The Field-Marshal (Solo)


A strapping young man ran down the front steps of the palace, flanked on both sides by military officers and aides. Vahna Kielo Inarii Kanad the Second, called by his nickname “Seanin” by most for brevity’s sake, wasn’t exactly the very model of a modern Major-General. He wore his natural brown hair slicked back under a footman’s shako, and he left his navy blue coat unadorned by the many medals given to him. He had a wispy mustache on his top lip, all a man of his age could manage to grow. His youth was enough to infuriate his colleagues, many of whom were the same rank as Seanin, yet double his age.

Why was he not reprimanded for his improper facial hair, his incorrect uniformage, or his over-active and rowdy nature? Because little Seanin was the Thane’s beloved nephew. His father was the monarch’s younger brother. The Thane had so far been unable to sire any sons of his own, so he pampered the young nobleman with titles, ranks, and lands. If any of his compatriots spoke out against him, they’d probably see punishments instead, while the boy skips off consequence-free.

In all likelihood, had peacetime continued, Seanin would have likely continued his military career for a few years longer, then retired to the countryside with some pretty noblewoman, much to the relief of the general staff. But that isn’t what happened. Instead, on the first day of June 1811, a Sundeonian army crossed over River Marauns, the ankle-deep babbling stream which separated the ancient enemies. Kalgarians and Sundeonians had clashed since the 900s over issues as small as stolen livestock or as big as kidnapped noblemen. The two were reasonably powerful in their own rights but were prevented from exerting influence over the region due to their obsession with keeping the other in check. Even while they were both under the control of the UKAG, they continued to squabble.

Why had the Sundeonians decided to attack the Kalgarians seemingly unprovoked? While there was no singular reason that forced the war to begin, it was simply due to the fact that the Sundeonians believed they could win, and finally reign as the dominant power over all of Kanada. There was no reason they believed they could lose. They had been systematically making alliances with all the neighboring thanedoms and duchies. The Malorians were friendly, and would even possibly assist Sundeon. By all their reports, they severely outnumbered the Kalgarian army, which had gone underfunded during a period of economic strife.

So they had marched, crossing several points along the river, joined by their allies, intent on swiftly crushing the Kalgarians, capitulating their capitol, and parading through the streets of their cities. While some forces got farther than others, the army that crossed closest to Seanin was intercepted.

While Seanin had proved himself somewhat adequate in leading soldiers during the brief war for Kalgarian independence against the United Kingdoms of Andrenne and Goyanes, and also during the suppression of the bread rebellion, he was often kept back from any potential fighting positions due to his young age. IDespite these attempts, he happened to be leading a small army near the point of Sundeonian crossing. Whether he had ignored commands or broken promises in order to achieve this close proximity has been debated, but whatever the case, he was there. At the spriteful age of 23, Kenraalimajuri Vanha “Seanin” Kanad II led the Kalgarian forces into battle at the foothills of Mount Kjerag.


Second of June, 1811
Late Morning

It was not a great battle, to be sure. But it was the very first, and that holds a historical quality of its own. The Kalgarian boy was leading the Sixth Solvangen Division, which contained only a few thousand men and a single battery of guns, and no cavalry. They were reinforced by nearby militias, which seemed to be filled with old men, young boys, and drunk farmers who were better for carrying ammunition than fighting on the front line. Down the hill from them was nearly eight-thousand Sundeonians, reasonably well-armed and moderately trained.

Seanin stepped out of his makeshift command tent, which was practically a lean-to situated against a ruined house. The boy observed his defenses. His men had formed a semi-circle along the crest of the hill, using crumbling stone walls and a thin patch of trees as their cover. His skirmishers had been taking potshots at the Sundeonians all day, preventing them from simply ignoring the Kalgarian force. While Seanin would have loved to have bombarded them the whole way, he didn’t have the cannon ammunition to spare.

Far down the hill, the Sundeonians had seemingly spent the whole day organizing and dragging their supplies across the river, and they were nearly ready to begin their assault. This had not left them vulnerable to attack, however. They held a tight perimeter. It was now mid-afternoon, and Seanin’s troops had become restless. Some had been attempting to light fires, others were playing cards. It was all quiet, apart from the occasional pop from a sharpshooter’s rifle.

The rumble of drum trills began to fill the valley. The Sundeonians, now formed properly in their columns, moved to surround the hill. It did not seem like an easy fight for those Sundeonian footmen. Ahead of them, they saw waist-high grass, a hundred-foot slope, and a stone wall. Sun glinted off the hundreds of shining bayonets waiting patiently at the peak. The artillery which the Sundeonians had spent hours fording across the river opened a mighty barrage, but any direct hits were ineffective due to how thin the Kalgarians were stretched. As the southerners marched up the hillside, now backed up by their cannons, the sharpshooters in the tall grass had a field day picking away at them, standing up to shoot and kneeling back into the cover of the foliage.

Forty feet from the stone wall, the Sundeonians fired a great volley, chunks of stone and gravel flying from the Kalgarians’ cover, before breaking into a screaming charge. They were met with grapeshot from the cannons distributed along the Kalgarian line. Now deadly close, Seanin’s men opened up, and the Sundeonians were mown down like the grass they stood in. Greeting them where they did reach the wall was a phalanx of jabbing bayonets, who repelled them wherever they came. Now bloody and exhausted, the men dressed in red retreated down the hill, stepping over their dead comrades. While the professional soldiers in the center marched back with some sense of order, the conscripts on the flanks were soon broken into a panicked rush to find a safe haven from the cannons and musket balls.

Seanin, observing the conflict from a close distance, now found his place to act. While there were little orders to be given from the general during the defense, he now stepped up to footmen in front of him and urged them to move forward and force their foes back across the water. Drawing his own saber and stepping over the wall, the Kalgarians moved with him. They were now invigorated by their approaching victory, the men shouted “For the gods! For the Thane!” and moved swiftly to pursue the Sundeonians, not allowing them a moment of rest.

Soon they had reached the Sundeonian camp, and though the reserves along the outskirts defended against the assault, they were demoralized by the sight of their own forces falling back in tatters. They held for an honorable stretch of time, taking many of Seanin’s men with them, but soon they too were forced to flee across the river, becoming easy targets for the sharpshooters who shadowed the charge. The artillery they had drug across were left in their haste to escape, and Seanin was happy to take the arms left behind for his own use.

As his men celebrated, Seanin wrote to his Lieutenant General, who he had informed of the crossing at the beginning of the day.

Kenraaliluutnantti Jermais-Lehtoha,

The Sundeonian crossing force at the hamlet of Kjerag has been beaten and is in a disorganized retreat to the south, with minimal casualties taken by my own force. I am requesting both the permission to pursue the remnants of the Sundeonian force and begin a counteroffensive onto Sundeonian soil, and also to be granted reinforcements in the form of at least three infantry battalions, as well as a squadron of hussars.

Good Wishes, Kenraalimajuri V.S. Kanad II