The Turnabout of Travertaine Military Conflict in Bloodmarsh Classic | World Anvil
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The Turnabout of Travertaine

The Turnabout is a storied war between one of the Rhaulite cantons and the gnomic kingdom of Syrdill Goldenbank.

The Conflict


In 2057, the Rhaulite canton of Travertaine was growing into a formidable fortress, with a high barbican of white timbers and a dry moat five paces deep. The people were plentiful and well-fed, having plowed and sown the killing fields about the fort and fertilized them with blood of mortals and mysties alike. These combats were always against the might of local centaur and elf clans, but a nearby gnome king, Syrdill Goldenbanks, took note of the rapid growth of the flourishing canton. In an uncommonly bold gesture, he deigned to raise a host - mostly his bigger, stronger centaur neighbors - to make a more concerted attempt to wipe out the dwelling of the invading mortals.


The gnome king decided to make a feint using his people's great craft in illusion. He split his centaurs into two hosts of one thousand each, and augmented each force with two hundred of his people. The mortals in their strong position had around one thousand civilians, one thousand foot, and five hundred windlasses in the towers. They were ever-vigilant, but had no forewarning of the impending attack per se.

The Engagement

Thus mobilized, for the first week the immortals' armies began to make raids against the woodsmen and outland farmers of Traveraine. With such overwhelming forces, these folk were rounded up and butchered in an attempt to confuse and draw out the humans of the town to investigate the disappearances to put the scouts in position for similar slaughter. The working folk's failure to return or send word to the walled town was noted and remarked, and immediately chalked up to an enemy force attempting to confuse and draw out the humans of the town to investigate. No such measure was needed, so life continued peacefully.   The second week, the gnomes began to create great illusory blazes in the forests and fields by night, attempting to draw folk out to extinguish the flames. The people of Travertaine watched the forest burn with delight, accounting it new farmland for the next harvest, and were glad to see their spent crops torched for them only days before scheduled by the farmers themselves. All were disappointed when the flames proved false, and they torched their fields on schedule anyway.   The third week, Syrdill was full of wroth, and went himself to see the walled town, and to think on how to draw his enemy out from their strong place. He called upon his wisest magicians, and brought up the strongest of the centaur chiefs, and together they laid designs to open the town by force. On the second day, twenty great gnome sorcerers rode upon the backs of twenty centaur chiefs out across the burned fields, and coming into the cleared fields, began to suffer the darts and heavy shot of one hundred, then three hundred, then five hundred windlasses. The sorcerers made the sky shine with strange lights, and crafted the images and roars of a hundred terrible dragons to fall upon the windlasses, but knowing that no dart might pierce a dragon's hide, the windlasses trained ever upon the charging chiefs. Pierced by many arrows, the brave forty came within the shadow of the barbican, at the edge of the wide moat, and called the wrath of the Gods down. They raised their hands into the air and the moat was filled with many roots like a broad bridge. Then they chanted a mighty word, and the wall was overthrown in fire. And then they called a mighty wind, and the hosts issued from the edge of the forest and charged like a wave toward the breach.   As they rode across the field, many were slain by the darts of the windlasses whose vigilance never faltered, but the charge was unabated. As they crossed the bridge, many pails of oil were thrown across the centaurs, and torches were thrown down to kindle them like great noisome bonfires, but still they came on. Within the breach, the attackers found a stalwart line of pikemen shouting like devils, and they buried the pikemen beneath an avalanche of hooves and dying flesh. Behind the pikemen was another line of pikemen, which the centaurs buried in an avalanche of dying flesh. Behind the second line of pikemen was another line of pikemen, but these stood between two tall houses with children on the two high balconies, and the children flung more oil upon the attackers and kindled them with torches, and the third line of pikement was buried under an avalanche of dying, burning flesh.   And so it went, with the charge never faltering as the mighty centaur chiefs urged their companions on until the lines of pikemen would be overcome and only the town of the weak and elderly would be left to slaughter freely. But as the waves crashed, and as the bodies piled high, Syrdill saw that the pikemen now bore long beards and no helms, and after this was a line of ancient widows with kitchen knives, and as they fell the strength of the centaurs held by a thread. And behind this was a line of snarling women, all bearing pikes and round with child. And then there were no men nor women nor codgers nor crones in the streets, and all the centaurs came there with their gnomish allies, and they cast their hands and heads into the air in triumph, and so doing they looked up to see that children still stood on every balcony. Every child bore a pail. And, finally, with some weeping but with a last piping cry of defiance, the children cast their pails upon the houses, and their torches upon the foundations, and down came the children and the houses and the fire in a final wave which might not be resisted by any strength on Earth. So perished Travertaine, and Syrdill Goldenbanks, and the centaur hoards, upon the trodden ground which the brave people of the Crotch hallowed with their dying sighs.


There was a fire. And a longish period of relative peace in the immediate area.


The ruins of Travertaine are now a minor tourist attraction along the road between Bethan and Elboog cantons.

Historical Significance


Nowadays, Crotch-dwellers from Mercaea to Rhaul look to the example of Travertaine to inspire them to the sort of insane suicidal defiance which has a paradoxically positive effect on the quality of life of humankind in the Crotch.
Conflict Type
Battlefield Type
Start Date
Springinup 1, F.T. 2057
Ending Date
Springinup 24, F.T. 2057
Conflict Result
All combatants were dead, which makes a de facto end to any war.

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Cover image: by Oogalook


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