Great Northern War

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1669-1670 T171

The Great Northern War
Tatar, Huron and Noquet vs. Nisei, Dakota, Colorado and Shawnee

Tatar Kingdom of Go-Kur-Matahn: The Tatars, tipped to the impending Nisei Alliance invasion by their own spies within Nisei and the work of the Huron, launched their own offensives - hoping to smash the Alliance attack before it could spool up to full momentum. Nigama, seeking to bolster his own strength, expended vast sums of gold to acquire the services of the various mercenary bands, as well as the Noquet. With these forces to hand, Nigama ordered his fleets and armies south in a wide-ranging set of attacks...

The fleet departed from its base at Togawa in Katmai and stabbed south to close off the Peuget Sound and hopefully engage and destroy the Nisei fleet there. As they sped south, the Tatar fleet barely missed encountering a New French squadron that had been sneaking north from Nisei waters. The Frenchmen then nosed about the Tatar coast for several months, working their way north, but were unable to find any undefended cities to snack upon and they dissapeared into the icy seas of the north.

Nigama and the Noyan Guchluk marched the main army quickly west from Manitoba and then turned south, crossing the highland plains of River Cree to sweep into Blackfoot - they were searching for a Dakotan army purported to be in the area. At the same time a very strong force attacked south from Nipigon in Ogoki into Chippewa, intending to capture the Nisei and Dakotan trade cities on Lake Superior and then plunge into the heart of the Dakotan realm.

Tokugawa Nisei Shogunate: Ietsuna, expecting to carry the initiative agains the Tatars with his surprise attack, was severely disturbed to have to leap from a palace window into a night-soil truck to escape a band of assassins that burst into his chambers, having slain his guards in fierce battle. Indeed the city of New Yedo now was filled with battling troops, banners rising and falling, buildings exploding in flame. Ietsuna looked out over the great city with horrified dismay. What invading army had passed his fleet to bring ruin to the heartland? As he fled through the broad boulevardes of the city, he found the sickening answer in the banners of the passing regiments that rushed past, shouting for his head. They were regiments of his own army, now under a white crane banner.

Squatting in the fetid dampness of a drainage tunnel in the park of a Thousand Cherry Blossoms, Ietsuna racked his mind for the great house that bore the mon of the white crane. At last he remembered and a low moan of despair passed his lips - it was the house of Azuchi, from whose loins sprang the Lords Kuma and Humara Chen. And those two pussiant commanders had but days before recieved from him the tokens of command of nearly the whole Imperial army...

Lo, in the great audience hall of the Tokugawa, oe'erlooking the broad gray waters of the Sound, Lord Kuma raised his own banner over the Chrysanthemum Throne and ten thousand throats raised a shout to rattle the windowpanes and shake the dust from the rafters to proclaim him Shogun of the Nisei. Prince Kubashi, the young son of Ietsuna, was murdered later that night and Kuma moved swiftly to assume control of the city and the surrounding countryside. Humara Chen assumed command of the fleet and took up station off of Nootka island, lest the Taira decide to intervene.

The Tatar fleet, meantime, had sped south and now swept into the Sound in full battle array. The Azuchi fleet, spying the low-slung black hulls of the northern armada and counting the large number of sails, made a break for the open sea. The Tatars gave chase and, after several weeks of dancing on the wavetops, caught the Azuchi in a bad wind off of Mito in Turok and managed to get to cannonade range. After a day of inconclusive fighting the Tatars managed to get their act together and destroyed the Azuchi fleet. Having accomplished their mission, Noyan Ojilaitu turned back north and made a massive anti-shipping sweep on his way back to the home port in Rakiah, sinking or capturing every Nisei merchant vessle he encountered.

Back in the heartland, Ietsuna had reached allies in Kanazawa and his supporters regrouped there. They were quickly reinforced by a Dakotan force that had been at Chemakum and had abandoned the city as soon as the Azuchi began their revolt. Now backed by an army of some 34,000 men, Ietsuna marched down the Northern Highway through Sawtai and Potlach into Kalispel. There he found that the Azuchi had established control of the heartland from Timishian in the north to Pomo in the south and Potlach in the east. Further, Azuchi Kuma was now marching out of New Yedo with an army against the Tokugawa force.

Ietsuna, knowing the probable result all too well, refused battle but did not withdraw from the fertile lands around Kara. Indeed, Azuchi Kuma spent a grueling 1670 chasing the Tokugawa around the Columbia valley before managing to drive them back into Lemhi. Both sides then went into winter quarters and pondered what spring would bring. At the end of the campaign, the Tokugawa had established control over: Adak, Salinan, Serrano, Yokuts, Patwin, Yahuskin, Paviotso, Gosiute, Ko'aga, Bohogue, Bannock, Lemhi, Shoshone, Salish, Blackfoot, Sioux, Atsina, Assinboin, Plains Ojibwa, Yanktonai and Chippewa. Of course, the provinces in the east had been destroyed in the fighting between Dakota and the Tatars, but...

Azuchi Nisei Shogunate: When the fog had lifted from the Columbia River campaign, and the wrack from the destruction of the fleet had finished washing upon the beaches of Yurok, the Azuchi controlled the provinces of Timishian, Kwakiutl, Comox, Chemakum, Nicolua, Kalispel, Potlach, Chehalis, Kalapuya, Yakima, Nez Perce, Tucannon, Umpqua, Tolowa, Yurok and Pomo. In addition, a number of provinces just abandoned central control entirely; Umpqua, Owhyee, Washo, Mono, Panamint, Moapa and Paiute.

Dakota Bakufu: Well, while the Nisei were imploding in a frenzy of internicene conflict, the Dakotans were plunging ahead with their own plans to bring the Tatar realm down in ruin and destruction. Three Dakotan armies, as well as a Coloradan fleet and army, converged on the province of Minnewaska and then marched north into Chippewa, from which they intended to launch a combined land and sea attack against the Tatar stronghold of Nipigon in Ogoki. Unfortunately this plan was prempted by the Tatar army at Nipigon attacking south into Chippewa themselves at the same time!

The forests of Chippewa were thick with troops; the Dakota and Colorado had over 60,000 men and the Tatar-Noquet had 64,000 in a motley collection of Tatar regulars, Aztec and Granadan mercenaries and Noquet condotierri. The fighting was horrendous. Both armies were very closely matched in men, material and command. The dark pine woods soon were clogged with bodies, powdersmoke and echoed with the screams of the wounded. For two months, the slaughter continued and neither side made any headway. Then, in an accidental battle between a Coloradan heavy cavalry regiment that became lost, and the Noquet command staff, Prince White Feather of Noquet was killed. The Noquet, despite having accepted large sums from the Tatars, abandoned the battle and marched off south to return to their homeland. Shorn of 15,000 men, the Tatars were now at a disadvantage and the Dakotans pressed the attack, smashing them in a battle on the Mesabi river.

The Tatars attempted to withdraw to the north, but they found that they had lost their cavalry screen in constant battles against the Coloradan heavy cavalry. Now, as the Tatars retreated, the Dakotan lancers took a heavy tool on their marching regiments. Indeed, the forests of northern Chippewa were soon littered with a wrack of Tatar bodies, gear and abandoned equipment. Lord Ogodai returned to Ogoki and Nipigon-city with 2,000 effectives and spent the rest of 1670 trying to regroup and reorganize his shattered army.

Meanwhile, the main Tatar army, under the Noyan Guchluk, had finished its long march through the pine forests of the north and had pounced upon the undefended Nisei province of Blackfoot. There the Tatars left a wide swathe of devastation, looting the farmsteads and butchering the cattle. Finding no enemies - they had been sure that Nisei or Dakotan forces were in the area - they proceeded south into Sioux, which got the same treatment, and finally into Crow, where they besieged the city of Bohr.

During this time, the Dakotan-Coloradan army that had been victorious in Chippewa sailed south down the Snake on the Coloradan fleet and then up the Missouri to Igashi. There they were joined by Daimyo Miyoshi and the reserves. Now numbering 40,000 men, the combined army made haste up the Great Road through Okoboji and Teton to find the Tatars in Crow completing the sack of Bohr. Dakotan scouts, as well as villagers from the area, had meanwhile determined that the Tatar host numbered no less than 60,000 men. Miyoshi was stunned at this and cursed the Nisei for choosing this time to fight a civil war - they were the ones that were supposed to be fighting this army! He prepared his men for battle, knowing that the coming days would see devastation and death on an unparralelled scale. When he mentioned this to his generals, they demurred, saying that the fighting in Chippewa was likely the worst that any had seen.

The Tatars, noticing that the Dakotans had arrived, spent two days untangling themselves from their siege-lines and looting, shaking out into battle lines three days after the arrival of the Dakotans in the vicinity. The Dakotans, during that time, had been feverishly digging positions and praying for more reinforcements to arrive from Igashi. And indeed, their prayers to Ameratsu were answered, for coming up from the south in long lines of banners were no less than the Pawnee, who had decided to renew their long-time alliance with the Bakufu. With the Pawnee, the Dakotans now numbered 63,000 men.

Now the Tatars began to withdraw, since they were outnumbered, and Lord Kumo siezed the opportunity to attack! And so battle was met and there was terrific slaughter as each army grapple in a bitter cordite haze of gunsmoke, flies and the dying. Despite their numbers the Dakotan attack quickly stalled and the battle surged back and forth. Then fate turned against the Dakotans, with Lord Kumo taking a heavy saber wound and having to withdraw from the field. So too was the Pawnee prince killed and his men abandoned the left flank, streaming back in disarray through the Dakotan camp. The Coloradan. O'Donough, threw his men into the gap, hoping to rally the shaken Dakotan line. Guchluk failed to take advantage of the opportunity, however, and the Dakotan line stablized again. O'Donough attempted to break off the battle, but the Tatars were tenacious and clung tight as the line of battle swept back through the Dakotan camp and into a range of low hills behind it. In the sand-hill fighting Daimyo Miyoshi was also wounded (as had Niksia Wolf the day before), but this time was joined by the Tatar general Jagatai (commanding the right wing) who was killed by a Dakotan sniper.

Despite having the initiative for three days of battle, the Tatars now found that they had failed to crush the Dakotan army. Indeed, the slaughter had whittled both armies down to less than 15,000 effectives. Despite this Guchluk took one more throw of the dice on the fourth day and at last broke the Dakotans. Guchluk exulted as the Dakotan army scattered before him, the road to Igashi stood open and his men were advancing. Then, as he rallied his cavalry regiments to him, a wounded Dakotan samurai rose up out of a streambed and leapt into the midst of the Tatar command group. Before his guards could rush to his defence, the Dakotan samurai had thrust his spear clear through the general. Though the mad Dakotan was hacked to bits within seconds, Guchluk expired in the mud under the sand hills of Crow and his army stalled in its advance. And so it was at the end of 1670 that the Tatar army under the command of the Great Khan Nigama himself wintered in Bohr and the Dakotans and Coloradans slowly regrouped at Igashi.

Kingdom of Noquet: The Noquet undertook a campaign in the north in the pay of the Tatars and suffered for it, losing Prince White Feather and a goodly portion of their army. The remainder, however, did return safely to Pelbar in Croix. There they observed the operations of a Dakotan fleet in Lake Superior that ravaged all of the Huron and Tatar shipping it could find. Unfortunately for the Dakotan plan the Tatars had moved their overseas shipping to Kabata in Abitibi.

High Kingdom of Colorado: The Coloradans swung into action in the north, sending large armies to fight alongside their Dakotan allies against the Tatars and the Noquet. Unfortunately, no sooner than these operations had comenced than Baron Lucan (on whose broad shoulders most of the effort lay) keeled over with his eyes bugging out and died. Lord O'Donough was forced to divert his own forces from a planned spoiling attack north along the Rockies to assume his command. As a result the Coloradans were a little late getting to the redezvouz at Minnewaska.

In the far south, their plans suffered something of a setback when Marc Kirenis, commander of the squadron at Gueren, died of tropical fever and his men spent a long time sitting around moping.

Shawnee Empire: The Shawnee kicked off their part of the campaign against the Tatar-lackey Huron by sending four bargeloads of gold, silver and gems into Pasar, offering to hire the Huron army for a war against (shh... don't tell anyone) the Hurons. Lord Kasar, commanding the defence of Pasar, stared at the Shawnee emissaries for a long time and then confiscated their gold and had them thrown in a deep pit.

Following this unfortunate episode, the Shawnee under Coriolanus punched across the frontier into Saginaw, garrisoned that region and then crossed the river into Tobacco. The Huron, seeing that they did not have sufficent forces to contest the crossing of the Algonac, withdrew into Pasar and prepared to make a stand of it.

Unprecendented spring floods on the Snake River caught boatmen unprepared and capsized the ferry at Natchez. Almost all of the passengers were lost, and the body of one unfortunate priest, still garbed in his purple cassoc of home-spun cloth, washed ashore in Chitimacha.

Huron Confederation: The Hurons, now with some cash on their hands, rebuilt their banking structure and bolstered the sagging economy. Malecite and Abenaki were abandoned and trade was cut with Shawnee, Nisei and Colorado. The Hurons also closed the StLawrence to all Nisei - Colorado - Dakotan shipping. A small warship squadron also made a foray into Lake Superior, but was driven out by the Dakotan fleet operating there. Once the Shawnee had crossed the Algonac, Slaydeer issued a series of pronouncements requesting "aid from all Christian nations for assistance against this unprovoked attack!" and calling for sanctions and cessation of trade with the Shawnee by all "right-thinking nations".

Slaydeer himself, meantime, returned from the far east and led a force of 5,000 Huron warriors against the Nisei city of Achi, capturing it. He then pressed on west to see if he could lift the siege of Pasar in time.

And at Pasar, Coriolanus found the city very well defended, both by strong fortifications and a large force of defenders under Lord Kusar. Seeing little option, Coriolanus threw up a double-siege line around the city and prepared to spend 1669 reducing the city. And so the bitter fight began, filled with sudden rushes at strongpoints on the walls, tunnels filled with smoke, water and blood and general death. Ater three months of increasingly fierce fighting the Shawnee had failed to breach the defence, but the defenders were paying dearly to hold the city. Coriolanus decided that a mine would be driven under the south-western bastion and packed with powder. The destruction of the bastion would clear the way for the Shawnee to pour through into the city. Two tense weeks followed as the Shawnee engineers scrabbled and clawed through the thick rocky soil to cut a tunnel under the bastion. It was nerve wracking work, since at any moment the Huron counter-miners might break into the tunnel, precipitating a no quarter struggle in the dank confines of the tunnel with daggers, hatchets and pistol.

The mine was completed without undue incident, however, and the Shawnee prepared the attack just before dawn. Coriolanus and Lord Uncas viewed the preparations from a rise just behind the Shawnee siege lines. Suddenly the early morning darkness was lit by a massive explosion and the entire Huron bastion seemed to lift up into the air and then slam back down with an earth-shaking crash. The Shawnee raised a great cheer and swarmed forward into the shaking rubble. Coriolanus slapped his thigh in delight and bade Uncas good luck on the attack. The Emperor and his command group then rode off back to the main camp.

Uncas then ordered his men to attack along the broken wall and was in the process of urging a new regiment into the battle flaring along the heaps of rubble when a Huron berserker commando rushed out of the darkness and fell upon the commander and his guards with shrieks of rage. The Huron, having seen the preparations of days before, had prepared a counter-raid of their own and had moved many men along the shore in quiet boats. Now these men attacked the Shawnee flank and broke into the Shawnee rear area. The Shawnee regiments continued to pour into the breach at the bastion, but now Uncas fell, hacked by tomahawks, and the rear area was in great confusion.

Coriolanus, hearing the fighting break out on the rise and in the staging area in the orchard, rushed back with his aides to see what had happened. As he rode into the orchard at great speed, a Shawnee company, disoriented in the darkness, opened fire on the horsemen and the Emperor stopped a ten-grain rifle bullet. The attack at the bastion carried the first line of defences but then snarled and stalled for lack of new reinforcements. The Shawnee, now leaderless, abandoned the siege within days and fell back into their own lands of Erie, behind a strong cavalry screen. The Huron breathed a mighty sigh of relief, for they had weathered the first storm.

Slaydeer, arriving at Pasar some months after the siege lifted, proclaimed: "We, the people of the Huron Confederated Tribes, have given no provocation for the hostile actions of our neighbors. We desire a peaceful, friendly, coexistence of all peoples. Yes, even those that conspire against us. However much we desire peace, though, there are always those who prefer war and aggression. We respect the rights of any nation to defend itself against others. Therefore, let any who commit further hostile acts be warned. We shall oppose any violation of our sovreignity with all our might."

1671-1672 T172

The Great Northern War
Tatar, Huron, Sud Afriqa, England, Sweden, Marôc, Spain
vs.
Tokugawa, Azuchi, Hideyoshi, Colorado, Shawnee, Noquet, Aztec

Tatar Kingdom of Go-Kur-Matahn: The Japanese priests continued their work in the western provinces of the Kingdom, converting Tanaina and Kaiyuh to the spirit path of the Buddha. Nigama, still encamped at Bohr in Crow, issued a spate of orders to his couriers who hurried off. Amongst those commands were directives to release central control (that is, abandon) the provinces of Kwachottin, Adak, Akhlun, Eastmain, Kobuk, Kwadacha, Sekani, Tagish and Yukon. Fushan on Adak and Bohr in Crow were destroyed before being abandoned, however.

Nigama himself commanded the destruction of Bohr and barley avoided death at the hands of a small team of Nisei ninja. He did escape, however, and took his army to the field, intending to make his escape northward back into his own lands… He did not succede, being trapped by the Hideyoshi cavalry and his army ground into dust. The Khakhan himself fell in a stand of trees by the narrow river where his last men died to hold back the waves of Frankish infantry. He left no son to rule in his stead, and the court at Tuchia was filled with intrigue and confusion upon word of his death. At the time, a coterie of great lords had been ensconced in the capital - both to administer the realm and in flight from Gumra's raid into the heartland. Thus it fell out amongst these fellows to seize the throne and proclaim one of their own the new Khakhan. Lord Jukunii won out in this grisly game of musical chairs and after six months of fierce infighting and not a few assassinations, became the new Khakhan.

Azuchi Nisei Shogunate: In a fog shrouded forest, high on the mountainside of Sawtai massif, Kuma rode forward through the high-boled pines. The tinkling of his horses' bridle and trappings the only sound. Deep pine--needle drifts muffled the fall of hooves. Light rain drifted out of the sky above, slanting between the dark trees. After a moment, he reined up, his horse having come into a narrow clearing formed by a long shelf of red granite. There, the forest parted and the sweeping valley of the Kozoku lay spread before the lord, the towering mountains hiding in the clouds, the distant glittering of the winding Kozoku dull in the dim light. Kuma pushed back the marten-fur hood of his riding cloak and breathed deep of the scented, chill, air. His breath puffed out, a white trail by the side of his narrow visiage.

There was a clatter of hooves as three other riders came out of the thick blackberry brush on the other side of the slab. The white horse of the lead rider gleamed in the pale light. An old man, his beard long and white, sat astride it with the ease of long practice. The two men at his side, both short and powerfully built, with heavy shoulders, held back a pace as the old man brought his horse alongside Kuma's.

"Greetings, my son" said the old man, his once-strong voice thready with age. Kuma bowed deeply in the saddle, his every gesture of respect.

"Greetings, grandfather," he replied, his eyes sliding first to one side and then to the other to track the quiet approach of the other two men. The one on the left was thinner than Kuma remembered, his face lined with strain and hardship, his cloak patched and mended. Inwardly, where none could see, Kuma smiled at the evidence of long and hard pursuit. The other, though, his eyes were a dull white, long ago scarred with blindness and his kimono and riding leathers were impeccable. That one smiled, lazily, sightlessly, at Kuma, shaking his head back to bring the coiled coif of hair back behind him.

Kuma nodded to each of the other men as well.

"Greetings, brothers," he said, his voice even.

"Greetings, brother" they replied. The old man had turned now and looked out upon the rich valley. Distantly, his eyes picked out a vast flock of cranes rising from the marshes bordering the broad swathe of the river. His heart rode up into the sky with them and he watched until they dissapeared into a cloud bank. Then he turned again to the three men resting in such tension behind him.

"In ancient days, when my grandmother walked the land in light, it was customary at this time of year to travel down to the lake of Biwa-ko to view the groves that had sprung from her footsteps. In such times, it was the custom for the lords of the land, those that bore her blood and her favor, to bring to her son the fairest blossom that could be found in all the gardens..."

Kuma looked from the face of Ietsuna to that of the blind swordsman no-Ichi, both men regarded him evenly. For a moment there was a stillness, like that of a clear pond on a very cold day. Then Kuma reached into the folds of his kimono, slowly, for no-Ichi was tensed in his saddle, his right hand slipping down to almost touch the hilt of the katana sheathed in his saddle, and brought forth a wrapped parcel of the finest Patwin silk. He turned to the old man and with a casual gesture let the folds drop away.

The Emperor, Amaratzhin Takauji, smiled down at the perfect cherry blossom that lay in the Azuchi lord's hand. The chill air began to bite at the edges of the petals of the blossom, turning them up a little. There was a very quiet hiss of air as Ietsuna let his breath out, then he too unfolded a silk package and after a moment the Emperor raised all three blossoms to the sky, where the roiling murk of clouds had parted and the glittering light of the sun burned off of the icy summit of Fuji-no-utunosuyo. The three blossoms caught the light and glowed in the dimness of the clearing.

"Let there be harmony in the house of Amaratsu."

So it was spoken, so it was done.

Tokugawa Nisei Shogunate: Iestsuna engaged in a whirlwind of diplomacy - both within the Shogunate and without. Luckily for his own ambitions and simple desire for more life the Emperor Takauji agreed to a bold plan to restore the balance of power in the North-West. And so Ietsuna found himself on a rocky ledge overlooking the misty plains of the Nisei heartland and bowing as an equal to his recent enemy Azuchi Kuma as well as his old ally, the Hideyoshi regent. There were hectic weeks to follow the day in the rain and Ietsuna was so buried in the vast work of coordinating the movement of three armies as well as the pronouncements of the Priests of Shinzen, that he almost got himself killed when he took a wrong turn in the huge camp that had been erected outside of Kanazawa. Turning the corner, he found himself amidst a group of Shawnee mercenaries and before he could blink they were upon him with sabers and daggers. He was seriously wounded by the attack before his guards could rush to his defence. Later investigation revealed that the Shawnee were in the pay of the Tatarsky and that he had surprised them before they could trigger a hidden cannon filled with leaded balls.

The mercenary captain Gumra, now in Nisei hire, marshalled a large force of plainsmen, Aztecs and Incans at Sakata in Kwakitul and then launched them north into the Tatar heartland. Their advance into the Tatar province of Tlingit was unopposed, though they found that the city of Zhai was very strongly defended. Gumra scouted the city and determined that there were no Tatar troops other than the garrison within, so he pushed on north over the mountains towards Kaska.

His advance, however, was immediately opposed by a Tatar army of 8,000 under the command of Noyan Ojilaitu. The fighting in the mountains quickly bogged down and Gumra's advance stalled. Unfortunately for the continued success of the Tatars, the mercenaries outnumbered them by such a wide margin that they were able to bull through into Kaska and capture the crucial city of Tamsag Bujak. The Tatar population had been scattering for some time, but thousands remained in the city to die horribly under the swords and guns of Gumra's mercenaries. The city - like so many others these last two years - became a pillar of flame and smoke. The Noyan Ojilaitu, watching from the hills above the narrow ribbon of the road, wept to see the death of the City of Ivory. He fled with his few retainers north, then, to Hûkar in Tutchone, where he made preparations for another - hopeless - defence. It was not so, however. Gumra's mercenaries fighting fervor crested at the high sloping walls of Hûkar and the rain of fire from its guns. They laid waste to Tutchone, but then wandered off south, so heavily laden with loot that they could barely walk.

Back in the south the three Shoguns had met again in the full panoply of state before the carved screen of the Emperor to hear the words of the priests of Shinzen. Those worthies, carrying the weight of the Gods behind them, pronounced after long and weighty deliberations that the "Tatarsky demons that bedevil us and poison the land and the relations of men and their fathers are spring no less from the Hells below than are the agini spirits that turn men to evil. As such it is the sworn duty of all sons of the Goddess of Light to bear up arms and honor against them and destroy them and wipe all of their foul works from the bosom of the earth!"

And so the Nisei bore up the flaming brand of religious war as well as secular struggle and some thousands of monks and priests and lay folk of piety did come in groups and brigades and regiments to Chemakum where they swelled the army of the Azuchi and the Tokugawa that now turned north and marched upon the lands of the devil gods themselves...

The combined armies of Tokugawa, Azuchi and Hideyoshi came now into the province of Tlingit through which Gumra and his men had passed months before and, to their surprise, they found the city of Zhai still standing firm in Tatar hands and what was more it was now host to a Tatar army landed by fleet. It became sullenly apparent that Zhai would have to be reduced before safe advance north could be made and Kumo of the Hideyoshi - now lord-general of the combined armies - laid siege to the place with the 136,000 men under his command. The 7,500 Tatars defending the city put up a ferocious and brave resistance, but they had not a snowflake in hell's chance of holding out against the hammerstoke of fire and steel that Kumo brought against them. The city fell in one day of all-out battle. The logistics of the great army, however, kept the Nisei host from advancing further north, though they did reach the passes into Kaska.

Tokugawa cavalry divisions led by the famous General "Old Man" Tanaka, spun off from the advance northwards, oversaw the transfer of power from the Azuchi to the Tokugawa in the provinces of Pomo, Yurok, Tolowa, Kalapuya, Chehalis, Potlach, Kalispel, and Nicolua. This left the Azuchi with a 'rump' state comprised of Timishian, Kwakiutl, Comox and Chemakum.

A small New French fleet reached New Yedo at the very end of 1672, bedraggled and hurting for limes and beer. They had made the 'long' crossing of the Pacific and it showed. The Aztec sailors stood them all for many tall cold drinks, however, and that made them feel better.

Hideyoshi Nisei Shogunate: Shizo no-Ichi returned from the momentous conclave at Lemhi with a new banner for the house of Hideyoshi, as well as a personal letter from the Emperor proclaiming the youth Keijin the Shogun of the East and the lord of all the plains-land. He left behind Bukara Chizen, who commanded the Hideyoshi troops moving north with the fighting monks as well as the Azuchi and Tokugawa armies to attack Tatar. Though that campaign had many events of note, for the Hideyoshi the crucial point came with the death of Bukara Chizen during the fighting around Zhai. Taika Kobun was placed in command of the expeditionary forces.

Back on the high plains Lord Kumo's veteran cavalry forces slipped out of their positions on the border under the cover of darkness and into Tatar-held Crow. Within days his forces had swung around to the north and as the Tatar army marched away from the smoking wreck of Bohr, laden with loot, they attacked. Though they were outnumbered, the Hidyoshi cavalry exacted a heavy toll on the Tatars and their retreat to the north became a slow, living hell. It became much more exciting when the Coloradan army that had left Igashi caught up with them. Now the Tatars were trapped and outnumbered and the Colorado closed the bag behind them. While Kumo's cavalry troopers continued to harrass the Tatar flanks, the southerners under the command of Duke O'Gaer crashed into their middle. The outcome was not in doubt and the Tatar remenants were shattered and then ridden to earth.

no-Ichi learned late in 1672, much to his disgust, that the Sud Afriqan fleet operating in the Carribean had not only attacked and siezed possessions of the Kingdom of Colorado, but had retaken the old Granadan capital of New Hiquito and returned it, as well as the province of Caquetio, to Granadan rule. At least his naval forces operating in the Great Lakes and the StLawrence seaway inflicted heavy losses on the Tatar shipping making the long haul to Europe. Hideyoshi marines also destroyed the trade port of Kabata in Abitibi.

Kingdom of Noquet: The Noquet, seeing which way the winds of fate were blowing the Crow God, paid off the Nisei alliance with a hefty tribute and recieved in return assurances that they would not be killed anytime soon. To speed the return of peace and quiet, Tugukun sent his son Black Mountain north with the army to gain a little loot. Thus, they attacked the Tatar city of Nipigon in Ogoki in the summer of 1671. The Tatar lord Ogodai, who had commanded the ill-fated campaign into Chippewa two years ago now got the short end of the musket-butt again and was killed for his pains in defending Nipigon. The Noquet sacked the city, enslaved the population and set the rest alight. Then, boisterous, they returned to Pasar in Croix to drink and make merry.

High Kingdom of Colorado: The Coloradan troops stranded in the far south were recovered by Minister Shaw and by great good luck he got them home and avoided being run over by the Afriqan fleet. Coloradan warships joined with the Hideyoshi squadrons operating in the Great Lakes and took a very heavy toll on Tatar shipping there.

Morgan, mostly pleased by the news of the war in the north, was very displeased by news that the Sud Afriqan fleet operating in the Carribean had struck against the islands of Ciguayo and Taino (both Coloradan possessions) and had captured both islands as well as the cities upon them.

Shawnee Empire: The Shawnee led off their latest campaign against the Huron with a very strong cavalry raid into Algonkin - a raid which ran right into a Huron counter-raid led by Chief Slaydeer. The Shawnee general manhandled Slaydeer pretty severely and laid waste to much of Algonkin and Sokoki before returning to Oswego in Iroquois.

A little later, the main Shawnee army marched through Saginaw again with a very large force of 35,000 men and once more made a crossing of into Tobacco. This time, however, the Huron were waiting...

Huron Confederation: Slaydeer spent a goodly amount of time avoiding Shawnee assassins, but succeded at that at least, though his efforts to defend Algonkin failed. Lord Kusha had a little better success in the west, at least managing to engage the Shawnee as they crossed into Tobacco by barge, boat and pontoon bridge. A series of small battles broke out along the river as the Shawnee tried to force a crossing and wound up being a big battle at Sarnia. The 35,000 Shawnee went head to head with the 18,000 Huron in a complex, multiple bridge, battle. They lost too, being driven back in confusion and disarray. Solomon Kane, the Shawnee commander, was apoplectic with rage and ordered several of his brigade commanders shot. Then he started pulling his bloodied force back together.

On the other side of the river, the Huron were gasping for breath. They had broken the multiple Shawnee attacks with superior draken coverage and rushing the elite Confederation Guard from trouble-spot to trouble-spot, but now they were stretched very very thin and their reserves were gone. Kane attacked again within a month, and this time he put all of his strength against one crossing. Second Sarnia was a sound defeat for the Hurons, and the Shawnee cavalry broke out from the bridgehead to dash for the walls of Pasar. That city was once more besieged by the spring of 1672.

This time Kane avoided any fancy stuff and went straight for hammering on the city walls until they fell down. For a while it looked like this siege would drag on as long as the previous one, with the Huron giving as good as they took, but then the Huron general Kusha took a shell fragment in the eye and the defence began to suffer. Pasar finally fell in the fall of 1672, and Kane was quite content to rest his men in the fallen city during the following winter.

Aztec Empire of Mexico: The Aztecs, aware that negotiations had at least begun with the English, were somewhat circumspect in their efforts against the raiders in the Caribbean. They sortied a new fleet from the Canal and found that the English picket ships had withdrawn from their patrols in the Gulf of Venezuela. When shore patrols reported that there were no English raiders along the Carib coast, the Earthquake Fleet turned around and headed north to aid the Nisei in their war against the Tatars. The Aztec scoutships reached New Yedo in Chemakum without incident and the fleet followed soon after, intending to cover the seaward side of the Nisei advance north into Tlingit. This they essayed, though they ran full tilt into the Tatar fleet inthe Hecate Strait off the north end of Nootka island as the Tatars were returning south after landing reinforcements at Zhai. The engagement was unexpected and both sides hurried to deploy their battle-lines in rough weather. The Tatar fleet strongly outnumbered the four hundred some Aztec ships with almost six hundred. Despite this the Aztec commanders proved their mettle by gaining the better wind and crushing over two-thirds of the Tatar fleet with a "battle-cross" and scattering the rest. The Tatar fleet, broken, fled back north to safe harbor in Rakiah while the Aztecs returned to New Yedo to drink a lot of sake and celebrate.

1673-1674 T173

The Great Northern War
Tatar and Huron
vs.
Tokugawa, Azuchi, Hideyoshi, Shawnee, Aztec

Tatar Kingdom of Go-Kur-Matahn: The Pure Realm priests, with their work shadowed by the war raging in the southlands, converted the terrified populations of Chandalar, Eagle Han and Ahtena to Buddhist. A Pure Realm emissary also arrived to speak to the court of Baqi, but the war and general panic prevented him from gaining audience with the KhaKhan.

The KhaKhan in turn was scrambling to muster every last man, boy and child that could be put under arms to fight the advancing Nisei armies. The trade fleets were gutted, the warfleet idled, press-gangs stripped the cities and farms, all to throw together one more army to contest the passage of the Nisei up from the south. Noyan Ojilitau was once more placed in command, though his track record was not the greatest…

Following another, more spectacular, failure by Ojilitau, the Tatars lost control of the provinces of Eppinette, Tiagnami, Albany, Abitibi and Eastern Cree.

Azuchi Nisei Shogunate: The Nisei army, now grown to enormous size, rearranged itself outside of Zhai and then, leaving some Tokugawa troops to watch the rear areas, swarmed over the mountains into Kaska. That land they found to be still inhabited by the Tatars, though the locals did not put up much of a fight. A strong garrison was left to discourage any partisan activity and the armies of the Emperor advanced into Tutchone. Here, like Gumra's mercenaries before them, they found the city of Hûkar standing athwart the main highway north. As before it was defended, though the Tatars had apparently decided not to commit their army to the exposed city.

The Hideyoshi general, Kumo Gartaren, who held overall command of the Nisei host, considered the situation. Here was a strong city, held by some four or five thousand Tatars, squarely in the path of his army of 127,000. Once it had fallen, the way would be clear for Nisei cavalry to explode into the north and west, sweeping over the hapless Tatar lands like the tsunami of old. The Azuchi and Tokugawa commanders held counsel with him and recommended a massive barrage, followed by a simultanious assault on all walls and gates. Given the massive edge in numbers and guns, the city would crack like an egg and be crushed. Kumo, uncharacteristically, was quite cautious and refused to consider the plan. The Azuchi and Tokugawa commanders were outraged and declared that they would command the assault.

Kumo, his slate-colored eyes narrow, spoke: "By agreement of all the Shogun, I am in command. I carry the banner of the Emperor, I bear the three cherry blossom mon that signifies the strength of our alliance. A strength of unity of purpose and of mind." He stepped around the map-table, his short squat bulk seeming to fill the tent. The Azuchi and Tokugawa commanders stepped back, involuntarily, from the force of spirit encased in a man's flesh. "I say we do not attack. I say we wait, and we watch."

The next morning the Nisei regiments spread out in the fields and forests around the city and began to dig in. Many draken were sent aloft at the command of Kumo, and angled in paths over the city. Kumo's personal Sioux scouts were sent out to comb the valleys and draws around the city. So too did the general send for the chief of the eta that travelled with the army, dealing with the collection of nightsoil and bodies. Later, the Tokugawa commanders marvelled in disgust at the sight of the Hideyoshi general crouched with a gnarled old eta at the side of the Bohei that wound its way through the river-gates of Hûkar.

A week passed, and the Nisei army labored at an extensive series of siegeworks that crowded all around the city. Mines and adits and breastworks in abundance were planned. Crews of men scoured the forests to cut thousands of trees for rams, ladders and siege-screens. After two weeks of this, the Azuchi and Tokugawa commanders requested audience with Kumo in his tents. On an evening, as the misquitoes were kept at bay by smoking tapers, they sat with him and took tea.

"Lord Kumo," said the Tokugawa commander, "Goldeneye" Jii Daigo, "we respect your authority and wisdom in matters of war, but we must confess that we are greatly puzzled by the extensive works that you have seen fit to start around this city. We outnumber our enemy by many times, and are spending our advantages in mobility and power by sitting here, motionless in the land of the enemy. With respect, lord, what do you intend?"

"Yes," said Kumo, "they are extensive works."

Silence ensued for a moment, and then General Jui, the Azuchi commander, spoke: "We must then beg for enlightenment, lord, for we do not see the reason for these preparations."

Kumo pursed his lips and raised a finger, as if to speak. Then he shook his head and put his hands in his lap instead. Nodding to himself, he spoke: "I consider the prospect of guiding you through the logic of the matter, but I see, since you have not seen it for yourself, that it would be best if I spoke plainly and to the point." He paused again, and sipped some of the fine black tea that had been placed before him.

"The works around this city are extensive because the entire Tatar army is inside, pretending to be ghosts, waiting for us to - foolishly - assail the walls and the … seen … four thousand defenders." There was another moment of silence, and then the Tokugawa commander, muttering, asked: "How many Tatars are inside the city?"

"Oh, about fifty thousand men."

That silence lasted quite a bit longer.

Tokugawa Nisei Shogunate: The siege of Hûkar was long sung of, later, in the northlands. Neither side was interested in anything other than the destruction of the other. There was little honor in the cruel fighting, but bravery aplenty. The battle of wits between Kumo and Ojilitau became legendary and the strategems and ploys were numberless in the eight months that Kumo commanded the Nisei host besieging Hûkar the Bloody. But near the end of November, as winter closed down hard upon both armies, Kumo fell through the early ice on the Bohei river during a skermish with Tatar cavalry and was taken with a horrible caughing and fever. He died, fighting to maintain command, three weeks later. By then, the Nisei host was so badly mauled by disease, cold, and the incessant endless bleeding of siegework against a strong and determined enemy, that they were forced to abandon the siege and withdraw south into Kaska to winter quarters.

When spring came in 1674 and the Nisei commanders took stock of their thin and ill-fed troops, they found that there were 45,000 men who could march and fight. Winter and Bloody Hûkar had claimed over 80,000 men. The realization of the blow was crushing. Only the sight of the three-blossom banner gave the men heart enough to march north again once the snows had melted, back into the death-ground of Tutchone. Now Ojilitau was waiting. Though his army too had suffered, losing more than half of its strength, he had to drive the Nisei out of Tatar lands, and more importantly, off of the postal road to the east. He attacked the Nisei from ambush as they marched under the shadow of Mount Onögut along the road to the north.

The Tatar plan was audacious and a great gamble, and it failed. The Nisei army smashed their attack and scattered the survivors. Now unopposed again, they returned to the bone-littered fields around Hûkar for a second round. This time, the Nisei were content to seal off the city and starve the defenders out. With their latest army broken, the Tatars could not prevent them. Hûkar fell at the end of 1674, as winter once more closed upon the land. Both Tutchone and Kaska, by the way, became Shinto in the course of all this dreadful excitement.

Hideyoshi Nisei Shogunate: The Hideyoshi wept to see their finest young men die in the snows of Tataria, and all grieved to learn of the death of the brave Kumo. Few indeed of the men they had sent into battle would return.

Kingdom of Noquet: Tukugun, seeing the various opportunities inherent in the war raging around his small nation, sent Black Mountain and the army north through the forests of Chippewa to attack and conquer the Tatar lands beyond. In two separate campaigns, Black Mountain conquered and converted both the provinces of Ogoki and Nameliuni.

High Kingdom of Colorado: Done with their part in the Great Northern War, the Colorado returned home to their wives and children, happy to be safe and warm in the south, rather than freezing their hineys off in Tataria. Brrr....

Shawnee Empire: Travois was quite disenheartened to learn from his agents that the Huron had acquired the services of the mercenary condottas available in the eastern Amerikas. Regardless, however, he pressed the attack into the north. General Kane, reinforced by Lord Hector and more levies from the south, was preparing to avance into Wyandot when his scouts brought word that the Huron was moving south into Tobacco. The army moved north in turn, deploying for battle.

The 30,000 Huron mercenaries proceeded to whip the 18,000 Shawnee regulars pretty severely and Kane made haste to extract his surviving troops back south into Saginaw. The mercenaries then swept down upon the defenceless city of Pasar to take their "due" in loot. Dark Sun Arrow was outraged to learn of the mercenary plans and ordered them to leave the city alone. They laughed and set upon him. Binding his arms and legs with cords, they strapped him to a tree on a hill overlooking the city. He had a fine view of the slaughter and rapine that then ensued, and was a broken man when some peasants released him three days later.

The mercenaries, their appetites whetted by the rape of Pasar, continued to move south, but found the crossing into Saginaw held by Kane's troops. After some desultory efforts to force a crossing, they abandoned the effort to move south and went east instead, crossing the Erie canal into Cayuga. Here too Kane was able to move his cavalry to face them, but the mercenaries had already crossed over the Canal. Several skermishes drove off Kane and his lancers and the mercenaries advanced into Iroquois. There they found and destroyed the small city of Oswego. Dogged now both by Kane's troops and more Shawnee that had come down from a raid of their own into Algonkin, they hastened south into Mohawk, seeking to take the city of Yavra and ship for warmer and more welcoming climes. Faced with the prospect of losing the large, populous and undefended Yavra to the marauders, Kane was forced to pay them a large ransom to succor the city. Thier pockets laden with a great deal of gold, the condotierri departed Yavra peacefully, a song in theirhearts for the easy life of a mercenary!

Huron Confederation: Slaydeer, seeing that ruin was fast approaching, moved his lodge to Northbay in Huron and set about devoting his energies, not to raiding and slaughter, but to firm administration of what lands remained to him. His warrior champion, Dark Sun Arrow, in turn raised a strong army of mercenaries with Papal gold and prepared to counter-attack south and drive the Shawnee from Huron lands. Slaydeer's move to the north contributed to him narrowly avoiding a Shawnee assassin attack, though he was wounded in the fray that resulted.

1675-1676 T174

The Great Northern War
Tatar and Huron
vs.
Tokugawa, Azuchi, Hideyoshi, Shawnee, Aztec

Tatar Kingdom of Go-Kur-Matahn: Supplied with a trickle of Japanese gold (despite massive efforts by the Nisei to intercept it) the Tatars scrapped the last of their fleet and fielded one more army … The capital at Tuchia was fortified as well and the Tatars hoped that this would be the last blow. Cut off from the rest of the kingdom the provinces of Maskegon, Ojibwa, Manitoba, Sasketchewan, Wapiti and Sukunka revolted from central control. Baqi recieved this news with equanimity - things were bad enough already! Anxious to secure the support of the Japanese and the Pure Realm in their war against the Nisei, Baqi also bowed to the inevitable and embraced Pure Realm Buddism as the state religion. Backed by a heavy Pure Realm and Japanese missionary effor, the provinces of Athabasca, Kaiyuh, Khodacha, Kiska, Nahani, Tahltan, Tanaina, Tatlatu, Titshotina, Tsattine and the city of Ag'ok became Buddist.

The efforts of the Aztec fleet closed down Tatar trade with Japan, Judah and Mongol, which was another kick in the head. And the loss of Tuchia in Han was also a heavy blow, though the government relocated to Karshi in Chuilnik.

Azuchi Nisei Shogunate: The Azuchi were both pleased and suspicious to receive the small fleet of Master Fo in New Yedo; pleased because the Emperor was present to discuss matters between Shinto and Buddist, and suspicious because of the recent close association of the Pure Realm and the Japanese. The recent cessation of Japanese trade with the Nisei had struck the Azuchi exchequer a heavy blow. The Tokugawa did provide a sufficency of grain to the Azuchi, and even enough to tide them over for a few years, perhaps. The arrival of Tokugawa heavy siege units in New Yedo was a little more disconcerting, but there was a security concern with Master Fo's visit.

Kuma, encamped in the freezing cold at Hûkar, had a very bitter conversation with one of his economic ministers:

"What do you mean, you cannot call up another 27,000 men from the rural provinces?

"Just that, great lord, we've already stripped the land of every able-bodied lad and man of age. Only greybeards and youths are left. The women gather the harvest and run the grain mills. The land is dry, sir, there are no more bodies to throw into this threshing machine."

Kuma was not pleased with these words, but he was overjoyed to find that the mercenaries were available. Thus, he hired them to bolster his army. The Tatars would die at last and by his hand alone! Now commanding a revitalized force of 64,000 men Kuma pushed on into the west. Despite the protestations of the Tokugawa commander that they press on into Han directly, the Azuchi swung south through Tagish and over the mountains into Ahtena. The Tatars, whose army had been lurking around the passes into Han, rushed south to confront the invaders. Again the Tatars holed up in the city (Bashar in this case) and once more the Nisei were faced with the problem of getting them out of their den.

"Let's press on north," suggested the Tokugawa commander, "then they'll have to come out and fight us or we'll take their capital at Tuchia."

Kuma found a certain humor in this, so the Nisei marched past and onto the highway to Tuchia. After seeing that the Nisei had left the province, the Tatar army swarmed out and force-marched north by a secret road, attempting to get to Tuchia before the Nisei. Unfortunately for the Tatars, an Azuchi cavalry patrol had stumbled upon the other end of the road. Thus, when the Tatars arrived at Tuchia the Nisei were waiting. The Tatar army was encircled and wiped out in a day long battle. Kuma exulted! Victory was now his!

Tuchia was besieged as quickly as possible afterwards and, after a few months of hammering, it fell to the Nisei army. Kuma stayed his hand, though after discovering that the city was infested with Buddists he was sorely tempted to order the city fired. As it was, the occupation was fairly peaceful. The Azuchi ended 1676 with the occupation of Ahtena and the capture of Bashar there as well.

Tokogawa Nisei Shogunate: The Tokugawa shipped a lot of potatoes and corn to the Azuchi. They also sadly handed heavy bags of gold from the Aztec ambassador to their own merchant banks. War was expensive! An attempt to reopen trade with the Japanese was forestalled by the trade embargo. Ietsuna was pissed off by this … but what could he do? The Emperor went to New Yedo to meet with Master Fo of the Pure Realm - a trip that was blemished slightly by the suspicious death of Lord Guyuken. However, no danger seemed to threaten the Emperor, so he proceeded. Extensive discussions were held between the two prelates and the Shinto were solid in their conviction that no harm was meant to the Buddists or their faith. There had been some religious persection of Asiatic pagan adherents, but all Buddists would be treated as equals throughout the Three Shogunates. The trade embargo, however, was vehemently protested and Fo promised to do what he could to convince the Japanese to lift it.

Old Man Tanaka, aship on the Great Lakes with his cavalry command, read a letter from an old lover in England with sadness. A boon drinking companion of his youth, Oliver Cromwell, had died at last. "Young sprout," wept Tanaka, "why have you gone so soon into the broth?" Tanaka had always been fond of soup. He and his men landed in Sokoki some weeks later. Tanaka paid off the Shawnee merchant that had carried them and then dissapeared into the woods with his men. Three weeks later he and his men reappeared in the early dawn, swarming over the walls of Achi. After a fierce fight with the Huron garrison the city was liberated and trade reopened with the Europeans.

Hideyoshi Nisei Shogunate: The Hideyoshi troops that had been at Tutchone finally came home, having given up the constant struggle in the cold northlands. no-Ichi spent his time trying to restore the economy of the Shogunate, which had suffered severely of late.

Kingdom of Noquet: Black Mountain, fresh from victories against the Tatars, marched his army across the northern lands beyond Lake Superior (his way paved by the acceptance of Noquet overlordship by the tribes there) to attack Huron from the north! The Eppinette, eager to secure better social conditions, accepted Catholicism.

Shawnee Empire: The Shawnee, weary of the endless unsuccessful war against the Huron, declared a cease fire and stood down their armies to regroup and rest. The Huron were good with that, though they wondered if they shouldn't attack now, while the Shawnee were weak... The sleep of Travois was disturbed in Adena by the constant harangues of a street preacher calling for an end to the war with the Hurons and peace in the land. Eventually the palace guards rousted the fellow out. A slave revolt in Poctumtuc was supressed by the regional garrison.

Huron Confederation: Slaydeer, his resources pressed to the limit, issued a writ of manumission for all slaves within the Confederation that joined the army being raised by Dark Sun Arrow at Thira. Many thousands did so, earning Slaydeer the emnity of their owners - yet things were grim and strong measures had to be taken.

The invasion of the Noquet from the north caught everyone by surprise. Dark Sun Arrow was slow to respond to the news of the attack, fearing that the Shawnee were waiting for him to move away from the south. However, the capture of Northbay provoked him to move. He marched his new 'freeman' army north to drive the Noquet from the lands of the Confederation. Battle was met in the woods south of Northbay and the Hurons were decisively crushed. The Noquet occupied Ottawa next and wintered in Ruatan.

Aztec Empire of Mexico: The Aztec fleet, operating out of New Yedo, sealifted several Tokugawa battalions into the Aleutians where they seized the islands of Umnak, Adak, Kiska, Attu and Beringa, as well as the cities upon them. At the same time that the Earthquake Fleet was supporting the Tokugawa landings, the Eagle Legion landed at Katmai themselves and spent the turn reducing and capturing the city of Togawa.

1677-1678 T175

The Great Northern War
Tatar and Huron
vs.
Tokugawa, Azuchi, Hideyoshi, Shawnee, Aztec
Ends At Last

Tatar Kingdom of Go-Kur-Matahn: Face with utter defeat and annhilation at the hands of the Shinto overlords, the Tatars wept to agree to a humiliating peace. The Khakhan, whose ancestors had sworn never to run again from an enemy, issued the orders for all Tatars to gather at the port of Rakiah in Eyak. A great fleet of Japanese ships was coming to evacuate all those that would journey with the Khakhan into a new exile.

The provinces of Eagle Han, Chandalar, Kaiyuh, Chuilnik, Tyonek, Tanaina and Eyak were thus abandoned by the people, who streamed to Togawa in an endless line of suffering and deprivation. The provinces of Titshotina, Tahltan, Nahani, Tatlatu, Punchaw, Wapiti, Athabasca, Tsattine, and Khodacha, cut off from escape, became independent. Over eight hundred ships, Japanese and Tatar, bore the Tatar people away upon the wave-road to a new destiny. Many were the tearful eyes that looked back upon Go-Kur-Matahn (the Land of the Golden Mountain) as the high snowy peaks dissapeared over the horizon.

Azuchi Nisei Shogunate: Kuma advanced into the lands abandoned by the Tatars, finding them empty of peasants and slowly filling with wolves, bears and brigands. Even more distressing the carefully cultivated farmlands that the Tatars had made bloom in the north were now falling into ruin and the wilderness was once more creeping back into the abandoned lands. Though it aggreived the Shogun considerably, he was forced to settle many of his troops in the provinces of Eagle Han, Chandalar and Kaiyuh to keep them from degenerating.

Tokugawa Nisei Shogunate: Ietsuna, who had seen now the ancient Mongol enemy go down in defeat, returned to Kanazawa in Lemhi and considered the future of the Tokugawa realm. Now that the Azuchi were firmly ensconced in the north, and the Hideyoshi held the east, there seemed little threat. A long series of discussions were held with the Emperor and the decision was reached that the time had come for the Shogun to step down from his role of military overlord of the state, and to be replaced by an administrator elected from the upper class families. These proposals made the rounds of the government and resulted in severe internal dissention.

This fully expressed itself in 1678 when Ietsuna was murdered by the son of one of his political opponents. The Shogun's young son, Ieyoshi, was too young to fill his father's duties, so the Lord Matsuwa was chosen by the Emperor to serve as regent during the minority of Ieyoshi. This calmed things down for a while, long enough for the eastern cities of Achi in Sokoki and Joetsu in Chippewa to be expanded to better serve the revitalized European trade.

Hideyoshi Nisei Shogunate: The regent, no-Ichi, watched with a heavy heart as the body of the great general Kumo was lowered into the tomb that had been built for him. As the low tapping of drums signalled the arrival of the warrior's body into the sepulchre, no-Ichi mounted to the top of the great edifice that had been raised to the warleader of the Dakota. "Serving in the army of the Shogunate for all of his life, Kumo was continuously on combat maneuvers for twenty-two years. Eighteen of those years were spent away from his beloved homeland. He served as overall commander of three international armies from the frozen north to the jungles of Panamia to the Great Lakes. May his spirit find peace with the ancestors." Then the tomb was sealed and all bowed their heads in rememberance of the legendary soldier.

Soon after this the boy prince Kejin recieved the cherry blossom from the sword-master no-Ichi and became true ruler of the Hideyoshi. Within days of that mighty event, Keijin took Windflower of the Pawnee as his wife and sealed a strong alliance with that powerful clan. The Hideyoshi army was sent east this time (no rest for them...) to fight against the Huron on behalf of the Shawnee. They captured the provinces of Tobacco and Wyandot without much trouble, seeing as how the Confederation was at last collapsing under the continuing attacks of the Noquet and the Shawnee.

Kingdom of Noquet: Noquet farmers and dairy ranchers, moving north along the new trade routes to the settlements in Ogoki and Nameliuni, settled in Chippewa and raised that region to a (1 7) province. The Tokugawa citizens of Joetsu were at first concerned at these developments, but they were pleased when they were better able to get grain, rice and various cheeses and meats from the nearby Noquet farmers. Black Mountain continued his expansion in the east, pushing the borders of the Noquet realm all the way to the Gulf of St.Lawrence.

Shawnee Empire: King Travois, who had led Shawnee back from possible ruin, now planned the destruction of the second of the Iroquois successor states. Unfortunately for the Shawnee, even as the King prepared to issue orders sending his armies into the northland again, he was stung by a wasp while riding in the Royal Park and had strangled of anaphylactic shock by the time his guardsmen could haul him to a healer. Then, within days, the Prince Kasar - while preparing for a hurried coronation - was caught in a palace passageway unawares by a serving woman and carved up like a prize ham. The girl was almost immediately captured and - under torture - was revealed to be a Huron agent. Lord Jason, who normally served as the Chancellor, suffered a heart attack when heard the news, which sort of rounded out the week for the Shawnee. General Hutek, who had been planning to move the newly raised army north to assist Solomon Kane in the campaign against the Huron, declared himself regent for the Prince Gohen (the six year old son of Kasar) and managed to stablize things.

Back in Iroquois lands; Solomon Kane and General Shai led their troops once more into Tobacco. This time the Huron defence was weak and they Confederation milita was scattered. In the forefront of the battle was a contingent of Shawnee mercenaries - followers of Auroch. Their beast masks glittering in the sun, they reaped a terrible harvest of blood and souls for their lord. These were among many mercenaries and captains that flocked to the Shawnee cause to see the ruin of Huron. Some, such as Johan Keel, Tadetsune Sakai and Red Axe of Cheyenne, came for gold or glory. Others, such as the notorious Paleface Blacksword, came for more obscure reasons. Both Tobacco and Wyandot and Algonokin fell to Kane. That noble general died in Algonokin of a snakebite, completing the depletion of the Shawnee leadership.

Huron Confederation: Slaydeer, trying to escape to a waiting English transport off of Algonokin, was caught in the woods and murdered by a Shawnee assassin team. His family too, were murdered and their bodies defaced and mutilated. A group of English seamen, searching for their passengers, found the remains and gave them a decent burial. This, combined with the continuing Shawnee and Hideyoshi attacks, signalled the end of the Confederation. Potawatomi, Muskegon, Sokoki and Wawenook became independent at that time.

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