Siege of Raykor Military Conflict in Ereya | World Anvil
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Siege of Raykor

The Siege of Raykor was a successful siege of the ancient fort Raykor by House Vauquelin towards the end of the War of the Heirnth Coalition and marked a significant turning point in the war. The fort resisted for a month under minimal attacks from the Vauquelins but collapsed following an assault coinciding with an inexplicable shift in the Indigo Thread. Its fortification was dismantled, the stones left untouched to this day.
 

Background


  The Heirnth Coalition, an alliance of Houses from the Heartlands and predecessor to the Rin Tao, was formed in an attempt to gain control of the iridium trade between the cities of the Asuran western coast and the Szarvas. The Great Kov was and is still not under the sovereignty of one House, but rather the nomadic Houses moving from one habitable land to the next, following the cycle of the threads. The cities on the western coast resisted the Coalition, forming alliances with the Houses of the Szarvas. The major families included the Vauquelins and Ul'viyes of the Szarvas, and the Lütfisegs of the West Coast, all notably future members of the Zovharkanhui (House Ikra and others of Eastern Asura took no part in the conflict, but sent aid to the Asuran alliance).
 
The Szarvas, also known as the Great Kov

  The Coalition made a successful landing on the west coast, taking Erdene among other cities. They ambushed the gathered Asuran armies on the eastern side of the Tsagadai. The Asurans were caught by surprise and, the Vauquelin host, in particular, suffered heavy losses but were able to safely retreat southwards to the Spine. It was eventually known that House Sturm provide passage for the Coalition across the Tsagadai. However, the Heartlander armies reached no further than the Fyrdran Kov before they had to turn back after suffering immense casualties. The wisest families, tasting enough of bitter defeat, returned home with what spoils of war they took. Some lingered on Asura, building settlements along the coastline and neighbouring islands. These were picked clean over the following years by pirates and the Asuran Houses like vultures ripping apart dying prey.
  Lady Fajra Keethe was made the head of the House following the death of Jozefo Keethe at the Gol River which was filled with so many corpses that one could walk across without even once touching the water. With less than half of the units she had left with, Lady Fajra intended to return to the Erdene, one of the last cities to remain in Coalition control in the hopes of reuniting the other Heartlanders for one final attack. The weather took a turn and the only passage across the Tsagadai, the Gorge of Marzha was blocked by snow from avalanches on Mount Fehmin. They retreated to Raykor, the fort belonging to House Sturm who had given them passage across the Tsagadai at the start of the war.
 

The Gorge of Marzha may not be the only passage across the Tsagadai, but the only large enough for an army to pass

 

Siege


 
  The ancient fort whose name meant "Sun-Piercer" was located on the southern side of Tsagadai. Legends say that the oldest stones of Reykor were laid by the volgrins when Ereya was theirs, but whether true or not, many layers of fortification have been built over them until it appears from outside its walls to be of entirely modern construction. Only the southeast tower, the highest point on Ereya for over two centuries before the construction of the Ratree Complex (commissioned by House Sauda), gave light to its true age.
 
Tower of Reykor prior to its imminent destruction in the siege of "the Sun-Piercer"

  More importantly for the weary armies, ambience within 50 km of Reykor is very low during the autumn months due to its location and the minerals located within surrounding mountains. Therefore, the Keethes would have the advantage against the Vauquelins should they attack the fort, as they would not be able to fully utilise the affinities they heavily rely on. Lady Fajra and her new ally planned to wait out until the winter solstice when Vauquelins were weakest (during this period, most paths around Asura including the Indigo Vein would be located 60-80 km from the ground, leaving the rest spread far apart) before marching to the west where they would call upon the Heartlander Houses to form a second Coalition. Messages had been sent to the captured west coast cities. Lady Lavanya of House Daevadas had marched up the western slopes of the Tsagadai with a dozen Kiranan elephants to relieve the siege on Raykor but was trapped on the other side of Mount Marzha.
 
Photo of Raykor taken by Heartland surveillance team during the War of Heirnth Coalition

  Brief assaults were made on the fort's walls, but it seemed more to test the garrison's strength rather than to break through the defences. A week into the siege, a single rider emerged on a qirin. Lady Aunsarnai Vauquelin drew back the hood of her amethyst cloak, seeming more amused than concerned of her safety. From the top of the battlements, Lady Keethe spoke politely, stating that she would not surrender in face of victory. The Lord of Reykor spat on the ground at Aunsarnai's feet. Lady Vauquelin did not offer terms or negotiate.
  Three days before the winter solstice, the Vauquelins captured the ancient fort and wiped out the last vestige of the Sturms. The attack occurred in conjunction with the movement of the Indigo Vein as it plummeted down towards the Tsagadai, raising ambience to unprecedented levels. To this day, it is uncertain whether the abrupt change of the thread's position was natural or caused by the Vauquelin or even how such a thing could be achieved.
  The days prior had clear skies with brief snowfall, but the morning of the attack was marked by a sky of the darkest purple as though it was twilight. Eserlite floated through the air, which the inhabitants of the fort thought was snow until their skin began to swell and burn. Steel turned as soft as chalk, leaving the Keethe troops weaponless. Lady Aunsarnai personally attacked the walls, tearing down stone and brick with her mind and breaking through the defences. They slew anything that so much breathed (except for the horses). Their swords were forged of iridium alloys, the highest of the Shaper's metals, and they held true even as gold and copper twisted and corroded as though maggots had buried into them. The garrison's dwindling supplies and equipment were captured, most too corrupted to be of any use and were torched along with the buildings. Raykor was torn apart, the stone of its sun-piercing tower left untouched–cursed, it is whispered.

The Conflict

Outcome

The Vauquelins' victory resulted in the complete destruction of House Sturm and a great setback for the remaining Keethes, who never recovered from this failed investment and eventually faded to obscurity.    After the Tsagadai was even safe enough to cross, Lavanya Daevadas directed her force of cavalry and elephants towards Ertugrul, an important trading centre for the Asuran Houses and captured it with the aid of Yōsuner mercenaries. She attempted to seize the Vauquelin stronghold in the Spine, but while her army was highly effective, many of her forces died due to a lack of supplies. House Daevadas lost control of Ertugrul soon after and eventually sailed back to the Heartlands.

Aftermath

Socially, the siege vastly altered other Houses' perspectives of the Vauquelins, especially those of the Heartlands and cemented its position as a Great House. Once seen as the bastard child of the Winged Houses, the Vauquelins are now feared if not revered. The Rin Tao (Literally "Union of Light") was formed in response to these fears, if not officially. When the Asuran Houses formed their own council, the Zovharkanhui ("Night Assembly"), House Vauquelin was made leader.
Ecologically, the sudden movement of the Indigo Vein had a catastrophic impact on the mountainous terrain, producing extreme weather conditions, the destruction of wildlife, out-of-season migration. Hundreds of kilometres of land were deemed a "White" zone, with ambience equivalent to that around the poles and the Broken Continent. It has gradually lessened to levels where individuals with level-II passivity should theoretically survive without protective equipment (if you are able to confirm this, please contact the research department (the Insititute is not liable for injuries, loss of personal possession, trauma, deaths etc.)).

Historical Significance

In Literature

A number of moving pictures and novels were created to commemorate this event, mainly by Asuran writers and directors with a notable exception of a Heartlander author who disappeared not long after the "highly derisive" text was pulled out of circulation. The others are produced with the permission of the Zovharkanhui or under the patronage of House Vauquelin.   [Personal favourite is "Siege of Sun-Piercer," by Csilla Zornsa–it's all propaganda, of course, but it's really well-written propaganda. It has a decent pictures adaptation.]  

Technological Advancement

There was an immediate "race" in the development of firearms and very high-temperature engineering technology as various Houses searched for alternatives to steel barrels. In fact, our Institute is currently researching ceramic technologies under the sponsorship of House Sauda. One by-product of the race, superalloys, has proven very useful in turbine engines.
Included under Conflict
Conflict Type
Siege
Battlefield Type
Land

Notable Houses and people

 

House Keethe

House Keethe (of the Under) was a young one, coming to power nearly 500 years after the Unnamed War. Its founder, Keethe of the Under (yes, he named his house after himself), was a decent Sculptor but a talented inventor, a student of our Institute when he began his work on metallurgy and eventually weaponry. By the inception of the Heirnth Coalition, House Keethe was one of the most formidable military forces within the Heartlands, tearing through their opposition as easily as bullets through paper. The same could not be said for their campaign to claim the Iridium Sea. The Heartlands and the lands between 30° north and south are blessed with low and stable ambience, thus steel retains its strength and flexibility. In Asura, the magnetic field of the south pole twists nuon paths, turning them into a labyrinth that even the native Asuran have trouble navigating. There, the Keethes' greatest strength turned to their greatest weakness as their steel firearms and artillery succumbed to ambience corrosion: vehicles crumbling like paper, gun barrels exploding when fired. It is said that more of their soldiers died in the explosions and the corrosion than any attack inflicted by the enemy.  

House Sturm

The Sturms were once part of the Great Houses, but like so many others, they fell out of power following the War. They were offshoots of the Winged Houses much like the Vauquelins, making them allies of the old. During the War of the Heirnth Coalition, Armel Sturm was the head of his House, if only because he was the last member. He had a personal grudge with Aunsarnai Vauquelin following her marriage with his lover, Jun Lonan (of the Shadow). Seeing an opportunity to seize control of the iridium industry, or at least to kick the Vauquelins "where it hurt most," Lord Sturm offered an alliance with the Lady Keethe.

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Comments

Author's Notes

Please, if you have feedback, criticisms or questions, leave a comment! Even just to point out typos. Especially to point out typos.


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Jan 10, 2022 15:42 by R. Dylon Elder

First off, well done! I really like how the initial sections handle the hard information about the conflict, the section on giving background of the individual houses being my personal favorite. Nomadic houses are a really cool idea, and I'm not versed enough in history to know if its inspired by real life events, but it's awesome.   Once the battle begins, though, you make it sound more like an actual story. It's written very well. Including how it impacted politics and ecology was an excellent touch and have to give you props for including historical significance as well, not just in the stories told about it but the technological arms race that followed. Well written propaganda got a good laugh out of me. Just really well done, my friend.

Jan 11, 2022 02:51

Thank you for the like and comment! Truthfully, I hadn't expected anyone to read this at all. I will use your feedback to improve on other articles.