Taming the Southern Reaches
The tale begins, as it often does, during the long winter months when a message was intercepted. It is late in the Fall when the great black raven is discovered near the River White. The bird appeared to have died from natural causes, as no wounds could be found. Concealed in a small tube attached to the bird's leg was a coded message. Initial attempts to decipher the code failed. The importance of the message was confirmed, however, when a second raven, carrying the same message is shot by an elven hunter several weeks later. Still, all attempts to break the code have been fruitless.
"The two human kings are the key to our victory. Each must be conquered. West first and East second. Only then will our plan be clear."
RATSSOSTLD KERCAKTNEG AETNHLNKOE INLNNOAAAA SGAARDHOTC RIRTSOLVTI XXXFXXOGXX
Vince spent hours puzzling over the cipher. Finally, he determined that the names Fleetwood and Goodfellow were the keys to a double-transposition cipher. Quickly, he decoded the message:
No orcs. No skeletons. Sandal to attack via Greater Farthing Road. All knights.
The knights of Sandal mobilized and quickly moved to the north reaching Crossgate Castle in early March of 889. Meanwhile, the Knights of the Realm, using the advanced knowledge from Vince, likewise mobilized. The bulk of the troops headed south for the inevitable conflict.
In March, the Siege of Crossgate began in earnest. The valiant men and women of the castle, buoyed by the knowledge that relief was on the way, defended the walls and kept evil at bay. Later that month, the Knights of the Realm arrived with superior forces and, in one of the bloodiest battles fought in the war to date, slaughtered the Sandalese to a man. It was an even exchange, but the victory went to the forces of Goodfellow.
Meanwhile, a second, smaller group of evil knights were joined by marauders from the southlands. In April, they attempted a siege of a small village far to the south. The siege was unsuccessful. A third band of Sandalese knights heading north learned of the massacre at Crossgate. Moving quickly, they met the Knights of the Realm in the fields west of the castle. The Knights, jubilant in their victory the previous month, routed the Sandalese for the second time.
May found thunderstorms rolling across the plains and rumors of an undead mustering in the Tomb Kingdom while the siege of the village continued miraculously for two more months.
In July, the forces of the undead reached Lochlade Castle and Saltash, both of which were unsuccessfully sieged. Meanwhile, the siege to the south continued.
August found the Sands of Time suffering under the worst sandstorm in decades. Maybe the events at the Cave of Runes has stirred something up. While the Sandal sieges were unsuccessful again, a brigade of harpies and carrion birds were dispatched to harass the flanks of the Reaches forces. This tactic was short-lived as the Elven Dragonriders quickly dispatched the flying menaces.
With the cool breezes of September coming no, the Sandalese failed to siege the southern village and Admunfort. It seems that the Realm defenses were inpenentrable. In addition, two legions of Dragon Ogres were defeated at the far southern borders of the Reaches. In panic, the Sandalese mustered more troops to defend their border. Successful in this, they retreated all their forces from the Reaches without a single victory. Lady luck, it seems was not on their side this year.