As Summer pales into Autumn, the Navarr raise the banner of Thorns. The warriors of Navarr flock to fight with them, both those from the other forests and the survivors of the Jotun’s rage. The Senate has ensured that there are plenty of weapons and armour to equip them. Their numbers swollen by new recruits, they are further bolstered by the forces of thirty Navarr captains, and half a dozen Imperial heroes of other nations, who bring with them an additional two and a half thousand troops.
Even the dead rise to fight the enemies of the Navarr. The Jotun raise burial mounds over those they honour, but they have left the bodies of the dead Navarr where they fell - a fatal mistake. On the last night of the Summer Solstice, a thousand murdered Navarr rise to heed the echoing call of Winter magic. Shambling; abominable; hungry for orc flesh; thirsty for orc blood; they howl for vengeance against those who slaughtered them, slew their families, burnt their steadings, scattered their stridings.
They are terrible.
Yet even they are not so terrible as the living. The Navarr who still breathe launch ruthless, terrifying attacks against the orcs. They fall upon the hated enemy with cruel, savage attacks that leave no room for mercy on either side. The bodies of the fallen orcs are despoiled, displayed as trophies to fill the faltering hearts of their foe with terror. Wherever they are victorious they make grisly scarecrows of the fallen orcs - providing a fearsome lesson to the Jotun as to what it really means to face the full fury of the Navarr, unleashed at last.
The anger of the Jotun falters. As it is, only token forces remain in Liathaven - scattered warbands hunting the remaining defenders through the trees. It becomes clear as the Black Thorns advance that these warbands are unprepared for the cunning of the Navarr. They present little challenge - their tactics are better suited to pitched battles than to the relentless, unending guerilla assault of seven thousand mobile Navarr and their unliving cohort. A weak-seeming band of stragglers turns on the warband that pursues them as the trees sprout archers like murderous fruit. A poorly defended steading proves too ripe a prize to resist … only for the Jotun to discover the token garrison has faded away and now they are surrounded by an army of Navarr. A “routing” band of Navarr ambushers leads the unsuspecting Jotun into the vallorn miasma then fades into the shadows as the orcs fall to packs of shrieking husks.
The darkness that the Jotun have always feared lurks beneath the trees has come alive, and their warbands are no match for it. Their warriors learn that when they fight these heirs of Terunael, they will not fall in heroic combat but will be slain unawares, butchered like sheep, oblivious to the danger until it is too late. They will not rest beneath burial mounds, but will hang rotting from the trees of the forest, torn apart and defiled utterly. Their certainty that their heroism will carry them across the howling abyss begins to falter. Anger at last begins to give way to fear.
The western orcs pull back, retreating first to Western Point and thence to Hordalant and Reinos. They refuse the tempting lures placed before them, withdraw rather than attack, and as the Autumn Equinox approaches they begin to quit southern Liathaven altogether rejoining the Jotun forces fighting elsewhere, in less terrifying terrain. They fall back where they see movement among the trees, where there is any hint of Navarr forces. The Jotun do not like to fight beneath the dark canopy of the forests at the best of times … and this is very far from the best of times for the orcs.
Within six weeks of the end of the Solstice, Beacon Point is liberated. The Black Thorns and their allies - both living and dead - push on to Western Scout There is some scattered resistance … and during the day the Jotun hold their own. But when night falls, the orcs die, alone and afraid, voiceless, in the dark.
The Navarr have liberated one region of Liathaven (Beacon Point) and made significant gains in a second (Western Scout). If the situation does not change the Navarr will have liberated the whole of southern Liathaven by the Winter Solstice, breaking the Jotun control of the territory and making it once again a contested territory. Furthermore, thanks to their liberation and control of the paths of Lan Thúven, they will be in a position to strike into West Ranging to permanently sever the Jotun supply lines into the Mournwold.
In the face of the Navarr’s terror-tactics, a significant number of orcs are quitting Liathaven without fighting, reinforcing Jotun armies elsewhere. It remains to be seen how significant this reinforcement might seem. This special order was the result of an opportunity for the Navarr to employ vicious tactics against their enemies to increase their ability to drive the Jotun out of Liathaven - it may or may not remain available to them if they choose to strike into northern liathaven and complete the liberation of the territory.
So we’re starting Winds of War, last one of the year. You can read this in a more eye-friendly format, with some additional … imagonna go ahead and call it “flavour text” … here → profounddecisions.co.uk/empi … etribution
The theme for the photos for this batch of Winds of War is “Tom Garnett’s lovely gallery” which you can find here → facebook.com/garnett.tom/me … 809&type=3
I am told that this is the Nation’s Guard coven doing a ritual - I picked it because it is dark and moody.
#GameonIguess, #startonahigh, #gogomurderhobos