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Minrothad Campaign Discussionby Alex Benson
As recorded by Demetrion Imperial Magist in his personal journal-
Eusebius...I mean the Emperor entered the Hall in the company of Admiral Helena Daphotarthius. This sight has become more frequent since the untimely death of the Empress while giving birth to Eusebius' daughter (from events IMC).
Helena left his side and walked over to an empty seat among the ranks of military officers.
Eusebius paced to and fro in front of the amassed group of Thyatian nobles and military officers. After several minutes of this, Eusebius suddenly stopped his pacing and sharply turned to face his audience.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I have summoned you all here to put before you the first test for the new Thyatian War Machine. Our first objective will be the island nation of the Minrothad Guilds"
There was a stirring of muffled comments from the officials and officers. Raising his hands, Eusebius brought them back to a state of silence. "Given the reverses experienced in the past, I know that you all may feel intimidated at the thought of assaulting the Guilds. But you must remember that the failings to take the Guilds are in the past. The troops that we will be sending are not the same that suffered so many years ago. We have had time to take the mistakes into account and learn from them."
"But sire" came a voice from the group, Senator Tobius Deprado I believe
"Should not the Cohorts be sent to the Isle of Dawn?"
"Though the notion of the complete occupation of the Isle of Dawn is quite appealing, I have focused my attention on Minrothad. We have been fighting over the surface of the Isle of Dawn for ages. And what have we gained? No the Minrothad Guilds is the best option. There is so much to gain by bringing it within the Imperial Fold. Think of the trade market alone. The revenue would do much for the Thyatian economy. Not to mention ease the tax burdens the citizens carry. The Minrothad government has made moves to expand the Home Guard. If we are to strike, we need to do so soon."
"But how? The Minrothad defences are quite good." asked another, Admiral Serpico I am sure.
Eusebius grinned. Motioning towards the back of the Hall, he waved for three figures to come forward. I had not noticed these figures earlier. One was a dressed in robes, denoting him as a mage. Another had flaming red hair and looked to be of the Hinterlands. The final person was of Thyatian blood and was vaguely familiar to me.
"Comrades, let me introduce to you the well known adventurers Dylan of the Hinterlands and Franco Varicos. The gentleman in the robes is Delmora and hails from the Protectorate of Sclavas. Gentlemen, would you be so kind as to elaborate on the Minrothad Guilds? Dylan let us begin with you."
"Thank you Sire." began the gruff voiced Dylan. "I have ventured to the Guilds several times. I found the people more interested in their own particular trade pursuits than anything else. I felt that they only stuck together out of mutual trade benefits. Their army is well paid and well equipped. However, they are overconfident with the sea as their first line of defence. I also feel that the general populace do not feel that anyone would try to conquer them. The whole concept of someone actually attempting to invade them is perceived as a joke by them." Dylan then motioned towards the adventurer Franco.
"I have to agree with Dylan. The Minrothaders are over confidant. They do have a well equipped army and navy, but I see them as being too small to properly guard the Guilds as a whole. I also want to point out that the Minrothad forces have not had to defend their islands for many years. Though the Thadders are well drilled, they are lacking experience. Their tactics are antiquated. I know this from several officers that I am acquainted with in the Home Guard. I will say this, as far as mercantile I would not want to go up against a Thadder. But when it comes to a fight, I'd have few reservations."
"What about the Merchant Princes? It is said that their spellcasting ability is great." asked Senator Deter Ramius.
"I shall oblige that question" interjected Delmora. "The Merchant Princes are concerned with their trade and mercantile. True their spells are great, but so are those of the Thyatians. They are in no way comparable to wizards such as the Alphatians. The Emperor has enlisted the services of the wizards of Sclavas to counter such problems. We will also deal with any other surprises the Minrothadians may display."
"My Emperor" asked Admiral Horace Cardacius "What are your strategies for such a venture? And how do our forces counter the elemental defences of the Guilds?"
"Excellent questions. You will remember the previous year's patrols of Minrothad waters to guard against pirate raids. These patrols gave us inside information concerning the particularities of the Guild Islands. In the previous years I have also sent agents into the Guilds to collect information on the islands. These agents have done their jobs beyond all expectations" Eusebius motions to Helena who pins two large pictures upon the wall. The first is a map of the Minrothad Islands. The second is a drawing of a multiheaded dragon, a hydra.
"As for the conquest of the Guilds, it will deviate from the standard Thyatian manner of warfare. Past attempts have centred around the taking of the Islands as a whole. This mentality works in most situations. However, the Guilds are an exception. Not only would an overall assault be costly, it would also destroy the Minrothad economy. We need to take the Guilds quickly and without any extensive damage.
The key to Minrothad is Trader Island. We use Trader Island as a defence area to nullify the Minrothad Fleet. Hold Trader Island and remove the Fleet and the rest of the Islands will have to seek a peace. The Thadders are business men. We work on that aspect and make a deal.
I tend to think of Minrothad like the Hydra. Both have many heads with which an opponent is faced with. Like the Hydra, you could spend much time and effort trying to meet each head and destroy them. Or you could take out the body which supports all of the heads. The body of Minrothad is Trader Island. Take it out and the other heads will have to submit or die."
"But my liege, what about the Pirates?" asked Admiral Otto Gottian.
"Good question. The Privateers will have to be eliminated. They are too much of a loose end. The Pirates have to have a hidden base somewhere. Since the Thadders have established a small naval base at Blackrock the only other reasonable island left is Fire Island. I took the liberty of dispatching some specialist to that island and giving it a look over. My suspicions were proven correct. Portions of the initial assault force will be sent to deal with the Pirate home base."
"What about the Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings?" General Oran Nikkos.
"The elves and dwarves are sensible peoples. They are used to dealing with humans. I feel that if we remove the defences of the Minrothad Fleet and Home Guard they will cooperate. Also, I have no desire to wage a war against these people. They are an integral part of the Minrothad economy and are needed intact.
The Halflings are a different matter. I am afraid that they will resist us with the same intensity that the Shires would. I feel that they will resist. Alone they are no match for a Cohort or two. However, as I mentioned earlier the Home Guard is in the process of expansion. As such there are several mounted and cavalry Home Guard Regiments on Open Island training. These will have to be liquidated. As such troops along with cavalry units from Kerendas will meet these forces."
"But Sire, what about the reactions of the rest of the nations? The Alphatia, the Western Defence League nations, and Ierendi? How will such an offensive be justified to them?" asked Senator Pius Delasontian.
"The offensive against Minrothad will be justified because I say so. The Guilds will be Thyatian property because Thyatian troops are all over it. Alphatia is in no position to attack Thyatis or intervene in Minrothad. Karameikos will waver in assaulting Thyatis. I doubt Stephan will attack us with his son ruling the Duchy of Machetos (events from MC). Darokin will not due to their own trouble with the humanoids and shadow elves (both IMC). Ylaruam is not likely to send troops outside of its own borders to give aid to "infidels" as they call outsiders. These nations need Minrothad for trade. Since Minrothad will be a Thyatian possession, they will have to deal with us. It would be easier for them to deal with Thyatis than go to war. The Western Defence League is more accustomed to defence. Without their member nations threatened I see little reason for them to go on the offensive. Now Ierendi is a different matter. Its proximity to Minrothad is surely to give them reason to intervene militarily. Unlike the other nations, Ierendi does have the naval capacity to assault our forces on Minrothad. The real question is will they. I doubt it. The Empire is on good terms with Ierendi. I see little reason for them to risk this on the Minrothadders. Especially if the occupation is done quickly with little stoppage of trade."
The group of officers and officials began talking among themselves. Each giving their personal views of the campaign to the other. All seemed encouraged by the Emperor's plans and reasoning. Eusebius let them converse for several minutes. Finally he cleared his throat and they came to a silent attention.
"The Thyatian Forces have expanded greatly in the past four years. This expansion has placed a burden on the Citizens that must be made to pay off soon. If the taxes continue much longer I fear for the domestic situation. That is why I want the Minrothad Campaign to begin this year. I suggest the ships be deployed at the beginning of Shipping Season. This should mask the convoys somewhat. It should also enable our Galleys to engage the Minrothad ships while on patrols against pirates."
"Sire, what if we wait another year? The Citizens could endure another year of taxes?" asked Admiral Julianna Kassar.
"Yes, but let me remind you of the Minrothad expansion of her own armed forces. This is obviously a move to get our own naval patrols out of Minrothad waters. I have to admit that these patrols weigh heavily on the surprise factor of the assault. The Minrothadders have grown accustomed to seeing our vessels on patrol in their waters. As such, the assault forces should get some headway into Minrothad waters before an alarm is sounded." "Sire, are our forces to lay siege to both Minrothad City and Harbortown at the same time?" asked General Herca Borma.
"Yes. But the landing forces that set up the siege will be small. Their real goal is to isolate the cities. The bulk of the forces allotted for Trader Island will land away from the cities and march onto the cities. This will done to eliminate the Home Guard units deployed outside of the cities. I would rather engage these forces outside of the walls than inside."
This caused many of the Generals and Admirals to nod their heads in approval. They liked the planning and seemed impressed by the fore thought Eusebius had utilised. Eusebius called them all forward to discuss the matter on the map itself. As he and the others made little comments about this and that concerning the invasion, I was struck with awe. Not only had Eusebius showed great intellectual skill in planning, he had also convinced his commanders of it. His father would have given a command for it to be done and left the commanders to carry the planning out. Thincol tended to depend heavily on Thyatis' size and the advise of his commanders. Eusebius had taken the matter in hand himself. He would use strategies to minimise losses. Eusebius had surpassed his father once again.
Feeling that my presence was no longer needed, I began to make my way out of the Hall. Glancing back at Eusebius, his eyes and mine met. I nodded my head in approval. He smiled.
"Demetrion. What shall we call this campaign?" He called over to me. I pointed towards the other drawing. "Operation Hydra seems appropriate" "Operation Hydra it will be" responded Eusebius.
I then left the Hall to leave the commanders to go over all of the invasion details.