The Crimson Crusade (Dancing Clouds 3122-Dancing Clouds 3123)

The Beginning

In the middle of year 3122. entire swaths of land between the main Kal army and Olara had been burned and blasted into wastelands. There were stirrings of military action within the borders of the Prelacy of Camon. Around this time new Ranger Outposts were established throughout Olara in response to "saber rattling" by the Camonese. Among these outposts were Bearheart and Echer'Naught.

During the same time period the enigmatic Builders, wielders of Arcmancy appeared in greater numbers throughout the lands, opening underground facilities hidden for millennia. Rumors swirled that caches of weapons and items of power were being acquired by the Prelacy in preparation for a massive southern offensive.

Though the Southern Kingdoms were, up to this point, only indirectly targted by the Prealcy of Camon, forces within Camon were massing along the border with the Northern Gathers and preparations were being made to attack Bearheart and the Crystal Forest.

Siege of Bearheart

 

Thundering Skies (Harvest Moons 3122-Red Wolf 16th, 3123)

Before any real headway could be made in the war, the entire world was thrown into chaos when the Tempest began during Harvest Moons, 3122. The Prelacy of Camon was hit as hard, or harder, than the southern kingdoms and their armies already in the field were devastated. In addition, as the Winter wore on and the Tempest grew, food scarcity became a real issue among the Prelacy forces. By First Hunt, 3123, storms covered nearly the entirety of Shaintar. 

Througout the Spring months, rains continued washing out bridges, ruining crops and making any movement difficult, large scale troop movement became impossible. Intelligence reports indicated that Prelacy commanders were even considering abandoning offensive actions due to shortages and hazards created by the storms. Smaller scale attacks might have been considered to raid for supplies and foodstuffs had events transpired differently.

As it was, beginning Red Wolf 4th and continuing through the 15th, the most terrible storms to date raged everywhere destroying property and killing anyone caught out in the open. Most Prelacy forces had long since moved under cover so their armies were only minimially affected, but rumors abounded that the commanders and generals of the Prelacy forces were in preparations to disband their armies by the 15th of Red Wolf.

Ironically, it was the actions of the Legios Heroes in battling the Tempest "god" and ending the Thundering Skies threat which breathed new life into the Prelacy conquest. On the morning of the 16th of Red Wolf, the world woke to a world healed. Though the people and animals who lost their lives during the Tempest remained dead, all the natural destruction, i.e. crops, rivers, hills and trees, were instantly and miraculously restored. For this miracle, the 16th of Red Wolf was named Jubilation Day in celebration of the storms ending.

Among the Prelacy, Jubilation Day heralded a different form of celebration. Scattered armies were quicly mustered back into service, crops were quickly harvested and shipped to staging areas, and man-made roads and bridges were rapidly repaired. Scattered agents soon engaged in covert tactics to hamper and ultimately thwart Olaran and Galean reponse to the renewed assault.

Deathly Machines

Late Red Wolf, the 28th of 3123, a group of Rangers, exploring the region around the four-realm border of the Prelacy, Olara, the Wildlands, and Galea, discovered the horror of necromancy-powered warrior golems in the control of mad Inquisitors. More reports of Prelacy soldiers' corpses raised from the dead, as well as maimed soldiers returned to the battlefield with strange and horrific metal attachments, started to pour in from various regions. The theory was that the Prelacy - or some warped break-off faction - wss somehow intermingling necromancy and arcmancy.

Westward Expansion

Weeks later, on the 10th of Eternal Sun, reports reached the Rangers of Jasara that a Prelacy army sweeping westward into the Northern Gathers had taken the gather at Branosh and were planning on using the gather as a staging area for further agression.

Then, a month later on the 12th of Thunder Hawk, the Prelacy marched on the gather of Stoon. Two days later Stoon fekk opening the way to the Evershade Forest and Jasara. As the Rangers of Jasara battled against the Prelacy armies, desperately needed supplies left the Regional Command center at Echer'Naught bound for Jasara. They arrived on the 14th, the same day Stoon fell.

Further north, on the 20th of Thunder Hawk, Rangers around the gather of Sog began brilliant and desperate defense of the gather managing to hold off Prelacy advances and giving much needed hope to the western defense. For seven day they battled constalty around Sog fending of repeated Prelacy attacks. Finally, on the 27th, the Prelacy launched a fairly major offensive from the west of Sog, attempting to hit the "soft side" of the city's defenses. Combined goblinesh militia, Ranger units, and elvish forces ultimately broke the assault force and ended the semi-siege as the final month of summer settles in.

Siege of Thuls, (26th of Festival Moons - 3rd of Dancing Clouds, 3123)

As the western lines began to stablize with the Prelacy managing to hold Branosh and Stoon and the Rangers holding Jasara and Sog, a new front opened in the rapidly heating war. On the 26th of Festival Moons, launching a blitz attack from the city of Furalor, the Prelacy undertook a new strategy with the Crimson Crusade, pulling forces from the Northern Gather operations, as well as from the sieges of Stagg and Bearheart. Forced marches and the employment of "Returned to Service" soldiers (the work of the corrupt Deniers of Death) enabled them to swiftly overwhelm local Olaran forces and place Thuls under heavy siege, with the intent of taking the town and the surrounding fertile lands permanently and using Thuls as a staging ground to cut Olara in half. 

In concert, and likely in response to Echer'Naught's relief supplies during the assault on Jasara, Prelacy agents launched a series of covert Arcfire bombing attacks at key sites within the town including the Chapel of Light, the Ranger HQ, a military warhouse storing vital war supplies and the breadmaking district. In a final attempt to cut off vital supplies to Thuls, Prelacy agents used Arcmancy devies to whip the townsfolk into a fury and direct their inchoerent rage at the town leaders. Only by the efforts of local Rangers was the plot foiled and the agents killed or captured.

Camp Wolfhaven

Meanwhile south of Thuls, Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven and a team of Rangers arrived at the town of Schweinskopf on 30th of Festival Moons, 3123,  where they engaged and ultimately defeat an advanced unit of Prelacy scouts, but not before the town was burned. Just outside of the ruins, on the banks of a small river, Wolfhaven with the blessing of the Olarans established Camp Wolfhaven what is hoped will become the largest field hospital in operation. The goal to provide medical support for the war effort and create a secure staging area for supplies and reeinforcments.

The siege lasted from the 26th of Festival Moons through to the 3rd of Dancing Clouds. Through cunning asset reduction on the part of Grey Ranger forces (including recruiting disenfranchised Camonere soldiers; convincing Builder assets to break their contracts; and exposing the true depths of corruption on the part of the mysterious Deniers of Death), the Olaran Army was able to break the siege of Thuls. Furthermore, they were able to counter-attack and ultimately crush the Church's army on the fields before Thuls, capturing the Prelacy general, Bertrand Greniere, in the process.

Even though the army was defeated in the field, many of the Deniers of Death escaped the disaster and scattered into the country becoming a thorn in the side of local law enforcement and the Rangers.

Siege of Crystara (6th -9th Dancing Clouds, 3123)

At the same time, another Prelacy army made its way through weak Galean lines north of the Crystal Forest and by the 6th of Dancing Clouds, their siege weapons were within range of the city of Crystara. Leaving his newly established field hospital at Camp Wolfhaven, Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven led a force of Rangers East to Galea and the Crystal Forest. The small strike force reached the Karas-Crystara road by the 7th and managed to foil a Prelacy attempt to encircle the city at a small river crossing east of the road and a small ravine to the west.

With their supply and evacuation route temporarily secured, Col. Wolfhaven joined Elven Commanders from the Crystal Forest and Crystara, Galean Commanders from the south and recently arrived Hammerfall Riders under command of Field Marshal Graf von Wrangel of the Echer'Naught camp. Their plan was simple. With a relief army less than two days away, the defenders elected to launch a preemptive strike against the Prelacy lines north east of the city. 

The attack occured at dawn on the 8th of Dancing Clouds. Three brigades, the leftmost made of mostly Olarans, both men and dwarves, the rightmost made mostly of Galean and Crystal Forest elves, with the center comprised of Rangers and allied forces, hurl themsleves against Prelacy lines. When the inital attack fails, Wolfaven pulled back his center brigade pulling the Prelacy center out of position and exposing their flanks. Then, at the critical moment, Hammerfall Riders launched a surprise attack, encircling and evicerating the elite units of the Prelacy center. At the same moment, Shayline Eridors used force of Life to tunnel beneath the field and snatch the enemy commander from the midst of his elite guard.

The double blow was too much for the Prelacy army to take. By morning on the 9th, the Prelacy had abanoned their lines north of the city and began an organized retreat. This marked the last offensive campaign by the Prelacy of Camon during the Crimson Crusade. While no doubt making plans for a new offensive over the long winter of 3123, they were preemted by Col. Wolfhaven and his allies during a surprise attack over the first weeks of Falling Ice, 3124. 

This bold attack and the subsequent string of battles would become widly known as the Crimson Crusade Counterstroke.