The Siege of Arkran
The Council of Nine fell one by one as the combined forces of Light converged on the fallen city of Arkran in what would become the final act of The Cataclysm Wars
Build UpAfter the fall of Vaedrin and the cleansing of the Ancestral Tree, the agents of the Cataclysm were dispatched one by one over the months that followed. The Dawn's Guard, with Aregos Falstar present, defeated the cruel black dragon, Dreadfang. Mohzall, an earthquake dragon previously regarded as a myth was reimprisoned back into the Earth Plane by a combined effort of all the top mages and soldiers from all the races of Aldenia. The silver dragon Shivan made it his personal duty to deal with Cieris the Immolator, a vindictive red dragon that had razed many a town to the ground during the war. Both vanished into the Mountains of Fury and neither has been seen since. However, with Vaedrin, Dreadfang, Cieris and Mohzall defeated, the Council of Nine had lost their main allies in causing chaos and destruction. Only they remained to continue their agenda. Sensing this would be their best opportunity, the forces of Light combined into one army and descended upon the fallen city of Arkran, which the Council had taken as their base of operations early in the war.
The SiegeThe forces of Light encircled the city at a far enough distance to be out of range of the city's defences. In a sense, the first three days were more of a stand-off than a siege as the Light's armies simply kept the Council's armies contained within the city whilst they could find a weakness in their defences. Neither side lost significant numbers during that time as a result. That weakness was eventually found at the Eastern Gate, which the former Archdruid Thanoth had been charged with commanding the forces that protected it. A pair of Radiant Tower mages managed to sneak their way behind the walls and blew up the mechanisms that held the gate shut. In doing so, it cost them their lives as they had to raise their invisibility spells to cast the balls of fire but their sacrifice was the turning point in this battle. The stand-off was over, and the armies of Light converged on the Eastern Gate. It was a bloody mess as they funnelled through the singular entrance. However, once inside, the Council's armies had lost their advantage. Whilst they had the numbers, the majority were either undead or of corrupted minds. Even those that had fighting ability before no longer had the intelligence to utilise that ability. The true dangers within the walls were Drakk's Brutal Fist, the fiercest Orcish warriors on the continent, Thanoth's Blight monsters and Grevlin's mechanical guardians.
The Battle of ArkranThanoth was the first of the Council of Nine to fall, immolated by a fireball akin to the ones he failed to see coming that opened the gate he was supposed to be protecting. Thanoth was the Ancestral Elder and held immense druidic magic within his veins. He should have been able to sense the Radiant Tower's agents and protect himself from the fireball that killed him. Historians argue that spending three days stood atop the wall, staring down the armies that he once called allies - armies that contained Ancestral Druids that he used to lead - a spark of light burst inside him, long enough to fight the Blight's corruption and let the armies of Light gain the advantage. The Ancestral Druids in particular hold onto this notion and regard Thanoth's final actions as a heroic sacrifice. Most importantly, the Council had lost their only remaining way of corrupting their enemies with Vaedrin's Blight. What light managed to pierce the dark clouds hanging over the city seemed to be affected by the dark magic ritual occurring at the core of the city, from the fortress itself. The streets of Arkran, littered with the bodies of the fallen were bathed in deep purple light. The forces of light made steady progress towards the fortress, through the winding streets, as the hours passed. It was very much a battle of attrition, but the momentum steadily increased in the Light's favour as each Council member fell. Grevlin Doomwrench was impaled by shrapnel from one his own creations exploding in front of him. Aregos Falstar cut down his former friend Lothaire, his sword's divine power causing Lothaire's body to disintegrate into holy light as he collapsed. Orsa Algrun and Krotar Shadowthane converged, sensing the battle turning, believing their power would be better served if combined. However, as more and more Radiant Tower mages alongside other race's magically adept surrounded the pair, there became too many assaulters to defend against. More and more spells connected with the Council members until the pair lay on the floor, remains sizzling. Nicisu Telnain had managed to claim several high profile targets, including General Kreen, before being taken out by a lightning-fast reaction from legendary Elven archer, Valnala Virro. No one is quite sure who killed Syllen Olalynn, since no one had ever seen the Half-elf before the battle. Survivors' accounts detail the presence of the Half-elf throughout the battle, acting in a capacity that would befit a leader amongst the enemies forces but the identification only came after his death due to the notes recovered in Lothaire's journal. No one even knew Syllen's name or race until that discovery. Drakk and Astrona were the last two members standing. In the dying moments of the battle, Drakk acted almost like a bodyguard for Astrona, trying to delay the Light's forces for as long as possible to allow Astrona to complete her ritual. However, after a tight contested duel between Drakk and Aregos, Drakk too lost his life. Then, it was only a matter of time. Astrona kept working behind her magical barrier until much like with Orsa and Krotar, enough mages' power combined to annihilate the shield and the pure force of the combined attacks at that moment rendered Astrona into atoms. With that, the Siege of Arkran ended. The reign of terror was over.
Notable CasualtiesThe entire Council of Nine were wiped out. However, the Light were not without their own significant losses. General Kreen was assassinated by Nicisu Telnain. Drakk had managed to claim King Randall Lothrun's life before Aregos Falstar killed Drakk shortly after. The Elven Cu'tura (Bow Master - in charge of the the Elven rangers), Several high ranking Radiant Tower mages, The Dwarf King's younger brother and the Dragonborn High Elder were amongst the dead.
LegacyThe loss of the Human King was the largest issue immediately facing the world following the Siege. The subsequent power struggle was ultimately resolved by Aregos Falstar with the discovery of Randall Lothrun's bastard son, Hather. Hather implemented a policy in which the Queen is also schooled in diplomatic and economic matters, in case of future war where the King is duty bound to fight elsewhere but the capital. Scholars continue to debate various aspects of Council of Nine, including Lothaire and Thanoth's loyalties, the true nature of Syllen Olalynn and most importantly what was the ritual Astrona was attempting to cast that day. There was an attempt to repopulate Arkran in the years that followed. However, once it became clear there was something holding the corruption of the surrounding land in place, the entire Blightlands were magically sealed off and Arkran was left abandoned. Naturally the events of the Siege have lended themselves to many songs, poems, writings and paintings. Most notable of which is the song 'Under Purple Skies', which is a staple of any bard worth their salt.
24 Solemia 1BCE
28 Solemia 1BCE
The Council of Nine defeated.
~180,000 (Only survivors were living soldiers turned by magic)
Defeat the Council and end the war.
Ultimate objective unknown, but survive long enough to achieve... something.