Author Topic: From the Bleak Winter until the Aftermath of the Counsil Meeting  (Read 425 times)

Offline whitesword

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The Bleak Winter Begins- Following the closure of the Elemental Gate, winter arrived early and with intensity not seen in nearly 30 years.  There was no meaningful change of seasons until Summer 813.  Only the southern farms, especially those near Havenhollow, prevent famine.  Raids in the north become common.

812: The Third Northern Invasion and Siege of Northwatch- At the height of the Bleak Winter, the largest invading force yet from the north, arrived.   The allegiance of the invaders was not clear during the previous invasions.  This army was led by Azelec the Souless, Knight of Nilas’anor.  The invaders massacred villages on both sides of the border between the Kingdom and Gnarland before laying siege to Northwatch.  The army was equipped with captured dimensional anchors and other anti-magic devices.  There was no force in the eastern half of the Kingdom that could relive the city.  While the Kingdom sent small numbers of Knights and elite soldiers to the city, only the forces of Gnarland could save the defenders.
An army of Ice Gnomes and allied barbarians, led by Gnadine Silverstone, Captain of the Knights of the White Sword, arrived and attacked immediately.  Azelec’s forces were well led, and far more disciplined than expected from a Chosen and barbarian army.  Rather than risk being trapped against the walls, Azelec led his forces into battle against the Gnarland army.  Gnadine was a great leader but less formidable in single combat than many of her fellow Captains.  Azelec struck her down and took her head as a trophy.  The Gnomes broke the attackers’ lines, but before they could regroup, word reached them that an army of Dwarves, led by the young Thane, Matthek the Unyielding, would soon arrive from the Underfrost.  Azelec’s army withdrew, though the Gnomes and Dwarves destroyed their rear guard before they reached the wastes.  Azelec left Gnadine’s head on a spear at the border.  Since the battle, raiders have made travel from Northwatch dangerous, both north and south.

813: The Royal Council- During the Bleak Winter, the assassination attempts increased in frequency and were frequently successful.  Arion called a council at Castle Gemblade and all the lesser monarchs, heads of the high noble families and many other nobles attended.  Representatives of the Guardians, the Bardic College and all the goodly faiths were present as well.  The council should have marked 25 years of Arion’s reign and preparation for a jubilee, but the strife and losses of the last five years wiped away any thought of that.
Arion had reportedly been weighing elevating one or more families to high noble status but decided it would be inappropriate to bestow that privilege in the midst of so much suffering.  Instead, he decreed that the two secret high noble families would be secret no more.  The Brightsouls had served the Kingdom since its foundation.  Ukko and his children fought at Mount Oneash and slain many giants and fiends.  Word of their deeds had spread among the people and even into Gnarland.  The Summerlights had lived in secret or as Rose elves for centuries, but had served the Kingdom in every manner and in every conflict since Stasis was proclaimed king.  Neither family sought the recognition, but Arion was adamant that no future high king, or, if needed, council of succession, would be deprived of their voices.
Next, Arion was determined to aid those that had suffered the most during the long years of conflict and plague.  The Kingdom had uncounted thousands of widows and, even more, orphans.  By decree, any family that adopted an orphan, or took in a family, would be given a grant of land, or for those dwelling in the cities, a reward from the royal coffers.  Arion and Lira adopted brother and sister half-Scaled Elves, and named them Bartholomew and Nia.  All of the other families likewise adopted orphans or took in families.
Last came the decision of how to draw out the assassins.  By this time, it was clear every attack involved either the Empty Men or the Brethren of the Hunters of Men, or both.  It was no small thing to ask those gathered to risk their lives, and the lives of their families, to be bait, but the alternative seemed to be waiting for the assassins to strike at a time and place of their own choosing.  The plan, devised by Russel and Parker, called for the nobles and royals to travel with minimal magical defense against scrying to either the Guardian Vale or Castle Gemblade along the well-travelled roads, where ambush would be difficult.  Russel and Parker would scry the future of several members of each group a few minutes in their future, and, if the plan worked, send aid in time to prevent the assassinations.  The plan was a success, as the assassins attacked the families on the road near Messada and were destroyed by Escalon and Kerkly.

Aezir, the proxy of Jazirian visits the Celestial Shrine and blesses it.

Udarin Thate, Vasili and Quorl disappear.

815 Asinjin resigns his Deanship and returns to the desert.

Siege of Mount Ila'Alnar- the high king and many heroes travel to Baeneral

The Second Defense of the Shining Tower- During the Siege of Mount Ila'Alnar, on the day the undead of Vestillion arrived, scouts reported to the garrison that a new force has emerged from the snow wall and was on the march to the Protectorate.  With the high king and so many knights and Guardians in Baeneral, a new invasion was a potential disaster.  The Lord Protector and her generals arrived by the end of the day to plan.  That night, in the darkness of a cloud sky, the sentries called out and all the defenders rushed to the battlements.  A lone, massive balloon, floated silently towards the fortress.  The invading army was more than a day away, and there was no history of such a device being used in Icefia.  Not wanting to allow it to cross the walls, or loiter and spy upon the defenses, Alana ordered it shot down.  As soon as the first bolt thrower javelin struck, it burst, showering the northern walls with vapor. Within moments everyone on the walls were retching.  As others came to their aid, Scaled Elven infiltrators climbed onto the battlements.  The defenders were forced back into the citadel. The ranking wizard sent word to Castle Gemblade for relief.  The following morning Crown Prince Alcios, King Oliver, his son and daughter Finn and Fiona and his brother Penn, and Thale arrived.  Though Oliver was the most experienced soldier he deferred to the Crown Prince, who had fought in the north and at Mount Oneash.  They rallied the defenders and drove the Elves from the walls.  They prepared the defenses, expecting the assaulting force to throw themselves against the walls with abandon; for the scouts reported a vanguard of undead and minor fiends.  Instead, from the icy mist, emerged Ragorous, the Snowserpent, the white draco-lich, leading a horde of Icepyres.  The defenders were again driven from the walls.  This time the attackers pressed and forced their way into the tower and slew many of the defenders.  Thale unleashed his most potent spells, enhanced by the Staff of the Valiant, and stopped them from breaching the inner doors. A yard at a time the defenders, led by Alcios and the Westroms retook the tower.  As they returned to the battlements, the scope of the army arrayed against them was clear.  Thousands of zombies, supported by fiends, icepyres, and wyvern mounted Elves, and at their center Ragorous and a Frost Giant, armed with a black shield and sword.
As darkness fell, the horde surged forward.  The giant let out a bellowing war cry, but a ray of golden light struck it, and in a cloud of gold dust, it disintegrated.  Maglore, surrounded by a nimbus of pure white light, hovered above the field, and began to rain consecrated and purified spells into the flying attackers. 
The dracolich moved to aid them but a shrieking silver arrow struck it in the side and it withdrew to seek the sniper.  Another arrow found its mark and Ragorous, perceived the white bugbear and its accursed longbow and hurtled towards him, but found the path blocked by a wall of flame.  It circled only to find Huthrim gone, and then another screaming shaft found its neck.  The lich, recognizing its adversary and his weapon, knew that it had to come to grips with him.  It plummeted down, only to crash into an invisible barrier.  As it searched for Huthrim or the spell caster, the dragonslayer unleashed three more arrows and the wyrm left the field.
With their leaders gone, most armies would have broken, but the fiends and undead answered to an unforgiving master, and pressed the attack all night and through the next day.  When the last was destroyed, it was clear the defenders had paid a heavy price. Crown Prince Alcios and Prince Finn were both slain, though they were returned before the end of the day. The garrison was all but wiped out and the fortress’ weaknesses had been exposed. 

816 The Shrine of the Moonbow is elevated to a Temple

Construction of the Shrine of Dourvan is begun in Messada, following the defeat of Sutyr, before the Counsil meeting.
The faiths of Vestillion and Alarault are banned in the Kingdom, after the Counsil meeting.

The Thane of the Clan Firepeak, Matthek the Unyielding, declares a bounty on the hands (not heads) of clerics of Vestillion and Alarault, and declares that the Clan will find a goodly power of fire to elevate to the Counsil.  When the clan’s ranking cleric of Smofarf objects, his beard is shaved and he is expelled from the mountain.

The Kingdom opens negotiations with Kathow-tio-Horari to formalize relations and form an alliance against the pirates.