The Forward Advance
Temple of Heironeous

Updated: 15 March 2009

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HISTORY
The following was found among the personal belongings of Pilus Justinian after his death. They were turned over to the Order of the Keepers in Riot's Gate by his son, Domaldi soon after. Included were a brief history of Forward Advance by a previous Adjutant to the Commander, an accurate map of the garrison, the order of battle of those troops stationed there, and a birds-eye drawing by Pilus himself. Given the historic role, Pilus played in the Independence movement and Forward Advance, these documents will be stored in the archives in the Temple High Command of Heironeous in Riot's Gate for future reference.

History of Forward Advance

The fort now called Forward Advance was occupied by the Sunterranse Federation shortly after independence. It was known to various groups previous to that but was always minor in its strategic value. It is clear that the stone structure is at least a thousand years old for several reasons. A series of periodic and extensive repairs are evident. The main issue is that its construction style and defensive features date from an era significantly before the present. Its foundation and walls are clearly dwarven in style and markings. It possesses a number of features such as hypercausts, sewage and latrines that are clearly dwarven. Evidence of Yuan-ti features can be seen in some portions of the wall and guard towards. It is not valuable as a fortress because it cannot withstand a siege and if that were desirable, considerable reconstruction would be required. Its true value is that it lies on a natural crossing point on the Eoln River and on a wide plain with good roads leading into the heart of the Sunterranse Federation, the Monotheocate Order and the Suzerainty of the Lizardmen.

In recent history, it is believed that it was abandoned by the Yuan-ti sometime about 45 OE when some freed slaves began farming under its walls. A temple was established by a cleric Heironeous, Mithra Klija in 20 OE. A former paladin of Heironeous, he became a cleric after losing his eye to an assassin of Hextor. He became a missionary of Heironeous in the wild regions east of the City of Axes Bithlat to spread the faith based on honour and justice. Within ten years, he had the temple fully established and had a small but healthy community around the fort. With the influence of the Lizardmen declining and freed slaves arriving every day, the Temple of Heironeous in the City of Axes Bithlat began supporting his efforts with craftsmen, money and acoytles. They used it to advance their influence and monitoring of this chaotic region, hence Klija called it Forward Advance.
  
Diagram of the Forward Advance and the Eoln River
  
In 1 OE, a massive battle was fought by the Monotheorcate Order and the Suzerainty about 10km away. A few of the survivors were found by shepherds and brought to the temple. Pilus Aquifier was able to make it there on his own and fell into a coma. One of the acolytes, Caroline Guerir was able to minister him back to health in a month. He awoke from his coma and spoke of visions of Heironeous. Mithra Klija felt that the visions were real and took Pilus under his wing. As Pilus recovered his health, he learned more of the independence movement in the Old Terranse and saw that as the focus of his visions. He raised an army of local freemen and stragglers from his old Janessary unit and took the name Pilus Justinian to fight for the cause of independence. He was able to make contact with a force of dwarven heavy infantry from Bithal and integrated them into his force.
  

As this force became more united and confident in its sweeps and raids against Old Terranse, it attracted a detachment of elven bowmen who brought news from the City of Axes Bithlat. They stated that the war was nearly over but that a cogent force of nobles was moving east towards the Suzerainty to capture Forward Advance. They would likely use it to rebuild their forces, gain allies and launch attacks into a the City to shatter the young and weak Federation. Pilus realized that this was a critical juncture and took his force over the Eoln River. He said to them as they formed up to face the oncoming army,


"Many would say that we should hide in Forward Advance and await the enemy. But I say that is folly because they will easily breach those walls, kill us or enslave us to the man, and then have all that we are and hold dear: the bones of our fathers, the temples of our gods, and the hearth of our homes. Let us stand as a shield for our homes and families for there is no going back across the river."


The army of the Old Terranse was repelled by this force of dwarves, former slaves and elves. They were scattered and retreated north, their leadership still intact. A force from the City of Axes that had been in pursuit did fall upon them a week later but still could not decisively defeat them. That would take another two years.

Pilus Justinian and his force returned to Forward Advance and met with representatives of the new Federation government. Pilus told them that even though their Independence was declared, the former nobles would continue to attack and agitate from the hinterlands. Since the majority of his force was willing to serve the new Federation, he pledged to bring them to justice for as long as it took.

  
Over the next two years, Forward Advance was turned into a military station to protect the approaches to the newly named, Riot's Gate and monitor the Suzerainty and the Order. This meant an active program to make it usable for infantry and cavalry forces. All of the barracks and stables were re-built and the walls repaired to a height of thirty feet. The dwarves under their commander, Arur Granth, were able to repair the sewers, latrines and hypercausts. They also built a stone bridge over the river as a monument to their Victory on the Plain of Eoln.

Pilus was not willing to command this garrison because he felt the enemy was still afoot. If Forward Advance was to be effective as a monitoring station, he felt that the cavalry and infantry forces would have to actively patrol for those of the Order and the Suzerainty. He often said it was so quiet in the Wasted Sea that they should be listening for those around them. Because of his pursuits outside of Forward Advance, he rejected any position of authority higher than a patrol leader. He always refused a room in the Commander's house at Forward Advance because he was not part of the commander's staff. He was happy to live with his wife Caroline and his son, in a small room above the Temple.
     

By 3 AI, the forces of the Federation were able to launch a campaign to end all the raids committed by the last of the Old Terranse nobles in the Wasted Sea. While no love was lost between the Federation and the nobles, Pilus' forces were renowned for capturing alive many leaders of these raiders. He felt it was not his place to issue justice at the end of a sword. If this new Federation of democracy and justice was to work, he felt that only the very wise should determine after reflection who was truly guilty.

The most ruthless of the noble leaders led raiders, Sirol Gorm, from a series of caves to the north. Gorm was the worst and the last of the former rulers of the Old Terranse. Pilus led a force of dwarves and elfs into the caves and captured Gorm alive after a violent and lengthy underground battle. Gorm refused to surrender and swore that he would fight to the death from his cave. In a final confrontation, he fought from behind a tower shield and laid low a number of knights before Pilus finally subdued him.
  

As Gorm was the last of the Raiding Nobles, the victorious Federation forces returned to Forward Advance for a lengthy celebration. During the feast, the discussion turned to the last few years and the pursuit of justice by those based in Forward Advance. Pilus felt they had achieved not only success but the foundation of an honourable order. He stated that they were a band of brothers serving a code of justice that had not been written down. The defeat of Gorm represented the true end of the War of Independence where many brave warriors had fallen. This final battle had to also represent a Beginning so that their loss was not forgotten. This unwritten code must serve as the foundation for a new order to support the law of their Federation. He took the Tower Shield and began proclaiming their principles to the assembled body. On its unique blue leather covering, old Klija wrote these principles in the ancient Mazar as Pilus said them. The assembled hall went quiet as Klija raised the shield for them to read and they all swore to uphold them to their last breath. Mithra Klija told them to wear blue in remembrance of this oath and the forces that fought for Independence.

  
The next morning as the assembled rubbed their sore heads and talked of their deeds, it was learned that Klija had passed in the night. He was carried on the shield and cremated atop t