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Expedition to the Great Southlandby Captain Ebenezum
When the Alphatians came to this world we landed on the big island now known as "Alphatia". As the Alphatians were only the sad remainder of a once mighty people the main problem was to create a new empire in which we could dwell. From the beginning it was clear that this task would last centuries. The emperor and the Grand Council quickly decided that the Island we had reached was a good place to begin with this task. The generals had to do their work now.
The surviving admirals of the Alphatian Imperial Navy could not stand that. They now had to find a way to re-establish their former might. Of course, we had no magical ships in those early years. The knowledge about the construction of such ships was still there, but our new world had different natural laws; some readjustments were inevitable. The dream of the admirals about an air fleet was years, even decades away.
Fortunately, even in our grandiose old empire we had great oceans, and bold sailors to ply them. Now in our new world those men and women were quickly promoted to captains and admirals, connected with the task to create a new ocean fleet. Some resources were used to build this fleet as naval support is useful in conquering an island. So the fleet was built.
On the other hand, once built a fleet can accomplish all kinds of missions. The first century after the landing saw the famous expeditions of Cpt. Trikelios in AY 37, 39 and 40 and of Cpt. Ekto in AY 38 and 42 to the Isle of Dawn where they discovered the reclusive and civilised people of Thothia. The first explorations did not lead to the foundations of colonies. Instead our leaders decided to establish ties of friendship and commerce with the Thothians. From AY 62 merchantmen started to maintain trade routes to the Isle of Dawn. The colonies of Ekto and Trikelios, named after the first captains who had visited the island, were not established before the 5th century when the decline of the poor Thothians became noticeable.
Nowadays we cannot understand why the first explorations occurred so sluggish. A look to the map shows that Bellissaria was only a few hundred miles off Alphatia. This is true, but we overlook too easily that the 1st century ships were much smaller and primitive than today, slow and leaking vessels which usually sank when caught by a storm on the high seas. When considering these facts the feats of the early explorers cannot be respected too high. At the end of the 1st century the quality of the ships were much improved as especially the merchantmen had done much work on the design.
Additionally we must not forget that the Alphatian Imperial Navy is a war fleet. After the first explorations to the Isle of Dawn the Navy was too occupied with the fight against the wild tribes and the survey of Alphatia to spend ships and crews for more exploration missions. In AY 101 a merchantman cast adrift by a storm reported about a new big land in the southeast. He had sailed the coast for some days but had not landed. The idea was developed to send a new expedition to discover this new land and to create some new bases.
So the "Expedition to the Great Southland" began.
The Members of the Expedition
As it could be expected, the leaders of the expedition were experienced and skilled men as the voyage to a new land is a difficult and dangerous task. All of them had to boast many years of service for the empire and the had fought in the many battles the empire had led against the wild Yanifeys.
For instance, during the conquest of the Yanifeyan town of Rardish in AY 92 Colonel Horken lead a division of marines which landed at the shore. Captain Meriander commanded the transporter HIMS Gargoyle during this operation. Among his crew were Cadet Alinquin and Ensign Lagrius, and Commander Notrion commanded a small courier ship. Without the feats of these men and some other the Rardish Naval Base probably would not have existed in AY 102.
Rear Admiral Meriander
Leader of the expedition, flag-ship HIMS Bellissaria
When reading his biography it seems that the admiral had participated in every naval battle in the second half of the 1st century. Besides he commanded the HIMS Iron Golem which surrounded Alphatia first in AY 88. He not only charted the hitherto unknown north coast of Alphatia, but he even brought back home his ship and most of his crew despite of severe attacks by the jarls of Qeodhar. IN AY 92 he commanded the HIMS Gargoyle, which was the first ship to land it's marines ashore Rardish.
Admiral Meriander was an unusual man in another meaning as he was a cleric of Protius in a time where we Alphatians did not care very much about Immortals. As his beloved sea he was dangerous and unpredictable and, at the same time, a cool and disciplined naval officer, a shining example for us all.
Leader of the landing team
Horken was a skilled war-mage and a even more capable strategist and tactician. He is loud, rough and sometimes unrestrained, but he has the invaluable ability to inspire the fighting instinct in the heart of his soldiers. The general always tried to be with the first unit when landing ashore, and usually he succeeded to reach the goals of the campaign. Despite being a marine who has needed the assistance of the Navy during his complete career he considered the officers and sailors of the Navy as weaklings.
Among his greatest military successes were the conquest of Rardish in AY 92 and the famous punishment campaign against Ystmarhavn in AY 90, where the newly-promoted Colonel burned down the greatest settlement of the Qeodharian jarls.
Great Sailing Ship HIMS Bellissaria
Notrion was a capable naval officer who used his magical abilities to strengthen his ship and his crew. As he had heard opinions of some marines against the Navy at least once too often he despised those fighters deeply. The naval discipline forced him to cooperate but this did not help very much too improve his opinion about the marines. After the conquest of Rardish he got the command over a pirate hunter and chased down many of the Yanifeyan buccaneers. His greatest success were when he was the flag captain of Admiral Alanthus. After the death of the admiral during the naval battle of AY 100 he took over command and led the fleet to a glorious victory.
Great Sailing Ship HIMS Aaslin
Another good officer from the Alphatian Imperial Navy Lagrius received his baptism of fire in AY 92 during the conquest of Rardish. At this time he was but a young and inexperienced cleric of Protius as his commander, Captain Meriander, had introduced him into the secrets. In AY 93 he was promoted to lieutenant and commanded a small river boat which was sent to explore the lower course of the Llyn River. By doing this he discovered the unknown Lake Llyn but the Yanifeyan pirates from the lake forced him to retreat. His sister Lianna married Horken in AY 99.
Small Sailing Ship HIMS Alatia
Alinquin was another sea-mage, but his career was much less eventful than those of the other members. Nevertheless he was a good naval officer, and when Captain Ulanan of the Alatia were hurt severely through an accident Alinquin was transferred and was made new commander of the ship as Admiral Meriander still knew him from the time he was among his crew.
Admiral Meriander set sail on Alphamir, 10, AY 102, three days after the Day of Landing, from the military harbour at Eagret. After 12 days the flotilla was hit by a severe storm. The Alatia was scouting ahead around the Khopesh Spur and was drift south. When the other two ships met the storm one day later the admiral decided to hold the eastern course. The first real catastrophe occurred on Alphamir, 24, when Admiral Meriander was washed off the deck of his flag-ship. The problem now was that both General Horken as Captain Notrion now demanded the leadership. Captain Lagrius, a brother-in-law of the general, tried to negotiate between the both when he visited the Bellissaria after the storm. For the first Captain Notrion got the command because it is common rule in the navy that after the death of an admiral the flag-captain takes over the command until the admiral can be replaced.
The Landing on Bellissaria
The flotilla continued their voyage without the admiral and the Alatia. Finally, on Sulamir, 4, land was sighted, and after the usual quarrel between the captain and the general Captain Notrion was the first Alphatian who set his feet on a part of the big Island nowadays known as Kingdom of Notrion. They had come ashore where a river pours down from the great inland lake. Captain Lagrius volunteered to explore the river with a boat but Notrion and Horken agreed to continue the voyage even for similar reasons. Captain Notrion only wanted to find a good place for a naval base, and General Horken wanted to find a good strategic place for a fort. So the river was named "Lagrius River" to appease the disappointed captain.
The ships now followed the northern cost to a great bay which both captains estimated as appropriated for the founding of a naval base. As they had experienced now the greatness of the Island the three leaders agreed about the name of this island and named it Bellissaria after the flag-ship as it was the wish of the missing admiral. The bay was named the Bay of Aaslin after the Aaslin.
The flotilla remained for three weeks to build a fort. During this time the quarrel between Notrion and Horken escalated. Notrion opted for a return to Alphatia to fetch more troops, personnel and supply and to report the discovery to the admiralty. Horken wanted to continue the voyage around Bellissaria. Lagrius negotiated a compromise. Major Harriman, commander of the marines aboard the Aaslin, manned with his troops the new fort and General Horken transferred his marines to the Aaslin. The Bellissaria returned to Rardish which was only 650 miles off Aaslin, according to Notrion's computations. The Aaslin continued the voyage around the continent.
The Return of the Bellissaria
Captain Notrion's return to home was uneventful. After a voyage of 9 days he reached the Harbour of Rardish on Sudmir, 11. A report was send to Sundsvall and on Sudmir, 14, Notrion was promoted to admiral and governor of the Aaslin Naval Base. His first officer, Commander Hook, became the new captain of the Bellissaria. Troops and supply were stored aboard the Bellissaria. More troops, ships and personnel were promised but it was clear that none of it would be available in the next months. On Vertmir, 1, Admiral Notrion was back again in Bellissaria. The Aaslin had not returned, and he commanded Captain Hook to search the sister ship.
The Aaslin Disaster
The Aaslin continued to follow the Bellissarian coast and rounded the north point on Sudmir, 7. After an uneventful voyage along the coast the Aaslin met a thick fog around the Cape Meriander as Captain Lagrius called it some days later. This happened on Sudmir, 22. The Aaslin ran into open waters. This was part good, part bad. The Aaslin did not crush in the fog but they lost their orientation. Four days later the Aaslin met land again. The first time during their voyage they met humans, seafaring dark skinned people. The exact events could not be reconstructed later on, but it seems that General Horken had decided to conquer or sack the village of these Tanagoros. The counter-attack damaged the Aaslin severely, but Captain Lagrius reached an retreat in good order. Pursued by the much smaller and primitive but high-sea going Tanagoroan vessels the Aaslin fled westward.
Unfortunately Captain Lagrius set a too southern course. So he discovered the big Inner Sea of Horken, as we know it today. After 26 endless and bitter days the Aaslin saw land again. On Vertmir, 20, it hit land, literally! The severely damaged ship did not follow the order of the captain in the wrong moment and crushed into the coast of Horken.
Captain Lagrius now had a falling-out with his brother-in-law, General Horken. He left the general and the marines with his sailors in an intact rescue boat and followed the coast. General Horken organised his surviving marines to construct a fort.
The Discoveries of the Alatia
The small sailing ship Alatia were divided from the rest of the flotilla only days after the departure. On Alphamir, 24, Captain Alinquin reached a great island, Aeria. He decided to survey the island and surrounded it in 12 days. On Sulamir, 14, he discovered Aegos and surrounded it in 13 days. On Sudmir, 1, the Ne'er-do-wells were discovered. The survey of both were accomplished on Sudmir, 11. On Sudmir, 12, Alinquin discovered Gaity and named the islands the Alatia Archipelago. When the island was charted on Sudmir, 21, Captain Alinquin conferred with his navigator, and both men came to the conclusion that Admiral Meriander and his flotilla had to be in northeastern direction.
So the captain set a course along the southern coast of Gaity and finally he reached the Bellissarian coast on Sudmir, 27. He followed the southern coast of Bellissaria and on Vertmir, 21, the Alatia shipped around Cape Spearpoint. Finally, on Islamir, 6, Captain Alinquin, to his big surprise, met General Horken in his new fort.
After 4 days of shore leave the Alatia set sail again. Captain Alinquin charted the coast of the Inner Sea of Horken, met the Bellissaria and reached the Aaslin Naval Base on Andrumir, 14.
The Rescue Mission of the Bellissaria
Two days after Captain Hook left Aaslin with the Bellissaria she met a storm, short, but fierce. The storm drifted her to a cape of the Esterhold Peninsula, which she named Cape Hook. One week she charted the coast of Esterhold where now Port Marlin can be found, but on Vertmir, 13, she was in clear waters with a southern course to the Bellissarian coast. On Vertmir, 18, the Bellissaria was back again in the coastal waters of the big island. The Cape Meriander was transhipped on Vertmir, 28, and the Cairnport Bay, the northern-most point of the Inner Sea of Horken, on Islamir, 11. Here Captain Hook ordered some days of shore leave. Six days later the crew spotted the sails of the Alatia and now Captain Hook learned about the fate of the Aaslin. The both captains agreed to return to Aaslin as the autumn were coming closer and the surviving marines of the Aaslin had settled down in their fort. The Bellissaria reached Aaslin on Andrumir, 20.
The Adventures of Admiral Meriander
I have told you that admiral Meriander was washed off the deck of his flag-ship. Of course he did not die as he was a cleric of Protius who are known to be immune against drowning.
On the other hand he drifted some days in the sea before he was washed ashore the Bellissarian coast. He was shaken by the experience, and even if he would have been able to heal such a disease he could not help himself as he had no longer the ability to concentrate his mind on casting his spells. What he met, what he did and how he survived is unknown, but he survived indeed and wandered into the inland, maybe in a try to flee the ocean.
The Voyage of the Blue Fish
On Vertmir, 20, Captain Lagrius left General Horken aboard the rescue boat Blue Fish. He sailed north to the place where today the city of Princetown is located. He reached this place on Islamir, 8. At this point he could not resist the desire to explore this new river. My personal theorem is that he got an inspiration from his Immortal, as he was like Admiral Meriander a cleric of Protius.
From one aspect it was the wrong decision: Had he waited only five more days, the Alatia would have him picked up, but when Captain Alinquin passed the river there was nothing to discover.
On Islamir, 16, the crew of the Blue Fish discovered the giant inland lake of Bellissaria. Captain Lagrius followed the north coast and by the end of the month, on Islamir, 28, he left the lake via the Lagrius River. On Andrumir, 20, the captain reached the mouth, where the flotilla had made first landfall more than four months before.
Captain Lagrius returned to the lake and completed the circling of the lake. On Cyprimir, 20, two sailors found a man living in a cave. He was obviously insane and ran shouting through the woods. They brought him back to the boat and Captain Lagrius examined him. To his surprise, the man was Admiral Meriander. With his clerical abilities he could calm down the admiral. On Hastmir, 4, Captain Lagrius founded the Blueside Camp, where he planned to pass the winter. In the next months he was finally able to heal Admiral Meriander fully.
The End of the Campaign
When the Alatia reached Aaslin, Admiral Notrion could sum up the results of the Expedition. One ship was lost, the admiral and one captain missing, but the coast of the continents were nearly charted and two bases were erected. He decided to send back both remaining ships to the naval shipyards in Eagret to be repaired and provisioned during the winter. The faster Alatia got the additional order to complete the charting and left Aaslin on Andrumir, 15. The Alatia complete the charting on Cyprimir, 8. After that Captain Alinquin set a course home and reached Eagret on Hastmir, 8.
The Bellissaria left Aaslin on Andrumir, 21, and reached Eagret on Hastmir, 23, more than seven months since departure.
Consequences from the Expedition
The mission had managed to chart the coasts of Bellissaria in one year and established a naval base, a marine's fort and a camp which were later on developed into the capitals of three of the Bellissarian kingdoms. Further the Alatian Islands were discovered and charted and some parts of the Skotharian coast, hitherto absolutely unknown.
Summary of the Alphatian Year 103
During the winter the admiralty had to consider the results of the expedition. The admirals applied for more funds to develop the two bases into fully functional naval bases. The emperor and the Grand Council granted those funds and started an colonisation campaign. Not very much nobles volunteered to settle the new lands, but some commoners were willing to set a distance between them and the nobility on the main island.
The promotion of Commander Hook were confirmed but she loosed the command over the Bellissaria. Instead she got a new command over the Zamara, another great sailing ship newly assigned to the flotilla of Admiral Notrion. New commander of the Bellissaria became Captain Alinquin because of his seniority. The old Alatia and two additional ships, the Dobar and the Ambur, completed the flotilla.
In spring of AY 103 Captain Alinquin led a imposing fleet consisting of the flotilla and a number of transporters back to Aaslin. Half of the supply and colonists were set ashore here, and the other half were sent to General Horken. Admiral Notrion himself sailed with the Bellissaria to the southern base, while Captain Hook escorted the transporters to the Naval base at Rardish. From there she set sail to the great bay, now known as the Sea of Zamara. The accompanying small sailing ship, the Dobar, dared to enter the relatively small Dobar Bay. It was the captain of the Dobar too, who noticed the marlins east of Cape Hook and called the coast east of the Dobar Bay the Rock Coast. Those names were later on used to name the both Alphatian colonial cities on the south coast of Esterhold.
On the way to Horken the scouting Alatia found Admiral Meriander, Captain Lagrius and the surviving sailors from the Aaslin, who had left their camp on the shores of the lake. The admirals in far Sundsvall reacted quickly and granted positions to all.
Admiral Notrion was affirmed as governor of the territories around his base, General Horken likewise became governor of the southern territories, Admiral Meriander was appointed supreme commander of the navy for the complete island of Bellissaria with the Horken Naval Base as his command post.
Captain Lagrius was accused on a court martial for the lost of the Aaslin. He was sentenced guilty and decided to retire. While being in the imperial capital he applied for the territories around the great inland lake with the option to become king later on. Due to an mistake by an scribe in the service of the Grand Council the petition were formulated to become king NOW! The matter was handled late in a night, and most members still present did not realise what they were voting about. No more than a month after his court martial Captain Lagrius was appointed King of Lagrius! Of course the mistake were discovered quickly, and some reorganisations were committed, but to keep the face the Grand Council did not reject the petition.
Of course this inspired Notrion and Horken, and they started their own campaigns at once, but those did not end in AY 103.
The Bellissarian Navy had to be reorganised now that there were two admirals. Admiral Notrion got the Zamara under Captain Hook as flag-ship, and Admiral Meriander got back the Bellissaria under Captain Alinquin.
Not very much is to be reported about this year, only that Admiral Meriander led some ships to the Alatian Islands to do more explorations. One ship, the trustworthy Alatia, even advanced to the south coast of the Isle of Dawn.
The Fate of the Discoverers
King Lagrius founded a dynasty which lasted until Emperor Zandor came in AY 2011. Notrion and Horken both became kings in AY 107, but they killed each other in a duel only two years later. The both kingdoms were at the edge of a war in this year, but since then the relationships were always cordially. Admiral Meriander died in a naval battle in AY 116. Admiral Alinquin, commander of Alatian Archipelago, participated in that battle and reached a tight victory. After that he retired and founded the colony of Ambur. But that is a other story which shall not be told here.