Rise of the Kalhai Empire (NS Project Only)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Rise of the Kalhai Empire (NS Project Only)

Postby Ravanor » Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:52 am

Most know the stories, of a savage people from a savage land, sailing or marching south to raid and pillage villages, burn farms, and loot holy places. Those that have lived through such attacks live in fear of the next, or muster defenses against them, always repeating the stories of horror and barbaric cruelty. It’s been ten years since the last great raid of the Hordes of Ravanor. Ten years for the nations of the world to turn their attention from the silent north, and focus on other pressing matters. Ten years for people to scoff at the stories of their elders.

Ten years for the Kalhai people to evolve from separate nomadic tribes, to a single, unified people, Turn roving bands of raiders into armies, to cast away those traditions that held them back from glory. For ten years they looked inwards, seeking to improve and evolve themselves into a mighty empire, the First Great Khan, Nagga Khinn Thay now rallies her people, stokes the fires of war, and turns her gaze to the rest of the world.

Spring time comes with the promise of new beginnings, the ice melts, plants turn green and lively again, and the northern seas are open to sail. The Khan first sends out envoys, scouts, and spies. She learns as much as she can about the people of the south.

Then she sends her armies.

The first attacks were swift, all at once villages across the northernmost Miklalandian borders were razed to the ground. Refugees, survivors of the attacks, fled to the local bastion, seeking shelter and telling the stories of the Kalhai raids, only this time they took nothing. The raiders merely burned and murdered as they went. Men, women, and children. Soon after, When the northern castles and fortresses were flush with panicked survivors, Large formations would converge on on them. Campfires that outnumbered the stars appearing overnight, surrounding them completely.

Traders were ambushed on the roads, feeding the invaders, and turning the fortified cities of Hammarborg and Stenborg into prisons. After several weeks, some surrendered, others were more stubborn and withstood the starvation, waiting for reinforcements.

Whatever their intentions were before, only one thing was clear: The Kalhai were not raiding, they were expanding.

(Y’all know the rules, But the Kalhai Empire is born and is expanding it’s borders, eager to see the world under the banner of their Great Khan, starting with Miklaland. Good luck and have fun!)

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An Emissary comes to Ackersbruck

Postby Verschwald » Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:26 am

It was a clear morning in Ackersbruck when the Kalhai arrived.

The foreign ship - bedecked in strange painted patterns, and crewed by men who wore the same - displaced the morning fishermen that thronged the Streube, sending them scattering like a flock of disturbed birds as it made its way expertly upstream. Hurried horsebound messengers were dispatched as the ship passed lesser keeps along the banks of the mighty river - the Streube valley was the heart of the Kingdom, after all, and many lesser Waldherr held their lands within sight of the fast-flowing waters - each wishing in equal measures that those upriver should be forewarned of the approaching barbarians. The coastal regions were much more familiar with these ships, but it had been generations since a raid had penetrated this far upriver. And for only one ship?

By the time the vessel nosed into the docks beneath Herr Aker’s Bridge - with a proficiency, several observers with the skills to back such a claim noted, that many of the Kingdom’s own sailors would have been hard pressed to match, it was apparent that these Kalhai were not here to raid, or pillage. A hastily assembled group of men-at-arms stood to meet them on the docks, nervously shifting from foot to foot as the foreign sailors tied their boat off, whilst from the surrounding windows, doors and alleyways of the city the people watched with a scared curiosity.

At the head of this motley welcoming committee stood Sibylla von Rapp, Königswächter to Mathias I, who eyed the seeming leader of these barbarians as he approached her. He was dressed in simple clothes, if evidently well made, in a contrast to her own chainmail, but moved with the confidence of one armed and armored for war. Braided hair and extensive tattoos extending from the sleeves and collar of his garment completed the look, giving the Kalhai a sort of savage nobility. She stepped forward to address him as he returned her assessing gaze.
“In the name of Mathias, Waldkönig and Master of these lands, I, Sibylla von Rapp, bid you speak your business in this place.”
To her surprise, the northern savage smiled politely, before responding in her own tongue as if he’d been born to speak it. “I - Kergal Gat Khos - have travelled far to speak with your lord Mathias, on behalf of my Great Khan Nagga Khinn Thay. I claim guest right, as is my right as a traveller at your master’s hall.”
A few of the men-at-arms behind Sibylla gasped, and a few quiet murmurings were swiftly silenced by the more veteran amongst them. She did her best to keep her face impassive, but to have such a man make the request… it was, perhaps, unprecedented. Yet, for all his foreign manner, he was still entitled to the rights he had claimed so correctly. All were.
“You understand the promise of conduct that you make by claiming this right?”
He smiled, revealing oddly predatory canines. “I do.”
She couldn’t shake the uncomfortable feeling of this interaction, but he had done everything right. And she was bound by the guest right as he was. “Very well. I shall accompany you to the Ackersburg, where my lord Mathias will see you as soon as he is able.” She looked askance at his crew, weighing them in her mind. “I regret that his table is not sufficient to seat all of your men.”
Khos nodded, accepting this. Whilst he’d studied the laws of Verschwaldian hospitality extensively, he knew there would be some limits - and letting an entire crew of warriors inside the castle walls would be a step too far. “I understand.” He turned and nodded to his second, and the crew began to settle back into the boat. “In that case, lead on, Frau von Rapp.”

They made an odd group, crossing Herr Aker’s Bridge just as the townsfolk were beginning to set up for market day. From behind the stalls and shops that lined the bridge, curious eyes watched the Kalhai ambassador, the Königswächter, and the obviously nervous levies as they crossed the cobblestoned span to the central island upon which the Ackersburg - ancestral seat of the von Ackers family, and now royal seat of the Verschwald - stood.
The castle itself - accessible only by the twin spans of Herr Aker’s Bridge, which passed through the outer walls which ringed the island upon which it stood - was, by the standards of some Imperial examples, a modest affair. Yet, to the Kalhai’s eye, it was well maintained, and well garrisoned. A threat to any raid in it’s proximity, and no easy nut to crack. Through the outer courtyard he was led, weaving between market stalls and the accoutrements of any self-sustaining castle - stables, smithy, storehouses and the like - he was led through the gates into the inner courtyard with a few words from his guide to the guards who stood at the threshold, one of whom hurried off whilst Sybilla turned back to him.

“I have sent word to König Mathias of your arrival. You may stand or be seated as you wish,” she gestured towards a nearby bench, “though I believe he will wish to speak with you promptly.”
Khos elected to stand, and sure enough within a few minutes the messenger returned, exchanging a few quiet words with the knight before returning to his post as she relayed the message.
“König Mathias will host you in his private dining chamber, where you may join him for breakfast if you wish. Please, follow me.”
He was led away from the main keep to a side tower from which flew the sigil of a brown bear, quartered on black and green - a sigil he recognised as Mathias’ personal heraldry from his research - and up one floor, to a room furnished with a small table, a handful of chairs, and a burning log fire with various banners hanging from the walls. Not an unpleasant space, he reflected.

Sat at the table as he entered was a man, dressed in fine clothes yet not extravagantly, perhaps thirty years of age. Sybilla, his guide, inclined her head as she entered, before announcing, “Your majesty, allow me to present Kergal Gat Khos, representative of the Great Khan Nagga Khinn Thay. Kergal Gat Khos, in turn allow me to present Mathias von Ackers-Zymmern, Waldkönig, First Lord of the Forest and Protector of the Verschwald.” Introductions complete, she withdrew to the doorway, where she took up position.
The King offered a hand to shake, before motioning to a chair across the table from where he’d been sat. “Please, help yourself,” he gestured towards the food laid out on the table, meats and bread and fruit. “It would be rude of me to turn a guest away from my table.”
Khos helped himself to some of the meats - a little overcooked for his tastes, perhaps, but far from unpalatable - before turning to face his host. The time for platitudes with this southerner was over. “I speak with the Voice of the Great Khan, who demands your respect and fealty. I will take word of your acceptance back to her once my business here is concluded.”
The King took the demand in stride. “Does she now?”
“She demands and expects the same from every soul.”
“Then I’m afraid she’ll be disappointed.”
Khos sighed. “I see.”
“I answer to the Imperial Crown, and to the Gods, alone. I’m afraid there’s simply no room left for your Khan.”
“You understand the consequences of your refusal? The Great Khan will bring down the full fury of the Kalhai Empire upon your lands and people.”
“We have been weathering raids from your people for over a century. I suspect we’ll survive.”
“You will not, King Mathias. And this will be most regretful, for you are said to be a wise man, yet this is a doom of your own making. Remember this chance you were offered, when the end comes.”
Mathias raised a hand. “I have no need of threats from a guest at my table. You forget yourself, sir.”
Khos calmed himself. The man was right, if foolish. “Then you cannot be convinced to reconsider?”
“I cannot.”
“Then I must return to my ship. I have some… bad news to deliver.”


Mathias watched the Kalhai ship depart downriver from his private solar atop the tower in which he’d hosted the emissary, feeling not quite so confident as the front he’d put on in front of the barbarian. Whilst it was true that the edges of the Verschwald - the Randmark, in particular - had faced raids from the north for some time, they’d never been an organised front before.
He would need to send word to Acherath - the von Lehr’s would need to be warned, for if the hammer were to fall anywhere, it would be their lands in the north first.
And to the Imperial Court, as well, they would need to be warned of this threat, were it as serious as the emissary seemed to believe.

He summoned a scribe. There was much to be done.

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Postby Miklaland » Sat Jun 26, 2021 3:27 am

Post 1 (Two sieges, dice rolls of 8 and 2, the Kalhai are given a bonus and allowed a successful siege and to avoid a dismal one)

Siege 1 The Five Hour Siege of Grönlans (Northern Stenhusa)

Ruination has come to our venerable family,

I am writing this under an apprehensible mental strain since in the coming hours I and the other architects of our collective doom shall be no more. At the end of my supply of the wine and the laudanum-like elixirs that alone make life durable I can bear the torture of guilt no longer and shall cast myself from the hights of the office I’ve watched you play in so many years ago to break my body on the cobblestone below, one corpse among the many rotting in the streets. Do not think for my slavery to wine that I am weak, for when you have read these pages outlining my greatest of sins and events of the last days, you may receive a glimpse, but never fully realise the terrible foe I’ve now left for you to face.

Far from the imperial court, and the neighbouring states potential to act gridlocked by a series of alliances, our family's power in this land is absolute, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The corruption spread into every nook and cranny of the court and from there began seeping into community as a whole, each official high or low lining their own pockets with silver. Do you still remember our affluent and regal castle? Standing tall and proud on it’s perch above the moorland? There was little left of the once stout defences of Grönlans even before the savages began tearing them down, streets and bridges falling into disrepair and the professional soldiers long since replaced by a militia of ill-trained men and women hardly knowing which was the pommel and the sharp point. I knew the Kalhai would breach the walls, the question was only how long.

Through my own delusion or insight I could see the same greed that stained and corruption my soul reflected in the faces of the militiamen, tools acting as improvised weapons clutched tightly in filthy fingers, stinking of sweat and stale beer, all untrustworthy. Rather than depend on the rabble to collect the taxes needed for our opulence, I hired a group of nomadic tribesmen to scrounge any piece of precious metal the rebellious subject would attempt to hid and beat down any groups of disgruntled peasants protesting their miserable circumstance, effectively turning my lofty and venerable lordly duties into a protection racket; however, I made a grave mistake in not expelling these tribal enforces who went both unpaid and harassed by the enraged populace they had beaten and extorted just days before, quickly discovered they had far more in common with the nomadic army outside the city gates. Five hours into the siege, the enforces chose their timing well and opened the city gates moments after the militia captain had vowed to never surrender to horse-fucking savages.

Plunder, murder and dismantling the improvised barricades are slowing them down, the militia melting away in the first clashes and giving ground with only the slightest of resistance. I do not blame them, for when the overwhelming stench of iron fills the nostrils and the sights and sounds of your friends slaughtered by an impossible enemy shakes the senses and drives the soul to madness, who can stand stoic and strong?

Despite my crimes, I alone hold the authority of patriarch of our dwindling family and I do not beg, but order you to return home and claim your birthright. You in who’s veins our ancestral blood runs the strongest, shall restore our family’s name and delivering such a terrible vengeance that their cries of terror shall be heard carrier on the wind from their savage land for generations to come.

Siege 2 The Siege of Norrstadt (Nordlanda)

The proud peoples of Nordlanda, the inhabitants of the city of Norrstadt in particular had accepted their precarious existence sandwiched between the wild frontier to their east, filled with raiders and barbaric nomads and on the opposing cardinal direction their fellow scheming Miklalandian lords to the west looking for any opportunity to conquer their weaker neighbours; therefore, creating a breed of politically savvy and pragmatic leaders.

When the first reports of raiders came flooding in by sheepherders and travellers from the far-flung villages, a certain Captain von Björk of the lower nobility was already in the vicinity, the legitimised bastard in command of a contingent of medium shock cavalry tasked with bandit hunting and as such perfectly situated to validate these reports.
From on-top a grand hill the scouts spied dark plumes of smoke rising in all directions, matching where they now feared smaller settlements used to be.
The young nobleman was an avid hunter like most of his peers, and as such couldn’t shake the awful feeling of an animal slowly getting encircled by hunters in the snare of drevjakt or battue as he recognised a wide selection of dialect from all over the principality spoken amongst the refugees.

A mix of Miklalandian lineages and eastern horses, their steads were hardy and and quick, able to carry them from their scouting on the border to the city of Norrstadt and deliver the grim news.
Being informed well in advance of the siege, the Borgmästare, acting swiftly in cooperation with the guilds to forcefully buy out foods and other goods at a fixed price slightly below market value, resulting to simply seizing their entire stock if they refused. Stores of black powder, foodstuffs for the garrison and a small amount of tobacco were collected by the Commander to sell later to raise funds for salaries, they waited.

The bastions and cavaliers in particular offered a spectacular view of the picturesque countryside, soldier and citizens alike watching in disgust from the cities battlements as dark masses of people and horses blighted the grassland outside the city walls. A weathered man aged not by time, but experience and hardship watched with a soft grin from underneath his tellerbarret, his breath reeking of aqua vitae and his hands stained with black powder, clutching a long pipe and waited with growing excitement.

The horde of Kalhai slowly marched to encircled the city at a seemingly leisurely pace, the rays of sunshine provided warmth and a cool wind offering the occasional relief, preventing the sun from becoming too overbearing. A rider singing in the Kargyraa-style lulled his immediate comrades into a state of passive bliss, jarringly interrupted by sudden flashes of thunder and small, but rapidly growing shadows flung earth high into the air as the artillery fire finally struck, sending horse and man splattering in every direction.
Retreating from the cannon-fire, the Kalhai sought to regroup their vastly superior numbers, but in doing so were caught on the wrong foot once the numerically inferior hussaric shock cavalry of von Björk crashed into them through the thick dust with lance and sword. Most of the cavalry returned to Norrstadt to continue future similar sorties, except von Björk who slipped past, having volunteered to ride west and call for a relief army in the detached lands to the west.

On the fields outside of Norrstadt, the Kalhai were given their first experience of Miklalandian warfare.

Does Norrstadt send for help, resulting in a relief army 1d2 1=yes 2=no
Does von Björk breakthrough 1d10=10

Decision to form a Reicharmee/Rijksarmée/Riksarmé: Yes/No (Not yet decided, surely they don’t need help fighting backward-unarmored-bow-savages?)


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Postby Ravanor » Mon Jul 19, 2021 2:08 pm

Grönlans, The day after the Five Hour Siege.

The air was thick with the scent of death and decay, with thick plumes of smoke still rising from the smoldering ruins of the city. Betune, Daughter of Clan Ig of the House Jidark strolled through the streets leading to the palace, sweat and grime and gore still staining her face and armor, some men were already looting, while the rest were gathering up what few survivors were left, sorting out the craftsmen and children measured against the linchpin from the common folk, slaughtering the latter and all others who did not pledge their loyalty to the Great Khan.

She would pause at a broken corpse, looking up to the tall tower window she guessed it fell from. She’d speak a few guttural words, a soldier to her left saluting before retrieving a bruised and filthy man, forcing him onto his knees before her. Betune frowned and tried to remember what few words she retained from the Miklalandian tongue.
“Where…King?” She asked, pointing to the corpse.
The man followed her finger and looked over the corpse from where he was knelt, spying the signet ring. The man nodded meekly. “Y-yes that is our lord.” He stammered out.

Betune frowned again, looking at the corpse and then the tower. Returning to her native tongue she spoke again, to her comrades.
“This coward deserves no honor, Bring his body to the others.” She commanded, stepping past and continuing her March to the palace, continuing what plunder and slaughter remained. The Slaves that were brought with them from Ravanor loaded up the plunder onto wagons or dragged corpses to the city gates, piling them up and driving the Kalhai banner through a corpse at the top, while soldiers gorged themselves on food and drink stolen from now burning stores, or killed all who measured above the linchpin and were not crafters.

When Betune’s army left the smoldering ruins of old Grönlans, The pile of bodies was at least a story high. A horrifying message of what awaited those who did not surrender or submit to the Great Khan’s will. A fresh new nightmare to be burned into the minds of those who beheld such a mark of barbaric cruelty.

Norrstadt, Second day of the Siege.

Kalveh frowned at the walls of the city, as if her hatred or frustration could knock them down, or stop the cannons from firing. The fair warrior-princess of the Kalhai chewed at her cheek, trying to think of what her mother would have done, and why her mother wasn’t doing it now. Pulling her attention back to the tent where the Great Khan and a few other generals and advisors spoke. Kalveh grew up hearing stories of her mother’s legend, born with a blood clot in her clenched fist, Family abandoned and left to fend for themselves alone in the wastes of Ravanor, of how rival clans were driven before the might and strategy of the great Nagga Khinn Thay. Kalveh once more looked to the city. So why was this city of weaklings giving her mother pause? Surely the might of an entire horde could wash across those walls and take the city in one massive blow? The cannons were deadly but they couldn’t possibly kill them all before the horde breached the walls, waiting for their sorties to attack or camping too close to their cannons has already proven more disastrous.

“Kalveh!” Her mother called.

The princess quickly stood and approached, passing by the other generals who exited the tent, some grumbling or muttering something under their breaths. Thay barely looked up from the battle plans to acknowledge her daughter, her dark eyes focused on the map of Norrstadt, with two circles drawn around it, one larger than the other, connected by zig-zagging lines that sharply snaked towards the city proper.

Now much closer, Kalveh once again had to figure out who she was speaking with, the legend she heard so many stories about, the woman her gave birth to her and named her, or her commander and Khan. Thay was still in her prime, her face barely showing even a hint of her age, just the scars of war and strife, her pale white hair, yet another oddity that the Oroks claimed was a divine mark, proof of her destiny, was bound in tight braids, keeping it out of her eyes as she pointed to the map. Thay began speaking as Commander and Khan. “I want you to take your Ushtarak, and some of the Snaga here. When night falls, I want you to start digging trenches along these lines.” She said, tracing one of the zig-zags. “We need to reach this line in three days.” Kalveh frowned in silence, Thay looking to her daughter.
“Something you wish to say.” A command disguised as a question.
“Why don’t we just charge? Our archers-“
“-Cannot kill ten warriors with a single shot.” Thay interrupted, standing up straight to look her daughter over, crossing her arms. “Have you not seen the results of the last attempted charge? They never got close to the walls, and the few who survived were run through by their own horsemen. Our brothers and sisters still rot where they lie, You would have us join them?”
“I would have us do something!” Kalveh shouted, venting her frustrations for a moment, only to regret it soon after seeing her mother’s enraged face.
“Raise your voice to your Khan again, Girl, and it will be taken as a challenge. Do you understand me?”

Cowed into silence, Kalveh nodded meekly. Thay wasn’t sure if that made her happy or even more disappointed.
“You want to do something? You have your orders. Dig the trenches as commanded, kill the Southerners if they come close. I will not choose defeat just so you can try to win glory. Now go do something, and try to think more.” Thay growled, waving a dismissing hand. Her heir exited the tent with a huff, Soon flanked by her own Kalgoth, the Kalhai Knights and bodyguards of the Khan, leaving Thay to once more considered the difficult situation she had been put in.

In Ravanor, war looked very different. Very few settlements had walls, and if they did, they were designed to keep cattle in, or keep predators out. Battering rams, catapults, and in some cases, an armored charge could knock down most walls and gates. Only Urdak, capital city of the Kalhai empire, had cannons designed for defense. When her spies told her of the strange defenses of the Southern people, she was not sure what to make of them. But now she was able to see them in action, and she was beginning to suspect a change was needed to how her people waged war. Starving out settlements saw marginal success, but for this city, her horde could not feed themselves for as long as the city likely could. She needed to capture the city and fast. Atleast a handful of riders from some of the first Miklalandian sorties had already broken through the circle her horde had camped in, it would only be a matter of time before the enemy would mobilize an army to attack, and Thay would either be forced to retreat, or defend a freshly captured fort with a battered army and shrinking supplies.

The Great Khan had already begun making her peace with the inevitable setback these attacks would become, instead of the glorious expansion she had originally planned them to be. Her mind working to learn her enemy’s ways.

Translations: Ushtarak=Army of 1,000 soldiers. Snaga= Slaves.
Last edited by Ravanor on Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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