One of the oldest fortifications still standing, Windkeep Fortress was founded by the ancient Parthanians in their war against the Sakkala nearly 3,000 years ago. 1,500 years ago it briefly fell to the Escians – who won it from the Parthanians – and was ceded to the Aelutians after only 300 years. However, in the minds of the Escians, it and the territories it controls rightfully belong to Escia – and today is the scene of an ongoing war that in recent months has become increasingly grim and fever pitched.
Both armies have gathered the bulk of their forces at Windkeep and the fortress is under heavy siege by the Escians – who briefly took control of it not once but twice in the last 12 months.
The current Escian strategy appears to be to try and disrupt the supply lines to Windkeep – and most battles and skirmishes occur behind enemy lines. However there have been two major clashes – one at the start of the current conflict, where Escia pushed harder than ever before and briefly took the fortress before the Aelutian response managed to claim it back before they could properly consolidate their position – and it was also briefly lost to the Escians again during a massive siege attack, but reclaimed when the Aelutians rallied.
The fact that it has fallen not once but twice to the Escians has rattled the Empire, and now 70% of the army is stationed in or around Windkeep including Starminster Fort, Windshire Stronghold, Mortling Hold and Saltwood Citadel – all of which are fully garrisoned. Extra taxes have been levied in Paragonia and all provinces ordered to supply the army at great expense – and the war has entered a new and dangerous phase as increasingly the rhetoric in the Imperial capital is calling for total war and annihilation of the Escians – encouraged and led by the hawkish Crown Prince Zadicus.
During the winter months, it never snows but there is heavy rainfall coming in from the East, and the ground can become boggy and treacherous in places. In summer, the grasslands dry up and blinding dust storms are not uncommon. Spring is ironically very beautiful, with the plains bursting forth with all fields of forms and colors of native flowers – a stark contrast to the bones of the unburied dead still found scattered all around this ancient scene of so many wars and battles.
AREAS AND POINTS OF INTEREST
SOUTH GATE: Windkeep Fortress is built on a raised plateau overlooking a river wide enough to employ war boats during the rainy winter months. South Gate has an advanced bridge which can be raised and lowered to allow ships passage and troops to pour into Escia. The walls themselves bridge a gap in the plateau, and is overlooked by two towers bristling with archers, ballistae and more recently, two canons. It is currently under siege by the Escians and Aelutian troops cannot easily enter no mans land from this point.
AELUTIAN CAMP: With 7 legions in the area, the fortress alone can only house 2000 men – however one full legion and the remaining 8,000 men from the 1st have set up a semi-permanent base and are camped here in tents, timber and even stone buildings to shelter the soldiers and their hangers on and camp followers.
CHURCH: A militant semi-fortified monastery and home to the Brotherhood of Saint Matthew Griffin, an order of warrior clerics of the church of the Paragon who provide healing and succor to the soldiers on the front lines.
NORTH FORT: situated on one of the tributaries of the Windy river and hemmed in by the mountains, North Fort is heavily contested and used to lure the Escians into battle, for on the approach and retreat from this tempting target, the Escians must expose their soldiers to the full fury of Windkeeps outer defenses. If attacked, it is relieved by soldiers coming to the field from either Windkeep itself or South gate.
RUINS: Little remains of what was an ancient Parthanian city nestled in the foothills. It is currently occupied by Escian warriors.
ESCIAN CAMP: Between the front lines of the siege of Windkeep and Escia itself stretches a massive encampment with two counter castles set up and around 30,000 men that swells to triple that size when skirmishes escalate into an actual battle. Due to its proximity to Escia, the camp is well supplied – and should have no problems remaining supplied for at least the next 6 months.