Chapter 44: Conquering a peninsula
11 June 1260
It is war! After a long time of peace, there had been an incident between villagers of both mine and king Ragnar's country. That's the moment everything started to spin out of control. I must confess that I found it the perfect opportunity to let things go astray. Holland was divided by the Nords, and that needed to change. So one thing led to another, and before anyone knew it, there was a war between the two greatest factions of Calradia.
The army I had gathered consisted of 14 lords with all their men. I took myself 30 of my finest Sarranid mamlukes, 30 of my best Swadian sharpshooters and 30 promising Nord recruits. During the campaign I would need to train them into huscarls, some of the meanest fighters Calradia has ever seen. I also ordered Miles de Gloucester, my constable, to recruit more Nords, Sarranids and Swadians while I was away. With everything in order, all arranged, I was ready for the campaign. I rode out towards Wercheg, the most northern Nord city.Me an my army rode out.
While I was on the road to the first city, along with more than 1700 men, I met a few of the enemy nobles. First I saw jarl Meltor, who really didn't like me. There was no way he would walk over to me, so I attacked and took him prisoner and rode on to Wercheg. But as I approached their gates, I saw both king Ragnar himself and jarl Irya riding in the field. The jarl was closer to the city, so I first intercepted him. I bashed the army, consisting mostly of huscarls, by the sheer number of elite forces. Unfortunately he escaped. Then I moved on to the enemy leader. We were polite, but still I needed him prisoner for a swift progress. So I charged with my army, and knocked out his force of over 300 men. Unfortunately he escaped, but his army wouldn't bother me during the siege of Wercheg.
Then the moment I rode north for arrived: I laid siege to the city of Wercheg. Within four hours I had ladders prepared, and attacked with my entire army. There were only 300 defenders against my 1700 attackers, how bad could it be? But to be sure I ordered archers to fire a lot of bolts onto the walls while the rest of my men stormed the ladders. Despite my sheer number, it was a heavy siege. Those huscarls were quite some strong defenders. In the end they were all killed, although the lonely jarl Irya managed to sneak away. But my losses were a lot heavier. 355 men dead and 199 wounded: it was a bitter victory.The attack on the city of Wercheg was hard, but luckily I was a beacon to victory for my men.
After I captured the place, I immediately bought some salt. A war wasn't enough to stop my lust for trading. To secure my newly conquered peninsula, there were still two castles to overwhelm, so I decided to ride to these northern bastions. But when I wanted to march out, I noticed that lords Karaban, Stamar and Tirida abandoned the army to ride back to their cozy little fiefs. Those chickens... With many dead and wounded and them leaving, my manpower was halved, I noticed when I rode near the village of Jayek. That's where I met jarl Surdun. Even though he sympathised with my cause, he was loyal to his king, and I couldn't let him escape with his army. So with my remaining 824 fit men I charged him, and killed almost all his soldiers. He escaped barely, after which we marched on, to Alburq castle.
Before we reached that place, a messenger came running towards me: my newly conquered city was under siege by jarl Dirigun, and more were on their way. Immediately I turned around, and rode back. The first one I met was jarl Bulba.He too sympathized with my cause, but didn't want to abandon his master. I taught him the unwiseness of that decision. Unfortunately he escaped too, so I moved on to the city, where I faced the small siege camp, encircling an even smaller city defence. Luckily my army, slowly refilling their ranks, accompanied me, so we ended this nonsense quite fast by capturing that porky jarl Dirigun.In the hilly northern landscape I led my army against some renegade jarls and their armies.
After the capture of this noble, the peninsula was really mine. Now I stand here on the walls of Wercheg, smelling the dyeworks that colour the city and look out to the village of Jayek. The war is still only a few days young, but still I made great progress. but at what cost? Many men died, some lords ran off and the Nords are now raiding my villages. It's time to go home already, to put two men in the prison tower and capture some castles on the way.
Here is a picture of Floris' current stats:
The first phase of the war shows the conquest of the city of Wercheg just a few days after it started.