What Can SV Teach an Evil Sorceress? (abandoned) Original - Fantasy (2024)



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"Well then, let's get right down to the work of battle, shall we?"

CraftingDragon said:

I think we should consentrate on tactics as there is little time to consentrate on great tecnical improvements. They are coming to uss not we to them, lets use that to our advantage.

I will ellaborate when i have more time to write but.

-Food, make proper supply train for us, destroy theirs

-draw them where you want to fight, do not leave any food behind

-attack unexpected. Have small bands with ranged weapons (hunters)? Attack them when they move. An army mooves as an long train so attacking a part of it and then dissapearing is awful for their moral. Focus on things like food wagons and cart pulling anomuksen ls, but newer attack the same portion of the army twise in a row. If they have no will to fight when they meat your hoard.
This is also when i would use the caltrops, to place on their road that they will take.

CraftingDragon said:

The risk in just giving them anything they want, without a back up plan/threat to their life is that then everyone will hear, that attacking will give them all our secret.

Maybe diplomacy, while making their possible advancement hell could be an opinion...

CraftingDragon said:

Actually my suggestion vas not to meet them in open battle but rather do hit and runs as much as pissible before that. I do not think our odds good in an stright away open battle. We want to get their morale low. Some wheter magiced rain could be good too

CraftingDragon said:

I am more interested on getting people think twice on attacking our people while loosing as little men as possible than a great honorable head on battle with the odds saying we will loose, or at least not win.

I do not see that honor have been an issue before, as we burnt the forest people to prevent losses instead of an "honorable" all out invasion.

If our people want an honorable all out battle, I would do that only after first softening our opponent.

I am gonna write a proper post about my suggestions here probably tomorrow, vote as you see fit, but I urge against head on battle

I am not really interested in honor against an opponent first killing our trader and then launching an robbing party. However stupidly said trader may have acted. And I not see need of consider honor in punishing said warlord

CraftingDragon said:

I do not support demons suggestion as that extreme options will spoil the (our) lands for long and might get us a new restless soirit problem

CraftingDragon said:

[x] [Defiance] Dragon

You do not want to meet the enemy head on at least at first, as that will not lead to a sure victory. Nor do you want to march to the edge of the nine to wait for them there, as then you will have hardship feeding all of the nine.

You said it takes tens of days to travel to the city of Wrul, thousands of men will move slower. To my understanding only the last days (5 or so) of this journey will be within the borders of the 9, so we need to be careful to not anger those outsiders living between there and here, for them to not join the Wrul against us. This is one reason why I would advise against the drastic measures suggested by Demon. The other being the risk of getting angered spirits from such fouling of nature.

Still I think the way to go about winning this army is to make them regretting ever leaving their smelly city before they reach your main force.
An army does not march on an empty stomach, and food is not easy to come by for thousands of people on the go, so they will be transporting that with them or behind them. Send small parties of men, hunters maybe, as they are good at moving fast and silently, to attack the soldiers on the roads to the nine. Attack them fast and by surprise, without committing to an all out battle. Use bows from hidden places, maybe even arrows with fire to burn their gear and the food they are pulling in chariots or wagons, kill the animals carrying or pulling the gear.
When that many people move they will most probably be going in a long line, so if you manage to get close without them noticing you only a small portion will be there when you strike. Attack different parts of said line every time, that way they have to be alert at all times.
You have been earlier told about caltroops, and someone suggested you could use glass shards instead of metal if you do not have metal to spare, or maybe the iron wich is not yet good enough quality to anything more useful. Plant these on the path the army is taking, they will move slow if they have to watch their every footstep. Maybe some other traps could be built as well.
Outside of the nine, the roads are not laid with bricks, that will make them quikly very muddy if it rains. Thus if it is possible, send some rain their way, it need not be a storm, just an everlasting dribble will make the soldiers regret they ever left their homes, and will make the roads and paths they tramp on into an awful mud that gets everywhere and where wagons get stuck.

When they get closer to the lands of the 9 there is more things you can do. You do not want to meet the invaders at the edges of your lands, let them come at least a days or two travel into the lands of the 9. Have everyone on their path take all food and important gear with them, not leaving anything to the army. Have even more parties sneaking attacks on the invaders.
There were suggestions to ask the ice wrights from the ice houses to help you make the enemies miserable, you know best if this is possible but it sounds good.

Another suggestion is to leave badly hidden cursed relics from your hoard in the villages you abadon that the army will pass. When found by the enemy these will probably go to the leaders of their soldiers, wich could be a good strike to their army if the curse is suitable.

Now when you at last meet the enemy, do it where you yourself choose, try to find an area which suits well for your soldiers, maybe if possible so that the enemy needs to attack you with the sun in their eyes and uphill.

If you have time to desode the place in advance and a way to get the enemy to want to come there, then you can prepare the shoosen place more to your advantage. Digg ditches in the path of the enemy on the field, putting the ground from the ditches behind them, and sharpened wooden stakes there to make it hard for the enemy to moove in on you in formation. This can also be used to defend your men from an attack from the sides. You can leave openings in this defense to get their soldiers to atack on those places you want them too, and attack them from the other side of the ground wall. How well this can be done dependa on how well you can get the enemy where you want. But I guess that as their target is your hoard then doing the fight outside a bigger village close to a rpad going for your steading will get them where you want. EmptyHusk should tell you more about these

Remember that as much as destroying their food supplies will make them miserable, so will also the morale of your tribesmen get down if they are hungry. Use your roads to get food from all over the 9 to your army. Do not only rely on whatever there is where the army is, as then you will end up with similar problem as the sandy bread years before.

These suggestion do not need to rule out other suggestions, use whatever means you can, but I would be cautious against just giving the greedy king of Wrul whatever he wants, as then, the rumors about this will only encourage others to try to do the same. I say that if one wants to sneak into the tent of the king of Wrul, then do so to kill him, not to give him what he wants. An army without a leader is like a snake without a head.

As an addition, use your horse riding youngsters to get messages to different groups of your soldiers fast. And if they have trained then they can ride in as a group and shoot from horsback. But I wouöd not ride into the enrmy as the horses are probably not trained fpr the loud noises of battle and might spook.

CraftingDragon said:

As i said in my text we cant easily avoid them entering our lands compleetly. It is not feasible with the food transportation etc. But i think they should be stopped begor reaching Biancas steading, maybe even before one of the biggest villages as if those are destroyed we loose much. But if we just loose some smaller villages and in turn get to choose the battelfield in known terrain and get a working supply line I think it is worth it

CraftingDragon said:

This actually sounds like a good idea, as long as it is not a curse that will come back haunting said village

CraftingDragon said:

Maybe hailstorms/icy rain, but that might backlash on any farmplants in those areas

CraftingDragon said:

Bianca have told us before that her hoard does already contain cyrsed items, no need to make new ones.
Also the few enemies getting their hands on well plased "valuables" will likely bee leaders to some degree. Wich are those few people we want to target

CraftingDragon said:

Swords are not nessesarily better than axes as you say. Our time to prepare is maybe one moon, a well known weapon is better than a new and unfamiliar one.

Othervise black cat has a point. In a big fight it is important to fight orderly in formation, maybe using a bit bigger shield. Then ones sides can be protected by the neibours, and those in the first row cam switch places with those in the next when they are injured to have a short while to draw breath.

CraftingDragon said:

We do not have cavalry as the horses are still too small for full grown men.

CraftingDragon said:

I think the cacophony was not nessesary for this round but just in case

[X] [Cacophony] CraftingDragon

CraftingDragon said:

Did you hear my suggestion, as it did not contain the suggestion of destroying outside tribe foods. Some pointers on this issue.

-The size of their army makes it infeasible to forage the food needeed. They need to either bring it with them from wrul or raid it from the tribes between Wrul and the 9.

-If they raid it on the way they will have to fight for it, wich mean they will loose men, tough warning theese outsiders could be a good idea as then they will better defend these sourses of food.

-If they bring it from Wrul those is the food we can easily hit and try to destroy. An army that size will probably have a hard time to bring that much food as they go, so at least if they are not doing heavy raiding on their way there will probably be food caravans coming after the army, these is what we want to hit.

-It is not feasible to go and meet the Army of Wrul to the wery edge of our lands, because of things I have earlier mentioned, as one example our food managment and our devious plans to harash them, from these of our areas we should empty all edible and valuable (except some cursed items)

"Indeed, voice. Battle is more than having more axes than the enemy. Victory comes to the boldest, the mightiest, the cleverest, or the luckiest.

"Will my table-rulers know how to make the proper supply train you speak of? I suppose I will find out. Breaking should be easier than making, in any case. And ambush is well known to the warriors of the People of the Nine Nations and especially to the hunters.

"If I were to bring rains, it would rain on both the enemy and the Nine Nations alike. Misery for them, surely, and all the more for being so far from home. But misery also for the warriors of the Nine Nations. I don't believe doing injury to the 'morale' of my side in order to do what only might be a greater injury to the morale of the other side to be wise.

"It is dishonorable to flee from battle. But it is not dishonorable to leave after a successful raid. Experienced warriors are well familiar with the distinction and experienced warriors will lead the raids, as they already do as much as possible.

"I would spoil the lands of two tribes, maybe even three, to preserve the rest of the Nine Nations. However… At this time the loss of even one half of one tribe's lands might ruin the whole. The starving people whose land was spoiled will call on their neighbors for aid, and aid will be given. And then those neighbors will be deprived and turn to theirs. I will consult with my table-rulers to determine how much lost land will do how much injury to the whole. These are already hard times, before they get harsher I will already have decided on a course of action to which I will direct the people.

"When the warriors of the people are gathered together I will lead them in their thousands and their ten thousands against the host of the King of Wrul. As best as I might time it, I would prefer to meet them just outside the lands of the Nine Nations. If they take the same path that my retreating singer took on her stolen horse, then that will be that lands of the Buol.

"I care little about upsetting the Buol, who are already hostile to all the People of the Nine Nations. Some many, many years ago they did not understand that all of the tribes of the Nine Nations are joined together. And so they traded with the tribes that were not near to them and did not raid them. They know better now.

"But I do not think the Buol will join the host of Wrul out of a desire to strike at the Nine Nation. Surely they will suffer from the needs of such a large number of warriors passing through their lands. And in deprivation, will take up arms against one or the other out of necessity. Surely that will be true of the people of all the lands through which the host passes. Tell me, voices, if it is not so.

"If the host of Wrul and all the warriors of the People of the Nine Nations do meet in battle then there will be much death. And from those deaths will rise a surplus of hauntings, both at the site of the battle and wherever spirits might cluster should they seek their homes. Spirits which return from deaths in battle are only as often vengeful as those brought to be by any other sort of violence, which is to say, often enough to be a problem. Those wise in the ways of spirits retell the ways to deal with such threats and pests readily enough, for it is not a new problem. Should warleaders fall and, in their passing, know that they themselves slew many more than were yet slain of their warparty, there may return spirits of courage. These may be called upon to serve the living. And should some number of unwed warriors who have not before seen the blood of dying people fall without having faltered, there might return from them spirits of youthful virility, though this is much less common. From fallen chariot horses return sometimes spirits of fear. These are troublesome until they are handled, after which the wise folk may employ them in trials to purify the will of the bold and winnow out the weak of will.

"If I had spikes of glass or metal scattered in front of the Host of Wrul it would indeed slow them down. They would stop to gather the precious things. I do not wish to slow my enemies by enriching them, but I will consider it. Slowing them with pits and spikes of wood or obstructions like treefall seems fruitful, though.

"I do not know magics to send rain somewhere else. I do not know that anyone has ever tried to put rain somewhere far away. So, again, if I bring rain I bring it on the Nine Nations and the Host of Wrul alike.

"I will have scouts out to know the form of the enemy and if, as you say, they travel as a serpent slithers, I will send despoiling raiding parties against them, all along their flanks, long before we meet together to battle.

"If I should strip away all that might be eaten or otherwise better the Host of Wrul, why should I allow them into the lands of the Nine Nations? Why not despoil the lands of Buol and the people beyond them? Let them all taste ruin.

"The spirits in the ice halls are more easily bound to some other service only because we know where they are. They would not continue to keep their halls cold while serving in war, and some or all might not return to their halls afterward. These years of long winters are not the time to lessen the tribes' capacity for food storage. But if the Host of Wrul is not stopped, the persistence of the ice halls will not much matter. We shall see surely what is best after some consideration, but it is not immediately clear.

"Similarly, ill fortune comes to the world at large for every cursed item loose within it. There is also the problem of the planting, and the carrying, without the cursing. But perhaps I have in my hoard a handful or two of cursed items which may be safely moved and whose effect is sufficiently immediate.

"Or perhaps, with the aim of slowing, I should see that frivolous works of gold and silver and found in the villages of outsiders on the path of the host, along with rumors of other, easily taken treasures further afield, to draw away greedy city folk and slow the serpent's slither? It costs me only the problem of the precious metal returning to the Nine Nations and causing discord. And there will be enough of that in any case after we win.

"Because the Host of Wrul comes from the south, I do not know if there is a place they can be forced to face us where the sun is not largely at their backs. But there may be a slope we can meet them on, or in front of. Wide, flat land is important to the battling of chariots, after all. And every obstruction we make on the field is one which might also obstruct the chariots of the Nine Nations, but most especially the great numbers of chariots of Sleomjash and Tash Tribes.

"Traders and most especially the leadership of Lan Tribe pushed for roads to be lain to the north and south most especially. So there is a branch of the roadmap which reaches toward Buol lands. And by that road may travel carts of food from many places to feed the gathered warriors of the Nine Nations. I will have my table-rulers see to it. I will put Servant on the task himself.

"Even if the King of Wrul might be bought like a trader's bags, the host he leads is surely also led by Erweh or his priesthood. They require my submission or subjugation or destruction -- if they can manage such -- and will not otherwise be satisfied. Such is the way of conflicts with and among the gods, especially the New Gods.

"But the King of Wrul is surely, still, necessary for the host to some degree or Erweh would not have bothered to draw him away from his city. So cutting off the serpent's head might still do some good. And the means of passing unseen which I learned from the thieving merchant magician is well suited to the task.

"Horseback youth are likely to make their way into battle no matter my say in the matter. Any who are both eager to risk their neck in a saddle and similarly eager to risk death in battle will most likely find trouble if not directed to it. But youths on horseback are better messengers than chariots, and free the chariots for battle. And this is already done in passing word between villages. So will surely be done in battle.

"Hah! Oh that's delightful. I will have the fools of the Buol and every other outsider tribe between the Nine Nations and Wrul warned of the King of Wrul's advance and tell them to flee to the hills with all their goods and most especially their food. But he will come in the summertime and none of these people will burn their fields behind them. So perhaps I might send youths on horseback to do just that once we know that the people who might oppose them are gone. Or even if they are not. I will call for horseback warleaders to lead them in small warparties of the youths and those smaller warriors who continue on horseback even after they are grown."

liberty90 said:

[X] [Cacophony] liberty90

Black Cat here, welcome.

Silver, about your words that you want to say... I'm pretty sure that her tribes are the only people with any, even if bad-quality, iron production. Our enemies may have a few long knives, swords, made out of meteroic iron at most. So there should be no full plate iron armor among our enemies, thankfully. Think more about the times that you may know as the bronze age.

Cities of her world are still primitive, small and simple in comparision to these great cities that we can imagine or remember. Thankfully. Still, this is a very respectable and dangerous enemy in comparision with the Nine.

I wonder whether iron is now good enough to reinforce armor and shields. I suppose that this can be the case. Not good enough for decent weapons I suppose, but I believe that Bianca should experiment with iron arrowheads and spearheads.

Horse archers can be pretty shocking for the enemy, though the fact that only youth and smaller women can use horses for that make this fact much less useful than it could be otherwise. Still, as much as such solution can be used, this should be worth the effort. Such force should move swiftly to avoid close combat or to deliver a rapid blow to the flanks or rear of the foe.

Could we use magic to kill the King and his warleaders and his sorcerers? Or mundane assasins? We should try to destroy their ability to command and control their forces.

Magic and spirits can be also used against enemy forces, especially chariots and formations closely-packed with people. There are many benefits to formations, but magic and mundane fire can be great against these.

And "mundane fire" reminds me about clay pots filled with burning strong alcohol, you can throw that at enemy formation. You need to experiment whether this is worth the cost and danger.

On the other hand, youths mounted on horses could be surprisingly useful with bows and long spears against these enemy soldiers that break their formation.

Try to experiment and train with new ideas as long as there is time.

Good idea when feasible: the pincer movement, or double envelopment, is a maneuver in which forces simultaneously attack both flanks/sides of an enemy formation.

The pincer movement typically occurs when opposing forces advance towards the center of an army that responds by moving its outside forces to the enemy's flanks to surround it. At the same time, a second layer of pincers may attack on the more distant flanks to keep reinforcements from the target units.

liberty90 said:

Besides warriors of the Nine, surely our lesser giants could be useful, though I imagine that there are not many of them. Still, lesser giant with a metal weapon and armor made by a skilled craftsmen of the Nine Nations - I remember that lesser giants themselves are very bad at crafting anything - could be fearsome.

liberty90 said:

Case hardening? Nope, that was never explained.

I'm not sure that we have time to experiment with improvements in iron production, but try packing the finished iron weapon in a mixture of ground bone and charcoal or a combination of leather, hooves, salt and urine, all inside a well-sealed box. This package should be then heated to a high temperature but still under the melting point of the iron and left at that temperature for a some time. Insides of the iron should remain soft, but outside should be now harder... I think, if I remember this right, that this is the case thanks to added atoms of carbon and nitrogen.

The longer the package is held at the high temperature, the deeper the carbon will diffuse into the surface. Different depths of hardening are desirable for different purposes: sharp tools need deep hardening to allow grinding and resharpening without exposing the soft core, while machine parts like gears might need only shallow hardening for increased wear resistance.

I can also imagine another and unrelated method for better metal, though I'm also not sure whether this can work with the quality of iron that you now have: you can try to rapidly cool red-hot iron weapon in water. Quench hardening.

It may be also the case that the issue with poor iron quality is completely opposite, that is, too much carbon and impurities, too brittle instead of soft. In this case you need to heat the finished metal for a long time without any added stuff, and with a good flow of air, and then cool this slowly. There may be also other issues, these are complicated matters, so I'm not sure whether there may be enough time.

Scale armour is a form of armour consisting of many individual small armour scales (plates) attached to each other and to a backing of cloth or leather in overlapping rows. Many materials can be used for scales, including bronze and most importantly iron.

Use of helmets, a metal or leather hats, should be encouraged to better protect the head. Parts that cover even ears and cheeks are well-advised.

Cauterization - when someone is heavily wounded, heavy bleeding that cannot be stopped with pressed boiled rags may be stopped with pressing hot metal to the wound. This often can stop bleeding, though it would also increase all other forms of damage, burns are not nice. Hold the hot metal long enough to stop bleeding, but not so long to burn healthy part of the body.

Use only in the cases of heavy bleeding, when blood loss seems to be worse than more messy wound. These concerns need to be wisely balanced. For example, when someone losses his hand cauterizing the wound to stop bleeding may be advisable, but not in case of minor wounds. Germ-free boiled cloth/rag should be applied afterward as always.

Wounds attacked by germs can be often recognized by darker color and by foul smelling pus that is often white-yellow, yellow, or yellow-brown liquid, though brown or bloody pus is also possible. Pus should be allowed to drain away if possible, well-boiled knife can be used to help if there is build-up of pus under the skin. Very carefully wash with soap, previously boiled water and strong alcohol.

Completely dark and dead-looking limb or part of the limb, known to me as gangrene, can be only cut off and cauterized, this can cause death, but otherwise death is certain.

liberty90 said:

Daemon, we should have our own city or cities, I support that. But we need to persuade Bianca that this is at all desirable. Do you remember her recent answer to my question as to how cities known to her are ruled? Very sceptical one. Obviously benefits of a well-governed city can be much bigger than discord, like it was the case with writing, but we need good arguments as to why exactly.

Anyway, for now we are at war, and she wanted us to talk about war.

liberty90 said:

Daemon, we should have our own city or cities, I support that. But we need to persuade Bianca that this is at all desirable. Do you remember her recent answer to my question as to how cities known to her are ruled? Very sceptical one. Obviously benefits of a well-governed city can be much bigger than discord, like it was the case with writing, but we need good arguments as to why exactly.

Anyway, for now we are at war, and she wanted us to talk about war.

liberty90 said:

Dragon. I think that the battle will happen before enemy force could march though our land (or rather, I mean, land of the Nine Nations).

liberty90 said:

Demon. Bianca's tribal experience in ruling tribes consist of the opinion that cities are not needed, and she consider law enforcers needed for the city to exist as the bad system that brings discord. In the future we need to explain benefits of cities more clearly. The Burgeck no longer want to test our toys, while even a very small city could support a few full-time learned men/early sciencists/specialized craftsmen, and perhaps a place where people could learn and read tablets, etc. In villages most if not all people need to farm, and this is bad when we need to research new things.

liberty90 said:

Demon, we could create and grow our own city, but as I said, Bianca would need to see a need for that first. Maybe we could, in the future, try to explain more complicated justice system and better ways of governing that would limit discord currently inherent in bronze-age cities (separation of judicial authority and law enforcement, for example). For now, we have a war to win.

I apologize, I truly want us to talk about matters relevant to war as is Bianca's will, but Demon constantly whispers to me about cities. So, a few words.

The opposition of bold people to their ruler, law-breaking, and disobedience to orders of a ruler or a god can be reduced by vigilant armed-servants, guards, inquisitors. This is true both inside and outside of cities, but cities, with more people in the small space, travelers, outsiders, etc, need that much more while villages of the Nine Nations are able to function without that for now. Now, this tyranny cause discord (together with other causes of discord, like rich traders or people), but there are also many benefits, from the simple fact that the King or God of a city can enjoy more of his will and whims and laws enacted properly as long as discord is under control, to the fact that there is more trade, more learned men, faster improvements, and some other benefits; and cities may be not able to exist at all without these. The question is, how to deal with discord better than the Known Cities but reap some benefits of their system without dangerous costs?

There are some solutions to make people feel somewhat free even under such a rule. First of all, instead of doing with people and criminals whatever they want, armed servants could be allowed only to: protect property and lives - this is more for younger guards, gather evidence about crimes from things to words of witnesses - this is more for older and more experienced inquisitors, and to bring people suspected as criminals to the closest court of justice, if possible then with the least amount of violence needed or peacefully if the suspected criminal can be persuaded to surrender. The court of justice, composed out of a singer and table-ruler, would hear the words of the accused and consider the evidence of his guilt, and then decide whether there was a crime that needs to be punished and what punishment should be used, according to the written laws, previous similar cases, customs, and the four purposes of punishment. In the case of disagreement between the singer and table-ruler assigned to the case, or in the case of any stronger doubts, the matter could go before your First Singer and your First Servant, or, hopefully rarely as to not waste your time, even before your authority (unless you would want to become interested earlier, as your will should always be supreme).

Basic rights of the free people could be also announced and always respected by the guards, like not entering homes of people without a court order or Bianca's orders, mentioned earlier not punishing people without a court decision or Bianca's decision, right to argue before the court about innocence or for lesser punishment as long as done with respect to the power of the court, and similar. Also, a free person suspected of committing a crime should not be imprisoned by the guards for more than two or three days before standing before the closest court of justice.

Disrespect of these basic rights should be a grave crime (unless done according to your will in the particular case, of course), and it should be known that person disrespectful of these rights and rules is no longer your guard-servant or inquisitor but a criminal himself.

You could also add to such courts of justice people known as the jury, a few well-respected elders that could decide to free the accused person if the majority of them feel that that the armed guards and the court are unreasonably tyrannical in the particular case. Such a decision should be probably written and send to you for additional consideration, though, as to not completely destroy the value of additional power offered to you and to your servants by this system. In some societies imaginable to me juries were randomly selected, in others elected by the free people. Existence of such additional part of the court further limits discord but also further limits the power and authority of your servants, so it needs to be considered wisely whether juries are needed.

It can be said that such a system should offer more power both to the Bianca personally and to her laws and to loyal servants selected by her, but balance additional power with retaining some freedom of the people and causing less discord from tyranny. Perhaps less freedom that it's the case among the free people now, but also less tyranny of the Known Cities. Balance and some benefits of both.

I know about the city known as Athens, where they had no king, nor truly ruling God even though they had temples to various gods. They had courts composed completely out of juries and laws created and changed by voting of the great assembly of their free people. They were in some ways happier than most cities. But of course we need a system where Bianca could enjoy power and more power than now, not an unusually free city, so, it's not ideal in pure form. But in many ways it could be modified and power balanced with freedom, surely.

I believe that even if Bianca decide against creating a city, sooner or later some villages may grow big enough, or number of people per piece of land big enough, to need something like these solutions, to better keep many bold people under control, without feuds and in respect to laws.

liberty90 said:

Gnarker, to allow them entry into lands of the Nine Nations is something that Bianca wants to avoid, and would cause unacceptable destruction.

liberty90 said:

Could you provide sources. Because I honestly believe that your explanations in regards to that are drastically different than modern WHO advice for India and Africa.

Demon, you said or want to say: "By my judgement poisoning water sources is larger health hazard than open defecation". Maybe, but we again disagree about the proper distance between waste pits and wells. I still believe that your advice sounds excessive, though when it's not highly inconvenient then your 100 feet can be used I suppose, if it wouldn't discourage people too much from use. And not covered fresh human waste is a great danger to health, full of germs often. This reminds me that some ash can be thrown into the pit after each use to reduce smell and speed-up decomposition.

When one vault is full, it should be covered with soil and closed for at least one year to allow the human waste to break down and become less harmful. Then it can be safely added to compost to help with the black soil creation.

And, while I should talk about war instead, a few more words that should be said 20 years ago: turning over compost pile when water freezes during winter is stupid, at these or colder temperatures germs cannot do their work properly.

Let me think, what about these matters can be applied to the art of warfare... I know: when possible, warriors should cover their waste with some soil and do that outside of their camp and if possible downstream or downhill.

liberty90 said:

Fellow Voices and whispers, there is no need to vote for a particular solution, general advice is sufficient this time.

More ideas for weapons and training please.

liberty90 said:

To clarify possible confusion, pure iron is iron, while "steel" is iron with some, but not too much, added carbon. Steel is the form of iron alloy the best suited for weapons, to simplify matters. This can be more complicated, various impurities and mixes exist in practice, but to clarify meanings of words at least somewhat.

Future confusion may be caused by cast iron and pig iron that actually have even more carbon than steel, but are brittle and useless for weapons. Pure iron is useless for weapons because it's too soft. Metals and metal alloys, by alloys I mean mixes of metals or metal with added something, are very complicated.

Now, when I think about this, such naming is rather inconsistent, though maybe I miss something. Pure iron is iron, iron with too much carbon or impurities is iron, but iron with some but not too much carbon is "steel". Humph. Maybe these ironmakers that I know/remember/dream about wanted to have one word for "iron alloy, but the most useful for weapons of the iron age and machinery of the machine age". Hm.

liberty90 said:

Well, maybe also experiment with long knives known as swords, if there is now enough metal? You know scientific method. Have a few people train with wooden training swords, observe when such a type of weapon may be more effective than spears and axes.

It's my opinion that spears are more effective than swords when you move in formation and want to strike at your foe from distance safer for you. Spears are simply longer, and if you are able to move as disciplined formation - though I worry that not many of your warriors are disciplined enough, many probably consider individual combat as more proper and this can be bad - then your force can look like a spear and shield wall, hard to penetrate.

But swords are better than axes or spears when the formation is broken or there is no formation. Much more flexible regardless of situation, I believe.

Though somebody suggested halberds, nice modification of a spear, yes.

liberty90 said:

Right, my fellow voices, no proper cavalry yet. But youths (and smaller women) can ride horses, and would be probably very happy with such serious tasks. Not that "very happy" equals "very effective", but given that our enemies know nothing or almost nothing about riding horses, eh, there should be some shock factor.

liberty90 said:

My fellow Voices. I again remind everyone that we cannot simply destroy all food in front of Bianca's enemies, as the Nine share no common border with them and the enemy Army would march and forage on lands of many outsider tribes, not our land. Better warn these outsider tribes than enrage them and add to your enemies.

We should harass moving enemy force and destroy and poison their carts and wagons with food if possible, yes.

My apologies if some of our words sound chaotic, even more than it was always the case. We talk not only to you but also argue with each other, sometimes with whispers that you cannot hear properly. My apologies.

"There are some among the Burgeck Tribe already who pound iron flat and thin to cover a shield in overlapping strips . The relative availability of iron makes this popular for them and, someday, it will likely be more broadly popular and available.

"There are a few smaller warrior women who train with the bow so studiously and are so mighty that they can draw the composite bow while on horseback. Most of the horseback warriors and youths make do with weaker short bows. The composite bows have proven more effective in the hands of the charioteers, who are more often warriors of such a stature they cannot ride far or well on horseback.

"I do like the idea of killing the King of Wrul myself and I think I will do that. I would also like the priestess of Erweh, the sorcerer, and by errant singer to be slain before the battle. I may see to that myself or I might send other sneaks.

"The King of Wrul will surely bring spirits against the warriors of the People of the Nine Nations. They will be met in kind. And their chariots and their 'formations' as well.

"There is not much burning alcohol to be had. Its redewwing was a task Burgeck never excelled at. I will see what can be found and placed in throwable pots

"The issue with striking by long spear from horseback, thus far, has been that the youth or small warrior on horseback is very often knocked off because they are small and light and what is struck by the spear is not. But it is no less deadly, so I will see how it may be done in battle.

"If we have our choice of battlefield, then using the more numerous warriors of the Nine Nations to envelop the Host of Wrul as a snake envelops an egg will be a move of great power and fearsomeness. We might, in that way, slay or capture them in their entirety.

"So far as I have been told, there march with the King of Wrul only Fisher People. Unlike the warriors of the People of the Nine Nations, the lesser giants of Galugr will not come in too great numbers simply because I call for them. Some will, I think, but not many. They know that their labor has value to the Tribes of the Nine Nations, and they barter the labors of their sons and daughters like traders, now. Surely they will do the same for warriors. I cannot exchange extra shares of loot and slaves for their warriors. That would infringe of the rights of the warriors of the Nine Nations and so it would lead to discord between the Nine Nations and the Galugr, I think. Similarly, in these hard times I cannot promise them cattle or stores of food from the rest of the Nine Nations. Secrets of spirits? Or iron? Cat-minding? Glass? I will think of something.

"Oh now, Black Cat. Is this how iron may be made useful for weapons? I would ask why this hardening way was left unsaid until now, but I know the answer already: madness! If iron blades can be made that are close to the quality of bronze, then more of the chosen may be better armed. Though, as you say, there may not be sufficient time to both interpret your words and make the spearheads and knives.

"And I thank you for your practical woundcare advice, as well. Win or lose, many of the warriors of the Nine Nations will be wounded in the coming fight. And if they can be restored to some portion of their strength then the Nine Nations as a whole will be stronger.

"But now is not the time to dwell on the administration of cities. I will not, in this time, even take the moments needed to decide if it should be written down in clay for the future. If a city 'grows' in the lands of the Nine Nations then it will grow with its own manner of governance. And that manner may be assessed or changed once it is grown.

"When the warriors gather in one place I will order that their sh*t pits be downhill from any well or stream from which they draw. And they will take that order back to their villages and know how such things should be. My singers already exhort proper placement and management of sh*t pits. But change is not immediate.

"I take it, then, that iron is what is made but steel is what is desired. And your case hardening process creates a layer of steel over the iron. But steel all the way through is also possible, for some manner of steel, and preferable. There is no time to work at this now. But in the future, perhaps.

"I might say that now is not the time for experiments. But the battle to come itself will be an experiment. I will have long knives made and issues to the greatest of the chosen.

"Oh, I can destroy the food of those outside the Nine Nations, and I will see it done. The outsider tribes are of little concern. Without food they will scatter or die and in either case will trouble the Nine Nations very little. The whole of the Nine Nations will be gathered at that time. No petty outsider warparty is likely stand against even the scouting forces of the whole of the Nine Nations. They will know of the doom that comes for them, from the Nine Nations or the Host of Wrul.

"And poison? Oh, yes. That, too."

EmptyHusk said:

Thanks, though I'll try and see if I can make a quick vote.

[X] [Cacophony] EmptyHusk

Greetings, Great Bianca. The Empty Husk speaks again.

I lament my absence in your previous request for counsel, as well as the haste by which I answer you now, but us voices perceive time in a different way, and mine is running low at the moment.

I have no time to review your latest review to my fellow voices' suggestions, nor can I stop to hear what they have suggested in how to deal with your current predicament, but I can give you my own input on such matter.

As things are right now, they are the ones venturing into the unknown, going into foreing territory. I suggest we use that to our full advantage.

They will probably send scouts to explore ahead and report to their generals of their surroundings, so I suggest you blind their army by finding and dealing with these scouts. I, however, can't give much advice on how to do so beyond ambushing them however possible.

While keeping them as blind as possible, we should also herd them to a place for our benefit, possibly through the use of small skirmishes. Should these skirmishes happen on forested areas, I suggest more flexible formations that can move freely through obstacles rather than the stiff walls of shield that are so effective in open areas. That being said, mobility would be of essence in skirmishes, so if they happen in open areas, perhaps your cavalry, small as it is, could take upon the task of harassing the enemy with the use of the complex bows I suggested? I have yet to hear word of how their development has gone. As for where to herd them, I would recommend anything that would limit the directions from where they can attack you, such as canyon or a big clearing in a dense forest. Having the high ground also helps.

Now, you can choose a good place, but you can always make it better.

I will recommend the defenses according to the manpower and time needed to make them: The most basic defense would be just a series of pits, followed by a long trench that covers all the directions they can attack you from. As for the dug earth, you can pile it behind the trench, so that they would have to climb it afterward. Afterward, consider the implementation of wooden spikes on the pit, trench, and or elevation, in the latter case facing towards the attackers. Lastly, a small barricade atop the wall would also help, giving coverture for your archers as they rain death from above.

That is one line of defense, but we can add more. Consider the making of just a low unmanned wall, something that a man could climb through but with great effort, designed for breaking any charge and make them easy picking as they trickle through it. This should make them into manageable groups for your horse archers, should they be ready for combat. Given their small number, I suggest this line of defense to be made within bow range of the first line, so that they may support the archers. Now, horse archers may be good at harassing enemies, but not so much at defending a position, so it may be for the best to have a place for them to fall back through once the numbers become too much for them or they run out of arrows, probably a bridge and gate on the far ends of the previous defense, should it encompass your army completely.

Lastly, the line of defense with the archers may also be overwhelmed, forcing them to fall back. Now comes the last line of defense I can think of: A series of wooden stakes grouped in the shape of arrowheads facing towards the enemy with opening between them. The aim of this stakes is to funnel the enemy armies to your heavy infantry into a frontal assault, where their big shields and spears would probe most effective. I would maybe suggest the use of pikes or other two-handed weapons, but it is of my understanding that your supply of iron is limited so shields are needed least they could be brought down by arrows with ease. Speaking of arrows, once they fall back and your infantry lets them through, your arches could position themselves behind the spikes and continue to harrass the enemy.

As you might have noticed, I put heavy emphasis on the use of archers. The bow is truly a wondrous weapon, as long as it has arrows. I suggest the use of big pots and or vases to hold as many arrows as possible within arm length of the archers, though just having many arrows stuck to the ground in front of you is also common practice when preparing to stand and shoot at an incoming enemy, not so much when you expect to fall back to other positions to continue shooting. Has the use of the big yet simple bows as tall as men widespread in the five years of your absence? That would be of great help.

As for how to earn more manpower should your army not be enough, it is not uncommon for women and children to move in times of war, either because the warriors prefer to have their loved ones in a nearby camp, a practice I'm unfamiliar with but I assume is done mostly out of necessity, to escape enemies that might raid and plunder their settlements, or because they survived said raids. If not, I suppose you could always order them to help protect their homes nonetheless. As such, it might be for the best to use these non-warriors for the cutting of trees and horses or any other beasts of burden at your disposal to carry the wood.

Of course, a smart army would rarely walk straight into a deathtrap, so you will have to somehow conceal these defenses, maybe feasible with the pits but not so much with the barricade unless they underestimate its efficiency, or give them no other option. A way of doing this would be making it necessary for them to end the war quickly, possibly by destroying or stealing their supplies, the first being obviously easier with the use of fire or poison. Should they make use of supply lines, those will need to be disturbed. Should they raid or demand supply from nearby settlements, stripping the land of such resources might be the way to go. Poisoning the rivers, salting the field, or burning down everything are ways of doing this that I would suggest only in the most desperate of situations, however, as it lowers the value and of your own lands. Emptying stores of food, herding animals away, or filling wells with sand that, I assume, can be removed at a dater late are less drastic practices I would suggest. Should you succeed in this, their options will potentially be limited to only attack or starve. Be careful, though, a cornered animal is often the one that fights the hardest. Another option would be making them think irrationally, such as by making them lose their temper. I leave how to do so up to you.

It is my hope that these tactics may help you archive victory against your enemies, good luck in your warring, Great Bianca.

Source, important stuff starts around 9:10.

Any suggestions? Anything you think I should change, add, or remove?

"Greetings, Empty Husk.

"Hah! Yes! What a test of the hunting craft it will be to hunt the hunters from a distant land once again. I shall send the hunters of the Nine Nations out to find the scouts of the Host of Wrul and, as you say, blind the host. And I will direct them, as well, to test out the guiding and herding of the host by selective blinding and small and fast-moving fights.

"The making of your strange bows was worked out some few years ago. And my singers have brought bowyers from all over the Nine Nations -- even Tash, as the last of the disobedient fools who violated the Nine Ways Pact died one winter -- to learn the making of these short and powerful bows.

"The powerful draw of the bow and its ease of use are well suited to charioteers. But those bows take might to pull, and very few warriors who are small enough to sit horseback are strong enough to pull them.

"In battle, the strength of horseback archers should not be measured against the walking warriors of the enemy, Husk, but against their chariot archers. I do not know what manner of bow the Host of Wrul uses, but their charioteers are surely mighty warriors and so will probably outdraw the youths and small warriors that can ride horseback. Those on horseback can turn more closely. Some can even wheel about in place. And the wheels of chariots are not suited to uneven ground while horses go where horses can.

"But prepared ground as you describe it will suit walking archers of the Nine Nations who may fire downhill at the warriors crossing the short wall and then move to another place when too many have made the crossing. Perhaps. The problem, I think, will be preparations that cannot be avoided. The problem will be ensuring that when the King of Wrul encounters the prepared ground he is not able to say, 'Leave it. We will reach our goal by another path.'

"Some warriors are better with the bow than others, Husk, but they are all archers. And whether they fight with axe or spear, each expects to face their enemy and strike him down. What makes archers distinct from other warriors in your expectations?

"The people of the Nine Nations know of great bows. At times there are bowyers who learn their making. But at this time there are none and I have only directed the making of the bow of many pieces and, of course, normal bows.

"With the gathering of all the Warriors of the Nine Nations there are coming many who are not warriors. Some are men or women who do not wish to fight, others are slaves. They will none of them be idle, I assure you.

"And, yes, not only stealing the food the host might take from those around them, but also burning it, and also poisoning their waters. And if they reach the lands of the Nine Nations then goods may be removed and, as you say, wells may be filled.

Ciber said:

Have we considered just offering to show the king how such baubles might be made? Bianca surely has the personal might to bypass any guards. Sure, we lose the secret, but see "veritable font of secrets". Simultaneously, Bianca can make a big scary showing. Carrot & Stick.

I'm unsure what we could do to improve our warriors chances appreciably in such a short time. We might not have enough horse riders to form a proper combat unit, but a man on a horse is fantastic for transferring messages.

It would be really helpful for making suggestions if we had a better idea of how Bianca expects the fight to go.
Are we just lining up in a field & tossing masses of angry people at each other?
Can our archers shoot a proper volley?

Our biggest problem right now is that we don't know nearly enough about what we are getting into here.

Ciber said:

Upon further thought, personally wading through bodies to go talk to the warlord may not be the optimal maneuver. However, I firmly believe that the best outcome could be more likely achieved by negotiation in lieu of decimation. We need simply pivot to a more stealthy approach.
Whence the enemy makes camp, the Warlord will likely have a personal tent. Perhaps with some few guards within. If our Lady were to use her power to create a [Wall Of Silence] about this tent, then she need only subdue a few guards to prevent alarm being raised. This plan presumes of course that the Warlord & those closeby do not have sufficient power to challenge our Lady.

If this or a similar plan succeeds & talks begin, then I must caution. We cannot simply threaten the warlord into turning about. We must strike a deal which when presented to his warriors feels like a victory. They must be allowed to save face. Lucky then that we know what they want. Perhaps make believe that they are simply an "enthusiastic" trading caravan. We have glass & baubles & they have plenty of metal. Let any who wish to learn the secrets of the making of glass be guests of Lan for a few years.
This is one of those rare occasions where giving your enemy everything they want will work out better in the long run.

Ciber said:

No. Everyone will hear that we are willing to trade. Or they will just trade with the people we have already traded with. Its all about presenting things correctly. That's why we need to corner the warlord to talk things out. Give a little bit of the stick, and alot of the carrot. Anyway, our backup plan is to meet them in battle.

Did we present case hardening already? That might be possible to implement fast enough to make a difference.

Ciber said:

Then again, hit & run tactics could be seen as dishonorable.

Ciber said:

Bit of brainstorming:
If our ice house spirits could concentrate their power upon a specific part of the enemies body, they could freeze their eyes. Perhaps the necessary precision could be gained from an archer or slingsman spirit.
By combining the efforts of a water bearer & ice house spirit, you might be able to coat a battlefield in ice.
The enemy might have some way to repel spirits and workings of that which fills and lifts, but if a giant's spirit threw a rock from outside the protections it may bypass them entirely.
If by some method you could cause many small holes to appear where the enemy is marching, just the right size for the unwary to break an ankle.

Oh! Ice house spirits might be used to affect the weather.
Know that air carries water, and that warm air can carry more than cold. When warm-wet air is cooled such that it cannot hold all the water that it contained, the excess water forms tiny droplets which are held aloft by winds to form clouds & fog. Over time drops combine until they are to heavy for wind to support, at which point they fall as rain.

Ciber said:

[Shield Upgrade : Argive Grip]
Construct a shield with the handle located along its rim and a strap in the center for the forearm. This arrangement allows better control of heavier shields with two points of support and prevents accidental shield loss in the heat of battle.

[New Weapon : Halberd]
Begin with a thrusting spear somewhat longer than a man is tall, then attach an axe-head and a large hook to opposite sides of the spear-head. The hook should curve towards with wielder and can be used to yank enemies off balance, while the axe-head lets you use swinging attacks. Additionally, you can put a sharp counterweight on the other end of the spear to make it more maneuverable or serve as a backup weapon if your spear-haft breaks. To be clear, the spear-head, axe-head, and hook should all be the same chunk of metal. It stabs. Its slices. It chops. It dices!

[Steel Production Tips]
It has come to my attention that it may not be obvious that the properties of a bloom of steel vary greatly throughout. Instead of beating it all together and getting an even mixture, you can try to cut off the better bits. In this case, I define better bits as the more shiny parts. These shiny parts have less [Carbon] than the duller parts. [Carbon] is an abundant component of life. Charcoal consists of almost pure [Carbon]. Higher [Carbon] steel is harder, less flexible, and melts at a lower temperature. Generally, for tools & weapons, you want the bulk to consist of flexible low [Carbon] steel to prevent breakage, while the cutting bits are harder high [Carbon] steel to hold a durable edge.
Luckily, we have :
[Case Hardening]
First create your tool or weapon using low carbon steel. Now coat the portions to be hardened in a paste made of charcoal, then the whole thing in clay. You will need to experiment with different firing temperature and duration's. Longer, hotter firings will result in more, deeper hardening. It is important that the clay not crack during the firing, lest the charcoal be burned instead of infusing the steel.

"If it were only the king, voice, it may be that submitting would save us the trouble of battle for now. But there is a host with him, and they will want to take what they can, too. And they will need to be fed for the return journey. And the servants of Erweh are sure to balk at any end to this that is 'easy' for me and mine.

"In battle, voice, the warparties of one side seek out the warparties of the other and attempt to meet them in a time and place they believe to me most beneficial to their efforts. There is often hesitation, excused as 'preparations' but often caused by the fact that even blooded warriors are not often eager for battle when faced with it directly. And in this time of hesitation masquerading as preparation, some lining up of clusters of warriors does occur, I think. Each side wishes to appear as large as possible, so that the other side might decide to run. And then, yes, 'tossing masses of angry people at each other,' is not an inaccurate description of what follows. It may be needlessly flippant, however, and I would not use words like that to describe any warparty I did not specifically wish to offend.

"Some decades ago the voice who called themselves the Chronicler told me of the practice of loosing arrows all at once in a 'volley.' Many warleaders found favor with the practice and do make use of it.

"What we are getting into is that the second greatest host of warriors in the world will be meeting the greatest and there will be a bloody, bloody clash.

"It seems as though you suggest that instead of killing the king, I should persuade him to take his host and leave. Even if there was dissent and some were unwilling to leave or unwilling to further follow their coward king, the disorder would make the host less dangerous to the Free People of the Nine Nations, at least.

"If I am in the King's tent, though, I think I can quite effectively threaten anything I want from him. He might be unable to deliver, but there I will be in his tent and what can he do about that?

"I hear your wisdom though, voice. If the King of Wrul had the means to make glass of his own he would not have marched so readily. This is, again, the discord caused by inequity. The traders will be displeased when I order that the most valuable of secrets should always be traded away as secrets, so to lessen discord between nations.

"Still, some or all of this host would come in any case, as that priestess of Erweh seeks so eagerly to satisfy her god's wrath against me before the end of her short, mortal life.

"I think my backup plan is killing the King of Wrul in his tent and then meeting his host in battle as they advance or retreat.

"'Hit and run' tactics will be called dishonorable by those who suffer from them or those who oppose those who benefit from them. In the first case, few among the host of Wrul will speak the tongues of the Nine Nations and so the hitters and runners are unlikely to know they are being called dishonorable. And afterward who cares what losers think of honor? Some among the people will surely call this or that dishonorable when they have a chance to undermine their personal enemies in doing so. Such is the way of all peoples.

"I think the best way to cause small holes to appear where the enemy marches is to put them there and cover them with woven straw and loose soil. But, yes. If I knew of a spirit which would do that I would use them as well. Spirits are not common in any sense. So spirits of warriors are uncommon. And so spirits of warriors who make their weapon into an extension of themselves are rarer still. And among those the axe and spear predominate. And it happens that the greatest of the warriors of the bow are often hunters and so if their spirit returns to the lands of the living, they are more likely to be a spirit of the hunt.

"So I might get one or two spirits of great archers. And these may be entreated or compelled to grant boons of steady hands and accurate sight. But I do not know of a way to combine that accuracy with the bone-chilling curses of the spirits of Fisher People who froze to death in winter. Nor how I might set a water-bearing spirit to work with an ice hall ruler. I will make some tests and see what comes of it.

"And while I am pleased to be told of the nature of rains, again I do not think I could cause rain in a distant place. If there is to be rain, it will be rain for both sides and I do not wish to heap any misery on the warriors of the Free People of the Nine Nations when they set out to battle the host of the King of Wrul.

"I will have shields made as you describe and in battles the warriors will see their use or no.

"Long-handled axes are unpopular, as I know them, due to the smallness of the axe head and the longness of the handle. The blade will strike harder, yes, but the best place to hit might not be under the axe head.

"Further, I do not understand the making of the 'halberd' head piece. Axe heads are driven onto their angled wooden handle, grown or twisted for the very purpose, and then they're cinched down around that handle. When they strike, it only drives them further back onto the handle, though they still may come loose. For the same piece of metal to reach back so that it is a spearhead and a hook behind it… I can see it, I suppose. But that is a great deal of bronze or case-hardened iron on the end of a haft that seems likely to snap or be trapped or snapped by others around the one struck.

"If some portion of every bloom is steel and it may be saved apart from the rest, then formed into blades, then case-hardened… It is well that iron is more plentiful than tin, for we will use an awful lot of it just in the separating out of the best parts. There might be some steel weapons then, perhaps even long knives, for the greatest of the chosen.

"And I thank you, voice, for an alternate and clearly explained process of case-hardening."

Gnarker said:

Greetings, Undying One. Gnarker here.

Glass has two traits that would make it excellent for making weapons were it not for it's third trait: When broken into pieces, the resulting edges are extremely sharp, and it's hardness means that it holds these edges for a long time without blunting. Unfortunately, it is also extremely brittle, and will shatter into pieces when struck with any force against something else that is hard.
Nonetheless, you may be able to make use of glass for both tools and weapons: Specifically, glass shards may be fashioned into an arrowhead like you would flintstone. This arrow should be pretty good at piercing flesh and soft padding, and if the head breaks then it should be replaced easily enough, if the arrow itself even survives and is recollected in the first place.

You may also be able to make something similar to the caltrops proposed previously, but simpler in concept: Take a wooden board, and cover one side of it in mortar, and while the mortar is still wet, set glass shards into it with their sharp edges pointing upwards. After the mortar has dried, anyone stepping onto the board without protection will have their foot cut into ribbons. Laying these out onto the battlefield in the right places should serve to protect your army from any charges, especially if they have been lightly covered in dirt and leaves and grass.
Just, please, be extremely careful when keeping track of these boards, of how many were made and where exactly they ended up and retrieving or making safe all of them afterwards; If you lose one that was laid out, then sooner or later it will ruin someone's day, if not tomorrow then in a hundred years. Entire regions have been made uninhabitable by weapons such as these used carelessly. Transporting them may also take some care, as the glass may break, and in doing so injure someone. Also, be aware that if your enemy captures some, he will most likely try to use them against you in turn.
A similar mortar-and-glass arrangement may also cover the top of a brick wall, to make scaling it more dangerous. Walls, thankfully, are somewhat harder to lose track of than wooden boards.

More on how glass may be used for more peaceful uses at a later, hopefully more peaceful time.


The crossbow is a weapon similar to a normal bow, but with several advantages.

To make one, you will need two main parts: First, the bow. You know how to make these already, though ideally the bows you want for this should be relatively short compared to longbows as tall as man, but at the same time stiffer than normal ones, so in spite of being smaller they are just as strong or even stronger than the bows you normally use, and could normally only shoot rather short arrows. This is not a problem, however, due to how the crossbow functions.

Next, the stock. A rectangular piece of wood, up to maybe the length of an arm. Across underside of the front end, cut a groove. The center of the bow is firmly affixed into this, so that when the string is drawn back and released, it slides along the top of the stock. Alternatively, bore a hole through the stock and thread the bow halfway through it.
Next, cut a second groove across the top of the stock, as far back as the string reaches when it is fully drawn back. The groove should be very slightly slanted so that it's bottom is slightly more forward than it's opening. When drawing the bow, the string is caught into this groove, so that the bow pulling the string forward, due to how the groove slants, only pulls the string all the more tightly into it.
Third, cut another groove lengthwise in the middle of the stock's topside, from the very front to just before the string catch, this one very shallow. The arrow rests here. This groove should be just deep enough that when the bowstring slides across it's sides, it sits level with the nock.

Lastly, the release mechanism: A bit below the string catch, bore a hole into the stock side-to-side. Thread a pin though this hole, which holds a lever so that it can rotate up and down freely. The top edge of the lever should be flush with the top edge of the stock. The long end of the lever points backwards, while the short end of the lever juts just a bit past the string catch.
When drawing the bow, the long end of the lever is pulled upwards so that the short end is out of the way. To loose the arrow, pull the long end down, so that the short end pushes the string up out of the catch. The front edge of the catch, the top of the stock, and their sides as well as the point where these two meet should be polished smooth in order to reduce wear on the string.

The result: A functional crossbow.

The proper stance when shooting a crossbow is to stand sideways, with the rear end of the stock firmly pressed into where the back shoulder meets the torso. The forward hand grips the forward end of the stock, the rear hand it's middle with the thumb operating the lever. The cheek is pressed to the side of the stock so that the eye that is further back sights along it. Said eye should be the dominant eye of the archer. (To find out which eye is your dominant one, quickly and without thinking about it point a finger at an object in the distance. Then, without moving the finger, close first one and then the other eye. Whichever single eye sees the finger in line with your target is your dominant one.)

The main advantage of it is the ease of use: It is said that, to make a good bowman, you should start with his grandfather, training all his life, only to then pass on all he knows to his son while he also trains all his life, who does the same for his son.
To make a good crossbowman, by contrast, takes maybe two weeks of practice, both due to a bow's arrow curving around the shaft when loosed, and due to not needing to actively hold the string back while aiming.
Speaking of aiming: When aiming for accurate shots, hold your breath, as otherwise the motions of the chest can cause your arms to sway.

The second advantage is the ammunition: The arrows for a crossbow are relatively short and thick. This makes them less likely to break, a requirement for a crossbow's often considerable draw strength, but also helpful against armor. You do not have to use arrows however: Spherical bullets (especially if they are slightly elongated) of clay or lead like you would use with a sling are perfectly seviceable. In a pinch, a smooth river pebble will do.
For the best accuracy of course, all ammunition, just like any other projectile weapon, should be as consistent in size, shape and weight as possible.

The third advantage: Crossbows tend to be less unwieldy on horseback, or when kneeling down. Some more notes on both:
When shooting from horseback, the arrow will inherit the velocity and direction of the horse, in addition to the velocity and direction it gets from the bow. Due to how these add together unless aiming straight ahead or behind, from the point of view of the archer the arrow will seem to travel sideways parallel to the horse, and he'll need to aim to the horse's rear's side of the target to compensate.
Second, when in all but the loosest of formations, normally the archers not in the front row find it difficult to aim and shoot without risk of shooting their comrades in the back. It helps if the front row kneels down so the ones behind them can shoot over their heads, with the result of doubling the arrows that a given amount of archers can efffectively shoot accurately over a given time.

There are further improvements that you can make to the crossbow, however:

First, and also just the first step towards make increasingly powerful crossbows: Affix a stirrup of metal or of sturdy rope to the front of the crossbow. When drawing the bow, step one foot into this stirrup and rest the shaft against you leg, so that you can bend forward and use both of your arms to pull the bowstring back instead of just one, allowing a much stronger bow to be used.

Second, to reduce wear on the bowstring and to improve accuracy due to the bowstring starting it's way forward while already in contact with the ammunition instead of slamming into it at speed: Instead of catching the bowstring itself in the stock's catch, tie a sturdy piece of leather onto the string, one end on each side of the stock with a little slack in the resulting loop, and pull that into the catch instead.

Third, a sight. Just behind the rearmost point where the long end of the lever can reach, affix two long-ish sticks pointing upwards to the stock, one on each side. Brace them against each other with crossbar at their ends. Across the created window, string a horizontal piece of strong but thin string - hair works well, thus the name crosshair. Also cut a little notch into the middle of the stock's front end's upper edge, so that the middle of the crosshair, the notch, and the arrow groove are in-line. Looking through the window while aiming, how high the crosshair and the notch are to each other can help you better judge the crossbows elevation to adjust for the distance to your target and the resulting projectile drop.
It works even better if you don't just have one crosshair, but several, creating what is called a ladder sight, and if you also have a vertical crosshair running though the exact middle of the window, you can better spot wether you are holding the crossbow slanted instead of straight and level.
For these to be as accurate as possible, you may need to test them out by aiming at a target, taking note of where the say the bolt will land, then shoot the crossbow and see where the bolt actually ends up, and then adjust the sights so the former matches the latter. Repeat this as often as necessary.

Fourth, better grips, pointing downwards, affixed where the hands would otherwise rest, allowing the crossbow to be held more naturally.

Gnarker said:

[X] Dragon

Mostly this mirrors things that I had planned to say. In a direct battle, unless you have weakened them enough beforehand, you will likely lose. Use your roads and your knowledge of the terrain and horses and chariots to move faster than they can in order to avoid a direct battle.
You may be able to trick your enemy into falsely thinking they have a chance for open battle in order to lure them to or away from somewhere and delay them further. Be careful that your ruse does not become the truth however.

As an addition to this, a soldier does not fight nor march well if he is dead tired. Bind spirits to haunt and terrify them when they sleep, assuming they do not know how to ward against that, and possibly have your warrior sneak close to their camp and attack at night, killing sentries and shooting arrows out of the darkness and then retreating again, so they will be forced to wake and rally all their soldiers, only to spend hours standing in the dark waiting for an attack that doesn't come instead of resting for the next days march. If you're really good, they will chase you into traps such as the glass boards I proposed.
You may also be able to bind spirits to spoil any food they do manage to acquire in spite of your efforts.

Further, the army is here to raid and steal from you. Your main goal, next to avoiding harm to the Nine Nations, is to ensure they get nothing of value: Evacuate the villages in their path so they can take no slaves, and take with you all the food and valuables that they might find so they have nothing to eat and nothing to loot.
What you cannot take with you, hide; You can reduce the signs of something being buried if, before you start digging, you cut turf (the upper layer of earth carrying grass held together by roots) into squares that are then peeled off the soil beneath and set aside. After filling in the pit, put the squares back where they were. Assuming the grass survived being transplanted so (take care you do not injure the roots more than necessary), the lawn will grow back over the cuts and conceal them. Objects of metal and stone and glass may be thrown into ponds and lakes at specific spots and be hard to find and dredge up afterwards if you do not know where exactly they are; Other objects that wouldn't otherwise might survive the same experience if sealed into oiled bags, though any leak will likely ruin them. You may in particular need to hide you hoard, as that is their main goal.
What you cannot take with you nor hide, destroy or poison.
Deny your enemy what they are looking for and give him nothing but frustration and pain in return, and the next they time they think to invade you, hopefully they will reconsider.

Gnarker said:

If she can prevent that, that would be ideal. If she cannot, she needs to prepare for that. Wether she can, only she knows, if anyone even does until after the fact.
This is war. There's always a risk that stuff is going to get broken. As long as that doesn't include people, and as long as anything too valuable can be hidden, everything else can be replaced.

Gnarker said:

I don't know. Cursing items sounds like a lot of work for something that wouldn't affect all that many enemies.

"The more I think on what has come to pass, the less pleased I am with the quantity of glass currently possessed by the tribes of the NIne Nations. I will call for it all to be made into arrowheads, for the great need of arrows, for the fact that it is more ready at hand than are rocks which haven't yet been found, and for the fact that it troubles me less if it is more evenly distributed throughout the world.

"But I will not cast precious glass and iron onto the road where the Host of Wrul will be marching. Though I may decorate the top of the walls around my great house with such.

"I will have your 'crossbows' made, Gnarker. And I will have unblooded warriors who arrive at the gathering early enough trained with them in the days allotted. I get your meaning. I would rather have a well skilled and mighty warrior pulling a good bow. But those take more time to come into being. And if your 'crossbow' can be used well by anyone after only some tens of days, then we will field as many as can be made. The fine bowyers will not be building these, though, as they instead will be constructing as many composite bows as possible for the charioteers. But their lessers and students, they will make these. And some horseback riders will practice their use as well. And others in ranks.

"The warriors of the Free People of the Nine Nations are too many to set them running ahead of the Host of Wrul in any orderly fashion. And then there are the many who will come with those warriors as well. No, there must be at least one battle and, with our greater numbers, a single battle benefits best the Nine Nations, I think.

"Even if the followers of the King of Wrul do know how to drive away pestering spirits, that will be another end to which they must work before they ever see the full strength of my warparties. I do like the idea of depriving the enemy of sleep. There are so many spirits that might be set to such a task.

"I do not think I will have any need of hiding anything, Gnarker. But if I do then I may replace the sod as you direct. But in most cases if there is enough time for elaborate burials or the preparation of oiled bags, there will be enough time to take the thing with the people fleeing, I think. In any case, I will teach my singers these tricks and they will teach others if it is necessary."

Silver719 said:

Okay, introductions, my moniker is Silver and I tend to be good at breaking things.

Right, first thing's first. What is their armor like?

Given what tech level you're at and the fact that he thinks a mighty host is necessary instead of a small team of elites and heroes, he likely won't be fielding full-plate save for in small numbers. So I'll just quick run through a couple you're likely to see. Just remember: Always go for the unarmored bits first.

First is Boiled Leather. It's exactly what it sounds like, leather that has been boiled and otherwise treated so that it becomes hard and rigid. This sort of armor is lightweight, excellent against arrows from smaller bows, and can be shaped into helms, gauntlets, chest and back plates, greaves, and boots. It can also be used to make shields, being stretched over circles of wooden planks to provide a layer for catching arrows. At the very least, failing everything else, you can expect a boiled leather chest-piece to protect their vital organs from damage. Additionally, in a pinch, the leather itself can be boiled and eaten, though it tastes as awful as it sounds. There are likely a hundred and one ways to treat the leather to get these properties, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. Instead, let's talk about its weaknesses.

Boiled leather bends. Quite easily, in fact. While a sword or an ax swung with great enough skill can cleave through boiled leather with only minor difficulty, the leather itself will crumple like paper against a mace, maul, or club swung with enough force. The leather itself does little to dampen the force behind the blow. Additionally, while it may be good at catching smaller arrows, the thrust behind a larger arrow, or even a spear, will more often than not be capable of piercing through at least far enough to draw blood. And in the case of the spear, the leverage this provides will make finishing the fight far simpler.

Next up is Breastplate. If their metal industry is great enough, plates of iron over the chest and back and helms of metal, as well as the occasional shield with a metal plate in the center, will be fairly common. The metal will, by and large, be more difficult to get through than any leather armor they might have, though if they're issuing breastplates en masse there's no guarantee they'll even bother with the leather. Whatever the case, if you only see metal on their caps or their torsos, best idea is to disregard those areas and aim for the limbs first. While it's true a man can keep fighting and killing and survive so long as his chest, gut, and head are not savaged, it becomes a fair bit harder when he's only got one good leg to stand on and one good arm to swing with.

Lastly, and there should only be about a hundred of these (if that) is the Full-Plate Knights. Typically drawn from the Nobility (if that matters to you,) the Full Plate armor you might have to deal with will cover a warrior head-to-toe in metal, thus solving the problem of 'Go for the limbs' that is typical among those simply armored in a breastplate. Still, the philosophy remains the same: go for the unarmored bits. The trick will be figuring out where those unarmored bits are, though they can typically be found at the neck and the joints.

A rather common and infamous one is directly under the armpit, where it just so happens a major artery runs through the body. Strike under the arm pit, whoever's bothering you will bleed out in a minute or two. Another good spot is behind the knee, as that space needs to be kept open for the purpose of running. Lastly is the visor. Every person needs to see, which necessitates an opening in the armor right where their eyes are. A skilled enough archer with a powerful enough bow can easily punch through the relatively thinner metal of the visor, especially if a chunk is missing to let them see. Also works good in a pinch in melee, if you've got something good for thrusting. Just aim for the eyes and it should work out. Or you'll die. But such is life, right?

Anyways, since you lack much in the way of fortifications, I won't bother going into detail about siege equipment and how to sabotage those with arrow-fire. Just let us know if they start fielding mechanical bows on a box, or crossbows as they may be known.

"Thank you, Silver, for your descriptions of armors and their vulnerabilities. When time allows, you should tell me the making of 'full plate' and what 'nobility' is, exactly."

Demonic Spoon said:

[X] [Defiance] Demonic Spoon

The greatest killers of the wars of Bronze and Iron is not bow nor spear nor sword nor axe, but famine and pestilence. In the path of the enemy army poison all the non-flowing water sources, like ponds, lakes and wells and even slow-flowing rivers, that they are likely to reach by throwing rotting corpses of animals or people into them.

If feasible, dam smaller streams to also deny them to the enemy, perhaps using spirits of earth to shift the soil into earthen berms. I have no idea if this is feasible.

Burn away all the plants of the earth and remove, burn or poison any food they may be able to reach, have horse-riding raiders go around them and attack behind any supply trains that may try to give them food and water.

Without being able to forage, and with water sources being poisoned, they shall already be dying by the time they reach your armies.

Leave more rotting corpses and feces in the path of their advance, and if possible taint their carried food and water secretly with spoiled food, rotten meat and feces.

Demonic Spoon said:

No it wouldn't. Bianca has been making roads, which improves travel times, and thus increases the size of the region she can effectively rule, she's due for an expansion. They also won't suddenly collapse into barbarism the moment Bianca moves her capital.

Roads linking current territory and a future capital should obviously be built, and the intervening tribes conquered. However these cities are clearly not as distant as you wish since they are apparently perfectly capable of attempting to invade the Nine Nations.

The cities are clearly not "half a continent away" oh Black Cat or it would be impossible for them to attempt to invade us, especially without a widespread system of roads.

The cities are around the Nine Nations.

100 feet is a conservative estimation, especially if the pit latrines breach the groundwater, as is the case in the Nine Nations, which can contaminate wells and even rivers far in excess of 100 feet away. Exact safe distances have a large variance depending on soil composition and depth of the groundwater, thus making 100 feet a good rule of thumb.

By my judgement poisoning water sources is larger health hazard than open defecation.

The required resources and manpower outweigh their usefulness at this time. We haven't advanced agriculture enough for the sort of freed up labour to be around to make this feasible. As is seen by the current perhaps semi-annual festival usage of the baths, which is quite useless in keeping people healthy.

Demonic Spoon said:

If she disapproves of how the cities around her are run, then she should rule them as she thinks is proper. Bianca is clearly an experienced governor.

Demonic Spoon said:

What Can SV Teach an Evil Sorceress? (abandoned) Original - Fantasy (1)

Rough map from Bianca's descriptions I guess.

Tribute in such times is never just shining metals and jewels, but also the food that the Nine Nations has been painstakingly gathering and storing, for else Wrul's army would starve before they could return to their city. And even if Wrul would agree to accepting tribute, his warriors would want their traditional rights of pillage and slave-taking. It is not an acceptable option to us however you slice it, especially since our military force is on a similar level to that of Wrul.

While a good plan, I fear ambush by the wizards of that City, where if only by dint of sheer numbers, some witch or such of skill would have risen to the top and serves the King of Wrul, or is themselves King. Bianca cannot die, but she can be trapped and sealed.

I know that subdueing a city would take a long time, which is why I want to get started as soon as possible. You say that a city is not of the Nine Nations, but the Nine Nations were once Eight Nations, and will hopefully in the future become Ten Nations, and Eleven Nations and Twelve and so on. Bianca has done this before, and I hope for her to do so again, but this time with a city.

You say that there is no merit in taking for ourselves a city as our new capital, and I say you are wrong. Only with a concentration of manpower can things of grandness be achieved such as bathhouses and libraries and steel and windmills and waterwheels and the slaying of gods.

"Poison by corpse? How convenient. There will be no shortage of those, with the winters being as tough as they have been. I will have the despoilers dig up recent graves if fresher corpses cannot be found by more convenient means.

"Of course, if i could easily dam a stream I could more easily build a bridge over that stream… Hmm.. . Perhaps that's something to consider afterward.

"But, yes, let the Host of Wrul see ruin ahead of them and behind. Let them know woe.

"The people do wash themselves more regularly than twice a year, voice. It is only the Great Baths of Burgeck that see use so rarely. And that is for all the work that goes into their operation, as you say.

"It is a fine thing, voice, to say that I should subjugate Wrul after this. And in years of plenty I would consider it now even. But for the moment, I will consider the coming battle and what comes after will wait until it comes after."

MeridianOwl said:

I am surprised there is no discord for meager discussion, but I, the voice spoken of as 'Meridian', feel that it may be interesting to invite the king to take tribute from the nine nations, pick as much as his army can carry from the hoard. Maybe parley with him first.

The plan I think of either was is one of brutally slaughtering the king, possibly taking one of his trusted men as prisoner to torture information out of, and soon enough Bianca will travel to Wrul herself and proceed to slaughter the king's family near and distant, those who may be noble, and so on until the city bows to pay the goddess tribute, or will be crippled for when we siege them in due time.
I do not think Bianca should move her capital to Wrul or any other city, as they are quite the journey away. Past that I doubt she'd want to.

I do think we should consider our spirits of cold. They are family are they not?
As spirits they hold unique abilities, and that can assist us in battle. Making the enemy cold within their armor so that it breaks more easily or such, and give any of our overheating warriors relief.

In a similar vein do you think we could coax the army to move through the cursed woods? Redirection might be a pain, but if we could get a neighboring tribe to try and "ally" themselves with our enemy by giving advice of where our border is weakest (and "a quick route to the (words that imply Bianca is mortal, taking her reputations to turn it against her and make her look vulnerable)'s hoard") so that their forces will be worn down before we meet them.

Could also try to pull our dear friend (rest in peace, you had so much potential now-dead bicon) Kahl from the underworld. Maybe even Va too if his spirit still persists. Use them to bring up the souls of slain traders, with Kahl focusing on that of those Wrul had taken. Worst case maybe trying to make a mad race towards Wrul to collect spirits if this is a regular thing the king did.
Either way, again the focus is to use our goddess' superior magic to even the playing field so that our blades may shine better in battle

While I think we very much need to curb discussions outside strategies, it can be viewed as useful for building a foundation that may later prove important. We can argue that their health is improved through this ritual leisure. While not frequent the activities practiced during a festival help build morale, familiarity with each other and the baths, and down the road culture.
For now it's inadvisable to implement them widely, and in the future when they come up I will advocate that we only have them in each tribe's center at most.

I am also going to outline something.
-Bianca has expressed disinterest in making a city, it's foundations as our conceptions of city states have, etc. There's a lot more to it than this, but there is a foundation of why she will not be making a citystate the way others have right off the bat.
-Wrul is a journey of tens of days. It is not a journey that can be made within a week. If I'm being generous it would take a month to get there from the Nine Nations. This is again being generous. While Bianca can travel at inhuman paces about the world if she truly chose to, this does not mean that any others could at present.
-The people of Wrul do not know Bianca, do not worship her, and do not have loyalty to her. They are not the people of the nine nations. They are not our people, they are not her people.
-The people of the Nine Nations do not hold the customs of the cities, do not hold their social order, and do not have want for those. They do not worship other deities as they do Bianca, they are loyal and find the idea of abandoning her as their goddess a strange one. They follow concepts that while sometimes crude align themselves with the good of the whole (their justice bordering on the foundation of restorative justice for example) rather than the good of a mortal ruler who's machinations are of mortal design. Things like 'For my family has so little and yours so much and only you can right this wrong.', that while the cities may hold in similar ways likely don't, and likely suffer in their own for not knowing.

There is little practicality or reason to move the capital (which we only technically have), or for Bianca to try and rule Wrul. If we so chose to do that it could take not a year but likely a century.
We need to align our plans and our designs with the ways of the Nine Nations, as otherwise it is an uphill battle for gains that may not be there, and only leave new problems in their wake.

[X] [Defiance] Demonic Spoon

MeridianOwl said:

I believe you misunderstand. There is no intent to actually give them tribute. The nine nations, and Bianca, give no tribute to any powers.
This is what they call A Trap.

Yes, there is always a risk of Bianca's capture, and I feel enemy magic users in positions of power will be inevitable. One of my goals is for Bianca's prowess to continue increasing. She is still formidable on her own in body, mind, and soul though.

You're missing a critical detail. The Sleomjash entered the nine nations over a fair period of time involving intermarriage, and bringing them into the fold. I do feel we could subdue Wrul, but I feel there are a series of significant barriers still in the way of the Why and How.

Again, it is not time for this.

"Oh, yes. I see, Meridian. The matter of despoiling Wrul itself is relevant in that it makes the next great battle less likely for fear of my wrath. That is sensible. Still, I will not seriously consider it until later.

"I have decided, voices, to employ the ice hall spirits in the unsettling of the host's sleep. Though the enemy may be wise in the way of spirits, there are so many ice halls now and so many spirits of those who froze to death in the harsh winter.

"No great group traveling will look on the cursed woods as anything other than an obstacle to circumvent. The trees are too thick and other than the streams that run through it there are no paths apparent from without. It is all twisted and brambled and any who come close know its wrongness. Were it not so, I would leap to misdirect the Host of Wrul, as you say, to seek my treasures within those foul lands. Although, there is also the matter that there are Forest People living near to Wrul who know of the cursed woodlands.

"I don't know what a trader's spirit might do for us and am wary of going through the trouble to call them up from the underworld without knowing what we might do with them. The slain do seek vengeance, however. And Kahl was a warrior of note in her youth before she took to trading -- no chosen, but it was said that she surely would have been had she continued along the warrior's ways.

"To be clear, Meridian, the Free People of the Nine Nations may 'worship' whatever gods they choose, for whatever that means. They may not, however, offer tribute to anyone but me, god or otherwise. Also, I do not wish to speak of cities now.

"I think rather than the trap they might see coming, I will slip in among them like a viper. And then, yes, trap them between the gathered warriors of the Nine Nations and starvation. Yes."

Kiba said:

We should try to use diplomacy, including tribute of glass goods to delay the King's army while we prepare.

Kiba said:

Towns will eventually grow into cities. We'll get to that sooner or later.

Kiba said:

Could we leave cursed item for the enemies to loot in each village?

Kiba said:

We can't use them for attacking, but we could certainly use horse riders as scouts and messengers.

[/spoiler]"I would like to delay the Host of Wrul, voice. But a deceptive gift will do little to slow them, I fear, when they are racing against starvation. Still, perhaps I am mistaken in that. And I can leave little troves in abandoned villages to break up the host and perhaps slow it. Yes. Thank you, voice."


 B R E A K

"Glorious, ruinous battle, voices! I won. Let me start by telling you that the Free People of the Nine Nations are victorious and most particularly, I won. I have slain so many today, including heroes.

"But I will start at the beginning.

"Early on, youths and warriors of small stature were sent south on horseback to despoil the land. Many still have not returned, but I am told that some few trickle in every so-many days.

"The villagers they met, whose lands and goods they were told to ruin, treated them like raiders. And I suppose that's not an unreasonable reaction. But it was inconvenient.

"Very few were available who were all three of small enough to ride horseback, warriors or aspiring to be warriors, and conversant in the tongues of outsiders, or those outsiders in particular. Some of the outsiders did speak the tongues of the Nine Nations. But still, it was difficult to convey the doom that was coming for those villagers. And in those cases where it was understood, it was not believed. And so the villagers fought hard to defend their fields and wells and all such. And they set their warriors, blooded and not, against the youths on horseback.

"Now, even a youth on horseback is a terrifying thing to face. But in any case the youths did not have many victories and were largely scattered into the wilderness and separated from the warriors who were meant to lead them. And most immediately significantly, separated from those who could lead them home.

"Some of the youths made their way back anyway. And we know not how many still wander and how many are surely dead, whether by attack or the dangers of the wilds. And the lack of experienced riders and more so horses experienced in being ridden hampered the gathered warriors of the Nine Nations throughout the battle to come.

"As we have discussed before, voices, it can be difficult to get the truth out of a person when their deepest desire is, instead, to tell you what they believe you want to hear. So it is hard to say what exactly happened when the Hosts of the King of Wrul found the treasures my singers planted throughout the lands to the south, and then told warriors of Wrul about by subterfuge.

"But we do know that many of these troves were found. We know this because we found them in the tents of the warleaders of the Hosts of Wrul, and in the tent of their dead king, and in the tents of the sons of that dead king. I do not think there was much in the way of infighting, there.

"I do know, however, that there was some fighting among the Host of Wrul during the battle itself when they realized the arrows that struck them were tipped with precious glass. Oh, what a sight that was! Only a small number of the total arrows loosed were glass, of course. But the especially unscrupulous among the Hosts of Wrul could be seen checking every landed arrow they could for glass, leading to some discord among them. I think, though, that their fellows set them straight by force and by speech often enough that little came of it.

"If they had won the day, however, that need to check every single arrow for precious glass might have slown their looting. Arrows, you might know, often stick up from where they strike, feathers in the air. But the arrowhead is often buried in whatever it struck. So after the battle, all know the placement of many arrows and can see them from some distance. But none know which are precious glass and which are crude stone. Even now, people of the Nine Nations still revisit the fields of this battle seeking prizes, as they may for months to come, I think.

"However disappointing the despoilers and the snares of covetousness might have been, the hunters of the Nine Nations made good on their directive to blind the Hosts of Wrul. Those outsider scouts died when the warleaders of the Nine Nations wished that they die and returned when they wished that they should return, having seen what the warleaders of the gathered warriors of the Free People of the Nine Nations wished that they should see. By amush and pit and snare and running, harried combat, the greatest hunters of the Nine Nations showed that they were greater than the scouts of the Hosts of Wrul.

"In the camps of the gathered warriors of the Nine Nations, potters fashioned and fired small figures of a hunter's horn. These tiny figures, most smaller than the last digit of the thumb of a large woman's hand, are tied to the trophies taken during the hunt of scouts. In this way, these trophies and prizes are set apart from those taken in the great battle.

"I do not think the King of Wrul or those others who lead his hosts ever knew what was happening to their scouts. Largely, at least, they were fooled into thinking great beasts wandered the lands through which they traveled. Even when those lands were filled with fields and pastures and villages, still they believed wild beasts took their men. They believed that rather than believing they were so bested.

"But despite that the warriors of the Free People of the Nine Nations knew just where the Hosts of Wrul were while the hosts knew nothing, still the raiding of the 'supply lines' of the Hosts of Wrul was futile. The warriors might strike in the day, and be thrown back. Or they might strike at night, and be driven off. There were some losses on both sides. And there were some goods and food of the Hosts of Wrul set to burning. But little came of any of it.

"On the other hand, in knowing just where the Hosts of Wrul would be while they knew nothing of us, I was well able to make my way into their camp. Slowly I crept from shadow to shadow, drifting like smoke across torchlit paths. I took my time to seek and undo the spells of watchfulness that sat around the king's tent. I carefully removed or stilled bells and rattles. I bound some in the very tents and lines they clung to.

"I slipped into the king's tent when some servant or bed companion left in the night. And when they returned I strangled them first.

"The King of Wrul was not a young man. He was not overlarge, but given to snoring nonetheless. So it was that another bed-servant woke independently of my work. I smothered them, but I do think they saw the corpse of the other first.

"There were some magics protecting the king. I could not interfere with them without risking waking the king in the doing and for that reason could not tell in what ways the king might be protected. So I called up a spirit of one drowned, to silence the king, and prepared a spell for slaying, and also readied a poisoned dagger over the king's heart. And then, in the moment of action, all of these things I did together while also smothering the king in his pillows.

"There was no alarm. And from one murderous act or another the king died. So I crept on, seeking the singer who left me to learn from that heroic sorcerer. If she had not returned I would not have sought her out. But there she was, with my enemies, setting herself against me. And if she was tricked into betraying me then I relieved her of that trickery when I separated her head from her body.

"That, surprisingly, did set off alarms. And a cloud of stinging insects fell upon me and bit and stung at me even in my form like smoke. I was, of course, unharmed. But all around me were very aware of my presence.

"I killed a few more on my way out of the camps of the Hosts of Wrul, but none of any consequence.

"I bade the witches and wise people to wait until I returned to set upon the camp. While it was still two or three days away, as we had reckoned, we began to send spirits into the camp to pester our enemies at night. The spirits of the ice halls we compelled to chill the bones of those with the finest tents, so that they could not warm themselves to sleep comfortably. We called on screaming spirits of great birds, longs passed from the world, which passed as chicks but not before screaming for absent parents for tens of days. We called on the spirits of wildcats sacrificed for the purpose of persisting in their incessant yowling. And we called on the spirits of parents who saw their children all killed before them, powerless to do anything but watch. Finally, we called on the spirits of great cats, given to shaking people and their things until they break apart.

"As the hunters of scouts continued to prowl around the camp of the Hosts of Wrul heard at all times of the night the noise of spirits and Fisher People and their beasts. And it is said that all who faced the Hosts of Wrul saw the weariness in their eyes at all times.

"When the Hosts of Wrul finally came to the appointed place, they found themselves looking up a wide hillside, with dark lines streaking across it. Figures would have moved behind and between them, with torches and other lights in the night. And they would have known that if they attempted to go around that place, all the gathered warriors of the Free People of the Nine Nations would have fallen on them as they traveled. So they met us there, to do battle.

"There walked among them, then, a giant shaped like a Fisher Person, in robes and with a shining light around its head. And the Hosts of Wrul claimed it was Erweh itself. But the people did not believe.

"On the day of battle, we two masses of warriors faced off against each other, and sent each our many, many chariots to strike at the other. To the left and the right the chariots peeled away, racing alongside each other and loosing arrows at each other with fervor. Here the glass arrows first had their effect. Where down behind the chariots of the Nine Nations came many warriors of great skill with the bow down the hillside. And so one or more of the chariot archers fell to a glass arrow from another chariot archer or a warrior on the hill. And when the warriors of the Hosts of Wrul saw the glittering of the glass arrowheads, some few ran out on the field to claim it as a prize. And there they were struck by arrows from the warriors of the Nine Nations up the hill, some of which were also glass.

"It is the way of chariot battle that they should wheel around in front of the warriors of either side, sending always arrows at each other. But with the surging of warriors down the hill, there were some places where the chariots of Wrul could not pass without being struck by the arrows of the Nine Nations. And so the two hosts came together, instead, to do battle.

"Robbed of the chance to slay that heroic sorcerer in the camp I sought him out on the field of battle in the mixing of the violence and death and blood and sh*t. I slew many who obstructed me and some who sought to hinder or bind me. But I found him and we worked great magics against each other.

"He made to blot out the sun so I set the sky ablaze. He cratered the ground around me to cause blasts of soil which tore at me so I ensorceled his robes to bind him. He turned the ground under me to quick mud, so hurled myself through the air at him. In the last moments of his life, he summoned a great frond of crimson force to bat me out of the sky. I shattered it, and fell upon him to beat him about the head and shoulders with my own hands until he came apart.

As I ended my work on him, gorey messes dripping from the hands forearms of my binding cloths and generous spattered with it as well, I turned to find the priestess of Erweh.

"Finally," she said. And she flung a balled up cloth at me. Some clever trick of weights and sindings caused it to spin open in the air and fall over me like a net falls on the water.

"And then I was no longer on the battlefield. But instead I saw around me the spirits of the dead in the underworld.

"The first came up to me and said, 'You should not be here, Undying. When your end comes it will only be empty nothingness.'

"So, of course, I wrestled with her. She was strong and held me fast while another came to grapple me. Again and again the spirits piled on until I feared I would be contained. And so I called upon magics I thought were spent and found instead I was full of their force, lifted as I never have been before. And for some time afterward I struggled with the spirits of the dead, casting them about and up and down as well. Long I fought in the underworld while on the surface, the battle continued.

"I am told that in the first the firebombs were a disaster. There was a bursting of flames and screams among some of the warriors of the Nine Nations who carried the firebombs. And in their number were some of my singers and many of both were lost to horrific screaming, running, flaming deaths.

'In the meanwhile, the many warparties of the Free People of the Nine Nations shouted to one another and passed messages by horseback rider and blew hunting horns as the great wings of the mass of warriors attempted to swing in and enfold the Hosts of Wrul. But they crowded in on themselves instead, bunching up and crashing against each other. And the chariots of Wrul swung around to fall on them.

"Around that time, I am told, those in high places on the hillside saw that the dust cloud building behind the Hosts of Wrul was spitting out more chariots. But these chariots were led by a warrior on horseback, riding and loosing arrows with obvious skill. And so a cry when up from the Free People of the Nine Nations in those high places. And messages traveled by horseback. And soon all were made to know that Kahl of Lan was striking the Hosts of Wrul from behind, leading chariots of strange make, the obvious work of outsider hands.

"In the next, firebombs were flung well into the enemy by staff slings. And there they burned the hide and paste armor of the lesser warriors of the Hosts of Wrul who, being crowded together tightly, came to light each other on fire. And they ran and crushed each other. And still they burned.

"At a signal of hunters horns again, Kuwuzt the chief of Zouchaud and his son Gast each took command of a wing of the warparties of the Nine Nations. And they exhorted them to press their warriors to go around the Hosts of Wrul to envelope them. Gast did lead his wing from the front, and carved a great swath of death through the warriors of Wrul, for he was a large man and had a black and shining long knife of iron with an edge of exceptional sharpness and a black shield of iron with a skirt of brass below it. On his head was a helm like a skull and on either shoulder he wore scalps of his enemies.

"But from out of the masses of the Warriors of Wrul strode a warleader with a shining breastplate of polished bronze, and a helm shaped like the head of some beast with shining stones for eyes. His shield was as tall as some warriors of lesser stature are. And his spear shone as through it were made of solid gold -- though it was not.

"These two, they fought as the battle around them gave them room. The fierceness of their combat threw up dust as to block the light of the blazing sky. And in that shadow, though none saw it to happen, they each came to stab at each other. The shining warlord died on the field where he fell. But Gast, Son of Kuwuzt hauled himself back to his lines, leaving a smear of blood behind him, to raise his final opponent's scalp over his head victoriously before dying.

"It happened that there was one among the warleaders of the chariots of Wrul who had a great crest of horsehair on his helm. And this marked him as the leader through the dust and all. And with his own horn, the sound of which was easily known from the others, he called the chariots of Wrul to leave from the greater part of the battle and rush to face the chariots Kahl of Lan brought with her. And he did bring about many, many chariots to swing behind the camps of the Hosts of Wrul and begin to fight with the chariots of Kahl of Lan.

"There have been found many among the Hosts of the Late King of Wrul who dress themselves as mourners at all times, even in battle. These are those who dedicated themselves to Erweh, and serve that god with a holy fervor. They threw themselves fearlessly into battle, with no hesitation. They were seen to pull a spear through their body so that they could throttle the spear's bearer with their bare hands as they died.

"And one among these came to shine with a terrible light. She gathered about her the smell of grave dirt. The flesh around her eyes darkened. Her hair fell away. And she became quick like death itself. It seemed that the touch of her hand alone would kill a warrior, while she herself danced untouchable through the warriors of the Nine Nations.

"As the two wings of the gathered warriors of the Free People of the Nine Nations failed again to surround the Hosts of Wrul, them came to crumbling, I am told. And it was only by the great bellows of Kuwuzt of Zouchaud, who could be heard in all places that day, that they came back together with each other to hold against their foes.

"In that time I came to cast away all the spirits of the dead which assailed me. And grabbing the substance of the underworld itself in my hands, I tore it asunder and emerged from the torn shroud that the priestess of Erweh had cast over me. As I emerged from the underworld I found that my strength of magic felt in that place fell away, and I was more exhausted than I have been at any time since I escaped my captivity.

"But I saw nearby the priestess of Erweh, where she was chanting blessings of her god over the battle. She turned -- perhaps knowing what the sound of tearing cloth meant -- but I was already upon her. I ripped out her throat and tore away the lower law from her skull.

"The territory of battle had shifted as a stream winds its way this way and that over wide plains. And being at that time behind the greatest of the fighting I was surrounded by the Hosts of Wrul. So I set about killing them, as one does.

"At one time I threw the ragged-skinned jawbone at a warrior of Wrul, only for him to snatch it from the air, fold it into his sling, and begin to spin it around over his head. As he did so he chanted, and the spirit of the priestess of Wrul, only freshly slain, returned to aid him.

"I made to fall on him and rend him apart, but at the place where the sling would pass over me, I was stopped. I could feel the spirit of the priestess, holding me back. So I called up the spirit of a starving wolf, and sent it to gnaw on the war witch who stood against me.

"He called on a spirit of a great bull, full of the strength of its prime, to gore me and cast me into the air. And in the air I called on the spirit of an ermine to dive under his shield and another spirit of a harvester, to cut him down.

"His priestess shield held against all, and he called on the spirit of a great cat, such as I have not seen since before my confinement, which took me in its mouth to run away. But I compelled it to stop. And then I focused my will against the spirit of the priestess, and the war witch turned his will to bolster that spirit, and we locked against each other while spirits churned around us and none other would come close.

"In this time the warriors of the Hosts of Wrul came to falter. And their courage failed them. And they fled. And the warriors of the Free People of the Nine Nations fell on them as they fled and captured and slew them.

"But among the Hosts of Wrul there was one warrior of the bow into whom came one of the spirits of accuracy that I had prepared for the battle by lost while trapped in the underworld. And the spirit came into him, and made him more like it. And in his eyes burned the terrible witchlight of spiritual possession. And each time he drew his bow there was an arrow of ice on his string. And each arrow of ice struck a warrior of the Nine Nations. And each warrior so struck fell to the ground as though they were naked in snow in winter, whether the stiked killed them or not. And in this way did this archer of ice guard the retreat of much of the Hosts of Wrul, as they made their way back south away from the place of the great battle.

"After the battle, we found that the giant form meant to be the god Erweh was made of thin planks of wood, stitched-together cloth, and magical trickery. It was held up on poles carried by the mad followers of Erweh in their mourning garb and made to move by their gyrations. To raise its hands over its head, three poles would meet at the base of the pole holding its hand and lock together by clever means so that those three could raise the one perfectly upright and well out of the reach of anyone else on the ground.

"Kuwuzt of Zouchaud found his son and wailed his sorrows into the wind and all people everywhere surely knew his pain in that time. Gast, the firstborn of Kuwuzt, had fallen. Gast, the mightiest child of Kuwuzt, was no more. And horrible and frightening are the lamentations of Kuwuzt, which still continue in some manner, now aided by my singers as is their convention.

He has also been named the new First Chief of the Nine Nations with the passing of Haronno of Sleomjash

"Kahl of Lan captured the crested cariotteer of the Hosts of Wrul, one of the sons of the King of Wrul, it happens. And she told us all that she had purchased an army at Liavint which she meant to lead to Wrul to make herself its ruler. When she arrived she heard that the King of Wrul heard of her army but thought she was coming from the lands of the Nine Nations, and set out to meet and defeat her. So she sent her army after the Hosts of Wrul.

"In time, I wore down the war witch who stood against me and took him as my prisoner. I also claimed the warrior touched by Erweh from where she was buried under bodies of warriors of the Nine Nations. The touch of death means nothing to the Undying.

"And now the dead and the living and the captured are all counted. There are counts, as well, of the escaped. But these are less sure and, as I can see, less useful.

"The most important count is of mouths and bellies and food. And there is not enough food in the Nine Nations. Harvest is still to come. But Servant my First Table-Ruler tells me that even if the next harvest is greater than all that have come before it, there will not be quite enough food for the winter. And this year's harvest will not be so great, as the last and the one before and the one before that have all been meager.

"It is the number of bond captives taken, I am told. We do not have enough to feed them all. And so the question is what should be done with them. And in that I turn to you, voices."

[ ] [Captives] Let the people take the captives they want and deal with their own problems
[ ] [Captives] Set most of the captives free and let them deal with their own problems
[ ] [Captives] Kill most of the captives in such a way that the spirits find their way to their homes and not to the places of their deaths
[ ] [Captives] Write in​

"Kahl of Lan left most of her hired army at Wrul, where they surrounded the city where she left them. Now she tells me that she would return and means to rule the city. She has asked for my blessing. What should I provide her?"

[ ] [Seizure] Give Kahl of Lan Bianca's token blessing
[ ] [Seizure] Give Kahl of Lan more 'treasure' to purchase more power
[ ] [Seizure] Send warriors of other tribes to 'assist'
[ ] [Seizure] Send table-rulers to 'assist'
[ ] [Seizure] Send singers
[ ] [Seizure] Send the best singers, table-rulers, and warriors
[ ] [Seizure] Write in​

"The Gulugr must be repaid for their service. They understand well that they labor and that for their work they receive cattle and food and such. With food already being tight, cattle and grainshares are difficult if not impossible to be found to spare. In this case, they have taken prizes from the field. But they do not want those only. That is not why they came. How should they be rewarded?"

[ ] [Compensation] 'Compensate' them with a token blessing
[ ] [Compensation] Tell the tribes to pay them as they normally would
[ ] [Compensation] Tell the tribes to bring them into the Nine Ways Pact
[ ] [Compensation] Arrange for some 'accidents'
[ ] [Compensation] Write in​

"Finally, the lands of the Tribe of Tash were sorely damaged in the passing of the Hosts of Wrul and the battle itself. In was in this place that we determined to face the King of Wrul, for the sake of preparation time and access to roads. Now the Tash will call on their neighbors for aid, and those neighbors will call further, and all the people will have less in the coming years than they would when already food is not plentiful. What should be done for this?"

[ ] [Desolation] Draw from the granaries of all using the same system that fed the gathered warriors
[ ] [Desolation] While the warriors are still gathered, steal food from all surrounding peoples
[ ] [Desolation] Let the people solve their problems as they're inclined to
[ ] [Desolation] Write in​


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