The Lunar Empire had never stopped eyeing the richer lands of the Holy Country to the south. But their failure at the Building Wall Battle in 1605 had made them cautious, so when they moved southward they went after great preparations. Wilmskirk, a city subject to the Empire, was the primary storage area, and it collected grain reserves for years. The army also moved there over the winter of 1618.
The initial army numbered more than 25,000 troops, including Sartarite and Tarshite mercenaries, and dragonewts who had been obtained at incredible price. The army was divided into four sections, each with objectives and duties:
- The Cavalry Screen, commanded by Sor-eel the Short
- The Vanguard, commanded by Jomes Wulf
- The Advance Foot, commanded by Jorad Sideburn
- The Main Army, commanded by Fazzur Wideread
The army first units departed Roadend and Wilmskirk in Sea Season 1619. The Vanguard cavalry reached Whitewall, and discovered that Broyan was already prepared, with the local militia mustered and gathered in Whitewall, which was well stocked and supplied. An attempt to take Whitewall by assault failed, and after losing some 1500 soldiers, Fazzur realized that Broyan had concentrated everything he has on the defense of the ancient fortress. Fazzur leaves a detachment of mercenaries, magicians, hoplites, and cavalry to stay and besiege Whitewall, and the rest of the army headed south.
Upriver of Smithstone, the Lunar Army needed to cross the raging the Marzeel River. However, the initial assault on Smithstone failed, and the Lunars lost another 700 soldiers. The main army assaulted Smithstone at high cost, but was successful.
Karse was another matter. The defense of the city was fanatical and Fazzur ordered several assaults, but despite terrible losses to the dragonewts, the city held. Fazzur realized that the city was being reinforced by Esrolians using every boat that the Holy Country could muster.
The Lunars reinforced their siege of Whitewall with Sun Dome and Sartarite mercenaries, but the reinforcements were attacked by Esrolians with troll aid. The Sartarites were defeated and routed and the Sun Dome Templars surrendered after a long fight. Their surrender and ransom was arranged.The Crimson Bat was later seen approaching the city of Whitewall. The Sun Dome Templars aggred to help defend the city with the Whitewall garrison and Esrolians. King Broyan and his houshold thanes and rune masters (including Kallyr Starbrow and Leika Blackspear) all launch an attack by teleporting themselves atop the Bat and slaughtering the priests there. They suffered terrible losses and Broyan was incapacitated by a Mind Blast, but his right-hand companion killed the High Priest of the Crimson Bat. The Bat lost control and did not attack Whitewall and flew off to the south. The defenders were triumphant.
In the south, a massive build-up in Karse by both Lunars and Esrolians. At Smithstone, the Esrolians made a desperate assault on the Lunar forces in Smithstone. They managed to breach the already shattered walls and some of them entered the city, but it was too late, for the Crimson Bat appeared and dropped on the them and devoured hungrily. Most of the Esrolians were slain or scattered in all directions. Even the Lunars were devoured by the Bat whose hunger knew no national differences.
In the evening, Malkonwall troops arrived outside of Smithstone, and they saw the Crimson Bat flying away southward. The city was held only by a few Esrolians, and their scouts also saw an enemy column fleeing southward. But the Malkonwal cavalry cannot catch them before nightfall stops pursuit.
You can see there was some coordination or at least cooperation between the Volsaxi, Malkonwal, and Esrolia.
Some say it was Starbrow who cut down the High Priest; others claim it was the Black Spear.
As is clear, the Sea Season campaign was a bloody mess at the start. But some interesting alliances going on.
Did Queen Hendira send volunteers or mercenaries to aid Broyan and were there Esrolians (and trolls?) inside Whitewall or out in the countryside? both. But the main Esrolian focus was Karae. Some 8000 soldiers defended the city, most were Esrolians.