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DukeOfWellington

NRP Campaign Officer's lore, noteworthy deaths and battle recaps:

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DukeOfWellington

This thread is going to be used to justify the deaths / losses of some noteworthy characters and to justify the appearance of the new officers lorewise - enjoy.

 

Shepard:

 

The air in the colonies was heavy, Shephard the "Armchair Marshall" was the obvious choice for the populace to direct their anger at, elected under mandate to expand the crown, only to do the opposite, proving that administration and military command were not one in the same. After the only victory of the entire war came without his knowlage Shephard decided it was time to leave the colonies and return to Britain for better or worse no matter the chances of survival, leaving with a short informal goodbye to the cabinet he made the march from the capital to a port with a small escort of 30 men. However leaving his office behind as it stood, due to the impracticality of carrying all doccuments to port, Shephard had allowed the members of the colonies to see the large volumes of letters written in a foreign language, each doccument sighned "Shephard Kopanski" instead of "Shephard Kemp". Word soon spread about the foreigner that had lead the colonies to disaster angering the population even more, causing even those in New Cambridge to tear down the formerly proud statues of the Armchair Marshall. Meanwhile Shephard had arrived at the port town, ready to leave the colonies behind. Upon seeing the former leader of the crown colonies the population was less than happy. The townsfolk, many of whom had been plagued by the recent refugee crisis caused by the annexation of the teritories by the GR, wanted justice. The populace took up arms, a mob of men surrounded the 31 men strong force in the narrow alleys. Some of the militia possessed guns which they used to pick off small numbers of the guard, 5 men were lost before the rifles were driven back by volley fire. The withdraw of the riflemen had provoked the main mob to close in on the surrounded force. Volley after volley was fired on the charing townsfolk who seemed to only desire Shephards head on a pike. The mob's numbers dwindled but the towns people still easily outnumbered Shephard's force.

Desperate, and with a dwindeling supply of ammunition, Shephard drew his sword and ordered men to fix bayonetts. The guard would charge the peasant mob on both sides, fierce fighting continued as the well trained soldiers and their commander held firm. The fighting raged on for an hour before the peasant militia finally broke through the lines of the exhausted soldiers, cutting many down quickly, the remaining soldiers and their commander fought on until eventually being cut down by improvised clubs and pitchforks. Shephard's body was later found at the sight of the slaughter. The corpse was uncerimounously impaled by a pitchfork while still clutching the sword. The attack was used to highlight the instability of the local towns, townsfolk being desperate enough to attack and kill a member of the colonies cabinet was used as an excuse to decentralise the crown colonies into the  crown commonwealth, with many strong military veterans as leader to ensure that an single administrator would not be the downfall of the colonies again.

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DukeOfWellington

Crown Commonwealth Leader Lore: El Presidente

 

Like the great Homer once told the tale of the tempest-tossed Ulysses, shall all those within the purview of the Provisional-Governor`s leadership rejoice in the story of the man, and the immortal legions fielded under under him. For on this sceptered isle, perched perilously above the staff of Republican tyranny, there is but one man who can hold his people well above the grasp of the perfidious Gaul, and it is by the grace of God that His Majesty`s subjects are under his protection. This is the story of El Presidente, slayer of the French, and loyal servant to the people.

 

When the cowardly Republicans first crossed into our land declared war on our people, it was him who rallied men from all over the colony to defend their homes. When the estates of mayor after mayor fell under the hellish shadow of the imperial eagle, it was he who carried the flaming torch of the Empire- first in the rolling hills of the frontier, then in the great forests of the far north, where all who trespassed met a just end.

 

When word finally reached El Presidente of a new British colony, founded on the key principles of resilience, he at first wished to continue the struggle on the mainland. However, due to the advice of his trusted advisor Kieran, his retinue made the perilous journey- though far less perilous than the Commonwealth`s founders- to the island. Upon disembarking, he found a land of internal squabbling- no better than the petulant mayors of the old country. Such insolence towards the legacy of the colonies was downright treasonous. A treason which could not exist as long as he walking this land of opportunity.

 

Now, with the quarrelsome chaff swept aside and his triumphs known the world over, El Presidente sets his sights once more on the Republican menace, which grows decadent and weak. Towards the south, the cowardly Russians lead a group of bandits and miscreants towards the perverted cause of overthrowing governments across the continents. This defiance may have to be tolerated, however, at least until the greater threat is neutralized.

 

Of course, we must remember that not all of our enemies are as visible as the French. There are subversive elements among us- among ourselves- who notice our position of power and look at us with an unquenchable envy…

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Rip florian:

He had been exceptionally busy that night and had ordered that a full bottle be sent to his chamber instead of the usual cup. Again, this did not cause suspicion, as there were few in court who understood the sheer amount of work required to manage an Empire. Yes, an Empire- long gone were the days were they could keep up pretenses about being a republic. What is a republic but a herd of unfortunates bickering amongst themselves? An emperor is what is needed, one immune to such… such… He took a long draw from a cigar. A thin trail of smoke funneled its way to the ceiling and created out of the small crack in the doorframe. Arrogance. That was the word he was looking for: arrogance. Not arrogance justified by achievements or noble status, mind you, but the belief that a membership in the human race entitles you to self-mastery. One master in heaven, one on Earth, that is how this system works. He dropped a quill on a sheet on parchment. His signature filled up a good half of the bill, ink running onto the red mark of the imperial eagle which affixed all government documents. He sighed, whoever had stamped this paper had done a poor job. The image had blurred so much, over a presumably short period of time. But no matter, that was the last document of the night. After everything, the very least he deserved was a drink. Prince Florian had been discovered dead the following morning, slumped over his desk, cup in hand. A single stream of blood cascade from his pale blue lips. The rich wine had stained his desk, much to the dismay of his administrators, as no small amount of records had been lost.

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Chinese's ascension to power in the confederation:

 

We men of the Confederacy have thrice been betrayed by the avarice of the oppressors. First, when the mad Tsar cast away our founders from faraway Russia, and sent them to die in the Siberian wastes. But we endured, and settled the Island- the only place on Earth out of his reach. Second, we were betrayed by the Grande République, who claimed to be our liberators as they cut us down like dogs. But we endured, and even now they fear the wrath of our partisans. Finally, we were betrayed by our very own, those who sympathize with the République and its tyrannous ways. Yet here we are, once more with an entire nation at our command. But we have not forgotten our mistakes; we have learned that our people cannot coexist alongside the tyrants of the old world.

 

Peasant, illiterate, ignoble: all of these words have been hurled at him through corrupted mouths. It is true, he was born a shepherd, birthed under the dancing lights of the winter night. But the bright lights of his conception were shrouded by the harsh reality of his class; the whip fell upon the future leader on many occasions. On one frigid night, where even the cattle were spared the elements, the field hands continued onwards in their dread routine. His master- who is believed to be of immediate French descent- was unsatisfied with their rate of progress, and sought to punish their labor with the cat of nine tails. Methodically, he stalked from stalk to stalk and slashed at every slave of his. But, as he crept behind the man who would become our great leader, he preemptively revealed his presence by stepping on a wayward twig. Caught off guard, Chinese swung his sickle at the noise, catching the neck of his sadistic master and severing evil head from subservient body. Before his corpse had even sunk into the ground, Chinese knew he could never set foot on the mainland ever again.

 

Fortunately, he wouldn`t have to. His band of newly-liberated farmlands ransacked the manor and bought passage to a newly discovered island to the southwest: Drepesk. The merry band of freedmen have since been immortalized in our new culture as The Twenty Seven. With Chinese as their leader, they established a free city in the wilderness of the island, and began raiding French settlements and plantations in the interior.

 

When news of the Drepesk Rising- now commonly referred to as the October Rebellion- sparked by a failed attempt by the Republican forces to limit Russian settlement to specific towns, Chinese led a group of exiles and frontiersmen to the walls of eponymous city, where in a feat of diplomatic skill, he delivered a rallying speech from the other side (in full sight of armed Republican guards), which was heard by a growing crowd inside. The guards dared not fire on the valiant leader, and thus opened the gates.

 

The rest of the island fell within the week with minimal bloodshed, as armories in each city were stormed by Russian nationalists and self-proclaimed entrepreneurs alike. Simply put, whenever the idea of retaliation was put up, it was met by leveled rifles at every angle. Once they were lowered, however, the problem of how to organize the people soon came into question. It was generally excepted that the new nation had to be united as one- as evidenced by the embarrassing defeat the Soyuz suffered due to internal rivalries- but a lingering distrust of autocracy still carried over from years of Republican rule. Chinese was the most obvious candidate for a leader for patriotic (he lead the first rebel group on the island) and practical (he possessed the most guns out of everyone) reasons. The concepts of democracy were lost upon the mostly illiterate population, although a certain few intellectuals still advocated for it. Questions of the character and motivations of Chinese arise as well, as during the early days of his rebellion, he was known for his tight control over his commanders, and not shying away from forcibly recruiting soldiers from Russian villages. This balance between what amount of centralization is necessary to survive and repel an almost-certain invasion from the Grande Republic, and what is too much will define the following months of the Confederacy.

 

If they succeed, it may just define the world.

 

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Grande République Leader: Ethelad

 

The citizens and citizenesses of Le Grande République were among the most fortunate in the world when the wars ended. The majority of the conflict had been fought on enemy territory, and their nation suffered the fewest casualties of all of the combatants. An influx of resources from the newly annexed territories fostered economic growth, and that growth was monitored by a host of scrupulous attendants in Le Bastion. This level of economic- and even social, following the repealing of rationing and censorship laws- freedom bought undying loyalty from the citizens of the republic, and even attracted sympathizers from the ranks of their former enemies. This prosperity, of course, was enjoyed most by the elite- although, for obvious reasons, they hesitated to use that term in a supposedly classless nation. And none enjoyed it more than their triumphant leader, The Tax Collector.

 

However, just as humanity, with no natural predators, grows into atrophy and decay, so did L’empereur and his court. While a cursory glance would give the impression of a modern enlightened despot, there was a reason the ladies of the court shuffled away to the far corners of the room when he burst in through the door. For it seems Tax Collector had come down with a case of what was then referred to as “choleric melancholia”- in layman`s terms he was as unstable as a log in a tempest. While some days passed with all the excitement that empire-wide bureaucracy entails, other times tables were flipped, courtiers were harassed, and the wide stained windows of the hall threatened to shatter due to his signature screech.

 

And that simply couldn`t do. Enter Prince Ethelad- whose knighthood sent controversies all around the supposedly anti-aristocratic republic. Though few among the court and populace wished to admit it, this relatively unknown officer from the First Republican War was the only person who held control of the army, courtesy of a direct act from the Emperor himself. Thus, any plot against the dribbling monarch needed his assistance to work. And if they needed his assistance, they needed him to sit on the throne.

 

And so, meeting no resistance except for the Emperor`s swinging fists, the Prince adopted the newly created title of Consort, which relegated Tax Collector to a mere figurehead- a figurehead which was now permanently consigned to his bedchambers and affixed to his throne with iron chains the few times he was allowed out.

 

What was clear was that The Grande Republic had a new leader. What wasn`t clear was if the old one ever noticed.

 

 

 

(all credits to this masterpiece and the above to Bulletmagnet)

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The Battle of Noisne

 

“…And our last mistake was remaining calm when the sentries didn`t return. Rumor is some bloke found them strung up from a tree, throats slit and all. They`d seen the rebels, and the rebels saw them. Only problem is, they saw us before we saw them.”

 

-Private Nigel Farage

 

 

Although the battle of Noisne has been generally considered to be a complete humiliation on the part of the Crown Commonwealth- perhaps with some merit- let this summary first show the things that the invading faction did correctly. For one, the landings itself were a complete success, as sleeper agents fed misinformation to the local captain of Confederate forces. As a result, a beachhead was promptly established, and engineers began construction of a deep-sea dock for larger warships and transport craft to offload their materials. This was, ultimately, unnecessary (and even detrimental, as the half-completed dock was captured and used by the Confederation to launch an invasion of Erlovsk), but a logistical marvel nonetheless. And the retreat- a retreat into the sea, no less- was carried out with minimal casualties.

 

However, it is the space between debarkation and retreat which is the subject of controversy. Perhaps it was unwise for the first battle of the Crown Commonwealth to be one of an overseas invasion, but after the quick capture of Erlovsk Island and the surrounding islets, the general staff was confident of a continued string of victories. Unlike the previous war, where the adversary was a highly-centralized juggernaut with an equally prestigious military history, the Confederation was united only by common assent. If this mutual consent towards unification was shattered, hopefully along with their armies, than the war may have been over in a few weeks. In that case, speed was necessary, lest a common sense of unity develop in their nation.

 

The Confederation of Liberated Lands, in comparison, had no élan to rely on. Their peoples could claim no noble heritage, and their previous attempt at self-governance under the Soyuz was met with betrayal and subjugation. They had not a single victory- except against a revanchist zealot band, who had since been martyred among the Confederation- to reflect on with pride. What they did have, however, was freedom. And when that freedom was jeopardized, scores of civilians grabbed their muskets, rifles, and even axes to support the army. What they brought along with them, as well, was knowledge on the terrain, as well as likely positions the Commonwealth army was planning to capture.

 

The Confederate army arrived at the designated battlefield, a hilly pastureland which could conceal entire regiments. As planned, Commonwealth forces marched inland towards the seat of the council at Drepesk, where they were planning to install a collaborationist regime. As it just so happens, the minor Russian lord which they chose to lead the regime was among the first casualties of the battle, as an opening cannon barrage hit him directly. Just as the columns recovered from the shock and began to rearrange themselves into battle formation, a musket volley tore through their lines, and many of their ornately dressed officers stained red cotton with redder blood. However, not all was lost for the Commonwealth. Many of the civilian soldiers foolishly broke formation in an attempted charge, only to be cut down as they reached the enemy with point-blank fire. The Commonwealth soldiers responded by charging forward themselves, now with a heavy numerical superiority.

 

Confederate lines collapsed during the retreat. Even worse, the artillery couldn`t provide support without the risk of shelling their own men. Seeing the situation, the surviving Commonwealth officers ordering their tired men to advance on the battery itself, and silence it for good.

 

Unfortunately for the Commonwealth, the Confederate rearguard halted the retreat and rallied the soldiers on top of the artillery hill. With their lines of sight clear, the artillery loaded grapeshot (and, according to legend, even stuffed nails and bullets into their cannons) and provided cover. But the advance did not halt, and soon there was a great struggle amongst the cannons. However, despite enemy numbers, it was the Confederacy which prevailed, using their uphill advantage. When the order to retreat was finally given, many Commonwealth forces tripped and clambered over each other in the resulting mob, and were easily slain by revengeful Confederates. Some cavalry even managed to wheel around the mob and cut off their retreat, dooming the entire mass.

 

The war would not be over in a few weeks, as planned. There would be a second front.

 

It was not military aptitude or bravery which saved the Second Commonwealth Army from destruction, but the fact that their enemy became fatigued after killing so many of their men. Still, the invasion was not completely defeated yet. Even after such an embarrassing display, the rearguard had managed to escape and rendezvous with the rest of their comrades. They met in the middle of a wheat-field, using the stone walls as cover. Using cavalry to lure in the enemy, they managed to surround a pursuing Confederate force, which retreated into a nearby farmhouse. Thus, the battle turned into a siege, as Commonwealth artillery and skirmishers slowly withheld away at the defenders. Three times, the Confederate cavalry sallied out, and three times they were repelled. Finally, an assault was launched on the meager garrison, and the ranch-house was finally taken. This would prove to be the final hurrah for the invasion force.

 

Reinforcements were certain to arrive within the hour, and the decision to withdraw was already made. When the rest of the Confederates reached the ranch, they found a host of walking wounded with nothing left to lose.

 

But lose they did. Confederate infantry assaulted their position in the ranch-house and cut them down. A small detachment attempted to encircle around and strike the artillery, but were spotted and shelled into oblivion. But, in a way, they had succeeded in delaying the bulk in the Confederate army, and the Commonwealth force as a whole made it onto their ships just as enemy scouts reached them.

 

The Battle of Noisne had ended. But the aftermath proved to be even more decisive than the conflict itself. In their haste to evacuate, the Commonwealth fleet had not consulted their maps correctly, and landed on the mainland instead of the Island of Erlovsk. The Confederate army captured the island immediately afterward. Furthermore, Nirok Island, which remained ungarrisoned, was captured, putting the entire west coast of the Commonwealth at risk. Not only had the Commonwealth failed to push the frontlines away from their continent, but the Confederacy now how the equipment and morale to face them again. Of course, there were other threats to the Commonwealth, too. Gunpowder still stained the air at Noisne when a beleaguered ranker informed his officer at the Burly island garrison that Republican transport craft had been sighted.

 

-All credit to BulletMagnet (SINQUISITOR)

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“…But we had to take it. ‘If the English control the straits, they control everything’. That`s what they told us. ‘If we take Isle de Burly, then we will take the entire Commonwealth’. He had the gaul to sound so sure, even after the first assault had been shredded by those damned rockets. So I went up to him and said, ‘Sir, if we launch another attack, they only thing we will be taking is more casualties!’ Needless to say, I was assigned to the next wave.”

 

-Corporel Marie Le Pen, First Republican Army

 

 

Word had not reached the mainland of the defeat at Noisne, and it wouldn`t for another few weeks. The veterans had been assigned to virtual quarantine within their barracks, and writing materials were confiscated. When the news was announced, the scale was downplayed and many fatalities were simply listed as “on campaign”. These attempts to hide the true scale of the defeat proved unnecessary, however, as the population had been inspired by news of a different battle on the Island of Burly, just off the east coast of the mainland.

 

Situated in the middle of the Sea of Moissac (Mer du Moissac), Burly Island was once home to a minor Republican colony of fur trappers- the island`s name is theorized to come from the constitution of these men. Unfortunately for these brave souls, a Crown Colony squadron blockaded the population into starvation shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, and the survivors soon fled. With both sides concerned with more pressing matters, the abandoned island remained in its depopulated state.

 

But, like so many things in the lives of so many people, that changed with the outbreak of war. The island was the optimal crossing point between the Commonwealth and Republican lands. It could shield transport craft from the infamous tempests in the region, as well as block any relief vessels from Europe- which ultimately provided negligible support- from reaching the critical harbors at Wellington Village and Girouard Sur Mer. In fact, these islands were so congested with merchant vessels, that the invasion fleet was easily able to blend in; their deception was only revealed when a perceptive member of the Commonwealth garrison spotted the Republican tricolor upon one of the ships main decks. Ultimate deception may have been lost, but the invading force still had numbers, quality, and experience on their side.

 

Fortune, however, evaded them that day.

 

The main Commonwealth presence on the island was on a hastily-constructed village from the fur-trapper days. A river, used by the original inhabitants to ferry their goods into open water, was only able to be crossed by a single bridge, as well a fording point on either side. The Commonwealth forces would not give their enemy the dignity of an open-field battle as they had done in the past. They had a blood feud to win.

 

Morale in the Republican lines was high, as to be expected from soldiers from the most successful army the continent had ever known. Though this would be their first experience with any sort of naval excursion, strength in numbers quenched most fears. Besides, the first reports in from the Battle at Noisne arrived the night before the assault, and roars of laughter could be heard in their camp. After all, how could a tactically superior force be defeated by a smaller hastily-assembled militia?

 

The Republican lines marched in good order to the Commonwealth positions inside the village. They were well-rested, armed, and many of the veterans had experience fighting the British. The wide blue columns of Republican infantry calmly stepped onto the bridge into the village; musicians still playing La Marseillaise. Just as they reached the chorus, rocket positions hidden amongst the buildings sent blackpowder explosions tumbling through the air. Though initial casualties were limited, the bridge was heavily damaged. Furthermore, what the rockets lacked in accuracy they more than made up for with firing speed, as the debris had hardly splashed into the river before another dozen rockets were launched. Few armies could have survived that barrage without breaking into a rout, but the Republican forces held their position.

 

A detachment from their lines was sent over to one of the crossings, with the goal of surrounding the distracted garrison and forcing a surrender. While they made it to the crossing unmolested and began to ford their way across the neck-high waters, they soon found out that it was them who were deceived. Rifles on the other bank of the river sprung up from their position behind the tree-line and started to take pot-shots. As one of them noted;

 

“Sometimes we didn`t even have to hit `em and they`d still die. (They`d) be so panicked they would loose their footing and slip and go under. `Course the ones we did hit fared no better.”

 

When the commander at the bridge found the floating corpses of his men reach his position down river, the assault was called off. Hidden cheers were heard all over the village, echoing through empty streets and crevices in the walls. A few souls even fired their muskets into the air, expecting their perfidious adversary to be routed by their presence alone.

 

They were mistaken.

 

For just as easily as the Republican army had retreated off the bridge, the order was given to wheel around and scale the ruins. This time, just as planned, the enemy would have to spend precious time reloading before they could fire more unmerciful volleys. Squads of pioneers carrying large planks of wood- which were able to shield them from a shot or two- placed them across the holes and gaps and ushered the men across. Despite their heroics, they proved to be easy targets for Commonwealth sharpshooters, who prevented their comrades from reinforcing the breach. However, too many eager frenchmen had made it across, and the fight soon spilled into the village proper.

 

“From every house, from every window, out jumped an Englishman. They would run up just to the edge of the melee, and look you dead in the eyes as they shot you- easily within lance or bayonet range. We fought in the Soyuz, we fought in the Colonies, but it was like we had never fought anything at all when we were matched against those Englishmen.”

 

-Privé Auguste Gusteau

 

Despite the capture of half of the village, casualties were heavier than anticipated, and reserves could not be called up in numbers without the risk of collapsing the bridge. Accounts state that the commanding officer expected his cannons to arrive at any moment and turn the tide of the battle- except they never did. A squad of Commonwealth commandoes ambushed the cannons, who were trailing behind the bloodthirsty rankers at the front, killed the crew and spiked their artillery, rendering them inoperable.

 

This, of course, was not known to the officer, who never officially called for a retreat throughout the entire battle. Fortunately for him, he didn`t have to, as his army seized the initiative and fled for the ships en masse. Instead of cavalry chasing after them, it was bullets, all fired from hidden positions, where the enemy had not the time nor willpower to locate the shooter. This continued even when men were scrambling onto the transport crafts, with hidden snipers tallying how many rowers they hit before they made it out of range.

 

This defeat shattered Republican society to the core. Not only were the sea lanes vulnerable to raids, but a fully prepared Republican army had been defeated by a Commonwealth army. But still, the most patriotic in the Republic still claimed that the Commonwealth had used “vile tactics”, by hiding in a fort and ambushing the artillery convoy. If they could only meet again on open ground…

 

As for the captain who had led so many men to his death, he was led to his own, courtesy of the newly crowned Empereur Ethelad. Although, unlike his men, he did not die with courage on a foreign continent, but with an unquenchable fear in the middle of L`Aumond on the Place de la Justice. Legend has it, even his severed head screamed too- but of course, that must have been drowned out by the hundreds of spectators.

 

-Bulletmagnet (Sinquisitor)

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DukeOfWellington

In truth, none of us volunteered to fight the French. Their ambitions proved to be their reckoning, yes, but that makes the deaths of all of our men that much more of a tragedy. I’m sure they- and by they I mean us and them- wished to have our finest hours fighting the Republicans, preferably at the gates of their den of infamy. But beggars can’t be choosers, and not one of us complained when we heard that the enemy had come to us on our blood-sodden land. So many up’n ran over the battlefield- didn’t even get fully dressed. We got there quick, too; our eyes were stingin’ with sea air and beads of sweat pouring from our brows. But we didn’t care about that then, only focused on the invaders, who must’ve been forced to embark on such a mission like this, and would run the moment they saw combat. If not then we would make them run, ourselves.

 

They gave us scars that day. They gave us mighty deep scars.

 

We found them while they were camping by a fishing village, with none of the original residents in sight. One shudders to imagine what could have happened to them, if they had not evacuated in time. But their departure was not necessarily good for us, now we knew that neither side would refrain from shelling the whole complex, threatening to turn it into a pile of timber that neither side could use. But, as long as it was still standing, we had to capture it to deny the enemy a command center in the region.

 

It seems they took their time packing up, since we made it into the village and even had time to prepare our positions. Not that we cold see much, however, as the previous inhabitants had not had much care for including windows in their houses, though finding glass out here in the outskirts was a luxury in itself. Much to the dismay of the men, we had to clamber upon the roped-up roofs and set up an array of sandbags there. I tried to get the boys to line up against them for cover, but every so often one of the bags would fall off the roof and spill its contents all over the floor. Seeing that, it was not difficult to imagine what would have happened to a person.

 

When they finally got themselves ready, they didn’t bother to do anything special for us. I suppose all their officers were too groggy to make a plan any more complicated than pointing in our general direction. That’s not a complaint, by the way, just an observation. Although I suppose the Republicans think quite high of themselves, not entirely without reason. But valor is just about as good at stopping bullets as cowardice; that’s what I say.

 

We had this system for shooting at them, where a musket would be passed around five or so people, with each one having their go at the enemy. The unoccupied people- having nothing else to do except load the spent muskets- would then throw insults over the shooters shoulders and at the enemy. Insults the enemy could neither hear nor understand, but insults nonetheless.

 

They tired to form a solid battle formation, but as they reached the thin streets of the village their lines became a block, which became a huddled mass as the men pushed against each other and gasped for air. This was when our shots became extra effective, as even those who were not killed collapsed onto the ground, and were consumed by the roving horde of their countrymen. Despite these setbacks, the column was most definitively moving forwards, towards our positions inside the various shacks and and on the threadbare roofs at the very end of the road.

 

In some sort of godly intervention, our artillerymen chose that exact moment to fire on the enemy, just as we started to worry about our blackpowder reserves. It was as if Moses himself had split their formation apart, as a line of bloody pulp went straight through the entire block, as the dreadful ball bounced its way merrily through. Their golden-edged standard had been split in two, the staff shattering into razor sharp splinters flying all over the place. They no longer needed any orders- their natural instincts directed their retreat.

 

The insults grew in magnitude as we saw them scramble over one another in their vain attempt to escape. We directed our shots at the sky, and smothered the air in plumes of gun smoke and ash. I myself fired my pistol at the our blue-backed enemy, though there was not even the slightest care whether or not it hit them. What mattered now was the sallying forth from our positions, to drive the invaders back into the sea, and bring the our crusade of liberation to their doorstep.

 

As it turned out, they could pack everything up much faster than they could bring everything out, with the notable exception of their tents and a large score of their cots. Besides that and a few apple cores left discarded, all that was left of the Republicans were a heap of footsteps. Like bloodhounds, we were, tracking a bleeding enemy through gravel and grass.

 

When we found them again, they had fortified in the first pack of buildings they had seen, which also happened to be the last before the open sea. Unlike the village, they had a proper town on their side, with rows of hedges leading to the main manor itself, where they had placed half a  regiment inside. Right then I knew this was going to be a most sordid affair; the hedges might as well have been stone walls, which would funnel us straight into the enemy’s sights. Even if we made it through, every entrance would be guarded by a wall of bayonets, with men standing behind them, ready to fire. I told him that- the general, I mean- and I believed at the time he agreed with me.

 

Enter our cavalry officer. Out of respect for the dead I will not tarnish his family’s reputation by naming him, but he was notably present from our meeting. If there ever could be an ideal soldier of the Confederacy, it wouldn’t be too dissimilar to him. Fresh face, eager heart; the first to jump in and the last to jump out. He took it upon himself to apply that doctrine on the enemy positions that day, and ordered our entire mounted force to encircle around and harass any and all scouts and baggage staff outside of the manor.

 

However, the large rows of hedges hemmed the cavalry in, leading them well into range of the Republican muskets. The horses- many of whom were requisitioned from farmers and were thus unused to the sounds of battle- bucked their riders off and blocked off the sole exit. Whatever the cost, we could not risk the annihilation of our cavalry, as unlike our enemies we could not simply replenish our ranks with such experienced men.

 

So, God help us, we advanced.

 

My sergeant was the first of us to go, and was unfortunate enough to survive the hit to the neck long enough to choke on his blood. He collapsed on the ranker behind him, who could do nothing but cradle him as he watched the life drain from his pale eyes. Most of the French hadn’t even been aiming at our line, but look at what they did. Look at what they did.

 

I could in the windows that the shooters had retreated into the safety of the room, only to make way for a new group of soldiers with loaded muskets to learn partly after the window and take aim. The line before us was shredded now, cast aside like any other plaything would. The next volley would be for us.

 

And their cycle continued: the shooters, satisfied with their dread toll, made way for a third line to peer out the windows, and by this point they hardly had to aim. I won’t soon forget that moment when they fired on us. I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen, most surely lethal, but to my shock felt that I had not been hit at all. I had merely clenched my stomach to the point of pain. My men weren’t so lucky; a dozen collapsed with all manner of wounds. I had no time to process that, however, as a new threat emerged from the farm house. We could see their bear-skin caps long before they revealed their dreaded weapon, but by then it was too late. These were the men we were taught to fear, no matter how brave we thought we were.

 

The Republican Guard. Grenadiers. They said that each member had to kill a Englishman, Russian, and one of their own if they wanted to enter. Their legacy was fatal on its own, but they had brought crates of grenades with them, each one ferried from the invasion craft on its own boat. I suppose that’s why it took them so long to get themselves ready at the village- they wanted to blow us up rather than shoot us. This time, among the tight formations and overlapping lines, they would get their chance.

 

They ripped us apart. Limb from torso, head from neck, man from life. The line simply ceased to be in that moment, and the following moments too. I won’t take shame in saying we ran away from them. It was either that, or you wouldn’t be hearing this story now.

 

They sallied out of the house, hoping to finish our motley crew off once and for all. And in all of our minds we knew that if we were far too disorganized to mount an effective retreat. With our other army somewhere on the other continent, it would be only two days march to the golden gates of Drepesk. All the officers had to stay behind to look for any people who became lost in the mess of hedges, although by this point the entire field was in the hands of the French. It was here, through a small opening in the hedgerows, that I saw the last stand of the Piskow guards: the Saviors of Aisne.

 

The Saviors of Aisne. Words cannot describe the sights I saw that day. Their exit was blocked off, and they were outnumbered by a factor of seven. But still, they fought as if the numbers had been reversed. One after another, even as their comrades fell around them, a Republican soldier would with a growing uneasy attempt to face a guardsman. And they lasted for however long it takes to raise a bayonet. They whole ordeal seemed to last for hours on end, as fatigue itself was kept at bay.

 

One survivor made it out that day. A guardsman.

 

While we made it away from the manor that day thanks to the guard’s defense, though it wasn’t long ‘till they found our position. By then, we had no guards left to save us. We fired, they fired, and there was nothing new that I hadn’t said before. I’ve gotten tired of war, no matter the cause. They keep telling us of unborn generations who will be damned to oppression if we don’t drive the invaders from the continent. Perhaps being unknowingly oppressed is worth a modicum of peace. The dead are free, after all, though I wouldn’t soon wish to join them.

 

-Bulletmagnet

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DukeOfWellington

Sorry on my part for the lateness but the recap of the battle of Nirstok is just in! props to Bulletmagnet.

 

 

“Not many people remember this, but I was there at Nirstok when the English first tried to invade us. In a way, I feel pity for them, even after they did so much against my people. My people… feels odd to call a group of likeminded individuals a people. Or call them mine. What they, the English- and I suppose this goes to the French, too- didn’t seem to realize is that you don’t need a king or emperor, or anything like that to rally a populace to your side. There was hardly a single conscript in the army, and the ones that were [conscripted] were probably on their way to the recruitment office anyway. But I suppose that’s the way they like it: after all, a free-thinker would have learned that invading the taiga is never a good idea. Again.

 

Right: the battle. That’s why you’re here…”

 

-Lieutenant Vadim Putisk (ret.), 1st Ostroga Infantry

 

 

The sun rose in the east, as it often tends to do, over the crippled remains of the Grande République, which had finally forsaken the entirety of its name. What warmth could the sun provide to a battle defeated in spirit? The skin proved impenetrable.

 

But as the rays reached further west, sorrow turned to unbridled joy, no long march from sadism, at the sight of the dying empire. Though ancestral grudges were by no means new to the continent, no nation found itself to be the focus of such hatred as the Grande République. For the Crown Commonwealth, this golden time was reinforced by the return of the first wave of veterans from the front, having served their time at arms. With their loved ones no longer at risk, the civilian populace rallied for a major offensive to be made: the target was irrelevant. But the ones at the top knew that the Republic was now a mere secondary front. There was only one nation which consistently proved itself able to defeat Commonwealth armies, and now it was time to meet resistance with resolve.

 

On the other side of the Erlovsk Sea, spirits were similarly high. The war, it seemed, was now firmly placed off of the island, and the lamentations of war would rise from the mouths of their enemies, not their countrymen. And for the Confederacy, apathy was bliss. While the free citizens of Drepesk and Sarkow could sleep easily, the same could not be said for the populace of Noisne- recently named to the less French-sounding Nirstok as per public demand. Unusually hardy- by the standards of the Confederacy, no less- their paranoia towards outsiders often reached points of zealotry. Perhaps this was not entirely unmerited; Nirstok was the site of the first battle in the war, and had been the site of constant probing attacks by both of their enemies.  And they’d become quite good at defending themselves. Each home had a musket, each musket had a bayonet, and each bayonet had a spare. All of this courtesy of the governments of His Majesty and L’empereur.

 

Ostensibly, the army stationed in the province was assigned to recruitment duties. But they just wanted to learn something about fighting from the locals. They would get their practice soon enough.

 

“They packed us up like cattle, and didn’t bother to tell us where we were going. And they were awfully rude to Lysander. They’re not used to the weather down here, and especially not life at sea. And that goes for the both of us. But when the air turned from crisp to sharp, it didn't take much guesswork to figure out that we weren’t going to the east. ‘We will break them here’, said the officer, ‘and then we march on Drepesk- right at their heart”. The lads ate it all up.”

 

-Lance Corporal Dan Cameroon, 5th Livington Cavalry

 

In their haste to embark their forces, the Commonwealth has forgotten one thing: the tide. When the first landing craft set off from the ships, it was pushed back into the hull and capsized: two hands lost. Even worse, the fleet was well within eyesight of the shore, and could do nothing but watch helplessly as more and more Confederate regiments assembled at the landing ground, and took up defensive positions.

 

Six hours later, the tides reversed their course, and the defenders were met with the washed up corpses of the drowned men landing on the pebbled shore. Some of the villagers, strung up the bodies to a tree with the words with a welcoming phrase spelled out in broken English tied to their chests.

 

The Commonwealth landed enough numbers at once to dissuade the Confederacy from intercepting them, and made their way inland. They soon cam across the Confederate positions on a large hill, overlooking the one road leading to Drepesk. They had established an artillery position at the top, fortified with sandbags and rudimentary trench works.

 

The cannons harassed the Commonwealth columns as they tried to assemble at the base of the hill, but the terrain provided sufficient cover. Furthermore, they brought and entire rocket battery with them, which could fire a dozen rockets in the time it took a cannon to fire once. The angle of elevation, however, provided significant cover for the artillery crew. Since neither side could inflict any substantial damage, the Commonwealth decided to assault the position before they ran out of rockets.

 

The regiments advanced in good order, but were in the open, and the cannons had a clear line of sight. Using canister shot, they were able to carve large holes in the densely packed formations. The lines formed a line at the midway point up the hill, and fired a volley, but many of these shots flew overhead or hit the ground harmlessly. Sharpshooters at the top picked off officers with ease, working their way down the line to the infantry. The lines, freed from whatever fate those officers would impose on cowards, ran down the hill, taking fire as they went.

 

A great cheer erupted from the Confederate lines, and a few men jumped from their trench works to go after them. This few turned into entire platoons, pushing past the officers, who were preoccupied waving their pistols in the air.

 

But their enemy was faster. Though not intentional, the newly formed gap in the Commonwealth line allowed for a wave of reinforcements to be funneled in, who met the disorganized Confederates on the slope of the hill. A horrible melee fight ensued, with numbers alone proving to be the deciding factor. All the while, whenever the Commonwealth troops seemed to be gaining the advantage, Confederate artillery perched on the edge of the hill would fire canister into the crowd, choking the advance. But they were exposed at the ridge, and a lucky shot from the rockets managed to render the cannons inoperable.

 

With nothing to stop them, the Commonwealth surged up the hill and descended upon the few who remained at the top. Those who ran found to their horror that the once dense foliage on the other slope had been all but burnt away by the myriad of rockets which had missed their targets, and there was absolutely no cover to shield them from pursuing volleys. Faced with certain death, many surrendered on the spot.

 

With the hill captured, the Commonwealth moved on to their secondary objective, an old farmhouse situated atop one of the hills overlooking Drepesk. From there, once secured, an assault on the city itself could be made. This was the furthest any Commonwealth army had ever made it into Confederate territory, and they found that their supply lines were often victim to partisan raids. The weather itself was particularly poor, with snow reaching up to the knees- a man who fell in needed to assistance of two other to stand up again, and a further still to procure a blanket. So it came to be that when the army finally arrived at the farmhouse, it was night and even colder than before.

 

A patrol was sent out in search of dry firewood, but they did not return. Even if everything went according to plan, it would have been likely that whatever tracks they made leading back to the base would have been filled in with snow. But that was irrelevant to them, because the cavalry scouts of the approaching army had noticed the foreign invaders and slaughtered them. And so, the encamped army had nothing to warn them of the Confederate advance.

 

The infantry descended on the camp with frightening haste. Though most of the encamped found it too cold to sleep, they were no shape to fight a battle. With the designated musket storage on the other side of the camp, the men at the edge had nothing to fend off the attackers with but fire-pokers and the occasion pocket knife. Not only were the Confederate bayonets sharper, but their muskets were longer, and their users were used to the infamous taiga nights.

 

The perimeter was overrun within moments, and the chaos ran into the tent formation. They were fast enough to catch the residents unaware, who considered the noise and moving shadows from outside to be the works of a few disgruntled rankers. As the Confederates approached each tent, they had two or so men fire a shot in, and finish off any survivors with their bayonets. This proved to be especially effective, and by the time the camp in entirety was roused they had made it row by row to the officer quarters. The officers were spared the same fate as their men when they jumped their would-be assassins with their sabers just as they opened the canvas flap, and quickly mounted the horses. The cavalrymen, whose horses had been stolen in their flight, formed a solid line at the end of the main lane and fired whatever shots they could scavenge down, with more roused Englishmen joining in.

 

Though their attempt was valiant, there was no way they could save everyone. In fact, by resisting, they had given the Confederates enough time to wheel in their cannon, loaded with grapeshot. The line let off one desperate volley towards the cannon, but to no avail, the shots landed harmlessly around it. The cannon fired true.

 

When news of the disaster now known as the Battle of Hillstead Plantation reached the secondary Commonwealth camp, the decision was quickly made to withdraw from the island. Once again, the Confederacy had turned away an invading force. This victory, though certain in securing their western flank for the next few months, was unfortunately overshadowed by the more prestigious eastern front, where the Grande République was reduced to a single stronghold at Rouez, which had both a Commonwealth and Confederate army eying over its gilded tops. Both sides had time to lick their wounds in the west, but whomever could capture Rouez first could claim dominance over two islands.

The race for Rouez had begun.

 

-BulletMagnet (Sinquisitor)

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DukeOfWellington

“I saw the English sally forth from L’Aumond from our position in the forest. If I had any doubts on whether I wished to stay in the army, they disintegrated that very moment. I had lived in that city for years, and even after spending months in that damned forest I still knew every street corner from the ones beside it. Or rather, I think I do… and I know the occupying forces have likely changed the layout when they came in, to make it look more like one of their English cities. But they don’t care about our people anyway; no man should be able to walk out of the ruins of a once-great city, crushed by their won hand, with a smile on his face. It’s my job to nail that smile shut.”

 

-Felix du Pointe 7th L’Aumond Irregular Muskets

 

 

The capture of L’Aumond devastated all facets of Republican society. When her citizens could once rely on the legions to safeguard their livelihoods, the highest in quality on the continent by far, the République could court even her most ardent opponents to her side. In fact, had it not been for the ancestral grudges held against the République, it is likely the citizens of the Commonwealth and Confederacy would have defected en masse. But now, they entered the borders in an entirely new way.

 

This loss, despite the enormous societal consequences, was not necessarily fatal. The majority of the citizenry remained loyal to the Republic, and- now deprived of a life of tolerable luxury- proved willing to fight for it. Cadres of militiamen (and women) sprung up in captured territory, many of whom remained active even after the war’s conclusion. The formation of such groups were not rare- in fact, the Confederacy relied on their own militias substantially for intelligence operations- but the Republican militias escalated the war into a new theater. Aided by an immense knowledge of chemistry and logistics, some cells planted gunpowder and quicklime bombs in major cities in the Commonwealth and Confederacy alike. Perhaps the most infamous attack occurred in the city of Wellington, where a recruitment office was hit with quicklime during peak operating hours, and all the exits were locked. Though the people trapped inside managed to shatter a window, this only allowed for the poisonous miasma to seep out into the crowd of well-wishing families outside, hoping to wish their brave soldiers good fortune. These attacks would prove to be the most long-lasting effects of the Second Republican War, as many accredit the bombing to be the advent of modern terrorism.

 

Back at the front, another horrendous innovation was about to be created. Outnumbered nearly 2:1, Maréchal Volairie of the Second Army realized that his army stood little chance in an open battle. He positioned the army on the outskirts of fôret de rochard (Rochard Forest), to conceal his true numbers and provide extra cover. Most importantly, he chose to focus his attention not at the enemy over the horizon, but the ground at their feet; he ordered his men to dig an elaborate series of trenches and use the excess dirt to create overhead bunkers. A cunning ploy, one which has earned him the title as the father of trench warfare, and scores of armies throughout the years have copied and improved upon his design. Unfortunately for him, one of those armies was the Second Commonwealth Army, which decided to construct a trench line for themselves.

 

The following fortnight consisted of sporadic exchanges of gunfire followed by moments of silence. This stalemate actually proved to be in favor of the Commonwealth, who unlike their Republican adversaries had brought rifles and rocketry alike. While the Republic still possessed a large amount of artillery, its effectiveness was limited by these factors. Rifles and rocket batteries could fire faster than a cannon ever could, and could quickly scurry away from its arc of fire when danger presented itself. For these reasons, it was in the best interests of the army to starve its anxious rivals out and wait until they made a mistake.

 

That mistake came as the third week of nothingness reared its head. It just so happened to be the 28th anniversary of the end of the First Republican War: Victory Day. While the traditional dishes of boiled sprouts and pierogis (the practice of these frenchmen eating the food of their conquered rivals was meant as a symbol of triumph, through few looked forwards to it), were not available, one thing was: alcohol. It seems like on that evening, the quartermaster had been willing to let a few extra barrels leave his purview. After a few hours the entire front was inebriated to some degree.

 

When the Commonwealth commander heard the resulting commotion, he knew that there could be only one reason. With the moon at their flanks, the 6th Kernsmouth, 8th Richmond, 9th Salisport, 2nd and 15th Wellington, and 4th Earlsburry climbed over the ridge of sandbags atop the trenches and into the open wild. Using fallen logs as cover, they managed to avoid a few shots from the sentries, who struggled to rouse their comrades while they reloaded.

 

But it was no use. The assaulting regiments made it with little resistance, only halting their advance when the reached the edge of the Republican trench, where each man fired a shot into the crowded mass below. With the newly formed gaps in the crowd, they jumped in and began the killing. While the Republicans still had their muskets at their side, they were in no condition to use them. But they still chose to fight, and whether that was because they knew that a scramble over the reverse side of the trench would leave them in the open or it was an alcohol fueled impulse will be forever unknown. What is known is that within a few thrusts of the bayonet the battle was over, and the shattered remnants of a once-proud army fell back into the countryside once more. The Commonwealth soldiers were ordered to pursue, but many of them had stumbled upon the still-frothing drinks which had doomed their enemies, and they did partake.

 

There was nowhere safe for the Republican army to travel, save for the deep interior. But that would lead the city of Rouez, and all of the southwest, in enemy hands. And if the southwest fell, then that would be a sign that the République could not protect its own people- and that was unacceptable. A great debate grew in camp among the survivors, enflamed by the fact that Voliarie had been slain in the trenches, trying to rally his troops. If the remaining 3,000 men had been left in this unguided state, there would be a good chance that the entire army would collapse. But that all changed when a mysterious man wearing outdated regalia rode in, with two Imperial guards at his side. The older men knew his face immediately, the one which had done so much so long ago. Once deemed mad, he was smuggled out of his keep in L’Aumond after an English shel blew a hole straight through it. He was keen to return the favor. L’Emperuer had returned. The Tax Collector had returned.

 

-BulletMagnet (Sinquisitor)

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