|The Great Schism|
The true beginning of the war started from a war in the shadows between Avalot and the Reach over their various differences in both culture and philosophies. Religion, particularly over Dragon Faith was one of the most jarring topics of conflict, with Avalot calling the Reach nothing more than a bunch of Zealots. After an incident in Thunderfoot Hold, known as the Blood Arena, escalation into the war began with the two nations preparing their armies for was potentially going to be a brutal war. The Reach saw themselves as moral crusaders, fighting for their rights to practice their Faith. Avalot, on the other hand, saw the Faith as an outdated and dangerous practice which could potentially return them to a Westward ruled colony again.
Occasionally, the various scattered nobles of Avalot would attack Reach with smaller forces for bits of land for a decade. The Reach, meanwhile, patiently gathered their armies and bide their time, for the had the advantage of unity under a single banner. King Bradley Ernest set to work on a plan to not only trigger the spark of war, but cripple the Avalot army in one quick stroke.
The Spark of War Edit
That day came in a warm summer day of 115 AU in the city of Mayford. A group of Reachmen knights rebelled against their nation and attacked the city, and Avalot, prepared for any signs of war, immediately sent knights to hold the city. When they arrived, they discovered the raiders were nothing more than barely armed extremists who were easily subdued by the much more powerful Avalot army. The men were quickly tried and sentenced to be executed until the arrival of some Reach officials, who demanded to take the men into custody and judge them in Reach. Outraged, many of the most powerful nobles in Avalot ventured to Mayford to debate this claim unwitting playing right into King Bradley's hands.
For several days, Mayford was in an uproar with its citizens nearly rioting in the streets with demands to execute the captured raiders. Reluctantly, the nobles of Avalot were forced to send their terms to the Reach and offered this ultimatum to King Bradley: Surrender the raiders for judgement or declare war. The Reachman left and did not return. A few days later, a messenger arrived from the biggest city of Avalot at the time, Fordrim. The city had been taken by King Bradley and his army.
The Longest War Edit
With half their lands and army split asunder, Avalot was forced to approach Fordrim in a few meager attempts to retake it. With only an army of 50,000 compared to Bradley's numbers of over 100,000, the nobles simply could not maintain a siege. Even when the nobles purchased ships along the sea to sail around and rejoin their forces, they could not supplant the Reachmen. Bradley had ensured that they were well prepared to weather any attack on the city, fortifying it and turning it into more a fortress than an actual livable town. Bradley almost took to building a protected trade route and a massive watchtower to oversee it known as Jaxson's Watch named after the commander in charge.
The occasional assaults on the fortress were known as the Battles of Fordrim and earned the Avalot army no real ground. While in the mountains of the Baltic Hills, they simply could not last without proper food and with the Reach controlling the only supply line they were often forced to retreat. Avalot lost thousands of men in these battles between 115 AU to 150 AU, with new nobles constantly rising in power to try their luck at removing King Bradley from the capital. King Bradley, himself, made various return trips back to his capital in the Pale Reach, even taking the time to father a few sons during these breaks.
Outside the warzone surrounding Fordrim, life was fairly quiet in both countries of origin. Many commoners saw this war as a squabble between nobles and knights, much bigger than they. The only time the commoners of Avalot did have an opinion on the war was when their noble lords turned to taxes for funding their armies.
Farkarn Dacre Edit
The war had ran on long enough and many of the nobles turned to heavy taxes to pay for the armies, which the commoners saw as mere cannon fodder being sent to die. Amongst those outspoken was a commoner by the name of Benjen Dacre. These riots were because the taxed villages were weakened and starving, making them ripe for raids by King Bradley's army. Benjen spoke against these rampaging westerners and called out the local nobles, too weak and disorganized to act them. In response, the nobles of Avalot had Benjen hung in 148 AU.
Unwittingly, the nobles of Avalot had created their savior. Benjen's son, Farkarn Dacre, took up his father's banner upon his death, despite being but a child. At the age of 14, in 152 AU, Farkarn had gone around the Pinelands and rallied many of his father's former allies. He threatened the remaining nobles in Avalot into supplying his new army not only with more men to storm Fordrim and end the war, but finances to fund the venture. By 153 AU, Farkarn had with him a fighting force powerful enough to match King Bradley's soldiers.
In 158 AU, by abandoning the villages in Avalot, Farkarn was able to lure King Bradley's army into the Pinelands, where his new army had set up the trap to destroy them. Using the thick forest to his advantage, Farkarn smashed the Reachmen through hit and run tactics. Then, while the army retreated and recovered, he closed the line behind them through purchased ships. In the span of a week, the entire Reach army had been smashed and King Bradley was in full retreat back to Fordrim. For his feats and tactics, the Reachmen nicknamed Farkarn Rolling Thunder by how sudden and relentless his assaults were.
Though Farkarn had the Reach on the run, he knew well that the defenses of Fordrim would draw out the war for months and both sides would suffer heavy losses as a result. Rather than lay siege, Farkarn took his time to communicate with the people of the surrounding lands and gain both favors and information. It took years, but through this tactic Farkarn was able to learn of a secret passage into the city stronghold underground. Meanwhile, King Bradley paranoid of Farkarn impending assault took the time to construct stronger walls, making the fortress almost impenetrable. By the time Farkarn was ready to begin his assault in 162 AU, Bradley's walls had extended all along the Baltic Hills.
Using the tools he had acquired over the years, Farkarn went around the Hills to the south near Anderfall, before heading north completely bypassing the wall laid out to stop him. Taking further countermeasures to the King's defense, Farkarn left most of his army at the gates of Fordrim and led a much smaller force through the underground sewers by word of the local commoners who wanted to see King Bradley overthrown. In a matter of hours, King Bradley had awoken to the sight of Farkarn standing over him with a legion of his best troops. The King had little choice but to surrender to the boy.
King Bradley was forced to surrender, but not all of the Reach agreed with his decision, especially considering they had lost the war to a boy barely of age. The King returned to an angry nation which eventually resulted in the Three Brother's War. Farkarn returned as a hero to Avalot with big plans to further cement his influence on Avalot and eventually establishing a government that would last for generations.