Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
The Alfheim Warby André Martins
I have promised a few months ago I would work on future events and in the war for Alfheim. I have had some new ideas, so here they are.
First, let me address the problem of an elven-Ylari alliance.
Ilsundal is willing to make many sacrifices to save his beloved Trees of Life. Someone has pointed out it is said somewhere that the reason he took the Path to Immortality was to protect his creation. He feels like a father, and he won't stop at nothing to save them. He might even associate with the entropics, believing he is just using them to save his children and that he will be strong enough to deal with Entropy and not be affected by it. He views Rafiel and his Shadow Elves as demons who want to destroy the nature, after what they have done to Alfheim forest. al-Kalim is not evil, and the Ylari will not want the Shadow Elves as neighbours, so he is a natural ally, from his point of view.
It is true that Ylari distrust magic-users and, consequently elves, since they are mages (all of them or most of them, depending on which rules you are using). However, Ylari do use magic, one of their military orders being The Order of the Spell (mounted skirmishing magic users, page 17 in Gaz 2). So they shouldn't hate mages, just because they are mages. They do believe Glantrians are "evil incarnate. Their antipathy toward all clerics and religions disqualifies them as intelligent beings." (Important foreign policies, p. 25) and relations with Alfheim are "reserved and xenophobic". Elven manners are considered rude and offensive and they are thought to practice black magic. This does make an alliance a difficult and delicate task, but not impossible.
Ylari society is composed of two factions, the Preceptors and the Kin. While the Kin treat foreigners, specially non-believers, with hostility, the Preceptors have a more modern point of view and would not hate elves just because they are elves.
So, if the Preceptors are in power, such an alliance might happen. Of course, the Kin would oppose it and might start a civil war if there is no strong reason for them to be quiet, making the alliance almost impossible. However, in 1014, a group of Ylari adventurers (PCs?), returning from a pilgrimage where they have recreated part of al-Kalim's pilgrimage to the Old Man in the Sea, bring a scroll with al-Kalim's seal. A day before, one of the senior priests in the Eternal University dreamed of al-Kalim writing a letter to the desert tribes that would guide them in future events. The scroll is unsealed in a special ceremony and it contains a description of an event of the prophet's life unheard of. According to it, al-Kalim's quest in the Plane of Water was helped by a group of Alfheim elves specialised in water magic. These elves tell him the elves from Alfheim know how to control the rain over their country and al-Kalim tells them about the Dream of the Desert Garden.
Every attempt made by the Kin to prove the falsehood of the scroll fail, even communing with al-Kalim. The scroll might be fake, but al-Kalim, after his alliance with Ilsundal, is willing to make Ylari view elves in a better light. Ilsundal has promised him his elves will come to the Eternal University and teach how they control the rain over Alfheim, when their country is free from the "evil" Shadow Elves.
A few days later, a caravan arrives from Darokin, carrying one elf they claim have saved them by conjuring water when their own was lost during an unexpected sand storm. In a few months, elven ambassadors from the old Alfheim clans start arriving in Ylaruam.
Unknown to the local populace, Barimoor, the Alphatian wizard questing for immortality who lives in subterranean caves in Ylaruam, start using his agents in the government to make such an alliance easier. Shadow elves have discovered passages to his tunnels. His personal power and magical items, as well as his minions, have allowed him to kill or capture those explorers. He has destroyed the tunnels they have used in a way he can easily reopen them if necessary. The Shadow Elves, however, would have a lot of work to find his realm again but he feels that, given time, they will finally do it. He is not prepared to face them yet, but he knows he must stop them before too late. He might even use one or two of the Nithian artifacts he has collected in these centuries to get those pesky elves out of his tunnels, with unpredictable consequences.
This way, by the end of 1015, the Alfheim refugees have an ally in the desert.
Does this seem acceptable? Can anyone see where are the flaws in it (I am sure there must be some, even if minor ones)?
The next key point for the start of the war is Hel's agents in the DDC (Darokin Diplomatic Corps). Hel has long recognised DDC as a potential problem for any plans of war she might have in the region and has devised a plan to neutralise it and even use it to her advantage. About 50 years ago, in 959, she created her first phoney religion. There were no sign of it at the time, since she created only one and one that promoted diplomacy and peace. She knew she needed time to get a strong hold in the DDC, so the head of this church, a mortal manifestation of herself, has lead the church wisely and has settled many difficult conflicts peacefully.
The church worships Sasheme Vickers, the first "Great Diplomat", from the Umbarth trading house, the man who has stopped Glantri and the Atruaghin Clans from going to war. Many tales of his life and incredible feats, none of which involved violence, but negotiation and cunning are told in Darokin and these stories have grown both in number and in details since the founding of the Church of Saint Vickers.
This religion was originated in Akesoli, home of the Umbarth house and has built a large school for diplomats there. Some of the finest diplomats in Darokin are trained in the old tradition of the first "Great Diplomat" and many people in the DDC consider it the finest school in Darokin.
Hel's plan was to use this diplomats to make alliances opposing any side that was winning the war during the WotI events. However, Alphatia was unexpectedly destroyed. She has some control over one fifth of the most important diplomats in the DDC and she is willing to use her position to further her plans for a war. At the moment, all her agents are doing is providing data that will make the Ylari and the dwarves hate the Shadow Elves. At the same time, Atzanteotl's followers among the Shadow Elves are attacking caravans heading to Parsa and Rockhome, making sure some survivors flee. He has told the elves that if the neighbouring nations fear the elves, they will let them live their own lives.
Thyatian agents are being very helpful in this whole affair. Thyatis is weakened at the moment and it will only gain from a war it is not involved. Emissaries from Emperor Eusebius have promised to help Rockhome against this terrible invasion from bellow and a small group of flying beasts from the Retebius Air Fleet was sent to Dengar to serve the dwarven king. Everast has politely refused their services for now, but he will change his mind when the war starts.
By the end of 1015, a small group of six dwarves, including Dormir, king's Everast XVI niece, arrive at Rockhome. They have been in Oenkmar, before the Shadow Elves took the city. Their tale makes Rockhome outraged and peace is no longer possible. They tell how their group have surrendered to the vastly superior forces of the elves. They asked to live in peace, so that they could go back home, but the Shadow Elves have tortured and killed most of them, before they managed to escape. They were fifteen initially, but several were killed by the Shadow Elves' attacks, as well as encounters with a few underground monsters. Finally, they came to the surface in Canolbarth twisted forest, a place of evil trees, the product of a corrupt people. They wouldn't have survived in that place if they haven't been found by a group of Alfheim elves, known as Alfheim Avengers. Some of them have come with them to Rockhome to talk with king Everast XVI about the Shadow Elves. It has been a long time since elves have come to Rockhome peacefully, but the dwarves respect their action and an audience with the king is granted.
What really happened was that the dwarves were caught by Atzanteotl's minions while in Oenkmar and were kept in a long sleep since then. They were provided with false memories and since they have no other ones, there is no reason for them to think anything happened in a different way. They were released later in Aengmor, in a place where a group of Avengers could find them and safely take them out of there. Atzanteotl had appeared to them the night before as an old oak and told them that if they could help the dwarves, an alliance to kill the shadow elves would be possible.
These group was the same that has shot one of the Treekeepers during the peace meetings in Rafielton, last year (sorry, I forgot who made that timeline). They are trying hard to start this war, even against the orders of the elder elves who are working in another solution. They are able to negotiate a treaty with Rockhome. Elves and dwarves will not fight in the same army, but they will coordinate their efforts.
Meanwhile, Ilsundal convinces many nature-loving immortals something must be done to stop this craziness. Djaea, Ordana and others start instructing their followers to prepare for war. An army of centaurs, treants, actaeons and what is left of the fairy kingdom is assembled near Reedle, in Darokin. The position is chosen because it is near Ylaruam, Rockhome and Karameikos borders, so that will make it easier for the armies to work together. Many elves arrive from Karameikos using the Duke's Road. Many druids, halflings, foresters (as well as rangers in AD&D games) join the main invasion force.
The efforts to convince King Karameikos to join the alliance are not as successful. The King is starting to realise the problems he has at home and his advisers tell him Karameikos might be on the verge of a civil war, Thyatians against Traladarans, so this would be a terrible time to send troops to another country. However, he knows that he won't be able to stop the elves from going to war. So he decides against forbidding them of leaving the country.
Glantri and the Shadow Elves are now allies. An embassy was established soon after the elves of Alfheim left their country and the mages are willing to help the elves if they would teach them the details of the great spell they used against Canolbarth Forest, specially how the Shadow Elves were able to affect the Trees of Life, living artifacts of the Immortals. However, they will not be able to help their friends right now, because the Khan's horde, in a surprise attack take all Principality of Bramyra. In one week, the Principality is destroyed and the horse men are seen heading to Boldavia.
This was a desperate move of the Khan, who knows he can't keep his people united any longer if they don't start dominating the world soon. The treaty with the Heldannic Knights lead him to attack Glantri, preaching it is time to teach those devilish wizards to show the proper respect to the gods.
As a matter of fact, he was advised by a Dolores' pawn. She and von Drachenfels were behind this invasion. It was Synn's idea that the only way Glantri's Parliament would agree to invade the Khanates would be if they would start a war. The fact that Bramyra would be a natural target was a bonus to Jaggar plans. Incidentally, this also explains how Synn was able to "charm" him. Who would think about casting detection spells on a beautiful woman that is making one old dream coming true? The end of hostilities between the Heldanners and the Ethengarians were part of this plan. Jaggar has personally visited Freiburg during the war with Alphatia several times and he had several friends there. He convinced them that if the Ethengar was to attack Glantri, he could get his country to retaliate. The Heldanners could break the peace then and attack the Khanates from north, getting the khan's army in a pincer movement.
Jaggar knows the truth about Synn in 1015, but he can no longer stop the khan armies. He will have to worry about his personal revenge later. If any civil war was about to happen in Glantri, the invasion reunite the country. In less than one year, the Glantrian troops, aided by the Heldanners, should be able to destroy most of the khan's army.
Back in Darokin, many strange monster are leaving Canolbarth Forest, causing havoc and destruction in many villages. The Shadow Elves are unable to convince Darokinians they are not responsible for these attacks and the local populace start claiming for revenge after many settlements burned and many lives lost.
The pivotal event to the war is the death of one of the Trees of Life. As it dies, many elves in the Known World are made aware of it by visions. The fairy kingdom has no reason to celebrate in this day and many enraged elves all around the Canolbarth forest decide it is time to join the army. Those damned Shadow Elves will have to pay for this sacrilege.
Desperate, the shadow elves start preparing their defences. They didn't want this war, but they weren't able to stop it. They know they can't fight back without Glantrian support, specially, when Darokin doesn't move against the presence of alien armies within its borders.
The Master sends orders for his armies in Sind to attack and take Akesoli. They must secure their position before crossing Lake Amsorak. However, he holds the attack until one month after the beginning of the war, to catch everybody unprepared.