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The Unification of the Antramarian Empire: Part 2

Rivea and their king, Charlin Tulon, were in a somewhat more vulnerable position, having just lost a crippling conflict against the Searshish to their east, they were weakened, and desperately seeking a reprisal, King Charlin befriended Midlon, and even submitted himself before him, perhaps hoping to utilize the vast military might of Antramar rather than see it used to further dilute his position of authority.

As Midlon began to establish communications with the Searshish frontier east of Rivea, he was soon made to realize that a even amidst their victory over the Riveans, the Searshish had recently been conquered by a powerful realm that that been slowly emerging from the north, the Ustagradians.

Ustagrads ascensions had mirrored Antramars in many ways, both Empires had been small and unassuming kingdoms tucked away in the corners of the continent that had slowly begun to gain momentum, and now the two colossal waves that had been building in the east and west finally appeared as though they would crash into one another.

Ustagrad’s ruler was the titanic warrior king known as Barbus Ragnormus, he had lead his small clan to dominate their craggy and desolate island home of Ustagrad, and had rapidly transformed their society of raiders and sea brigands into a horde of unstoppable warriors that had quickly swept over the northern kingdoms of Archov, such as Gruglin, Ryav, Wytwud and Dnedi, forcing all to submit to Barbus or face sever reprisals.

Barbus had even made contact with the Gailens, meeting with Yogriff Yorin to ensure that Gailen would not come to the aid of Ryav, and would keep out of the way of Ustagradian expansion, promising Yogriff that he would allow the Gailens to maintain dominion over their swampy and beast infested corner of Aph, not seeing them as anything even worth conquering.

Searsh had long been the target of Ustagradian raids, their priestly theocracy was often ripe with plunder and easy pickings for the coastal bandits, but since the northern kingdoms had fallen so easily to Barbus’s host’s, they had now crossed the Sea of Hounds, seeking not to merely plunder Searsh, but to conquer it.

This was the state with which Midlon found Searsh’s affairs, and despite attempts at dispatching envoys to meet and discuss terms with Barbus and the Ustagradians, once Barbus and his followers had learned of Antramars reported strength on the field, they swiftly began to plan out an invasion of Rivea, eager to meet an opponent who would dare challenge the might of the horde on equal footing.

Midlon and Charlin began to fortify the border as best as they were able, planning to make a stand in the Rivean capital of Cannilly, and wait for much needed reinforcement legions to arrive from Antramar as they held the line.

They would get no such opportunity however, whether Barbus was informed of Midlons vulnerability in the size of his force by some traitorous agent, or if he merely seeked to charge headfirst into whatever awaited him in Rivean lands, soon Barbus had launched an assault of Cannily, and managed to quickly overrun the city.

Midlon himself was forced to flee along with what remained of his expeditionary force, and attempted to rendezvous with his reinforcements, but Barbus, now fully aware of how exposed Midlon was, gave chase, with both armies on a mad dash across the Rivean countryside.

Eventually after several days of brutal marching on both sides, the sheer fervor of Barbus’s relentless warriors caught up with their more heavily armed and armored, and utterly exhausted foe, and began to encircle and trap Midlons force on the edge of the Thundering plains in Gimsonia, just past Wavehaven and the SouthLyans river, on a flat plain that would come to be known as “Druids fields”.

With Midlons other generals still a half days march from them, this looked as though it could have been the end of Midlon Hastorius Centenius, and the greatest moment of glory for Barbus Ragnormus as he cemented himself and Ustagrad as the chiefest superpower on Aphal.

Then suddenly, out from a patch of woods atop a hill crested Yogriff Yorin, king of the Gailens, and his host of horse mounted riders and druidic warriors.

For a moment the chaos nearly stood still as all eyes focused on the Gailish King atop the hill, Yogriff himself likely taking one final moment to ponder his choice, knowing full well the implications that rode on each outcome.

Perhaps he should ride and aid his friend, the companion he had drank and ate with and sworn eternal alliance with, perhaps he should honor his pledge to Barbus to remain uninvolved, and let the Ustagradians come to hold primacy over the lands of Aphal to ensure the Gailens security, perhaps he could ride in and destroy both weakened and exhausted forces, and elevate Gailen to a position of power these two rulers now so coveted.

In the end, Yogriff went with his heart, and as his riders crashed into the Ustagradian encirclement, a mighty cheer rang out from the Antramarians, and with their resolve and hope restored in an instant, began a double ended slaughter of the Ustagradian host.

Barbus himself would escape, but upon returning to Searsh in the hopes of raising a new force, he found that the Searshish, under their exiled King Sharzin Lundagon, had managed to overthrow the Ustagradian garrison left behind, and Barbus found himself in chains.

Despite having regained a notion of sovereignty and independence, when the reinforced Rivean and Antramarian host arrived at the gates of Searshall, Sharzin too was forced to consider his position, and rather than risk the vengeance the Riveans so craved against his people to be perpetrated by Charlin’s growing influence over Midlon, decided to instead offer his own vassalage to the Antramarian Emperor, offering the imprisoned Barbus as a boon to be granted trust in the Imperial court and maintain some degree of autonomy for his people.

Soon as well, a small relief force from the Searshish ally of Grayle arrived at the city, and Sharzin, who was supposedly a confidant of the old Graylish king Grymore, managed to convince the wise ruler to similarly join them in becoming client states of the now utterly dominant Antramarian sphere of influence.

Grymore was hesitant, but upon meeting with Midlon in the Searshish city of Ebas and discussing a great many matters of administration and justice, Grymore judged the Emperor's character to be worthy of partnering with, and so agreed to allow Grayle to become yet another autonomous client state of the Empire.

With this complete victory, Unitine on Aphal had been reunited, and the prophecy of the Searshish wisemen fulfilled by Midlon Hastorius Centinius.

Antrum became the jewel of all Aphal aswell, in the ages following the unification it would swell with the lawmakers, patricians, and representatives of all of the provinces now encompassed under the banner of the Antramarian Empire.

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