Gloom Trench Timeline
Below is the timeline for the Gloom Trench world from 1835. It only contains relevant events to our storyline but is a massive piece of work. If you spot any issues like typos, formatting or we have got some bits in the wrong order please let us know, something this big has been a massive effort but we expect some errors may have hidden from us.
A big thank you has to go out to the author, Paul L. Mathews who put blood, sweat and tears into this work.
Tsar Nicholas I builds a fort in the Tunguska forest
Tsar Nicholas I - inspired by the legends of Russian wizard Kaschey - wishes to create an elite cadre of sorcerers who will fight for him in the Crimean War. To this end he has a secret wooden fort constructed in the thick of the Tunguska forest. He hopes Baba Yaga can be paid to travel to the fort and train a troop of warrior-wizards powerful enough to destroy Russia's British and French enemies. His agents are, however, unable to find the witch, and the plan flounders.
Grigori Yefimovich Novykh is born
Later known as 'Rasputin', Grigori Yefimovich Novykh is born to peasants in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye, As a child he claims to experience divine visions. He is also able to heal sick animals, much to the distrust of those in Pokrovskoye, all of whom hold strong beliefs in magic and paganism. He is considered a progeny of the Devil and is avoided by all but his closest family.
Grigori Yefimovich Novykh marries Praskovya Dubrovina
Grigori Yefimovich Novykh marries a peasant girl called Praskovya Dubrovina whilst visiting the town of Abalak in Russia's Tyumen Oblast. They will have seven children together, but only Dmitry (b. 1895), Maria (b. 1898), and Varvara (b. 1900) will survive. These three will become known as both the Scion of Praskovya and the Vedma of Abalak. They will also attain influential roles in the Motherland of Rus.
May - July
Grigori Yefimovich Novykh walks to Greece
Simultaneously stifled by married life and fleeing his home to evade accusations of horse thievery, Grigori Yefimovich Novykh leaves Abalak and travels to Mount Athos, Greece, and Jerusalem. He survives on the charity of peasants and begins to preach the word of God, thus becoming known as a 'starets' (self-proclaimed holy man).
During this time he also gains a reputation for healing the sick and accurately predicting the future. He is said to accurately predict the attempts to end his life on both 12 July 1914 and 30 December 1916.
Grigori Yefimovich Novykh encounters Baba Yaga
Returning from his pilgrimage to Greece, Grigori Yefimovich Novykh is reportedly rescued from wild wolves by Baba Yaga. Taken into the aging witches walking hut, he is said to seduce the witch. Legend maintains Baba Yaga is so enamoured with the dirty, foul-smelling vagrant that she blesses him with magical powers and remarkable stamina.
Rasputin joins a monastery; experiences visions
Now known simply as Rasputin (meaning 'debauched one') due to a burgeoning reputation for licentiousness, the man formerly known as Grigori Yefimovich Novykh claims to have been called to visit a monastery in Verkhoture by the Virgin Mary.
Whilst taking refuge in the monastery he claims to have had a religious conversion experience and seen visions of a Hellish, wintery future.
Rasputin flees his home
Having already acquired a reputation as a drunkard, the 28-year old Rasputin flees his home in Pokrovskoye to evade accusations of horse thievery. He takes refuge in the nearby monastery at Verkhoture. There he experiences visions of a Hellish, wintery future.
Rasputin encounters Makary
An itinerant holy man known only as Makary visits the monastery at Verkhoture and befriends Rasputin. He tells the young monk about his past as a spiritual adviser to Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra. This meeting is thought to inspire Rasputin to travel to Saint Petersburg and ingratiate himself with the Russian royal family.
Russian folklore later transforms Makary into either an angel directing Rasputin toward the Russian royal family in order to aid to the haemophiliac Alexei, or the Devil ushering Rasputin to his demise in St. Petersburg. Others also suggest Makary to be the raven-spirit and trickster Kutkh in disguise.
Rasputin experiences further visions
Now thirty-four and a self-appointed 'holy monk', Rasputin claims to have been visited by Virgin Mary once again. The Virgin Mother instructs Rasputin to travel to the Seven Lakes Monastery outside the city of Kazan.
As with Rasputin's encounter with Makary, this visitation has been seen as either actual divine intervention, the work of the Devil, or further tomfoolery by the trickster-spirit Kuthe.
8th February - Russo-Japanese War begins
Russia and Japan go to war over conflicting territorial ambitions in Manchuria and the Korean Empire. The Japanese instigate the war by attacking the Russian fleet at Port Arthur on 8 February without a declaration of war.
Rasputin travels to Kazan
Arriving in Kazan, Rasputin's burgeoning reputation as a healer allows him to gain audience with church officials Archimandrite Andrei and Bishop Chrysthanos. Convinced of Rasputin's abilities as a healer and a holy man, the Bishop gives Rasputin a letter of recommendation to Bishop Sergei, the rector of Saint Petersburg's Alexander Nevsky Monastery. The Bishop also arranges for him to travel to Saint Petersburg.
Princess Alexandra learns of Rasputin at a seance
Obsessed with the occult, Empress Alexandra attends a seance. During the seance, whilst beseeching the spirits to identify an individual who could help or heal her son's haemophilia, she claims to have been given a one-word answer - Rasputin.
Rasputin travels to Saint Petersburg
Rasputin travels to Saint Petersburg to meet Bishop Sergei, the rector of the Saint Petersburg Theological Seminary. This, in turn, results in Bishop Sergei introducing Rasputin to Saint Petersburg's syphilitic archbishop Theophane. Theophane is well-connected within Saint Petersburg society and also serves as the Tsar's confessor.
Demonstrating his healing powers by curing Theophane of his syphilis, Rasputin is soon ingratiated into royal circles by the archbishop. Despite his pungent, goat-like smell, the filthy Rasputin's healing powers make him a welcome member of a wealthy, sexually permissive social hierarchy riddled with sexually transmitted diseases. His ability to either heal or alleviate the symptoms of these diseases soon makes him a darling of the Saint Petersburg elite. These healing abilities also attract the attention of the Tsar and Tsarina, who are desperate to find a cure for their son's haemophilia.
January 1905-June 1907
January - First Russian Revolution
The First Russian Revolution begins, sparked by low wages, discrimination against ethnic minorities, enforced military service in the Russo - Japanese War and limited education for children. Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War in June 1905 adds further to the dissatisfaction of the peasant classes. Directed against the Tsar, the Russian nobility and its ruling class, the uprising encompasses strikes, peasant unrest and military mutinies.
27-28 May - the Japanese destroy the Russian Baltic Fleet at the Battle of Tsushima
Having completed a seven-month voyage from the Baltic, a Russian fleet under Admiral Rozhdestvensky is all but destroyed by a superior Japanese fleet commanded by Admiral Togo.
7-31 July - Japanese invasion of Sakhalin
Japanese forces invade and occupy the lightly-defended Russian island of Sakhalin. This will prove to be the last land battle of the Russo-Japanese War.
Russia sues for peace
Russia sues for peace following the Japanese invasion of Sakhalin.
Russo-Japanese war formally ends
The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed by Russia and Japan following negotiations conducted at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. Brokered under the direction of U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, the treaty brings the Russo-Japanese War to a formal end.
The treaty simultaneously confirms Japan's new position as the leading power in East Asia whilst forcing Russia to abandon its expansionist policies in the Orient. However, the treaty is soundly condemned by the Japanese public who, whilst aware of Japan's excellent military performance in the war, were not aware how overextended the Japanese military and economy had become pursuant to its victories.
Rasputin is introduced to Tsar Nicholas II
The archbishop Theophane introduces Rasputin to Tsar Nicholas at the Peterhof Palace. Already aware of the monk both by his burgeoning reputation and his name being revealed to his wife at a seance, determines to introduce the monk to his wife and, in due course, his haemophiliac son, Alexei.
Rasputin encounters Baba Yaga once again.
Having begun to ingratiate himself into Russian society, Rasputin experiences further visions of the Virgin Mary, who warns him his life is in great danger and that he must return to his home in Abalak immediately.
He heeds this call and, whilst travelling, encounters Baba Yaga in the countryside. She warns him that his powers will not only attract admirers in the Russian court, but also enemies. She also demands that Rasputin place his three remaining children in her care so that she may raise them as witches capable of protecting him.
Rasputin returns home
Rasputin reaches his home in Abalak only to find his wife, Praskovya, has already died of a sudden and hitherto unknown illness. Heeding Baba Yaga's words, he takes his three remaining children, Dmitry (now aged 10), Maria (now aged seven years old), and Varvara (aged five), and they leave Abalak for the last time.
Baba Yaga takes Rasputin's children into her care
Once again Baba Yaga awaits Rasputin in the Russian countryside. She takes his children from him and promises she will raise them as powerful soldiers. She also entices him to once again spend the night in her chicken-legged hut.
Rasputin begins his journey back to Saint Petersburg
Rasputin, mourning the death of Praskovya, embarks on a long and indirect journey back to Saint Petersburg.
Wary of geopolitical events in Europe and mindful of perceived shortcomings of the British military during wars in China, India and South Africa, the War Office establishes the Department for the Investigation of Experimental Sciences.
More commonly known by the acronym DIES, the department is commissioned to deliver British global supremacy through experimental military technologies.
Sir Arthur Moorcroft appointed head of DIES
A former member of the Committee of Imperial Defence, Sir Arthur Moorcroft is appointed the first director of DIES.
Rasputin arrives at Saint Petersburg
Rasputin finally arrives in Saint Petersburg. During his journey he is said to experienced further visions of the Virgin Mary as she implored him to redirect his dark and Satanic course and use his abilities for the betterment of the Russian people. He subsequently made his intentions clear by blazing a trail of fornication and carousel all the way back to Saint Petersburg. His conquests include country girls, wives, mothers, grandmothers and various farm animals. Popular mythology maintains he even seduces a string of magical creatures; these include a vodyanoy, various rusalkas, a shishiga, a pair of likhoradka and even a strigoi who later dies of alcohol poisoning after feeding of Raputin's blood.
The Virgin Mary never again appears to Rasputin after he completes this journey, which is later considered to be the moment in his life when - having lost Praskovya - he transitioned from being a holy, if somewhat wanton and misguided, man, to a dark and bitter creature.
Rasputin prays for Alexei for the first time
One of Rasputin's first visits to Alexander Palace coincides with the Tsar and Tsarina's son, Alexei, suffering from severe bleeding from a knee injury. Despite having no prior knowledge of Alexei's injuries, Rasputin asks the Tsarina if he may see her son.
Duly taken to the wounded boy, Rasputin enters a trance-like state as he prays over the injured boy. He remains in this trance throughout the night and the haemophiliac Alexei awakens to discover he is no longer bleeding.
The Tsar and Tsarina are thus convinced the monk is a genuine holy man and the saviour of their son. Rasputin is now viewed as an indispensable member of the royal entourage; he cements this position by telling the royal couple that, without him, Alexei will die.
Construction of first DIES facilities begins
Construction of two DIES facilities in Scotland are commissioned by the War Office. The administrative center is located on the island of Raasay whilst the research station proper is located on the neighbouring island of Rona.
The construction of these facilities is overseen by Sir Arthur Moorcroft.
First Russian Revolution ends
The First Russian Revolution ends. Whilst Tsar Nicholas II agrees to certain reforms, they are not enough to halt the momentum which will culminate in the revolution of 1917.
14 June - Tsar Nicholas II learns about DIES
Russian spies warn Tsar Nicholas II that Great Britain has created DIES and is already investigating the future of modern warfare. Still smarting from the loss of the Russo-Japanese war and cognisant the British already have a significant head start upon him, he asks Rasputin for his advice.
The monk advises the Tsar to focus on one thing Russia has in abundance - Rus magic. Having heard the folk tales about Nicholas I's failed plan to start a school for warrior-wizards in Tunguska, Nicholas II pays Rasputin to reignite the project.
Rasputin makes contact with Baba Yaga once again
At Nicholas II's behest, Rasputin walks into the wilds and call upon his sometime lover and teacher, Baba Yaga. She appears to him and he asks that she find seven potential wizards and train them in the secret fort in Tunguska. Her aim, he explains, is to create a cadre of warrior-wizards which the Tsar can field in battle.
Both keen to please Rasputin and ignited by the idea of crafting a septet of sorcerers, she obliges, going forth in her chicken-legged hut to find the required pupils.
23 July - Rasputin places his children under the care of Baba Yaga
News reaches Rasputin that his wife, Praskovya Dubrovina, has died. He duly returns to Abalak and takes his three surviving children, Dmitry (now twelve years of age), Maria (9 years old), and Varvara (7 years old) out into the wild. There he calls upon Baba Yaga. When the aging witch duly appears, he implores her to take the three children under her wing and teach them the art of witchcraft. Still vulnerable to Rasputin's hypnotic charms, the hag obliges, taking the three children into her chicken-legged hut and walking into the wilds.
Baba Yaga searches for her new pupils
As requested by Rasputin, Baba Yaga finds seven suitable pupils whom she thinks are best suited to learn her form of bleak, corrupting magic. Within the space of a three days she has scoured swathes of Russia to find a dismembered war veteran; two beaten and abandoned wives; a quadriplegic orphan; a murderer; a lothario forcibly castrated by his former lover's husband; and a thief she finds hanging, barely alive, from a tree.
She and her new pupils - which also include Raputin's children - then travel in her hut to the abandoned stockade in Tunguska.
Baba Yaga begins to teach her new pupils
Reaching Tunguska, Baba Yaga begins to teach her new pupils the secrets of Rus magic. One student in particular - the castrated lothario, Maksim - stands out as her most promising student.
He is also, she decides, easy on the eyes...
The first Geiger / Marsden / Rutherford Gold Foil experiments
Working with Ernest Rutherford, the scientists Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden begin their investigations into the nuclear atom. These experiments are conducted at the Physical Laboratories of the University of Manchester.
Maksim destroys the school at Tunguska
Baba Yaga's star pupil, Maksim, becomes too ambitious and attempts to cast a spell beyond his nascent ability. Losing control of the required arcane energies, he creates an explosion which destroys him, the stockade / school and an estimated 80 million trees in an 830 square mile radius.
Baba Yaga is badly burnt, but she does manage to save her other pupils. Seeing that Maksim is about to lose control of his spell, she ushers her other students into the shelter of her magic cauldron. That cauldron is lost in the resulting maelstrom of uncontrolled power and is thought to be buried under the rock and earth thrown out of the crater.
Badly hurt, Baba Yaga summons her hut and vanishes into the wild to begin a long and painful recovery.
The Geiger / Marsden / Rutherford Gold Foil experiments continue
Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden publish the paper On a Diffuse Reflection of the Particles.
Construction of first DIES station completed
The first DIES station is completed in Raasay. Largely an administrative facility, it has also been designed to house an infirmary and a small barracks for a dedicated DIES security detail.
The Geiger / Marsden / Rutherford Gold Foil experiments conclude
Hans Geiger publishes his paper The Scattering of the Particles by Matter.
Rasputin ingratiates himself with the Russian royal family
Unaware of Baba Yaga and his childrens' travails in Tunguska, Rasputin continues to enjoy unprecedented power and influence in the Russian court. He constantly shadows and advises the royal family, leading his denigrators to not only accuse him of controlling the Tsar, but of also enjoying continual and unbridled sexual congress with the Tsarina.
DIES facility on Rona completed
The second of two DIES facilities in Scotland is completed. A research station, it features a reinforced, bombproof basement laboratory, an infirmary and generous accommodation for what is envisaged to be a core group of long-standing scientists, assistants and medical staff.
13th January - British research into atomic power begins
British physicists Sir Ernest Rutherford and Henry Moseley receive a substantial bursary from the British War Office to investigate the harnessing of atomic power as a reliable source of energy. Their findings are fed to the newly-established DIES facility on Rona.
2nd October - 'Doreen Lamb' assigned to DIES
Doreen Lamb is assigned to the DIES facility at Raasay as a secretary to Sir Arthur Moorcroft. Lamb is, in actuality, the German spy Elsbeth Lamsdorf.
28th June - Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, are assassinated by Bosnian Serb student Gavrilo Princip. Princip is just one of a number of agitators armed, trained and instructed by the Serbian military intelligence service.
The so-called 'July Crisis' follows immediately.
12 July Chionya Guseva attempts to assassinate Rasputin
The peasant woman Chionya Guseva attempts to assassinate Rasputin by stabbing him in the stomach whilst he is visiting his children in Abalak. Although he is seriously wounded, he makes a miraculous, overnight recovery in hospital in Tyumen.
30th July - Tsar Nicholas II orders a general mobilization of Russian Forces
Although reluctant to enter into or contribute to a major European conflagration, Tsar Nicholas II orders a general mobilization of Russian forces. In doing so, he hopes to protect and encourage the growth of Pan-Slavism in Eastern Europe at the expense of Austria-Hungary. Nicholas hopes he can avoid war with his cousin Kaiser Wilhem II and go to war with Austria-Hungary alone. However, the Kaiser has already agreed to come to Austria-Hungary's aid if the latter is attacked.
July / August - the World's War begins
Following Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Serbia, the era of alliances and ententes first ushered in by Bismarck in 1894 culminates in the World's War.
28 July - Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand .
29 July - Russia mobilizes along the borders of Germany and Austria.
01 August - Germany declares war on Russia.
03 August - Germany declares war on France; invades Belgium.
04 August - Britain declares war on Germany.
The Blockade of Europe begins
The British blockade the North Sea and the English Channel in an effort to stop all shipping to Germany. France, meanwhile, blocks any access to Austria-Hungary's ports in the Adriatic Sea.
5-16 August - the Battle of Liege
Germany crosses the border into Belgium en route to its invasion of France. However, the advance is retarded by stiff resistance from the Belgian army.
Belgium's resistance seriously impedes Germany's progress toward the French border, thus giving France and Britain the opportunity to better prepare themselves for the oncoming assault.
23 August - Japan enter the World's War
Japan enters the World's War. Ostensibly a member of the allies, its actual ambitions lay in an expansion of its sphere of influence in both China and the Pacific. Targeting Germany's islands in the Pacific and on the coast of China, it will achieve little in the way of territorial or hegemonic gain.
25th August - Sir Arthur Moorcroft blocks Captain Robert Ramsey-Burns request to be transferred to the Western Front.
Sir Arthur Moorcroft, wishing to retain Captain Robert Ramsey-Burns as his head of security at the DIES stations on Rona and Raasay, blocks the first of the captain's repeated requests to be transferred to the Western Front. He maintains Captain Ramsey-Burns is the only man he trusts to protect the Rift project.
26 August: Russian Second Army crushed at the Battle of Tannenberg.
German generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff inflict a devastating defeat on the Russian Second Army at the Battle of Tannenberg.
27th September - Experiments begin on DIES research station on Rona
In an operation overseen by the scientists Leonard Gabriel, Samuel Toft and Ernest Morgan, the very first investigations of and experiments in rift projection and weaponisation begin on the newly completed DIES staton on Rona island.
30th October - The Ottoman Empire joins the World's War
The Ottoman Empire allies with the 'Central Powers' of Germany and Austro-Hungary. Its first military action see it launch the Black Sea Raid on 29 October. Using two ships only recently purchased from the German navy (and, in fact, still crewed by German mariners) it attacks Russian ports in the Black Sea.
1-5 November - the Entente Powers declare war on the Ottoman Empire
Great Britain, Russia and France declare war on the Ottoman Empire
14th November - the Ottoman Empire declares Holy War
In the presence of both the Ottoman Sultan and the relics of the Prophet, religious leaders of the Ottoman Empire declare a 'holy war' against the 'Entente Powers' of France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan and the United States.
1st March - Germany establishes the Imperial Atomic Command
Incited by intelligence fed to him by his agent Elsbeth Lamsdorf, Admiral Theoveld, Graf von Bloq lobbies Kaiser Wilhelm I to greenlight Germany's own experiments into atomic energy. Appalled as the prospect of being eclipsed by the British, the Kaiser duly appoints von Bloq as the head of the Imperial Atomic Command
18th April - Germany begins research into trans-dimensional transport and atomic weaponry
The Imperial Atomic Command begins its own research into atomic and laser weaponry as well as trans-dimensional transport. Although operating out of a temporary facility in a hastily converted naval base in Bremerhaven, its efforts are greatly boosted by the intelligence supplied by Doreen Lamb / Elsbeth Lamsdorf.
23rd May - Italy enters the World's War
After a period of negotiations with both sides of the World's War, the Italians enter the war on the side of the Entente Powers.
27th May - Germany recruits Hans Geiger
Germany's Imperial Atomic Command recruits Hans Geiger to lead its research department. Whilst Geiger and the rest of the Imperial Atomic Command are still operating out of a temporary research facility at this juncture, their progress is greatly accelerated both by Geiger's experience and the continued intelligence supplied by Elsbeth Lamsdorf
9th June - Germany begins construction of dedicated Imperial Atomic Command research centre
Germany begins its construction of Schloss Geiger, a research and facilitation centre in the Bavarian Forest. It is dedicated to the newly-appointed head of Imperial Atomic Command.
7th July - the first rift is opened on Rona
In an experiment led by scientist Samuel Toft, the staff on DIES' Rona station use their prototype projector to open the first rift. The twin station on Raasay loses contact with Rona soon afterward.
Captain Ramsey-Burns and a small team of soldiers are duly dispatched to Rona station only to find that, whilst the projector is working and has opened a gateway into another reality as planned, the staff on the station - and, in due course, some members of Ramsey-Burns' team - experience mental instability as a result of an unknown and invisible energy emanating from the rift itself
Before Ramsey-Burns is able to return to Raasay, all three of the staff on Rona are dead, as are four of his detachment of five soldiers. All of these casualties are caused by exposure to the rift and, according to a description attributed to Captain Ramsey-Burns, 'a dense, unearthly cold and fog which leaks from the rift and into the area around it'.
28th August - DIES attempt to retake Rona station
In another operation led by Captain Ramsey-Burns, DIES attempt to retake Rona station. However, by this time, the station is completely enshrouded in dense fog and seized by a bitter, almost Antarctic cold. Furthermore, the station is now overrun with extra-dimensional beings which assault the DIES team as soon as they make their landing. After a period of ferocious violence, Ramsey-Burns and his men are able to retrieve the schematics and accompanying notes for the rift projector before retreating, defeated, from the station.
What is left of the team returns to Raasay. Whilst all the survivors are physically wounded, many suffer permanent mental damage.
Upon surrendering the schematics to Sir Arthur Moorcroft, Captain Ramsey-Burns expresses - in a most forceful manner - his opinion that Rona station and the creatures within should be 'shelled out of existence'.
15th September - Tsar Nicholas travels to the Eastern front
Tsar icholas travels to the Russian front to take command of the Russian forces on the Eastern front. He leaves his wife Alexandra in charge of Russia's internal affairs in his absence. During this time Rasputin furthers his influence over the royal family by serving as Alexandra's advisor.
23rd September - Rona station destroyed
With the density of Rona's freezing fog increasing and with the mental and physical health of his staff deteriorating, Sir Arthur Moorcroft orders Rona station be shelled. The order is relayed to artillery on the mainland and the station - and the rift projector inside - are duly destroyed.
3rd October - Rona station reappears
Having been seemingly destroyed in September, Rona station reappears. It shows no sign of having been damaged at all.
The reappearance of the station signals a new, and more voracious, bank of freezing fog. Despite this new, denser fog pouring from the island at an accelerated rate, staff at Rona station observe it cannot reach further than a half mile from its point of origin before evaporating.
14 October - Bulgaria enters the World's War
Having maintained neutrality until this point, Bulgaria - seeing Germany's gains during the summer of 1915 - allies itself with Germany and Austria-Hungary before declaring war on its Balkan rival, Serbia.
28th November - Sir Arthur Moorcroft attacks his staff
Sir Arthur Moorcroft calmly attacks his staff with his father's cavalry sabre. He kills or wounds exactly half of those staff before Captain Ramsey-Burns is able to catch and - reluctantly - kill him.
Doreen Lamb / Elsbeth Lamsdorf is not amongst the wounded.
5th December - Raasay station abandoned
In the aftermath of Sir Arthur Moorcroft's attack on his staff, the War Office - fearful the effects of the rift on Rona may be effecting the staff at Raasay station - orders the station be abandoned immediately.
12th January - new DIES laboratory installed aboard HMS Urizen
The equipment, papers and blueprints salvaged from Rona station by Captain Ramsey-Burns are transported to the warship HMS Urizen. Refitted with a laboratory and testing station, the Urizen and her crew are ordered to sail into the Arctic Ocean and resume the development of the first Rift weapons in a position where they are unable to pose a threat to shipping nor conurbations. The Urizen is commanded by a Royal Navy veteran Captain Crispin Forbes and the laboratory is headed by a newly-recruited DIES scientist, Doctor Emily Forsyth-Blakely.
17th March - DIES headquarters relocated to Brighton
Following the abandonment of their headquarters on Raasay, DIES relocated to Brighton. Staff from Raasay are welcomed at the new facility by the newly appointed head of DIES, General Sir Devlin Grantham-Bliss.
1st April - First murders and suicides on HMS Urizen
Rift weaponry experiments begin onboard the HMS Urizen. Almost immediately the first signs of fog appear in and around the vessel. The first suicides on the ship take place during the next week, and the first murder shortly afterward.
Acting on the advice of DIES scientist Doctor Emily Forsyth-Blakely and the new administrative headquarters in Brighton, Captain Crispin Forbes promptly relocates the vessel. This, as per Doctor Forsyth-Blakely's theory, allows the Urizen to leave the fog behind and recommence its experiments.
3rd September - first successful test of RAM weaponry on HMS Urizen
Using the blueprints and notes retrieved from Rona station by Captain Ramsey-Burns, the staff on HMS Urizen are able to create the first Rift weapon. After a number of technical issues and failures, this weapon was successfully fired for the first time on October 13; it is a Friday.
27th November - British War Office orders immediate distribution of Rift weaponry Showing little more than contempt for those whose lives have been lost during the development of DIES' new Rift weapons, the War Office ordered the new weapons be issued immediately to British forces on the Western Front.
30 December - conspirators assassinate Rasputin
Concerned that Rasputin's influence over the Russian royal family is a threat to the Russian empire, the nobles Prince Felix Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich - together with the right-wing politician Vladimir Purishkevich - draft a plan to assassinate the monk.
Luring the famously wanton Rasputin into a drinking den in the basement of Prince Yusupov's home, they feed him copious amounts of poisoned wine and teacakes which appear to have no effect on the monk. Unnerved by his immunity to the poison, they resort to shooting the monk several times in the chest. These gunshots render Rasputin insensible enough for them to drag his bleeding body to the nearby river and throw him into the freezing waters, but not before castrating him. The conspirators then observe his body to float, motionless, just below the surface of the water for upwards of ten minutes before deciding the monk is finally dead, returning to the drinking den to toast their success.
The following morning, however, Rasputin's body had vanished. The conspirators, however, are subsequently found in Yusupov's basement. Whilst their clothes, skin and hair are completely dry, their lungs are full of water and the doctor called to the scene declares they have drowned.
23 February - the February Revolution begins
Sparked by Russia's catastrophic performance in the World's War, food shortages, government corruption, a poor economy and Tsar Nicholas' constant disregard for democracy, the February Revolution begins when more than 100,000 demonstrators and striking workers take to the streets of Petrograd to demand bread. These irate and hungry mobs clash with police but, refusing to leave the streets, they go on to destroy the police's stations. By 25 February, Petrograd's entire workforce was on strike and numerous factories began electing deputies to the Petrograd's council of workers' committees, otherwise known as the Soviet.
2nd March - Nicholas II abdicated the Russian throne
As the February Revolution continues, Petrograd insurgents physically coerce Tsar Nicholas II into abdicating the throne. Knowing his abdication would elevate Alexei to the throne, he then - realising his son is too ill to be the Tsar - also abdicates on behalf of his son. He then names his own brother, Grand Duke Michael, as the next Emperor of all Russias. Michael, however, chooses to not accept the throne unless the Russian people are allowed to vote for either the continuance of the monarchy or the establishment of a new republic.
15th March - Russian Provisional Government formed
The Russian Provisional Government is created to run Russia in the immediate aftermath of the Tsar's abdication. It is initially run by Prince Georgy Lvov and then by Alexander Kerensky.
Albert Einstein recruited by the Imperial Atomic Command
The German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein publishes his paper On the Quantum Theory of Radiation, which establishes the theoretical foundations for the laser. He is recruited by the Imperial Atomic Command shortly afterward.
6th April - The United States of America declare war on the German Empire
Proposing "a war to make the world safe for democracy" and "war to end war," U.S. Woodrow Wilson convinces U.S. Congress to declare war on the German Empire.
5th June - 14,000 U.S. soldiers arrive in France
The first soldiers from the American Expeditionary Forces land at St Nazaire, France. This first wave will not arrive at the Western Front until 23 October.
This initial force consists of only 14,000 American soldiers (also known as 'Doughboys'). By May 1918, however, over one million American troops will have arrived in France.
October - The Imperial Atomic Command switches focus
Having conducted parallel lines of research and development on both Rift and laser technology, the Imperial Atomic Command chooses to focus entirely on its research into laser weaponry.
25th October - The October Revolution begins
Following months of civil unrest, strikes and protests against the Russian Provisional Government, the Bolshevik Red Guard, assisted by pro-Revolutionary Russian armed forces, seize key government facilities in Petrograd. The Provisional Government is unable to offer any resistance. It surrenders to the Bolsheviks in the early hours of the following morning.
25th October - The Russian Civil War begins
Following the Bolshevik overthrow of the Russian Provisional Government, 'White', non-Bolshevik Russians - variously favouring social democracy, capitalism or a return to monarchy - ally against the Bolshevik 'Reds' as Russia descends into civil war.
The Dowager Empress and General Kornilov assume command of White Russian forces
The mother of Nicholas II - and former Empress of Russia - the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna begins to rally and organise the disparate White forces. Under her influence and that of her appointed commander-in-chief of the White forces, General Lavr Kornilov, the Whites and their Cossack allies begin to reverse some of the initial losses suffered at the hands of the coordinated Red Army.
01 December - Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna sails to Great Britain
Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna sails to Great Britain to appeal to the British for military aid.
07 December - The United States of America declare war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Spurred by the country's use of submarine warfare and its alliance with Germany, U.S. Congress declares war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
15 December - Ceasefire declared between Russia and the Central Powers
A formal cease-fire is declared by Russia and the Central Powers.
20 December - David Lloyd George and Marshal Sir Douglas Haig meet the Dowager Empress
British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and Marshal Sir Douglas Haig meet the Dowager Empress' to hear her appeal for aid. Afterward Haig persuades George to not only reject the Dowager Empress' appeal but also to invade and establish beachheads at both Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. He proposes they should then begin operations against Rasputin and the Reds from these ports with the ultimate aim of reopening the Eastern Front against Germany.
25 December - Ramsey-Burns is assigned to the Western Front
After years of repeated requests to be reassigned to the Western Front, General Sir Devlin Grantham-Bliss gives Captain Ramsey-Burns a new assignment; he is to oversee the distribution, training and use of Rift weaponry in the trenches.
British prepare to invade Russia
Worried by the loss of their Tsarist ally Nicholas II, the rise of Bolshevism and the concept of German forces seizing sizable caches of weapons and supplies in Russian ports, the British government made plans to invade and secure Russia. They appoint Brigadier-General Edmund Ironside as the commander-in-chief of a new Allied Expeditionary Force created with the express aim of invading Russia.
3rd March - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is finally signed by Russia and the Central Powers. Under the terms of the treaty, Russia surrenders Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Germany and Austria-Hungary; cede Kars, Ardahan and Batum to Turkey and acknowledged the independence of Ukraine, Georgia and Finland.
The treaty, however, would shortly be rendered moot, with Rasputin claiming a large area of the agreed territories as part of the Motherland of Rus.
Russian troops withdraw from the Eastern Front
All Russian forces are ordered to withdraw from the Eastern front. Tired, undernourished and cold, the soldiers comply. There is, at this juncture, no internecine fighting or even a notion of 'white' versus 'red' amongst those who return home.
4th March - The Allied Expeditionary Force lands at Murmansk
An Allied Expeditionary Force of British, American, Finnish and French marines lands at the Russian port of Murmansk as part of their campaign in Russia. They take the port from the Bolsheviks with ease.
26th March - French Marshal Ferdinand Foch appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies on the Western Front
As the German Spring Offensive continues to take its toll on the Allied forces, the French career soldier Ferdinand Foch is promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies on the Western Front.
The British, whilst maintaining a typically civilised comportment, are quietly outraged at the appointment, considering it an insult to their commander-in-chief, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, and a commentary on the British use of RAM Spikes.
18th April - Rasputin returns from the dead
More than a year since the attempt on his life in Petrograd, Rasputin emerges from the wilderness near his family home in Abalak. There he is reunited with his three children Dmitry, Maria and Varvara. They immediately begin a journey toward what Rasputin describes as, 'Our new Motherland'.
23rd June - Rasputin allies with the Cossacks of the Kuban region
The Cossack Host of the Kuban region pledges its allegiance to Rasputin and his Motherland of Rus. The sorcerer welcomes both their loyalty and their martial prowess.
This Cossack Host is the first of many to ally themselves with Rasputin.
July - the Allies make further gains in Russia
With more soldiers and tanks arriving at Arkhangelsk, the Allied Expeditionary Force moves south to begin their campaign against both Rasputin's Motherland of Rus and the Bolshevik Red Russians.
July - Rasputin is reunited with his children
Returning from Baba Yaga's tutelage in Tungsuka, Rasputin's three children, Dmitry (now 23), Maria (20), and Varvara (18) form the nucleus of the Daughters of Rus. Over the coming years the Daughters will evolve into Rasputin's elite cadre of bodyguards, shock troops and personal assassins.
3rd July - Tsar Nicholas II and his family murdered Bolsheviks holding the former Tsar, Nicholas, and his family prisoner are informed that counter revolutionary forces are approaching Yekaterinburg palace. Fearing the palace may be overrun and the royal family released, the Bolshevik revolutionaries shoot and bayonet Nicholas, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, and their children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei to death. The family's staff are also killed. The bodies are mutilated in order to hinder identification before being buried in Koptyaki forest.
German laser weaponry deployed to the front line
German laser weaponry is deployed to the Western Front for the first time. Due to the size of the batteries required to power these bulky, prototype lasers, the weapons are mounted on Germany's new K-Wagon tanks. They will first see action at the Second Battle of the Somme.
2nd August - the Allies land at Arkhangelsk
Despite stiff resistance from the forces of the Motherland of Rus, a further Allied Expeditionary Force lands at - and secures - the Russian port of Arkhangelsk. At this juncture the Allies now control both Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. These important beachheads will serve as their bases of operations for the entirety of their campaign in Russia.
8th-12th August - British forces use Rift weaponry for the first time
Newly-issued and rechristened 'RAM (Rotherham and Mosely) Spikes', DIES' Rift-driven weapons are used for the first time at the Battle of Amiens. Although only available in limited numbers, the weapons are so effective they allow British troops armed with RAM Spikes to spearhead an advance in excess of 11 kilometres; it is one of the greatest advances of the war.
11th August - Japanese forces land at Vladivostok
Acting in conjunction with the Allied Expeditionary Force in the north, Japanese forces take Vladivostok as Allied intervention in Russia continues. In reality, Japan is acting in accordance with longer-term goals and a desire to settle what it considers as unfinished business with Russia.
With the port secured, the Japanese navy will go on to land some 70,000 thousand troops in Russia.
16th August - uproar over use of Rift technology
The British are universally condemned for their use of 'dangerous' and 'abhorrent' RAM technology. Defiant, British PM David Lloyd George rejects all such criticism, stating 'only the hottest blade can cauterize the severest wound.' He also declares the British will use Rift weaponry again and again 'until the Kaiser and his allies are brought to heel'.
In the New Palace, meanwhile, the seething Kaiser orders the Imperial Atomic Command to furnish his army with more and better laser weaponry with immediate effect.
21st August - 3rd September - the Second Battle of the Somme
The British use RAM Spikes for the second time at the Second Battle of the Somme. As with the Battle of Amiens, the results are devastating, with the British inflicting horrific losses on the German forces. The battle is also notable for the use of Germany's K-Wagons and their payload of laser cannons. Despite the impressive performance of these new weapons, the battle ends in an Allied victory.
3rd September - the Stars and Stripes publishes inflammatory material concerning RAM spikes
The daily American military newspaper the Stars and Stripes publishes both a detailed article and an overwhelming negative editorial focusing on Great Britain's new RAM Spikes.
Whilst the article focuses on the facts surrounding the RAM spikes' debut and subsequent performance on the frontline, the anonymous editorial - ascribed to one of the paper's four editors (and frontline correspondent) Alexander Woollcott - is more inflammatory. He illustrates both his horror at seeing the weapon used first hand at the Second Battle of the Somme and his suspicions not only of the weapon's full potential, but the British Empire's motivations for creating it. What is, he asks, the full extent of the Empire's ambition? With such a powerful weapon at their disposal can the Empire be trusted to stop at crushing the Kaiser? Or does it feel the siren call of its Imperial past? After all, why stop at Berlin when you have the means to rule Europe in its entirety...?
...Why not, indeed, the world?
8th September - Britain responds to the Star and Stripes
Furious at the tone and content of the Stars and Stripes article and editorial concerning the use of RAM Spikes, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George calls for an immediate apology from the newspaper, labelling it 'a rag blessed with even less grace than the flag from which it takes its name.'
U.S. outrage is summed up by the response of the President Woodrow Wilson, who declares, 'that's what you'd expect from a bulldog; all teeth and no brains.'
12th September - Germany invades Russia
Emboldened by the success and effectiveness of their laser weaponry and wishing to take advantage of the Civil War, Germany invades Russia. This action puts German forces into direct conflict with those of Rasputin's Motherland of Rus. They make early and impressive gains thanks to their laser-equipped tanks.
16th September - Allies support US concerns over RAM spikes
Also unnerved by Britain's use of RAM Spikes on the Western Front, her allies express misgivings regarding the use of the weapons. France even goes so far as to demand the Empire suspend its use of RIFT technology until further and more extensive testing can be conducted. The Supreme Allied Commander Ferdinand Foch is particularly vocal, airing his concerns on the long-term effects of the weapons on not only those using it, but the environment in which it is used.
Whilst stopping short of agreeing to his allies demands, the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George offers such platitudes as limited use and more extensive testing of the weapons. Whilst tensions are, thus, slightly eased, it soon becomes apparent the British have no such intentions as even more RAM Spikes are delivered to the British forces.
29th September - Battle of St Quentin Canal
With German forces now pushed back to the Hindenburg Line, the Allies launch a further major offensive at the Battle of Saint Quentin Canal. The attack, however, is repulsed by German forces now supported by laser-equipped K-Wagons.
Fog spreads from the Western Front
The freezing fog emanating from the Western Front continues to creep through France and Germany and toward Switzerland. As with the staff on Rona station and aboard HMS Urizen, all who come into contact with the fog are possessed of the deepest melancholia and, in many instances, suicidal and / or homicidal thoughts. Worse still, the DIES headquarters in Brighton receives reports of new - albeit small - rifts opening spontaneously in and around the British army's entrenched positions. These reports - as well as those of assaults, suicides and murders amongst the soldiers stationed in the trenches consumed by the fog - will increase in number as this freezing mist continues to spread across central Europe. The Scourge make their first sorties on the Western Front
The Scourge appears on the Western Front for the first time, emerging from the freezing fog created by the use of RAM Spikes. They inflict horrific casualties on an entrenched British platoon.
Japanese forces falter after initial gains
The Japanese army's advance into Russia is retarded by Bolshevik guerilla attacks and the onset of winter. Even so, they have occupied an area of Russia that extends to Lake Baikal. RAM Spikes issued to British forces in Russia
With the lethality of Rift technology now proven on the Western Front, the British now issues RAM Spikes to its forces in Russia. They are first used in anger during a skirmish with Bolshevik forces in the town on Topsa. From this point the progress of the Allied Expeditionary Force more than doubles at the expense of both Bolshevik forces and the Motherland of Rus.
The Scourge appear in Russia
With Rift weaponry now being used by British forces in the Allied Expeditionary Force, the fog appears in volume in Russia. The first - and inevitable - Scourge incursion takes place on the British frontline at Topsa.
12th November - British allies express their anger at use of RAM Spikes in Russia
Having already stated their objections to the use of Rift technology on the Western Front, Britain's allies are furious to learn they are now being used in Russia. France and the United States are particularly vocal about the possibility of their forces in Russia being exposed to the Scourge.
Conversely, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and her commander-in-chief, General Lavr Kornilov - unfamiliar as they are with the Scourge - tacitly approve of the use of the technology.
25th November - Scourge attack en masse during the Battle of Sambre
British and German soldiers suffer horrific losses when, during the Battle of Sambre, they are attacked by a massed host of the Scourge. This attack marks the biggest and most sustained attack by Scourge forces to date.
‘’’’’The Scourge mount yet more attacks
The Scourge make multiple and sustained attacks on both the Western Front and on Allied forces in Russia. The casualties suffered by the British are respectively described by the Stars and Stripes and Brigadier-General Edmund Ironside as 'grotesque' and 'challenging'.
Civilians flee from the Scourge
With news of the Scourge incursions now reaching people's home, the first of what will become a stream of emigrations from France, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland and northern Italy begin.
The Allies begin their own developments in laser technologies
Using lasers taken from dead German soldiers, the Allies begin to reverse engineer their own laser technology. In America the newly-established Candlelight programme oversees development of U.S. laser weaponry whilst, aboard the HMS Urizen, DIES create a new team to develop laser technology alongside their continued refinement of Rift ordnance. 14th February - The Motherland of Rus invades Austria-Hungary
Seeking to reclaim all territories formerly ruled by the Rus, Rasputin invades Austria-Hungary. His surprise attack reaps initial gains, but his army - mainly formed of conscripts and zealots - are soon bogged down in trenches. Only Rasputin's elite sorcerers, the Daughters of the Rus, are able to make repeated and effective sorties against their Austro-Hungarian enemies.
3rd March - German spearhead penetrates Russia
Emboldened by the success and effectiveness of their laser weaponry and wishing to take advantage of the Civil War, Germany invades Russia. This action puts German forces into direct conflict with those of Rasputin's Motherland of Rus.
Using a combination of newly-built tanks and mounted Uhlans, the invasion force moves into the Motherland. Strengthened by their laser weaponry and facing only token opposition from a dispirited Russian army, it makes steady progress into Western Russia. The commander-in-chief of the operation, Ernst Volckheim, remains confident that, if his supply lines can be maintained, he can reach Rasputin's palace in Petrograd within weeks and well before the onset of the Russian winter.
18th March - German advance in Russia frustrated
Ernst Volckheim's progress into Russia is halted by a plague of mechanical gremlins which cause his tanks to break down repeatedly. Frustrated, he continues as best he can with his crews continually forced to stop to repair their tanks. Little does Volckheim know that another of Rasputin's otherworldly allies, the trickster Kutkh, is the cause of his mechanical woes. Sent by Baba Yaga to impede the Germans whilst she is in Tunguska teaching her new proteges, he is just one of the agents and allies she has called upon to watch over Rasputin.
The cavalry elements of the invasion force - led by decorated veteran Uwe von Kleist - however, are able to continue unimpeded. Although they are now devoid of their armoured support, they are able to construct an ongoing and effective guerilla campaign against the Motherland. Many miles behind them, the German army grinds its way forward, meting out destruction to those who oppose its tanks and lasers.
25th March - Rasputin seeks aid from the Zaporozhian Host
Mindful of Ernst Volckheim squadron on tanks and accompanying Uhlans, Rasputin requests aid from the Cossack Zaporozhian Host. After a period of intense bartering, the Cossacks agree to stop the invasive Germans.
30th March - Volckheim's tank squadron destroyed
As promised, the Cossack Zaporozhian Host intercepts Ernst Volckheim's tank squadron.
The following confrontation is protracted, with the Germans meting out considerable casualties on the Cossacks during the initial stages of the confrontation. However, the Cossacks are able to board - and, ultimately, penetrate - the tanks over a prolonged period of time. Once aboard the tanks, the Cossacks are able to end the German crews with ease. Only Volckheim himself is, as per a special order from Rasputin, taken alive.
31th March - 2nd April - the Battle of Bolshie Ozerki
British, American, French and White Russian troops engage Bolshevik forces during the Battle of Bolshie Ozerki. The battle proves to be fruitless, with the Allied forces unable to remove the Bolsheviks from their fortified positions and the Bolsheviks lacking the manpower and equipment to inflict significant casualties on the opposing force.
The battle is significant in that it is one of the last battles fought before the Allied forces splinter and the British army finds itself abandoned by its allies.
Volckheim presented to Rasputin
The captured Volckheim is brought to Rasputin and the monk invites the German to dine with him. By the time the meal is over, Volckheim has renounced his allegiance to the Kaiser and declares himself dedicated to Rasputin and the Motherland of Rus.
10th April - the Allied Expeditionary Force clashes with Rasputin
In an effort to halt the progress of the Allied Expeditionary Force into the Motherland of Rus, Rasputin engages the invaders outside the city of Nizhny Novgorod.
With his Daughters of Rus engaged on the Austro-Hungarian border, Rasputin's forces suffer heavy casualties. The bulk of his followers are lightly armed and lack training. Rasputin - present at the battle and personally administering medical aid to his wounded soldiers - also witnessed first hand the destructive power of the British Rift weapons and senses the damage they do to the fabric of reality. Furthermore, he is able to detect the Scourge which lurks on the other side of that fabric.
13th April - Rasputin engages the Allied Expeditionary Force once again
Rasputin engages the Allied Expeditionary Force once again. His rank and file suffer heavy casualties, but he is, at least, able to heal the wounded. Exposed once again to the effects of the Rift weaponry, he feels the presence of the Scourge even more keenly.
Confident it is only a matter of time until he can make contact with whatever lurks beyond the delicate curtain of reality, he withdraws and marshals his forces for the next confrontation.
The Motherland of Rus is besieged
Rasputin's Motherland of Rus is beset on all fronts. By this point the Allied powers, the Austro-Hungarians, the Bolsheviks, Royalist White Russians and German forces are all attacking his new domain. Whilst he is unconcerned by some of these assailants, he remains fixated by the British Rift and German laser weaponry. These, he realises, are dangerous weapons.
Knowing he needs to find some way to counter these new weapons, he determines he must use more arcane methods and allies. Thus he turns once again to Baba Yaga and implores her to return to Tunguska. There he hopes she will find her old cauldron and its cargo of six students, buried under the ruins of the wooden stockade but, even now, still sustained by the cauldron and its magic.
Baba Yaga bends to his wishes and, summoning her chicken-legged hut, begins her journey to Tunguska.
15th May - Churchill sails to America
Convinced Bolshevism should be 'strangled in the cradle', the British Secretary of State for War sails to America to meet US President Woodrow Wilson. He hopes to convince Wilson to rejoin Great Britain in lending assistance to the White Russians in their fight against both the Reds and the Motherland of Rus.
23rd May - The Allied Expeditionary Force fractures
The Allied Expeditionary Force finally collapses following a Scourge attack.
In the thick of a hit and run attack by Rasputin's Cossack allies, the British Rift weapons attract an unusually large amount of the Scourge. The demons attack both sides of the conflagration and inflict heavy casualties. By the time the creatures either flee or are destroyed, the American, French and Finnish commanders are resolved to no longer expose their men to the dangers represented by the British RAM Spikes. To this end the American, French and Finnish companies depart, leaving the British to continue alone.
Baba Yaga arrives at Tunguska”
Baba Yaga arrives at Tunguska and, using a combination of her scrying spells and the digging abilities of her chicken-legged hut, she finds her old cauldron. Miraculously, her six former students are, as Rasputin surmised, still inside the cauldron. Although in a state of deep sleep, they are all alive if not deeply traumatized.
1st June - Churchill meets Wilson
Churchill meets with Woodrow Wilson. Wilson asks that the British government either ceases its use of Rift weaponry on the Western Front or share the technology with the United States. Churchill declines on both counts.
7th June - Multiple newspapers publish damning reports on Britain's use of Rift technology
Seven days after Churchill's refusal to share Rift technology with the U.S., multiple newspapers publish detailed and damning exposes on Britain's use of RAM Spikes, the deaths of those stationed on Rona island and the HMS Urizen, and the dangers the technology presents to American soldiers on the Western Front and in Russia. They stop short of detailing incursions by the Scourge.
The reaction across America is damning, and calls to pull American troops out of the Europe and Russia grow in strength.
9th June - Lloyd George orders Churchill to return to England
Furious at what he sees as an organised and concerted campaign to smear Great Britain, David Lloyd George orders Churchill to cease negotiations with the U.S. President and return home at once.
12th June - The Scourge attack in force following the Battle of Shchukozerye
The Allied Expeditionary Force attacks a Bolshevik squad in the tiny village of Shchukozerye. Although the battle is short and one-sided, with the Allies dispatching the tiny Bolshevik force with ease, it is notable for the significant and prolonged Scourge attack suffered by the Allies in the immediate aftermath of the action.
America, the White Russians and the Polish are, once again, quick to denounce the use of Rift weaponry by the British, and the U.S. indicates, for the first time, that it may withdraw its forces from this particular theatre of the Civil War.
Baba Yaga continues to teach her new pupils
In Tunguska Baba Yaga continues to teach her quintuple of pupils the art of Rus magic. Knowing time is short, she proves to be a harsh mistress. Mistakes are severely punished. Food is withheld unless the pupils are able to successfully complete each lesson. None may sleep until all five are able to recite, word for word, each of the days many spells. By the end of the month, her teachings have established a solid platform upon which she can further build and enforce each apprentice. The procedure, however, has been arduous, and the mental damage already done by years trapped inside Baba Yaga's cauldron is worsened.
The U.S. issue their first wave of laser weapons
The U.S. Candlelight programme yields its first tranche of laser weapons. These are shipped to the Western Front and distributed amongst American soldiers of I Corps under Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett.
12th September - 2,000 civilians drowned off the coast of England as thousands flee the fog
Such is the number of boats fleeing the fog in the Netherlands and Northern France that Britain closes its ports to all civilian shipping. The first boat to arrive after the ports are closed is the French liner SS France. When the vessel refuses to leave the port of Dover, it is sunk - on the orders of the Commander in Chief of the Home Fleet of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe - by HMS Devonshire. Approximately 2,000 souls are lost
20th September - France issues an ultimatum to Great Britain
The French Minister of War Georges Clemenceau and the British Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill order that news of the sinking of the SS France should be smothered. It cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to reach the soldiers on the Western Front. The French government, however, demanded that the British suspend their use of RAM Spikes on the frontline once and for all or risk a declaration of war from Paris.
30th September - the British deploy RAM weaponry on tanks
On the Western Front, the British deploy their RAM Spikes once again during the Second Battle of Soissons, during which they successfully repel a German attack. The battle is remarkable as it sees the British use their new, bigger RAM Spikes for the first time. Inspired by the Germans, these new weapons are mounted on British tanks.
Britain's allies in Russia abandon the Allied Expeditionary Force
Outraged by what they see as Britain's addiction to - and abject refusal to abandon - Rift technology, France and the United States withdraw their forces from the Allied North Russian campaign. Although the process of this withdrawal promises to be slow and complicated, it threatens to leave what is now purely a British Expeditionary Force exposed to Bolshevik forces and the Motherland of Rus.
20th October - German forces redeployed
France enters a phase of apparent dormancy as it regroups and its political leaders consider its military options. German numbers are shifted to bolster those regiments pitted against British positions. These regiments are also further enhanced with an increasing number of K-Wagons.
3rd November - French government leaves Paris
In the first instance of a government relocating due to the fog produced by RAM Spikes (now colloquially known as the 'Fog of War') the French government leaves France as the fog spreads from the Western Front.
5th November - Britain plans U.S. invasion
Wary of American advances in laser technology, the British Empire makes contingency plans to invade the United States.
15th November - Germany launches major offensive
Germany launches a concerted and prolonged offensive aimed at British positions along the Western Front. It regains a sizable portion of the territory lost to the British during the Hundred Days Offensive of 1918.
British casualties mount in Russia
Trapped in a severe winter, the British forces in Russia suffer significant losses at the hands of the elements, guerilla attacks by the Russians and brief, savage assaults by the Scourge. Morale drops to a new low as the number suicides amongst the British soldiers rises alarmingly.
French government relocates to French West Africa
The French government relocates to the French West African capital of Dakar.
12th December - HMS Urizen docks in Australia
HMS Urizen lands at the Australian naval base HMAS Cerberus with a large consignment of RAM Spikes. The weapons are then issued to Australian military units in preparation for a secret mission known only as Operation Library.
11th January - HMS Urizen travels to India
Operation Library continues as HMS Urizen travels to the Indian naval base at Mumbai. As with its landing at HMAS Cerberus, it delivers a sizable quantity of RAM Spikes to the Indian military.
News of the French government's relocation spreads
As news of the French government's flight to West Africa percolates through Europe, other monarchs, heads of religion and governments consider their position. Some, like King George V of Great Britain and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany refuse to leave. Karl I of Austria, however, is just one of those who run. He flees to Madeira as the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapses under the weight of the same ethnic and political incompatibilities that led to the death of Franz Ferdinand in 1914. Others - like Sultan VI of the Ottoman Empire - simply run, leaving what was left of this once glorious empire to become Turkey.
8th February - British Pacific fleet sets sail
The newly commissioned British Pacific Fleet sails from Great Britain. It will travel to the Pacific via the Suez Canal before arriving at its base in Sydney, Australia.
27th February - 'Fraulein Unbekannt' appears in Berlin
A 19-year old woman attempts suicide in Berlin by jumping off the Bendlerstrasse bridge and into the Landwehrkanal. Rescued by police, she is then taken to a mental hospital. Refusing to give her name, she is admitted under the name Fraulein Unbekannt, meaning 'Miss Unknown'. She has scars on her head and body which, whilst she cannot recall how she acquired them, are described by the nurses at the hospital as 'resembling bullet wounds'.
British Expeditionary Force loses ground in Russia
Despite its continued use of RAM Spikes, the British Expeditionary Force - now devoid of its French and American allies - loses ground in Russia as the Motherland of Rus, Bolsheviks and White Russian forces counterattack.
RAM tanks deployed in Russia
The first in a fleet of British tanks equipped with RAM Spikes land in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. Hoping they will help regain lost ground in Russia, Brigadier-General Edmund Ironside promptly deploys the tanks to the front line.
2nd March - rumours of the Fog of War reaches the U.S. and England
As British use of Rift weaponry escalates in Russia and on the Western Front, rumours of the Scourge and the maddening effects of the Fog of War reach Great Britain and the United States. One British reporter, Harry Medley, writes a detailed article for The Times. It is intercepted by the War Office and never published.
3rd March - HMS Urizen docks in Canada
HMS Urizen lands at Canada's Port of Halifax and begins round-the-clock manufacturing of further RAM Spikes.
5th March - Harry Medley is found hanged
Harry Medley is found hanged in the flat in Soho. An empty whisky bottle and a letter from his wife is discovered amongst his disordered possessions. The letter states she is leaving him for another man.
When quizzed about her extramarital affairs by the police and the press, Harry's distraught wife, Edna, denies all knowledge of such an affair. Furthermore, the handwriting on the letter does not match Edna's.
10th March - British Pacific Fleet leaves Australia
Having stopped for resupply in Australia, the British Pacific Fleet leaves for America. 11th March - U.S. Soldiers withdrawn from Western Front
President Woodrow Wilson orders the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Western Front. The French government grant permission for the U.S. army to travel through France.
17th March - British soldiers deployed to Canada
British troops land at Port of Halifax, Canada. They rendezvous with the HMS Urizen and are issued with RAM Spikes and ordered to assume a state of combat readiness. Together with those Canadian regiments not fighting on the Western Front or in Russia, these soldiers are then deployed to the Canadian border with the United States.
20th March - Turkey withdraws from the World's War
Recognising his nation's inability to resist a British army armed with Rift technology and keen to save his country from the Fog of War, Turkish President Attaturk declares a ceasefire and sues the British Empire for peace.
21th March - President Wilson warned of impending invasion
A Military Intelligence Division report given to President Woodrow Wilson details HMS Urizen's role in the delivery of RAM Spikes to British Imperial forces in Canada, India and Australia. It also warns the President of an 'immediate threat of invasion of the United States' by the British Empire.
Scourge incursions mount in Russia
Bitter resistance against British forces in Russia leads to an almost continual use of Britain's Rift weaponry. This causes an increasingly dense Fog of War and, inevitably, more and more incursions by the Scourge.
Germany regains ground
Advances in its laser weaponry, combined with widening fault lines in the 'Allied' forces, allow Germany to both gain and regain significant amounts of territory on its Western and Eastern fronts. Increased production of laser weaponry and K-Wagons add greater potency to its armies.
12th April - Britain invades the U.S.
Operation Library begins in earnest as British Imperial forces invade the northernmost states of the U.S.A. Such is the speed of the invasion that the British make immediate and sizable advances. This invasion is timed to coincide with the Indian and Australian armies landing in Oregon and California. These colonial soldiers are also equipped with RAM Spikes.
13th April - America declares war on the British Empire
President Woodrow Wilson declares war on Great Britain. He also orders an increase in domestic production of laser weaponry, commissioning five new Candlelight factories in the Southern U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkhansas.
14th April - U.S. Navy targets H.M.S. Urizen
President Woodrow Wilson authorises the U.S. navy to hunt for - and destroy - the HMS Urizen.
U.S. and British forces clash on the Western Front
The Western Front is witness to even greater slaughter as U.S. and British companies turn on one another.
11th May - HMS Urizen sunk
The HMS Urizen is sunk by the U.S. Navy submarine USS R-15. The Urizen's captain, Crispin Forbes, is recorded Missing Presumed Dead following the sinking of the Urizen. Chief DIES scientist Doctor Emily Forsyth-Blakely leaves the sinking vessel on the last remaining lifeboat. As with the rest of the surviving crew, Forsyth-Blakely is rescued by R-15 and escorted back to the U.S. mainland to be held as a prisoner of war.
13th May - HMS Milton commissioned
With the HMS Urizen sunk, Britain commissions a new vessel on which to conduct its Rift experimentation. This new ship, the HMS Milton, will be commanded by the experienced Captain Reginald 'Moby' Glossop and the ship's integrated DIES laboratory is to be led by experienced scientist John-Edward Runcorn. It is built at the British naval base in Sydney Australia, with many DIES personnel relocating from Great Britain in preparation for the Milton's launch.
America withdraws from the Western Front
American forces withdraw from the Western Front before, with the permission of the French government, they travel through France and amass on the French border with Italy. Germany gains ground
Taking advantage of the collapses of the U.S. and Great British alliance, Germany makes significant gains on the Western Front.
The war in the U.S. intensifies
Fighting intensifies between American and British forces in the northern U.S. states and in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Although British advances remain robust, the invading British and Canadian supply lines begin to suffer at the hands of American partisans. As with the European theatre, the conflict soon settles into the all-too-familiar style of trench warfare seen in Europe.
The Fog of War gains purchase in the United States
As the British invasion of America continues, the Fog of War spreads across the northern and western-most states of the U.S.A.
The Scourge appear in America
The Scourge make their first incursions along the front line between U.S. and British forces in Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, California and Oregon. 10th August - The President leaves the Whitehouse
President Woodrow Wilson abandons the White House and is relocated to Camp David, Maryland.
20th August - Trench and naval warfare consumes the United States
American military and partisan forces in the U.S. mount a concerted counterattack against the British Imperial invaders. However, learning the lessons of the Western Front, the British are now dug in and prepared for just as protracted and painful campaign as that seen in the European theatre.
Unlike the Western Front, however, the war between Great Britain and the U.S. sees intense fighting at sea as the U.S. Navy finds itself subjected to a well-orchestrated naval attack from the British Atlantic and Pacific Fleets under Sir Cecil Burney and Sir Charles Madden respectively.
26th August - American commander-in-chief killed
The American commander-in-chief, General Ozias Weston, is killed in the Battle of Charles Town. Having personally assumed command of the American forces in Jefferson County in an effort to reverse British gains, Weston is shot at extreme range by a British sniper whilst urinating outside his command post.
Laser weapons to be issued to all American infantry
Satisfied with the performance of its laser weaponry in the hands of I Corps, the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces orders all U.S. forces be issued with the new weapons.
Mindful of the British growing distribution of RAM Spikes in the European theatre, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson orders American laser weaponry to also be sold to their French allies.
4th September - the U.S. invades Italy
Requiring a permanent manufacturing base in Europe, The U.S. invades Italy. Those forces withdrawn from the Western Front attack from the north, whilst amphibious operations see U.S. troops land in significant numbers in the south.
5th September - the HMS Milton is launched
DIES new laboratory ship, the HMS Milton, sets out on its maiden voyage. Like the Urizen, it begins a continual journey through the world’s oceans, docking at the British Empire’s many ports for provisions and to rotate crew. In a continuation of operating procedure formalised on the Urizen, the Milton only conducts Rift experimentation out to sea and does not remain in the same location for more than two days at one time. It is escorted by two warships, the HMS Shield and the HMS Cataphract.
7th September - Rasputin's youngest daughter is wounded
Overly emboldened by the Motherland’s territorial gains against the Bolsheviks - and against Ernst’s Volckheim’s advice - Rasputin leads an offensive against the White Russian forces of General Wrangel in the Crimea. Wrangel’s experience - combined with the dogged resistance of his veteran forces - repel Rasputin’s attack. To add insult to literal injury, the monk’s youngest daughter Varvara is also wounded in the assault.
12th September - Wrangel counterattacks
General Wrangel launches an opportunist counteroffensive against the Motherland of Rus. Mindful of his unwise action against Wrangel earlier in the month, Rasputin orders Ernst Volckheim and Ataman Maxim Razepin to oversee the defence of the Motherland against this new threat.
18th September - Wrangel repelled
The combined forces of the Motherland and the Razepin’s cossack host are enough to repel Wrangel’s attack. Rasputin’s eagerness for a counteroffensive is judged unwise by Volckheim and Razepin, the two veterans mindful of the impending winter. On this occasion, remembering the defeat Wrangel inflicted upon the Motherland - and the wounds suffered by his daughter - Rasputin heeds his generals’ advice.
29th September - Britain defeated at the Battle of Washington
In America, the British suffer a major defeat at the Battle of Washington. The capital is successfully defended by the American military and a large, armed and well-organised militia. The latter is now under the command of the 81 year old Nelson Miles, a veteran of the American Civil War, the American Indian Wars and the Spanish–American War.
Italy unable to keep American forces at bay
Already weakened by a prolonged campaign against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Italian army offers token resistance before it is overwhelmed by the invading Americans.
Italian resistance pushes back against American occupiers
Italy is home to a groundswell of organised and deadly partisan resistance to American occupation.
America begins manufacturing lasers in Italy
With a European base of operations now established in Italy, the U.S. sets about modernising and streamlining Italy’s manufacturing base. It also begins building Candlelight factories in Italy so as to increase its output of laser weapons.
First batches of lasers manufactured in Italy
The first tranche of laser weapons is distributed from the American Candlelight factories in Italy. Production, however, continues to be stifled by Italian saboteurs
The U.S. invade Austria-Hungary
American forces in Italy - newly equipped with the latest generation of U.S. laser weapons - launch Operation Ferdinand. Ostensibly a counter-offensive against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, its ultimate aim is to use Austria-Hungary as staging ground for a U.S. invasion of Germany.
Britain commissions new DIES manufacturing facility
The British on the Western Front are now under attack from the French, the Americans and the Germans. Desperate to keep its forces supplied with Rift weaponry, the British government approves the construction of a new and top-secret DIES research, experimentation and manufacturing DIES facility on the Isle of Wight. At the time of its construction, the existence of the facility is known to only the British government and armed forces.
British forces in Russia bolstered
In Russia, the British Expeditionary force receives reinforcements from Great British as well upgraded RAM Spikes and landships. Hoping these new arrivals will re-energise his campaign. Brigadier-General Edmund Ironside makes grinding, incremental progress toward the Russia capital of Moscow. Even this progress, however, is due largely to the fragmented nature of his opposition, with White and Red Russians fighting between themselves and against the Motherland of Rus and its allies.
3rd May - Lamsdorf leaks further intelligence
German spy Elsbeth Lamsdorf sends news of the DIES facility on the Isle of Wight to Germany. Her superiors in Wilhelmshaven order her to leak the information to the British press.
6th May - Lamsdorf contacts the British press
Lamsdorf leaks the existence of the DIES facility on the Isle of Wight to the British press. She also discloses not only a full and detailed account of the deaths of those based on the former Raasay and Rona stations, but also a full and uncensored description of the effects of Fog of War.
8th May - the British press publish the truth about DIES
The British press publish the details of the DIES base on the Isle of Wight and the uncensored truth behind the effects of RAM technology.
9th May - British MPs demand answers
The details of the DIES base on the Isle of Wight and the effects of RAM technology causes uproar in Great Britain. The government is subjected to probing questions in the House of Commons.
The British exodus begins
Terrified by the prospect of the Fog of War and the Scourge, the first wave of rich civilians flees Great Britain. The majority of them head for colonies such as India and Australia, whilst some apply for entry to the U.S. All but the most wealthy or skilled applicants are rejected. 3rd June - the British Prime Minister resigns
British Prime Minster David Lloyd George is forced to resign following continued pressure from both the opposition, his own party and the British press over the Isle of Wight scandal. He is succeeded by his Chancellor, Lord Birkenhead.
More RAM Spikes head to Europe
The first batch of RAM Spikes are shipped to the European mainland and Russia from the Isle of Wight. Meanwhile, in the House of Commons, the newly appointed Prime Minister partially assuages concerns over the DIES facility on the Isle of Wight. He does so by not only highlighting the supposed success of RAM Spikes in the American and European theatres, but also by playing down concerns over the Fog of War.
A lion rampant
Bolstered by the arrival of more RAM Spikes, the British forces in Europe mount a new offensive against the German, French and American armies. They meet the greatest success against the French and Germans. However, the Americans, now almost universally equipped with their laser weapons, repel all but the most overwhelming British assaults.
American forces issued with more lasers
Satisfied with the performance of its laser weaponry in the hands of I Corps, the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces orders all U.S. forces be issued with the new weapons.
The U.S. shares its laser technology with France
Mindful of the British growing distribution of RAM Spikes, U.S. President Warren G. Harding - a known and enthusiastic exponent of new technologies - orders laser weapons also be sold to their French allies.
'The Great Winter' enters the popular vernacular
The term ‘the Great Winter’ is coined in Europe as the Fog of War thickens and threatens to engulf the entire European mainland.
Civilians attempt to flee Europe
The population of Europe begin a mass exodus. Whilst the rich leave by boat, most begin long and arduous treks on foot toward the Balkans or attempt to cross the Mediterranean in civilian boats and dinghies, hoping to reach the safety of northern Africa. Spain closes its borders, with its military firing on any refuges who attempt to enter from France.
Germany scales back on the production of tanks
The material cost of fighting wars on both its Eastern and Western borders forces Germany to scale back production of its fearsome K-Wagons. Instead, priority is given to the production and refinement of armoured staff cars, troop carriers and laser weaponry. Other weapons developed by the German Imperial Atomic Command include multi-barrelled laser 'shotguns' and man-portable, marginally less powerful versions of the laser cannons used on K-Wagons.
America and Great Britain compete for dominance at sea
The war between America and the British Empire escalates as both the nations’ navies compete for domination of the seas. Britain’s increasing reliance on food imported from its overseas colonies makes its convoys prime targets for the American navy. As this naval war intensifies, both British and American fleets are targeted by Germany’s small but effective fleet of submarines
Fraulein Unbekannt is identified as Grand Duchess Anastasia
Clara Peuthert, formerly a nanny for the Romanov family and a now psychiatric patient in the same hospital as Fraulein Unbekannt, sees the latter by chance. An emotional Peuthert claims that Unbekannt is, in actuality, the Grand Duchess Tatiana of Russia.
03 April - Joseph Stalin appointed leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Joseph Stalin succeeds Lenin as the new, supreme leader of the Soviet Union.
04 April - Stalin vows to destroy the Motherland of Rus and the White Russians
The new Chairman of the Communist party declares he will "heal Russia of Rasputin and the blight of his Motherland" and "paint Russia red with White blood." In an effort to bolster the Red Army he lowers the age of conscription, recalls all retired war veterans who are still able to draw breath. He also places increasingly unreasonable demands on the Soviet manufacturing sector to produce more weapons and tanks.
02 May - Fraulein Unbekannt is taken out of her asylum
Fraulein Unbekannt is taken out of her asylum in Germany by a Russian émigré Baron Arthur von Kleist. Von Kleist then welcomes Unbekannt into his home in Berlin. Here she is given a room and an expansive collection of new clothes.
04 May - Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna invited to the United States
President Warren G. Harding invites the mother of the murdered Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, to visit him in the White House. Whilst he states he only wishes to discuss the possible whereabouts of her granddaughter Anastasia, he does, in fact, hope she will banish his remaining doubts as to the real identity of Fraulein Unbekannt.
01 June - von Kleist and Fraulein Unbekannt sail to America.
Baron von Kleist and his new charge, Fraulein Unbekannt, leave Germany and sail for America.
10 June - Fraulein Unbekannt meets President Harding
Revealing himself as O.S.S agent Prince Serge Obolensky, 'Baron von Kleist' takes Fraulein Unbekannt to the White House where he introduces her to President Warren G. Harding and his guest, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Once the tearful Dowager Empress confirms Fraulein Unbekannt is, in fact, Princess Anastasia Romanov, the President is reported to greet Anastasia by saying, 'It's an honour to meet you, Your Highness. Now let's put you where you belong - on the Russian throne.'
20 June - Fraulein Unbekannt begins rehabilitation
The woman formerly known as Fraulein Unbekannt begins a long and intensive period of rehabilitation in various secret hospitals in America. She is taught English, etiquette and, perversely, how the Bolsheviks murdered the Romanov family. Furthermore, she is taught to believe she really is the last remaining heir to the Russian throne.
15 July - King George V leaves Great Britain
Faced with a worsening situation in Europe and with Western Front’s thickening Fog of War now approaching Dover, King George V of Great Britain reluctantly agrees to leave the British mainland and relocate to India.
American Expeditionary Force reaches Austro-Hungarian border with Germany
American forces begin a fresh offensive against the Austro-Hungarian army on the European mainland. A trio of early battles at Landeck, Matrel and Innsbruck auger well for the American forces, and these successes bring them to the Austrian border with Germany.
23 August - America invades Germany
America invades the German Empire, seizing Rosenheim with relative ease. This victory now brings American forces within 51 kilometres of Munich.
01 September - American forces lay siege to Munich
The American army lays siege to Munich. Kaiser Wilhelm I, meanwhile, still refuses to leave Germany.
Now fighting against invading forces on its Western and Southern borders, the German army begins to falter. Construction of fortifications north of Munich begins and the able-bodied civilian population of the city are ordered to report for basic military training and to be issued with weapons. Army reserves are hastily redeployed to this new, so-called ‘Southern Front’.
Grand Duchess Anastasia declared fit to return to Russia
After almost a year of rehabilitation, Grand Duchess Anastasia is declared fit to return to Russia. The news is welcomed by President Warren G. Harding, who promptly orders the U.S. invasion of Russia to begin.
17 May - DIES unveils new weapon
The British forces in the European mainland debut a new weapon created on the Isle of Wight. Technically classified as BARDS (British Automated Rift Delivering Systems) but more colloquially known as ‘strolling bombs’ or ‘Shakespeares’, these armoured, automated, tracked devices are fitted with a miniature RAM reactor and programmed to detonate in the proximity of enemy targets. The first wave of BARDS are, however, notoriously unreliable and pose as big a threat to British forces as to their enemies in Europe. Regardless, the development of BARDS continues.
21 June - the United States Army lands in Siberia
Having waited for Bering Sea to thaw, a United States expeditionary force leaves Alaska and travels to Eastern Russia via the Bering Strait. They land at Anadyr in the Siberian province of Chukotka and face no resistance. Once this beachhead is secured, further soldiers, vehicles and equipment are transported to Anadyr and the U.S. invasion of Russia begins in earnest.
23 - June - BARDS issues to British forces in Russia
The British Expeditionary Force in Russia is finally issued with BARDS as well as fresh soldiers and more RAM Spikes. Even these additional assets are able to inject only slight energy into the British advance on Moscow, such is the combined effects of the Bolsheviks’ guerrilla tactics and the increase in attacks by the Scourge.
25 June - Rasputin asks Baba Yaga to stall the American invasion
Confident her pupils are ready, Baba Yaga informs Rasputin she intends to transport them to the Motherland of Rus. Rasputin, however, asks her to take them to Eastern-most Russia and, together with her young students, do what she can to thwart their advance into Russia. Keen to see and feed upon the tender flesh of young, male soldiers, Baba Yaga is only too happy to comply. Together with her young students, she travels in her walking hut to Chukotka. She spends the entire trip bathing in her newly-reclaimed cauldron which she fills with water from dirty streams and heats with flames from burning corpses.
30 June - Siberian Cossack Host declares it allegiance to Grand Duchess Anastasia
The Cossack Host of Siberia pledges its allegiance to Grand Duchess Anastasia. Major General William Sidney Graves - leader of the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia - is more than happy to have such a formidable fighting force on his side.
American Expeditionary Force gains more ground in Eastern Russia
The American Expeditionary Force continues to make progress in Eastern Russia. Whilst Bolshevik resistance remains spirited, a great number of White Russian units - as with the Siberian Cossacks - ally themselves to the Americans when they learn that they are campaigning to return Princess Anastasia to the throne.
As the Americans' Russian allies grow in number, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna comes into her own, acting not only as a liaison between the Americans and the Russians, but also an inspirational speaker for the Russian forces. Now 76 years of age, she remains indomitable in her desire to return Anastasia to the Russian throne.
American Expeditionary Force attacked by Baba Yaga
As per Rasputin's request, Baba Yaga stalks the American Expeditionary Force. With her hut moving in parallel with the Americans, she begins a series of short, sharp attacks designed to inflict as much spiritual and psychological harm as physical.
Backed by her students from Tunguska and her chicken-legged hut, she wreaks havoc on the Expeditionary Force. Only the American's Cossack allies retain any semblance of calm, with many of the bravest riders leaving the main army in small hunting parties in an effort to seek out - and kill - the legendary witch. All of them find her, but none of them come back alive.
Baba Yaga halts the American advance
Unhappy with the advances made by the American Expeditionary Force, Baba Yaga employs the elements to assist her. Working her magic, she summons an unusually sudden and bitter winter. With temperatures plummeting to -40 degrees centigrade, the Expeditionary Force has no choice but to establish a camp and wait for spring.
Chuchunya begin their attacks on the American camp
The camp of the American Expeditionary Force comes under nightly attack from both the elements and a seemingly endless number of Russian yetis (known locally as 'chuchunya'). These big, robust creatures are fierce, immensely strong and durable. Summoned by Baba Yaga, their nightly raids soon take their toll on both the Americans and their Cossack allies.
Baba Yaga and her pupils attack
Having spent two months weakening and terrorizing the American Expeditionary Force with her Chuchunya allies, Baba Yaga now attacks the weary, frozen Americans in person. Accompanied by her young pupils from Tunguska, she launches an assault on the American camp. This is the first test for her young proteges, and results are mixed. One panics in the face of the enemy and is cut down by rifle fire whilst another botches a spell and incinerates herself. The remaining pupils, however, conduct themselves well and, by the time Baba Yaga commands them to withdraw, they have inflicted considerable casualties on the Americans and their cossack allies. Anastasia and the Dowager Empress, however, remain unharmed.
HMS Milton begins work on new Rift weapon
Driven by the success of BARDS on the Western Front and further advances in RAM technology, HMS Milton begins development of the first RAM shells. These projectiles are conceived as containing small RAM generators which, on impact, will open sizable rifts through which the Scourge can emerge and prey on those in the immediate area. Elsbeth Lamsdorf—still operating in the DIES headquarters in Brighton—immediately feeds the details of this new initiative to her superiors in Germany’s Imperial Atomic Command.
'Gogmagog' under development
The British army begins construction of a new, secret weapon known only as ‘Gogmagog’.
The American Expeditionary Force breaks out of its camp
Having endured yet survived a hellish winter under siege, the American Expeditionary Force - together with the Grand Duchess Anastasia and Maria Feodorovna - finally breaks camp and resumes its journey west. Progress remains slow, however, thanks to continued harrying from Baba Yaga and her allies.
Germany modifies its lasers
Forced to abandon manufacture of further K-Wagons due to the tanks’ production costs, the German army begins to modify and adapt its laser weaponry for use on existing, cheaper vehicles. The first such example is the adaption of the synchronisation method used on machine guns by the German air force to allow their biplanes to be fitted with lasers. The first successful test of such a mechanism takes place in April of 1924, and German High Command immediately orders a mass roll out of biplanes fitted with these synchronised weapons.
05 May - Germans deploy new 'laser planes'
The first German biplane fitted with synchronised lasers appear on the Western Front, with German ace Fritz Beckhardt using the weapons to harry and impede British infantry during the Battle of Metz.
06 May - British War Office learns of 'laser planes'
Reports of the Germans’ use of synchronised laser weaponry on its biplanes reaches the British War Office.
12 May - the War Office orders the development of 'Rift planes'
The British government order the immediate adaption of Rift weaponry for use of RAF biplanes in Europe.
28 May - American reinforcements land in Siberia
With the Bering Strait now thawed, U.S. reinforcements land in Siberia. They immediately begin their journey west. Their progress, however, is soon retarded by resistance from not only Bolshevik insurgents, but also Siberian Cossacks loyal to Baba Yaga.
07 June - Rasputin severely wounded
A lone unit of German Uhlans operating deep in the Motherland of Rus launches a raid on Rasputin’s camp. Although the Germans are repulsed, Rasputin is severely wounded by sustained and withering fire from the Germans.
10 June - Dimitry Rasputin leads the Motherland
With Baba-Yaga hundreds of miles away in Siberia and his father severely wounded, Rasputin’s eldest son, Dimitry, assumes control of the Motherland of Rus. Although advised by experienced soldiers such as Rasputin’s favoured Generals Ernst Volckheim and the Cossack veteran Ataman Maxim Razepin, Dimitry is now entrusted with absolute control of the Motherland.
19 June - 'RIFT planes' make their debut
The first British biplanes fitted with RAM Spikes appear on the Western Front. Their strafing of enemy positions in the run-up to an infantry advance makes an immediate impact on the German front lines, enabling British gains of up to nine kilometres during the Second Battle of Nancy.
21 June - U.S. reinforcements reach the Expeditionary Force
U.S. reinforcements rendezvous with the American Expeditionary Force in the Russian city of Yakutsk.
The Motherland's enemies learn of Rasputin's injuries
Despite the best efforts of the Motherland to suppress the information, news of Rasputin’s injuries and the ascension of his son reaches the leaders of both the White Russians and the Bolshevik. Each determines this - together with Baba-Yaga being in Siberia - offers an ideal opportunity to launch a decisive attack on the Motherland.
03 July - Japan and America clash in Russia
Such are the advances of the reinvigorated American Expeditionary Force in Russia that its forces clash with those of the Japanese invasion force at the Battle of Kirensk. Ambushed by the Japanese, the Americans find themselves engaged in fierce close quarters fighting.
Ordered to protect the Grand Duchess Anastasia and the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna at all costs, the Americans perform a strategic withdrawal at the first opportunity, rendering the outcome of the battle inconclusive.
25 July – 02 August - the Motherland under attack
The Motherland of Rus comes under sustained attack from both Red and White Russian forces. Determined to lead the Motherland from the front, Dimitry proves unable to command his forces. He succumbs to the pressure and, dazed and lost in a state of almost total mental inertia, he is powerless to stop Ernst Volckheim and Ataman Razepin assuming command of the beleaguered Motherland forces. Rallying under these experienced leaders, the Motherland is then able to repulse her opponents. At this point, however, the Motherland has already suffered significant losses.
03 August - a new leader for the Motherland
Dimitry Rasputin steps down as the leader of the Motherland of Rus. Although he determines he will continue to serve the Motherland, he is replaced by his eldest sister, Maria Rasputin.
05 August - Maria calls upon Kutkh
Maria Rasputin invokes the raven-spirit Kutkh and implores him to make contact with Baba Yaga on her behalf. When Kutkh agrees, Maria asks that he seeks Baba Yaga’s advice as to how the Motherland should resist the combined forces of the White and Red Russians whilst her father is incapacitated.
06 – 11 August - Kutkh travels to Siberia
In a rare display of benevolence, Kutkh makes contact with Baba Yaga. He details the reversals which have befallen the Motherland and Maria Rasputin’s plea for advice. 12 August - Baba Yaga raises the dead
In response to Kutkh’s news from the Motherland, Baba Yaga raises a host of Upiór. These undead warriors begin a nonstop march to the Motherland of Rus; it will take them almost three months to reach their destination.
12 August – 17 August - 'Pavel Andropov' infiltrates the Bolshevik forces
Kutkh travels across Russia once again, this time to the headquarters of the Bolshevik forces. There he assumes the guise of Red Russian commander Pavel Andropov. A trusted advisor to Stalin, Andropov had been missing and presumed dead since last engaging the Allied Expeditionary Force in the Battle of Shchukozerye. The supposed return of ‘Andropov’ is warmly welcomed by the Bolsheviks and Stalin, and Kutkh thus inveigles his way into a position of influence within the Red Army. He is then able to disrupt the Red Army’s campaign against the Motherland with a combination of lies and bad strategic advice.
20 August - American and Japanese forces clash at Ust-Ilimsk
The American Expeditionary Force in Russia clashes with the Japanese invasion force at the Battle of Ust-Ilimsk. Although a relatively minor skirmish, it is notable for the disparity in losses suffered by the two sides. Unlike their previous engagement at the Battle of Kirensk, this action is fought almost exclusively at range. The Japanese, armed with only conventional weapons, are only able to inflict relatively minor casualties whilst suffering heavy losses at the hands of the Americans and their laser weapons.
Turkish army suffers heavy defeat in Egypt
The British Egyptian Expeditionary Force launches a major offensive against Turkish forces in Egypt. Superior British numbers - combined with the use of RAM Spikes so injudicious it borders on wanton - sees the Turkish slump to a crushing defeat.
Maria Rasputin rallies the Motherland
Now benefitting from the advice and experience of Ernst Volckheim and Ataman Razepin, Maria Rasputin rallies the Motherland of Rus. She is able to reverse at least some of the territorial losses suffered by the Motherland whilst also inflicting notable defeats on the Red and White Russians.
All the while her father continues to recover, albeit slowly. His recovery, such as it is, is said to be aided by supernatural creatures known as rusalkas, or water spirits. At Rasputin’s command, he is left to sink beneath the waters of a nearby lake for hours at a time. During these periods he is said to be visited by rusalkas who use their magic to heal the monk and accelerate his recovery. Those who assist Rasputin both in and out of the lake are soon convinced these water spirits are not only aiding Rasputin’s recovery, but were responsible for his not drowning in the river Neva following the attempt on his life in 1916.
17 September - the Americans prepare for another Russian winter
With winter drawing in, the American Expeditionary Force reaches the town of Nevonka. There, Anastasia and the Dowager Empress appeal to the residents of the town for shelter against the coming winter. The townsfolk—overjoyed as the presence of the rightful heir to the Russian throne—are only too happy to oblige and every effort is made to billet the Americans and their royal charges.
22 September - Attaturk sues for peace
Recognising his nation's inability to resist a British army armed with Rift technology and keen to save the country from the Fog of War, Turkish President Attaturk declares a ceasefire and sues the British for peace.
As another bitter winter envelopes Russia, the progress of the warring Red, White, British, American and Japanese armies - as well as that of marauding German Uhlans and Stormtroopers - is brought to a frozen halt. As these armies hunker down and prepare to overwinter, only the supernatural allies of Baba Yaga and the Motherland of Rus are able to move freely. They embark on a campaign of sabotage and guerrilla attacks intended to erode their enemies’ morale as much as their material strength.
Meanwhile, the tireless Upiór continue their inexorable march from Siberia to the Motherland.
2 November - the Upiór reach the Motherland
After almost three months of constant marching, Baba Yaga’s army of Upiór reach the Motherland of Rus.
American morale plummets
Trapped in another vicious Russian winter, the American force in Russia shows signs of mental, emotional and physical fatigue. Despite the best hospitality and shelter the citizens of Nevonka are able to offer, American desertions and suicides escalate, as do the number of deaths suffered by exposure. Grand Duchess also Anastasia shows signs of emotional exhaustion and only the seemingly indomitable Dowager Empress seems able to elevate her spirits.
Meanwhile, Baba-Yaga and her supernatural allies continue to harry the Americans.
Germany begins the development of atomic shells
Reacting to the development of RAM shells, Germany’s Imperial Atomic Command begins research into the ‘atomic shell’. Its investigations are headed by the newly recruited Leo Szilard.
14 February - Baba Yaga makes contact with the Dowager Empress
Sheltered in a house in Nevonka, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna awakes to find Baba Yaga perched on her bed frame. The old Russian witch introduces herself and explains she has come to reason with Maria Feodorovna ‘crone to crone’. She goes on to implore Feodorovna to ‘turn back’ and ‘take the Grand Duchess with you’, promising that all that awaits them if they persist in their ‘futile crusade’ is a ‘long, cold and painful death’. When Feodorovna responds by producing a derringer from her coat pocket and shooting the witch, Baba Yaga disperses into a cloud of flies and leaves the house.
The Upiór unnerve the Germans
As the Russian winters recedes, German units of Uhlans and Stormtroopers begin to harry the Motherland of Rus once again. However, the presence of the undead Upiór unnerves the Germans, with their rifles having little to no effect on the cadavers. Only dangerous and desperate close quarters combat is sufficient to thwart their undead foes, with the Germans replying on bayonets and sabres to chop the opponents into rotten pieces. Such tactics are not without risk, however, with many of the Germans being devoured or suffering from vicious, infected bites.
03 March - The Americans receive unexpected reinforcements
The American Expeditionary Force breaks camp in Novenka. As it prepares to leave, it is approached by a small, lightly-armed Russian militia. This militia, upon being greeted by General William Sidney Graves, requests they be allowed to speak with the ‘Empress’ Anastasia. Wary of an assassination attempt, the Dowager Empress refuses to let Anastasis meet the militia and, instead, meets them herself. They immediately declare their loyalty to both her and Anastasia, vowing to do what they can to restore the young duchess to the Russian throne.
04 - 08 March - Baba Yaga experiences pangs of doubt
Confounded by the citizens of Novenka pledging fealty to Anastasia, Baba Yaga and her young students return to the Motherland in the witch’s chicken-legged hut. Upon arrival, the witch seeks guidance from Varvara Rasputin as to how she should proceed. To attack American invaders and their puppet Anastasia is one thing, she maintains, but to visit death upon the Russian peasantry is quite another.
When Varvara orders, without hesitation, that the Americans, Anastasia and all her allies - no matter what their nationality - should be ‘ground into dust’, Baba Yaga experiences her first pangs of doubt about Rasputin’s daughter. She wonders whether the young woman is loyal to Russia … or to herself.
10 March - Gogmagog reaches Leningrad
The HMS Milton sails from Bristol to the British-held port of Leningrad. Upon arrival, it delivers a new weapon - previously known only as ‘Gogmagog’ - to the British military. A mammoth artillery cannon of a size that rivals Germany’s M-Gerät (more commonly known as ‘Big Bertha’), Gogmagog weighs over 85,000 lbs and can fire a shell more than 9,000 metres at a rate of 10 shells per hour. Even more worryingly for Britain’s opponents, Gogmagog has been delivered alongside 100 RAM shells. British commander-in-chief of the Russian Expeditionary Force, Brigadier-General Edmund Ironside, immediately orders Gogmagog to be dispatched to the frontline at Moscow.
12 March - Baba Yaga rejoins the battle
Baba Yaga returns to harassing Anastasia and the American Expeditionary Force. Her students, however, detect a subtle change in the witch; no longer is she as ruthless or as gleeful as in previous engagements with the Americans, and no longer does she maintain the same relentless and deadly pressure during battle.
20 - 21 March - Gogmagog is used in anger
Gogmagog arrives within range of the frontline at Moscow. It is put into action as soon as it is unloaded and prepared. Within 24 hours its RAM shells reduce Moscow to rubble. What few Russians survive the constant bombardment by RAM shells - and subsequent Scourge incursion - flee in terror. The amount of Scourge seen in the ruins of Moscow is thought to be the largest ever seen in any one place at any one time.
22 March - Baba Yaga encounters the Scourge
Sensing the host of rampant Scourge in what was once Moscow, Baba Yaga travels to the ruins to investigate. There she sees - and is attacked by - the Scourge for the first time. Although she and her chicken-legged hut make short work of the Scourge, she finds their presence in her homeland deeply disturbing. It is not the Americans and their puppet princess who pose the biggest threat to her motherland, she realises, but the British and their RAM weaponry.
23 March - the British take Moscow
The British Expeditionary Force takes Moscow after two days of vicious fighting with the Scourge. They also witness Baba Yaga for the first time as she also hunts the last of the Scourge and searches for survivors amongst the ruins of Moscow. Many of the British are deeply disturbed by the fact that she - and her hut - can even exist.
25 March - Grantham-Bliss appraises Gogmagog
A full and detailed report of Gogmagog’s performance is delivered to DIES director General Sir Devlin Grantham-Bliss. He describes the research, development and deployment of the cannon as ‘a crossroads in human history’.
26 March - Grantham-Bliss resigns
Sir Devlin Grantham-Bliss resigns as director of DIES. He and his family will sail to Australia within days, there to begin a new life away from what Grantham-Bliss describes as ‘the European abyss’.
29 March - Maria Rasputin vows to destroy Gogagog
News of Gogmagog’s performance - and the near obliteration of the Bolsheviks in Moscow - reaches the Motherland of Rus. Maria Rasputin vows she will destroy not only Gogmagog, but the British Expeditionary Force.
01 April - a new director is appointed
After almost a week of searching for a willing candidate, the British government appoints Baron Archibald Glasscock as the new head of DIES. A Conservative backbencher and former cavalry officer in the Boer War, Glasscock is the sixth potential appointee to be approached by the government; the first five have flatly declined the offer.
02 April - the HMS Milton sails to Leningrad
The British military despatch the HMS Milton to Leningrad. It is to create more RAM shells enroute and resupply Gagmagog upon arrival.
06 April - Maria Rasputin assassinated
With his company having suffered severe losses at the hands of the Upiór, a lone German stormtrooper by the name of Helmut Straub ventures into the Motherland of Rus’ main camp. There he sneaks into the tent of Maria Rasputin and murders her in her sleep. Subsequently trapped by the alerted Motherland faithful and unable to escape, Straub shoots himself in the head rather than risk capture.
07 April - Varvara Rasputin becomes the leader of the Motherland
With her sister Maria dead and her elder brother Dimitry refusing to lead the Motherland again, it falls on Rasputin’s youngest child, Varvara, to become the acting head of the Motherland of Rus. She is only 25 years of age.
08 April - Varvara demands vengeance
Keen to establish herself as a strong and decisive leader, Varvara orders Ataman Razepin and his Cossack host to hunt down and exterminate any and all German uhlans and stormtroopers operating in the Motherland. She also declares she will lead an offensive against the Bolsheviks in an effort to ‘raze them from history’.
Fearing the young Varvara may be overreaching both herself and the Motherlands resources, her brother Dimitry calls upon Kutkh for whatever advice or intervention he is able to offer. The raven spirit heeds his call but, unable to second-guess how Varvara’s initiative will end, all he can do is advise Dimitry to do what he can do to accelerate Rasputin’s recovery.
09 April - Dimitry seeks advice from his father
Dimitry visits the convalescing Rasputin in his hut. The monk, although greatly healed following his prolonged periods in the company of water spirits, is still weak and able to offer no better advice than to trust his own instincts and to do what he can to protect his sister.
10 April - fractures show in the Motherland
Frustrated by a lack of clear and decisive advice from either his father or Kutke, Dimitry makes a hasty decision to thwart Varvara before she is able to make what he considers to be a grave mistake. He intercepts Ernst Volckheim and Ataman Razepin before they embark on their respective missions and orders them to abort. When news of Dimitry’s actions reach Varvara, she confronts her brother. A heated debate follows, with both the siblings issuing contradictory orders to Volckheim and Razepin; both decide to follow Varvara’s orders and hunt down the German units. A significant percentage of their respective forces, however, choose to follow Dimitry’s orders and stand down. Thus, Razepin and Volckheim venture forth with only a reduced number of soldiers at their command.
Incensed by her brother’s disobedience, Varvara orders Dimitry to be expelled from the Motherland. Angered, he leaves the village of his own accord, determined to leave the Motherland to its fate.
10 April - 10 May - the Uhlans evade the Cossacks
Although the German stormtroopers in the Motherland are hunted down and killed by Volckheim and his Cossack allies within four days of Varvara ordering their deaths, the Uhlans continue to evade their pursuers Cossacks. They led Volckheim and the Cosssacks further and further from Rasputin’s village. By the time the Uhlans have reached the border with Germany, the Cossack numbers have been severely depleted to the point they give up their pursuit and begin the long journey home.
23 April - Captain Ramsey-Burns expresses his concerns about Baron Glasscock’s appointment
Upon hearing Baron Glasscock has been appointed as the new head of DIES, Captain Ramsey-Burns - now fighting against the Americans on the Italian border and having fought alongside Glasscock in the Transvaal - christens the Baron as the ‘fifth horseman of the Apocalypse’ and a man whose incompetence presents ‘a greater threat to the Britain Empire than the Germans, Americans and Russians combined.’
British government order yet more Gagmagogs
Thrilling to the success of Gogmagog on the frontline in Russia, the British government orders a slew of these new weapons be commissioned and placed on a number of British warships, there to support both inland forces from the coastline and amphibious landings in America, Russia and Europe. It is particularly keen on reinvigorating the faltering invasion of America.
05 May - Dimitry surrenders to the White Russians
Having spent his time since his expulsion from the Motherland either drunk or fornicating with various farm animals, Dimitry Rasputin determines he will make his sister pay for his exile. To this end he travels to the headquarters of General Nikolai Yudenich, the leader of the White Russians fighting against the Bolsheviks and the invading British in north-western Russia. There Dimitry offers Yudenich invaluable intelligence and insights on the Motherland and her forces.
10 May - Dimitry Rasputin welcomed into the ranks of the White Russians
Following an extensive interview with Dimitry Rasputin, General Nikolai Yudenich is satisfied Dimitry is not only the son of the infamous Rasputin, but also sincere in his desire to help Yudenich overcome the Motherland. Thus, he welcomes Dimitry into his army.
Dimitry guides the White Russians against the Motherland
Now working in conjunction with Dimitry Rasputin, the White Russians begin a new campaign against the Motherland. Thanks to Dimitry, they are now able to make smaller and more effective strikes against the Motherland whilst risking less of their men.
20 June - the Uhlan Timo Korsmeier delivers his report to the Kaiser
The young Uhlan officer Timo Korsmeier - one of the last remaining Uhlans to evade the Motherland's Cossacks and return to Germany - reaches the German army headquarters in Cassel, Germany. There he is received by the Kaiser and his staff, who listen with great interest to Korsmeier’s reports. Impressed with the young soldier’s report and the apparent success of these independent units operating against Rasputin and his forces, they agree to dispatch more Stormtroopers and Uhlans to the Motherland.
18 July - Korsmeier to return to the Motherland
New units of Uhlans and Stormtroopers are sent into the Motherland. In recognition of his journey to Cassel, Timo Korsmeier is given command of his own unit of Uhlans.
18 August - Korsmeier harrys the Motherland
Timo Korsmeier and his compatriots begin another campaign of guerilla warfare against the Motherland of Rus.
RAMPS dispatched to America
The first tranche of new Gogmagogs - now known by their official name of RAM Projectile System (or RAMPS) - sails from Great Britain to America.
RAMPS reach America
Britain’s new RAMPS reach America. It is hoped the arrival of these new superweapons will restore British supremacy in the United States.
Russia and Great Britain mired in warfare, fog and the Scourge
By January 1926 Russia has become a quagmire of geopolitical ambition, internecine warfare and extra-dimensional incursion. Germany continues its raids into Russia's western borders, whilst, to the east, the former Entente powers now fight amongst themselves even as their soldiers die for them in Russia, Germany and America. The Fog of War - and the Scourge it conceals - creeps across Europe and the soil runs red as civil war pitches the Whites against their Bolshevik enemies.
To the west, Germany's invasion continues as best it can, bogged down as it is by Rasputin and his Motherland of the Rus. To the north the entrenched British continue to poison the country with their Rift weaponry, all the while creating ever-widening portals through which pour the Scourge. To the east the American Expeditionary Party makes only incremental advances, its progress retarded by Cossacks, White Russians and the otherworldly allies of Baba Yaga. To the south the Japanese make steady and deliberate progress in the face of vehement opposition from both White and Red Russians.
The British, meanwhile, find themselves bogged down in both the quagmire of the Western Front and ever-worsening conditions in Russia. The Rift weaponry upon which they had pinned their hopes now promises only doom. Worse still, each battle the British fight invites further incursions from the Scourge.
By January 1926, the World's War has been raging for 12 years. There is no end in sight.