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The Brown Beard navy is about the only good thing they got going for themselves in this war.

The Eastern Sea of the West Lands is divided in twain by a long peninsula called Magodon, but every approach to Magodon save one was guarded by sheer cliffs rising as much as four hundred feet, made of soft wet clay that could not be scaled by any yeng, and at the foot of these cliffs all around Magodon lay impassible swamps that could swallow horses, trap the wheels of chariots, and drown yeng. Nor could an invading army cross the land around the Sea to the north or the south, for in places roaring waves ran nigh to the very ice, and periodically giant slabs of ice would melt and slide into the sea with the sound of thunder, and no permanent road could be carved nor tunnel bored to permit passage to the lands in the west.

Only at the uttermost eastern tip of the peninsula of Magodon could nephilim pass, but this was guarded by the Nine Mile Wall and several small islands bristling with fortified settlements, whose chief city was Rumbek. So it was that the House of Bellon was the bulwark against any Gerash incursion, protecting not only their own lands in Magodon to the city of Hideon and beyond, but also the greater lands of family Antero far in the west.

When war came a well-orchestrated ballet of Gerash sailing craft, guided by the lights of homes on the shore of Sealiah Isle, concentrated at nightfall in the league-wide gap between Sealiah and the village of Gurtus on the mainland. The tiny settlement of Surat at Sealiah's northern tip, including the ferry landing, were taken by Eyes of Belial commandos and after that many of the new Gerash ships traversed the narrow strait unhindered.

Five battalions of Gerash troops went ashore at Sealiah led by Eye of Belial officers. The boats had to be driven well up on the beach to avoid the omnipresent yang-eating flora in the waters of the Eastern Sea, which also afflicted the Western Sea nigh to Aramel in the Middle Lands. Belial's ships then rowed southwest toward Rumbek. Sloth was remedied by the lash. The defenders of Rumbek answered Belial's incursion with a wall of ships. In this arena alone did the House of Bellon gain a clear victory. By the end of the first day no Magodon ships were left to threaten Rumbek, for all the surviving ships were pulled north to defend the Sealiah beachhead.

At dawn on the second day the southernmost two battalions of the amphibious invasion force linked together and marched across Sealiah Island as they began taking it house-to-house. This was accomplished with little resistance and only scattered bow-shot. Likewise, the village of Surat in the north fell quickly to the endless troops pouring over the beachhead. Soon the residents of both towns regretted surrendering so easily, for the Eyes of Belial began obeying Belial's orders to kill male Brown Beards on sight.

Meanwhile three other battalions erupted from the beach and cut southwest across the island to join up with the first two, but Khondiel's Fallen Angels issued forth from their tents and borrowed houses to hit Belial on his left flank. All of Sealiah awoke to put up the first real resistance of the unfolding war. Movement ground nearly to a halt as a pitched battle developed along a front that crept slowly south down the Isle of Sealiah.

Refugees began leaving Sealiah on foot. Talishi fell in together with them, protected by Khondiel, and the King assigned a platoon to guard Talishi as well, led by a Dominion named Binyiel. Talishi objected, saying, Dominion Binyiel, please return to the King, for I have Khondiel with me, and the people of House Bellon need you and your yang far more than we do.

But Dominion Binyiel said, Even so, Lady Talishi, the King himself charged me never to depart your side. And in her presence he produced Irmgard's own ring, embossed with the seal of the House of Bellon, which the King used to imprint documents sealed with wax to assure their authenticity. When the Dominion gave this token to Talishi she mourned bitterly, for by this gesture she knew Irmgard had resolved not to survive the coming attack. But to honor the King, Talishi accepted his ring and also his servant the Dominion Binyiel as a traveling companion.

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