Sack of Briedh

Sack of Briedh
Part of War of the Velaran Succession
Date18 August 1770
Location
Belligerents
 Isles of Velar  Trellin
Commanders and leaders
Isles of Velar Prince of Tavlar Trellin Tarmüz Premai
Strength
2,000 120
Casualties and losses
6 dead, 13 wounded

2 dead, 11 wounded,
43 captured


18 civilians dead

The Sack of Briedh took place on 18 August 1770, during the War of the Velaran Succession. Led by the Prince of Tavlar, a Velaran army descended on the port of Briedh and sacked it, killing twenty and looting large quantities of gold. At a time when the Miróist campaign was faced with potential bankruptcy, the plunder was cause for great relief; at the same time, it prevented the rebellious kingdom from garnering the support of Trellin's southern colonies, who had previously felt betrayed by the Trellinese crown and who now turned decisively against Velar.

Background

Briedh was the chief port of Më'idan, a colonial province which was then, as now, the chief producer of gold for the empire; the province was otherwise strategically unimportant and little defended. A minor town, with a population of about 12,000, Briedh's defences were modest and chiefly intended to drive off raids by pirates or bandits. Gold mined in the north of the province or collected in its rivers was brought to Briedh, stored in the town's bank and ultimately transferred under a naval escort to Mar'theqa's treasury or elsewhere.

At the outbreak of the War of the Velaran Succession, the rebellious Kingdom of the Isles of Velar quickly gained naval supremacy in the Sea of Velar, and as Trellin withdrew most of its ships from the area Velaran dominance at sea went effectively unchallenged. The once-regular arrivals of ships at Briedh became sporadic, and treasure ships were captured by Velaran warships in February and April 1770. By August, it had been three months since the last treasure ship had put in at Briedh. The garrison commander, Tarmüz Premai, was concerned about the inadequacy of his charge's defences and the amount of gold being stored in the bank.

Uncontested naval supremacy was a double-edged sword for the Velarans and their leader, Prince Miró of Txir. Although it bought time to build support and consolidate their rule, the few victories won at sea meant there was little propaganda to be found to offset the string of defeats suffered in the war's Retikan theatre. The war effort had forced Miró and his supporters to dig deep into their pockets and the Velaran treasury, but Miró refused to loot towns to lighten the financial burden. As the end of the war's first year approached, a number of Velaran nobles resolved among themselves to defy Miró and put Velar's finances on solid footing.

Looting

At just 16 kilometres (10 mi) from Më'idan, the island of Tavlar is the nearest Velaran territory to a Trellinese holding. Prince Kexum of Tavlar was therefore best-placed to act on their secret resolution, and he raised an army at Rú Qoh to loot Briedh. With two thousand men, he boarded his ships on 17 August 1770 and departed for Briedh, 115 kilometres (71 mi) away. Arriving before dawn, Tavlar had most of his troops disembark from their transports on the coast north of Briedh. He continued on to the town with four warships.

Tavlar's ships drew within sight of Briedh at about 9:30 a.m. The Briedhi garrison commander, Tarmüz Premai, ordered a warning shot fired from the battery on the port's pier. The warships opened fire, sweeping the pier, and, though heavily outgunned, Briedh's guns reciprocated. Before the battle could be fully joined, Tavlar's army approached the town's palisade. After a brief resistance, Premai waved a flag of surrender and gave the town over to Tavlar, who had landed in a small craft.

Tavlar's initial plan had been only to plunder the bank's vaults, but as his men fell on the townsfolk he declined to call them back. Eighteen were killed in the course of the looting, some for defending their property, others for little reason at all, and many more were injured. Velaran troops plundered shops, churches and private homes indiscriminately. Tavlar ordered his men out of the town at dusk and withdrew to Rú Qoh, bringing with him vast stores of wealth and dozens of captured soldiers. He left Briedh devastated and vindictive at the loss of many of its citizens and the destruction of its property.

Aftermath

The Sack of Briedh roused the ire of the colonists in Më'idan, Rezat and other Trellinese territories. Recruiters throughout the southern provinces noted a strong upsurge in enlistment, even among the small Velaran population — it must not be forgotten that Miró did not have the unanimous support of all Velarans, even in the Isles. He had hoped to woo the colonists to his cause, and hoped to exploit their growing disaffection with the Trellinese crown which, many felt, had abandoned them on the outbreak of war.

The substantial plunder won by Tavlar was enough to stave off bankruptcy while the kingdom consolidated its taxation and renegotiated trade agreements with the nations in the eastern Sea of Velar. Briedh was the first and last town sacked by the Miróists in southern Trellin; despite the success, Miró refused to allow more towns to be taken purely for the sake of plunder, insisting that prosecuting the war in southern Trellin had little strategic value.