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Operation Hydra: Day 19by Alex Benson
Force A: The siege of Minrothad City continues. Though the previous days artillery exchange had done much for morale, Adm. Helena is a bit anxious about her troops. She fears that the idle boredom of the siege will erode their effectiveness and morale. She knows that so far the force has been lucky and circumstances have offered some deviation. However, she can count on that. She instead turns to a few of the Alphatian turncoat officers that are in her command. She remembered the turncoat Alphatian forces practice of playing Hardball. She summons the Alphatians and puts the idea before them. Though they have their reservations on the level of game quality of the novice Thyatians, they agree to assemble teams and teach them the basics of the game.
The rest of the day sees the Alphatians searching the ranks of the force and showing them the basic rules. The camps are abuzz with this somewhat strange proposal. The troops begin mark off two areas for playing fields. These fields are easily seen from the city. Few notice the departure of 14th Fleet and some of the vessels of 3rd Fleet. Conferring with the Alphatians at dinner, Adm. Helena is told that they should be able to field six teams.
Force B: Around midmorning, Gen. di Cicero's troops watch as the ships sail off towards the horizon. The general continues overseeing the occupation and patrols. With food supplies dwindling, he sends another message to Thyatis City to inquire as to their shipping date. With careful rationing, he has enough food to last several weeks. To be on the safe side, he sends a message to Adm. Helena requesting any extra supplies that any of the other forces can spare. He also asks about Capt. Ostenphius and his troops at Bright Cliff. Adm. Helena is shocked, as she had forgotten about them. Immediately, she arranges for a relief force to be drawn from her remaining sea vessels. She chooses the three war galleys of 14th Fleet: 7th, 8th & 9th Regiments. They can act as escort for one of the troop transports that she will have loaded with provisions for Harbortown.
Force C: Gen. Nikkos summons Kimber Nimblefingers. He asks the Hin leader about how many of the Hin wish to leave. Kimber estimates their number at about three hundred. Nikkos surveys the captured Hin vessels and chooses two as their way off the island. The vessels are in pretty good shape and combined should be able to carry all of them in a good degree of comfort. He tells a subordinate to go with the Hin leader to assemble crews from the future refugees and gather supplies. He'll give them a few days to prepare the ships.
Force D: Adm. Pentalon's fleet navigates the Girdle and drops anchor at Thyatis City. He is warmly welcomed by Imperial Troops who guard the offloading of the cargo. Pentalon, his officers, the freed hostages, and healthy samples of the treasure are escorted to the Imperial Palace. There they meet with the Senate, Eusebius, and several ambassadors. The return of the hostages is warmly greeted by the diplomats. Pentalon shows the samples of captured goods, expressing the vast amount of pirating that must have been carried out to accumulate such amounts. Slyly he hints that he found it difficult to believe that the Thadders had no idea that all of this going on in their waters. The sight of their currencies is enough to convince the ambassadors of the extent of the pirating going on. The hostages leave with their respective ambassadors to contact family back home and rest up from their ordeal.
For Eusebius, Pentalon's arrival is a godsend. The boon of wealth silence those critics that opposed the war. Likewise, the objections from Thyatis' neighbours should be quieted, at least for a while. Eusebius sends treasury officials to assess the value of the spoils.
Force E: Capt. Ostenphius can do little but wait for word from Harbortown. The inhabitants of Bright Cliff are completely passive and quite obliging towards their occupiers. The duty is boring, but comfortable.
Group F - Captain Dregarius and his ships depart around midmorning. He lets the vessels' sails do the work and the ship lazily move out to sea. He steers his mini-fleet towards the north working his way parallel to the coastline.
Group G - Adm. Serpico orders his vessels off just before Dregarius does. With his faster sailing ships, Serpico heads farther out to sea to cover more territory. He has told Dregarius to rendezvous with him off the northern tip, around Bright Cliff. From there they'll decide where to proceed to.
Group H - Capt. Xappellus leads her ships from Minrothad City just after dawn. Out at sea, the vessels begin their search for enemy ships.
Group I - The 14th Fleet raises anchor around midday and makes its way out to open waters. Their course is straight for the port city of Seahome.
Group J - Adm. Corso departs with his ships shortly after dawn. He sets a course out towards the sea lane to begin the hunting towards the north.
Group K - Horatio is late departing Malfton. By midday, his ships are well under way. He sets a course for the southern portion of the sea lane.
Group L - Adm. Perdry's 23rd Fleet sails on to Fortress Island.
Group M - Arogast's quartet of sailing ships sets sail late in the afternoon. At full sail and unencumbered by the slower galleys, the ships race across the seas towards Blackrock.
Oran Meditor confers with Warheart Cleaver on the war. Oran agrees and supports the dwarf's decision to try to break up the Thyatian control of the sea lane. This is good as the Mercenary Guildmaster has already begun the action. With official approval he can be more precise. With the departure of a portion of the Thyatian vessels anchored near the capital, they decide to use their remaining forces there. The Minrothad forces have the opportunity to pick their own battle. If they can break the Thyatian navy at the capital they can then begin forcing Thyatis to act.
Warheart goes to his offices and begins contacting the remaining Thadder vessels. He orders the captains to assemble off the northern coast of Trader Island. While in transit they are to avoid engaging the enemy. As is they are too widely dispersed and lack the numbers to do too much good. When they are assembled, they will be in a better position to strike. Getting them assembled will be difficult. With vessels scattered about, it will be difficult to get them to the capital unseen. Warheart instructs them to go outside of Minrothad waters and come in from the south. Such manoeuvres will take time.
Oran is contacted by the Ierendi ambassador. He is informed of the return of the Ierendi hostage. Their return has quieted much of the political opposition of the WDL nations. Ierendi had hoped that they would intervene or at least put pressure on Thyatis. With this occurring, the Ierendi have decided to send help. Ierendi cannot send ground troops. They can provide naval forces under the guise of a volunteer force. Inquiring as to their numbers, Oran is told that the fleet consists of eight small sailing ships. The ambassador stresses the delicate nature of their involvement and the Ierendi's desire to avoid any problems. As such, fleet sails under no flag and if discovered they will disavow any involvement or connection with the Ierendi government. For all intensive purposes, they are officially pirates and mercenaries. However, Ierendi's role in organising them will remain a secret. The ambassador gives Oran a Scroll of Communication to allow them to speak with the fleet. He tells Oran that Ierendi will expect the offer to be rewarded later on, probably through trade agreements.
Oran summons Warheart Cleaver and informs him of the Ierendi offer. As a professional soldier he is wary of bringing more pirates into league with his forces. Also he is wary o the secretive nature of the offer. If the situation were not so dire, he would have turned it down. He doubts that the Ierendi would betray them or set them up in some sort of trap. Still, he wants to proceed carefully. Using the Scroll of Communication he contacts the Ierendi Fleet. The dwarf's apprehensions are calmed as he recognises the individual in command of the fleet. Captain Delorno is a retired navy man, turned merchant. Warheart knows him from both professions. The dwarf tells him of the dire situation and their hope to break the Thyatian sea lane. Delorno agrees and says that he will try to link up with the Thadder forces gathering south of Trader Island
In Thyatis City, the docks erupt with the warning cries of "fire". Arriving on scene, the local fire brigades discover that several dock warehouses are ablaze. The fires are brought under control. Damage is mostly minimal. Only one warehouse is a complete loss. Ironically enough, the materials lost were foodstuffs slotted for Harbortown. The incident wreaks of sabotage. Thyatian officials are at first thankful of the lack of damage. Security is tightened on the docks. The lost supplies will just have to be replaced from other existing stores.
In reality the fire is but a diversion orchestrated by the Blue Eels. While attentions are placed upon the docks, a group of adventurers sympathetic to the Thadder's situation slips into the estates of two of Eusebius' military advisers. They seek out information regarding the war. The operation is successful, but the info gathered offers no new info that was not previously known. The Eels turn their attentions to their next operation.