The Harrowing of IldCarr
The wind howled, grievous, through the silent carnage draped across the trampled dirt. Its lonely lament was joined in chorus by the snapping of torn and shredded pennants caught in its vicious and relentless grip. In the distance, plumes of smoke rose from the razed city, dark wisps covering the sky in a veil of mourning as dust billowed across the fallowed earth, clouds of it spilling haphazardly over the bodies of men and women that lay piled high by the ruined walls. Only hours ago, the fields had been green and lush; moments ago, they had been filled with the sounds of clashing swords and men. Now, the land was barren. Naked. Cracked as though brow-beaten by centuries of harsh sun with only rare and brief rains to water it. None of the invaders had bothered to sow the fields with salt, though. Some day life will return to the once-lush fields of IldCarr. Should it dare to do so, it would not be the same as what had been there before. The grasses would grow again, but their roots would be fed by blood, by the slaughter that had met the now-dead men of IldCarr. And when the years turned the bones of the slain to dust, only the broken walls would stand testament to the misfortune that had befallen the once-great city, and the arrogance that had brought it about.
A messenger arrives at IldCarr, capital of the kingdom of KilBelar, bearing a sealed missive from the Dominion. The letter is written eloquently in the local script and explains what the Dominion is and what its purpose for opening communications is. The letter requests an amicable meeting of kings in order to facilitate KilBelar's peaceful annexation into the Dominion. The king is amused by the confidence of the letter and dismisses it, despite the urging of his court wizard, Merenaile Dagonrad, on the advice of his military advisor. A second letter arrives two days later, and a third a further two days after that. Confident that his armies can take on the foe knocking at his doors, the king orders his generals to reinforce his border.
Merenaile Dagonrad begs his king to reconsider his rash actions, but the king remains confident that no army will be able to overcome their defences. Merenaile is not so sure and, against his king's command, begins working on securing an escape route for himself and other people that he considers important. At the same time, news of the missives reaches the civilian population and unrest in the city goes on the rise. Members of the illicit organization, the Crowfoot Syndicate, desert the city at their earliest convenience. Four days after the third letter, after contact is lost with all the southern forts, a final missive arrives at court bearing only four words: "At dawn we come." The king goes to sleep uncertain but still confident that the enemy had not gotten so close to the capital as to be able to attack the next dawn without his knowledge. He awakens to the sound of war drums and alarm bells. Outside the walls of the city, the land is covered in a thick fog and from out of this mist, the army of the Dominion emerges.
IldCarr musters its militia into lines in front of its main gate, but they are not only outmatched in numbers, even their best weapons cannot compare to the arms of the Dominion. The Dominion army allows the men of IldCarr to form into lines, watching astride their horses from the depths of the mist. The sight of the unmoving army unsettles the men of IldCarr, but their generals marshal them into a decent defensive force.
When the last man from IldCarr has joined the battle and has walked to his position in line, the Dominion army bears down on the walls of IldCarr with its cavalry charge. From the depths of the mist, enormous boulders sail over the pounding hooves and smash into the walls of the city, tearing them down. At the same time, the Dominion's drakes take to the sky and torch the city. The racket distracts the men of the city enough that the Dominion cavalry charge smashes through the lines and the battle is lost almost instantaneously. What was supposed to be an honourable last stand turns into a slaughter.
The city of IldCarr is reduced to rubble. Merenaile is able to leave at the last moment thanks to the escape route that he set up early on and and makes his way to the next kingdom to warn them of what is coming, hoping that he can convince the leadership there to capitulate and avoid the fate of IldCarr.