OVERVIEW: The Cataclysmic Wars take place over a 31 year period and, next to the War in Heaven, cause the most destruction and change in Elatreus than any other series of events. Starting in 31 B.E. (Before Empire) and ending with the formation of the Aelutain Empire under the 1st Paragon, below is a rough outline of the pivotal events of the war, along with relevant illustrations and battle maps.
To set the scene, the proto-Aeultian Empire is engaged in a bitter life and death struggle with invading Northmen and are using almost all of their resources to choke them off at the Peninsula they all emanate from.
Meanwhile the Kingdom of Thane, united under the 2nd Black King that has been building up its forces for nearly a century, is taken over by a new force that enters the world in the body of 19 year old Zorander Krauss, a captain and royal bodyguard in the Thanish army, and from here, all hell breaks loose.
THE CATACLYSMIC WARS TIMELINE
31 BE – DEATHKNIGHT ENTERS THE WORLD. Zorander Krauss finds the Brand of the Fallen and crowns himself Shazn’Oegtol, the Slayer of Kings, making him the 3rd Black King of Thane, age 19. THE DEATHKNIGHTS STORM WAR BEGINS
30 BE – The Kingdom of Thane under the DeathKnights banner and at the head of his army, invades Khartoum. The city is destroyed and its people killed or enslaved. Meanwhile, a combined force from Pomedica, Aeultia and Tuath De finally drive the Northmen back to their peninsula, but they break out and push back harder than expected.
29 BE – Border clashes with Silverleaf caused by scouts and opportunistic raiding parties quickly escalate into an all out war with the DeathKnights generals, and underestimating Silverleaf and overestimating their own strength, the Thanes take high casulties in the North. In the South, the DeathKnight and his main force moves into Escia and defeats them at the battle of the field of tears. Escia becomes a Suzerain state and their King is enslaved, body, mind and soul by the DeathKnight and becomes one of his Dark envoys.
Defiant Escian rebels fight on, temporarily holding back the onslaught at the Savage Frontier and the River Stand Fortress.
Towards the end of the year, with Pomedica seemingly the next target for the DeathKnights Army, Pomedicas weak and corrupt King (Arnet the Yellow) surrenders his city without a fight, and also becomes a Suzerian state of the rapidly expanding Thanish Empire. Aeultia calls in the Tuath, and Levees a reservist army and does its best to prepare its border defenses and recalls troops towards Windkeep Fortress.
28 BE – Satisfied for now, and irritated by continued losses of his ‘incompetent’ generals Silverleaf, he garrisons some soldiers in the newly conquered lands (promising to wipe them off the map if they rebel in his absence) and the main force of the Thanish army marches north and meets up with the armies of the Northern generals.
His war machine quickly overwhelms Elranan, forces the Silverleaf army to withdraw and begins to lay siege against the city. Elven warriors and mages are dispatched from the Elven homelands to assist in Silverleafs defense and are able to keep supplies coming in by sea.
27 BE – Captain Wilkins the Orphan, while engaged in the war to drive the Northmen back to their peninsular homelands, finds the Flame of the Host and becomes the 1st Paragon. With the raw power of the Flame of the Host and the morale boost it provides, the Aelutians are able to crush the Northmen in a series of stunning victories, and they retreat back to their base. Construction begins on the Northern Fortress and at the end of the year the Aelutians march West with the Paragon at their head to assist a desperate Silverleaf. Rebellion breaks out in Escia and they reassert their sovereignty, slaying the regent.
The DeathKnight, sensing the presence of the Paragon, leaves just enough men to maintain Silverleafs containment and marches East to confront the Aelutians. A terrible battle occurs in the border areas between Silverleaf and the Badlands, and the Paragon and DeathKnight face of for the first time.. But the Deathknight, having three times longer to attune to his sword, makes the Paragon look weak and drives him from the field of battle, forcing him to flee for the first time in his life and leaves the Aeultian army reeling..The army withdraws back East, and the DeathKnights army returns to continue the siege at Silverleaf, now in its 3rd year..
The Paragon seeks answers on how to catch up to the DeathKnights power and seeks out the Deathless Witch. Meanwhile, the DeathKnight and his elite guards take to the skies on Wyverns and head for the libraries of Khartoum, where the scholar and mage would later become the Lich King, is head librarian and reluctantly assists the DeathKnight from now until the end of the war..
Using the secrets discovered at the great Library of Ankarath, the DeathKnight raises the dead in Thane and outfits a second skeletal army..
25 BE – Silverleafs defenses are briefly breached ahead of the DeathKnights arrival, and the Thanish army kills over 20,000 people before they are driven back with Elven assistance. Meanwhile a large contingent of Thanes head East and skirmish with the regrouping Imperial troops.
The DeathKnight raises the dead in Silverleaf, who attack from the inside and nearly re-open the gates. Escia rebuilds its army and Aeutian reservists form a legion, liberate Pomedica and hold Windkeep.
24 BE -A re-energized and determined Paragon returns in time to resist a second attempt by the Northmen to break into the mainland yet again. Frustrated that Silverleaf still stands, the DeathKnight returns to the capital and begins a dark ritual he learned in the libaries of Khartoum. Escian army is now back close to its full strength.
Silverleaf is assisted by Elven guerilla fighters, who attack and sabotage the Thanish rear supply lines.
At the start of the year, the DeathKnight summons the gargantuan Golgoloth, bringing it into the world by combining a portion of his dark soul with the power of the Brand, and it rises up from the sea to serve his army.
With the Paragon leading what is left of the Aeultian army, they drive the Thanes back out of the Badlands and push their way towards Silverleaf. The bastion at the Northern Peninsula is completed, and 2 legions of reservists clear the areas around it, making it extremely hard for the Northmen to break out at this critical juncture of the war with the Thanes.
Using the power of the Flame of the Host, the Paragon forces the Great Wyrm of the North to his will.
Just as the Golgoloth heaves into view of a terrified Silverleaf, the Paragon and the Great Wyrm arrive and a battle of epic proportions breaks out between the two giant beasts.
The Great Wyrm defeats the Dragon, but is badly injured in the fight and flies away as the DeathKnight and the Paragon fight for the second time. Much stronger and more confident than before, the Paragon even manages to wound the DeathKnight in the leg, but this drives his opponent into a murderous fury and the Paragon falls, severely injured, losing his left eye, shattering his cheek bone and partially disemboweled..
Before he can finish him, the Deathless Witch steps forward and using guile and magical powers not seen since the War in Heaven, is able to save the Paragon and damage and humiliate the DeathKnight.
The Deathless Witch helps the Paragon to overcome the sinister, creeping wounds inflicted by the Brand and in a moment of weakness and delirium from fever, the Paragon proclaims his love for her, but she pretends not to hear.
Escia joins the war on the side of the Holy Alliance due to an unknown deal struck between the Deathless Witch and the King of Escia (they had intended only to double their defenses and hold position).They liberate Khartoum and march towards Thane. Thanish forces are peeled off from the main force to engage them near the Thanish Capital.
22 BE – Furious at the previous turn of events, the DeathKnight ensures there is enough troops to slow down the Escian advance and pushes his army at full strength against Silverleaf. Silverleaf is breached for the second time, taking an additional 7,000 casualties before again somehow managing to drive the invaders back, but are on the verge of collapse.
21 BE – Escians advance on the Thanish capital, and the DeathKnight is left with only one choice: abandon the siege at Silverleaf or lose his capital to the Escians. Furious, he kills his generals and replaces them before marching South, and the combined armies of Silverleaf and Aeultia go after them, seeking vengeance.
The Paragon returns, fully healed from his wounds and having learned more secrets of the Flame of the Host, joins the attack. THE WAR RAPIDLY TURNS AGAINST THE THANES.
The Thanish army loses battle after battle and by the end of the year, have lost all territories except those surrounding the capital.
19 BE – The Half Demon son of the DeathKnight Nachrael the Desecrator, is born, giving a morale boost to the corrupted Thane populace just as the combined alliance begins to siege the Capital in earnest. An extensive defensive network allows the fortress to hold out for the next 15 years…
11 BE – Tuath De is overrun by Northmen and the people retreat to Galbury Castle, which fades from the world and hides in a different dimension.
10 BE – The Northmen are attacked by the Great Wyrm upon the Paragons urging and driven from Tuath De. The Wrym retires to the mountains near the Abandoned Forest, still nursing deep wounds from its battle with the Gogoloth, where it remains to this day.
9 BE – A minor disagreement turns into a major one and fighting breaks out between the Escians and Aelutians. The Paragon and the Deathless witch calm the situation, but the Escians, still upset, withdraw their forces and return to their homelands..
8 BE – The Paragon and the DeathKnight again meet on the field of battle for the third time, but this time the Paragon seizes the upper hand and cuts off the DeathKnights right hand at the wrist and forces his retreat, his elite bodyguard sacrificing themselves to the Flame of the Host to allow their master time to make this escape. It is said that he storms around killing and destroying things in the palace for 3 days until it finally collapses..
Over the next 4 years, the armies continue to try and enter the city.
4 BE – The walls are finally breached, and Thanish Capital finally falls, but the DeathKnight is no where to be seen. The Paragon commences the hunt for the DeathKnight.
3 BE – The city of Thane is suddenly enveloped in a sickly green light and the remaining population and garrisoned troops begin to sicken and die from an unexplained and fast acting disease later identified as the Black Plague of Thane.
The Paragon cures his men – Thanish refugees flee to the North, eventually settling in the city of Elnarnan. The dead rise and the city is reclaimed by the one handed DeathKnight. The seige continues, priests and the power of the Flame play a critical role in defeating attacks by more ethereal undead warriors in the DeathKnights thrall.
1 BE – The DeathKnight finally completes a second dark summoning, and an even more powerful Golgoloth is summoned.
With the Gogoloth scattering the armies of the Holy Alliance, the Paragon seiezes the opportunity, and manages to force his way into the city and confronts the DeathKnight for the final time. Both DeathKnight and Paragon unlock the full potential of their swords, and become ethereal, the Paragon like a shining angel of light, the DeathKnight a pool of the darkest shaodows. The battle rips apart the capital, but while terribly wounded and disfigured, the Paragon finally slays the DeathKnight and the Brand of the Fallen disappears and the second Golgoloth crumbles into dust..
It was said that the Victory cheer was so loud it was heard as far away as Tuath De..
YEAR ZERO – FOUNDATION OF THE EMPIRE, BEGINNING OF THE IMPERIAL AGE (IA). Start of the 5th Age.