In the year 213, The Emperor of Verath, Gnaeus Bestia Nos Validus, called to the King’s and Queens of Terath, demanding for their aid across the sea. A great host traveled to participate in the fighting there, and this is one scholar’s accounting of the most notable in the series of battles that has become known as The Verathian Pale Campaign. The events which follow were merely the beginning of the war against The Pale Legion which would soon occupy the continent of Terath until the summer of 215 PB.
In the winter of 213 PB, the Crystal Gate outside of the Broken City opened to an identical gate outside of the Verathian capital of Rhoum. Once the forces from Terath passed through, General Zenobia addressed the leadership and laid out the rules for being in Verath.
The forces of Terath were told that they would not be permitted to enter any of the cities and that Zenobia would be their liaison with the emperor.
The Course of The Verathian Pale Campaign
The Terathian forces also learned that Verath had no formal army. Its fighting force is made up of the powerful individuals that now reside there, bolstered by a host of ancient golems which defend the great cities. The denizens have allied themselves to noble houses, similar to guilds or adventuring bands. At any point there were a number of these individuals with the combined armies of Terath, but they never fought shoulder to shoulder with the Terathian soldiers. Instead, these unmatched heroes were more like tiny armies unto themselves, taking advantage of every opportunity created by the Terathian forces which formed the bulk of the army.
From the territories near the city of Rhoum, the army marched east toward Ravenos where they first encountered the Dirt Dwarves.
The battles were grueling and numerous at first, but as time passed the frequency of attacks lessened. During the fighting, there were warriors and mages from Verath that participated, but they focused their efforts on fighting Shadows and the Pale Ones themselves when they took to the field. Over the course of the war, a single Pale one would occasionally appear on the field of battle. The unique and distinct skill sets were displayed, and so the belief is that there were three separate Pale Ones involved directly in the fighting.
As the weeks turned to months, the war started to turn against the combined forces of Terath and Verath. It seemed though they were victorious more often then not against the Dirt Dwarves, they had few victories and many retreats when fighting the shadows and the Pale Ones themselves. The major battles of note are as follows, listed in the order of their occurrence and named for the city nearest to the fighting:
This was the first major battle of the War. Embla led the combined forces alongside of Vol, Akida and Vestridt. It was a grueling battle, but they beat back the Dirt Dwarves and pushed the enemy away from the city. After the first month, the powerful Shadow leading the enemy forces was defeated by General Zenobia. After the remaining forces were routed, the combined army marched south. General Zenobia stayed behind to rebuild the cities defenses.
The first major defeat of the War took place near the city of Erentioch. While the city was in no danger of falling, there were heavy losses among both the Verathian forces and the combined armies. It was during these battles that the Pale Ones first took to the field themselves. Talandar, Vol and a group of Verathian ritualists were able to force the Pale One to retreat. Talandar wanted to pursue, but was held back by the Veratian mages on the grounds that defending the cities was more important. It was at this point General Zenobia met back up with the main force and took command herself.
The worst defeat of the war, if measured in cost of life. When word came that Vallahondria had fallen to the enemy, the Veratian forces were dumbfounded. To have one of their cities fall was unthinkable, and the speed at which it would have had to fall without word being sent of the attack was unreal. As the combined forces marched toward the city, it soon became apparent what must have happened. It is believed that all three of the known Pale Ones personally led the attack against the city with cataclysmic force, leaving no time for call for help. Unlike previous encounters where the Pale Ones simply burned claimed territories to ash, they instead fortified the city with an army of Dirt Dwarves.
Outrage or Hubris caused the combined forces to rush the city without hesitation, and it was too late when Talander raised the warning. As the combined forces pushed deeper into the city, the ground beneath them collapsed. Great rifts were opened up in the ground, and a great number of Terathian soldiers were torn asunder in the fall. Waiting below were the Pale Ones and their Shadows. It was here that Vesdrit was slain; his body left behind. He was fighting alongside Vol when it happened, which caused some to whisper that Vol saw an opportunity to eliminate a rival.
If the survivors questioned what an anointed War Wizard was capable of before, they do so no longer, after witnessing Talandar unleash his might. Even General Zenobia, said to be one of the greatest warriors in Verath, nearly perished that day. But in the end, the combined forces managed to destroy one of the three Pale Ones, which triggered a retreat by the enemy.
It was at this point the Emperor ordered Talandar to summon the dragon Nadrak. The War Wizards were clearly needed. It was time for Verath to stop underestimating their enemy. It was also now that an unknown Dragon could be seen flying in the distance from time to time. General Zenobia would not comment on the identity of the Dragon, or even indicate if it was participating in the fight somehow. She never seemed pleased when see saw it, though.
The combined armies of Terath did not fight in this battle, for the army was still recovering in Vallahondria after the great attack there only one day earlier. The city of Rhoum had sent reinforcements to Vallahondria when the Pale Ones attacked, and so was not as well defended as it might have otherwise been, but the city still repelled the attack with ease. Indeed, the force that attacked Rhoum was relatively small, and posed no real threat. It was never clear why the Pale Ones would waste their troops attacking the seat of the empire so recklessly, but they were gone as swiftly as they came.
The final major battle of the war. Still recovering from the losses at Vallahondria, the combined forces were sent to protect the northern most city. There had been little fighting here thus far and Acanthos was well fortified. Much of the wounded or exhausted solders had been sent to Acanthos to rest, but it wasn’t long after their arrival an army of Dirt Dwarves and Shadows attacked.
Warwizard Talandar and Warwizard Nadrak arrived shortly after the fight began. They engaged the Shadows directly while the combined forces dealt with the army of Dirt Dwarves. During this fight, the two remaining Pale Ones appeared upon the field of battle, bringing with them a second army of Dirt Dwarves and Shadows. As it began to become clear that the city of Acanthos might soon be overrun, King Vol and and number of the other Terathian ritualists made an inspired discovery.
The power instilled in them by the Vallahorien during his sacrifice was still present within most of the Terathian soldiers, and might be harnessed. As the Pale Ones and their army continued to push forward, the ritual casters claimed they could actively feel the power of The Vallahorien seeming to lightly pulse within them. If they could tap into that power directly, then it would be possible to enhance the fighting strength of their army to give them a better chance. It was a risky thing to attempt, but they felt that they had no other choice. And the power felt as if it were calling to them. While Talandar, Nadrak, Zenobia and the Verathian forces held the Shadows back, the greatest mages of Terath prepared the ritual.
When the spell was completed and the words of power were spoken, the essence of the Vallahorien flared within the people of Terath. It grew suddenly, from a dim spark to a great roaring blaze. The result enabled the people of Terath to sweep the Dirt Dwarves and Shadows aside, with each man and woman of Terath fighting with the strength of a legendary hero. Queen Embla and King Akida led a force to attack one of the Pale Ones directly. Witnesses claim that Queen Embla, surrounded by her honor guard, struck against the Pale One with her bare fists and injured the creature terribly, causing it flee the field.
They were exhausted, but for the first time in months, the combined forces were utterly victorious. The roaring tide of the Vallahoriens’ power had faded from blaze, to spark, to nothing. The power was gone. Yet it was this battle that won the Terathian forces the favor of General Zenobia and the Emperor.