Chapter 1: Of Flight and Men
Time of events starting in Volnar, 20nd, year 103 ME..
In the otherwise uneventful year of 103 ME, the siege of Bangleswade Keep was an unforeseen tragedy that could have, and should have been prevented. Bangleswade Keep was a small outpost on the shores of Dagraba isle, belonging to the Ember Shield, a Serendin mercenary company based in Prycoast city on the mainland. All that was known to officials in Prycoast , was their colony was undoubtedly taken by force, the troops stationed there having been overrunned by unknown enemies, likely savages of the isle, and all contact with the Keep lost. Serendin sent aid in the form of relief forces, but each one vanished never to be heard from again. At first the noble ruling class in Serendin took little heed to the loss of one small and relatively unimportant fortress on the fringes of the very civilized world as they knew it. It was not until the port city, Nyranzaru, a colony belonging to their ally Dhamaaur, was lost some weeks later as well that they began to take real notice. A large expedition funded by a powerful merchant of Dhamaaur, a elf known by many as Ansoab Swordseer, worked in concert with the Ember Shield, their goal being the retaking of these lost holdings and re-establishing trade lanes with Dagraba once more. The islands rich resources far to valuable to let rot, elements of high ruling nobility also pooled their resources to aid in the venture.
Well equipped and well funded the expedition, closer to a small army by the time of their departure, wasted little time before setting out on their voyage. They never stepped foot on the island. They were ambushed just a mile out from shore, assaulted by a large army of Iksar of the Dark Talon tribe. The powerful breed of lizardfolk tore the greatships apart with the aid of great and terrifying flying lizards working in tendum with their brethren who stormed the decks from the seas. The Ember Shields who had come prepared and equipped to fight a ground war, not a naval one, fought bravely. In the end their courage meant little as one by one the ships were overcome, each man and women fighting to the last, having no quarter or option to flee their doom. Only a single ship horribly damaged managed to escape the slaughter, half her crew killed or lost. The ship limped back with tales of horror, reporting that Ansoab was one of the many that had fallen in the short but bloody conflict. Rumor mixed with panic soared through the rank of the nobility, while word of mouth passed quickly among the common folk by those fortunate sailors who had escaped with their skin intact. Some within the ruling class demanded for another expedition better equipped then the last while many others advised the King that the accursed island be given up on once and for all, its many riches left to those savage inhabitants that called the island their home.
While the noble elite bickered and argued over a what action was most appropriate. No one could have predicted the events that followed the following year, indeed the shock of it was like a ripple across the entire realm even reaching across the border. On the month of Andaria on Kalashday the 10th, of the 10th turn of the glass. The Iksar landed. What followed was a surprisingly short but bloody siege and assault on Prycoast city the likes of which had never been seen before by its inhabitants, with the Iksar quickly sacking the city killing thousands and securing the coast in one fell swoop. The shock that inevitably followed the devastation was almost palpable among lord and commoner alike. In fact as the news quickly reached the capital, almost no one believed it, including King Sikakia himself. Once the information had been verified by multiple sources however, action was quick and deliberate. Word was sent to Sir Robert, Earl of Riverfield, then to Lord Philip, Archduke of Westburn, two powerful lords of the southern and western reaches of Serendin respectively, charged with meeting this new threat posed by the Iksar invasion. Complications arose early however, and it was not until late Andaria that their forces had a nearly 20 days since the sacking of Prycoast before a proper force was assembled. In this time the Iksar had been busy looting and sacking outlaying villages and smaller towns as they marched eastward. These were the same land holdings of Lord Philip, and many of those lords and knights under his vassalage were growing increasingly disquiet as it seemed the marauding invaders had been given free reign. Pressure to act was mounting, yet Sir Robert of Riverfield had yet to arrive with his forces. Philip being of House Bosson, a long time rival to House Ebonmar which was the Sir Roberts line, assumed Robert was stalling for time, allowing the Iksar to inflict as much damage to House Bossons land holdings in order to weaken them and thus strengthen House Ebonmar. However, the truth was in fact winter had blocked many of the paths and highways northward to where Philip awaited in Castle Alnor. With his forces already gathered and with mounting pressure coupled with Lord Philip's own pride resulted in him making dreadful blunder.
On Moruthus, Memnillday the 14th, 104 ME, Lord Philip marched his forces from Alnor to confront the Iksar forces on their way to Nanewoz, a large village and important land holding to Philip, as had been the birth place and burial grounds of his late wife. In the face of his late wife's grave possibly being despoiled, Lord Philip Bosson felt his had was forced. On the hills six miles from Nanewoz Lord Philip placed and lined his forces in such a way as to bare the Iksar from further progress. His forces held a two full companies of infantry and a single force of archers, but it was chevalier's that served as the cream of his army. Made up of six whole éored of riders. A respectable force by any standards but it was not until Lord Philip laid eyes on the approaching Iksar force as they crested over the horizon that he immediately regretted his decision. The Iksar horde he was expecting was a ill disciplined disorganized band of savages and beastfolk, not a well equipped force with ranks and horrifying scaled beast. What followed was a devastating worse then the Iksar slaughter on Ansoab's fleet. In the end, the Duke of Nightwell as well as Guerin Falodith, a high ranking paladin of Mocruor, were both killed. Lord Philip himself was perhaps less fortunate, captured in the last stages of the battle were upon he was tortured and many presume him to be dead or worse.
The battle of Nanewoz was a disaster and when the news reached King Sikakia it was said he nearly tore his own hair out in anger. Sir Robert upon hearing the news turned back instead heading north west to Lochbridge. The next major city in the path of the Iksar forces. Word was sent out to many of the northern and eastern border lords, and now a second larger army gathers. In the mean time with no nearby armies capable of defeating them, the Iksar have all but taken much of the west coast with only Alnor and it's militia forces to appose them. With the situation dire as it is and it long over due, King Sikako has called upon his single strongest weapon.
The Sky Guard must take flight.
The current time, Moruthus, 24th, year 104 ME.
The stone tiled room was spacious to say the least, a simple semi-circular room within the highest tower of Fort Ironcrest, with a round table with maps and varies scrolls strewn across it. The place was less a fort and more a citadel truth be told. High Storm Commander Florian Jakub Walentowicz was a simple man, or at least he liked to think of himself as such. He needed but a few things in life to make him satisfied, fine wine, a warm bed to sleep in, and a fine young lass to share it with. Whatever his vice, war certainly was not among them, and to his knowledge, this would be the first war fought in Serendin in ages against an external enemy. Not since Gybahdin had started the great holy purge a near four decades back, which resulted in Serendin losing much of its north eastern lands along with their island colony now in Gybahdin hands. That had been bad certainly, but Gybahdin had not come out of it bloodied to say the least, he at least predicted it would be a long time before they ever considered another conflict like that again. However the situation on the west coast was gearing up to be almost as bad, if not worse if that was possible.
Jakub himself had not been born during that time, but his brown skin, light brown eyes and braided brown hair showed evidence of a Stygain bloodline however far removed. His large eyes, broad shoulders, and 6'7" athletic build however were Serendin to the core. He fingered and turned the ivory ring on his left hand he so often wore as his mind pondered the implications of the war that was already brewing strong even this far east. Scouts were reporting more and more of those accursed scaled riders, who many of the common soldiers were beginning to call Fell riders. Whatever their true name among their Iksar brethren, there was no doubt in their effectiveness, still how the lizards had learned to tame and fly those beast in the first place would remain a mystery to Jakub. He looked out the single window down on the inner walls bellow. A brick-paved walkway lead through the crowded market hamlet to a towering castle of white marble. Ironcrest, so named for the nearby iron mines, was an old Sky Guard fortress to be sure, one suitably perched atop a large rocky mountain. Though it was more a hill then a true mountain truth be told.
Despite it's status as a Sky Guard keep, not many of the order were present herein. Most had already been sent westward as the kings order reached their door steps. A few Hunts who had been out on border patrol or a mission afar had not even heard the news of Lord Philips defeat. All would be returning here soon enough, but it seemed only Cato Bellator's Hunt had returned. As a high ranking Sky Guardsmen it was his duty to brief the lot of them on the situation. Thankfully it was only a day or twos flight from Ironcrest to Lochbridge. The traveling speed of the Sky Guard had always been an advantage. He just hoped it was not to late for them to make a difference on the front line.