During the reign of Queen Octavia, before the various baronies of Terath were elevated to the status of Kingdoms, the Barony of Westerland was ruled by Baron Kajorelle and the Barony of Ebrus was ruled by Baron Falion The Red. Aside from the queen, these two barons were the most powerful and influential people in all of Terathian politics; and their long-lived feud was legendary.
At the end of the Forsaken War, shortly after the death of Queen Octavia, Baron Arador Kajorelle rose to become King of Terath. High Treason and rebellion from the barony of Ebrus seemed inevitable, but war was staved off through an extremely complicated change in Terathian politics as each of the baronies of Terath was granted status as a Kingdom in its own right, with far greater independence than had ever been possessed by the realms of Terath.
The complicated imperial implications of this transition as it relates to the greater empire are vast and difficult to describe in brief; suffice to say that Arador Kajorelle became the High King of Terath, and Falion The Red was given the independence to govern his lands without the direct management of his greatest enemy.
However, the peace would not last. The pride of Arador Kajorelle was daunting, and each expression of independence by King Falion was treated as an insult. Meanwhile, Falion The Red attempt to defame and dishonor The High King at every opportunity. The rivalry between the two kings continued, with each man positioning allies and creating difficulties for the other whenever possible. Falion The Red abandoned his duties defending the Forsaken Tower, encouraging his allies to do the same, and then waged a political campaign against The High King – blaming him for failing to control the situation. Small skirmishes broke out amongst the soldiers guarding the border between The King’s Lands and Ebrus, with demonic creatures being sighted inside the kingdom of Ebrus with ever growing frequency.
The War of Kings was a surprisingly brief, involving a few brutal battles between Ebrus and The King’s Lands as well as scattered fighting throughout Terath, eventually culminating with The Duel of Kings, in which Falion The Red was defeated by High King Arador Kajorelle.
This war was followed immediately by the Draconic Domination of Terath.
The Military Campaign
The fighting that occurred during the War of Kings took place mostly between forces arrayed under the command of High King Kajorelle and King Falion The Red. However, a great deal of fighting took place to the south and west as well. Most notably, the kingdom of Hadrianus renounced fealty to the High King and immediately launched a surprise attack against the Kingdom of Haven, burning towns and slaughtering the local militia as they claimed large stretches of Haven’s south eastern coast. The kingdom of Haven had just sent a sizable contingent of soldiers to serve in the north, as requested by The High King. The Hadrian attack, therefore, came at a time when Haven was least able to defend itself from assault. The following is a call for aid from King Vol of Haven-
Friends of Haven, Heed My Call!
Our southern coasts are besieged by enemies vast in number and vicious in intent. The People of Hadrianus have entered our waters and begun the slaughter upon a border we believed left unguarded against the malicious betrayal of our neighboring kingdoms.
Refugees flee northward as our villages and settlements are pillaged and set to the torch.
Come to our aid, Terath. Prove that we were not fools to join you on the surface. Come to our aid, and prove that you are worthy of the honor you claim.
We must receive aid immediately, or we will be forced to call Lord Talandar and his soldiers back. There is still time to act, before all is lost.
Kingdom of Haven
Legions of soldiers poured south from Westerland to help defend Haven, but were met by a horde of warriors from Ebrus and Akeron who had been notified of the surprise assault and we ready to block their efforts. The fighting was fierce and few were able to break through to prevent the slaughter occurring within Haven.
The rest of the direct conflicts occurred within The King’s Lands and within The Kingdom of Ebrus.
Both sides full organized their military forces in preparation for war, and then the armies of High King Kajorelle invaded the lands of Ebrus just after midnight on a fateful night in the middle of winter. It is said that the Black Knights that represent the greatest strength of the Ebran Army were suddenly and severely weakened by some unknown magical curse and were slaughtered from the moment the fighting began. Rumors claim that these black knights had been granted vile and mighty power by a Lord of Demons who had bargained with Falion The Red, and that this power had been ripped away when the demon was destroyed by allies of The High King. This loss of power left the Black Knights stunned and weakened; forcing them to flee. The knights of Ebrus retreated almost immediately to their nearest keeps as vast legions of their greatest soldiers were put to the sword. The great bravery of the Ebran soldiers during this extended retreat has been noted by scholars throughout Terath, as nearly all who were capable of returning from death through The Circle of Life immediately reported to the field to wage back into battle.
The Ebran Border Keeps were harder to take, but the fortresses fell within the night and the slaughter continued with many final corpses being left where they died. Again, the armies of Ebrus withdrew further toward the heart of the Kingdom until at last the High King stopped pressing the attack and asked King Falion to come to his terms.
At this time, High King Kajorelle attempted to bring the war to an end through offering a personal challenge to Falion The Red. The High King stopped assaulting the Ebran forces, allowing them to treat their injured and consider his offer. King Falion accepted the challenge, agreeing to halt all further warfare, and most of Terath believed that the war was finally at an end.
Yet less than a week later, before the two Kings could meet and face one another in combat, the fighting resumed once more in a sudden and brutal attack by the Ebran forces. This time, The Black Knights of Ebrus seemed fully restored, summoning forth the necromantic powers of death and raining destruction down on the surprised forces which served The High King. Much of the territory which had been claimed by Kajorelle fell back into the hands of Falion The Red, and the fighting continued in earnest.
The Call For Peace
Much of Terath was hesitant to go to war, and many believe that the war only continued to the the constant manipulations of Abyssal forces. The following is a call for peace that occurred shortly before The Duel of Kings, written by The Morning Sword, now High Lord of The Kingdom of Falconcrest-
War is a terrible thing.
Give to me the gold and silver coin that has been spent upon war and I shall clothe every man, woman, and child in such attire that the kings and queens of Terath would be proud. I shall build a hall of learning in every valley over the whole of Cyrillia. I shall adorn every hillside with a place of reverence consecrated to peace.
And yet, when the threat of war looms heavy in the sky, what else can we do but lift our shields, armor our brethren, and fight to defend the lives of our loved ones?
And now war is upon us. High King Kajorelle has been sanctioned by the Emperor of Verath to march upon Ebrus, the vassal Kingdom of the Empire of Rhoum.
Still, the nation of Ebrus is not a land of evil people. The Ebrans are men and women, just like the people of any land. They care for one another, and show generosity to their neighbors. They work hard for what they have, and are loyal to their word. There are children in Ebrus. Good and innocent children, who might yet still have the chance to grow up with kind hearts and wise souls. But for all this, Ebrus is a place where evil traditions have been allowed to thrive. It is a place where demons have manipulated and coerced men towards dark ways It is a place where the power of the abyss corrodes the foundation of justice.
Above these things, Ebrus is a place ruled by a man who believes it is his rightful calling to bring war to our hearths and homesteads. I spoke in person with the king of Ebrus and heard him make his claim of “rightful” war. I heard from his lips the rage and contempt which this king holds for our very way of life. It was the intent of King Charles Rezak Falion The Red to spill our blood long before High King Kajorelle made this conflict official.
With my own ears I heard the malicious words of the King of Ebrus as he boasted of his bloody calling, and with my own eyes, I became a witness to the Abyssal powers summoned and worshipped in the very halls of his keep. My own blood, and the blood of the Heroes of Falconguard, was left spattered upon the stones as we became locked in a mortal struggle with the demon of the Royal Keep of Ebrus.
Invited as guests for a celebration, our suspicions of the vile, depraved, and unlawful acts taking place within the halls of the Ebran Keep were confirmed when many of the Heroes of Falconguard discovered an unholy abyssal ritual in process only rooms away from where we had been invited to dine. In accordance with the laws of Ebrus, and the will of High King Kajorelle, we engaged in an attempt to halt the Abyssal practice and came into conflict with those Knights of Ebrus who had cast aside their honor and abandoned the Laws of The High King for a chance to seek greater power in the company of demonic allies.
I was there, in the company of the brave Heroes of Falconguard when, together, we struck down the demon who had taken so many hundreds of the lives of misguided Ebran warriors. Some might honor me with glory for leading the Heroes of Falconguard in this righteous battle, but in truth, I am honored to merely have been fighting alongside such courageous men and women. It was together that we managed to prevail; to end the vile reign of the murderous fiend which had spread so much death and destruction. No one person can claim the glory for that victory. If I could, I would give the glory to them, leaving none for myself.
And now the war has begun. Ebrus is a mighty kingdom, worthy of our respect. It saddens me greatly that the leaders of these stalwart people seek our destruction with such fervor. Yet I have seen the hunger in King Falion’s eyes. I have heard the tale of how the young brave knight, Sir Gilrandir Galathule, was put to death by Ebran royal command. And what law did he break? What was his crime? None have been able to tell me, save that Sir Galathule was given the choice to cast aside his honor as a Lightwalker and serve King Falion as a Black Knight, or die. Will the King of Ebrus give you the same choice- to abandon your chosen way of life or to face execution?
I discovered after Sir Galathule was killed for stirring the Ebran king’s wrath that King Falion had intended to put me to death as well. After receiving the invitation of the King of Ebrus, to accept his hospitality and share a meal with his royal person; after genuflecting in respect and filling King Falion’s cup with my own hands; after graciously discussing politics and offering honor to his family- King Falion had planned to summon his executioner and put his guest to the axe.
It was only by the grace of Sir Galathule that I was spared, for the brave knight insisted that I take my leave. The White Knight refused to give me any reason, save that I should trust him. And trust him I did. And now Ebrus names me a coward, though I had no knowledge of how King Falion sought to have my blood upon his knife. Let them call us whatever names they choose. We have proven ourselves. We have shown how we do not fear them. We have fought their fallen knights, and we have slain their demon. Let them say what they will.
And by the light, let them call for peace. I would much prefer to have this strong kingdom as an ally. I would much prefer that our differences be laid upon the negotiation table, rather than be set out upon the field of war. Would it be that the evil which might be found could be purged without the shedding of a single patriot’s blood; I would give my life a hundred times over for such a miracle.
I make a plea of the people of Ebrus- Do not cry for vengeance. Do not cry for war. Do not cry for conquest. Cry for freedom. Cry for peace. Cry for the end of terrible, destructive, soul-crushing war. For until you do so, we cannot stop. There will be no end unless you join your voices together and demand that the blades of conflict be set aside. I may not be the mightiest of men, but I am an honest one. Commit yourselves to the path of peace, and a life of integrity, and I will do whatever is in my power to see that you are treated fairly. Commit yourselves to the cause of destruction, and I will end your tyranny with your life.
Honor Above All,
Knight Ambassador Xefrom Venai
The Morning Sword
The Duel of Kings
As the fighting continued, calls an end to this conflict became more common. Eventually, High King Kajorelle issued his personal challenge to King Charles Rezak Falion The Red once more, making a public proclamation that read thusly-
Falion the Red-
I will meet you at the High Keep of the Winds within Ebrus, but now held by my armies. Let us have our fight between us. I will be there tomorrow and will await you.
To those in rebellion-
Akeron, Hadrianus, Ebrus and any who side with them- You stand as traitors to the Empire. I give you this one chance to stop your actions and submit. Should you fail to do so publicly by midnight tonight, you and your lands will fall. Your people will suffer greatly as a byproduct of your greed.
Do you not see what has occurred? I know that the leaders of these lands know well the evil acts of Ebrus. They openly consort with demons and abyssal energies. This alone makes them an enemy to all of us! You know that the Dragons will not wait much longer. Let us make peace and end this. I am High King by writ from the Emperor himself. You know this and yet you still claim legitimacy in your wars.
As a fellow citizen I beg you to stop and heed my words.
High King Kajorelle
As before, Falion The Red accepted the challenge. Yet this time there was no deception. The two Kings met in battle, summoning great Ritual Fire and using powers yet unseen by even the greatest warriors in Terath. To this day, there are those who speak of the roaring sound of thunder and still whisper of nightmare visions of Falion’s eyes flashing with demonic power. Yet in the burst of light and fury it appeared that Charles Rezak Falion The Red was victorious, much as his father Rodrick Falion had been victorious in his legendary duel with Baron Teague of Ebrus. Witnesses report having seen the severed remains of the High King falling to the ground, but only seconds later Kajorelle stood behind Falion The Red with his dagger lodged deeply within the Ebran King’s throat.
As High King Kajorelle chanted words of ritual magic to ensure the death of his enemy, the Great True Dragon Cureanon revealed himself to the gathered armies of Terath, soaring on golden wings to speak with High King Kajorelle. All who witnessed this exchange have confirmed the words that The Great and True Dragon Cureanon spoke-
The Demon is destroyed, then.
The lists will pass to me.
You will lay down your weapons and submit all authority to me.
I will govern Terath in peace enforced by my might and ensure no war touches the land for years to come.
When peace settles and rulers can be found to govern together, we shall go back to our homes, for we do not want what we now must take.
This ended The War of Kings and began The Draconic Domination of Terath.