Alsara: The Dragon's Legacy
Treaty of Drakenheim
The Battle of Drakenheim and its Aftermath
“Everything was such a mess back then. Most of us thought it was the end of the world, and the war between the Dunvales and the Blessed League sure fit the bill: an army of darkness, washing over us, unstoppable and inexorable. And then we stopped it. In one wild, bloody, maddening night, the war was over. It’s just…after it was done, we were left with more questions than answers.”
In the year of 1214 there was a historic invasion of the Blessed Imperium (then known as the Blessed League) by the newly reformed Dunvales Conclave. It was halted when the Dunvaler armies were routed from Drakenheim—the previous capital of the Imperium—by an army of demons, which were destroyed in the fighting.
This invasion involved increible tactical acumen on the part of the new King of the Dunvales, Audric d’Blanc, but ended with the defeat of nearly all of his forces at the hands King Alexander d’Tunis of Drakenheim and Duke Julius Wester of Westerberg.
The Dunvales Rebellion
The war began during the reign of Saint Amelia, a few weeks after her historic war with Vokaya had begun. It was a rebellion at first, with Audric d’Blanc declaring himself King of the Dunvales, and several of the Dunvaler counts declaring their allegiance against Duke Haytham Freider. The unfortunate Duke was killed in the early stages of the rebellion, and his son fled the territory to Hauptstadt, thus ceding the country to King Audric.
The Dunvales were united into their Conclave in July of 1212; a few months before the Battle of Cascade Fortress, and the end of Immortal Empress’ reign. However, the easternmost territories south of the Reisig were the de jure claims of Archduke Johann von Drakenheim, lord of Drakenheim, and he had moved his own armies south to contend with the Dunvalers during the rebellion. Too late to prevent the capture of Adonvale and the formation of the country, the Duke of Drakenheim was dedicated to keeping the Dunvalers from expanding while he sought allies to crush the rebellion once and for all.
For the next year, King Audric pushed Duke Johann back county by county, with numerous sound victories then halted by internal strife and infighting in the Dunvales Conclave. Unable to build significant momentum in either direction, the war dragged on while Audric consolidated power and Johann failed to find willing allies in the wake of the invasion of Vokaya.
The Formation of the Blessed League
The balance of power shifted dramatically in March of 1213, when Duke Johann and much of his noble commanders were murdered in the Slaughter of Drakenheim. During the following spring and summer, the remaining counties south of of the Reisig were besieged; but despite the lack of cohesive leadership, the levy forces in those regions were able to mount impressive resistance. They were united by faith: despite growing conflicts between Orthodox and Reformation sects, no true Imperial would be willing to accept the threat that the Dragon Cult of Balor presented.
The capture of those counties took so long that Alexander d’Tunis was able to travel to Drakenheim to quell the rioting, and was crowned King before half the forts to the south had surrendered. Despite the lateness of the year, Alexander was able to bring together the disparate lords in the nearby cities into the Blessed League, and with a combined military marched south to relieve the sieges.
King Alexander was successful, to outward appearances. When King Audric’s spies reported the size and conditions of the force gathering outside Drakenheim, he ordered a retreat from most of the castles still under siege. His forces had been too divided to put up serious resistance, and so while Alexander soaked up numerous easy victories, King Audric assaulted three of the westernmost castles, each of which protected the vulnerable entryways to the Dunvales. At the same time, Audric burned most of the crops and sacked most of the countryside west of the Dunvales, leaving Alexander’s army with few provisions with which to resupply.
When Alexander arrived the outer reaches of Adonvale, he found the once-friendly castles there bristling with Dunvaler knights, repaired and restocked since their capture earlier that fall. Unable to secure a foothold to besiege the castles, and with winter coming on quickly, Alexander retreated back to Drakenheim with the remainder of his army in order to respond to potential threats from the Holy Falcon Empire.
The Summer of 1214
King Audric was not about to allow Alexander to recover his momentum. All through the winter, Audric set in motion the pieces of a complex and genius strategy. His spies in the north reported all of the alliances that Alexander had drawn together under the name of the Blessed League, and it was here that King Audric displayed an understanding of the Imperium’s politics that were uncharacteristically apt.
In the first day of April, he executed his plan: a three-pronged offensive on the Blessed League. The first part of it consisted of marching his main force through the territories south of the Reisig, baiting out Alexander’s combined army, overextending them, and then defeating them several times in the open field.
Then, after the first engagement he split this force in two, sending the second army down the Reisig in transports and sailing northward once they reached the coast. This force, commanded by Count Dorian d’Manfeld, besieged the unsuspecting capital of Westerberg. Westerberg was the second largest power in the Blessed League, and their armies were forced to abandon Drakenheim to march home at double-speed and relieve their capital.
The third front was a powerful reserve force under Audric himself, kept secret in the port city of Seberg. He knew Alexander commanded many allies, and wished to bait them out once the siege of Drakenheim began in earnest. The reserves would crush them once revealed.
This plan worked perfectly, and by the time the siege of Drakenheim had begun, King Alexander’s armies were depleted, demoralized, and cut off from reinforcements. However, when an offer for his surrender was put forward by the Dunvalers, Alexander refused, and countered by demanding the unconditional retreat of all the Dunvaler forces north of the Reisig, or, he threatened, they would suffer complete annihilation. Confused but unmoved, Count Armand d’Kutien—commander of the Dunvale siege force—began the assembly of his camp.
A month into the siege, however, a dark host emerged from the woods and fell into the back ranks of the Dunvaler army. At the same time, a company of this evil army penetrated the city’s perimeter and assaulted the royal palace, attempting to take the King’s life. This force was composed of cruel monsters, demons born from the nightmares of madmen. Leading the host was a terrible Dragon, black as pitch and strong as sin. Both sides of the conflict were shattered by the invading force, but King Alexander and the Paladins of the Holy Order of the Peacekeepers managed to thwart the attack on the palace, driving the demons from Drakenheim. At the same time, King Audric brought to bear a weapon of foul sorcery, and laid the black dragon low. With their leaders defeated and their purpose crushed, the demons retreated into the wilds, never to be seen again.
Audric’s plan had failed, as he had failed to take a true measure of King Alexander’s character. When Alexander threatened destruction of the Dunvaler armies despite his miserable position, Audric feared that Alexander had a mighty host waiting to fall upon his armies at a moment’s notice. His fear was so great, Audric used his evil occult knowledge to summon up a demonic army, in exchange for his soul and all the souls he had sacrificed to his heretical “god.” However, demons are fickle and flighty creatures, and they turned on their master. Audric used his dark powers to slay the demonlord he had summoned, but it was too late: his defeat had been sealed.
With his forces either routed or destroyed, Audric was forced to concede to a peace summit in the palace of Drakenheim, and a non-aggression pact was signed.
The Treaty of Drakenheim
The conditions of the peace treaty were complicated. Neither side had been truly defeated, but both were heavily depleted, and while Audric held the upper hand in terms of skilled fighting men, Alexander’s capacity to obtain allies was growing by the day: both sides were courting Vokayagora Zemla for support, but Alexander had a stronger bid.
Audric agreed to remove all of his forces from lands claimed by the Blessed League, but managed to keep half the territories south of the Reisig he had been aiming to claim in the first place.
The Dunvales Conclave was recognized as a sovereign state, and would be allowed to establish representatives in Drakenheim to aid negotiations in the future. However, the Dunvales Rebellion was a conflict rife with spies and intrigue, and both sides feared the other’s capacity to control information.
This paranoia led to a stipulation in the treaty that stated that if a person entering the Dunvales Conclave, they would be disallowed entry and either turned back or arrested.
In addition to this, there was a prisoner exchange, and Alexander paid for a number of ransomed soldiers.
Most importantly, there would be a secession of hostilities between the two nations for a period of ten years. During this time, no claims could be pressed, and the passage restrictions would extend for the duration.
In order to enforce this peace, King Audric (as he was the aggressor) was forced to have his firstborn son educated in Drakenheim, provided Audric was allowed to supply tutors. In return for this privilege, King Alexander deposited a large lump sum in an Aturan bank, which would return the money to the Blessed Imperium upon the end of the treaty. If the Imperium were proven to have initiated hostilities or pressed claims against the Dunvales Conclave before that time was up, then the gold would instead go to the Dunvales Conclave; who would, in all likelihood, immediately spend it on the services of a Listed Company.