1746: The Lake Morandi Campaign
Tok’s tentative connection to Lake Morandi is the city-state of Dunport, which straddles the River Ootl. In the first month of 1746, Dunport’s new militia general arrived, sweating and feverish in the muggy lowlands, without ceremony and unannounced. In his satchel he carried a coded message which he was convinced was his death sentence. Tok was to declare war on Craesil in two months. Mobilization had already begun in the capital, but the frontiers had not been alerted. Alykinder looked around Dunport in despair. His orders forbade him from surrendering the city. The terrain offered few advantages to defense. He had never worked with the Southern Command before. In every war between Tok and Craesil, Craesil’s opening move had been to cut off Dunport and then hold it as a bargaining tool. It was joked that every citizen of Dunport memorized the lyrics to the National Hymn of Craesil because they heard it every dozen years or so.
But Alykinder was not prone to languishing in a depression for long, and he set to work planning the best defense he could think of given his orders: A hard offense. His senior officer corps balked at the planned naval invasion and landing along the Craesil coast, but the junior officers were fired by the idea.
Alykinder did to Dunport what he had done in the highlands of Tok. He cut the size of GHQ down to a minimum and commandeered every radio transmitter he could get. He seized ships of all varieties, insisted that the militia be called up in force and immediately begin training in riverine and maritime operations. There were no airships, but there were to be lightning raids along the coast. His shrewdest move was to take a member of the press along. Dain Bor was a well-respected essayist whose writings were widely read across Tok. Bor was seen as an affable supporter and romanticiser of the every quar, and Alykinder’s deal was: Write about the war, and you can go where you like.
Looking north along the Meera Headland. This outcrop was used by Alykinder during late 1746 as his field HQ. Photo courtesy of the author.