Chapter 39: The last march
2 December 1259
Last time I wrote in here, I was standing before the gates of Malayurg castle, ready to start a siege. And that's exactly what I did. While the army joined my side, I ordered my men to build a siege tower, which of course took two days to complete. During this time, the Khergits slipped past and started their own siege on Ichamur. I had to hurry. Quickly we continued to build on the tower. Eventually we finished it before the Khergits managed to storm their former city, and I lead my men forward to take the castle.
For the first time in this entire war the Khergits didn't jump down their walls. Had they learned from their previous mistakes? We started our attack run from a great distance, from which our crossbows were more effective than their their bows, despite them having cover from the walls. All the men of me and my vassals stormed the place, and we quickly took it. During the siege I even managed to capture Brula noyan. I gave the fief to lord Mirchaud, as I had promised. While I conducted these small affairs, a Khergit delegation arrived: they offered 2000 denars Dundush noyan, which I accepted. Taking Khergit lords prisoner is a lucrative business, although it still surprised me they hadn't tried to buy their leader, Sanjar khan, free.A panoramic view of the attack on Malayurg castle.
After I took the castle, I hurried back to Ichamur, after leaving Rafarch with his army in Malayurg castle: I needed to break that siege. I rode as fast as I could, leaving my main army far behind me, but I was too late: the Khergits had taken the place. On my way towards the city, I met Hugu noyan with his army: I defeated him, but he escaped. After the fight the Khergits offered me 1100 denars for Druli noyan, which I of course accepted.
Then I arrived at Ichamur, where I immediately started the siege by building ladders. They were finished pretty soon, so after my lords arrived, I immediately stormed the place. All the remaining noyans had packed together there, so there was quite some defending army. but it wasn't enough to stop me form taking the place. I even captured Rochabarth noyan. After I sold my prisoners to sinister looking people in the tavern, and sold all the gear I captured from them, I was ready to ride out again, to the next castle: Rindyar castle. While I rode towards there, some Khergits decided that they wanted to retake Malayurg castle. But that was on my route, so I was in time to remind them of their error. I drove them away, but before they left, they paid me 4300 denars for Brula noyan. Those are ransoms I like them to pay.
At the castle I immediately prepared ladders in four hours, which was enough for my army to catch up. They had quite a lot of defenders, along with a few nobles that had escaped my grasp before, so there were over 200 defenders. Still that was a lot less than the army I had brought with me: they weren't able to withstand waves and waves of countless soldiers climbing up the ladders and fighting their way to the heart of the castle. It was a bloody fight, and despite our greater numbers, our losses were very heavy. While 246 defenders died and 13 got wounded, 119 attackers died and 200 got wounded. Could any siege go any worse? Soon I learned the answer to that question. It was a sad day, which the capture of Ulusamai noyan couldn't light up.The battle of Rindyar Castle.
After this bloody victory, I still marched on to Dramug castle. Some of my lords rode away to attend to their wounded men, but most rode along with me. That was a good thing, since the Khergit had even more defenders over there than at Rindyar castle. Quickly I prepared the ladders, and together we stormed the place. It was huge, and we had to run a long way before we were able to find our enemies. And when we did, we had to fight them in small and enclosed spaces. It was a nightmare. Not only got 217 of our men killed, also 367 got wounded. The enemy lost 299 men and had 29 wounded. These two sieges had severely weakened the Hollandic army. But we were almost finished: the Khergit had only one place left.
For the final siege I had to replenish my men, so after a short visit to the nearby city of Reyvadin, where I unfortunately got robbed, I returned to Khudan. All my nobles had scattered across the landscape, to do the same thing I had done: get more men. In my capital I took quite a lot of sharpshooters and sergeants, and marched to the last Khergit holdout. During the ride quite some lords met me, and joined the campaign. This was going to be the last major battle of all, and we marched towards it. This was the last march.
At Reindi castle all the remaining Khergit noyans had gathered, making a last stand. 17 of them were defending along with the garrison of the city. But those nobles had been beaten before, and hadn't had any time to rebuild their armies. Despite that they had the advantage of both the walls and their numbers: I arrived with only 6 lords.The last march ended at Reindi castle.
The battle took long to finish. I ordered all my infantry and cavalry to climb the ladders, while all my archers were standing back and shot the defenders from their walls. But the fighting was hard, and many fell. It was a blessing that this was their last castle, since my entire proud army had been destroyed or been wounded. The capture of Reindi castle was really the last battle of this campaign. After I had finally shot down the last of the defenders, I managed to capture quite a few lords. I kept Brula, Druli, Dundush, Gastya, Hugu, Khavel and Nasugei as prisoners, while setting Tulug, Urumuda and Vlan free. Some other noyans escaped, but where could they go? There was no place to hide. The Khergits had been the third faction I wiped out from the face of Calradia. Satisfied I returned to Khudan, where it would be time to appoint some fiefs.
I've updated my game from 1.113 to 1.125. Well, actually I reinstalled it. There were some mods that changed things outside the module directory, and I was too lazy to find out which mod had changed what. Also I updated all the mods to their latest versions, while I was at it. An overview:
1. Mount & Blade: Warband v1.125
2. Diplomacy v2.2.5
3. Better Banners Mod v2.0
(stayed the same), along with my custom banners.
4. More horses v2.5
(no idea what it was)
5. More Warhorses v1.5
(no idea what it was)
6. Arena Overhaul mod v1.0
(stayed the same)
7. Reworked Armors 1.6
(stayed the same) with the hotfix for Warband 1.125.
8. Historic Castles Project - the British Isles v1.1
9. More Metal Sound Mod v2.1
(stayed the same)
10. Warband Battle Size Changer v1.5
(stayed the same)
I just couldn't get the Epic Heraldry Mod
working, both the old v0.65 and the new v0.72, so for now I'm doing it without it. Unfortunately that means my horses are - once again - screwed up, although it's not as bad as other times: I don't have to buy new ones now, although they do have new colours.
Another thing I noticed, was that 1.125 seems to handle large battles a lot better than 1.113. In the old version I really shouldn't attempt to start a siege with a battle size of ridiculous high: crash guaranteed. But in the current version there didn't seem to be any problem. Well, my computer didn't let everything go as fluently as could be, but at least it didn't crash. That's a relief.
Since Floris' stats haven't changed, I thought I'd made a heraldic weapon for him, with his motto: Pro Suillae et Gallo. For Pork and Chicken!
The major change is the extermination of the Khergits. Holland has usurped all their lands. Also the Sarranids have conquered Jamiche castle upon the Rhodoks.