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World in Flames: A World In Flamesby Bruce Heard
AC 1015, 1st Quarter: Thyatis and emissaries from several other nations protest to the Great Khan about his treacherous invasion of Glantri. The Great Khan coldly responds that it was in everyone's best interest since his plan was to stop the humanoid invasion. The best way to accomplish this was to capture the mountain passes quickly. A Darokinian envoy points out that simply allying with Glantri would have accomplished the same thing without adding insult to injury. With a smile, the Khan answers that at least "he" did not waste precious time with hesitations and military incompetence on the field. A Thyatian ambassador, noticing the quiet presence of an Alphatian commander at the side of the Khan mentions how "convenient" this decision must have been. The Khan continues, saying this was no time for negotiation but for action. And act Ethengar did - the Khan then announces the success of his horsemen in holding the Glantrian passes. A gruff representative from Rockhome then bluntly adds his support for the Great Khan's swift and decisive action, for which he receives a kind smile and a nod from the Great Khan. In the back of the large yurt stands a lone and sombre Heldannic priest who remains uncharacteristically quiet. He is lost in his thoughts about recent news of the Inquisition incarcerating the Grand Master in Freiburg*. This was no time to pick a fight with Ethengar.
Shortly after the audience with the Great Khan, the Darokin envoy privately suggests his Thyatian colleague that Darokin is not in the best position to stop the humanoids, should they decide to come south. Darokin lost some valuable troops while trying to rescue Glantri, and much worse, holds none of the passes leading out of the Broken Lands. It may be wise of Thyatis to send help before it is too late. Ethengar is doing fine, and apparently so is Wendar. The Thyatian ambassador agrees. Both return at once to their respective lands. Meanwhile, a detachment of Ethengarian horsemen thunders out of the Great Khan's camp, heading west.
Meanwhile, far in the north, the first wave of humanoid reinforcements from Urzud reaches Ugrah's northern horde. The fires of their many camps dot the landscape as far as one can see from Wendar. The Glantrian Princes settle in the elven capital. With much fanfare, they renounce their allegiance to their treacherous kobold liege and proclaim themselves Glantri's lawful government in exile. Soon afterward, the remnant of Glantri's regular army reaches the Wizard King's capital, under Wendarian escort. Their weapons and horses were confiscated upon their arrival in Wendar. The Princes protest.
(*) cf. alternate Heldannic timeline.
AC 1015, 2nd Quarter: Ugrah's hordes are on the move again. In the south, Ugrah suddenly marches on Darokin. Soon, Darokinian scouts report massive camps being set up just a few miles of Corunglain in the Broken Lands. Following their decision to help out Darokin, Thyatis sends a large relief army. The Great Company of Selenica, fearing trouble with the Thyatian military, denies the Thyatians permission to cross their lands, as do the Karameikans, no doubt under the influence of Alphatian expatriates there. The latter become the target of bitter imperial protest and thinly veiled threats. Meanwhile, Thyatian reinforcements set sail directly to the Shires to avoid any further delays. There, they join with halfling troops and begin a force-march into southern Darokin. Merely days after this event, King Stefan of Karameikos declines to send required troops to help against the goblin invasion of Darokin. Instead, a Karameikan ambassador informs Corwyn Mauntea of Darokin that King Stefan fears imminent Thyatian reprisals. He had expected a war ever since Karameikos' bid for independence from the empire. Now more than ever, Karameikos could not afford to spare troops. Other members of the WDL are informed. Their complaints fall on deaf ears. People in Karameikos debate and argue interminably about the wisdom of Stefan's decision, but in the end most are happy to stay out f the war up north. The few others form small bands of volunteers, especially among the followers of Halav, and leave to join the Darokin regulars.
Far in the north, the greater, wiser Thunderous Horde launches its second invasion of Wendar. This time, humanoids scouts do a better job at ferreting out Wendarian traps. Massive battles follow with a series of thrusts and counter-thrusts from both sides. Casualties are mounting. The Glantrian princes negotiate with the Wizard-King for the retrieval of their arms and horses. In exchange for this, Wendarian commanders join their ranks to "assist" Glantrian officers while they lend a hand against the invaders. As the weeks go by, more refugees from Glantri keep arriving. Most join the Glantrian Loyalists, as militia volunteers.
While everyone's attention focuses on Wendar and Darokin, Ethengar completes its conquest of eastern Glantri. The besieged city of Rymskigrad finally surrenders, as does the rest of the Glantrian territories between Wendar and Ethengar. For its valuable support, the Khan donates the city of Rymskigrad to the Great Company, giving them a "legitimate" home. Quietly, the Great Company starts moving its troops out of Selenica. Combat has ceased at the mountain passes since the bulk of Ugrah's forces moved south. Orders from the Khan reach his forces there. They are to hold the passes and not move beyond. The bulk of Golden Horde is to regroup at Rymskigrad, now called New-Sundsvall.
AC 1015, 3rd Quarter: In Wendar, the war rages on and the once formidable elven defence starts buckling under the humanoids' continual pressure. The road to northern Glantri is cut and no further refugees can reach Wendar. Several cities behind enemy lines remain besieged. So far however, the goblin hordes have failed miserably in their attempts to storm the well-defended Wendarian cities. Unusual magic continues to frustrate the goblins' savage assaults on the big urban centres. Down south, Ugrah hurls his masses of goblins, orcs, and all denizens of the Broken Lands and the Great Crater at Corunglain. Darokin desperately fights for its very survival and suffers severe casualties. For now however, Ugrah fails to spill into Darokin. The Thyatian and Shires troops arrive just in the nick of time to bolster the failing Darokin army. Although fatigue has set in as a result of their forced march through Darokin, there is hope yet for Darokin.
Meanwhile, suspecting something's amiss with the Great Company, Shadow Elves send spies to watch the Alphatians. They report most of the forces have left the city and are quietly sneaking out of Darokin into Ethengar. The Shadow Elves immediately mount an assault of Selenica and ambush the Alphatians just east of Canolbarth. It is immediately obvious that many dwarves are covering the Great Company's withdrawal. A bitter fight follows after which all sides quickly retire. Meanwhile, the city of Selenica falls to the Shadow Elves as the remaining Alphatian officers fly or teleport out to safety.
Shortly afterward, a lone Ylari messenger rides into Selenica, battered and wounded. He reports Ethengar is invading Ylaruam with massive dwarven support. They have crushed Ylaruam's armies. No more than a day later, a Darokin emissary approaches the Shadow Elf military commander of Selenica. He thanks Darokin's kind elven neighbours for freeing this Darokinian city. Darokin has given him full powers to compensate the Shadow Elves for their heroic action, and therefore asks in the name of the legitimate owners of the city to take over things from that point on. Unimpressed, the Shadow Elf commander suggests Darokin first solve their humanoid problem, and that they would talk again afterward. Until then, a bigger problem is developing in the desert demanding all their attention.
AC 1015, 4th Quarter: Ugrah's northern horde has pushed more than half way into Wendar. The elves and their humans allies prove a harsh, determined opponent. The Thunderous Horde pays dearly for every foot of land wrenched from Wendar. But then, more reinforcements arrive from Urzud to support the invasion. More cities are besieged yet none are fallen. However, some begin to send messages to the Wizard King that supplies are getting low. Unexpectedly, a few Heldannic warbirds enter Wendar. As they hover above one of the besieged cities, their commander hails with a thick accent: "Requesting permission to land! We bring supplies in the Name of Vanya!" Furious, the goblins watch on, powerless to intervene.
In Darokin, exhausted from the weeks of continual warring, relentless assaults, and worsening weather, the allied forces have to retreat in good order. Refugees flee south, leaving behind their burning homes. The massive casualties on the side of Ugrah's horde still have not slowed its pace, and at last the rich city of Corunglain falls to the mighty goblins. They promptly sacked it and put it to the torch, as Ugrah presses on against the hated humans and their halflings allies.
Reports are now flooding the palaces of neighbouring nations about Ethengar's stunning invasion of Ylaruam. It has become clear in Thyatis that the Great Khan made a pact with Ugrah and then took this opportunity to turn upon the rest of the Known World along with their Rockhome allies. The emperor wows that they will pay dearly for this treachery. Before the end of the year, all of Ylaruam has fallen to the Khan. His eager horsemen gleefully await the invasion of the rich imperial lands while a dwarven army is settling just outside of Darokin, a few miles from Selenica. The emperor recalls all reinforcements on their way to Darokin while the rest of the imperial armies prepare to defend their hallowed land.