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Operation Hydra: Day 22

by Alex Benson

Force A: The siege of Minrothad City continues. The tedium is broken by the Hardball teams beginning their tournament. Unsurprisingly the Alphatian teams easily defeat the Thyatian teams. The semi-finals are to be held the following day, unfortunately there are only three Thyatian teams still in it, as compared to all five Alphatian teams surviving the preliminary matches. Adm. Helena offers prizes for the teams. First place will get 500GPs each, officer's rations for a month, and an extended leave of two weeks in Harbortown. Second place will receive 100GPs each, a weeks officer's rations, and a week in Harbortown. The third place team will receive 50GPs each and a weeks leave in Harbortown. Betting is furious, the Alphatians being favoured to sweep the top three ranks.

Adm. Is told of the NACE troop deployments on the IoD and the Alatians. Speaking with Eusebius she offers to send two Cohorts (Open Island) to aid in the defence of the Thyatian kingdoms. Eusebius turns down the offer, citing the need for them there and the time needed for them to sail to the IoD (3-4weeks). He does inquire about escalating the war. Helena tells him that she will have Minrothad soon. Ending her discussions with Eusebius, Helena summons her staff and begins planning the invasion of Alfeisle and the escalation of the assault on Min City.

Adm. Helena contacts Nikkos at Malfton to inquire about the reorganisation of his troops. She approves his plan and tells him to have them ready to sail as quickly as possible. She also reappoints him as the Commanding office of the troops. Afterwards she sends a message to Harbortown requesting a similar reorganisation, including the 26th Assault Cohort. Helena herself will plan the assembling of the naval contingent.

Force B: In Harbortown, events are pretty uneventful. The Thyatians continue in their occupational duties. Gen. di Cicero gets the message to reorganise. With news of the Alphatian offensives to the far east, he understands the predicament and the need to escalate the war to bring it to a more rapid ending.

Force C: Gen. Nikkos finishes his reorganising of his forces. Hearing of the Alphatian offensives he offers the Cohorts to be sent to the Isle of Dawn. Helena forwards Eusebius' comments upon that. She does inform him of the impending escalation of the war. Helena strips him of his governorship, replacing him with Major Dergrasus. Nikkos will be needed to lead the troops against the elves.

Force D: Adm. Pentalon's fleet sails a steady course for Harbortown. The supply ships lay low in the water severely slowing the convoy.

Force E: Capt. Ostenphius and his troops continue their lonely vigil at Bright Cliff. The crews and marines of the three war galleys of 14th Fleet (7th, 8th & 9th Reg) are firmly integrated with the encampment at Bright Cliff.

Group F - Captain Dregarius orders his mini-fleet onward, keeping Serpico's within sight.

Group G - Adm. Serpico orders his ships (and Group F) to begin patrolling the area north of Bright Cliff. He keeps the two Groups within sight of each other.

Group H - Capt. Xappellus and her ships continue their hunt for shipping.

Group I - The 14th Fleet continues its trek towards Seahome.

Group J - Adm. Corso's ships continue on through the northern sealane.

Group K - Horatio's ships sail on through the southern portions of the sealane.

Group L - Adm. Perdry's 23rd Fleet sails on to Fortress Island. By nightfall they are well within sight of the island. Perdry orders the ships to drop anchor off the coast. His intentions are to stir the dwarves up, possibly drawing out any sea vessels within its secluded harbour.

Group M - Arogast's decreased paced trek to Blackrock is uneventful. By early afternoon the vessels reach the island. A quick sail around the island offers no sign of any enemy vessels and Arogast orders the ships on sailing west along the southern coast of Trader Island.

In Minrothad City, the populace adheres to the proclamation forbidding civilians from the ramparts. After the previous day's incident few are willing to risk life and limb for glimpses of the amateur Thyatians getting pounded by the Alphatian teams. Most are content to get reports of the games from the troops peering over the walls. The food supply problem is relieved somewhat by the arrival of supplies from Alfeisle. Thadder mages teleport in the supplies. The mages promise more shipments. And though small the shipments will help, both physically and mentally for the besieged.

Oran summons the NACE ambassador to thank him and NACE for the diversionary strikes on the IoD and Alatians. He is rudely awaken to reality by Ambassador Dellebram's stoic statement that the offensives had nothing to do with the plight of the Thadders. NACE simply took advantage of the Thyatian troops being committed elsewhere and began measures to reclaim lands that Alphatian blood had been spilt to gain. With that the NACE ambassador excuses himself and leaves, teleporting out of the city presumably back to NACE lands. With his absence, Oran realises that the world does not revolve around Minrothad. Suddenly he feels very alone.

Oran and Warheart meet to discuss matters. Oran asks Warheart if the city can hold against the besiegers were launch an assault within the next few days. The dwarf is confident that they can, but stresses that only a real assault would prove him right or wrong. He points out that the Thyatians have built siege engines and kept them stowed well out of sight. He honestly remarks that if the Thyatians can get a half a cohort into the city then it will probably fall. He cites deluded troop quality for this.

They also go over a report from the Blue Eels in Thyatis City, Malfton, and Harbortown. Though the Eels were inactive the previous night, they do report recognition of the NACE offensives. Rumour in Thyatis is that the troops in Minrothad will not be diverted to meet this threat. However, the word in Malfton and Harbortown tell of reorganisation and the pending deployment of portions of the troops there. The two speculate on the conflicting reports and wonder where these troops are bound for. Warheart is quite open towards striking at this force while it is at sea. The heavily laden troops transports would be too tempting a target. And for every Thyatian troop sent to the bottom, that is one more that the Empire will have deploy from elsewhere. Still, the forces are already committed and surely these transports will be covered by many warships. They decide to proceed as planned, but slate the troop transports as targets of opportunity.

Warheart tells Oran of his readying of the two ships of (1st & 2nd Squad/3rd Fleet) is finished and the vessels are ready for action. He also tells him that four tug galleys are being fitted with wooden sides to shield its occupants. From behind these archers and crossbowmen can fire upon attackers with some degree of protection. These troops are irregulars and most are unarmoured. The vessels will only be used in the case of absolute need.

Warheart reads to Oran the progress of the remaining Thadder vessels, the Privateers, and Captain Delorno's ships. The Thadder captains expect to meet the Ierendi vessels later in the day.

In Thyatis City, the Blue Eels continue laying low. However they do spread out among the Thyatians, gathering information in taverns, market areas, and one even at a party thrown by a senator. Most info is worthless as far as the military goes. Tales of victories, rumours about the NACE offensives, and the like are rampant. The Eels do not even forward the rumours to their superiors. No word has been given about any troops being sent there.

Eusebius is handed a status report from the situation in the IoD and Alatians. NACE troops have landed on Aegos and Gaity and are moving quickly. NACE troops have already taken Aegopoli and are fast approaching Pittson. The Gaity Barons request military aid, several have already been overrun by the Alphatians. Eusebius ignores the requests from them, the Alatians are of no importance to him. His attentions are squarely upon the developments on the IoD. The earlier reports on Dunadale had been inaccurate. The NACE troops had already taken Deirdren and were already laying siege to the capital. Likewise, reports on the other movements were dated. NACE troops had already met and defeated the Westrourke Army and were just beginning to lay siege to Newkirk. There had already been some skirmishes between Kendach and NACE scouts. At last report both armies were but an hour's march from each other. In West Portage, the local army had mobilised and were preparing their defences. As of the time of the report the NACE troops were still hours away. Anabaxius and Stefania report that their forces were likewise preparing their defences. They also reported the pending arrival of some of the Imperial troops from Dunadale. Eusebius sends word for priority to be given to Redstone and West Portage. Imperial Troops defending Kendach and Westrourke should retreat to West Portage or Redstone if the battle goes against them.

Eusebius contacts the Karameikan ambassador to forward Thyatian objection to the offensive to the NACE. The response is quick and to the point. Dunadale and the Alatians are Alphatian and are being reacquired by NACE. Likewise the other kingdoms had been in Alphatian hands at the time of the sinking and are being retaken as well. The NACE calls it repayment for the breaking of the Treaty and destruction to Trikelios and Ekto. The ambassador does forward NACEs intentions to leave Helskir unmolested as called for in the same treaty. Eusebius is furious but knows that at the moment there is little he can do. He needs information on NACE troops numbers before committing any of his prized cohorts. No sense sending two cohorts when ten are needed. He dispatches a message requesting numbers and troop details.

Before midnight Eusebius is given a series of messages from the IoD. Dunadale has fallen, the invaders greatly aided by the populace. Westrourke army has been defeated and Newkirk is under a state of siege. Kendach's local forces have likewise been defeated and the capital's defence have come under siege. Kendach is certain it can hold out for a few days, but Newkirk's defenders are hard pressed. They do not expect being able to survive the night. More disturbing is that reports indicate more landings at East Portage and in Dunadale. There are also troop movements coming up from Thothia through Trikelios and Ekto. Reluctantly Eusebius orders two Cohorts stationed in the Hinterlands to deploy to West Portage. One Cohort from Hattias and one cohort of Kerendas cavalry to set sail for Redstone.