The Unknown Past
Shakalan History Part 1
Shakalan History Part 1: Time of the Demon Spawn
wenty-three hundred and seventy-six years ago, in an ancient kingdom known as Anairia, the king of the known world had a problem; Barbarian clans from the Dragon Razor Mountains began invading the eastern most reaches of Anairia. While the raids in and of themselves would not have been a problem, as small raids were common in the outskirts and farmlands, the raiders were attacking more frequently and after the battles they were not returning to the mountains as they had previously. King Siamon the III, King of Anairia and the Known World, selected his most loved and trusted knight and sent him on an expedition to determine what had changed the hordes behavior, and to resolve the issue if possible.
Sir Ersintine Shakala, Leader of the famed Brotherhood of Justice and newly appointed Knight-General, called together his 100 Knight-Justicars, 500 of the realms top Rangers, 500 Archers Primus, 1500 battle hardened footmen, and the requisite support personnel then headed into the Dragon Razors to solve his king’s problem.
He and his men encountered lessening barbarian resistance as they pushed deeper into the mountain range. The few captives that they accumulated during their conflicts all spoke of the “demon spawn and their undead followers”. While undead were not unheard of, the Knights Justicar’s charter assigned them as an Anairian internal dispute resolution organization. Few of the members had ever fought undead and none had ever seen true demon spawn. The knights though were some of the best educated and highly trained warriors ever to walk the lands and, while concerned, they knew that this could be resolved and return peace and justice to the realm.
The Dragon Razor Mountains got their name from the dragons that lived in them. Most young eastern Anairian warriors undertook a quest to best a dragon and prove their manhood. But after two weeks of marching through the mountains, the rangers could find no signs of the dragons.
Ersintine peacefully met the next barbarian horde that the came across and learned much. The dragons and the dragon bound had left the range. The demon spawn and the undead were actively hunting all the humans and dwarves down that they could find. Ersintine learned many things from this that made him rethink his kingdom’s stance on the barbarians, but he also learned a great deal about the mythical beings of his people: dragon bound, dwarves, and demon spawn. What would be next would the elves be real also?
After taking a week to rework their combat tactics, Ersintine and his army continually pushed east, deeper into the mountains. They began to encounter the demon spawn and the undead. The ferocious demon spawn had a large number of combat mages that could wield terrible magics and the undead hordes knew no fear or retreat. The toll on the knights and their companions was devastating.
When Ersintine could see the eastern foothills of the Dragon Razors, his remaining men were swarmed by the largest force they had yet seen. Ersintine wasted no time in calling a full retreat to the distant forest, in hopes that he could save most of his remaining men.
The massive force followed them picking off stragglers, but the Anairian soldiers made the forest and turned to fight once again.
The demon spawn and undead stopped at the forest edge. Like an invisible wall held them back.
Not one to waste an opportunity, Ersintine set his people to restocking supplies and getting some much needed rest. After a few days the evil army left the area and returned to the foothills and beyond.
Ersintine knew that his men could not survive the return trip across the mountains, but he also knew that they could not solve the problem with out additional reinforcements. After a weeks rest, Ersintine sent his second in command along with half the remaining Knight-Justicars and half the rangers to request the needed reinforcements from the king.
During the expected six month wait, Ersintine put his men to work building a fortification and some protected farmlands to supply themselves and the reinforcements.
Eight months later, in the middle of winter, the reinforcements arrived. Though not as many as he had hoped, the two battered bands swelled Ersintine’s numbers to a little more than he started with. The stories from the new troops about the barbarian horde’s deep invasion of Anairia seemed unreal. The battles they had coming across the mountains spoke of unexpected dwarven allies occasionally appearing to fighting side-by-side against the evil armies.
Ersintine sent his rangers out with orders to scout the enemy’s movements and try to locate the source by spring. The scouts began regular sorties to the west into the Dragon Razor foothills and slowly began backtracking the evil forces to the north.
As spring came, Ersintine formulated a battle plan to move his men north west into the enemy territory and destroy their heart. The battles were hard fought but Ersintine made steady progress, with minimal losses, toward where the home of the demon spawn was expected to be. During the trek many barbarian clans were encountered. Ersintine befriended them, told them of his fort and accepted any warriors into his force that wished to join.
Then one day, fourteen weeks later, during a massive battle with the evil demon spawn and their undead allies, Ersintine struck down a garishly armored and mounted demon spawn. The undead in the army collapsed to the ground. The ground began to quake. The remaining demon spawn screamed and began to rout. Many minutes later as the quaking subsided and it was possible to stand again, the enemy fled, wailing, to the north east.
Ersintine and his men scoured the areas nearby and along the rout path looking for additional enemy units over the next 8 weeks. Finding none, not one demon spawn, they decided to return to the fortifications for winter.
When they arrived, Ersintine was greeted by a cheering mass of Anairians and barbarians, with a smattering of stoic dwarves standing near by.
In the spring, Ersintine sent out his rangers to locate the enemy. None were found. The rangers that travelled farthest north and east reported finding strange groups of “ghostly” figures rapidly moving through the forest. These groups seemed to be headed south and left almost no traces of their passing. Had the rangers not seen them with their own eyes they would have thought small animals had passed that way.
Ersintine decided to take the rest of the summer and autumn to verify that the evil was gone, then for his people to winter in the fort, and finally return to Anairia in the spring.
In the autumn, shortly after harvest time, the fortification was attacked!