Crusade Years 5-9 (1766-1770): The Alliance of Creevin and the Iron Regime

Outside of the core Crusader states, Alykinder was now a pariah. The nobility from these states were readily granted asylum, and the world outside of the Crusader states learned that the Iron Regime was not a monolithic Crusader front. Alykinder’s Minister of the Interior was an ardent Radical named Tos Wen Cryk, and Wen Cryk proposed creating a secret police force to stamp out Royalist uprisings before they began. Alykinder is known to have approved of the formation of the Special Branch of Security—a force which operates beyond the bounds of the law, answerable only to Wen Cryk and Alykinder himself.

Between the actions of the Special Branch and the Battle of Bul Maren, Alykinder had lost the confidence of many in the Crusader states. Many were concerned that the old anchors of quar life, including the centrality of the clans, were being undermined in the name of an ill-defined progress. Many felt that the actions undertaken by the Army did not justify the goal of an end to the Long War, and even more felt that Alykinder’s actions were more likely to lead to more violence than less.

A Grand Convocation of noble clans in Creevin agreed to form a unified army to oppose the Crusaders. This project had been a cause of the Kydwyt sept of Fidwog and the Braerch sept of Coftyr since before Crusade Year 1. The combined armies and navies of these Royalist nations were almost double the size of the Crusader military.

But even as these armies were massive, they were subject to squabbling and infighting, particularly between nations. Old jealousies and feuds could not be reconciled by the existence of a common enemy. Alykinder’s propaganda arm exploited these, and the self-styled Grand Army of Kings was not equal to the veteran Crusaders, with their huge Airmobile Brigades and veteran Guard Catrawds.

The death of the Grand Army of Kings came in pieces. First Maer Braech, staging ground of the army, was forced into submission when the Crusaders were able to destroy the ports where arms and munitions were brought in. A combined fleet of warships from Easky and Sleevin were destroyed in the Inishchol Archipeligo by a daring Crusader battlecruiser squadron and fighter-bombers from the Crusader Air Force. The King of Creevin was taken in a daring raid as he hunted in his mountain lodge.

The tenor and nature of warfare had changed since the first days Alykinder had served. No longer did armies dig trenches around an invested city and engage in the protracted process of siege and counter-siege. New and terrible weapons, such as the airship frigate and the tank, the man-portable machine-gun and the trench-bomb are used. The cavalry is almost unknown now, and the artillerist must be a master of the artillery tractor as well as the gun.

At the end of Crusade Year 9, the only nations which had not separately negotiated a peace with the Crusader States were Coftyr and Fidwog, yet it can be fairly said that the Crusader Army is not large enough to control the surrendered nations. Though these formerly-Royalist states were supposed to remove their kings and provide fresh legions for the Crusaders, they showed no compliance beyond empty words. Despite the efforts of the Special Branch, Royalist insurrections were known to be occurring or have occurred inside Barro, Kryst, and even Tok itself.

Next: The Present