Ever since the dissolution of Great Britain, the English houses were able to maintain peace for a year. However conflict soon started to boil as Lancaster and York were about settle their old rivalry since the War of the Roses
Keighley, England March 21st 1791
Prince Heph of the House of York and his son the Count of Leeds were in the garden of their estate. Heph decided to retreat from public life and spend some moments alone with some father-son time. "Father. Spring time is here." the count said as he knelt on the ground feeling the buds of young freesia's. "Can't wait until they blossom and we can finally see the colors of it's petals." he added.
"Remember your mother always loved to come out to the garden and tell you about the different flowers that grow in England." Heph said to his son kneeling down next to him. "She would've loved to see our new flowers." the count said staring at the buds. He froze for a minute and would picture his mother and his 8 year old self treading the garden of the estate in the summer. His father, the Duke of York smiled as he watched his wife and son having the most cheerful conversation's. A butterfly would land on the count's finger. As the butterfly flew away, he heard running feet on the grass. He turned around and saw his mother bent over hacking a storm. The duke ran up to his wife and the count crying.
The moment drifted away and a tear escaped his left eye. Heph looked at his son and saw his sorrow. "Why don't you head back inside and get some rest. You're probably exhausted from all the work you've done." Heph said. The count stood up and walked back to the estate. As he walked back, the memory slowly started to disappear and he smiled once again. His mother has been dead for 5 years. From a young age he was taught politics first because he was fascinated by politics and Heph jumped at this opportunity to educate him since Heph wanted a dynasty of his own.
He approached the door of the estate and when he opened it he was horrified. He saw dead guards in the foyer with large blood stains on the wall. Men in silver and white military uniforms who didn't have time to let out a shot had stab wounds on their body. The count ran throughout the many rooms of the estate and saw not only dead guards but dead servants as well. Red stains covered every area of the estate. He was running down to the foyer, sweat pouring from his face, and the floorboards creapt with every impact made from his foot. As he made it back to the foyer, his hand was reaching for the door he was caught by surprise with a black sack placed over his head.
He was struggling to free himself from captivity but his captor was far stronger than he was. He was dragged all the way to the back door. He was then taken to the ground and felt a rope tie his hands sticking them to his back. He then heard a conversation between two people. Sounded like they can be in their late 30's "Oi! I got em."
"Can you be any louder mate, cause it's not like we in the middle of an armed complex."
"Wha'ever. So we going to get this job done?"
"Yeah. Jack, single the strike teams."
Meanwhile, Prince Heph finished the journey around the garden but when he turned around he saw a guard running up to him. "Sir, we're under attack." he said as he was catching his breath. "By who?" Heph asked. "We're not sure sir but you must evacuate the premises immediately." the guard said. "No we need every man defending this location. Where are the invaders at this instant?"
"At the hedge garden sir."
"That means we still have the armory. Head back to your unit private I'll get some weapons and defend the estate."
"Yes Sir!" and with that the guard rushed away. Heph ran the 20 meter distance to the armory and barged in nearly breaking the hinges off. He grabbed a bayoneted musket as well as a few cartridges and rushed to the hedge garden. As he got closer and closer the gunshots grew louder and louder. He ran another 10 meters and found his men crouched behind a stone wall. "Sir what are you doing here! You need to evacuate before the estate is overrun."
"Don't be silly sergeant I'm not willing to throw my home away to these brigands"
"If that is what you desire my lord we'll try to protect you."
The vagabonds were attacking in full force and though they outnumbered the York forces they were sloppy as well. So with no structure of command they easily fell dead like lambs to the slaughter. Some of them chose to drop their guns and run. Heph wanted to go back to the estate and see if it was alright because these guys were just some sort of diversion force.
The battle waged on with the guards dominating the brigands. More and more guards kept pouring in, and with their supreme military discipline and tactics. The guards annihilated the brigands and the few who survived, retreated from the estate. The guards cheered. But not Heph.
He took some men with him to check the estate. He took 30 men with him facing the front of the building. He turned around and gave his men some orders. "Alright men there's probably more of those savages inside my home. We'll split into teams and sweep the house. Sgt. Foster take your men and secure the west wing. Sgt. Winters you'll secure the east. I'll take the front entrance. Sgt. Montgomery set up a perimeter and report anything suspicious upon sight. Okay you have your orders, let's move out!"
The York soldiers were putting themselves to work. Each squad leader had a total of 4 men and the perimeter had 18 men. Heph and his men had barged through the entrance of the estate and immediately noticed the bloody corpses lingering in the foyer. They looked around and were struck with horror, one of the soldiers actually vomited all over the floor. "Dear God...Alright men stay on high alert, there could be more brigands around here."
They scouted the entirety of the first floor and it was the same all over, dead bodies of guards and house workers, none of which were his son's body. They met up with Sgt. Foster and all the members of his squad. "Sorry milord but we couldn't find the count but there are bodies everywhere sir."
"We're in the same situation. Alright let's meet up with Winters maybe he found something."
"My lord." Heph and his men turned around and saw Sgt. Winters and two of his men carrying a middle aged man in a black outfit. "This is one of the brigands in the east wing who attacked the estate. I figured you might want to ask some questions for him. The two men dropped the brigand, Heph approached him, grabbed him by his collar, picked him up and put him against the wall and held his pistol up against his victim's chin. "Alright listen to me you wretched lowlife, tell me where you took my son and I might let you live."
"Heh heh...You're too late. Your son is already on the border...with Lancaster. Probably bleeding from his head." The brigand started laughing and Heph furiously pulled the trigger and let the body fall to the floor.
"Assemble my staff, were going to the border."
A few meters away from the border with Lancaster. Heph and his staff of light dragons stampeded through a dense forest with Heph as the spearhead of the regiment who was dashing to Lancaster and rescue his son.
Soon, the cavalry emerged out of the forest and onto a field with hills just ahead of them. Heph extended his right arm out as a sign to stop the calvary. "Halt!" hollered a Col. Conners. "Sir, orders?" he asked the Prince of York.
"I'm leaving you in charge of the staff while I'm away. In case you're facing an unprecedented attack from Lancaster, form a square around the horses, we'll rush back once we here gunfire. Understood?"
Heph and six riders dismounted and took the rifles from the saddle holsters of their horses.
They ascended up the hill, with tightened grips on their muskets. It got steeper once they got closer to the peak. As soon as they arrived at the top they were horrified by the sight. A body was laying on its back on the ground with a black sack on its head. Heph ran up to it with his heart pumping of stress wishing the body on the ground wasn't the person he thought it was. As he got closer to it, he noticed that was the body of a child wearing York government clothes. He knelt down in front of it, took of the sack and it was the face of Heph's son. The count looked as though he was be shot in his forehead, bursting through the brain, making it an instant kill.
Heph had his son in his arms, tears were rolling down his eyes and he was wailing into the sky. His men stood where they were so that their prince could have their time to mourn for his loss.
Suddenly they heard the ground rumbling beneath them and what they noticed in the distance were two Lancastrian Hussar regiments coming from the northern and southern flanks. One of Heph's men rushed behind him and put his hand on Heph's soldier. "Sir, the Lancastrians are nearing and they heavily outnumber us we have to get out of here." he urged.
Heph cried the last of his tears. "Alright let's get back to the regiment. Heph left his musket, picked up his son and rushed down the hill. He saw his staff dismounted and formed a square around the horses, firing on the hussars. Heph approached Col. Conners. "Conners, get everyone mounted we're getting out of here."
Conners turned to face Heph carrying his dead child "Dead God...I-I mean yes sir of course."
Heph rushed to his horse, he put his son on the back of his horse and mounted it and waited for everyone else to mount their horses.
As soon as everyone mounted their horse, they were dashing away from the hussars. But they were just as fast and drew closer and closer. The York cav could hear the sound of the hussars, their screams and the sounds of their horses stomping the earth. They were being chased through the dense forest that they once emerged from. Heph and his regiment were nearing further and further from the Hussars. And soon they were able to outrun them. And as soon they emerged from the forest on to York soil, they were met by two York line regiments. The cavalry made their way behind the line as their captains started shouting orders.
The first line of each regiment let off a volley once the hussars were in range knocking down a few Lancastrians and throwing the other horses in dissaray. The lines let off a second volley killing more hussars and then they retreated. He oh turned ad asked his staff "Who's responsible for calling these reinforcements?"
"I did sir."
Heph looked to his left as he heard the voice talk right next to him and it was Col. James Connors. "I predicted the Lancastrians would ambush us so I ordered for reinforcements before we departed."
"Nicely done colonel. Now I know I can count on you."
"What are your orders sir?"
"We'll head back to York. I have an assignment for you."
York, England March 24th 1791
Conners and Heph were in the study hall of Heph's palace. "What is the assignment you had in mind sir?" Conners asked.
"Take a seat first."
Conners sat in a chair that was diagonally facing the desk.
"You're going to lead a raiding party on the Lancastrian city of Accrington. It is a large military base as well as a hevily populated city. Your orders are as follows, take an army to surround the city. Bombard it and make sure you leave no one alive. Civilians and military. You've also been promoted to general." Heph said leaning on the desk of the study hall.
Conners was overwhelmed at the moment. He was promoted to general and had to exterminate an entire city. "Sir a few questions."
"Make them quick." Heph said strictly.
"Why promote me?"
"I've seen your combat records. Forward Observation Officer during the Conquest of Brussels, promoted to captain of the 44th Field Artillery Batallion during the Italian campaign and then lead the 18th Artillery Division against the Kingdom of Malta. A master of artillery and on top of that you won countless battles. I felt you should get the promotion you deserve."
"I understand sir, my thanks. But sir I'm an artillery officer, I have no experience in commanding infantry or cavalry."
"Not to worry, General Thompson will be on the field with infantry support, cavalry won't be necessary. This is a night raid."
"Final question sir, why would we want to bombard a city with a heavy population? Doesn't that seem a bit too far of revenge for your son?"
Heph's expression changed to pain and frustration and slowly approached the general. "My son was the entire world to me ever since he was born and he meant even more when my wife died. As of right now I have nothing left to lose not even my morality." Heph furiously said and now inches from the new general.
Conners was facing the prince and he was sweating and he was making nervous hand gestures. "I-I see sir...I'm just concerned for you is all. You seem to be o-o-overreacting."
Heph swiftly grabbed his sword from his sheate and brought it to the general's neck and quietly and rageful he spoke. "Listen carefully James. You will never question me again and you will comply with your orders. And if you don't, you will be met with dire consequences. Do we understand each other?"
Quietly and clearly Conners replied, "Y-yes sir."
Heph put his sword away and his tone slightly lightened. "Good. You'll meet with the garrison at Leeds. Surround the city with demi-cannons and burn everyone there. Have your infantry cover all roads heading towards the countryside and fire at anyone who tries to leave."
Conners was still didn't like the orders he was given but at the same time he didn't want silver to be the last color he saw. "Understood sir." he said calmly.
Heph turned diverted his attention to finding a good book to read and Conners left the study hall.
1km from Accrington
General Thompson was in the strategy tent going over the battle plans with his officers. "...and Lt. Colonel Faulkner you will make sure the the 78th and 79th are on the hill to pick off any civilians just in case any try to flee south of the city.
The officers leave the tent and General Conners was waiting right outside. Once all the officers left he entered the tent and saw Thompson looking at the map. "Are the preparations complete?" Thompson asked
"Yes, all the civilians and military were able to evacuate just in time. The entire city is deserted. No one of the army knows, the secret's safe with us."
"Good, our lord as gone mad ordering the mass murder of an entire city."
"After this is over we must give ourselves to Prince SaphirePhoenix."
What the two officers didn't realize was that outside the tent was a sentry and he heard the entire conversation. So he made his way to the stables where he saw no one guarding it. He took a horse and rode as quick as he can to York.
When night hit the York army was positioned accordingly. Artillery placed on the hills surrounding every direction and every line regiment covering every road. On the east end of the city Conners was standing next to one of the commanding officers of an artillery division. "Major? Fire when ready."
"Yes sir. Men, Load cannons...Aim...Fire!"
As one cannon fired, a domino effect of cannons began firing on the city. Buildings were crumbling causing some minor tremors in the ground.
The booming sound of the cannons cracked randomly all around the city. York soldiers were standing, eager to fire their weapons, but they saw no one, not even a stray dog.
Then the city caught fire. It was at this point that the soldiers were just sitting on the ground, some trying to talk over the sound of the cannons.
~Several Hours Later~
By morning, Accrington was reduced to ash, nonexistent at this point. Thompson and Conners were on the hill overlooking the city.
"Can't believe our lord would ask for this sort of thing." Thompson commented
"He's gone insane, York will fall under his leadership. When do we leave?" Conners asked.
"We should leave now, I've already asked my second in command to look after the army."
Suddenly a York lieutenant rushed to the two generals. "Sirs, our lord and his staff have arrived."
The generals turned and they saw their prince walk down on his horse with his staff. The generals walked up to meet him. The two kneeled and bowed their heads. "My lord. To what do we owe the pleasure."
The two looked up at him and saw a faraway look in his eyes. After a twenty second pause he answered, "You two have failed me for the last time." He pulled out two flintlocks and shot them both dead.
"Colonel?" Heph asked to his adjacent staff member
"Tell the army I'm taking command we're getting out of here."
"But sir shouldn't we pursue the Lancastrians?"
"No, they'll probably be waiting for us with reinforcements. Don't want to waste our strength."
"Very well. I'll inform the army immediately."