alex Benson

Force A: The siege of Minrothad City continues. Adm. Helena continues to have her forces erect siege equipment and construct battlements. Several subordinate officers express the men's want to attack. Adm. Helena orders them to continue as is. She instructs the officers to place disgruntled troops with the entrenchment crews working their way towards the river bank.

Force B: Shortly after midnight, Adm. Serpico orders his ships to lay down artillery fire to cover the landing of his marines. Thinking it but a continuation of artillery barrages, the Harbortown defenders react slowly. It is only with the marines offloading that they react and move troops to meet them. This pause is enough to allow the Thyatians ample time to secure their presence upon the docks, the wreckage providing cover and hindrances to both sides. Resistance intensifies as more defenders move to the docks. Fighting is intense and casualties are high for both sides. By morning the Thyatian marines claim roughly half of the docks. Around noon resistance collapses as the defenders pull back into the city. The marines rush forward taking ground and striking down the retreating Thadders. Serpico orders his troops to halt and establish positions. His men are tired and he sees them as being in poor shape to immediately face the seaward side of Harbortown's walls.

Hearing of Serpico's early assault upon the docks, an enraged Gen. di Cicero orders a hasty assault of his own. He had expected the naval assault to begin much later. By midmorning the assault begins. With the 26th Assault Cohort laying down a blanket of artillery fire, the 9th Cohort charges towards the battered walls. The 17th and 20th Cohorts are to be held in reserve. The assault is met by the defenders, who launch their own missiles into the ranks of troops assembling in the city's dry moat. It comes as quite a shock when they begin tossing vials of alchemical concoctions upon the Thyatians. Some of these ignite, others offer acidic burns. With the commitment of the 17th Cohort, the Thyatian assault is too much for the defenders. As more surmount the walls, they organise and begin clearing them of defenders. Ignoring the inner city, the Thyatians turn their attentions towards the gatehouses. By nightfall, the Thyatians hold both gatehouses and have managed to set the main keep on fire. With the opening of the gates, Gen. di Cicero moves his forces in and has the 20th Cohort establish defensive positions for the night. He plans to continue his push into the city the following day.

Force C: In the early dawn, Gen. Nikkos and his occupation troops are awakened by the war cries of an approaching army. As they bear down upon the battered defences of Malfton, Nikkos identifies them as Thadder Marines. He instructs the troops of 4th Cohort to assemble as the are and hold them off while the horse troops of the 28th Cohort don their weapons and armour. Nikkos sends dispatch riders to inform the 6th Cohort of this arrival. Without their armour, the 4th pays a heavy price. However, they do hold back the Thadder Marines long enough for the 28th to properly equip themselves. Foregoing their mounts, the mounted infantry move up to relieve the beleaguered troops of the 4th Cohort so that they too can properly equip themselves with their own weaponry. Seeing their dilemma, some Hin leave their homes to take up arms and join the attack marines. Greatly outnumbered, the mounted infantry are pushed back into the Hin town. Their lines solidify as properly equipped troops of the 4th Cohort return to their positions. The tide of battle turns as the troops of the 6th Cohort begin arriving on scene. With the Light and Medium Cavalry ready, Nikkos orders a counterattack. With themselves outnumbered, the troops of the MMF break. Many surrender outright. Those retreating are cut down by the pursuing cavalry. Master of Marines Matin Dirkson and a few marines establish a redoubt in an abandoned building, content to fight it out to the death. Their wish is granted and they fall under a wave of Thyatian troops.

The battle is over in a little over an hour. Nikkos surveys the scene. His own losses are high, many of the fallen wearing little more than their tunics. The majority of Hin had stayed in their homes and out of the battle. Those that had rebelled were mostly dead. The rest had surrendered and were taken prisoner. Seething at their betrayal, Nikkos orders their deaths. Later on, he calms down and offers an option. Those under arrest will be ransomed for 1000GP each. Those not ransomed within three days will become slaves. The proclamation is unpopular with the Hin, but after the more vocal are also arrested they calm their protests. Nikkos later meets with an enraged Kimber Nimblefingers who tries to negotiate their release. Nikkos is unmoved by the plea, stating that the decision is far more lenient than the normal punishment. After the Hin leader leaves, Nikkos uses magic to report the incident to Adm. Helena, who supports his decision. Likewise, they decide that all prisoners taken will be ransomed as well. Nikkos orders an increased military presence on the streets of Malfton and Prosperity Hill. He also sends mounted patrols to insure that no additional Minrothad forces are in the area.

Force D: Adm. Pentalon's fleet of treasure ships travels on. Despite their loads the weather holds and they make good time. As darkness comes upon them, lookouts spot ominous clouds on the distant horizon. The ships' crews secure their vessels for the oncoming storm.

Force E: With their target before them, Capt. Ostenphius orders his troops onto Bright Cliff. The village is small and its militia stand little chance at meeting the invaders. The town surrenders after a brief show of resistance. Ostenphius moves in, billets his men, and declares marshal law.

The ships of 23rd Fleet sail back to Minrothad waters and continue their patrols, hoping to catch the ships they had spotted while acting as escorts for Pentalon's Force D. Later in the day word reaches them of the battle at Malfton. Putting two and two together, they decide that the troops had been landed by those Minrothad vessels. The 23rd Fleet begins prowling the waters for these ships.

Oran Meditor and Warheart Cleaver are told that Thyatian forces had breached the walls of Harbortown and defeat was likely. Feeling that the Harbortowners are exaggerating the situation, Warheart urges them to carry on as best they could. He falsely tells them that troops would be on hand to relieve them.

In Minrothad City, the populace remain uneasy and on the verge of panic. To aid morale, Warheart Cleaver takes a chance and sends out small bands of troops. Their task is two-fold. Primarily they are to gain precise information on the Thyatian forces and damage them in some way. Hopefully this will boost morale. Under the cover of darkness several small groups of soldiers leave the city and cross the river in small rowboats. Due to the darkness, little information is gathered. They do manage to set fire to several tents, a couple of siege engines, and some supply crates. The flames inspire cheers from the besieged, however they are fleeting. Amid the swarms of Thyatian troops, the infiltrators are soon discovered. Many are killed or captured while in the Thyatian camps. Only two groups returned to their boats. Both boats were sunk as they crossed back over to the city. Still the sight of the fires was uplifting for the Thadders. The damage itself is minimal.

In Harbortown things are really going bad. The bulk of their defence forces have been killed or are exhausted from the assaults. With their landward walls breached and their seaward defences threatened, their few remaining garrison troops and conscripted irregulars are in ill shaped to resist much longer. With the docks under Thyatian control food supplies cannot be brought in. Factions of the city are proposing surrender while others want to await help from elsewhere. They decide to soldier on.