Placeholder Attackers Report:

Golden Eagle cautiously approach the Bastion of Hope, the Star Fort which guards RS2 at Kettering from all comers.

They are slightly taken aback to discover that instead of the Flembic, it appears to be being guarded by a large collection of native monstrosities. Truly gigantic lizards towering as high as the walls, bat-winged acid-spitters, and every kind of clawed and fanged monstrosity that the imagination can conjure.

However, the Golden Eagle is easily the largest army the New World has ever seen; a good hundred and fifty or so perish, especially due to the strange angular construction of the star fort making it difficult to get a good aim with the siege weapons and an incredibly persistent ballista squad inside the walls, but the outcome is never in any real doubt.

In the end, almost five hundred natives and their allies perish in the defence of RS2 - but the Confederate army succeeds in utterly eradicating any resistance in the Kettering area.

[OOC: This is a placeholder battle report. The real battle report will be coming soon!]

Placeholder Defenders Report:

That's not an army.

That is literally an ocean of soldiers. It is monstrous. It is hideous. It is ridiculous. How can they possibly have that many people, let alone that many people to put in an army? Where do they get them all from?

You do your level best to terrorize, slaughter and destroy as many as you can, and laugh at their pathetic attempts to fire their tiny muskets at your ballista squad through the thick walls of the star fort, but there are just so _many_ of them.

Eventually even the walls of the Bastion of Hope crumble, and you are left spitting defiance in the face of Florien Ipesch as you discorporate messily.

[OOC: This is a placeholder battle report. The real battle report will be coming soon!]

Local Report + Colony Report:

Golden Eagle is easily the largest army the New World has ever seen; they are slightly taken aback when Kettering is inhabited by native monstrosities rather than Flembic defenders, but the Confederates still breeze in and destroy everyone inhabiting the amazing star-shaped fortress like it's a walk in the park.

Attackers Report:

The mighty armies of Mill'en sweep down towards the Bastion of Hope, the great Star Fort that the Flembic have erected to defend their Maelstromic Restoration Device, in style.

A vast siege division is led by Lord General Hendrick Van Rhychard, Overall Commander and Field Commander of the Schwartzdorne Guard. Along with Rek Fairborn and Laycon Gromfeld, they command fifty troops on eight ballistas - six of them repeating - twenty-seven gnolls on five trebuchets - one of them borrowed from Jacques Valentine, who needs to be more mobile than the treb will allow - nine wemics and a gnoll on two catapults - the wemics and catapults also borrowed from Jacques, who is commanding the Foreign Legion to which they belong - and over a hundred pistoleers and fifty melee troops to keep the weapons safe, not to mention fifty Marines with two catapults and one ballista from Dram Farraday, the rest standing by to swap in for any casualties amongst the siege weapon loaders. Rek has his own arbalest and Laycon Gromfeld is toting some kind of bizarre steam-powered contraption which he claims can send steam-powered rockets over great distances with pinpoint accuracy.

A sniper division on the left rear flank is led by Chevalier Henri-Francois Laselles, with his own superlative sniping musket; he and Helga Von Glasse with her own musket lead seventy-seven assorted musketeers, and also keep the nine halberdiers of Cassidy's Razor close to deal with any threats that might break through to the musket line.

The militia are arranged in the rearguard positoin, commanded by Ruud Van Driver; they also boast seven musketeers (and Ruud's own musket), their own ballista squad, twenty-one pistoleers and five longbowmen, backed up by an assortment of melee troops.

A division of bowmen takes the other rear flank, the Onontakha of the Ravens Braves, led by the newly-Onontakhan Tobias Quigley - or Marries-Quickly, as the snakes call him. He has not yet left behind his trusty musket for a more traditional bow - and ten of his eighty-five braves are well-supplied with pistols along with their longbows.

Currently on the right flank, but ready to charge down one of the narrowing gaps between the star fort's long walls as soon as the siege division break open the heavy doors set in the indents between its points, are the Beartstadt Guard, led by Samuel Cutter. The Bearstadt Guard are one hundred and twenty five heavy melee troops, mostly mokosh and a few Free Islands humans with axes, spears and swords, and alongside them stand the wemics of the Flotilla - although their leader, Fayadin, appears to be an avian at the moment - and the myrmidon warriors of Hive Unity.

And on the left flank, ready to infiltrate the walls of the Star Fort and hunt down the last scraps of resistance, are the Foreign Legion - and the Fantassins De Vert - under Jacques Valentine. Mostly armed with pistol and sword, seventeen instead have polearms ready to knock the enemy off their feet, and the ten Free Islanders of the Foreign Legion Field Artillery carry an arbalest and ballista to plough through any heavy pockets of resistance in the narrow corridors. Gaelle and Flip stand among these brave men and women, Zan Li at Gaelle's side with her flamethrower and the steel covered ram with which they can destroy the remains of the weakened doors, and Stephan Drachev - The Bosun - has attached himself here as well, mace ready to stun the unwary.

Further to the right flank, the Gerosans are practically their own squadron; with two excellent surgeons, Miranda Sotelo and Sancho Fernandez, and two veteran skirmishers, Francisca Rodriguez and Sebastian Santiago, and their very own Alpha Predator, Francisco Corvega, they intend to provide a fast response surgery squad to any area of the battlefield.

And off to the left, Iral Cartwright, Dram Farraday and Kirill have summoned their divine mounts - and are experimenting with how many Basilisk followers you can fit on them. Taylor Longfellow, Duba, Roland Carver, Svetlana-Aleksandra Smaakovitch, Thane Neyright and Skrag (who isn't a Basilisk follower, but refuses to be left out of the craziest plan on the field of battle) are attempting to fit two to a mount behind the divine manifestation's owners, preparing to stage a daring aerial assault on the fortification...

And not to be forgotten, the surgeons Crimson and Emile Bechet, and the armourers Captain Titus "shrike" Maximus and Piper Green, are planning their rear surgery and armour repair station; Edmund De Bourgh stands with them, intending to guard the station, although Piper in her flamethrower and with her energy sword and spatha handy is not exactly a pushover herself.

The approach to the Bastion of Hope is strangely quiet. There are two small assaults by groups of bizarre clawed monstrosities; they appear to be primarily testing the army's marching defences, which prove to be plenty strong enough, as none of the enemy gets beyond the outer reaches of musket range.

The Gerosans head over to investigate where they fell, but all they find is a pile of rapidly discorporating eidolons. In the first squad, surprisingly, they recognise Destrada - hardly one that is likely to be working with the Flembic! - and none of the others have any known symbol or similarity to a known eidolon that anyone can identify.

The siege division quickly realises the intention behind the bizarre form of the Star Fort - the steeply angled walls are difficult to get a straight shot against, and they will have to draw up very close to the points in order to bombard the gates - which of course themselves have serious cover from siege fire due to the convergence of the heavy walls to an interior point.

So the Militia cautiously move forwards to test the enemy defences; but if the enemy have any siege engines, they are not stupid enough to open fire on them and give away their position. So the siege division moves up into place and begins firing on one of the gates - at which point, finally, a single ballista starts up from within the walls.

And that is all the signal that Dram, Kirril and Iral need - they goad their mounts into great leaps towards the point of the Bastion that contains the ballista crew. Sruggling somewhat under the weight of their passenger loads, the mounts do not make enough altitude to land on the roof; but their strong claws dig into the stone walls, and the armour and shields of their passengers protect them from the few ballista bolts that they take while the creatures climb determinedly upwards.

The trebuchets and catapults shower heavy projectiles down on the gate, and Laycon carefully lines up his steam-powered rocket cannon, sending one of the steam rockets into the doors; as the ballista continues to fire, he essays a single shot in its direction, but the rocket explodes against the stone surround of the emplacement 'window', chipping the stonework but doing no serious damage.

Everyone is vigilant in all directions for potential threats, but nothing emerges from the Star Fort other than the anemic stream of ballista bolts. The hidden ballista crew eventually find their range and some of the siege division begin to trickle back to the surgery station, the Gerosan medics waiting there also for now, with Mireille van Grieve's 1st and 2nd Marine Company filling in the absences while the siege loaders have their wounds treated.

On the roof of the fortress, Duba finds the roof access, and Skrag jumps up and down on it while Thane and Svetlana carefully take out the hinges with heavy swings of their chivalric axes. Then they are down into the Fort itself - right on top of a nest of giant snakes!

There are maybe a dozen giant snake monsters hissing in the darkness, and Dram drives them back with his flamethrower as they descend the ladder. The mounts are too large to take through the hatch, so Taylor Longfellow volunteers to stay behind with them - with his sorcery and his blessed ability to not be knocked off the roof easily, he's probably the best complement to their vicious claws, and Svetlana also has the ability to shatter the ballista when they get to it.

The strike team make short work of the giant snakes, and two eerie, swaying deathscales that attempt to hypnotise them into quiescence with their swirling eyes and iridescent scales, and head further into the fort.

Outside, the siege engines chip away at the stone above the gates, slowly but surely; at last, they are beginning to impact the gates themselves, and Jacques watches carefully through his telescope to see when they are sufficiently damaged that the covered ram ought to finish them off. A few more rounds of trebuchet fire, and he is satisfied; the Foreign Legion, and the Beartstadt Guard right behind them, surge forwards.

Meanwhile in the fortress, the strike team round another corner in the confusing maze of stone passageways and find themselves facing off against a couple dozen swordsmen and spearmen, all Flembic, but looking rather disorganised and worse for wear. They are just getting stuck in, when they are suddenly distracted by two Jaculi - acid-spitting, flying lizards - leaping up from the centre of the enemy formation and soaring over their heads, bombarding them with acidic spittle! Roland reacts quickly and leaps upwards, cutting one straight out of the air with his spatha; Kirill takes the distinctly easier approach of breathing fire and then slicing the creature in half as it falls, stunned, from the safety of the high ceiling.

Gaelle, Zan Li and Flip charge right up to the crumbling gate in the side of the fortress, and Zan Li runs the great steel-shod caber suspended in the covered ram into the splintering doors; a couple of good swings, aided by the Bosun, and it crashes right through the remnants of the doors.

To reveal the gigantic spiked tail of a Gargantua, a house-sized siege-lizard, that comes sweeping out to knock the three of them - and the front line of the Foreign Legion skirmishers - off their feet, sending the covered ram careening to one side.

The Foreign Legion flatten against the walls and aim their pistols above the inrushing Flotilla wemics and the spear-gnolls of the Beartstadt Guard 2nd Company, who enthusiastically hack at the huge tail until it lies immobile and ruined before them. Only then do the Foreign Legion - and Gaelle, Flip and the Bosun - slip in around the gaps between the gates and the lizard, pistols, flamethrower and swords at the ready.

Inside, they meet the concentration of forces they were expecting - except that instead of the Flembic, it appears to be comprised primarily of bizarre, twisted monstrosities, punctuated here and there by more comprehensible pockets of giant snake monsters, huge iridescent spiders, hypnotic dancing deathscales, and soaring acid-spitters taking great care to stay out of pistol range. By the other doors stand several more gigantic siege-lizards, and as Jacques pauses by a wall for a moment to survey the scene, he spots about a dozen facets darting in and out of the apparent chaos, organising the vicious ballet.

While Samuel Cutter leads Haidar Shadid, Casimir Ibn Suliman, Sirat Baybar, Al Saleel and Fayadin Ibn Falahad Ibn Saladin in clearing a space for the six myrmidon warriors of the Hive Unity council and the hundred and twenty five heavy infantry to begin to pour in and engage the main force, Jacques advises the pistoleer skirmishers of the Foreign Legion to slip in amongst the enemy and take out the facet organisers.

Not far behind, the Gerosan surgery squad sets up in the entranceway and Miranda and Sancho begin to treat an endless stream of injured gnolls, while Francisca Rodrieguez does first aid and triage and Francisco Corvega and Sebastian Santiago comprehensively destroy anything stupid enough to venture through the lines towards them.

Within the pointed walls of the fort, the strike team finally cut their way through an apparently endless supply of ragged Flembic opponents to the ballista itself. With a swift incantation, Svetlana reduces it to flinders; it's almost anti-climactic. At least there are plenty of dying Flembics to turn around and begin sacrificing, which Skrag and Kirill compete to outdo each other at - but Kirill has a crystal sacrificial knife and Ronald Carver is also loudly performing his own sacrifices, so it isn't exactly a fair fight.

Back out at the main army, a few more squadrons of eidolonic attackers keep the musketeers and bowmen busy, but there isn't that much else to be done, apart from Crimson sewing up the last few ballista victims; Hendrick van Rhychard brings his melee troops forwards to join in the fray alongside the Bearstadt Guards, and Piper and Shrike head in to join him.

Even inside, the fighting is almost over; the Foreign Legion disappear into the fortress walls and finally find where some Flembic troops are hiding, although on closer inspection this is in fact Kulan-Gath's Turncloak Warband, not anything to do with the main Flembic forces at all, who must have abandoned this place to the natives earlier in the season.

And that's about when the walls fall down.

On later inspection, it appears that the natives have spent some time undermining this fortress, laboriously digging out deep pits under the walls. A few additional scrapings and stampings from the gigantic siege-lizards seem to have been the trigger; subsequently, quite a number of the monsters flee out of the ruins away from the bulk of the army, moving faster than anyone can reasonably give chase without risking a dangerous degree of separation from the rest of Golden Eagle.

Taylor Longfellow manages to persuade the mounts to leap with him from the crumbling walls; meanwhile Roland, Svetlana, Duba, Iral, Dram, Kirill and Skrag are very glad that Thane has taken the time after their sacrificing binge to repair their armour, which means they manage to crawl out of the wreckage mostly intact.

All resistance here has been crushed; the fifty Hunapha and fifteen Azarch cowering in the RS2 building - who appear to have mostly been used to dig the undermining pits - are no match for your victorious forces, and once the Azarch have been slaughtered, the Hunapha actively beg to be sacrificed by anyone who will do the deed.

Upset that they have been denied the bodies of their enemies, Mother Abraham of Hive Unity makes sure she gets to send a decent share of them to the Smith - praising their excellent work at undermining the Star Fort and their selfless dedication to their City while she does so.

As you look around RS2, before reluctantly evacuating the area so that the siege crews can draw up and demolish it from a hopefully safe distance, your eyes are drawn to the complex and highly polished wooden dodecahedrons, with gleaming brass joints, that dominate the centre of the building. The dodecahedrons are free to rotate, and are still surrounded by the pulleys and carved stone weights that were expected to drive them, but currently they are quiescent. Those who gaze upon the device feel somehow ethereal and weightless in the face of it, as if it is the only truly real thing in the room.

You can also see the lever which was used to put the device in motion, releasing brakes from the pulleys and allowing the stone weights to descend; the lever has been pulled and the stone weights are now in their lowest position, resting on the wooden framework below each pully section.

And you notice that the place is still distinctly consecrated - to the Teacher, by the way that the feeling inside is calm and makes you inclined to act in a socially responsible fashion. It is also very clear from the feeling that it would be utterly unthinkable and massively irresponsible to destroy this building, or prevent its operation, and protecting it seems very strongly to be the only obvious thing to do - but the commanders swiftly usher out their troops to ensure no-one gets any funny ideas.

In total, a hundred and fifty of your troops lie dead, victims of the melee within the walls, the falling masonry, and the single ballista squad; a negligible loss compared to the several hundred dead natives, monsters and turncoats, in such an exceptional fortification.

Defenders Report:

That's not an army.

That is literally an ocean of soldiers. It is monstrous. It is hideous. It is ridiculous. How can they possibly have that many people, let alone that many people to put in an army? Where do they get them all from?

You head in for a closer look with twenty of your favourite Avenging Eidolons, but there is an entire army of musketeers contained within the army which utterly destroy you before you even get in bowshot - not that the other entire army of Onontakhan braves aren't trying to kill you with their longbows as well, of course.

Then some Gerosans - Francisca Rodriguez, Sebastian Santiago, the alpha predator that moves a lot like Francisco Corvega, and the surgeons Miranda Sotelo and Sancho Fernandez - come over to poke your rapidly discorporating bodies. They seem to be disappointed that all they find is a pile of eidolons, but they swiftly check all the foreheads they can get their hands on.

The siege division will have to draw up very close to the points in order to bombard the gates - which of course themselves have serious cover from siege fire due to the convergence of the heavy walls to an interior point. So they bring some kind of blatantly expendable force forwards to test the defences; but even the Turncoat Warband are not stupid enough to open fire on them and give away their position.

Then the siege division - which is probably about two armies' worth of soldiers, like, over two hundred - moves up into place and begins firing on one of the gates. At which point, the Turncoat Warband's ballista dutifully starts up from within the walls; they've had plenty of time watching the ocean sweep in to position themselves on the correct point.

And that is all the signal that Dram Farraday, Kirril and Iral Cartwright need - they are sitting, along with two others on each, on what look a lot like goremaw speartails if you took off some of the spikes and added wings. They goad their mounts into great leaps, soaring towards the point of the Bastion that contains the ballista crew.

It doesn't look like the poor creatures are designed for multiple passengers. Struggling somewhat under the weight, the mounts do not make enough altitude to land on the roof; but disappointingly the hubristic riders do not plunge to their deaths, as their mounts' strong claws dig into the stone walls.

Even worse, the armour and shields of their passengers protect them from the few ballista bolts that they take while the creatures climb determinedly upwards.

The five trebuchets and four catapults shower heavy projectiles down on the gate, and some mad Gnollish inventor carefully lines up some bizarre steam-powered device; as he activates it, something small and incredibly fast flies out and soars – in a straight line, not an arc like a proper siege weapon - into the doors, rattling them heavily.

As the ballista continues to fire, Laycon Gromfield fires off a second shot from his strange contraption in its direction, but the projectile explodes against the stone surround of the emplacement 'window', chipping the stonework but doing no serious damage.

The massive, oceanic army appears to remain vigilant in all directions for potential threats, but there seems little point in mounting any attack against the overwhelming ranks of ballistas, arbalests, repeating ballistas, muskets, pistols, longbows, crossbows, war bows, and similar devices for ensuring no-one gets anywhere close.

At least the Turncoat Warband’s ballista crew eventually find their range and send some of the trebuchet crews trickling back to the surgery station, the Gerosan medics waiting there also for now; alas, an eager bunch of weedy-looking humans are filling in the absences while the wemic and mokosh siege loaders have their wounds treated.

On the roof of the fortress, the golem Skrag is jumping up and down on the roof access trap-door – with emphasis on the ‘trap’, of course, as the Creche Lodge of the Pit of Friendly Vipers has carefully laid out a nice pit of giant snakes and deathscales underneath. Thane Neywright of the White Wolves and Svetlana-Aleksandra Smaakovitch carefully take out the hinges of the trapdoor with heavy swings of their chivalric axes, and most of them disappear down into the trap – although their mounts are too large to accompany them, so Taylor Longfellow gets left out to guard them.

Alas, the charred remains of the snakes are all the Turncoat Warband find when they head down that corridor on their regular patrol; Dram Farraday had a flamethrower.

Outside, the siege engines chip away at the stone above the gates, and slowly but surely, they are beginning to impact the gates themselves. Eventually some condition seems to be satisfied, and two more small armies surge forwards – Jacques Valentine is leading a reasonable-sized army of skirmishers, with Gaelle, Flip and Zan Li with a covered ram in the lead and the Bosun of the Mill’enese Navy trailing just behind, and right behind them is Samuel Cutter with the Flotilla hitty kitties, half a dozen of Hive Unity, and another army of mokosh and human heavy infantry.

Meanwhile in the fortress, the Turncoat Warband organise a little ambush for the strike team, including a couple of surprise Jaculi – but one of the enemy, Roland Carter, just plain leaps straight up in the air and cuts one down with his spatha; Kirill takes the distinctly easier approach of breathing fire and then slicing the creature in half as it falls, stunned, from the safety of the high ceiling. Then they waste most of the Turncoats, or at least those that don’t run away fast enough.

The great steel-shod caber suspended in the covered ram slams into the splintering doors; a couple of good swings, aided by the Bosun, and it crashes right through the remnants of the gates… to reveal the gigantic spiked tail of a Gargantua, a house-sized siege-lizard, that comes sweeping out to knock anyone incautious enough to be standing right next to the door off their feet.

The poor thing gets shot to pieces by the skirmishers and poked copiously by spear-gnolls and Flotilla wemics before Gaelle, Flip, Zan Li and the Bosun get bold enough to slip round the edge and the skirmishers start pouring in behind them.

Inside, they meet the main force of avenging eidolons, manifested as large and confusingly as they could manage, mixed with some genuine giant snake monsters, rainbow spiders, deathscales, and jaculi – the latter taking great care to stay out of pistol range. By the other doors, several more gargantuan are stationed, and the Creche Lodge of the Pit of Friendly Vipers keep it all organised and the monsters working together.

Alas, someone tells the pistoleer skirmishers to take out the facet organisers, and as the vast army of heavy infantry pours in, it all starts to go wrong.

The Gerosan surgery squad sets up in the entranceway and Miranda and Sancho begin to treat an endless stream of gnolls, while Francisca Rodrieguez does first aid and triage and Francisco Corvega and Sebastian Santiago comprehensively destroy anything stupid enough to venture through the lines towards them.

And the strike team inside the fort itself finally cut their way through enough of the Turncoat Warband to make their way to the ballista. With a swift incantation, Svetlana reduces it to flinders. None of the survivors stuck around to pay attention to what happened next, but the sounds of Skrag, Kirill and Roland getting their sacrifice on echoed through the stone corridors.

Some of the avenging eidolons have another go at the main force, to keep them thinking they need to stay outside the walls as much as anything, but it doesn’t seem to help; Hendrick van Rhychard brings the army of melee troops that had been surrounding his army of siege engineers forwards to join in the fray, and Piper and Shrike head in from guarding the surgery station and repairing armour to join him.

Even inside, the fighting is almost over; the skirmishers head into the fortress walls to chase out the rest of the Turncloak Warband, and that's about when the walls fall down.

This was, of course, meticulously planned; well, the careful undermining by the useless bunch of Hunapha dwellers that Arrowhead and Kulan-Gath had left behind was meticulously planned, anyway. The stampede of the gargantua attempting to escape the walls after the Creche Lodge all got shot, less so; but it’s pretty fortuitous, in any case.

Obviously there’s no chance of holding this place against the enemy, and the walls falling down let quite a number of the monsters flee out of the ruins to safety, especially as the Mill’ense are too craven to give chase.

Unfortunately, Taylor Longfellow manages to persuade the mounts to leap with him from the crumbling walls; meanwhile Roland, Svetlana, Duba, Iral, Dram, Kirill and Skrag were all wearing decent armour and crawl out of the wreckage mostly intact.

The last report from the area is that of the few Azarch that managed to creep out of RS2, who claim the Hunapha dwellers posted with them were actively beg to be sacrificed by anyone who would do the deed; along with the usual suspects, apparently Mother Abraham of Hive Unity stepped up and started sending them on to the Smith - praising their excellent work at undermining the Star Fort and their selfless dedication to their City while she did so.