Dawnbringer Crusade

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Dawnbringer Crusade leaving a City of Sigmar.
A Dawnbringer Crusade.

The Dawnbringer Crusades are vast caravans sent forth from the Cities of Sigmar. Such caravans seek to explore beyond the walls of existing Free Cities and establish new settlements.[1]

Overview

A Dawnbringer Crusade is prepared well in advance and in addition to the gathering of supplies, many pre-fabricated buildings are constructed in advance of the creation of the Crusade. These buildings are considered marvels of engineering and are placed, along with needed supplies, upon massive floating islands known as Metaliths. These metaliths are then towed by the Crusade during its travels to its ultimate destination.[3]

Some Crusades are scant more than a few hundred souls, but many are thousands strong and truly represent Sigmar's might. These expeditions are often accompanied by Stormcast Eternals, Daughters of Khaine, and Fyreslayers.[1][3]

The ultimate goal of a Dawnbringer Crusade is to establish a new settlement. Such settlements will often be built around ancient shrines, Realmgates, or Geomantic Nexuses.[3]

Not all Dawnbringer Crusades succeed, and indeed many fail, as they are beset by beasts, daemons, orruks, Chaos Warriors, and gheists that lurk in the hostile lands the Dawnbringers seek to settle in. And even those that do succeed face a constant struggle as threats seek to destroy their recently created towns, and many members of the Crusades will not live to see the fruits of their labour.[3]

When a town successfully reaches its destination construction of a new settlement can begin. An Aqualith, a purification device imported from Ghyran, is placed at its center and will aid in purifying the surroundings of corruption.[3]

Structure

A Dawnbringer Crusade can range in size based on its goal. These are categorised into Founding Forays which are the smallest and are more aggressive reconnaissance formations than true crusades, War Expeditions which are larger efforts equipped for relatively short-range incursions into enemy territory thus the most common and the largest Exodus Hosts which boast several thousand combatants. Sigmarite propaganda and art often depict the Dawnbringer Crusades with thousands upon thousands of Fusiliers and Steelhelms but these large-scale ventures are relatively rare.[5a]

Designations

Crusade Designation Purpose Source
Founding Foray Founding forays are long-range scouting missions meant to seek lands suitable for settlementation. [6a]
War Expedition A war expedition is the designation for those Crusades meant to found new Sigmarite Strongpoints. [6a]
Exodus Host Exodus Host is the designation for a Crusade sent to found a new major city in Sigmar's name. [6a]

Process

Mustering

Each Crusade is launched with significant fanfare and could number anything from a few hundred to several thousand. Each Dawnbringer takes a Coin Malleus a monetarily useless trinket that symbolises a pact between the bearer and Sigmar, the holder expected to join the next Crusade and bear it to the frontiers regardless of the challenges faced. The Coin Malleus must be taken willingly and the Lord-General responsible for its distribution insists it is taken by honest citizens wanting to contribute to Sigmar's vision. This is romanticized by Sigmarites in artwork and texts to the point of propaganda. Although there are many who take the Coin for selfless reasons in many cases the reasons are more complicated. The main reason is usually to improve their position in life as per the Order Valoris all would be eligible for a plot of land that will be inherited by their descendants and if the settlement succeeds these would form the central part of a prosperous city. Others are motivated by revenge against the forces of Chaos, and others to impress a romantic partner, parents or peers. For some such as criminals facing death sentences taking the Coin is often the only choice available while others may simply take the coin drunk, making the outside of Taverns a popular place for taking up the coin. Ultimately as long as the Crusade is mustered how is largely irrelevant. [4a]

Founding of a Strongpoint

Reaching the destination does not end the trials of the Dawnbringer Crusade as work on the Sigmarite Strongpoint begins. Once the dangers are cleared Banner Heraldor is planted to mark the claim. While a potion of soldiery stands guard against enemies who find the vulnerable camp a tempting target every man, woman, and child is put to work under the guide of Duardin masons and surveyors even as the wounded survivors wail and cry. Many survivors would collapse from exhaustion only to be rolled onto a ditch or someplace where they would not hinder the work. Those who complete their domiciles are rewarded with three hours of full rest inside. The industry will not stop till every fortification and defense is laid as in the wilderness of the Mortal Realms there is no such a thing as a quiet night.[4d]

History

Dawnbringers on the March

The first forays were launched soon after founding the first Free Cities at the orders of the Grand Conclave of Azyrheim which demanded the cities to extend their influence into the lands around. These were ad-hoc expeditions made up of everyone from Azyrites to Reclaimed, Elves, Duardin and Human as well as all strata of society from criminals, zealots, injured veterans to aristocrats. These were hurriedly mustered and poorly equipped but were driven by expediency allowing cities to launch a crusade to the daily ringing of the Crusader's Bell. Most of these numbered in the hundreds often led by a Stormcast Eternal vanguard force followed by Freeguilds, Dispossessed masons, flagellants and aelven scouts. With them came half as many camp followers consisting of various artisans, specialists and entertainers. However many of these failed and even larger Exodus Hosts numbering in the thousands started getting bogged down.[4b]

Era of the Beast

By the Era of the Beast the situation had become extremely dire. As darkness closed around them the cities were forced to launch campaigns of reclamation with only one in ten Crusades succeeding in founding a Strongpoint. The situation was worsened by the cunning Kruleboyz who misdirected and ambushed many expeditions often mere days after they had left their home city.[4c]

The situation changed when during the Battle of Glossom, the then Mercenary captain Tahlia Vedra introduced the Castelite Formation by improvising mobile defenses by breaking down the pre-built palisades and carts of a Dawnbringer Crusade as well as reorganizing the Freeguild units such as partnering Handgunners with Spearmen and successfully defeated a Kruleboyz attack. When word reached the Acadamae Martial it was widely debated before the tactic was formalized as part of the Vedra Reformation and new wargear was designed and distributed to Crusaders. [4c]

Since the Reformation Dawnbringer Crusades are no longer ad hoc expeditions hurried out of the cities but organized expeditions consisting of crusaders trained at length in military facilities and typified by a tight Castelite vanguard commanded by experienced Freeguild Marshals.[4e] Despite the nearly untenable cost in human labour the new Castelite Formation had proven its worth and the success rate of Dawnbringer Crusades has increased significantly although attrition remains high.[4c][4d]

Military

Dawnbringer Crusades are military forces in their own right, with their forces bolstered by the presence of Stormcast Eternals, Daughters of Khaine, and Fyreslayers.[3]

Trivia

The members of Dawnbringer Crusades are known as Dawnbringers or Dawners.[3]

Sources