Placeholder Attackers Report:

Giftann is well-defended. A curtain wall, Giftann Bulwark, surrounds the great fortress of Aelfgarsham; the watchtower Brinwulf's Beacon ensures that the hundreds of Merisusi warriors have plenty of warning to assemble within its walls.

It is a long, hard, grinding fight through sudden ambushes of warbears, constant fire from Freiboden pistoleers and musketeers and the skilled Merisusi archers.

But with the Alkonian trebuchet, mantlets to cover the earthquake beetles, and incredibly well-trained Alkonian warriors bolstered by the tribes and the trees and the inspiring presence of Kitnacoatl and Moonghost and Jackie - the new ophidians showing the way of all things is with the native ways of life - finally prevail.

You lose two hundred and eight of your soldiers and braves and dryads - even some of the veteran Alkonian troops who seemed almost invulnerable at the start of the journey - but you destroy and scatter the Merisusi army, two hundred and fifty slaughtered throughout their unnatural buildings and streets.

And then you set about making all things good.

[OOC: This is a placeholder battle report! A more extensive report will hopefully be forthcoming...]

Placeholder Defenders Report:

Giftann is well-defended. A curtain wall, Giftann Bulwark, surrounds the great fortress of Aelfgarsham; the watchtower Brinwulf's Beacon ensures that the Merisusi and Alliance warriors have plenty of warning to assemble within its walls.

But the enemy that comes against those walls is the same enemy that destroyed Abu Malikari, that famously well-defended fortress city; the great jewel of the Rukhi colony. Ophidians and dryads supported by the veteran might of the long-hidden Alkonian army, combining the most effective native creatures with trebuchet and mantlet and proper colonial discipline.

It is a long, hard, grinding fight; Ingvar leads several ambushes of warbears, Gothgor co-ordinates constant fire from Freiboden pistoleers and musketeers and the skilled Merisusi archers and treats the injured as they arrive back in the fortress, and Eadwig leads a daring raid on the earthquake beetles cowering under their mantlets; and together they make a glorious last stand.

But with the incredibly well-trained Alkonian warriors bolstered by the tribes and the trees and the inspiring presence of Kitnacoatl and Moonghost and Jackie - the new ophidians showing the way of all things is with the native ways of life - the enemy finally prevails.

Two hundred and forty-five of your warriors die glorious deaths; two hundred and eight of theirs are slaughtered on the walls and in the streets.

It is almost a shame to survive such a battle - but someone must remain, to protect the rest of the colony, and maybe even the odds a little next time...

[OOC: This is a placeholder battle report! A more extensive report will hopefully be forthcoming...]

Local Report:

Giftann is well-defended. A curtain wall, Giftann Bulwark, surrounds the great fortress of Aelfgarsham; the watchtower Brinwulf's Beacon ensures that the Merisusi and Alliance warriors have plenty of warning to assemble within its walls.

But the enemy that comes against those walls is the same enemy that destroyed Abu Malikari, that famously well-defended fortress city; the great jewel of the Rukhi colony. Ophidians and dryads supported by the veteran might of the long-hidden Alkonian army, combining the most effective native creatures with trebuchet and mantlet and proper colonial discipline.

Two hundred and forty-five of Merisusi's finest die glorious deaths; two hundred and eight of the native forces are slaughtered on the walls and in the streets, as Ingvar and Gothgor and Eadwig lead their troops skillfully.

But with the incredibly well-trained Alkonian warriors bolstered by the tribes and the trees and the inspiring presence of Kitnacoatl and Moonghost and Jackie - the new ophidians showing the way of all things is with the native ways of life - the native forces finally prevail.

Colony Report:

Giftann is well-defended. A curtain wall, Giftann Bulwark, surrounds the great fortress of Aelfgarsham; the watchtower Brinwulf's Beacon ensures that the Merisusi and Alliance warriors have plenty of warning to assemble within its walls.

But the enemy that comes against those walls is the same enemy that destroyed Abu Malikari, that famously well-defended fortress city; the great jewel of the Rukhi colony.

Hundreds of Merisusi's finest die glorious deaths; hundreds of the native forces are slaughtered on the walls and in the streets, as Ingvar and Gothgor and Eadwig lead their troops in a glorious last stand.

But the Queen of Raid Hive, Kitnacoatl, will not take defeat for an answer; and Giftann is taken, and Giftann is destroyed.

Attackers Report:

Kitnacoatl puts down the telescope and makes a skeptical noise.

There is Giftann Bulwark, a fortified wall, lined with avian Merisusi archers. Then, lurking behind it, there is Aelfgarsham; a thick-walled fortress standing between them and the soft heart of Giftann's colleges and smithies.

And against that? Two earthquake beetles and a single trebuchet.

Kitnacoatl eyes the dryads and ophidians cautiously. If she had that number of myrmidons, they could form a living ladder up the walls, swarming over them, overwhelming the defenders; but a hundred and fifty of these consider themselves archers or musketeers, then there were fifty fragile-looking snakes and facets, not quite fifty of the well-trained Alkonians who were probably sturdy enough but shouldn't be wasted on such an effort, and not quite a hundred dryads.

The dryads might do; at least they were fairly sturdy and unlikely to complain too much. But mostly, it looks like they'd better protect those earthquake beetles.

Fortunately, the Alkonians have also brought a ridiculous quantity of portable walls. There are literally twenty-something of the massive wooden shields on wheels, more than enough to form an excellent screen around the trebuchet, the earthquake beetles, and cover much of the front line besides; the archers need to be able to fire back, of course, but most of the others can happily cower safe behind the thick wooden shelter of the mantlets, only a few of the less well-trained dryads spilling out around the edges.

The approach to the curtain wall is rather dispiriting. The fortified wall has plenty of well-covered arrow slits; while the Merisusi archers start on the battlements for better visiblity, they soon retreat inside under the withering return fire from the extensive collection of Onontakhan braves, facets, and highly trained Alkonian archers, crossbowmen and musketeers, at which point it becomes very difficult to do anything but stick as many people behind mantlets as possible and hope.

The trebuchet is brought up into position, and the earthquake beetles are moved forwards, and the archery from the walls diminishes significantly as the first rock flies through the air; between the beetles and the treb, the gatehouse does not survive for long.

There is basically no resistance directly inside the fortified wall; the dryads and ophidians quickly move to cover the exits and chase down the few archers who had chosen to stay to the last. But most of them have retreated into the fortress already.

There is a valley between the wall and the fortress, and most of the overgrown farm is within the walls; the dryads wreck a few outlying buildings here and there, and the inevitable ambush is sprung from one vine-wrapped barn. Eadwig, a huge brown-furred Merisusi mokosh with a massive heroes' shield and a long axe, moves incredibly fast for someone in that much Merisusi double mail, leading nineteen other axe-wielding mokosh and twenty-six burly avians straight towards the trebuchet.

Unfortunately for Eadwig, the Alkonians that cluster around the siege engine are no pushover. The heavily armoured avians of Heavy Flight and Heavy Fit Flight quickly close ranks and receive the charge, while the skilled pistoleers and crossbowmen of Fight Seige Flight and the incredible bowmen of Seige Flight - with their ironwood bows, that they demonstrate they can use to their full capacity - shoot tirelessly into the enemy ranks.

Nevertheless, Eadwig's courage and determination - and his ability to sweep the solidly-built avians off their feet with that axe - take him through the lines, and he is almost at the trebuchet itself when Calen's Careful Counters release the goremaw speartail and point it in his general direction.

Seeing the great clawed lizard coming straight for him, he raises his shield against it, but the creature latches onto the shield and attempts to run straight over it. Eadwig is forced to abandon the shield to avoid being clawed in the face from above, and without his protection from the arrows of Seige Flight, he appears to realise his only chance of survival is to run; he sprints off down the valley, chased by the goremaw speartail, his few remaining soldiers chasing it in turn.

The fortress appears to be a rather more difficult proposition than the fortified wall; apparently in Rukh they had some kind of eidolon suicide charge with explosive darkpowder to take out the equivalent structure there, but unfortunately no-one has thought to bring any eidolons or explosive darkpowder, so you suppose you are going to have to do it the hard way.

There are musketeers firing out of the heavy stone walls, as well as the remaining enemy archers; and as the mantlet-protected beetles rumble closer, pistoleers start up from hidden nooks around the gate itself.

Attempting to arrange an earthquake beetle charge on the door while ensuring that they are constantly protected is something of a caper, but Jackie and Moonghost eventually manage to organise the Chanters of the Canopy and the aptly named Braves of the Balance to jog alongside the beetles and lift the mantlets over them at the right moment to give them access to the doors without anyone getting shot to pieces by the pistoleers.

The trebuchet also opens fire on the gatehouse, but it is clear that it is going to take a very long time for one trebuchet to make an appreciable impression on these walls - long enough that anyone not in the cover of a mantlet will surely die of arrows or musket fire, and the mantlets themselves are beginning to look a little worse for wear...

The earthquake beetle attack is going reasonably well - the doors are definitely shaken a bit by the impact, and eventually something will probably rattle loose - until some rather ingenious sections of wall pivot up, to reveal twenty-five heavily armoured Merisusi warbears led by Ingvar, who swiftly jump on top of those carefully suspended mantlets.

Ophidians aren't really built for carrying heavily armoured Merisusi warbears around on giant slabs of wood, and the entire edifice collapses messily to the ground, giving the pistoleers - who, on examining the uniform on their bloodied corpses, you will later discover with some disgust call themselves 'The Social Club' - plenty of opportunity to shoot an awful lot of the ophidians dead.

More ophidians and facets - the backup of the Earthquake Beetles is being handled by Vadasz-Ahu's braves, including Torano's Hunters, Silent-Tooth's Hunters and Pride of Peacock as well as the aformentioned, and the 1st Marines, 2nd Platoon, Heavy Infantry facets (along with the one survivor of Sixth Crystal Wing), because apparently they don't like the smell of avians or something - scramble to retrieve the earthquake beetles before they are crushed to death, drag another two mantlets over to cover, and form a living barrier around the mokosh axemen.

Ingvar and the warbears mostly appear to know how to use those axes and those shields, and plough their way relentlessly through the ophidians and facets; however, they are soon all bleeding copiously from the skilled strikes of the Heavy Infantry, and too heavily engaged to notice the remains of the Chanters of the Canopy and Braves of the Balance quietly bringing leveller and bringer-of-sunlight around beside them and launching them at the doors once more.

And again... and again, as ophidians and facets alike perish in their multitudes, and the dryads marching in to reinforce them also begin to fall... and finally, a terrible splintering sound marks the triumph of the earthquake beetles, as they hit simultaneously with a trebuchet strike and tear their way through.

Into, of course, a rank of readied spears, which kills them stone dead.

Realising that he has attempted to take on an entire army with twenty-five warbears, and having already lost a couple, Ingvar takes the opportunity to lead a fighting retreat into the entranceway and join up with Gothgor and the bulk of the Merisusi forces. But now you can bring your full army to bear, as it were, and so Moonghost and Jackie Mullins usher in the swarm of dryads with shields that have been waiting for this moment to push back the enemy.

The narrow confines of the entranceway are well-designed to cause massive carnage to an attacking force of superior numbers, and the entire area is soon choked with pistol fire from the interior walls and corpses, mostly dryad corpses. It gets to the point that a few avians, the last survivors of the Alkonian Colonial Marines and the 5th Talon Free Company, devote themselves full time to just dragging out the bodies; through the middle of the shield pack you charge a group of spearmen to attempt to break the Merisusi line, but it transpires that there are plenty behind them ready to take their places, too.

Despite your losses outside, you still outnumber them, however; and this has definitely become a numbers game. Your pistoleers, mostly dryads but including the five Alkonians of Pist Flight, gradually move forwards within your ranks until they can shoot at the enemy lines; your archers begin to put away their bows and pull out their spears and swords; and suddenly you have broken through the narrow corridor of death into the streets of Giftann.

The skirmishers of the 4th Talon Free Company and 1st Talon Free Squadron quickly infiltrate the fortress and chase off the enemy pistoleers, and begin to hunt down their musketeers and archers; some of your archers go with them, to take the positions on the walls for themselves, ready to direct their fire inward.

As soon as it is clear that they have lost, the Merisusi fade into the streets; but this is not the last you hear of them. A mixed band of mostly avian Merisusi, directed by the Freibodeners of the Second Pietkreig Irregulars, ambush Kitnacoatl quite skillfully as she is making her way to the watchtower. Fortunately she has the Eyrie City Guard with her, nine Alkonians and a Freibodener with halberds and pistols; they understand that pistols are primarily for making some noise so that your reinforcements can arrive in good time, and then stand in a bristling circle around her, sweeping would-be attackers off their feet with their halberds.

Eadwig has returned and is among the half-dozen mokosh in the ambushing party, and he almost reaches through to land a blow on Kitnacoatl, as his firm stance seems unbreakable by the City Guard's usual tricks; however, he finds it quite distracting when she spits acid in his face, and then Gothgor grabs him and they disappear into a side street.

And that is the last serious resistance that you see on the streets of Giftann; Ingvar, Eadwig and Gothgor, along with a handful of their warriors, are sighted a few more times - usually fatally for the slower runners of whichever small group they have picked to harass - but they are not a serious obstacle to your concerted program of burning the whole place down. You have destroyed and scattered the great Merisusi army, two hundred and fifty slaughtered in their unnatural walls of stone.

And then you set about making all things good.

You have, however, lost a large part of the army:

69 dryads from Euk's 5th, 6th and 7th Salubrious and Whispers, Wooden Warriors, Vigorous Green, Fresh Leaves, Special Arboreal Service, Dark Rangers, Rukh Bane, Forest's Left Hand, Forest's Right Hand, Forest's Bellow, Deepest Guardians, Guardians of Forest, New Growth, Green Guardians, Forest's Braves;

53 Alkonians from Cross Wing, 2nd Talon Third Squad, Mus Flight, Heavy Flight, Heavy Fit Flight, Fight Seige Flight, Seige Flight, Alkonian Colonial Marines, Alkonian Colonial Marines platoon five, 5th Talon Free Company, Reserves 2nd Flight, Reserves 1st Flight, 4th Talon Free Company, 1st Talon Free Squadron, Pist Flight, and the Eyrie City Guard;

27 facets from 2nd Crystal Wing, The Everseers, The Standing Seasons, Soldiers of Splendor, Primacy, 1st Marines 2nd Platoon Heavy Infantry, Sixth Crystal Wing;

60 Onontakhans from Peka's hunters, Surgeon's Secrets, Maedrae's Hunters, Guardians of the Tomb, Feathers of Eagle, Calen's Careful Counters, Ant's Arm, Scorpion's Sting, Soldiers of Serpent, Braves of the Balance, Torano's Hunters, Chanters of the Canopy, Silent-Tooth's Hunters, Pride of Peacock;

and your faithful earthquake beetles, leveller and bringer-of-sunlight.

But the goremaw speartail returns alive... and hungry...

Defenders Report:

The forest comes to Giftann.

Some of it is cut down, and sawn into planks, and placed on wheels; the great mantlets rumble before the native army, concealing its numbers and protecting them from your proud archers.

Chieftain's Gift, Feathers Slice, Cormorant's Grace, The Grey Kerns; they all line up along the Giftann Bulwark to rain feathered death on the enemy. There are walking trees that spill out from every side of the encroaching force. They are your first targets.

Then the enemy archers begin to return fire, one hundred and fifty Onontakhan braves and Alkonian crossbowmen and even a few musketeers; and your archers calmly move down a level and fire from the arrow-slits, where they cannot be harmed by the incoming arrows and musket-shot which bounces harmlessly off the Bulwark. The enemy archers leave themselves open - for how else could they shoot at you? - and many of them fall.

You catch a glimpse of Kitnacoatl, the Queen of Raid Hive, deliberately making herself as visible as she can without exposing herself to the deadly rain of arrows from your walls.

They have a trebuchet, which they dutifully set up. The walls here will not hold forever. Your archers begin to execute their fallback plan, gradually emptying out of the walls towards the great Fortress of Aelfgarsham; but the enemy is quicker to destroy the gatehouse than you were expecting.

One of the Chieftain's Gift reports that they had two great beetles, with heads like a battering ram, which charged the gates.

There is no use wasting your forces resisting them in the valley - aside, perhaps, from taking out the trebuchet. Eadwig takes a decent-sized warband of eager volunteers - the fifteen mokosh of the Bear Claws, the twenty-six avians of the Generals Vengeance, and the four mokosh and three avians of the Howlers - and they wait in a barn for the trebuchet to roll past.

The swarm of dryads that passes over the land between the Bulwark and Aelfgarsham wrecks a few outlying buildings here and there, but the farm is already overgrown and most of the valuable areas are within the fortress walls. Eadwig moves incredibly fast for someone in that much Merisusi double mail, leading his warband out of their cover and straight for the trebuchet.

Unfortunately for Eadwig, the Alkonians that cluster around the siege engine are no pushover. The heavily armoured avians of Heavy Flight and Heavy Fit Flight quickly close ranks and receive the charge, while the skilled pistoleers and crossbowmen of Fight Seige Flight and the incredible bowmen of Seige Flight - with their ironwood bows, that they demonstrate they can use to their full capacity, which would fell a man so foolish as to not wear armour in one shot - shoot tirelessly into the enemy ranks.

Nevertheless, Eadwig's courage and determination - and his ability to sweep the solidly-built avians off their feet with his long axe - take him through the lines, and he is almost at the trebuchet itself when the ophidian archers of Calen's Careful Counters release the goremaw speartail and point it in his general direction.

Seeing the great clawed lizard coming straight for him, he raises his shield against it, but the creature latches onto the shield and attempts to run straight over it. Eadwig is forced to abandon the shield to avoid being clawed in the face from above; hoping to draw it away from his warriors, he sprints off down the valley, chased by the goremaw speartail. But the tide of battle has turned, and his few remaining soldiers run with him, chasing the creature in turn.

The fortress should be a more difficult proposition for the enemy than the fortified wall. The musketeers of the First Pietkreig Irregulars fire out of the heavy stone walls, along with the remaining archers; and as the mantlet-protected beetles rumble closer, the pistoleers of The Social Club - another donation from Lothar Erhard - start up from hidden nooks around the gate itself.

The mantlets nearest the door move in odd, erratic ways as the ophidians attempt to arrange an earthquake beetle charge on the door, while ensuring that they are constantly protected from the pistoleers. But two ophidians who do not appear to be with any particular uint, Jackie Mullins and Moonghost, eventually manage to organise the Chanters of the Canopy and the aptly named Braves of the Balance to jog alongside the beetles, and lift the mantlets over them at just the right moment to give them access to the doors.

The trebuchet also opens fire on the gatehouse, but it is clear that it is going to take a very long time for one trebuchet to make an appreciable impression on these walls - long enough that any of the enemy not in the cover of a mantlet will surely die of arrows or musket fire. And the mantlets themselves are beginning to look a little worse for wear...

The earthquake beetles collide heavily with the doors, but the doors are reinforced with metal and incredibly heavy; but perhaps eventually something will rattle loose, especially combined with the trebuchet fire.

So Gothgor lines up plenty of warriors in the long stone entranceway, designed to allow a small number of defenders to hold off a vast army, while Ingvar prepares to sally out and destroy the earthquake beetles before they have a chance to test that theory. There is a rather ingenious section of wall which pivots up, behind which Ingvar and the twenty-five heavily armoured Merisusi mokosh of the Giftann Warbears and the Old Guard are standing; they swiftly jump down into the fray, right on top of those carefully suspended mantlets.

Ophidians aren't really built for carrying heavily armoured Merisusi warbears around on giant slabs of wood, and the entire edifice collapses messily to the ground, giving the pistoleers plenty of opportunity to shoot a multitude of ophidians before they can scramble back into cover.

More ophidians and facets - the backup of the Earthquake Beetles is being handled by ophidians and facets alone, perhapsthey don't like the smell of avians or something - scramble to retrieve the earthquake beetles before they are crushed to death; Ingvar and the warbears slaughter anyone who comes near them, but there are many skilled facet swordsmen and Onontakhan spearmen who get in their way. The ophidians manage to drag another two mantlets over to cover the stunned beetles, and they form a living barrier around the mokosh axemen, although it might be more accurate to call it a dying barrier...

Ingvar and the warbears plough their way relentlessly through the ophidians and facets; but they are all bleeding copiously from the skilled strikes of the facet swordsmen, and are too heavily engaged to prevent the remains of the Chanters of the Canopy and Braves of the Balance quietly bringing the beetles around beside them and launching them at the doors once more.

Gothgor prepares the ranks of warriors inside the entranceway: Lothar's Freiboden spearmen, the Saint Isabelle's Dragoons, at the front to impale the charging beetles; the Solsorts Hjerte in their heavy armour just behind, with the Warden's Hunt with their steel shields and Lothar's Amusari, the Astares Guard, with their morningstars on their flanks. And behind them, reinforcements ready to drop into place: the Giftann Regulars, the Warden Flight.

And again the beetles charge, as ophidians and facets alike perish in their multitudes, and the dryads marching in to reinforce them also begin to fall... and finally, a terrible splintering sound marks the triumph of the earthquake beetles, as they hit simultaneously with a trebuchet strike and tear their way through.

Into, of course, the waiting spears of Saint Isabelle's Dragoons; who easily kill the exhausted beetles stone dead.

Ingvar takes the opportunity to lead a fighting retreat into the entranceway and join up with Gothgor and the bulk of the Merisusi forces; and the enemy organisers, Moonghost and Jackie Mullins, usher in the rest of the swarm of dryads with shields that had been forming up to engage them.

The narrow confines of the entranceway are well-designed to cause massive carnage to an attacking force of superior numbers, and the entire area is soon choked with pistol fire from the carefully placed shooting emplacements that litter the corridor's interior walls - and with corpses, mostly dryad corpses. A few of the enemy Alkonians devote themselves full time to just dragging out the bodies; through the middle of the shield pack, a group of mixed spearmen charges in an attempt to break the Merisusi line; they make it through the first line, but there are plenty more behind.

Despite their losses outside, the enemy still vastly outnumber your warriors. Their pistoleers, mostly dryads who appear to have only just been handed the devices, but including five well-trained Alkonians, gradually move forwards within the enemy ranks until they can shoot at your lines; their archers begin to put away their bows and pull out their spears and swords, and join the fray; and suddenly you have been pushed back and back too far, and the enemy have broken through the narrow corridor of death into the streets of Giftann.

A couple of units of Alkonian skirmishers quickly break off and infiltrate the fortress, chasing off your pistoleers, and begin to hunt down musketeers and archers; some of the enemy archers go with them, to take the positions on the walls for themselves, ready to direct their fire inward.

As soon as it is clear that you cannot hold the entranceway, you reluctantly give the order to fade into the streets. The Freibodeners of the Second Pietkreig Irregulars offer their expertise at door-to-door fighting, and with the recently returned Eadwig - who managed to outpace the goremaw, but unfortunately not take it down, not with so many enemy dryads in the area - and Gothgor, they arrange to ambush Kitnacoatl quite skillfully as she is making her way to the watchtower.

Alas, she has the Eyrie City Guard with her, nine Alkonians and a Freibodener with halberds and pistols; and this enemy understands that pistols are primarily for making some noise so that your reinforcements can arrive in good time, and then stand in a bristling circle around her, sweeping their would-be attackers off their feet with their halberds.

Eadwig almost reaches through to land a blow on Kitnacoatl, as his firm stance seems unbreakable by the City Guard's usual tricks; however, he finds it quite distracting when she spits acid in his face, and both of his arms hang uselessly from the slicing blows of the halberdiers by the time Gothgor manages to drag him off into a side street.

As they listen to the retreat of their warriors, Gothgor attempting to hurry his surgery so that they can get back into the fray, Ingvar returns from a more successful, but rather more minor, ambush of some ophidians attempting to burn down Giftann Stores, and seeks them out.

Several more times, Ingvar finds small groups of the enemy, and the three of them destroy those who would destroy Giftann; but there seem to be an endless number of them, burning the whole place down, and all of the warriors have scattered.

Finally, Ingvar, Eadwig and Gothgor are too exhausted to continue, and slip silently from the once-great city. They head to the place near Stormhaven that they had hoped to never need to regroup at.

One apiece of Cheiftain's Gift, Feather's Slice, Saint Isabelle's Dragoons, Second Pietkreig Irregulars, Winter's Breath make it out.

There are none left from Cormorant's Grace, The Grey Kerns, Howlers, First Pietkrieg Irregulars, Astares Guard, Giftann Regulars, Warden Flight, or Debrynn's Rangers.

But nine of the Bear Claws, six of the Generals Vengeance, two of The Social Club, eleven Giftann Warbears, eight of the Old Guard, three of Warden's Hunt, seven of the Solsorts Hjerte also return to you.

And they enemy have paid with over two hundred of their own lives for their prize.

It is almost a shame to have lived through such a battle. But, Merisusi needs you alive, you reassure the remaining warriors - now more than ever...