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Operation Hydra Day 9

by Alex Benson

Due to the postponement of Force A for the needed repairs, Adm. Helena changes the plan of battle. She is well aware that the delay will cause some trouble in coordinating 7th, 8th, and 9th Reg. of 9th Fleet to accompany with 20th Cohort of Force B. In truth, she never liked the plan as it depended too much on everything going as scheduled. And in truth, the plan was doomed from day one. Instead she opts to keep the three regiments of 9th Fleet with Force A. 20th Cohort will in turn remain with Force B.

Adm. Helena conveys this change of plans to the commander of Force B, Adm. Gioncondi He agrees wholeheartedly. He had feared that Force A's ships would not show up in time to protect 20th Cohort. He had even gone as far as to make contingency plans to send ships from 13th Fleet to accompany the transports. This fixes the problem. Adm. Helena conveys orders that Gen. Valicius of 20th Cohort will land with Force B. However, it will follow its directive. 20th Cohort is to capture the lighthouse on the northern tip of Trader Island.

Force A- Sails only 29 miles due to the tricky nature of having so many ships in such treacherous waters. This leaves roughly 21 miles to go until they arrive at the proposed landing area. The landing beaches are about 8 miles down the coast from Minrothad City.

During the days sail, Force A spots the ships of Force B on the horizon. No melee contact is made with any Thadder vessels. There are a few glimpses of the Thadder navy vessels in the distance. However, these vessels do not engage.

Force B- Travels 24 miles to come within the area to offload the troops. The landing area is 12 miles northeast of Harbortown and about 32 miles southwest of Bright Cliff The name I gave to the lighthouse and the village that supports it on the northern area of Trader Island. No name is given in Gaz. I assume that the lighthouse would have a village of some sort. Bright Cliff seemed like a good name.

The marines of 13th Fleet make the initial landing to secure the beachhead. Resistance is minor, mainly from the inhabitants of a nearby fishing village. These fishermen stand little chance against the well armed and trained marines.

Following the 13th Fleet's marines, comes the 20th, the 9th, and the 17th Cohorts. 26th Cohort is last as it proves more difficult and time consuming to offload the Cohort's siege weaponry and team animals. The offloading is expected to take the rest of the day. As such, the 20th, 9th, and 17th Cohorts begin erecting their defences for the night. 26th Cohort is finally offloaded well after nightfall. The troops settle down for a night's sleep before marching onto Harbortown the following day.

Their sleep is awoken by the screams of one of the sentries. Troops discover the legionnaire's body torn and mutilated. The Force's land commanders Gen. Cicero and Gen. Valicius ( CO of 20th Cohort) call for the Heroes attached to each Cohort to investigate the incident. It is their opinion that the sentry was killed by a werewolf. This revelation causes some concern from the Generals. They are not prepared for such a threat that was supposed to be gone from the Guilds. Word of the were beast attack is sent down the ranks. The officers ask the Legionnaires to turn in any and all weapons made of silver or of a magical nature. In all, 2 enchanted short swords, 16 silver daggers, 3 enchanted daggers, 28 silver tipped crossbow bolts, 5 enchanted bolts, 4 enchanted spears, and 5 silver spearhead. These weapons are distributed out to the sentries. Even with these few weapons it is a long night for the sentries. Fortunately, there are no further attacks.

Force C- Gen. Nikkos reorganises his troops to compensate for the losses the previous day. He assigns the walking wounded to guard the prisoners taken 6th Cohort

Banner 1- Total of 571 (F1) heavy inf. 1st and 2nd companies brought up to full strength. 3rd company is filled except for 5th platoon. 5th platoon only has 11 troops and is assigned to guard the prisoners and accompany the wounded. 4th company is empty and temporarily disbanded.

Banner 2- Total of 675 (F1) heavy inf. 1st through 3rd companies brought up to full strength. 4th company: 1st platoon of is filled and is assigned to Force C HQ as a reserve. 3rd platoon only has 35 troops and is assigned to guard the prisoners and accompany the wounded. 4th and 5th platoons are empty and temporarily disbanded.

Banner 3- Total of 654 (F1) heavy inf. 1st through 3rd companies brought up to full strength. 4th company: 1st platoon filled and attached to HQ as a reserve force. 2nd platoon only has 14 troops and is assigned to guard the prisoners and accompany the wounded. 3rd, 4th, and 5th platoons are empty and temporarily disbanded.

Banner 4- Total of 762 (F1) heavy inf. 1st through 3rd companies brought up to full strength. 4th company: 1st through 4th platoons filled. 5th platoon only has 2 troops and are assigned to guard prisoners and accompany wounded.

28th Cohort

Banner 1- Total of 122 (F2) Lt. Cav. 1st and 2nd companies brought up to full strength. 3rd company only has 22 troops and is attached to Force C HQ as a reserve force. 4th, 5th, and 6th companies are empty and temporarily disbanded.

Banner 2- Total of 105 (F2) Med. Cav. 1st and 2nd companies brought up to full strength. 2nd company only has 22 troops and is attached to Force C HQ as a reserve force. 4th company is empty and temporarily disbanded.

Banner 3- Total of 117 (F2) Med. Cav. 1st and 2nd companies brought up to full strength. The remaining 17 troops are placed in 3rd company and due to its size is attached to Force C HQ as a reserve force. 4th company is empty and thus temporarily disbanded.

Gen. Nikkos totally revamps the mounted infantry of 4th, 5th, and 6th Banners. He takes the uninjured 506 (F1) Mount. Inf. of the three Banners and reorganises them along the standard 50 man companies in 4th and 5th Banner.

4th Banner- Total of 250 (F1) Mount. Inf. 1st through 5th companies brought up to full strength of 50 troops each. 6th company is disbanded temporarily as it is empty.

5th Banner- Total of 250 (F1) Mount. Inf. 1st through 5th companies brought up to full strength of 50 troops each. 6th company is disbanded temporarily as it is empty.

6th Banner- Total of 6 (F1) Mount. Inf. Due to the lack of troops, 6th Banner is rotated to the role of guarding the prisoners and accompanying the wounded. In this manner, 6th Banner is preserved instead of being temporarily disbanded.

The reorganisation effort is finished by noon. Gen. Nikkos has the men fed and then orders them off to march towards Malfton. Nikkos dispatches Lt Cav of 3rd Comp/1st Banner/28th Cohort from the HQ reserve to ride ahead. They are to journey to the mouth of the Quickhand River and make contact with the Naval Forces personally.

They arrive at the coast well before nightfall and convey the news of the defeat of the Minrothad Forces and Gen. Nikkos' marching onto Malfton and is expected to reach the area sometime after midnight. They confer Nikkos' wishes to begin the assault on Malfton on the next day (Day 10).

Nikkos and his two Cohorts arrive in the area before midnight. He positions his troops around Malfton and has them set up perimeter defence works for the night. Gen. Nikkos, Gen. Trassis, and several of their ranking officers meet with Adm. Corso aboard his flagship. They spend the next few hours discussing the coming assault before retiring for the night.

The Naval forces of Force C, continue their show of force up and down the Quickhand. They have gone as far upriver as the first wooden bridge. There they are forced to stop due to the low clearance. There is discussion of destroying this first bridge to gain passage further up the river. This notion is turned down as Adm. Tiberius wants to preserve all of the bridges to use in assaulting the walls. This becomes a moot point as the Hin destroy the bridges later on in the day. See below.

Force D- Adm. Pentalon leaves Fire Island with his "Booty Convoy" as it has become known as. Upon leaving, he dispatches a message to Emperor Eusebius in Thyatis City to tell him of his departure.

The rest of the Force is to stay behind and finish loading up the rest of the loot. Emperor Eusebius has ordered that no slain Thyatian troops will be buried on Fire Island. Officially it is to be a symbolic move to honour those fallen by returning them to the mainland for burial. In truth, Eusebius fears what the Wizards of Sclaras might do with so many corpses. He will not have his fallen soldiers defiled by becoming undead minions of the mages. Let them do as they wish with the corpses of the pirates.

Originally, the Emperor had wanted the corpses brought back to Thyatis. But given the morbid nature of the cargo, not to mention the smell, the captains of the Thyatian vessels do not want to bring them. It is decided that the bodies will be burned on a funeral pyre and the ashes brought back to Thyatis.

This plan is forwarded to the Emperor and is approved. Eusebius insists on the matter being done correctly to honour the dead. He places the whole thing under the direct supervision of the few clerics sent along with the Force. The funeral rites are performed. Each fallen Thyatian's ashes as well as personal effects are placed in his own gear pack (backpack) and sealed. The soldier's identity amulet (dog tag) is attached to the pack to insure the identity of the remains is known. The ceremonies last well into the early morning.

Survivors of the battle begin arriving in Malfton early in the day. They tell of the defeat of the HG and Militia forces. They tell tales of "hordes of Thyatian troops" rushing to Malfton "just behind them". Most disturbing is the presence of Thyatian cavalry that "crashed through their lines slaying human and halfling by the score."

The Kimber Nimblefingers tells the Militia not to engage the Thyatians out in the field. Perhaps, in this manner the defenders can negate the effect of the cavalry. It would be better to fall back upon Malfton's defences and fight them from the walls. Nimblefingers is constantly reminded about the poor state of the old wooden defences. She (I assume it is a she) tells the Militia that they will have to do. She does tell them to destroy the rest of the wooden bridges that give passage across the Quickhand River. The Hin burn the bridges.

In Mirros, Karameikos, the Thyatian and Minrothad ambassadors have words. Cornel Osteric of Thyatis and Aladan Voll of Minrothad exchange words while awaiting an audience with King Stephan on matters concerning the Thyatian invasion. Osteric enters the waiting room and is addressed by Voll. The Thadder makes a few demeaning comments about the Thyatian people and the two quickly become embroiled in a heated argument. During this shouting match, Osteric divulges the loss of the Home Guard units on Open Island and the sacking of Cove Harbour. The shouting match is stopped by the appearance of King Stephan and his personal guards. He reminds them that they are diplomats and are to act as such.

In Thyatis City, Emperor Eusebius dispatches the ships of the newly commissioned 28th Fleet to sail out and meet the "Booty Convoy" from its anchorage in Thyatis City. He does this for the sole purpose of securing the sealanes leading to the Thyatian capital. No sense taking any chances.

Mercenary Guildmaster Warheart Cleaver receives word of the defeat of the HG and Hin forces outside of Malfton and the landing of Thyatian troops near Harbortown. He conveys this info onto Oran Meditor in Minrothad City. Oran demands that the HG commander do something. Warheart tells him that he has already made moves to bolster the defences at Alfeisle. He is awaiting the arrival of naval units at North Island to be used as a relief force. He tells the Ruling Guildmaster that he also has to think of Open Island. Oran apologises. He assures the dwarf that he has complete faith in his leadership and ability.

Feeling a bit guilty, Warheart sends word to Harbortown to send forces to meet the Thyatian landing force. The Master of HG#1, Anrod Miller, is currently in Harbortown overseeing the training. He decides to lead 3rdReg/1stHG and 3rdReg/3rdHG to meet the Thyatians. He hopes to catch them by surprise, hopefully in the middle of offloading from their ships. They take some time to organise and arrive in the vicinity around dusk. Anrod decides to await till morning before striking.

Oran Meditor then contacts the Guild Quickhand's Guild Master at Malfton. He gets a first hand account of the situation. He informs Kimble Nimblefingers that efforts are being made by the Mercenary Guild to send assistance. He urges the Hin to stand fast until help arrives. This comforts Hin leader. News of the impending aid is spread throughout the town. Morale is raised. Nimblefingers calls for volunteers to supplement the militia. Turnout exceeds the available stock of weapons and armour. Shopkeepers and craftsmen empty their inventories to outfit these new recruits. Even so, a large proportion of the defenders are equipped with no armour and crude weapons. Nimblefingers asks the commander of the Militia to organise these irregular troops into units. Due to their civilian nature the effort takes all of this day and part of the next.

Oran Meditor then calls for the Thyatian Ambassador, Adriana Secuva, who was imprisoned the previous day. He tells her of the burning of the embassy and the fate of the staff the previous night. He apologises for the death of the personnel, which included Adriana's sister, husband, and young son. Meditor voices his displeasure in the matter but does attempt to explain it as being a result of the Thyatian aggression. Adriana is furious. She spits on him and curses (verbally not with the spell) the Ruling Guildmaster for all he is worth. Meditor orders the guards to take her back to her cell. He is not angry at her. He was not aware of the presence of her family in the embassy. With a heavy heart, Meditor retires to his personal rooms and spends the rest of the day and night in thought.

Around noon, 6th Squad/2nd Fleet arrives at Blackrock with its convoy of supply ships. News of the arrival is sent to Warheart Cleaver at Gapton. He orders that 6th Squad/2nd Fleet, 4th Squad/1st Fleet, 6th Squad/ 1st Fleet, and 1st Reg/3rd HG will depart as soon as possible to Verdun on Alfeisle Island to bolster the defences. The rest of the day is spent preparing the final details for the proposed sailing to Alfeisle.

That night, 6th Privateer Fleet arrives at Gapton Harbour, North Island escorted by the vessels of 4th Squad/2nd Fleet. The pirates inform Warheart Cleaver of the other fleets being enroute to join them. They do not tell him that 1st Fleet is sailing to Fire Island to see what is going on.

At dusk, 1st Privateer Fleet arrives off Fire Island and sees the Thyatian vessels. They sail down the coast and land several of the pirates ashore under the cover of darkness. Leading them is Capt. Jaspin of the pirate ship BloodStone. After several hours, they arrive at an area overlooking the Cove Harbour. They are shocked at what they see. Their worst fears proven true, the pirate party makes their way back to the coast and board their vessels. Several pirates want to attack the Thyatians to help the pirates taken prisoner. Seeing the destruction first hand, Capt. Jaspin supports doing something. Knowing that they are outnumbered, he opts for hit and run strikes at the Thyatian ships guarding the mouth of the Reedy River. The rest of the pirates agree to this. Due to the late hour and the time needed to get back to the inlet area, the strikes will take place the following day.