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Sunset War
Date 486 - 500
Location The Planinfrag, Frontier, Sahra'a, Sympolemou, The Clanships, Rannara, Domhan Abhaile, Borlmyn, Skarval, Haiwaste, Aimplach, Grizzland, Grmanhil
Result Concordat and Salterri victory; Guilderene presence in east reduced to coastal regions; Dread Fleet scattered; Raaneka secedes from Empire of Dawn and assimilates into Triumvirate
Casus belli Ironarm's invasion of the Planinfrag
Combatants
Concordat of Frost and Flame:

Everburning Horde
Saroc
Salterri Imperium (491-500)
Grand Duchy of Pavonia (491-495)

Empire of Dawn

Triumvirate
Hurosha Empire

Khaboss Ironarm (486 - 491)
Razdissi Underpire (491-495)
Kingdom of Ashenia (491-495)
Principality of Niskovia (491-495)
Empire of the Silver Moon (491-492)

Jaaku Na (491 - 492)
Commanders
Torre Daan

Senusret of Tzalteclan
Ironfang II
Urindak Stormskull
Fel Malengorious
Konhagen Ringmaker
Eldred Jarrow
Ahmes of Tzalteclan
Ji Caercia

Vizini of Guilder

Dissator Ethmorl
Grebthar Ironarm
Ryena Fireguard
Doge Wesley (P.O.W.)
Sucheta Ambere

Captain Dreadlove
Strength
Concordat: 100,000

4,000 navy
Imperium: 38,000
9,000 navy

101,000

15,000 navy

36,000 navy

The Sunset War was a conflict fought from 486 between the Concordat of Frost and Flame and the Empire of Dawn, and their respective allies. As of its ending, it was by some distance the largest and most destructive war in recorded history.

BackgroundEdit

In the mid-fifth century, the three principal powers on the eastern continent, the Glazfelli Hegemony, the Guilderene Expanse, and the Tzaltec Empire, formed the Concordat of Frost and Flame to protect their mutual interests and ensure maintenance of trade routes. Following the Caercian Coronation, however, Guilder found itself in a conflict of interests between the Concordat and its liege in the Empire of Dawn. Prohibited by the Empire from fulfilling its treaty-mandated obligations to the Concordat, Guilder withdrew in 475. This withdrawal was taken poorly by the remaining Concordat members, who believed they were owed compensation for Guilder's breaches of the treaty and since the Expanse interrupted their borders, presenting a potential barrier to trade.

Over roughly the same period, Guilder's relationship with the Salterri Imperium had deteriorated, partly as a result of unresolved grievances dating back to the Wars of the Mandate but also following the destruction at the Caercian Coronation and a perceived failure by Guilder to reform or make appropriate amends. In 483 Tzaltec investigators also uncovered evidence of possible Guilderene involvement in the Lotus Murders which had seen the deaths of several members of the Imperial household, including some of Tzaltec blood.

In 486 an orc army led by Khaboss Ironarm attacked the Planinfrag, a vassal of the Glazfelli Hegemony. A larger army led by Megadeth Khaboss Stormskull simultaneously attacked the Clanships, claiming that Guilderenes had tried to poison Stormskull at a diplomatic gathering. Ironarm's orcs possessed equipment that appeared to have been Guilderene in origin, leading King Torre to believe Guilder were launching a proxy war against his kingdom. In response, the Concordat declared war on Guilder and, by extension, the Empire of Dawn.

Opening PhaseEdit

The Empire of Dawn immediately imposed a blockade of all Concordat trade through the Straits of Maos or through Guilderene territory, severing trade between the northern Concordat and the Tzaltec Empire and any trade with the Salterri Imperium south of the Straits or any seaborne trade west of the Grand Canal. Guilder sent troops under its general Genevio to assist Ironarm in the Planinfrag, while the Concordat armies massed on either side of the Expanse. The Triumvirate sent its navy, under command of Dissator Ethmorl, to assist that of the Empire of Dawn, and amassed with apparent intent to assault Drugaud.

The Imperium elected not to declare war along with the Concordat, but a series of demands were sent from the Silver Throne to Empress Myrida insisting on an immediate lifting of the blockade with respect to Imperial trade and a number of other concessions. A private agreement was reached between King Eldred and Empress Ryena that their realms would remain neutral, to avoid unreasonable escalation of the conflict. King Torre meanwhile agreed a contract with the fearsome mercenaries of the Everburning Horde.

486 - Assault on the FrontierEdit

Ryena was eventually persuaded by her allies to join the war on the side of the Empire of Dawn, and Hurosha committed in strength to the defence of the southern Guilderene regions, along with the entire army of the Triumvirate and contingents from Raaneka, Calorum, Guilder itself, and Serendel cavalry. A Glazfelli division including the Dunfel mercenaries succeeded in linking up with the main Tzaltec army under Teotlkan Senusret, which initially seemed to be intent on Maos but eventually diverted to the Frontier.

In the ensuing battle the Concordat forces were heavily defeated, with the Dunfel and Tzaltec each losing half the soldiers they put into the field. Casualties among the defenders were also high, however, with the Triumvirate suffering particularly heavily.

487 - The Empire Strikes BackEdit

Duke Ironfang of Sympolemou led his army to defend the Planinfrag against the combined force of Ironarm, Guilder and a squadron of Serendel cavalry. After manoeuvring the attackers to the mountains, terrain in which the Sympol were expert warriors, he inflicted a strategic defeat on the attacking army, though his own casualties were heavy. Argument over blame for the defeat between Genevio and Ironarm led to a breach between Guilder and their orc allies.

Stormskull, meanwhile, was much more successful, and formed a successful partnership with the Tzaltec prince Ahmes sent to assist him. The Clanships were defended only by a small Serendel army, which was completely destroyed by the attackers, albeit at the cost of a similar number of Stormskull's troops. This was enough, however, to secure a strategic advantage in the region, and convince Ironarm to desert Guilder and return to Stormskull's side. Impressed with the aptitude for war shown by his Tzaltec allies, Stormskull would soon swear allegiance to them as vassal.

After being dissuaded from attacking Drugaud by the defence seemingly mounted there by the Glazfelli army, the Empire of Dawn and its allies launched its major counterattack against Sympolemou itself. With Ironfang occupied in the Clanships, King Torre led the defence himself alongside Queen Kyria of Faedas, while Dissator Ethmorl commanded the assault from a Triumvirate warship.

Although the Empire of Dawn and its allies succeeded in drawing Concordat troops away from eastern theatres, they suffered heavy casualties in comparison with the defenders, with half the Triumvirate navy being lost in particular. This was the worst defeat by number of casualties for an army of the Triumvirate, or its constituent members, in recorded history. Participation by Faedas troops in this battle was controversial, with breaches of the Pax Varinel being alleged.

488 - Trouble in the ExpanseEdit

The blockade instated by the Empire of Dawn did not only hurt their Concordat foes, but also deprived some people in Guilderene territories of imports necessary for their survival and wellbeing. In Sahra'a the people's need for water and beverages had not been met for some fifty years, while the Frontier had also been denied the coolants its people so desired, especially so when imports of Tears of Yphine were embargoed by their own government. In protest, the people of Sahra'a and the Frontier refused to take up arms in defence of their leaders, and attempts to rouse the militia came to nothing.

489 - Further RaidsEdit

While the armies engaged in the major battles retreated and continued manoeuvres, a number of smaller raids and skirmishes took place. Ships from Glazfell succeeded in establishing footholds in Domhan Abhaile and Rannara, while a Tzaltec fleet was destroyed attacking Borlmyn. These adventures, while mostly successful in securing territory, came at the cost of the entire Concordat navy.

Meanwhile raiding parties from the Kingdom of Serendel penetrated into Skarval and the Haiwaste, securing key positions there. An army of Raaneka, which had appeared to be attacking Keldagrim, instead passed through the region and into Aimplach, finding the region undefended and establishing a foothold there.

While still in Sympolemou, Kyria Varinel was attacked by assassins, brandishing silver weapons. The queen survived, but was blinded by the assassins' blades. In the Heartwaste shortly afterwards, her heir presumptive, Li Huanle Jarrow, was attacked in a similar fashion and killed.

490-1 - The Imperium StirsEdit

Public opinion in much of the Imperium had been in favour of war from the outset, but the Empire's compliance with the Qzare's demands had stalled any action. Following the murder of his sister, Gun Huang finally lost patience and declared war on the Empire of Dawn. Although Celero was permitted to remain neutral, much of the remainder of the Imperium mustered its troops with the intention to march on Grmanhil. The Grand Duchy of Pavonia honoured its informal alliance, sending five thousand men north to join the Qzare's army.

Upon hearing reports that Grmanhil was defended only in a token fashion, Gun Huang sent mant Imperial troops back to barracks rather than risk such a large army on campaign. Nearly forty thousand troops instead set sail with the navy of the Kingdom of the Carmine Sea, accompanied by ships from the Kingdom of the Isles, intending to join the army of Teotlkan Senusret and continue the assault on Guilder's colonies.

Early in 491 the Erlstorm previously off Guilder's coast moved southwards, settling in the Straits of Maos and obstructing naval traffic. It was believed to have been the handiwork of Kina, at the request of Queen Kyria. Although a number of Guilder ships balked at tackling the storm, Sucheta Ambere of Raaneka led a fleet through the straits with the intention of intercepting the Imperial naval transports.

The ships clashed a number of times in the Carmine Sea, but the Carmine navy, led by the king in person, were expert fighters on the open sea, and despite suffering a few casualties, the ships passed largely unhindered on to Elomaoli.

The Razdissi Underpire, breaking its long policy of isolation, was eventually persuaded to send troops to assist its Dawn League allies in the Empire of Dawn, and committed five thousand dwarves of its own to the defence of the Expanse. The Sovereign Principality of Niskovia, which had agreed a mutual defence pact with the Empire of Dawn prior to the war, sent its army to defend Domhan Abhaile, while the Kingdom of Ashenia declared it would defend the Clanships, on the basis of Guilder's demonstrated innocence in the Lotus Murders, and relieved the province there following a forced march across half the world which cost them several thousand troops.

A Cree investigation into Guilder's culpability in the Planinfrag invasion was still ongoing.

491-492 - Captain DreadloveEdit

For a decade and more before the outbreak of war, rumours had been growing in the Golden Sun Sea about the terrifying pirate Captain Dreadlove, although no government had made confronting him a priority. In 492 a huge fleet under Dreadlove's command descended on Grizzland with the apparent intention of forcing the Grand Canal. Even at full strength the Triumvirate navy would have had small chance against the numbers at his disposal and with the casualties recently suffered they were forced to call for aid. The Empire of the Silver Moon answered with almost its entire army, together with smaller contingents from Crima, Celero, Raaneka, Guilder and the Salterri Imperium. The One Who Watches also travelled south to attack Dreadlove's fleet, although the Triumvirate navy remained in harbour throughout the conflict.

Dreadlove was eventually driven off, at the cost of a number of lives from the Silver Moon defenders. Dreadlove's navy had suffered substantial but not decisive casualties and remained a serious threat. He was later tracked down and reportedly killed by the Bordeusi assassin Jean Luc la Serre, who returned his head to Lady Miranda.

Following the Triumvirate's travails in the east and the arrival of Dreadlove, the king and atheling of the Kingdom of the Carmine Sea asserted claims by ancestry and marriage to the long-vacant thrones of Nyroth, Woodwind and Aloren. Diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation proceeded poorly.

492 - Sahra'a and GrmanhilEdit

The Imperial army finally marched into Grmanhil in early 492 under the command of Konhagen Ringmaker in one of his last acts as king. Sucheta had ordered a single regiment of orcs to make a "peaceful protest" on the border, but instructed them to fight to the death if challenged. Despite repeated warnings and insistence from the Imperium that they would be spared if they did not fight they fought on, the orcs raised arms against the approaching army and a battle ensued. The Mularuhm dwarves in the vanguard, perhaps expecting the orcs to surrender, were caught off guard by the ferocity of the attack and many perished in the subsequent press back against the militant orcs who fought with savage ferocity against the incoming Imperium.

A small section of orcs offered surrender but as soon as the Imperium closed within range they rearmed themselves, taking the Heartlands troops by surprise and slaughtering nearly a full legion. At last, after much difficulty the final orcish militant was slain and the Imperial army saw to their respectful burials as the citizenry of Grmanhil looked on with a mix of awe at the spirit of the orc defenders and horror as they realize they fought so fiercely out of knowing no reinforcements were coming from the Royal Council to defend against the Salterri wall of orichalcum and steel.

Meanwhile, the Glazfell invasion of the discontented and rebellious Sahra'a province was met head on by the combined forces of Guilder and Razdis, yet they were no match for the desert tacticians of the north. King Torre routed the Guilderenes and destroyed their army, capturing General Ficcio at the end of the campaign.

494-5 - Return of the TzaltecEdit

In a daring feat, General Estoban led a section of the Guilderene army to attack the capital of the Tzaltec Empire. The Guilderene was successful in establishing a decent foothold with his men but the fighting is close and it was no secret that the Tzaltec sent only a token force to oppose him. Still, he held out hope that he might be given leave to press his advantage.

The reason for the small number of defenders in Tzalteclan was that the bulk of the army had massed for another assault on Frontier, by now bolstered by soldiers from the Imperium and METAL. Doge Wesley had pinned his hopes on their navy stopping the Imperial reinforcements and his combined army of Triumvirate, Razdissi and Empire of Dawn troops stood little chance against the size of the army amassed under Senusret's command. The defenders suffered heavy casualties and were forced to retreat, Wesley being taken prisoner by the Tzaltec.

495 - Placing the BlameEdit

In 491 the Tyranny of New Crima had undertaken to investigate the truth of the Concordat's allegations about Guilder's involvement in the orc invasions which had started the war, and in 495 they published their findings. The investigation was thorough, leaving no lead unchecked and no witness uninterviewed and by the end of a long investigation they came forward with their findings.

A contingent of unknown orcish smugglers had been seen moving Planin Berrywine south prior to Guilder's meeting with Megadeth Stormskull, this drink being a known allergen to the Saroc orcs. This wine was sold to an unknown buyer believed to have been human who subsequently went east. The Saroc witnessed Guilderene diplomats give the Megadeth Khaboss a drink of similar color and consistency to Planin Berrywine that was believed to have been the source of the poison, or as the Cree suspected, an allergic reaction that nearly killed the Megadeth.
The Cree speculated the orcish smugglers were Grmanhil in origin, explaining their knowledge of Berrywine but their own non-allergic reaction to it as well as knowledge of Heartwine and how to properly mix the two wines. Their orcish nature would further allow them to blend in in the east. The buyers are suspected to have been the Guilderene ambassadors although the survivors from the ambassadorial trip refute the claim and insist they brought Heartwine and Heartwine alone and bought no supplementary wines. Still, the Guilderenes do not deny that it was the wine they gave the Megadeth that caused his near deathly allergic reaction and no reports indicate anyone but Saroc and Guilderenes were present at the meeting or during the Guilderene journey to the meeting. The Cree announce their belief that Guilder did poison the heartwine with Berrywine, knowing of the allergic properties it possessed, after working a deal with Ironarm and his orcs to attempt to perform a coup against the Megadeth.

Meanwhile a joint Ashenia and Salterri hunt for the killers of Li Huanle and attempted assassins of Queen Kyria had been proceeding in Hrathan-Tuor. It soon became apparent that the attacks had not been the work of professional assassins, with evidence seeming to suggest that their original provenance was Pavonia.

499 - The Dawn AccordEdit

Following four years of ceasefire, the parties met in the Sea of Glass at the Centennial Gala to come to an end to the war. Proceedings were initially farcical, as the Guilderene representative immediately argued with Stormskull, leading to violence from both Stormskull and, subsequently, High Priestess Marvella, and Marvella further attempted to exclude the representative from Niskovia and Ashenia as she had never received their declarations of war.

Despite the admission on the part of those interviewed by the Cree that it had been Guilderenes who had given the Megadeth the cup that held the poison, Guilder continued to deny they had given the poison itself, and thus responsibility for the war, but nevertheless agreed to sign the treaty.


ReferencesEdit

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=18642923&postcount=901

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