The Invasion of Laurentia: 306PC-314PC
For several years, the Triune Empire had been considering an invasion of southern Laurentia. The Scahanian Peninsular, the southernmost peninsular of that continent was isolated from the main portion of the continent by the Meneth Scahas range of mountains, and would make an easily defended base from which to pursue the eventual conquest of the continent. Furthermore, though little was known about any portion of Laurentia, the Scahanian Peninsular allowed the Empire to maintain a strong trading presence in the city of Autigen (on a promontory in the south-east). Though no outsiders were allowed out of the city, Laurentia traders were, of course, allowed in and they told of a land of primitive magic, the land divided between minor warlords and city states, with no area that could realistically be called a kingdom. About the main portion of Laurentia, not even this much was known as that region was even more hostile to outsiders; however, once the southern section was secure, the north could be investigated.
In 312PC, the by now extremely renowned Farladan company was sent to reconnoitre the land. Specifically, their task was to evade the guards around Autigen, and then head north to the Meneth Scahas range, locating any pass that would be large enough to permit the passage of an army.
The Farlad company found that the land was as much as described. They learned from locals that their were only two sizeable passes in the Meneth Scahas: the Pass of Aradha and The Pass of Froude. Upon investigating, however, they found that the Pass of Aradha had collapsed several years earlier in a series of avalanches. All that the Empire would need to do to secure the south would be to guard The Pass of Froude.
In the spring of 314PC, the Imperial Expeditionary force swept out of Autigen and struck north for The Pass of Froude. They met little resistance. The troops of the Scahanian Peninsular were not only mostly outnumbered, but even when they were not they were no match for the highly sophisticated armies of the Triune Empire. By early summer, the entire region south of the Meneth Scahas had been conquered. By winter, the conquest was secure. The pass of The Pass of Froude had been well fortified and heavily garrisoned, and all seemed secure.
The Variscan Wars: 315PC
Spring, 315PC: A great host of Varisca sweeps down from the north and assaults The Pass of Froude. Their banners blacken the sky with their numbers. Rank after rank of troops pour in to the pass, yet this is no uncivilised hoard: their magic is on a par with that of the Empire, and their troops as well trained and well-disciplined. Yet it is not numbers alone that confront the Triune EmpireÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s armies. Marching alongside the armies of Varisca are two forces of great power and evil: the Dark Templars, a dark order of warrior clerics of great skill, whose prowess in combat was matched only by their dark magic and the Joinings, hideous blends of man and beast of unparalleled strength, quickness and ferocity.
The armies of Varisca smashed through the defences of The Pass of Froude and poured in to the southlands. Outnumbered more than 20 to 1, the Imperial Expeditionary Force was crushed, driven back as fast as they could run. The last stand at Autigen was one of the quickest and most hopeless in history. In less than a month, the entirety of the Scahanian Peninsular lay beneath the banner of the Variscan Imperium, that dark empire which now controlled the entirety of the continent of Laurentia. It would not remain confined to Laurentia for long.
So swift was the Variscan assault that most of the Imperial forces were overwhelmed before they could flee. The Dark Templars actively hunted out any men of the Empire and slaughtered them. Amongst the few who escaped the debacle were the men of the Farladan company, who had remained there after their scouting mission.
It was clear that Varisca would soon move against the Empire. Across Avalonia, troops were mobilised, and armies were sent eastward. The hammer blow would fall first at the island of Krinth-Turon, located mid-way between Laurentia and Avalonia. Could, however, these Imperial vassals (Krinth and Turon) cease from their rivalry to form an effective defence: enough to delay Varisca long enough for the main Imperial armies from Avalonia to arrive?
It was thus that when the Farladan company landed at Visean on the east coast of Turon they found themselves presented with an Imperial mandate to take control of the defence of the island. They were the highest ranking and most experienced Empire citizens on the island, and had thus been commanded to coordinate the defence ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the Empire not trusting in its vassal rulers to work together to defend the island.
They had little time to prepare, for the advance guard of the Variscan army was following little more than a week behind. Naturally, the entire army of Varisca could not be found ships for so soon, but Varisca had hoped that a quick strike by as many men as possible could secure Krinth-Turon.
To mobilise Krinth-Turon was no sinecure for the Farladan company. Firstly, the rulers and nobles of the island resented these Imperial agents being placed above them. Secondly, most of Krinth did not wish to send troops to defend Turon, yet without a combined army the island was doomed. The nobles did not wish to contribute to many troops to a central army and thus leave their own lands undefended. Perhaps the biggest problems though were the sheer impossibility of mobilising the entire army in time for the landing and the fact that, though at full mobilisation the army of Krinth-Turon had about as many men as the Variscan invasion force, the Variscan were far better trained, equipped and supported (even discounting the Joinings and Dark Templars).
In late Spring, the Variscan army landed at Visean, 50 000 strong. Through fire ships and magic, the defenders managed to inflict heavy losses before landing; however, Visean soon fell. From here, the Variscan split their army: half moving west towards Micraster, the other half south east to the Fords of Derun and thence to Stephanian. The defenders fell back before them. In several battles the Variscan forces were victorious, though each time the defenders managed to withdraw in good order.
At this point, the Farladan company managed to attract two allies to their cause. The first were the gryphons. Recognising the great evil of Varisca, 400 of them pledged to join the beleaguered forces of Krinth Turon. The second was a monastic order of holy warriors of Order; they could, to some extent, counter the effect of the Dark Templars and destroy the Joinings. Though more powerful individually than any Dark Templar, they would, however, not be able to match the combined power of the 350 in the army of Varisca, nor the 3000 Joinings.
In the north, the Variscan army had continued to Micraster where the defenders, aided by the monks of Order, had settled in for a protracted siege. Micraster, a strongly fortified city in a mountain pass, would not fall quickly, and the monks of Order would be able to keep out the power of the Dark Templars (who could otherwise have caused fear and desertions) for a time at least.
Meanwhile, in the south, the Battle of the Fords revealed the nature of the Gauntlets of Lightning. These 3500 men in the Variscan army were clearly special forces of some kind, but their exact nature had been unknown.
At the Battle of the Fords, whilst the two armies were engaged in battle along the river, and defending army of Krinth and Turon found themselves attacked from the rear by large numbers of the elite soldiers of the Gauntlets of Lightning. Mounted on toÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢raken, large flying beasts capable of carrying around 30 mean at a time, the Gauntlets of Lightning would be flown to their target and would then disembark, whilst the toÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢raken would fly back for another load. Though the gryphons were to some extent able to counter them in future battles, the surprise at the Fords was total, and the defending army was once more forced to retreat. Meanwhile, a magically concealed army under Varisca had taken Lingula.
At this point, the defenders decided to retreat the entire army in Turon back in to Stephanian, the capital of Turon. The remaining troops arriving from Krinth would mobilise along the wide Faolain river, which formed a border between Krinth and Turon in the south. With many of the Varisca troops following the defenders to Stephanian to besiege it, less would be available to assault the river. However, the defenders then evacuated Stephanian using coastal boats, leaving just enough men to defend the city. The evacuated soldiers went to join the garrison at the Falani River, thus meaning that, with a large portion of the Variscan army besieging Stephanian, a stand-off would ensue. Meanwhile, the northern half of the army was still besieging the city of Micraster.
The situation continued in this way for another week. Though Micraster was weakening (the monks of Order had by this time succumbed, though not before taking a heavy toll on the Dark Templars), it seemed as though the island would surely hold until reinforcements arrived from Avalonia (which could not be more than a week away).
The complacency of the defenders was shattered when word reached them that the Earl of Epifaun, a powerful noble of southern Krinth, had defected to Varisca. His reason for contributing so few troops to the defence effort was now revealed. Sweeping north, his troops had taken the almost undefended city of Lundgreni and were now striking from the south east directly towards Murchisoni, the largest city on the island. Meanwhile, the remainder of the Gauntlets of Lightning had flown behind Micraster and taken the city of Ramas River. These were now marching towards Murchisoni from the south. No troops could be removed from the Faolain or Micraster (and in any case, these would not reach it in time), but all remaining forces were urgently rushed by the defenders to defend Murchisoni. They would not, however, be sufficient to hold it for very long.
It was at this point that the armies of the Triune Empire landed from Avalonia. Though much of Krinth-Turon had fallen to Varisca, enough had been preserved for the Empire to have a solid base to counter-attack from, and much of the island was retaken before the Variscan reinforcements arrived.
The situation was beginning to boil down to a war of attrition ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ but one which the Variscan Imperium was sure to win, due to both the Templars and Joinings, and also because of its uncaring attitude towards spending the lives of its men. With the Triune Empire facing destruction, it was decided to embark on a plan that seemed almost foolhardy to some: send the now legendary Farladan company in to the heart of Varisca, to the capital city of Turriculatus. There they would attempt to kill the Preceptor of the Templars and destroy the machine that created the Joinings (which would, in its destruction, destroy much of the city). It went without saying that the Farladan company had little chance of success, and still less of surviving should they succeed.
Setting sail for Laurentia, the Farladan company landed in Atavus, the port city on the edge of the Great Western Desert, the only unguarded region of Varisca. Crossing the desert was in itself an achievement of legend: the number of times the desert had been crossed in the past century could be counted on the fingers of both hands. The crossing took more than two months; all the while men were fighting and dying upon Krinth-Turon.
Once across the desert, they had little fear of detection, and soon reached Turriculatus. Once here though there was the problem of getting inside the Inner City, the forbidden portion of the city in to which none but the Dark Templars were allowed. Impersonating Templars got them so far, but from then on they had to fight. It is known that they killed the Preceptor, but how they destroyed the Joining machine is unknown, given that it was impervious to force, fire and magic. As the destroyed machine exploded, destroying the city in the process, the legend has it that six chariots of fire swept down from the gods, and carried off the Farladan company ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ what the truth of this matter is we will never know.