" In the years following the Great Battle of Nerech, the King of Harkuna decided to grant the province of Sokarra its independence in light of their extraordinary service in the campaigns against the Shadar-kai. However, independence was withheld from the other great province of Harkuna, Golnir. This province was the breadbasket of the empire and, as it was far more rural than Sokarra, her independence movement could be much more easily ignored. However, as time went on and Golnir became wealthy from trade, the nationalist movement began to gather steam, until the entire province was seething with revolutionary fever. When a member of the local nobility responded to an increase in taxes by burning down the local tax collector’s office, much of his county flocked to his banner. Soon, Owen Gates’ rash act caused a massive uprising as word reached out across the province. The Harkunan army, at this time mostly made up of heavy calvary, was quickly driven out of Golnir after great battles on the Fields of Schlamm, where the King’s knights sunk deep into the mud, and at Hügel Hill, when the king’s forces charged the rebels uphill and were routed. The rebels named Owen the first King of Golnir. However, the rebels then foolishly decided to attack Harkuna itself. Several of the rebel armies broke off to besiege the outlying imperial towns while Owen himself led an army against the High King’s Seat. This army contain most of the rebellions limited supply of knights, and a contingent of Sokarran Infantry. As the rebels marched further into Harkunan territory, however, they rapidly realized that the local population was decidedly hostile toward them, denying them food and supplys and informing the King’s army as to their movements. When the King’s army met the rebels outside the High King’s Seat, his more experienced knights cut apart the rebel knights, lancing their horses and then massacring them on the ground. It was clear that only the youngest, least experienced knights had joined the rebel cause; the more experienced knights stayed loyal to the King. By the time the rebel army staggered back into Golnir, most of their heavy calvary had been killed, and their Prince was reported missing in action. As Owen was not known to be dead, the title of Prince of Golnir has yet to be placed upon another. Still, the rebel losses were serious; though they continued to besiege several Harkunan towns their calvary was now made up of poorly-armed and unmotivated Citizen’s militia. Whatsmore, the leadership of the rebellion now fell to Golnir’s nobles, including the Baron of Ravayne, Alexander Ravenski.
The King’s forces, for their part, were also not in great shape after the great battles of the first summer of the rebellion. Several of their major cities were under siege, they had lost a good many knights, relations with both Uttaku and Sokarra were greatly strained (although not to the point of outright war), and, worst of all, most of their commanders had either defected to Golnir or had mysterious disappeared only to turn up in the Sokarran army. Desperate for leaders for their army, the Harkunans contracted the Knights Templar to come to their aide. As Sigmundson had only been killed a few decades before, the Knights still were a great and powerful order at this time, with many experienced commanders thanks to the unrest in Atticala and a strong tradition of leadership left over from the Imperial days. The Templar commanders quickly reversed Harkuna’s fortunes; the city of Servian was liberated when the Templars led a calvary charge that, although outnumbered 4 to 1, dispersed the rebel citizen calvary. Days later, the siege of Choznoce was liberated after a party of Templars snuck though the siege lines to inspire the garrison to a sortie that carried the day. Despite their apparent success, an overly ambitious attempt to invade Golnir during the winter was crushed by Ravenski on Lake Nealros.
In the spring the Harkunans decided to take the offensive. They split their army into three groups; the Templar Bertrand de Blanchefort would lead an army to the north to return the valuable grain-producing regions of the north to the King, while the other two armies, commanded by the King and his Son, would capture the cities of Metriciens and Ringhorn, Golnir’s most valuable trading cities. The Templars were none to happy with this plan; they feared that the King and his Son would be far to rash and lead their armies to disaster. Still, Bertrand’s men marched north, destroying the of Amerca before being bogged down in a never-ending guerrilla war. The peasants were assisted by an alliance with the Highlanders from the north and, under the brilliant generalship of Kazak Susha, won several victories against the crusading Templars and their forces, although they were never able to overrun the Harkunan army. The Northern rebels were fond of using formations of pikemen and used their wagons as battle platforms. The Knights, for their part, attempted to both deprive the rebel army of grain and somehow bring it to decisive confrontation.
Meanwhile, the battles in the south were resolved decidedly in favor of the rebels. Outside Metriciens, the King’s Son had foolishly charged his knights through his own infantry to close with the enemy’s citizen militia, preventing his archers from being able to break up the dense thicket of pikes the citizens formed. The Prince’s knights were slaughtered, the Prince himself had his helm caved in by a battleaxe, and the rest of his army either defected or ran for its life. In light of this catastrophy, the King decided to detach most of his Infantry to attempt to remedy the situation at Metriciens, while continuing toward Ringhorn with his heavy calvary. The Ringhorn militia met the King’s knights on a plain outside the city. Lusting to avenge the death of his son, the King and his men charged the rebels, putting their calvary, which was recruited from the city’s higher class, to flight. The King and his calvary then descended upon the militiamen, but like at Metriciens the foot soldiers formed a dense thicket of pikes and held against every attempt of the enemy knights to overwhelem them. Inspired by the infantry’s stand, the rebel calvary returned and routed the King’s men; the King himself was unhorsed and forced to retreat whilst sharing a horse with another knight.
Embarrased in the south, the Harkunans decided to reinforce the Templar-led armies to the north, resulting in several victories at Fuslalia and the relief of Reca castle. However, the rebels remained aloof, defeating a Harkunan army at Balckburn. Inspired by the Golnir’s successes, and wanting to extend their own territory, the armies of Sokarra decided to intervene on behalf of the rebels. The Sokarran navy crushed that of Harkuna at Sylus, and their armies, made up of highly professional foot soldiers, repeatedly trounced the Harkunans. They won at Sialac, Arejan, and and captured and burned the great Harkunan city of Lathinia Court. A Harkunan attempt to outflank the Sokarrans by sending an army over the Spine and attacking through the Pass of Eagles in alliance with some of the Goliath tribes ended in a costly failure. Three things saved the Harkunans from a most certain defeat, however. One was, ironically, a Shadar-kai invasion, which brought a virtual truce between the powers as they attempted to beak back the invaders. The Harkunans lost several small fiefdoms to the Shadar-kai but were able to hold their borders, while a great Shadar-kai invasion fleet was destroyed in the Great Siege of Dweomer, with help form both Cordoba and Sokarra. Second, the Harkunans gained heart from their younger leaders, inspiring the relief of several besieged cities. Lastly, the Knights Templar put up fanatical resistance, holding castles to the last man. They and their brother organization, the Tuetons (a sub-unit of the Templars composed solely of native Harkunans) continued to fight the Sokarrans even when their Harkunan army brotheren fled. The Harkunans soon won several key victories, forcing out the Sokarrans. As the war passed into its third year both Sokarra and Harkuna were exausted, and both were looking for a way to save face yet end the war. In the end, Sokarra agreed to pull out of the war in return for a secret clause within the peace treaty that would give them the best parts of Golnir should the rebellion finally be crushed. The thinking was that should the Harkunans win, Sokarra would get most of Golnir, and if the rebels win, Golnir will ask to be annexed by Sokarra. As the Sokarrans withdrew, the Harkunan army prepared to launch one final assault against the rebel host.
However, the rebels had taken advantage of the lull in the the fighting to rest, rearm, and call for aid. Several Atticalan cities, hoping to defeat the Templars, make business deals with Golnir, and out of general appreciation for the rebel cause, began sending aid in the form of weapons and equipment, money, and military advisors drawn from the battle-hardened legions. With the legion’s assistance, the rebel army became a formidable fighting force; their infantry was trained in phalanx tactics popular throughout Atticala and their field artillery was second to none in Harkuna. Most importantly, the Atticalans funded to formation of a heavy calvary force, based out of Ravayne, to provide the rebels with their sorely-needed calvary support. The Rebels were caught off-guard, however, when another Atticalan city provided its ships to transport a small Harkunan army to southern Golnir.This new army was small, and commanded by the brash nephew of the King, the Duke of Sinut. Without time to call upon the Paladins of Ravayne, the rebels instead relied on their artillery to devastate the Duke’s forces, killing almost all before they reached the rebel lines. When Bertrand heard of this disaster, he knew the war was lost, but the King ordered him to face the rebels regardless. Abandoning the North to the rebels (correctly guessing that most of their militia would not stray far from their homes to assist their southern brethren), Bertrand assembled a great army out of what was left of the Harkunan military, convincing the Harkunans to pay massive amounts of money to hire more Templars and for Atticalan gunners for their field artillery. All of Harkunas remaining resources went into this one final effort. Victory or defeat would come in the next great battle.
The day of battle came on the plains outside Ravayne. Both armies formed with their infantry in their center and calvary holding the flanks. The artillery was interspersed in between the infantry. The Harkunan calvary was a mixed force of Templars, Teutons, light calvary (formed in light of the casualties from earlier in the war), and all of what remained of Harkuna’s noble heavy calvary. The Golnirian calvary was once again citizen militia, who eyed the opposing Harkunans warily. Many asked, Where were the Paladins of Ravayne? The new Paladin force was nowhere in sight; the citizen force seemed likely to bolt given the slightest provocation. The initial exchange of missile fire was dominated by the Rebels; for all of Bertrand’s preparation, his artillery was still greatly outnumbered. Both sides then ordered their infantry to charge. The levies of the Harkunan army came of worse when faced by the unyielding, well-trained rebel phalanx, and soon began streaming from the field. Bertrand’s calvary charged through the infantry, crashing like a tidal wave of steel into the rebel calvary. The rebels fought desperately but were being cut to shreds. Many began to flee. The Harkunan calvary soon was descending on the rear of the rebel phalanx. The rebel line wavered. Then, from the forest to the rear came a noise like an avalanche of iron. From the trees came the Paladins of Ravayne, arrayed in deep crimson, lances crouched, hurtling toward the battle in full tilt, led by Alexander Ravayneski on a dashing white charger and wearing no helm so the rebels could see his face. The Harkunans were caught unprepared and in the flank; the rebel army took heart and soon surrounded them. Bertrand was killed, and with him all the nobility of Harkuna. His Templars and Teutons were crushed, their pure white tunics trampled into the mud. The day was won.
Within days, the Harkunans surrendered their claims to Golnir, vowing to never again seek the province. The Sokarrans, for their part, were ready to annex the province when a Teuton reviled to Ravayneski and the other nobles of Golnir the provisions of the Sokarran’s secret treaty with Harkuna. Golnir declined Sokarra’s overtures to annex their nation, and to this day tensions between the two countries still run high.
In Harkuna, the the defeat in Golnir prompted some massive military reforms, with the emphaisis placed on the infantryman. Some say that the elite Red Guard were originally Templars, hired to protect the King at all costs and continue to keep order during the unrest following the defeat outside Ravayne. They were forced to adopt a new guise, as their distinctive uniform was no longer well-accepted by the Harkunan people. In Golnir, the emphasis has been on building up the heavy calvary, to avoid the shattering defeats and embarrassments of the citizen militia during the war. The Sokarrans were vindicated in their emphasis on an infantry corps, and learned far more from their encounters with the Shadar-kai during the war, discussed later. The real losers in this war, however, were the Knights Templar. With most of their best knights lying dead on the plains of Golnir, they became a shadow of their former selves. While still able to resist a combined legion-Golnirian assault on the Citadel, they were eventually forced to become a bandit force, raiding villages to make up for their horrendous losses during the war.