The calendar most commonly used in Leng was developed by the scholars of Vingaard. There is a touch of nationalism in it: the years are reckoned from the official beginning of the Kingdom of Vingaard. Everything before the death of King Eolus, first King of Vingaard and unifier of the Vintish Fiefdoms, is termed "BE". Everything thereafter is "AE". As the death of King Eolus was only about 200 years ago, the recent history of Leng falls into the latter period.
0 - 50 AE
- The Death of King Eolus of Vingaard (0 AE)
- The War of Independence (1-3 AE)
- The War of the Black Rose (10-16 AE)
- The Apotheosis of Matriarch Honoria (15 AE)
- The Death of King Astor of Vingaard (30 AE)
- The Second Reunification (33 AE)
- The Halfman Wars (36-44 AE)
- The Death of King Wilhelm of Vingaard (49 AE)
50 - 100 AE
100 - 150 AE
150 - 200 AE
200 AE - Present
- Rise of the Truthseekers (200-201 AE)
- The Purge of Solamnus (201 AE)
- The Lionsgate Disaster (202 AE)
- The Destruction of High Tarus (203 AE)
The Death of King Eolus of Vingaard0 AE
Only 10 years after the death and apotheosis of St. Cuthbert himself, the first king of unified Vingaard died in the fortified town of Solamnus, in an assassination orchestrated by unknown parties. The Disciples of St. Cuthbert lead a funeral procession to Ahti's Lake, west of Lionsgate: the birthplace of St. Cuthbert. In later years, this lake would be known as Lake Cuthbert in honour of the saint. King Eolus was interred in a sacred crypt on the shores of this lake.
At the funeral of King Eolus, a decision was unanimously reached amongst the Disciples of St. Cuthbert. With their leader gone, many of them pledged to serve the Crown of Vingaard and the Army of Candles, swearing their lives in service to the people of Vingaard. This group was graciously received by Astor, Eolus' younger brother and the second King of Vingaard; they were the precursors to the Knights of Vingaard.
A small number of Disiples, those who were closest to St. Cuthbert in life, elected instead to stand vigil with King Eolus on the shores of Lake Cuthbert. They dedicated themselves to contemplation of Belzor and St. Cuthbert's will, so that they may best direct Vingaard along the right path. This group would become the Order of St. Cuthbert, or as they are colloquially known: the paladins.
A week after Eolus' death, King Astor of Vingaard was crowned.
The War of Independence1-3 AE
If Eolus' brother had hoped for a peaceful reign, his hopes were to be thwarted. With the Disciples of St. Cuthbert at his back, King Astor spent the first few years of his rule trying to stop the new-made kingdom from immediately disintegrating in what was known as the War of Independence. This was a war marked more by shrewd negotiation than drawn swords - although plenty of blood was shed - and it was during this period many of the historic provinces of the Kingdom of Vingaard were first drawn up.
The thing could not evade bloodshed completely, and it was during these first few years that King Astor learned the value of the power structure that his older brother had left for him to take up. The Disciples of St. Cuthbert on one side and the Order of St. Cuthbert on the other commanded the battlefield and the hearts of the people, and he would be a fool not to make use of them. It was King Astor who raised the High Clerist of Belzor to the newly-formed Council of Chancellors, and it was King Astor who formalised the Disciples of St. Cuthbert into the three orders of the Knights of Vingaard. Without the advice of High Clerist Tyrus and Lord Commander Horin - who would become both Astor's close friend and the legendary "dragonbane" - he surely would not have won back the rebellious provinces of Warden.
Even early on, Astor was known as the "Diplomat King" - so it is a shame that he would come to preside over so many wars.
The War of the Black Rose10-16 AE
The reign of King Astor, begun by war, continued with war. After the end of the War of Independence and the re-unification of Vingaard, Astor ruled for a peaceful seven years. It was this period of peace, more than anything else, which prepared the kingdom for the terrible war that was to come. Those seven years were amongst the most prosperous any in Vingaard could remember since before the fighting had begun. The rains came freely, encouraged by the Druids in exchange for a promise of the sanctity of Lurkmoor and Murthrid's borders, and the harvests were rich and bountiful. New mines of iron and silver were delved, and the University of Solamnus was founded as a storehouse for knowledge. It was a time of peace and prosperity.
He was helped, as well, by Matriarch Honoria - a key figure in the newly-formed Temple of Ravi. Although Tereses Thamian was Keeper of Dawn, and had been since Ravi first appeared on Morus, it was the Matriarch who was most well known. While Tereses was driving the newly-formed Sacrament of Vigilance across Vingaard in search of pockets of undead left behind by the priests of Seidar and Cyric, it was Honoria who was moving amongst the sick and needy of Leng, healing and offering freely of herself. Her legend grew as did her power - she went from a beloved wandering priest to a living legend, calling down the power of Ravi to cleanse whole villages of disease and restore the most direly wounded to the fullness of health. Some were worried when she publicly berated King Astor for his neglect of the Solamnus Sprawl, which was growing like wildfire - but he embraced her, and gave her a seat on the Council of Chancellors. She would become one of his most trusted advisors, and it was she who foretold of a great evil coming to Vingaard.
There are many reasons given for the War of the Black Rose. Some blame factions amongst the elves, claiming they used one of the fabled Dragon Orbs to incite the dragons against Vingaard. Some more erudite scholars claim that, after the Second Dragon War that took place in the Age of Spears, the chromatic dragons of Leng hoped to rebuild their power. They posit that, in an attempt to overcome their kind's tendency for solitude and pugnaciousness, they banded together one last time, hoping that destroying Vingaard would cut Murthrid off and leave them friendless. Whatever the reasons, it was Matriarch Honoria's powers of prophecy that allowed King Astor to prepare for the coming war.
The King sent his most trusted advisors across Leng - his eldest son, Aemon, he sent into the city-states of Lorknir, to hire as many mercenaries as the treasury would allow. He would die there, assassinated by the League of Names. Honoria was the only one he trusted enough to go to the dwarves of Dagrenoth Ur and convince them to build a magnificent weapon against dragonkind. And Ser Horin, his oldest friend, he sent into the forests of Murthrid to seek the counsel of the Towers of Wisdom. It was here that Horin met the golden dragon Curunir, who would become known as the Earthstriker.
So it came to pass that when the chromatic dragons arose from the desolate northern reaches of Tamora, the people of Vingaard were not caught off guard. The Knights of Vingaard fought, for the first and only time, from dragonback. They wielded the legendary Dragonlances in their hands; the price the King Astor promised the dwarves in exchange is a mystery and a secret, even to this day. The war was long and bloody, but it was won. The tales of the battles fought and the sacrifices made in those days are many, but none are more well-known than "Ser Horin's Fall" and "The Lay of Ser Beldorn and the Seventy" - the latter of which gave his name to the Great Beldorn Palace in Solamnus.
Long before the war was over, a half-elf known as Caemonn the Stormcaller became a close friend of the king. His immense magical power and acerbic personality made him unpopular with the people of Vingaard, and he was disliked by even the other Dragonslayers. But for some reason, King Astor defended him closely - perhaps merely because his magics were as effective at bringing down dragons as any Dragonlance. After the War of the Black Rose was ended and the last dragon was slain, Astor recognised the need to give legitimacy to magic-users once and for all. In a move that came very close to causing another war - this time with Lorknir and even distant Arelon - he became the first ruler on Leng to officially legalise and protect the casting of spells. He announced the creation of the Collegiate Arcana, the fifth building of the University of Solamnus, and formed the Iron Crown under Caemonn's leadership to create an elite force of "special" servants of the Crown, particularly mages.
The Apotheosis of Matriarch Honoria15 AE
Although Matriarch Honoria had a fundamental role in the War of the Black Rose, she did not make it through to the end. Twice during the course of the war, the aging Tereses Thamian attempted to bestow the title of Keeper of Dawn upon her, and twice she refused. When, exhausted by his long tenure, he asked why she would not accept the honor, she simply said "Ravi may embrace you soon, Keeper Thamian, but I fear I am bound to leave Morus sooner still".
This was not her only eccentricity. The priestess-turned-folk-hero almost singlehandedly saved Vingaard with the prophecies sent to her by Ravi, but as the War of the Black Rose progressed she took a less and less active hand in things. She became sorrowful and turned inward, saying that she had seen too much bloodshed. Knowing her compassionate nature, the king relented and bade her to do as she would, and she was often seen wandering Vingaard in the later, easier days of the war. Some began to believe that she had lost her wits, for she would go from place to place, seeking servants of the old gods and speaking often about regrets and forgiveness.
None are certain exactly what happened to her as she descended further and further into madness. All that is known is that one day in the summer of the year 15 AE, near the end of the war, she was sighted in the inner city of Solamnus. The reports that came in from the Royal Guard and bystanders are garbled and filled with exaggeration, so it is impossible to know exactly what happened next. One report, from the one man who was supposedly within earshot of her when it happened, claimed that she wept openly and raised her face to the sky, crying "I have done all you have asked and more! I have worked miracles, but I cannot turn back time!" Then, if the reports are to be believed, there was a thunderclap and a flash of light, and where she was standing was a great oak tree that grew apples made of gold.
The tree is no longer there, but the hill - now Saint's Hill, in Solamnus - is still a popular site of pilgrimage. Some claim that King Astor had it moved to a secret garden in the Great Beldorn Palace to serve as a memorial for Honoria - who is now known as St. Honoria of Ravi. Many scholars and priests have dedicated themselves to the study of "The Mysteries of St. Honoria", but none have managed to learn just what happened to her in those final days, or where she went.
The Death of King Astor of Vingaard30 AE
Known as "the Unifier", "the Diplomat", and "the Dragonslayer", the fame of King Astor rivalled and even surpassed that of his older brother - and if your predecessor's claim to fame is the formation of a kingdom, this is no mean feat! When he died, the sorrow of his passing was felt keenly by the entirety of Vingaard - but they rejoiced, too, in what he had left behind. If King Eolus had created the seeds and the framework by which a kingdom could be forged, King Astor had taken up the hammer. Together, they had ensured that Vingaard was to be no fleeting dynasty or brief empire. Built on the stones of the Trinity and the Knights, Vingaard was here to stay.
Astor was succeeded by his second son and only living heir, Wilhelm. Though merely a boy of 17 years, the Crown Prince was mired in the ways of warfare for much of his childhood - some might even say he was obsessed with it. After all, his entire life up until the day of his coronation was filled with stories of the valor and glory of his father; he lived and breathed tactics and strategy. Some say that he did not live up to legacy of his benevolent father and uncle, being a king who fought for the power and supremacy of Vingaard rather than the welfare of its people. Even so, none can dispute that he earned his title: King Wilhelm the Conqueror.
The Second Reunification33-36 AE
For the first three years of King Wilhelm's reign - until he had reached his 20th year - it seemed as though the line of Soleme had faltered. Surrounded by newly-made and power-hungry nobles and scheming courtiers, he became mired in court intrigue. At times it seemed almost as though he longed to rule in his father's day, in the Vingaard of the Black Rose. Then, very suddenly - to this day, some say Caemonn the Stormcaller had a hand in it - he changed.
To the west of Vingaard, Lorknir was crouched, silent and seemingly as old as time itself. Vingaard was prosperous now, and strong, but the city-states of Lorknir were hundreds of years old, and King Wilhelm knew that the only way to keep Vingaard safe was with a demonstration of power. Since a bold display of military acumen was exactly what he longed for with all his heart, he decided to simply bring one about all on his own. This was to be his magnum opus, the thing that would leave his indelible mark on history - and the young king did not disappoint.
He had already made his point by 36 AE, when the Knights of Vingaard rode through Warden and returned its rebellious provinces to proper, orderly Vintish rule - for the second time in 40 years. But this was not enough to earn him his title of "Conqueror". Having fought at the head of his knights, the warrior-king had not tired of battle, but he had learned to revel in it. Under his reign, the temples of Tempus sometimes seemed as important as those of Belzor, and he relied on the loyal and cunning advisors and friends assembled by his father to prevent Vingaard crumbling while he fought his wars.
The Halfman Wars36-44 AE
Although many in his court counselled against it, by the end of the Reunification the king's mind was made up. The king was a mere 23 summers, but if he had nothing else, he had a tactician's mind. He knew weakness when he saw it, and he saw it in Nevermoor. The halfling kingdom was rich in natural wealth, but fragmented - with a weak and ineffectual center of power. The halflings in the rural provinces openly flaunted their ruler's laws, and all the while raids from the Vikings had stretched their militias to the limit. If anywhere was ripe for the conquering, it would be Nevermoor.
The Halfman Wars - briefly broken on multiple occasions by peaces that never seemed to last - would take up 8 long years of King Wilhelm's reign. Although it soon became clear that he had grossly underestimated the tactical cunning and sheer ferocity of the halflings, the king took this more as a challenge than a disappointment. Multiple historical accounts reflect the attitude of his generals and advisors of the time - that "King Wilhelm would be disappointed by surrender by the halflings". The more the king fought in Nevermoor, the more he came to understand their unique problems, as well as their advantages. It is said by some that he grew wiser as he grew older, though some would paint him as a Battleguard of Tempus.
Eventually, in the 44th year - the king had grown full into a man over the course of his war - a final peace was signed in the form of a Nevermoor Agreement. They were terms of defeat, that was clear - yet even so, Vingaard profited. The threat of encroachment by Lorknir was a thing of the past, and the two peoples had learned a wary respect for each other over the long years of battle. It had not been a dirty, vicious, blood feud but a civil, reasonable war - the deceit and treachery of the halflings taken with grudging respect by King Wilhelm and his generals.
The Nevermoor Agreement was mutually advantageous for both kingdoms. The halflings of Nevermoor, though they can be vicious, have little appetite for a sustained war - they like comfort and peace too much. And their forces, even in times of peace, were never quite enough to stop the Viking raiders from being a constant threat. And, so the halflings got what they wanted - independence and control over the lucrative trade that passes through their country. King Wilhelm got what he wanted - almost complete control over the coast, and a tidy parcel of land to award his vassals. With a fleet of Vintish ships being constructed in the halfling ports, King Wilhelm need never fear that his kingdom would be left defenseless by an invasion from one of the powerful kingdoms of western Leng.
The Death of King Wilhelm of Vingaard49 AE
Some like to joke that, with Warden re-unified and the Halfman Wars completed, poor King Wilhelm just had nothing to do - and so, he died. It was certainly the case that Wilhelm the Conqueror was never likely to be an old king. He died at the age of 36, after having ruled for just 19 years. Even so, his legacy left his imprint on Vintish history - and when someone is hot-headed and liable to fly off the handle and draw swords, it's said they have "wilhelm's hot blood". It's widely agreed that the Conqueror died as he would have wanted - on the field of battle, albeit a mock one. He was slain after a jousting lance pierced his brain after insisting Ser Lauthrim Mordred fight him "as if he were any other knight".
King Wilhelm was succeeded by his only daughter, Elayne - another young regent. Only 14 years old at his death, she spent her early years in a Hospital of Enod, receiving proper tutelage while Vingaard was ruled by a regent. She would prove to be as different from her father as he was to his - such a devout servant of Enod that she would become known as Queen Elayne the Pious.
50 - 100 AE
The Queen's Peace50-70 AE
The 20-year reign of Queen Elayne the Pious - the first Queen of Vingaard - is well-remembered amongst historians for being a change in the course of Vintish history. Though Ravi and Enod preach compassion and charity, the first 50 years of the kingdom's existence had been bloody and tumultuous. Constantly under threat and seemingly on the brink of collapse at any given moment, the first kings of Vingaard fought a constant battle to cement Vingaard's place in the world.
With the reign of Queen Elayne, however, there was no such strife. The time for defensive wars to hold Vingaard together was over, as was the time for offensive wars of conquest. The two decades of Elayne's rule are quite rightly known as the Queen's Peace - a time of prosperity, when the industry and lore of Vingaard was built up to the profit of all. The University of Solamnus grew substantially, its library swelling by the year, and the firmly established colonies of Warden and Nevermoor made Vingaard a nexus of trade with the city-states of Lorknir.
Founding of the Collegiate of Bards55 AE
Since King Astor's time, the Iron Crown had acted as a power political force, moving the wheels of Vingaard in the Crown's favor with a mixture of intrigue and sheer magical power. King Wilhelm had made the Knights of Vingaard from a group of idealistic nobles into the commanders of a highly disciplined military. And now, under the rule of Queen Elayne, the temples had become stronger than ever. There were, as ever, many political factions struggling and vying for power within Vingaard - but it was almost inevitable that groups would form with their own ideas about "what is best for Vingaard". Although the Collegiate has always been secretive about their motives, it can only be assumed this is why the Collegiate of Bards formally announced itself in 55 AE.
Of course, the followers of the legendary Bard Blackhammer had long since spun their plots in the western kingdoms. It is only in Vingaard that they felt the need to integrate themselves so ostentatiously into society, building "colleges" ostensibly for the preservation of lore and history. Despite their motto - "do not change, only observe" - their subtle machinations can be felt to some extent in every major event that came after.
100 - 150 AE
150 - 200 AE
The Lurkmoor Troubles195-199 AE
For years, tensions between Vingaard and Lurkmoor had been rising. War between men and elves, thought to be a spectre left in the legends of times long forgotten, seemed once again to be likely. By the year 195, Those regions of Lurkmoor forest which lie within Vingaard, which had ever lay untouched, were now the object of loggers and woodsmen. Queen Madeleine had ordered a new fleet to be made to protect against a new influx of Viking raiders following a time of famine in Nordmaar. Though they were ordered to respect the old agreements, the skyrocketing price of lumber proved too tempting for many. It may be elven forest, thought the nobles, but it is within Vingaard's borders and it is ours - why should we not use it?
Perhaps having grown complacent of the elves and their patient ways, the Queen did not foresee the trouble this would cause; she did not act. As the woodsmen delved deeper into the depths of the elf forest, deaths began. Some were killed by weapons, others by the forces of nature. Many in Vingaard blamed the elves, saw this is as retribution for the deforestation even though these reaches of the forest lie within Vintish territory. Who values a life at less than a tree? The Queen of Lurkmoor was apologetic, but could give no assurance for the safety of the loggers; the forest of Lurkmoor is great and deadly, and the elves have no power over the beasts that dwell there.
Some believed the elves - some did not. Tensions continued to grow, and were at their worst when a clutch of 8 wyverns slew an entire logging camp who had gone further than any before into the reaches of Lurkmoor to request permission from the elves to harvest lumber. Although Lurkmoor denied involvement, few believed them. The events that would follow the Lurkmoor Troubles brought Vingaard to the brink of war, and resulted in something far worse.
The Forswearing199 AE
As the tensions between Vingaard and Lurkmoor reached unprecedented heights, only the level-headedness of their rulers kept them at bay. The people of Vingaard, particularly those in the duchy of Tarovus, were outraged at their Queen's inaction; the peasantry became outright rebellious, vindictively logging excessive quantities and leaving the lumber to rot. The elves were patient and stoic as ever, but even so there was rumor that Feldane Sindarion, Crown Prince of the elven throne, had sworn to kill any human who shed a drop of elven blood. Elven oaths are not easily broken.
While the two Queens desperately attempted to calm their people and achieve peace - hampered by espionage within the Vintish Court by agents of Cyric - a calamity was done. Together, a group of 60 young and foolhardy Knights of the Sword met in secret, against the orders of their queen. Led by a Deceiver of Cyric in disguise, their contingent rode into Lurkmoor numbering some 300 men. There, they descended upon an elvish town under the protection of the Druids. The elves fought well, but it was a slaughter; the response of the elves was outrage tempered only by wisdom and respect for the throne of Lurkmoor. The knights were called to Solamnus to stand trial for their crimes.
They refused, sending a messenger to the city in their stead. They would not serve a Queen who would pander to those who would commit evils and slay men for the sake of trees and low beasts. They were named the Forsworn Knights, traitors of Queen and Country. It was proclaimed by the throne that to house or protect them was to defy the will of Vingaard. This proclamation was accepted by Queen Alaunda Sindarion of the elves, but not by her subjects. Feldane Sindarion, her son and heir, did what has not been done in centuries, millennia even. He called for blood, standing against his mother the Queen.
Feldane was old, powerful, a veteran of the Underdark. Many flocked to his cause - the elves have ever been slow to anger, but when roused their wrath is a fury of burning passion. The Queen of Lurkmoor was filled with grief, but would not hold her subjects against their will. In this, humans and elves differ. She told her son to fight his war, but in doing so he and any who followed him would forsake Lurkmoor. Exile.
Despite the consequences, Prince Feldane took his host and was thenceforth known as Erezar, the King under the Stars; 100 elves marched with him, old and powerful - his personal guard, his brothers-in-arms in the Underdark, young elves filled with rage and Shadow Druids with their own motivations. They marched under his banner, swearing an oath that was carried across the land of Vingaard:
We will be as a bloody wind, elusive as the mist and pervasive as the eyes of the trees. Nowhere shall be safe from us, none shall escape us. Under the eye of the blood moon and in sight of Shevarash, the oath is made. No matter where they run, the Forsworn Knights shall not escape our blades: justice shall be swift and merciless. Beware, Oathbreakers. Beware to all who would shelter, aid or abet them, for your fate shall be like to theirs. All who oppose us shall perish.
And so began the Conflict of Erezine.
200 AE - Present
Rise of the Truthseekers200-201 AE
In the year 200 AE - in the midst of the Lurkmoor Troubles - an unlikely and unknown group of adventurers appeared. Although the composition of the group that would come to be known as the Truthseekers would change greatly over the coming years, they were destined for greatness. They began in the town of Dreptan, the seat of House Percival. The original group consisted of Lady Annabelle Percival and a group of mercenaries assembled to keep her safe:
- Patrick, a travelling bard
- Davonil, a wandering elf from the forests of Lurkmoor
- Ser Ulrich Mordred, a Forsworn knight in disguise as a mercenary named Gunther
For a time, this group concerned themselves only with petty adventuring. They first made their names known when Lady Annabelle, desiring to become a knight, was offered a chance to prove herself by a knight of the Tyrean Order named Ser Andal Brunus. The party assisted Ser Brunus in storming a Fraternity of Nirrin warehouse; for this, and various other good deeds in the Lionsgate area, Annabelle was summoned to Solamnus to be knighted as a Dame of the Order of the Sword. It was here that the party encountered Felicity, a young archer of common birth who dreamed of knighthood herself. Dame Annabelle took her on as a squire, and she would eventually ascend to knighthood herself.
In the days to come, the star of the group seemed destined to rise. Dame Anabelle led the group to the slopes of Mount Tyrus, the site of St. Cuthbert's apotheosis, and decided that they would champion the cause of rigteousness in Vingaard. The priests there directed them into Lionsgate to seek out a priest of Nasir disguised as a man of importance, plotting to kill the Queen. They discovered that a highly-placed knight, Ser Hospitalier, was the very same man who had led the Forsworn Knights into Lurkmoor. For their role in rooting this man out, the party caught the attention of the Queen and were awarded the prestigious Mark of Vingaard.
This goodwill from the royal family later enabled Annabelle to attain the rank of Commander, leading a force from Lionsgate to destroy a monstrous mimic in a confrontation that was bloody but ultimately successful. Killing the so-called "Manse of Murder" brought the group even more renown, but it was not without cost: Patrick was killed the first time the group tangled with the beast. He was replaced by Thelen Fulmore, a young and ambitious apprentice from the College of Learned Magi, in Lionsgate. Thelen's arcane skills and alchemical creations would serve the group well in the days to come.
For the party's role in the defeat of Hospitalier, as well as their later crusades against the murderous cult known as the Chosen of Vashidin, the party gained a reputation for rooting out evil and bringing it to the light. They began to be known as "The Truthseekers". The composition of the group would change greatly in the years to come: Ser Ulrich Mordred was slain fighting the Chosen, and the party was joined by Kazur, a priest of Ravi. Even though only Felicity and Davonil remain of the original Truthseekers, their names have become almost legendary in central Vingaard.
The Purge of Solamnus201 AE
In the winter of 201 AE, Solamnus, capitol of Vingaard, was a city of great wealth and opulence, but one with a growing problem in the Sprawl: the colleges. The Sprawl has always been a problem for Solamnus - tightly contained by the enclosing walls, it is a densely-packed rat's nest that is impossible to police effectively. The people who live there have always relied on the colleges for justice long before the guards, an arrangement the colleges have always encouraged: a symbiotic partnership. As of 201 AE, there were five colleges: The College of Peers, the Aventi Family, the College of Mercenaries, and Red-Beard's College. Of these, the College of Peers and the Aventi Family were most powerful.
By 201 AE, the Truthseekers had amassed a considerable fortune, and the favour of Queen Madeleine. With her approval, they obtained permission to undertake a great operation to undermine and destroy the growingly brazen colleges of Solamnus, with the full cooperation of the city guard. To this end, they also hired the Company of the Crow, a mercenary group renowned for its experience and brutal effectiveness. With this firepower at their disposal, the Truthseekers assaulted the fortified manse of the Aventi, and this fighting progressed into the streets and sewers over a course of days. The fighting was bitter, and it resulted in the death of the Truthseekers' leader, Dame Anabelle of Percival. The Aventi were driven from Solamnus for good, and the Truthseekers profited greatly from their vaults, but it was a bittersweet victory. In Annabelle's absence, Felicity - now a knight in her own right - stepped forward to lead the Truthseekers.
The colleges of Solamnus reorganised after the purge, following a brief guild war for control of the Sprawl. In the aftermath, Redbeard's College vanished completely - whether destroyed or in hiding, it is not known. The College of Mercenaries withdrew to a very small corner of the Sprawl, foregoing almost all criminal activity besides a protection racket in their territory. For the most part, they have returned to traditional mercenary work. This allowed the College of Peers to claim almost all of the Aventi's former territory, making them the preeminent thieves' guild in Solamnus.
The Lionsgate Disaster202 AE
In the year 202 AE, the name of the Truthseekers was irreparably besmirched. They were already reeling from Annabelle's death, and the Lionsgate Disaster seemed a deathblow to the goodwill and reputation the Truthseekers had built up over the years.
Thelen Fulmore, the party's mage and alchemist, had long since proven himself a competent wizard - but a dangerously ambitious one. The catalyst came for Thelen's ambition to be turned to evil when his master and adopted father, Deckard Fulmore, decided to leave Vingaard. At this point, Thelen was much more than the meek apprentice that first joined the Truthseekers; hE had grown into a formidable mage, ready to make his own way in the world. As a parting gift, his master made him an offer: finish up my last piece of unfinished business in Vingaard by killing my rival, Theleb Karna of Lionsgate. In exchange for swearing a geas to do this, Deckard offered Thelen his old spellbooks and research materials.
Thelen accepted. The result of his hubris and arrogance was catastrophic; in trying to disrupt Karna's rituals, he released an ice devil into the streets of Lionsgate. More than a hundred people died; streets were sealed off by walls of conjured ice, and the swords and spears of the Lionsgate Sentinels were as effective as spun sugar against its hide. It was not slain until the Collegiate of Bards brought a group of mages and druids against it, and by then the damage was done.
Realising the magnitude of his crime, Thelen attempted to escape the city - but Dame Felicity and the rest of the Truthseekers rode him down and captured him. He was tried for the crimes of Necromancy, Demonology and Treason and sentenced to the witch's execution. The Truthseekers were briefly exiled for their role in failing to stop him, but the misunderstanding was later cleared up and they were invited back into Vingaard by the Queen at the end of the year.
The Destruction of High Tarus203 AE
For four years, the Erezar terrorised Vingaard. True to their oath, they could not be found by the agents of Vingaard. Their camps would appear and vanish in the space of a day, leaving no trace behind but those they killed. After 6 months of trying to assuage the wounded pride of the Knights of Vingaard by sending more and more of the Iron Crown to hunt down the Erezar and capture him, the Queen gave up. It had become clear that the only way to stop the Erezar killing anyone who had so much as glanced at a Forsworn was to capture and execute them herself.
In the year 203 AE, something of a status quo seemed to have been reached. Of the original 300 Forsworn, about 150 were accounted for - more by elven hands than by the headsman's axe, but accounted for nonetheless. Those that remained, however, were furtive and sly. They had cunning, or resources, or both, and assumed new names and identities. These last Forsworn were doing everything they could to avoid capture, and the Erezar became more and more frustrated. Despite her proclamation, his mother the Queen of Lurkmoor even sent diplomats to find him, pleading to end the bloodshed, but he sent them back with no answer.
Tensions grew worse. The Queen hired mercenary companies to bolster the militia of High Tarus in the duchy of Tarovich, after suspected Erezar agents slew three disguised Forsworn in the street in broad daylight - along with 20 guards who tried to apprehend them. And then, the Erezar did... something. He used some old magic stolen from the treasury of Lurkmoor, to send the entire city into a magically guarded sleep. He then blasted down the gates of the inner city with powerful magics, and the followers of the Erezar stormed High Tarus - where a large number of nobles from around Vingaard had attended a feast. The guards were slaughtered to a man, and the nobles were taken hostage.
The next morning, a message was proclaimed in the streets. High Tarus belongs to the King-Under-Stars, now. Any civilians may leave. Any who attempt to enter the inner city will die. For every 3 Forsworn that die, one hostage will be released. For every month that passes, one hostage will die. The Queen's reaction was swift and decisive. There was no time to muster an army, but while the bannermen were being called she sent the next best thing. Within 3 days, the Iron Crown had infiltrated High Tarus, along with some of the most skilled Knights of Vingaard, and there was open fighting in the streets.
However, during the pitched magical battle that ensued, the escalation of events came at last to its absurd climax: the magical combat awoke an ancient presence beneath the streets of the city. Those streets exploded outwards as a vast and terrible dragon emerged. Zargothrax is his name, and he is the oldest and greatest red dragon ever seen in the living history of Vingaard. The rumors, fragmented and full of terror, claim that he is a mage, too, more powerful than the High Magus. The combined forces of the Iron Crown and the Erezar were not enough. He slaughtered them to a man, and seized High Tarus for himself. Now the threat of the Erezar is no more, but he has been replaced by an even more enduring evil, with motivations that are clear to no one.