by Ryan "Orion" Welch
After Action Report
Events of 10 June 1017 (BMR)
War Maneuvers with New Verai
About a month ago, representatives from New Verai appeared during court at the Feast of Chimeron to invite the Realms at large to participate in a day of friendly war tournaments. His Majesty the King accepted the invitation on behalf of the Realms while expressing his appreciation for the long and rocky history between the Kingdom of Chimeron and New Verai.
The tournament opened with a ceremony to the chief divine powers of New Verai who (to my knowledge) were not named anything but simply “The Sisters”. The ritual consisted of a young soldier offering his willing but aged father as a blood sacrifice to the Sisters. At all times the representatives from New Verai maintained their awareness of the difference between their culture and ours and repeatedly informed each of the representatives of the Realms that they did not have to participate in the ceremony if they were unwilling. This in fact set the tone for the rest of the day: New Verai was welcoming and openly presented various aspects of their culture while we somewhat cautiously interacted with them.
When the fighting commenced, I took the field with several of my countrymen as part of a diverse army that included the colors of Rhiassa, Folkstone, Creathorne, and Invictus as well as several independent adventurers. The first fight of the day was a traditional field battle, which, like most of the events, was conducted twice. Here are the summary results of all of the fights to the best of my recollection:
Field Battle - Realms/Realms
Flag Bearer - New Verai/New Verai
Corsican Mug Field Battle - New Verai
Bridge Battle - New Verai/Realms
Donut of Death - New Verai/New Verai
Donut of Death Variant - New Verai
Castle Siege - Realms/Realms
Point Control - Realms by a landslide
Describing each battle in strategic detail would be a great undertaking, so in the interest of keeping this report readable, I will call out a few of the highlights. First of all, the event that I referred to as “Flag Bearer” (I couldn’t figure out what New Verai called it) was a new format that I have never seen before. Each team had two flag bearers; one was the “Queen” and was a walking respawn point that our dead bodies would move towards. The other, the “King”, was basically a mobile, fast-acting Mystic Forge–touching the the King’s flag would instantly repair all of your armor. The King and Queen were both unarmed and unarmored and would fall to a single blow. The objective of the battle was to kill the entire other team. The two runs of “Flag Bearer” did not go well for the Realms, which I would say was mostly due to our diversity and and lack of experience with fighting together as a group. However, I thought the concept was very interesting and would not be surprised if it appears again in some of the other upcoming summer war tournaments.
After the Corsican Mug Field Battle, King Cecil was invited to the New Verai side of the field to sit with their Prince. He accepted the offer, but a short while later, as the bridge was being set up, an apparent assassin attempted to attack the tent under which the pair of royals was sitting. The Prince’s guards stopped the attacker we deadly force and two of them were killed beyond recovery in the process, but there were no other casualties. It was not clear to us from our side of the field who the intended target was. Shortly after, we were informed that the assailant was apparently a dissident civilian. Scarce more information was given as the leadership of New Verai seemed happy to brush off the incident, which lead us to speculate on the nature of their rule and their domain. Research on the subject is ongoing.
The bridge battle felt like a big turning point in the day. As I said, being the multinational fighting force that we were, coordinating our overall strategy between groups proved challenging, although they day would not have gone nearly so well as it did if Warlord Wisakachikwa had not been in charge. The first round start off well enough. Invicus established a steady shield wall over which Rhiassan pikes stayed the opposing line. Unfortunately, our second line was not as strong as it could have been and we did not have many seasoned combat support casters, whereas New Verai has a very strong support corps, so after a drawn out duel, our line eventually eroded and we were pushed back to the shore where we were scattered and cut down. Promptly after that defeat, the leading strategists of Invictus rallied our support casters and second line fighters so that when the second round began, we had a much more efficient battle line. Our strength had so improved that when our shield wall fell, our pikes held the line and our healers quickly moved in to get everyone up and restore the shield wall.
Our rally from the bridge battle was only slightly put off by three quick defeats in the Donut of Death, but we still had our energy as we lined up on offense for the first castle battle. Our lengthy siege nearly drained us completely, but we finally broke through the doorway after a couple of our teammates regenerated inside the castle and ripped up their line from the inside. With our resources all but expended and a long day of fighting already on the books, we approached the castle defense round with more caution. Supported by little more than a single Circle of Healing, our shield wall wavered and our pike line kept getting picked off, we still managed to overwhelm the better-supported line of New Verai.
There is very little to say about the last scheduled battle of the day, which was in a Point Control format. There were five flags placed in a small area of the woods beside the tournament field. The Realms claimed one as a starting point, New Verai claimed another. The battle was supposed to last for fifteen minutes, with points being awarded for number of flags controlled each minute, but the Realms army spread out so quickly that we controlled four of the five points by the first minute, including the point from which New Verai had started. I had been ordered to lead a squad to capture the point directly behind our starting position and secure it as our last resort, so I was not on the front line nor was I keeping track of time while my teammates forced New Verai into a corner. I am not sure if the time passed quickly from my perspective or if New Verai conceded the battle, but either way, the Realms score a decisive and resounding victory.
Despite the invitation being for “friendly” war maneuvers, we (at least the present Chimeronians) remained wary of the New Verai army all day and between tournaments kept our weapons close at hand just in case the war tournament suddenly stopped being a tournament, so we were not caught off guard when portal opened in the woods and injected a third group of combatants into our midsts after the Point Control battle. Perhaps unsurprisingly, New Verai was also ready to participate in unregulated combat, and our two armies almost instinctively joined forces. The thing that did surprise us was that the uninvited guests were Shades being led by none other than Nadia Cooke, the sister of the infamous Jonas Cooke and an individual that many of us thought to be very dead. The Shades were eventually dispersed (although with great effort because they were not vulnerable to light in the same way they used to be), but like the hidden politics of New Verai, this is most definitely not the last we will be seeing of them. Nadia Cooke is back, and boy is she mad.