Colyne Stewart, April AS XXXVI (2003)
For the April Fool’s edition of the TankArd
It was on a misty morning that the army of Ardchreag gathered along the Cliffs. Many of the fighters, archers and scouts were young and newly trained, but all had been tested against the Troll hordes that crawled through their lands. Ogres also they had slain, and tri-headed serpents had fallen to their might. Their leaders were battle hardened and wise in the ways of war.
The time had come for rebellion.
Like a green wave they descended from the Bluffs, washing over forts and towns. Septentria rallied its fyrd to withstand the attack but found themselves sore pressed. The Canton of Greenhithe was turned into a churning morass of blood and mud as brave fighters on both sides battled relentlessly.
In the former no-man’s-land between the Chreag and Greenhithe, a final push was made. Septentria, led by the Baron-Gnome himself, had made camp somewhere deep within the brambles from which they would launch their attacks against the “chreagger rabble.” They thought themselves safe, but Ardchreag’s scouts infiltrated their camp, incapacitated their guards and allowed the Ardchreag horde to descend upon the unsuspecting fyrd.
Norse, Celts, Mongols, and the others of the Cliffs fell upon the unsuspecting Septentrians like a plague. The Bear put up a brave fight bu against the over whelming zeal of Ardchreag they stood no chance. Knowing it is better to live to fight another day, the Baron-Gnome fled through the the marshes of northern Ardchreag, evading patrols and slathering beasties local to the area, finally reaching and barricading themselves within the Royal City of Eoforwic. There they waited for reinforcements from Skeldergate to arrive.
The engineers of Ardchreag begun to cut down trees from which to build terrible machines of destruction. The Mongols brewed a potent poison that was stuffed into Troll heads and flung over the walls while the French taunted Septentria mercilously.
By the time the forces of Skeldergate arrived, nothing remained of the city but a smouldering ruin and a purple hat.
The King and the Queen were by this time extremely agitated by this fighting within their borders and gathered a force to quash the rebellion. This large force, led by Dukes and numbering many knights, made haste to track down the Chreagger Menace, and put their heads on pikes.
Ardchreag, being peopled by sly individuals, prepared a trap. A small force was sent out that lured the Royal army into a rock valley with high walls. The skirmishers then climbed up ropes to the heights, cutting them when done, as the main Ardchreag force came out behind the Royals. Their archers kep the Royals penned in as a large Ogre, that had been caged in the valley, was released to wreck havoc.
When the carnage was complete, and the Ogre was re-caged, Ardchreag marched on the capital. The Kingdom had sent emissaries to the Middle and Calontir to ask for assistance, but the Royalty knew it would not arrive int ime. Ardchreag made camp at the base of the castle and demanded parlay.
The King and Queen agreed, but only as a stalling tactic. They met the Ardchreag envoy at the porticullis, surrounded by guards. Ardchreag demanded that the Royals surrender the Kingdom to them, or face annihilation. The King and Queen hemmed and hahed and demurred and the Chreagger envoys knew they were being stalled.
And so the flying turtles, long thought to be nothing but myth, were called upon. The rotund, winged reptiles swooped down from the clouds and carried off the Royalty, taking them deep into conquered territory. The Ardchreag envoy then demanded to speak to the Prince and Princess.
The Heirs agreed to meet, and fearful for the safety of their parents, agreed to consider ardchreag’s terms. Finally, they said that they would submit the Kingdom to ardchreag, only if one of their number could defeat the Prince in single combat. If their champion failed, they would have to surrender their forces.
Ardchreag agreed, and sent out a giant from Germanis to fight in their name. The giant and the Prince fought bravely for hours, then for days, with neither of them claiming the victory. However, the giant finally made one fatal error and was subdued.
True to their word, Ardchrerag gave up their quest. They released their hostages, which included the King and Queen, the Baron-Gnome and numbers of knights and squires, and submitted themselves for punishment.
The Royalty were much impressed by this display, and by the compassion the Chreaggers had shown their hostages. The leaders of the rebellion were punished for propriety sake, but the Royals gave Ardchreag the next best thing to independence. They became the first Duchy of the Knowne World!
Long live the Earth-Pigs!