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Operation Hydra: Day 18

by Alex Benson

Force A: The siege continues. Aside from a brief series of missile exchanges, the day is rather uneventful. Adm. Helena is also sent several proposals for reorganising the naval forces. Looking them over, she approves Adm. Serpico's and sends out the orders. According to his plan the Naval forces will be divided into eight groups. The groups will be small to allow portions of the original forces' naval contingents to remain at the targets to provide seaborne cover.

Group F - From Harbortown the 13th Fleet will provide the four small war galleys of 10th, 11th, 12th & 13th Regiments and the two large war galleys of the 10th & 11th Regiments. Captain Dregarius of the Myst (10th Reg.) is given command and temporarily promoted to Vice Admiral.

Group G -From Harbortown the 16th Fleet will provide the six large sailing ships of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th Regiments. Adm. Serpico assumes command and uses the Sea Dervish (1st Reg.) as his flagship.

Group H - From Minrothad City the 3rd Fleet will provide the three small galleys of 9th, 10th & 16th Regiments and the three large sailing ships of the 1st, 4th & 7th Regiments. Capt. Serena Xappellus of the Zara (1st Reg.) is temporarily promoted to Vice Admiral.

Group I - From Minrothad City the entire 14th Fleet is sent to Alfeisle. There it will lay off the coast of Seahome. According to Serpico this force should blockade the port and keep any Thadder warships there out of the war. Their presence should also unsettle the elves. The fleet is not to engage the elven sea defences or vessels unless they themselves are attacked.

Group J - From the forces anchored at Malfton the 6th Fleet will half itself and provide 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th & 15th Regiments for Group J. Adm. Corso will take this Group out into the sea lane and patrol its northern portion, including the waters around North Island.

Group K - From the forces anchored at Malfton the 6th Fleet will half itself and provide 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th & 16th Regiments. Capt. Gaius Horatio of the Darma (2nd Reg.) is temporarily promoted to Vice Admiral. He will take Group K into the sea lane and focus upon the more central waters.

Group L - From its patrols in the sea lane, 23rd Fleet will sail to Fortress Island and patrol the area. Adm. Perdry will disperse the fleet as he sees fit. He is ordered to secure the waters there and be highly visible to the dwarves. As with Group I he is not to engage the dwarven defences.

Group M - From Open Island, the four large sailing ships of 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Regiments are to set sail to Blackrock to survey that region for Thadder vessels. From there, the group is to set a course to sail around the southern coast of Trader Island. Capt. Arogast of the SeaEagle (1st Reg.) is temporarily promoted to Vice Admiral.

Force B: Adm. Serpico readies his ships for departure. The resupply is hampered by the city's depleted stores. Water and materials for artillery projectiles are plentiful however food is limited. Serpici has to draw heavily upon the supplies of Gen. di Cicero's troops to fill their food bins. Gen. di Cicero obliges the naval forces. Aware of the possibilities of the city starving, he sends a message to Thyatis City requesting supplies. In the meantime he begins strict rationing and begins organising the populace to cultivate the local fields and fish. Gen. di Cicero also organises crews to rebuild the city's defences.

Force C: Gen. Nikkos continues to cement his hold of Open Island. He once again meets with Kimber Nimblefingers regarding the imprisoned Hin. He is presented with what gold the guildmaster could gather. To supplement this, Kimble also presents him with various goods. Seeing that little more coinage can be gained, a much calmer Nikkos offers to free all of the interred Hin. He merely asks that Guild Quickhand swears an oath of allegiance to Thyatis. He tells Kimble that those not taking the oath must leave the island, suggesting they go to the Five Shires. Kimble agrees and begins assembling the Hin. Most swear their allegiance, but some do not. These Hin are held until passage there can be arranged for them. Nikkos offers the Hin one of their own vessels for this journey. Kimble is allowed to contact the Five Shires and make the needed arrangements.

Force D: Adm. Pentalon's fleet of treasure ships makes good headway. Around noon they are met by Thyatian patrols who join them as escorts. By late afternoon the Thyatian coast is sighted. Pentalon dispatches a message announcing his position and his expectations of arriving at Thyatis City the next day. Eusebius is overjoyed. The treasure will greatly aid him in shoring up the confidence of his nobles and silencing those with mixed feelings regarding the war. The hostages retrieved from the pirates should do much to silence the ambassadors.

Force E: With their objective met, Capt. Ostenphius sends riders to Harbortown to ask for orders. In truth they are isolated with little to do. They have heard little of the war's progress. They really need contact with their fellow Thyatians to keep busy and morale up. The riders make good progress, though one has an accident when his mount falters. The horse comes up lame and the riders puts him down. Walking back to Bright Cliff the lone soldier is slain by a wolves.

Oran Meditor contacts Verdun, Seahome, Stronghold, and Gapton. He brings them up to par on how the war is going. He slyly hints around about the proposition of surrender. The premise does not go over well. Not having experienced the Thyatian assault firsthand, none see the matter pressing enough for a surrender. Instead they press for defensive stances of the remaining islands. The elves are confident in their ability to meet the Thyatians on their own island. Likewise, the dwarves are confident that their defences will hold off any assault. Neither will compromise their security to send forces to Trader Island. However with the Home Guard and Navy depleted they do support negotiating a peace. Oran tells them of his previous attempts at this. However with their approval he now has more power in negotiating a peace proposal.

Oran contacts the DDC in Darokin. He requests that the DDC negotiate a treaty between Thyatis and Minrothad. The DDC express their desire to do so, but cite that Thyatis will not even see their representatives. They tell Oran that Eusebius has declared the war as be too immature for negotiations. Oran tells them of the losses so far. The DDC promises to try again. Perhaps Eusebius will be more open at this point in the war.

Oran then contacts the WDL nations to request assistance. Each in turn regretfully declines to offer aid. Each express their sympathies to the Thadders, however none are willing to risk war with Thyatis over a non-WDL nation.

Oran personally contacts NACE to make a plea for aid. If anyone is willing to stand up to Thyatis it would be them. His requests for military aid are denied. NACE expresses their abhorrence of the Thyatian aggression but cite that Minrothad is not a priority to them. Besides it would take weeks to mobilise forces. And these forces would have to navigate Thyatian waters to get to Minrothad.

Warheart Cleaver locks himself within his rooms and contemplates his next move. Thyatians are known for their efficiency. Warheart needs a victory to make the war costly for Thyatis. So far the Thyatians have fared well, at least within the boundaries of acceptable losses. If they were to assault Stronghold, Alfeisle, or even Minrothad City he may be able to bleed their forces. However the Thyatians are picking their battles. Warheart doesn't see a clear cut way to really hurt the Thyatians. His available land forces are gone. What he has left are either tied up elsewhere or cannot be ferried to Trader Island. His most sizeable asset is still the Navy. However they are scattered about as well. The basic rule when outnumbered is to utilise greater manoeuvrability. However he cannot do that. With his options limited, he decides upon an act of desperation. He will have to trust the defence of the capital to the garrison and irregular forces. This will free up the navy to try to break the Thyatian sea lane. If he can do that he may be able make it too expensive for the Thyatians to continue. Perhaps then a peace can be attained. He sends this order to his remaining vessels, authorising those anchored at Stronghold, Gapton, and Seahome to leave. The elves are not particularly happy at this.

With their forces limited, Warheart's plan is aided by Oran. The Ruling Guildmaster informs the dwarf of the existence of the Blue Eels. They confer for some time, trying to devise plans to utilise the array of agents in Thyatian ports. With a rough idea formulated, Oran contacts the Eels in Thyatis and informs them of the dire nature of their situation. He requests that they do whatever they can in their respective ports to compromise the Thyatian war effort. The request is met with mixed results. Though the Eels are highly skilled and well placed, espionage is not their forte. Still, they oblige. Since the request will probably compromise the secrecy of the Eels' network, the situation must really be bad.

In Minrothad City, the populace is once again restless. The tensions created by the thought of the Thyatians outside their walls is finally getting to them. The weeks of foreboding apprehension and lack of activity has taken its toll. Even the regular troops of the garrison forces are suffering. This day sees the tensions erupt as one trooper begins yelling out to the Thyatians urging them to attack. This fellow is soon joined by other in a bizarre melody of taunts and challenges. The Thyatian response is a volley of crossbow bolts, many falling short of their targets. The Minrothad defenders respond. As quick as that you have a series of missile exchanges. The matter is quickly over as the officers and NCOs bring their troops into line. Casualties are minimal on both sides. In fact, the matter proves beneficial for both sides as it helps release the tensions and tedium of the siege.