War in Wintergleam

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War in Wintergleam
Part of Kalirion Fracture
Date 15.XIII–12.XIV.1672 AN
Location Wintergleam
Result Ceasefire and revised line of control
Belligerents
Elwynnese Republic
Benacia Command (after 08.XIV)
Sovereign Confederation
Benacia Command (after 08.XIV)
Commanders and leaders
Firdaus Abdollahi Mehr Doir Jen Mera
/ Selardi Jen Daniyal
Units involved
  • Union Defence Force
    • 5th Division
    • 10th Division
    • 12th Naval Division
    • 4th Tactical Aviation Division
  • Corps of the Gentlemen-at-Cudgels
  • Northern Banner Group
  • Sovereign League of Defence and Deterrence
    • Order of the Golden Spear
    • III (Wintergleam) Corps
    • IV (Suthergold) Corps
  • Assayers
  • Eastern Banner Group

Background

The Shirerithian county of Wintergleam, bordered by Agnesia to the northwest and Suthergold in the south, laid on the border between the former states of Elwynn and Goldshire. Control of Wintergleam had oscillated between the two realms ever since Wintergleam had first passed under Elwynnese control in 1516. In part this back and forth, and Wintergleam's Goldshirean roots, explained the weak strength of the both Elw language and the Church of Elwynn in the area. Once a heartland of the much maligned Vanic tendency in Elwynn, this legacy was violently expurgated during the Auspicious Occasion of 1651 which resulted in the port of Avaldsnes and most of eastern Wintergleam being ceded to Goldshire by the State Law & Order Restoration Council, a puppet government installed in Elwynn by the Imperial Republic and on which the King of Goldshire had a seat as State Councillor. The act of cession was formalised by the last king of Elwynn, Vili Esposito, as part of the Partition of Elwynn.

Calamities would heap up on the Imperial Republic meanwhile, in the form of wars, epidemics, and the staggering cost of sustaining a globe-spanning great power rivalry whilst relying upon an wholly inadequate economic system. The collapse of the impoverished and demoralised old aristocracy, presaged by the Modanese Emigration, signalled the beginning of the end for the Shirerithian model of neofeudalism which had sustained the Imperial Republic for centuries. This faltering would permit the apparent victory of the centralising - Imperialist - tendency in Shirerithian politics, and the final ascendancy of the Kalirion dynasty which took the opportunity of sweeping away the last vestiges of Particularist privilege by abolishing the states in the year 1669. In the midst of these sweeping changes, Elwynnese partisans would take the opportunity to assert local control in Wintergleam.

It would swiftly become apparent however that, without the brutal, corrupt, and inefficient local elites to rely upon, the brutal, corrupt, and inefficient agents of central Imperial government were entirely inadequate to the task of keeping the provinces in order. A peculiar paralysis set in as the apparatus of government ossified, but it would take the defiance of Inner Benacia, and the singular weakness of the Imperial response - namely the complete absence of any retaliation for the murder of its envoy in the country - which would signify to an entire continent that "Shirekeep was silent" and could now be safely ignored. The cantons - left to their own devices - acted as they saw fit. The Kalirion Fracture ensued in 1671 as the death of the Kaiser demolished the last semblance of central authority and paved the way for anarchy to take a hold in the country. This was as true of Wintergleam as anywhere.

The transient Elw reassertion of control in Wintergleam would not last however. Across Benacia, observing the breakdown in order, local forces - be they civil, political, or military - saw in the failure of the Kalirion regime an opportunity to take power for themselves. These actors, known collectively as the Vulture States, swiftly began to assert themselves and establish zones of control. In the case of Wintergleam the vulture that came to feast on its carcass was the Sovereign Confederation of Suthergold and Norestria, proclaimed in 1671 by Ryker 001, a digitised facsimile of the consciousness of the King Ryker, preserved it was rumoured by an unlikely alliance of interested parties. Cooperating with the Black Legions, the Sovereign Confederation was able to assert control over what was once Suthergold, Western Wintergleam, the Ynnrailli bank of the Kingsweep (known also as the Hol Wynn), and Avakair.

Elwynn meanwhile, having been bedevilled by civil war during the years leading up to the fracture only now to discover - to its surprise - an opportunity to recover its unity and independence, had not been in a position to resist the takeover of territory it considered to be a part of its own patrimony. Distracted and harassed by the raids of Boreals hailing from the ice bound islands of Leng and Raikoth, the Elwynnese too had been obliged to turn to the Black Legions for assistance in organising the repulse of these invaders. In time the Boreals were driven from Cape Farewell and the Cimmerian Isles, pursued back to their fortress monasteries in the frozen wastes of the farthest reaches of the north, by UDF battalions sustained by the logistical support of Benacia Command. At the conclusion of the Boreal campaign, Elwynnese attention turned back towards Wintergleam, and Benacia Command found itself in the mildly uncomfortable position of backing two sides in an impending conflict.

Preparedness

At the outbreak of the conflict both the Union Defence Force and the Sovereign League of Defence and Deterrence were hamstrung by being caught in the midst of organising their newly raised forces, the training of commissioned and non-commissioned leadership cadres, and the cycle of operational training required for the vast variety of ex-Imperial hardware that had passed into their hands as a consequence of the Kalirion Fracture.