Regulus Sardecus, also known as General Sardecus or Sardecus the Rock, was an Imperial general, who led the Fourth Legion during the Blackwater War, after their first campaign, led by Augurius Bucco, had failed.[1] Sardecus was a near-legendary figure, having fought in countless campaigns, and had distinguished himself as both a soldier as well as a general. He was everything that Bucco was not. He was stout, humorless, had hawk-like features, and walked with a limp (a lingering injury from the Battle of Argonia). He spoke in short, gravely sentences that commanded obedience. He deliberately avoided using all formal dress and regalia, preferring to wear a simple centurion's panoply with a white crest to signify his station.[2]

The Blackwater War[edit | edit source]

By 1E 2823, Sardecus and his Legion had regained all the territory that Bucco had lost when he had retreated.[2] His success is attributed to his adaptability and tactical creativity. For instance, Sardecus ordered that all legionnaires abandon their metal armor, in favor of padded leather jackets. Imperial Quartermasters coordinated with Argonian irregulars and scouts, and learned how to subsist on food procured from the swamp alone. Centurions and legates were also given additional authority, such that they could fight independently when the legion became fractured. Sardecus' greatest success, however, was in the diplomatic arena. Early in the conflict, he reached out to disenfranchised Argonian tribes, and offered them rewards for joining the war effort and fighting for the Empire. He secured solid alliances with several influential tribes, including the treacherous Archeins and Shoss-kaleel. Suddenly, his forces nearly tripled.[2] The war for Black Marsh was finally swinging in the Empire's favor. Sardecus' command strategy hinged on one fundamental principle - the swamp was the true enemy, not the Argonians.[3]

New war doctrine and "The Great Burn"[edit | edit source]

Disease accounted for roughly half of all fatalities in the first campaign, followed closely by mysterious disappearances. By Sardecus' estimation, Argonian raids had taken a distant third. With these facts in mind, he created a new war doctrine and disseminated it to all of his officers. The crux of the strategy was simple: the only way to conquer Black Marsh was to destroy it. Sardecus deployed entire cohorts of engineers and sappers to the front lines. While legionnaires launched raids on border villages, the supporting troops drained swamps, salted rice paddies, and felled hundreds of trees. The most well-known event of this portion of the war was the "Great Burn" of 1E 2828. Records indicate that in early Rain's Hand 1E 2828, Elissia Mallicius (one of Sardecus' most-trusted legates) ordered a unit of sappers to set fire to a peat bog outside of Stormhold. The sappers followed the orders, not knowing that the bog was just one part of a massive underground network. Months passed before legionnaires started reporting random fires, some as far away as Soulrest and Gideon. It took several more months before the Legion realized that the entire region was on fire. An inferno of burning peat and detritus raged underfoot for more than three years. The already deadly marsh became so dangerous that the Legion was forced to give ground for the first time in the better part of a decade. Hundreds of soldiers were lost to "swamp lung" and gas explosions before they escaped the scalding heat of the fire. It was a devastating blow to both the Legion and the Argonians. This marked the end of the second campaign, and the end of Sardecus' tenure as general.[3]

Death[edit | edit source]

Soon after the legion's retreat, Sardecus fell ill and died before reaching the Imperial City. The official diagnosis was a severe infection from a wound he had sustained on the way out of the marsh. However, the true circumstances of Sardecus' death are still a matter of historical debate. The author of the book The Blackwater War believes that the Shadowscales played some role in his death, as Sardecus was a high-ranking general, and had died shortly after the Great Burn.[3]

References[edit | edit source]

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