Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 213

The battle the Alliance called the Triumph of Efenasburg was known by the Aueras as the Breakthrough of Amilia Plains. There was no real victor on either side. Even though the Alliance claimed they won, nobody could deny their victory was pyrrhic.

The duke of Sidins, Duke Furilanz, said that if they had two more such 'victories', the duchy would expire without anyone attacking them. The battles had taken place within Sidins' borders after all, and they were no doubt the ones that suffered the most. The duchy had expended most of their wealth and military supplies. Other things aside, the food alone it cost to feed the 300 thousand plus troops of the Alliance cost an astronomical amount.

Historians of the future styled that battle simply as the Battle of Efenasburg for a fairer assessment. During that battle, Aueras lost near 160 thousand troops, having a third of their total number as casualties with more dead than injured. Aueran bravery and sacrificial spirit for their kingdom were there for all to see and they weren't just bragging when they said they were invincible in the east of the continent.

Among the casualties, 50 thousand were captured. It was worth noting that most of the captives the Alliance had were from the three irregular corps; just four thousand came from Bluefeather proper, and they were only captured because they were too injured to continue fighting or retreat. Bluefeather had shown its might as one Aueras' trump cards. However, as it was the main force in the breakthrough, it suffered the most casualties. Less than ten thousand men had returned to Eimis.

The Alliance's encirclement came together and they annihilated most of Chanyalar's irregulars, but they didn't achieve their main objective. Bluefeather was dealt a harsh blow, but it wasn't finished off and even managed to escape. Thanks to their stubborn resistance and charge, the allied forces ended up suffering even more casualties during the ten-odd days of desperation, causing them to be ultimately unable to reclaim Eimis. They entered another stalemate after the Aueran troops replenished themselves at the city.

Naturally, the nation in the Alliance that lost the most troops was Sidins, whose troops made up the main force of the encirclement. The three duchies' corps were only there to help and they didn't want to force Bluefeather into a corner lest it lashed out at them like a wild beast. The moment they found their casualties rising after the attack, they relegated themselves to a more passive, supportive role. They hoped that the Nasrian forces on the other side would weather most of Bluefeather's attack and keep them in Amilia Plains so they would eventually surrender after running out of supplies. That was the ideal scenario.

That was why Sidins did most of the pursuing from the back. In terms of military training and organization, the troops of Sidins couldn't compare to the disciplined Auerans, especially after most of their elite troops at the two defence lines at Audin Mountain Range had surrendered. Most of the troops Sidins had at that time were urgent conscripts of farmers and artisans. Though they were superior in quantity, they were not able to match up in quality. The losses nearing 100 thousand men during the incessant attacks also caused morale to fall heavily.

The other party that suffered huge losses was Nasri and their two corps. While they had sent out a folk of troops to keep the defending troops in Eimis occupied and had seven other folks to block the escape route of the three enemy corps, they didn't think Bluefeather would resort to such a desperate charge to break out of the encirclement. Following wave after wave of nonstop attacks, the first defence line was no longer able to weather the death charge of Bluefeather and eventually, an opening showed itself and allowed the forces to pour out.

The Nasrian forces were the only ones who could match Aueras in terms of combat ability, but they were far less amazing than Bluefeather. The commander of the Nasrian forces was an experienced veteran who ordered his troops to back down at a decent pace to keep the charging Bluefeather troops contained while they set up one defence line after another behind. They wanted to make sure the enemy could see the endless rows of defences before them and take advantage of space and time to wear them down until they despaired.

It was too bad their allies didn't play along with their plan. Had the four duchies on the rear end attacked without regard for casualties, Bluefeather and the two irregular corps wouldn't have managed to last that long. But the three duchies were scared after the casualties incurred during first contact and stopped playing an active role, leaving Sidins to do most of the work.

The forces of Sidins were also powerless to do much and suffered huge losses themselves. Their attacks could be easily fended off by the troops of the irregular corps. Bluefeather didn't even need to take part. Those results only further reinforced the three other duchies' troops to conserve their own. They weren't willing to take too many losses. The lack of constant pressure in the encirclement allowed the Auerans some breathing room, giving them enough time to conserve their energy for the final charge.

The Nasrians had to pay the price for their pathetic allies. They tried their utmost best, but were still unable to stop the charge led by Bluefeather. After the battle ended, the rulers of Nasri almost cried at the sight of the casualty report. Their two standing corps lost 70 to 80 thousand of their 120 thousand men. More than 30 thousand died even though the Auerans didn't clean up the battlefield and finished off the remaining injured they could find.

After the breakthrough, the Alliance's troops marched their way to Eimis and the commanders of the duchy suggested for an attack to be mounted on the city immediately while the Auerans only managed to supply their irregular corps. Perhaps they could even chase them out of the duchy and reclaim Audin Mountain Range as well.

The suggestion was a correct one, but the commander of the Nasrian forces turned it down. When the allied forces gathered, the Nasrians were flipping mad when they saw that the forces of the other duchies were left mostly intact. Even though they had tried so hard to stop Bluefeather from breaking through, the ones at the back were mostly slacking off and even complained about the alleged losses they suffered. If losing a tribe or two was considered a huge loss, then the two Nasrian corps should be considered utterly decimated!

It wasn't that an attack on Eimis was out of the question, but the Nasrian forces had decided that they would sit it out. They believed that they weren't able to mount another attack after the losses they have suffered and left the task to the three other duchies. Their forces combined numbered six corps and they should have no issue taking care of the irregulars Aueras hobbled together to defend the city. Even though there were 50 thousand men inside the city, most of them were injured or beaten troops that managed to break out of the encirclement. They should've been powerless before the united forces of the three duchies.

Theoretically, it sounded plausible. But the commanders of the three duchies began to fuss after receiving reports of how well fortified the city was. The two irregular Aueran corps that just came to reinforce the city erected an iron defence around it. The scouts saw 18 cannons alone and that wasn't something the attackers were willing to readily take. Their losses were sure to be high if they mounted an attack.

The three duchies then turned their sights to Sidins, but Duke Furilanz expressed that even though he was eager to reclaim lost land, he was powerless to do so with the two corps he so hastily combed together. He needed more time to train the three newly formed corps in Efenasburg to qualified soldiers and also required weapons and supplies from the three duchies.

Since even the Duke of Siddins had admitted that it was beyond him to take Eimis back, the three corps who were there as guests naturally didn't take the show. It didn't take long before people forgot about the suggestion altogether. That was how the 400 thousand plus allied forces got into a stalemate with the Auerans, that numbered only 160 thousand men.

Word of Bluefeather and the two irregular corps being encircled in Amilia Plains had spread to the Aueran capital. The ministry of the army was in total chaos. Nobody could've predicted that, and people were scrambling to push responsibility onto other scapegoats. Had it not been for the king himself visiting the ministry, the chaos might've lasted even longer.

After listening to the reports by a few high-ranked officials, Stellin X turned his sights on Eimis. He ordered for the two irregular corps who were just about to head to Botarnia to aid Reddragon and Griffon to head for Kafreizit right away and invade Sidins. Their mission was to keep Eimis secured no matter what and wait for reinforcements to arrive.

As for the three encircled corps, they were to rely on themselves to get out of their troubling predicament. The kingdom wasn't able to gather enough forces for such an undertaking at the moment and they wouldn't be able to rush there in time either. Stellin X could only choose to keep the enemy from taking Eimis back so that the kingdom still had some foothold in Sidins for a future counterattack.

On the third day Bluefeather and the rest attempted their breakthrough, the two irregular corps arrived at Eimis. They didn't rescue their encircled allies and instead set up camp on two sides of the city per Stellin X's orders before beginning work on defensive fortifications that allowed them to hold their ground firmly.

During the month following the Battle of Efenasburg, the number of Aueran forces at Eimis was around 300 thousand with the arrival of the reinforcements. They no longer had to worry about the enemy's 400 plus thousand. By then, the results of Bluefeather's campaign in Sidins had been sent to the kingdom and they soon received a reply.

Prince Wedrick was harshly admonished by Stellin X and grounded for three months so that he could mull over his mistake. The battered Bluefeather returned to Kafreizit for reorganisation, and General Feliput retired from his injuries. The chief strategist of the corps, Lieutenant-General Edbak took over as acting general and started rebuilding Bluefeather.

What remained of the troops and officers of the two irregular corps encircled with Bluefeather was absorbed into the latter. As Chanyalar's irregular corps didn't contribute much to the battles, the generals and line commanders were relieved of their duties and put under investigation to see whether their actions violated military regulations. Those deemed to be innocent would be able to continue to serve, but they would be demoted by one rank and left to Bluefeather.

Stellin X also announced that Prince Hansbach, who was overseeing the western front, would come to take over the eastern front. The royal guard corps was also ordered to march into Sidins. The kingdom had decided to enter a decisive battle with the allied forces at Eimis once and for all to wash away the shame and humiliation they had suffered.

Those developments didn't affect Claude much. Sometimes, he felt that he was really fortunate for not having to go to the frontlines with most of the other troops. He stayed at the rear lines for months without firing a single bullet.

The problem was, he soon realised he had been completely forgotten. Even after Bluefeather had retreated to Kafreizit, he was still guarding the pass of Audin Mountain Range and hadn't received any orders to return. In the end, he heard from Perunt, who was among the last batch to leave Eimis, that his unit had been put under the banner of the keeper tribe of Eimis for some reason.

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