In 628 b.S.
Tephron decided to take drastic measures against the
Stratanian pirates who had been
Centoraurian ships in the
south. Piracy was a serious income source for them at this time and the pirate
leader was appreciated in local hierarchy. For this reason the
Stratanian authorities didn't
seriously consider the Anactar
Tephron's proposals for cooperation against piracy. The 23
years old prince Curgan led an offensive against the
Stratanian pirates. However, he
didn't handle the whole operation with the necessary discretion. These military
operations resulted in the
Stratanians considering the
Centoraurian interference a
provocation and the conflict soon escalated into war with the direct
interference of the Stratanian
navy. Curgan however, managed in a series of successful
naval battles to destroy the
Stratanian fleet, to seize the
Stratanian capital for a couple of days when he hunted and captured many
pirate leaders. Among them was the supreme leader of the pirates and member of
the royal Stratanian council,
Tehmen Rut, who passed under trial and was executed in
Milkengrad a few months later.
These Centoraurian actions, from a military aspect were a total success and completely eliminated piracy. However, politically these actions triggered direct hostility against the Centoraurians.
7th century b.S. Helcrani trade
starts dominating the western Sarvonian
coast. The Helcran, under the
Centoraurian banner, construct
and maintain a massive fleet and struggle to gain trade supremacy along the
western coast. They largely accomplish this goal not only because of their
advanced hulls but also of their competitive fares. Caravans flock to
Milkengrad to sell their merchandise to
Helcrani traders, who forward the
goods. Furthermore, the Helcrani of
Helcrah, under Caltharian rule,
also pose a possible threat to the land trade route, which passes between the
High and the Low Fores.
The rise of Helcrani naval trade does not only annoy the Erpheronian king but also the Stratanians to the south, whose interests are severely damaged, because the Erpheronian trade competition leaves less room for expansion to the Helcrani and therefore the horsemen of the north divert their focus to the southern coasts and claim a large part of the local trade. The Stratanians realize that they can’t cope up with the Centoraurians using the traditional means of competition.
646 b.S. The Stratanian king, Remor Korian Tristin, under the advise of a royal counselor and admiral with the name Tehmen Rut, decides to commission several captains, many of them of noble stock, to assault and sink the Helcran trade ships sailing in Stratanian waters. Tehmen Rut is appointed in charge of this effort. He holds more of an organizing role rather than commanding directly of the pirate forces.
In other words, the Stratanian reaction takes the form of autonomous flotillas committing acts of piracy against the Centoraurian traders. The pirates have their hideouts in Stratanian unexplored territory along the west coast and are enjoying immunity (sometimes also tactful support) from the local authorities and the great esteem of their countrymen.
The only Stratanian reaction against this initiative is by Kyra Valderon, the First One of Varcopas, who initially ignores it, however - as soon as she finds out what is happening - she starts arguing with Remor Korian in order to stop these actions against a more powerful nation. She is not heard however, but nevertheless obeys her king and cooperates unwillingly with him. The people of Varcopas are also not very eager with the idea of piracy against a friendly nation and only a few of them join the pirates. Furthermore, the only pirate lair in the region is manned mostly by foreigners.
The initial Centoraurian response is to arm their ships better in order to withstand the attacks. However, trade ships were both slow and not easily maneuverable. Military ships on the other hand could not carry much merchandise.
636 b.S. Tephron, as the Centoraurian king, appeals to the Stratanian authorities for help but besides a typical assurance from the Stratanian king to undertake something against piracy, nothing happens. Kyra Valderon’s warnings to the Tristin that this can not be concealed for ever and that the Helcrani will react, when they find out the truth, with an unpredictable reaction fall in vain and her voice is not heard. However, Varcopas takes no effective action to end piracy in its region.
635 b.S. The Centoraurians decide to form merchant convoys that sail under the protection of the Royal Centoraurian Navy. Nevertheless, because of the international reactions that are raised, this practice is abandoned a year later and hired mercenary ships escort the convoys. However, this results in a vertical rise of the Centoraurian fares and prices.
632 b.S. the Centoraurian Anactar (as the king is called) proposes to his Stratanian colleague to form a joined force under Stratanian command and pursue piracy together. This offer is rejected along with other similar proposals that follow, constantly with more favorable terms for the Stratanian side. The issue remains a constant subject of negotiation in the Centoraurian-Stratanian relations.
630 b.S. A Helcran captain, with the name Nonoc manages to capture a pirate Stratanian ship from Varcopas with all its crew. It is manned with juvenile Varcopasians under the guidance of a couple of senile pirates from Thalambath. The youngsters, although their mission is to carry messages from their leader to the pirate command decide to play hero and assault a Helcran merchant galley with catastrophical results.
Valuable documents fall into Helcrani hands. The surviving crew and the captain are interrogated. All the evidence proves official Stratanian involvement in the acts of piracy.
A Helcrani trader with the name of Sedaivicla, who was married to the aunt of Nerdza, who eventually became an infamous Stratanian general with the nickname “the Black”, is appointed with the task of confirming official Stratanian involvement in piracy. He manages to accomplish this task and confirm the information with the help of his daughter, Anetha. He is also able to provide his king with names of many pirate leaders and the location of some of their hideouts. The Centoraurians decide to retaliate. The young princes Curgan and Cumrann propose the assassination of several pirate leaders in order to let the Stratania know that the conspiracy is revealed. Agaran, the notorious elven Fratrageta (clan leader) supports their proposal and proposes alternatively to just let the Stratanians know these facts and demand that they stop looting their ships. King Tephron, however, knowing that his sons won’t accept anyone else to undertake these missions and afraid that they won’t survive them, decide to launch an offensive against the pirate themselves. His intention is to send a force to hunt down the pirates in their hideouts. The operation is to remain secret for as long as possible and avoid offending the Stratanians and risking the ignition of a war between the two kingdoms.
629 b.S. First preparations for the campaign against the Stratanians are conducted in secrecy. Helcrani infiltrate Stratania as Kyranian and Caltharian traders. Their espionage reveals many more of the piratical hideouts and minor leaders not mentioned in the list. Small skerries west of Parda and in the Aetryam Sea are converted in secret refueling bases for the Centoraurians fleet.
The Campaign. Awakening Earth 3, 628 b.S. The expedition force sails from the military harbor of Milkengrad with the cover of drills in the Dark Sea. Prince Curgan leads a force of 100 warships and 20.000 men against the Stratanian pirates. His goal is a swift elimination of piracy without excessive provocation of the Stratanians. With cruises in seas without traffic he sails south undetected.
Rising Sun 12, 628 b.S. The Centoraurian fleet from its outpost southeast of the Isle of Hope enters Herrings Bay and engages the surprised pirates. Their sole anchorage near the prominent point where Narfost cliffs are protruding into the bay is burnt to the ground. The Helcrani ground troops ensure that there are neither escapes nor any survivors.
Rising Sun 15 - Burning Heavens 20, 628 b.S. The coast between Varcopas and the Lands of Pain is cleansed from pirates. Another five of the piratical lairs are destroyed and not many of the pirates survive. One of them however reaches Varcopas and reveals that the destruction of the hideout in Herrings Bay (which the Stratanians had already noticed in the meantime) was a Centoraurian deed. Kyra Valderon’s worst fears are coming true. She sends with the help of two Shendar a message through the Ráhaz-Dáth in order to warn the Tristin. Centoraurian traders are arrested all over Stratania and their merchandise is confiscated. Some of them are executed too.
Sleeping Dreameress 13, 628 b.S. Naval Battle of Thalambath. The united Stratanian piratical fleet is wiped out in the sea west of Thalambath, before the Stratanian navy manages to come to their aid. Tehmen Rut escapes wounded and hell bent for leather is returned to Strata. A few Stratanian warships, however, are on time to aid the pirate fleet. The victors sail towards the city and demand the liberation of the captive Centoraurian traders that are held there. After the fulfullment of his demands, Curgan pretends a withdrawal to the north to deceive the Stratanian navy that comes to reinforce the pirates.
Sleeping Dreameress 31, 628 b.S. The Centoraurians clash with a Stratanian force of about 150 ships, they let caught up with them, a few strals west of Norong Sorno volcano. The Stratanians lose 80 ships while 20 more are captured. Curgan ensures that the retreating Stratanian fleet notices his northern route. As soon as the retreating Stratanian lose visual contact with the Helcrani fleet, Curgan turns west and sails in this direction. When he is at a safe distance from the coast and the trade routes he heads south and turns back east when he is a bit south of Strata. This way he reaches the town undetected.
Fallen Leaf 19, 628 b.S. With the first light of day, the Centoraurians appear all of a sudden in the waters outside Strata. Helcrani marines block all grounds exits from the city. The Stratanian army is headed north to reinforce Varcopas, which is suspected to be the next Centoraurian target, thus leaving the city virtually defenseless. The Helcrani storm the harbor and capture the city. In the harbor lies a Stratanian fleet of 60 ships. The royal Stratanian family falls also into Helcran hands. The Tristin escapes in the sewers and, with tons of luck, leaves the city and takes refuge to Varcopas. Many citizens are killed in riots resisting the invaders. Several Stratanian noblemen who are suspected for participation in the pirate conspiracy are arrested; one of them is the admiral Tehmen Rut, head of the pirates. Curgan also releases from captivity more than 100 Centoraurian traders.
The Helcrani withdraw 3 days later, with more than 290 Stratanian prisoners accused for piracy against the Centoraurian crown. During the brief occupation of Strata, the royal family remains intact, no civilians are hurt (except the rioters of course), nearly no plundering takes place and no hostages are taken. Curgan hopes that with this behavior, he‘ll gain the Stratanians and promote a peace treaty. However, the Centoraurians arouse great hatred among the Stratanians for their audacious and arrogant actions. Some Stratanians even see the sparing of Strata as an act of humiliation as they do not understand that the brief capture of Strata was just a necessary measure against piracy and was not a hostile act against the kingdom itself. They consider that the Helcrani want to humiliate the nation by capturing its capital and the royal family and letting them live in shame, knowing that they are not worthy of a honorable death not even of a more experienced general to deal with them rather than the juvenile Curgan.
Fallen Leaf 25 - Passing Clouds 28, 628 b.S. Curgan eliminates the pirate bases in the Stratanian western coast from Strata to Thalambath. The destruction of the piratical fleet in the Naval Battle of Thalambath makes this task pretty easy for the Centoraurians.
During these operations Helcrani marines guided by a Shendar captive enter the base at the western rim of the Yar’Dangs, where the most important pirate base was located. The Stratanian officer in charge decides to engage the Helcrani in a pitched battle in order to avenge the death of three of his brothers. There, a few peds from the coast, Curgan achieves a glorious victory killing more than 250 of the pirates with only 7 casualties. Those who survive seek salvation further to the labyrinth-like interior, where the Centoraurians don’t dare to pursue them. Only a young and hot tempered Helcrani captain with the name Ramion, disobeys Curgan's orders and enters deeper in the Yar’Dangs. His fate and the fate the 30 men under his command is unknown.
Dead Tree 19, 628 b.S. On his return home, Curgan spots a pirate hideout in a skerry west of Aj'Nuvic Grounds. He assaults and destroys it. This delay gives the chance to a detachment of the Stratanian fleet of the eastern coast to catch up with them. Despite the fact that his forces are not detected, Curgan decides to attack. After a brief battle the Centoraurians capture 20 enemy ships and sink 30 more. Only one ship (with a Varcopasian captain, married to a Helcran woman) was let to escape, in order to convey a proposal for a peace treaty to the Stratanians.
Frozen Rivers 23, 628 b.S. The Helcrani expedition force appears outside Varcopas without knowing that the Tristin is there. Remor Korian intimidated by the Centoraurian military success, the capture of his family and under the direct influence of Kyra Valderon, decides not to risk another battle against the notorious Helcrani. He sends envoys with valuable presents that offer peace and safe refuge to the Helcrani expedition force in Varcopas until they can sail safe home in spring and promises that the Stratanian Crown will take all necessary measures needed in order to put an end to piracy. A peace treaty is signed the same day.
Aftermath. This expedition was a complete success for the Centoraurian army that prevailed in every clash with the enemy. The objective of putting an end to piracy was accomplished too as the pirates deprived of royal support, their leaders, their bases and having suffered massive casualties were forced to disband what little was left from their forces according to the peace treaty.
Nevertheless, this campaign was a failure on a political level. The direct Centoraurian offensive, the humiliating capturing of the Stratanians capital and the royal family and the arrest of many eminent Stratanian citizens aroused great hatred against the Helcrani and, although after the campaign their ships sailed the Stratanians waters in safety, nobody would buy from them with the exception of Varcopas, where the locals never stopped trading with the Helcrani. The Stratanians lusted for revenge and waited the right moment to avenge the Centoraurian arrogance; and this moment was not too far to come…
Information provided by Curgan