Blood of Lambs
The Drow Invasion
In the spring of 3376, a Drow army sailed out of the mountains and landed on the shores of Ismiralla, the great Elven nation, completely obliterating the villages that were established around their beachhead. For the next twenty years their area of influence spread, despite attempts by the Elven army to expel them from the forest that the Drow were corrupting. The elves faced increasing difficulties as more and more refugees fled their homes and ran to the great cities for safety. Though the Drow were gaining momentum, it was still a slow and gradual expansion as the Elves fought to keep back the tide. Then, disaster struck. An elven city, waiting on reinforcements from the Grand Army fell under siege and was taken in a single night. When the Grand Army finally arrived, expecting to take back the city, they found it had been completely abandoned not just by the Drow but by the population as well. The gates remained strong and secure, the walls unbreached and yet the entire populace was gone. None remained and it appeared that the entire city simply vanished into the night. After sending word back to Queen Miarlee, the army continued along its path in pursuit of the Drow when a reconnaissance squad came across a clearing. Inside were the mangled remains of more than half of the city’s population. Around twenty percent of the population was still unaccounted for however, near to 1500 people. Not far from this location the Grand Army fell into a trap set for them by the Drow, which successfully routed the Elven Army. The Elven army suffered a horrible defeat at the hands of the Drow that day, and was forced to retreat as the Drow expansion continued unchecked into the elven heartland.
When word reached the Queen of these disasters, she realized the situation had grown far out of her control. Though they had been able to hold shut the floodgates up until this point, the massacre at Two Rivers and the defeat of the army had caused the gates to burst, as elven refugees fled into the heartland and the corruption that spread throughout the outer fringes began to penetrate into the center. Using a set of couriers, she sent three messages southward to the Imperium, begging for assistance. Only one of these couriers managed to evade the Drow and escape the forest and make it to the Plains, riding to the capital. Once the courier had arrived and delivered his message, Emperor Roran called the Sons of the Emperor together. These men were descended from the Empire’s oldest noble families and as knights served him faithfully. Following their summons, the Sons made it with all haste to the city of Saron, the capital of the Imperium. Upon arrival, they were informed of the events to the North and the Queen’s request. The Emperor understood that their involvement was asking the Sons to risk their lives and fortunes for a call they had no involvement in, and so he asked their opinions and would weigh them carefully. This sparked a heated debate followed as to whether or not the Empire should become involved in the affairs of their neighbors to the north. The camp which argued for strengthening the Empires borders and leaving the elves to their fate, by proxy protecting their own lives and fortunes, found their champion in Kerrigan of the House of Von Hendriks and initially took the stronger position. When the situation had first gotten out of hand in Ismiralla, the army was called to service, just in case they needed to act as a first defense in the Imperium. This camp argued for a continuation of the policy they had thus far adopted, one of leaving the army to train constantly in preparation instead of using it. As the debate entered into the second half of the week, André of the House of Draconia emerged as the strongest proponent for aiding their Northern brethren. He argued that they were lucky to be part of the Empire, and that their military strength was unmatched. If the Empire was not there to help those in need then they did not deserve to enjoy the favor of the Gods. Evil and injustice had taken a concrete form, and it was a form that could be beaten and destroyed, pushed back into the sea from which it had come. He confessed that he had no illusions that they all would return, saying instead that he imagined a great many men would be lost in the fight and that the fortunes lost in such a large campaign would be greater than any single member of their Council had. But it was their duty to serve those who were in danger of being oppressed and destroyed, to protect those who were weaker than they. André spoke with such confidence and bravery that many who were unsure joined him, acknowledging that their swords would be better put to use serving justice, goodness and freedom. They told the Emperor that regardless of what the Empire would do, the House of Draconia and its allies would march northward.