The Cronestes Empire, after conquering the city states surrounding its heartland at the base of the Noteres Mountains, looked to the Pasteres River as a method of quickly transporting troops and supplies for further conquest.
Meanwhile, the collection of tribes calling themselves "Hanaron" had inhabited the wetlands surrounding the Pasteres River long before civilization first emerged on Bemuge. Despite being vastly outmatched in terms of numbers and technology, the Hanaron tribes succeeded in keeping interlopers at bay for centuries. They became the subject of myths by nearby towns of "wild men" that had hybridized with wild beasts, and had forked horns.
First Pasteres Incursion
The first expedition down the Pasteres River was led by Shukus, an ambitious commander who had deposed his regiment's former commander. Venturing down the river by boat, the regiment was ambushed by a Hanaron hunting party.
Despite their superior technology, guerilla tactics (which no Cronestes forces had ever dealt with before) allowed the Hanaron tribesmen to engage Cronestes fighters from the treeline using their bows, then retreat before the latter could retaliate. Ironically, Shukus was the first to be killed.
With the abandoned boats travelling down the river, the survivors, led by a warrior named Jiken, were forced to travel back upriver on foot.
Second Pasteres Incursion
Emperor Nejekus, now aware of his empire's new foe, revised his initial strategy into a more tactical plan with three components:
- Rather than small, easily-overwhelmed squads, further expeditions would have warriors be organized based on their specialties; melee fighters would march along the sides of the river, where they could quickly engage Hanaron ambushes. Meanwhile, boats would remain in use, but have only archers on them, to provide the melee fighters with ranged support.
- Due to compact platoons being an easy target for ambushes, expeditions on foot to find and ransack the Hanaron villages would instead be performed by warriors arranged in line formation. As another instance of deliberate troop formation, there would be two layers of melee warriors arranged in triangles, with an archer in the middle.
- Most importantly, the dense jungle on both sides of the Pasteres River served not only as the base for Hanaron ambushes, but also as an obstacle for developing the river into an effective means of transport. For this reason, captives from previous military acquisitions would be used as slave labor to clear-cut the areas nearest the river.
Despite the plan being far from perfect, the Cronestes Empire gradually managed to wear down the Hanaron tribes' ability to fight; Nejekus could afford to send warrior after warrior to replace those who were lost, but the Hanaron tribes' low population growth, and reliance on hunting and gathering, meant every loss was a major blow. The Hanaron tribes were forced to withdraw from further offensives and, due to the Cronestes warriors' relentless assaults, had no choice but to surrender.
With the Pasteres River now under Cronestes control, Emperor Nejekus was free to use it as a springboard for further conquest.