The peroid of prolonged conflict between the Kingdom of Shornhelm and the Kingdom of Northpoint, generally referred to as The Grand Northern War (or Northern War for short) and called the Unification of the North by Northpointers was a series of smaller wars culminating in a full-scale invasion of Shornhelm by their nothern neighbours. The result of the war was a complete victory for Northpoint, the total annexation of Shornhelm, the dissolution of the Kingdom itself, with Shornhelm, Darguard, Thornvale, and Eagle Brook becoming vassals of Northpoint.
|The Grand Northern War|
|Part of The Unification of the North|
|The Kingdom of Northpoint and vassals||The Kingdom of Shornhelm and vassals|
| Daric Caron
Ser Liam Caron
| Roland Lariat
Build-up to WarEdit
Tensions between Shornhelm and Northpoint had been high years before any sort of conflict broke out between them. Northpoint had long been the most militarily powerful of the northern realms, and had slowly expanded its reach in previous years, bringing Thorkan, Felway, Wrothmark, and White Haven under its banners as vassas. Shornhelm, on its part, had been wary of its more powerful neighbor, and had been preparing for what many saw as an inevitable conflict for many years.
However, there seemed to be some hope for peace between the two kingdoms when it appeared that Aedan Caron IV would ascend to the throne. Charismatic and likable, Aedan's travels put him in contact with many nobles in Shornhelm and its vassals, and his easy-going personality convinced many of them that war wasn't so inevitable after all. Trade began to slowly flow between the two countries, and nobles began to reach out to their neighbors.
Everything changed when Aedan was killed in a tragic accident, and his younger brother Daric Caron ascended to the throne in his place in 4E8. Daric's harsh personality alienated the allies his brother had made in the south, and the growing peace between the two kingdoms dissolved within a year. When Allard Lariat began his selling off of royal heirlooms, Daric sensed weakness, and ordered the attack that would kick off one of the most bloody conflicts in High Rock in decades.
First Stage of WarEdit
The opening stages of the war began in 4E 9, and would prove to be in Northpoint's favour. The Shornish were keen to meet Daric's forces in battle and assembled armies to do just that, bringing him to pitched battle. Unfortunately, this was exactly what Daric had been counting on, and for the most part, Northpoint's forces were able to fend off the Shornish attacks. Forays into Northpointer lands became less common as the Northpointer's steadily advanced further into Shornish territory.
By 4E 11, Shornhelm was well and truly placed onto the defensive. Daric's skill as a general allowed him to defeat Shornhelm's armies in the field. However, while this occured, one group of Shornish managed to maintain strong resistance. Rangers from County Darguard, commanded by Bertrand Auraelyon, enacted a series of raids against Northpointer forces. While avoiding pitched battle, they hit caravans and scouting groups before disappearing back into the wilderness. An attempt to bring them to heel was made, but the sortee send to find them was ambushed and nearly killed to a man, though they were able to inflict major casualties among the rangers, including killing Bertrand. Command of the rangers fell to Bertrand's daughter, Dannielle Auraelyon and they continued their guerrilla campaign.
As word reached the Shornish of their success, many of the remaining nobles of Shornhelm began to adopt the same battle doctrine, while others found fortified positions and didn't budge. Denying the northmen pitched battle, preparations were made to begin the lengthy process of besieging the Shornish in their positions. However these efforts were contantly stymied as the rangers and other guerrilla fighters were able to harrass the Northpointers, constantly delaying efforts to bring in supplies to prepare for such a campaign. Daric's lack of reconnaissance at the begining of his campaign had now come back to bite him, as his forces were largely unfamiliar with the terrain and couldn't locate the guerrillas' bases of operation. As the sun rose on 4E 13, it was clear that Northpoint had placed on the backfoot.
Despite a lack of a tangible enemy to fight, Daric pressed onward with his campaign. Though his main army was able to fend off any piecemeal strikes that came at it, he was unable to bring the Shornish into a pitched battle. As a result, the most that Daric's force got was indecisive skirmishes. Meanwhile, areas of Northpointer control beyond Daric's immediate sphere deteriorated. The Northerners found themselves having to divert men to protect supply lines, resulting in a weaker presence along the main front. Reconnaissance was poor as the Shornish continually eliminated scouting parties and intercepted messengers. Unable to make a coordinated effort against the Shornish, it was often all the Northpointer garrisons could do to hunker down and await the arrival of Daric's main army, the only thing that proved virtually untouchable to Shornish guerrilla efforts.
However, Daric's host proved only a temporary reprieve, for as soon as it would arrive, the Shornish would simply melt into the wilderness to attack other forces, keeping Daric on the move and - most importantly - busy enough that he couldn't bring any of the Shornish strongholds to siege. As result of Shornish guerrilla tactics and Daric's stubbornness, the war was prolonged considerably, and Northpointer morale quickly faded. Tensions rose within the ranks, but Daric maintained that withdrawal from Shornish territory was not an option. In the end, the nobles of Northpoint came close to breaking point, threatening to remove Daric from his throne if he continued in his campaign. Realising how precarious his situation was, Daric begrudgingly heeded their warning and withdrew his forces in 4E 19. King Allard was all too eager to enter into peace negotiations with the Northpointers, and a White Peace agreement was drawn up, with no holdings changing hands after the long, drawn out war. Hostages were exchanged in honour of this agreement, with the King of Shornhelm's own nephew, Prince Meldorn, being passed over to Northpoint for a duration of two years. The Shornish had successfully repelled Northpoint.
Final Stage & End Edit
After the first war, precautions were made on the behalf of the Shornish. Due to their outrageous success, the rangers were increased in number from a few hundred to a few thousand men, who would work out of hidden strongholds should Northpoint invade again. In Northpoint however, Daric prepared for a second invasion. In secret, he sent out spies in a large information gathering campaign, utilising bribes where possible, to discover the locations that the rangers and other guerilla forces would operate from. Having all the information he needed, Daric began his second campaign against Shornhelm in 4E 25.
Attacks during the opening stages of the war occurred all along the border, but were relatively piecemeal. Word soon reached King Allard however of a massive host that Daric had assembled, marching towards the western border of Shornhelm. Seeing the opportunity to bring defeat Daric in a single decisive battle, Allard's brother Prince Roland assembled the largest united army they would field during the war and marched northwards to meet Daric before his main host could reach their borders. However, with the majority of Shornhelm's armed forces now lured north, there was little to stop the a specialised division of the Knights of the Tempest - colloquially known as The Lightning Bolts - from entering Shornhelm, and they systematically attacked and destroyed the hidden ranger outposts through the Kingdom of Shornhelm with lightning efficiency. Meanwhile, to the north, the massive armies of Shornhelm and Northpoint met in what would become known as the Battle of Whitehaven. What followed was a complete and utter defeat of the Shornish - a catastrophic cavalry charge by Prince Roland resulted in heavy causalities on the Shornish side, including the Commander of the Shornish forces, Roland himself, and the King's only son. The defeat at Whitehaven was so calamitous and total, it is thought that around one quarter of the Shornhelm's entire peerage was killed or captured in that single battle. At Whitehaven, Daric had eliminated the vast majority of Shornhelm's military might, and many of Shornelm's remaining vassals gave up all resistance to King Daric's invading army, ending their support for Allard's rule.
By the middle of 4E 25, only Shornhelm proper still held out against the North. The only sizeable force that remained outside the capital was the stationed at Ridder Creek, garrisoned by both rangers and Shornish regulars. The web of Shornish spies and scouts was cast along the borders, waiting to see where Daric would come from next. However, in a stroke of brilliance, Daric was able to avoid this web and hit Ridder Creek without warning. With superior numbers and surprise on his side, the Shornish forces were forced to retreat, reduced to a quarter of their strength. Now only the capital remained in defiance. Daric wasted little time after the victory at Ridder Creek, marching his men to the capital and placing it under heavy siege.
Though greatly outnumbering the force remaining in the city, the fortifications remained formidable, and the Shornish maintained a steely defence when the siege began. However, Daric used his greater numbers to his advantage, and as he continuously drove at the defenders again and again the Shornish casualties began to mount. Once his forces had breached the main gate, King Allard called for his men to lay down their arms and surrender. Within a year, Daric had achieved his goal.
Northpoint had successfully conquered Shornhelm.
Besides the astronomical death count on both sides of the conflict, the most notable outcome of the war was the Northpoint almost doubled its territory, while at the same time sending a message throughout High Rock that it was one of the major players in the region. Shornhelm's defeat also resulted in a shift in power within the conquered areas. While a great many nobles wound up turning to Northpoint's side, many influential nobles remained loyal to Shornhelm. Hence, the ones that were on the losing side of the conflict found themselves stripped of any land and titles they and their families might have held, and exiled/executed.
Allard Lariat was the only one of these to keep his position, and that was only because Daric felt that he was too broken a man to try to cause an uprising, but popular enough that him keeping his position would pacify any radicals in the population. The Baronies of Eagle Brook and Thornvale and the County of Darguard were given to the most influential nobles from those regions who had deserted to Northpoint; Ser Acklen Gaistimir was named Baron of Eagle Brook, and Mottiere Travinster and Alvin Odilon (of Darguard and Thornvale, respectively) retained their titles.