War of the Lance
Article written by Uziel
There have been many events in the history of Krynn, ranging from small skirmishes to world-shattering events, however one of the greatest and most significant conflicts is the War of the Lance. Whilst the fighting during the War of the Lance only actually lasted from 348 AC - 352 AC, the origins of the war were planted much earlier than this. During the Third Dragon War in 1018 PC, Huma Dragonbane defeated Takhisis when she tried to make herself manifest upon Krynn, and forced a promise from her that she would return to the Abyss and never return to the mortal realm of Krynn again. Takhisis agreed to this, returning to the Abyss and taking her dragons with her. But her dreams of dominating Krynn were far from over, and thus she began to plot how to return and how conquer the world.
In the short years before the Cataclysm, Takhisis was one of the loudest of the gods who railed against Beldinas the Lightbringer, Kingpriest of Istar, and called that the balance must be restored. She willingly aided the other gods in throwing the fiery mountain onto Krynn, devastating the land and it's people. Directly after the Cataclysm, Takhisis then secreted the ruins of the Temple of Istar into the Abyss, plotting to use it as her headquarters once she returned to Krynn. She soon learned that the temple could potentially be used to breach the Gate of Souls and enable her to return to the mortal realm. So the goddess then chose a site for the foundation stone of the temple to be planted, in a remote location where none would find or disturb it. In 141 AC, Takhisis selected the remote wilderness of Taman Busuk, close to Neraka, to plant the Foundation Stone.
With a means to freely travel between Krynn and the Abyss, Takhisis wandered the lands in disguise, finding the lairs of her Chromatic Dragons and waking them from their enchanted sleep. Between 142 AC and 152 AC, Takhisis located the chromatic lairs, from the red lairs in the Khalkist Mountains to the white lairs in the depths of Icereach. Her dragons answered her call and offered their allegiance to their Dark Queen once more, pledging to aid her when she asked. Satisfied that enough of her dragons would aid her cause, Takhisis returned to the Abyss in 152 AC, to further build her power in secret.
The Green Gemstone Man
Some time after Takhisis returned to the Abyss, a pair of siblings wandering through the wilderness, stumbled upon the jewel-encrusted Foundation Stone. The young man known as Berem was overcome by greed and attempted to pry one of the gems off the stone. His sister Jasla was disgusted with his greedy act, and attempted stop him. In a fit of anger, Berem pushed Jasla away, and she fell awkwardly and was killed. The green gemstone that Berem removed became magically lodged in his chest, and Jasla's spirit was drawn into the Foundation Stone. Berem fled in horror, and later learnt that he was cursed to wander the earth endlessly, until he could gain forgiveness. Takhisis soon discovered that her entry into Krynn was blocked, due to the missing gem, and the fact that Jasla's spirit was blocking the portal. The Dark Queen contacted her servants and beckoned them to locate the Green Gemstone Man and complete the portal so she could return to Krynn.
Whilst her servants searched for the gemstone thief, Takhisis noted that the Foundation Stone warped and grew into a dark temple, which became the headquarters for her dark forces. She plotted to further remove the singular obstacle and threat to her plans, by forcing the metallic dragons out of the fight.
The Oath of Neutrality
Oblivious to the plans of Takhisis, the Metallic Dragons still slumbered in their deep sleep on the Dragon Isles. Takhisis sent her agent, the Red Dragon Harkiel the Bender and his red cousins to the Dragon Isles where they stole all the metallic dragon eggs and then took them to a secret location within the Lords of Doom, in the region near Sanction. Takhisis then appeared on the Dragon Isles as a bodiless spirit, and she woke all the metallic dragons from their sleep. The Dark Queen warned the metallic dragons to stay out of the war that was coming, and that if they broke her trust, she would destroy their eggs. Takhisis promised to return the dragon eggs at the conclusion of the war, if the dragons kept their oath to her. In 296 AC, Harkiel the Bender returned to the Dragon Isles to further reinforce the wishes of Takhisis and to exact the Oath of Neutrality from the dragons directly. The metallic dragons agreed that they would not involve themselves in the war, in return for their children after the conflict.
Of course Takhisis had no intention of honoring her pact with the dragons and instead had three of her servants, the mage Harrawell Dracart, the cleric Wyrllish Parkane and the red dragon Harkiel the Bender, develop a magic ritual which corrupted the eggs. The result of the ritual was the birth of the Draconians, dragon-men who were twisted and evil and wholly loyal to Takhisis.
Formation of the Dragonarmies
With the draconian process underway, and the metallic dragons out of the way, Takhisis undertook the formation of the rest of her armies. She gathered a number of followers with promises of wealth and power to her banner, and the formation of the Dragonarmies began to take place in 332 AC. Over the next eight years, the numbers of her armies would swell considerably. In the early formation period of 332 AC, Takhisis recruited the warlord Duulket Ariakas, who became the leader of her Dragonarmies and the first of her Dragon Highlords. The Highlords were the chosen leaders of the Dragonarmies and each was a general over one of her great five armies. The mighty Ariakas began training and recruiting in force, and handpicked the other initial Highlords. Ariakas also heavily utilized the chromatic dragons throughout his armies, ensuring that their majesty and might was used to the full extent, to dominate and strike fear into the hearts of their enemies. By 337 AC, all of the Taman Busuk region was fully under the sway of the Dragonarmies, with the city of Sanction established as their port. Estwilde was also claimed and used as grounds for reserve troops. Further alliances were concreted by 341 AC, with Kern, Khur, Blöde, and the Blood Sea Isles. Soon enough, Minotaurs, Ogres, and more Humans fill the ranks of the Dragonarmies further.
The ranks of the Dragonarmies are completed in 342 AC, when the draconians are revealed to the senior officers of the Dragonarmies and accepted as soldiers.
The First Nations Fall
In the summer of 348 AC, the Green Dragonarmy and Red Dragonarmy were sent to Nordmaar, to test their might against the northern kingdom. Highlord Phair Caron led the Red Wing in devastating attacks against the Nordmen, whilst the Green Wing cleaned up the remaining opposition. Some heated fighting occurred in both the port city of Valkinord and the Nordmaar capital of North Keep, however the region still fell quickly to the dark forces.
Whilst two of the other Dragonarmies conquered Nordmaar, the Blue Wing was sent to conquer the New Sea region. The main settlement in this area was the Isle of Schallsea, which was chosen to establish a base for the Dragonarmies. The Blue Wing, under the leadership of Highlord Kartilann of Khur, set about subjugating the local Wemitowuk tribe, but were surprised through the use of elementals to attack them. In the confusion, Highlord Kartilann was struck down by an arrow and killed, as were a number of the Blue Wing forces. However under the leadership of the Highmaster Kitiara Uth Matar, the Blue Wing rallied against the Wemitowuk and claimed Schallsea and the wider New Sea region.
Ariakas, the self-styled Dragon Emperor, also had spoken with Lorac Caladon, Speaker of the Stars of Silvanesti, in 348 AC. The elven king offered a truce with Ariakas, in which the Silvanesti elves would not involve themselves in the war if they were not invaded. The Dragon Emperor agreed to the truce, in the hope that it would buy him time to consolidate more lands and power before turning on the elven kingdom.
The Silvanesti and Khur Campaigns
Whilst Khur had already agreed to an alliance with the Dragonarmies in 341 AC, the Green Wing was sent to occupy the arid region to secure the territory and solidify the relationship with the Khurish people in 349 AC. However the Highlord of the Green Dragonarmy found himself under fire from the tribal leaders of the Khurish people, and a resistance movement begun to oust the Dragonarmies. A warlord of the Khur tribe known as Salah, who had already allied with Ariakas in a bid to increase his power, was given control of the Green Wing and crushed any hope of the rebellion continuing. Salah-Khan maintained his tight control over Khur as Dragon Highlord of the Green Dragonarmy. At the same time as the Khur were brought into line, the Black Dragonarmy and White Dragonarmy moved to occupy and conquer the nations of Goodlund and Balifor. Both were conquered with relative ease in 349 AC, allowing Ariakas to look southwards again to the elven realm of Silvanesti.
After the truce in 348 AC, the Silvanesti were completely unprepared in 349 AC for the vicious attack on their realm by the Red Wing. Highlord Phair Caron again used the might of her red dragons to decimate the elven forces. Her ground troops waged a bloody battle that resulted in a high loss of life on both sides. The Silvanesti Campaign ran for almost a full year, with the Red Wing further supported by a small number of the Blue and Green Wings. Initially the northern elven settlements were all wiped out, before the Dragonarmy forces moved inwards to lay siege to the capital of Silvanost. In a final desperate bid to keep the Dragonarmies out of Silvanost, Speaker Lorac used a Dragon Orb to lay waste to the dark forces. Whilst the Dragon Orb was successful in driving out the Dragonarmies from Silvanesti, it also took control of Lorac completely and badly corrupted the forests of Silvanesti. The result of the Silvanesti Campaign was an effective stalemate. Silvanesti was conquered, however Highlord Phair Caron was driven mad by the Dragon Orb and died in the final fight, and the Dragonarmies were unable to occupy the elven kingdom.
The Dragonarmies Regroup
After the failed Silvanesti conflict, the Dragonarmy forces regrouped in 350 AC. Ariakas recruited more forces, as well as established supply lines, secured further control over Dragonarmy-controlled lands and promoted several more officers to the roles of Highlords. Each of the five armies spent the year rebuilding and looking further a field for their next conquests.
Verminaard of Nidus, a dark cleric and servant of Takhisis, was selected as the next Highlord of the Red Dragonarmy. Highlord Verminaard began training of his troops, as well as looking westward towards his next goal.
Highlords Feal-Thas (white), Salah-Khan (Green) and Lucien of Takar (Black) also were given engineers and supply officers in order to maintain order more effectively over the lands already held by the Dragonarmies. The White Dragonarmy also was moved to Icereach at this time, in order for its dragons to be more comfortable and effective.
The Assault Westwards
As the spring of 351 AC came around, both the forces of Verminaard and Kitiara were launched into the west. The Blue Dragonarmy traveled through the Dargaard Mountains and laid claim to the Solamnic lands of Kalaman, Nightlund, and Hinterlund. Within the realm of Nightlund, Highlord Kitiara met with the Death Knight Lord Loren Soth at Dargaard Keep. Soth, who was impressed with the tenacity and spirit of Kitiara, agreed to serve the lady and her troops in her rise to power.
The Red Wing moved to claim the goblin-infested lands of Throt and before it could even conquer Lemish, the dark nation decided to directly ally with the Dragonarmies instead. Verminaard's forces then lay siege to the Solamnic cities of Solanthus and Thelgaard, claiming both after short battles. With much of Solamnia conquered, Verminaard had most of his red dragons and a substantial number of his forces remain in southern Solamnia to continue to harass the Solamnic forces in Caergoth, whilst he and most of the draconian troops traveled across the New Sea and into Abanasinia to conquer that realm. On arriving in Abanasinia, Verminaard took control of the ancient fortress of Pax Tharkas, and the fallen city of Xak Tsaroth. Having heard rumors of holy relics and true clerics in Abanasinia, Verminaard began the search for the validity of these tales. His forces conquered Qualinesti, and also devastated the plainsfolk of Abanasinia.
Verminaard's southern campaigns in Abanasinia would be his downfall however. A group of adventurers, who would later become known as the Heroes of the Lance, confronted the Dragon Highlord in Pax Tharkas. The confident dark cleric faced off against the adventurers on his own, whilst his red dragon Ember battled overhead. However Takhisis abandoned him when he needed her, and the mighty Verminaard was laid low by the Heroes of the Lance and killed.
As Verminaard fell at Pax Tharkas, so too did Highlord Feal-Thas of the White Dragonarmy find himself under siege. Safe in his stronghold at Icewall Castle, the dark elf thought himself secure. However a second group of adventurers, some of whom would also later be dubbed Heroes of the Lance, ambushed the dark elf. In a vicious fight, the dark elf was cut down and another of the Highlords was defeated.
The forces of good have a breakthrough when the smith Theros Ironfeld was taught how to forge Dragonlances by the Silver Dragon Silvara (Dargent). Theros Ironfeld, along with some of the Heroes of the Lance, including the Qualinesti princess Laurana, journey to the Isle of Sancrist, to listen to the words of the allied forces. Theros presents the dragonlance to the Whitestone Council, and the Whitestone forces consolidate into one large to fight and take back lands from the Dragonarmies.
Defeat of the Dragonarmies
Early in 352 AC, Highlord Kitiara led the Blue Wing against the High Clerist's Tower, in a bid to take the city of Palanthas. However through the use of a Dragon Orb, as well as the bravery of the Solamnic Knight (and Hero of the Lance) Sturm Brightblade, the blue dragons were defeated. Highlord Kitiara struck down her former-friend Sturm herself, and confronted Laurana on top of the High Clerist's Tower, before initiating a retreat. The Solamnic forces requested that Laurana lead the Whitestone armies against the Dragonarmies, which she reluctantly accepted.
The Qualinesti prince Gilthanas, aided by the silver dragon Silvara (Dargent), located the metallic dragon eggs in Sanction, and flew to the Dragon Isles to tell the metallic dragons of the news. On learning the truth about the corruption of their eggs, the goodly dragons take up wing and join in the war. With the aid of dragons on her side, Laurana (dubbed the Golden General) leads the Whitestone Forces on a series of successful assaults, which routed the Dragonarmies and drives them out of Kalaman. In a bid to halt the progression of the Whitestone forces, Highmaster Bakaris, lieutenant of Highlord Kitiara, managed to effect a successful kidnapping of Laurana. Whilst she was taken back to the dark city of Neraka, his own avarice led to the Highmaster's own death.
As the Dragonarmies faltered across the front, Ariakas summoned his Dragon Highlords to all return to Neraka. The Dragon Emperor learnt that Lord Toede, who was acting Highlord of the White Dragonarmy, had been killed by a Green Dragon in Balifor during a botched hunting trip. The five armies all returned to Neraka, as did the Heroes of the Lance in secret. Whilst Ariakas, the other Highlords, and the Dragonarmies prepared to watch Takhisis re-enter the world, the Heroes of the Lance begun their own plans. Tanis Half-Elven, with the magical assistance of Raistlin Majere, managed to cut down Ariakas during the ceremony, which halted Takhisis' return and threw the Dragonarmies into chaos. The Whitestone forces began their siege on the Nerakan forces and decimated the Dragonarmy troops.
The Temple of Neraka exploded in the final part of the fighting, and the five Dragonarmies fled to the corners of Ansalon. By the close of 352 AC, the Dragonarmies were defeated as a whole unit, and the War of the Lance was all but over.
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