Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

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Zor
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2013-04-25 09:01pm

For sake of simplicity, all seasons in timestamps are Northern Hemisphere
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(Infrastructural Navy ironclad Ironsides, Coastal waters near the Southwestern Continent, Autumn 33 IA)
For twenty four days the fleet moved over the ocean and Lieutenant Stanislav Viktorovich of the Ironsides was for the most part, was not particularly fond with them. He was in charge of gunnery and there to do in regards of lobbing shells towards enemy ships. So they did a few drills and helped out with the heavy lifting on-board, deck swabbing and other chores. The seas were often rough, there was a few days of heavy rains and cold weather, which were then followed by days which got hotter and hotter as they got further south. By that point most of the crew had switched to wearing the warm weather uniforms or simply going without a shirt. The fact that the ship had been assigned to carry more supplies than it was generally intended to, taking up space which was already at a premium, did not help matters.

While it was not the biggest thing as far as effects on moral, the open seas got monotonous. The last foreign ship was sighted on the seventh day. Empty water in either direction with the only details being the other ships at sea, seabirds and the occasional bit of drifting flotsam. A couple of times some big oceanic creature went by which caused some talk but this did not happen nearly enough.

On the 23rd Day the Ironsides was assigned to the front of the Convoy, it was her turn in the rotation. Navigation was handled by Detail aboard the Hunter, who relayed information to the rest of the fleet via semaphore and radio. As he was making his rounds on the twenty forth overlooking the cannons he heard the cry from the Crow's Nest.

"LAND HO!"

There was soon was a cheer from the men and the signal was soon relayed to the rest of the fleet. Men clustered around the decks to try and see what was going on and NCOs put them back to work until people could see it come over the horizon. First a hazy and indistinct dull gray line, which gradually turned green. As they got close, the crew noticeably improved and he became a bit lax. He even called a up a few men up for a break and brought out some beer in celebration. Moods improved and people were doing just fine. It had not been a total surprise, they were informed on how long the journey should take and people knew how to count, but it was welcome never the less.

After a while routine came back, but people took a look at this land across the sea whenever they could. Stanislav was no exception. He read a bit about it in the packages that were provided early on and it fit the bill. It was mostly grasslands with patches of light forest here and there. Occasionally he saw herds of strange creatures going about the grasses or seals sunning themselves on a beech. He also saw a few standing stones and a couple of small villages with smoke coming up. They went down the coastline for about five hours before they dropped anchor at the mouth of a river.
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(Colony-1, Discovery River, Autumn 33IA)
Corporal Vanef Hollgofson walked up the stairs on the newly completed wall and went on patrol as a wall sentry, grateful that his life was now that much easier than it was a few days ago. Coldlanders were used to hard work as a general rule and soldiers were definitely no exception. When there was no drilling or fighting to do the committee found some job for them to work at, building roads or Garrisons or whatever. But the new base required considerable effort. Every one of the new settlers had a job to do in setting up a new town, as well as the soldiers and even some of the sailors. Only the sick and medics, nurses and Detail were exempt. On a patch of Dry land they set up a camp, cleared out various bits of scrub in the way. Then timbers were felled, fields plowed, Crate shacks were put up as well as various log cabins, surrounded by a wall of logs with clay and grass stuck between them and rammed earth towers, including a few battlements for cannons in case of attack by sea.

They had arrived about a month ago and now the place was finally shaping up into something like a town. There were fields around the place were wheat was growing and, for reasons that he dimly understood relating to the world being a ball and sunlight coming in at angles, summer was coming here while the Coldlands were moving into winter. There were no children living here but given that there was a fair number of women brought along as well as a couple of teachers, Vanef figured that would change soon enough. Somewhat surprisingly, Discovery had arrived aboard a strange vaguely seed shaped flying device with fins like sails, meaning that two members of the Committee were overseeing this project.

There were some things to look out for. There were people here, bronze skinned and raven haired men and women who wore blankets as clothes armed with strange mounts, lances, bows, slings and something that he was not sure was a short long bladed spear or a long hilted short bladed sword. Fortunately, most of them were more interested in Trade and were keen on liquor and iron goods. There were also the beasts, most of which were strange things. Especially the Great Birds. Fortunately there was nothing that a few bullets would sort out, at least yet.

These would be more of a risk to him tomorrow. If the town itself was besieged, there were walls, automatics and cannons, both based in the settlement itself and on board the ships which floated out in the river. Now, the Committee had plans to send a team a bit more than a kilometer inland to set up one of the rigs they had brought across the sea tomorrow. Apparently for what they came all this distance to get in the first place.
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(Grasslands, Discovery River Region, 3 kilometers southwest of Colony-1, Autumn 33IA)
It was something of a surprise to the Expedition's colonists and ship when Discovery descended and plugged into a body brought along in storage. The humans still treated him with the same respect, veneration and loyalty which was required of them, which was what mattered in the end. This project was of some importance and could use extra Administration, especially with Detail overseeing the health of the crew. Things had proceeded fairly smoothly so far, but there were still risks none the less.

After a month of preparing and setting up base they would begin Drilling operations. The whole reason for bringing this force more than 13,000 kilometers was the wealth that lay underneath the ground. It would be a small scale operation, more of a training exercise as an effort for extraction. Several Derricks were set up at a promising deposit inland deposit and began humming. But as expected they were not alone for long.

Their activities had been watched, the Recon Drones had made that clear and on the evening of the second day they were met by a party of natives that were dubbed "Blanket Men" by the settlers. A few tribes of them lived in the immediate area, farming potatoes and several local cultivars as well as raising herds of large semi aquatic rodents and lanky grazing quadrupedal mammals. Those that lived on the rivers were more sedentary while those that lived inland were more nomadic, driving their herds along and gathering. For mounts they did not have horses, but they did have large flightless birds which were a capable substitute. According to Detail, some of the Humans thought they were just big chickens, until a few people saw what one of them could do to a cow and rumor had gotten around. As for their weapons, they had simple bows with flint arrows, Napohjek spearswords and long spears. They wore little armor, at most simple curiasses of wood and conical helmets made of wood or metal strips fastened to a cloth lining and held in place by metal rings. There were a few warriors in this band, but also a tribal leader. They approached calmly and quietly, if this was an attack they would be blowing ceramic horns and screaming prayers of blood and destruction to their war god.

"Steady men" He commanded to the escort squad. He was sure that he could have this small group dispatched, but it was an embassy. Shooting them would likely cause more problems than it would solve. He had monitored the natives fairly closely and had managed to work together the basics of their language.

There had been some conflicts between the natives and the settlers. A couple raids were launched in the first two week by the nomadic Gosho Tribe which ended badly for them.The other tribes in the area, the Issan, Klebba and Shol were more cautious and receptive to these newcomers, especially since they killed a few Gosho warriors who had a tendency of through this area and demanding that they pay tribute to them in exchange for not sacking their villages. They sent scouts to scout things out, but did not fight. They also engaged in some trade, mostly selling fresh produce, meat and fish for strong drink and iron goods, particularly pots, knives, tools and armor. The river tribes could work iron, but they used primitive means to do so and had to either use charcoal or import coal from upriver, a fact which would need to be be investigated.

The leader, an elder the Klebba tribe asked what they were doing in this area of land, which this tribe had been using for grazing and hunting. He told them that they were digging wells for a black liquid that burned that was found underground. There was no purpose in lying to him about this. The natives knew of Petroleum, but they had no use for it. He asked about the machines as well as a few other things. Discovery got a few words wrong, but the Elder did not begrudge him much of it. In any case, he gave them a case containing a twenty four iron helmets and four steel breastplates. This was enough to please the locals and say that they did not see anything wrong with this endeavor. With that they went back to their efforts. A fence would be advisable never the less, as would clearing out a the grass around the area.
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(Clinic, Colony-1, Winter 33IA)
A young woman walked through the door into Detail's clinic, her name was Darya Mildorfr and she was the fifth person to have an appointment that day. Among the various prefabricating buildings, thrown together structures, more effort was invested into getting this structure completed. Even the Petroleum storage containers were at this time of lower priority at this stage and had been used to carry other supplies en route. It was kept quite clean despite it's frequent visitors. Soft music was played.

"Committee member." She said respectfully.

"Darya, I hope you are getting along well." His tone was warm and inviting. "Would you take a seat?"

"Yes Sir." She then took to a chair.

"Please, call me Detail. Also extend your arm if you would be so good." She did just that, he quickly grabbed it near the wrist and took her pulse. "You are on the agricultural detail?"

"Yes, uhhh, Detail." She was nervous, but compared to some of the people that he had worked with even when sedated this was nothing.

"And how are things going with that."

"Some of the cabbages are not doing so well but otherwise things are not to bad. Even if it is bloody hot outside."

"Have you been wearing your hat?"

"Yes."

"That's good to hear." Small talk of this variety was useful for keeping track of things, what people were doing and made people more comfortable. They had been taken half way around the world to a strange land. This caused anxiety in a few individuals, though much more of a risk was disease. Even with a supply of potions to deal with infections it was still a considerable risk. Making sure that the population was and stayed in good health was of paramount importance. A few workers had come down with something already, but that could be dealt with. Keeping track of the health of people so that sicknesses could be identified they collapsed in the fields was far more of a priority. Besides, he considered every individual loss a failure on his part.

"All good, now lets check those eyes out."
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(New Harbor, Borogskov, Spring 34IA)
It had been about seven months since the Fleet left, but work was kept up. A few workers were dismissed and new factories were not constantly being put up, but still there was a fair amount of activity going on. The amount of traffic coming in was still high, the shipyards were still working on more ships and the Navy was training and drilling new crews. Vorst Vorstovik took notice of these developments in Borogskov while he worked as a Stevedore on the docks. He was a bit unusual in that he was a native who was not a slave but he lived in the New City. He was too young to fight during the war and was dirt poor in any case. He heard enough of the Magpie nonsense that merchants, tradesmen and other nostalgic fools went on about, in his book honest work was honest work and bread was bread.

In late march the fleet returned and was soon the talk of the town. The passengers had been left behind in a strange land, but they were well and had set up a new town. A few specimens of exotic plant and animal life were also brought over. There were plenty of volunteers to help unload the ships, both out of curiosity and for the pay. Vorst was quite satisfied when he get the job. He had loaded the ships beforehand and one of the things that he remembered was a fair amount of supplies that would normally go into crates were put into barrels.

Unfortunately most of what was there was sealed away. There were a fair number of crates, broken up by a few cages containing odd creatures. There was also the barrels, large numbers of them and by the feel of them filled to the brim. He did his job well and moved them to the warehouses. One of his colleagues was not so cautious, causing one of the barrels to fall and break and covering Pier-5 in black foul smelling oily black liquid.
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(Warehouse, Borogskov, Spring 34 IA)
A few live Capybaras were bought from the natives by the Infrastructural settlers, while a local herder was commissioned to show them how these creatures were to be kept. Of these fourteen of them, as well as five Llamas and a few other creatures (either smaller or stuffed), were loaded aboard a ship when the fleet returned to the Coldlands. There they would be displayed, shown about the Coldlands in a propaganda campaign and hopefully be bred commercially. The Capybaras themselves were not particularly happy with this turn of events.

One day in their nice pens the humans led them out and brought them aboard one of those big metal island things on the river and taken into a dark room with a bunch of boxes. While their was food, there was only a small trough of water with enough to drink but not enough to swim as well as strange noises and the floor moving back and forth sometimes. It also was a bit on the cool side at times. Once or twice a day their handlers would come by, bring in some more food and stuff to chew on, muck the place out, check up on them and then leave. Sometimes they grumbled. They got a bit irritable by the time they got to the Coldlands and were taken out and most of them were not cooperative once they had disembarked.

As a Capybara was led through the warehouse on a leash, this manifested in a refusal to be dragged around on a leash. As it did so, it noticed something in the background. It was a strange human (as far as it could tell or cared), tall and lanky in a cloak. The rest of the humans ignored it. The cloaked figured moved quietly, making an effort to avoid bumping into people and tucked itself in a nook between the crates and barrels and stood there, examining it. If the Capybara's mind was a bit more sophisticated it would have asked itself "what is he doing?" or "Why has no one besides me noticed him?" The reason being that spells of invisibility were typically psychic in nature, fooling the minds of those around them that there was only empty space where they stood. But while they were effective against humans, elves, dwarves, orcs and similar, they often were not finely tuned to other creatures such as rodents. Never the less, it had little interest in exposing the being at the moment and the Drow Spy quietly observed and wrote things down for his superiors. That message would soon be dispatched to his masters, much to their interest.
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(War Council Room, Galthirith, Spring 34IA)
Among the greatest assets of the Dark Elves was their expertise in espionage. Each of the Nine Drow states had at it's disposal an elaborate network of spies assisted a number of local informants, connections with the criminal underworld and unwitting assistants. These had connections across the human kingdoms and kept them up to date on various political developments, military actions and similar. It also could be used to manipulate the human powers by providing valuable information to certain parties to make sure that their foes would end up fighting themselves, as a means to undermine the influence of the High Elves and as a commercial commodity.

The last of those had been a goal which had become a higher priority over the last millennium. For forty two centuries the Drow had viewed themselves as the Rightful Masters of all life and had fought to bind the world in chains to their will in numerous great wars, as well as a number of lesser ones. However, even if it took some time their efforts towards expansion and enslavement would be repulsed and they would be driven back to their domains. Fortunately, there were still those who would gladly sell their enemies or would be open to more profitable alternatives to the headsmen in dealing with criminals. With this, the Merchant Families of the Dark Elves, once minor players at best had risen in prominence and status, much to the subtle disdain to the older Warrior elites. Especially since some of this money was being invested in ambitious projects across the sea in the most successful example of Expansion the Dark Elves had accomplished to this date.

But regardless of the internal class conflicts of the Drow, one thing that all parties agreed on was the probing of the new state of Infrastructure. Not every Dark Elf State was involved in the Coldlands slave trade, but regardless there was a comparatively modest but noticeable increase in the price of unskilled slaves from 10 IA to the fall of the Black Ports. At the same time, it's technological progress was something which could not be overlooked, especially after the Rifle Wars. Some, like Galthirith probed for weak points, areas that could be of use for an invading army in a future punitive campaign. Others, especially Valnothron, sought to obtain their secrets. There were a few long term plans, even if they had given up on attempting to assassinate Committee members for the time being. A surprising number of their agents had been lost, but never the less they kept up their investigations. Among the things that they wondered about the most was the launch of a large scale fleet across the oceans. There was not much information on where they went and they did not follow their steel fleet. The hope was that it was lost in a storm, but it returned. Soon afterwards, the various agents managed to figure out where they had went.

In a council room of Galthirith a compiled report was examined by a number of prominent figures. Among them lady Talith ti'Noljas, the plants and animals they brought back, the Images displayed by recruiters looking for more settlers, the descriptions of the far away lands among sailors. She knew where the Coldlanders had decided to disgrace the sky with their soot spewing fleets and a wart of a colony even before getting to the conclusion of the note, which was merely a note of confirmation. It was a land across the sea, uninhabited save for primitive tribals, but it was due south of a set of Drow Colonies, among them those of Galthirith. Colonies which, despite the threats posed to them by the High Elves and other powers, had been thriving. A foothold by a rival power in this new world, even one five thousand miles from their assets was a unacceptable hazard to their long term plans.

As such she calmly put down the report on the table. Then, in a lightning movement, she drew her dagger and brought down her into it. The rest of the officials got the message. Whatever reason the Committee had for setting up this settlement in the New World, it did not matter. They would not be allowed to cultivate this settlement. Ironclad fleet or not, it would be sent to the abyss to rust. The other figures got the message and by in large agreed with it. There would be war.
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(Boiler Room, cargo ship Success, Open Ocean, Summer 34IA)
The task of the Infrastructural Fleet on it's first transoceanic voyage was to deliver everything needed to set up a viable settlement to serve as a beachhead for further development. As soon as word had reached the Coldlands that the endeavor had been successful, plans were put into order to further development. This meant less space was taken up by bare essentials like flour, potatoes, brick molds and nails, which freed up space for less essential gear such as drilling equipment, machine tools and ammunition, as well as more people. Among them were two companies of soldiers, a fair number of new civilian volunteers and, to fill out the gaps as quickly as possible, some 1,024 Detentional Laborers. Among them was Acke Horboslev.

About a month ago, there had been a small uprising in Horboslev. There was some dissent since slavery had been abolished and the deposition of Lord Jere when the Infrastructural Army. But this did not manifest as much beyond grumbling until three Infrastructural Cavalrymen were killed in the street by a cloaked figure, which got the attention of the barflies at the Cod and Goat Tavern (Acke being one of them), which ended up getting three more cavalrymen killed in a riot. Oddly enough, a few crates filled with a variety of miscellaneous rifled muskets, ammunition, bullet molds and powder were brought in soon afterwards by a few gray cloaked figures who swiftly left after unloading their cargo. With these the town was up in arms and began sending out men to gain support from surrounding villages, or failing that, steal their stuff to use it to fight.

This went for nine days on until a company of soldiers came in with a cannon and dealt with this uprising quickly. Horboslev was broken up, all the children were sent away to orphanages and all the adults were sent off on Detentional Labor projects. Some of them were sent across the sea. There were others as well chained up in the hold of this ship. There were highwaymen and bandits, a couple pirates, some criminals from Dalatyr, The Yards and the Garrison Towns and a few old warriors and similar that had been working in the mountains before being re-assigned. It was cramped and foul smelling in the hold, despite the daily hose down and the instance of chamber pot usage. To make the most of them, some of them were assigned to clean the decks or to shovel coal into the engines. On the eighth day, Acke had that job.

For ten hours he and and six other men fed the fires with only a couple rest and lavatorial breaks. While it was cold outside, in this room it was incredibly hot as the furnaces burned. A cloth was given to be tied over his face to keep out the dust, the men from the mines told him that this helped with the coal dust and the first thing the guards did to punish you was take it away for the day, which was not pleasant at all when you were around a lot of coal. The stuff got everywhere. Even though those who did this work were on double rations at the end of the day, it was not an experience he wanted to repeat. He was not looking forward to life in that distant land.
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(Infrastructural Navy ironclad Ironsides, Open Ocean, Summer 34 IA)
Petty Officer Igor Igorovik was part of damage control team of the Ironsides, a fact which, for the most part meant he was an odd job man aboard the ship. This included a variety of tasks peeling potatoes to swabbing the deck, as well as making sure the lower ranking men under his command did their jobs. There was some drilling as well to keep them on the toes. Still, while it was a job which did involve a decent amount of hard work, he did not find it much of a challenge.

On the thirteen day of the Fleet's second Transoceanic voyage after lunch, he went out on deck. It was a sunny day and had gotten warm out and in any case, the deck needed swabbing again. On the Horizon he took note of a minor oddity. A thunderhead was on the horizon from the northwest despite it being a very nice day without a cloud in the sky. He briefly hoped that it would not come their way and by the windsock, that should not be a problem and he went to work. But over the next twenty minutes, people began to pay more attention to the storm cloud as it converged and, in the distance rumbled. There is a special type of frustration which is begotten from knowing that the work or money you invested into a task is going to be for naught and this began to build up in Igor. "Brushes down lads." He said in a tone which, while not unkind, did convey his annoyance at this turn of events.

Then came word for the crow's nest. "SHIPS AHOY! FLEET SIGHTED TO STARBOARD!" The last ships outside the Armada which were seen were a week ago. Some men gathered about the Starboard bulwark to see. It took some time, but eventually they saw them. It was a large fleet, forty one ships in total, most of them underneath storm head. Two things were notable about them: The first being that they were sailing fast, despite the fact that they were not going with the wind, or at least not the wind which was going by the Ironsides. The second was that their sails were black. He heard the briefings in training and the stories from the Sailors who went up against these ships. These were Drow ships, a whole fleet of them and they were coming this way.

They were in for the fight of their lives.
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(Drow Fleet, Open Ocean, Summer 34 IA)
At the front of every Drow warship was two things: A ram and a Corvus. The ram was a runic blade kept under water, used to pierce the hull of enemy warships. The Corvus was a bridge mounted on a pivot with spikes on the which could be brought down on an enemy ship, allowing warriors to easily run over and storm the craft. Leading the charge of a Drow fleet was the Ship of the Line Nalithan Brenolth (Reaper of Fleets), a formidable craft of 3,600 tonnes, four masts and 122 guns, manned by nearly a thousand sailors, marines and slaves. Along with the Corvus stood Admiral Dravos ti'Halithnon, inspecting the fleet on the horizon with his spyglass.

On the Horizon he saw his target. They had been identified beforehand, but there was no mistaking that fleet. Moving through the water with sails tied down or absent altogether and leaving in their wake their trails of coal smoke, leaving aside the Hexagonal Seals which adorned it's ships. They were Infrastructural Ships. He knew this would be a difficult prey to subdue. They had managed to destroy a couple of raiding frigates and sloops that were sent to ravage their commerce and loot shipping for taking the black ports and ending the flow of slaves from the Coldlands.

He put that down more to incompetent merchant house captains, incautious in their execution which let them be bested by a mixture of conscript infantrymen, half trained ferrymen and peasants with some exotic new toys. As far as he was concerned, there was a silver lining in this cloud in that the Merchant families got another minor setback. It was the Destiny of the Drow to take this world and bind it in chains. Those that fought and bound those to their will were deserving of power and prestige, not oversold peddlers. In his book owning one slave caught forced into chains at swordspoint was more worthy of respect than three that had been bought by coin, or ten acquired by breaking bread with mere humans and paying them to hand over their enemies and criminals. His fleet had a few merchant captains among its ranks, but they could still be of use when led by someone bred for combat and leadership.

The enemy was formidable. It was hard shelled, armed with distructive weapons and unlike most ships built by mere humans was not bound by the wind. But formidable did mean not invincible. He had at his disposal a formidable fleet, one which would send terror into the soul of kings and generals. It was something of a hodgepodge, quickly formed out of a hasty coalition of four Drow Realms, but it would serve its purpose. They had no shortage of guns and marines, as well as a thunderhead in tow by mages. It would be quite the prize to seize just one of these these ships. In a few moments battle would be joined and the rightful masters of the ocean would dispose of these pretenders.
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Last edited by Zor on 2013-04-26 04:21pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby madd0ct0r » 2013-04-26 04:20am

lots of typos or skipped words in this one - nice to see the Drow are as Stupid Arrogant as ever.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2013-05-15 08:23pm

As the events of this story post mostly take place in one location, I have kept the timestamps to a minimum.
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(Open Ocean, Summer 34 IA)
On the Aftcastle of the Nalithan Brenolth was specially built station, a wooden platform propped up above the main deck. On it was a circle of blued steel, silver and copper adorned with various runes, a circle of power. The air around it had a greenish glow, an effect of the spells which moved from this circle. At it stood five Drow Sorceresses stood chanting quietly. The words were not particularly important, but they did keep them synchronized with their efforts. On the other two ships of the line there was the same scene, while aboard the sloops and frigates, mages worked in similar cause, if without the aid of a circle.

This had been going on for about seven hours before the Infrastructural Fleet was sighted as preparations were made. This area of sea had a decent amount of background magic about, which made things easier. Around the Dark Elf fleet, a faint haze of steam rose had been rising from the sea while whatever clouds were about were drawn together into an increasing heap. Gradually the mass built up in size and scale until it was ready and a prime thunderhead was forged and was towed behind them, gathering strength and power as it went. It was a taxing affair, requiring three shifts of mages to gather it and keep it in tow, but what they had was a formidable weapon indeed.

As they closed, the lead Sorceress was quietly informed of their proximity to the Infrastructural Fleet. It was now only a few miles away. The cloud was briefly "stirred" by a change in the spell, which was soon taken up by the rest of the mages as they felt the shift and in a minute was ready. She smiled and took note of the craft on the horizon and readied herself. She had done this before and even though it had been taxing, she felt that all that effort which had been poured into this moment would be worth it. Around her, wind swirled.

"To the Fools of Infrastructure!" She spoke, he voice magnified by the energy which coursed through her. "Behold true power and Despair!" She thrust her sceptre forward and with that a bolt of lightning lanced down from the cloud and then, before it hit the waves, turned at an angle towards the Infrastructural Fleet.
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As the Dark Elf fleet approached, the Infrastructurals responded. Across the ships of the fleet bells rung out and sailors donned helmets and got to their stations. Weapons were distributed; cannons were readied while watchmen and officers monitored the oncoming force. Admiral Petrov Miles took note of the enemy fleet, considered his options and soon had a plan. The escorts broke off from the cargo ships, putting themselves between the civilians and the Drow while giving them full broadsides. They did not have much time to act, but they managed to get into position.

For most of the crew this was their first taste of actual combat. At the same time, they had heard the stories of Drow warriors, both their reputation as fighters and sailors as well as what they did to the foes that they took alive. Petrov knew this and gave a message to his men as the approached for battle.

"This is you Admiral. You are expected to do your duty. Stay focused on your task and your crew mates. The threat before us is real and fearsome, but our technology is a force greater still. It, in the hands of the disciplined and orderly lie the foundations of our victory this day. Infrastructure expects every man to do his duty."

There was cheering afterwards, he hoped that the words he said were the truth.

The Drow armada set it's lighter elements out in front, spreading outwards to envelop them while the three heavier ships kept the rear, but continued to advance underneath the thunderhead they had behind them. It was a logical tactic as far as Petrov was concerned, holding them in position before committing their largest and heaviest assets to combat after the first blows had been struck. He assumed that the first action would be fought between them and the sloops and frigates. He was quite shocked at what the opening volleys of the battle were actually like.

Suddenly three intense arcs of lightning went down from the thunderheads, then turned around slightly before hitting the sea and sped across eight kilometers of sea roaring as they went until they hit their targets, the warships Ironsides, the Defender and the Hunter. In a flash of light they impacted causing the crew to blink and unleashing and a blast of sound. However, it soon passed. Many people thought that there would have been a large chunk blown out of the sides of the ships, and if they had wooden hulls this would probably have been the case. But the Dark Elves did not fully appreciate the effects of an large scale electrical discharge on a large metallic hull sitting in seawater. The strikes burned a few marks, but in the end did not do much damage. About ten seconds afterward, another salvo was sent out, and then another, and then another. Again, no major damage was taken. After a minute of this the crews got wise to this and began cheering as the distance was closed. Soon it would be there turn
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As the Infrastructural Warships converged, several members of the crew busied themselves taking down whatever information they could. The distance of enemy ships was judged, as was their course and speed as was the wind. The positions, speeds and courses of the fleet were also relayed. This information was taken down to a device located in the heart of the Hunter were it was typed in. It was among the most valuable devices on the ship as part of it was not made by human hand, but fabricated. This device was able to efficiently crunch the numbers entered in and provided it's user with a set of figures. These were ready by the time the first lightning strikes hit the fleet and were soon transmitted to the fleet.

The gunnery crews received them and quickly adjusted their weapons to match. These were the heavy weapons, the 150mm cannons and the longest range guns. In total seven of them. There were a few changes in the time that had happened, but adjustments could be made. The cannons had already been loaded to save vital seconds and fresh ammunition were available, held by people exerting the highest possible amount of caution. If they missed, they would re aim and bring their weapons to bear.

In the frontal barbette of the Hunter the crew braced themselves from behind their muffled helmets as the string was pulled and the shell took to the sky. Five seconds latter, all seven of the guns had spoken.
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The Drow fleet converged on the Infrastructural convoy, the crews of their ships ready for the coming battle. Among the craft leading the charge was the sloop Dainvekilis (Serrated Dagger). Her captain was Calris ti'Belvath, an ambitious officer who was typical among Dark Elves in that she sought the advancement of herself and her family. Sinking an Infrastructural Ship would do just that, as would capturing one, even if those prizes were to be shared between a few rivals. She observed the Lightning attacks used against the Infrastructural Fleet, how they were in general ineffective. This was a bit worrying, and she was not happy that they apparently decided to just throw the storm cloud at that steam powered fleet to rain on their parade (and by extension hers), but part of her mind was fine with this. Where those mages had failed, cold steel, cannon shot and arrow at her command would not.

After a few moments she noticed in the distance that the Infrastructural had turned various cannons mounted on pivots towards her fleet and decided to fire them off. Brief puffs of smoke and light on the distance. She smirked at this behind her spyglass, confident that even with those rifled guns there was no way they could hit anything at this distance.

She was almost correct, six out of seven hit the sea and exploded more or harmlessly save for some minor shrapnel wounds. The seventh, which was inbound to the Dainvekilis hit its target. It struck amidships straight into the hull, blowing up a significant chunk and sending out a deadly hail of splinters and flying woodwork. At the same time, the explosion was close to several cannon which were either loaded or being loaded, as were a few pistols among the gunnery crew. The front mast was cracked in the explosion and began to topple over, snapping rigging. When the smoke cleared, there was a fair number of casualties, fired and a big hole in the side of the ship. As that happened, the guns of the Infrastructural Fleet spoke again.
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The Infrastructural fleet's first two salvos were fired off in rapid succession well planned out using the numbers provided by the calculator. It was fired at targets more than six kilometers and for any sort of accuracy at that distance that was needed to get even the one hit. Afterwards there was a slight adjustment and the second shot was fired shortly afterwards after some quick adjustments. This salvo was a bit more successful in that it got two hits. The Dark Elves got off the first salvos of the battle, but Infrastructure's response was far more effective.

After the second cannonade, a new firing policy was put into effect. Aboard the Hunter, new calculations were given out to the gunnery crews. By that time, the Drow had time to respond and adjusted their strategy. They scattered somewhat, moving on different courses, even if they still inevitably converged. It took more time, but more shots hit. The five other Ironclads in the fleet fired at will, the distance became less daunting and the gunners were mostly seasoned veterans. Less of those shots hit, but there were more of them in the air.

Admiral Petrov Miles watched this through his binoculars as the enemy line approached. Ahead of him the Dark Elf fleet continued to close, frequently he saw a column of water going up into the air. Lesser in number, but still comparatively frequent was when a shower of splinters and burning timbers lept from the side of a Drow Ship in a sudden fireball followed by a plume of smoke. A couple of times the damage was comparatively marginal, in a few cases it was quite severe. A couple of damaged ships broke off and sailed away in retreat. They were to be let go, there were bigger fish to fry and firing on retreating foes would only convince to stand and fight, which most of them kept up. Behind him an ensign worked to keep tally of ships hit and destroyed on a chalkboard. So far he was impressed with what the boys were doing and a faint smile crossed his face with every explosion. Partially it was pride his men, but also it was the fact that he still got a kick out of seeing things blow up after three decades.
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Admiral ti'Halithnon originally did not give the Infrastructural Fleet any particular bit of attention. He read the spy reports and the accounts and stories about Infrastructure's naval capacity while attempting to filter out some of the more fanciful embellishments and exaggerations which he assumed that armed merchants would make. He thought about it in professional terms, but did not pay much emotional interest to them beyond a general all scorn that he gave any human foe he faced. As he observed the first cannonades of the Infrastructural Fleet hit their targets, that changed. First there was shock as he saw what the cannons could do; he had seriously underestimated the range of those guns. This was mixed with denial, there was no way that humans of poor stock living in a wasteland parched of magic could have done this to Dark Elvish craft. When this passed, there was a faint spark of begrudging admiration at what these machines could do. But this passed quickly as his mood settled into a more familiar state, contempt and loathing. He had underestimated their capacities and they were capable, but they had still defied the rightful masters of this world and for that, they would pay.

The Frigates and Sloops, which had gone ahead full speed were taking a beating. A few of them were wrecks and others were badly damaged. A few of them were veering off of the main fleet. The Admiral did not blame them, they could be of use latter after they had put into port for repairs. In any case, he adjusted his tactics. What he needed was not a conservative plan to soften them up for a killing blow. What was needed was everything that could striking that Infrastructural Line of Battle at once as hard as possible. The three Ships of the Line, which had been following the frigates and sloops slowly then accelerated forward to get into range.
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Despite what Petrov hoped, the withdrawal of a few damaged ships and the devastation that could be caused by direct hits, the Drow Fleet pressed on to the Infrastructural Line. About every two or three minutes the mass of their fleet got a kilometer closer, driven on by wind spells, including their heavier assets. Even if it was primitive, that fleet carried a lot of artillery as well as a large force of marines. This was not going to be an easy fight. Even so, they were by no means down yet. As they closed the distance, the number of misses per hit went down. But that was only the beginning, eventually they crossed the first wave of the Drow Fleet got within a certain distance, namely three kilometers things changed. The heavy guns were stopped picking off the nearest Dark Elf ships formation and instead turned elsewhere. But the oncoming frigates were not forgotten.

A minute before they crossed that distance a set of gunports on the Infrastructure ships were opened and weapons were brought to bear. These were aimed at their targets. These were lighter weapons, 75mm and 50mm weapons. They were less powerful than the heavier guns, but they could be reloaded much more quickly and there were more of them. Starting with the thirteen guns of the Hunter's Starboard broadside, these lighter guns fired off their first salvo. The shells they stent into the air were smaller, but they still carried an explosive punch.
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Mage of the 4th Order of the Weather Mysteries Gilnasdra ti'Xilalithis lay in a chair in the mage's quarters aboard the Kagolinan Brenolth (Burner of Fleets), not at all in a good mood, nor were an of the others that sat with her. There is a distinct type of frustration that comes from having invested considerable effort into something and having it be for nothing. A good chuck of a day gathering up a storm from seawater and passing clouds, dragging it along for miles and miles, leaving them drained and exhausted, and what did it amount to? A few scorch marks on the enemy ship's paint jobs. At the moment, they were mostly trying to counteract that with wine. Now it was up to the others to win the battle.

Gilnasdra knew that there would be consequences for this whatever the outcome. Apart from it's supremacist beliefs, the Drow were highly competitive with individuals, families, factions and states constantly jockeying for position. There were various ways of advancement from making large amounts of money to dispatching one's rivals through assassination, with military victories having their place in there as well, especially among those who played a critical role in attaining said victory. They did not have the same stigma that many humans had about withdrawing from combat when the battle was lost, but failure to do one's part in battle was. At best, she and the Wind Magi would be overlooked with vague praise in case of victory. At worst, someone would blame them for being inept and not pulling their weight and their would be consequences. The rest of the wind mages were in a similar mindset and that was viable to her telepathic senses even through the haze of alcohol. In the distance were the sounds of a ship preparing itself for battle, as well as waves and the occasional distant thud which got louder as things happened. She paid them little attention.

She poured the last of the flask into her goblet. The slave got the hint and went out to get some more from the stores. She hoped that he had two or three flasks, given that he would soon be working as a powder monkey. Soon after he walked on the door, there was a huge, deafening roar of an explosion along with the sound of things crashing against other things and the whole ship lurched and shook. The Door was blown open and smoke poured into the room. Gilnasdra was flung back and dropped her cup to the ground. When she got up a fair amount of smoke had flowed into the room. Outside was a mess of strewn debris and a new hole in the side of the ship. Several dark elves and slaves were killed, others were wounded. The bulkhead had saved them from the worst of it. This worked to quickly sober her up and among the thoughts which flooded through her mind was that it was foolish to think the worst thing that she and her fellow weather mages might be blamed for not doing their part in a victory which had seemed, up until a few seconds ago, certain.
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As the Infrastructural Fleet's lighter guns opened up Admiral ti'Halithnon stared at the ensuing carnage. Even though the shells fired by them were less powerful and the guns were less accurate than the heavier cannons, there was far more of them and they fired more quickly. Masts toppled, debris was set flying and in a couple of cases ships out and out exploded as their magazines were hit. A few ships of the first wave let off salvos in return, but most of these shots simply crashed into the water and those that did not did not do any significant damage. The he saw several shots hit his fleet's Ships of the Line. A fear which had been developing in the back of his mind came front and center in light of mounting evidence...

"We cannot win this battle."

At most, his fleet might be able to get a couple ships close enough to ram and board them, killing the crews of said ship as the Infrastructurals cut its losses and shelled their ships. He had no chance of actually accomplishing the goal he set out to do, he could not destroy the Infrastructural Convoy. But the crews and ships of his fleet could still be of use elsewhere and for a second fight and letting a repeat of this battle happen would be an unforgivable mistake. As such he gave the order to retreat.

-
"That one's down, move to the next one to your left. Good Work!"

Stanislav Viktorovich made his way back and forth between the cannons. The Ironsides had only a six light guns and could only get two of them trained on a broadside target at once. Still every one of them was needed. Weapons were being passed about in case worst came to worst. These were the best weapons available at the time, including the new Type-4Rs, but even so he would not want to have to use them if there was any other option. All was proceeding smoothly with the main gun, now targeting the enemy ships in the rear and he moved on. Just as importantly, everyone was keeping to the safety protocols. The last thing the Ironsides needed was improper handling. He took a glance at the seas to check up on what needed to be done. He had prepared his mind for two things: that the enemy had received more of a thrashing than he previously thought, or it as holding together better than he wished. What he saw instead was neither of these things and took him by shock.

The enemy ships were all making a sudden turn and falling back. He waited a few seconds to confirm this, but it was confirmed. They were steering themselves away and retreating as fast as their wind mages could propel their ships. He soon heard a cheer from the men who had seen the same. A few people came up above deck to see this for themselves. He felt a surge of pride in that instant, for all the skill, brutality, cunning and cruelty of the Dark Elves they had been bested on that day by Infrastructural Steel. But even so, he had a job do to as well as orders. The Thunderhead continued towards the fleet, but he could take a little rain. While there was logical reasons for ignoring retreating ships when there were undamaged craft pressing onwards.

"Heavy Gunners!" He said as he flourished his cutlass and raised it above his head "Send these cowards to the bottom on my order!" He watched as they loaded and took aim and then, twenty seconds later he slashed at the air.

"FIRE!"
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(Town Hall, Colony-1, Summer 34 IA)
The rest of the trip was comparatively uneventful, even though a fair number of the crew was on edge. Many were afraid that the Dark Elves would attack again. They also were afraid that they would arrive to find a smouldering ruin of a sacked settlement. Everyone either killed or taken away as slaves. Fortunately these fears were abaited. The Drow did not send another fleet their way, they did not face another enemy ship. A few hours beforehand, Petrov gave a brief report by radio of the events and received instructions for a meeting with Discovery and a request for more information. He had expected this and had a report prepared, but even so he knew that this would not be good for morale. It would mean a fair number of invertviews of the crew while they were trying to unwind a bit or get work done, although he knew why such things were nessisary. The first of which was his, which happened as soon as the fleet arived. The settlement was still largely a workcamp, though some construction had been going on. He soon arrived at the town hall and entered Discovery's office.

"Committe Member."

"Admiral." Discovery Replied, not one to Dwell on pleasantries. "Your report."

"Here it is Sir." He handed over a folder, inside were a number of Photographs. "The crew should have their reports on the Dark Elvish attack soon enough. Copies have been prepared for the committee back home."

"Did you recover any wreckage or prisoners from the destroyed enemy ships?" Discovery said as he examined the photos.

He was a bit shocked by this question and was fearing this. "We have a few cannonballs aboard, but otherwise no."

"Why did you not do so?"

"The biggest reason was wanted to avoid unessiary delays on our voyage. I figured that the more time we spent at sea the more time the fleet was vulnerable to enemy attack by a second Drow Fleet. At the same time I believed that the Drow might attempt an attack on the colony and that re-inforcing it was the highest priority. In any case, we were hard pressed for space and Dark Elves are hard to subdue."

Discovery said nothing for a few seconds. "That was a logical course of action on your part given the information you had at the time. However, in future you are to collect some specimins for evaluation."

"Yes Sir." Petrov said releived.

"While our forces have emerged victorious in this confrontation, we are still outnumbered by a massive degree. Ignorance is a weakness, Admiral, and we are at war. We need as much Data as we can acquire if we are to have victory."

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2013-06-20 03:32pm

Fluff Dump

Weapons

Rifles
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Infrastructural Army Type-3R/b Bolt Action Rifle, 11mm caliber

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The Allergonian Pattern-1405 Rifle was developed by Defecting Infrastructural Engineer Malnov Yorigsov in the 1405th Year of the Order (26 IA Infrastructural Calender) was intended to be the main rifle of the Allergonian Military. Largely based off the Infrastructural Type-2R Cavalry Rifle, Yorgisov replaced the flintlock mechanism with a caplock one and adjusted the caliber to the 0.6 Inch Imperial, with a few minor tweaks here and there that mostly relate to manufacturing. It fires a conical-cylindrical musket ball, having a maximum range 800 meters and an effective range of 300 meters. It uses a screw breach (opened by turning a handle attached to a trigger guard), opening the top mounted hole so that powder and shot can be quickly loaded in. A good soldier fire get up to eight rounds a minute with this rifle. Not as fast a rate of fire as the Infrastructural Type-3R, but still a considerable improvement over muzzle loading. The precussion cap system is easier to load and more rain resistant, even if cap production took some time to get going. The main function of the Ramrod is for cleaning, as the weapon does have issues with fouling and usually needs cleaning after about fifty shots

The Yorigsov Rifle is also notable in that it's introduction represents a transition for the military of Allergon. For much of the Empire's history the mililitary was mostly the domain of the various vassal kingdoms, with the Imperial Army being an elite but in the end small corps of 4-5,000 Imperial Knights and Infantry, supplemented by mercenaries when needed. In the last two centuries there has been a steady change, starting with the creation of a professional navy followed soon after by a professional marine corps modeled on that of Venoa. This was followed by a siege corps operating artillery, "armed camp followers" and finally the recruitment of a standing army of some 30,000 regular soldiers, mostly light cavalry, swordsmen, pikemen and arqebusiers. As the importance of firearms increased substantially after the advent of quick loading rifles made conscript armies more viable and increased the scale, especially after the advent of interchangeable parts was discerned and manufacturing equipment was improved thanks to defectors. As such, despite considerable grumblings from the Enperisburg Guild of Gunsmiths and Associated Trades, an Arsenal had been set up to mass produce these weapons with considerable funding from the Imperial Throne, which has its eyes on centralizing the state and exerting more control. By 28IA it was producing some 3,000 of these rifles a month, a rate of production comparable to that of Dalatyr, with rates continuing to rise. While these rifles would be sold to the Empire's seven vassal kings for their own forces, the main user of this would be the New Imperial Army, which aims to be composed of volunteers and conscripts totaling to about 250,000 soldiers by 33 IA.

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Another creation of the Venoan inventer Ermete DiAgnellio, his Third Revolver was first completed in early 34 IA and being put into production soon after. The weapon was designed as much as a proof of concept as much as anything. Having sucessfully designed a pair of precussion revolvers and paper cartridge weapons, DiAgnellio was interested in the metallic cartridges used by the Infrastructurals. This weapon was designed to accomidate an 0.45 Uncia (11.07mm) experimental metallic rimfire cartridge and had six chambers with a top break opening.

The weapon preformed adequately in various test firings and was met with the approval of the Doge. That said, after it's introduction production was fairly slow. Not because the weapon was praticularly difficult to manufacture, but because the ammunition was. While linen and paper cartridges for his rifles could be made fairly easily by hand, metal cartridges needed to be drawn. This weapon was, in fact made possible by by his colleague Marino DiTelisica who had been working on the matter of drawing machines for several years, as well as some information taken by spies from infrastructure on the subject. The process to get a working system involved numerous failed prototypes before a decently reliable system was put into production. Despite that it was still an early model, having a fairly low production output and requiring alot of attention to maintain by skilled artisans. This as well as the fact that they had to build everything from scratch (and unlike Infrastructure's developments, having no assistance from the Committee and it's Fabrication equipment) led to a low output of ammunition which cost eight to ten times as expensive as the comprable (if lower power) Infrastructural 10x20mm round. A few weapons were sold to the Doge and others were sold to wealthy figures, but production was limited to a couple dozen weapons per month for several years after it's introduction. One of which was sent to the Central Committee of Infrastructure by the Doge.

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Before the Rifle Wars, the Drow did not make much use of firearms. While they were fairly keen on cannons as siege and naval weapons, hand held gunpowder weapons were largely overlooked. The Drow had no shortage of individuals skilled with longbows, which could have their effectiveness improved with a variety of spells and had a higher rate of fire than an Arquebus, while still being able to fire in rain (a fact which had been taken advantage of by Drow Elvish armies on several occasions). In recent centuries several Drow States issued some of their Janissary slave soldiers matchlocks and a few times wheellock pistols had been used by Drow Cavalry as backup ranged weapons, sailors in boarding actions and by assassins and it could be said that the Drow saw more potential in the idea of handheld firearms than High Elves. During the Rifle Wars, they re-evaluated this position after hearing reports of the Infrastructural Army in the Coldlands as well as seeing the effects made by Flintlock Rifles on the battlefields by the more civilized human and dwarfish armies (including a few firsthand experiences) and set out to expand their ability to produce firearms. They had comparatively few skilled gunsmiths, but they did have have a large pool of slave labor to expend on the project, large amounts of money and a willingness to steal designs whenever they could.

At first they simply attempted to manufacture as many Flintlock Rifles as possible for use by their Janissaries, in which they were successful. A fair number of these were supplied to the people of the Black Ports (often at discounted rates) as a way of field testing them. After the defeat of the Black Ports by Infrastructural Soldiers armed mainly with Type-3R rifles, naval confrontations and a few battles to the east, they looked into the potential of breach loading weaponry (as well as improvements in artillery and revolvers and similar). They also looked into improving their manufacturing equipment by mechanization, having previously relied on artistry and older methods of manufacturing, after facing Infrastructural Ironclad Warships. Their attempts to do so being somewhat scatter shot and were dependent on espionage, smuggling, the theft of Infrastructural equipment, blueprints and machinery (a policy which was most extensively pursued by House Valcas of Valnothron) and buying gear from non Infrastructural sources (most notably Venoa). The priority that these programs were given and the resources their invested in varied and each state pursued these programs independently. Most sought to simply replicate existing designs, even Valnothron's efforts (which had the most invested in them) was mainly focused at replication of Infrastructural gear. At most adjusting the caliber or size somewhat to fit their needs. House Noljas of Galthirith was the exception to the rule. Led by Jevalis ti'Kefsan, an usually mechanically guifted daughter of one of House Noljas's client houses, they have managed to develop (as well as a few prototypes which either failed or were deemed to expensive to mass produce) the Template no. 12 Breechloading Rifle*

The Noljas Template no. 12 Rifle was developed between 28 and 32 IA, one of several designs which had been prepared using a number of mechanisms and actions. It uses an unorthodox loading system, A sidemounted lever exposed the chamber so that powder and bullet can be inserted and then fired. Ignition is achieved by a precussion cap. It has a comparable rate of fire to the Type-2R rifle or the Pattern-1405 Yorigsov. It has a caliber of 16.29 millimeters. Some components of this weapon are remarkably well made, being assembled by well trained slave craftsmen and using comparatively expensive materials, though quality of certain mechanical components is typically low from substandard machining during production. This design is the base model, intended mainly for use by Drow Infantry, mostly from low ranking families of non warrior family background (these are more reticent of the use of firearms). Flintlock and Caplock Rifle are still the main weapons of Janissary Forces. One of it's more unusual features is the stock spike: in addition to the use of bayonets, the Noljas Rifle can be used as a warhammer in close combat. This weapon is made comparatively plain by Dark Elf standards, though most drow are soon to customizing their weapons with a variety of things from simple ornamentation to runes of lightness, rust resistance and strength on the barrel.

*This name has been translated.

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As the second decade of the Infrastructural Age went on, the central committee was aware of the affairs going on to the west in regards to small arms. In addition to flintlock rifles, percussion cap weapons, revolvers and breech loading firearms were appearing and increasing in number. There were serious concerns about enemy forces with superior numbers. As such from 27 IA to 28IA the Central Committee began work on a series of Prototype Weapons for evaluation. Of sixteen prototypes, this one was deemed to be the most effective.

The weapon was, like the Type-3R before it bolt action. However, unlike the Type-3R was a fully capable repeater using a detachable magazine containing ten rounds of ammunition. In addition, a new category of ammunition was devised. While the 11mm cartridge was proven effective in the single shot Type-3R, it was deemed too hard to control for repeaters in trials. This led to the introduction of a new caliber: Infrastructural 7.5x60mm. This new long spike round in a necked cartridge was still quite capable of inflicting grevious wounds, especially with the development of a new generation of propellents which were about three times as powerful as black powder and did less to foul the barrel of the weapon (as well as the air around the barrel, much to the pleasure of the trial crews). In trials, it was possible to get off as many as 30 aimed shots per minute.

However, in 28IA there was no particular pressing need for the new weapon while numerous projects were being pursued towards the construction of ships and the various aspects of Infrastructure required to produce and maintain this new fleet. The fact that it is considerably more complex than it's predecessor further complicated matters. It was only in late 33IA that it was decided that production would begin and Arsenal-5 was retooled to manufacture the Type-4R as well as it's ammunition (which also involved the creation of a new chemical processing plant for propellents) with the first weapons being delivered in January, 34IA. Weapons were being assembled at a rate of 200 weapons a month. Plans were initially laid out for a gradual transition to the new Repeating weapon over the next ten to twelve years, phasing out the older single shot weapons.

Sidearms
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Infrastructural Army Type-3P Pistol, single action revolver. Firing 10x20mm Pistol ammunition (using paper and metallic cartridges). First introduced in 11IA in small numbers and displacing the single barreled Type-1P and Double Barreled Type-2P flintlocks over a period of four years. During Infrastructure's wars of expansion it was used mainly by Cavalry, Infantry Officers, Artillery Crews and Enforcers, with small numbers being issued to Infantrymen for valor in combat as a reward, steamboat captains or were issued to ViPs. It was affectionately known as the "Cavalryman's Companion", "Turnabout", "Spinner" and the "The Last Mad Stand" by the men who used it. The latter referring to its use in instances in which enemy warriors got close to infrastructural lines and they were fired off rapidly with little regard for accuracy before melee combat. In forest these pistols were useful against ambushes. Simple to make (though some adjustments were made over the years) and legendarily reliable, the Type-3P would remain well loved and in service for decades to come.

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The Pattern-1402 Revolver was a firearm designed and created by defecting Infrastructural Engineer Malnov Yorigsov in conjunction with Viktor Ulricson, master of the Enperisburg Guild of Gunsmiths, Powderwrights and Associated Trades. This is the second firearm that he was involved in the design of. The first was Yorigsov Percussion Pistol, a simple caplock affair intended more as a demonstration of concept (even if it was replicated to a limited degree afterwards). The weapon was made possible thanks to the replication of a few certain examples of Infrastructural manufacturing equipment such as milling machines and lathes. Unlike the Type-3P Revolver, the Yorigsov/Ulricson was intended to fire non cartridges ammunition. Ball and powder are loaded through the front of the cylinder, with the barrel being detachable. A lever was installed to help pack down powder and ball. It's caliber is 2/5th inch.

Certain aspects of it's manufacture have been influenced by the (in Yorigsov's opinion unwanted) opinions of the guild of gunsmiths. These include the design of the grip, the inclusion of a small bayonet and the move not to go with of cartridged ammunition. The end result is a weapon which was easier to be produced by the gunsmiths and many non-spec modifications. Never the less by 30 IA some 50,000 of these weapons have been delivered for cavalrymen, officers and use by the navy.

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Another creation of the Venoan inventer Ermete DiAgnellio, his Third Revolver was first completed in early 34 IA and being put into production soon after. The weapon was designed as much as a proof of concept as much as anything. Having sucessfully designed a pair of precussion revolvers and paper cartridge weapons, DiAgnellio was interested in the metallic cartridges used by the Infrastructurals. This weapon was designed to accomidate an 0.45 Uncia (11.07mm) experimental metallic rimfire cartridge and had six chambers with a top break opening.

The weapon preformed adequately in various test firings and was met with the approval of the Doge. That said, after it's introduction production was fairly slow. Not because the weapon was praticularly difficult to manufacture, but because the ammunition was. While linen and paper cartridges for his rifles could be made fairly easily by hand, metal cartridges needed to be drawn. This weapon was, in fact made possible by by his colleague Marino DiTelisica who had been working on the matter of drawing machines for several years, as well as some information taken by spies from infrastructure on the subject. The process to get a working system involved numerous failed prototypes before a decently reliable system was put into production. Despite that it was still an early model, having a fairly low production output and requiring alot of attention to maintain by skilled artisans. This as well as the fact that they had to build everything from scratch (and unlike Infrastructure's developments, having no assistance from the Committee and it's Fabrication equipment) led to a low output of ammunition which cost eight to ten times as expensive as the comprable (if lower power) Infrastructural 10x20mm round. A few weapons were sold to the Doge and others were sold to wealthy figures, but production was limited to a couple dozen weapons per month for several years after it's introduction. One of which was sent to the Central Committee of Infrastructure by the Doge.

Automatic Weapons
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The Type-1A Automatic Weapon is the first rapid fire firearm devised for service in the Infrastructural Military. The first prototypes were made in 17IA alongside 4 other designs, though two more years of testing were done before production began in the winter of 19IA with 25 weapons ordered from Armory-3. These weapons were employed on several occasions, including in the taking of the black ports. While effective, they were maintenance intensive, tended to foul rapidly and was unnecessarily heavy. The Type-1A/b was a general refinement, more expensive and labor intensive to produce but considerably more reliable and 7 kilograms lighter, notably by introducing an improved cooling system.

The Type-1A was made possible thanks to the advent of metallic cases. It fires 11mm ammunition at 400 rounds per minute and has a maximum range of 1,200 meters. The Type-1A/b weighs 22.5 kilograms unloaded and is is intended for either a carriage, tripod or fixed mount. It feeds through a top mounted 35 round magazine. An experimental 144 round pan magazine was devised for the Type-1A/a, but this was deemed too unreliable in field conditions and made inviable by the new magazine release lever. It is gas operated. The Type-1A/b is still fairly expensive and labor intensive to make, the military was being reduced in scale and there is a bottleneck in ammunition production which limited the degree that it could be issued. As such production would be limited to a few (2 to 5) units per month for the next decade.

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The Type-2A Automatic Weapon is the second generation of Automatic weapons used by the Infrastructural Military, put into production in 33IA as a general replacement for the Type-1A Automatic Weapon. A prototype was designed and manufactured in 26 IA, but it was deemed to be to complex to justify the retooling of assembly lines to manufacture the more complex weapon and spare parts when there was a higher priority on other projects related to expansion of manufacturing, railroads, agricultural equipment, transportation networks and shipbuilding when there no pressing need for such an upgrade. Production on the weapon was delayed six years before the first batch was put into production.

The Type-2A Automatic Weapon has some refinements in construction when compared to the Type-IA. Like it's predecessor it is gas operated and is chambered to 11mm ammunition, unlike it's predecessor it does not feed with a magazine but rather uses a canvas belt. The standard belt issued is 250 rounds. The rate of fire is 450 Rounds Per Minute, slightly higher that of the Type-1A. At the time of it's introduction, the Infrastructural Military was still using black powder which meant frequent cleaning was required and did limit it's overall effectiveness. Most of the production run was delivered to the Navy. Production began at a similar rate of that to the Type-2A, but production rates would be doubled in 34IA.

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The Mark-2 Shchuka is an improved type of self propelled anti-ship munition, superseding the Type-1. Work began on the Shchuka in 19IA as Engineering Project 1701. The purpose of which was to provide a way of allowing a weapon for small, fast steam powered boats to easily destroy larger warships. The project took two years and six prototypes to make a unit which met the requirements. Production then begun as well as construction of a number of Shchuka Boats. While successful there were several instances of failures. This led to an improved version in the Mark-2, first put into production in the winter of 26IA.

The Mark-2 Shchuka, like it's earlier counterpart is slightly more than three meters long. It is propelled using a compressed air system, with a top speed of 49 kilometers per hour. A slight improvement over the Mark-1. It's warhead is the same, being composed of a load of Nitrocellulose able to do sugnifigant damage on contact with an enemy ship's hull, though the detonation mechanism has been upgraded. The Mark-2 is launched off the side of a boat or ship and then makes it's way toward it moving mostly submerged. Bad weather and the occasional bit of flotsom or stray fish can cause it to go off course. The Shchuka is a complex device, requiring a lot of machining and effort for their assembly. Arsenal-11 in Dalatyr produces Mark-2 Shchukas at a rate of nine per month.

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The committee had experimented with the use of rockets during the Wars of Expansion on several occasions, most notably in a period between 8-10 IA. The rockets used were simple black powder rockets launched from wooden racks. While they were used somewhat successfully during those times, they were deemed to unreliable and inaccurate at the time to warrant mass production and the use of rockets during the 2nd and 3rd decades IA was largely limited to signal flares. In 30 IA the Committee resumed work in the field to better support their Infantry forces. The result was the Type-3IR Infantry Rocker Launcher.

The Type-3IR is a simple steel tube used to launch cast iron rockets. This differs from the Type-1IR (which was a wooden rack), but is similar to the Type-2IR (a cast iron flare launcher). The rockets that it employs have an effective range of about 3 kilometers and are spin stabilized. Ignition is achieved through a simple fuse mechanism. In addition, less sophisticated launch systems (basically just metal pipes) have been adopted for launching large volleys at enemy forces.

Production of the Type-3IR began in early 32IA, as did training of weapons crews. It is carried by specialized rocket teams and can be quickly set up and fired, even if it's accuracy compares poorly to that of Infrastructural Cannons and it's explosive force is somewhat lackluster. Research into improvements in rocket design would continue through the decade in terms of design, manufacturing, warhead and propellant.

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In the early stages of the history of Infrastructure close quarters weapons, while extensively used, were not mass produced on standardized lines. During the wars of unification, a miss match of old swords as well as maces, axes and similar weapons were used for close quarters fighting. These were either made before infrastructure's arrival or made by blacksmiths in a largely non industrial manner. Gradually this changed, starting with the introduction of a regulation cavalry lance and eventually the introduction of mass produced bladed weapons.

The most common Infrastructural bladed weapon is the Model-2 Sword bayonet. Introduced in 29IA it has a blade 30cm long and unlike bayonets used by other powers, can serve as a serviceable dagger. It can be affixed to both the Type-3R and Type-4R rifles. It differs from the Model-1 Sword Bayonet in that it the guard, in the Model-1 it was a flat and in the model-2 it has a slight curve to parlay enemy blows. The Model-3 General Purpose Sword is a less common artifact in service, but is still is produced in fairly large numbers. A cutlass style weapon it is issued to cavalrymen, sailors, officers as a sign of authority and a reserve is kept in use for specialized roles. This model has been in service since 23 IA. The difference between this and the model-2 is a matter of the type of steel used in it's construction.

Mechanized assistance in production has made these weapons easy to manufacture. That said, they are generally of lackluster quality when compared to other weapons of similar size made outside of Infrastructure, even those of a mundane nature. Many foreign made swords of similar size are noticeably lighter, stronger, better balanced and can take a sharper edger. This is not considered important by the Central Committee or the top brass of the Infrastructural military, who see these weapons as being at best a secondary consideration compared to firearms. This has not stopped an export of these weapons as a means of building up capital, though their main selling point is their low cost per unit.

Vehicles
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Naval Construction Project-144

This is a special project of the Infrastructural Navy, authorized in august of 27 IA with construction (at basic component production stages) beginning in December of the same year. The plan is to create a truly oceanic warship able to spend long periods of time at sea. The estimated time of completion is some time in either late 30 IA or early 31 IA. The name selected for this craft is Hunter.

The Hunter is considerably longer and more massive than previous attempts, being seventy meters long and weighing in at approximately 5,400 tonnes, for defense it has a 40mm armored belt, as well as 20cm armor for the deck gun-screens. It's propulsion involves two screw propellers and two steam turbine engines rated at a total power of 4,800 kilowatts with a top speed of 26 kilometers an hour.

For it's offensive arsenal, the Hunter carries 26 75mm broadside guns as well as two 150mm cannons. This is supplemented by four Shchuka launchers (the craft will carry 12 Shchukas for battle) and five Type-1A/b for dealing with boarders and naval at close quarters and airborne attack.

In total the crew required for this craft is 360, most of which shall be taken from the existing pool of experienced mariners due to the high priority of this craft, which is being expanded as more smaller ships are built and more personnel are trained on them. For communications she has been outfitted with both a semaphore and a new type radio transmitter with an effective range of 30 kilometers. This is in part to allow the Hunter to serve as a flagship against enemy fleets.

Soldiers

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A conscript from the Allergonian Imperial Army around 34 IA (1413 Order Calender), part of a new military force created by Emperor-Johannes IX in his attempt to further solidify the roll of the central government in the Empire's politics as well as improving the Emprie's defenses. A force of some 250,000 soldiers has been drafted for this purpose, the bulk of them being simple riflemen armed with Pattern-1405 Rifles. Most of the soldiers are drawn from poor urban workers and peasants. While there are a fair number of volunteers, about 40% of this force are conscripts. In addition to law abiding residents of the empire that were pressed into service, this also includes a number of debters, vagrants and criminals. Conscripts are drawn from several areas in the Empire where the local Kings had agreed to take on the burden of gathering conscripts for the army in exchange for some conessions in tarrifs and a slight lowering of tax rates. A few refused to allow conscription for the Imperial Army to happen in their domains and faced a slight tax increase. Either way, the term of service is 5 years.

Training involves a month long session of drills, then soldiers are brought up to active duty. Due to the size of the force, the uniforms of soldiers in this new army are fairly basic with a set of grey baggy pants and a baggy jacket (both designed on the principle that it's better to be to large than to small) of either reddish brown or greenish brown coloration, a pair of boots and a helmet for protection. Regular plate, brigandines or mail is of little use against rifle fire and as such, is seen as a waste of money for enlisted personel. Officers are equiped with runic armor, usually in the form of a breastplate. Each enlisted soldier recieves a wage of 3 Pfennigs a day plus rations of bread, butter, vegetables, meat (usually every third day) and beer.

For the most part, the old high ranking Nobility of the Allergonian Empire is not fond of this new army. They see it as a threat to their ability to do as they please and for their influence over local matters. Even though the armies which they collectively outnumber the growing Imperial Army, they still have their concerns and fears about this. The lower nobility is more open to it, as most officers in it are drawn from their ranks.

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A Venoan Rifleman of the Army of the Serene Republic in 34 IA. The Army of the Serene Republic is one of two branches of the Venoan Military, the other being the Navy. Of the two, it is the smaller, being limited to some 20,000 soldiers, being composed of medium cavalry and heavy infantry. The bulk of Venoa's military manpower are raised privately, these forces are raised by members of the Patrician Class (wealthy merchants and land owners who's position comes from their wealth and the lands they own rather than titles), villages and the various guilds as part of their civic duty. Most of these fighting men are trained, equipped and drilled, but spend most of the time working at normal jobs. The Army of the Serene Republic by contrast is a standing one, always ready for action. The Army of the Serene Republic is an elite fighting force and it's soldiers are recruited from the most capable soldiers which others in Venoa have raised. Being asked to join the Army of the Serene Republic is seen as a honor and the villages, guilds and patricians which train men good enough to be employed boast about the number that they have provided to the Army share a bit of tht. Well equipped, well trained, well paid and with a strong esprit de corps, they are a formidable force respected and feared.

Venoa was among the first states to adopt firearms, for the last four centuries Venoan soldiers had fought using arquebuses and eventually wheel locks. When the Rifle Wars began, Venoa was quick to make the transition thanks to an abundance of gunsmiths, a network of spies which stole blueprints for manufacturing equipment, an eager body of inventors and artificers up to the task of designing and building machines when necessary and a willingness to adopt standardize parts. The Venoese were keen on being able to match Infrastructural weapons technology. As such, by late 33IA the Army of the Serene Republic had adopted DiAgnellio's 3rd Breech Loading Rifle as their standard service rifle, the first non Infrastructural cartridge firing rifle that has seen large scale adoption. In addition to that, each rifleman in the Army of the Serene League is issued with a runic breastplate. These articles of magically enhanced armor can take a hit or two from a Type-3R rifle, though they cost between two to three times the price of a conventional breastplate. In addition, a Helmet, Vambraces and Grieves are issued, though these are simply steel items in the case of enlisted soldiers, though they are free to buy additional armor. For close combat, each soldier is issued with both a bayonet and a sword. Officers can be deserned by having more colorful uniforms and plumes in their helmets.

Insignia

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The National Flag of Infrastructure. Adopted soon after the capture of Dalatyr in 1IA as the insignia of the survivors, derived from their chosen symbol for themselves: an isometric image of a dark cube (a rough approximation of their physical forms (as opposed to the various bodies which they can plug themselves into) though few know of this fact). This Hexagonal insignia is common across Infrastructure, both on the flag and elsewhere as a symbol of the Infrastructural government and on products of Infrastructural manufacture.

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Flag of the Infrastructural Army.

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The Symbol of the Serene Republic of Venoa is that of a Naga Gladiatrix with a spear and shield appropriate to the Third Empire. Naga are very rare in areas to the west of the Dragonspine mountains, but a few had been brought over as exotic slaves. Among the more notable keepers of Naga were the last six Kings of Venoa (The Kingdom of Venoa existed from the 1380th year Before the Infrastructural Age to 823 BIE) who imported a number of said slaves, as well as having them turn a number of other slaves into additional Naga to fight in various gladiatorial matches. The symbol was adopted after this group of Naga Slaves started a rebellion against King Alfonzo-IV (also known as Alfonzo the Vile) at a the New Years game. This led to the deaths of all but three of the Naga in question, but by luck they managed to kill the King and their actions caused a riot which eventually led to the population taking up arms against the Royal Family, which was destroyed and resulted in the end of the monarchy and the establishment of the Serene Republic by a group of prominent citizens. In honor of their sacrifice and bravery, the founders of the New Republic adopted their image as their heraldry

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The standard unit of currency in Infrastructure is the Credit. Each Credit is divided into ten Decicredits and a thousand credits equal one Kilocredit. Coins exist in one and five Decicredit as well as one and two credit denominations, all of which made of steel. Paper banknotes exist in five, ten, twenty, Fifty, One Hundred, Five Hundred and One Kilocredit denomination (The latter is rarely used). The One Decicredit and one Credit coins and the Five and Ten Credit notes are displayed here.

Coinage was known in the Coldlands before the Infrastructural Age, but was somewhat scarce. What coinage was common was either minted in the Black Ports, From outside the Coldlands or was crudely stamped discs of precious metals made at a sight were gold, silver, copper could be mined and the odd attempt at introducing pot metal money. Money was more common in the Northwest and less common in the southeast, but most transactions were barter based and many people went their entire lives without ever laying hands on any coin what-so-ever. It's use was mainly limited to warriors, wandering merchants, artisans employed in the manufacture of weaponry, a few furriers, the more successful bandits and inn and barkeepers. Warriors usually used it to buy weapons, armor, luxuries from out of the Coldlands and grain in times of famine and got it from selling furs, surplus grain collected in tax and other foodstuff, surplus weapons and armor and slaves.

The introduction of the credit was introduced by the committee as a means of quantifying work in exchange for goods to get people working for them in an easy manner as well as paying the militia for service. Soon after the Survivors took over Dalatyr, the store of agricultural produce gathered in tax as well as several other products including distilled liquor was made available through a store. They started with coins and latter introduced paper notes as well. As the scale of Dalatyr grew, more people made use of these as more people drew wages and more material was brought in. It also spread with the establishment of garrisons and hub towns. As was expected and planned, people used credits amongst themselves and a marketplace emerged. In 6IA the Central Bank of Infrastructure was created to manage more complex affairs of finance.

For the most part, the locals accepted payment in credits without too much fuss. If three credits could procure for them a few sacks of potatoes during the winter, they were all for them. The cash economy of Infrastructure has needless to say grown by a massive degree. That said, not all are happy with it. For example, foreign merchants tend to take a dim view on the credit as it is A: not based on metallic elements and B: it is not accepted outside of Infrastructure. In the coastal areas it is less popular due to it's increased connection with the outside world and the scale in which a cash economy was present beforehand. This is especially true in The Yards, the most developed Pre-Infrastructural states in the Coldlands and most closely tied with trade. In such areas, enforcement is required. Refusing payment in Credits (A practice referred to as "Magpying" by Infrastructural Authorities) without a special Payment License or demanding higher prices in Credits ("Charging Magpie Rates") is a crime and can be punished with either a fine or up to two years of detentional labor. Posters have been set up around the black ports to inform them of reasonable exchange rates.

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There are many religions in the world, hundreds of faiths and holy books and a myriad of gods, demigods, messiahs and prophets. Some of which are ancient, tracing their faith back to the ages of the Student Men, monoliths of belief which endure like mountains. Others are recent, born of newly kindled passionate fervor which burns brightly in the souls of its new followers dedicating to spread it's flames. Some which were once widely practiced by hundreds of thousands, or even millions have withered to a few small communities, if they had not died out entirely. Sometimes these faiths mingle and merge, other times they divide and schism, often they fight with each other. But in this world, there is one fairly widespread organization. However, somewhat unusually when confronted with the question of "what is the one true faith?" it responds "We are trying figure that out". That is the Order of Keepers of the Holy Word (generally abbreviated to "the Order of Keepers", "The Order" or "The Keepers").

The Order of Keepers was created about 1400 years before the Infrastructural Age by a group of priests and scholarly men in the Decade's following the the collapse of the Third Empire. After the Third Empire's capital was destroyed by a vast Drow army the generals of it's various surviving Legions became warlords ruling over various provinces, which began fighting each other. At the same time provinces were being attacked by Barbarian Hordes and the Drow. A number of wealthy men, priests, philosophers and sympathetic soldiers sought to preserve important holy and philosophical texts, having read of the damage which was wrought during the war of four centuries and the collapse of the previous collapses of the First and Second Empires. These were stashed away in a mountain fortress which was guarded against numerous attacks for three decades while a few figures were sent out to see if their was anything else left to defend.

The priests and scholars also took to farming the local lands for sustenance as well as discussed matters of theology and morality. Eventually they came to this idea. While their was a divine element to the universe it spoke to the mortal world through a myriad of ways and when it did speak to men, dwarves, elves and similar, something was lost in translation. As such, the path to understanding the divine was to be achieved by a thorough and comprehensive comparative study of the various faiths and religions, thus was founded the Order in -1379 IA (or the First Year of of the Order's Calender), which sent out a number of Scholar Priests to study the religions of the world around it.

It took a few centuries to spread and their were numerous martyrs, but area by area the Order of Keepers set itself up in numerous areas and dedicated itself to knowledge. Between 450 YO and 600 YO they achieved considerable success by allying with the newly emerging Empire of Allergon. Now they are very extensive and can be found in most places which are not ruled by Elves, from Oestia to lands to the south and east of the Coldlands with hundreds of regional divisions known as Archivites based around a central archive. Every few decades to century, the highest ranking members produce a holy book of Unified Theology.

By nature, the order is fairly religiously tolerant. That said, it occasionally does denounce other religions as being False. The criteria for such denouncement include...
1-When it declares all other faiths to be completely invalid
2-When it denounces the Order of Keepers
3-When it practices human sacrifice and similar activities which are broadly deemed morally repugnant

The Order is a complex institution divided into numerous divisions, all of which are hierarchical. The bulk of these are clergymen responsible for documenting local religious traditions and taking them into consideration with the current book of Unified Theology. These are run in accordance to various codes. As one goes up the ladder of the Order's hierarchy, things become more demanding and one's life becomes more regimented. Notably, high ranking members swear an oath of celibacy while lower ranking Pastor Recorders can marry and have children. Separate orders exist for men and women, though the highest ruling councils are exclusively male.

The Order does not just deal in matters of theology, but also in matters of broader knowledge. There are sub orders dedicated to mathematics, politics, philosophy, history, music and magic, though members of the order rarely practice magic or debate about it. Because of this, the Order is well regarded for education. Most people who can afford to send their children to an Order run school will do so, at least in part.

The Order of Keepers gets its funds from various sources. Education is a significant source of income, but hardly the only one. To access an Order Archive while not being a member, one must "provide assistance to the cause of knowledge" and while their are other ways, the most common way to get access is to buy it with money. The order also manufactures books, in the past in scriptora and with print shops in more modern times. The Order also owns some lands and charges rent and collects taxes on them and is involved in banking.

Officially, the Order is politically neutral. It does not bother in the affairs of kingdoms and nobles so long as it is allowed to operate freely. A conquering army would usually face no resistance from local branches of the order if they pose no threat to it. That said, the Order does make it's presence known when it feels threatened. Among the Information they collect and keep locked away are various little secrets which can be used as leverage to get their way. They also can steer public support in certain ways. A few Kings and lord which have denounced the Order of Keepers and destroyed their Holy Archives, and most of them ended up corpses because of it.

In regards to defense, the Order of Keepers maintains a form of church militant in the Fraternity of Sentinels. Sentinels protect the various Temples and Archives of the order and occasionally are used against anti-order forces. Among the information the Order has in stock is stuff on tactics, strategy, various campaigns and battles and martial arts. Service as a Sentinel usually involves pretty good physical and mental training and comes with some education on military matters. Others serve as a penance for various sins they commit in a soldier's life. Most Sentinels serve for two or three years, but a few serve for longer terms or for life. The equipment of a sentinel varies from region to region and has changed over time, usually reflecting what weapons are common in an area and at a time, though in most cases a they carry a sword. Firearms are now becoming more common.

The Order has had a small presence in the Coldlands for a couple centuries, but has taken far more of an interest in it with the rise of Infrastructure. More pastors have been moving into the Coldlands now that it is safer and Dalatyr is now home to a very prominent archive. Their is considerable interest in it's ideology and the Committee has provided it with them, even though they do remain silent on their origins and a few other things. That said, they have been forbidden from stealing "trade secrets" of Infrastructural technology. For the most part, they are compliant with this request, but never the less they are involved in understanding Infrastructural machinery. Most of which is based on stuff which has already gotten out of Infrastructure such as steam engine technology and more refined gunpowder weapons, but occasionally the odd "misplaced" blueprint or instructions manual will find its way into an Archive outside of Infrastructure's boarders.

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Map of Infrastructure: 23 IA boarders.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2013-07-28 01:18am

(Valnothron, late summer, 34 IA)
Dravos ti'Halithnon was not in a good mood after the battle, defeat can do that to a person. Especially a defeat in which twenty seven ships (including a Ship of the Line) under his commander were destroyed, nine more were badly damaged (the Nalithan Brenolth among them) and nearly seven thousand Dark Elves were killed by an enemy who suffered no significant casualties. The fleet broke up soon afterwards. Most ships returned home immediately, though a few undamaged ships went to searching for less hard prey and a couple spent a day picking up Drow survivors from the sea before it claimed them. His ship, however was in fairly bad condition. It managed to limp towards the mainland, a journey which was complicated by a High Elvish squadron and bad weather. Neither of which was enjoyable, nor was having to put into port at Valnothron.

Each of the nine Drow states attempted to rise above the other eight through various means, including outright war. Galthirith and Valnothron did not have a particularly high degree of animosity towards each other, but even so there was a bit of a risk. To his relief they were allowed to put their ship in for repairs, which would mean that in a few months time they would send Galthirith a huge bill that would earn his house no adoration from anyone along with, in all probability, the ruling families of his home city would demand that this family pay for a decent precent of that.

As soon as he docked, he got a request from the high council for information on how the battle went and an interview. Not doing so would only make things worse, so he begrudgingly. He was soon led to the palice and was soon met by his interviewer. Not the council itself, but rather a woman in civilian clothes. A spy no doubt. Most likely they were trying to get that extra bit of information, or see if he was lying. But their could be some alterior motive. Best to be cautious and have a slave taste his food just in case. He set up his mental barriers. He was no expert, but if she wanted to know anything about him beyond his broad emotions he would know and she would be hard pressed.

"Admiral, I am Kaelin ti'Valneth." She said. "I am one of the trusted employees of this government and I shall be making inquiries on behalf of it."

"Very well." He said calmy. "The report has been sent to your council." It was basically about half the report he had prepared for his government, with a few aspects and recomendations cut for various reasons.

"Indeed. Admiral, I know that you have had an acomplished career. In your eighty years of servic you have gone up against a variety of foes from pirates riding galleys, the Allegonian fleet and our Eternal Foe and far more often than not you have brought the forces under your command. In brief, despite having superior numbers and obvious command expertise were you defeated in battle by a small floatilla manned by peasants?"

Dravos imediatly knew that they were testing him with that remark. He knew Valnothron had faced the Infrastructuals at sea before and had heard that they took (to his eye) an unhealthy interest with the Coldlander's toys. By the looks of this they were looking examine if he was honest, most likely some other things as well. Dark Elves that get into posistions of power typically develop a good poker face. "Those 'peasants' were manning some of the most impressive warships I have ever seen. Their hulls were resistant to lightning strikes and their guns had remarkable range, were quick firing and accurate."

"Indeed. I am no expert on Naval Warfare, but I had read somewhere that Infrastructural ships are quite distinctive vessels with their chimneys and similar."

"It's true that there are few things uglier at sea than those smoke spewing tin tubs."

"Of course, your fleet had managed to track them down and all that. Still, these ships do have quite a reputation for being formidable. Why did you not try to examine them before commiting your entire fleet against them?"

"We had them pretty well skryed out before the battle, in any case our thunderhead aside it was a clear day, even at night they would have spotted our fleet if it approached." She was getting under his skin, but he kept a straight face.

"Fair enough, A more delicate approach next time would be warranted." She said.

"Indeed". The interview went on for about twenty minutes as she prodded him. She used a number of strategies on him as he asked questions. He kept a stiff face and answered most of them honestly. Lying to Valnothron on the Infrastructurals at this time would serve them no purpose. They had a fair bit of experience with them as is and in future encounters he could use their assistance to regain some glory. Never the less it was a trying conversation. He was not particularly fond of spies at the best of times and this one did little to dispel that prejudice. He conceded that they had their uses and that Kaelin had a way with words, though being on the receiving end of them was not pleasant.

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(Open Ocean, late summer, 34 IA)
'May the gods make a special hell for idiots in power blinded by grudges' Jalthas ti'Telviin thought repeatedly as she clung to an bit of timber. She had been a watch officer aboard the Inithan (Barracuda), one frigate in a squadron of four ships in the Valnothron Navy on patrol. About a month ago, they got a report of the defeat that admiral ti'Halithnon's fleet had suffered attempting to capture the Infrastructural convoy. This information was shocking to say the least, but in the mind of any sensible officer would be to avoid them like the plague. But the Commodore in charge of this fleet had different ideas.

A few years ago, his brother commanded a frigate in the Icemountain sea and was sent out to raid commerce. His ship was among the first the Infrastructural Fleet destroyed, back when they did not understand how dangerous those steel hulled monsters could be. A competent young officer killed in his prime in a blow which made him look like an idiot and weakened the family's standing. Several more of his family members had perished in the recent battle, including his wife. When the Infrastructural Fleet came close, he secretly ordered that they change their course as to intercept them. He was not totally irrational in this move, he ordered his fleet attack in a broad formation at night, but they were spotted and the Infrastructural guns were turned upon them. It was soon settled quickly and the fleet was sent to the Abyss.

She had managed to get off and into the water while others had taken to launches or hung onto wreckage. Their intention was the same as hers: Get to shore, a bit more than a hundred miles westward. They were near one of three states, the Duchy of Oestia, the Protectorate of Nycon and the Kingdom of Torion were admittedly not the most receptive to Dark Elves but there were far worse places to make landfall and they could work out a way home from there. She would have to swim as the boats were full, but the wind was at her back, she had a bit of wood to hold onto and she knew some common but effective desalination and Buoyancy spells which would mean at least she would not die of thirst and would have an easier time staying afloat. There were risks, but those risks for death was nothing when compared to certainty on the matter if she just stayed here.

The Searchlights went over them a couple of times, but she thought nothing of it. Most likely they were merely seeing what damage was done. They were indistinct points of light in the distance. The cannon fire had stopped after the last ship went up, she put that down to either a typical human weakness, a limited supply of ammunition or both. Working by the light of burning wreckage and after a few minutes the dawn, she made her way east.

But as dawn came, she saw something. A few of the ships (including one of the big cargo ships) had broken off from the fleet and were sailing towards her. She assumed that they were going to deal with survivors permanently, so she went still. She had no armor and in any case, Infrastructural guns had long range. She hoped that they would overlook her, but no shots came. She was among the closest to them when they approached and she saw some strange crane systems being set up. She wondered what they were for, but her question was soon answered

One of the ships went close and dropped a net into the water. It had a metal frame on the front and moved towards her. She dropped her bit of wood in shock and swam away. The net followed her, dragged along it's pivot. Soon she was overtaken and it's frame close like a set of jaws around her. It was then winched up out of the water and onto the deck. She thrashed and screamed as it put her on the deck. Another crane allowed the net to be turned upside down and an electric current disorientated her while she was swiftly shackled, hands and feet and chained down. She snarled and cursed at the Infrastructurals in incoherent rage as more Drow were fished out of the sea.

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(Shipyard Offices, Daagsgrad, late Summer, 34 IA)
Daagsgrad was a wet city. Outside of winter, a week without rain was notably unusual occurrence. One of the things that Bureaucrat Grade-3 Yuna Igorova was grateful for was that her job was mostly an indoors one, especially with it coming down in a thunderstorm. It said in the paper that it would most likely be like this for the next couple of days. She had been here for a decade now, but still the rain got to her. She had been raised inland, where winters may have been longer and more severe but summers were on the whole sunny and dry. She had gotten used to it, but she still had a lower threshold for the stuff than a native.

It was on the whole a good job which she was good at and it paid quite well, but it did have its challenges. It involved filing engineers reports, sending in forms for new manufacturing equipment and spare parts, dealing with labor needs and other such affairs required to help keep the Shipyards working. In the end, this came down to either interviews or (far more often) paperwork. It was a busy job, even if it had settled down a fair bit after the expansion of the yards and the buildup of the new fleet. She was happy to go home at the end of the day and see her two boys as well as talking with their father, as well as spending time with the love of her life Inna. Coldlanders in general had a simple outlook on these sorts of things. Having children was important to keep families and communities alive, but saw those who had an interest of people more similar to themselves as being fairly unremarkable and had no objections to those people making arrangements on the side.

In any case, she had work to do and she did it to the best of her abilities. She had read that last night the convoy had returned from the colony ahead of schedule and this had become the main subject of gossip. A couple of the ships had been put into drydock for maintenance, which could have meant a number of things.

About halfway through that dreary morning, a report arrived bearing the insignia of the Central Committee. She soon looked it over. One of the more popular rumors was true, the Convoy was attacked by Drow naval forces on two occasions and there was every reason to believe that they would try this again sometime soon. To better deal with them, the Navy would need to be rapidly expanded, more ships would need to be built and the facilties would need to be expanded as soon as possible.

She let out a sigh and got out a bottle of Potato spirits and a glass. It was not the best stuff available by any means, but it was useful for certain meetings. She poured out a measure of the stuff and began sipping it. This program would mean major expansion, which would mean new equipment being procured and more personnel being brought in who would need training and payment, more engineers being brought in who would need to be shown around, more resources to be processed and new buildings be built and drydocks be dug among other things. All of which would mean mountains and mountains of paperwork which would only keep her away from the people she knew and (in various ways) loved.

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(Garrison-4, Late Summer, 34 IA)
In the cities of Infrastructure beyond Dalatyr, such as the one which grew around Garrison-4 there were public squares. In these public squares were set up a set of special machines. These included a couple of electric speakers, a white cavas screen held in place on a frame and a special device that had been Fabricated, a projector. Every Saturday, it projected a series of moving images and the speakers spoke with the voice of a member of the Committee (usually Supernova), transmitted from Dalatyr. The messages were about twenty minutes long and were played in the mourning, at noon and in the evening. Usually they spoke of the Committee's various plans and the progress which was being made on them, from the completion of new bridges and railways, figures on grain and steel production, the expansion of cities, major bandits and the completion of various industrial projects. The messages were usually positive and watching them was a popular Saturday activity. Foreign Merchants would often hurry into towns to observe these messages.

Their was a fair amount of interest when they heard that there was going to be a special address on a Wednesday. People wondered what it could be before it was shown on noon.

There was the usual fanfare and then Supernova appeared before them in military uniform.

"People of Infrastructure, I speak as the voice of the voice of the Central Committee. I regret to inform you that we must speak of some most unfortunate developments."

"Over the past thirty four years, we have worked to develop the Coldlands. Our Soldiers forged brought order and peace out of chaos and constant war. In the safety of that peace our labor has begotten a new age of prosperity and wonder. By the honest and honorable toil of the farmer, the miner, the carter, the bargeman, the laborer, the factory worker, the teacher, the Bureaucrat and the Engineer over the course of three short decades and with the Guidance and Tutelage of the Committee created technological marvels which have become the marvel of the world from what was once primitive chaos. And still we continue to strive in concert to move the Great Machine of Infrastructure onwards to grander achievements."

"However, while those beyond our boarders views our achievements with awe and amazement, others view it with a contempt born of arrogance, presumption and envy. The mere idea that Coldland Peasants might have accomplished anything of relevance in this world is to them infuriating. That they might achieve anything in any way which surpassed their own works, unfathomable. But despite their prejudices and fear, they have been confronted with the fact that this has happened. This hatred of theirs' now has come our way in force. I speak of the forces of the Dark Elves."

"Over the last year, we have been working to establish a settlement in a distant land to further our long term plans of Social Progress and Industrial Development. The fleet which carried settlers to this new world was attacked twice by Drow Forces. It is with relief that I assure you that on both occasions our naval forces were able to repel the enemy forces, but it is clear that future attacks are an inevitability. To the Citizens of Infrastructure, know that we are at war."

"Our foe is one that is powerful, dangerous and vile. It is one who desires our enslavement or our deaths. However, we are strong and we stand resolute. It is now time for young men to take up arms and defend our shores from enemy aggression, either as soldiers on land or sailors at sea. We shall bring the force of our industry towards the tasks of providing our forces with proper weapon and equipment, as well as expanding our fleet. However, for most of the population, the work you do as of now is of critical importance and should be continued. Our factories need fuel and our soldiers need feeding. Preforming said duties calmly and competently is what is required of you and we have faith that you shall do just that."

"This will mean regrettable delays to other programs and projects as resources are shifted from more civilian fields to martial production. but with our technological might, we shall hold the line. All invaders are to be repulsed, our efforts shall not be interfered with. At stake is the sum of all we have worked and strived for. However, those efforts which have made us great also make us strong."

"Their delusions of supremacy shall be stamped out by the Great Machine. The Committee has confidence in it, the Committee has confidence in you even when faced with this powerful foe. Hail Infrastructure!"

The crowd which watched had stood in silence as this message was given until the end. Many were stunned, many murmored, but a fair number echoed in support.
"HAIL INFRASTRUCTURE!"

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(Citadel, Dalatyr, Late Summer 34 IA)
Sven Smedth looked down at the Helmet that Drive had placed before him and knew what it meant. He had his suspicions about this appointment and was not at all shocked to find out what it was. He had heard the news about the Drow Attacks on the convoy and knew what that would entail for him.

"We have reason to believe that Drow forces might attempt an invasion on Infrastructure's coastline in the next month. You have been reactivated and will take command of a mobile reserve force to help protect our shorelines against enemy assault."

He expected as much, but he was not happy with that decision. It was explained that he might be reactivated at some future time if their was a crisis and this definitely qualified. Even so this would mean that he would be taken away from his wife, family and what was at the end of the day a nice comfortable home and going back to tents, rations, military roughness and the risk of violent death. It was not that he was a coward, but he did have views on the matter. When you had to fight you fought with all you got and gave it good and hard, but when their was another option to achieving your ends besides fighting or putting your men or yourself at risk you took it. The more agressive . As such, he made an attempt to talk his way out of it.

"With all due respect, Sir, we have a fair number of other good officers up to the task."

"We do." Drive said coldly "However, you have two decades of first hand experience leading our soldiers into battle, as well as commanding a high level of respect among soldiers. It is clear that you are the best choice for this role." Sven knew that route was sealed shut. Drive's full name was not given to him idly, he always looked for ways to make the best use of what he had, human resources included.

"I feel that my talents would be better used in their current role, training up new recruits."

"While you have preformed admirably in this role, at this time I have decided that you would be of more use to Infrastructure in a command role. The Committee is with me on this."

"Er, Right sir. Sir, you said this would be a 'Mobile Reserve'. What just would that entail?" Sven never got the hang of horseback riding and usually left the fine management of them to cavalry officers.

"There will be a sizable cavalry section, but the mobility of this force shall mostly be rail based. Its purpose would be to respond to a major Drow landing, backing up various forces we assigned to guard stretches of coastline should they set up a bench head." Sven sighed ever so slightly, it had been a vague hope, the committee was nothing but thorough, but it was a legitimate point to make and occasionally a human did point out some minor error which they had overlooked. There were other things he might have said which could have gotten him out of this. He might have said that he did not feel like he could physically go out on the march. But that would be dishonest. As such, he relented.

"Very well. When do I leave, Sir?"

"In three days time. Some dossiers will be sent your home tonight."

"Yes sir." He said as he took up the Helmet. He had his duty to do.’

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(Daagsgrad, late summer, 34 IA)
'Damn the overzealous idiots who called for war' had been one of Xaris ti'Qlihon's thoughts. He was an agent in charge of a few other agents working in Daagsgrad and for various reasons which he understood as perfectly sensible he was not privy to detailed information about what his leaders were doing. But suddenly finding out that that it was now out and out war with Infrastructure was not good news. Working in this place was difficult, the Committee had set into motion a wide variety of plans to snoot out enemy agents and their subjects were getting better at doing this. The number of wards of disruption had increased, making it difficult to maintain an invisibility or disguise spell. More often than he or his associates wanted to, they had to fall back on makeup, hoods, scarfs, hats and money. The attrition rate had gone up over the past three years, both among his people as well as those of other Drow states and human spies. Never the less, he did have several jobs to do and did them as well as he could. He had plans worked out to execute the goals that had been given to him.

On the whole, things were proceeding adequately. Out and Out War made his job all the more difficult. The Infrastructural would redouble their efforts, bring in more security and tighten things up. At the same time, his superiors would be asking him for more intelligence on everything. He understood why his fellow Drow attacked the convoy. He just hoped that things would have happened in a more. He learned of the failed attacks from the Infrastructurals a few weeks ago and in that time gotten some new order to accelerate one of those plans.

It involved some messages beings sent about the city covertly to a few groups that he had been keeping track of as useful. It was done cautiously and with some discretion. A few of them were in on the plan, others were just learning. They were brought together in a basement. In total about twenty five individuals were brought in. It was an odd little connection collection. There was a few gang leaders, some local tradesmen of various degrees of honesty, a ships' captain who might have engaged in some piracy on the side, a couple merchants, a priest, a peasant, a common mage in a tattered robe and some fishermen. A few others he hoped to bring in were no shows, but that was not too much of an issue. One thing which was clear was that their was some friction between these groups, even if some food and beer went a good way to negating this fact. What united them, besides their influence over others in various ways, was the fact that they were natives and they had a pronounced and distinct hatred for their new Infrastructural masters.

After half an hour of letting them mingle as best they could and making conversations with them individually, he felt it was time to get down to business. "Sons of Daagsgrad, it is wonderful that you could show up." Xaris said jovially. "Even with the risks these dark times hold. But remember, this night born of the soot spewed by your oppressor's forges and floating tin baths will soon come to an end. The Iron Handed Oppression of your steel hearted masters shall soon be cast off you and your city. You are not alone in your hatred for Infrastructure. I speak on behalf of the Drow that we will help you in your struggle for freedom. I know that you fine souls know enough to see through the lies of the Committee, their defeat is inevitable. Their worthless pet peasants shall be slain, forced to flee into freezing fields or put into shackles where they belong. But, with your assistance, that happy day shall come all the sooner and in the liberation of your homelands, you shall profit and prosper!"

There was from the gathered rebels to be a general chorus of approval. Not quite a cheer, but a few were willing to go that far and a couple more people probably would have tipped the scale. One of the things that held it back was a heavyset man. A butcher by trade named Janob Gornislab. He had managed to get enough attention by simply forming around himself a group of friends who shared his disdain for Infrastructure in areas of minor importance or with a surplus of gossipiness who had minor influence over others, while having enough sense to keep his head down when needed. It was not a Gang per-say, but he did have enough of raw and dirty charisma to nudge a substantial group of people along his way of thinking. He had also recently becoming the landlord of a couple of crude but serviceable house on the outskirts of town that he rented out to people he felt were worthy of living in the city. He had done some business with him before to sway his favor, but he was wary of him. His literary abilities were just able to let him sign his name and handle a note with an order for black sausages for Mr. Groshec, but he still had a certain level of cunning and caution. Enough of both to be both useful, but also potentially problematic.

"Might I make a point, noble Dark Elf?"

"Of course."

"Well," He said strolling forward, he spoke in a non confrontational tone "I would simply like to ask about something which I think on the minds of those gathered here." He walked forward with a chicken leg in hand. "While I don't doubt that you would like to have us rise up against the Infrastructurals, why did you take so long to help us? You sold our king guns, sure. But where were you when they came marching up from the south?" He began twirling the drumstick in his fingers. "Now from what I heard about you Dark Elves is that you fight like Demons and could have sent in some warriors to free your valued trading partners. But you did not do that. Instead, for twelve years we have been under their iron feet and in those years we lost loved ones and they twisted our lands to their madness. Why wait until now to free us?"

There was some murmurs of approval. Xaris knew that this would come up eventually. "On behalf of my Lords I must inform you that we were engaged with other more pressing matters. The debased forces of the False King" He spat the words "had engaged us at the time. If you have not heard, they are powerful, brutal in battle and seek nothing less than our extermination. We had our hands full dealing with them and that was just the start of it. We regret that there have been delays outside our control. However, those are in the past, now we are fully able to help you shake off the bonds of Infrastructural Oppression. If you still desire it?"

That got more or less the reaction he wanted and the butcher found himself the subject of a few unpleasant gazes. "Simply making a point worth making." Janob commented.

"Indeed. We have seen how effective simple mobs have been against this occupation. If you want to regain your independence, you will need more than bravery and anger. First of all, you will need weapons. That we can provide you with, you have a place to hide them until the time is right."

A merchant in a hat raised his hand "I can shift some inventory about and make room"

"There's plenty o' nooks 'ere my lads can stash yer shooting irons n' fire dirt." A smuggler volunteered,

"That's good. If you can get some men out in the forests, my associates can even show you how to make the most of them. But even more important than having the guns is when to use them. If you are serious about getting rid of the Committee's Lapdogs, you will hit them all at once when they are at their weakest."

"Wait a minute!" A gang leader cried out "Who's leading this whole thing? Why should we be taking orders from you!"

"Orders? Perish the thought!" Xaris responded in a hurt tone of voice. "My job is simply to help you achieve your goals, which can only help the goals of my masters. As for leadership of this resistance movement, that I will leave that in your hands. That said, if one of your groups desires to act alone against the committee, it will not only fail, but will most likely end getting the rest of you captured in a crackdown. It would be worse than simply doing nothing to act foolishly or alone. But, if you work together and strike when our fleet approaches the harbors, then victory will be yours. Daagsgrad will be free and you will be it's lauded and rewarded heroes."

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(Boot Camp-1, Outside Dalatyr, Autumn 34 IA)
After the announcement of war, there was a major recruitment campaign. Numerous parties were sent out to bring in the manpower required. The army was to be expanded, and rapidly. Even with reservists being called up there was plenty to do. Sergeant Ferdov Yanovivich had his work cut out for him.

He took after his father in more ways than one. He was heavyset, grew a mustache and was methodical and careful. He joined the army when he was eighteen and like his father, settled in at the rank of sergeant and eventually got employed as a general instructor. He got the latest batch of recruits. There were 48 of them, four whole squads, officially their was supposed to be no more than 36 of them in a group and usually he had to to deal with only two squads at a time. But it was still his job and they were not to bad as far as rookies went, at least on the march. For the second part of this shebang, he had the assistance of Private Bublyk. The Appropriate gear had been distributed.

"Now I see that you lot have mastered the basics of running and marching. Fair enough. Now we will move on to the tool of your trade." His tone was polite, but firm. Some instructors preferred to yell at their men as angrily as possible about everything. Ferdov did not. For one thing it left his throat soar, the other being he knew that yelling was like cold water. If you were jumped into a cold lake it was real uncomfortable for a bit, then you got used to it. The occasional sudden splash to the face had far more impact. "What you have in your hands is a Type-3R Rifle. Now I want you to make sure that you are listening, because What I am about to say now is among the most important thing to you lot. The FIRST most important thing to you on the battlefield is your duty. The SECOND most important thing on the battlefield are your Comrades. The THIRD most important thing on the Battlefield is yourself. The FORTH most important thing on the battlefield is your Rifle. If you are in battle without your rifle, you are incapable of carrying out your orders, you are a burden on your comrades and you can not defend yourself. At best you are dead weight, at worst you and your comrades are dead due to your failure. You will keep your rifle in good shape and you will respect it. More than that, you will learn to love it and treat it as an extension of yourself."

"What it does is it shoots bullets at high speed. They will go threw men and armor. It can accurately hit a loan man over four hundred meters away and is easy to use. But that is getting ahead of ourselves. It is a criminal waste for any of you lot to shoot yourselves. You won't get a bullet until you master the basics of holding the damn thing."

"First of all, even though i personally made sure each of those Type-3Rs are empty, some of you fine young lads have your fingers on the triggers. That stops NOW! Unless the gun is in bits or that you might need to shoot something, you keep your finger off the trigger like so." The corporal held his rifle by the stock, the troops shuffled to match. "On the same note, on the side of your rifle is a small switch, when it points upward, the rifle will not. When on the march, keep that safety switch switched up. Am I clear?"

"YES SIR!" After a quick inspection he saw that they were all holding their weapons properly.

"The next Important thing is the way you lot are holding the damn things. When on the march you hold in two ways. The first way is you sling it over your back. The second way is you hold it on your shoulder like so. You will do this when I tell you to Shoulder Arms. Now...SHOUL-DER, ARMS!" The group of men soldiers worked about getting their guns into that position.

"It takes some getting used to, but you will get that. Now, when you are presented before an officer or have the honor of being before the central Committee and have a rifle in hand, you will show them your weapon, that it is in good repair and ready." The Corporal assumed the stance. "This command is present arms. Now... PRE-SENT, ARMS!"

And so it continued. The process was repetitive and monotonous, but it got into their heads the mindset they would need to beat back the Dark Elves should they decide to land in force.

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(Infrasturctural Cargo Ship Prosperity, Daagsgrad Harbour, Autumn, 34 IA)
Kanev Gregorovich walked around the Prosperity's cargo bay, clipboard in hand and took stock of what had been loaded so far. Cargo crates and barrels was lowered down through the deck into the center of the room and stacked against the walls and then against each other until they met the central point. Tarps were put over them to better secure them in place. People thought that being the captain of a ship like this was always excitement and adventure on the high seas with the respect and loyalty of all, but there were other more boring parts to it as well. So far everything was going on schedule. The next voyage was still some time away, but not nearly enough in his opinion.

The Committee had recently made a decision which he had his doubts about. The colony needed more supplies and more people as soon as possible. As such, they planned on making two more trips, one in a few weeks time, one in about 3 months. The only problem was that each trip would be made by a convoy half the size. The reasons for doing so had to deal with rapid preparations and maintenance. He understood the idea, but there were Dark Elf raiders out there.

He understood the reasons why the Committee came to this decision and they were, on the whole, sound. He saw how effective Navy ships had been against the Drow fleet. He saw that they had set up a few automatic weapons on pivots. There was also a company of Riflers being transported and the armory had been expanded in case of boarding. That said, it was still the skins of himself and his crew on the line. The last thing he wanted was to have any of them lost, especially if there was any way to avoid it. But grumblings aside, it was still his job and he would do it, risks or no risks.

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(Colony-1, Autumn, 34 IA)
Seven weeks after the conclusion of the Second Transoceanic voyage, half of the fleet was loaded up and sent to cross the sea. Along with more common civilian supplies and some colonists were 360 additional soldiers, 20 rifled cannons, 40 cavalry horses, a large number of firearms, a large quantity of ammunition for rifles, pistols, shotguns and cannons. There was the same worries before about both a Drow attack as well as the threat of sacking, as well as fears about the size of the convoy. Especially since there had been a few Dark Elvish raids on fishing boats and villages, a few of which were thankfully destroyed by Shchuka Boats on patrol. It was quite a relief when they passed without incident and found that the port was left unattached. They soon set anchor and began unloading it's cargo.

Captain Kanev Gregorovich soon disembarked and was met by Discovery on the small rudimentary Warf in what was to become a fairly substantial port one day, but was now a few bare basic structures. The settlement was still in it's infancy and there was a lot to do and build. Among the things they had yet to get around to was docks for ships. This meant that cargo had to be unloaded onto rowboats to be taken to the shore. It was a slow, labor intensive and inefficient process, but other projects had so far taken priority. That said a few aids had been set up, including a crane for handing really heavy objects. As he spoke a cannon was hoisted up.

"Captain, I see the voyage was safe."

"Yes sir." He said. "I am glad to see that you and your new colony has been kept safe."

"Indeed. We shall have your ships provisioned and readied for the return voyage within two to three weeks."

"Sir, might I inquire, have any Dark Elf ships been sighted?"

"No. The only seacraft longer than six meters that has detected by either the colonists or aeriel recon which have approached this settlement were of Infrastructural manufacture, though this is not an excuse for laxity."

"The Artillery should keep the operation safe, sir."

"That it should, I shall read more of your voyage in your report captain. Good day to you." Discovery then returned to his office.

"Yes sir." He then walked into town to get something to eat and to see how things were going. As he did so, he wondered why the Dark Elves had not tried an attack, or at least some scouting. It was not that he objected to the fact that the Colony had not weathered this storm, he just figured that the Drow would try something. There was only about 6,000 or so people in the colony, including the ones he just dropped off. It made him uncertain, which made him nervous. Hopefully a meal with some fresh fruit and vegetables would make him feel better.

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(House Valcas Estate, Valnothron, autumn 34 IA)
Talnara ti'Valcas returned home in an unpleasant mood. Soon after she stomped into the front hallway she glowered at one of her slaves. "Wine, thick and red, NOW!" she snapped. The slave in question, a young woman, ran off and soon fetched a decanter from a cabinet as well as two cups. A regular sized longed neck affair of polished silver and bronze and a small, unassuming one the size of a thimble. She poured wine into both of them and quickly drained the small one before offering the larger one to her mistress. The complex politics of Drow households and states meant that there was always a risk of poisoning. The lady quickly gave the cup a cooling spell and took a long sip, pacing back and forth.

Her ire subsided, but it was clear that she might need another drink. The Slave Girl followed her, though she kept a respectful distance. As she expected, when the Lady finished, she put the cup back on the tray. It was quickly topped up. She was good at reading her masters. It would be somewhat unexpected by most outsiders, if they managed to get in, that she took some pride in doing her job to the best of her abilities. Families of slaves which had been in Drow bondage for centuries or millenia tended to produce slaves like her. Slaves that knew their place and seldom needed whipping. It was a point of minor pride for the mistress and major pride for the slave girl that she had never felt the lash. There were a few who took relish in violence against slaves regardless of their loyalty, especially among some of the more conservative warrior houses, but in more modern times it had gradually fallen out of favor for those slaves of proven loyalty. Scars and other such marks were unsightly, indicated to the rest of the world that your mastery over them was less than absolute and was no pride in owning inferior chattel.

The reason for her bad mood had to do with the fact that she spent most of the day in an endless circular discussion about what to do with Infrastructure which had convened in Valnothron. The loss against the Infrastructural Fleet was a major loss, several thousand Drow had died, nearly a million Scimitars worth of ships, cannons, slaves, weapons and other equipment had been destroyed and all that had been gained was humiliation. The losses had been spread over the navies of five states, if it had only been one state which had those losses the balance of power among the Drow would have shifted somewhat. Even so there was complications and discussion about what to do next. Who would lead it, what tactics should be employed and who was willing to commit what forces to the cause. Dravos ti'Halithnon's force was hastily assembled from whatever ships could be mustered in the area and it's tactics based on a gross underestimation of the Infrastructural's navy, it was only logical that the next attack be better planned. But trying to work out that plan was difficult in the extreme. Everyone wanted to be in charge of it and were uncertain about what forces they were willing to commit, all of which wanting to maximize the gains they could get while minimizing the risk that would be posed. Some of them were willing to stall on the matter until the others would make their move out of exasperation without them.

Frankly she would have been glad to simply let the rest of them to their folly and send frigates and sloops to the ice mountain sea to raid their commerce, at least until her sister's pet projects were done and things would be on a more even footing. But she was in a minority among the ruling council of Valnothron, who believed that not getting involved would be too great a loss of face not to commit some resources. She tried her best to try to some conclusion in that regard, but it was a slow unpleasant process.

"And it is our destiny to take and hold power..." She said solomnly. "Occasionally I envy slaves like you. All you have to do are straightforward things." The slave girl nodded quietly. As far as she was concerned, this was the way the world was supposed to be. From infancy onwards she was taught that humans were flawed creatures, a form of life which was spiritually more developed than mere beasts or orcs, but still with a fundamental impurity of the bestial. The gods made mankind as a necessary stage in the ascension of the soul to divinity. The true way of mankind was the way of obedience to the Drow, so that when it came time to move onto her next life she could join them and move closer to ascension to divinity.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2013-11-03 02:26am

(Near Colony-1 autumn 34 IA)
Sergeant Vanef Hollgofson was grateful that his journey back home would soon be over. For the last few days he and his squad had been on patrol, now they were returning to base to a warm bowl of spicy llama stew with some fried potatoes and vegetables and a mug of cool Kvas, followed by a warm bath and a bed with a roof over it. As well as having a set of walls around it. A couple of times there had been attacks on the town by a force of Gosho warriors. These were both raids and, a couple of times, full scale attacks. Even worse would be the threat of a Dark Elvish attack. That was only four kilometres away, but he figured that his men could need a breather before getting back to base. The area where they settled was at a hill near the coastline. While his men could use it, he was interested in what laid on top of that hill. While they settled in a ring around it, he walked to the top to see the Obelisk which rested there.

It was quite an unusual artifact, standing about eight meters tall and unlike anything else in this area. The Blanket Men made homes of wood, thatch, llama wool cloth and clay. Mostly they built small conical and dome shaped homes, framework shelters and longhouses with semi-cylindrical roofs. At most they used rough stones to build their forges and ovens and used flagstones as flooring and to line their storage pit. They did not build imposing stone monoliths like this one, especially since it was made of granite tipped with obsidian, which Discovery said could not be found in these parts. Nor did they use the glyphs carved into it's side. Members of the Shol and Klebba tribes would sometimes come by to pray here and offer small offerings on a small alter. But even they did not admit that they built it. From what could be gained about it, several generations ago, the gods set it atop this hill from their flying boats or houses or whatever.

According to the Mages, this was a powerful item. It gave off a great deal of magic. According to the locals, a couple people tried to break it. What happened to them varied from individual to individual to individual, as well as the teller. Some turned to dust, some caught fire, others were tossed aside like ragdolls and a few accounts had would be vandals soon afterwards develop jagged teeth, gnarled clawlike fingernails, fur, quills, scales, tails, bloodshot eyes, constant salivation, bloodlust and animalistic behavior, which led to them either being put down or running off into the woods. The lucky ones lost an arm or managed to roll out the blaze with only second and third degree burns. Though apparently healing mages could better apply their trade in it's vicinity. If they were left unmolested they could be mildly beneficial, but they could defend themselves.

Even more strange was that it was not alone. Along the coast to the north and south were more of these stone markers that were more or less identical. Discovery had noted that each one was positioned 21.72 kilometres apart from the next in the line as the crow flies. None of them were more than about a hundred meters from the coast. He wonder about it for a little while as he examined this strange artefact for about twenty minutes. Then he decided to get a move on and make for the Colony. A few of his men had been a bit uneasy about this, but they would get over it.

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(Detentional Center-2, Autumn 34 IA)
For more than two months Jalthas ti'Telviin had been in this prison, confined to a small brick cell which offered just enough room for her to lie down in completely alone, though she lost track of time. This was where the Infrastructurals took her after she and about a hundred other Dark Elves were fished out of the water. There was some other of her crewmates in this facility as well, though the Infrastructurals built the place to contain supernatural prisoners. She had a collar placed on her neck as soon as she got here. They could use it to deliver a shock or a sleeping drug to incapacitate or slit a throat wide open. This had a latch for a chain. She was given food and water and was kept clean. During her trip over she felt despair, during her captivity. This was boiled into rage which boiled and bubbled within her.

Because of the stupidity of her captain, she was now in a worse scenario than she ever dreamed of. She was captured alive by non Dark Elves. To the Drow only surrender was a greater shame and disgrace than being that. If she ever returned home, she would die publicly in a gruesome manner to show the fate of such cowards and weakling. Her family's reputation had suffered by this fact and it would undoubtedly cost them some prominence. All of that ate at her. She even considered killing herself, but she remembered what the priestesses taught her. The gods despised suicide amongst their highest order of life, Dark Elves were created to rule and dominate. Those who died by their own hands were cowards of the highest order and were automatically damned.

The only occurrence of note besides the arrival of food and hose downs which happened on a semi-regular basis was when she was confronted by the Warden of this prison. This happened once, when he entered he did something that the guards never did and spoke. More specifically he got off three words in fractured Dark Elf, which caused her to snarl, scream and yell at him. A stream of incoherent curses, profanity and threats was unleashed on him, drowning out whatever message he had. When he left he said "I guess you have chosen Research". She mulled on that last line in her mind after she calmed down.

After what turned out to be a bit more than a week, soon after eating a bowl of onion soup she felt drowsy and was out like a light in a few minutes. When she awoke, she was strapped to a chair in another room. Her face had a bunch of crud on it. A day later a few people checked up on her. She screamed at them, but they did various things involving her face, took pictures, used a magnifying glass. Her face was wiped down and she was moved back into her cell where she was given some food. The next day, they took her back to the chair, this time conscious. A couple of woman came in with a box. She thought there were interrogation tools. It turned out to be a set of pencils, powders, blushes, brushes and waxes. The chair had a strap to keep her head in place. A large one held her mouth in place while the other one applied the makeup. Before and after, they wrote a few things down on some clipboards as they worked. They returned a bit latter and took some more notes. This routine happened for a few days. At first she bit, spit and snarled. Then she quieted down when all that earned her was the odd shock. On the tenth day she was surprised to hear a few questions be asked in a broken and highly accented Dark Elvish. At first she ignored it and cursed at the pudgy lady who asked them. But slowly a curiosity developed about what was going on. On the twenty sixth day of this farce she spoke in a level tone to her captors.

"Why are you doing this farce of makeup?"

The pudgy woman began to speak a speech which she guessed was pre-prepared, even if her accent did mangle things somewhat. "Well, Prisoner 24601. What we are doing here is making sure that these new makeups are up to the standard. During the wars of Uni-fication, the army would often finding foreign made makeups in use by the wives of warlords. They were quite colorful, but they were also often being rather unhealthy for the wearer. Lead poisoning, rashes and iches. They soon began working on their own makeups and factories to make them, so they could be sold to the customers in Infrastructure. After uni-fication, we began to sell makeups to foreigners. But this meant improving the formulas to make better makeups. To make better makeups, you need to test out new fomulas on a face to see if they are better. Makeups sold in the foreign lands gets Infrastructure money, money which can be used to buy coal and iron. Coal and iron which is used by factories to make ships, rifles, cannons and more factories. Better makeups gets us more money and so more coal, iron, steel, ships and factories. All of which you are helping us make."

The overweight humans voice, tone and mannerisms were not cruel. They were softly delivered and done so in a non sarcastic manner. Even so, those words played around in her mind. She had expected her life to be ended in a painful way. She knew that the Dark Elves were supposed to be feared for their power and what they reaped on those who defied them. They were to stand above all other forms of life as their master. But here she sat in the clutches of infrastructure, who used her as a test subject to help them boost their annual sales of rouge and lipstick. Just one of millions of tools at the disposal of the Central Committee to help them out in their cause.

After a few minutes, she began to weep.

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(Borogskov Garrison, Autumn, 34 IA)
As his army assembled near Borogskov Sven was fairly impressed, but was still concerned about things. A few months ago, the Infrastructural Army had been about 32,000 active personnel. It's size had been cut in half shortly after the Black Ports were taken and slowly reduced in the following years. Now it had been reinvigorated. Veterans on reserve had been called to active duty and new soldiers had been recruited and trained. So far some 8,000 soldiers had arrived for his command and more were arriving daily. More still came through the port temporally before being sent off posted at important points along the coastline. Others were coming up to bolster Daagsgrad's garrison. This would be the largest single force the Infrastructural Army would ever assembled, some 12,000 soldiers.

Even so, he was never the less a bit worried about his men. The veterans were for the most part battle tested and proven, the new recruits that were coming in were not, but at the very least two months of training got them presentable. Even so, he had concerns about the reports he got about Dark Elves. They had quite a reputation behind them, they had some fairly powerful magic at their disposal and every one of them was a capable fighter. They had also been making use of knock offs of Infrastructural small arms. Only in a couple of instances had the Infrastructural Army gone up against men armed with firearms of their own. Usually they had been victorious but he knew it could also sap the morale of soldiers who had only gone up against men armed with swords, spears, bows and axes charging through for 400 meters through volley after volley.

Among the soldiers he was provided was one of Drive's experiments in military organization: The Brotherhood of the Rifle. The idea was apparently roughly modeled off one used by the Dalisid Seraphate. From the orphanages of the Infrastructure was gathered up some 480 strong young boys around the age of six. They were then trained day in and day out in the ways of war for the next twelve years. They were trained to serve as line infantry, but also in horsemanship, scouting, the use of boats, wilderness survival, skirmishing, artillery use and the use of a wide variety of weapons, from knives and clubs to rifles, rockets and cannon. They could serve as both as cavalry and infantry and were as hard as nails, even if there was about eighty drop outs. He had trained a few of them at the academy and they were quite capable. The first batch of them had graduated in 33 IA, a second batch had begun their training in 25 IA and a third had begun its training in 31 IA. The idea was that an elite corps of highly trained soldiers would improve the general performance of the army. But Sven had his doubts about this idea and more about the Brotherhood. When it came to elite forces, the more modest Centurion Program was a more sound idea in his opinion.

Two hundred and Forty Rifle Brothers of the first batch had been assigned to him and had arrived last night. So far thirty six had arrived. The rest would arrive soon enough. They stood at attention in a long line outside the city walls for inspection. They were more heavily armoured than their counterparts, especially since the Committee had sprung for runic cuirasses. Each carried a revolver and a sword. They had forgone their rifles, which were the new Type-4Rs. Their commanding officer stood in the middle, as he approached he stepped forward, saluted and stood there.

"General Smedth. I am Lieutenant Olaf Plotnik of the First Battalion of the Brotherhood of the Rifle. By order of the Central Committee we have arrived to serve under your command. It is an honour to serve under you. You will not find me or my soldiers wanting. Sir!"

"I would expect not. Even so our foe is formidable, feared far and wide."

"Sir! We have read the reports about the Drow. We shall make them fear Infrastructural Steel and Lead. Sir."

Sven was annoyed by that comment, it reeked of brash bravado. "Indeed, still bravery is at it's best when tempered with caution."

"Yes Sir!"

"Very good. You have my confidence. Hail Infrastructure."

The members of the Brotherhood respond in chorus "HAIL INFRASTRUCTURE!" Sven went back to his duties. Patriotism was one thing, but it would soon be tested.
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(Warship Dralgolin, Port of Valnothron, Winter 34 IA)
Much to the relief of certain members of state, an agreement was reached about the next attacks against the Infrastructural Navy by the Drow States. Each state committed enough ships to the cause that they felt was the best investment of resources based on their positions in this conflict. The fleet gathered in preparation at Valnothron and readied itself for an attack on the convoy. It was of similar size to the one which mustered itself against the Infrastructural Fleet the first time, but was to be better provisioned and prepared.

What was agreed was that Dravos ti'Halithnon failed because he was too brash in his approach. His approach was too brash and greatly underestimated the capacities that the new Infrastructural Navy had. In substitution, they called on a leader with a more pragmatic approach: Saljias ti'Kalvonin. She was talented at her job, but she was not brash about it. She dressed fairly plainly despite her high station and while she did manage to score a few significant victories, she rarely boasted about them. To her, the important thing was getting the job done and besting a challenge which had been deemed impossible. As far as she was concerned, the glory after a battle was good for helping out the family cause and getting Dark Elves to follow her. She was a prime choice.

When her Dralgolin (Blackfire) put into port Kaelin ti'Valneth soon met her. Pleasantries were exchange, as were some written reports. She took them gratefully and spent the rest of the night reading. It included up to date reports on the fleet under her command as well as the infrastructural navy, their weapons, spy reports on when they were most likely to move and similar. She soon settled down into her quarters, a goblet of Torionese Wine in hand and red the reports. Despising a foe was all well and good, but allowing that to cloud one's judgement and see all enemies as feeble fools sure to scatter and fall before a Drow blade was a folly which had ended too many otherwise capable Drow warriors over the century. Especially one like this, steel ships which could resist lightning strikes which could make kindling of wooden ships armed with cannons which could lay waste to a fleet from miles away. Even so, she found at least one weakness that she could use. Infrastructural Soldiers, while armed with deadly weaponry, were poorly equipped and trained for close quarters combat, especially compared to Dark Elvish marines. What mattered now was how to make the most of that advantage.
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(Daagsgrad, Winter 34 IA)
The last few months had been stressful for Janob Gornislab, on top of everything else he was working with the Resistance movement. The garrison had increased and things had been tightened up. He had been questioned a couple of times as had a couple of his children, though fortunately they had been inquiring about people unrelated to him or the Plan so far. He had prepared a few stories ahead of time in case the need arose in any case. Despite the extra work and the danger, Janob took satisfaction in knowing that he was doing something which should hopefully.

He had three jobs as far as the Resistance Movement went. The first was moving about guns and powder. The Dark Elves arranged that a fair supply of the stuff was smuggled into Daagsgrad. About half of it came in with the regular merchant traffic while other stuff was given to fishing ships at night and unloaded in villages. He had a cart for making deliveries and he could get packages to their hiding spots. The second job was in recruiting, finding among the people around him those who would could be of use to the rebellion and in what role they could serve. The Rebellion would need plenty of fighting men, but most of them would be kept on the outside of the organization. They needed to know how to use guns and be prepared to fight when the time came, but anything else was a liability. Still, there were a few which could be of further use. The third job was gathering information, keeping track of things. Since he knew a large number of people this was easy enough.

He was quite shocked when one day he got a visit from the Infrastructural government, even if he was doing some of his official legitimate business. They sent a Bureaucrat with two Enforcers, one of which stood guard outside and the other went in. Most of the Committee's pets did not bother him and he was good at keeping them away by giving them service with a scowl and taking his sweet time with their orders, enough to deture them from bothering him and enough to keep him out of trouble with the authorities. But these were the Authorities (at least for the time being) and could not be as easily brushed aside.

The Bureaucrat was somewhat reassuring, she was a woman with red hair. As was the general case with anything Infrastructural, Janob hated Bureaucrats. The good noble families of Daagsgrad were stripped of their rightful seats of power, which their families had earned through trade or by the sword. In their place were these pitiful clerks clad in coal grey who got their office by writing down the prettiest load about how great Infrastructure was. They did not dress properly, a lord should wear brightly colored and ornate clothes to show his high station. They dealt too much with papers. The fact that most of them were female irked him to no end. In Janob's mind it was a madness. Women were not fit to rule and lead, the gods made them bear children and to serve and obey. Enforcers were just as bad, they enforced the insane laws of Infrastructure. A fair number of them were the up jumped slaves the Committee had freed and who liked to remind their proper masters that Committee said they were not slaves anymore and that anyone who owned a slave was a vile demon. Others were imported peasants from the south. But worst of all was the small number of freeborn Daagsgraders who spat on everything their fathers had done for them for a blue uniform and the right to be bossy. Even so, he fought down his loathing and wiped his hand on a cloth. Their time would come, but not today.

"Why have you come? Bureaucrat." He asked with forced politeness.

"Janob Gornislab, as you are aware that in light of Drow aggression the Central Committee has ordered additional soldiers to be deployed secure our coastlines against enemy invasion." He voice was fairly calm and mild, not a billowing voice with the absolute certainty of command that even a highborn lady could muster.

"Indeed." He was nervous about this fact, but even so the Dark Elves were feared across the world for their skills in arms and an attack from the rear would keep them off guard.

"To keep this force well provisioned, I am here to place an order. Salt Pork, Salt Beef and Salt Mutton, as much as can be provided, payment shall be 3 credits and five decicredits per kilogram and a kilogram of salt for every ten kilos of meat delivered. Smoked garlic sausages shall be bought at similar rates."

Janob was surprised "Don't your lot have their own meatmen in Dalatyr?" He had never known the Army to buy meat from regular butchers. They simply had their own men make a mess of the job of butchering animals they took in taxes or fed them that vile cannisterized shit.

"We do, but our demands are higher than usual. Do I have your agreement in this?"

For a few seconds Janob considered the offer. On the one hand, this was aiding the enemy. On the other hand, they would get suspicious if he refused the contract. That might end up with him being watched too closely or with him or one of his sons being questioned. He considered putting something into that meat, but that could get him caught as well. The payment was in those damned credits, which would be good for only ballast and bum-paper after the Drow went through. Even so, there were things he could buy with it for the moment, both for himself and for the resistance. And so, he made his decision.

"I will."

"Very good." She produced a paper contract from her folder and a pen from her pocket. He signed it and returned the paper and pen to her.

"Pleasure doing business with you." She said as she and her guard walked out the door. As the door shut behind him, he spat. Their time would come, but in the meantime he had work to do.
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(Icemountain Sea, Winter 35 IA)
One of the things that Petrov Miles had found out was that during the winter months that even in the winter months the sea was usually warmer than the mainland near Dalatyr. Even as winter came by, even the Icemountain Sea was usually warmer than a Dalatyr winter. According to Drive, that had to do with water warming to the south. Despite that, there was often wind and rain which made this a minor concern. Even so, once and a while there would be a calm day which would not be to bad. On one such day aboard the Hunter, he observed the newest toy the Committee had given him.

Even after the defeat of the Dark Elf armada a few months ago, the fact of the matter was that the Infrastructural Navy was still faced with a formidable foe in the Dark Elves. From what intelligence could be gathered the nine Drow states had between a thousand to one thousand five hundred warships in addition to a vast number of merchant ships, most of which were armed and all manned by experienced Drow and slave sailors. The Infrastructural Navy had sixteen proper warships and a few dozen Shchuka Boats who at best had fairly limited experience. New ships were being built, but the crew scenario would only get worse. They had coastlines to defend and a colony to develop. There were reports of raids in the Icemountain Seas. An attack by sea was an inevitability as far as Petrov saw things, as was another attack on a convoy. They needed every edge they could get.

As such, Drive had given his fleet some extra eyes and ears in the form of a Recon Drone. Drone Recon played a fairly substantial role in the wars of Unification. This one different to the others in a few ways, first it did not need a running start to get into the air. It had a couple of turbines which let it rise a few meters into the air straight up and then begin flying. Secondly, it could be folded up for storage. It could also land on water if the need arose. All good features which optimized it for the use aboard a ship. But more than that, it could be controlled by a human operator. The controls allowed the operator to navigate it's course and see what it sees. It meant a few more antennae on the ship's mast and it's range was limited to about 50km from the ship, but that could be key. As it flew through the sky, he was also quite impressed at the beauty of this mechanical thing, fabricated by the Committee themselves. The other fleet would be outfitted with one of these eyes in the sky soon enough. But he would need it on the next crossing, which was coming all to soon.
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(Military Factory 11, Dalatyr, Winter 35 IA)
The onset of war meant a lot of new projects being started. Some of them were fairly obvious, such as an increase in the production of guns, ships, cannons, uniforms, ammunition and armor, as well as steel, ore, timber and coal to make these things with. At the same time, other projects were delayed, diminished and sometimes even abandoned outright in service of armament. This rapid change of plans meant plenty of work, especially for Engineers.

Natasha Smedth knew this well, she soon found herself involved a series of projects. Some of them were fairly basic, such as overseeing the installation of new lights in a newly created factory. But they were rushed, which meant long hours, few breaks and little time for sleep when all was done. Others, like the one she found herself involved in for the last two months was more complex on top of being rushed. As she made her rounds about the factory she noticed that things were finally proceeding somewhat smoothly, though there was still no shortage of work to do here.

She had been fortunate in this regard compared to a few other fields. Most of her workers were fairly skilled and broken into factory work. They were transferred from other areas such as Roadsteamer production and among their ranks with a decent number of trained machinists and technicians. Many other engineers had to make do with large numbers of fresh numbers of untrained peasants who had a hard time grasping the idea of working to the clock. She seldom had to tell someone to do something again properly. There was also the erratic delivery of components from the steel mills. Even so it appeared that what needed to be done was happening. The work that the lasses and lads were doing was up to snuff. Both as components were assembled and as the completed hole came together. Hopefully, things would soon be ready for testing by the end of the month. She was quite pleased to see the boiler be put into unit number two.

In total, three test units were being assembled, with more undoubtedly planned. Either based around this design if things went well or using a new design if things did not. For security's sake, most of the workers were given only bits and pieces of the final design appropriate to what they were doing. People who worked on the engines knew about engine components and similar. It was an idea that her father and her had talked about at times, based on an observations about the Roadsteamers and tractors used to help carry supplies to feed and arm the army in the field. With war, the Committee was making these speculations a reality to help defend itself. Hopefully her father would appreciate what she was doing here once the completed units were sent to the front.
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(The Great Bog, Late Winter, 35 IA)
"We should have taken that eastbound Carrack" was a thought which went through Kalnara Ti'Drenvas's over and over again for the last three days of misery as she and her nine surviving compatriots made their way south in desperation. Five days ago he ship, she had been a gunnery mistress on the frigate Galthirilon sent to the Icemountain sea to raid infrastructural commerce, the first ship of note they saw nearby was a Carrack moving east. It would have been so easy to take the ship, at which point a group a few sailors would take her back home to sell the ship to some merchant family and the surviving crew into slavery. But the captain declined on the grounds that ships which came into The Black Ports were mostly full of coal and scrap metal. When they left the Black Ports they left with cosmetics, light cells, batteries, gemstones, pelts, cheeses, phonographs and swords and rifles, cargo which would be much more profitable. It was a reasonable enough proposition if they were going after most other shipments. But two days later a pair of those damned Shchuka Boats found them came after him. One of their metal fish things hit the side of their Galthirilon, and that was that.

She and her compatriots were lucky enough to get to a Launch and get that in the water. There were seventeen of them at first, but three of them died of their injuries and four of them had major wounds and would only be a hindrance, so they got the mercy of a knife, stripped their corpses of valuables and tossed them overboard. They had picked up a barrel of food and a box of ammunition. Another boat was also loaded, but they went to the southwest while Kalnara's group went due south. A few other survivors clung to bits of the hull and flotsam, but there was no helping them. The sea had soon claimed the slaves, the Drow would have held on for a bit longer, but their fates were sealed.

After a day and a night of rowing, they found the shore. Fortunately for them, the area that they found was the Great Bog. The Vera River emptied into the Icemountain sea in a hundred small shallow rivers which branched off from their mother stream. Around this was an ever changing maze of swamps, small lakes, beaver dams and streams. There were a few fishing villages on the coast, but you could not reliably sail a ship through the delta to the sea. But smaller boats could make it upriver. Better still, from what she heard the Committee had little sway inside these boggy woods. There were a few logging camps on its southern fringes, but that was it. Though there were Swampfolk and Wildspawn about as well. They wormed there way into the bogs before finding a place to settle down on an island.

As they got inland, they saw more and more Ice. Going too far upriver was not an option. So they decided to make camp in a clearing on the banks of a lake. The ground here was stable and they quickly set to work. They used their oars to dig out a clearing from the snow, dumping it it into the river and they soon got a fire going. Dark Elves had a greater resistance to cold than humans did by means of an instinctive heating spell, but that burned mana and did not work during sleep. After three days of paddling through ice cold seas and up frozen rivers, a fire was most welcome. A couple of her fellow survivors never the less scouted things out around the camp while she and a marine stood guard. Kalnara Ti'Drenvas had emerged as the leader of this rag-tag band of castaways by virtue of rank, which meant leading by example. All she wanted to do was warm herself by the fire, but her watch would be another hour or so.

They would have to move inland sometime soon. It was too much of a risk to stay at the shore. The last thing that they needed was some scout coming by and reporting their location. Though they would fish these waters to feed themselves. There they would have to build a shelter with a fire pit and a store for game, fruit and fish and make bows for hunting. Her life and the lives of her compatriots would be a dangerous one, but it was, despite all that, a free one. Dark Elves were survivors. They survived being cast out of Illvanas those thousands of years ago and though many of the unfit perished, what emerged from that broken people was something that surpassed those fools who stuck in their cradle. Until Infrastructure was swept off the map or something else happened, this would have to be their home. At the very least, the Eternal Foe would be unlikely to come this way.
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(Admiralty, Borogskov, Late Winter 35 IA)
All in all Aslog Velconikivic had done pretty well in the years after the Infrastructural takeover. A few of his rivals had been removed from the equation and there was always plenty of business. The Committee was most interested in coal and iron, but their hunger for those two things was insatiable. This was for his return voyages, however. Pelts, gemstones, grain and potatoes were available to be sold in increased amounts. But more importantly than that was the products of the factories of Dalatyr, which men of the west were keen to buy. In addition to his old caravel the Zolwie, he managed to buy up three more ships, as well as commissioning from the infrastructural shipyards two more ships. The first was a new style sailing ship and the other was the Kazimiera. She was a lovely thing, sleek hulled and weighing 650 tonnes and with a steam engine as strong as five hundred horses. She had sailed out of the Drydocks in 31 IA and he had hopes about acquiring another like her in the next few years. All five ships in his fleet were manned by his sons. He had over three hundred men in his employ. This was leaving aside investments, there were men who would pay to cover the expenses of sending out one of his ships in return for a share of the profits on its return. Even if that investment often came in Credits, but even so there was use for credits. He had gone from being just one of many merchant captains to become one of the richest men in Borogskov.

That said, he had his worries about the Dark Elves now that war had begun. One of his old friends, Armas Jolegvik had his ship taken by Dark Elf raider a year after the Infrastructural Army marched in. Other ships had disappeared under similar circumstances. With the onset of War, the Dark Elves had returned in force. His son Olon had sighted a Dark Elvish raider yesterday. This was to say nothing about the risk of an assault by a Drow Army. The Infrastructural Navy announced every time they managed to sink one of their ships, but even so he was still worried.

These worries were made more urgent when he got a summons from the Infrastructural Navy. It was vague in what it meant, but he could imagine what it would involve. In times of war, the old Kings of Borogskov would press merchant ships and their crews into service as warships. He took a glass of wine to calm his nerves while he made his way down to the Admiralty. He was soon met by a young Lieutenant.

"Welcome Mr. Velconikivic, I'm Liuentant Korvosleb, Infrastructural Navy."

"Charmed, why have I been summoned."

"That I will show you." He was soon led through a courtyard to a warehouse. As they walked the Lieutenant was quiet, which made him nervous. Once they entered the warehouse he still had a bit of apprehension. Never the less he kept up his poker face. What he saw was eighteen cannons.

"As you know we are currently at war with a foe which poses a threat to Infrastructure in many way, none the least of which is that it poses a threat to Infrastructure's commerce." The last line caught him a bit by surprise. "To protect civilian traffic, the Infrastructural Navy is issuing your fleet these cannons for self defense, as well as ammunition and powder as well as training. They are 10cm caliber rifled muzzleloaders with an effective range of two kilometres. Your ships are equipped with cannon?"

"Yes." Aslog said, shocked. His ships did have a few second hand cannons, but he did not bother with them much. They were low calibre second hand things and powder was expensive. He also made it look like he had more cannons than he actually did by having a couple of black painted logs. "You are not going to press my fleet into service?"

"No. There would not be much point in that. Your ships and their crews are of much more use to the navy by supplying the shipyards with raw materials than they would be engaging faster and better armed Drow warships."

Aslog let out a sigh of relief. "Anything else."

"We are also prepared to issue you forty five Type-3R Rifles for similar purposes, as well as training in their use. If you have any obsolete cannons aboard your ship, the foundries could use them. Other than that, I am ready to transfer the cannons to your ships as soon as possible."

"Very good. I have four ships at sea, but I will let you know when they return." Due to this pleasant suprise, Aslog simply did not feel like putting an 'if' into that last sentence.
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Last edited by Zor on 2013-11-05 04:29am, edited 1 time in total.
HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
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Borgholio
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Borgholio » 2013-11-03 03:42pm

Infrastructure are building tanks? Oh dear...poor Dark Elves...
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby madd0ct0r » 2013-11-03 04:11pm

I dunno.

Tanks aren't much use at sea, unless they're beefing up the army for a blitz kreig on drow territory - and magically imbued savages with nasty habits don't sound like ideal matchups in a city fight.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2013-12-13 03:30am

When Admiral Saljias ti'Kalvonin got word that an Infrastructural Fleet was to sail Westward in a week's time, she was relieved. A fair number of people were chomping on the bit about the fleet, including the crews under her command and her higher ups. Most of them understood that it was a better bet to attack the enemy when she was far out at sea away from friendly support, but there were still a few hot-heads who wanted to jump the gun with raid on the Black Ports. She ordered her fleet to be readied to sail as soon as possible.

On the night before their departure, she brought in six guests to discuss battle plans. Among them were four subordinate admirals and two captains of note. Each of the admirals came from the ranks of the other. One of the latter which was Dravos ti'Halithnon, Galthirith had stripped him of the mantle of Admiral for his defeat but he still retained command of the Nalithan Brenolth. That raised some comment, but he had firsthand experience against the Warships of the Infrastructural Navy. He did command one of the better forces of Marines and he was good at managing his ship in a fight all things considered. Never the less, her respect was tempered by disapproval. He did get most of his fleet destroyed by attacking a foe without understanding its abilities. The older warrior houses produced individuals like him all too often, the sort which were too eager for the divinity of their next lives that they fancied themselves to have a bit of divinity in this world. Amongst those who commanded, this fault could often be disastrous. But it could still be of use, if tempered by a good senior officer.

They entered her quarter's meeting hall. Some of them took seats while others stood.

"You are well met, brothers and sisters of sword and sail. We have been tasked with the destruction or capture of an Infrastructural convoy making a trans-oceanic voyage to better establish a foothold across the sea. Our respective lords demand its destruction. As it stands, our fleet has forty five ships. Despite our superior numbers, the artillery that this fleet carries is deadly and can be devastating. To intercept this fleet, caution must be our watchword. Even if one of our sailors has more experience in her left toe than a dozen of those peasants, we cannot let them dictate the terms of engagement. It is proper to despise those who resist our divine right, but never to underestimate them." As she said that, Dravos twiched, just a bit.

"We shall make for the gap of Nalmros to intercept them. They might go north of Nalmros, but I doubt it. It would add several days at least to their voyage through rough seas and make them burn up more coal. Once there, the fleet shall be split into four groups, I have provided lists to you and your captains, but each fleet shall have at least one. On my order Admiral Valros's fleet shall sail ahead to the Northwest and Sidthan's shall sail southwest at full speed for a day. The fleets of Admiral Noljas and Taelthon shall remain behind with me. We shall scry out the enemy fleet At that point; we are to converge on them from multiple angles under cover of mist. Then we shall converge to board. Are there any objections to this plan?"

There was ten seconds of silence.

"Very well. Are there any questions?"

Admiral Noljas responded quickly "What if they evade our fleet?"

"We put in at Galthirith until they make their return and make a second attempt. Anything else."

"Should we engage if only one of the fleets can catch them?" Admiral Valros asked.

"If possible, you should try to delay them, but unless support is nearby, avoid all direct confrontation."

"What casualties are to be expected?" Admiral Taelthon inquired.

"If we can bring all four fleets upon them and everything goes as smoothly as possible, I would be surprised if we lost less than eight ships outright. A single shell from their larger cannons can out and out destroy one of our ships with a lucky shot. Some of . Our marines might take more casualties than we are used to or they might not. They do have some fairly effective firearms, but their skill in hand to hand fighting is at best marginal. Still, I would council for caution even when taking a cargo ship, they are transporting soldiers as well as settlers."

The next half hour mostly involved going over fine details, mostly relating to the composition of each Admiral's fleet. By the end of the night, a couple of frigates had been shifted, but the plan was agreed to be sensible. But Saljias knew that sensible plans could never the less end up working out as well unsensible ones if something unexpected happened.

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There was much risk in going to the Icemountain Sea to Hunt. The Infrastructurals had these seas fairly well patrolled by swift Shchuka Boat which could destroy a warship with one hit. Bringing in more than one ship meant there was more gambled in doing so. Even so, Maelthin ti'Yonlas did just that, sending out three ships to reave the northern coast of the Coldlands. In the mind of Alvenai zi'Yonlas, this was the right move in the War against the Infrastructurals.

She was a Warrior in service to House Yonlas, before that she lived on the street. Born and raised from the grand-daughter of some long broken house, she wandered the streets clad in rags living off garbage, rats, pigeons, stray dogs and whatever she could steal or buy with stolen coin. To anyone who belonged to a household she was vermin. To her fellow street urchins, she was competition. The closet thing she got to charity was the Vagrant Training Camp. For four months a year it offered hot food, a warm mattress to sleep on, a clean tunic and a bath in exchange for long and brutal sessions of sword, knife, archery and combat magic drills, those who performed poorly got beaten. She learned on the street that risks could kill, but those who never took risks ended weak and feeble, prey for those more deserving of food and life. She survived her rough childhood and in her adolescence she managed to find her place in the world working for House Yonlas as a slave driver and a warrior in their company.

Even so, they did not do things sloppily and make those risks greater than they needed to be. To avoid interception they sailed out into the Icemountain Sea well away from shore before heading due south. Most merchantmen stayed within about fifty miles from shore, as did the Infrastructural Patrols. The way was rough and their small fleet was beset by sleet, wind and waves. They also saw the sea's white namesakes a few times, but they never needed to change course around them. They cut straight to the mainland. The coasts around the Icemountain Sea were lined with dozens of fishing villages and towns, they soon found one and struck.

They did not have the total element of surprise when they reached land, as they came upon them in morning instead of Dawn even with a haze of mist. They were spotted and some people mustered some defence. The town had a dozen or so infrastructural soldiers, about thirty men had hunting crossbows or muskets and some more had cleavers, spears, axes, hooks, knives, hammers, clubs and rock. They had nearly two hundred warriors and twenty eight cannons. A few salvos were unloaded by the Frigate as the cargo ships landed on the beach. They spilled out and surrounded the town. A few people managed to flee inland, but most of them were surrounded. A few Drow warriors were killed in the firefight, two fell in hand to hand combat and some more were wounded to various levels of severity. But they won in less than half an hour after landing.

All in all it was not much of a victory. There was little time for celebration, however. A few of her comrades in arms still managed to have some sport with a few of the more attractive ones, if briefly. The town had a population of between a thousand and eleven hundred people. Of that, maybe two hundred managed to escape, a hundred and fifty more died resisting and eighty were burned to death or died from cannon fire. Among those that they captured were sixty elders that more likely than not die in the voyage. They were killed, as were fifty people who were either crippled, sick or badly wounded. Weak stock liable to die in transport, spread sickness among the rest of the stock and would fetch a pitiful price even if they made it to auction. Ten more were killed to make a point. The rest were put into chains and loaded onto the ships. She kept these wretches in line and moved them one by one as quickly as possible. Some looting did take place, but there was not much of value. The town itself was burned, as were a few of the surrounding farms. Burned corpses were hung up. In a few hours they had packed up and were under way. They made due north to get as far away of patrols as soon as possible. The wind mages were pressed to move as quickly as possible.

As they left the coast, she knew the return voyage would be a major pain. Caring for slaves at sea was a difficult job, you never knew when the beasts would try to bite you or refuse to eat or drink. They still did not know what they were or what they were meant for. At the very least they were restrained and shackled. Even so, once they got back home, it would be a good day. Though the plunder they collected was nothing to write home about, between her cut of the slave sales, her savings, her wages and the glory that would come in making the first successful raid against infrastructure would be good for helping herself go places. Possibly enough to fulfill the dreams of herself, her brother and sister and her mother. To finally create a new Household of their own. And all it took was half an hour of blood and a couple weeks of aggravation in dealing with these fresh slaves.

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For the first few days of the forth Convoy's voyage proceeded fairly smoothly, but even Petrov still new that the crew was a bit on edge over the risk of the next attack. Especially given that the escort was only four ships strong. Even so, everyone did their duty and did it as well as could be expected given the circumstances. At least so far. Even so, a few people got on edge whenever they saw a sail in the distance. It might be a Dark Elf warship. The civilians were a different matter, most of them had not seen a body of water that they could not see the other end of. The fact that these waters were patrolled by Drow slavers made thing all the worse. He got word of a raid on a fishing village soon after they left, but they were in no position to intercept it. That information he kept under wrap. The last thing he needed right now was scuffles between passengers and sailors, which is what he feared he would get if that information got out. On the fourth day at Lunch, he got from a message from Drone Control and came to meet the operator.

Drone control was handled by two people working in shifts, at the helm of the machine now was Ensign Arja Korvec. Notable in the fact that she was the only Woman in the Hunter's crew as well as being very good at her job. She spent most of her time piloting the machine or in her quarters reading, but she always got her paperwork in on time and properly spelled and punctuated. Her workstation involved a table, a device which was mostly fabricated with a stick and some buttons for controlling the drone and a screen, which showed what the drown saw, as well as other information as needed.

"Sir, have something suspicious 55 kilometers west from us and a bit to the north." She said. "It's a patch of mist, thick as pea soup about 7 kilometers across, moving due east despite the southerly wind." On the screen was the image of mist.

He remembered the thunderhead the Drow had in tow. "This seems fishy. I want you to keep track of this. I will be on the bridge. Keep me informed."

"Aye Sir."

Petrov then walked to the bridge, a cup of tea in hand. Hopefully, this was nothing. One of those strange quirks of weather. There were plenty of strange tales about things at sea and he had seen some great creatures that lived beneath the waves. A patch of fog which refused to move was tame by his reckoning, even so with the fates of over a thousand sailors and some twenty three hundred marines and passengers a little caution was still in order.

"Navigation has spotted something ahead of us and I would prefer to avoid it. Have the fleet turn southwest, bring us up to twenty two clicks and hold speed for the next three hours. Also I want all weapons manned and all marines ready. We might have some unwanted company soon."

"Aye sir!" his men responded.
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Aboard the Hunter Tension gave way to another flavor of tension. The slow, sedate but omnipresent nag that lingered in the back of the mind gave way to sudden, intense fear about what was about to come when the Admiral gave the message for Battle Stations. Which one was preferable was a matter of discussion, though at a less busy time. Everyone was armed and everyone donned a helmet for starters while various things were being done as quickly as possible to engage the foe should it come.

Among the jobs that needed to be done was getting the guns ready. Part of that job fell to Seaman Fenor Glaskov who at this time had the job of ammo-rat for the starboard gun deck. It meant going down to the armory, picking up a shell or powder charge and carrying it to the gun deck in a carrying box. Around him numerous people were running, in contrast, he walked at a steady pace. As always he also had to open the hatch to the gun-deck and close it behind him. The last thing you wanted to do was to drop something and have it blow up in your face. The standing policy was that when they were entering a combat situation there should be five shots ready per gun deck gun, this added up to two hundred and sixty trips from the magazine and back for the rats. When the enemy had been sighted, they would wait until the enemy had been sighted then make their way down to fetch some more.

As he walked down the corridor, he saw that the marines were roused and preparing for battle themselves. They had all been armored and had their weapons ready. Each of them had one of the new Type-4R rifles in case there were Dark Elves and they tried to board, as well as some other toys. There was only so many men you could put aboard a ship, so they should each be given the best weapons possible. Even so, he hoped gunnery would keep them from making that happen.

Fenor did the job properly but not exceptionally, he was passed by a couple of his comrades who had mastered the art of a fast but purposeful and steady walk on a moving ship. This was his first voyage. New recruits assigned to gunnery started off as ammo-rats before going up in the world. During the last voyage a fair number of the gunners had been ammo-rats themselves. A few of the experienced gunners had recently been transferred to the Thunderer. One thing that the recruiters were right about was that there was plenty of prospects for promotion, he just hoped that he would live to see it.

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The Link Glass sat on the table, placed there by a slave attendant with the utmost reverence and care a few hours earlier. Usually it spent most of its time in an ornate box. The glass itself was about half size of an ostrich egg and mounted on a stand. Link glasses were made from a Single Glass orb, inscribed and infused with spells before being split in two. One half could be used to send an image to the other and vice versa, even on the other side of the globe. They were invaluable assets even if they were fragile and expensive. Admiral Kalvonin had few of these to keep in touch with her fleet's squadrons. Every day, each of the squadron's admirals were required to give her a report on their fleet and how things were going. All of them did so, though Valros and Noljas resented being kept on a short leash. Ignorance was the enemy and it was good to be informed about things. This was another message from Admiral

It had been eleven days since she left port when she got her report from Admiral Sidthan that they skryed out the Infrastructural Convoy coming towards them a bit to the south. She ordered them to move to move at them at moderate speed, even thought this was not the optimal scenario she had hoped for. Ideally, she had hoped to take them from north, south and west with everything she had ready. This meant that she would be eleven ships short in the coming battle, the northern fleet was just too far away. The central fleet was going full speed to intercept and she judged she had a fifty/fifty chance of getting their in time.

Then she got another message from Sidthan. The Linkglass emitted a faint flow, ghostly clouds floated about it, which formed into his illusion above the slit egg shape. When he spoke, it sound was carried by the stones like, although it was muffled and slightly distorted.

"What do you report?" she said.

"Lady Admiral, our seer has seen a major change. The Infrastructural Convoy made a sudden change of course to the Southwest. It also has gained speed. I believe they have managed to detect us somehow."

"What is their speed?"

"These waters are mana poor, but our seers say about five Leagues."

For a few moments, she mulled over what to do. She considered numerous factor, the strengths of her fleet and the Infrastructural Convoy and it's escorts. The habits of her quarry. The positions of their current assets. Some rough arithmetic involving speeds and courses. How likely was victory, what would be the consequences of defeat.

"Move in to intercept, full speed. We are coming in to strengthen you with all speed, but keep me well informed on what is unfolding. Be prepared for brutal battle."

"Yes Milady." Admiral Sidthan said nervously "We shall stain the seas red with the blood of Infrastructural peasants."

"Thus is the fate of all who oppose us. You are dismissed." His image bowed and then faded. As of now, her plan was much more of a gamble. Still, the battle was not yet lost and there were possibilities.

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It was cold out in the Hunter's aft Barbette though not as cold as the coldlands would be at this time, the wind was not that bad today and there was no rain. It was not particularly comfortable. Her crew had worked in worse conditions before in drills, but drills were one thing as the thirty five percent of the four man crew had been aboard during the last attack could attest to. Even so there was still concern about what was going on. Every one hoped that this alarm was false and that this change of course would be. The gun was readied and brought about to face an enemy attack should it come.

The hope that this threat was but a wisp gradually faded. On the Horizon, they came to see a patch of approaching from the Northwest. If the Dark Elves could tow storm clouds, they could tow the thick fog which stood before them. One shell from a 15cm cannon could destroy a Dark Elf warship if it hit in the right spot and even if it hit the wrong spot would almost certainly cripple her and subtract a decent percentage of her crew. But any sort of hit required knowing where to shoot the damn thing. How could anyone find any targets in such a haze? Even so, they were ready to defend their fleet, their convoy, their ship and themselves from a Dark Elvish attack.

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Two hours after the Infrastructural Fleet adjusted course, the Dark Elvish squadron moved in on the Infrastructural Convoy. The Infrastructural fleet had arrayed itself against the possibility of interception, with the civilian transports being placed south of a line of warships. In the front of this defensive line was the Hunter, It was the heaviest ship in the fleet and had of all the ships the best weapons for fighting from the stem. Behind it trailed the Ironsides, Fury and Avenger. All of which were Ironsides class ships, which were proven effective, but still less capable than the Hunter. Even so they would still provide a barrier to protect the convoy from Dark Elvish attack. Despite this, they had little ability to stomach casualties. The Infrastructural Navy was small, largely inexperienced and could only produce so many ships at a time.

The Dark Elves assumed a looser formation hidden behind a veil of magically gathered mist. For Admiral Sidthan, this was a necessity against this foe. Normal Dark Elvish naval tactics were more akin to those common in the Interterran Sea to the battle lines which were favoured by most kingdoms on the ocean. Their preferred tactic was known as the Dagger's Bloom. It involved a tightly packed formation sailing headlong into the heart of the fleet. The core of which would press on to devastate the enemy's lines while the flanks would split off and bombard the enemy.

Admiral Halithnon attempted this strategy and it only resulted in high casualties. Admiral Sidthan had less than a third of his numbers. Reinforcements might arrive, but he doubted that they could get there in time. He knew at the devastation which the Infrastructural guns could do. A shooting match against the warships was not an option and he even had is doubts about going cannon merchant ships. Their best bet was to close in from a multitude of angles to either ram them or board them. Even so, fog cover would be essential to get close enough to strike. Even with that, he was expecting casualties. Two of his three ships of the line were held in reserve. The third was the Nalithan Brenolth commanded by Dravos ti'Halithnon and was at the front lines. His role was to delay the enemy fleet, attacking the Infrastructruals from the front. It was a dangerous move that the former Admiral volunteered to take. It was a risky move and could very well deprive Galthirith of a powerful ship of the line, but even so holding up the convoy might just mean that some reinforcements could arrive on time and limit the Infrastructural's ability to move and manoeuvre. He valued the Nalithan Brenolth and her crew and marines, but he had come to see Dravos as being more of a liability in this war.

Each side had arrayed themselves in a manner which would make the most of their strengths. Both of their commanding officers were aware of the risks of victory and those of defeat. But even so, the Dark Elvish fleet pressed onwards. Battle was joined.

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To the world beyond its borders, Infrastructure was a riddle wrapped within an enigma shrouded in deviation from the norm. It operated in a radically different manner than the other established kingdoms and states that which it came to interact with. Moreover was the matter of technology. Some items like flintlocks or lathes were understood fairly easily. Others took some time to get one's head around such as steam engines, but a mechanical mind could decipher them quickly enough. Electric machinery was only not seen as magic due to the fact that mana sensitives who had anything to do with it found them to be more magical than other machines. A few books of engineering had passed out of infrastructure and information had also gotten out by other means. But most mysterious of all were Fabricated Items. They were rare even in Infrastructure, only a few of them ever made it out of Infrastructure and those that did even the most cunning of artificers and craftsmen could not make heads or tails of them. The full capacities of the Central Committee and Infrastructure were undocumented.

While the fog screen did conceal the Dark Elvish fleet from the eyes of the enemy, it also limited their own visibility. They kept track of the Infrastructural fleet in rough terms through skrying, but that had its own complications. The level of fog went up over hundred meters over sea level. If a Dark Elvish sailor was to look straight up, he or she would see a white sky and the faint glow of the sun. They would be unable to see the Unmanned Ariel Vehicle which hovered right above them. As it flew overhead, it gave off and detected radio waves. That was how it was remotely controlled and sent back information to its controller on the hunter. Others were more generalized and were directed at the surface of the ocean while the UAV listened for their reflections.

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Among the ships in the Drow Squadron was the Frigate Golinnorlath (Fire Serpent), a sleek craft which carried 80 Drow sailors, 120 slaves and 60 Marines. Among these marines was Relian ti'Khalvos, an archer of respectable, if not exemplary skill and above average swordsmanship. In his twenty six years of service, he had seen a few fights. Mostly they were against pirates, but he had also engaged Venoans twice, there was one rather inconclusive scrap with a Frigate of the Allergonian Imperial Navy, three engagements with The Eternal Foe and had five ground engagements. Enough battle to give him a modest amount of respect for himself and to help his family's stasis ever so slightly, even though he was not counted among the great warriors. He had his hopes and he had his worries and concerns. Victory would mean fame, riches and the prospects of promotion, even though it would mean overcoming a great foe. Most of the crew and marines felt similarly. Never the less, he did not let it get to him. He stood ready for action, calm and steadfast.

Around him were the sounds of the ship, its familiar creeks and rocking noises, the rustle of sails and the various sounds of the crew and those of the sea. They were moving along as fast as possible. It had been like this all day. It took time to gather up said fog, but it was a key to get passed the Infrastructural guns. Even with Drow eyes it was hard to see anything more than a hundred paces from the ship. Hitting anything with his bow would be difficult. He would have to rely on volley fire. Even so he still had a good chance of hitting something.

Then, as they converged, there was a distant roar, softened by distance and fog, followed by thuds and sounds of splashes. Still a fair distance. He heard this sequence four times happening at once. He recognized what they were, cannon fire from the Infrastructural Navy. At first he felt that they were simply firing off randomly, shooting blindly in hopes of hitting something. They evidently knew that they were coming, but they could not possibly see through their veil. They were all off the port side. Then he managed to make out in the distance some brief movement on the third salvo. That was a bit too close for comfort, but his assumption stood. On the forth salvo, that changed. His eye was drawn to a sudden surge of light as he saw in the distance an fireball light up against the vague outline of the ship. This was followed by an sounds continued for a few seconds of wood splintering, smaller explosions and ropes snapping. Then it exploded again, this time more brightly, for a couple of seconds its masts and the vague shape of the ship’s hull were distinguishable as burning debris shot skyward on the distant figure. The Magazine had gone off.

But that was interrupted yet again as another explosion happened, this one happened near him. It struck the ocean and sent water up a hundred feet into the sky. It's roar filled the air. He felt the hard and sudden pressure of a shell fragment impacting his helmet, though he was unable to identify it. Even so, he got the message. Somehow these Coldland peasants could at least partially see through this pea soup fog of theirs. This fight was going to be bloody.

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Among the slaves of the Dark Elves, there was a distinct hierarchy. At the top were favoured servants of the wealthier houses, Janissary veterans, overseers, skilled artisans, favoured concubines and similar, usually from bloodlines which had been under the yoke for centuries if not millennia. At the bottom were those who toiled in the mines and quarries, disposable labourers who usually lasted a couple of years. In between them were myriad strata. And while all slaves stayed slaves until death, there was still movement inside this hierarchy. Hasif One-Ear was somewhere in the lower half of which, but even so he had been moved upwards. He and his mother was a gong slave, collecting nightsoil from slave dwellings, gathering buckets of piss to the fulleries and tending to the cesspits. It was hard, smelly work which made any form of socialization with any non gong slave damn near impossible. It was for this reason that the captain ti'Norlath had bought him and his brother and made them sailors. Gong slaves were cheap and (at least in the captains eyes) tended to worship anyone who saved them from a life of shovelling shit. Hasif thought the idea was a sound one.

Like the other slaves, Hasif did a variety of jobs around the ship, usually the dirtier or more dangerous ones. Even so, he had an official position aboard the ship. For the first two years he was a powder monkey. Then he was reassigned to the crew of one of the forward cannons. His job involved opening the gunport with the winch, loading the cannon, help push it from side to side when aiming it, pushing it back to the gunport after firing and cleaning it out with a stick with a big woolly thing after firing. He worked with three others: Hairy Jans who had the ramrod, a powder monkey and Calthis zi'Norlath, the gun's commander and the only Dark Elf member of the team. She was a junior member of the crew assigned to a job which the Dark Elves considered to be lowly one.

The cannon that they manned was one of the new ones that Noljas arsenal was turning out and he liked it. It was smaller and lighter than the older ones, though it could take a powerful shot. It was rifled and it was loaded with a type of cannon ball which was not really a ball, rather it was cone shaped in the front and was mostly flat curving slightly inward at the back. The carriage had a screw affair which meant that it's angle could be easily adjusted. All in all, this meant that it could shoot more than four times the range of previous guns. Finally she had a gun-lock like some of the rifles that the crew had. A device which used a percussion cap to set off the charge, which set it off with the pull of a string unlike the old fuses. He liked using cannons, it meant the enemy was away.

Never the less, he had been fretting about what was happening. He had gathered that they were going out against the Infrastructurals. What he knew about them came from rumors and hearsay. The most consistent things he had managed to work out was that they came from the east, they had ships made of iron, they had very good cannons and were formidable. Other things were a mixture of heresay and rumor. Slaves were not told much as a rule and Hasif One-Ear had his name because he spoken out of turn. Even so, there was tension. Both among the slaves and among the Dark Elves, though they hid it better. He said nothing and focused on his job, hoping for the best.

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WHEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE ON EARTH, ALL EARTH BREAKS LOOSE ON HELL
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2014-01-06 08:52am

New Update
___
In the past few months Dravos ti'Halithnon had come to despise Infrastructure with a passion. He had come from a great ancient house that had a lineage which went back to the reign of the First Black Emperor; he had fought in many battles and had just been deemed to be fit enough to commanding a fleet when he was sent up against the Infrastructural Convoy. By a simple hiccup of fate, he went into a battle unprepared and was humiliated. He lost the rank of admiral, members of his family lost promotion deals and their rivals played his defeat to their advantage. His crew felt similarly. When the opportunity came to get his revenge on these Coldland peasants he jumped on it, committing his ship to the second fleet. Luck would have it that he got his chance for revenge. Even though fate had put him in the position of coming against them with just Admiral than initially planned, he would still cease this opportunity with a clenched fist.

Even so, he knew that there were risks to coming up on them. Definitely more than Sidthan, in his judgment at least. He knew what those cannons could do, even to a Ship of the Line. So he concocted a contingency plan just in case something went array, behind the Nalithan Brenolth he strung up his ship's five longboats behind hind the ship, above which were put a set of runic shields and greatshields, large screens used to screen longboats from arrows. Into each one he put sixteen marines. Having them in tow did reduce the speed of his ship, but he accepted that. Salvos of shells came flying towards him sooner than he expected, but still he was prepared. He quickly moved into each one sixteen more marines, using the ropes as zip-lines. Into three he put one of his officers, he took command of the forth. Then they were cut. The ship gained a bit of speed while his men waited a bit.

It was four volleys before the Infrastructurals managed to score a hit on the Nalithan Brenolth, and to Dravos's slight satisfaction, she took four hits over six volleys of two shots before it was destroyed. Even then, a seventh volley was sent out before the guns turned elsewhere. As this happened, he left the smouldering remains behind. In total, some 300 Dark Elf sailors were on board, including a couple dozen trained mages. He did not know how many of them survived, but he did see a few figures clinging to debris or crude rafts that he ordered made. He simply noted them. His boats were already filled to capacity with marines. Their survival was out of his hands now. Their hope lay in being picked up after the battle, hopefully by him commanding a captured infrastructural ship. He did not give much consideration to the 600 slave sailors that might have survived, but even so he would try to pick up a few of them if they managed to escape. Trained slave sailors were expensive and breaking in new ones took time.

Hopefully, four small rowboats would be able to slip in close enough to go over the sides and his rowboats would. Then he would have his revenge up close, passed all their cannons and guns. Then he and his warriors could carve into them with sword and dagger and even a few revolvers and rifles of their own. But more importantly, he would get to see the terror in their eyes as he sliced them in two.

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To Petrov's growing concern and aggravation, the Dark Elvish fleet was still pressing onwards. Even with the drone doing RADAR sweeps and providing gunnery with coordinates, they were still getting less hits then they were during the first attack. Then the seas had been full of Drow Frigate and Sloops all packed nice and close. A few shells that missed their target back then had managed to touch down on the Deck on one of her neighbours. This was not the case today. Fire concentration had been less of an option, given that one of the bigger ships was coming head on and he could only bring two cannons to bear on it. So far, he had managed to subtract four of them from their number through constant bombardment, including a Ship of the Line.

The crew knew this as well, but at least he had a few hours to prepare for this. They had time to properly set up for engagement. Metal screens were taken out of storage to offer protection against shrapnel, gunfire and arrows, being reinforced by rolled up hammocks. The crews also benefited from a few more permanent modifications, including the steel canopies over the barbettes to protect the crew, even if they did leave the men exposed from the back. The soldiers were still antcy though, nobody wanted to have one of those rams cutting through their ship or have to face a force of Dark Elvish marines in close quarters combat and they could not see a thing in this fog. It had thinned out a bit with the ships that they destroyed, but the Admiral still figured that it would be an omnipresent nuisance in this battle.

Then he noticed a few faint flashes of light in the mist, followed soon after by a couple of slashes and a pair of loud metallic clangs. It was followed by more of them. He was, so he barked into a speaking tube.

"What was the range on that ship?"

"Two thousand eight hundred meters sir!" Arja responded.

"Two thousand eight hundred?" He repeated for confirmation

"Yes sir"

"Well it seams out enemy has improve their artillery." He looked around his bridge. "Well then let's reply, Starboard Gunport is to fire at will."

As this happened, the Dark Elves were, for the most reloading their frontal guns as quickly as they could and firing. Their aim was sub-par due to fog, but even so a few of their shots hit home. Those that did would have done some damage to a wooden hulled ship, but fortunately the only wooden hulled ship in the convoy was far back and was not what they were aiming for. To the armour plating of the Hunter, they just made dents and noise and shocked the marines and crew. Soon afterwards, the broadside gunports were opened and thirteen 75mm cannons were brought to bear. Targeting information was sent out among the gunners, which was aided by the fact that they could now see where the enemy roughly was and they fired off the return salvo and then reloaded for the next.

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Although it annoyed a fair number of the marines, the Hunter's Automatic Weapons were operated by sailors. This was based on the reasoning that the guns were part of the ships armament. For the most part the marines got along well with the navy personnel, but the naval machine gunners were usually an exception to that rule as Seaman Yans Bolegsleb found out. He put it down to jealousy, especially since the hunter had received the new Type-2A/bs. Whereas the Type-1s had a 35 round magazine, the Type-2s had a 250 round canvas belt. But more than that, the Type-2A/bs were chambered to the new 7.5mm bullets, which went further and meant that the gun spewed less smoke and needing far less cleaning. He was at the very head of the ship. He had been keeping tract as well as could be expected, which was pretty poor due to this damnable fog. The gunners got firing information thanks to the drone, but he was left in the dark. At most there were distant flashes of light from explosions and the beam of the searchlight from the observation tower, which did little in this pea soup. Never the less, it was enough.

Most of the action was off to starboard. There had been a few shells fired forward by the forward heavy cannon, but that had stopped a few minutes ago. A couple of men had also taken a few shots, but that was just silly and wasteful at this distance. More likely than not the tension was just getting to them. Yans could sympathize a bit, but it was still not the thing to do in a battle like this. He had more discipline. Even so, he had received orders to keep a frontal lookout, along with the searchlight. That was nerve racking, then the searchlight's beam came over a patch of sea and he saw the vague shape in the mist. It was still vague, but he made out the movement of oars.

"DROW BOATS AHEAD! DROW BOATS AHEAD!!!" He Yelled as loud as he could as he cocked his gun and began blazing and lead started flying. The guy manning the searchlight had focused on them and he began blazing at them. They had gotten far too close for comfort. He could not make out what damage was being inflicted, but he was surprised when they began to shoot back. Arrows and bullets were soon in the air as well. He knew the former only by the zing they made as they cut through the air. The arrows, however, left in their wake a swirling helictical pattern as they went. It only stayed around for a couple seconds. He judged that there was another boat out there behind this one so he sent a dozen or so rounds that way. Fortunately it seemed as if they had as little idea where they were shooting as he did, though he had no idea how much, if any damage he was doing. There was commotion behind him, but that was background detail.

This all happened within less than ten seconds. In that time, between aiming and firing his weapon, searching for the targets, and wondering what how many he had killed he failed to ask the question "why are these arrows leaving behind these spiraling trails" or to notice that a few arrows had manage to imbed themselves into the ship's armor at the prow. As he blazed away, he never suspected that one of the arrows would cut straight through the steel gunshield and keep on going with only a marginal drop of speed straight into his torso.

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To the outside world, some things about Infrastructure were more well known than others. Steel ships, breech loading rifles, revolvers and the lines of consumer products they made and exported had become fairly examples of Infrastructural Technology. Others were kept very well hidden and were either unknown or were lost among a number of other rumours. Others still lay in between: they were known, but what was known about them was hazy at best. Automatic Weaponry was among these. The Committee made only a few of them, had their crews trained in secret and stored them out of sight more often than not. While Dravos ti'Halithnon had prepared for this boarding ploy, he knew about the Automatic Weapons, but was more concerned with rifle fire. The Automatics simply sprayed bullets in a general direction, but the rifles were deadly accurate. Faelsin ti'Renlath, one of his marines stationed on the foremost boat, reconsidered this after she heard and felt automatic fire pelt her boat. While Most of the bullets either hit the sea or a runic shield, a couple made their way through. Three were wounded badly and the gunner had managed a kill. At the same time several oars were destroyed, the boat was taking on water and they had been spotted. Even so, they were pretty close as was when they were spotted and they pressed on to their targets. The bowmen and riflemen kept up suppressive fire as they converged, though the riflemen were firing back. Fortunately, they were out of the line of fire of any Infrastructural cannon, which seemed to be occupied elsewhere in any case. Even so, runic shields would not hold out forever.

Soon they were up against the hull. As they closed over the last distance, seven grapnels were tossed up and they began climbing. They pulled themselves up as quickly as possible while those with ranged weapons offered some support. The Infrastructurals tried to cut the lines, but these were made of Drow Silk. Spun by giant spiders the size of cats and treated which alchemical concoctions, the fibres they produced were remarkably strong. As they climbed, they became more exposed and even with cover fire, there were casualties. Several fell from their lines down into the drink. Runic armour offered some protection against these rifles, but after a few hits the spells that gave its strength would be exhausted for a shot time at least. Of the first to the ropes, none made it all the way up. Faelsin was in the second wave, which fared better.

When she got to the rim, in one sudden movement she yanked herself forward with all her strength. She threw herself upwards and saw before him an Infrastructural Soldier standing right in front of her. Her response to this was reflexive, but quick and sure. She drew her Scimitar and sliced off his head in a swift motion before moving onto the deck as rapidly as possible. Another of her fellow marines of the first wave followed her on deck a second latter with the third wave, which was in better shape behind them. These overconfident Coldlander peasants may have been deadly in a shooting match, but now they were up close and personal.

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Fredov Falinsk was four when his village was attacked by raiders and he lost both parents, a year before the Infrastructural Army came in. Soon afterwards he went to an orphanage in Dalatyr. Eventually he was selected for a special program called "The Brotherhood of the Rifle". He was sent to another orphanage, all male, in which he was educated, but also trained in a variety of unconventional things from marching to horsemanship to rowing to wilderness survival and especially fighting. They practiced fighting with rifles, pistols, muskets, swords, lances, bayonets, knives, bare handed, staffs and with improvised weapons. They knew how to throw grenades, shoot bows and even how to man cannons and automatic weapons. The work was hard and the teachers were always pushing, but they were well treated fairly well. Even so, some did not meet standards in some way or another and some more suffered serious injuries and were discharged. And for the most part he had been sad to see them go because they were all in this together. Even so, at the end some three hundred and sixty of his brothers graduated at age eighteen. He in particular had done well, for he had done well in both the academics of command and in the war-games, meaning that he was immediately promoted to lieutenant.

A company of Rifle Brothers were assigned to the Convoy to augment the marine complement. It was a change of pace, but he adapted well enough on his first crossing and back. Then he was re-assigned to the second convoy for the same reason. He never got along all that well with the sailors or the regular marines. They way he thought of it was that the sailors lived in a different world that he felt as a visitor in. The regular marines on the other hand were visitors into his world. Never the less, he persevered and did his job.

He had been stationed on the top deck when the Mist was coming in along with five other of his brothers and some more marines. As the Drow began scaling the sides of the boat he knew they would need help down there. He took three of his marines and ran down to meet them in battle, coming onto them at full speed. By the time they had gotten down the Drow had already had killed a few men in close quarters. Others were trying to get away

"VICTORY TO INFRASTRUCTURE!" They screamed as they barrelled into the melee swords drawn, firing off a couple of revolver shots to get their attention. The Dark Elves smirked, expecting an easy set of kills, even if one of them did get a flesh wound at the elbow. That was until their scimitars touched their cuirasses. Against the regular steel of a standard issue Breastplate a Drow scimitar would be only slightly slowed. But for their highly trained elite, the Committee has sprung for runic armour and blades. Both inscribed with runes of strength and runebreakers. Their blades left scratches in their armour, but scratches were manageable. This, combined with the force of their charge allowed them to score death blows on three of the attackers. He aimed for their joints and their necks and hit their mark hard with a deadly economy of motion. Seven regular marines were scrambling away in the carnage as this happened.

"FALL BACK!" He bellowed shortly after getting into the thick of it, He had done what he had set out to do. He had seven men that had been cornered against the Barbette get away, killed a few of the attackers and put them off balance. Now his men needed a clear firing line. One of his brothers managed to escape comparatively unscathed, one lost an arm in retreat, but Fredov fought on. As he bellowed his order he slashed a Dark Elf in the upper leg, cutting deep into the bone and sending him to the ground. He drew his sword against his attackers back plate to drain its runic defenses, stepped on his hand and kicked back his sword. As he did this another Drow went at him with scimitar and dagger, but his throat was exposed, in a quick movement he parried the scimitar strike and drove his blade into the gap, pistol whipping the attacker for good measure. He was then shot in the torso, fortunately there was still enough strength left in his Cuirass to stop it. Fredov aimed his pistol and returned fire, aiming for his shoulder. His shot was quick and precise. The sword arm of his target was instantly rendered useless and his scimitar soon clattered to the deck. In close quarters he had killed two dark elf warriors and crippled two more.

The only problem was that in the chaos a Drow Marine got behind him, Drew her scimitar and delivered her blow true and with precession.

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As Lieutenant Fredov fell, a line had been formed by those Infrastructural Troops who escaped and those who held their fire to avoid hitting their comrades. Rifles and the new Type-1LAW. At the same time, a few marines had made their way atop the bridge. With Fredov's sacrifice their line of fire had been cleared. A few Sergeants yelled at once "FIRE!" but the command was unnecessary as triggers were pulled as the word was uttered and bolts were being worked for the next shots. There was little need for aim as the Dark Elves were focused in one area. The Drow were swift, but even so a few of them were taken off balance. Some charged and a few fired back with their revolvers and rifles, but they were overwhelmed by the simple volume of fire which was being dumped into them. Most of them had taken a beating already, the spells which gave their runic armour its strength were sapped with every hit. Under this unrelenting hail of fire, exposed and damaged, this boarding party was cut down in six seconds. There was little time to celebrate, as the second boat approached the Hunter.

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As the last of the First Boat's marines were finished off two more boats converged on the the Hunter, each making its way to the opposite side. Commanding the second boat to arrive was Dravos. As committed to vengeance as he was, he still understood that a commander's place was not in first rank. The Infrastructural Soldiers returned fire against these assailants as they approached. As his boat approached the Infrastructural ship, the grapnels went up and he and his marines began to climb. He was also surprised to hear that the gunfire from above had stopped and he heard commands which he did not understand, but sounded to be to the effect of "run away" to his ear as he climbed.

As he was half way about small salvo of objects things went overhead. They looked vaguely like maces with green heads and short handles. He did not get much time t look at them in any case. One hit a marine, but did no damage. A couple ended up splashing into the sink. One ended up on his boat's shield. Two more of the landed in the boat itself. He briefly wondered what these things could be. He got his answer soon enough with a trio of deafening bangs, the sudden burst of light and a shower of wood and steel fragments.

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Dravos's boarding parties had made their way to the Hunter and the Progress, the lead heavy cargo ship in the fleet. In both cases, they managed to do some damage, killing a decent Infrastructural soldiers and sailors before being subdued by sheer numbers and firepower. At the same time, the Dark Elvish Fleet had been taking a beating, both from Long Range guns and the shorter ranged lighter cannons. Even returning their new rifled cannons, they managed to inflict only minimal damage to the Infrastructural ships. Even if there were some complications in targeting even the Drow Ships of the Line were fragile against the explosive shells fired by Infrastructural Guns. The tide of battle had been going in favor of the Infrastructural Fleet.

Even so there was a complication which led to disaster.

The Drone could only effectively track at most two ships at a time using its RADAR systems, which moved on shifting courses. For this reason, they focused most of their fire on the craft at the western end of the Dark Elvish formation. After that were the ships of the line. On the flank, this meant that one ship, the fast frigate Glanvolyam (Clawed Flail) managed to get around the Infrastructural Line unnoticed and eventually out of the line of fire of the Infrastructural line of battle. From there it soon found its prey and prepared to strike.

The ship in question was the Freighter Dawnlight, a 58 meter long ship in the rear of the convoy. She was carrying various mechanical supplies, ammunition and 78 passengers for the Colony. The Glanvolyam converged in on her rapidly. By the time the Drow Ship was spotted, she was ready for the kill. Her five forward cannons let off two salvos as she converged. Against the civilian ship's hull, they still managed to do damage, but this was more for suppression than anything else. The Dawnlight had six broadside 5cm cannons, but their line of fire and firepower was limited. Even so they managed to score a couple hits. The Dawnlight's crew also fired their rifles off at targets that they thought were its crew members. But never the less it, was too little too late.

The Glanvolyam crashed into the Dawnlight's side. Even coming in at angle, the Drow Warships runic prow ram cut straight through the steel hulled ship with no resistance. Water soon rushed through the gash and cargo and mechanical systems were ripped apart. The Drow Captain was pleased with what had been done and soon had his ship pulled out, ready to strike again. It was a bit regretable that he ended up sinking such a prize as an Infrastructural Steamship, but regardless there was glory enough in just destroying one of them and there were more out there to capture

As this happened, Admiral Petrov Miles got word of this via radio. Soon weapons were readied to return fire, but by the time the coordinates had been delivered and the guns were trained, it was too late and the Drow ship was just on them. For a second he hesitated on what to do, then he gave the order.

"Fire port broadside!" Soon there was the Corus of cannon fire, arched to land on the targets. There was collateral damage, but never the less the last ship of the Drow Squadron was destroyed. With that, the battle of the straights of Nalmros came to an end.

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The Infrastructural Convoy was soon clear of the fog, only stopping briefly to pick up a couple of survivors, both from the Dawnlight and from the wreckage of the Nalithan Brenolth, both Drow and their slaves before pushing ahead, along with a few marines. After that, they continued onwards to the southwest. There was little sign of further pursuit and they continued to make their way. There would be a few course changes and the trip would take longer than expected due to these course adjustments. Never the less, when the day was done, he ordered that the crew would get a special meal in celebration of the victory, both for the crew and for the passengers. That helped turn tension into triumph in their mind. Aboard the Hunter, he gave a brief speech to the ratings and offered a toast to the dead before making his way to the Officer's mess. On board the Hunter, the losses were been included thirty six marines, five gunners and two spotters. There had been a few casualties on other warships from random fire and eleven soldiers died attempting to take the Wanderer. The biggest loss of life was the Dawnlight.

In total, they managed to pick up eight survivors from that ship and even those were cut up pretty bad by shrapnel and splinters. She was taking on water and she would be going down in any case, and he would not risk the rest of the convoy to fall victim to her fate. It was sloppiness that let that Dark Elvish ship get around their line and sloppiness that eventually led to him giving that order and making shelling civies the best option available. There were others who had their hand in this, but even so he knew that the lion’s share of the sloppiness was on his plate.

He had ordered a victory celebration after the repulsion of the first Drow attack on the convoy as well and in it he ate and made merry with his senior staff, overcome with pride at besting the forces of the most powerful country on the planet. This day, he made a few jokes and even managed a bit of singing when the head marine sung a song about dirty song about a Deer, a young woman and a barrel of potatoes, but these took effort to manage while his mind lingered on the Dawnlight, often raising his cup to his attendant to keep the liquor coming.

(Gap of Nalmros, Late Winter 35 IA)

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(Taelthan Embassy, Galthirith, Late Winter 35 IA)

A few hours the battle had concluded, Admiral Saljias ti'Kalvonin had arrived at the location of the engagement. She picked up a few survivors and went north to Galthirith. Afterwards, she compiled a report and gave it to a council of officials that had been assembled to oversee campaigns against Infrastructure representing the five states involved in this war. As part of the conditions which came with coordinated efforts, the only Link Glass which had its counterpart off the fleet had said counterpart in their hands. It was an old move used to prevent one state from deliberately sabotaging the forces of its rivals, feeding their rivals false information or some other act of treachery or conspiracy. They all got the bad news at once and as expected and none of them were happy with it.

After she put into the most Northerly of Drow cities, she soon was informed to make a visit to the Taelthan Embassy to speak with her lords directly. She was given a short while to prepare herself and escorted to a room in which a Linkglass was set up with an image of Lady ti'Tramdlos. They closed the door behind them and left her in privacy.

"My Lady" She said.

"Admiral. There have been some consequences involving the destruction of Sidthan's Squadron."

She knew there would be. "How bad is it it?"

"The biggest is that Cendolliath is in an uproar over this." This she had feared, Sidthan and two thirds of his squadron was from Cendolliath and their commitment and they had been pressured into sending what they did. "There are a few on their council who say that you deliberately wasted their ships and swords. Most likely they will leave this operation and recall what forces they have left in a week or so."

She was not surprised, but bad news was bad news. On top of everything else it looked like she would four more ships, including a ship of the line. "They must have gone over my reports. Any chance I could help smooth this over?"

"I doubt it. They feel that you could have sent some of the faster elements ahead to aid Sidthan's squadron."

"That would not have worked." The admiral replied. She considered it, but at best maybe three of that would have arrived one at a time at the battle and would have been destroyed piecemeal one by one. At worst they would have caught up to the Infrastructural fleet one by one after the battle was lost while leaving their fog screen behind and would have provided the Coldland gunners some target practice.

"I've read your reports and I believe them. But as far as we can tell they don't."

"Will I be stripped of command?"

"Probably not, though I would not do anything foolish. Many of them understand that there was some factor which allowed the Infrastructurals to see through the fog screen to some degree or another. There will be inquiries made of course. Of course hopefully your reports about what happened involving the Nalithan Brenolth hold up."

"Indeed". As odd and contemptable as some of Infrastructure’s practices were, with any luck the matter of the Infrastructural Colony would be permanently resolved in a month or so because of them.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2014-01-30 01:42pm

(Near Colony-1, Late Winter 35 IA)
Ilmyeh of Hlomiq was a simple farmer in the Shol tribe, like his mother and grandmother. He grew yams and various vegetables, kept a few rabbits and brewed yam bear. He had a nice wife and three children with a forth on the way. They lived in a dome shaped house with his wife's mother, his sister and his uncle. His wife did all the haggling and trading as she was much better at it than him while he focused on getting plants to grow and rabbits to breed and occasionally fishing at the river. When the Steel-Boatmen came he was amazed like many other people and a bit worried. However, as they managed to deal with the Gosho, were good customers based on what his wife said and they had with them a lot of rather useful things for sale. But despite that, he got on with his life as usual for the most part.

Among this was his and his brother's offering at the Obelisk. Every other month during the half moon they made their hike to that hill to burn an offering to their ancestors at a site which their family considered sacred. A few people held their doubts about, but unless somewhat was stupid enough to try to desecrate it, the monolith was quite harmless. Once they reached the small shrine, they filled the lamps with oil, filled the dish with a mixture of fat and herbs and lit both of them of them using a match. The two of them kneeled murmured their prayers.

Then suddenly there was a roaring sound and the cracking of thunder. They looked up and beheld that the Obelisk was flaring. It had done this before, sending a beam of light up into the sky. It happened a couple of times, including once when they were children. But in all those occasions, it sent up a beam of white light and hummed. This beam of light was crimson and arcs of lightning darted out from it's tip.

In panic they stumbled to their feet and began to run. Birds had a similar idea and flew away from the obelisk in all directions. They would soon return home. They had no idea what would cause the Obelisk to flare like this, but it was not a pleasant site. They did not know that off course, an Infrastructural convoy was making its way to port.

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When the Convoy got within range, they sent a message to the Colony giving a rough report on the battle which had unfolded in the Gap of Nalmros. Another Dark Elvish attack was repulsed, though with the loss of a freighter, over two hundred sailors, marines and colonists and her cargo, which set back their development in some fields for months. At the very least the entire attacking force was completely destroyed and a few prisoners were captured. The former slaves were thrown in with the rest of the Detentional Labourers to get them adjusted to living under Infrastructural control. The Dark Elves themselves were proving to be more difficult to break in and were of more value at the moment in terms of interrogation.

They had also captured a fair amount of artefacts from the Drow marines, which were soon presented to him for inspection. A mage had been brought in to cast some basic suppressive spells and to have them screened for really hostile curses to be on the safe side. The runic armour and shields of the marines was a fairly major concern, it was able to stand up against a fair bit of rifle fire. The reports about what Drow bows could do were also not exaggerated. It was a shame that most of the stuff also had curses put in specifically designed to deter non Drow scavengers from using it. It would either have to be sold off to an arms dealer who dealt with the Drow or recycled.

Moreover there was the issue of firearms. The pistols and rifles that had been recovered had some comparatively crude machining (while often being richly adorned), they were getting more sophisticated. Among them were a few rough duplicates of the Type-3R rifle, which, along with some revolvers, used paper cartridges complete with percussion caps. The Drow were progressing quicker than anticipated in firearms technology, though this still did not answer the question of how extensive these weapons were being employed. But more notable were those which differed in some way, indicating more than mere replication.

Interrogating the Dark Elves themselves would be a time consuming process which he would personally oversee. From what reports Petrov had provided for him, on the voyage they had been acting oddly, they were lashing out a lot less often and a few of them were laughing. More study was likely going to be needed. He was considering some possibilities as to why this was happening but at the moment there was insufficient data to come to any hard conclusions on the matter.
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(Over the Southwestern Continent, Late Winter 35 IA)
Along thousands of kilometres of coastline of the Southwestern Continent, hundreds of obelisks sent up pillars of light into the sky. The various peoples who lived near the coast saw this in various way, some saw it as a blessing of the gods or a sign of good fortune. Others saw this as a sign of their displeasure or as a forbearance of impending calamity. Only a few of these cultures had seen a Red Flaring, less so in living memory. Of the myriad peoples who lived nearby these monoliths, only those that seen a Red Flaring had some legitimate insight into what a flaring meant.

For about a century and a half, the Obelisks had stood along the coastline. While many legends and superstitions emerged about their purpose emerged among the folks who had one dropped off in their stomping ground, their true function was to establish a perimeter. White flaring were triggered by red ones. At the same time, there were artefacts associated with the Obelisks. They were compass like in appearance, though with needles of gold and copper rather than iron. If an Obelisk flared red, they would point to it. And they did.

As such, soon a figure was flying across the sky, moving forward at high speed day and night, covering some twenty two hundred kilometers in a single day. Its course was nearly a straight line, with only a few slight adjustments to get around. The more developed human cultures had records of such things and what built them, many others had vague legends of them. Even so, it pressed onwards towards its destination: the Obelisk near Colony-1.

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(Colony-1, Late Winter-34 IA)
Sergeant Vanef Hollgofson had sentry duty on the wall that night and was grateful for it. The weather here was always warm and, due to being on the other side of the world, winter was summer here. Doing work at mid-day was horrible as temperatures went up to 35 Degrees. Some of the newbies that arrived a couple days ago were finding this out the hard way. By contrast nights were much more cool and comfortable, though the bugs could be a problem. One of the more popular items among the soldiers and colonists that the locals sold here was a sticky cream that was made of sap and roots that kept the little bastards off.

Walking the wall was not too difficult. There was the worry of Drow attack was always there and occasionally some Gosho warband would try something stupid and get perforated for their troubles, but far more often than not, it was a peaceful walk back and forth while gazing out. Rain could be a problem when it happened, but it was only a bit more common than it was during a coldland summer and was fortunately not happening tonight. He had come to think of the wall around the colony as being a living thing. There was always a new section of it going up to either accommodate more people or give the current people a bit more breathing room. Older sections were cannibalized to provide material for newer ones. Wall sentry duty meant walking a new path every few months. Another, less expected change was the beam of crimson light which reached up into the sky and flash of arcs of red lightning around it.

About half way through the night, he saw something in the distance, suddenly there was a beam of light in the distance. Not the red smouldering glow of a forest fire, but a continuous beam of white light moving back and forward from the night sky and across the ground. He got out his binoculars and tried to get a good view on the thing, it's figure was indistinct in the shadows.

Not knowing what do to do, he hurried down and ran to the Committee member's chamber to report this. He did not know if this warranted sounding the alarm. He knew they set up cameras as well to monitor what was going on. Even so, he wanted to know what to do about it. He soon met with the camera speaker affair they had set up. He stood to attention and let off a smart salute."

"Sir, I have something urgent to report! I have spotted a strange flying thing on patrol on the western wall! Requesting immediate orders, sir!"

"At ease, Sergeant." It said with Discovery's voice. "An alarm will be sounded if the craft approaches, do not under any circumstances fire upon it unless it fires first. Understood?"

"Yes sir!"

"Return to your post, Sergeant."

"Sir, yes sir!"

He returned to his post as expected and continued to monitor the strange thing with his binoculars. After a few minutes, the craft began to make its way along the river's coast straight towards them. As promised, the sirens cried a level-3 alarm. The speakers gave out orders.

"Attention all personnel. An unidentified airborne vehicle has been detected. All soldiers report to stations. Do not fire upon the object save in response. Civilians are advised to remain indoors until further. This is not a drill."

The message repeated. Soon there was commotion as people scrambled to their posts. As they did, the vehicle flew closer and closer towards the colony, as it did so, it slowed and reconfigured itself. It appeared to contract a bit. It hovered about a hundred and fifty to two hundred meters in the air and scanned the lands as it approached. As it went over he saw that the figure was mostly narrow and by his estimate. There was plenty of commotion and comments as people spoke.

Once it was overhead the colony proper, it took in things and began to circle around. Eventually searchlights were brought to bear on it and more of it was visible. It was boat like in design and wood, bronze and steel were made out adorning it. Coming out of its sides near the front was what looked vaguely like sails. A pair of kite like affairs were rigged near its back. He saw what looked like rigging and he though he saw figures move about on it, though they were strange and hard to spot. It's light moved across the surface of the compound. A few civies had come out to get a look at the strange thing. A few people screamed and everyone seemed tense. It examined various bits of the town, from the forges, the workshops, the living quarters, the armory, the battlements, the boats on the riverbank and the ships moored in the river. Fortunately no one fired a shot.

This continued for about ten minutes before this airborne craft fixed its light on a single warehouse. It floated around it slowly, as if to get a look at it at every angle. Then, after two minutes it's light dimmed down and this airborne boat flew off to the northwest, quickly gathering speed. Vanef let out a sigh of relief as this happened and got onto patrolling as other people slinked back to bed. But as he continued to man the walls, he thought about it. He did not know why they had arrived, but he believed that it had something to do with the obelisk flaring. And they seemed rather interested with the warehouse were the Drow prisoners were being housed.

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(Solondrin, High Kingdom of Illvanas, Late Winter 35 IA)
On the whole the High Elves of Illvanas tended towards being insular. Those who were not committed in the struggle against The Corrupted generally were more focused on matters inside the High Kingdom. Even so there were exceptions: Faiyn of the house of Taeldor was one of them. Over her three hundred and twenty eight years, she had learned numerous languages, had consulted with members of the Order of Keepers on numerous occasions, often talked with merchants, spent plenty of time in the archives and had traveled on a few occasions.

This inclination and the high standing of her house eventually had her given the task of a crown official, dealing with the various foreign powers. Among them were the usual peoples who lived nearby Illvanas, but also some of the more exotic ones including a few from the southern lands, the Naga Rajs and the Eastern Empires. But there was one which was more exotic than all of them. A civilization that even by the standards of the High Elves was ancient, but they were reclusive and removed. There were some high records of them which date back between nine and ten thousand years during the second era of exploration early in the High Kingdom's history, but only a hundred and forty two years ago had an expedition been sent to their lands to establish contact, given developments the form of a Link Glass. Their leaders had begrudgingly accepted it.

Even so, it was out of the ordinary for them to try to make contact more than once every twelve years on the winter solstice and asked for information directly pertaining to the campaigns of the High Kingdom against The Corrupted Ones. The last such conversation happened ten years ago. Some members of the High Elves court did not trust them due to a perception of laxity and how they were removed from their various political moves but she never conveyed that to them, but she never conveyed that. When she got word the Linkglass began to glow off schedule, it took her by surprised. She soon left her study and made her way to its chamber. What this meant could have been big.

She had wondered at why they had contacted them. If they wanted to cease any interaction with the outside world, they would simply have remained silent. It might be that The Exiles were at full war with them again or some other major development might have unfolded. She was surprised to hear what it was an inquiry about something that they had found.

Their perimeter on the Southeastern Continent had been set off six days ago, as usual they responded to hunt down those that broke it. This had happened a few times before with survivors washing up on shore or the occasional shipwreck. Instead, they found something else. A new settlement at the mouth of a river populated by strange humans with strange metal ships around which were the intruders. Several images of them, their equipment and their new settlement were displayed. They wanted to know who they were.

Some of their material was unfamiliar, but she soon recognized who it belonged to. "Do not worry. They are no puppets of the Exiles. They are Infrastrucutrals!" She had met with and done business with a few Infrastructurals from time to time. Even one of the members of their 'Committee'. She had more of an interest in them than most and their ways, even if they were crass and severe and some rumors involving them and captured spies were a bit disconcerting. She explained the rough information about them, how they sent an expedition southwest, which had sparked a war at sea and led to the destruction of a fair number of Exile ships.

The being on the other side listened intently through her speech. She finished it as such...

"If you would allow me a day or two, I could compile a more detailed report."

"We have heard enough about them to act properly." It said as it. "Now we will part. May you excel and thrive, speaker from beyond the Sea." With that the Linkglass dimmed and the images ceased. In her mind would probably mean that their greatest, if most fickle allies against the Drow would end striking a severe blow against a new and powerful one.

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(Colony-1, Late Winter 35 IA)
For eight days after the flyby, there was no end of discussion in Colony 1 nor the nearby native villages about the flyby of the unknown craft. The natives had become a bit more wary of the Infrastructurals. There was still some wonder about who sent it and what they were doing. Especially if they were going to come back and if they came back would they be friendly, or would they come to lay waste to the colony.

Discovery considered what was being said, but did not find much use in most of it. The one exception was the fact that the local tribes all had legends of mythical figures; be they gods, demons, benevolent spirits, heroes or all of the above, who road on great flying boats. Using the airship Discovery had monitored much of the western coastline of this continent and had done a survey of the surrounding area for a few hundred kilometers. Mostly it was grasslands with some bogs, hills and moderate mountains to the north and some hilly lands to the west. Sparsely populated by peoples living out of comparatively small villages or in nomadic bands of at most around ten thousand. Even so, there were other areas to the west which they had observed on their approach. The two Western Continents both had a mountainous had in their western sections an extensive set of mountains and in the centers of these ranges were valleys that emptied out into the sea between them, forming a rough bridge of islands. Most likely whatever civilization created these came from there, but that statement at most explained where they came from, not what they were.

Never the less, after a week after a weak they got their answer. At about 14:00, three figures made their way over the horizon, their sails rippling as wind spells dragged them along through the air. Two of these skyships were like the one which came to investigate the Red Flaring in size. In their center was a larger one. She was larger and longer, with two horizontal masts and a pair of vertical ones on top. The two craft approached the colony and did a flyby, everyone marvelled as they passed overhead clearly and distinctly as people tried to make out the figures which scurried on their decks. It was hard to make them out fully, but they were not human.

Afterwards they hovered in place for a few minutes as their sails were pulled closed. Then, the first one slowly descended to about five meters above the ground outside the colony's walls and a bottom hatch opened and a ladder descended.

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As this happened, soldiers rushed to the wall to watch as the mysterious skyship to allow a landing party to disembark. It consisted of two figures, quickly and gracefully making their way to the ground. others could be seen on its decks. Drive documented these strange creatures. More of which were visible on its decks, doing various things aboard the vehicle as well as observing them back. They had two arms, two legs and heads with two eyes, two nostrils, a mouth and crests. But the resemblance to humans ended there. They stood about 1.3 to 1.5 meters tall with their heads held high, but most of their body was long and horizontal, about three to three and a half meters long from the tips of their long tails to the tips of their long lizard like heads. The legs were digigrade and ended in clawed talons and their arms ended in taloned hands. Though they largely wore clothes, much of their body was outside their hands, feet and faces was covered in what at first looked like hair, but as they got closer turned out to be feathers. This was especially noticeable on their arms, the tips of the tails and on their crests. Most of their feathers were various shades of brown, dull green and grey, save for the crests. Most of those on the ship had a blue crest while most of the others had had dull greenish brown crests.

The two that advanced on the gate were different. One was larger and clad in steel plate with polished gold highlights. What was visible of its crest was green. It carried a device in it's hand made of wood and metal ending in a faintly glowing translucent stone, behind it several gold and silver rings rotated. it appeared to be a smaller version of the artefacts that were mounted on the skyships minus the ornate heads with gaping jaws that were placed at their end. In addition, there were two curved blades strapped to its legs. Its movements were predatory, taking in everything around it. This contrasted with the other, who held its head high the entire way. It carried no weapons and was dressed finely in a green garment, as well as gold and silver head dress with a large slab of polished jet. But alone out of all these creatures, this one had a red crest.

When they got within five meters of the gate, it was opened. As it opened, it revealed to them Discovery. When they saw Discovery, they both responded with some surprise in their way. The warrior brought the butt of his instrument to his torso and focused on him intently. The more regal one had a small twitch at the strange being which stood in front of it.

The warrior then spoke. The voice was sharp, moderately high pitched, slightly gurgling and definitely inhuman, but still understandable as Elvish. "Strange being from beyond the great seas! You stand before The Below-Red Hunter's Searching Gaze, Thirty Seventh daughter of the Diviner House of The Medium Tower of Black Stone and Red Brick, Forth Circle of the City by the Inland Sea! A leader of True People! Know that she shall not only honour you with her voice, but shall give you leave to speak to her. An honour rarely bestowed to reared folk. Rejoice!"

"It is an honour." Discovery responded in Elvish "I am One Which Seeks To Understand Everything New It Encounters Upon It's Discovery-153401, Member of the Central Committee of Infrastructure and co-administrator of this colony. My name is abbreviated to Discovery. Might I inquire upon the nature of your visit. Have we unwittingly violated your territory?"

The red crested one responded. "None of our kind live within a million Arm Lengths of this place. This is wilderness, barren on magic and fit for humans. We have no interest in your affairs here. Save for one transgression. These lands are forbidden to those known as Dark Elves, yet they are now here by the efforts of your underlings. Do you deny this?"

"No, Diviner. It is correct that our fleet has captured a number of Dark Elvish prisoners after their last engagement with them. They set off the obelisk?"

"Indeed they did, and they will continue to do so as long as they remain here and alive. We have come to correct that state of affairs. They are restrained?"

"Of course."

"So there is no rush. As such, I would like to inquire on your conflict with the Dark Elves."

"We would gladly provide you with Information pertaining to the ongoing conflict. On the same note, would it be too much to request some information with your conflict with the Drow in exchange?"

"In this instance we would be willing to satiate the curiosity of lesser beings."

"Very good. You will find that my name was not given idly."
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The Below-Red Hunter's Searching Gaze explained to Discovery and a few of his senior staff the events which led. There was a fair bit of the flowery language that the elvish tongue lent itself to and Discovery was certain that there was a fair bit of embellishment and at least some fabrication in it as well. Never the less, he put together from this tale some information which he figured to be true.

The civilizations of these plumbed predatory creatures which called themselves 'True People' had existed in the lands in the great valley of the Northwestern and Southwestern Continent and the islands between them. Said area being lush, fertile and having a very high level of background magic, and like the elves they all possessed a level of magical ability. Everything outside of those lands they considered to be useless wasteland. There civilization was also divided into a number of castes, each with a specific function in society as well as being divided into a number of empires, each based around a central city. But most notably was the fact that it was very old. She claimed that it was were ancient during the dawn ages of elvish history and that her house went back eight hundred and seventeen generations. As a rule they do not interact much with the human cultures of either continent, save making those that lived near their territories tributaries to them. Should any human civilization arise that might think to attack the lands of one of the Empires, said empire would soon retaliate with disproportionate force and make an example of it.

And so it happened a hundred and sixty years ago. Some ninety years after House Jalnoth first crossed the sea and some sixty years after the Dark Elves race settle the new world had begun. A few Dark Elvish scout-ships made their way to the territories, found a few coastal fishing and agricultural villages. They brought back word of these and so a few parties organized slaving raids. The first of which at least appeared to had some modest success capturing a few members of their fisher, farmer and artisan castes. Despite this, the alarm was set out and a fleet of skyships was dispatched to retaliate, finding and burning a few of their settlements to ash. Thus began a war.

The problem was that the Drow were a far more formidable force than expected. They had a major advantage in terms of mobility one of their Skyships could fairly quickly lay waste to a tightly packed company of warriors, leaving only burned corpses. But the Dark Elves had means of fighting back. Exactly what it was she did not say, though from what he had gathered on the Dark Elves from various sources Discovery had a few ideas about what they where. They were, however, eventually successful at stopping further incursions into their territory, but the two empires which were involved with this conflict. Despite this, the conflict continued for a decade before the Empire of the City by the Inland Sea and the Empire of the City of the Northern Islands eventually worked out a peace treaty with the Dark Elves. They would stop attacking the Drow's colonies on the Northeastern Continent, but they would be forbidden from entering "the lands to the south", which just happened to include a continent as large as the Northwestern Continent. The Obelisks were set up as an early warning system. If any dark elf got within a distance of about 25.82 kilometers of them, they would flare. They would soon be made aware of this and send a light skyship to scout out the area. If any Dark Elves were found, they were to be incinerated.

Fortunately, the Drow had not made any attempt to colonize the Southwestern Continent. At most they sent scouts to examine the coastline. The peace was a difficult one, but both sides kept to it. On two occasions, they found a Dark Elvish ship that had run aground in a storm and once or twice every decade or so a Drow sailor or a lifeboat full of Drow Sailors would wash up on the shore. At most, these took a brief while to deal with. There had also been a few false alarms in which a Dark Elvish ship got too close to the coast for a few minutes. In all the instances, things had been sorted out fairly quickly. At most they sent down a few of their warriors to hunt a few of them down with smell.

This was where The Below-Red Hunter's Searching Gaze's small squadron came in. Technically, their command had authorized. Another power at war with the Drow bringing Drow prisoners of war to their own settlement was not something intended. Her job was to evaluate what was going on.
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Vesna Voriskova's first few days in the new colony had been a strange one to say the least. When she signed up to take the voyage to the West and start up a new life in a new world she expected some of that. Anything which got her away from her mother was a good opinion in her mind. The voyage east had been at first wet, cramped and uncomfortable. After the battle it was wet, cramped, uncomfortable and nerve wracking. Once they disembarked, things got a bit better. She was assigned a bunk, issued with some clothes and given a farming job. The heat was a problem, but they made sure that everybody got plenty to drink and there was a three hour mid-day break. She burned her tongue on a pirozhki and a mug of Kvass made with those damnable peppers which the blanket men loved so much and the older colonists had taken a liking to. Even so, she was still grateful to hear that she would never have to see a snowflake again. The natives that she met were mostly women traders from the villages, who were strange in appearance but amiable. The plants and animals were also odd, from the strange produce the natives sold to the lizards and bugs.

She had read about those during the voyage, however. She did not read about the flying boats nor the toothy scaly bird things with talons for hand nor their flying sailboats.

Seeing their ships for the first time was terrifying and the creatures themselves were even more-so. Their leader talked to Discovery and a few of their beings were shown around the colony with a few demonstrations of equipment. Their leader walked around with an interest in what she saw and spoke with Discovery in a strange language. The warriors that escorted her or the three of them she had look around did so like a caged wolf. If anyone got to close to them they growled, hissed and bared their razor sharp teeth. Apparently this had to do with the Drow Prisoners fished out of the sea. Eventually, a settlement was reached.

Then after a few hours of discussion, they reached an agreement. The fleet would be readied to depart as quickly as possible and would take the Dark Elvish prisoners with them. The strange creatures would patrol the area until then for eighteen days. If not, Discovery would turn over the Drow prisoners to them to would be incinerated. That was a few days ago.

Near the end of the day when she was coming home from work she decided to walk by the beach and look at the sea. Most days, it was a pleasant place to go. The waves breaking on the shore had an oddly calming sound. Even so, she noticed a Skyship in the background on its usual circuit, moving in a lazy course about the general area. More specifically it was the big one with two sets of masts. They were quite lovely things, even if it could easily burn a town and everything in it to charred husks and ash in a minute. If nothing else, this meant that the Colony itself would be safe from a Dark Elvish attack. Even so, they made her nervous. It did not take the mind of a Committee Member to see that only a fool would deliberately provoke these strange plumed creatures from their ancient empires.
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(Klebba Village Market, Late Winter, 35 IA)
Dloqua of Isntam was a merchant. One of many who traded on the rivers. She, like her mother and grandmother before her she owned a barge and had made her way up and down the rivers selling wares and other goods. There were the easy rides downstream, flowing with the current and moving upstream with sail and poles. It was a respectable living, though sometimes hard. Even so she had a loving husband, a son and two daughters, he father (who now mostly was involved in cooking and fishing), two guards and they generally had enough to eat. The Nomadic warrior tribes generally ignored river barges as a rule, though there were a few river pirates. Fortunately, thanks to her husband, she was able to get some very good products at a very good price, a product which was doing very well, especially in the delta region.

About a year and a half ago, some people came to the coastal areas from across the sea on ships of steel called "Eemff-rah-srchtruk-torell". They had a pale completion, a wide variety of hair colors, wore strange clothes, spoke a strange language, used strange tools and acted in strange ways. That said, the most important thing in Dloqua's mind was that they were proving to be very good customers, especially since they traded things which you could not get anywhere else. More of them were coming in, which was fine by her as well. She learned a bit of their language and many of them were learning the Delta tongues, which she could speak fluently. She had visited them three times so far and had done quite well each time. On her forth time, she received and unexpected guest.

She started out doing business with the Klebba as usual on the basis that she had done business with them for years and good customers should be cherished. A few Infrastructurals were here as well searching for produce and she had sold a few things before the day was done. There was a little bit more animosity to them than their used to be, which apparently involved an obelisk flaring and some skyships, but that was sorted out five days before she arrived. That said, she was surprised and suddenly became the center of attention when a strange figure walked by. It was clad in Infrastructural Clothes. She heard that the Infrastrucutrals called the normal people "Blanket men" because normal people wore normal clothes instead of what looked like attempts at making a second skin out of cloth. But more over there was the face. This was one of their town's two leaders, both of which were not only strange, but inhuman.

"Dloqua of Isntam, I am Discovery. Member of the Central Committee of Infrastructure." He said in the Delta Tongue, clear and with only a slight accent. "I would like to inquire about your wares, which have become quite popular among our workforce." His tone was cool and authoritative.

She smiled. "Indeed great one." She said calmly while she picked up a pair of the items that he was interested in. "They are of the finest quality."

Discovery gently picked up one of them and looked it over. "These shoes are quite remarkable things. Water resistant, flexible and comfortable. For someone working in the fields, they are invaluable." The shoes were simple affairs, composed of one piece of material. They were thicker on bottom. To secure them to the feet, there was a pull string "You have quite a supply of them, I have heard this is because your husband's family are involved in their manufacture."

"Indeed, great Discovery."

"And other things are made from this 'latex'?"

"Oh yes, there are balls and gloves and stoppers for jars and a dozen other such useful things."

"Excellent. I am prepared to make you a deal. To better outfit our population, I offer to buy your entire stock of shoes in a generous exchange. As part of that deal I would ask that your assistance in allowing a few of our people to learn about this land and it's peoples. Would you agree to this?"

She mulled it over for a bit. "That I would."

"Very well. I will see you tonight to finalize the deal." Infrastructural trade goods commanded a high price, from their firelighters to their crossbows and steel Armour. Ferrying people up river was fairly common as well. Little did Dloqua suspect the significance in what she was about to do.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2014-05-02 04:14pm

(House Valcas Shipyards, Valnothron, Late Winter 35 IA)
The last four and a half years of Engineer Taras Vorisovich life had been spent in slavery of the Dark Elvish House of Valcas and as one could expect, were miserable. Due to his qualifications as a trained engineer it was far better than the lot that most freshly captured slaves received, but miserable it was none the less. He worked long hours without breaks, was limited to his very spare quarters and his worksites, had to wear a collar, was given bland food and no alcohol, had to use an interpreter to talk to Drow and was under the guard of a number of taskmasters who viewed him with contempt who were all too keen to remind him of what awaited him should he try to escape or rebel and give him the occasional 'restrained' strike. He was also alone, House Valcas managed to capture a few more engineers to assist in their projects but they were quite deliberately separate when they were as a rule kept as separate as possible, either working on different projects or on bits of the same project at a distance. Even if the most of the staff of slaves spoke knew any language besides the Valnothron Slave Tongue, most of them where "Consecrated" slaves; the 'upper class' of the Drow's slaves. They came from families which had been under the yoke for centuries at least, got better treatment, did the jobs which were deemed to be 'sensitive' and bought into the Drow's hierarchy hook line and sinker. In their eyes newly captured slaves were supposed to be low in the grand scheme of things, that one would get preferential treatment was an affront. The only real company he got was the girl that they occasionally sent to his bedchamber at night when something went according to their plans. But worst of all was the fact that he knew that his efforts were now being used to bring terror, death pain and slavery down upon those he loved back home.

There was always a lot for him to, overseeing the production, testing and installation of new machinery and equipment and working out technical problems. All while Dark Elves and slaves took notes. House Valcas was powerful and wealthy, owning thousands of slaves and a from what he was told was powerful and influential, having long being involved in manufacturing. A few times he considered feeding them false information, but he never went through with it fearing that he would be caught and receives the attentions of torturers.

Among the older activities that they were involved in was gun making, having cornered the local market. Right now they were mostly involved in producing knock-offs of the Type-2R Rifle, Type-3R Rifle and Type-3P Revolvers. He was surprised to see that the process of making firearms had been broken up into a number of people doing specialized tasks, from teams that made and finished barrels, specialized spring makers and people who put the various bits together into a finished weapon, though they were largely using hand-tools. His work, and the work of several other engineers had improved their productivity by five times by what he had heard. Many of these were now powered by one of several steam engines. To his surprise, the Dark Elves somehow managed to make a working steam engine before he arrived. Once he inspected it he was not surprised to find that it was bulky and had a low power output while needing lots of fuel. Nor was he surprised to find out that this was the sixth one which they had built, the previous five having killed more than thirty slaves and maiming just as many more when their boilers exploded. Under his guidance, they were able to make steam engines which was several times more powerful, more efficient and safer. A year and a half ago he had one of these he had installed on a twenty meter long fishing boat, with more. Much of his work was spent in the foundries, examining steel production and overseeing the creation of new machinery to aid in production, as well as the casting and processing of new cannons. The demand for these had gone up considerably. He had his suspicions on what they had him working on, which were only confirmed with the test that he was ordered to perform.

It first involved some discussion about seven months ago about steel production and the creation of a fairly large structure primarily made of steel. He said that such efforts could be realized in about five years. Then, after some time they talked about down to the matter of using wrought iron, which could be realized a bit sooner. Then a couple of weeks ago, an objective was given for a set of twelve test slabs of wrought iron, each of which being about 8 centimetres thick. He had them prepared and soon they were ready.

They were taken to a proving ground outside the city and were fixed in place on a frame against a fairly substantial earthwork. Each of them was subjected to a shot from a 8cm cannon at short range. But more notable than that was the fact that Lady Nallorenth ti'Valcas had come to examine the results. he was brought nearby, kept at a bow.

"Valas, the cannon has made dents in all them." She had said in a neutral tone in the Common Language of the Coldlands. Her command of it had improved as time went on due to practice, which she generally did around him. "You will speak."

"My beloved and revered mistress," he said "they have been dented by cannonfire. But they have not broken. Even a dented helmet may save its users life. Had these been slabs of wood or brick, they would be but splinters or shards."

"Yes." She said. "Show us the back."

Some lower ranking slaves came in and dug a couple of them out. A few minutes later, the backsides of these plate were revealed. It had been pushed in, but not broken. A few other Dark Elves converged and examined this and there was some conversation. His grasp on the slave tongue was shaky, it did sound like spoke with approval.

"Nice. Very nice." The lady said approvingly. "Taras, this is good work. Tomorrow you will get new instructions. You will get spice stew for dinner all week and for tonight some beer and a girl."

"This humble slave is not worthy of such gifts, but shall accept them with obedience and reverence to my most beneficent mistress." He said, mouthing the ritual words of respect which a slave was expected to say when given a gift from his masters. Underneath it all, however, he felt shame. He knew what he was now working on. He only hoped that they had improved their means, methods and final products back home since he was taken.

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(Infrastructural Naval Command, Borogskov, Early Spring 35 IA)
Petrov was quite happy to get his squadron under way. To save time to please the raptors, the civilian ships were left behind for the time being with the warships going back at full speed, taking the Drow with them bound up in the hold. There was some concern about them breaking out as well. People were stressed and nervous about setting sail for home, but they were also relieved about getting things done and being able to move home a bit faster than before. They did not encounter another Dark Elvish force on their way back.

A long range messenger drone had gone before him and as he made the last bit of the voyage he received a message from the committee for a meeting as soon as he put into port in Borogskov. He soon went to naval command and entered a special office with a video terminal, a metal stand on top of which was a screen, a small projector and a camera. When he entered and stood before it, it flashed to life, showing Drive's face.

"Committee Member, why have you summoned me?"

"Admiral, the Raptors' unforeseen involvement in matters has required some adjustments to our long-term plans. While we should continue to bolster its defences, the likelihood of it facing Dark Elvish assault in the immediate future is considerably lower than first projected. Never the less, by your reports the Dark Elves are adapting. As such, we shall resume the prewar convoy schedule with full escort. A full set of instructions will be delivered to your quarters"

"Very well sir." Petrov smiled a bit. This was what he was hoping for. He understood the reasoning for breaking up the Convoy into two small groups running twice as often in a strategic sense. The colony needed as much reinforcements and equipment arriving ahead of schedule could have meant the difference between it being able to repulse an attack and it being overwhelmed. Even so he never liked the move due to the fact that it put his ships, sailors and city wards at risk. "Sir, how are defences holding up?"

"Dark Elvish raids are continuing and they have taken at least four cargo ships in our waters since your last departure. More concerning is their attacks on fishing villages, to which they have made two more attempts. One of which was successful. Coastal patrols have sunk two Drow warships and a cargo ship since your departure."

"If I could give my thoughts on the matter, I would recommend that we expect the unexpected. Drow ships can't go head to head with our Ironclads, but they know this and never the less have numerous tricks up their sleeves."

"Indeed. We are considering this and looking to see what they might try next, a report will be compiled and sent to you shortly. Be alert, Admiral."

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(Steel Mill-13, Daagsgrad, Early Spring, 35 IA)
Inspector Yulia Dravonya arrived at Steel Mill-13 with her team of assistants who went over matters. There had been some concerns, given that its monthly production had dropped twenty five percent while breakdowns had increased over since Autumn. Under regular circumstances this would be a note of concern. In a time of war, this was a matter of considerable urgency. Her team was made of a mix of Engineers and Bureaucrats to examine why this was the case, regardless of what the official reports said. She would make interviews to get things done. The first on her list was Grengori Renkov, the Factory's Foreman. By her first impressions of him he was solid, attentive to detail, firm but not unkind, flustered and had a habit of speaking loudly. She was led into his office.

"Foreman, I am sorry to intrude on your busy schedule but the matter of falling output must be addressed. Development of the Rail Network is of vital importance to..."

"Learned Bureaucrat," He said exasperated "you have read my, the Chief Engineer's and Bureaucrat Galimsko's reports. They are all about the same thing, production has suffered since you began transferring skilled workers to war industries. I know there are millions of those Slaving Sadists out there and skilled workers are needed to be make guns, but at the very least lower our quotas for a bit."

"We know of that, which is why this mill had replacement staff assigned to it to make up for the reassignment. Indeed your staff has grown from two hundred and twenty six to two hundred and seventy nine."

"Yes, we have had half our trained and experienced technicians, machinists and workers who have worked here for years have swapped for a collection of kids, untrained peasants fresh off the field, janitors, beggars, drunkards, hoodlums and the ever complaining sons of merchants and shop keeps doing their 'labor duty' that I can no longer fire without going through loops." It was clear that he was getting touchier about matters, Labour Duty was a controversial move to say the least. As a wartime measure, people could be called up to work for the state, mostly in civilian industries as an alternative to military service. Mostly the complaints were from people who had been taken from jobs that they rather liked and been required to mine coal, make bricks or work in a factory, though management had its own gripes with it.

His voice went up and he began gesturing. "Handling a few of that lot until they are worthwhile we can do, but not so many at once. You gotta watch them like hawks because they will always do things in the most half assed way they can! They are sloppy and slow and they don't treat the gear with the respect it deserves. The mechanics and engineers have had their work cut out for them! The number of breakdowns we have had has gone through the roof, while shipments of spare parts have been delayed, which has meant a crapload of deadtime! We have had two days over the last month when all our Roller Formers were working! And we have got more accidents and injuries on top of all that, most of which due to sloppiness by the way! I'm sorry Miss Bureaucrat but I have been doing my godsdamned best for Infrastructure with a compromised work crew and lessened support! Things would be easier for everyone if we just lowered the quotas to forth fifths for a few months while we got the rabble you sent us into shape!"

"Very well." She said calmly. "Can I look over your reports?"

"Be my guest." He said as he cooled off "I'm sorry for the outburst, Learned Bureaucrat."

"No harm done." She said as she made her way to the files.

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(Cannon Foundry-4, Dalatyr, Early Spring 35 IA)
Cibor Tasilovic started off the day with a bit of a hangover, last night he and some of his fellow technicians and factory workers decided to celebrate with a few rounds at the tavern. They had recently completed a long-term project which they had been working on for about a year and were happy to see it done. After the war began, efforts were accelerated, more people, most of which being experienced workers taken from other places were brought in. A couple of times a member of the Central Committee dropped by to see how things were proceeding. Both to take note of how production was going in the cannon foundry in general and

His part of the project was the lathe. There were a few of them in the factory and in terms of simple mechanics, this one was similar enough to those that were already in use. The main difference for this one was its size, being twice the scale of the older ones and requiring it's own engine to power it. Once that was done, tested and re-tested, it was put to work. A huge barrel was cast and was, cleaned and threaded out on the barrel, the breech and the plug. It was nerve wracking for the crew as their work was put through its trial by fire but to everyone's joy and relief the process seemed to go smoothly and there were no obvious defects.

After things were cleared up, the finished project was loaded up on a special wagon to be taken to the proving grounds to make sure it was functional. It weighed more than 26 tonnes so it required a steam tractor to pull it about. Cibor and a few other guys went to see her off. Hopefully the new 23cm gun would work out well and be put to good use while the gear she set up would be put to good use wherever the Central Committee planned to put her. If that happened, Cibor looked forward to making her sisters.

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(House Valcas Shipyards, Early Spring 35IA)
Like many others, but to a greater degree, Admiral ti'Kalvonin had hoped that by now the Infrastructural Colony and Convoy on the Southwestern Continent would now have been reduced to ash, rusting wrecks and charred skeletons by the Raptors as a silver lining to the loss of twelve ships under her command for minimal enemy casualties. Moreover, they were likely going to bring their convoys back up to their previous strength less regularly, making their fleet even harder to assail. If she was going to accomplish her goal without taking on enough casualties so that her house will have made some powerful enemies, she needed something to level the playing field. She heard that House Valcas had a project in the works which might tip the scales in their favor and for once she was glad to have to present a case before the Valnothron Council as it meant that she could see this new development as it was being assembled.

Getting in on this did require some effort in writing letters and pulling a few political strings, but after a few days she managed to get things cleared. When she arrived, she was greeted by Lady Nallorenth ti'Valcas and met with the expected courtesies that one great house reserved for members of other great houses to which they had no outstanding alliances or grudges and was visiting in some official military capacity. There were complex protocols in place and she obeyed them and the fact that they were done in luxury and comfort made them bearable. Even so she knew all too well that part of their function was to serve as a mask for the cutthroat politics to keep the squabbling families from destroying Drow civilization with their petty infighting. One of the things she liked about being at sea was that the fact that on a ship that sort of thing was far less of an issue. Even so, at worst this was a minor hassle to go through to get a look at what she came for.

She was given a brief tour of one of House Valcas' shipyards. It was fairly large complex build around a dry-dock that had a larger than usual number of cranes and in which some large bits of wood , around which was several factories and several warehouses. Numerous chains led to the ceiling in which shafts turned endlessly driven by some unseen engine and bringing motion to whirring lathes and other machines of that like, as well as a few other machines which hammered at steel, another one was a foundry, in which steel and iron were cast and worked. She attempted to catalogue what she could, but things moved quickly. Finally she was taken to a section of a warehouse where, from a rail system on the ceiling by means of a set of chains was suspended a black slab of iron.

"We have launched a frigate a few weeks ago which we outfitted with a steam engine and have several more under construction for various buyers." Saljias knew of these, shipbuilders in Galthirith and Cendolliath at least were working on similar projects while the Venoans had at least a couple dozen Steam Galleys in service "A useful addition, but ultimately we feel those to be a stepping stone. Infrastructural Cannon fire can easily turn a wooden hull to splinters. Something more durable is needed. This was one of several test plates we made for the hull, all of which managed to resist 10 Vaul cannon fire using the new projectiles at close range. Our foundries are now in the process of producing these in bulk for our next project, commissioned by the Valnothron government." The lady pulled aside the metal plate, revealing a blueprint. "This is what these plates are for."

The image, while simplified, depicted was fairly small, being little over 130 feet long (ram included) and fairly low to the water, enough to qualify her as a brig. She still had sails, something that Infrastructurals only bothered with on their civilian ships and carried 19 cannons.

The Lady continued "She will be wooden for the most part internally with iron plating. If what the engineers tell me is correct, she should have a top speed of four to six Leagues under engine power." This was less than what a ship of this size could do with wind mages filling her sails, at least over short distances and leaving aside the matter of weight.

"How long until she is ready?" Saljias asked.

"Unfortunately we are not sure about that. The slaves are being worked night and day on this project, but this is new ground after all and we need to approach this with some caution. From my reports, it should be completed within about nine months to a year's time. After which, we will give her some sea trials. Depending on how well she turns out, we will continue our plans on one of several possible courses."

"Very well" Saljias was satisfied for the moment. Exactly what the government had planned for the new Ironclad that they were working on was still uncertain. Still, she hoped that it was transferred to her command. Having metal hulled warships of her own would level the playing field somewhat against the Infrastructural Navy.

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(Near Lake Vera, Early Spring 35 IA)
Even though Infrastructure was at war with the Dark Elves, this did not effect Poskin Celonsleb that much. He lived on a farm near a hub town on the coast of Lake Vera. A couple more fellows signed up for the army, a couple more signed up for the navy, the flow of coal, charcoal and iron through the village on onto paddlesteamers and sleds for the winter ice roads had increased, the price of coal went up and more people went to the mines on winter work, but for many people the winter was just like any other winter and now it began to conclude. The days grew longer, the ice on the lake cracked and broke up and the snow began to melt. This, as always was met with mixed feelings. On the one hand people were grateful that the weather was not so lethal any more. On the other hand, it meant that there would be a lot of work to do in wet cold mud, which nobody liked.

He was suprised one evening when the town's Bureaucrat came by for an unexpected and bizzare meeting. He came by with a bag, from which he took out a ruler and measured Poskin's feet as well as his wife's and his brother's. This got a laugh out of the children and puzzlement out of the adults. As he worked, he wrote the numbers down in a book and finally produced from the bag a pair of black shoes.

"Poskin Celonsleb. On behalf of the Central Committee, I present to you a pair of waterproof shoes from the southwestern continent."

He took them and inspected them. They were shoes, but strange. They were made out of a black material, soft, elastic, smooth and flexible. A bit like leather, a bit like wax. They were all one piece with the only seem being at the collar, which was sewn in to hold a string.

"What are they made of?" Poskin asked

"'Rubber', a type of tree sap."

"Well well well. Why thank you." Poskin said. It was an unexpected gift and he was still wondering what to make of it. Never the less Coldlanders were in the habit of giving and receiving gifts.

"My pleasure." The Bureuacrat replied. "Some time in the next month or so, I'll come by to get your opinion on these. But for now, i'll be off. Farewell." He got to his feet, bowed slightly and the waste and made his way to the door.

"Thanks for coming by." His wife had said.

He tried them about his small home and they were not uncomfortable, though unfamiliar. Even so, having to make do with a variety of home made hand-me-down shoes for most of his life Poskin could live with that.

When he woke up the next day, he had some work to do. He got a fair bit to do outside to get ready for planting, which meant mucking about in the mud. He took notice of the new shoes and put them on. As he walked and worked, he noticed that his feet remained bone dry. He even stepped in puddles and stood in them for a bit. He knew that oiled leather could get similar results, but this black rubber stuff was at least as good. If they had to send men half way around the world to get these, it was well worth the trip.

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(Daagsgrad, Spring, 35 IA)
In Daagsgrad at a Netmaker's shop, two men carefully unloaded a wagon and took a few boxes and some bales of hemp from a wagon and carried them downstairs into a root cellar. An enforcer saw this activity, but paid it no special attention. It was just a routine part of the day to day activities of the city. Never the less the men who were unloading the cart took quiet notice and were put on edge until he walked around the corner. The shop keep took notice of this, but did not comment. He paid the two of them in silver and had his eldest son Ivor put away the material.

He put away tins and pots of resins, metal latches and other such things first and stashed the hemp in sacks. After which, he put up a plate over the small ground level windows, lit a few candles for light pushed aside a few crates, removed a few flagstones and planks, reveiling a rough shallow hidden compartment. Little more than a ditch with a piece of old felted cloth on top of it. He opened the remaining boxes and a number of wrapped packages in the bales and extracted a number of firearms.

This was not the first time he was involved in this activity. This basement was also home to a few kegs of gunpowder and a few boxes of musket balls, percussion caps and bullet moulds stored in boxes, as well as a pair of muskets in a special part of a wardrobe. When his father was his age these had been used to hide wine, spices and the odd batch of crossbow bolts to get them past the custom offices and their tariffs for a modest price. Now these smuggler's connections were being used to help in the coming uprising against the Infrastructurals, which if it was to have any hope of success needed to be able to shoot back against the Infrastructural forces with Drow assistance. The flow of guns into the city had been slow, but steady, even if the guns were an odd mixture of designs although the journeyman netbringer only had a small glimpse of this.

Most of the guns which were being brought in were pistols, a fair number of them revolvers but slightly more them wer single shot. Some of those being breech loading, but more of them being muzzleloading caplock affairs with a couple of flintlocks. These were easier to bring in, easier to hide and were seen as better suited for city fighting. Never the less, there were a few rifles as well, both muzzleloaders as well as breechloaders. The weapons which the Dark Elves were sending to Daagsgrad were largely bought from foreign arms merchants or were plunder, along with some obsolete weapons from their armouries which they figured would be best put to use in the Rebel’s hands. Never the less, the Dark Elves did have a special line of weapons specially made for the resistance. They were single shot caplock rifled muskets with short barrels and a detachable stock which screwed into the back. These could be taken apart into two component bits and reassembled when needed, making them easy to smuggle in and hide.

Ivor set each of these guns down onto the sheet until it was full, at which point he put back the lid and it's supports and moved the boxes on top of it. A couple more he hid in another compartment. There was still room for a few more pistols and he told his father as much. The sight of the weapons lying there had made him Anxious. He longed for the day when he could use those guns to kill a few Infrastructurals. If the armies of Dalatyr had never marched onto the Black Ports, both his uncles would have been alive and the slave girls that family's old wench had begotten would have been of age by now and he could have taken them any time he liked. Ivor would make them pay for murdering his kin and (at least by the ways that he saw the world) relegating him to celibacy.

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(Drow sloop Vardil zi'Toncalis, Port of Galthirith, Early Summer 35 IA
Due to the constant and fairly cutthroat competition between houses and individuals the Dark Elves were not a trusting people. They were raised to be wary of the motives of their superiors and partners outside of their extended families. There were rules which restrained some of this behaviour so that their societies did not rip themselves apart from constant in-fighting and bloodshed in the streets, but this cultivated more subtle means of backstabbing and betrayal. Aboard the Sloop Dainve-zi'Toncalis (Dagger of House Toncalis), part of the anti-Infrastructural fleet Slave Driver Vardil zi'Toncalis was no exception and quickly worked out that his superiors had plans which were not in his best interest in June.

It started with some delays in getting new supplies, though at the time this was put down to someone at some level screwing up. The big thing that got him and a few of his shipmates talking was when four of the ship's ten cannons were volunteered by the captain for some ballistics experiment. This was a bit out of character for her, but apparently she was getting well paid for it. But his suspicions were spiked when a large part of the slave section of the crew were taken off the ship for the time being. Apparently more than half of them had apparently contracted some disease and were taken away for quarantine, examination and treatment for the next month or so on the admiral’s orders. A similar but apparently unrelated outbreak happened on a couple of other sloops as well. To keep the ships' strength up until then, some replacements were soon brought in.

Most of the forty four slave sailors that had been infected were fairly skilled ones, drilled, possessing more technical skills like carpentry and had at least a few years sailing experience at least and were mostly in good health. What they got in replacement was a poor substitute to say the least. There was but thirty of them, but that was the beginning of the problem. Half of them were at least an eye, arm or a leg short at least, a fair number of them were old, many of them were badly whipped and a couple had a look which all slave drivers were trained to notice and loathe above all else, that of defiance. When he asked them what they did before they said they worked at logging camps, as street sweeps, scrap scavengers in workshops, cobble layers, label stickers, ash sweepers who hacked and coughed up black spittle and cart loaders. The closet to a sailor in that lot was that one of the belligerent ones worked a as stevedore. Old, broken and problematic. Working in a couple such wretches into the crew during war time was one thing, but to have half of the ship's slaves replaced with this lot was insane. When he asked the captain about this, she said she did not like this but it was only a temporary measure just in case.

To get that rabble into something approaching ship shape, the captain had them doing some manoeuvres with four other sloops for practice for a few days. Strangely enough, this was under the command of Lieutenant ti'Baltilos while ten of the Dainve-zi'Toncalis's senior Drow crew members and all twelve of the marines were absent. Things proceeded well enough even though Vardil gave out more lashes in five days than he had done in the last three months at sea. The problem was that near the end of a week at sea, they were given an order to join up with the rest of the fleet, which was now moving out to intercept an Infrastructural Convoy.

As soon as word of this went through his mind, his suspicions were confirmed about what was planned. The lack of re-supply, the crew being reduced, the padding with unqualified slaves and the cannons being removed. This ship was not to be used as a sword to strike down the enemy, they were cutting their losses because they were sending this into battle specifically to be expended.

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In July of 35 IA, a convoy was readied and set sail for the colony. Six cargo ship under escort of seven warships, once again a full escort. The news of the Raptors and their treaties with the Drow States had improved morale across Infrastructure and nowhere was this more pronounced than with the convoy's sailors and settlers, even though there was still some concern about how far the Drow were willing to take this war, their confidence was further buoyed up by the fact that they were once again traveling with nearly twice the protection.

The same could not be said about Admiral ti'Kalvonin and those under her command. Many had guessed that the Infrastructural, in less of a rush to develop their colony's defences would send out larger and more heavily defended convoys and the spy reports bore this out. While most of the losses had been replenished, the Admiral deemed that it was still insufficient to best the convoy's escorts and that. She made the case that more ships would be needed. Never the less she only managed to coax a few more ships out of them while being told to attack the Infrastructural Fleet as soon as possible.

As such, under pressure from her superiors launched a second attack as it made it's way westward to intercept the Infrastructural Fleet. She did manage to get the Infrastructural fleet caught in a pincer movement with fog cover, but after a few salvos she ordered a with drawl and her fleet pulled off and returned, as such she pulled off after losing only three sloops which she had put into the front ranks of her formation. These sloops being three of four such ships which had been placed at the front of the formation which had been re-crewed to minimize the loss of valuable resources. What survivors could be found were rescued. She still received a lot of ire from her superiors for this move. By the conditions of the coalition, the commanding officer was able to order a withdrawal after the battle had begun if they deemed the tactical scenario was hopeless. Never the less, she was relieved of command and eventually replaced with a more aggressive and ambitious commanding officer.

After spending a few weeks anchored by Colony-1, the Convoy returned to the Coldlands with the cargo ships that had been left behind last time. Another convoy was organized in February of 36 IA, in which they were assailed by a Drow fleet of forty six ships. Like Admiral Ti'Kavonin's last attack he used a pincer formation and fog screen. Of that fleet, twenty seven ships were destroyed before the admiral's flagship was destroyed and the rest of the fleet broke and scattered. The convoy suffered only some minor damage and casualties from cannon fire and a magically conjured wave.

Ultimately, however this failure to intercept the Infrastructural Fleet managed to convince the coalition's leadership that at this moment attempting to sever the link between the Coldlands and Infrastructure's growing colony by destroying their convoys at sea was a waste of ships and manpower. Raids on Infrastructure's coastline and general commerce was a much more fruitful endeavour, if still risky. But ultimately they began to muster their military resources to put a permanent end to the Central Committee's efforts.

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(Borogskov Garrison, spring, 36 IA)
General Sven Smedth's job was a rather stressful one, in no small part because even after all he had been through he felt under-qualified for the task placed in front of him. At sea the Navy held supremacy (even though the Drow had only sent a fraction of their total assets against them) but on land things were a different matter. Drow warriors were able to beat Infrastructural soldiers with equal numbers, especially when they got to close quarters. Moreover, what he had read about the history. They have had no shortage of brilliant tacticians and strategists who could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat even when outnumbered. Sven knew that he had become an icon of the Infrastructural Army, their great general who had laid waste to host after host of warriors. In truth the big leveller of the playing field was weaponry and his skills as a tactician were merely adequate, strictly by the book and most of his command experience involved sticking to the plans which Drive provided him. It was still his duty to defend infrastructure and he would do it, but he was still worried about it. He was hardly alone; the entire army was waiting for the time when the Drow would make their move.

As such it was a most welcome turn of events when Natasha came up to his unit along with a few new machines which, if all things worked out as planned, tip the scales a bit more in their favour. Her job was to see that his troops knew how to operate them and keep them in working order and as always she was diligent at her job. Never the less, they made sure to set aside some time for each other at dinner.

Being an general had its privileges, among them being his own private dining room, some sway over the kitchen staff and his personal Stewart Maneg. As such for this occasion he pulled out all the stops. At 7:00 Maneg led her in.

"Father!" She said as she hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. "It has been too long!"

"It has, oh it has. Now please have a seat, everything is ready Maneg?"

"Indeed sir."

"Well then let’s get started."

The first course was hot borscht with sour cream. While they went through the soup they talked a bit about Dalatyr, in particular her mother (who was doing well enough even though she was longing for her husband), her brothers and sisters (who had been doing alright at their schoolwork or careers), Natasha's husband Oleg (a good hearten but quiet and shy baker who had been getting along alright despite the fact that she did not see him nearly as much as she wanted), her daughter Sanya (a four year old with a mind far to devious for a such a small and adorable little girl), Sven's father Boris (who was getting ill in old age) and a few of their friends in Dalatyr. After that came the main body of the meal: beefsteaks, baked potatoes, green beans and tomatoes. This was accompanied with some Nyconian Wine, part of a small store which he had picked up once the war began.

Eventually the conversation moved onto their respective jobs. Both of them had an interest in what the other did. Sven saw a possible way that his life might have gone if someone else had been promoted in his place while Natasha still saw him as a hero after all these years.

"How are the troops doing?"

"Well dear, there's only so much I'm allowed to say about that even to family. So forgive me if I don't satisfy your curiosity. What I can tell you is that they are a bit on edge, but still ready for battle. We've got some new horses a few months ago, a fair number of them from over the border and some of the footsloggers to be horseboys. Making that switch takes some time. But how about those new vehicles that you came with?"

"That's a bit complex, dad. They all have been tested and work and we have tweaked them here and we worked out a few problems as went. The newer ones are better than the older ones, largely because latex bits have been damn useful in a lot of places. But still they could work alot better and by the gods they're finicky things. Now teaching your guys how to keep these things working is another matter. No offense."

"None Taken," Sven replied "lots of them have never seen anything more complex than a pistol before."

"Well still, I put a lot of sweat into these new steamers and I want the guys who are taking care of them to respect them and do their jobs right. I don't want to here that they ended up broken beyond repair due to a lack of proper care, especially when they had their crew inside."

"I'll second that."

Natasha then looked at her wineglass. "I wonder if it's just fruit they use to make wine or if they spice it with stuff?"

"I don't know about that," Sven said "I just know that I like it and it goes well with meat."

"We'll Ill drink to that!" She said raising her glass.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2014-08-25 05:13pm

(Nosqilp Lands, Southwestern Continent, Spring 36 IA)
Some four hundred and twenty two kilometers up river from Colony-1, to the North and off a tributary lay in a hilly region the main town of the Nosqilp tribe. It was large by the standards of the region, having a population of about seven thousand people living in it's rough but serviceable stone and earth walls and was the hub for the other villages of the tribe. It stood in an area of rolling hills where humans made their mark on the land with agriculture. Mostly the usual staples of the region, but also a large number of orchards which were the foundation of the Tribe's trade income. The Nosqilp were renowned for their skills in rubbersmithery. This had brought them both wealth (and a fair bit of unwanted attention from Gosho hosts). In the last couple years this included some strange newcomers known as Infrastructurals. First this was done through merchants like Dloqua of Isntam who went down river seasonally to sell the town's wares and came to their Colony, but eventually they began to come to them. First with Dloqua on her barge, latter with their own.

Like most peoples in the region, the people of the Nosqlip tribe elected their leaders. At the wet equinox, each of the tribe's thirteen clans selected a Josruil ('Speaker' in their tongue) for the village council to represent them in the tribe's council, one of which the tribe voted one to be a Yagnalp ( 'One which was agreed upon') to serve as an executive. Folsqan of Kashtiin had been the Yagnalp for six years running, mostly because he knew how to make and use a good impression. He loved food and drink as much as anyone, as his belly could attest, but he was also generous and was good at putting people at their ease. A fair number of outlanders saw this as merely being a good natured glutton, but that hid an ability to read people and a shrewdness for persuasion, deal making and delegation. In general he was a solid leader. Even so it did not take a great leader to recognize the opportunity that the Infrastructurals presented, even if their orders were odd.

One day an Infrastructural barge came up the river using it's strange cauldron thing to push it along. They soon landed and got about buisiness, led by a woman clad mostly in black as well as a few porters. They were soon let through the gate and into the town proper. They were strange folk, being pale and with vibrant hair colors. Their leader's was a coppery red which she insisted was natural. Their dress and the language they spoke to each other in were utterly alien to him. They wrote everything down on sheets of a white substance. But despite all that they were excellent customers.

"Venerable Yagnalp" she said in an uneasy and heavily accented version of the Delta Dialect "with the command of 'Discovery' we come to trade. To give and take away."

"Well met my dear." He said ignoring the mangling of innocent words with good grace. "Your order has been met and our wares are packed up safe and sound." The Infrastructural mostly were interested in rubber tubes and belts made to very specific specifications. They bought regular goods such as shoes, gloves and both varieties of sheaths as well, but they were most keen on those two things. "And you have our payment."

"Yes." The Infrastructural Woman said briefly, not hazarding embarrassment. "All of it for our cargo."

"Excellent!" He said happily. What the Infrastructurals traded for rubber was well worth their oddities. Solid steel armor of exceptional durability, crossbows and crossbow bolts, swords, steel arrowhead, metal pots, rulers, these needle things which always pointed north and other such things. Things that could keep his tribe and it's lands safe at least. "You must be hungry after a long journey! Once your barge is loaded, we'll have you and your men fed and we can talk some more about our next order."

"It are pleasure" she said happily.

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(Valnothron Citadel, Spring 36 IA)

In the heart of the city of Valnothron was its Citadel. A vast fortress and the seat of it's government. It had store houses, armories, parade grounds, mage's quarters and workshops, war rooms, the state's most infamous torture chambers and dungeons, courtrooms, grand halls, dining halls, barracks, slave dormitories and offices. Both those which were operated mainly by Dark Elves and those operated by mainly by slaves.

Han Manvinson was one of these as a calculator, living a life of quiet monotony in the Citadel's walls adding figures up. To keep the war up against The Eternal Foe the Dark Elves kept extensive records of all the resources they had in their lands to get the most out of them. This meant there was always work foe him to do. He lived a life better than most slaves and was more or less content with things the way they were. He had been given a wife and they had made two sons and two daughters. He was quite proud that his eldest was sold off for three hundred and forty six scimitars to house Valcas a year ago, Citadel trained scribes were highly prized, even though it meant he would in all likelihood never see him again.

In his cramped scriptorium he worked on his various projects, adding up figures and sending them out to their destinations. He had several things going at once, as usual was adding up figures for this year's Spider Silk production when he had a bundle of new papers. A few of which were marked as high priority for the military and were from other states. As such he began. It involved commitments of soldiers to an ongoing war by various foreign houses against a nation called "Infrastructure". As usual they were left in the Dark about this beyond the usual lines that they were agents of The Eternal Foe was that they were unusually powerful for said minions, had just arisen and had an affinity for steel. There were other rumors about them as well, ranging from those that he could believe (like them having a fondness for muskets, cannons and wearing heavy steel armor) to the less credible (that they were lead by metal golems and could see through invisibility spells). Even so he had been tasked with crunching of numbers.

He added up what forces were being pledged quickly, made some calculations based on the rough quality of the troops listed and found out that they added up to just over the mark he was given. As such, he signed the proper notes, put his notes into a cylinder and given his instructions he made his way quickly to the Coalition's war room. At first he thought that he would just drop it off with the secretary and be done with it. He did not expect to see Lady Valcas walking to a meeting in the corridor near it.

"Most high Mistress!" He said as he bowed and faced the floor, holding up the cylinder. "I bare your report on troop commitments. The army that you called to be gathered has been pledged!"

She took the cylinder, "Finally some good news." She said in a pleased tone of voice "Return to your post." He bowed even further and scurried back. It might be the case that he would receive a minor reward for giving this report. Whatever the Infrastructurals were, soon they would soon be laid to waste.

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(Daagsgrad Shipyards, Spring 36 IA)

Electrician Inna Jorgeva screwed in another bracket to the wall to fasten a length of wire to the wall for a ship's lighting system. Once that was done, she would put them under some coverings to keep them safe from damage. It was one of the more tedious parts of the job and unfortunately there was plenty of it to do, but it was her job and she did it as well as possible. She still preferred this to mucking about in the fields by far, leaving aside the fact that she made twelve credits a day, leaving aside bonuses and overtime. Though she was collecting this more often than she wanted given the pace that war production was going.

Around her was the constant purposeful sounds of the shipyards working full tilt. Since she could do this fairly easy job in her sleep she took notice of how it was subtly different than the other yards where she had been working. What ship was being built, at what stage it's construction was at, where it was being put together and at what time of the year had a distinct effect on the background sounds of ships being put together. The work on this monster which she was working for the last had a sound all of it's own, distinct from all the others. She had worked on more vessels than most yard workers did by a large margin given her skills. As an electrician her work mostly happened after a ship was at least well into it's construction cycle and mostly as it was approaching completion, even if most of them were shchuka boats.

She was looking forward to tonight as it would be the first time in three weeks that she would see Yuna. The war had made both of their workloads heavier and kept them apart. Still, from everything she had heard the war was going well. The Drow could only loose so many ships before they realized that these raids were a pointless endeavor and throw in the towel. When that happened she was planning on using some of that money which she had been saving up to do something real nice for that wonderful Bureaucrat. But until that happy day came, she had warships to build.

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(Guest Barracks, Hansoliath, Spring 36 IA)

Talis zi'Yonlas stood before a simple podium with a ledger at the gates of Hansoliath's third guest barracks compound. She was a clerk in service to house Yonlas, doing various tasks which the household gave her. She found it a boring job, but to someone who survived on the streets the first twenty years of her life and being on campaign, boredom was an easily bared state of affairs. Her sister Alvenai could build up the glory, Talis was content in bringing up a family in modest comfort and getting the start of a low house going. The last week she was put here to keep track of the flow of things in and out of the barracks. Food, beer, rum, soap, powder for target practice and similar all came through while she checked their papers and took note of it. What this was for arrived on this day in June.

Around ten in the morning a slave courier who dropped off a note which simply stated that they had arrived in the harbor. By lunchtime two captains came by, both from Valnothron. They were both young, headstrong and was determined to go forward in the world and become the next great general. He exchanged with her the appropriate papers, which were signed and he marched back the other way. Then their two companies of Janissaries marched in.

They marched through the gate single file, two hundred and forty fighting men. They were impressive in their way, but that was a very rough one. Their clothes were ragged from wear and were of a rough make to begin with, there armor was a hodgepodge of different designs had clearly seen action while the faces of most of the Janissaries were worn and scarred. Much of the armor had been taken off fallen enemies, though some modifications had been made. Most of them had no back armor to keep them marching forward, as was usual for Janissaries All their helmets had a blade attached to the front for headbutting, a feature that was a trademark of the Valnothron Janissary Corps. They smelled, as to be expected of soldiers cramped up in a ship's hold for days on end. Hopefully they would be sent straight to the bathhouse. Each of them had a new rifle with a blade mounded under the barrel and a typical Janissary sword sword. These were seasoned veterans, survivors of numerous battles on the frontlines and most likely were bred from Janissary stock by what she saw. Hansoliath and what she had heard Galthirith and a couple other states had begun to invest more into issuing their jannissaries with better made uniforms replaced more frequently in the last ten years. This was apparently more hygienic and apparently improved the performance a bit. Even so, she could understand why Valnothron had resisted that bit of modernization. She knew that Janissaries were inferior soldiers to Drow Warriors, but even so she could appreciate how a relentless wave of scarred battle hardend slave soldiers who had clearly survived battle after battle would definitely be an intimidating sight.

These were the first to arrive. More were to arrive soon enough. Most likely most of them would be less experienced and would be raw recruits that had been inducted into their nation's Janissary Corps. A few groups of foreign Drow warriors had also arrived in recent days and more would come as well. From all she heard Infrastructure had a powerful army, it would take a lot of force to overcome it.

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(Outside of the Borogskov Garrison, early summer 36 IA)

Shortly after war stared Issov Hamniv signed up for the army like many people in Dalatyr. He went through the standard eight weeks of basic training, but unlike the rest of his platoon he had previous experience which earned him a position with the logistical position as a roadsteamer driver. It was a bit of a change from operating a steambus, but he got the hang of it. Mostly he picked up supplies from the surrounding farmland and brought them back to base, as well as move around some personnel and equipment. He did this job for about six months before he was promoted and transferred to a new program driving some new experimental vehicles.

It was a rough job which was done largely in secret, sending the various prototypes through their paces and working out problems with the Engineers. Many of them had some refinement done after the completion of the tests and there was a few. They tested how the worked on regular level ground, snow, ice, gravel, sand, mud, hills, rocks and logs in addition to speed tests, turning tests and so forth. This was often dangerous work. Issov had flipped over several times and had broken a couple of ribs and he was lucky that this was the. One of his fellows trial drivers was killed after a crash. A couple more were discharged due to serious injuries. After that came a few more specialized trials. Eventually, after considerable tweaking and a demonstration to Drive himself they were deemed fit for service and Issov found himself part of the First Motorized Company along with a hundred other people and sent to join General Smeth's "Mobile Reserve".

Once they arrived the First Motorized Company found themselves in an awkward posistion. For security reasons, they were kept away from the rest of the men while their vehicles were kept out of sight. Even so, from what he had gathered they were the talk of the town amongst the men who did everything they could to get a glimpse of the vehicle fleet. This was a bit awkward, but he could deal with it. He knew that at least some of them were trying to get a look as they rolled out for this day's practice maneuvers, even if they did leave before dawn.

Issov enjoyed driving his vehicle all things considered. She was much more powerful than either the steambus or the army steam Lorry and the alcohol burning engine was cleaner to boot. She still had her faults and issues and needed a lot of love and care from skilled technicians, but he could live with that. She had her myriad noises but these grew on him. He did get rattled around a fair bit off road, but he put that down to the fact that any wheeled vehicle would not do well off road in his experience. Even so, he winced as he ran over an unusually large rock. He knew that the vehicle's other occupant, Uleg had less of a stomach for such jolts though Issov put that down to experience and the fact that he has a worse seat back there.

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(Venoa, Summer 36 IA)

Bureaucrat (Level 7) Aulis Freydornov's job had been getting more and more difficult over the last two years, he had worked with Infrastructure's Embassy in Venoa for the past seven years managing trade. For the most part in Venoa and the surrounding environs people bought Infrastructural goods brought down south via state owned merchant ships through the Embassy either directly or with a merchant middle man. They paid in gold and silver, or in a few lucky cases Credits. He, on behalf of Infrastructure spent them on Saltpeter, Iron, Steel, Copper, Zinc, Bronze, Brass, Chromium and a few other metals which the dwarves dealt in, either as ore, ingots, or scrap metal and sent it back to the Coldlands. His job was to make sure that a sufficient amount of those things went north. There were plenty of Venoans and other people from the area who wanted what Infrastructure was selling while mines and metal dealers fought to make contracts to fill up his quotas.

The war, however, made his life a lot more complex. Shipyards, armories and factories all needed materials to keep them humming more than ever to keep the military supplied and so his quotas had been tripled. He correctly guessed that Infrastructure's mines were being expanded as quickly as possible, but that took time and meant that a lot more mining machinery was needed, as well as machines to make and support those machines. The Coldlands were sending him more weapons and sales profits had actually gone up a bit, as well as a fair bit of gold and silver (for the first eight months or so), but despite that the sales were eating up money at a remarkable rate. This was made all the worse by the fact that prices were going up. Admittedly the price of most metals had been steadily going up in value ever since he had arrived, but in the last two years it had taken a sudden jump. Then there was the matter of hiring more ships to take it to Daagsgrad and Borogskov. A few of the Captains he had relied on beforehand were unwilling to risk interception by Dark Elves while the rest demanded higher rates because of that hazard. Not that he could blame them, as some of the ships he hired never returned. The best he could do to cut costs at his was send some of the loads to Norgensburg and let the guys up them sort out the rest of the voyage, which had its own problems with delays and markup. He had also had a few of the more valuable loads insured, though this still cost money in the long run. To keep his quota filled, he had to take measures he had been authorized to do, but did not like.

At ten in the morning he made his way to a building in the central city of Venoa. It was modestly decorated for the standards, though it did have a pair of well outfitted guards. The inside was more ornate and definitely well made, though still subdued by the standards of Venoan elites. The fact that the air was pleasantly cool was a subtle indicator that Elvish builders were employed to do some of the work in it's construction. A servant led him upstairs to an office in which sat a short rounded fat man with a light brown beard in red and yellow. His name was Vintenzio Di'Hanseti and he was the head of one of Venoa's wealthiest families. He owned some lands and a few ships and operated them profitably, but that was just the foundation of a more profitable financial business.

"Good morning, Enlightened Bureaucrat!" Vintenzio said Jovially as the door to his office clicked shut "I've read your note and would love to discuss matters. May I offer you a drink?"

"Yes, tea with lemon would be fine."

"Very well, it will be here shortly. Now about your request, I believe that an arrangement could be made. Your merchandise is profitable to be sure. Even so, you should understand that I have some concerns given your conflict with the Drow."

"Signore, a man of your stature and resources must be informed of the situation. Every time Infrastructures Ironclads met their fleets we have sent their ships running or to the ocean's floor. Their attempts to seal off our ports from trade have been futile. As long as our factories are kept well supplied to make more of them, we can withstand their attacks."

"Well enough and I hope that you continue to enjoy victory in this conflict that has beset your new country, but even so you will forgive me if I still have some worries about the position of your people, as well concerns over the trade situation." Aulis got the message, he thought that the Drow might overrun the Coldland and people under the yoke of the Dark Elvish Empire tend to be slaves.

“We could arrange for you to get a discount on our wares. Distribution of our goods is a proven profitable venture.”

“Indeed it is and I will say that it does go a decent way to relieving my concerns.”

Aulis put down a folder "If you need some more assurance, we can provide some collateral."

Vintenzio soon opened up the folder and looked through the notes with photographs. "Oh, guns and artillery."

"Type-3R/c Bolt Action rifles and Type-3P/e Pistols” he said proudly “the same models used as the standard service rifle of the army. Eight thousand of them are in the city underneath the embassy at the moment with another four thousand on its way and will arrive within a few weeks. The cannons are eight and twelve centimeter rifled muzzleloaders, cast steel. We have thirty six of these. As for ammunition, we have a few drawing machines. Devices which can take a ribbon of brass or copper and turn out dozens of metal cases and percussion caps a minute. Should you keep the rifles for your own troops you will never want for top quality ammunition, should you sell the rifles you will never want for profit from selling them bullets after the fact.”

“Most impressive, though DiAgnellio has worked out machines which can do the same thing for the Armory.”
Aulis grinned “We have seen these machines. They do work but they are much larger and more more ponderous than our equipment. They are less reliable and less flexible. It's possible for a technician to adjust the caliber of casing one of our drawing machines makes in an afternoon. It would take a major rebuild of the Armory’s machinery over a week at least to do the same.”

“Most intriguing, I must say. If that’s the case, let’s see if we can’t work out this loan of yours.” Vintenzio said as they talked. It went on for the next hour and a half as they went over the various fine details and negotiation was worked out. Eventually they came to a deal which covered a loan of some 250,000 Lyra. At the end they shook their hands on their deal.

Athough Aulis did not know it, this was not the first time this sort of thing had happened. Several other Infrastructural Embassies had taken out loans to cover the expenses of meeting their quotas for raw materials over the course of the war. This would not be the last time, nor would this be the only time he would do so.

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(Tirvalioth Citadel, Summer, 36 IA)

There were nine Drow States, of these four were now at war with Infrastructure. Tirvalioth was not among them. In terms of simple linear mathematics it was the closet Drow State to Infrastructure, but in a more pratical sense furthest, as the distance by sail from it's ports to the coast of the Coldlands was the furthest. Among the consequences of such was the Dark Elves of said realm were not involved in the Black Port's slave trade. The rise of Infrastructure meant a rise in the price of untrained slaves, but mostly meant a bad financial turn for it's rivals to the north and the west while they had their concerns in developing their colonial assets in the Northwestern Continent. As such there was little enthusiasm for a war with the Infrastructurals at this time among the ruling class at this time. If some of their rivals wanted to waste time, money, soldiers and ships in such a conflict against what they viewed as a non critical threat and leave their colonial efforts vulnerable to high elvish attacks, they would gladly sit back watch and sell them a few things while staying out of it. A few of the more bloodthirsty warrior houses objected and had argued for joining in the war from day one in full force saying that was a sign of weakness to do nothing while these upstarts humans and their golem rulers defied Drow power, but they were a minority.

That said, while they were unwilling to commit to the anti-infrastructural coalition and it's obligation there were those among Tirvalioth's powers that be who saw some worthwhile opportunities in the war at the right time. As such, this block managed to convince the government to enter in some non committal negotiations with the anti-infrastructural states. The most prominent of these negotiators was Raelys ti'Hilwaath, a shrewd diplomat who's abilities at persuasion were much valued by the rest of his house, if not their respect for his lack of military service or skill at arms. With some give and take dealings he managed to arrange to come to a decent compromise, both with the foreign powers he was dealing with as well as his state's council. Once that was sorted out, he requisitioned an embassy linkglass for Valnothron be sent his quarters. He send a brief message to a clerk, sat back in his golem chair, had a goblet of his preferred wine and waited, soon lady Talnara ti'Valcas appeared above it.

"Good evening Raelys." She spoke formally, but pleasantly. "I hear you have good news."

"That I do." He waved his hand a certain way shifted his weight slightly and the golem chair walked around the stand on which the glass was placed. A hundred years ago they were all the rage among the greater houses. Nowadays their popularity had faded down to a number of enthusiasts such as himself. "They are willing to give you some aid to your campaigns against the Coldlanders, should all go well."

"Very well. Can I have some specifics."

"Should this attack that you have planned succeed in it's goals, we will open up a second front. We can get either five or six thousand Drow warriors and get the support of ten to twelve thousand Saddleland Horsemen with about half that in their footmen. We'll sail them up the Gash, march to the Northeast and reap their lands for all their worth." Of all the Drow States Trivalioth relied on Janissaries the least. The semi nomadic hosts of horsemen and the agricultural vassals of the Saddlelands yielded some exceptional fighting men.They produced some of the best human cavalry in the world. Both Heavy and Light cavalry and as Lancers, Horse Archers and pistoliers in recent days. The Drow were more than content to let the Saddle Kingdoms fight with one another, as that kept their skills sharped and refined and yielded up a steady supply of slaves. They could not pass the fifty foot tall walls nor the watchtowers which ringed their borders, though there was a couple of pathway which they could cross the Trivalioth river for a steep price. Many warriors of their kind would serve as mercenaries, while the saddle kings would often give over parts of their hordes to serve as cavalry in exchange for runic weapons and armor which they could not make themselves themselves, as well as other goods of practical, pleasurable and profitable natures. Their infantry were substandard peasant levies, admittedly, but that could be overlooked.

"Is this the official policy of your government?" She asked.

"It is. Your diplomatic corps has received a copy."

"Very well. It's about what I hoped for. If nothing else this will make our job someone easier in filling out the ranks we need for the attack."

"From what we have gathered the Coldlands have prospered since the Infrastructurals had taken over and their population has blossomed in spite of their winters. Baring colonial development, this could be one of the most profitable expeditions this century. Of course this is dependent on your success."

"Which we will have." She said firmly and confidently.

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(Port of Hansoliath, Summer 36 IA)

The sheltered port of Hansoliath was packed. A vast number of ships were moored in the city's main and secondary harbours, crowding it's wharfs and jetties, with more coming in every day. There were the usual figures. There were local ships, barges, fishing boats and Hansoliath's warships. There was also usual selection of Merchant ships, privateers and pirates: both Drow and the odd human or occasional renegade dwarvish ship trading, engaging in a business which was generally profitable if often not condoned by their countrymen. In either case most of them would not say in port for long. On top of these usual customers was a larger number of Drow merchant vessels, passenger ships, troop ships and warships from Valnothron, Galthirith and Janilonas. Each of them carried a load of warriors. These ships lay at anchor and every day their number grew, usually with three to five new ships coming in every day with five to seven hundred more Drow Warriors and Jannissaries. A few more troops came in with the regular transportation. The city was the staging ground for what would be one of the largest naval actions in the last fifty years to strike at Infrastructure.

For the most part the rulers of Hansoliath were just fine with this development. The city's master of guard had to deal with a somewhat increased number of Tavern fights and a few fights due to old vendettas, but the city's marketplaces, brewers, taverns, gambling dens, areanas, inns, pleasure houses, restaurants and various outfitters and armorers had a welcome boost in business, which helped offset the costs they were paying for their own commitments to the engagement. Each of the four states in the Coalition had to contribute equally to the cause in terms of simple manpower of both Dark Elves and Janissaries.

In total some eighteen thousand Drow warriors would be in this action as well as some thirty four thousand Janissaries had been committed to the main operation as well as one hundred and forty warships and twice as many civilian ships as transports. Some six thousand more Drow warriors and twelve thousand more Janissaries had been committed to be brought in once the beachhead was established, while more houses would gladly provide more manpower after the ball got rolling with the allure of plunder and slaves. It was clear that any dedicated assault on the Coldlands would be a major undertaking, but numbers was still a major advantage that they had over the Coldlanders and not the only one. The bounty of Infrastructure was a bit more unconventional than gold, silver, artwork and magical artifacts, but even so many of the more pragmatic and ambitious houses realized its usefulness and potential and would be glad to get their share of it.

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(Boot Camp-1, near Dalatyr, late summer 36 IA)

Drive was inspecting a new batch of soldiers which had just completed training near Dalatyr. Such an action improved morale as well as giving him an inclination on how well military training was proceeding. As he did so, he had a conversation with Supernova. The people of Infrastructure knew that the central committee was capable of something they called "silent speech". They knew that it was a ability to hold conversations with each other, even when separated by fairly long distances or while talking verbally, but this was but the beginning of this. They could easily convey vast amounts of data between themselves nearly instantly, including not only words but images, blueprints, mathematical information, recorded sounds, video and more. What they said was summarized as such.

"What's the disposition of the workers in the Greenvale Logging operations?" Drive inquired. There had been some issues in that area mostly relating to the number of people that had been transferred there on labor duty and an increase in accidents. There had been a few incidents.

"It has calmed down somewhat with the pay increase and the removal of some of the worst troublemakers, but even so I would advise caution in that field." This included a fair bit of more detailed information and reports from that front. The institution of Labor Duty was a useful method of bolstering economic production in certain areas and buoying up others which had been compromised, but it was not a popular one. Raising wages also had it's problems, especially since there was less available on the consumer market to buy as production was turned more and more towards military ends. "How is the latest batch of recruits?"

"Above average, if within expected parameters. As expected with an good ratio between instructors and recruits." Since the war began, the Infrastructural Army had expanded to 160,000 soldiers and 150,000 non combat personnel involved in various support functions. The Navy had grown to fifteen thousand sailors (many of which being held in reserve) and forty thousand support staff. This was basically the practical limit that Infrastructure could support while still maintaining other essential projects, though a small number of new soldiers were being trained. Unlike during the Wars of Unification. Even with soldiers doing odd jobs such as building roads and helping bringing in Harvests, the army still consumed far more economic effort than it produced. Each soldier still required the efforts of several people to keep them clothed, fed, armed, armored and otherwise provisioned. Major expansion of the army at this point was not advisable as it would lead to major disruptions. At the same time they were approaching several major bottlenecks, particularly in ammunition production. Most training efforts so far had been around training riflemen to be new Cavalry, Artillery Crews, NCOs and Officers to solidify their army. Infrastructure did not have a bottomless supply of manpower. "They will be more than sufficient to help our defense initiatives. Is there anything on a positive note?"

"We have just filled our quota for volunteer colonists the next two convoys." This was good news indeed, the Petroleum in the Southwestern continent as well as the unexpected boon of latex were both of critical importance and the establishment of a solid foothold was a top priority. The more willing volunteers the better, even if many of them signed up because they heard that the Dark Elves would not attack the colony directly. Even so their opinions were not totally unfounded, given the raw manpower, the martial culture and the wildcard factor of magic wielded by the Drow states assailing them it might come that the Coldlands might have to be abandoned in the future.

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(Daagsgrad, early autumn 36 IA)

Since winter, Janob Gornislab was slowly and steadily developing concerns with Xaris's plan. So far their operations had proceeded without too much incident for them, they got the guns and some of them got training in their use in the forests. The only setbacks so far had been a few shipments of weapons and powder being dumped into the sea. So far, so good. Even so, as time went on he developed concerns. He had heard that the Infrastructural Military had destroyed several Drow fleets at sea from their propaganda as well as the raids they had repulsed, though he had also heard about the villages that were sacked. But this was not about the fact that the Committee's lapdogs being powerful as much as the fact that Xaris continued to insist that they only make their move in conjunction with a Drow attack. Increasingly he wondered if their old friends would show up at all and he knew that he was not alone in this.

Late one autumn night he and the rest of the resistance leaders were to gather to discuss matters. He expected this to be more of the same, discussion about arrangements to getting weapons into the city, stashing them and giving people some training. An important subject, but a fairly tedious one for the most part and one in which he and a few others thought they were being strung along. As usual, the Dark Elf waited quietly in a chair, politely greeting those who came in but otherwise being silent and observing. But once he felt that everyone who was coming had arrived, he got to his feet, walked over to a table and clapped three times to get people's attention. Normally he would pull out a map and some notes from some hidden pocket and get down to business. This time, however he produced a jewel of green quartz in a silver and gold frame and set it down.

"Gentlemen, before we get down to business I have a little activity." he said in his usual manner: smooth and pleasant, but never the less with an imperative undercurrent "This is a truthstone. A magical little something that we have for those occasions when there is a pressing need for honesty. Long story short, if it touches you and you say something you know to be untrue it glows. I invite you to try it: take it, say some mild truth or lie and pass it around until everyone had a go with it. Preferably one you have not told me either way and don't relate the people present." Janob was a bit annoyed with this, but he soon resolved himself to get this farce over as soon as possible. He reached out a pudgy hand and held up the stone.

"My grandmother's name was Branka." He said irritably, while the stone lay there in his hand. "She was a thin woman," again nothing "...and she never hit me or my brothers with a wooden spoon." Suddenly it began to glow. It was not a bright glow but in the gloom of the basement it made his hands green and was quite clear to everyone present. He passed the Truthstone on to a smuggler who said a few lines about his wife and her cooking. By his expression he was convinced himself. It was passed by again and again through the assembled resistance leaders. He was a bit suspicious of the thing, but bit by bit he became more confident

"May I have it back?" He asked calmly after everyone had a go with it. It soon returned "Ah yes, thank you." He said quietly and politely as he held it. "You all know that Drow are able to sense the emotions of those nearby them and I know that in the last few months a few of you gentlemen have begun to develop anxieties and doubts about this plan, most likely pertaining to when our side will play there part. These concerns are understandable, however today I have come to lay them to rest. Two days ago, I have received word from my superiors along with a message to relay to, along with this to set your concerns aside. In a month or two an invasion is coming. Hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of warriors will come this way with the intent of driving the Infrastructurals from The Black Ports to bring back the slave trade." Not once did the stone glimmer. "If they don't come, I have been made as much a fool by my superiors as you have. But I doubt it in any case. The day for our revolution draws near, your work has not been in vain. Now is the time to finalize our plans to take back your city!"

As he heard this, Janob grinned. Some concerns remained to be sure, but even so the it was good to hear that that things were moving along. It was also clear that he was not alone. Whatever caused the Drow's delays had been overcome. Soon he would cut down the committee's minions, burn their halls of lies (after clearing out any valuables of course) and have Daagsgrad restored to it's former glory with him sitting on top.

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HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
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madd0ct0r
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby madd0ct0r » 2014-08-26 09:51am

ahhh, that was a lovely catchup of updates. thanks zod!
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby InsaneTD » 2014-08-26 10:13am

Things are getting interesting.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Borgholio » 2014-08-26 01:07pm

Can't wait to see that "monster" warship they're talking about. Given how the rest of the ships so far have been pre-dreadnought ironclads and armored cruisers, this one could be an actual dreadnought. That would shake things up a bit.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2014-10-22 08:38pm

(Open Sea, Late Autumn 36 IA)

After months of preparation, the time had come for the Drow Coalition to make it's most daring move yet. Their forces had been assembled, provisioned, briefed and loaded onto their ships, which set sail, formed up their ranks and went out to sea to strike at their target. An armada of some four hundred and twenty eight ships in total with more than a hundred thousand soldiers and sailors, a mobile small city at sea and one of the larger naval actions of the last decade. All of which Sailing Eastward for the Icemountain sea to strike at Infrastructure.

The bulk of the fleet moved in a single large formation flanked by two smaller ones. On the outside of the main formation was a hundred warships, sleek predators built for speed and armed to the teeth. Black hulled and fearsomely adorned to strike terror in their enemies, no one could mistake them for being anything other than weapon. Frigates, brigs and sloops were the most common, though there were a few dozen ships of the line. A number of the newer smaller warships were outfitted with experimental steam engines. The civilian ships say in the center and were surrounded. For the most part these looked more conventional in their appearance. A fair number of them were made by human states either being bought or taken in warfare, but others were built in Drow shipyards. This allowed them to elude High Elves and others such hostiles as well as making it easier when they needed to do business with the more receptive humans. All of which made as good speed as possible Northwest so they could fall on their prey.

Such an undertaking was a major action and required colossal amounts of planning, encompassing everything from planned avenues of attack to supplies. A few ships committed to the war effort were still under construction when they were formally committed, most notably Valnothron's Raeltis (Bodkin). There also was the matter of weather, as the Icemountain Sea could be hostile in the dead of winter. This nicely coincided with Infrastructural activity. They launched after an infrastructural convoy had made its way passed the straights of Nalmros for the southwestern continent and most importantly would be thousands of miles away by the time they descended upon the black ports. Admiral Qiulnaj ti Zaelros had kept that bit of decision making limited to his senior staff, they had no need to know that and it would be seen as being cowardly among some of the more bloodthirsty of his warriors.

The objectives of this force was simple, establish a beachhead in the Coldlands and cut off Infrastructure's access to the sea by depriving them of the Black Ports with some minor assistance from rebelling locals. The cities themselves had plenty worth collecting. By all reports half Daagsgrad's and Borogskov's current population was now Infrastructural lackies, freed slaves and peasants brought in from the south to man the shipyards, mills and foundries, run things, keep the natives in line, make the natives reject their old ways and so forth. There were also a few turncoats. Most of them would fetch a good price. This was leaving aside the the inanimate plunder. There was not much silver or gold in the two cities nor was there an abundance magnificent artwork or items of craft. However, some of the merchant houses had taken a keen interest in the machines of Infrastructure and how they were made. As for the natives they would be spared the collar, at least for now.

The rebel leaders would be given the reigns of their cities once they left, as well as a few gifts to solidify the bonds and they would be left to squabble over the remains and leftovers while a few companies of volunteers would be recruited to bolster their forces. Once the Black Ports was secured, they could get a decent number of reinforcements over the winter months, push south to Dalatyr while reaping the villages along the way and then wipe the Committee and their glorified shanty town off the face of the world. Afterwards they would leave, it was not worth the effort to hold the magical desert of the Coldlands. Without their central leadership, local leaders would soon carve out their own fiefs and would eventually begin fighting each other. When they did they would take captives and would look for any advantage they could against their enemies. And lo, to the north would be the black ports who would sell weapons and foreign luxuries for human chattel. In fifty years Coldlands would be a realm of small warring kingdoms rather than the petty village warlords that it had been, but that mattered not. In the end the slave markets of Daagsgrad and Boroskov would be full again and Infrastructure a lost golden age that the children of warlords turned kings will keep stocked while boasting about their attempts to restore it.

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(Icemountain Sea, Coastal Waters, Late Autumn 36 IA)

Everyone aboard SB-101 (Guardfish) was grateful for clear skies and relative calm. Even at the best of times life aboard a Shchuka Boat was cramped, uncomfortable and wet while the Icemountain Sea often had winds and rain. They still had three days left to go before setting in at Borogskov and Lieutenant Koreg Vladovich noticed that the crew was beginning to get antsy. He was looking forward to a hearty dinner with fresh bread washed down with a hot mug of winter beer with four weeks on shore before the next patrol. Until then, a day without too much chop was most welcome. So far, inexperience and bad weather had been a greater threat to Shchuka boats on coastal patrols then the Dark Elves.

As usual, their had been no sighting of anything more dangerous than a few cargo ships. Some of the crew were disappointed with this. If their was one thing that the Shchuka Boys loved doing more than anything else it was showing their fellows back at base the photo of the Drow Frigate that you just made into a new lobster housing development and adding it to the wall of triumph. It also generally meant that the commanding officer would be on the fast track to promotion and might end up commanding a real warship. Even so if the bastards had finally realized that the only thing they were to get by coming into the Committee's seas was a watery grave and gave up Koreg wouldn't complain.

A few minutes after a lunch of salt beef and biscuits one of the spotters sighted a thunderhead moving over the horizon. He soon got sight with it and noticed that they might have to go under it. The crew turned glum at the possibility of getting drenched. For the next half hour they soldiered on hoping that they could avoid it. Then the spotted what was below it. Masts with dark sails advancing steadily from the north. There was no mistaking who they were.

"ACTION STATIONS! FLANK SPEED, KEEP YOUR DISTANCE!"Koreg barked as he rushed into the cabin as a bell was rung. "Radio, get me SB-92!" Shchuka Boats traveled in pairs, one usually ahead of the other by a kilometer or two with the senior officer on deck.

"Yes sir!" He then began to fiddle with the dials, microphone in hand "This is Simon Boris One Zero One to Simon Boris Nine Two, do you read?" There was a pause "This is Simon Boris One Zero One to Simon Boris Nine Two, do you read?"

"Simon Boris Nine Two here, we copy." A scratchy voice said over the speakers.

Koreg snatched the mic. "This is Lieutenant Vladovich of Simon Boris One Zero One. We have sighted a Drow Fleet moving in on the coastline. We expect them to make landfall shortly. Make your way to the nearest settlement and relay this information to headquarters. We have an invasion fleet incoming with a thunderhead in tow!"

"Are you sure about that Simon Boris One Zero One?"

"By the Gods I have never been more sure in my life! Now go south and warn them. That's an order!"

"Understood, changing course."

"Acknowledged." He said. The radio operator was clearly a bit annoyed by the officer intruding into his domain.

"What now sir?" The helmsman said?

"Bring us within eight kilometers. We can't make a dent in that fleet but we can take pictures, maybe get a few of them to try to catch us."

"Aye Sir!"

And so the Guardfish continued onward as fast as her engine could propel her. On her deck the two Automatic Weapons were loaded and a Shchuka was put into the launch tube, even though he doubted it would be of any use. The small craft continued onwards and the spotters readied their cameras. Koreg left the snapshots to the Photographers, but he still took note of what lay before him. He could not get an exact count, but there was definitely more than a hundred ships.

However, as they approached the Drow Line, the Guardfish was spotted and it was soon assumed that they were being observed. Admiral Qiulnaj ti Zaelros did not approve of this and so he had is weather mages stir up the storm until they had a good arc going and directed it at the small craft. In an instant the small wooden hulled craft went up in a fireball. All that was left was some burning flotsom.

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(Borogskov Admiralty, Late Autumn 36 IA)

It was Petrov's habit to have one lunch on his own every week if he could get away with it. Usually he ate with his senior staff or a few guests on special occasions, like he had four days ago with captain Viktorovich after the completion of the first shakedown voyage of his new ship. Even so, he liked to unwind on his own with a menu set to his particular tastes. Today this was crab legs and a glass of Kvass. He always enjoyed the small freshwater crabs that his parents used to catch, though these paled in comparison to the larger sea crabs. He had first tried them when he was ten and fell in love them. Merchants bought barrels of crabs and snow and took them south to sell to the various warlords and occasionally a family of fisherfolk for help crossing a swamp. Nowadays they were much more readily available around the Coldlands, though they remained cheapest on the coast. Sven and Yanov neither cared for them that much, but they were not here. As such, he could eat in peace and unwind a bit. The war was a demanding.

To his side was a speaking tube. A simple affair who's main function had so far been to relay orders to the kitchens. However, when Petrov was on his third leg, it suddenly began to speak.

"ADMIRAL! WE'VE JUST GOT WORD OF A DROW INVASION LANDING FORCE FORTY CLICKS NORTHEAST OF DAAGSGRAD!" The sound was tiny and quiet, but never the less it got through to him while he had a mouth full of meat which nearly ended up flying. He swallowed and composed himself.

"Are you sure about this?!"

"Yes sir! We have drone footage coming in. Hundreds of ships."

"I'll be in the meeting room shortly!" He said as he drained his kvass cup, scooped up the remaining crab legs and walked off. This what he had been dreading since the war started and it happened when six of their warships were on the other side of the world.

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(Drow Encampment, 40 km northwest from Daagsgrad, Late Autumn, 36 IA)

The Drow fleet reached the coast at about two in the afternoon. The warships at the front parted and moved to the rear of the formation while the cargo ships formed a three kilometers long formation near the shore. There was a fishing town nearby which the Infrastructurals had stationed a minor garrison and had built some fortifications with cannons. They managed to do some minor damage a couple of frigates and brigs on the formation's northern flank before being pummeled into submission with cannonade and lightning strikes. This did not put a delay on landing efforts.

Boats laden with Drow warriors and Janissaries were lowered in and made their way to shore to cheers and boasts. They had managed to evade serious attempts at interception, landed their full force in the Coldlands and crushed whatever paltry forces they have so far encountered. There was a feast that night in celebration of the completion of this first phase without incident. Even the Janissaries were to be allowed double rations of both food and drink, though they still had plenty to do. The landing boats made ceaseless traffic between the ships and the shore carrying soldiers, animals, supplies, equipment, armor and weapons. These had to be taken out of storage, loaded onto the boats, transported to the shore, manhandled off by Janissaries and porters and either was put into storage piles or put to use. Tents were thrown up, latrine pits were dug, cookfires were lit and work began on dinner. Carts were assembled and animals were fed, watered and given a little exercise. Even going without interruption the process was still ongoing the next day.

The warships carried some soldier and supplies, though with a lower cargo to tonnage ratio. These were unloaded shortly after nightfall and with that most of the warships broke off to form a blockade around Daagsgrad while a few sloops, brigs and frigates under Admiral ti'Kalvonin. Taking the city would entail using ground forces and naval forces in concert striking in two directions. This would mean mean a fair bit of marching through hostile territory, but they were prepared for that. The Drow encampment was a small city in of itself, but once readied to could move fast enough. A swift predator among stationary prey.

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(Daagsgrad Oblast, Late Autumn, 36 IA)

After two days of unloading, the Drow Army was on the march. It proceeded at a brisk pace of about thirty kilometers a day. The land was fairly flat and the Infrastructurals had been true to their name and had made some excellent roads. Even though they had blown apart a fair number of bridges, which meant taking a few detours on top of the roundabout course that Gneral Faltis ti'Belnoth decided to take to Daagsgrad. Time was of the essence, but at the same time he did not want to risk being within range of Infrastructural Naval bombardment and he needed to get around to the city's far side, as well as avoiding a forest and a bog where vital supplies and artillery would be lost. This meant three days of marching, but he could live with that.

To find the best path for his army the general sent out cavalry to scout ahead. Of the fifty two thousand soldiers he had scarcely more than two hundred on horseback. There was only so much room on the ships and there was a greater need for oxen to pull supply carts and artillery. The land was too poor in magic for scrying to be effective. They worked in groups of six, riding ahead and around the rear and back of the formation. The maps of the area that they had managed to obtain were printed in Dalatyr and were of exceptional quality, but one should never march through enemy territory blindly. There had been a few confrontations between the scouts and some Infrastructural skirmishers, but no serious resistance. So far, most of the lands had been evacuated.

Not that the army was limited to horses for mounts. He had some other creatures, but he was hesitant about using them for scouting and was holding them in reserve with the rest of the column. Among them was Dyslan, the General's personal mount. Like the distinct and fearsome strain of horses the Drow favored for warfare Dyslan's species was woven together during the war of for centuries, albeit a more extensive one. He was a huge spider the size of an ox, with a fair number of adjustments to let it get so large. Most of his kind never got larger than rats and were fed fruit, caterpillars, vermin, fish, crabs and those slave gladiators who fell in the arena to produce exceptionally fine and strong silk. But every now and again one would be fed mana potions and would grow larger and would become either a pet, a hunting beast, a war beast used to sow terror among the enemy lines or a mount. They took a decade to get this big and were more expensive to feed, but they could generally keep pace with horses, had an armored hide, had a distinct intimidation factor against both men and horses, could fight talon and fang and was a symbol of wealth, status and prestige.

General ti'Belnoth was riding Dyslan when he was confronted by his aide-de-camp. "My lord a forward scouting party has returned. The path ahead is clear for the next few miles, the towns have been evacuated so far, though they have found these." He produced a sheet of heavy paper. It was blue had the hexagonal symbol of Infrastructure and outside a simple white outline was unadorned, though it did have a message. It which was written in Dark Elvish in the Galthirith dialect used Drow characters. It read as such...

"Dark Elven Forces and Janissaries: lay down your arms and surrender to the Infrastructural Army. After your peaceful surrender you shall be treated fairly and without malice. Appropriate aide shall be provided as needed to the wounded and the injured.
On order of Drive: Supreme Commander of the Infrastructural Armed Forces, Central Committee of Infrastructure"

The signature was in smaller type.

"There were more of these ahead pasted onto walls and trees and rocks along the roads." The aide explained "Others are painted on, or put up on signs. All saying the same thing."

The poster was an odd thing, no doubt about it. It was usual for their enemies to send messages to attacking drow armies to the effect 'Leave this land now or be or be slaughtered to a man', 'you will pay for your vile crimes' and 'we will make boots from your skin and feed your guts to our pigs' and other such posturing. This message was a straightforward demand for surrender devoid of spite, bravado, attempts at intimidation or blood lust. The fact that it was for surrender was also strange. Leaving aside the absurdity of demanding surrender from a Drow Army, said messages were as a rule generally relayed directly to the leadership of the army.

"What are we to do with them?" His aide asked.

He crumpled up the poster into a ball and threw it behind him. "Ignore them. They're just empty words."

"As you command my Lord." He put them out of his mind as his spider continued along.

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(Daagsgrad Defensive Line, 36 IA)

Along Daagsgrad's defensive line corporal Fedrov Snekarov walked on patrol. He was nicknamed by his squadmades 'the Bison' as he was big, strong and simple. Those who heard this nickname from outside of his Squad often mistakenly thought it meant that he was stupid. He did what he was told calmly, careful and thoughtfully, was observant of the world around him and was generally quiet when not spoken to, but prone to quiet contemplation. When he was pressed for his opinion on a matter that effected the squad, his opinion was usually well thought out based on the evidence he had to work with. He had a hot loaf of garlic bread, which he chewed calmly while he took in the surroundings. The way that geese nibbled at grass, the rustle of grass and the way it grew around posts and buildings and the few late blooming flowers. It let him put out of his mind for a few moments what was coming.

Daagsgrad had a garrison of about 12,000 soldiers, including the coastal defense gunners and a lot of them were on edge, especially the infantry. While there were some veterans from the wars of unification and those who had fought off Drow raiders, most of the troops (and himself included) what was to come would be the first battle. Those who had faced them in battle knew that Drow soldiers were tough customers that often could take a fair amount of abuse before they went down. More were coming in with a steady flow on the rails and a few hundred had made a forced march along the coast from the west, but even so they were badly outnumbered given the reports. The Mobile Reserve was en route, but there had been no sight of them yet. There was also handling the refugees. Many farm towns and villages were being evacuated and their people brought in behind the walls and some of the soldiers got some relief by providing them with food and shelter. To others it was another thing to fret about.

While the Infrastructurals had rebuilt town walls along the smaller fishing villages and towns along the coast, around The Yards they dug defensive lines. The defensive line went all around the city, both old and new. Save for the coastline it was composed of a number of trenches about a meter and a half deep boarded up with boards, sandbags and stones. Various pits were dug for cannons and similar and access to the city by cart was done via cart a number of bridges which could easily be dismantled. A few finishing touches were being put up rather quickly. These were being done quickly and competantly and there was still a day to go before the Drow got here. But the nagging question that Fedrov tried to put out of his mind was "will it be enough?"

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(Drow Encampment near Daagsgrad, Late Autumn 36 IA)

After several days of marching, General ti'Belnoth arrived near Daagsrad. They formed a great mass along the Daag river some seven kilometers from the city proper, slightly out of range of the city's guns. Mostly on the east side, though a he sent a few hundred warriors and Janissaries to hold the western shore as well. Mostly for security reasons, though he did send a party of sixty cavalry to try to stop the flow of reinforcements being brought in on their "Railway". Upon arrival he let most of his forces have a meal and a few hours rest. Now they were forming up their lines and formations

As the First Black Emperor wrote thousands of years ago "Despise your foe as Vermin, but never dismiss him as being merely vermin". His force outnumbered the city's garrison nearly four to one leaving aside the hundred ships which now formed a blockade around the city. There were a few warships docked, but these had yet to leave port. The city's defenses were bizzare. There were a few bastions of brick and stone fortifications coastal guns at sea, but on the land most of what they did was dig a network of ditches and put up a few fences. Even so, he had no delusions about this being an easy battle. He knew what those rifles and artillery could do. A degree of caution was needed in this battle. Fortunately he had a few special cards to play.

To start things off, he had with him a couple dozen weather mages and he had them summon up a screen of fog and before the army began to advance he had that move onto the enemy lines ahead of his formation. They did not have the time to summon up a full scale thunderstorm, especially with the pitiful levels of background magic in this area. But fog would suffice for the first stages. They might have some mechanism that could see through fog and relay it's visions to artillery gunners, but that would not work for the average Infrastructural Conscript. It would weaken their morale and more importantly help them close the distance. He waited a few minutes as the fog moved over him and then crawled over the landscape for a few minutes slowly and steadily, then he gave the order.

"All Forces, Advance!"

And with that, the Battle of Daagsgrad had begun.
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The order was given and the Drow advance begun. More than a hundred thousand feet were in motion over deserted farms and pastures towards the Infrastructural lines. A select few made their advance on the city on horseback and for a privileged sixteen elite warriors, the advance was also an ascention.

The ancestors of their mounts were created during the last quarter of the War of Four Centuries, the product of an ancient form of magic now long lost which could redraw the designs of life. This did make these creatures smaller than most of their wild counterparts and definately less intelligent, but it did make them fasted breeding and more importantly, more docile and receptive to a psionic bond. They could have provided the forces of the Dark Emperor with the edge they needed if it was not for The Great Hypocrisy of the High Elves. Latter on they would prove their worth in numerous battles. They were invaluable both as mounts for their riders and as living weapons, in concert they could lay waste to enemy companies and scatter others in terror.

Even so, they had complications. They took about twenty years to raise up from an egg to a trained mount, ate a lot of meat, needed a fair bit of special care (especially if you wanted to get them) and often had a bad temper which required putting them into hibernation during sea voyages. Most of them nowadays were in the Drow Colonies in the Northwestern Continent as they were the best counter the Drow had against Raptor Skyships. Even so, sixteen Nightdrakes were mustered up for this attack. Each of these tamed Dragons climbed upward three kilometers into the sky before they moved in onto the city before them.

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Hainyas ti'Zaldroin relished the experience of flight. She had gone too long without taking to the sky. It had been a few months since her Bytras had been put to sleep for the voyage from the Northwestern colonies, idling in Hansoliath's harbor while the rest of the army gathered, the voyage to the coldlands and after that finally the day long awakening. And even so that coward of a general insisted that they march into battle along with low borne warriors and Janissary filth! How did such a hesitant fool like this get into command in the first place? Was he so cowed by these peasants and tinkers to think that a one of them hiding in a bush could kill a dragon rider? So what if it meant that their movements could be tracked? But now all that blasted waiting was done with and she felt the wind whistle through her armor and the sensations of a dragon in flight. The sky belonged to to her, and in the meantime she had some sport.

She soon had sight of her targets, dozens of of them positioned around the city's defenses. They were spaced out, which would mean this would take some time. Even so she was more than ready. She had Bytras descend and bank and had him glide in a broad arc, leveled her bow and notched an arrow, casting a spell with the former and feeding raw magic into the latter as she aimed. Both of which were among the best that Hansoliath could provide. The arrow glowed before she loosed it, leaving a slight crackling of lightning and a brief ring of luminescence by the bow as it flew to it's mark.

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Afanasy and Dimitri were both on edge. They had both been fretting about the battle since yesterday to the point where neither of them had gotten a good night sleep, which only made the fretting worse. Their Sergeant saw this and dealt with it in his usual manner: shouting loudly at them to suck it up. Expanding the artillery corps rapidly meant that there was plenty of room for advancement for those with experience, or in other words the standards for promotion had been significantly lowered. Despite all that they had their duty to do and a city to protect form the Drow Horde just out sight.

Around 11:00 in the morning they heard the whistle signals: The Drow Army was now making it's advance. They checked and rechecked everything, including the shell stuffed into the cannon. The second any one of those bastards got within range they were to blow them to hell. "They're be so many that even you can't miss!" as Sarge said, inspiring none of the confidence that he hoped for. Even so they were glad that they could make drow warriors into sausage meat from several kilometers away.

Then they saw them on the horizon. Dimitri noticed them first and thought they were just ravens with an unusual amount of foresight. Then they heard the clamor.

"DRAGONS!"

They looked again and noted the differences. Both of them realized that they were further off than he suspected, much bigger and that their necks and tails were too damn long. Any doubts were they had when they heard their screeching roars. They had heard the reports and just hoped that the guys with the Automatics had not been dozing. They soon began to descend, using gravity give them a speed boost and they converged. Some of them broke off and began fly in broad arcs while others continued their descent. They heard the crack of gunfire in the distance and the blare of automatic bursts in the distance, which was soon mixed with rather literal thunder and screams.

These were the last things that they heard. They briefly got a glimse of a glowing object rustling towards them from one of the dragons leaving a glowing wake before it struck their cannon. The arrow cut into the gun's barrel and exploded with enough force to set off the shell inside it. Alfansay, Dimitri and Sarge were both knocked back by the shockwave and cut up badly by flying debris.

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HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
Heros of Cybertron-HAB-Keeper of the Vicious pit of Allosauruses-King Leighton-I, United Kingdom of Zoria: SD.net World/Tsar Mikhail-I of the Red Tsardom: SD.net Kingdoms
WHEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE ON EARTH, ALL EARTH BREAKS LOOSE ON HELL
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2014-12-05 06:24am

Like his rider, the Nightdrake Xhalcris relished the sensation of flight after being grounded for so long, though he lacked the mental faculties to articulate this thought. Of the species of Dragons, his was among the dumber ones. He could match wits with a chimpanzee if he did not feel like eating it. He did not understand why he left with his master from his home to this mana sparse land, nor who were the people in the city before him that he was flying against today. Nor did he care much. This was battle, what he was trained for. His master urged him on to lay waste to the humans below in their ditches. His master's orders resonated in his mind and he descended. He noticed that his master threw lightning bolts down at a few of them as he dived and a few of the people below burned, all the while he readied himself for a good long burn on one of the tube machines.

But as he got closer he felt sudden bursts of pain appear across his body, in particular his wings which were soon perforated. They got more frequent and more painful with every passing second. A Dragon's hide was durable and bolstered by built in spells, but even these were being sapped as more and more bullets stuck him. Even so his master urged him on and on until he was but twelve meters above the ground and he let forth a blaze. But as that happened a bullet managed to pierce through his neck. The fires that burned within him now had another way out besides his mouth and was soon burning through flesh. This was more than enough to have the beast flail about and eventually crash to the ground. Other wounds had contributed to this. A few Infrastructurals were burned by the attack, but ultimately his rider made a big miscalculation when he decided to treat the Coldlanders as just another mob of human infantry. But not every Dragon Rider made that folly.

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As the Nightdrakes became clear the Infrastructurals made their response. Rifles barked, automatic weapons blared, cannons fitted to special mounts roared and lead, copper and cast iron hailshot rose in the air to meet the flying beasts. Eight of the Drow Dragonknights decided to come down to try to burn incinerate Infrastructural cannons and troops, three made it back up into the air after their strafing run. Powerful beasts they were and they did burn men alive and send others running. But the closer they were the easier it was to score hits. The others appeared to be more cautious. Staying above the action and sending down lightning and arrows, not being able to cause as much panic or damage but much harder to hit, despite the thousands of rounds which went skywards every minute.

Most of the anti aircraft defenses were simply fairly conventional infrastructural weapons weapons turned upwards, but there were a few others specifically designed to repel airborne attacks. There were cannons modified overgrown shotguns and a few Type-3A Heavy Automatic Weapons. There were eight of these weapons in Daagsgrad's defenses out of twenty three weapons in all of Infrastructure. One of which was manned by corporal Pavel Hansov and Private Sova. When everyone else was acting frantically at the dragon attack, he and Lieutenant Kyliskro had been ready for this. The Lieutenant watched the skies tracking the beasts. "Two groups of two going east at 3 Hours!" He yelled to be heard through their padded helmets, along with similar remarks, turning the left side crank occasionally to bring it to bear. Pavel did so as well keeping track of them and judging distance until they came into range, adjusting the elevation and finding his target and then he pulled the trigger cord.

Then the gun blared. Pavel did not know it but he had the honor of firing this weapon for the first time in combat conditions. Ever time it did so Pavel winced. Even through his padded helmet it was loud, though he could also feel the vibration of the thing with each shot, three hundred of them a minute. Each one of the 15x100mm bullets it shot out flew skywards with four times the force of a rifle round. The overwhelming majority of those that he fired missed, but those that did not definitely made an impact.

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It was not long before Overseer Zailjan ti'Klorvas could hear in the distance the sound of explosions and a dull roar of thunder. It was largely overshadowed by the more nearby sounds of an advancing army, but it was there and they got louder as time went on and was overshadowed by the marching army. As they moved forward it got louder and smaller sounds could be heard, among them a steady series of pops in the distance and the roars of dragons. Some of which sounded a bit off, but in any case it was impossible to make out what was in front of them as the wall of fog continued forward. As such she continued...

"Keep moving!" She barked as she cracked her whip for sound. So far the Janissaries she had been charged with had been proceeding forward at a steady pace as was to be expected. A reminder of what would happen to them if they stopped. The pain incentive was to be held back for now at least as there was no pressing need for it. So far so good, especially since most of this lot are new and untested conscripts. She did not have any love for her charges and her air about them was always one of an unyielding taskmaster who was to be feared more than the surmountable enemies they were sent against, but she knew that the sting of the whip that was not always needed and that using it when unneeded carried a fair number of risks.

Zailjan was born to one of Galthirith's minor houses, a low ranking vassal without the more typical specialization who sent it's sons and daughters into whatever field they had the skills for to try to gain an upper hand. For her this was a military career in the city's regiments and after a few years of service promotion to Janissary Overseer. He parents were thrilled to hear this, but she had more mixed feelings. Janissary Overseers was typically where the state army got most of it's Officers, though they also had casualty rates that were often uncomfortably close to those of their slave soldier wards. In particular she had her worries against these Infrastructurals, But regardless above all else she knew that she could not show any sign of weakness among her mob of sixteen. She could feel the fear radiating off their minds about what was coming, though fortunately their discipline was holding. Hopefully it would stay that way.
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A few hundred meters ahead of the bulk of the Janissary forces at the front lines were ten platoons with four cannons each. Both guns and their limbers were towed by draft horses to get a good turn of speed and were led away once they had reached their desired positions. As a rule the dark elves had mixed feelings about artillery. They knew it had it's uses, especially these new rifled guns that the foundries were turning out nowadays, but disdained them for their noise, smell and the fact that there were few chances for glory or plunder in stuffing shot down muzzles or swabbing them out. As such each cannon had seven slaves attached to it and the platoon was two overseers and four Drow master gunners and a commander. Under normal circumstances the master gunners would select targets and aim the weapon, thus gaining whatever glory could be gained in the weapon's use, though this would be unlikely today.

Among the crews cannon first first to reach it's intended destination was Darren. Statistically he was quite a rare find, a Janissary Conscript who had been in the service of Hansoliath's Janissary corps who had achieved the rank of gunmaster's aide, the highest rank available to a Janissary artilleryman, without seeing battle. During training, his masters noted that he possessed an unusual enthusiasm in manning cannons at a time when the Janissary Artillery corps was being rapidly expanded and making use of new weapons. When the cannons reached their destination, a small pig farm on a slight rise some four kilometers from Daagsgrad's defensive lines he did his role.

"GET THOSE GUNS READY NOW YOU WORMS! MOVE OR I'LL MAKE YOU LONG FOR OUR BELOVED MASTER'S LASH!" Darren bellowed at his fellow slave soldiers as they manhandled the guns in position. He continued to shout at the other slaves as he went. The overseer watched this with the satisfaction of tone who have just found an unexpected boon that made their jobs that much easier, though he cracked his whip once for effect. His cannon was in position first, just as waves of infantry began to march past.

Darren's master gunner then stepped forward once the job was completed "Fire at will, full elevation." The view ahead was now concealed by a fog screen leaving aside the futility of trying to aim at a specific target at this distance. In truth the Dark Elvish gunner felt rather vestigial in this circumstance, but slaves needed their masters. Even ones with this level of keeness. He then withdrew so that he would not be in the thick of the smells and noise that would follow. It also meant that he would not be nearby if something went wrong.

Darren, with an enthusiasm his commander did not share soon whipped out the gunlock, put in a cap in the mechanism, slotted it in onto the primer as everyone ran to the sides and the loader rushed to the limber and pulled the string. The cannon roared and a shell was launched off and immediately everyone worked to reload. A few seconds latter there was a distant thud which urged Darren to shout some to speed up his fellow slaves.

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For fifty one days, Janob had been caught in suspense as the final preparations were made. They had enough guns and ammo, so they worked out where and how to strike. In his contribution to the project, he got all the credits he had saved and could get his fellows to pitch in and spent them on a plot of land to build a new tenement. It would not be much, a basic two story affair, but the way he figured it people would stop pretending that the committee's scraps of paper and steel disks were worth something once they had won. So far, the basement and foundations had been completed, but that was enough for a few boxes to be stashed under some floorboards. There were other tasks, low key and easy to hide, but never the less necessary for the final hour. Now that had come.

They had assembled into small groups around the old city when the battle begun. There was gunfire in the distance as well as the shriek of dragons. The suited up and armed themselves for the coming battle. Janob put on a special shirt, one with the city's true symbols drawn on it in charcoal, others did the same.

His party got out through his back door into one of the winding alleys and made his way to the street and lurked by a corner. The city was full of refugees who fled the surrounding farmlands, among them were a few of his comrades in arms. He sent Gawel, his youngest son ahead as a look out/scout. Soon he saw a pair of Enforcers on patrol waking down the street. There was a curfew in effect and they soon noticed him.

"Hey kid! Enforcement! Stop!" One of them yelled as they ran after him by the alley's mouth. As the first one passed, Janob shot him with a revolver. He then swung out and shot the other one before he could respond. Each of them had a rifle and a revolver. Two down and enough weapons for four more people.

"Get some guns and people out here to see this." He barked to his companions.

"SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF DAAGSGRAD!" Janob bellowed "TODAY WE CAST OFF DALATYR'S CHAINS AND RETAKE OUR CITY!" It had been worth the wait.

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For the most part the advance on the city had gone off well for the Drow forces. There had been a few scattered and inaccurate cannon shots which had claimed a few lives and did spook a fair number of soldiers, but they were firing blind, the Dragonknights had done a fair job at subtracting from the city's artillery positions (even if a few of them did fall from the sky) and the forces had been very loose. For the majority of their forces, what was important was to close the distance. Even so, there were some exceptions. As such kilometer or their march over abandoned farms and pastures, horn signals were given and so along the vanguard assembled into fifty formations.

The basic formation was specially contrived for battle in the age of rifles and had a few successes in the usual small wars the Drow ended up fight. Each one had fifty Janissary in three ranks with five drow handlers behind them. The two ranks in the back each had sixteen men armed with a breechloading rifle of some sort. The first however was unarmed save for a typical Janissary short sword, though he did have a large runic shield and both breast and back plate that had been given a buff to strengthen it up. Both of which being things that the Dark Elves usually saved for themselves. Most of them formed a barrier up front while two on the sides guarded the flanks. About twenty meters behind each of these formations marched in a few files a couple platoons, a seperate components of the army but still working closely with these shield walls. Mostly these were more janissaries, but a few had drow shock troops behind them.

Soon after these formations passed the mist screen began to give out and the Infrastructural riflers began firing on the oncoming tsunami of slave soldiers that were now treading across the fields. They leveled their rifles, aimed, fired, reloaded and repeated. At the extreme distance of a kilometer not every shot hit and not every hit was lethal, further complicated by som irregularities in the terrain and some bits of cover. Even so, hundreds of charging Janissaries fell from the first fusillade alone. They returned fired to the Trenches, though they managed to achieve little besides some suppression and slowing the Infrastructural's rate of fire. It took the Infrastructural troops a few salvos to notice that the tight formations moving at a slower pace were not taking damage, even though they were at the front of the charge while sending a continuous stream of lead.

Inside the shielded formations their was tension as the first bullets slammed against the shields, only to be stopped in flashes of light and multi-colored lightning. The first hits resisted without incident turned this into bravado. Behind them the riflemen leveled their weapons through small round gaps towards the top of the shields and fired. Each of them were among the best hands at reloading and could get off seven to eight rounds per minute, much higher than the haphazard reloading on the run that the other janissaries were managing armed with rifled muskets more often than not. A few others had found some scrap of cover to reload from, but they were stationary. Their shielded formations combined both the firepower with (admittedly somewhat reduced) mobility while providing cover from fire to other soldiers on the march. Even so, their durability was not unlimited. Depending on the range, each shield could take five to eight rounds before the runes that gave it it's strength failed. After that, the fairly transient spell used to reinforce the breastplate would stop a round or two before being broken and finally a combination of whatever remained of the shield, the shieldbearer's armor and his body would provide a some cover to the rifleman behind him in his last moments.

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Behind the masses of Janissaries were a hundred and forty companies of Drow soldiers. There were a few elite companies, but most of them were fairly common drow soldiers of which were well armed and armored. Those that did not get runic armor got a strengthening buff for their breastplates that would last for a few hours. Talsi ti'Xolcas of House Yanthrath's Amethyst Bows was lucky among her company in that she had the latter. She was from a minor warrior house who's main function was to raise up warriors for the forces of their patron house and by dint of slaying an High Elven swordsman (as well as a few humans) she had earned the privilege to be able wear one of the family's runic curiasses. She was quite proud of herself as were her fellows in her company, even if most of them were houseless sworn swords and those who were serving out their required terms of service.

As the name led one to believe, the Amethyst Bows was a company of archers, one of fifty six such companies in the army. She had to concede that they were not the best archers, but they were good enough against this foe. Most of the rest of the Drow forces were rifles. In her opinion firearms were useful weapons, especially the new ones, but they were still inferior to a good Dark Elven longbow in the hands of a skilled archer. She was genuinely impressed by Infrastructural cannons and rockets which had blown apart a decent number Janissaries and even some Drow warriors. Even so she was glad that the Dragons had managed to thin out the cannons that they had. Even so, she would show them a thing or two about war

About two kilometers from the Infrastructural lines the company formed up into a line and they notched their arrows, drew back their strings readied their spells. This battle warranted a good solid range booster and a basic explosive spell, both of which she could cast in her sleep. She was slightly disappointed that she was told not to do anything fancy, but she saw the logic of this given the sparse local background magic and the needs of the battle. Behind her, her captain barked a single word.

"LOOSE!"

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"There's plenty to kill up here Corporal!" Private Choborvich said to Fedrov Snekarov as he ducked down to reload. Fredov said nothing as he popped back up, leveled his gun, fired and went back down. There was a distinction between caution and you could not fight on if one of that mass of slaves got a lucky shot. Unfortunately he also knew that the two were often hard to make out. In any case this was not a time for reprimanding the kid who was getting off a good rate of fire by keeping his gun level on his shoulder getting off shot after shot after shot.

In truth he was more spooked by the Dragons riders than the onslaught marching towards him. Those coal black fire spewing reptilian winged nightmares hit you on a primal level. Even when they were shot down they had a horrible scream that you never wanted to hear again. In spite of that, he knew the army ahead of him to be the bigger threat. After the mist had passed he had managed to get a few shots at the enemy formation before he heard above him the wizz of bullets. Most of them missed, but he heard someone scream to the right and decided that there was still a risk in exposing himself while reloading. That was what these trenches were for in any case and you could do nothing if you were dead.

Even so, it seemed like their numbers were endless. He saw plenty of the bastards fall either from gunfire or as shells exploded in their ranks, but even so there was always a whole lot of them moving headlong their way. Moreover he remembered the briefing on drow forces, specifically their attitudes towards their slave soldiers. If the price of victory was the expenditure of every last Janissary in an army so be it. As long as there were Drow to urge them on they would be driven forward until they were all dead. On top of everything he had other worries. Running out of ammo was something he feared, but addition to his curiass's pouches he also had stuffed his pockets full of bullets and a couple boxes of the stuff. He was more worried about fouling. You were supposed to give your rifle a good clean out after fifty shots. They had each had a spare rifle laying by their feet and they were going to send guys to swab them out, but even so he had worries about that.

All this on top of the Choborvich's comment began to percolate in his Fredov's mind as a reassessment of his actions. Was he being too squeamish? Sure there was some gunfire from their muskets and some haphazard cannonades and that could kill him, but on the other hand there was a bigger chance of those Janissaries doing so if they got up close and personal. As he put the new cartridge in he considered keeping his gun and himself in firing position.

The he heard a stranger sound, saw in the air glowing double helixes shoot through the air and several wooden cracks which gave him a second's pause. In that time one of them happened real close to him. Something dinged his helmet and he heard Choborvich scream in pain. He saw him stagger with his hand over his face.

"MY EYES!" he yelled. Worse still he heard a few more such screams in the background

As Fredov went up to you get off another shot he yelled "MEDIC! MAN DOWN!" He assumed these were explosive spell charged arrows. They were not too powerful, arrow shaft splinters don't have too much and given that he saw a few of them go off a fair bit in front of him he knew they were not accurate. Even so it would be best to keep one's head down while reloading, which he soon found was a sentiment that others in his squad agreed with.

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There were dozens of rebel groups placed about much of the old city, each of whom had roles in the greater plan. Simply rampaging through the city blindly had not worked so far. Some were on the offensive like Janob, cutting down Infrastructurals and enforcers, rallying people to the cause and giving them weapons as they went. They started in their neighborhoods and moved out from there. Chort heard them at work, as well as others. His job was defensive, at least for the time being: building barricades at key streets and keeping shooting any Enforcer or Soldier that came their way. Doing so involved a bit of heavy lifting but was not too difficult. A wagon, some doors, crates, tables, chairs, beds, furniture, firewood and sacks of rocks did just fine to jam up the passage way and six men with guns would keep anyone from coming over it.

Chort did not know the full details of the plan, but he did get the broad strokes. First they were to take over the Remeslenov, Kowalzav and Kupiecov districts and hold them down as a center of operations. These were park of the Old City and almost exclusively populated by native Daagsgradians. There were a few rebels and some stashes outside this area but most of their supplies were in those three districts. From there they would spread out and take back the rest of the city.

Building the barricade did not take long. The ruling lords of Daagsgrad had never had an enthusiasm for urban planning and let people build streets however they saw fit, which meant that even the major streets were narrow and curved. At the same time they had some assistance from their children, wives and a few people who wanted to help. In a few minutes it was good enough and was put to the test. A trio of Enforcers cam their way.

"CITIZENS, DISPERSE AND GO HOME IMMEDIATELY!" The lead Enforcer barked. Chort responded with his revolver, as did his comrades in arms with their guns. One of the Enforcers went down while another was hit in the arm. They returned fire and got to the cover offered by an ally, dragging their fallen comrade with them. Then they blew their whistles while firing from cover, hoping for backup.

'Blow it all you want' Chort thought as he fired at them 'there are hundreds of you, thousands of us and now we have guns too!'

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Daagsgrad's defenses were under the control of Major-General Yuly Mahanivic. Like all of the top staff of Infrastructural Army he was a veteran of the wars of unification, serving with distinction in the Southwestern campaigns while being literate enough to get a commission. Like most men of his breed he had found some difficulty in the switch from facing down warlord's hosts to being parked in front of a desk and to be tasked mostly with day to day administration of the city's garrison, even if he did get to see his wife on a daily basis. At most he had to deal with the occasional riot, but mobs of satisfied tradesmen and labourers armed with household tools that trashed a few stores before scattering like startled sheep after a few volleys and were mostly sorted out by Enforcement in any case. Between 22 and 34 IA occasionally he found himself half wishing for something big would happen to break up the doldrums. As a Drow Fleet blockaded his city and an army on the attack he wondered how stupid those thoughts were.

Even so, he disliked having to run the city's defenses from the war room instead of from the trenches. He was in charge of defenses both against attack both from the sea and on land. So far the Drow ships have just maintained the blockade though they were staying out of cannon range. On land the Dark Elvish army with the aid of a few magical tricks and dragon riders was pressing hard against their defenses. His boys were doing well given the situation, but the Drow Lines were still advancing steadily. On top of everything else there were reports of rioters in the old city.

A runner came in. "What is it?" He barked in exasperation.

"Sir! We have confirmation on the rioters having firearms in large numbers! They have dug themselves into the merchant quarter and a large group of them is moving to the ports. Many of them carry the old Daagsgrad banner. Enforcement is being overwhelmed and they are killing anyone they suspect of being sympathetic to Infrastructure!"

Yuly put his hand against his temple. This was the last thing in the world he needed. "Have the coastal artillery crews and naval shore personnel been alerted?"

"Yes sir".

"Then alert everyone else you can in the city. That's all we can do about it now, so damn well get it done!" He got back to work, there was a lot to do hoping that help would arrive soon.

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Zor
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-03-10 01:46am

Finally got a new update done.
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As the Drow army press it's attack, a small fleet waited just out of the harbor. It had five ironclads (three Ironsides class and two Vanguard class) and two dozen Shchuka boats behind them. Leaving aside a few Shchuka Boats and the Ironclad Vigilance which were undergoing repairs (and despite round the clock efforts to get them up and working), represented the entirety of the Infrastructural Navy's forces in port at Daagsrad that had been scrambled when the Drow Armada approached to form their blockade of the city.

They had been out at sea for three days, if only a kilometer from the actual shore. So far the usual shortcomings of sea life had been absent. They received loafs of fresh bread from shore every day and the weather had not been so bad. Even so, everyone aboard this small armada was on edge. On the horizon they could see the Drow squadrons and above them their thunderheads. They had counted a hundred and twenty six of them. More worrying was that some of them apparently had steam engines. They had been keeping their distance, from both the infrastructural fleet and the city's coastal guns. Even so, no ship had been able to get in or out for four days.

They had received word that the Dark Elves had begun their advance on the city, but there was not a thing they could do to stop it. The threat at sea was every bit as real as the one on land and they were doing. As such they waited for an order to be given or the Drow to make a move. They hoped that some relief would come soon but each of the ship's captains dreaded an order that might be given any minute now: Move to Engage the Drow Fleet and sink as many as you can.

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The last few days had been fairly lax for Jathas ti Dolraj, one of the Lookouts on board the Xalnoris-IV. Ultimately this had to due with the fact that his ship was a ship of the line. The lookouts on the frigates and sloops were constantly on alert for any cargo ships. A few of them could break formation and try to capture them, earning their crews a bit more prize money. The last time one got close was two days ago, but still they hoped. The big ships of the line, however could not do this. They were the backbone of the blockade and had to hold the line no matter what. What he had to look out for was Infrastructural warships, either coming in or going.

His job was a lot more important than usual. Skrying in these seas was hard enough in this place and that was before everyone with any real magical talent on board having to put their mana into keeping those thunderheads ready. However, the way he figured it there were at least a hundred spyglasses looking about at any time. He could afford to relax a bit, taking his share of breaks. The officers did not pay that much attention to the crow's nest at this particular level of alertness. Even so he was not completely negligent. After a four minute break sitting down he got to Jathas got to his feet and went back to surveying the waters. This started with a fruitless scanning of the open ocean to the north and was followed by a fruitless scanning of the ocean to the north before turning his view south to the city and the small fleet outside it.

There were some new pillars of smoke rising from the city, though none of the blue flares that were to be burned on captured cannons. However he did see that the smoke plumes of the Infrastructural fleet began to become more intense at once. Being from a minor household of shoemakers he knew about Infrastructural Machines only in broad strokes, that they had big furnaces in them that somehow were used to move them forward. Even so he managed to piece together what was happening.

"Milord!" He shouted "I think their fleet is getting ready to move!"

"Keep watch!" was barked in response. And so he did. Sure enough after a couple minutes the small Infrastructural fleet was under way. He smirked. Even with all their guns and armor they could not take on the fleet.

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The Infrastructural squadron turned about and moved forward west by north west in a rough line of battle. The Dark Elves noticed this motion and responded. Admiral Qiulnaj ti'Zaelros had planned ahead for such an event and the fleet followed suit. If the Infrastructural ships should try something, the fleet was to converge in their way to intercept them while still keeping their distance from the city and it's guns. They moved in to bring as much firepower as possible on the fleet as possible. Both with cannonade and with their thunderheads. The Drow had the Infrastructural defenders outnumbered more than twenty to one

As far as Admiral ti'Zaelros was concerned, lightning was a necessary weapon against Infrastructural ships. He conceded that metal hulled ships were far more resilient to and it was important to get in close, never the less he concluded that despite that being able to deliver a first blow against Infrastructural attacker could at least soften them up. He had explained as much to his captains beforehand. On board his fleet his weather mages stirred up the thunderheads they had in tow and sent their arcs flying into the lead ship in the Infrastructural formation.

Captain Filozov of the Shieldwall winced as he saw the first lance of electricity slam into his ship and did so again for the second and third. Then he noticed that they had no real effect on his ship and remembered what he had learned about conductivity. For the next forty or so strikes he felt confident that this action would not amount to anything beyond possibly spooking his crew. Then he began to hear the metallic groaning as the sandwiched steel plates began to deform. Six seconds and seven strikes latter an arc managed to slam into the rear deck sending up burning splinters which left a few of his crew wounded. His confidence in the resilience of his ship against lightning attacks was shaken by this and the bolts just kept coming and coming. The Starboard side of his ship was becoming blackened as strike after strike slammed into it. Most of the energy was conducted into the sea but on impact enough of it was focused in one place to do some damage regardless. Even so the overall damage was marginal and exterior.

The eight first lightning bolt, however, did more damage than all it's predecessors combined. By sheer blind luck it managed to directly hi the Shieldwall's forward starboard cannon, which was loaded. The cannon burst as the shell was set off, which in turn set off the ten other shells in the frontal battery and the two loaded in the other guns. The gun crews were torn apart in a tiny fraction of the second while burning shrapnel was sent into the the bridge at high speed, killing captain Filozov and his bridge staff.

At the sight of the distant explosion the Drow crew cheered even as a salvo of three 150mm shells flew towards them and their weather mages felt more and more fatigued. The ships of the Infrastructural Navy may have been hard as nails, but they were not invincible. Enough pounding would put them down just like any other foe. The lightning mages moved down the line and managed to get about twenty five more shots into the Ironclad Revenge to minimal effect before the weather mages, exhausted let go of their thunderstorms and slinked below deck for a drink and a lie down. But even so lighting was not the only card they had to play

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Regardless of the loss of the Shieldwall, the Infrastructural Squadron continued on. Their plan of attack was simple, move the line of battle back and forth in a line while laying down continuous fire on the Drow Line at a distance of five kilometers while the Shchuka Boats remained behind them in reserve. In effect this was also the case for the Ironclad Blizzard as her 75mm guns did not have that kind of range. In the mind of Seaman 2nd class Giordi Basov, this meant that the tension that had been getting to him for the last four days was left unresolved. A headstrong young man he wanted to do everything he could to break that blockade as soon as possible. He could just wait and listen to the distant blare of heavy guns as he stood by near his gun.

Then, after a few minutes he heard the whistle signal: prepare to fire. The gunshields were opened showing the crews the battle that lay before them. There were a few plumes of smoke in the far distance, but these were outnumbered by the clearly active drow ships that were converging on them. If he had seen the formation from above, he would have noticed the Drow fleet as a huge concave arc that was converging on his position like an amoeba moving onto food. His master gunner soon had worked out the range of that fleet and had Giordi adjust the cannon for firing as they crossed the 3.5 kilometer line. However at the same time they could see much of this fleet turn and bring their broadsides to bear on the infrastructural ships. As this happened the gunnery master yelled "FIRE!" and their first salvo flew off. Geordi did not know if they had hit anything as he opened the breech, saw the spend shell extracted and the fresh one brought in and moved the cannon back to position, adjusted it and braced himself as it was fired again. As he was repeating the process a third time, he heard the first slams into the hull as cannonballs slammed into the hull.

The Dark Elves returned fire with over a thousand cannons. Each ship fired off it's complement of guns off more or less unison for the first salvo at least, though it did so independently of the fleet. This meant that the Infrastructural line of battle was faced a continuous hailstorm of cast iron shells as new ships brought themselves to bear. Many of them missed and crashed into the sea, but still plenty more managed to strike home. Hardly a second went by without at least one heavy metallic clang. Geordi watched as armor dents suddenly appeared in the formerly smooth steel plating. The fact that all of this fire had so far only dented the ship was one thing, until he saw felt a few fragments of shrapnel cut through his left leg (though fortunately missing anything vital) and saw the steel tip of a shell just piercing through the armor. His leg was bound by a medic as he did his job, but after that he heard the crash as bits of the crow's nest clattered down onto the ship.

He remembered his briefing about the previous naval battles with Drow ships. Drow naval artillery dented the armor a bit, but did no major lasting damage. But then again this fleet was larger and he heard that they had been working to improve it. As such Giordi continued to do his job, thinking that he was stupid for wanting to get into the thick of it.

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After bolstering their strength with a few local lads several of the rebel bands drove themselves out through the city. As they went they bellowed cries of defiance against Infrastructure and left a wake of destruction. They attacked newcomers, former slaves, locals that they saw as getting to close with Infrastructure and people who they believed to be any of the previous categories, chopping them, beating them, stringing them up and shooting them while looting and burning their homes as they went (in a few cases during the frenzied confusion rebel groups tried to both at the same time). Others bolstered their ranks, some joined willingly while others were told by the mob that there were only two types of people in it's eyes and neutrality was not an option. In some areas Enforcers, civilian guards or bands of locals determined residents managed to resist the resistance and kept a few blocks save. Never the less these parties pressed on to their target. Some went to the docks, others went to the coastal guns while a couple get to the shipyards.

Work had been ongoing in spite of the siege to get a few ships seaworthy as soon as possible and to beef up the armament on some of the civilian ships. If nothing else it kept morale up in the face of the siege. When they first heard the gunfire work continued and when a few winded soldiers brought in a few crates with old rifles and bullets, handed them out to a few workers and hurriedly showed how to work them it only caused a momentary distraction for the most part. Even so there were exceptions. Yuna Igorova found it harder and harder to sort her paperwork out as she saw the spreading carnage through the street approaching, as well as figures scrabbling over the roofs of storage sheds. When a bullet crashed through her window. As such, she fished around in her desk drawer, got what she was looking for and went down.

As she got down the stairs she heard the shouts, the screams and the blare of gunfire began to echo through the berths and factories. The guards were putting up a decent fight on a few of the entrances, but one of them had been overrun and a few rebels had got a hold of a few ladders and were going over the compound's walls. Dozens of rebels were coming in killing as they went. Yuna ran to the Shchuka Boat SB-73 where she found her in the drydock still working on a searchlight.

"INNA!" She yelled at the technician "They're in! We've got to go!"

Yuna understood that this was serious, dropped her work and picked up a big monkey wrench. "The Foundry?!" The foundry was built like a fortress and was huge. There were few better places in the city to hold out.

"Yes!" Yuna said as she grabbed her hand and began tugging her along. "Now lets get there!"

The two women ran as fast as they could in the confusion. They weaved through the workshops and storage yards avoiding the sounds of violence and gunfire as best they could. They passed a few dead bodies, the fact that one of them had a crude image of a slave chain drawn on his shirt did nothing to improve their mood.

After a few minutes they found themselves near a machine shop and heard ahead of them two armed figures and heard a man begging for mercy and his cries being suddenly and wetly cut off. They scrambled for the cover afforded by a small shed that was used to store feed for mules and hoped that they would pass. Despite this they heard their footsteps draw closer. As they approached they soon worked out the only acceptable course of action. When the first one got near Inna swung the wrench into the rebels face as hard as he could. She delivered a second blow after that as he crumpled down onto the ground just to be sure of it. At the same time Yuna drew her revolver, aimed and fired. Firearms training was required for all bureaucrats who worked outside of Dalatyr. It was fairly basic stuff: a couple of afternoons being run through the basics of revolver safety and a few hours of practice shooting. Even so it was enough.

In two seconds the ordeal was over. Inna picked up the pistol from her would be assailant and stuffed it into her pants. Both Yuna and Inna were glad that they got through this ordeal alive.

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"TO THE SEA!" Janob barked as he and a few fellow rebels made their way into a storage yard full of crates, his mind filled with bloodlust. Fourteen years of hatred, frustration and bitterness that he had left to stew in the back of his mind had been let loose while he was armed to the teeth along with other such people. He could not remember the last time he felt this good. Whatever doubts he had about the plan had quickly dissolved as he led his men through the streets and cutting down any of the Committee's lackeys he could find. His band had managed to overcome the gate guards, that had cost him sixteen men but that price had been worth it and they had gained five Type-4R rifles. Once in he had some fun shooting a few workers and sending most of the rest running. A few workers fought back and there had been a few injuries and a death in his band after they got in and he saw a few more downed rebels from other groups but regardless they had the guns and the upper hand. They were wolves among sheep even if the sheep knew how to butt heads. A few others had gone off in search of loot and 'fun'. Nevertheless he had a job to do. There were a few cannons placed near the shipyards in brick bunkers and those needed to be shut down.

Since he saw a few people dart into the storage, he knew he would have some fun on the way. As he went he would occasionally hear footsteps or talking in another direction so he would make a detour to go after them or send a man off to investigate. A few others broke off from the group, either getting lost in the maze, going off to try to search for some loot or in one case, abandoning this crusade against Infrastructure to make sure that his brother (who had a nasty leg wound and had limped to a corner) was safe. Janob did not pay much attention to this until he notice that his group had shrunk from thirteen to five. He had some worries about that, but he knew that some of the men that he sent through would be on the other side, he was close to the sea and there was already a fair bit of gunfire from the direction of the bunker.

As he got sight of the sea he ended up in the middle of the formation. Ahead of him were Eino and Dorboslaw (two friends which he knew since childhood) who rushed forward and behind him were a couple of lads that they had picked up along the way who had joined up eagerly enough once the mob had come through. Then suddenly things change. A woman in a technician's uniform rushed out from behind some crates, hit Eino in the solar plexus with a wrench while tripping him, shot Dorboslaw in the back with a pistol and brought the wrench down on his head. All of this happened in a second, but this was enough for Janob to react and one thought filled every corner of his concious mind, 'That Whore must Die!'. He ran at full speed and drove his best carving knife into her back.

He felt the exileration of the attack for a fraction of a second, then there was a crack of gunfire, a sudden intense pain on the side of his head and that was the end of Janob Gornislab.

---

Yuna ran to Inna's aid, pistol in hand and tears flowing down her cheeks. She saw the two men in front of her armed with a board with nails in it, a spear and a few knifes and she pointed it at them. Despite her grief, she remembered that she only had one chambered bullet left. Part of her wanted to get rid of one more of these maniacs, but another block in her mind just managed to over rule them.

"DROP YOUR SHIT AND RUN!" she screamed.

The two rebels saw the grief stricken gun toting Bureaucrat, heard her order and dropped their weapons, threw away their knives ran in the opposite direction as quickly as they could. "Hail Infrastructure! Hail Infrastructure!" one of them cried in fear as he ran in the hope that this might spare him. For them the fight was over. Yuna saw them disappear behind.

"Inna, hold together! We'll get through this!" She said as she cut off part of her coat tail. Inna's only response was a few moans and sputters. "It's maybe two hundred meters to the foundry, we're gonna make it". She extracted the kitchen knife and winced with her at the pain. She bound up the wound as well as her mother showed her all those years ago back in the farm. She carefully reloaded her pistol, took her up and carried her along.

'Why did she have to be so godsdamned stupid' she asked herself in her mind over and over again. She could have avoided that mob and let them go by, but no, she had to try to beat the bastards down. Yuna remembered Inna talking about the time when her village was taken over by Gerulf the Skullsplitter when she was a girl and what she saw that night from behind a chest. Most likely she just wanted to get rid of a couple of men turned monsters and even with only after a few glances at that that fat bastard before and after he died to go with Yuna knew enough about him.

Yuna played it safe. If she could avoid people she did. In on case she could not and she put two bullets in the axeman's chest. Even so she plodded through, snuck through an abandoned workshop and manged to get the foundry wall via a now well guarded fire escape. She kissed her beloved technician on the cheek, gave her over the medics, took a rifle and got the walls to the windows to pick off any rioter who she could see.

Inna died half an hour latter from internal bleeding.

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After the fall of Daagsgrad and the purging of it's old elite, a large number of their residences were taken and became property of the Infrastructural Government without suffering too much damage. Most of these houses were near the sea and among them were among the most impressive examples of pre-Infrastructural Coldland architecture. Some of these were retained by the Infrastructural Government and were used as housing for Bureaucrats, Engineers and their families or were converted into offices. A few others were converted into hotels. The rest were sold off, mostly to the wealthier Infrastructural merchants either in whole or after sub division. One of which was owned by Aslog Velconikivic for he or his sons were in Daagsgrad on business. He spent the last four nights there, sleeping and making a decent dent in the liquor cabinet.

A week ago he sailed in to out some deal to get a load of some Walrus Ivory, Cheese and Mead. Then before anyone could respond there were a hundred black sailed warships off the coast and an army marching on the city. They had managed to evacuate a fair number of children and skilled workers out by rail while adults tried to make it to Borogskov on foot or in turnip carts. Aslog, a Borogskov native was not among them. He had come here on the Skarbka, a 310 tonne cargo ship that he had bought cheap a few years ago that had been dragooned into a new defensive fleet with thirteen other ships. The last four days saw her being up armed with a few extra cannons, a Shchuka launcher and wooden screens be put up to protect against arrows, her crew augmented with two dozen sailors and recruits, doing some sword drills and target practice on buoys and loading up on shot and especially powder. If the need arose they were to sail out and engage the Drow fleet to try to break through. The part the admiralty did not say was "and do as much damage as we can if they overwhelm us", not that it was any less clear.

Aslog had a merchant captain's view on this situation. He had done better under Infrastructural rule than he would have done if they had never arose and he was never particularly liked the Kings of Borogskov that much, not that he thought of himself as a patriot either. He was not a coward either. He had braved both the Icemountain Sea's storms and pirates before but he also avoided trouble whenever he could as he desired to die peacefully in his sleep. Despite that the situation had clearly boiled down to two options: either get arrested for non compliance which would end in hard labor either way or go along with this desperate plan. While the latter held the prospects of death, at the very least there was some chance that he would come out of it alive and free and if not he would be dying doing his damndest to hurt them and make this horrible situation slightly better for his family and those of his crew. But even so he held no delusions.

He put in early with a few stiff drinks to over rule his worries in anticipation of what was likely his final day. He woke up, took an antidote potion to deal with the hangover, put on his old suit of armor and went down to the port Everything was ready to go and they were to launch as soon as the order was given. For an hour he waited as the distant sounds of battle began to gather in the distance. But the order did not come. Then there were other sounds that were closer and fires breaking out across the city and a distance roar of yelling. After a few minutes latter three things happened with a few seconds of each other.

Firstly a Runner came by with a bell to get attention.

"There's an uprising in the city! Hundreds of men with guns and firebombs wearing the old chain emblem are killing anyone they think is pro Infrastructure! Some are coming this way! Look out!" He said as he ran to the next ship repeating his line. Behind him was a cart where a few troops were handing out rifles and bullets. Aslog quietly took this in for a few seconds before his lookout yelled.

"Captain, The warships are firing up!"

"What?" Aslog bellowed as he ran to him. He took the spyglass from the lookout and got a good view of the ships. Their smokestacks were suddenly more active. They would be moving out in a few minutes time. Why do this without the sailing ships backing them up? He wondered what was going on for a few seconds before he figured it out. Then he grinned.

At that point he heard a few shouts and the bark of gunfire, a bit to the west some stevedores and a few guards were having a shootout. Aslog considered his options and decided to make his move. By the looks of it things were not going well. Then he saw the smoke coming up from the city and the distant light of fires and at the sawdust, pitch and woodshavings left over from the carpentry and all of the explosives in the hold. Sure they could probably repulse them, but there was always the chance of one of the bastards getting lucky with a bottle of spirits with a flaming rag in the stopper or a ball of oily rags.

He marched up to Yuri the ship's captain "If the signal comes you take the ship out and give them hell." After that he stamped heavily dipped his fingers into some pitch and made out a trisecoted hexigon on his chest, several of his men followed suit. "Men, I am asking for volunteers. The day will be ours if we act now! Grab your guns and ammo, follow me and lets show these Rebel Rats Borogskov steel!"

The ensign who was in charge of the navy personnel considered raising an objection but he backed down after a glowering. "Go ahead, Hail Infrastructure!"

"Hail Infrastructure." Aslog repiled in a tone which was calm and without malice, but firm. Soon he and about a dozen of his men were off the boat and weaving into the alleys and storeyards. They saw one rebel as they went. The first one was some kid armed with a kitchen knife on a broom pole who dropped it and ran away once he saw the party marching through. There was no point in bothering about him. They soon came upon the main rebel part.

"CHARGE!" he yelled as his men poured out onto the rebel troops, letting two of his men get ahead of him just in case. The rioters were not expecting a dozen armed men to take them in behind. Several went down in a hail of pistol and shotgun fire before it became a melee. Aslog had survived a few brawls and was a decent swordsman, especially in close quarters. He went up against up close a man with a hatchet, a bad weapon for real confined spaces that a double bladed Allergonian broadsword was more than a match for. The second was someone with a revolver and a large knife, which would have done some damage if he did not try to drive it through his Lamellar vest in haste. After that, the rest of them fled. He surveyed the scene. One of his men was off his fet but still breathing and there were a few cuts, but eight rebels were down. They were not expecting a sudden attack on their flank by heavily armed sailors. That probably won't happen again. Some of his men were already talking to the Stevedores. He sheathed his sword and reloaded his shotgun. It was not over yet.

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One by one the shielded formations of Janissaries broke. In one case it was blown apart by an artillery shell landing in it's center, in three others rockets fell on it and in a few other cases both shell and rocket plaid their role in diminishing them. Even so mostly they were taken down by rifle fire. While their shields did deflect shots they also attracted fire. As their frontal layers fell to Infrastructural fusillades, the riflemen behind them broke formation and began to run forward, parting to make way for the Drow Forces behind them which surged forwards.

In one of these formations was Valrin ti'Haloneth. Elves in general could run as fast as 40 kilometers per hour and with practice and lightening spells could maintain a pace of about twenty five kilometers per hour over moderate distances in full armor. Both of which he had mastered two centuries ago. His small platoon and those like it was composed of hardened veterans of dozens of campaigns. They had mastered bow, crossbow, greatsword, halberd, lance, dagger and mace but for this battle their armament was first and foremost a heavy shield and a scimitar. There was of course daggers as a fallback weapon and a few of the younger members had pistols. Valrin was not among them on principles. House Haloneth were tradtionalists and moreover traditionalists who had fallen from grace. Over the past three centuries they went from one of the great houses which had a seat on Valnothron's ruling council to a middling warrior house. The steadfast warriors of Valnothron who gained power, wealth and station through fire and blood (mostly their enemies) replaced by peddlers, cobblers outcasts and scrapings from the gutter. This cultivated in his family a disdain for all things new which he shared. Raw emotion which he helped fuel the fires of hatred for the enemy he was fighting today, who's efforts were only accelerating the arrival of more of such things.

But despite that he did see the effect that these weapons were having. He heard the distant bark of rifles, the thunder of cannons, whine of bullets through the air, the various sounds of their impacts, the roar of rockets, the thuds of explosions and the cries and screams of wounded and dying Janissaries. Almost immediately after their charge began a few bullets were slamming into the shields of his platoon, but little came of it at first. Getting through runic armor and shields without runebreaker spells was no easy task even for Infrastructure's vaunted guns. These increased as they overtook the masses of slave soldiers around them.

He also noticed that there was a pair of Drow Formations on either side of his, about one or two hundred yards to their side and ahead of them and saw the bursts of light as bullets impacted, which was soon supplemented by the splintering of wood. They seemed to be taking a more fire and even though many of the soldiers at the front of these formations managed to get behind their shielded comrades, it was not too long before he saw them shed their first body. Shortly afterwards the first of his formation's shields gave out under the gunfire. Their objective was closer and closer over the terrain and it became more and more visible, though shortly after that this stopped as the Coldlanders shifted their fire to the closer formations. It was hardly impressive in any case. It was a long enbarkment of earth maybe four feet tall with a row of spears on top of it with some wires tided between them. In his mind it was one of the most pathetic attempts at fortification he had ever seen, little more than an inconvenience to any determined attacker.

Then he heard a new sound, a steady series of quickly repeating cracks, first on his left and shortly afterwards on his right. On either side there was at least one Automatic weapon chewing into the Drow formations in addition to rifle. He saw plenty of flashes of light as a stream of bullets poured into them, as well as flying splinters and one by one bodies falling behind the formation. Between that and the rifle fire, those formations were in the end cut down like wheat at harvest. None of them got closer than fifty yards.

As he watched this unfold his flames of wrath were stoked anew. Sixty elite drow warriors, the products of decades of training and battle experience clad in fine armor with spells forged in wiped out by a handful of levied peasants with some infernal contrivances. It was an insult, a score that could only be settled with blood, steel, mana and bile. They just needed to close that distance. "HACK THEM DOWN!" He cried and his platoon surged forward. They company managed to find it within themselves for that final bit of speed for those last 200 yards. Soon after that they were under additional fire, which was soon supplemented with automatic fire. Soon the first rank's shields were torn apart and after that the shieldbearers began to fall. Each suit of armor could take between five to ten hits, but that was a lot of fire coming there way. There was also a hand grenade thrown in front of them which hit the drow troops with a spray of fragments. Valrin felt the impact of gunshots, shrapnal and ricochets on his shield, but these were background details that could be ignored. His mind had focused on one closing the distance.

More than half the platoon was cut down, but never the less they managed to close the distance. He could see that there were not many defenders on this portion of the Infrastructural line as some of the troops assigned to this stretch had. On the last few steps there was some stumbling as in the long ragged grass was a few calrops, though his boots had magically treated soles that kept his feet from getting impaled. Somehow through sheer bloody mindedness Valrin managed to surge ahead of his platoon for the last few yards. He scaled the earthworks with a leap, cleaved through the spiked wire of the barricade and fell on the Infrastructural rifle. He tried to draw his Cutlass in haste, but that was no use.

A second latter the rest of his platoon was surging over. He dropped his large clunky runic shield, pulled out a small bottle from a pocket under his tassets and downed it on gulp to recover some mana and then drew his dagger. Someone else sent up a manaflare, but he payed that little attention. The Infrastructural's line had been breached and now was time for a lot of up close and personal melee work against peasant conscripts to widen it. Behind his helmet Valrin grinned. The mad dash was over, now it was time for some sport.

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As his forces fell upon Daagsgrad General ti'Belnoth monitored things from the back of his spider in the Army's rear. Occasionally he would listen to a verbal report from one of his aides, but most of what was happening was clear enough. Things were not going perfectly, but they were proceeding along acceptably. The initial attacks from the dragon riders had done it's job of softening up their defenses, though they had taken higher losses than he expected and the survivors had gone back to the ships.

The ground troops were faring better, even though Infrastructural guns had lived up to their reputation. Through his looking glass he saw dozens of Jannissaries fall from a single artillery strike. Before the battle began, he judged that one third Jannissary losses in battle was granted and soon enough he saw that said losses had been inflicted even before they had closed the distance with more falling every second. Many would say that they were doing their job and that it meant that less Drow soldiers would die this day. It was not that he disagreed with that position, but even so every one that died or crippled to the point where he would have to be put down meant one less slave soldier for the remainder of the campaign and they was not an infinite supply of them. Even so things were going well on the whole. He had a dozen field commanders managing individual units and they were doing as well as could be expected, following his plans as well as they should and responding to changes in an acceptable manner. Unessisary

In suveying the battle there was a large number of things that he needed to take into consideration. One of these was the reports from a patrol he had set which had yet to arrive. It was not to say that it was unconsidered, but there were more pressing and immediate concerns. He sent a few runners to inform his commanders about this and went back. As did a faint haze on the horizon that appeared about the same time that the Janissaries went under enemy fire. He had messages relayed to his hindmost commanders in anticipation of the what was likely coming, hoping it would be.

Never the less, when he saw a purple pillar of light suddenly rise the battlefield through the thick smoke that was enveloping the Infrastructural defenses and permitted himself a small grin. That meant that a Platoon of Drow Shocktroops had managed to get through their lines and were carving through the defenders and clearing the way for more forces. When that happened thousands of Drow Warriors began their march onto the Infrastructural lines. The shocktroops, surviving janissaries and their overseers would most likely overwhelm most of their defenses by the time they got there but some backup would be useful never if something went wrong and it would let the rest of the warriors claim some share of glory even if the risks were minimal. This good mood however was short lived.

"My lord!" A lookout barked "They're coming in from the Southeast! Six thousand a least!"

He quickly turned around and saw the wall of dust and got out his spyglass to get a clear view. In the distance on the horizon was a mass of men on horeseback advancing steadily and forming battle lines. However, he could also make out guns

"Prepare to repulse a rear attack!" He yelled. With that trumpets barked out their notes and three green short green manaflares were sent up in quick succession. With that eight thousand Drow Warriors made an about face and abandoned their advance.

---

Sven Smedth surveyed the battlefield from the top hatch and surveyed the battlefield. The last few days had had not been easy on him or his troops. There had been a rush to get enough supplies ready and move out followed by sixty kilometers marching. He was glad that he did not need to ride a horse, he had enough of that in the wars of unification for five lifetimes at least though the alternative was still bumpy as all hell and it smelled of unwashed soldier after a day. But worse still were delays. Delays due to mud, delays at crossings, delays refueling, eating and sleeping. He knew that these were unavoidable, attempts at evading them would just cause more and worse delays and weaken morale and getting out and stretching did make him more comfortable. But regardless even if (metaphorically speaking) he could not see it's hands he could always hear the clock ticking.

Ahead he could see the city of Daagsgrad as a number of smoke columns in the distance as well as the Drow Encampment. A few hundred slaves were under the half hearted guard of a small number of low ranking Drow warriors and a few exhausted mages, both of which scattered with their approach. They were not of concern at the moment in of themselves but they did indicate two things: the Drow had begun their assault but had yet to take the city. Soon he saw the distant armies in the horizon through his binoculars. He made out their distant formations and the violet and green lights rising up in the distance. They probably were sighted.

At least his forces were not too late. Even so, behind his steady expression he still had his doubts. Regardless of Drive's points about him being viewed as a great leader and a hero of Infrastructure by the men, he knew that in truth he was nothing special. Twenty four years of military service had given him an adequate understanding of how to handle troops, execute plans and make minor adjustments when needed, but even so he had gone over the great commanders of history who could overcome forces five times their size through clever maneuvers, well positioned ambushes and a deep understanding of their enemies and their commanders. He was not one of those men. Sven did have a solid track record of victories, but those had far more to do with fighting axe armed warlords with rifles and cannons. Today he was fighting an army of warriors trained from childhood in warfare equipped with a plentiful supply of magical weapons and armor led by a general who had an education in military command and maybe centuries of combat experience.

Despite this, his voice remained stony"Signal the rocketeers to set up." He said to the driver.

"Yes sir!" he responded as he had the whistle give off the series of blasts. Rockets were inaccurate, but against an enemy force that big surgical precision would not be necessary. Whatever he was up against, he had his duty to do. And if nothing else, he had with him ten thousand cavalry and twenty automatic weapon packing armored Battlesteamers.

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As was usual on the Icemountain sea in autumn there was a fog. It was less pronounced around Daagsgrad during the siege as water favor was guided upward by spells to sustain the Drow's thunderheads, it was growing thinner as the day continued and it was not the thickest fog to begin with, but never the less out of it the horizon was lost in grey haze. To Petrov, this was a minor blessing and he made a note of tossing a few extra credits in the Keeper's collection plate if he got through this day.

More than ever did the artillery officer turned Admiral feel the weight on his shoulders. He knew that before him was a fleet three times the size of any that he had previously faced which included thirty two ships of the line as well as a number of steam powered vessels and that the stakes were as high as they could get. Victory or defeat today could mean the continued survival of Infrastructure, or it's destruction. Every asset that was available had mustered at Borogskov for the push. What needed to be done this day needed to not only be in their favor, but it also needed to be decisive.

For this reason Miles did something he hoped would turn out well. About Twenty minutes ago he ordered the warships in Daagsgrad's harbor to move out to the southwest and engage the blockade. This would let him engage the Drow Armada from two sides and he hoped that this would get the Dark Elvish fleet to converge on them. The problem was that their was only so much punishment that fleet could take and from the reports they were taking a world class beating.

He observed the video feed from the recon drone and noted that the plan had worked as intended. The Drow fleet had converged around the squadron and were giving it a pummeling, though they had taken a few losses themselves. He began wondering if he had set it into motion too quickly. Eventually, given the movements of some of the Drow ships it seemed like that they had been spotted. But even so they were still bunched together.

"We are entering range, cooridinates are available sir!" Lieutenant Korvec said through a speaking tube.

Petrov nodded to the man seated in front of him "Very good, relay to gunners." Said Captain Viktorovich.

"Aye Aye captain!" A couple seconds latter there was the sound of gears turning as the massive forward turret adjusted itself on it's pivot and it's cannons were aligned. He had received a lot of complaints from the Engineers about bringing his new flagship out to battle after it had just completed it's maiden voyage from Daagsgrad to Borogskov and it took a notification from Drive himself to shut them up about it. Not that they did not have a point. Many of the ships that he skippered had problems early on that cropped up once everything had been put together and needed to be sorted out in the yards. But unfortunately this invasion was something that needed to be sorted out right now.

Meanwhile on the Drow fleet the spotters one by one turned their spyglasses southeast and made out the indistinct shapes in the distance approaching them. Onboard a 108 gun ship of the line Qiulnaj ti Zaelros pulled out his clearsight spyglass and looked through the haze to the oncoming ships. There were a dozen of them at the least and at their head something that he had hoped they would not have to face. It was massive, a hundred yards long and broadly built. As he watched, he saw two distant bursts of fire and smoke erupt from the two forward cannons from six miles away. For a few seconds he thought that this was just them trying to make their presence known, then he saw one of his frigates blown in two and a good section of a Ship of the Line's forecastle be blown apart. He then got another look a the craft and made out it's name printed along it's prow. It was a foreign word to the coldlands, but one which suited her well. A name which would come to be synonymous with that class of warship.

That steel leviathan advancing on his fleet was the Central Committee's will made manifest on this world, their wrath brought down on their enemies.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-03-11 03:24am

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At the onset of the escort war 34 IA Infrastructural industries had produced some 1,221 roadsteamers, tractors and other free range ground vehicles. Of which some 118 had been used by the Infrastructural military for logistical support, towing cannons and similar support functions away from actual battle. The idea of using steam powered ground vehicles as mobile weapons platforms was one the central committee had considered for some time, but did not implement until the onset of the Escort War.

During the Wars of Unification vehicles such vehicles were not practical to make. Engines with an adequate power to weight ratio, fuel efficiency, suspension systems as well as other technical systems were eithery beyond Infrastructure's manufacturing capacity at the time barring the use of Fabricated components or were prohibitively expensive. This fact being compounded by the matter of the logistical supply train and mechanics required to maintain these machines in the field. At the same time Infrastructural Riflers, Cavaliers, Artillery crews and wagon fortresses were more than a match for any force that the warlords could muster. After the war, the army was reduced in scale and resources were relocated to civilian fields, the expansion of the manufacturing base, consolidation of the newly conquered territories and the development of a presence at sea. In both periods, the committee also was concerned about foreign attempts at replication, both those which were fully and (more importantly) partially successful.

The Battlesteamer project was started in the looming threat of Drow Invasion and the pressing need for any edge which could be mustered to defend against it. Workers, technicians, machinists, engineers, equipment, material and factories were pulled from Civilian Roadsteamer production and reassigned to other projects, which fell from more than a hundred vehicles a year to less than ten (most of which being tractors) and spare parts. Most of the personnel involved in the Battlesteamer project would be drawn from their ranks. Several designs were tried and tested, some of which made use of components from the existing civilian models, but there was a fair amount of internal variation as the designs were modified as they went. Due to the rushed nature of the project, a fair number of the vehicles produced had defects which came up in test runs and were either extensively rebuilt or were scrapped. A few others were damaged in the test phases due to human error. Despite this, by the autumn of 37 IA some 44 Battlesteamers had been completed and put into service with six more undergoing trials.

Number Twelve was put into service in September of 35 IA and is fairly typical of most Battlesteamers. It has a 26 kilowatt double piston steam engine with an alcohol fueled boiler, though some of the newer ones have more powerful engines. It has 8mm of steel armor plating and weighs in at 4.5 tonnes. On roads it has a top speed of 35 kilometers per hour. It requires a crew of two, a drive and a gunner. It's main armament is a Type-2A 7.5mm automatic weapon in a hand cranked turret. A few warsteamers have been outfitted with a heavier Type-3A 13mm Automatic Weapon, but this considerably increases the vehicles weight, decreases it's maximum speed and necessitates a crew of three. Latter designs had broader wheels more suitable for traversing rough terrain. As of 37 IA some experiments are being made involving pneumatic tires made out of latex imported from the Southwestern Continent, but these are still experimental.
Last edited by Zor on 2015-03-11 10:44am, edited 1 time in total.
HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
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Joined: 2010-07-13 12:10am
Location: South Australia

Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby InsaneTD » 2015-03-11 05:55am

Looks like you're missing part of the post.

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Zor
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5661
Joined: 2004-06-08 03:37am

Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-03-11 10:47am

InsaneTD wrote:Looks like you're missing part of the post.

Fixed.

Zor
HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
Heros of Cybertron-HAB-Keeper of the Vicious pit of Allosauruses-King Leighton-I, United Kingdom of Zoria: SD.net World/Tsar Mikhail-I of the Red Tsardom: SD.net Kingdoms
WHEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE ON EARTH, ALL EARTH BREAKS LOOSE ON HELL
http://zortropolis.myminicity.com/
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The Art of Zor

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InsaneTD
Jedi Knight
Posts: 548
Joined: 2010-07-13 12:10am
Location: South Australia

Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby InsaneTD » 2015-03-12 05:29am

Awesome. I love your attention to detail and the world you're creating. Live it so far and looking forward to more.

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Borgholio
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Joined: 2010-09-03 09:31pm
Location: Southern California

Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Borgholio » 2015-03-12 08:18am

Avatar appears to be something along the lines of a late 1800's armored cruiser. I've always liked the looks of those first real armored warships. But seriously, bring on the dreadnoughts already. :-)
You will be assimilated...bunghole!

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NoXion
Padawan Learner
Posts: 306
Joined: 2005-04-21 01:38am
Location: Perfidious Albion

Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby NoXion » 2015-03-17 09:10pm

This is my favourite fiction in this forum!

MOAR.

Hail Infrastructure!
Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker - Mikhail Bakunin
Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society - Karl Marx
Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value - R. Buckminster Fuller
The important thing is not to be human but to be humane - Eliezer S. Yudkowsky


Nova Mundi, my laughable attempt at an original worldbuilding/gameplay project


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