First War of the Reaches
The end of the Hastur Rebellions was a time of great celebration throughout the Reaches - the reign of terror by the sons of Hastur had ended. However, the men and women of the Reaches were hesitant and confused by the arrival of heroes missing for the last fifty years. Had they exchanged one set of despots for another? The orcs to the north and the Sandalese to the south were on the warpath. The Tomb Kingdom was again active under its newest leader, Nightshade. The defenses of the Reaches were tenuous at best - and, in some areas, in shambles. Who was to be trusted? Would the madness ever end?
The Events of 886 TA
The peoples of the Eastern and Western Reaches faced a long rebuilding after the rebellion and a long, harsh winter. Using some of the gold recovered from the retaking of Teufeldorf, King Fleetwood and King Goodfellow provided generous donations to the populace in the form of food, shelter, and clothing - while eliminating the repressive taxes of the previous decades.
Meanwhile, sensing the need for swift and overwhelming military action, the Crown mobilized the armies for a two-front war. The campaign season was dubbed Dwarven Thunder.
Dwarves coming from the western slopes of the Shadowyarn Mountains swept north towards the Pass of Lar dispatching the defending orcs in early April 886 TA. In May 886 TA, they pushed through the pass and into the mostly-undefended western plains of the Orc Nation sacking the castle at Broken Wood. While a small orc army led by General Truk remained in the east, the dwarves were able to push through to the orcish capital of Dourmoor - successfully sieging it on the mid-summer solstice. As the dwarves headed south at the end of the campaign season, the orcish strongholds at Stonefist and Tanglewood were also sacked.
In August and September 886 TA, Middlefield was sieged and sacked by an army of goblins, black orcs, and carrion birds led by General Truk. In late September 886 TA, an army of elves, dwarves, and giant eagles led by William Markinghamshire routed the exhausted orcs in the Battle of Middlefield.
With advanced warning that the Tomb Kingdom and Sandal were marching on the city of Freeport, the knights of the Western Reaches moved south. These two armies met east of the Crossgate Castle in an epic battle with heavy casualties on both sides. The forces of evil retreated, and the knights pushed further south successfully sieging Whitehall Castle. An emergency mustering of undead carrion and Sandalese marauders finally stopped the southern advance of the knights.
The Events of 887 TA
The popularity of the Three Kings - which soared in 886 TA - turned into hardened respect in 887 TA. The First War of the Reaches was going well, but the financial strain on the coffers of the Crown required heavy taxes to be levied across the nations in 887 TA. Bolstered by the recovery of 240,000 gold pieces from a mysterious temple in the Loftwood by the Crown, a massive mustering of forces - including the first recorded mustering of the gnomes - marked the beginning of the miliary season - aptly named Dwarven Lightning. The trust of the people required a victorious campaign.
According to intercepted orcish reports, the focus of the southern attacks by the Tomb Kingdom forces led by Nightshade was the middle barony castle of Admunfort. From there, the attack would continue northeast to Dwarrowdelf.
In response, an overwhelming army of elves and humans was mustered near Admunfort. Nightshade and the skeleton army sacked Lechlade Keep and Crossgate Castle on their way to Admunfort - handing King Fleetwood two devastating losses. After sacking the small village of Peppercorn, Nightshade's Army was ambushed by the superior forces of the elves and humans led by Lady Laura in the First Battle of Peppercorn. The battle was an overwhelming victory for the Army of the Reaches.
Overconfident, the Army of the Reaches split into two forces. One assigned to sack Whitehall in Sandal failed. The other, pursuing what they thought were the remnants of Nightshade's Army, were ambushed just south of in the Second Battle of Peppercorn. An overwhelming victory for the Tomb Kingdom. Both armies broken, the southern flank of the Dwarven Lightning fizzled.
In the west, the orc offensive failed to siege Rivershaw Castle in the early spring, and the army fell quickly to an advancing force of dwarves and elves marshaled from the south. Retreating, the orcs lost Broken Wood eventually retreating to Dourwood to hole up against an unsuccessful dwarven siege.
In the east, after some skirmishes with black orcs, the elves engaged the bulk of the orc and goblin army in the northern Haggelthorn Forest. In the decisive Battle of Hagglethorn Forest, the elves routed the orc army.
With a plague ravaging the Orc Nation coupled with military defeats, it is estimated that over 50% of able-bodied orc warriors were lost in 887 TA. With the orcish warbands in open revolt, the threat from the north was temporarily muted.
The Events of 888 TA
The uncovered battle plans for the third season of the First War of the Reaches confirmed that the Orc Nation was no threat to the Reaches in 888 TA. The plan for the year was a massive Sandalese push from the south up the Great Farthing Road. King Fleetwood and his adventurers were kept busy elsewhere - dealing with an assassination plot against the king by Jillian Blackrose, the disappearance of a large force of elves in the Loftwood, and the takeover of the Cave of Runes in the Sands of Time. Before his departure, King U-Gene created another of his infamous battle plans - this one titled Taming the Southern Reaches.
Southern Reaches and Sandal
In early March 889 TA, the Sandalese troops reached Crossgate Castle and began a siege. Later that month, an overwhelming force of knights of the Realm arrived for the bloodiest battle of the First War of the Reaches. The Sandalese were slaughtered to a man, but the knights lost an equivalent force. The remaining knights pushed south, defeating a smaller band of marauders from Sandal along the way. Mustering more undead and Sandalese troops, the southern Reaches proved resilient - stalling three sieges while defeating small bands of harpies, carrion birds, and dragon ogres. The Sandalese retreated without a single victory for the season.
With the south under control, King U-Gene's focus turned north. There, the orcs slowly regrouped while the Reaches defenses were rebuilt in preparation for more assaults.
The Events of 889 TA
Buoyed by successes in the previous three seasons, King U-Gene plotted his most expensive and expansive campaign season yet - a final crushing of the Orc Nation. There would be no help from the south - the Sandalese were re-building and the undead were scattered. A message from the elves pulled U-Gene and his companions to a strange portal in the northern Loftwood and then to a land called Oblivion, but the Reaches were in good hands. Nothing could go wrong.
Orc Nation and Teufeldorf
The armies of the Reaches moved north over the River White. The dwarves sieged Broken Wood, the knights sacked Dourmoor, and the elves in the west had the Grand Army of the Orcs on the run. Then, a plague hit ravaging the heartland of the Western Reaches and spreading north into the Orc Nation. The defenses of the Reaches were compromised. By this time, the Armies of the Reaches had sacked Loftwood Castle - almost all of the Crown's military objectives were complete.
Then, the Grand Army of the Orcs moved south, crossing the River White. Instead of heading further south to safety, however, the warbosses moved west - directly towards Teufeldforf. It was a desperate move. It was a move not expected by Dugald Axeworthy. Hurriedly, the Army of the Reaches reversed their march and headed south.
In July 889 TA, the Grand Army of the Orcs hit the City-State quickly breaking the gates and entering the stronghold. The looting of Teufeldorf had begun. By October 889 TA, Teufeldorf was surrounded by Dugald Axeworthy, the elves and the remaining knights of the Reaches. But, the City-State could not be retaken. Over 3600 orc infantry, 2000 orc cavalry, 2300 goblins, 700 trolls, 600 ogres and 20 giants roamed the streets.
As winter fell, the people of Teufeldorf hunkered down for a terrible winter.
The Events of 890 TA
The desperate actions of the Orcs in 889 TA changed the course of the First War of the Reaches. A climax was building - 890 TA would be the final year of the war.
Siege of Teufeldorf
During the winter, the orcs destroyed the old architecture of Teufeldorf, using the stones to fortify the wooden gates and barricades. Starvation and depredation ran rampant. In early January 890 TA, a castle - later identified as Valdemar's Castle was seen floating above the City-State. Below it two massive glowing circles were being use to teleport human citizens away and orc troops into the city. It seems the Orc Nation, Sandal and the Tomb Kingdom were content to make a final stand in the City-State.
In late February 890 TA, a flaming pillar under the floating castle caused it to fall, destroying the teleport pens as well. King Fleetwood and his cohorts had returned from their journey.
The City-State lay under siege by Dugald Axeworthy and his forces. Meanwhile, a large army of marauders from Sandal marched north towards Teufeldorf - intent on breaking the siege. In July 890 TA, the City-State was retaken - and the orcish forces routed. The Sandalese army was less than a month away from the city. Moving quickly, the Army of the Reaches surrounded the marauders at the Battle of Middlewich Fields - crushing the southern invaders and breaking the Sandalese army.
In August 890 TA, a great sandstorm was reported in the Sands of Time - burying the Tomb Kingdom once more.
End of the First War of the Reaches
Completely decimated by five years of war, the Orc Nation collapsed. General Gruumsh was reported slain, the and the orc warbosses bowed in fealty to the Crown. The Sandalese rejoiced at the destruction of Valdemar's Castle and the end to his tyrannical rule. Valdemar himself, now the deposed Baron of Sandal, was never found. A great celebration held in Dwarrowdelf in the fall of 890 TA brought an official end to the First War of the Reaches.
The Reaches would enjoy almost ten years of relative peace under the Three Kings. Much of the great cities would be rebuilt. In 899 TA, peace would come to an end with the start of the Second War of the Reaches.