Notes from a Commonplace Book dated 08/07/1351
Subset of Last War, entirely island-hopping in the Northwest Theater from 1105 to 1108, initiated by “Old Eyes See Clearly/Elder Brother Also Speaks/Time Flows in a Circular Fashion” aka Bug-Eye aka the R’t H’n’ble Suthrram, Councilor of Homefires Searing (1068-1120).
Bug-Eye (litorian) strategist and ally of the Prefect’s Humble Servants faction in pre-War Empire, but not politico — younger brother Deferrmerr* in bed with PHuSsers, Bug-Eye pulled along. Put in command of Homefires Searing Marine Fleet, enacted plan to separate Diamond Isle from outlying clients (mostly in the Verrik region).
(* D. also has weird poetry-name, look up later.)
Impossible to blockade Diamond Isle (giantish navy too big, ha ha) so Bug-Eye instead lays siege to clients, demolishes their harbors, moves on. Giantish barques needed big port, special equipment to dock.
Campaign initially great success, 30-40 ports destroyed, then encounter task force dispatched from Council of War — multiple magisters, runethanes, etc — Bug-Eye wounded and fleet crippled (1106). Limp home, rebuild fleet, dispatch, Bug-Eye has popular support and Phusser backing, moves on to pos. of stratego (occupied til death in 1120 [hero, well-liked, assassinated by jealous rivals]).
Dispatched fleet continues sacking outlying ports, some naval engagements, no more big blasty from Council. Client states demoralized, dependent on imported Diamond goods, plague sweeps through, kills 10-30% of local verrik populace, victory for Perfect Empire.
K. asserts campaign instrumental in securing the armistice.
I remember when the war started we didn’t think it was real. It was like a fairy-story — a country a long way off was going to war with the nation from whence the giants came. That was how we thought of the Diamond Isle, then, we children — it was where the giants came from. We imagined it must be a wonderful place, full of songbirds and runes.
The reality of life off Qooth — that was the same of our island, Qooth — was hammered home to us, one chill early-spring day in I guess 1106. Late in Thirdmonth, I think, we were woken from our pallets in the Children’s Hall by the sound of death.
Out in the harbor there were two tall ships, high and lean, not like the giantish ships that docked every six months, smaller and hungry-looking. There were fifteen or twenty — definitely more than ten — rune elementals, down at the Grand Jetty. They were tearing it apart with their pincers. Some of the Qooth folk had tried to stop them, and been rent; there was blood everywhere, on the Jetty, and on the beach.
The folk by the time we — my crechemates and I — got there, the folk had settled on standing back in a loose crowd, watching the runes-made-flesh work and muttering to one another. Our village existed for the Grand Jetty — the giants from across the water paid us each season for maintaining it. We hadn’t built it — the giants had, when they first came long long ago — and so we had no hope of repairing it. Without it there was no way the giants’ ships could dock, even if they wanted to, and that meant no way for our village to receive the glass and metal and paper and other processed things with which the giants bought our labor and our ore.
I was just old enough to understand this, and I was panicky, but I didn’t understand the worse thing. Another rune-elemental had walked through our village in the gloaming time before dawn, and in its wake was the green-skin fever, which killed a tenth part of the folk and blinded two tenth parts.
Pain, and death, and suffering — these are what came from over the sea. I ask you, how could anyone justify this?
Statement of Wol Moor Bath, age about fifty-five, to ART surveyors on the Fifteenth of Seventhmonth, 1142. Akashic Ob-Nivel reports Living Memory confirms the broad details of his account.