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Veda and Kurgan Attacks (5005-5006)

Triumvir Elections

In September of 5005 the Emperor announced that elections would be held at the close of the year to choose new Triumvirs. As with the imposition of the Triumvirate’s original charter, this change provoked resentment among those who did not gain by it. The factions that did not receive Electoral Keys felt snubbed by the Emperor and vowed to boycott the elections. Meanwhile, those factions that did receive Keys began campaigning and maneuvering behind the scenes to secure the most advantage from the new order.

As Vargo City was adjusting to these political developments, a two-pronged military threat arose to distract the Known Worlders from their internal politics. Without warning, a native force mobilized by the Veda family, equipped with high tech weapons and genetically-engineered soldiers, laid siege to Port Lewellyn to drive the Hawkwoods from the city. At the same time, in the east, a massive Kurgan invasion force advanced toward the Okar River Valley, where the Brother Battle had established a presence in the town of Ekron.

The invading Veda troops wrought havoc in Port Lewellyn, slaughtering Hawkwood soldiers with gleeful abandon--along with any innocent civilians who happened to get in their way. With a heroic effort, and the assistance of the outraged Lewellynites, the Hawkwoods held the invaders at bay until the Vargo Defense Force could arrive to relieve them. With the aid of the VDF troops, the Hawkwoods drove back the invaders, but at great cost. Port Lewellyn was left in a sorry state, but the Lion vowed to rebuild the ravaged city.

The Triumviral elections, held at the end of the year, restored Duke Alvaro and Chancellor Howe to office for another term, while elevating Bishop Icarus of the Temple Avesti to speak for the Church as Primate. The Triumvirs faced serious challenges that might well spell the end of the Emperor's grand experiment on Vargo. Yet they rose to face those challenges with the same courage and determination that had allowed the Triumvirate to survive against overwhelming odds time and time again.

Turning the Tide

Duke Alvaro made turning back the Kurgan advance into the Okar valley the first goal of his new term as Protector of Vargo, and planned a risky winter campaign conceived by Field Marshal Porter Valencia of the Muster. The Brother Battle fortress at Ekron served as a staging area for a counter-assault conceived to break the back of the Kurgan army on Vargo once and for all. The Vargo Defense Force deployed and prepared for a battle the likes of which had not been seen since the end of the Emperor Wars.

Hawkwood, al-Malik, and Hazat forces made up the bulk of the noble levies committed to the Duke’s campaign, supported by Brother Battle commandos and Charioteer and Hazat air forces. Duke Alvaro chose to personally lead the Hazat ground contingent into battle, taking to the field for the first time since the defense of Seren. His presence served as a symbol of unity and common purpose that helped overcome the political infighting that threatened to undermine the venture before it had even begun.

Field Marshal Valencia hoped to lure the enemy into attacking Ekron by mobilizing some of his forces in defense of the port city Haina, which lay helpless before the Kurgan advance downriver, and pretending to leave Ekron undefended. The ruse worked. On 18 January, when the Kurgans swung the western arm of their expeditionary toward the inviting target of Ekron, they discovered that the bulk of the VDF forces were still there, cunningly concealed. Most of the forces dispatched to Haina had been militia levies.

As the Kurgans reeled from this surprise, the Field Marshal pulled another ace from his sleeve. Using dropships and assault landers, he deployed elite VDF infantry and armor units that had been held in reserve, dropping them behind the Kurgan lines. The forces of the Caliphate suddenly found themselves caught between an anvil and a swinging hammer, with nowhere to run. The fighting was fierce and bloody, with heavy losses on both sides, but the Known Worlders won the day. It was a victory to be remembered in song and story.

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