Siege of Bainshaebo (Bayne-SHAY-bow)
When the winged pegacorns arrive... Fresh off of consolidating his power on Planet Thunthen, Sur Daggur ordered the first incursion onto the neighboring Planet Thanged, intending to use Dasphat hostages as living shields to lay siege to the gates of Bainshaebo, the Thangien capital. He believed he could simply starve the Thangiens into submission with superior technology and numerical might. He did not know of the existence of the Oldworlder Aleksander Vanstandtvoort, also known as Ander Vai-Stel-Vethu: The Far-Star-Traveller. Drawing inspiration from history, Ander combined the capabilities of the tamed pegacorns with combat techniques from the Oldworld to devise an unconventional strategy that left Sur Daggur baffled for weeks afterward.
Sur Daggur dispatches troopships loaded with hostages as well as a sizable regiment of his personal bodyguard. Upon seeing the bulky trapezoidal ships descending from the sky, Ander Vai-Stel-Vethu rallies all able-bodied and skilled riders and blade-bearers to mount their pegacorn steeds and flee the city over the northern wall, taking shelter in Tirmutua's lush gardens.
Sur Daggur's bodyguard orders the Dasphat to blockade the main gate while the rear guard disables the irrigation systems feeding from the Winding White to Bainshaebo. Rather than simply smashing the pipes outright, the Nobeyls plug the valves, reasoning that masterwork dating all the way to Deres' time should not be wasted. Guards are set around farmlands and D-Class Fighters sent to scout the perimeter. Ander's forces avoid detection, hunkering under the thick canopy of Tirmutua. Knowing a head-on attack would end in failure, he tests the abilities of his pegacorn Skybolt Sunhammer by throwing a chorinae fruit at him. Skybolt uses the power of his horn to swat the fruit away effortlessly. Ander theorizes if the riders move in a wedge formation, the combined power of the pegacorns can shield them from enemy fire, buying time for them to close the distance.
Ander instructs the highest-skilled Rait-chian users to the center of the formation while lower-ranks form the exterior. Ander plans to have all riders sally forth, following the wall all the way to the east, moving down to the south, then looping up the west all the way to the main gate. Ander tasks a small force with drawing off fighters towards the Eastern Jungle. The ruse works and crucial air support is diverted from the siege line. The main Thangien force sets out. Sur Daggur's forces are arrayed about the main gate in a semicircle formation, expecting attack from within. Up until then, Thangien combat capabilities have not been fully witnessed. Sur Daggur's guard is clad in full-body armor coated with obsidian tile. All ground forces are equipped with phergon rifles and phergon pistols. They remain so focused on the main gate they do not notice the approaching cavalry line until it rounds the corner of the western and southern walls.
Clear skies, low wind. Dry soil along the exterior city wall. Soft soil pack serves to mask hoofbeats.
Sur Daggur's guard is puzzled by the sound of hoofbeats and sees the incoming cavalry line. They order the Dasphat to form a rifle line along the side facing the south. The commander orders them not to fire until they are nearly upon them, reasoning that Thangiens with swords cannot possibly prevail against phergon weaponry. This arrogance plays well into Ander's hands. He relays to other riders to follow his actions precisely. The tip of the wedge approaches thirty feet. Skybolt relays to Ander telepathically that the Dasphat are ready to pull the trigger. Ander dismounts Skybolt from behind at the same time Skybolt takes to the air. Following his example, other riders in the formation dismount, ducking low to avoid being hit by pegacorn hooves. Thrown off-guard, the Thunthen rifle line fails to pick targets fast enough and Thangien warriors cut through their ranks. Ander and other high-ranking warriors break through the elite bodyguard while lower-ranks mop up stragglers. Spying Thunthen attempting to retreat to the landed troopships, Ander deploys a Metra Wave to annihilate the rear guard. Realizing they've been bamboozled, the Thunthen fighter craft circle back towards Bainshaebo and fly over the ruins of the siege line. Seeing the entire ground forces annihilated, they retreat into space to relay what happened.
Spoiler Warning: Unpublished Content!Far Star Traveller
Ander paced about the blood-spattered grass, surveying the carnage. What a bloody damn mess! Vitreelas would feast well this day… How many of the dragon-men had thrown their lives away needlessly? And for what? A show of force? To thump their chests? To take by force what might’ve been ceded had they simply asked? Ander furrowed his brow, sickened at the sight of so many cut down, dragon and Thangien alike. He did what the situation required: to protect his adopted home and new family, but he could not take pleasure in the result. Not this… “You…You are not Thangien...are you?” Ander raised an eyebrow when he heard a hoarse voice speak up from behind and turned to the side, looking over his shoulder where he saw a Nobeyl clinging to life, sitting upright propped on the body of one of his fellows and the spikes on his shell. “You come from the Oldworld…” The Nobeyl had bluish-gray beard and eyebrows and head crest. He regarded Ander calmly, despite the hideous gaping wound in his stomach. Ander vaguely recognized him: one of the very first he’d cut down at the onset of engagement. He strode over to the dying Noble and squatted down infront of him a couple feet away, resting his forearms against his knees. “You speak English?” Ander queried. The Noble raised both eyebrows and glanced from side to side, frowning in confusion. He cocked his head to one side. “I speak the Oldworlder tongue...if that is what you mean…” he replied weakly. “Why are you attacking us? Our peoples had been at peace for thousands of years, as I understand correctly,” Ander asked. “It is not personal. You must understand: I am Dasphat. My life is forfeit…” the Noble shook his head sadly. “Dasphat?” “‘To Spite Das Anazhar’. A disgraced scion. Know this: you are not dealing with the noble Dragon King of old. A new order rules, driven by blood and greed. Das Anazhar wanted Thanged as a client state...and the Thangiens as vassals. Sur Daggur wants Thangiens dead...and Thanged for himself…” “If you dissent, so must others. Surely not all of your people share this ghastly vision. Perhaps through that, there might be chance for peace between our peoples once more,” Ander offered. The Noble gazed at him, baffled, his scaly lips contorted in an almost comical grimace. “A Thangien...that desires peace? Hm-hm-hm-hm!” The Noble broke out chortling briefly before breaking out in a fit of wet coughs. Bloody foam seeped out of the corner of his mouth and Ander started, reaching one hand for him and the other to the pouch of rolled leaves in his belt. The Noble’s coughing subsided and he raised a hand, waving his claws reassuringly, indicating he’d resigned himself to death. Ander relaxed and waited for the Noble to catch his breath. “...Ahh...but you are not Thangien...I think...I think….my son will...get along quite well with you…” the Noble commented with a warm smile. Ander frowned regretfully. He opened his mouth to ask one more question. The Noble convulsed and cried out and Ander recoiled, nearly falling off balance. He glanced to the side and saw the blade of a broadsword impaling the Noble in the upper chest, all the way through the padded armor and ribcage into the heart. The Noble let out a soft croaking sigh, his eyes shutting half-way before his body went taught before relaxing. Ander’s gaze followed the blade of the sword to its owner and he scrambled to stand, fists clenched in fury. “What on Earth did you do that for!?” Ander demanded. The burly yellow-haired warrior withdrew his blade and stuck it into the soil, wiping blood off before pulling it back out and sheathing it lazily. “You should not come so close to these creatures, Ander Vai-Stel-Vethu. It could have caught you unawares with its tail club.” “Well he didn’t! He was already weak enough, on his last breath! What you did was utterly uncalled for!” Ander shouted. The warrior sniffed and brushed dirt off of the sleeve of his combat uniform. By then other members of the Rank had walked over, gathering around the confrontation. “Ander, what has gotten into you? They are Thunthen, they deserve no mercy. If I did not know any better, I would say you sound almost sympathetic towards this monster-!” the warrior froze and startled whispers arose from those gathered nearby as Ander swiftly drew Gold Wing and set the point a mere inch from the warrior’s throat. “Ander! What is the meaning of this! Have you gone ma-!” the warrior clamped his jaw shut as Ander brought the tip within a hairbreadth of his flesh. If he so much as gulped, the blade would skewer his Adam’s Apple. The warrior glanced from the blade to Ander’s face, which looked flush with cold rage. Ander kept his piercing gaze locked on his eyes and set his jaw. “Don’t presume to think for others if you can’t even think for yourself!” Ander growled. “We are on the cusp of war here: Information is as crucial as any weapon! He could have told us more if you hadn’t been so bloody damn impatient! Your greatest queen in history gave her life to secure peace for three thousand years! If peace can be secured once more by blood, that is a possibility worth weighing! Think carefully what you do in battle the next time, Gao Gao Bure Gieran! Perform another such blunder in my presence again, and the House of Au’tour will need a new patriarch! And I would hate to leave your son, Geiro, without a father!” Ander finally lowered his word but did not sheath it and looked around at the gathered riders. “Search the fallen! If any dragon-men remain alive, they must be interrogated! If they will not speak to a Thangien, then perhaps the Maiden of Blood can get their tongues wagging! Pick clean the dead! Eyurodin will appreciate the tribute. Move quickly! Every vitreelas from the Southern Salt to the Northern Ring will come to the battlefield!” “Should we set fire to the bodies, then?” another warrior asked cautiously. Ander glanced at him sharply and his moustache twitched in a smirk. “Why deny them? They are of Thanged too,” Ander snorted. The riders set out, confiscating any weapons and metal armor from the slain Nobles. While the victors secured much plunder in Witheren and Eyurodin’s name that day, they did not find another living Noble. They had performed their duties in combat too thoroughly. Ander glanced up when he heard a distant whine and saw a scant handful of D-Class fighters flying overhead. “Ahh...the stragglers...late to the party, I see..” Ander chuckled. The viewscreen in one cockpit zoomed close to the battlefield strewn with corpses and centered on a single Thangien warrior with long blue hair and a blue handlebar moustache. The warrior flicked two fingers from his forehead in a mock salute and waved cheerfully with a smirk. “Blessed Mother of Roth...what happened here!?” the Thunthen pilot whispered hoarsely. “We can do nothing now! Sur Daggur must hear of this!” The squadron veered up into the sky, retreating through Thanged’s atmosphere. Ander raised an eyebrow and glanced back at the dead Noble he’d conversed with. He could’ve sworn he’d heard a muffled sound, like crying, but the Noble remained still with death. A blinking light drew his gaze to the Noble’s wrist at a metal armguard he wore. Ander squinted at the flickering green light. Again he heard what sounded like distant sobbing. The light dimmed and the sound ceased abruptly.
The success of such a simple tactic and the display of power by the pegacorns rallies the spirits of Thangiens, sentiment quickly pivoting from surrender to resistance . The current Watch-Rider still prefers supplication, goading Ram Ram Tairu, Torke into slaying him and declaring himself Watch-Rider. First House of Taurit ascends to Grand House while Third House of St'lur ascends to Second House. Incensed by this setback and seething at a humiliating defeat, Sur Daggur pauses any further assaults, biding his time to complete his fleet. He ramps up recruitment to replenish his bodyguard, eventually dubbing them the Obsidian Guard. Young Bak Thraplek is alerted to the existence of Ander via a final transmission from his father, one of the Dasphat hostages. He makes secret preparations to parley with Ander and attempt diplomacy.
The intelligence and abilities of pegacorns cements their place alongside Thangien warriors. Dar Dar Vanes, Norin takes over leadership of Mazzan and sets to breeding pegacorns for war, prioritizing swiftness and cunning. Thangien youths freshly returned from their freelanding tours are encouraged to befriend a steed as a life-long partner. Training in the school of Rait-chian proliferates among able-bodied Thangiens. Thangiens prioritize martial training and the creation of space-proof armor in anticipation of a future upper-orbit engagement. Upon hearing reports of the Thangiens' use of pegacorns as war steeds, Sur Daggur's son Mal Daggur sets his personal scientists to devising a way to neutralizing this new advantage: permanently. Sur Daggur himself diverts a huge portion of resources in the Daggur Clan Shipyards to construction of a prototype superweapon, which he later will christen the Maw of Flame.
Historical SignificanceTorkenantakin would see the truest test of his newfound leadership years later in the Battle of Banguk. The outcome would see the death of both Ander and Sur Daggur and the destruction of the Bangukian race. Despite the apparent victory on the Thunthen side, both sides reeled from the staggering losses and an undeclared ceasefire formed. Behind the scenes, Bak Thraplek made arrangements with Ander's widow, Yainae, to return to complete Ander's mission when her children-Danae among them-were fully grown. Ander is elevated to mythological status, achieving near-sainthood among Thangiens. Mal Daggur accelerates construction at the Daggur Clan Shipyards, replenishing his father's fleet and his personal bio-warfare projects. He reasons if Ander proved such a nuisance to his father, and that he came from the Oldworld, that the Oldworld is full of such nuisances, and should be dealt with before turning his attention to Planet Thanged...
The breaking of the Siege reignites the warrior spirit once thought lost after the fall of Memner the Sky King and the retreat from Oldworld centuries prior. Increased training sees a new crop of high-skilled warriors and more Metraind in the span of years than previous decades combined. Ander would emerge as a popular heroic figure. Decades later, Ander's daughter Danae would repeat her father's tactic, this time using the dererium-forged Pegasi and their advanced weaponry to crush Dynasty forces in the Battle at the Citadel with a mere three riders.
The Siege is sung of frequently and a popular play of llaudaun performers, with Orn Orn Grast, Khanphe often portraying Ander himself in dances. Ander's likeness is displayed alongside Danaetanera III and Das Anazhar in reliefs, tapestries, and illustrations.
While the Thangiens eschew the use of firearms of any sort, they managed to scavenge a veritable hoard of weapons and alloy from their slain enemies and abandoned troopships. This gave Eyurodin, the Lady of Flames, much inspiration to work with in the years ahead. It is said the metal chassis which would eventually become the Pegasi were initially designed as light-weight armor intended to be fit upon pegacorns. Other useful technologies were reverse-engineered for Thangien benefit such as translator earbuds, short-range matter teleportation for small groups, and crystalline tombs. Mal Daggur invested heavily in biological warfare, tasking scientists with developing pathogens to unleash when conventional arms failed. He attempted to delve into genetics with his chief biologist at the time, Tar Uhnin, helming research into genetic reconstruction-the process of altering an organism's base DNA into that of a similar organism-but the project saw mixed success and Tar Uhnin and his fellow researchers abandoned the project altogether.
Rona tugged on her rein cord and veered her mount to the right. Tornath swung his to the left, but not too much. All three Pegasi unfurled their wings, enough space between them so that the tips barely touched. Then they swiveled their wings up and around so that the tips of the wing blades pointed forward. All of a sudden it was no longer three riders, but thirty, bristling with spears. The Pegasi collided with the army with a grisly crunch, the wing blades impaling the soldiers and flinging them up into the air, like a boulder into a rushing tide. The soldiers behind the front line staggered back as the impaled remains rained down upon them. Pegasus turned around in a tight spiral, sweeping his wings like swords of his own, using them to dice up any soldiers close by. Rona raised her weapon and it grew, metal segments extending until she wielded a double-tipped spear. With deft fingers she twirled the spear, leaving deep, mortal wounds. Tornath swung his mace and the head of the weapon flew out, stretching along a thick black cord. Not unlike Dais’ morning star, the spiked weapon plowed into the heads and chests of various soldiers.
Included under Conflict
Total victory for Thangiens
Swing, slash, stab, spin. Ander had to keep moving forward, bisecting a Noble here, lopping off another's arm there. A scant few of his fellow warriors unfortuantely got their faces caved in by Thunthen tail clubs or shot through and through with phergon fire, but the swordsmen kept advancing, and the Nobles kept falling. Ander angled his sword quickly, reflecting a phergon blast back into the face of the shooter. He deflected another into a Noble further back. The dragon-men simply did not know what to do other than swing tails, slash claws, and shoot guns. They had no technique, no cohesion. Did they really think to cow the entire city with their countenance alone? Where was their general? Had they been left to their own devices? Ander said a silent thanks to Gage for this magnificent weapon he'd bequeathed him. Despite not being made of Thangien dererium, Gold Wing cut a swathe through the dragon-men and drank deeply of their blood.
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