Saving Elanthia or The Great Undead War
For some five years since the Dragon Priests were put down, there was peace. I continued to serve Therengia and my Order as best I could. There were small incursions from time to time, and I helped in defending my lands. My first marriage failed, and after some time had somehow found the courage to court a minor noble of Therengia. Things went surprisingly well, and the next I knew, I was engaged to Drexella Giraud. As we planned our wedding, rumors of the 'barrier' weakening came to my ears. I had no idea what this barrier was, but after some study and tales told by sages, learned that if it fell, the lands would be awash with undead led by a powerful Necromancer of old, Lyras.
Preparations were made, and defenses were made ready. We had no idea when they would come, but by all accounts, come they would. Our wedding was a joyous occasion and we took the time to make as merry as we could, for dark days would shortly be upon us.
How it Began
On 22 Dolefaren (day 271) 393, the Prydaen elders Balam and Felinda returned to the Wheel (a Prydaen euphemism for death), and the Barrier was greatly weakened. In this state, Lyras was apparently able to corrupt the Barrier and break through. Visions of undead streaming through this breach were seen by moon mages, and a month later her presence was first felt by attacks on the Great Salt Road near Hibarnhvidar. These initial volleys of undead were launched from a war camp that was setup not far on the Kermorian side of the Barrier.
During this time, our Baron had ordered the militias to remain in the province to defend against any undead, but, I still had an errand to complete in Shard. I decided to make a hasty trip there, in hopes of returning before hostilities reached the North. It was while I was praying in the Tower of Honor that I got caught up in the first strike against Ilithi. Undead were all about, and confusion reigned. There was a triage set up south of town, and I was fortunately able to find it for some much needed healing. The risen were in town and I tried to help when I could, but as Shard was unfamiliar to me, I had trouble finding the fight, though, much fighting found me in the form of lesser minions that were all about town.
The Mainland is Overrun
Eventually, the undead spread throughout the mainland along the roadways laying siege upon all the cities. There were frequent incursions upon Riverhaven and Therenborough tiring the defenders. We held fast, however, and often took the fight to the enemy on our roads, but it seemed a futile effort. There were so many actions during this time, I could not recount them all. I remember chasing the Risen Tachid, Klusarlaik and even Gurglesnout with my fellow Therengians, and each time they were bested, they would melt back to their camp to return again. We had yet to find a way to destroy them permanently.
Fall of the First Risen
After some time of the war dragging on with endless undead upon our roads, and occasional visits by Tachid and Klusarlaik (nicknamed Klucky by the troops), there was a tale about old Klucky that had spread. She - it - became lucid upon 'death' before she was claimed by Lyras again. She seemed to want to be free of her wretched existence, and told of Lyras' search for a weapon of some sort. There was even the tale that she would turn on her own undead creations, to allow defenders to put her down.
Stories, I thought, until she visited Riverhaven and I saw with my own eyes. We were engaged in a hard fight against her and her minions, and all of a sudden she was speaking normally.. and began fighting undead with us. She told us that she could not keep it up for long, begging us to slay her. We were finally able to take her down, and spoke with her corpse asking how we could permanently cure her affliction. She was able to provide little help at that time.
She was given another name for her lucid moments, and when she was called by this, it seemed to strengthen her defiance of Lyras. Dzive - or 'Life' in the Rakash tongue - seemed to want to turn against her master, or at least be released from her thralldom.
So it was when she attacked Crossing viciously, and a call for aid went out. I responded from Riverhaven and joined the fight not knowing the great event I would shortly witness. When she was slain, we took her to Holy ground, inside the High Temple! It was a bittersweet moment, I felt sympathy for the poor soul that was lost so long ago, but gladness that we had succeeded in helping this shell find final release.
On 30 Uthmor 394, Klusarlaik was killed in battle for the final time, saying, "I am abandoned. I suppose that the Devourer has grown tired of my defiance." Her final words were, "I will rest now, if it is possible. Stop Lyras, if you can."
A Replacement is Found
Lyras could spare the loss of Klusarlaik, however, for she had a new risen that was growing in power. In a raid of Leth Deriel a poor lass was taken and made into an undead minion. Sahfra as she was called, began her own malevolent reign of terror.
Her raids were brutal and she often worked with Tachid burning and destroying. It was clear that some way of destroying these risen and defeating Lyras had to be found. My days were filled with the slaying of undead, and occasional periods of rest. The citizens attempted to continue a veneer of normalcy through various events behind the safety of the walls. Life went on, but there was the dark threat always looming.
We Strike Back
The hard fighting continued as the priests made some plans to attempt to defeat these risen once and for all. The first attempt was a Holy Relic given to Amaldriel by the Inquisitor Khurek, a pearly unicorn. When it was invoked by Lady Amaldriel, it slew the undead and turned Tachid into an puddle of goo that Lyras could not reclaim. This was gathered and was to be destroyed, but for the machinations of Lyras and Sahfra. The group was ambushed and the remains of Tachid lost back to Lyras.
Meanwhile, the Prince of Zoluren had received a vision and sent his heirs, Belirendrick IV and Inavia, away as he was to confront Lyras. His first battle was known as the Battle of Darkstone that saw the destruction of Gurglesnout on 25 Moliko 394.
Some days later, the Prince met Lyras on the field of battle attempting to destroy her and save the lands. Unfortunately, this was not to be, despite the power of Meraud that had been infused in him. The Battle of Sorvendig's Stand saw the death of Prince Vorclaf in a great fight of noble purpose.
The lands were shocked at this, and many were in mourning. Having formerly served Zoluren, I felt a great sadness as well. At this time, I was appointed as a special emissary to Zoluren to extend His Grace's condolences to Princess Arilana. Alas, I was not received as she understandably had withdrawn from many affairs as she mourned the loss. I did pass the words on, and trust she eventually received them.
The fight did achieve a form of victory, in that Lyras seemed weakened and she and her risen were less active. The undead were still about, and the war became a grind. The people were desperate for a way to strike at Lyras and bring it to an end, which led to a vow I made both publicly and to myself. If a way be found to her, I would be first through the breach to see it through. Many Therengians joined the sentiment, and it was my hope that the day would come that I could be relieved of this promise.
The time finally came in 397. Lyras awoke and her risen began marauding across the lands, as if mounting a final push to destroy us. The fighting was fierce and it was apparent that something was afoot. Many undead were pushing into the cities, the death toll amongst the commoners was climbing. Roughly a third of the population had been slain to this point. Something needed to be done.
The High Temple and Mother Tallis declared that a way had been found to defeat Lyras. The faithful were called to the High Temple to mount a foray against her and her risen. The time was at hand, it was either us or them.
The Final Battle
The Clerics and Empaths had found a way to use the power stored in the Temple Orbs to destroy Lyras. It would take a coordinated effort. Many would be needed to keep the Orbs charged, while a fighting force located Lyras. The plan would only work if Lyras took the field and was put down at the same time as Sahfra and Tachid.
The Keep was silent as to any official forays, but we had been given leave some time before to mount limited forays outside Therengia's borders to assist where we could. Thankfully, I would be able to fulfill my vow without breaking the Baron's Law.
So it was that I and some fellow Therengians found ourselves in Crossings to await the moment. With me was the Gallant Marsais of the Northern Watch, the Mage Andorell of the Theren Guard, Paladin Aaiyaah, Cavalryman Firegard, and the Dwarf Worrclan of the Baron's Own Militia. The Guard and Watch also provided triage elements to aid the cause.
During this time, I received word that Riverhaven was being hit hard by undead hordes, but the defense was steadfast. My thoughts and prayers were with my fellow Therengians, but I had made a vow and would see it through.
There were a great many adventurers that had turned out for this crusade. The Lady Almadriel of Ilithi, and Chosen of Chadatru, was to lead the effort. After a small amount of talk, the location of Lyras was discovered outside Hibarnhvidar and a Moongate was prepared.
I led my Therengian band through quickly, and then we moved out onto the roadway in search of our quarry. We found Lyras first and immediately engaged her, gwething to the larger groups of our situation. After a few strikes against her, I was felled, and then reinforcements arrived.
After that first engagement, it was chaos. I learned that Tachid was about, and exchanged brief blows with it. I attempted to find my fellow Therengians, but by that time it was each person for themselves, banding with whoever was available.
During the fighting, The Handmaiden to Ferdahl Aemmin, Amaldriel Anduwenahle, Chosen of Chadatru, fell and walked the Starry Road. I was later told that Chadatru himself intervened in the form of a lion to save her soul from being eaten by Lyras. There was no time for mourning or shock, there was still work to do lest her sacrifice be in vain.
Finally, I found myself fighting against Lyras again, and sensed that Tachid and Sahfra had been slain. The time was at hand, and my efforts were redoubled. Everyone gave their all until at last, she too was slain. At this, the Temple executed it's plan.
Just after dawn on the 38th day of Shorka the Cobra in the year of the Emerald Dolphin 397, The parted clouds became whole once again in the sky, and no remnant of Lyras lies where the holy blaze has died down. Despite the departure of the lights, the world appeared noticeably brighter.
The long and grueling war was finally at an end. There was much celebrating and retelling old tales. I was so proud of everyone that pitched in and defended against these undead for several years. I penned the following letter to the Chamberlain, to inform His Grace of the final battle against Lyras:
Lord Chamberlain Isleif,
Please share this news with His Grace as soon as is convenient.
I hope that it pleases Your Grace to learn that several Therengians participated in the final battles with Lyras and her minions. It is with pride that I report to you that your people were in the van of this endeavor and comported themselves with courage and honor on the field to help win the day.
Worthy of higher praise are the stalwart defenders that remained behind and dealt with the surges of Lyras' army at home. From all reports, they were steadfast in the defense of Therengia and possessed the highest courage and sense of duty.
I have found, and still maintain, that Therengians are indeed the most noble warriors in the lands. I am humbled and honored to be counted among them.
Your Grace's humble ob't svt,
With peace finally to be had, my long awaited honeymoon would soon begin. I look forward to some traveling and easing of cares.