Further letters on the War with the Tomorrow Court
9th day of May, 1099
The attack started late last night, some time after the midnight watch. The Fae came on us out of the Forest, not slowed by the darkness in the slightest. There were creatures wreathed in fire, those with skin like treebark and many high ranking mages.
The Sherburn guards played their parts well, the constant drilling of the last months paying off as they shepherded the mothers and children into the keep, some guards bearing litters of those mothers still recovering from difficult births. Others held up the Fae, concentrating their attacks on one target at a time, taking it down and then moving to the next. Many soldiers fell at that point, guarding the retreat of the mothers and children.
Once the majority of the civilians had reached the Keep, my bugler sounded for an orderly retreat and we fell back the 200 paces to the gate, paying for each step we took with the lives of more soldiers, but managing to hold against the Fae still pouring out of the forest.
Some six of us out of the 150 that had stood and held made it in, and none of us unwounded. The Fae torched the town and butchered those that did not make it into the Keep in time. Mothers, children, visiting fathers; all who the Fae found, they killed, and none of the deaths were easy. Tomorrow Court interlopers had also infiltrated the Keep. Of the civilians who made it to the Great Hall, about half fell to assassins’ blades before visiting husbands and the litter bearers could finish them. Civilian losses are near 6 in 10. Military losses are near 8 in 10.
My seneschal reports that the Tomorrow Court forces numbered perhaps 600, and that they left towards Winchester before first light. Information has been passed to the heliograph network, though no reports have returned from the Winchester post yet.
As you can see, the fae have committed one atrocity too many.
I have sworn a blood oath to the Morrigan to eradicate this fae menace or perish trying.To this end I am going to ask Lord Hugo’s pemission to form the cream of the troops of Albion and let me strike and end this senseless bloody war!
We have a need to rally together as a nation and prepare to fight like hell to put an end to the killing and live in peace so we may blossom and grow. Alone if need be I shall face this, but alone I shall not be for I am not one alone. We are part of House Karlennon and we shall do or die together.
Sir Joseph FitzLachlann K.D.A.
Sheriff of Sherburn Keep
House FitzLachlann, Harts of Albion
Vale of Avalon
12th day of May, 1099
By Selene’s speed, I hope this reaches someone.
Harts, Legions of Katherines forces have entered our lands.
Out of the mists they came, swarming like flies from the Eastern Vale. How so many entered the Vale without detection, we not yet know, but know this, many of us have died trying to hinder their advance. For every Spawn, and Beastkin in our ranks, there was about a half a legion of Tomorrow Court forces. Their Attack started on Sunday, as they swept through the Marsh Dwellers’ settlements. All civilians were lost, but a few. It was the smell of gore, and noise of torture that alerted a hunting patrol of Wolfen Beastkin to their presence. Glycel quickly ordered a muster, and I led several mixed attack groups, comprising of mainly Fire and Shadow Spawn,and Wolfen. It was soon apparent that a standing battle was suicidal against such overwhelming numbers, too many, were lost, too quickly, swept away like leaves in a spring flood. We fell back to the Escarpment, and I regrouped with the other units, assignng them into small, strike and fade units. Our only way to escape total slaughter was to hunt them, as small packs. Picking off battalions at a time. The Fey had purpose, and were heading to the mid Vale. They are hampered by the low visibility, and unfamiliar terrain. I don’t believe they were ready to be faced by Spawn, and Werecreatures, they have been used to Albion’s more regular populace.
Over the last 3 days, we have fought nigh constantly, hitting and running, luring them to the Great Circle Lake.Bast at least smiled once upon us, as we joined an advance patrol of Beastmen, who were in mid battle with a seperate unit. In good time too, they were losing ground and numbers to a group of Trolls. Myself and a pawfull of Garou struck hard into the rear unit of the Trolls, as the Spawn led by Chem and TriClaw attacked from both sides. Victory was cleanly ours in that small skirmish, and it was decided that word MUST get out to the Militia. Chem, Glycel and the wounded Spawn and Beastkin, joined unit with the Beastmen, to head out of the Vale, to warn Albion.
I, along with several battle SPawn, and just a bout a Pride’s woth of Garou and Bastet, are staying here to try to keep harrassing the enemy, to keep them in the Vale, to drive them in circles looking for us, so we can break up their numbers and pick them off. Bast give me strength for this, I’ll be lucky not to have a lame paw since it was crushed by a Troll. We have few healers, and are slowly being whittled down ourselves in these attacks. I am told that we face perhaps 10 Legions now, the crows will be feeding fatly for a long time. Time is short, we move into position for another raid within the hour. By tooth and by claw, people of Albion, we shall fight to the last.
The Host, Harts of Albion
Albion, to Arms!
13th day of May, 1099
Those of you who would take up arms, you are needed now. Our capital is threatened, the troops will not reach there in time. We muster at Wickham Village at Dusk on the morrow.
Now is the time that our strength of purpose and our resolve shall be tested. We shall prevail,
Elspeth, Queen of Albion
14th day of May, 1099
Albion Stand to, stand to! This is Poynton Keep. We are under heavy attack. Direct assault by in excess of one thousand Fey, positively identified as Tomorrow Court. Special assets observed include Trolls and flame-wreathed entities. Additional numbers bypassing the Keep difficult to estimate in the dark, but certainly large. We can hear the pounding of their feet.
This will be the last message from this installation; they have breached the Bailey and we are unable to deter the gang of trolls from the Keep door; the flaming thing just eats up the boiling oil and hot lead we pour upon them. We will sell our lives as dearly as we can.
Corporal, Royal Signal Corps
Victory at Winchester
24th day of May 1099
After 4 days hard fighting, and the same mopping up, Albion is once again free of the scourge of the Tomorrow Court’s troops. No concentrations larger than lance sized have been detected for 48 hours as I write. Victory is ours.
The lead elements of the Tomorrow Court’s host encircled Winchester at around noon on Friday 14 May, completing the investment of the city by dusk. At this point they lacked sufficient strength to storm the walls in the face of the reinforced garrison, but it was anticipated that they could eventually concentrate enough troops to overwhelm the defenses. Their buildup was disrupted by the actions of special assets along the axis of advance of their reinforcements, delaying the time when the enemy were ready to lauch themselves against Winchester’s walls for a full day. When it came, before sunset on Saturday, the storm was fierce, and the stalwarts of Winchester resisted doughtily. No quarter was offered by the merciless enemy, and the defenders fought for their lives, and maybe more. Against the fire and stolen might of the foe, it could not last, and two separate breaches were forced in the outer walls by midnight, and the fighting became house to house, bite and gouge brawling, the fiercest of the campaign, and all the Guilds of Winchester, Academicals to Wheelwrights, did themselves their forefathers and Albion proud that flaming, bloody night.
With dawn, the City stood in balance, and the Morituri sallied from the Citadel. Two hundred and fifty patriots, volunteers to lay down their lives for their kith, kin and Queen smote the Tomorrow Court, seeking their elite and doing war upon them at even odds, inspired by righteous rage. These heroes led the Defenders of Winchester, tirelessly dealing mayhem to the invaders, and with the concerted action of all our allies, drove them from our Capital’s precincts.
And then the pursuit. Defeated, but not routed, the Tomorrow Court Forces withdrew from Winchester to the West, screening their retreat with those warriors Endowed with the stolen vitality of good Erdrejan folk. By sheer weight of numbers and a growing desperation, they forced a breakout past Sherburn Keep, and kept going, not daring to rest, for fear of the Morituri, yet unable to outrun them.
Albion’s Battalions, buoyed by success and moved by the atrocity of the Tomorrow Court harried the main body west, past wounded Hereford, where the criminals paused to attempt more mischief on that ill-starred town, but were held for as long as needed by the garrison, and did little harm. By Friday last, all that remained of the Tomorrow Court on Albion soil were stragglers and insurgents, and the majority of these have now been neutralised. Katherine and her twisted Court have fled over the border to the haven granted them in Cymrija by Lord Arcane with a still-substantial force.
We have a number of prisoners, isolated and captured in the fighting in Winchester and afterward. They are soldiers and will be treated humanely, but will not be allowed to assault Albion again. No Endowed were taken alive. Also recaptured, and precious to the Queen, are many poor folk of Erdreja whose vitality has been leached to empower the parasitic elite troops of the Tomorrow Court. The simplest way to restore these good peoples’ health and life is to slay those Endowed with their attributes. Other avenues are, however, being explored by our ritualists.
Once we have secured our lasting peace, monuments will be raised to the dead who gave their lives for our tomorrow. until then, let us salute them, morn and night.
Albion, we remain at war with the Tomorrow Court which presents a clear and remaining danger to all our security. Be vigilant, be true and we shall prevail.
Hugo Charenten KCE
Lord Lieutenant of the Eastern Marches
Marshall of the Harts Armies
Events occurring at Wickham
May 14th 1099 to May 16th 1099
I arrived a little late to the muster, having been sweeping the area between Winchester and the Muster point for signs of Tomorrow Court activity, taking a diverse route in case they were attempting to flank our troops or even by-pass Winchester in order to strike at smaller targets.
It was strange, this action of the Tomorrow Court, for I had noticed they had restricted their activities to an area of Albion just south of the Greenwood. But there was little doubt that they were making a bold move in this war they raged against us. Still, the call to muster had been issued and I, and my team, traveled en masse, burdened with supplies of arrows and wood cudgels, bandages and rope to give our aid to the Crown.
On arrival, I found the camp to be a hive of activity. Indeed, it was some time before I managed to gain a briefing as to what to expect, and an overview of the part we would be taking. My group was to form the Reserve, to act in support of any other group as and when required. The first duty was to secure the perimeter while one team went to Sherburn to re-open the ritual circle there and a second team was out on a resources raid.
There was no real activity that night for the camp guard, save for sightings of villagers in the tree line going about their business.
The next day, a magical transportation system had to be assembled as the nearby temporary transport circle had failed. This transport system was rather unusual, but for reasons I shall refrain from going into, I will decline from describing. Never the less, the system needed guarding and a safeguard put in place in case an attempt was made to trace back the teams using it and a retaliatory force sent. To this end, I and my associates set up a command triggered deadfall trap over the area. This did require that there be a guard at the trigger at all times, but this was easy to arrange.
Teams went out to attend to various tasks in an effort to bolster the support and resources available to bring against the Tomorrow Court. Items were sought, supplies and means to match the Empowerment the Tomorrow Court elite were using. Some of these were achieved, though others were not so successful. During this time, four Seelie fey appeared that were under some sort of compulsion. They struck at the guards and wrecked havoc through the camp. They were dropped once only to re-appear and be dropped a second time. The third time, however, a thing had been noted – they were seeking a box and wanted release. We did not know the location of this box, and were unable to simply sit and chat as they were compelled to strike out at any within their reach. Yet still we managed to communicate, learn of the situation of these fey and instill in them the knowledge that we would help them in their plight. They disappeared, not to re-appear again.
Several of the reserve had become restless so arrangements were made for them to rotate onto various teams to give others a chance to rest. Patrols were sent out and it was noticed that, by late afternoon, that Tomorrow Court scouts had found the camp. Others had also located us, including a group of Skaven who had secured some Tomorrow Court prisoners, and a few items that could help us in our tasks. These Skaven were a little nervous around me for some obscure reason. I never understand why…
Still, travellers appeared that had news to share, and entertainers that brought a dog with them for me to play with. Then also was the incident that night of the shapechangers who dared impersonate Dan’Arell Flynn, Finn and Franji. They beguiled many as those present sought to ensure the three were not the real people under some form of compulsion. In the end, the truth was known and the three were dismissed from the camp. Also that night, a team were sent out to identify the location of the Tomorrow Court seer. This mission was believed a success.
On the Sunday, we made ready for the expected attack from Tomorrow Court troops we believed were in the area. We were confident that they knew not our full strength, even though teams were still being sent out – despite the transport system becoming unstable and hazardous to the users. Time passed and scouts were observed. A few skirmishes occurred, but no major action. As the teams that had gone out returned, more Fey appeared in the surrounding woodlands and we waited. The Tomorrow Court attacked, their numbers including a few Trolls. They were repelled repeatedly, but they would not maintain a sustained assault. As they stood off, our archers had plenty of opportunity to shoot the opposition with the plain wood shafts that had been prepared. Time and again, the Tomorrow Court had to either give ground, face slow death or advance to attack the prepared lines of defence.
In the end, the Tomorrow Court troops pushed forward and an open skirmish followed. Several proved immune to all by a few weapons and those were quickly brought to bear on this opponents, they being hounded by teams of Albion troops who worked in rota to keep those weapons in use, despite individuals being feared, weapons being shattered or stolen, and wounds being inflicted.
Once these troops had been dispatched, it was decided that there be a sweep of the area while the bulk of the Albion troop assembled made ready to march to Sherburn. During that march, word was received from the scouts that there were Tomorrow Court troops in the area. All reports indicated that they may well be chasing us, until further intelligence was received and it was realised that they had been routed. Teams were then dispatched to various locations to reinforce garrisons or warn locals of the movements of these hostile forces.
At this point, I returned to the Greenwood to make use of the Ranger network there to aid in these tasks.
Sir Hunter Stryker
The Aftermath – to End A War?
25th day of May 1099
At six in the evening the Special Forces left Wickham and set out to the west. Heading for the safety of the ritual circle at Stretton. They were harried by only one small force of the Tomorrow Court before they stopped to rest for the night.
At dusk they made cold camp. Sleeping in rotation, in small groups, hidden as much as possible. Those guarding reported small numbers of the enemy passing during the night; they did not seem interested in engaging the Albione forces and were permitted to pass by.
At first light the camp roused. They had to move hard and fast if they were to reach safety by nightfall. With power returned, those who had been carrying wounds were healed and it was with renewed vigour that the Albiones set out once more.
The morning passed without incident.
At around mid afternoon, the scouts encountered one enemy unit; this was dispatched with little difficulty. However those set to guard the rear soon reported significant enemy numbers behind, moving with some speed.
A hasty conference between the commanders, later, it was decided to press on as fast as people were able. It was clear that there were too many of the Tomorrow Court behind to stand and mount a defence.
A group of the swiftest movers were sent on ahead to give warning to those at Stretton and Gloucester.
In the early evening it became obvious that the Tomorrow Court were not actually in pursuit, they were certainly headed in the same direction, but a pursuing force would have caught up by that time. This gave hope. If there was a significant Tomorrow Court army heading west, then Winchester must have held. The Tomorrow Court was in retreat.
Finally as dusk was falling the tired forces reached the village of Stretton, about 3 miles from the ritual circle. The news they heard there was not welcome.
Alithiel, the Ritualist at Stretton was dead, as were two of her contributors. The rest were attempting to recuperate their strength after the gruelling time they had spent, firstly maintaining the transport circle at Wickham and then with the help of the Sherburn Circle holding open the transport gateway. Worse still, the power of the circle had been overused and it would not operate, even to effect a transport.
Again the Commanders met. Their concern was that they would soon face a force from the Tomorrow Court, of unknown strength and numbers. They only had a small force with them and although these numbered amongst Albion’s elite, they numbers they faced were certainly too great.
Additionally, the countryside must be warned. Villages and farms must be evacuated, and the dwellers within the nearby Greenwood must be given time to prepare.
The decision was made to split the Albione forces.
Those who were most at home within the woods were to head straight to the Heart of the Greenwood to raise the alarm there and thence to Elf’s rest to spread word of what was happening. The leader of this group was Malik, Lord Lieutenant of the Western Marches, with Alistair Crowlee as his second. After a bracing two day forest yomp, these woodsmen reached Elf’s Rest and were back in touch with the world.
The second group, lead by s’Kalion were to head with speed to the Underdark entrance at Silverlake. From there to try to organise any forces available in order to relieve any siege at Gloucester, were it to be necessary. This mission was unsuccessful, as the main body of the Tomorrow Court were “advancing to the rear” along an axis between Silverlake and Hereford, and this detachment was forced to hide and sneak, eventually crossing to Silverlake as the last Fae were driven out of Albion.
A third group, composed of the Karlennon Cornish, under Lady Knight Lerianneth Penhaligon, was charged with reaching Worcester and spreading news from there, and with reporting on the situation in the Duchy of Cornwall. They encountered little or no difficulty on their two-day hike.
The last and largest group, led by Benedict Karlennon and Iseeyu Yuseeme were to go directly to Gloucester, to help reinforce the wall should it become a necessity and to escort the evacuees from Stretton which had been deemed indefensible. Moving slowly away from the smoke of Stretton, it was estimated that the lightly armed Fae scouts would catch the encumbered column in the open before the safety of Gloucester could be attained. Hence the group turned north and made for the Keep at Charenten village. The Queen’s twin brother Edward welcomed the motley band into the stronghold of his Demesne as dawn broke on Wednesday morning.
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