By the fall of the year 81 A4, the army led by General Tonsior had rested and replenished from its campaign in the land to the South, now known as the Southern Tribelands. In Caelon, the Torian control of the settlements continued to deteriorate until less than half of the settlements continued their subservience to the Torian seat of power. The idea spread across the land like a wildfire that possessing the Gifts of the First Son gave governors a birthright to stake out their own kingdoms. The Torian Empire was now in hasty decline, and the council was now desperate for good news.
General Tonsior strategized that utilizing the vast fleet of Torian ships against the far less-developed navies of the newly formed kingdoms would be the key to their success.
Taking the Western Coast By Storm
“…they came by sea, terrible and terrific. Their ships lined the bay as the very foundations of the castle cracked and splintered, rocks tumbling and sewing discord throughout the kingdom. In mere moments, any advantage the castle walls provided was completely gone. We were defeated before one foot stepped ashore.”Diary of Algonzo of Dorleng. 69 A4
The Torian fleet, with blinding-white sails, made its way West in the month of Scientia in the year 69 A4. Some 20 vessels strong, each carrying upwards of 500 soldiers and helmed by General Tonsior’s flagship La Guía, the fleet brought with it such devastation that the course they set is now famously referred to as “La Inundación” meaning “the Deluge”. The nearly unbeatable strategy they utilized was simple. General Tonsior would crash huge sections of the coastal towns into the water using the Third Gift of El Tor. If they did not immediately surrender, he would flood the city entirely. Once the devastation was sewn, the men of his army would disembark and force the surrender on foot.
Knowing the fear it would sew throughout the land, General Tonsior was hopeful that newly created kings would give up their crowns and seek penance from the Torian High Council. It was a sound strategy, one that though harsh and unforgiving, would prove incredibly successful in the first part of this phase of the war.
Albonia, (near where modern-day city of Khar is located) was the first settlement to feel the fury of General Tonsior’s plan. Likely knowing that he needed to make an example of the city-state, which had proclaimed itself a new kingdom the year before under Alberto Coriel, the punishment was vast and unforgiving. Alberto was known to have possessed notable skill over the Fifth Gift, the power of restoring life, but once the destruction was wrought upon his city, there would not be enough of a city and its people to restore. King Alberto Coriel himself was said to have been crushed to death under his castle walls the fell upon him and have never been exhumed. Even if he would have been able to restore himself, there would be no way for him to escape the rubble that trapped him in.
The ruthlessness of the attack certainly did spread far and wide, but it was not enough for any immediate resignations of new kings. After all, it seemed that power, once gained, was not easy to give up. The warpath continued westward along the coast around God’s Grip, the peninsula where the city of Munos reigned.
Differently than with Albonia, General Tonsior gave Munos the opportunity to surrender. When they hesitated on their response, General Tonsior responded by crashing a large wave against the walls of the city. When he saw that the city withstood the power of the tidal wave with no difficulty, he brought down the very ground that held much of the city, including the palace of the King. Although remarkably the palace survived and is still in use to this day, the fear it wrought by bringing it down was enough for King Onjes to surrender.
Next along the path of destruction was Dorleng, which was held by King Temvila. The same exact strategy was employed, and the events were recorded by court scribe Algono of Dorleng, which helped to document the history of this part of the war. The city’s streets cracked and buildings fell, and by the time the men came onto the shore, there was no coordination to the city’s defenses. King Temvila refused to go quietly, and, turning down the challenge of a duel, General Tonsior crushed him where he stood, toppling walls of the city upon him. This measures a distinct difference between the General Tonsior at the beginning of the Gifted War and the end.
Penderona and the Saibhrean Fleet
With the Western coast of Caelon under siege, the inevitable path of General Tonsior’s fleet would meet with the city of Penderona. What was planned to be simply the next step along the path to continued reconquista of the peninsula became a major drain on their resources, ultimately giving General Tonsior his first defeat.
Penderona, while technically an extension of the Torian Empire, was not set up with a governor like many of the newer settlements and did not claim to be subservient to the Torian Council. The history of Penderona and the settlements of the Saibhrean Isles saw a different origin and governing structure than many of the other settlements in the peninsula.
While the demons had not fully been defeated and the First Son still lived, the people of Penderona departed from the White Walled City on their own volition. These people, the Daoine Farraige, as they call themselves, were said to be a remnant of an ancient race, and returning to the sea where their people once thrived was their top priority as soon as they saw the opportunity. It was not for another several centuries before the council voted to begin letting other settlers reclaim the land under the children of the First Son.
The people of Penderona heard of the coming attacks and prepared for battle by rallying their forces. When General Tonsior’s fleet arrived, one ship sailed out to meet the General’s flagship.
It is said that Baron Siabahn, the ruler of Penderona at the time, spoke not a word as General Tonsior gave his list of demands. Instead, he waited until the General began to anger at his silence before shouting to him that he was to take his fleet and retreat. He told General Tonsior that “this land belongs to the Daoine Farraige, and that no course would be found for him here.”
Too far from the shore to cause landslides, General Tonsior attempted to cause a tidal wave to wipe out the baron’s ship. This plan backfired quickly as the General’s fleet also got swept into the harsh waters. Remarkably, the baron’s vessel sustained less damage than much of the General’s fleet. The craftsmanship of the Daoine Farraige ship was simply far more suited to troubled waters.
The General ordered the baron’s ship commandeered immediately, and the baron was captured after his forces were overwhelmed. Keeping the baron as a captive on his own flagship and drawing closer to shore, he prepared to go about his normal strategy until he was met suddenly by a vast fleet of ships from the Saibhrean Isles, at least 30 which attempted to surround them. Knowing they were outnumbered, they were forced to retreat.
Taking the baron hostage, the General and his fleet returned to the White Walled City in order to prepare for the next phase of the war, which would be the longest and most taxing, the joint campaign on land and sea.