The Conquest is the name of the second successful invasion of the Kingdom of Callow by the Dread Empire of Praes. The war was lead by the Named band known as Calamities roughly twenty years before the start of the series. It was an overwhelming victory for the Empire.
After Calamities won the Imperial Civil War and Dread Empress Malicia was crowned a series of changes to both the government and the army took place. These became known as Reforms and they bore fruit during the Conquest. New command structures, greenskins being used according to their strengths and well disciplined and trained infantry meant a new type of Legions of Terror took to the field. The campaign itself was a culmination of a decade of planning from the Black Knight in order to end the repeating cycle of war between the Kingdom and the Empire.
Though it's not specified how many Legions were involved during the invasion it was almost certainly more than ten, meaning at least forty thousand people took to the field. These were commanded by several talented generals and marshals, among them:
Praesi also fielded a fearsome amount of Named:
- Amadeus of the Green Stretch, the Black Knight
- Sabah, the Captain
- Wekesa, the Warlock
- Hye Su, the Ranger
- Eudokia, the Scribe
It was imperative Procer was distracted during the invasion. This was likely accomplished by Malicia with the aid of Scribe. Though Ranger was involved in the Fields of Streges, she left immediately after the battle, fairly early into the campaign.
The forces of the Empire were composed out of goblin sappers, specializing in the use of munitions and siege-engines, mages providing long ranged sorcerous support along with streamlining communications, orc wolf-riders and a core of strong infantry.
The forces of Callow have not been documented and their numbers are unknown. However, we have some idea with regard to their composition.
- The Order of the White Hand, steel-clad paladins who guarded the eastern border of the kingdom.
- The Knightly Orders - possibly several thousand.
- Royal Guard - a core of professional troops.
- Peasant Levies
Notably, the priests of the House of Light did not take the field though they did heal anyone that was injured. Not all of the baronies and duchies lent their support. The baron of Hedges and much of the north-west barely contributed to the defence.
Notable Named include:
- Good King Robert Fairfax
The invasion began with the siege of the Blessed Isle, the fortress-temple of the Order of the White Hand, connecting the Kingdom of Callow and the Dread Empire via a bridge across the Wasaliti river. The castle was destroyed by the largest deployment of goblinfire in Praesi history with the order being wiped out entirely as an opening move of the war.
Two weeks later, a famous battle now known as the Fields of Streges took place. It was the only significant open battle; all the other engagements being sieges. Two thirds of the Kingdom's military strength were destroyed, both their ruler and his heir were killed and the power of the Wizard of the West - Theodore Langman - was broken. Overall, three Named removed and most of the military strength eliminated meant the invasion was essentially won at this point. The details of the battle are unknown except for the fact Warlock called down a rain of hellfire. The Wizard was killed shortly thereafter.
The Siege of Summerholm took place right after the Fields of Streges, orchestrated by Marshal Ranker. As the only city with a bridge across the Hwarthe river, it was an important strategic position for assaulting the northern and central Callow. Despite the massive blow taken during the fields, Callowans sent around eight thousand troops to lift the siege only to be stopped by the Twelfth Legion, led by General Afolabi. The city was taken after full encirclement and the assault is said to have been costly for the Praesi troops. Despite this, the city wasn’t sacked - this being against Legion regulations - but the soldiers were not kind to the people living there.
After the Siege of Summerholm, the rest of the invasion was a formality. Two forces were sent to north, one to siege Denier the other to attack Laure, the capital. One contingent was sent to Marchford. Despite Denier being the size of Summerholm it surrendered after only a token resistance.
Little is known about the northern campaign waged against the Duchy of Daoine except for the fact it was led by Grem One-Eye and the Wall was eventually taken. It was less clear cut then the southern engagements which is why the duchy got such a free reign in the aftermath.
The aftermath of the Conquest left a significant cultural impact on Callow. Due to the overwhelming victory of the Praesi the Callowans dealt with the loss by putting them on the pedestal. Of course, it also lead to over twenty years of subjugation under the tower, with all the political changes that entails. The Fairfax Dynasty was eradicated, the power of the nobility destroyed and a new system of Imperial Governship was implemented. It was the crowning achievement for the Legions of Terror, in many ways elevating the institution to a previously never achieved status.
The actual casualties during the conquest were significant however Catherine Foundling mentions Second Liesse had more dead than the entirety of the Conquest, meaning less than a hundred thousand were killed.