The Great War

The Legion calls, and I respond. In war, a soldier's connections all fall away. The only things left are his shield, his weapons, and his fellow Legionnaires.

Introduction

During the reign of Growe Acchus, there arose a great commotion in the far east. The land was known as Fraore, and it was a land known for its vast flora and majestic beauty. It became known that an exile from the University traveled there in pursuit of a dark power, by the name of Zardon. He began many rituals in an attempt to summon demons into the land, for he wanted to enslave them to do his bidding. His experimentation took a dark turn, however, when great and dark entities of The Abyss took notice. It is said a great Demon Lord took possession of young Zardon, attempting to further muster its strength. After taking control of the conjurer, the land very quickly spiraled into darkness.

The Corruption of Fraore

The Blood Gate

Upon entering the world, the Demon Lord quickly organized a large host of lesser demons. He had them first march northward, to build a gargantuan gate, to separate themselves from the lush rain-forests of the north. The Yuan-Ti attempted to fight the invaders, but quickly withdrew once they saw they were very heavily outmatched. The gate is said to have been dyed a dark crimson color, from the blood of the enemies to the horde. The gate stands as a major divisor between Rumrlond and modern-day Thendor. The gate lies in a deep valley, marking it as the only major way in and out of Thendor.

Gormul

Deep in The Abyss lies the twisted city of Gormul. The city is governed entirely by a demonic hierarchy, though it is very rarely active in enforcing any set rules. As part of his entry, the demon lord ripped a portal into the fabric of the Material Plane, which allows for the city to simultaneously reside on two planes at once.
 


 
 

Demonic Advancement

Once the Horde began their assault, the nobles of Ezreich determined they were not a threat, deeming the Horde to be too unorganized to be able to actually march to any of the cities of the Civilized Kingdoms. Marlock Giantkin protested continuously, and it was he who eventually convinced Growe Acchus to go to war. This only happened once reports had come in that the Horde had already passed through a majority of the Stormlands, and were heading straight in the direction of Pelghast.
Numerous reports indicated destruction in their wake, as well as near-constant infighting throughout their march. Reports on who is leading the march were conflicting, some reported seeing a Marilith that appeared to be dominant, though others report seeing a dreaded creature made of flame, wielding a fiery whip and a sword of pure lightning.

Marilith

Mariliths are seen as great tacticians, as well as military commanders who have a deep-seated love for violence.
Balor

The Balor is one of the most dreaded creatures of the land, as well as the Abyss. In a military setting, they are cunning generals who hold their horde in check simply by being present.

Conflict Type
War
Battlefield Type
Land
Start Date
3992 BGC
Ending Date
1 AGC
Conflict Result
The Great Cataclysm
Prelude
Due to a sorcerer's meddling in cosmic powers he knew not about, a demonic incursion made its way onto the Material Plane. It was assumed the hordes would fail due to infighting, up until the Battle of Pelghast.

Battles of the Great War
There were 3 battles of note in the Great War, though there were a great deal of minor skirmishes interspersed between the 8 years the war took place. The major battlefields were as follows:

The Battle of Pelghast: The Legion quickly overtook the remains of the attacking force sent after Pelghast, slaughtering them over the ruins of the Broken City.
The Stormlands Skirmish: Every battle that took place in the Stormlands is considered part of the "Stormlands Skirmish". The enviornment here was a very rocky, hostile environment, full of treacherous slopes made all the more dangerous from constant rainfall.
The Battle of the Blood Gate: The final battle of the Great War, this battle is characterized by the Legion's assault through the valley of Fraore right up to, and through, the Blood Gate.This battle ended with the retreat of the Legion, as well as the Great Cataclysm.

Belligerents

Civil Kingdoms

Led by

The Demon Army

Led by

Strength

  • Organized
  • Disciplined
  • Well-Trained
  • Well-Equipped
  • Loyal
  • Limitless Soldiers
  • Brute strength
  • Variety in species
  • Boundless Savagery

Casualties

Pelghast and Pelghan
  • Zardon
  • Most of the demons killed did not truly die, as they reform in The Abyss when killed outside of their home dimension*.
  • *The demons killed in the Great Cataclysm were permanently destroyed

Objectives

Remove the demonic presence from Eunia.
Dominate the continent to create a foothold for the ceaseless Blood War against the Nine Hells.

Pelghast and Pelghan

Though the Legion from Ezreich was on its way, it would not intercept the Horde in time to save the city of Pelghast, nor its neighboring village, Pelghan. The city was well fortified, but the defenders were just too few. They held out for nearly a fortnight, but the enemy force was merely too strong. The walls came crashing down after the repeated, endless assault of massive siege beasts. Demon after demon perished, but the onslaught was not stemmed. The city had heard reports of the Horde coming, and had attempted to send its families into the deep caves of the mountain. Though most of it was a mine, special tunnels had been dug long ago to facilitate faster travel between Rinas and Pelghast. The remaining survivors of the city – mostly the wounded, elderly, women, and children – fled through this path.

In that moment, I was certain it was the end. Something must've gone wrong, Marlock must have misjudged the mountains, hell I even thought the gods may be punishing us. There was a great thunderous sound, as if the gods had torn open the very world. The mountains appeared to take a deep breath in, and they shook very violently. I swear, part of the range must've fallen right off, there's no way those demon bastards could've damaged the city that much...is there?
— Sergeant. Jahon MacDunnel

After the complete devastation of both the village and the vast majority of the city, the Horde took notice of people fleeing through the tunnels. Led by the dreaded fire demon, the Horde pursued the helpless citizens, descending into the dark tunnels. This had been taken into account by Marlock Giantkin, the Shire Reeve of Ezreich, and in Rinas the Legionnaires stationed there watched and waited. They were ordered by their captains to "Wait until you can look the bastards in the eyes!" before taking action. Once the last of the citizens appeared to come out of the mine, and the Horde was very near the entrance, the gargantuan tunnel was forcibly collapsed. The few demons that made it out before the collapse were no match for the disciplined Legionnaires. It is said the Balor never made it out of the tunnel; this was highly celebrated among the Legion. Elsewhere, the Legion was on the move, marching full speed to Pelghast. The Legion slammed into the remaining attacking force and dispatched them quickly, aiding the few surviving men.
 
A thunderous roar,
a column of ash,
the fiends were no more,
the Legion must dash!
  Beyond the land of constant rain and splash,
To the – now wasteland – they once called Fraore.
The loud reciting of ancient scrolls;
The eternal damnation of a thousand souls.
— Turning Point, Author Unknown

The Stormlands

The eventual victory at Pelghast was celebrated, though not for long. The Legion began their longest march yet, into the Stormlands. The inhospitable lands proved very difficult to cross on their own, but before the first man had even set foot within the land the Legion was set upon by more attacking forces of the Horde. Giants and various elementals were spotted, but they took neither side in the battles. They only attacked when provoked, which led to the downfall of many demons.
Progression through the Stormlands is certainly what took up the vast majority of the war, as there were nearly constant skirmishes all along the way. The Legion lost many good men, but for each Legionnaire there was easily at least 10 lesser demons felled. It was at this juncture the Mage's Guild intervened, calling it's graduates as well as top students and sending them to war. With the assistance of greater magics, as well as the Grand Wizard of Ezreich, the Legion slammed through the Stormlands and into Rumrlond. It was a great shock to many, as the lush rain forests seemed poisoned in a way. The decision was made to cut a path large enough for a battalion to walk through shoulder to shoulder, and thus they made their way towards the Blood Gate.

The Battle of the Blood Gate

It stood towering above us, even from a great distance. We had no choice but to ride into that valley of death; the mountains were impassible for a force such as ours. Into the valley we rode, with the goal of decimating that gate. The countless lives lost would surely be made up for when we made it through and ended the war. Wouldn't they?
— Unknown

The Blood Gate was all that stood between the Legion and the dreaded Demon Lord once they successfully fought their way through Rumrlond. Rows of Legionnaires spearheaded a charge into the valley. Upon reaching the actual gate, numerous siege engines were deployed, and many of the mages begun attempting to bring the structure down via magical means. The Grand Wizard approached, his arms outstretched. He he muttered the incantations of a spell aloud, then commanded the Blood Gate to open. The towering structure violently shook for a moment, and the very gate within flew open, allowing the Legion to flood inward.

Multiple battles raged, on the grandest scale the land had ever seen. No matter the progress the Legion made, the endless Horde came forth from various portals of the Abyss. Marlock spoke with the Grand Wizard while in the midst of battle, and gathered his squad of Inquisitors. According to their plan, the Legion would be ordered to retreat, while the sole squad of Inquisitors and the Grand Wizard remained fighting. It is at this time Marlock turned to the trainee of his Head Squad, Ragnis Anflame.

"Ragnis, you must lead the retreat. The Legion will follow you to the end of the world, but I'm afraid today you must lead them away from it. Something big is going to happen, and I will not allow the entire military of honest, working men to suffer for it. My first standing order is as follows; from here on out, Ragnis Anflame, you are promoted to the position of Head Squad Member, of the Inquisitors. Should we perish in battle, command of the squad falls upon you. My final order to you is as follows: Sound the retreat. Lead the Legion and all its followers back through the Blood Gate at sprinting pace, and do not let up until you have reached the Stormlands. Set up fortifications on the border between the Stormlands and Rumrlond. You will know when the war has finished. Be gone! Protect the Legion!"
Marlock Giantkin, 32 Duodecim, 3999 BGC
 
The retreat was sounded by Ragnis, and the Legion began to withdraw. However, many men remained on the battlefield, refusing to run. These men weren't just Legion; it is known a few of them were actually surviving men who had been at the Battle of Pelghast. They knew the Legion needed as much time as possible, and were willing to lay down their lives if it meant the protection of the Legion. Marlock Giantkin gave one final speech, and his final words are as follows.
"Brothers and sisters, today we stand together as countrymen. As family. Before us lies the most unstoppable force I've ever seen. The most incessant, unrelenting group of beasts and monstrosities. I intend to face them. I cannot guarantee the safety of any one of you. I daresay, those of you who do not go now with General Anflame will perish. As will I. I stand here, not as your commander. Not as a shire reeve, or a general. Hell, I'd hardly say I stand here as a Goliath or Giantkin. I stand here, not as an Inquisitor, but as Legion. It is not our words, but our actions, that define who we are. We are Legion, and may our deeds here forever echo in eternity!
— Marlock Giantkin
 

The Great Cataclysm

"Bright it did shine, just like a blazin' beacon from afar. We pulled our unit out and had begun to retreat. That blazin' hell began right after, but just as quick it was over, with nothin' left behind in its stead."
— Ragnis Anflame
The Great Cataclysm, known by various names including the Cataclysm Event, was the most influential event in the history of Eunia. Records are unsure as to what exactly caused it, since no one survived the Cataclysm firsthand, but the most prominent theory is as follows; Marlock spoke with the Grand Wizard, Gar, and they formulated a plan. Their plan involved drawing out the Demon Lord, and Gar would engage him in Single Combat. After this, Gar would use an Ancient Scroll., which had not fully been deciphered. The University maintains it was unaware the scroll existed, but scholars in the upper levels of research have been known to gossip. Rumor has it the only deciphered part of the scroll mentions it affecting an extremely large area, and being the most unstable creation of the Ancient Kingdom. Gar utilized this scroll against the Demon Lord, which caused a rip in the very fabric of Magic.

It is said Cas Stormwind, of the Inquisitor Head Squad, attempted to shield the Blood Gate, which would stop the destruction from spreading further. The Blood Gate itself was unharmed, but the rainforests of Rumrlond were turned to dust, and Rumrlond became a vast desert. The Legion was hit with a giant shock-wave of sorts, which led to some strange side effects, but they were otherwise unharmed thanks to the magic of the Inquisitor.

"All right Cas, you know what you've gotta do. You know, it's only the entirety of the Legion depending on you right now, surely nothing could go wrong. Umm...to any of those Divination wizards who are able to see me right now...I want my family to know I love them dearly. I have saved up a very large sum of gold for them in the event that I would be...gone...there are also letters in my office about the others. Parting words and that kind of thing, in case the worst were to happen. By the way, the worst will happen...It's time. Farewell to you all. Be prepared for the best damn shield spell the world has ever seen.
— Cas Stormwind

The Cataclysm appears to have vaporized everything in its near vicinity, including the Demon Lord. Countless demons perished, but from this Cataclysm they did not reform once more in the Abyss; they were truly wiped from existence. The portals to the Abyss closed after the explosion surged through them, yet Gormul remained. To this day, Gormul is still neither completely on the Material Plane, nor completely in the Abyss.
Any attempts by divination wizards to see what exactly happened during the blast were met with a blinding white scene that forever stayed in their vision. Researchers in Ezreich claim many of their studies are yielding strange results, and that Magic itself seems to be easier flowing into the world, and more and more individuals seemed to have magical talent. Miners report discovering a strange, glowing blue material deep within the earth. It is unknown what every one of the long-term effects of the Cataclysm are, but it was immediately clear what was in store for some of the short term.

This Great Cataclysm had such a heavy impact that the year it occurred, 4,000, was referred to as "year 0", and the following year became "Year 1 After the Great Cataclysm (AGC)." This became the new convention for the following years, and years prior to year 4,000 were given the suffix Before the Great Cataclysm (BGC).

Comments

Author's Notes

Thank you so much, that was quite a lengthy article. Thanks to all the feedback so far, and please, leave any more feedback in the comments, or message me directly on Discord (Tarkol#0001).


Please Login in order to comment!
24 Dec, 2018 13:08

Unfortunately, I had to skim through the last few paragraphs due to time constraint, but this was a very interesting read! A lot of detail and still very clear. I'd suggest you take a look at the formatting, especially for the first part (when the sidebar is present) I appreciate that it isn't a huge textwall, but it felt a bit hard to know what was a completely new subject and what was linked to the information beside it. A quick description under the images would also help someone like me who isn't familiar with your world ^^. Is the fortnite supposed to be 24 days in your world, or is it a typo? I like how you break up the information with quotes, makes it feel more personal! I don't think I have many comments content-wise, felt like you got everything in that I need to know to understand what happened. One last thing is I really like the idea of the cataclysm being such a big event they start counting the years from then. Overall a really good job d=(^^ )Z

24 Dec, 2018 17:52

Oh I hadn't thought about the calendar discrepancy. In-world a week is 12 days, making a fortnight (2 weeks) 24 days. I'll add some clarification on that, as well as put in some captions for the images, as well as some other clarifications. Thanks for the feedback!

24 Dec, 2018 16:26

This is a brilliant article, with some excellent formatting, but be wary of how many capitals you are using, I can count a few examples of places where I believe words have been falsely capitalised, although I may be wrong, as some of these may be proper nouns.

24 Dec, 2018 17:53

I'll go back over it and link the capitalized words for clarification, and of course fix any capitalization errors. Thank you!

24 Dec, 2018 20:13

Wow. That was truly epic. It felt like an amazing tale of loss, resolve, and sacrifice, and it was all presented beautifully. I do note that there was one tooltip code block that I think got broken, but other than that, I can't think of a single thing wrong with it. Well done, sir or madam, you have truly inspired me with this.

24 Dec, 2018 22:46

Sir is fine; I've fixed the broken tooltip, thank you very much for pointing that out! I think that wraps it up as far as my revisions go until I get more feedback :)

25 Dec, 2018 01:17

I love the use of the Full Footer, it feels amazing with your CSS layout. Support slick and sexy! I just thought your lack of likes was a shame and had to spread the love.   Keep up the sexy work! (Also, love the name Ragnis)

25 Dec, 2018 01:27

Thank you very much Tikal! Ragnis is actually a character of one of my players, so I unfortunately can't take credit for that one :)

28 Dec, 2018 01:29

This is truly an epic article and I will attempt to do it justice with these comments. Because the formatting of the page is artistic and obviously intended to provide support for the story, I will include my thoughts on that as well.   This is a really meaty story about a world-changing series of events and you've got the general outline laid out. You should now slide this article aside for a month or so and then come back and edit the heck out of it. There are some grammatical issues and a lot of sentences and paragraphs that could be rewritten to flow better.

 

Four Questions

1) Why not have the last survivors of the Pelghast guard huddled together in the old watchtower or some similar location, where they would be making their last heroic stand when the Legion smashed into the rear of their besiegers This has the potential for dramatic action and the stuff of legend, don't throw it away in a sentence.

2) What were the greater magics provided by the Grand Wizard of Ezreich? What poisoned the forests of Fraore? How did the Legion cut a path a battalion wide (and why that width?)?

3) It seems damned handy that the Grand Wizard just happened to have an Ancient Scroll that threw open the gate of the great demonic wall. Where did he get such a convenient and seemingly specific document?

3a) Sorry, but two scrolls? Was there an envelope in his safe labelled "Open in the Event of Demonic Assault"?

4) Who recorded Marlock's final speech, given that no one survived the Cataclysm?

 

Sideways Observations

The Corruption of Fraore section is confusing because it is trying to do two things at once. You are providing a chronology of what the Demon Lord did upon entering the world and a gazetteer of locations, (The Blood Gate and Gormul). This would be much stronger if you wrote this purely as history by explaining the construction of the two locations, and linked to short articles that describe them in more detail.   The story of Marlock Giantkin convincing Growe Acchus to go to war should follow the destruction of Pelghast and Peghan. The part about the nobles not considering them a threat could be the end of the "Corruption" section. Having riders report on the demonic approach upon P&P would add drama to the scene of Giantkin taking command.   The section of The Stormlands is rather anticlimactic. You say that it was long, it took up a majority of the war. Lots of people and demons died. There was powerful magic. And a surprise that they easily conquered to reach the gate. All of the energy you created in the P&P section is vaporized here. In a way you have the Fall of France and the Battle for Berlin, and somehow you skipped all of the rest of World War II in Europe. This section screams for more details.

 

Formatting

As I noted, the layout of this article is critical to its presentation. I don't normally comment upon this, because it is much a matter of personal taste, but there are some serious issues that detract from the story.   The two images and their captions in the Demonic Advancement section were very confusing, as I tried to read the captions as text, since they're in the same font as the main body. This material seems as if it would be better presented in the sidebar, as it isn't necessary for the story. At the very least, remember that people read English from left to right, so the left column will be read first.

  Quotes

Reduce your quote font size to 20px, The 24px size is overwhelmingly large and unbalances the primary text. Also reduce the line-height to 1.4em, as the current spacing is too large for easy reading.   The full quotes in the footnote section break up the flow of the reading and make it hard to follow. A consistent two-column format here would be better.   Side quotes work better when they are balanced against a text paragraph of roughly the same length. This may require you to break your text into a part that is parallel with the quote and the remainder which falls beneath it.

  Sidebar

Your use of the sidebar is excellent and I really commend you upon that. I don't think that I've seen many articles do it better.

28 Dec, 2018 18:21

Wow! I will definitely take all of this amazing feedback into account when I revise it in the coming weeks. I will give some quick answers to your questions, though.   1. While I had imagined the survivors hunkering down, I hadn't thought very specifically about how/where they were, this will certainly be revised.   2. I will add a lot more clarification in the coming revisions, but here are some quick answers; 2a. The Grand Wizard (and the mages he brought with him) provided mostly supporting magic; providing the legion cover from the weather, shielding them against the onslaught, altering the terrain to allow them more defensible positions, etc. They weren't limited to support magic, and I'll be sure to add more clarification when I greatly expand the section on the Stormlands. 2b. The forests were poisoned by the demonic presence in Fraore, I just realized I completely omitted a much needed paragraph describing the effect the Horde had on its surrounding environment. I intended to characterize them more as "sick". 2c. I will expand my article on the Legion which will help explain this bit better. The Legion has shovels and axes transported with their camp, for the digging of latrines as well as for assistance with terrain. The reasoning behind the battalion's-width is just because they march in battalions, so it's more of a habit.   3. I must admit, using an Ancient Scroll for such a task is extraordinarily underwhelming and I totally missed that during my reading over of the first draft. Originally the Blood Gate was going to be blasted apart, but considering the might of the Grand Wizard I think just commanding the gate open would suffice. 3a. There are a number of Ancient Scrolls stored in the Great Library of Ezreich, and only those approved by the Grand Wizard can even look at them. The cataclysm-causing scroll was chosen as an absolute last resort by Gar.   4. I meant to allude to it in the quote by Cas, but there are wizards (mostly of the divination school) who were viewing the progression by means of scrying magic. Some divination wizards have the power of seeing into the past (and thus become great historians), which would have allowed an exact transcription of the speech. I'll be sure to note this in a spoiler tag or as a tooltip.   I will at some point add a labeled map to clarify some of the conflict's details as well. I'll fix some of the formatting, and now I've got loads of notes for revisions now! I'll go through an edit the CSS before the end of today, then I'll edit the formatting more.   Thank you for your very excellent and very detailed feedback!

Powered by World Anvil