The Sacking of Ambelas

The defensive perimeter on Vardamas, including its sister military harbors Ahtanmas and Naqalia, is an impressive achievement of strategic planning and adapting to your enemies’ plans. But it wasn’t always like that. On the early days that followed the unification of the Slygonian city-states and powers behind a common banner, the League of Cities managed to expel the Narkarian invaders, pushing them beyond the Avar mountains into Nasgarn. In those early days, the council prioritized military actions, especially ones that would provide a quicker response to attacks and an easier defense foothold. Inland incursions had been the most common ones, with the settlements northwest and northeast of Slygon not being that bothered as much from pirates. Once the Vardaman line of defense was up, and attack after attack was being thwarted with ease, the southerners relaxed. And forgot the enemy they were dealing with.

In a daring plan, in a collaboration unseen even during the Twelve Year Occupation, the Narkarians bid their time and prepared. Having waited for the end of Spring, they sailed their ships along sea, up rivers, lakes and creeks, from Osghlyn and Wasluven, until they reached the western shores of Nasgarn. There, using chopped down trees as a rolling platform, pushed and dragged their fleet up to the River Blafin. It was a long period, hard and vicious, that truly tested the sailors’ determination. Almost a year passed, with winter causing boats to be damaged, destroyed, requiring extensive repairs, and even being frozen in place. Once again in their preferred medium, the swift boats and skilled naval army rode downstream, connecting with another massing fleet on the mouth of the river, from Jaumecyr and Caiwyn. Taking just a few weeks to rest and prepare the assault, they would catch their enemies by surprise.

Slygonian intelligence knew of the fleet coming from the kingdoms along the Gulf of Thorg for several months. Sea raiders were not infrequent, and the local forces knew how to dispatch them, and prepared for another run-of-the mill job.They had never expected the heavy hitters from the West and North, considerably more competent sailors and seafarers, would join them. As so, the fleet that was waiting for the Narkarian raiding party was ill prepared and completely outnumbered to efficiently stand in their way. As the defenders’ vessels burned or were scattered all across the Sea of Aglarond, the way to Ambelas was open for the taking. The Narkarian fleet left a scorching trail behind them, stealing everything that they couldn’t uproot and take back. Slygonians were made slaves of, riches were plundered, livestock hauled back into the ships. Scholars say that the forces of Narkarn only retreated when their ships – both those that had completed the journey and the new ones they built to help them return their loot – were so full and manned by such limited crews they were forced to return.

The Sacking of Ambelas marked a new page in the Slygon-Narkarn hostilities, and allowed the militaristic Kodokunan to grow in influence. With all other city-states still unable to handle the shocking violence, the veteran fighters that manned many of the Vardaman posts, designed a plan for two strongholds. A western one would oversee the threats lurking in the Bay of Fjords, from the Peninsula of Ahtanmas; and an eastern one on the ravaged coast of Ambelas, for those coming from the Gulf of Thorg. This response has proven solid over the years, further solidifying the Kodokunan-design wall that has kept the land safer since.

Cover picture: Burning Village by Andreas Rocha

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