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World in Flames: The Fall of Glantri

by Bruce Heard

AC 1014, 1st Quarter: Glantri's armies and its volunteer militias get wind of the approaching horde and position themselves in the western marches. Still reeling from its disastrous war with Alphatia, Glantri is frantically trying to recover. Judging from the extent of the enemy's forces, Glantri sends all available forces to the western marches. Several skirmishes take places as the as the humanoids test the Glantrian defences. Suspecting an impending disaster, Prince Kol XIV of New Kolland secretly contacts Ugrah and cuts a deal with him. Initially, Ugrah thinks little of the puny but arrogant kobold, but after some reflection he believes the little runt would give him an easy bridgehead into the Known World. He'd deal with him at a later time. Kol also amuses the mighty Ugrah, so the goblin goes along with Kol's proposal: Kol and his humanoid supporters would side with Ugrah at a crucial moment of the invasion, in exchange for which Kol would become the King of Glantri. Glantrian lands would remain under his sovereign authority alone while he would become Ugrah's obedient and grateful vassal.

AC 1014, 2nd Quarter: Ugrah's spies report that Glantri is a weakened nation. Relying on this information and his secret kobold ally, Ugrah decides to split his Thunderous War Horde. The northern horde immediately rides toward the western borders of Wendar to prepare another invasion while the southern horde immediately slams into Glantri without waiting. The battle is fierce and bloody, but the Glantrians are slowly withdrawing, unable to contain the tide of humanoids hurling themselves at their defences regardless of casualties. Soon, Sablestone is sacked and many slaves begin their long journey to Urzud. Refugees fleeing before the terrifying goblin scourge swarm the roads between Nouvelle Averoigne and the capital, hampering the movement of the Glantrian armies. The princes are getting nervous and send messengers out in a desperate quest for allies.

AC 1014, 3rd Quarter: In the wake of the Great War, the remainder of the Alphatian army remained stranded in Selenica. They took over - a powerful and independent mercenary army. The Darokinians were about to hurl their forces against the Alphatian outlaws when news of the Glantrian disaster reached the capital. Plans to retake Selenica are immediately shelved as the Darokinian Army repositions itself at Corunglain. Glantrian envoys furiously negotiate with Darokin for military help. Darokin hesitates, feeling that their present position is more defensible. Aware of Darokin's present quandary, the Great Company secretly contacts the Great Khan of Ethengar. The Alphatians convince the Great Khan to launch a surprise invasion of Glantri, arguing that it would be in their best interest to hold the mountain passes in Glantri, thereby stopping the goblins. If so, the Great Company would gladly provide their best magical troops to support the Ethengarian assault. The Great Khan eagerly accepts and begins to concentrate his own Golden Horde near Glantri. As everyone gets prepared, the war rages on in Glantri and Ugrah approaches the legendary city.

Meanwhile beyond Glantri, Ugrah's northern horde storms into the wide open plains of Wendar. There, they run into the well-prepared Wendarian army waiting for them. The horde falls into a skilfully-designed trap. Like steel jaws, it snaps shut, cutting off the northern horde in half. The elves of Wendar had judiciously positioned their cavalry forces in the woods north and south of the humanoids' invasion path. While veteran infantry bears the brunt of the initial goblin onslaught, thousands of elite elven cavalry close in, following a vast pincer movement. The battle lasts for days, but in the end tens of thousands of orcs, goblins, and other unsavoury creatures lie dead on the battlefield while the remainder of their horde regroups near the western border to lick their wounds.

Note: The Wolves of Heldann arrive in Glantri City with their prize, the famous Sturmkondor, just about then.

AC 1014, 4th Quarter: Ugrah outmanoeuvres the beleaguered Glantrian army. What lies in the goblins' quickly crumbles, while the remainder clings to the northern principalities. Glantrian magic proves no match to the vast numbers of fanatic humanoids. Ugrah's Thunderous Horde soon reaches the capital and prepares to storm its walls. News of a Darokinian relief force reach Ugrah. Immediately, the mighty Voice of Kro-ee sends a secret signal to Kol who had just "retreated" to the Broken Lands. The kobold prince announces his change of heart, claiming it is for the best of Glantri, shortly after ambushing the Darokinians in the Broken Lands. Not one Darokinian survives. The Glantrian Princes are stunned, but not totally surprised.

Just about then, news of the Ethengarian invasion reaches Glantri. Indeed, almost all communities near the Ethengarian border are begging for reinforcements. The Boldavian army retreats behind Rymskigrad's walls. For the princes, the feeling that all is lost grows overwhelming. An envoy from Kol addresses the Council of Glantri. His message is that he, and he alone can prevent the humiliation of conquest and the destruction that only humanoids would know to cause. He beseeches the princes to surrender the city to him personally, at least to save the good people of the city from slaughter or slavery, which will surely happen otherwise. He, King Kol of Glantri, Saviour of the People, swears to help and protect the good people of Glantri. Demoralised, disorganised, and under intense popular pressure, the princes reluctantly nod. At the news, the remaining Glantrian army quickly withdraws northward, followed with long lines of half-starved refugees. Days later, Kol arrives. Beyond the open gates lie deserted streets as everyone fearfully barricaded themselves in their houses. Kol and his retinue of warriors proudly ride into the silent city. Ugrah's forces, true to their master's orders, stay out. Instead, Ugrah rushes his horde toward the mountains separating them from the approaching Ethengarians, hoping to get to the strategic passes before they do. Kol takes possession of his new royal palace, and installs his throne in the main hall of the Grand Council's parliament. Not a soul awaits the new king. The Princes have all fled to Wendar with their servants and their possessions.

Note: The Wolves of Heldann leave just when King Kol takes possession of his new realm.