Tales of the Ten Years War, part 5 10/21/2014 | 257 comments

Previous episodes
  1. 843 YSD – Falcon’s Last Flight
  2. 844 YSD – The Conclave of the New Dawn
  3. 845 YSD – Omens of War
  4. 846 YSD – The Maiden's Tears

On the 1st day of the White Maiden, Stefan of Wolf entered the war, sending his armies north to counter the Bull’s advance. Far in the north, Seamus of Stag had spent the last months cutting down the forests on Irollan’s border, gathering wood for purposes unknown. His plans were as inscrutable as ever, but it seemed obvious he too would soon join the fray…

Tales of the Ten Years War

847 YSD – Dead of Winter

The eastern front

Stefan’s bold and fearless tactics, which had been described as “foolhardy” by some, proved the Bull’s demise. In the first two months of the year 847, no less than seven battles were fought in the wheat fields near Vladikraj and the Cherna hills. The Wolf lost two of them.

Before spring, it was clear the Bull had lost its chance to conquer the Griffin Duchy. Amílcar retreated to Voron Peak, but the Wolf drove him out of the city in a matter of weeks. Defeated, Amílcar ran back to his Duchy, with tail between legs.

But while the people of the Griffin Duchy were ready to hail Stefan as their saviour, they soon realized that the Wolf lord had not actually been defending the Griffin lands from the Bull. No, he simply intended to conquer them for himself.

The western front

In the West, Ivan’s cavalry and Griffin riders kept harassing Enguerrand’s vanguard and support lines, buying enough time for Rowena’s forces to regroup with Ivan’s reinforcements. Tatyana’s sacrifice had not been in vain. Rather than entrenching themselves in Kilburn and risking a war of attrition that would have played in Enguerrand’s favour, Ivan and Rowena decided to intercept the advancing Greyhound’s forces in the open.

The two armies met on the 13 th day of the Night Veil, not far from the small city of Ashwood. The battle lasted 3 days. The losses were heavy on both side, but the allied forces eventually took the upper hand, if only by a narrow margin. Ivan and Rowena decided to push their advantage, forcing Enguerrand to withdraw back behind his own borders.

Enguerrand’s forces having been defeated north and south, the Unicorn Duchy was victorious. Ivan suggested the time had come to cease hostilities by offering peace. But Rowena ignored Ivan’s recommendations, deciding to enter the Greyhound Duchy with her armies instead. Preoccupied by the news he had received regarding the situation in his homeland, Ivan gathered his own troops and began his long journey back east.

The Ice Demons

Temperatures started to drop uncharacteristically throughout the month of the Shining Star. Scholars and weather wizards were all in agreement: winter was not going to be soft this time around. The winter of 847 was in fact the worst Thallan had known in decades, so harsh that even the intrepid Stefan of Wolf was forced to halt his invasion plans.

With incessant snowstorms sweeping across the countryside, trying to venture in the mountainous area where the Griffin’s capital of Eastalon was located would have been suicide. Even Whitemane, in the valley below, had become too risky a target. The Wolf armies instead retreated to Voron Peak, located in a slightly more hospitable region, waiting for the weather to improve. But it was only getting worse, and they waited a long time. Too long.

By early Spider Queen, strange rumours began to reach Stefan’s ears. The few travelers that dared venture in the frozen wasteland the Griffin lands had turned into brought back stories of a monstrous army of “Ice Demons”, descending from the eastern mountains. The stories differed greatly when it came to describing the creatures, but they were all agreeing on one point: they were marching west, towards Voron Peak.

The Wolf lord refused to give credit to these tall tales, believing them to be mere propaganda intended to scare him away from the Griffin Duchy. Five years after the Fourth Eclipse, no Demons could remain on Ashan in such numbers. As for Ivan’s armies, they were still far in the west. Finally, one thing was certain: no Human army was mad enough to travel in such harrowing weather.

He was absolutely right. He had simply forgotten an important fact: not all of Ivan’s subjects were Humans.

On the 22nd Day of the Spider Queen, the “Ice Demons” were at Stefan’s door. Led by Kente, Ivan’s Master-of-Arms, the Orcs of the Whitespear tribe soon taught the Wolf lord the meaning of fear…

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