By Carlovac Townway
2 Mid Year, 2920
Vivec nodded. Ald Iuval and its sister city on the other side of the lake Ald Malak were strategically important fortresses. He had been expecting a move against them for some time. His captain pulled down a map of southwestern Morrowind from the wall and smoothed it out, fighting a gentle summer sea breeze wafting in from the open window.
"They were heavily armored, you say?" asked the captain.
"How about spellcasters and boats?" asked Vivec.
"A horde of battlemages," replied Cassyr. "But no boats."
"As heavily armored as they are, it will take them at least two weeks, like you said, to get from Bethal Gray to Lake Coronati," Vivec studied the map carefully. "They'd be dragged down in the bogs if they then tried to circle around to Ald Marak from the north, so they must be planning to cross the straits here and take Ald Iuval. Then they'd proceed around the lake to the east and take Ald Marak from the south."
"They'll be vulnerable along the straits," said the captain. "Provided we strike when they are more than halfway across and can't retreat back to the Heartland."
"Your intelligence has once again served us well," said Vivec, smiling to Cassyr. "We will beat back the Imperial aggressors yet again."
3 Mid Year, 2920
Bethal Gray, Cyrodiil
"Will you be returning back this way after your victory?" asked Lord Bethal.
Prince Juilek barely paid the man any attention. He was focused on the army packing its camp. It was a cool morning in the forest, but there were no clouds. All the makings of a hot afternoon march, particularly in such heavy armor.
"If we return shortly, it will be because of defeat," said the Prince. He could see down in the meadow, the Potentate Versidue-Shaie paying his lordship's steward for the use of the village's food, wine, and whores. An army was an expensive thing, for .
"My Prince," said Lord Bethal with concern. "Is your army beginning a march due east? That will just lead you to the shores of Lake Coronati. You'll want to go south-east to get to the straits."
"You just make certain your merchants get their share of our gold," said the Prince with a grin. "Let me worry about my army's direction."
16 Mid Year, 2920
Lake Coronati, Morrowind
Vivec stared across the blue expanse of the lake, seeing his reflection and the reflection of his army in the cool blue waters. What he did not see was the Imperial Army's reflection. They must have reached the straits by now, barring any mishaps in the forest. Tall feather-thin lake trees blocked much of his view of the straits, but an army, particularly one clan in slow-moving heavy armor, could not move invisibly or silently.
"Let me see the map again," he called to his captain. "Is there no other way they could approach?"
"We have sentries posted in the swamps to the north in case they're fool enough to go there and get bogged down," said the captain. "We would at least hear about it. But there is no other way across the lake except through the straits."
Vivec looked down again at his reflection, which seemed to be distorting his image, mocking him. Then he looked back on the map.
"Spy," said Vivec, calling Cassyr over. "When you said the army had a horde of battlemages, what made you so certain they were battlemages?"
"They were wearing gray robes with mystical insignia on them," explained Cassyr. "I figured they were mages, and why else would such a vast number travel with the army? They couldn't have all been healers."
"You fool!" roared Vivec. "They're mystics schooled in the art of Alteration. They've cast a spell of water breathing on the entire army."
Vivec ran to a new vantage point where he could see the north. Across the lake, though it was but a small shadow on the horizon, he could see gouts of flame from the assault on Ald Marak. Vivec bellowed with fury and his captain got to work at once redirecting the army to circle the lake and defend the castle.
"Return to Dwynnen," said Vivec flatly to Cassyr before he rode off to join the battle. "Your services are no longer needed nor wanted."
It was already too late when the Morrowind army neared Ald Marak. It had been taken by the Imperial Army.