The Tang Invasion
The End of the First War of the Reaches
The First War of the Reaches (886-890 TA) marked a time of unrest in the Reaches. During those years, the arrival of the Three Kings back into the land was greeted by a rallying of the forces of good after the overthrow of Hastur and his sons in The Hastur Rebellions (883-885 TA).
Following the successful campaigns of 890 TA, the Orc Nation went into revolt and began decade of vassalage to the Crown. Sandal deposed the rule of Valdemar who fled into exile in the Tang Empire. While still hostile to the Reaches, its southern neighbor was hardly in a position to retaliate.
However, the price of this war was high with the destruction, damage or sacking of many of the castles and cities of the Reaches - including Teufeldorf, Dragonsford and Dwarrowdelf.
The Dwarven Defenses
In 890 TA, the Reaches flourish in a decade of construction - The Dwarven Defenses - began. Without a war to interrupt progress, new castles sprung up at key strategic locations. Old castles were rebuilt, a rudimentary navy was built, and cathedrals to the heroes of old were begun.
By 899 TA, the rebuilding was complete. The new construction included three new castles including the river castles of dwarves, Bargefort and Riversgate, with their mechanical drawbridges and docks for the dwarven flotilla. An elven castle and cathedral were completed in Loftwood, to the north of Teufeldorf. Two other keeps were upgraded to castles, completing the Dwarven Gates defense for Dwarrowdelf. Four human castles and a cathedral were scattered throughout the Reaches at key strategic points. And finally, the first Reaches navy was commissioned with joint forces of elves and humans completing the task while the dwarves built two more mechanical airships.
The cost of this work is estimated at 3,260,000 gold pieces. The dwarves, human and elven populations each faced six years of the harshest taxes in order to pay for the rebuilding. Even the Orc Nation was taxed severely and pressed into the service of the crown. The price for freedom, it seems, was an endless collection to pay builders, artisans, and craftsman.
In the spring of 899 TA, the new fortifications would be tested. Two large fleets of Tang warships landed on the western shore of the Reaches. It was later discovered that these forces were rallied by Valdemar, using the uncertainty of the opening of the Thousand Year Gate as a catalyst to drive the Tang to attack. Forces from Sandal joined in the fray. All was set for the Reaches defense, except the unexpected.
Treachery! The Orc Nation, after a decade of rule, rebelled and joined the Tang forces. Fueled by Reaches gold, the orcs and goblins surrounded Teufeldorf, and after modest losses, aided the Tang Empire in sacking the recently rebuilt city again. While the forces of good were able to retake the city by siege late in the summer of 899 TA, the damage was done. Dugald Axeworthy, enraged by the audacity of the orcs, burnt both of their recently constructed "peace temples" built by dwarven and orcish craftsmen.
Eventually, the Tang invaders were driven back onto their ships with heavy losses. The Dwarven Defenses had held, but the threat of a new invasion loomed heavily on the minds of the Three Kings. The Second War of the Reaches had begun.