Though Cruonia would likely have held out fine in the war on its own, William appreciated the help from other nations. The elves and dwarves sent regiments of their own to support their efforts, and even though some of them couldn’t be made use of at the moment, they certainly would be helpful later. The additional naval support was also greatly appreciated. The dwarves provided heavy frigates with massive cannons… and the elves provided sleek schooners.
The latter wouldn’t be much good in a confrontation- they were made entirely of wood and other plant matter. Even with magical enchantments, they wouldn’t survive many hits from a cannon nor could their onboard weapons do much to an iron hulled ship. However, they had one advantage that others did not have. Their monster repellent systems were second to none, and they had no trouble going through dangerous waters unmolested. Perhaps it was because they appeared to be alive. Or rather, they were alive.
Elves couldn’t normally see mana in anything that wasn’t alive. While they could learn to see and control free mana, in terms of enchanting objects they had no success when trying to work with metal or stone or even dead wood. Their weapons and armor didn’t just look like plants, they were plants. Specially grown to not need soil, and cultivated over many generations, but plants nonetheless. Their care required water and occasional infusions of vitamins and minerals through the aid of magic. Their ships were grown from mangroves that could thrive even in salt water, though they still needed to carry nutrients for long voyages. The sails were carefully interwoven branches and leaves, magically encouraged to grow airtight but also thin and flexible. Elven goods could not be mass produced in a factory, instead requiring personal attention. Because of that, they were generally on a smaller scale… but quite effective at what they did.
The elven ships were already proving their worth scouting out New Eclea’s attempted approaches, where other ships would have been at significant risk. Much of the seaway was destroyed, after all… and more importantly sabotaged to have the reverse effect. However, the elven ships stayed far enough away and didn’t look like a tasty treat to anything large and dangerous. It was through the elven ships that they confirmed New Eclea’s continued attempts to send more fleets.
Their first attempt was disastrous, with more than half of the fleet- including a number of troop carrying ships- being wiped out before they could return to the safety of the seaway. Even though some of the ships individually had monster repellent systems, those only worked if they didn’t come close enough to see the ship and attack them… and the waters were nearly swarming with various unpleasant creatures that attacked the fleet.
Their second attempt, months later, involved more caution and only ships with monster repellent systems. That attempt only resulted in relatively small losses before they retreated and likely discovered that something was wrong with their buoys.
There were two expeditions that attempted to repair the buoys, but the first resulted in the death of the team attempting the repairs due to monster attacks and the second actually triggered the traps. The third attempt was successful in repairing one buoy… but instead of continuing along that line they started destroying the buoys instead, bombarding them from a distance and waiting for the problems to dissipate.
In total, it took them a year of time before they started destroying the buoys beyond a certain point in the seaway, though sometimes they just completely avoided them. They started replacing some of the buoys, but also seemed to be looking for alternate means of approach. Of course, there was nothing physically blocking them from just taking any other path straight across the sea… except not being sure of the dangers in those areas.
Eclea- old Eclea- showed some good faith by contributing some information from their remaining contacts in New Eclea. The losses weren’t being reported to the general public in New Eclea. Instead, it was said that they were winning, gaining land against the demons at every moment. The unfortunate thing was they had amassed large enough fleets and armies that their losses so far weren’t significant enough to count them out of the war… and they certainly hadn’t given up. They even had bigger and better ships being constructed- with some already finished. The details on those weren’t obtainable, and it was best not to push Eclea too far. They might not have wanted the war to happen at all, but betraying their brothers with certain details just wasn’t something they were willing to do.
Soon enough New Eclea would once again bring their fleets to bear against Cruonia, and larger armies with that. William didn’t want any more fighting in his territory if he could help it… and that meant a counteroffensive. For that, they needed a route to New Eclea. The seaway was an option, but that was controlled by New Eclea. More importantly, closer to their own land they controlled numerous fortified islands where they could have their ships stop to resupply, while Cruonia only had knowledge of their approximate locations. They would mostly be in sight of the seaway, but it was better to minimize fighting against them in their own territory if possible.
Unfortunately, that didn’t leave a lot of places to actually fight. Open sea battles were still in, but William didn’t like the idea of some of their bigger ships. He could rely on the dwarven ships to bolster his own forces, but he didn’t like the idea of losing many of his own country’s or his ally’s ships if he could help it. If he could, he preferred the idea of killing off their leaders so the war could end… though that didn’t always work.
William had no way to accomplish that, but he wasn’t working on his own. Jordan already had several ideas for tactics to minimize friendly casualties… and had been working behind the scenes on some possible plans for ending the war. One of those plans involved William’s personal involvement… and while he wasn’t against that he couldn’t go against an army on his own.
However, he was going to look at one possibility quite soon, apparently with the help of the Allied Subterranean Territories. He wasn’t sure why he was going to meet them on the coast… but at least he would have a chance to visit the troops and look like he was doing something. Well, he was doing many things, but it didn’t always feel like it.