Winds of war: the conquest of the barrens


The Golden Sun keep their banners flying over Dawnguard, and the Golden Axe fight beside them. The Towerjacks are gone, and in their place marches the reborn Gryphon’s Pride at last. Five thousand Dawnish men and women in polished armour, marching under snapping pennants bearing the image of gryphons, a grand profusion of leonine-aquiline beasts rampant, couchant, raring for the chance to lay to rest the tattered spectre of the past. To finally, with the full sanction of the Empire, bring the Barrens under Imperial domination. The glorious core of the army is supported by several cadre of questing knights, each with a wealth of practical experience of the Barrens and its savage inhabitants; and by grim-faced knights-errant ready to risk all for the chance to catch the eye of a noble house.

Supported by the garrison of the Towers of Dawn, the Imperial host launches a series of crushing strikes against the orc outposts around Dryhaven. The Golden Sun fight defensively, ensuring the heaviest armoured and best-shielded troops take the van, slowly grinding their way across the territory toward victory. The ironbound Golden Axe keep pace with them, demonstrating the adaptability and pragmatism that make them rightly feared. Between them, the Gryphon’s Pride, methodically ensure that not one inch of Dawnish land remains in the hands of barbarian orcs.

The free orcs of the Barrens stand firm, at first. Scouts bring scattered reports of magical defences - potent nexi of Spring and Night magic scattered across the wild places of Barrens, roused to support the savages. From dripping fen and forest fastness, the orcs fight with savage vigour, inspired by the defensive enchantments.

This is not the only sorcery at work in the Barrens. For another season, the red waters flow in rivers, streams, marshes, and in the shallow bitter sea. Wounds fester. The arts of the physick, the apothecary, and the witch are tested; it is a challenge to keep the injured alive even with the many resources at their disposal. When the rain falls, it tastes of copper and despair. Yet the blight harms the orcs more than it does the humans: the Imperial generals have planned their strategy carefully. Their advance is slow, but it minimizes casualties in the face of the baleful sorcery at work in the Barrens.

The orcs are overmatched. Despite the potence of their magical defences, they are slowly pushed back. The gains they made in Dawnguard over the last year are lost, the households fallen under their yoke liberated, and the remaining nobles and yeomen free to join the battle. By the Summer Solstice, Dawnguard is free, again, of orc influence.

Overmatched … but not overrun. The Imperial armies continue to push, but their slow advance leaves little opportunity to gain new territory. They begin to slowly force the orcs out of the Carmine Fields, but the barbarians do not yield easily. hose who battle under the banner of the Black Wind seem particularly hard to unseat, especially once the battle presses beyond the borders of Dawnguard. It is as if a new passion ignites in them when they fight to defend the Carmine Fields. As a consequence, the Empire makes only slight inroads - perhaps a handful of villages captured, their population fleeing before the steel-and-mithril of Dawn and the iron-and-fire of Varushka.

By season’s end, the warhost of the Empire has recaptured Dawnguard, and established several well-supported outposts along the northern borders of the Carmine Fields.

It seems the conquest of the Barrens has finally begun.


Winds of War for Summer. There are more of these than I was expecting. There’s a lot going on …

So here we have the Barrens. Dawnguard liberated, and small gains in the Carmine Fields. Not a bad first-outing for the Gryphon’s Pride.

More to follow, today and possibly tomorrow.

The photograph is from Mr Oliver Facey who is having a birthay today it appears. It shows a doughty yeoman played by Arun Ferguson with a bow. The little inset gryphon I nicked off the flag of the Utti Jaeger Regiment a Finnish special forces unit (

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