|Battle of the Rivers|
|Crimson Coalition|| Magicracy of Alent|
| Red Sun|
| Leopold Lain|
Garus Kax †
Takeru Tanaka †
| Kendra Finian|
|Second Great War|
The Battle of the Rivers was a conflict between the Crimson Coalition and the joint forces of the Magicracy of Alent and the Union Workers. It took place at the Joining Fords of the Twin Rivers northwest of Alent in the autumn of 1017 AE. It turned into a three-way conflict when Kendra Finian, at the behest of the Red Sun, manipulated a water elemental to betray the Coalition at the moment of its victory, thus devastating both the Coalition and Alentian armies. Despite heavy losses, the Coalition was eventually victorious and reclaimed the riverlands from the fleeing Alentian and Union forces once the water elemental was banished.
After securing the city of Etheril in Northern Libaterra, the Coalition's Second Army led by General Leopold Lain moved south to join forces with the Coalition's First Army led by High Cleric Yoshimuriko and use a pincer move to pin the Magicracy of Alent's Western Army led by Grand Magus Takeru Tanaka between the two Coalition armies and thus secure the ford, or river crossing, at a crucial strategic spot at the Twin Rivers. If the Coalition could cross the ford and keep its position secure enough from Alentian retaliation, it would gain a key access point to Central Libaterra and thus Alentian heartlands.
The Coalition sent scouts to see how tight Alentian defenses were. Takeru Tanaka and his intelligence officer Garus Kax were alert, however, and thwarted the Coalition's plans. They discovered from their undercover agent Kendra Finian that Leopold was planning to join forces with Yoshimuriko in a few days, and a message they had intercepted from a Coalition courier pointed to the same direction. Knowing that they had only a few days to rest before the Coalition struck, the Alentian army began fortifying its defenses and planned to use this new information to strike back at Leopold when the Coalition least expected it.
The Alentian army also had unexpected help from the Union Workers, a thieves guild, which sent a sizable army led by a thief general Tobias to aid Alent against the Coalition. Although suspicious of these thieves at first, Garus soon learned that Alent and the Union had formed an alliance at the Alentian capital and that the Union had a grudge against the Coalition. Boosted by their new allies, Alentians waited for the storm to arrive.
The Coalition's First and Second Armies sent scouting forces on the eve of the battle. Alent and the Union held their ground well enough and were emboldened by their success. When Yoshimuriko suddenly sent his forces to cross over the river, Tanaka thought the Coalition's high cleric was being suicidal. He ordered his men to keep defenses up on both sides of the camp in case the Coalition tried a sneaky tactic.
Tanaka's hunch was correct, but not in a way he had imagined. Unbeknownst to him, agent Kendra Finian was in fact a triple agent who had replaced Tanaka's sword with a cursed replica which the Coalition had stolen from the Union earlier. The curse wasn't activated immediately, but when it did, it turned Tanaka into a raving madman who lost all reason. Kendra slipped away in the chaos before anyone could catch her.
While the focus was on Tanaka's sudden madness and Yoshimuriko's attack, Leopold sent his covert unit to infiltrate the Alentian camp under a cloaking spell. At the same time the Clergy of Nergal, Coalition's allies, unleashed a water elemental which drowned many of the Alentian forces stationed at the river. All of these assaults at once were too much for Alent's Western Army which had already suffered the sudden loss of its commanding officer, and the Coalition broke through and trampled the demoralized Alentian defense lines which fell into disarray. The army camp had fallen, and the Coalition had secured a foothold over the river crossing.
The tide of the battle had turned in the Coalition's favour thanks to the treacherous actions of one individual who had set it all up: Kendra Finian.
Garus Kax, now the commanding officer after Tanaka's death due to the curse, did his best to keep his fleeing Alentians in line despite the Coalition's overwhelming attack. He nearly failed until the Union appeared with its army led by General Tobias and offered support by counterattacking the Coalition and allowing Alentians to flee to safety behind Union lines. Garus wasted no time and rallied his survivors while sending one of his men to alert Alent about their initial loss in the battle and to ask for reinforcements to repel the Coalition.
The Union, despite suffering heavy losses against the joint forces of the Coalition's First and Second Armies, fought back fiercely and was joined by Garus's band of Alentian survivors. The thieves of the Union used their catapults and mages to rain fire on the Coalition and tried to weaken their lines to the best of their ability while the Union's Sirithai allies dug tunnels underground to make the ground collapse under some Coalition regiments and thus allow the Union and Alent some time to breathe.
The battle raged long and hard between the two forces until Leopold and Yoshimuriko withdrew their forces while boosting their numbers at the crossing to secure their hold over it. The Coalition would wait patiently for the time being and test the tactics of the Union, a foe it had had little experience fighting except for the brief skirmish in the aftermath of the Etheril takeover. The Union did its best to disrupt the Coalition's supply lines and demoralize its forces but with little success as the Coalition's forces turned out to be far more resistant to these tactics than the Union had assumed.
The Tide TurnsEdit
After weeks of fighting, the survivors from Garus Kax's forces as well as the Union army led by General Tobias were getting tired. They were constantly being harrassed by the Coalition which was boosting its numbers daily. They had tried to use various strategies to root the Coalition out of the crossing but it was very difficult as the Coalition's army was very disciplined.
However, Garus and Tobias met with a pleasant sight while discussing their next strategic move: they saw a force with the Alentian banner and realized it was Alent's Eastern Army led by Commander Ariadne. Their arrival meant that the messenger whom Garus had sent earlier had reached Alent safely, and Alent had sent Ariadne's men as reinforcements. With this sudden and welcome boost in numbers as well as having a supply of well-rested, battle-ready men, the joint Union and Alentian armies decided to ready themselves for one final push against the Coalition before Leopold or Yoshimuriko could prepare their troops to face these new reinforcements.
The Coalition spent time studying the newly arrived forces before it decided to have a final push against Alentian defenses, this time using trickery from earlier in the battle by cloaking a sizable cavalry unit under a spell and trying to flank the defending forces while distracting the enemy with its main force. However, Tobias had seen through this ruse and hade made the Union's Sirithai allies dig holes under the battlefield so that it could collapse once the cavalry galloped over it. The plan was a success, and the Coalition's strike team was caught in the Sirithai trap while Tobias sent one of his trusted officers to finish the survivors off.
The Coalition hurried to face the Union's cavalry, and at the same time Leopold ordered the water elemental to rise one more time and flood the riverlands so that they'd wipe out the Union/Alentian fortress before the Union cavalry could go to their allies' aid. However, the elemental ended up doing the unexpected: it betrayed the Coalition and flooded not only the Union cavalry but also the Coalition's attacking force before heading to the Union/Alentian fortress. Leopold could do nothing but watch as the elemental swept over everything like a force of nature.
Around this time the Sirithai returned to their Union allies and ended up attacking everyone in a move which surprised Ariadne, Garus and Tobias. However, the Union responded quickly and sent its knights to defend the fleeing Ariadne and Garus who reached safety with Tobias and the archers. The ground beneath the fort began collapsing soon after, which made it clear that the Sirithi had not only dug holes to trap the Coalition but also to trap their Alentian and Union allies. The leading Sirithai revealed that they were working for themselves, and the Alentian and Union leaders quickly deduced that the elemental and the Sirithai had the same goal: wipe out both the Coalition and the Alent/Union forces in one go.
Garus and wounded Union knights ended up sacrificing themselves and blowing up the remaining Union bombs and magical catapult ammo in the camp in order to allow Ariadne and Tobias to flee with the surviving troops. Several of the renegade Sirithai were killed as well in the resulting blast which evaporated the water elemental which then returned to the High Plane after it had uttered final cryptic words about what the future had in store for the world.
Ariadne and Tobias's forces parted ways after the battle, the Union's remaining forces heading back to Hidefall and Ariadne's Eastern Army returning to Alent so that they could let their respective superiors know of their defeat and the impending attack of the Coalition on Alentian heartlands in the coming weeks. They also had to deal with the revelation that the Sirithai they had been teaming with had not been as noble as they had been led to believe.
The remaining Coalition troops withdrew from the battlefield and regrouped under Leopold and Yoshimuriko, still recovering from the elemental's treachery. They came to realize the treachery had likely been premeditated and had been possibly caused by Kendra Finian who had originally brought them the elemental in the first place. Despite having suffered heavy losses in battle due to this unexpected turn of events, the Coalition had still succeeded in taking over the riverlands. Now all it had to do was to rest and wait for reinforcements before it could continue the campaign south to Alent now that it held the northern passage.