Report of Colony Move in PO, re: The Great Wall of Southern Kamakura, Sian Tai Province - Lady Rain's Plain

Attempted march to Peace Plain of Salvation interrupted by unexpected, extensive wooden fortification, entirely blocking path. The Great Wall of Southern Kamakura found to extend well out of reasonable scouting range to the west, and bordering Tenizidi territory to the east. Watchtower present behind fortification; defenders preliminarily identified as Southern Kamakuran forces, patrolling from Jade Province - Serendipity and Sian Tai Province - Lady Rain's Plain.

Lack of siege equipment made an assault unappealing, but no other viable options presented themselves. Count of defenders determined that around eighty enemy combatants were present in this section of wall, and a ballista crew was noted as a serious hazard. Strategy was discussed. The decision was reached: a direct assault on the area of the wall below the ballista crew, such that it cannot effectively target climbers; the wooden nature of the wall meant we judged it amenable to climbing.

Implementation of this decision was swift and determined. Approach was undertaken at high speed and in exemplary order. Defenders were notably directed by a particular individual human, Dora Pappas, a young female with long brown hair who did not directly engage in combat. There was no attempt to reposition the ballista, as the swiftness of the assault seemed to take them adequately by surprise despite their long visual range advantage, and they had targets in range as soon as our direction of movement was confirmed.

Losses in the initial charge were reasonable and within estimated parameters. However, the Great Wall was significantly less climbable than expected; extrapolations from chist defences were inaccurate. Warrior units also came under heavy pistol fire; we only avoided losing the Praying Termites by keeping them well out of range during this assault, as they are somewhat ill-adapted for wall-climbing activities.

However, despite the mis-estimation, the forward units did succeed in mounting the fortifications and routing the ballista unit, designated Preying Mantis. Retaining a foothold on the summit was less straightforward than expected, however, as the combination of pistol fire and a skilled axe-and-shield formation with spears behind keeping the warriors from the pistoleers (as well as inflicting considerable damage in their own right) caused progress to be unacceptably slow.

It soon became clear that there was no purpose in feeding further warriors into the killing ground, especially as the base of the wall was safe from pistol fire due to the large distances involved. With the ballista crew eliminated, the remainder of the force successfully withdrew from the defenders and proceeded close around the western end of the wall. This allowed us to proceed to our next destination, Arca Sakashria, without technically violating the territory of the Twilight Embassy.

Unfortunately, the losses we had already sustained were considerable. Casualty list in full:
37 of Warrior Unit 027,
34 of Warrior Unit 028,
32 of Warrior Unit 029,
21 of Warrior Unit 030.

We apologise for the oversight. The method to mitigate further losses in this manner would be to possess better intelligence regarding hazards along the proposed route of long movements, and provision siege equipment - Gargantua, earthquake beetles, or trebuchets - to any units likely to encounter this variety of hazard.

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morning sun rises
insects move across the plain
probing for weakness

From the Watcher of Lady Rain's Plains, the local patrol watches the army marching across the plains below. A hundred and eighty-seven myrmidons; two rather larger and rather stupider than the rest. No discernible leader, but marching in good order and with single purpose. Not quite directly towards Sian Tai Province, but close, very close.

There could be eighty on the walls if they called the other nearby patrol in; and they had the walls, of course, and Serendpity Defence Force would bring a ballista, besides.

Better to be safe than sorry.

joinings and greetings
two patrols watching from walls
as spring tide draws near

Dora can see the incoming army just as plainly from Watcher of Serendipity. The Serendipity Defence Force are on their way to reinforce Lady Rain's Plain before the messenger even reaches them. The myrmidon army comes within sight of the walls, and there it falters; more scouts are seen, dispatched up and down the wall, as if checking it for weaknesses.

from council to dart
suddenly they have transformed
tsunami from cloud

There is no discernible signal that triggers the transformation of an army making camp and taking advice to an army sprinting at full pelt; just suddenly they are, and it is all Preying Mantis can do to get the ballista loaded before they start to be in range. They fall satisfyingly to the hissing bolts, but charging over their fallen comrades does not even seem to cause them to stumble.

claws against strong wood
determined through pistol fire
forging their own path

It is a clever strategy; they come in under the ballista's arc of fire, so it cannot bend to target those scrambling desperately up the imposing wooden surface of the Great Wall, and for all its excellent qualities, it is still wood, and the clawed insects can still find purchase to climb. Soon they are in range for Drunken Monkey to open fire; soon it is time to think about your strategy for defending the top of the wall...

first go the axemen
then spears pierce hard carapace
then pistols finish

Preying Mantis insist on standing to the last, unleashing their continued stream of death on those still not quite sufficiently flattened out against the base of the wall to avoid their fire; as the myrmidons pour over the lip of the wall, each draws their training pistol and fires through the packed carapaces, punching through the natural armour and tearing into vulnerable flesh.

A few of them even manage to get their axes out before they are overwhelmed.

There are plenty more axes courtesy of the Phoenix Guard, however; they flank the area of the myrmidons' arrival and hold them back with their shields, as Crouching Tiger stand behind and plunge their spears over and over into the tender interiors of the hard-shelled attackers, and Drunken Monkey continue to fire. For a moment, it seems as if there are always more bugs, as if there will always be more bugs, and Phoenix Guard will be destroyed as thoroughly as Preying Mantis.

Then the stream is cut off, as suddenly and decisively as it began; those on the walls fight on, but no new reinforcements join them.

It is likely that the ballista can be repaired, although such cannot be said for four of Preying Mantis; whilst most of the squad were tossed aside on the way to their weapon, those four were trampled underfoot as the battle continued. Phoenix Guard has suffered from its delaying action, ten of its members snatched into the melee and torn apart. And one of Crouching Tiger did not remember he was more valuable than his spear, and was pulled into the waiting claws of the attackers also.

bloodstains wash the walls
Sian Tai Province is preserved
celebrate success

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bloodstains wash the walls
Sian Tai Province is preserved
celebrate success

The day that has never been that far off finally arrives - the Great Wall of Southern Kamakura is put to the test. Hundreds of myrmidons boil up from the deep south, and hurl their great armies against the walls at Sian Tai Province - Lady Rain's Plain. But the walls hold. Dora Pappas oversees some sensible troop dispositions to mop up those who dare to scale the mighty edifice, and regretfully put down enough of the myrmidons for them to think again about their intentions to disturb the peace.