The southern lands of Makavali have always been intensely wrestled for. Access to important trade routes, deep sea ports located in natural enclosures, and a high-rise vantage point whose strategic value cannot be underestimated, making them a prize greedily worth claiming. Many did do so, but few held long to them. At the time, the local Bardotti were the rulers over Makavali, having claimed the region after the fall of the Slygonian Ascendancy and, more or less consistently, having been able to subdue the other tribes since then. Yet, a new threat would find its way south, along the Hasnalatan glen. Having split from their Verus brethren, the former Nakarian tribesmen of the Narberus marched south, searching for a new home, pillaging as the horde went on. The flatlands of the Makavali-Niqesse lowlands offered enough farms and resources for them to hunker down and reave their way into a life of opulence and plenty. It would not take long for news of their first incursions to reach Bardotti ears. Retaliation was swift but too emboldened by decades of victories where opposition was laughable at best. The Bardotti army surprised the Narberus raiders just outside Sura, a farming village close to the Niqesse border, on a warm Summer day. Fighting was fierce, and losses were great on both sides. The Bardotti retreated, which would mean a Narberuan victory, but the victors were apparently left in a sore state their raiding capacities were halted for the rest of Summer and Autumn. The following Spring would see skirmishes resume the hostilities.
Art by J.P.Targete
Nonetheless, Narberuan tactics had shifted, avoiding a head-to-head clash with the more numerous Bardotti army. No logical pattern seemed to exist for the attacks, and the Bardotti ended up squandering the warmer months chasing ghosts, visiting murdered villages, spending money in an ever-growing military effort, and not doing the harvest. The colder months would see the highwaymen retreat to the further-reaches of Lacanor and Pardos. For two years army chased raiders, while little success to show. Bardotti commanders were executed or demoted, replacements hastily trained, and complacency and frustration became their worst enemies. For when the first rains of Autumn muddied the lands on the third year, the Narberus assaulted the main bastions of the Bardotti forces. The superior number of the defenders was useless compared to the viciousness and expertise of the assailants. Northern axes cleaved a gory path to the core of the Bardotti power structure, surgically. The previous year had seen the Narberuan forces study and prepare for the final push, and the Bardotti were masterfully tricked. Soon, no other options remained for the locals than to capitulate and throw their weapons at the feet, and put their lives at the mercy, of their new Narberuan rulers. Many fled to the east, to the lands of Niqesse and Taranis, where they would meet the tribes of the Marqess and the Nattagi, respectively. That cultural and ethical exchange would end up being the base for the Holy Thorian Empire to rise in the future, once the religious catalyst was ready.
Cover picture: https://www.pinterest.com/guyyouell/warrior-images/
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