The Second Armada

The Second Armada was a military conflict that took place 605 > 612 After Land, which first began as a border war against two empires only to evolve in a race to capture the small country of Taru. The Second Armada was a devastating war that amounted to huge loses not only for the Taruan people, but also the Cantari and Federation people and countless others.  
The aftermath of The Second Armada is still felt around the world, but especially in Taru. Many of the older teachers at Taru International Academy remember the conflict, some even participated.
 

Key Characters

Lo Chen
Character | Oct 4, 2022

A playable character in the visual novel, Master of Seafaring class, Hero of Taru

Qing Chen
Character | Jul 31, 2022

Brother of Lo Chen. A famous Taruan artist and sculptor, and Hero of Taru

Alice Monaghan
Character | Jul 31, 2022

Headmistress of Taru International Academy, veteran from the Second Armada,

Bohai Hàn
Character | Jul 31, 2022

Powerful chieftan (Hàn) of the Taruan Merfolk. Revealed the existance of merfolk to humans.

The Conflict

Prelude

The Second Armada takes place 90 years after the start of the First Armada, which involved the Federation states and Cantari Empire in a bloody naval war across several seas, disrupting coastlands and nearby islands attached to various countries and affinities. By the end of the First Armada, The Federation assumed victory, and claimed Taru alongside other countries from Cantari. After an uneasy era of peace, threats of a full scale rebellion and logistical difficulties, the Federation relinquished the possessed lands as independent, self-governed countries. Some of the newly independent countries willingly joined Cantari, through fears that the Federation may invade once again, others were 'acquired' through politics or war by Cantari.   As time went on, nearby countries that bordered Cantari were involved in consequence conflicts, as Cantari began an age of rapid expansion. Countries such as Medevék continue to have such problems with Cantari, and have been forced to sign a treaty that they will not allow magi to remain in their borders.  

Medevék
Organization | Jun 12, 2022
  Then, during the years 570 to 575 AL, the world saw a brutal conflict against Taru, called the War of Spears. After political negotiation failed, Cantari attempted to take Taru by force through specialised land soldiers, including the infamous Red Spears. The Federation decided to defend Taru. After the war, there was no clear winner, causing civil unrest to remain in Taru for years to come. An unofficial truce between the Federation and Cantari slowly developed, but the conflict stalled Taru's growth and there was widespread hunger and lack of resources.   30 years later, the Second Armada would begin.

Deployment

At the beginning of the war, Taru was officially warned by The Federation and Cantari to remain neutral, however the raging war threatened Taru's coast and livelihood, and it was still a country suffering from years of civil unrest and poverty. The steadily growing fleet Taru had built was also a concern against the Federation and Cantari, who feared it may be used against them.    

War of the Flags

  As the Armada raged on, a dark, subtle war within Taru stirred and erupted to an openly aggressive civil war, known as the War of the Flags. The Taruan people were afraid of the future of themselves and their country. Some believed it would be best to support the Federation, as they supported Taru during the War of Spears. Others believed Cantari had the answer, and that the new Emperor would lead Taru out of poverty.   It began as a covert operation likely started by Cantari and Federation spies themselves. The Cantari followers would use flags made of red rags to identify each other on sloops or at a slumhouse window. They would then try to appeal to other Taruan people to join them, and show support with funds or ships, often through convincing others that they were pro-independence, and wanted to raise defence against any one who would try to attack Taru borders.   Lo Chen joined the 'Red Flags' at the age of 17, naively believing it would leave to an independent Taru. He left after discovering they were pro-Cantari.   A subsequence 'Blue Flags' group were created, who used similar tactics but were pro-Federation.   Violence erupted between the Red Flags and Blue Flags groups, which saw Taruan families fighting each other to the death over ideology. Many of whom did not fully understand the ideology they were dying for.   Motivated by the death of his mother, Lo Chen joined the new group, 'Grey flags', which focused on helping injured Taruans from the violence and securing resources from sunken Cantari or Federation ships. The group was mostly left alone by the Red Flags and the Blue Flags, until the Grey Flag's most prominent ship was caught in crossfire between the two flags, and their admiral died of shrapnel wounds.   At this time, Lo Chen and his brother, Qing Chen, led the Grey Flags and dramatically changed the nature of Taru's civil war, and the Second Armada itself. They succeeded in convincing key members of the Red Flags and Blue Flags to join them, and stopped the propaganda from Cantari and Federation agents. The civil unrest ended, and Taru was once against united, but fragile.   A united Taru was seen as problematic for both Cantari and The Federation. Finally, the country had potential to grow and claim true independence.   And thus, Taru became a target in the war, whether it wanted to or not.

Battlefield

The main battlefield was the Taruan sea, which not only caused great disruption to those living in Taru, but also to Taruan Merfolk. The Federation and Cantari expected to Taru to simply sit tight and watch the armada, while their covert operations influenced Taru from within.   There were several other battlefield sights, situated by several archipelagos and coasts. Though there was never a naval war close to the (western) Federation and Cantari. There was some conflict on the east coast of the Federation, and some of Cantari's newly adopted vassals.

Conditions

There is a reason why humans left the sea and began the After Land era. The sea presented progressively difficult and sometimes impossible situations, that destroyed the colossal ISAAC ships. Disrupting the sea, or its wildlife, seemed to create an angry sea keen on revenge. Whether or not the sea is living may be onto one's perspective, but the enemy was not always the reason for casualties.   Food shortages and reckless strategies at sea also caused needless deaths.  
"Most of us weren't sure what was going on, let alone what side we were supposed to fight for."  
- Lo Chen

The Engagement

Once the Grey Flags had secured and united Taru, the Federation fleet and Cantari turned their attention to the small country, planning a naval race to seize it first. Many Taruan residents were energised to fight for an independent, secure Taru, but Lo Chen knew that a small naval fleet of junk boats and sloops against two huge empires with frigates were unlikely to survive days, let alone stand a chance to defend the coastline.   One night, Lo Chen sailed alone on a junk boat for quiet contemplation. While he remained passionate about his actions to unite Taru, he feared the result may end in the destruction of the Taruan people. After praying to the spirits for guidance, Lo Chen noticed strange, human-like shadows in the water. Believing at first that they were spirits listening to his call, Lo Chen took a chance and dived down below. That is when he met the Merfolk for the first time.   The Merfolk were curious with Lo Chen's ability to breathe and talk underwater, and encouraged them to speak to their leader, Bohai Hàn. Bohai was not easy to negotiate with, but eventually they found common ground. They both wished for the safety of their people, and the protection of the Taru sea waters.  
Merfolk
Species | Apr 5, 2022

For most nations, merfolk have simply been a myth or a legend. However, during the Second Armada, the Taruan merfolk gave up their anonymity in exchange for ending the war and saving their home in the ocean.

  The Merfolk had lost many to the war, and others were injured in horrifying ways. While the various tribes of merfolk were on good terms, they united unlike ever before to protect each other from the war. Bohai led the merfolk through organised warfare, strategically creating underwater formations to surprise ships and drown them.   Lo Chen and Qing continued to use tactics they gained during the civil war to reach out to individual ships from the Federation and Cantari, to convince them to turn their sails and head home. Many of the fighters were conscripts, and some captains were young recruits that had simply survived their predecessor. One such recruit was Alice Monaghan who developed a strong bond with Lo Chen. Alice risked her life to seek an alternative for her crew, after realising the fallacy of the war. They sought to leave the battle, but knew it was a lost cause. Instead, they agreed to defend Taru.  
"Great, we have a small and battered frigate led by a young crew of conscripts. Was that really worth the effort, Lo?" Asked Foreman Ko.   Lo Chen simply let his Forbidden Eye glow at Ko, that made him shudder.   "It's that red haired captain." Qing said. "She may yet help turn the tide."
  After a long and arduous meeting, Lo Chen, Qing, Bohai and Alice agreed to launch a surprise attack on the Federation and Cantari. In their minds, it was a desperate last hope attempt to discourage once and for all, the race of conquest the empires were launching against Taru.   Alice asked that she would be able to negotiate Federation's surrender, if there was an opportunity. Lo Chen agreed, and they used law magic to secure the deal.  

The Surprise Attack

  The most dangerous and unpredictable concepts of magic is Calling magic, which can be used by human magi and merfolk. By using calling magic, the user is creating a deep connection with the world of Gaia herself, and pushes forward their will and desires. It cannot be carefully curated. Calling magic is power that explodes forward. It launches the power of the living world and sets things in motion. It is deadly to the user if one foolishly attempts to fully control it, instead, Calling magic can simply be directed. The user would be best advised to accept any and all consequences, including the destruction before them.   It is Calling magic that was used in the surprise attack. Bohai's Calling magic drowned platoons of prison warships and caused great underwater creatures to rise and crush.   Lo Chen's Calling magic launched typhoons against the front of enemy fleets that faced towards the coast. High winds struck sails and turned ships towards each other, creating a reckoning chaos.   Alice Monaghan first attempted to contact Federation fleets after Lo Chen's attack using a combination of Illusion and Transportation magic. She succeeded in convincing several Federation fleets to turn, which would greatly influence her life later. In retaliation however, the largest Federation frigate, The Scarlet Hunter, fired upon Taru ships towards Lo Chen.   Without another moment of hesitation or thought, Alice launched her Calling magic. She felt anger and grief at the loss she witnessed around her, and while she would never admit it... She was afraid she would lose Lo Chen. Her Calling magic created an incredible once in a generation storm that struck wildly and indiscriminately. Catastrophic hurricanes tore through ships on either side, Cantari, Federation or Taru without mercy.   Lo Chen couldn't hear his own screams as his brother, Qing, was ripped away from the ship and crashed overboard. He took a moment to control himself and held himself alone on his ship, as his crew were drowning. He used Calling magic once more to create a barrier to protect from Alice's raw power. In doing so, he managed to save the majority of the Taruan fleet, and Qing was able to pull himself back on board. The sea quietened by the Taruan shore, but the screams and winds ahead of them continued for a long, terrible moment.   And finally, the war was won. Somehow, Taru had defeated two empires at once.  

Aftermath

Months after the Second Armada, the Magi Council revealed themselves and spoke publicly about magi and magic. They rapidly became a spokesperson organisation for magi, whether they represented the majority of magi views or not.   The Federation and Cantari empires quickly built specialised schools for their magi, and created new laws that they must serve in their military. For the Federation, the service would be for a limited time, and their rank would be supposedly based on their abilities, though in reality it would depend on their family's position. In Cantari, military service would become permanent.   After 10 years of political negotiation, the Federation decided to officially 'hand over' Taru to Cantari, on the basis that Cantari promises to keep Taru independent for some time. The civil unrest in Taru officially ends as a result, and Taru rapidly modernises. During the same year, Empress Meigui ascends the throne to rule over Cantari, and is regarded as having a 'softer' approach towards the world. Cantari enters the 'Era of Flowers'.   Only 8 years after that, the visual novel begins!

Historical Significance

Legacy

Lo Chen, Qing Chen and Alice Monaghan are famous for their involvement in the Second Armada. Lo Chen and Qing are known as the 'Chen' brothers in Taru, and are frequently celebrated each year. Lo Chen despises the celebrations and the sudden modernisation in Taru, while Qing is less cynical and believes that both the local celebrations and modernisation are a step forward from living in shanty towns and slums.   Alice Monaghan is heavily praised by the Federation for saving some of the Federation fleet. She has not visited the Federation since the war, and her position in the academy is a helpful one for the Federation - far away not to cause any trouble, but in prominent position that advertises a Federation-claimed hero.   Bohai Hàn managed to avoid the spotlight and return to the sea. Most merfolk do not interact with humans and stay to themselves, however Bohai himself fell in love with a beautiful human, ShanLiang Li, and had a child together called Meili.
Conflict Type
War
Battlefield Type
Naval
Start Date
605
Ending Date
612
Conflict Result
The Federation and Cantari empires suffer heavy losses, and the existance of Magi and Merfolk are no longer a hidden secret.
Before the Second Armada, most non-magi humans thought that magic was only a myth, and most magi users themselves thought of their magic as extended luck, a blessing or a special skill passed down from generation to generation.    
by Sailing Ocelot
 
War of Spears by Sailing Ocelot
 
by Sailing Ocelot
 
The Federation Approaches by Sailing Ocelot
 
by Sailing Ocelot
   
by Sailing Ocelot
Lo Chen briefly describes his experiences in the war in his character video.   In the visual novel, the toll of the war will continue to effect Lo Chen. The player may choose how Lo Chen decides to move on from the past, or not.
 
by Sailing Ocelot
The Federation had come across several different tribes of Merfolk during the Second Armada, and feared them. They believed all merfolk had the ability to possess the sailors and manipulate them to do evil, so merfolk would be purposefully caught and their tongues removed. The condition of being tongueless is a hugely painful thing for a merfolk, which often leads to them being outcast. Hui Shu is a teacher at Taru International Academy who suffered from this.   The Cantari also dealt with merfolk they encountered in equally horrifying ways.
 
"It's screaming at me, and there's nothing I can do." Meili cried. "It's not his fault. But I can't stop hearing it! I hate this."
     
by Sailing Ocelot
 
For many crews on that fateful day, it would be the first time they would see the raw power of magic. There would finally be no doubt for the majority of the world, magic exists and it can be incredibly dangerous.
 
Admiral Frederick Saltworth may have intended to fire on the fleeing Federation fleets, but suffered miscommunication from a fearful and disorganised crew.
 
by Sailing Ocelot
 
In the visual novel, it is not just Lo Chen whose story is effected by the aftermath of the Second Armada. Meili shoulders a burden of being the first known half merfolk, half human, and only child of a powerful Hàn. Duncan's life changes dramatically as his parents decide to leave the Federation when they find out their son is magi, and therefore would have to enlist as a soldier. Tilde must pass a one-opportunity exam in order to be allowed to return to her country, who fear that uncontrolled magic could tear their mega domes. Eleanor finds herself suddenly changing school last minute, from a Cantari school to a Taru one. Her father is a Cantarian politician.
 
by Sailing Ocelot
 

Comments

Author's Notes

This is an article I had wanted to write for a very long time, but wasn't confident in my ability to detail it adequately. I'm very grateful for Summercamp being the push I needed to get this article out there, and I hope it is a very useful article for future players of my science fantasy visual novel, The Sea Hears Our Cries.   I would love feedback on the content of the article, and in particular, if you feel any content is missing. What did you enjoy about the article? What interests you? What would you like expanded, if anything?   Thanks for taking a look!


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28 Jul, 2022 18:33

I really loved the video. I think Lo Chen is one of your most interesting characters, too, so it was so nice to hear him speak. The text flowed well and engaged me as a reader (impossible odds and all that), and the layout is wonderful.   On a design point: I had a hard time reading the light blue link in the first grey box. It was close enough to the grey color that they just blended together for me. And the dark grey on grey for picture attributes I also had difficulty reading.   You write wonderful articles.Tthank you for this one.

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
28 Jul, 2022 22:34

Hi Kwyn! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it! I'm also delighted you liked the video! I hope to embark on more video projects for the other characters in the near future ^^'   I completely agree with your design point. I hope to tackle the CSS to fix that and will try to prioritise that.   Hope you're having a good time with the Summercamp! I love your articles and Insta updates very much <3

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
21 Aug, 2022 21:01

What a great article and I love that this conflict creates reveals that bring in the Merfolk and the Magi. Anyone seeing this should go read the Merfolk as well, so very interesting. Also I love that conflicts have high prices as seen throughout this article.


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Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
22 Aug, 2022 07:54

Cheers Graylion! I'm delighted you read both articles! This was my first military article, so it means a lot that you liked it :)

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
27 Aug, 2022 18:51

Lovely article. I really like the explanation of the different phases of the conflict. The magic they use reminds me of nuclear weapons. So with this in mind, why wasn't the magic used before? And has it been used afterwards? Can people be forced to use this magic?

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
28 Aug, 2022 21:49

Hi Laria, thank you very much for your comment.   I'm quite glad the magic reminds you of nuclear weapons, as its a point of contention I wish to explore in the visual novel.   There are several reasons why magic wasn't utilised as a weapon before, and it is also a point of mystery in the lore. Part of the reason is that many magi were not organised, schools were incredibly rare, so training on how to use magic was limited. Secondly it is often the case that if magi do not harness their magic as they age, they lose their abilities. Even at schools hidden away from non-magi, it was not conceived how powerful magic truly was, nor the breath of its capabilities. Thirdly, the most powerful form of magic is Calling magic. It replies on the will power of the individual, their motivations and their need, as well as the response from Gaia (the world) herself. The Second Armada saw the greatest conflict that Taru has ever known, and most of the world. Spirits were running high... As was desperation. Finally, another reason is that magic was recognised as natural phenomenon, so it was often explained away as that, rather than by the cause of someone else.   In the current times, magic is now being exploited for use in the military. One of the playable characters, Duncan, left his home in the Federation to avoid conscription. From their efforts, empires now have the potential for nuclear weapons. No such catastrophe since the Second Armada has happened... Yet. People can be forced to use magic the same as people being forced to use a weapon. It is extremely difficult to manipulate someone to use Calling magic though, as it doesn't work, (or worse, backfires!) if it is used without someone's full commitment to it.   I will try to make these answers clearer in current and future articles. Thank you for taking the time to ask these questions, I truly appreciate it.   Have a great day! ~ Sailing Ocelot

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot