The Second Mortein War (Paramýth Supplement)
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Merek Ill'sa was born into a powerful family. His father was the General of Armies for the aasimar people, his mother the head priestess. When Merek began showing a powerful magical aptitude, his parents were overjoyed. They expected him to follow in his mothers footsteps, and become a cleric. However, he showed more interest in being a fighter, like his father. He joined the aasimar's Elite Guard when he came of age, however he promptly flunked out due to his build. He was only 6 and a half feet tall and weighed 150 lbs. Then, his parents decided that he should be trained as a cleric, because his interest in combat had failed. Merek Ill'sa, however, had other plans. He had learned from one of his friends about the limitless potential of the arcana. Merek began to experiment. Soon, he discovered his first illusion, and loved it. He began secretly working on expanding his power, and began to train as a sorcerer. When his parents sent him to the clergy, to be trained as a cleric, he reacted violently. He killed both of his parents, and burned the aasimar people's town to the ground. He ran to the nearby tiefling kingdom, seeking refuge. There, a powerful sorcerer took him under his wing, and completed his training.
His mentor taught him all manner of things, including a new method of producing quasi-real illusions. Merek was fascinated by this, and began to experiment. He still wanted to be a fighter, but was too weak. Thus, he created his first illusion weapon. His master was impressed, and helped Merek perfect the blade, and trained him more in illusions. Soon, his mentor asked an old soulknife friend of his known as Qe Kyano to help Merek with the combat training he would need. Merek, with the tutelage of the two powerful tieflings, flourished. Quickly, it became apparent that Merek had surpassed his mentor. His new skills were powerful, unlike anything anyone had seen. Merek's old mentor was the first of many to train in the arts of illusions with Merek Ill'sa. However, the aasimar people's king had heard news of Master Ill'sa's wereabouts in the Tiefling kingdom. They sent a message to the local tiefling lord, demanding that he turn over the traitor. The lord refused. Angered by the tiefling's lack of respect for justice, within a single night of the refusal they declared war on the tiefling neighbors. During the fighting, Merek Ill'sa's sorcery mentor were slain.
Merek, fearing for his life, escaped and set out for the distant human nations, traveling by way of the Badlands. Along the way, he found the Eldritch Castle. There, he began training as one of the elite Eldritch Knights. After 5 years, he set back out for the human kingdoms. After 4 more years, he reached the land of Morteim. There, he found that the aasimar people had already contacted the humans, and that there was a 100,000 gp bounty for his head. Hunted by every bounty-hunter in Morteim, he realized that he needed a stronghold; a safe-haven. He searched, and found a hidden valley in the nearby land of Ravnira, a land renowned for sheltering those who cannot find shelter elsewhere. His immigration into Ravnira sparked the Second Morteim War in Ravnira, a war fought on two fronts; Morteim to the southwest, and the Aasimar to the northeast. In Ravnira he set up a dimensional rift that lead to his castle and settled down, taking on students interested in the ways of illusions, many of whom would participate in the war. Dale Beltre, one of his first students, was born 2 years before the outset of the war, and was drafted into the war prior to his apprenticeship.
The war started between the Aasimar lands and the Tiefling lands. When Merek Ill'sa immigrated to Ravnira through Morteim, he was followed by numerous bounty hunters and a few official military parties. Ravnira took this to be a declaration of war from Morteim, and were subsequently attacked by the Aasimar for sheltering Ill'sa. Sevatim lent aid to the tiefling, and assisted with naval operations in the Planetouched Sea. Kallaten was not involved, but some independent raiders aided Ravnira. Lèchardè made the mistake of assisting Ravnira as well, and was sacked for their trouble. Vonaisu, as usual, was not involved in any way, and Tatsua only helped Morteim with supplies and logistics. Fighting occurred in the Mortein Mountains, the Astral Mountains, the Badlands, Planetouched Sea, and the borders between the Tifling and Aasimar Lands, especially in the Horn.
In an effort to close the Mortein Front, Ravnira inserted the Alfa Cohort into Mortein territory south of the the Northern Mortein Mountains. To accomplish this, Ravniran High Command obtained permission to pass through Lèchardè into Morteim. The plan was to capture military supply depots all over the Mortein countryside, depleting the military of supplies and freedom of movement. The Prime Cohort left from Lèchardè while the Beta Cohort attacked along the eastern flank of the Mortein army. The feint was successful, pulling some of the Elite Mortein Pike Legions farther to the northeast. After the Mission was complete, the cohort was supposed to retreat back to Lèchardè. However, Morteim invaded and took control of Lèchardè a month and a half into the deployment in an effort to cut off their line of escape. Then the 3rd and 4th Pike Legions began to hunt for the Red Dragons.
Trapped in western Morteim, Hans von Jassenberg ordered the Cohort to go to ground. They took over an a old abandoned supply depot, which happened to be part of an old mine system. Over the course of the next year, the Primären Drachen lived off of the land while Hans and Roger (who together had created a device out of random pieces of junk found in the supply depot which allowed them to send signals back to Ravnira), waited for someone to detect them. Eventually the signal was detected, decoded, and reported to High Command by Jenka Übertakten, an Eisenmeister. After developing contact, High Command revealed that they did not have the resources to attempt an extraction, due to difficulties on the Aasimar Front. The Prime Cohort would have to weaken the Mortein from the inside. In order to do this, Alfa Cohort split into five teams and began using the mines and supply tunnels to travel to other supply depots and capture them. Once a pair of centuries had captured a depot, they began to raid the military supply lines and civilian townships around the depot. Once a Pike legion showed up to stop them, the centuries would quietly go back into the mines and head back to Base Camp, the abandoned depot. The Red Dragons took careful measures to make sure that Base Camp was not discovered. After six months of constant raids, the entirety of southeastern Morteim had been abandoned by civilians, and the Prime Legion had lost four legionnaires. The 3rd, 4th, and 6th Pike Legions were now deployed entirely in the area effectively controlled by the Snachala Drakon, as the Mortein called the Prime Cohort. While discussing the situation with High Command, High Command revealed that if 3 of the spare Dragon Legion Cohorts pushed through Hawks Gorge, they could drive through the Snachala Drakon lands and into the capitol of Morteim, ending the war. The only problem was that the 8th Pike Legion and the 2nd Crossbow Legion were stationed at the Ravnira mouth of the gorge, and the 6th Pike Legion (the most elite of the pike legions) was about a mile south of the pass. In order to break through (and consequently extract the Prime Cohort), they would need the 2nd Crossbow Legion and the 6th Pike Legion occupied at the southern mouth of the pass. A plan developed.
First, the Grey, Green, and Gold Dragons attacked the northern forces and then retreated, pulling the 6th Pike Legion northwards into Hawks Gorge. Then, the Red Dragons advanced from the south, and attacked the 6th Pike Legion from behind. Dmitry Romanovich Soldatsky, the famed general of the 6th legion, was barely able to get his legion to form ranks before the Red Dragons charged. In the initial battle, the Alfa Cohort lost 5 legionnaires, including the Tribune Captain, Hans von Jassenberg. The 6th legion lost 114 legionnaires, a testament to the power of the Dragon Legions. Hans accounted for 16 himself before the lashings on his spear-knife were cut. He then killed 12 more with the quarterstaff, sabreknife and his kukri before dying of blood loss. After the first bloody engagement, the Red Dragons fell back to the area known now as Drakon Pass, the narrowest point in Hawks Gorge, measuring at most 10 meters across for 30 meters strait. Under the command of Roger Braun, the Primären Drachen held off the 6th Pike Legion and three cohorts of the 2nd Crossbow Legion for 5 hours. After those five hours (with 44 more dead from Red Dragons, 1,604 more dead from the 6th Pike Legion, and 306 more dead from the 2nd Crossbow Legion) the Gray, Green, and Gold Dragons broke through the 8th Pike Legion and the other seven Crossbow Cohorts, forcing General Dmitry Soldatsky to surrender. The Red Dragons, now at a total strength of 46 legionnaires, limped back to into Ravnira. Roger Braun, now the Tribune Captain of Alfa Cohort, blamed himself for the 54 deaths of his cohort, especially that of Hans von Jassenberg. He became a Beschämtlegionär, one of the only to keep their commission, and would command a portion of the Cohort again in Operation Steam Vein
Once the Mortein Front was closed, Ravnira still had serious problems on the Aasimar Front. Nearly a fourth of the total military strength of Ravnira had died in the fighting in the Astral Mountains, and very little territory had been captured. The plan that had been developed to deal with the front, originally called Operation Meltwater, was in need of adaption because of the unprecedented casualties suffered by the Red Dragons in Operation Ground Water, as well as increased fighting in the Planetouched Sea. Operation Meltwater had called for the Red, Brass, and Yellow Dragons to be taken north up the Strait of Fotia-Pagos and land in the Aasimar Westland, where a similar campaign to Operation Ground Water would begin, while Sevatin ships patrolled the Strait. Instead, only 3 centuries from the Red Dragons were sent along with the Kraits, 3 centuries of Black Dragons replaced the Yellow Dragons, and a northern path was taken through Hegre Bay. Once landed in the Westland, the Task Force went to ground in a thick forest, and established a highly camouflaged base. The operation was in the utmost secrecy, not attacking anything an taking painful measures to make sure that there were not even rumors of a Dragon Legion presence. Once a base had been established and properly disguised, parties were sent out made up of 3 Alfa, 3 Eta, and 4 Iota Legionnaires. These parties were equipped and dressed like Aasimar military, and began harassing a section of the countryside. This section was not particularly close to the hidden Base, but was specially selected by the Black Legionnaires to be targeted, and contained a few Planetouched key to the plan.
Once the raiding was noticed in the area, a rumor arose that a rogue legion of the Aasimar military was ravaging the countryside. This rumor was helped along by a Verrück Balancer named Prætn Kyryn, an agent of the Black Dragons (but not actually a Legionnaire). The new Aasimar General of Armies dismissed the rumors, as he had all of their units accounted for. The Task Force increased the intensity of the raids, and eventually the General dispatched a unit to investigate. The target villages received a message relaying this, but Mertry Portokali, a friend of Prætn's, altered the message so as to make it appear as though it was intercepted, not sent to them, and removed any mention of a purpose for the visit. When the unit arrived, they were ambushed by the full force of the Task Force, and were killed quickly and, more importantly, stealthily. The Task force then ramped up the numbers, frequency, and party sizes of their raids. Prætn convinced his fellow townspeople that the government had turned on the Westland, and incited a rebellion. The Towns began attacking military outposts, led by a Tiefling soulknife known as Ke Kyano (disguised as a Verrück). The military, in turn, began attacking the townspeople. Mertry contacted other towns and villages near the area, and told them that they had been attacked, unprovoked, by the military. Eventually, the whole Westlands were in open rebellion over the outrage of the attacks on their peoples. Prætn Kyryn lead the rebellion, and organized the Westlandsmen into a unified group. The Task Force, by this time simply observing the proceedings, made an official and very visible visit to Prætn, where they negotiated a treaty that would turn the Westlands over to Ravnira after the war, but they would be moderately self governed. Thus, the Westlands were secured for Ravnira, and the Aasimar Front shifted to the Strait of Fotia-Pagos. Pockets of the Mainland Aasimar military remained, and continued to pose a threat, but they did not pose the same threat that they had prior to the Uprising.
Operation Torchbearer marked the most resounding offensive success of the Mortein military. Organized by General Dmitry Romanovich Soldatsky prior to his intervention in Operation Groundwater, Torchbearer was a decisive factor in deciding the Tiefling and Aasimar front. The 5th Pike Legion and 1st Cavalry Legion crossed the southern regions of the Badlands and attacked at the border of the Tiefling Lands and Sevatim,