Returner War

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Returner War
— War —
Part of {{{part_of}}}

Start: February 7557
End: July 7559
Place: Rimmen Colony
Outcome: Auresian victory; Lavean Union annexed.
Major battles: Belgadarion, Bone Pass, Karthin Vale, Fort Rengiano, Ton Falk, Orensus Mons
Auresian Empire Lavean Union
Other Combatants
Tommaro N. Venchenzo V. R. Quarlin
Casualties & losses
Other casualties
War portal


Involved Factions


The near-collapse of the Lavean Union military strength in 7489 after the short but brutal Pendalan Dispute with Auresia fostered a bitter resentment in the Lavean government. A lost diplomatic dispute over territory near Orensus Minor had led to military confrontation, with the Imperial Auresian Armed Forces laying siege to the Lavean city of Angot in late 7557 after Lavean troops had opened fire on Auresian troops safeguarding the opium farms there. Eleventh hour efforts at diplomacy on each side continued even as troops from both states began to engage one another.

Lavea had attempted twice during the course of the Pan-Anarian War to establish a broader defensive perimeter against the southern boundaries of the colony at Rimmen. Each time, Imperial troops under the umbrella of special operations moved against the efforts and neutralized several strong points with the loss of Lavean lives. Eventually the Lavean government resolved itself to seek the opportunity to hit Auresia when it felt its northern neighbor was its weakest. The plan for attack was referred to as the Quarlin Protocol, after the general who designed it.

The restoration of the colonial garrison after the PAW ended brought Lavean fears of potential aggression against them back to the forefront. When Lavean troops fired on Auresian forces at Fort Napoli on 7 August 7557, Emperor Emshandar III ordered a reprisal force assembled and preparations for war commenced. Open hostilities were announced in the Imperial Parliament on 8 August.

The name of the war comes from commentary made by General Quarlin on the advent of the strike at Fort Napoli in a speech to his troops. In it he said, "Today we begin the journey to return to Auresia the years of shame and loss it has inflicted on us. Today we are the returners, and they will remember us."

Pre-War Events

The primary lead-up to the Returner War was in the events of the Verantor Affair. The Lavean foreign secretary, one Count Verantor, had come to Cedelphia demanding the opportunity to speak his state's case before Emperor Emshandar III. The Emperor, however, refused to see him, having clearly stated in previous communications to the Lavean Government that Auresia's sole demand in the issue was that Lavean forces withdraw from the Orensus Minor area and pull back their artillery pieces that were aimed at Fort Napoli.

For nearly a year prior to the outbreak of hostilities, the Lavean Guard had been shifting troops into the areas closest to the border, where Fort Napoli controlled the single highway of access connecting Rimmen to Lavea. Stationed there was the 33rd Division, and they were regularly reporting Lavean military movements far above the norm. Two months prior to hostilities beginning, Lavean artillery and armor were shifted into the area in strength but kept behind infantry.

The Imperial Intelligence Service would report to Emperor Emshandar that Lavea had assigned one of its most respected generals, one Varoth Quarlin, to lead the troops that had been moved into the area. There was at least a full division of Lavean infantry, supplemented by several regiments of mobile artillery and a regiment of armor. When an explanation was demanded, the Lavean government replied that annual maneuvers were being held in that region for the year. Lord Campano, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, went so far as to practically accuse the Lavean government of lying. In a brief message to Brigadier Ricci, commanding Fort Napoli, he said, "Don't let your guard down, and keep a close eye on those bastards or we're sure to end up in something we don't want."

The actual "Affair" began when Count Verantor approached two administrations officers within the Foreign Office to offer them compensation in return for their influencing Lord Oran, who was serving Emshandar III as his envoy to the FO, to petition the Emperor and change his mind about his refusal to see Verantor. When money changed hands, the deal was sealed. The administrators went to Oran and spoke to him of there existing the possibility that the Emperor might be better served by speaking with Verantor rather than refusing him. Lord Oran would reply to the two that he was amenable to convincing the Emperor to change his mind, but at the same time was suspicious of this sudden shift of opinions. While he promised to speak with the Emperor, he went to the Home Office and requested a check on the matter. The Home Office confirmed that Verantor had been to speak with the two officers, and record of bank transfers was noted. Oran ordered the two officials arrested. The Emperor, angry at this attempt to manipulate his diplomatic staff, had Verantor expelled from Auresian territory, and the officers within the Diplomatic Service were sacked and imprisoned. The expulsion of Lavea's top diplomat stalled what little progress had been made, and the Auresians sent additional forces to reinforce Napoli and assigned Field Marshal Tommaro Venchenzo. What would follow would be nearly two weeks of tense standoff before hostilities were to at last break.

Course of the War

The majority of the actions of the war were fought within the region at both sides of the Rimmen-Lavea border known geographically as the Gash. Because of the nature of the Lavean defenses of the time, the southern state had long considered a war with Auresia likely and had been awaiting the opportunity to engage its old nemesis in vengeance for a century earlier.

The first year of the war was one of attrition, as the Auresian forces and Lavean forces pushed back and forth in an effort to gain ground against each other. The Laveans had built up a network of fortifications in the area south of the Rimmen border that had to be swept aside before any serious move southward were possible, but likewise the Laveans had to hold out until the Auresians "broke" against said defenses. The end of the attrition phase of this conflict did not come until the Battle of Belgadarion, when the Imperial military broke through the outer walls of the fortress of the same name. Largely seen as the doorway into the rest of the Gash, Belgadarion blocked passage further south. After several weeks of heavy losses, conventional Auresian forces fanned out around the fortress while heavy artillery and Fleet ships were brought in. The fortress would be bombarded with conventional ordnance and incendiary devices for two solid weeks. Finally, the heavy artillery shattered Belgadarion's northwestern walls and Auresian troops poured into the breach. Another week of virtual room-to-room fighting ensued before the Lavean commanding officer surrendered.

Year two was fought in the upper heartlands of Lavea, with Auresian troops seizing critical railroad nodes and bombarding factories to cripple Lavean production capabilities. Roads, rails and inland waterways were interdicted and Lavean shipping crippled. It was during this year that the Lavean Sky Watch began bombing Rimmen outposts, with the worst losses being in the bombing of the attack on Camporessi that left nearly five thousand civilians dead. In response, the Imperial Air Force began fire-bombing refueling stations and airfields in northern Lavean cities. The regular targets were the industrial centers of Angot, Ullacarn and Claramath. In August of the second year of the war, Auresian forces took control of the city of Ullacarn - ancestral seat of the Autokrat's family - and held it as a redoubt in Lavean territory until the end of the war. The effort to take Ullacarn - a psychological blow as much as a tactical one - was the result of the Battle of Bone Pass, that granted Auresian troops access to the city.

The latter half of the second year saw Lavean forces in the eastern empire began moving swiftly north to strike at the Auresian border, forcing Marshal Venchenzo to split his attention until two additional chapters of troops were sent south to take over border defense and engage Lavean troops. The Auresian town of Dovaro suffered heavy artillery bombardment but was relieved when Imperial Navy ships began bombarding the Lavean units on the opposite side of the river and forced their withdrawal. May of that year saw the Siege of Fort Rengiano. In October of that year, year of the war, the Imperial Navy forced the Lavean troops back to the interior of their own country, where they were bottled up in the Valdopola Basin. This culminated in the Battle of Ton Falk, where three Lavean divisions were ravaged in fighting that effectively cut off their ability to strike at the Auresian colonial border for nearly six months.

In between the battles of Ton Falk and Orensus Mons was the Battle of Puldarn, where Auresian troops slipped through neighboring territory to the Lavean Empire's sole major wet port city of Puldarn. As all the fighting was in northern Lavea, military troops here were minimal, primarily focused on protecting the shipyards. Information had reached Intelligence agents operating within Lavea that the Rundeen pirates were smuggling weaponry, equipment and medicines to the Laveans by sea and air from the south, far from Auresian forces. The Hoomhoffers of the Order, led by Colonel Teodoro Humilio, now Lord Privy Seal, dropped into the outskirts of Puldarn by night and infiltrated the Puldarn Yards in strength. In a six-hour firefight that ensued, the SAS destroyed six airship towers and several docks. Two airships docked were pulled down into the warehouses and worshops by their collapsing docking towers, and a great blaze ensued. Having known it a virtual suicide mission, the SAS fought with all they had, but ultimately suffered nearly 65% casualties. Commander Humilio was taken prisoner along with the surviving SAS, and remained a POW until the end of the war. But that battle, distant from the front lines, helped to cripple Lavean supply routes and spooked the Rundeen from providing further aid.

Late October to early February of 7559 was what history now calls the "Interregnum", where both sides stayed their forces when a cease fire had been called. The two opposing commanders even met, briefly, to discuss a settlement, but Marshal Venchenzo refused Quarlin's overtures when he learned of several Lavean divisions massing in secret at Orensus Mons for a strike on the Auresian base at Fort Tessera. Despite the call for parley, General Quarlin barely made it back to his own units and evaded capture. Turning the several of his heaviest forces northward - including forces under Brigadier Cephorus Alexandros, Venchenzo moved to meet the threat, linking up with the II Order. Orensus Mons would be a wasteland by the end, with nearly four months of fighting devastating the countryside. By the end, the Auresians would lose the equivalent of a half division in casualties, but broke four divisions of Lavean troops with fleet support, taking close to 60,000 prisoners.

Formal hostilities would end in July 7559 when Auresian troops laying siege to the Lavean command station at Karthin Vale managed to capture General Quarlin and most of his command staff. Over the howls of protest and counter-orders from Kessendra, General Quarlin called on all of his forces to lay down their arms and surrender. They did so on 22 July 7559. On a command from the Emperor, Military High Command officially ordered a halt to all military offensive operations on 23 July 7559.


Auresia would inflict nearly triple the casualties, military and civilian, on Lavea that it would suffer. But Lavea came out in worse shape, as several major industrial areas were shattered from fighting and railroads and highways were badly damaged, limiting national transport. Lavean bombardments of Auresian border towns resulted in the Imperial Air Force fire-bombing several major Lavean cities, which resulted in their higher casualties. However, in the final treaty that ended hostilities, one thing was made clear -

We of the Lavean Government, even in refusing to renounce our disdain for the Auresian Empire and knowing that the fault of this war is our own, do acknowledge that the horrible losses inflicted on both sides were the result of open and unrestricted warfare. We join with the Auresian Empire in agreeing to hold no further fault towards one another than is due.

In a showing of compassion in spite of what had transpired, Emperor Emshandar III sent medical help to the Lavean people, along with assistence in rebuilding roads and rails. Ultimately, Auresia annexed Lavea into its territory and expanded the Empire's territorial holdings in the east and granted additional sources for manpower, material and infrastructure. In absorbing the necessity of restoring the lands, the Empire began to recompense its relationship with its formerly troublesome southern neighbor and did away with at least one source of contention within the region.

The first and foremost concession of the war's conclusion, however, was that Lavea gave General Quarlin over to the Auresian Empire for punishment as the one responsible for executing the war. He would be executed by hanging on 3 September 7562 in Cedelphia, his body cremated and his ashes scattered over the Pamdo Bay. Senior Lavean military officials were forced into retirement, with the Intelligence Service tracking down and arresting several of the highest ranking officers under Quarlin's guidance and in the high command. As Auresian troops took control of the Lavean capital, the membership of the state's government were arrested and imprisoned. The formal document ending the Returner War and establishing the Neutral Sector was signed on 1 September 7562 in the Peacock Hall of the Imperial Palace in Cedelphia. It is known as the Returner Treaty.


While none will deny that the Returner War only exacerbated the distrust the two peoples hold for each other, it is said to have badly broken the desire on both sides to see some "ultimate solution" to the enmity and hostility that has existed for centuries. While the territory has rebuilt quietly and has focused on its restoration now under Auresian control, it has been seen warming up, if only slightly, to Auresia in the last year or so. Nevertheless, the tensions and bitter memories of the conflict will endure for many years to come, as experts have little doubt.

See also

War  War portal
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