[CANON] [RP Episode] Air and Sea


#1

”Sir!”

The tall lanky soldier snapped to attention, his eyes filled with fierce energy.

”Sit down Legate. I have a proposition for you.” Caesar motioned to the chair in front of him. He crossed one leg over the other, and perused the man in front of him.

Tall, with a lean and lanky look, with a grizzled beard and shabby uniform, he wasn’t much to look at. His brown hair was filled with hints of grey, and his face had a haunted look. Flavius Marius has not been treated well in life, and had seen it as punishment for his misdeeds by Neptunus. When his wife died in childbirth, he had hurled himself into the work of running his legion with a tenacity that set in at odds with the politicians in Valkora. Forced into retirement, Gaius knew his true worth. Godfearing in the extreme, Marius saw warfare as the work of the god, and so waged it with every bit of ferocity at his disposal. Knowing Danheim’s motives and views on Valkoria, Gaius decided to fight fire with fire.

”You know why I summoned you Legate Marius?” the Emperor asked.

”Yes sir. My duty is to the nation, I only wish to serve.” Marius’ voice had a slight rasp, a bark to it. Men feared and loved that voice. ”The atrocities committed by the enemy are a transgression of deplorable depravity. They must be found, and sent running.”

Gaius smiled briefly. ”You know the force of enemy opposed us? Kleriel, Danheim, even Maruba. The Keelish lines do not break, and the Danheim berserkers do not flee.”

Marius’ words cut like steel. ”Then if they do not run, then they will die.”

Caesar nodded. ”I’m glad we see things the same, General. You will receive the commission when you leave.”

The army set out the same day, sailing north in the fleet, following the western coast of the continent. The new Dux Maris, a lowborn man risen through the ranks named Aetius. Marius was in command of the land army, and the two spent the trip north planning a joint strategy. Marius was insistent in his demands for aggression, to bring the fight to the enemy, and Aetius agreed.

They arrived in the frigid ocean, in the North, 2 weeks of sailing later. Foam curled past from the bows of the battleships, and surf sprayed upon the decks of the cruisers, lower down in the water. Chunks of ice slid past, a reminder of the dangers present. Marius has made sure to issue the men winter clothing, and now they were glad of it. The temperature had dropped considerably as they sailed farther from home, and now the legionaries made the switch to warm woolen garments. The men frolicked in the snow upon the decks, most of them seeing it for the first time. Water froze on the decks, causing a variety of fallen giants to report to the infirmary with minor bruises. But suddenly, all gamboling ceased, and everything was silent but for the humming of the ships’ engines. A gigantic range of snow covered mountains, rose from the horizon, far in the distance, but filled with ominous malice. But the steelships sailed on, their proud flags snapping in the harsh cold wind.
image

Valkoria had come North at last.

@Aragottix


#2

War preparations in Kleriel began with a ceremony.

A host of Hellebronai stood shield locked, bearing spears vertically stood beside them, in neat lines to the left and right side of a wide walkway. A magister stood at the end of this walkway, with tall candles lit behind him on a shrine of flowers. He was bearing a traditional Keelish Katana, and with it, he was granting many young acolytes the title of Samurai, to lead and fight along side Kleriel’s troops in the war. All of them having equipped their colourful and feathered uniforms for the occasion. Beside each acolyte, their master Immorai stood, so that they may watch proudly as they finally pass from their apprenticeship.

Meanwhile, the army of Keelish and Mechari warriors had gathered at the ports of the empire, to hear one last farewell speech from the Archon before embarking on a journey many could not hope to return from. The Archon bid her farewell to her troops in Meridian personally, but her words were broadcast across the imperium for all to hear. In this war, the world would witness Kleriel from a different perspective.

Kleriel’s army has gone through its own reform, and has come to apply many popular assets used by other advanced nations in its own military, such as the rifle. Especially thanks to Kaveh from which the Keelish obtained machine guns 2 years ago, and Valkoria, from which the Keelish got their first rifle from Marcus all those years ago.

However, the Keelish found ordinary rifles not much of an improvement over their magical prowess in warfare, so they kept experimenting all these years until hey’ve managed to bring a mage’s concentrated fire blast inside of a gun, except the blast could be aimed way more accurately, and have far greater range.
They did not invent magical rifles however. Or at least, nonsensical magic rifles. The rifles are loaded with a redstone battery, when dormant, the redstone charges up to full capacity, when the trigger is pulled, the charge gets released, causing a puls of energy to abruptly fly out of the barrel in the intended direction. As such it has been deemed the ‘‘pulse rifle’’. It is still a prototype though, so the Keelish are bringing plenty of their trusty Hukon crossbows with them, but there is no better place to test a weapon than in war on live thinking targets.

First Encounter

A large portion of the fleet sailed north west to secure on island chain right at the entrance to the Calledian sea to establish a blockade and erect makeshift forts to keep any invasion forces from piercing in to the heart of the north’s trade and transport network.

It was there where the fleet eventually picked up a mass of signals incoming on their radar…


#3

Once within a few hours steaming of the Calledian sea, Aetius dispatched several light cruisers to scout ahead, while he held the fleet to a crawl, waiting for more information. The small speedy ships dash accross the waves, water spurting from either side of the slender bows.

Arriving at the Neck, they found Keelish ships in position, and hastily constructed forts, guns of all shapes bristling from the ramparts. The commander in command of the scouting cruisers ordered two to remain behind, lying out of range of the batteries, with orders to report back if anything exited the island chain. After seeing all that could be seen, the low-profiled warships vanished, returning to the main fleet.

The two men consulted, and after realizing their lack of information was deadly, Aetius sailed the fleet some distance back down the coast, finding a position to camp and use as a base of operations.

Marius dug in, and speedily created a strong line of riflemen, legionaries, machine guns, and artillery, with a rough road for easy transport of reinforcements between flanks of the line. He waited there, giving the men a chance to get their land legs back, and gather supplies.

Aetius, after dispatching two heavy cruisers to protect the troop transports and provide additional firepower to the land army, as well as a light ship to exchange communications, continued on. He took the remaining vessels farther out to sea, and waited, holding a position outside the Neck.


#4

A samurai warrior was observing the radar screen in one of the shore bases when the many signals appeared.

‘‘Master!’’ he shouted, trying to get the attention of his teacher and superior Hellebronai.

The elderly Keelish who was previously calmly sipping tea and waiting for nothing walked over with a steady and determined stride.

The young Samurai continued.
’‘Multiple unknowns approaching from the north west.’'
He began to explain while they studied the projection.
’‘They must be the Valkorian fleet.’’

The master narrowed his eyes and grunted.

The Samurai waited for an answer with anticipation, to no avail.

‘‘Master?..’’
’‘Shhh… patience…’’ the master interrupted him.

Soon enough, the presumed Valkorian fleet began backtracking up the coast, leaving only two small signals in their place in the sea.

The master raised an eyebrow.
’‘Whats this? They think they are safe? Out of range?’’

'‘What just happened?’'
Asked the young Samurai curiously, being rushed to graduation for the war and not well educated in matters of warfare.

‘‘What they did right there, was called a tactical retreat. They rather back off and get entrenched than sail forward and face us head on. They realise they would not make it through us like that. They left these other little vessels right in front of us to keep an eye on our movements, out of range, or so they would like to believe.’’ explained the master. Then turned around to the two officers who have gathered behind him the moment they too realised there was trouble. The Hellebronai smiled at the discipline.
’‘Very few Valkorians have ever ventured this far north. Even less know what we Keelish are, and even less of them have ever seen us. Let us remind them of where they are now.’'
He turns towards the screen again.
’‘Make them realise, that outside their borders, away from their tame warm lands, far off from their mighty walls and sturdy castles, they are safe no longer…’’

‘‘Sir?’’ one of the officers interrupted.

‘‘Prepare a Hauler, give them a warning shot.’’

‘‘Sir!’’ the same officer explained enthusiastically at receiving orders, saluted, and marched out of the enclave.

Hauler

The Hauler is Kleriel’s massive artillery gun. It is very slow to reload, its ammunition is extremely heavy and expensive to make, but hitting a target such as a ship with an armour piercing round can pierce it through-and-through. The hauler launches (or hauls) its projectile in a high arc above and in to the target. For ships, it means any shot that hits will hit on deck, completely bypassing armour. It is because of reasons like this weapon that Kleriel has avoided making large and slow battleships, and has instead invested in slick and quick cruisers and gunboats which are build aerodynamically both for speed, and to bounce off or re-direct any shot that doesn’t hit its surface armour head on. Assuming the enemy is capable of targeting it in the first place.

The Keelish hauler on one of the nearer isles was already loaded, the metal construction motioned loudly as it moved in to position. Then, as if something went wrong, it stopped in position, laying dormant for a while, while it calculated the targets positions. The suddenly…

‘‘KA-BLAAAAM’’

The ground shook briefly as it blew its payload high up in to the air, hitting the ocean surface with a humongous splash somewhat behind the two Valkorian boats.

The Hellebronai smirked.
’‘Send word to Maruba there could be trouble ahead. We have company.’'
The other officer saluted and left the enclave in a similar fashion as the other.

‘‘Wonder how grand marshal Gerrel na-Hanros is doing on the western shore…’’ he though.

His apprentice interrupted him again.
’‘That is all? I was expecting to take them out. Or to chase them?’’

He turned to him with a smile.
’‘We are the defender’s here. Not they. They declared their war, and they will come to us if they will want to fight it. That shot, that was us challenging them.’’

The master sipped his tea.


#5

The shell hit the water, water spraying over the light cruiser, rocking the tiny vessel. The cruisers drew near, and exchanged signals, flags zipping up and down the slender masts. Then one ship vanished, slipping over the horizon. The other cruiser reversed, and smoothly backed away, placing another 3 miles between them and the Keelish blockade.

Aetius received the cruiser commander’s message. He called a meeting of his senior captains and battleship gunnery officers.

“The Keelish are a worthy adversary. They know that in order to win this war, we must attack. To do this, we must give them the advantage of firing from a defensive position. This would mean annihilation under the circumstances.” Aetius spoke, measuring his words. “Something must be done to either bait an assault, from which we can defend ourselves at ease, or punch a gap through the blockade.”

A battleship commander, experienced in the art of warfare at sea, spoke up.

“Sir, could we not pick up the army, and sail north, around the blockade? It would be possible to land an army outside Danheim, and have a combined assault upon the city.”

Aetius shook his head.

“The cold in the north would render our troops quite ineffective, they are not used to frigid temperatures. A naval assault alone would invite a Keelish air attack, and furthermore we cannot separate from the army, it would be cut off.” The Admiral reached a decision. “Tell General Marius to remain in his position. We shall not move, we must wait. There is game on land, and we have our supplies. We can wait. Keep the scout ships out of range if possible, and don’t stop moving. You are dismissed, gentlemen.”


#6

The Keelish forces deployed on the western shore, on mainland Vellanora, have too began constructing fortifications. Stretching from the coast, to the mountain range to the west. Lead by grand marshal Gerrel, the Keelish troops have eventually spotted the Valkorian military digging trenches and securing their landing site. Having reported back and meet with the other leaders of the defence, everyone agreed that they were not here for summer camping.

Something had to be done to halt their advance should they push south on foot. They seemed to be of a mind to avoid a naval assault, so trying to bypass the blockade on foot was the next logical move. The marshal had brought in yet more troops to get dug in inside the forest off of the shore, west of the neck. The Keelish have placed mines on both sides of the river, leaving only select paths mine free to lead assaults and scouting parties in and out through. These passages were either secret and out of the way, or wide open, but well covered by sniper positions and machine gun nests within the forest line and surrounding hills.

The Nack - Western shore overview

The Keelish did not dig a trench throughout the forest, that would have been too much of a hassle. Tough dirt held together by roots, not a solution they were fond of. Instead, they leid wooden walkways at the back of the front for quick troop movement while the front was covered by reasonably spread out ‘‘nests’’ placed in strategic positions overlooking or in at least a reasonable view of the river. If a trench could be dug, they would establish a U shaped bunker of sorts to cover themselves, while if not, they would dig as far as they could and make up for the rest of their height with sandbags. Taking advantage of the forest and its shadows, they piled leafs and branches in front of their positions as well as dirty up their sandbags with these same colours to not make it obvious right away. If the Valkorians came, they wanted them to realise they were standing in a minefield before they realise that they are in clear line of fire of a multitude of enemies. Larger trenches were also assigned a mortar team for artillery support.

With everything set and done as well, but no Valkorians on the horizon yet, the Keelish would send out detachments to seek out the enemy. The camouflaged scouts, spying on the enemy from the thick of the woods with binoculars, figured that the Valkorian army was biding their time, stalling. They were comfortably encamped and have been hunting game further inland.

Soon after the Keelish figured this out, one of the hunting groups would not make it back to the Valkorian camp…


#7

Marius was no fool. Knowing from scouts that there was a river in front of him, he guessed that there would be enemy troops guarding it. When some of his scouting groups failing to return, he was certain. With the Keelish stalling, and the game gone, the legions began eating supplies from home, while Marius planned an advance across the river.

Finally, Valkorians cohorts began moving out of the trenches. Carrying swords and their rifles, and wearing dull green tunics and leather armor, these were the lesser known skirmished units, designed to fight in jungle terrain.

Large formations were abandoned. The men slipped from tree to tree, using a cover system to advance. It was slow, but methodical. In a long thin line, the skirmishes pushed out, establishing a line of jungle that was NOT enemy infested, behind which the main army began to match through, safe from snipers.

The skirmish line moved in a long arc, some spots going slower than others. A few groups reached the riverbank, and held, while the heavy infantry began setting up in the cover of the trees, away from the tree line along the river.


#8

Kleriel command gathered at the radar again, and stared at it with their heads weebly tilted to the side when they observed a large host of signals approaching extremely slowly.

‘‘Prep the mortars, mobilise the front.’’ ordered the grand marshal, and sipped his tea.

Officers scattered, orders were given, and troops were mobilised.

Over the radios, an assault was planned to push the Valkorians back to their base, and another to take it afterwards was in the making.

‘‘Enough waiting around as the enemy inches ever closer.’’ the marshal thought.

The mortars were prepared. Troops were gathered and laid down behind the minefield to pick up and rush the enemy in melee should any manage across, while others behind them hiding in the underbush had their rifles primed.

‘‘Let’s make a dent in them, shall we?’’ an officer jested as he stood next to a loaded mortar.

The radio caught a singal, and the order was given.
’‘FIRE!’’

The mortars outed a feint ‘‘flomp’’ sound as they launched the first canister over the river and in to the trees.
No explosion, all the Valkorians could hear was tumbling in the branches above, and a loud thump as the canister landed, with leaking smoke. A moment later, the forest was shrouded in a dense mist. One could not see 10 feet away.

‘‘FIRE!’’*

The second order came, and another round was dropped on top of the advancing army. This time with live explosives, shrapnel. The front of the Valkorian advance was dented, without a doubt. Time to make sure.

‘‘FIRE!’’*

Not too many moments later, a second volley of high explosive rounds was dropped in to the host of signals the Keelih were seeing across the river, in the dense and now misty wood. Some of signals scrambled, some of them remained motionless. The Keelish couldn’t tell who was dead or alive. So the bombardment stopped.

Trees cracked and tumbled all around the bombarded area.

‘‘ADVANCE!’’

The order was given. The Samurai that made up the front line of the melee picked up and rushed over the river across the mine-free paths in to the fog. Silent as can be, disciplined, only feint quick footsteps being heard as the Keelish slim frames moved through the woods like the wind, having their Katanas drawn, they are hunting for their shocked and disoriented enemies. Taught from a very young age as Samurai acolytes that an honourable death is preferable to a dishonourable retreat, they did not fear death, they leaped at it. When the Samurai encountered the first batch of broken Valkorian troops, screams and gunshots echoed, followed by a sudden silence… and again.


#9

The Valkorian skirmish line fell apart, and the lightly armed soldiers fell back on the disciplined legions behind them. Not all of them made it however, and were cut down by the swift samurai blades. The survivors managed to reach the safety of their line, and were allowed to pass.
A brief silence fell, then a order barked out.

”Ignire!”

With a whirring clattering, and harsh choking sound, bullets blazed through the woods, fired from the machine guns placed along the lines, hosing down the foliage. Each gun fired for about a minute, and then ceased.

”Load! Aim!”

The ballistae and cannon batteries behind the Valkorian line were swiftly aimed over the tree line, in an arc so that their shots would hit the tree tops.

”Fire.”

Several dozen shells went screaming over trees, landing on the fire side of the river. Fire burst from them, a fire that never ceased, a sticky oily substance that stuck to flesh. Marius nodded approval, standing at his command post behind the line. Screams could be heard on the opposite shore.

The southern soldiers had used Valkorian Fire.

”Continue firing, normal shell.”

The cannons roared again and again, their barrage pounding the riverbank and forest from their raised position on a ridge.

”Advance.”

A horn blasted out, its shrill call blaring through the sound of war. Covered by the shellfire, and breaking shield formation, the Third Legion advanced, in a solid line that could drop into cover at will. They pushed through the smoke, the legionaries coughing slightly.

”Hold the line, close it up.” Centurions whispered orders along the ranks.

Behind the line, teams of soldiers pushed their machine guns forward, mounted on wheels and with steel gun shields designed to deflect bullets.


#10

With the realisation that the Keelish samurai were headed towards a superior force, they turned back and ran to their own line. The Valkorians fired their guns, and had broken large swaths of the forest cover the Keelish had on the other side of the river. Fire was blazing. Not all of the samurai managed to make it back, many fell to their machine gun barrage through the smoke. They either lay dead, or groaning.

Those who did make it back hid in the remaining hiding spots the Keelish dug up just before the river. As originally planned, they would leap in to the faces of their enemies if they ever came across the river’s minefield.

Too late to wait for the Valkorians to first realise that they were in a mine field, the battle had already begun with a preemptive assault. Their cover was blown, and grunts dashed back and forth reinforcing the line with new melee fighters, and to limit the spread of the fire if they could not put it out.

As the Valkorian front pushed forward in to the fog, the Keelish returned fire, and yet more mortar landed on top of their heads. The trees twisted and tumbled. In the mess that used to be the forest, moving forward was a hazard with multitudes of burning pits, collapsed trees, and dead bodies laying about.

The smoke was beginning to clear, shoved off by the shock of explosions and shifting winds of falling trees, soon enough the Valkorians too were without cover, and the Keelish snipers could pick off their artillery units one by one as the Keelish machine guns let loose on to the other side of the river.


#11

As bodies on both sides of the river began to pile up, the legion’s firm line broke into individual maniples, which pushed forward wherever possible. The few that reached the far bank instantly smashed through whatever melee force they ran into, but without backup were forced to withdraw, taking heavy casualties all the while.

A rushing sound, followed by a loud boom, and a squad vanished completely, red mist taking their place. Now knowing why the river had been exploding, the Valkorian pulled back, wary of mines.

The once serene forest was now a hellish nightmare of burnt trees and foxholes, the peaceful river running red with blood. Hundreds of corpses, both Keelish and Valkorian, littered the riverbank and former forest. Screams of the wounded never ceased, long wails that rise beyond comprehension.

Marius drew his army back out of range, and sent a detachment bearing a white flag to the riverbank, picking their way gingerly through the bodies.

”Don’t shoot! Truce, truce!”

The blood spattered Centurion stood, his standard bearer holding a white banner with bloodstains on it.


#12

The Keelish held fire as the Valkorian flag bearers approached the line.

Immidiately, the Hellebronai was sent for.

‘‘Sir! The Valkorians have ceased fire! They approach with a white flag and few in number!’’

‘‘They wan’t to talk now?’’ he thought, ‘‘So be it…’’

‘‘I will be right there.’’

The master gently put down his cup of tea and strapped on his armour and helm. He tightened his belt and slid his Katana in to the scabbard. It was time for talks.

Not too long after, the Hellebronai passed through the front of the Keelish line, passing by numerous wounded being tended to behind the hillside, and then through the many troopers and cybermancers in cover at the front, and finally past the machine gun nests, he alone descended from the bank of the river, and came to a halt in the middle of the shallow bloodied waters.

He glared at the enemy through his helmet, one hand holding the scabbard, the other holding the hilt of the sword, awaiting their reason for coming forth like this. Wearing his ornate armour and feathered helm, he stood out from the bleak surroundings of the battlefield as a flower in a barren wasteland. He did not say a word.

Hellebronai - Glare


#13

The Centurion saluted. This was no ordinary Keelish soldier, and he had been one of the few to engage in hand to hand combat with the enemy.

”Sir, General Marius requests that we agree to a truce, so that the wounded of both sides may be evacuated and seen to. Three hours would suffice.”


#14

‘‘You will have them.’’ the Hellebronai replied, relaxing his stance by letting go of the hilt of his sword.


#15

”Thank you sir.” The Valkorian saluted once again, turned on his heel, and departed. Soon after, Valkorian medics began moving wounded off the battlefield. The physicians did what they could, but many of the men did not survive, dying of shock, blood loss, or the effects of lying in a river with an arm blown off for two hours.

Marius set up a new position, while the truce went on. He also sent a message by destroyer to Admiral Aetius, recommending a new course of action.

After some 3 hours had passed, and every Valkorian had long since left the field, shells started screaming overhead, landing in the bloody river or devastated forest. While the truce had gone on, the fleet had arrived. While the battleships and heavy cruisers moved to 20,000 yards from the river, and began pummeling it, the troops transports pulled out the legions. After suppressing the Keelish land forces, keeping them pinned down, the Valkorians disappeared, from eyesight at least.


#16

The battle resumed after the 3 hours, and the Valkorans have undoubtedly used the calm to prepare their next assault. The Hellebronai who had returned to his dwelling in the garrison behind the front lines had hoped that would be it for today. Seems though that he was mistaken. The Valkorian mass of bodies seems to want tothrow themselves at Kleriel for a bit longer.

The river got shelled by the ships the Valkorians have parked at the river mouth, and the cybermancers were feinting left and right as their barrage pummelled their barriers when they tried to shield their comrades.

A meeting of the leading commanders was rushed, and they came to an agreement that their plans for the Valkorian fleet have to be moved forward, to this very moment.

The Keelish fleet was deployed, opening fire on the small gunboat keeping watch of The Neck from a far, and immediately after, diverted their attention and turned west towards the Valkorans. In coordination with their airships, the sea and air fleets enacted a pincer movement as the sea fleet sailed around and appeared from the far side of the peninsula at the coast, while the airships flew over. Both of them opened fire on the Valkoran ships. The airships, while passing over the peninsula and river mouth, also dropped choking gas on top of the newly deployed Valkorian troops and their transports to give the foot soldiers time to reinforce the line.

Both fleets were firing at the Valkorian battleships from both flanks. If they could manage, the Airships had the main objective of targeting the back of the vessels, taking out their rudder and engines, rendering them immobile.

The troops near the river mouth meanwhile shelled it with mortar and machine gun fire.


#17

Aetius saw the light cruiser racing towards the fleet, and knew it could only mean one thing.

”Excute order 138.”

The battleships began slowly turning, their great bulls swinging about to head out to open sea once again.

Abruptly, the woods and sky came alive with explosions, as the Keelish airfleet ambushed him from the land. As Aetius ordered his ships to began firing what weapon could bear, a heavy cruiser exploded with a loud whoof, momentarily blinding any who’d as it.
Aetius knew he had to get his fleet out, otherwise this repeat of the destruction of the Ultorii fleet would be on his head. While the rearmost sections of the fleet were unscathed, having not yet entered the bay, as hey turned, a line of enemy warships around the headline, at a range of about 10k yards, and began blazing awayevery few second with salvos.

With his battleships still taking hits ever two minutes, and having no real effect on the flying vessels, Aetius ordered his fleet tos witch priority to the enemy sea vessels. ”Concentrate Fire. Keep it tight, don’t distribute your gunfire.”

His flagship, the former Ultor ship Dreadful rotates her turrets slightly. A loud sharp bang rang out, and 12 gigantic projectiles were vomited from the massive ship. All along the sides of the battleship, the secondaries opened up, rapidly finding the range. At this close quarters, battleships were able to use the firepower of their secondaries, tripling their damage output.

The shells rose into the air, and then dropped upon the lead Keelish ship. 6 shells completely missed, but two landed just in front of the ship, and 4 tons of AP hell landed on the vessel, followed by a stream of 8 inch shells from the 30 secondary guns lining the superstructure, each 850 pounds of explosive might.


#18

The landed shots devastated the smaller gunships. Taking shot after shot, their barriers fell, the generators overheated and shut down automatically less they explode violently, taking out the ship themselves, but it didn’t matter, the next pair of hits the ships would receive would total the vessel.

The larger cruisers kept up fire, and kept closing in on the Valkoran ships, reducing the required arc to hit the target for one very reason. The airships bombarding the Valkorian battleships kicked in both engines and widened their sails to allow cybermancers to direct wind in to them for an extra speed boost to catch up with the Valkorian ships. Once above them, where the Valkorian guns could not aim at them, they dropped their high explosive bombs.

Meanwhile, the Keelish cruisers were taking a heavy beating. Some of the ships have lost their barriers and have begun to fall back, while others remained in steady pursuit.

Back on land, the Keelish have set up their old and tried rocket artillery. They were terribly inaccurate, but spamming them in to battlefields filled with enemies guaranteed devastation. They aimed them at the Valkorian ships and let loose the barrage.


#19

Burning, listing several degrees to one side, one Valkorian cruiser rushed forward, and rammed one of the enemy ships. With screeching of metal, the Valkorian smashed through the barrier, and imbedded itself in the flank of the Keelish warship. Both ships flooding, with numerous holes in them, they both sank within a few minutes, dragging down hundreds of men.

Aetius signaled the ship. ”Sell your lives dearly. Thank you.” On the deck of the battleship, fires burning steadily aft, the captain nodded grimly. He hauled the ship around, and started sailing as fast as possible towards the oncoming cruisers.

”Our guns cannot aim that low…but I’ve got something else in store for these…” The Captain trailed off.

At 5,000 yards, the battleship ceased firing shells from its main batteries. The great vessel let go with its full secondary battery, dozens of shells from guns that were laser accurate at this distance. But that was not the fate in store for the battle. The Battleship sought out, and rammed a second enemy ship, 50,000 tons of metal and water that towered over the cruiser.

The bombs landed all over the ships, about 1/5th if the payload hitting the target. Yet another light cruiser exploded, one of the last to try and leave. Another hit, knocking out the rudder on a second battleship, locking it in a tight turn. As it charged back toward the airships and doom, the 88 millimeter AA gun turrets, such as they were, came in range.

Puffs of black smoke began appearing all around the Keelish flying ships. Shrapnel sprayed about, and far below, machine gun fire from .50 caliber gun turrets blazed away at the smaller ships. Fire poured from the battleship, which like a wounded beast snarled and spat at its enemies, fighting with every gun that could bear, which was all of them.

Meanwhile, Aetius gave one signal to his light ships.

”Drop torpedoes and smoke. Then return to position.”

The light ships, dodging this way and that to avoid return fire, rushed towards the enemy surface vessels. Soon, some 50 torpedoes, each wth a 2 ton payload of explosive, were running through the water. As they fell back, smoke generators went up, and the battleships became obscured in smoke, sheltering them from the volleys raining down from the sky.


#20

The Valkorian fleet began to drop smoke and torpedoes, they vanished from sight, but not off the radar. However, they were not the main threat, the torpedoes were.

‘‘Evasive maneuvers!!’’ the grand admiral called out over the radio. The Keelish ships changed course and began to turn around. A few ships got hit and began taking in water, these then rushed towards the beach to make an emergency landing. A few didn’t make it that far, and had to abandon ship with lifeboats.

The Keelish fleet did not pursue. The remnants of the Valkorian army got picked up by the same troop transports from before, and as they fled, the remaining Valkorian fleet followed suit soon after. The battle was over.

The Keelish fleet returned to The Neck, making port in the makeshift docks of the isles for repairs and to restock on ammo. Troop transports from home have arrived with reinforcements and supplies, most of which went to the land front.

The Keelish forces inspected the land ahead of them, and saw it lacking of any movement. They decided to push forward before the day would end and there was any light left in the sky. They found the Valkorian landing sight abandoned, the ramparts, the garrison, all empty, save for the few dying sods who were too injured to be moved. The Keelish medics were called to take them on and carried them back to their own camp to nurse back to health. The Valkorians have now vanished out of sight, and off the radar.

The drowning Keelish in the sea that escaped sinking ships were picked up by gunboats, and as there were many Valkorians in the same dilemma, they showed mercy and rescued anyone they could get to in time as well.

Kleriel had won the front.

THE END

@staff