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Post by Squeaks on Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:03 pm

Ancillia is a strange province. The south is not considered to be overly fertile, but sustains a decent populace, where plains slowly become steppe and then end in a broken mountain range. Legends spoeak of this range moving, of it coming to life before the terrified eyes of travellers, only to settle again in a different position. SOme with the knowledge pos that it could one of the most ancient of Avatars; one so oldthat it has grown to be the 'small god' of an entire mountain range rather than a strea,, pool, or oasis. If true, then it is mighty indeed.

To the north of the mountains, the land becomes disastrous. A leaking volcano dribbles fire and poisons into a series of valleys, pooling around a large plateau that seems to cling to life, if barely. The plateau extends to the sea, and here Ancillia is visited by other horrors. From the coast one can see the many small isles that act as home to many Avatars, wild and abandoned, filled with sharp reefs and often clogged with strange predators that prevent the simple of fishing from brining succour to the land. In winter, the black ice comes from the grows tall and shears from the polar caps, then gathers water to it as it jopurneys south, meeting the coast of ANcillia, driving up the beaches, to plough into deep grooves in the Plateau. Where the Black Ice meets the volcanic mass, strange things happen, and men have gone mad when exposed to the gases emitted. Many talk about the Black Ice as if it were haunted, or alive with malice, but that seems ridiculous to anyone sane.

ANcillia was enthralled to the Brazen Queen of Telmior from it's earliest days. Certainly in the south, her hold was strong, but in the north, her legions simply build one garrison town and sat there in fear. The culture of ANcillia was built of toughness, or survival, both even. The oldest tradition is Ancillia is that of the fighting pit. In the north, when communities or clans argued there was no war. They could not afford to lose their men in battle. Instead, they fought between champions and the winner was considered to justify his cause. These men slowly became more professional and were called 'Pit Dogs' by the Telmiori.

In the south, she conquered the lkand fully, and it was under her sway, growing and becoiming more decrepit and stagnant morally under her heavy hand. The battles for 'justice' ceased, and simply became games to wager on, blood to enjoy the shedding of and the crowds would escape their servitude and roar like lions at the death of their own people, especially when a northman was brought south in chains, or a warrior from the Sea of Grass was torn apart by wild beasts.

When Valerian crushed the Brazen Queen, the Ancillians revolted. It was no massive military action, but very sedate. They simplky stopped paying attention to the Brazen Queen and her officers and officials were slain in the pits, dragged there by the hungry-eyed crowds. It was after the fall of Telmior that their problems really began. Several leaders came forwards, and a council of sorts was formed. In the time that it took from the fall of Telmior, through the capture of Acaserena, they had begun to look outwards, the ambitions of fools gone mad with power.

In the north, the Telmior garrison was overrun and slaughtered, but little else changed at first. Then a leader came forward who changed much in the north. He was an old 'pit-dog', named the 'Mournweaver', on account of the amount of people he had slain. He had lost only once, but left enough blood and body-parts behind in that fight to be spared death by the victor, who had then fallen from a cliff when rescuing a stranded herd-beast.

Mournweaver maeched south, determined to have a voice in the future of Ancillia. AT this time, the COuncil saw fit to raise monies by hiring their pit-dogs out to neighbouring nations as bodyguards and, then to the Crown Prince of Dalthrasia in his attempt to replace his Queen as the ruler of that Queendom.

When Valerian foiled this attempt, he lost good men, and his ire turned north, to ANcillia. The province was poor, but he was fascinated by the legends of the northern side, and his fury would be sent against the South.

The Mournweaver gathered his men and marched to the westernmost town of Laseya, whereupon he was barred access at fiurst. This wild-looking man and his warriors were recognisably ANcillian, but their councillor was in the new capital, Lysillia and the ability to make choice upon need had been bred out of them by the Brazen Queen. WHen he demanded access and succour, they shot arrows at him and his men, wounding several, and he fell back in a black mood. Two days later, he and his men assaulted the walls and killed every man in the town that bore arms against them.

Word reached the capital quickly, and a force was dispatched to deal with him. This army outnumbered his by five to one, the best and the worst the fledgling state could offer. They marched swiftly on the town and invested it, swiflty building engines of war with which to shatter gates and walls. Their commander, Ederis did not like the option of facing Northmen on the walls. He knew what they lived through and their toughness and savagery.

Valerian fell on the fortified town of Kirine and swiftly took the walls, then were dumbfounded by the stone keep within the wooden shell. The keep had a wooden roof under which archers could shelte, and Valerian could not bring his Air Cavalry to bear, so he began to ready an assault on the walls, costly though it may be. The citizens of Kirine faced no brutality at Valerian's hands, but their leaders were hung in the market square, their crime of regicide read at length to the populace, who had known nothing of this.

ALmost simultaneously, the forces of Valerian attacked the keep and the Ancillian attacked the breaches they had created, but the forces of Mournweaver beat them back in 5 day-long assaults. The Keep of Kirine fell swiftly once the ATlaians and the Royal Guards of Dalthrasia stormed the walls, vengeance and indignation in their hearts, where the defenders has little of anything in theirs.

Valerian immediately set off east, and word reached him of the attack on Mournweaver. He paused momentarily, and led half of his force to the east. He fell in wrath on Mournweaver's enemies, and a brief battle was fought - in truth a slaughter. Barely two hundreds of Mournweaver's mean remained, but he met Valerian as an equal and was high in his esteem. Together, they turned west, to the captial, andf they arrived precisely as the host from the host did.

Swiftly, the captial, Lysillia, was invested. Every man defended the walls, and some of the best soldiers of Telmior had fled there after the Queen's death; this fight would not be an easy one. For three days, Valerian pounded the city, the deep coughing of war engines sending fire and death into the city, but he could breach the walls, and the inevitable assault began, with both towers and ladders brought up against the defences.

SIx assaults were made, and the war engines kept their fire upon the cioty between each assault, depriving the defenders of sleep, whilst his men rotated their numbers for each attack. On the seventh attack, Valerian himself led the most part, with WOundweaver at his side. The Pit Dogs were unstoppable, and the Atlaians that guarded their EMperor were equally driven, but of less skill in the brutal art of massacre.

Puching a hole in the defenders' lines, he secured the gates and his army poured through into the city. They fought running battles, and the city fell, piece by piece. ALl that surrendered were spared, and their wounded were tended to. The last stand was made in the market square, and their end was merciless and brutal. WOundweaver led this assault, and he cut down dozens of men by himself. At the end of the defence, nigh on all defenders were slain, and the nation of Ancillia capitulated. Ready for a second despotic ruler, they awaited their punishment and indenture into slavery, but they were mistaken.

Valerian gave them teo years without taxes, money and men to rebuild all damage,l and installed WOundweaver as their confused new governer. The fortunes of the province rose greatly, and the Imperial Guard Legions were trained in the harsh north. Those that survived were tougened, and the pit-dogs of WOundweaver were taken as the Emperor's new bodyguard; honour and respect were heaped heavily upon them, and they never failed this amazing man, fanatically loyal and devoted in their duties. WOund weaver eventually was given the title of Warden of the East and led his legions to the west, to fight at Saden Fields.


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