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Irolom River City

"You ever notice how boring Irolom is?" Alistair was standing atop the city walls at sunset, tossing pebbles into the river below.   Kyris was dangling her legs off the walls. "It's a boring place, isn't it? Seems self-fulfilling."    "No, not like that. I mean *boring*. Everywhere's got its weird little bits, right?" The wizard sat down next to the ranger. "You got the dances that the Askri do, that disgusting moldy cheese that those folks from Archos can't get enough of, and that fish festival thing in the Stagonids."   "Okay? It's just local flavor." The ranger closed her eyes. "As far as I can tell, Irolom is just a quiet country town."   "Yes, but it's completely flavorless. There are no weird local festivals. There's no local food, there's no stories of the founding of the city. Nobody here's got any stories to say." The wizard frowned. "I know that most of them moved here from Nasse way back when, but there should have been some folks left, right? Some people to go, 'hey, we make our biscuits like this and they're really good this way'?"   "Maybe the flavor of the town is that its totally flavorless. You're overthinking things, Alistair." Kyris sighed. "If it makes you feel any better, maybe we can go to Irolom headquarters and poke in the archives?"


Irolom River City is a typical city under the Principality of Etoile, and is the capital of its district. The District Commander of Irolom maintains their official residence next door to that of Irolom's mayor, the head of the city council.


Irolom is renowned for its sturdy walls, many feet thick and heavily reinforced. The city walls are well preserved and are a superb example of pre-Etoilean fortification.


To all observation, Irolom River City is a quiet and ordinary hilltop town with a river, noted for its picturesque city walls and little else. However, the tale of its conquest during The War of Unification is not a tale for the faint of heart, and is a state secret of the Principality.   Irolom holds a strategic point in the region, a thickly walled strongpoint on a small hill that commands the area around it for miles. The river that flows around it prevents direct attack on the city walls from the east, and the western approach is a wide open rolling slope, an open field of fire for defenders. The former kingdom of Irolom was a small petty realm in the south of Western Saibh, content to accumulate vast amounts of wealth by taxing river traffic and selling alliances for profit.   Though the opening months of the War of Unification were of little concern to Irolom's ruler, he had not reckoned with the King of Nasse's astonishing speed across the continent. By the time the 2nd Ground Division of the Nasse arrived outside the city walls in the early morning, panic had spread far and wide - rumors of colossal launcher siege engines being able to shatter city walls, tireless horseless carts that could mow down infantry by the hundreds, and fanatical infantry devoted to their King and willing to do unspeakable things for victory. The morale of the defenders plummeted, and experimental shots from Nasse launcher artillery damaged the walls to a degree that made the situation untenable.   To that end, a plan was hatched with the King of Irolom's involvement. Under a truce flag, a messenger met with the commander of the Nasse force (the King of Nasse himself campaigning two hundred miles to the north with the 1st Division) and delivered terms of surrender for the city, opening its gates and lowering the drawbridge across the river. Unbeknownst to the Etoileans, the bridge had been secretly sabotaged in the dead of night, with several rivets removed to weaken the bridge's carrying capacity. This had gone unnoticed as the first column of infantry and power-wagons began to enter the city, and after about a quarter of the Nasse infantry crossed the drawbridge, it collapsed, dropping two cavalry prows and about twenty infantry into the river.   This was the signal for ambush as well; power-wagons perform poorly in urban fighting, and the heavy infantry of Nasse were at a disadvantage in the tight streets and alleys. The Irolom skirmishers hidden in the buildings cut apart the column, though many of the infantry who realized their predicament quickly entered side streets to attempt to regroup and give battle.   Outside the Irolom walls, a courier was dispatched to inform the King of Nasse of the perfidy, and plans were drawn up quickly to force the crossing; repair supplies and a launcher wagon were repurposed towards the construction of a mobile bridge, deployable through flywheel power. This contraption was ready by early evening, and the bridge was deployed directly onto the walls themselves (as the bridge gate had been collapsed by the defenders). The walls had already been smashed to near rubble by a full day of launcher siege, and the remainder of the infantry were able to join the battle, relieving those who had been trapped in the city all day.   By night Irolom had fallen, but not without great cost. The King of Nasse preferred laying siege to a city rather than forcing its capture, in order to minimize his own casualties; most cities surrendered after their city walls were destroyed. The King of Irolom's perfidy was the most costly battle of Unification, claiming well over a thousand lives and gutting the 2nd Ground Division's armored assult capability. The courier returned with instructions to seal the city, with none allowed to leave and arrivals imprisoned.   A week later, when the King of Nasse arrived with fresh reinforcements for the 2nd, he was able to interrogate the captured King of Irolom and several of his advisors. The exact discussions are unknown; what is known is that the King of Nasse subsequently ordered the King of Irolom caged in the city square from the highest position. Subsequently, the King of Nasse formally rejected the surrender of the surviving Irolom forces, and ordered no quarter - all denizens of Irolom were to be put to death, with no exceptions. While shocking, this was not unexpected; the surviving soldiers of the 2nd had been demanding retribution since the end of the battle. And so it came to pass, with the city cleared block by block and all life extinguished - an estimated twelve thousand Irolom were still in the city when the battle began, and no accounts exist of any survivors.   The sheer brutality of the carnage was a sensitive story; knowledge of the ruthless act would have emboldened the remaining kingdoms to attempt to hold out as long as possible, lengthening the War of Unification and costing more Nasse lives. Thus, the King of Nasse ordered all of the soldiers of the 2nd back to Nasse proper and relieved them of duty for the rest of the war, with two instructions - to never discuss the events of the day, and to inform the citizens of Nasse that there would be an opportunity for inexpensive land and homes in one of the conquered cities.    Irolom was rebuilt at the conclusion of the war and quietly repopulated with several caravans from Nasse, who were told that the city had simply been abandoned in the face of siege. The only knowledge of the mass slaughter comes from sealed records kept by the King of Nasse himself, as First Princeps; only a few Etoileans are aware of the truth of the city.


Irolom is set on a small hill immediately above a river, which wraps around the city on three sides. From the city walls, an observer has a commanding view of the surrounding open countryside, with clear lines of sight through to the horizon. The bridge across the river from the walls is the only safe crossing for miles; the river is swift and deep, too swift for safe fording.
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