Human invasion of the Great Plains Military Conflict in Prethoria | World Anvil
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Human invasion of the Great Plains

Edited by splatsma
To once again cross the Krisna was the decision that should have never been made by humans. It took only one war to turn the prosperous, progressive empire into a feared aggressor.
— "The Rise and Fall of the Human Empire"
For centuries, little was heard of humans on the West of the Krisna. Beaten and forced to run away, and having crossed the dangerous river, they were believed to be forever gone as a regional threat. However, the reverse was true. Whilst humans generally have a short memory, they did not forget that humiliation. Eight and a half hundred years after the humans had to run from the Great Plains their descendants returned, seeking both lands and revenge.

The Conflict

Prelude

The time has come for the human race to avenge our ancestors!
— Emperor Jaymond, announcing the creation of the Expeditionary Army
The Human Empire, being a newly formed country, had a lot of problems with stability. Emperor Jaymond's radical reforms and the thirty-year long struggle for power resulted in the emperor taking near-absolute control of the country. However, the nobility retained a relatively important role.   What is worse, the excessive size of Imperial Army during peacetime has led to the army becoming corrupt and dangerous. Many commoners, who were now serving as officers in the Imperial Army, gained significant renown due to their military deeds, and the army was gaining more and more influence supported by the masses of poor people. The emperor began crafting a solution to these problems.   The creation of the Expeditionary Army with a goal of claiming the Great Plains from orcs was publicly announced by the Emperor Jaymond during the ball at the Imperial Palace, on 70th Wane of 845 AE. Twenty-seven companies from different armies were reorganized in three different regiments, of which the first two consisted of ten-thousand infantrymen each and the third one consisted of seven thousand cavalrymen.   The official reason for this disproportionate amount of cavalry was to allow for better mobility and scouting on those vast plains, as well as to combat the mounted hordes of the grey orcs. The explanation had some reason to it, yet it was not the first concern of the emperor.   The real reason was different: to get rid of some of the numerous sons of nobility, who formed the backbone of the imperial cavalry making it a perfect environment for conspiracies. The newly created army also consisted of somewhat experienced companies, meaning that many talented and experienced officers with reputation were to be sent off far away from the empire where they could threaten its stability.  
We should all stand together, and claim those new lands for future generations to come! This war is a war for the future of our race, and for revenge!
— Governor Rogers
In order to secure his goal, the emperor took three more moves. The first was the official declaration that every free man participating in that expedition would be given land. Criminals were even offered pardons, if they were to fight in the ranks of Volunteers.   The second one was an unofficial, but widely known statement that the governors for those newly conquered provinces would be appointed judging by their contribution to the war, and all nobles who lend the emperor a hand would be generously rewarded.   Finally, a massive agitation was done among the common folk by the imperial officials, appealing to the old stories about their ancestors being massively killed by orcs and calling for them to ensure a better future for the whole human race.   The results of those preparations were far greater than anyone could possibly expect. The total strength of the militia provided by the nobles exceeded thirty-thousand well-armed people, and over a hundred thousand people volunteered to take part in the war, most of whom were poor men hoping to get some land. What was first considered a political intrigue became a full-size invasion.

Deployment

Do you like to swim, soldier? No? Well, then you better move faster, or that's what you're going to do once the mages stop freezing this part of the river!
— Captain of the third foot company of the Expeditionary Army
On the early morning of Growth 1st, 846 AE the expeditionary forces started a solemn parade, looked upon by the whole imperial court including the Emperor Jaymond himself. The parade lasted for several hours, beginning with the cavalry of the Expeditionary Army followed by the infantry, and ending with the participating noblemen and the representatives of volunteers. After receiving a speech by the emperor, and the conclusion of the freezing spell over the Krisna, the first companies started to cross the river at noon.   Even the astonishing amount of mages gathered turned out not to be enough to provide the crossing for all the forces involved, so by the end of the day, only a portion of them reached the west side of the river. Only the first to sixth foot and the first to third mounted companies were deployed on the first day of the war, along with two-thirds of the noblemen's militia and several thousand volunteers.   To this day, some people accuse the emperor of trying to preserve his own soldiers by not sending the entire Expeditionary Army first. It is, however, a common point to be made that heavily armoured troops, especially cavalry, had to be moved in small numbers to avoid the ice cracking beneath them.   Whatever the reason was, the transported troops started an attack on the grey orc tribes the very same day, not even waiting for the rest of the forces which were gradually transported over the course of a week. The volunteers among both noble families and commoners continued to appear throughout the whole war, and their numbers really spiked after the end of The Night of Wind.   On Growth 39th, the imperial mages have gathered once again to transport the masses of people across the Krisna, a process that once again continued for almost a week. With them, two regular imperial regiments (10,000 men each) were sent by the emperor to enforce the imperial law on the conquered lands. Their other order was to ensure the obedience of the Expeditionary Army and nobles, who were never fully trusted to begin with.

The Engagement

Keep them shields tight and close boys, and those savages would be no threat to us!
— Unknown Bannerman
The war initially started as countless small skirmishes that would occur between the human forces spreading from the Ice Crossing and the grey orc tribes of the local areas. The scouting in the first few days was mainly executed by the mounted regiment of Expeditionary Army, with militia and volunteers providing the support to regular infantry.   After the main forces of volunteers were transported, however, they were ordered to move ahead of the army and scattered all around it. The volunteers were allowed to kill and pillage as they see fit, and thus most of them were eager to risk their lives, filling the land with blood and ashes.   Nobles' militiamen, on the other hand, were assigned to the groups of regular mounted soldiers, usually a lance strong, who would organize and lead them. Those forces were hunting down the enemies too strong for a bunch of common folks to bear but not serious enough to send regular troops after them.   On the Growth 13th, only twelve days after the war has begun, the emperor had already declared a formation of the first three provinces on the Great Plains and assigned their governors. In fact, despite the grey orc tribes offering no significant resistance so far, the tension on the east side of the river was only growing day by day.  
My friend, I've heard some truly unsettling rumours. A number of highly respected people came to me regarding the Shen family supporting another for the governorship. Yours, in fact. They spoke of generous donations paid in gold. Of course, it would be foolish to question your loyalty wouldn't it, my friend? To think you would buy my subordinates? To think you would betray our friendship? Yes? I'm glad to hear it. Jades, cut his throat.
— Duke Robert of Stush
While the human troops were fighting the orcs, a hidden war was waged in the Imperial Palace. The noble families of the Human Empire were quarrelling among themselves on the matter of who would give the positions and lands in those newly acquired provinces, and much gold was spent and blood spilt, all to the content of the emperor.   Of course, those nobles could not decide who would be entitled to what, which was, in the end, the emperor's decision. They could, however, make others refuse the appointment, freeing the position which would later be offered to other noble families. Moreover, a practice of supporting another noble family was common at the time, where the deeds of all supporting families would be considered, in the eyes of the emperor, the deeds of the ones they support.   Meanwhile, the war situation quickly escalated on the Growth 29th, when a large force of orcs was spotted moving towards the human army. Since then, the humans were tightening their formation in anticipation of a big battle, and on the evening of Growth 33rd, the coalition of the grey orc tribes sighted the twenty-thousand strong enemy army located near a small forest.   The orcs made camp for the night, but they were not going to have much sleep. The imperial heavy infantry attacked the enemy camp at night on that windy night, causing the chaos among their forces. The attack was further supported by the enormous masses of human irregulars, who charged from the forest once most of the orcs got involved in the fight, denying them space to manoeuvre.   Unable to use their numerical superiority and at a great tactical disadvantage, the famous light cavalry of the grey orcs turned out unable to break the formation of heavy infantry attacking it from the front. The sight of the human heavy cavalry forming the complete encirclement of the orcish army was the last straw. The orcs wavered and started to flee, losing many of their best warriors in the process. The defeat was complete, and the Night of Wind has since been taught in the military academies as a case study of a competent tactical manoeuvre.  
— I wish I left the army before the war began. Those volunteers are all making a fortune right now.
— Not all of them. Only those who manage to survive.
— Two imperial soldiers
The rest of the war could hardly be called war at all, with humans smoothly establishing their control over the Great Plains. The grey orcs were no longer all killed with no mercy for children, women and elderly; instead, many were stripped of their land and belongings and then put in chains.   Even before the war ended, the human army started to build keeps and settlements, establishing a logistical network on their newly conquered lands. Dozens of thousands of the enslaved orcs could be seen working on the construction, cutting down entire forests in the process.   The total and unconditional victory was announced to be won by Emperor Jaymond on the Growth 87th. However, all the countless skirmishes and raids that existed throughout the war did not end well until the end of the year, by which point most of the grey orcs were either killed, enslaved or driven far away from the borders of the Human Empire.

Outcome

The brave sons of the Human Empire, which we were all praying for, have brought vengeance upon the murderers of our ancestors. The war against the orcs is won, and the imperial banners fly on their lands.
— Emperor Jaymond, declaring the victory for the expeditionary forces
The humans gained complete control over all of the Great Plains, making them imperial provinces. The grey orcs tribes were severely reduced in strength and numbers, with many being completely wiped out and the rest seeking a new place to live on.   The Expeditionary Army was disbanded, and the Imperial Army took control over those new provinces, fortifying their borders. Many officers of the Expeditionary Army were politically persecuted by the emperor.

Aftermath

The victorious war resulted in a drastic rise in human solidarity and morale, strengthening the power of the emperor as opposed to that of the nobles. It also caused an enormous migration of poor people across Krisna, driven by the many indulgences offered there; estimates show that almost 15% of the empire migrated in this fashion. Ultimately this war and the reduction in population density solved many of the empire's problems and bolstered support for the emperor.   Not only had humans started to believe in the wisdom of their emperor, but they also had begun to seek even more lands. As a way to do so, the Human Empire started its expansion into the Endless Forest around the Great Plains, cutting down entire forests and forcing small local nations to run from their ancestral lands.
Conflict Type
War
Battlefield Type
Land
Start Date
Growth 1st, 846 AE
Ending Date
Growth 87th, 846 AE
Conflict Result
Historic victory for the human race
Location

Belligerents

Strength

47,000 imperial soldiers (including 9,000 men-at-arms)
21,000 pages
78,000 noble militia
200,000-300,000 volunteers
More than 1,000,000 warriors (reported estimates)
300,000-500,000 warriors (historians' estimates)

Casualties

7,300 imperial soldiers (including 2,800 men-at-arms)
8,000 pages
23,000 noble militia
100,000-150,000 volunteers
More than 600,000 warriors (reported estimates)
200,000-300,000 warriors (historians' estimates)
Countless noncombatants

Objectives

Conquer the Great Plains
Protect their lands
Humans
Species | Apr 10, 2020

A relatively young and numerous race, whose aggressive expansion have put the known world on the edge of another grand war

Great Plains
Geographic Location | Apr 10, 2020

The vast plains enclosed by the river of Krisna and the Forest, they are now inhabited by humans

Krisna
Building / Landmark | Apr 10, 2020

A very wide and long river flowing past the Great Plains and the Endless Forest


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