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Corunglain Falls, and is never Regained (523 AC)

by Geoff Gander

This alternate history diverges from the standard timeline in that, after the fall of Corunglain in AC 523, the orcs decided to stay, and the Darokinian counterattack to regain it, led by a Corun, failed utterly, defeated by the defensive advantage they hoped to use against their enemies.

In the years that followed, the orcs, heady with victory, consolidated their position and spread outwards, overrunning the depleted garrisons of Fort Runnels and Fort Fletcher (which had spent themselves trying to retake Corunglain). Ardelphia, the only other centre of Darokinian might in the north, was besieged in AC 529, and finally fell several months later. Lurid tales of unbelievable suffering and slaughter meted out to the Ardelphians spread like wildfire among the villages of the northern Streel Plains, spurring a panicked flight southwards to the relative safety of Favaro and Darokin City.

Desperate to regain his northern territories, the Darokinian king appealed to other realms for aid, but to no avail - the elves of Alfheim were reluctant to help a kingdom that had warred with them less than 30 years before, the hin did not respond (but used the information to fortify their border with Darokin), and no messenger made it to Rockhome or to the lands that would become Glantri.

The much-feared orcish invasion finally came in AC 537, when a massive orcish horde descended on Favaro, which fell after a month of intense fighting. The orcs then marched on Akorros (the Darokinians expected them to march on Darokin City), which fell after a brief, but deadly siege. The Darokinian king mounted a counterattack, destroying much of the orcish force but failing to retake the city.

Darokin's preoccupation and position of weakness did not go unnoticed. Seeing the attention of its occasional rival directed elsewhere: Sind invaded the western and part of the southern shores of Lake Amsorak in AC 538, taking Akesoli and forcing Darokin to accept the territorial loss in exchange for peace, and an alliance against the orcs (Sind had no desire to share a border with orcs). The people of Selenica, separated from their fellow Darokinians by fairly great distances, and having little faith in their king, declared independence and established separate ties with Alfheim and Thyatis.

With Sindhi aid, Darokin managed to retake Akorros in AC 540, and pushed the orcs back to Favaro, but there things degenerated to a bloody stalemate. Surprisingly, the orcish chieftain approached the Darokinian king with peace terms, realising that he had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, and that he did not have enough warriors to mount another large-scale attack. Knowing that he could not retake all of his lost territories, the king agreed, recognising orcish authority over all lands north of Favaro. The king did not live long after making his unpopular decision.

The result of all this is that Darokin, much reduced in territory, resources, and pride, never became the economic power it could have been. The king's assassination touched off a period of civil war and revolt, from which the land never really recovered. The merchant houses remained minor players in the highly unstable world of Darokinian politics, and the kingdom never became "the land of leftovers", as no one wished to settle there. Neighbouring realms, such as Sind, seized more territory when the opportunity struck, and now, overshadowed by Sind in the west and orcish lands to the north, and further reduced in size, Darokin is a kingdom in name only, dominated by competing nobles (backed by Sind and other nations) and treated as a buffer state by its neighbours.