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Great Alharun War


Seylos
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  • 5 weeks later...

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The rushing of the water in the distance was their only anchor to reality. The continuous faint white noise from the Phaqcha waterfall (or as his peers called it, Pāqča) told them they were just under two kilometres away from camp. The rushing water and their failing compasses were their only way to navigate in the dense undergrowth. Akllasisa wondered how his distant cousins of the Palāzača could even survive in this malarial hellscape. And yet, here they were, taking cover in the ruins of a great cobbled fortress built into a small hill – a dimple on the great slopes of South Palu. It was hard to gauge what the time was, the sun blocked by the canopy above leaving the Calpōlli[1] in twilight darkness. Thankfully the Calpōleɥkeλ possessed a pre-mandate Seylosian watch, able to tell the time to the minute! 

“Four forty past noon.” The Calpōleɥkeλ announced to his men in a raised whisper. “Rain has subsided for three hours, Fearannteth movement is likely to occur soon.” In the far distance, the fierce rumbling of an approaching storm echoed, the roar punctuated by the whining and shouting of the gibbons above and around them – warning one another of the approaching thunder. “Be ready.”
The Calpōlli nodded in near-unison, Akllasisa at the far back almost around the corner of the ruined fortress barely able to hear him but nodded nonetheless. It had been almost a week since he last saw combat, about a kilometre back from his position. He estimated he’s probably moved twenty, maybe thirty, kilometres forward since he first began half a year ago. He’d heard of the trench warfare north up in Argis several decades ago, and he thought, maybe this is what it was like. Feeling like you could never move in fear of inhumane traps or ambushes on both sides, and every step you took you felt like your Calpōlli was cut in half.

 

“We move in.” The Calpōleɥkeλ ordered, Akllasisa flinching as he was snapped by to reality. Slowly the group of twenty or so men shuffled as quietly as they could around the fortress towards one of the many large openings. The thunder continued to strike, louder and angrier. He was the last to enter. The roofless structure, despite its age and decay, still loomed around them. The Calpōleɥkeλ and the Tiačcawān were ordering men to different parts of the fortress, several going into the basement below, others to inspect the walls, and others still going up the rock stairs towards the tops of the wall. Soon only Akllasisa and three others were the only ones left not assigned a duty, the Tiačcawān making his way towards them, slipping around several overgrown plants that were strewn across the eroded and distorted floor.
“To arms, men.” The Tiačcawān commanded, the four men lifting up their Rifles and placing them at their side. The rifle’s stock was made of a light grey Popoaλi wood and the rifle as a whole 44 inches in length. “Scout forward half a kilometre eastward, remain low, if you come across Fearannteth soldiers return immediately. If you do not return within an hour you will be considered missing in action. Understood?”
“Yes sir.” The four men stated, keeping their bodies rigid and maintaining eye contact.
“You will leave in five minutes.” The Tiačcawān concluded, walking away from the four men who all simultaneously dropped their raised shoulders and straight backs. The man beside Akllasisa let out a long sigh, the other cracking his neck and shoulders.
“Of course its me being sent forward, can never catch a break.” The fourth man muttered, thumping his rifle on the ground besides him.
“It’s just an hour expedition.” The sighing soldier argued, the fourth man rolling his eyes
“And we were told this war would be just a month. And here we are half a year into a conflict.”
Akllasisa left his bickering peers to make his way towards the main ‘entrance’ of the fortress, the arch that once announced its existence had crumbled centuries ago leaving only a pile of rock at the front. The three others soon scampered towards Akllasisa, slotting their rifles into large leather and cloth sheaths on their backs.
“Whoa whoa, we don’t have to leave him. We have five minutes.” The fourth man remarked. “Let’s at least rest.”
“I’d rather have sixty five minutes for this expedition than sixty.” The third man acknowledged, after finishing cracking his joints, patting Akllasisa on the back a bit too hard once he caught up to Akllasisa. “The name’s Itotia. Can’t wait to fall into a spiked pit with you.” The cracking joint man joked, walking further ahead than Akllasisa by several meters. He and the other two slowly fell silent as they reached Itotia, the four men stared off into the darkness of the rainforest. Akllasisa took one final glance towards the fortress, to his peers and comrades staring off towards them, before finally taking the plunge into the depths of the maw of Popoloco. More fodder to feed the Fearannteth-South Paluvian War.

 

[1] Calpōlli (military), not to be mistaken with the Calpōlli (subdivision), a Calpōlli are the smallest divisions of the South Paluvian and Metztlican armies of 5-30 infantry. Most Calpōlli tend to have two leaders. The Calpōleɥkeλ as first in command, and the Tiačcawān as second in command, to be the leader if the Calpōleɥkeλ is killed or captured.

Edited by Metztlitlaca (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

February 28th, 1947

Kingdom of Huachuan, 850km South of Bogd Gioro

15km Behind the Front Lines of Occupied New Salvis

marchingcolumn.jpg"Liu Weiwu! Liu Weiwu!"

The young political commissar jerked back to awareness; he had been staring at his shoes, shading his brow from the hot Alharun sun. The whole 1st battalion of the 23rd Laocao Rifles was marching in column toward the town of Luqiao, where they hoped to join with General Guo and the rest of the First Corps.

"Coming, Comrade Colonel!" 

Weiwu was grateful he only wore a pistol on a lanyard as he hustled to the front of the column.  Unfortunately for the rest of the troops in his company, they were carrying old, heavy rifles that hadn't seen parts replaced in 20 years. He jogged up to his commander Ai Gui, at the head of the formation, and saluted. The old man returned the gesture and pulled him aside with an arm around the shoulder. The two fell out of step with the column, walking a few meters off to the side.

"What is your report, Lieutenant?"

"The men are not very highly motivated, sir. They complain of poor rations, bad water, parasites, and a thousand other problems. Their gear is in poor repair, and replacement clothing is very scarce. Even when they are in town, the King of Huachuan's rationing drives most of our men to the black market for what they need. It is an unfavorable situation."

Colonel Ai took tobacco and paper from his uniform's breast pocket, rolling a cigarette on his hard, weathered palm. Weiwu reached into his own pocket and pulled out a packet of Party machine-rolled cigarettes, striking a match to light one.

"Tell me something I don't know, Lieutenant Liu. We're all suffering together. I haven't had a solid sh*t in weeks. Is this battalion prepared to fight the Salvians? That's the question that needs to get answered. And if you can't find an answer for me, Lt. Weiwu, I'll have the First Corps Party Secretary send you back to Bogd Gioro and get somebody who can."

As usual, just as the young officer was beginning to savor the taste of his kretek, something came along to spoil his day. In this case, it was a bursting artillery shell, which exploded 40 meters in front of him. With an ear-ringing bang, the shell showered the rice fields with shrapnel and clods of eurth; most of the column scattered into the fields off the road as the rest of the shells began to fall. Men's shouts and the sound of gunshots filled the dusty air as they scrambled for cover. Weiwu grabbed the colonel by the collar and threw them both prone to the ground, grabbing his pistol with his right hand.

"Lieutenant, get back to your company and dig in! Sergeant Gong, get on the headset and tell Major General Wang we need air support!

"Yes sir!"

Weiwu first bear crawled, then crouched, and finally sprinted back the 20 meters to his company. Captain Liao, the de jure leader of the company, was waiting for him. The brown-bearded Huang man gestured with his left hand as he cocked his rifle's lever action with the other.

"Take Pan and the rest of his platoon to the berm at the edge of that field on my left. Get those machine guns throwing some fire downrange, but don't waste all of your ammunition; we're probably going to be facing an infantry attack once the shelling stops. Get the anti-tank explosive pack off of the mule, and give it to Sergeant Pan. He knows what to do with it. The rest of the platoon, stagger 'em along that berm, dig in first. Move!"

 

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  • 1 month later...

Liu Weiwu shaded his eyes with his hand as the aircraft cannon shells struck home amongst the artillery positions on top of the ridge. A cheer went up from the men as the Anatean pilots finished their attack run, giving a wing-waggle as a farewell before pealing off into the blue sky again. Captain Liao, who had not even deigned to duck from the oncoming fire, waited for only a moment before his tanned arm and gravelly voice once again began to issue orders.

"Shang qilai! Shang qilai! Pan and Liu, get up that slope and clear those dugouts! Don't give 'em time to regroup!"

Once he had made certain that his subordinates had heard him, he took the whistle around his neck and sounded a long piercing note, swinging his arm forward in a chop.

"Company, advance!"

Most of the company had gone to ground in or around the flooded rice paddy, and the men rose dripping with muddy water from the Eurth to give a shaky cry of "Sha!" and begin the advance. Liu Weiwu, his fingers tight around the uncomfortable stamped-metal grip of his pistol, took his position along the company's left flank, opposite Captain Liao on the right. As the other company commanders of the 1st Battalion gathered the initiative, the entire line, previously thrown into disarray by the sudden attack, began to take shape as it marched quickly up the ridge in a wavy formation. As the left wing of the sweeping advance, Liu's company was the first over the ridge.

"Keep at least three meters between you, men, don't clump up!"

Liu took a stick grenade from his belt pouch and gave a tug on the priming cap, lobbing the explosive over a wall of sandbags, where it detonated with a great cloud of dust. This first line of Salvian artillery positions appeared to be abandoned. Beyond the first row of dugouts, Commissar Liu could see scattered groups of crewmen running for cover, many of them being cut down by Fulgistani rifle fire. It appeared that the sudden arrival of air support, coupled with the initiative of the ground forces, had significantly stymied any preparations for a Salvian massed attack. 

"Lieutenant Liu, look out!"

"Na'er ne? What are you talking a-"

Liu managed to catch a good look at the driver of the observer half-track before it ran him down; he was a young man, his brow dripping with sweat and teeth clenched in a rictus grip like that of a dead man walking. His forage cap was askew on a tan face, and his brown hair, overgrown at the sides, was likewise in disarray. It was as if time were standing still in that moment; the  terrified expression of the Salvian non-com in the driver's seat was etched into Liu's mind as the half-track careened over the artillery embankment and into his body, throwing him down as the machine's wheels and tracks threw up gravel and debris around him. As he lay dazed, but very much alive, he could hear the shots ringing out, the half-track shuddering to a halt as its driver bled out, and the calls of his men.

"Corpsman! Get a stretcher over here! Comrade Liu's been wounded!"

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Prologue
Protiva, Centavo in the Republic of Cashar
January 20, 1947

News of the conflict between Seylos and Fulgistan had spread to western Alharu and to the small, frequently corrupt government of the Republic of Cashar. Notably, members of the Board and Bureau had taken the stance that Seylos' cause was just and necessary. Communist Fulgistan, after all, was a struggling country doomed to failure and ruin unless immediate intervention occurred. Only the introduction of capitalism to the poor and, frankly, desperate Fulgistanis could save them from themselves. This was the first official reasoning behind getting involved in the conflict. And while some Cashari quickly got on board with the idea of saving Fulgistan from communism, especially the Cashari poor who had heard deplorable things about the living conditions in Fulgistan ("I couldn't live like a Fulgistani that's for sure," or telling their children, "Eat that up. Don't you know there are kids starving in Fulgistan?" or "Don't you dare skip work today. Kids in Fulgistan wish they had a job like yours!"), others required more incentive.

Why should they care if Fulgistan tumbles to economic ruin? Wouldn't that be better for them in the long run? Would it even really matter? They're on the other side of the continent! Needless to say, the idea of providing charity in the form of introducing a country to capitalism left a bad taste in the mouths of the Cashari people. What didn't leave a bad taste was the potential for upward social mobility through a career in the military or through the Lavishavisk Ordinance Company making weapons for the war effort. Additionally, the Board and Bureau wrote out a public commission allowing the capture of ships or cargo of ships on the high seas of the Adisi Ocean, the Sea of Peace, the Whanganui Sea, Turtle Sea, and Qingming Sea unless such ships are belonging to Seylos or current allies. 

Advertisements in television and in the papers were not quite so formal as the public commission itself.
 

"GET RICH ON THE HIGH SEAS!"
"EARN A LUCRATIVE LIVING AS AN OFFICIALLY CONDONED PIRATE!"

"A SEA OF TREASURE AWAITS!"

 

privateercaptain2.JPG
Privateer Captain Bartom Arketvo of the $.$. Didon
South the Tip of Aurelia
February 21st, 1947

 

The auxiliary cruiser, the $.$. Didon, had been a merchant ship turned battleship turned merchant ship turned armed merchant ship. It had been passed down to Bartom Arketvo from his eccentric rich grandmother, an heiress herself, who spoiled him rotten. Of course, Bartom himself did not think he was spoiled in the slightest. In fact, he considered himself very deserving. Most of the men, women, bigender, and nonbinary, would've disagreed with that statement, but at the very least, they couldn't say he was content with resting on his laurels and spending his riches when there were more riches to be had. And wasn't that just the Cashari way?

Captain Bartom Arketvo breathed into his hands and shivered. He had in no way prepared himself for the cold in the waters near Antargis. He was still wearing loose, flowing garments designed specifically for the climate of the Cashari Desert. It provided little warmth to him as he tried to huddle up in his clothes. 

"Why in gold's name is it colder than my ex-wife's shoulder down here?"

His first mate, Farla Mintokvol, raised their eyebrow at him. "You had a wife? Was she enamored with charity?"

Bartom shot a glare at Farla. "Hey! As a matter of fact, I was the charitable one."

"Right," Farla said, slowly, skeptical. "Anyway, it shouldn't be too long now. The Adisi Ocean is much warmer."

Bartom frowned. "Yeah? Let's go over the map one more time. I don't want to miss any opportunities!"

He gave a dramatic flourish of his hand, then began the move below deck where it would be warmer. 

privateercaptain1.JPG
Privateer Captain Dekta Partonviska of the $.$. Advantage
Near the Southern Tip of Aurelia
February 21st, 1947


Captain Dekta Partonviska had, in fact, prepared for the colder weather because unlike the captain of the ship ahead of her, Dekta wasn't an idiot. Wrapped comfortably in a blue, silver, and black camel's wool cloak with decorative motifs involving her family name, the name of her ship and a brooch that had been in family for generations, and the names of three companies she had worked for including the Lavishavisk Ordinance Company - she overlooked documents about their provisions, weaponry, and the crew. She had worked three jobs just to afford the run-down merchant's ship, and she'd had to accrue debt in order to fix it up and to outfit it with arms. Most of her crew consisted of friends, co-workers, and her cousins (of which she had many). She took in a deep breath and shook her head.

"I'm nervous," she admitted aloud.

"Me too. I've never shot anyone before," Mikda, her second cousin on her mother's side and first mate, said.

"It'll be fine. Just follow Rajor's lead. He's had plenty of practice when he was smuggling drugs across the Paran Desert," Dekta said, trying to smile. She wasn't entirely convinced her third cousin was that capable.

"So he says. Rajor lies a lot, you know," Mikda told her.

Dekta sighed and rubbed her temples. "Well, Selda hunts."

"Hunting wild animals is different," Mikda pointed out.

"You really aren't helping, you know that?" Dekta said, shaking her head. "Look, we can't turn back now. We've come too far. We have to make this work. We just have to. I can't go back empty-handed; the debt will drown me."

Mikda put a hand on Dekta's shoulder. "I'm with you, dear cousin. Well, I mean, I can't turn back, either, if you don't turn back. But regardless, I'm with you. Share an Actus Drink with me?"

"Sure, yes."

 

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