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1172: Winter: At the Empress’ Winter Court, Akodo Shigetoshi publicly demands that Yoritomo Naizen face him and answer for his actions during the Winter of Red Snows. Naizen refuses, and an incensed Shigetoshi requests the Empress’ permission to seek satisfaction on the battlefield. After much deliberation and debate in court, the Empress grants his request, beginning the conflict that the Ikoma historians will dub the War of the Ant and the Lion.

1173: Early Spring: As the snows melt, it becomes rapidly apparent that the Lion, if not outright expecting this outcome, had made sure to be ready for it, as prepared Lion armies march against Mantis territory. With the Yoritomo Isles and the lands of the Moshi and Kitsune all far away and protected by imposing natural barriers, the Lion assault is focused against the closest and most accessible target - the lands of the Tsuruchi. 64 years after Tsuruchi wrested them from the Right Hand, the Tsuruchi lands once more know the tread of Lion armies.

1173: Month of the Serpent: With plans for such an invasion having been made long since, Akodo Shigetoshi commits much of the Akodo Army to an immaculately-prepared assault on the Tsuruchi heartlands. These forces quickly overwhelm the sparse perimeter defences of the Tsuruchi, and encircle Kyuden Ashinagabachi itself. The Tsuruchi have expected this, and are prepared for a long siege. The Lion are equally prepared, and settle in for as long as it takes.

1173: Month of the Horse: The Mantis launch raids against Lion supply trains in hopes of forcing them to raise the siege. Matsu Kenji responds by ordering a significant portion of the 1st Matsu Army to support Shigetoshi’s forces and protect their supply lines. Tsuruchi Nobumoto offers to face Akodo Shigetoshi in place of Naizen. Shigetoshi rejects this, but allows a battle between Nobumoto and Ikoma Hagio to take place instead. Ikoma Hagio proves the better of the Tsuruchi Daimyo, crippling Nobumoto and sending him back to Kyuden Ashibanagachi.

1173: Month of the Goat: With still no movement from Naizen to face him, and his forces taking steady casualties from Mantis raiding parties, Shigetoshi orders that the entire province be blockaded. The Matsu forces are reinforced for this purpose, and expand their operations from simply protecting supply trains to preventing any hostile operations in the province. The Mantis inflict significant casualties on the Lion forces, but are unable to prevent them from establishing control of the province. Kyuden Ashinagabachi itself, however, remains well-supplied, and its defenders’ morale unbroken.

1173: Month of the Monkey: Furious at Naizen’s cowardice and the stubborn resistance of the defenders, Shigetoshi orders Kyuden Ashibanagachi taken by storm. The soldiers of the Akodo Army storm the narrow path and scale the walls, and although they take heavy casualties, the castle is theirs by the end of the month. Nobumoto commits seppuku rather than allow himself to be captured, an act for which the Lion honour him. Some other survivors are not so lucky.

1173: Month of the Rooster: With Autumn setting in and the arrival of the first snowfalls, the Lion tear down Kyuden Ashibanagachi and launch a series of raids to disrupt the harvests in Shaiga and other neighbouring provinces, leaving behind survivors with a promise that they will return after winter, and if Naizen should not face them, they will burn the province to the ground.

1173: Month of the Rat: At the Imperial Winter Court, the Mantis protest loudly at the Lion’s depredations, to which the Lion have but one answer. If they want the war to end, Naizen must face them in battle and answer for his crimes. They again reiterate their promise to burn the Tsuruchi provinces to the ground should Naizen not be waiting for them in the spring.

1174: Month of the Serpent: Once again the Akodo and 1st Matsu Armies march on the Tsuruchi. Under the leadership of their new daimyo Tsuruchi Fusako, the Tsuruchi fight furiously in defence of their homes. Fusako meets Matsu Kenji in battle three times, fighting the hardened lioness to a draw each time, earning a measure of respect. Still Naizen refuses to show himself, despite repeated challenges from Shigetoshi.

1174: Month of the Horse: Akodo Shigetoshi orders the Tsuruchi provinces burned to the ground, and brings in the 2nd Matsu Army for the task. Meanwhile, the Akodo Army and 1st Matsu Army keep the remaining Tsuruchi forces from hindering the efforts of the 2nd Matsu, and slowly restrict their freedom of operations. Despite valiant resistance against overwhelming odds, the Tsuruchi end up hemmed into a small peninsula jutting out into the River of Gold between the Spine of the World Mountains and the lands of the Scorpion (who have been only too happy to see the Tsuruchi crushed). Rumours begin to spread among the other Families of the Mantis that the Clan leadership is unwilling to honour its commitments to defending their far-flung holdings, and some members of the Moshi and Kitsune begin to question the wisdom of their allegiance to the Mantis. Naizen reiterates that he is doing what he must for the Clan, and that the Mantis will protect all its members.

1174: Month of the Goat: With his prestige - and, perhaps, the future of his Clan - on the line, Yoritomo Naizen finally faces the Lion in open battle. He fights with a heroism worthy of the wearer of the Helm of Thunder, and carves a path to the Lion command group itself, but is finally cut down by Akodo Shigetoshi personally. With his death, the Lion declare their honour satisfied, and cease offensive operations.

1174: Winter: Over the course of the autumn and winter, the Lion gradually withdraw their forces from the Tsuruchi provinces, while extracting diplomatic and territorial concessions in the process. Following the Lion withdrawal, the Tsuruchi begin the long and arduous process of rebuilding their holdings, with financial and logistical assistance from the Yoritomo. Yoritomo Hiromi takes over the leadership of the Mantis Clan, and Akodo Shigetoshi retires in favour of his eldest son, Akodo Shinjiro.

setting/war_of_ant_and_lion.txt · Last modified: 2016/07/25 15:26 by Idanthyrsus