The device glowed. Louis Wolff didn’t know how it worked, but he knew it meant trouble. Maybe it wasn’t big trouble. Maybe it was just an unexpected shipment from the mainland. Maybe it would be filled with cookies- but more likely with bad news. However, considering that mainland Cruonia could contact them through the phone… he doubted it was from them.
The device only glowed when there was something powerful enough to disturb the mana in the area. So far, that had meant ships from the mainland. This time, it probably meant something else.
Commander Louis called on his assistant to relay the orders. “Watch for enemies approaching, be prepared for a fight.” He looked at the intensity of the device’s glow. “A big one.”
Even without understanding the particulars of how the device works, Commander Louis could appreciate having it. Anything that gave advance warning of trouble was appreciated. In recent years, all sorts of new gizmos and gadgets had been popping up. Coolers, phones, and of course fancy dwarven ships. He understood their usefulness, but it was hard to get used to when for the rest of his life things had remained basically the same. That was probably why they had never won any of the wars with the humans.
Not that they were doing those anymore. Louis had only been around for one- possibly two wars with the humans. He wasn’t sure if the latest one counted. It had only lasted a handful of years before everyone went home. He supposed it didn’t matter much. It had allowed him to serve with the right guy… who knew another guy, who knew another guy, who told someone he was a pretty decent leader. Louis was, but he wasn’t terribly great at one-on-one combat. Not enough to become a Lord, anyway.
Then the civil war had happened, and the new Eternal King didn’t care who he could kill with his own hands but rather what he could get the men to do. Apparently, that was good enough to get him stationed in the Western Cruonian Isles.
He just hoped the confidence in him wasn’t misplaced- and by that he meant that the new equipment worked as well as in testing. If it did, he could handle anything that would come for him- even one of those fancy fortress sized ships the dwarves had.
Commander Louis scratched the back of his head. Ah, that was what he got for bragging- even just to himself. Two of the fancy fortress ships. That meant the new equipment better work at least as well as in testing or he would be demoted from Commander of the Western Cruonian Isles to fish food, along with everyone under his command.
At least they saw them coming. That was a good start. “The men have the cannons loaded?” he asked as he looked out over the ships one last time. The captain waiting for his orders nodded. Commander Louis finished his check, finding no flags of parley raised on the ships- not that he expected such with such a fleet. Twice as many as had existed at one point- the two fortress ships and another two dozen of the smaller but still dangerous steamships. Even so, he’d had to check. If he ignored the Eternal King’s orders and attacked if they were going to parley, he might end up worse off than fish food. He wasn’t sure exactly what could be done to him, but he didn’t want to find out. He’d seen the Eternal King explode some people. “Fire!”
Commander Louis loved cannons. He could feel their effectiveness… and then shortly thereafter see it. At the range they fired at, only a few ships were damaged, and though the fortress ships were hit he doubted they’d so much as scratched them. Even so, they had enough ammo to take advantage of the range to soften them up.
The dwarven fleet split up in an attempt to flank the island’s defenses… but there were weapons available for every direction. The defenses had been most fortified in the direction of Cruonia to begin with, but after the gevai gained control of the island they improved the defenses all around. There was no reason to assume the enemy would come from a particular direction out at sea, after all.
Commander Louis appreciated the sounds of cannonballs impacting on ships… and even those hitting the island itself. For the latter, he most appreciated the relative lack of crumbling walls they caused. The islands defenses were quite effective at hitting moving targets, and Command Louis appreciated the amount of ammo they had been able to use when training, even though it wasn’t cheap. Now, it made all the difference. Then the fortress ships fired.
Commander Louis winced at the sound of stone cracking, but he knew the defenses would still hold firm for some time. Then a messenger came, “They’re ready to fire, Commander.”
Commander Louis grinned, “Well then, send them the orders to fire at will.” There was an excruciating minute where the message was relayed, but then there were explosions. The fortress ships were giant fortresses made out of metal, covered in numerous magical formations. Standard cannons wouldn’t do much good, and magically enhanced shells did little better. However, there was one weakness.
The paddlewheels. Sure, they were covered in a shell of metal above and to the sides, protecting them from any sort of cannon fire… but the latest piece of technology came in the form of a sort of underwater cannon. The shots fired slowly, and of course were much more expensive… and getting people down below the surface had been a real hassle even with the island almost being cored out to begin with.. Even so, the torpedos worked wonders- which they should, for how much magic was in them.
Now the fortress ships couldn’t maneuver. Not that they did much of that, but because they existed… cannons made to destroy them existed as well. Commander Louis just hoped they had enough shots to take out two before too much damage was incurred to the island.