Saturday, 15 February 2020

History of the North, Part 5: The Coming Storm


"Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water."
Shakespeare, Henry VIII (1613) Act 4, sc.2, l.45

Evil Rises Again and Again
The forces of weal and good had much to celebrate. Iuz was no more. Iggwilv’s tyranny had been vanquished. But more than even these great victories, they had stood against a great menace that had hitherto lurked in a quiet corner of the world.
However, no reprieve lasts forever. Evil rises again and again, and all must be vigilant, for it rises in the most unexpected places. One might expect that it takes root in tangled forests and fetid swamps, but that is not true; it festers in the hearts of the lustful, the wrathful, in avarice and vanity, pride and vainglory. And in the soul of the defeated. Thus, the greatest Evil might rise up in the most unlikely places, a village, or a hamlet, unseen.

c.550 CY     A collection of hovels and their slovenly inhabitants formed the nucleus for the troubles which were to increase. A wicked cleric established a small chapel at this point. The folk of Hommlet tended to ignore Nulb, even though it was but six miles distant. [T1 The Village of Hommlet - 2]
The village of Nubb began to fester with all manner if evil folk, culminating with the founding of the soon infamous Temple of Elemental Evil. The troubles began soon thereafter. Local caravans, gnome clans and the neighboring village of Hommlet, became easy targets for bandits from that region. [The Battle of Emridy Meadows, by Mike Bridges]

568 CY  News of this evil quickly spread to the Viscounty of Verbobonc to the ears of Prince Thrommel IV, Marshall of the combined armies of Furyondy and Veluna […]. Compelled to take up the quest, the Prince left his concerns to the north and promptly called upon his most pious knights, clerics, and his own picked guards to bring down this profane temple.  [The Battle of Emridy Meadows, by Mike Bridges]                

569 CY  The Battle of Emridy Meadows
By 568 CY, it became clear that the villains had established an army, and the following year saw a great battle between this horde and the forces of Verbobonc, Veluna and even Furyondy. Elves from the Gnarley proved vital to the success for the side of weal, and the Horde of Elemental Evil was scattered at the Battle of Emridy Meadows. Powerful mages and clerics sealed the temple with arcane bindings, claiming to have trapped a powerful demon within the golden doors of the edifice. For a time, peace returned to the lands of Verbobonc. [LGG - 132
]
The Battle of Emridy Meadow
The Battle of Emridy Meadows highlights this growing realization of mutual interests. Contingents of men-at-arms and cavalry from Furyondy and Veluna, together with a force of dwarves from the Lortmils, gnomes from the Kron Hills, and an army of elven archers and spearmen fought together against a vast horde of humanoids (ores, gnolls, and ogres predominantly) and evil men. The opposing forces met on the grassy fields south of the Velverdyva river several leagues below the city of Verbobonc. The allied forces were closing upon the stronghold of the evil creatures, a huge, walled fortress known as the Temple of Elemental Evil, not far from the unfortunate village of Hommlet, when elven scouts reported that a huge army was approaching from the south. The Marshall of Furyondy, leader of the combined forces, ordered a withdrawal northwards to a position scouted earlier. Ught cavalry skirmishes were sent out to screen the withdrawal, and no real fighting took place that day.
When the horde of evil creatures marched forth next dawn they were confronted by the senied ranks of the allied army. The pikes of Furyondy and Veluna were arrayed so that their flank was secured by the Velverdyva, in the center were the banners of horse, and on the allied left were deployed bands of dwarves and gnomes, with a few units of elven archers placed in the intervals between. The humanoids fell immediately upon the left, while the men in the evil ranks rode to engage the center and right. The hordes of ores, gnolls, and ogres thrust aside their hated foes and rushed to encircle the balance of the allied army. Thus the fatal trap was sprung, for the whole allied army pivoted, squadrons of knights driving into the rear of the onrushing horde of evil, and squares of elves emerging from the Gnarley Forest on the left to seal the pocket. Trapped in a pocket, with the bend of the Velverdyva at their backs, and the human and demi-human army forming the chord of the arc, the packed mass of evil humans and humanoids fought hopelessly. After the great slaughter inflicted, the army went on to besiege the Temple of Elemental Evil, and it fell in a fortnight. The Demoness Tsuggtmoy (or Zuggtmoy) was imprisoned in the ruins of the place, with special wards to prevent her escape. Only a few of the wicked leaders of the Temple managed to escape, and it is suspected that these individuals were responsible for the subsequent kidnapping and total disappearance of the Prince of Furyondy. [Folio - 6,7]

So great was the slaughter, so complete the victory of good, that the walled stronghold of the Temple of Elemental Evil fell within a fortnight, despite the aid of a terrible demon. The place was ruined and sealed against a further return of such abominations by powerful blessings and magic. [T1 - 2]

Prince Thrommel summoned all his mages and clerics to cooperate in creating great seals to bind this evil within the deepest parts of [Zuggtmoy’s] dungeon. Four pairs of large bronze doors, starting with the Grand Entrance to the Temple, were each bound with heavy iron chains and their seals filled with softened metal. Lastly runes were carved into the bronze portals bearing adjurationsof arcane and holy power. With the final spells in place, Evil was contained at last. [The Battle of Emridy Meadows, by Mike Bridges]

One would be naïve to believe that Evil had been destroyed. If we have learned nothing from History, it is that victory is not enough. Evil hides. Evil lurks.
In recent years, Dyvers has gained the unfortunate reputation of being a good place to "get lost"—or, rather, to lose one's pursuers. After the Horde of Elemental Evil was routed at Emridy Meadows, some adherents to darkness who did not flee to the Wild Coast instead traveled north to Dyvers, bolstering the criminal element in the city. In part because of the aftermath of that conflict, the Gentry of Dyvers live in fear of Turrosh Male's Pomarj "empire" and have even charted out wholesale evacuation plans for the city in the event of invasion (the populace fleeing to either Furyondy or Verbobonc). [LGG - 41,42]

History is not just the waxing and waning of nations and fell gods. History is much more than that; it is the triumphs and tragedies of everyday folk who sometimes rise high, and those who do not, even those who are swept up and sometimes aside by events that sweep in and out of their lives.
History of Keiren’s Journal
Just Another Day in the Hellfurnaces
Keiren Jallucian was an adventurous youth before rising to the seat of Master of the Greyhawk Guild of Wizardry, and later, President of the city’s Society of Magi. He was prudent and practical, as well, which is why he survived as many harrowing adventures as he did. He kept a series of meticulously detailed journals and adventure logs that documented his experiences; but despite his keen forethought, he had one fault back then: He did not go home often. Adventuring can be a perilous ordeal, and sometimes you have to drop what you’re carrying if you wish to live so see another day. Such was the case when a number of his catalogs were lost in 561 CY during an expedition to the Hellfurnaces. He had to admit that he could not recreate them from memory; there were too many encounters; too many curiosities, details, too many details.
Not all were destroyed. One volume turned up in the hands of a Keoish wizard, who later gave it to House Rhola in exchange for access to their family library. They had possession of it for but a single season before ordering a servant to remove it from the household. Apparently, “visions” indicating death surrounded the book.
The servant did not dispose of the book, as ordered to, but decided that he could make a quick coin off it. He did not; he was slain while on his way to a book dealer.
Kieran’s journal surfaced again in 569 CY, plucked from a wizard’s corpse at the Battle of Emridy Meadows.
At this point, its trail becomes a little sketchy, as there are too many rumours about its whereabouts. Reports claim that it surfaced in Veluna City, yet others in Celene. None are denied, none are confirmed, either.
It is an odd thing, that book; it looks more like a satchel or handbag than a book, the wooden covers and spine encased in a heavy, hardened reddish leather (that Akastilan {more on him later} claimed is red dragon skin). Keiren scoffed at that when asked.
From Greyhawk Grimoires, Keiren’s Journal, by Robert S. Mullin [Dragon #268 - 70-72]

570 CY  You can not keep a good man down, can you? Though few knew it, Iuz had been freed from his imprisonment beneath Castle Greyhawk.
Whether this was by error or perhaps design on the part of Robilar, who secretly carried a pair of highly unusual dispelling magics about himself on that fateful day, sages cannot say. What is known is that at the moment of Iuz's being freed, Archmage Tenser arrived on the scene together with Bigby the mage and a powerful fighter going by the unlikely name of Neb Retnar. Tenser had learned of Robilar's plan, feared that Riggby was being duped, and came post haste to prevent their action. Tenser and his cohort began battling the freed, enraged demigod. Riggby at once aided the assault. Robilar and Quij considered flight and felt their chances would be best if they made odds of four against one into six against one. Iuz was very nearly destroyed in that conflict, escaping to the Abyss just before Bigby would have destroyed him with his infamous crushing hand spell. He left behind him a backwash of chaotic evil magic which altered the alignment of Retnar, left Riggby catatonic for days, and caved in a large part of Castle Greyhawk's deepest dungeon complexes. Since that time, Iuz has always protected himself with a carefully secreted soul gem hidden on an unknown, unbelievably well-guarded Abyssal plane. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 5]

Rage of Iuz
He seethed. He raged. He could think of nothing but revenge. Against those who’d imprisoned him, against that overblown pup Robilar who’d tried to kill him, against Bigby who almost had. Indeed, against all of the Flanaess. And he was far more powerful than when Cuthbert had locked him away.
He returned to Dorakaa, and finding his fiefs disloyal, he exterminated most of the “independent” lords of the lands he still claimed as his own.  Their bones, along with those other “unfaithful” he murdered, lengthened his Road of Skulls.
After his release, Iuz was filled with a desire for vengeance and conquest. Sixty-five years of banishment had concentrated his mind wonderfully. With a savagery and cruelty allied to plans formed over many long years of thought, Iuz acted to gather together the warring bandits and humanoids of his land with an iron grip. He drew together his Boneheart, a Greater and Lesser circle of spellcasters, six in each echelon. His agents began to scour the Flanaess, seeking arcane evils and relics. Iuz readied his forces for a great war. [WGR5 - 3]

Iuz and the eight other demi-gods released; they were not happy. Can you blame them?
The seeking of treasure in Castle Greyhawk itself had unintended consequences. Iuz was suddenly freed from imprisonment in the dungeons under Zagig’s old castle in 570 CY, to the great consternation of those in Greyhawk who saw the half-fiend briefly when he emerged from the ruins. He then returned by magic to his old kingdom in the north. Several members of the Circle of Eight attempted to prevent Iuz’s escape but were unsuccessful. Other powerful beings, some of demigod status and some demon lords, appeared around this time, also apparently freed from captivity by their own muggles or the careless intervention of adventurers such as Lord Robilar of Greyhawk, a Wild Coast warrior who diplayed a bad habit of setting evil monstrosities loose from their magical bonds. Every powerful being freed from Castle Greyhawk blamed Zagig personally for his or her imprisonment and vowed revenge as they fled to recover from their ordeal. [TAB - 61]

Far be it from Iuz not to hold a grudge.
Once again Iuz rules, and his forces gather for fell purposes. Iuz has vowed to bring ruin upon Tensor the Archmage and Lord Robilar and the others who tried to slay him when his prison was sprung.
[Folio - 12]

When Iuz was freed in 570 CY, he had great plans for the Flanaess. Risen to the power of a demi-god, Iuz has achieved more than a few of his initial goals. [FtAA - 29]

Nyrond saw, clearly, the Overking's preparations for a great war against the western state. Yet, when the first blow came, it did not come from Rauxes. It came from luz; meddling fools managed to release the fiend from his imprisonment in Castle Greyhawk in 570 CY, only a year after the forces of good in Furyondy and Veluna celebrated the sack of the notorious Temple of Elemental Evil in the Gnarley Forest. Their celebrations would not last many years. [FtAA - 5]

571 CY  Stories are fruit upon the tree. They ripen over time. Sometimes epic tales have such paltry beginnings.
The Story Reuven of the Rhennee
[A] wandering band of Rhennee bargefolk came to Tristor upon the Yol River. The gypsies camped at the edge of town and pawned exotic medicines and poultices to the simple farming folk. Certain bottles of this medicine somehow spoiled, turning from a foul-tasting drink to a deadly poison. Two people died, and a young man was left both blind and paralyzed from the waist down. The town constable arrested the Rhennee and awaited the arrival of a judge, but the villagers soon stormed Tristor’s jail. After a brief scuffle, they ushered the bargefolk outside of town to a small hill, upon which stood a lone oak tree. There, each Rhennee was given a mock trial, found guilty, and lynched. As proper servants of Pholtus, however, the townsfolk of Tristor were not without mercy. They decided to spare one of the gypsies, a lad of four summers known as Reuven. After forcing the boy to watch the murder of his family, the villagers admonished him to give up his wicked ways and to abandon Tristor forevermore. The town buried the Rhennee near the oak tree. Within a year, they had put the madness behind them. The lone Rhennee boy, however, could not let the incident rest. As each year passed, his hatred of the people of Tristor grew like an inescapable malignancy. He wandered the Flanaess for years, gathering funds in exchange for hard work, learning a number of trades all the while.
[RPGA Fright at Tristor - 3]

573 CY  Iuz was not the only one with designs on the North. The Horned Society most certainly did, too. Oddly, so did the Scarlet Brotherhood. Why would they, you ask? Because The Brotherhood never thought small. They were wont to prepare for a future in which the whole of the Flanaess would be remade in their image.
Does anyone truly know when The Scarlet Brotherhood began affecting the course of the Flanaess? Could it have been when the Prince of Furyondy-Provost of Veluna disappeared? Maybe. They had been plotting a very long time; so it stands to reason that if they did, then this might not have been their first strike. Or was it? No clues were left behind when the Prince vanished.
The Prince, betrothed to the daughter of the Plar of Veluna, and serving as Provost of that state, as well as Marshall of Furyondy, was of key importance to the forces of good. [Folio - 8]
At the time, few connected the appearance of these sagely, monastic advisers to the disappearance of Prince Thrommel of Furyondy, or to any number of political developments throughout the Flanaess. The arrival of the Brothers of the Scarlet Sign did trigger curiosity, of course, and in short order spies were sent to the Tilvanot. [LGG - 96]
But was it the Brotherhood? It is far more likely that the masters of the sundered Temple of Elemental Evil were to blame, taking vengeance on that worthy paladin for his meddling in their affairs. But then again, the Brotherhood were always amicable with those who furthered their ends, weren’t they?

The Scarlet Brotherhood had designs further afield than The Sheldomar Valley and the Azure Sea. They had watched the nations of the Flanaess and its peoples for a very long time, and began inveigling their way into the courts and halls of all the lands wherever they found the descendants of the Suel migrations.
The Suelii called themselves by names in the Cold Tongue, too: Cruski, the Ice Clans, who are the most noble and brave; Schnai, the Snow Clans, who are the most numerous and strong; and Fruztii, the Frost Clans, who are the bulwark and first in battle. They battled with each other over the long years since Vatun lay down in the cold, but they would always join their hosts together when an outsider threatened. The Schnai perfected the art of building longships, and the Fruztii found adversaries for the barbarian nations to fight and plunder. The Cruski joined with their cousins on many of these raids, taking special joy in fighting their particular rivals, the Sea Barons of Aerdy.
Scarlet Whispers Call
This was the life of the barbarian Suel for hundreds of years, through victories and losses. Their freedom was undiminished, but it was subtly threatened several decades ago. Travelers from the south came to call at the courts of the barbarian Suel. Calling themselves the Brothers of the Scarlet Sign, they claimed to be kin of the Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruski. By blood, perhaps they were kin, though distantly—but, in spirit, they were the same devious manipulators who claimed to rule the ancestors of the northern Suel. They came with tales of the lost glory of the Suel race and its ruined empire. They told how the Cruski were descended from an Imperial House, the noble and loyal servant of the last Suel emperor.
Old King Cralstag knew well that his ancestors, be they slaves or scoundrels, were never the lapdogs of an emperor who stank of magic. So he told the Scarlet Brothers, and before all in his court, as his judgment on their words. For this, the Brothers murdered him soon thereafter—not with clean blade or strength of arms, but with hidden venom in his cup.
The king's nephew, Lolgoff, knew the old king's judgment and the manner of his death. When the Brothers were brought before him, they spoke words of praise and honor for the dead king, and they smiled. Lolgoff smiled too, as he cut them apart with the old king's sword, for he honored Cralstag in deeds, not words. As king and fasstal, Lolgoff pronounced his judgment: The Brothers of the Scarlet Sign should receive only death in the kingdom of Cruski. [LGG - 55]

574 CY  The Fruztii consulted with Ratik concerning what wonders may be hidden within their mountains, eager to see whether the lore of their skalds was to be found in the dusty tomes the southerners worshiped so. So, Ratik consulted the Library in Marner, and those sages and wizards employed there, and within those dusty tomes they exhumed references to lost cities of the Flan, to ancient relics of the dwerfolk, and to sunken cities of the Solnor Sea. And of course, they dug up references to dragons and the hordes they amassed. All these they brought to the attention of the Fruztii, and the Fruztii listened with great interest. And armed with this knowledge, the Fruztii and those scions of Ratik brave enough to accompany them, they climbed into the Griffs and the Corusks in search of such things.

575 CY  Where the Schnai sent promises and warriors to support the Fruztii front lines as a rear guard of the Bluefang-Kelton Pass, Ratik did one better. Although already hard pressed in the south with the orcs and gnolls, they understood that they must also secure their north, so, they sent battle hardened troops to stand shoulder to shoulder with their northern kin. The Fists came, as they knew they must, and they came with ogres and orcs and gnolls, and the alliance held the pass against them. But holding the pass was not enough. Securing it was essential, as was securing the lands north of it.
Kelten Pass
The Battle of Kelten Pass, as the Fist called it, only served to divide the Atamans of Stonefist. Were it not for Vlek’s iron rule, the Hold might have fallen into strife.
The Coltens, despite generations of servitude to the invaders, have slowly emerged as a competing form of leadership, offering their method of election of the most popular warrior as an alternative to the Rite of Battle Fitness. So many aspiring leaders were slain in the often useless raids of the latter method that its proponents have grown scarce. When Ratik and the Fruztii made peace, the subsequent battles for the Kelten Pass brought several telling defeats to “fists” led by the descendant warband leaders. The Hold was then divided between those who followed the laws laid down by Vlek Col Vlekzed, and those who claimed that Stonefist’s methods are no longer appropriate and the Coltens Feodality should be restored. The nomads and settlers west and around the Frozen River championed the ways of Stonefist. The population around Kelten and the Hraak Forest wished to establish new forms of leadership. [Dragon #57 - 13]

The successful alliance of the Barony of Ratik and the Frost Barbarians has caused much consternation in Bone March. A joint Ratik-Fruztii army wreaked havoc within the March after the signing. Leaders of the humanoids have determined that the northern alliance must be dissolved. [WoGG - 29]

Duke Ehyeh of Tenh understood the need to strengthen his borders, what with the dangers of the Fists to the North, and with raiding Rovers there as well. South lay the Bandits and the aspirations of the Theocracy of the Pale. The Pale could one day be the greater enemy, for they were organized and strong. And fanatical in their devotions that he and his people did not share.
In CY 575, Duke Ehyeh II began an active campaign to clear the Troll fens and border area on the west bank of the Yol. Considerable numbers of fortifications were built, and this two-year effort was deemed a general success. The Theocrat of the Pale concentrated his attentions south and eastwards because of the strong show by the Tennese. [Dragon #56 - 27]

576 to 582 CY     The alliance between Ratik and the Frost Barbarians was mutually beneficial. Not only had they begun to secure the Fruztii’s northern pass, they had begun to make gains against the Bone March to the south, too. But at a cost. They were small nations, their resources were limited, and were the orcs not soundly defeated, and soon, they knew all might be lost.
The humanoids so soundly defeated in the campaign of 575 were again raiding over the border, and the gnomes of the Lofthills (west of Loftwood) were being continually besieged. Losses from the campaigns in Bone March and with the Frost Barbarians could be replaced by mercenaries and volunteers from foreign lands only. [Dragon #57 - 14] 

The Frost Barbarians had not turned their backs on their cousins, the Schnai and Cruski, for they had common cause. They each hated the Hold of Stonefist, as did their distant cousins, the Zeai, the whaling Sea Barbarians who dwelt upon the far Brink Isles and Tusking Strand, east of the Black Ice. And the Snow and Ice Barbarians shared common cause against the North Province and Sea Barons, for life was harsh upon the Thillonrian Peninsula, and thought their seas were plentiful, their slim growing season could not support them.
The Schnai noticed their Fruztii cousin’s absence from the seas. And they saw their cousin’s increased reliance upon Luxnor of Ratik. But they were not worried. Let them break themselves upon the Fists and the Bone March, the Schnai said. They will weaken beyond recovery, and will be forever under our suzerainty when Ratik finally fell, for fall it must, in the end.
And in the Fruztii’s absence, the Schnai increased their raids on the Great Kingdom, knowing that they need not share the spoils with them.
The Schnai were not the only ones to note the Fruztii’s increased presence in the northeastern theatre. Tenh had heard of the Frost Barbarian’s alliance with Ratik, they had heard of their joint strike into the Bluefang-Kelten Pass, and they sent emissaries to treat with them, for, as they explained to them, we have common cause against the Fists of Stonehold, and the Fruztii listened.

576 CY  Bonded by blood, and having shed blood to protect one another, the Fruztii and Ratik ratified their bond in the eyes of both their gods, for they knew that their only hope of their standing against their enemies, they would need to stand as one.
This symbolic parchment was endorsed and blessed by the gods of both Ratik and Fruztii, and the superstitious Frost Barbarians place great store in its safety. [WoGG - 29]

Plague has a nasty habit of cropping up here and there, without warning. Of course, were there warning, plague would never gain a foothold, would it? And of course, sometimes symptoms take a while to take root. But all it takes is a sneeze, and before you know it, the victim is complaining about lassitude and fever. Red blotches appear, and then there is panic in the street. The Red Death had returned. And it was as lethal as it had been a century earlier.
But what can be done? How is it spread? Physical contact? Air? Water? Or by some other mysterious agency. The name Iuz is whispered. The Horned Society. Even Keraptis.
Plague abroad in Rookroost—or that's what a large percentage of its populace believes. A week ago, the city was as disease free as a city like Rookroost ever is. Now scores are suffering from a malady that has herbalists and clerics puzzled . . . and worried.
The word on the streets is that the Red Death has returned. [WG8 Fate of Istus - 6]

History of Keiren’s Journal
The journal next surfaced in Admondfort, its owner known for wandering the shores of the Nyr Dyv. Akastilan claimed to have found it in the Cairn Hills, but he was known to spin a tale, and likely wrestled it from a hedge wizard. He promptly traded it in Urnst.
Keiren was made aware of the volume’s surfacing, and has stated that it focuses on his experiences in the Amedio Jungle.
According to Keiren’s obserations, not every Amedio tribe is hostile to outsiders and, in fact some are quite friendly to visiters who come in peace. Several pages describe how one tribe even took him on a tour of an ancient Olman ruin, leading to his discovery of a lost spell. Although the original was etched into the surface of an immovable stone slab, the Journal contains a reproduction. The spell, calle Lightning Serpent, is one of two spells inscribed in the Journal, though both are unique. The other Kieren’s Curse Ward, is clearly of Kieren’s devising.
In any event, Kieren’s Journal is an invaluable source of information for those who would learn more about the Amedio Jungle and its people.
From Greyhawk Grimoires, Keiren’s Journal, by Robert S. Mullin [Dragon #268 - 70-72]

The Rovers were wont to increase their strength; but, their young warriors were impatient, and their elder chieftains remembered the days of old when the peoples on their borders quaked with fear upon hearing the thunder of their horses’ hooves.
The young tribesmen who matured into warriors during the last two generations avoided their old battling and hunting grounds along the Fellreev Forest and the plains of the Dulsi, for they feared the might of luz’s hordes. Instead, these nomads and woodland hunters withdrew to the steppes and other sites to the north and east. Their numbers increased, and they practiced their fighting skills against the men of the Hold of Stonefist and the savages and humanoids they met on raids into the Cold Marshes. Despite the difficulties of communication, the western tribes of the Rovers of the Barrens actually made alliances with the Wegwiur. In 566 there were a few light raids into the northeastern edge of the Fellreev. [Dragon #56 - 28]

577 CY  Bellport grew tired of the repeated raids by the Schnai, and demanded the protection due them as a city of the North Province and the Great Kingdom. Lord Captain Aldusc was dispatched from Asperdi of the Sea Barons with a squadron of warships and troops to do just that.
The warships are now reported to be operating along the coast. Included are no fewer than six large galleys and perhaps a score of other war ships. The troops were divided after landing into main [joining Herzog Grenell] and reserve [defending Bellport's landward approaches] groups. [Dragon #63 - 15]

Although the Schnai had not raided as far and as often as the Fruztii had in their days of glory, they were no strangers to such things; indeed, they were the most accomplished of seafarers, and they were truly as fierce as their cousins, as were the Cruski. They increased their raids, and their longships swept down the coast, striking the North Province and the Baronial Isles both, luring those who chased them or sought to stop them far out to sea where they could lose them with ease.
But not all were so lucky.
It was only a matter of time before the Schnai had their noses bloodied. They had underestimated the Sea Barons, and in their hubris and folly were dealt a defeat as they had not yet faced.
During the season of 577, much minor activity took place along the coast of North Province and off the northern end of the Island of Asperdi. Some raiders were met and actions were fought; some slipped through, some turned elsewhere. Reportedly a squadron of seven Schnai longships were set upon whilst sinking the hulks of two provincial merchants, the vessels Marntig and Solos. Guided by the smoke and flames, a flotilla of Baronial warships surprised the barbarians. Three of the Schnai were rammed and sunk. In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians’ fleet was captured, but the three remaining longships escaped after jettisoning all of their captured cargo.
In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians' fleet was captured. Jarl Froztilth, leader of the Schnai, many of his men, and the captured ship were all taken to Asperdi. News of this success was said to have greatly heartened the Herzog. [Dragon #63 - 16]

The Schnai recalled how once they and the Fruztii were the terror of the seas, and they wished the southerners to fear them so again. So, the Schnai treated with their cousins, the Cruski. And the Cruski were glad to treat with them, for the Schnai held what was theirs. The Schnai gave up the lands south of Glot along the east coast [and] the Cruski regained their southern harbors. This made the raids into North Province and the Isles of the Sea Barons all the easier next year, and most of the able-bodied men were away on those journeys when the warbands of Stonefist (now Stonehold) rode into the tundra which the King of Cruski claimed. The few wandering tribes of Coltens there welcomed the invaders, while surviving Cruskii headed east as quickly as possible. The returning warriors were enraged at the boldness of the invasion. [Dragon #57 - 14]

The Cruski and Schnai negotiated their treaty, with the Schnai agreeing to give back the lands south of Glot along the east coast to the Utsula Highlands.
The attention of the Cruski was directed wholly to the south, where choice plunder could be gained during the summer raiding season. After a particularly successful venture in 577, the Cruski and Schnai sat down together to bargain on a division of the spoils. In the end, the Schnai agreed to give up the land south of Glot along the east coast. The Snow Barbarians gained more gold and silver, while the Cruski regained their southern harbors. [Dragon #57 - 14]              

Iuz looked upon the expanse of Whyestil Lake and understood its use. Dorakaa lay upon its northern shore, Chendl lay within a day’s march of its southern. He looked to the south and knew that Furyondy ruled its waves from Crockport and he seethed. He coveted. Moreover, he realized that it had only been by the grace of Graz’zt that he had not had to fend off their fleets, or had his seat of power razed to the ground. He commissioned forty galleys to be built at Dorakaa.
After a period of rebuilding and strengthening his domain, the Lord of Evil set his mind upon the lands to the south. Various pacts and treaties were concluded with the none-tooloved Horned Society, thus assuring no immediate trouble from the east. Groups of humanoids — gnolls and flinds, orgrillons, bugbears, and even ogres — under human leadership were sent across the Dulsi River to first occupy the nearer portion of the Vesve Forest, and then work south to harass the border of Furyondy. luz caused a fleet of 40 galleys to be built at Dorakaa in 577. With this force he hoped to wrest control of Whyestil Lake from King Belvor, thus exposing all of the northern portion of Furyondy, from the Vesve along the Crystal River to the Veng and then to the Whyestil, to easy invasion. To facilitate this move, luz joined forces with the resurgent followers of Elemental Evil, believing that such a threat on the Kingdom’s southern border would distract the Furyondians from his much more ambitious plans in the north. While his forces were being readied, luz ordered his northern contingents to capture EruTovar and thus stop any possible move by the Wolf Nomads upon the upper portion of his realm while his invasion of the south was in progress. Leaving the execution of his will to trusted underlings, luz himself went far to the south to stir up trouble. [Dragon #56 - 19]

Belvor was having none of it, though. He sent his Fleet to Dorakaa, destroying the majority of the Iuzan galleys under construction.

The Fleet Aflame

The intelligence network of Furyondy discovered the plan to wrest control of Whyestil Lake from their navy, and before the luzite army stood before Eru-Tovar, King Belvor’s fleet staged a daring raid upon Dorakaa. The majority of the galleys being built were burned in the stocks, and seven of those which had been completed and outfitted were captured, while another five were sunk. [Dragon #56 - 19]

Duke Eyeh II of Tenh turned his attentions to the north, for the Fists flowed from Rockegg Pass each and every spring. He marched north to meet them, and although successful in repelling their savage attack, he fell in what came to be known as the Battle of Rockegg Pass.
In 577, the Duke began early actions to the north, working into the mountains and fortifying the southern end of Rockegg Pass, some 20 leagues above Catbut. The Duke was himself killed in fighting against the Holders, whose units of “fists” resisted with great ferocity the closing of the pass. Despite the death of their leader, the Tennese (now under Marshal laba) finished what their liege had willed, thus effectively securing the Duchy on two sides. [Dragon #56 - 27]

The Wolf Nomads were of a mind with the Rovers. For too long, the nations of the South had held dominion over lands they claimed as theirs. The Wolves wanted them back. So too did the Rovers. So, they came together to treat at the Great Beast Hunt to speak on it, and to plan.
A Conclave of the Clans
By CY 577, a conclave of all the clans staged a great beast hunt in the central portion of their territory, with many visiting Wolf Nomads taking part in the sport. The census sticks showed that clan warrior strength was as follows:

In attendance were:
11 tribes of the Great Stags, counting 5,200 warriors;
eastern area Bear Paws 1,150, 4 tribes;
Southeastern area Red Horses 2,700 6 tribes;
Northwestern area Black Horses 3,350 8 tribes;
Northwestern area Gray Lynx 1,450 5 tribes;
Northern woodlands area Horn Bows 1,800 4 tribes;
West central area Sly Foxes 850, 4 tribes;
Southern woodlands area Wardogs 3,100 fighting society;
All tribes White Wardogs 950 fighting society;
North tribes only.

At the great conference, the Rovers agreed to a plan to make war upon the Horned Society to attempt to regain their lost territory around the Opicm and in the Fellreev. The help of the Wolf Nomads was not promised, but the Rover tribes knew it would certainly come if possible. The Sly Fox Clan, always on good terms with the sylvan elves of the Fellreev Forest, were to harass the enemy from the woodlands, while the western clans, the Red Horse, Black Horse, and Horn Bows, rode south and made war upon the hated peoples of the Horned Society. Chada-Three-Lances […] was made War Sachem, and in the spring of 578, he led some 6,000 warriors on a campaign to accomplish the recovery of the lost lands. With the force went a party of about 900 centaur warriors. The latter had been displaced from their territory in and around the western end of the Fellreev, so they were more than eager to take part. [Dragon #56 - 22,23]

Not all Shield Landers were of like mind. Some were petty. Some were greedy. Some wondered why they stood alone against the evils to the north. Prince Zeech was one such. Though brave, was not at all honorable. He saw how the Bandits took what they wanted while he was held back from taking what he thought could be his, like a horse held to rein, so he broke his ties with the Shield Lands and formed the Bandit Kingdom Principality of Redhand from what was once the province of Alhaster.
The [Bandit Kingdom’s] only coastal "kingdom," Redhand holds a section of the north coast of the Nyr Dyv, from the old Shield Lands to the mouth of the Artonsamay. "Prince" Zeech [a cleric of Hextor], an effete renegade Shield Lands lord who broke with his nation in 577 […]. [LGG - 27]





One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
Special thanks to Mike Bridges for his “The Battle of Emridy Meadows.”

Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, T1, The Village of Hommlet, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, From the Ashes Boxed Set, The Aventure Begins, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 56, 57, 268.


The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Viking by iamtretre
Battle-For-Azeroth by astri-lohne
Iuz, by Eric Hotz, from WGR5 Iuz the Evil, 1993
Reuven, by Eric Hotz, from RPGA  The Fright at Tristor, 1993
Archway by tacosauceninja
Donner-Lake by chateaugrief
Red Death, by Karl Waller, from WG8 Fate of Istus, 1989
Visions-in-the-fire by dominikmayer
Front-Line by dominikmayer


Sources:
1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9026 The Village of Hommlet, 1979, 1981
9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
Ivid the Undying, 1998
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
RPGA The Fright at Tristor, 2000
Dragon Magazine
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
Living Greyhawk Journal
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer

1 comment: