Invasion of the Tang Empire
It was in dark winter days of early 905 that the dwarves stumbled upon the discovery of great stone ships - ancient relics from a long ago Age - tucked under the stones of Dwarrowdelf Castle. The recovery of four ships exacted a hefty price - the death of Dugald Axeworthy's son - in the docks below the dwarven capital. However, the ships provided the catalyst for a daring attack.
A partially decoded message to the Tang Emperor alluded to an island poorly defended against a direct assault.
I am compelled to inform my liege, however, that the Royal Navy has been delayed in returning to the Empire for its usual duty of protecting the homeland. A great storm - unbidden - could not be controlled and requires a delay of almost three months in the journey back from the Old Kingdom. No ships have been lost - only time. Until such a time as the 30 ships of the Royal Navy returns, our ground forces include only the 20 units of the Imperial Guard infantry and 2 ships. I humbly submit that your eminence spend the spring among the meadows of the Holy Mountains in retreat. The Three Kings have never dared set foot on the island, but care is needed at such a precarious time.
Koto, First Admiral of the Fleet
And so the decision was made to split the forces of the Reaches - filling the stone ships with a strike force of dwarves, elves, humans and gnomes. The defense of the Reaches was meager - mostly to fend off a Wolfshaunt attack.
Undecoded, the first part of the message might have changed those plans.
The Lotus Navy - our Eastern Reaches strike armada - has weathered the winter storms of the Inner Sea along with our compatriots from Sandal. News of the revolt in Sandal has reached their ears of the Sandalese captains and crew. While a few grumbled to go home, most are more determined to exact revenge on the Three Kings. All here are ready to assist the Tomb Kingdom coming from the south and Wolfshaunt coming from the east. Our strike from the north of Dragonsford will undoubtedly surprise the Three Kings who have not seen this gambit before. By the end of 905, the Eastern Reaches and Dragonsford will be ours.
Blood was drawn early by a massive battle between the Knights and the emerging forces from the Wolfshaunt. While the forces of good carried the day, the losses on both sides were staggering. Meanwhile the Tang Armada moved into position - easily sacking Dragonsford in April 905. Far to the South, the Dwarven Stone Ships deployed forces to sack the Grey Home on the Tang homeland while the knights sieged Nataka in April. Another major battle in late April in the Eastern Reaches saw the destruction of the Tomb Kingdom armies at the cost of almost all the knights of the Eastern Reaches. A lone trebuchet stood sentinel over the Wolfshaunt Pass. It was a bloody month.
In essence, the race was between two unopposed invading armies - ships which literally passed in the night.
May found the Tang sacking Wentworth Keep in the north while the Forces of Good sacked Whistling Winds Castle and Sakasu Castle in the South. This scene was repeated throughout the summer with the Tang claiming victories at East Gate Tower, Markinghamshire Castle, and Portsmouth. However, the Dwarves and Knights met their objectives in taking Kawa, Tama Castle, and Akkaben.
In late September, the Tang Emperor called for surrender negotiations. With the Eastern Reaches under Tang control, some hope for a hostage exchange exists.