Battle of Southern Shore
The Battle of Southern Shore was a battle in the war between the Old Cedorian Kingdom under Mad King Marduis and the [[Ograeton Theocracy]] called the War of Upheaval. The war itself lasted nearly twenty years, starting in 117 AR and ending in 126 AR with the signing of the Eighth Treaty of Amans.
Origins of the War
While contemporary scholars know the true source, it was believed at the outbreak of the war that the war started when Ograeton invaded Cedorian shores without provocation. King Marduis started a large scale propaganda campaign to exterminate the truth, which led to several institutions of public learning being shut down by the king and his advisors to obscure the truth.
The actual origin stemmed from Marduis attempting to claim the hand of the Theocrat Elodie as his bride after having executed his previous wife, the Duchess of Ebria. The Theocrat rejected Marduis's overtures and rebuked him for the execution of his wife publicly. Marduis, in a fit of rage, declared war and attempted to expel the Ograeton embassy from his shores, but was thwarted by the surviving relatives of the deceased Duchess, who hid the Ograetians in Ebria before smuggling them across the Amans. Marduis then attempted to solicit the aid of the Sulraka Empire, which forced the Ograeton Theocracy to declare war on Cedoria due to the Seventh Treaty of Amans.
Start of the War
With the outbreak of the war, it was revealed that King Marduis had mismanaged his armies for the last two decades, embezzling funds needed for defenses in the counties, and it forced the Cedorians to fight an uphill battle in their own homeland. The Ograetons landed invasion forces in the south of Cedoria at three pivotal points; Freylas, Ostana, and Southern Shore, giving them almost undisputed control over the Amans. With the defection of the duchy of Ebria, Ograeton held a route directly to Marduis's capital of Nodrouburg, which led to several bloody and destructive battles to protect the capital that Marduis refused to flee until it was taken by the Duke of Ebria, Osric which resulted in the sacking and eventual burning of the city.
Period of the Stalemate
Forced to flee the capital, Marduis tried to rule from the territory of Stryng, where he gave up military control to the Paladins of The Shimmering Isle, who managed to hold a stalemate for nearly twelve years through their peerless defense of Cedorian soil against the Ogreaton invaders and the Ebrian defectors. During this period, the Paladins managed to hold most of the power over king Marduis, who grew ill and feeble. During this time period, the Council of Whispers, a group of conspirators seeking to oust Marduis and began seeking a replacement for the king, with the tacit approval of the Shimmering Isle paladins.
The stalemate ended with Osric breaking through the fortifications at Ram's Lane, the Wall of Amathus, and the defeat of Alderim at Stryng, leading to the sack and burning of Stryng and the collapse of the Shimmering Isle paladin order, and the execution of Marduis. Combined with the southern push by the Ograetons starting from Southern Shore, the kingdom of Cedoria nearly collapsed and surrendered until the Council of Whispers found a suitable heir for the throne and rallied the various factions in Cedoria to fight back.
With the arrival of the heir, a young man named Llewellyn who was the bastard son of King Alistair, the Council of Whispers began a campaign of patriotic recruitment among the defeated Cedorians that produced a large number of soldiers unseen during Marduis's rule, and organized under the control of the elected Regent, Lord Wynd, who forced the Ograetians to combat his guerilla tactics and methods, while the Vice Regent, Lady Araceli led incursions into the south designed to inspire the captured cities to revolt against their Ograetian invaders. Both tactics caused strain on the Ograetians, who could not hold their positions in unfamiliar lands while simultaneously fighting off rebels from inside their occupied territory.
Things came to an explosive head in the Battle of Southern Shores, when the forces of Lord Wynd, Lady Araceli, the few surviving Shimmering Isle paladins, the majority of the Cedorian armies, and most of its remaining navy fought off against the combined forces of the Ograetians under the command of Marquis Jacque DeLoire, consisting of the Heigmnir Jarl Uls Thunderung, the [[Bavarine mercenaries]], and their Ebrian allies under Duke Osric.
The Battle of Southern Shores started with an advantage for the Cedorian forces in that they had control of the seas thanks to a flotilla of ships who snuck around the port of Southern Shore in the night, and the placement of Lady Araceli's troops in the forests ten miles from the city proper. Lord Wynd led his forces down the King's Road after having used several diversion tactics consisting of sending his troops in opposite directions to confuse any pursuit, each of which regrouped further down the King's Road before heading to Southern Shore. Thus, a large Cedorian army held a semi-circle around the city without any of the inhabitants of the city noticing. On the morning of Novday, at the First Thunder Hour, the Cedorian marched on the city while their navy began a bombardment of the port.
Things initially worked for the Cedorians, leading them to taking half the city before the defenders had a chance to respond, but they quickly were bogged down by the amount of resistance that had been hidden in the city by the Marquis Jacque DeLoire, who considered the city to be paramount to holding the island. Faced with unexpected resistance and the expected arrival of the main Ograeton navy, the capture of the city collapsed and a dragged out fight began.
The Cedorians held half of Southern Shore with a protective ring of naval support while the Ograetians held the other half of the city with their own navy rapidly sailing from Ograeton shores and held Cedorian territory. Intense fighting over the course of several days began, with the Cedorian navy being unable to dock, and unable to leave without the entire plan collapsing, the Cedorian ships were forced to ration supplies as they fought off attacks from the shore. Lord Wynd launched several attempts to take the docks, but the Ograetians fought him off, knowing that everything depended on keeping the Cedorian ships from docking. According to several eyewitnesses, the streets leading to the docks were covered in blood to the point that there was no cobblestone visible. The arrival of the Heigmnir from their longships breaking through the Cedorians further reinforced the docks and led to the desperate Cedorian order to ram the ships into the port, breaking the seawall and flooding the docks while scuttling the Cedorian ships. Jarl Uls famously led his soldiers from under the flood waters to amphibious attacks on the Cedorian ships' crews, who were trying to launch themselves onto the docks, which resulted in the bloodiest fighting for the Heigmnir since their sacking of Alfnost and the slaughter of most of the Cedorian marines and naval forces. Uls himself was reportedly killed by Lord Wynd in single-combat, but various sources dispute this claim. By the time the docks completely flooded, the Cedorians had lost half their standing forces in the engagement.
Shortly thereafter, Lady Araceli's forces sighted the approaching Duke Osric's forces coming from the north east, and attempted to align themselves to intercept him before he could relieve the city. A skirmish broke out as each attempt to probe the other's forces for vulnerability before Osric committed to a heavy thrust that charged through the middle of Araceli's troops. While initially deflected, Osric himself led the next charge and slew Araceli with his earth breaker while she was mounted. Her troops collapsed as Osric kept pushing forward, leading to a rout that deprived the Cedorians of their protection outside the city walls. Taking command of the situation, Osric ordered the Ograetians to evacuate the city through their held gate as he surrounded the city to start a siege. Lord Wynd attempted to break out, but the remains of the Heigmnir kept him harried in the city and took control of the Cedorian gate several times before the remaining Shimmering Isle paladins locked them down.
As the Ograeton navy appeared on the horizon, the Cedorians managed to hold the gate long enough to get out of the city forcing them to break through Osric's siege-lines. Lord Wynd himself had several opportunities to escape but he refused to leave his troops behind, and fought a pitched battle to try and open a large enough hole for all his men to escape. Several confrontations were witnessed between Osric and Wynd personally, all of them verified by eye witnesses as the two men faced off against each other on the field. Bavarine mercenaries then landed in the flooded docks in their light vessels before the Ograeton navy arrived, seizing what remained of the city and trapping the Cedorians outside the walls and blocked off by Osric's forces. Only the sacrifice of the last paladins, the timely arrival of Llewellyn with reinforcements, and the disagreements between the Marquis and the Duke allowed the Cedorians to break through and flee for the northwest, hounded by Osric's cavalry before being turned back by Llewellyn's own charge.
Aftermath of Southern Shore
With the crushing defeat of the Cedorians at Southern Shore, it was believed that the Cedorians would be unable to continue the war. However, the timely arrival of Llewellyn led to a surge in patriotism again among the defeated soldiers, who considered him a godsend. Lord Wynd worked to cultivate this divine image of the heir and managed to utilize it to win several strategic battles while the Ograetians and Ebrians argued amongst each other, with both DeLoire and Osric coming to blows after a discussion of strategy. This led to the withdrawal of the Ebrians from the field as Osric pulled his forces back, forcing DeLoire to spread his troops thin to hold the territory that the Ebrians previously held. Lord Wynd and the newly experienced Llewellyn took advantage of the split and trapped the Ograetons in the south again, like at the start of the war, and forced another stalemate for one year, as the war shifted to a triple detente between the Cedorians, the Ograetians, and the Duke of Ebrian.
While initially hostile to any attempt at diplomacy with Osric, Lord Wynd was convinced by Llewellyn to broker an accord with him that would allow him to keep his title and lands at the conclusion of the war if he assisted in the repulsion of the Ograetians from Cedorian soil. While hugely unpopular among his own troops and the populace, Llewellyn publicly proclaimed that it was the only way forward to reach reunification of Cedoria and their goal of rebuilding the kingdom. Lord Wynd personally delivered the agreement to Osric at the Tower of Jests, leading to one of the most terse standoffs of the war as two of the biggest players in it sat in the same room mere months after having fought on the field of battle. The event was commemorated by several painters, none of whom were actually in attendance at the tower except for the brother of Osric, Alistair (named after the predecessor to Marduis and father of Llewellyn). One of the most fantastical interpretations included Llewellyn even though it was factually impossible for him to attend the meeting.
End of the War
With the agreement delivered, a tenuous truce was brokered between the Cedorians, who reluctantly embraced the return of their countrymen, leading to several volatile confrontations between the two factions before Llewellyn smoothed things over in a rousing speech at the steps of Easthaven Cathedral. Faced with the prospect of a unified Cedorian army armed with Osric's knowledge of his battle plans, the Marquis DeLoire petitioned the Theocrat Elodie to recognize the authority of Llewellyn as legal heir to the Kingdom of Cedoria, under the condition that another Amans treaty be signed and place the blame for the war entirely at the feet of the dead monarch Marduis. While initially opposed to the idea, Elodie personally spoke with the Marquis who revealed the details of the war her advisors had been hiding from her and swayed her opinion to agreeing with him. As her bodyguard purged her palace of the advisors in the eleventh such purge, she traveled to the shores of Cedoria to meet with Llewellyn and personally discuss the end of the war.
The initial agreement between the two was secret until Lord Wynd's daughter revealed his letters from that time period. Originally, the condition of Ograeton withdrawal had been limited to their returning of all Cedorian territory EXCEPT for their three initial landing points of Southern Shore, Freylas, and Ostana, which would be held as assurances against future aggression, but Llewellyn nearly walked out despite his advisors believing it to be the best deal possible. Impressed by his audacity, Elodie amended the treaty to a full withdrawal from Cedoria, provided the young heir marry her niece as a sign of assurance, which was agreed to reluctantly by Lord Wynd, who had hoped to marry off his own daughter or Duke Osric's sister as an assurance to keep the peace. Elodie knew this and used her niece's beauty to tempt the heir and force the Blood Binding for any child that would be produced by such a union, which guaranteed Cedorian support in the ongoing War of the Divines between Ograeton and the Sulraka Empire. In a masterful stroke, she had given the Cedorians what they had originally held and gained a valuable ally in the continuing conflict between her and the draconians, earning her high praise at home and reluctant acceptance in Cedoria, bringing the two nations closer together in the Eighth Amans Treaty.
When the Ograetons departed, they left significant resources from the Marquis DeLoire, who had agreed to give up his own fortune to the Cedorians as a condition for the safe return of all captured soldiers and safe departure for them. Llewellyn immediately authorized those spoils be put to the rebuilding of the worst affected areas of the war instead of the reconstruction of the capital, which was left alone in favor of moving the capital to Athana, where his father had ruled. Duke Osric was pardoned for his participation in the war, on the condition that he swear fealty to the new king, which he refused to do until the king had ascended the throne, considering it beneath him to bow to Llewellyn, which caused a stir among the populace. Tensions ran high, but Llewellyn pushed forward to take the throne prior to the signing of the treaty so that Theocrat Elodie, the son of Jarl Uls, Hosvir Ulsson, and Duke Osric would acknowledge it before each departed. The first act of the new king was to sign the Eighth Treaty of Amans to end the War of Upheaval started nineteen years and eight months prior.