Harbart Darkmore is the son of Elron, and Vellia Darkmore making him a member of House Darkwood through his mother, and a member of and the long time lord and patriarch of House Darkmore as well as the long time Arch Duke of the State of Darkhaven until his death.
Harbert Darkmore would lead the forces of Darkmore alongside the forces of House Greymane and was thus present at the Attempted Relief of Tree Hill which ended with the arrival of James Lovie II. who forced the armies to return to their states and then passed the Edict of Tree Hill which banned anyone from entering the area. Harbart Darkmore would be defending the walls of Castle Stragnarax when he would be betrayed by Ephraim Black and pushed from the walls leaving the Lord and Patriarch of House Darkmore dead and igniting a serious issue for the inheritance of the State of Darkmore.
Fall of Tree Hill
Main Article : First Battle of Tree Hill
| Fall of Tree Hill |
We were trained to fight. We built walls, and we made plans for our defences. All of this training and planning was for naught when we were ambushed by an enemy that knew everything we were.
Getting the element of surprise wasn't the last move that Bill Lovie would do in order to make sure his plan of destroying Tree Hill would succeed though as on top of destroying the Eyes, and luring the Orcs he also lured away most of the Tree Hill army in the moment they were most necessary. In order to do this Bill created a Kings letter in which he ordered Earl Scott to accompany the Tree Hill trade mission to Forks with as many troops as he could possibly spare as Bill believed that an insidious force was preparing to destroy Forks from within. While Earl Scott didn't believe or even understand where this came from he was honor bound to follow the words of his king so he took nearly fifty percent of the Tree Hill army and accompanied the Tree Hill trade mission on its mission to Forks.
With the command of the city falling out of the hands of Earl Scott the vacuum of power fell to the hands of Sayden Nighting of whom was told by Bill Lovie that the Orcs were incoming and was promised the Lordship of Tree Hill for his assistance in destroying Tree Hill. As fate would have it, not only was most of the Tree Hill army not at their post because of the trade meeting in Forks. But the leader of the Army, and Lord of Tree Hill Earl Scott was also not in Tree Hill when the attack was underway. This meant that the city which would have already been in serious trouble due to the surprise attack which was incoming were nearly completely at the mercy of the orcs without the majority of their army in the actual city. While significant number of nobles were in the town as Bill had not made the trip something anyone outside of Earl Scott was even allowed to go the devastation was surely planned to be incredible in the early moments.House Baker had through the Magi power and general lack of morality of Hanne Baker joined the Circle of Magi leaving them very much aware of the coming Orcish assault on the city of Tree Hill. Hanne Baker would return from her time in the west where she had been assisting Bill Lovie with his Orcish menipulation and fresh from her time there she would summon her entire family including her husband Haden Baker, son Julian Baker, and two daughters Lindsay Baker, and Margerette Baker and proceeded to tell them about what was about to happen in Tree Hill. The family sat with the increasingly cowardly Haden Baker wanting to immediately retreat to the inner keep with the family, and despite Hanna stating that the entire city would fall to the attack it was Haden that overruled her sending Julian and their servants first to prepare their lodgings at the keep. Following the departure of Julian two things happened with the first being Margerette attempted to run away from her family confronting her sister Lindsay, while Lindsay finally realized she had the moment she had been waiting for to finally kill her mother and father. When Margerette took Lindsay into the other room while her parents loaded up the carriage outside with their two remaining servants she would tell Lindsay that she was going to reveal what was happening to Lord Typhon of whom she knew was an honorable man, and Lindsay not wanting her chance of killing her parents to be thwarted would stab her sister through the neck killing Margerette, and dragging her body into a closet. Returning to the living room she would hide her mothers wand before tricking her mother into joining her in the bedroom where she would hit her mother with a mace knocking her out. With her mother unconscious she would bring her father and the two servants in where she locked the door behind them to their confusion before she would stab the two servants before knocking out her father. With everyone either dead or unconscious she would tie her father and mother to a chair before she would walk out of the house, driving the now loaded cart to the keep to find her sister. When Hanna, and Haden woke up they attempted to get out of their bindings but Haden was too weak, and Hanna without her wand could do little, and thus they were unable to escape and were eventually killed during the sacking of Tree Hill by the Orcs.
The Orcs moved across the plains in as perfect a following of the directions they had been given by the Circle of Magi as the Orcs were probably capable of. Destroying two villages as they moved they overran the out keep that guarded the initial approach to the city. While the out keeps were meant to have been occupied by nearly fifty men each the deployment schedules had been purposely screwed up by Sayden Nighting. With the out keeps not alerting to an attack the Orcs were on the doorstep before anyone knew what had happened, and it was in that moment that the fate of the city was sealed. The Orc army was within 100 feet of the gates when the first guard saw there arrival, and scanning across the field it was a blanket of green as the Orcs were seemingly endless in number. The guard ran the alarm bell, and then the men manning the gate attempted to close it. All the Tree Hill guards that were present in the area swarmed the gate in the hopes they could hold the gate until it could be closed. Traven Goodsbrow, and the Oakheart twins Frasier, and Thomas Oakheart were in the vicinity and would also move in the direction of the fighting at the gate. Traven and the Oakheart twins would be overwhelmed alongside the rest of the guards at the gatehouse and the Orcs swelled into the city from the main gate shattering the cork that held the Orcs at bay. Once they had control of the gate the Orcs quickly destroyed any resistance that managed to form in the outer city, while they began destroying and setting buildings ablaze. The rampaging force of Orcs massacred there way through the packed market which was located near the main gatehouse, and since Tree Hill was so far inside the borders of Lucerne no one was really threatened and thus hadn't fled as the bells had tolled. The massacre continued unabated until southward of the main gatehouse the Orcs would come to the castle of the Typhon's in the form of Typhon's Keep.
Located in the northern section of Tree Hill the estate of House Typhon was a small but secure keep that had long controlled the northern section of the city. A vassal of House Scott they would be within their estate as the city burned and the northern half was completely wiped out. House Typhon would hold off till the very last minute trying to allow more people to flee inside the keep including Lord Robett Highport and three of his men at arms, and it was only when the Orcs begin to reach the gatehouse that Lord Typhon finally commanded it shut. Blocking their gates the Orcs arrived on the scene the males took to the walls and fired upon the Orcs drawing major attention to themselves and slowing the advance as the Orcs attempted to take the Keep. As the Orcs poured all along the walls Lord Typhon would attempt to get people out through the rear of the keep but they discovered that the gatehouse has been sabotaged and couldn't be opened. The front gate was finally bashed down as the defenders on the wall begin to run out of arrows, but the defenders had created enough time that they had been able to place a barricade behind this forcing most of the Orcs to use makeshift ladders, and ropes to climb onto the walls. Getting onto the walls the Orcs would take horrible casualties but there number were unending and they were able to wipe out the defenders including Lord Typhon and two of his sons, and would thus gain entrance into the courtyard within. Lord Robett Highport led a brief counter assault at the main gatehouse attempting to bar the entrance but was killed alongside his men after the walls had been completely overrun. The final son of House Typhon would defend the inner hold nearly alone trying to protect his mother, cousins, and sisters but watched as the Orcs killed the remaining gaurds and the rest of House Typhon were massacred in the inner hallway. Jaime Typhon would survive the destruction of Typhon Keep after he was covered by the body of his slain brother and knocked unconscious. Waking up hours after the massacre of his family he would attempt with failed results to find anyone else alive and realizing he was alone he would hide himself in the Typhon cellar where he would attempt to plan his escape. With the massacre the Orcs would move forward towards the Scott Keep of which was only real place that any sort of defence could be mounted.
Last stand at the Gryphon Gate
Lucas Scott was in the House Scott Keep when the first Orcs begin piling into the city itself, and when he learned of this he became overcome with fear that Haley, Brooke, or Peyton were stuck out there so he ran throughout the inner keep in an attempt to find them. As he ran out of his room he saw his father sitting at his desk not looking like he was very stressed, and he was surrounded by several men including two from House Nighting. Dan Scott was by this point making sure that all their preperations to abandon the city were in place, but had discovered that the tunnel exits that they had put in place had been sabotaged and thus there was no escape for them. Not realizing who was the cause of this they immediately assumed the cause was Bill Lovie, but in fact the tunnels had been sabatoged by Morrigan of whom hadn't be capable of allowing the tratiors to get away with what they had done. Leaving the inner keep he found Haley and Brooke early on but couldn't manage to find Peyton Sawyer inside the inner courtyard. He went to the personal Scott armory and donned his armor alongside his brother Nathan and prepared to enter the city in search of her, but as he reached the inner gatehouse he saw Peyton screaming his name. Peyton had been able to return to the keep before the massacre and now she was crying so much that Lucas had to hold her up, and he would hand her over sadly to Brooke and Haley of whom he forced to return inside the inner Hold.Massacring the population of the city the Orcs swarmed towards the next and last point of resistance in the form of the Gryphon Gate which led into the large Scott Keep. It was at this point that the first Orcs began reaching the Inner gates, and it was here that Lucas Scott would make him self famous. By this point the defenses of Gryphon Gate were being stiffened by the dozens of noble born that arrived at the gate in order to defend the last bastion in the city. By this point those who still lived outside the inner keep were flooding through Gryphon Gate, and despite being less known the defense of the outer courtyard by Loras Tyrell was also horribly tense and only Loras's command strength held the defenses from falling. Loras led a force of House Tyrell and others into the courtyard outside the eastern gatehouse and cleared the streets of Orcs and kept fighting until they were forced to retreat when Loras was struck on the head by an Orc Mace. As the hundreds of soldiers and fleeing citizens ran through the inner gate to the relative safety of the inner city, the commander in charge of the gate in the form of Devon Davion ordered that it be shut out of fear the Orcs would get in. This act would have doomed hundreds of people who were still racing trying to get inside but the risk grew increasingly real as the Orcs begin overrunning the courtyard despite the archer fire from the walls. Lucas by this point entered the fray alongside Perwyn Guntbold, and Kurt and Isidor Elric, Deert Dravion, Hank James II., and Hansal Oakheart and the group would move to Devon Davion who they pushed to keep the gate open, but he was reluctant fearing the fall of the entire remaining population if he did this. The commander held off after Lucas convinced him to hold the gate open as long as he held the bridge, but regretted his decision when his son Deert Davion prepared to follow Lucas onto the bridge.
With his plan in place he scanned around for Peyton of whom he knew deserved a goodbye with the plan he had in mind. It didn't take long for him to find her in the crowd and when he did he ran to her side leaving time for the other men of his party to also say brief goodbyes if they had ones. By this point the defenses of the eastern bridge were becoming increasingly dire until the distraught Franklin Lee II. arrived from the destroyed part of town with nearly fifty men from House Lee and managed to reinforce the bridge house long enough for them to close the bridge. As they crossed the bridge Frank Lee is said to have in his despair over the death of his wife that he had sat down and allowed himself to be killed by the Orcs.
And with that Lucas kissed her, and the kiss was so intense for her that she couldn't manage the strength to hold onto him as he pulled away and then ran to the bridge. As she attempted to chase after him, she was grabbed by Karen Scott of whom knew that her son was going to do exactly what he was going to do, and she didn't want to lose Peyton as well. Peyton tried desperately to pull away, but Karen held a death grip on her, and it took a minute before she was able to get away and when she did Lucas was already on the bridge, and the guards wouldn't allow her through. Peyton attempted to get onto the wall to see him but the guards forced her back farther into the keep where she eventually met up with Brooke, and Haley who watched with her from the Dragon Tower what they believed was going to be the death of Lucas Scott on the bridge. By this point the other houses of the south west Keep were finding themselves becoming under attack as the Orcs were spreading throughout the city, and the defenses of the southwestern keep were in disrepair and Jimmy James planned to attempt to defend them anyway but the arrival of Hank James changed the plans of Jimmy James and Anakin Oakheart. Hank James would explain to the two lords that the defenses had completely collapsed and that only the defenses of the water could save them alongside telling Anakin about the death of his twin sons and his grandson while telling Jimmy about his wife and child's death. Hank James decided to stay in the James Keep and die defending it while the remainder of the Oakheart, and James households would pull all of their men and women and forces and pull them to the western gate.
As Lucas continued to fight on the bridge, Peyton went to find Nathan and found him ordering around men, and making seemingly no effort to save his brother from the situation he was in. She grabbed Nathan by the collar and punched him in the face for the person he had become, and she kept hitting him until he pushed her off him, and ordered one of his men to escort her back to the tower, and to lock her, Haley, Brooke and his mother on the balcony. By this point Leah, and Lauren Oakheart arrived and told them that they had arrive with their family and people alongside House James and all of their people and they had just barely managed to get through the western gatehouse before the Orcs had overrun the entire route. Han, and Lucas Oakheart they would say were leading the defense of the western gatehouse alongside Jake James.
The Defence of the Bridge
Lucas and his party alongside five men at arms of various houses proceeded to hold the bridge for almost an hour under extremely difficult circumstances. At first he moved far past the bridge as he shouted for people to hurry up and get inside, but after fifteen minutes he started to see the first trickle of Orcs moving forward and it was in this moment that he held the road for a time stopping Orcs with carefully aimed bow shots. Perwyn Guntbold, and Hansal Oakheart were also firing arrows near him, while Deert, and Hank were directing people towards the bridge and making them hurry. He and the rest of the party were slowly pushed back by their numbers as he didn't want to be cornered in the street, so he pushed himself to the first tier of the bridge and thus allowed the people to continue getting inside the Keep. While they were pulling back two of the other men at arms fell to Orcs, and Deert took a horrifying blow to his arm of which when Lucas moved to him they were both very aware that the wound might be fatal, but he refused to retreat and they covered it as best they could. His desperate fight continued as the Orcs begin swarming at him in increasing numbers, and during this time he held the front of the bridge standing side by side with Perwyn Guntbold while the other men at arms, and the party joined the archer fire from the walls as they devastated the incoming Orcs. At times they would be assisted by some of the fleeing soldiers, but they basically held it alone against hundreds of marauding Orcs for nearly a half an hour. Wave after wave failed to get by him and Perwyn Guntbold, and as his success seemed more and more likely guards from the wall joined his defense of the bridge. They continued to hold until finally they were confronted by the largest Orc any of them had ever seen, alongside nearly half a dozen other massive Orcs and hundreds of others that also tried to get by.
The Orc was Lugdush and was the second highest commander behind Jurden Hardaxe himself, and was perhaps the strongest of the lot and for this reason Jurden had sent him at the vanguard and when watching Lucas murder Orc after Orc he saw his chance to rid himself of Lugdush. The Orc moved up to the lines surviving archer fire from the walls without any pause, and raised his sword before killing the man next to Lucas and sending Lucas, and Perwyn flying to the ground and knocking Perwyn unconscious against the ground. Lucas called out for the other men to retreat, but they refused to leave him and his party stood side by side with him as Lugdush attacked again. Deert would be the first to fall as Lugdush ignored a slash across his chest from Lucas and cleaved Deert Davion nearly in two, and followed by this Lucas ducked underneath another slash from Lugdush and slid behind him engaging two of the other massive Orcs. While Lucas fought them Hansal was slashed across the face by Lugdush and killed, while the three men at arms were killed by the other Orcs with Lugdush with the last Orc dying as it killed the last man at arms leaving Lucas killing the remaining Orcs while Lugdush and Hank James II. battled.
Dodging blow after blow Hank was joined by Oliver Slinde of whom would slash Lugdush badly on the leg knocking him to the ground, but when Hank went for the killing blow Lugdush would grab him and break his neck before throwing him into the moat. Lucas by this point had killed three of the large Orcs, and one of the final was able to overwhelm him and push him to the side, and as it raised its axe to kill him an arrow struck it in the head. Looking to the source of the arrow he saw his brother Nathan on the wall, and the two shared a quick look before Nathan aimed his bow and fired once again into the mass crowd behind them. As Lugdush cornered Oliver against the side of the bridge and prepared to kill him Lucas jumped on his back and was able to stab him through the less armored back part of his neck killing the massive Orc. Now exhausted from that fight and standing alone on the bridge he was finally forced to pull back when nearly 50 Orcs almost surrounded him, causing him to jump into the moat. Oliver was able to get inside the gate but those on the wall believed he had been struck down and killed. The Gryphon gate was then shut but Lucas was stuck on the outside of the wall.
Closing the front door
But Lucas was not dead. He managed to sneak his way around the city, and it was during this time that he would further his fame. He managed to sneak back to the outer city gate, by moving silently through the sewers that ran from the Scott Keep all the way to the front entrance of the market which was just a short run to the gatehouse. Finding none of the Orcs had worked on clearing the sewers he was shocked to find dozens of people hiding themselves in the sewers, and warning them they needed to quickly make their way to the keep he kept moving arriving at the market entrance, and leaving the sewer he looked out and saw the gatehouse. Flowing through the gatehouse were the Orcs, and he knew that unless he stemmed the tide the Gryphon gate would be overwhelmed with little difficulty, and thus he snuck his way along the side of the road and made his way into the tower where he killed the three Orcs guarding the main floor of the gatehouse before making his way upwards into the actual door mechanism room. Once there he wiped out the Orcs who were now holding the gate house. There were dozens of Orcs spread throughout the gatehouse tower but they were in a rampaging mood and thus he was able to ambush them room after room until he had cleared his way to the actual mechanism that would control the portcullis. Once he had control of the gate house he closed the outer gate. By shutting this gate he had managed to stem the flow of Orcs entering the city, and through this act most likely saved the inner city who was having great difficulties holding. Quickly making his way onto the ramparts he was forced to briefly fight his way along the wall before he jumped off the wall onto the roof of a house below. As he jumped off the roof he took an arrow to the shoulder, and then as he was continuing to run away he took a shot to the back which took the air out of him as it struck his lung. Making his way from roof to roof he would get himself all the way back to the keep and seeing the keep wall, he was able to fashion a rope that he used to climb back over the inner wall, where he was found by his brother Nathan passed out on the wall.
Morrigan Enters the City
As the Orcish army swarmed into Tree Hill Morrigan would make her way to a local farm where she had ordered her men for months to burrow a tunnel beneath Tree Hill that would connect directly beneath Gryphon's Gate. Moving her way through the tunnels she would eventually arrive at the entrance which was inside her home in the keep where she was living under the guise of Lady Morrigan Sylne of House Slyne. Leaving her house she heard the screams and could smell all the death around her but her soul brought her to the wall where she found a mortally wounded Lucas Scott. Lucas had two arrows in him of which one had pierced his lung and was too much for him to handle and survive. Holding his head up she would use her Magi to heal him, and as he was healed and she removed the arrows she rested him along the wall and used her Magi to enchant Nathan into sensing where his brother was and coming to find him.
Back in the City
The moment Lucas was pulled back into the keep was the moment that most point to as the moment that the Battle ended for the city itself, and following this the situation was one of a siege except for the incoming relief force. Nathan called out for men to come help him carry Lucas inside, and they carried him into the locked tower overlooking the city, and then called for a doctor. Miraculously Lucas was unhurt, and only had cuts, and bruises to show for the act that saved the city from immediate death. It was in this moment that the first stems of jealously begin from Lucas's brother Nathan. While Nathan had led the defenders in their retreat back to the keep and had maintained order during the battle, all of this was forgotten as the people lot their minds over the return of a living god to them in Lucas Scott.
Nathan Scott would storm out of the room as in his eyes everyone was ignoring him, and as he did he silently walked over to the wall and watched the people stem from the keep, and make their way to see Lucas Scott. As he watched this he saw for the first time that day Haley, and she was running around with a desperate look in her eyes. When he saw this he thought for a moment that she was coming for him and he felt hope, but as he walked towards her, she saw him and for the briefest moment she looked as if she would go to him, but instead she kept moving and pushed her way through the crowds and into the tower where Lucas was.
Massacre at Hyphon's farm
With the city on the verge of utter destruction, and the Orcs massacring the few survivors within the walls and outside the Keep the forces of Lucerne were preparing to gather in Forks for what they assumed would be a massive reinforcement effort. At this time Bill Lovie, and House Lovie's forces would be only a day away from Forks, and he was trying to find a way to make the forces of Lucerne stand down and not assist the city he had planned to destroy. His oppurtunity would come when the main army of Tree Hill which had been ordered by him to Forks on the day of the attack massed alongside hundreds of volunteers and prepared to move inside the city from the eastern gate so to give the defenders more time for the relieving force to arrive. At this point Earl Scott asked for permission for the forces of House Swan, and House Arryn to join with them, and when the raven arrived with Bill Lovie he knew he had his chance.
He sent four ravens in responce to Earl's letter. The first was to Earl Scott himself of whom he told he was going to send the full wieght of House Arryn, and House Swan to the western side of Tree Hill so that the route into Tree Hill would be opened to them. He sent two more ravens to House Swan, and House Arryn which told them that they were to move to the northern end of Tree Hill, and they they were to wait in the forests there for the full force of Lucerne to arrive. With this in mind Earl Scott would assemble his forces, and without checking in with Charlie Swan who was the only one who knew nearbye that he was walking into a trap he moved his forces towards Tree Hill. As his forces were leaving out the gate, it would be Jacob Swan who would follow with Earl Scott alongside several of his bodygaurd, and they would join what would be a doomed effort. The final raven would be the most deadly and had been sent to Alex Kirsh who was located in a small mountain cave north of Tree Hill more then a day ahead of Earl Scott. He would order Alex Kirsh to infiltrate the northern gatehouse and wait there until the arrival of Earl Scott, where upon his arrival he would trap his forces by closing the gate.
Earl's forces would arrive at Tree Hill nearly a day and a half later and were exhausted due to the speed at which they had been marching to Tree Hill. Upon their arrival they saw that the gate was open, and few Orcs were defending the area so they moved quickly into the area believing that the forces of House Swan, and House Arryn had blocked the main army from being able to ambush them. At the same time as they were moving it was the movement of Alex Kirsh in the northern gatehouse that would seal the fate of the army of Earl Scott. Alex Kirsh had waited for Earl's forces to arrive, and once they neared the gatehouse he begin to lower the gate so that they couldn't get inside. Earl's forces now stuck on the outside saw a large force of Worg riders moving towards them from the east, and thus they moved northward, and when the Worgs hit them they were trapped in Hyphon's farm. The Worgs overran their positions all across their lines, and despite attempts by Earl to get the troops under control they were cut down in their hundreds by the rampaging forces of the Orc Worg Riders. As they attempted to shift westward they saw the main Orc force moving towards them and realized they were trapped and doomed. The Worg Riders and the main Orc force would together over the course of several hours massacre the entire force and capture several of the soldiers for slavery.
Relief of Tree Hill
Main Article : Failed Relief of Tree Hill
Harbert Darkmore would lead the forces of Darkmore alongside the forces of House Greymane and was thus present at the Attempted Relief of Tree Hill which ended with the arrival of James Lovie II. who forced the armies to return to their states and then passed the Edict of Tree Hill which banned anyone from entering the area.
First Battle of Castle Stragnarax
Main Article : Battle of Castle Stragnarax
| Battle of Castle Stragnarax |
Everyone was moving on Westbridge when the monsters came to our doors. We were horribly outnumbered, but we had strength of our own. I would be damned if I let these monsters beat us.
Dragonhorn, and and it was during the period following the Invasion of Westbridge that its purpose and defences would be tested for the first time. Following the end of the invasion and with the armies of Lucerne retrurning to the valley after victory the Eyes caught sight of a large force of Orcs moving towards Castle Stragnarax. Commander Lothar Wornwayne would realize the severity of the coming attack, and thus The Eyes immediatly sent ravens and a single scout to Castle Stragnarax. Learning of the attack the defenders under the command of Thomas Brent would send out dozens of scouts and runners to the surrounding region both warning them of the coming attack, and also requesting immediate assistance at the castle. The two main places that they sent requests for assistance were to Hilsbrad and House Greymane, as well as from the nearer forces of House Ordos and its vassals from Marburg. Karyl Reyne the loyal wife to Franklin Brent that went to work when she travelled to Castle Greentail to convinse Lord Deitrik Greentail to lend his forces to the defence of Castle Stragnarax. At her words Deitrik Greentail would once again lend his support to Franklin Brent during the Battle of Castle Stragnarax but this time his infatuation with Karyl Reyne would become a problem when her convincing set him over the edge and he tried to rape her only stopped by the arrival of his son Estmar Greentail who stopped him from raping Karyl. Stopping this Estmar would take Karyl alongside the Greentail forces and she was able to force him to promise to her that he would never say a word of what had happened to Franklin and he agreed despite his growing friendship with Franklin Brent. Alongside these two though the very powerful House Mountain would be sent word, and while they were not expected they would eventually prove to be one of the most steadfast comers into the conflict.
Castle Stragnarax was designed as the center of the western defenses of Lucerne, alongside the rebuilt Eyes, and the castles of |
For his own part Lothar Wornwayne was forced to deal with the Orcs overruning the Eyes, and this forced him to recall many of his troops into the cave systems they had long set up. Lothar would send word to his second in command Rolly Reyne of whom would be commanded to follow as closely as humanly possible to the forces of the Orcs, and find out as much as possible about their numbers, while the rest of the Rangers either defended themselves or in the case of Lothar prepared to make the rest of the journey for the Orcs as miserable as he possibly could.
With the Orcs incoming the defenses were prepared and all troops were called in from the villages and farms nearby. This swelled the defenders of Castle Strangarax to a force of some 5,500 men at arms along with the twelve training members of the Order of the Violet Dragon that had remained in Castle Stragnarax under the command of Benjamin Bradfoot. The castle itself was commanded by Thomas Brent but his percieved inexperiance meant that he left the defence of the city to his honor gaurd commanders and Benjamin Bradfoot, along with the council of his military force. One of the other premier commanders of the castle was the recently arrived Edric Summerwall, and his Knights of the Summerwall of whom had been commanded to move themselves from their previous home in Forks to Castle Stragnarax where they would be the official Knightly Order of the castle. The Plan for the defence consisted of holding on for as long as they possibly could while they waited for the army of Hillsbrad to arrive and relieve them, alongside the rest of House Brent coming as well. As the Battle reached the point that everyone knew it was going happen they would drain the women, old, and young from the town and they would make there way eastward towards Marburg of which was the closest nearbye town. As the old, women, and children were withdrawn, and in their place came wagon after wagon of supplies from the surrounding region they knew there preperation was about to end as the Orcs were nearly at the castle. Fionna Brent would be one of the few women that didn't leave the Battle and she would lead a contingent of Dragon Priests of whom preached the power of Glaurung and tried to raise the moral of the forces. Knowing how long they had before the attack the defenders would send out some two hundred cavalry of whom were tasked with further scouting the incoming Orcs and giving them some extra amount of knowledge when they would attack. In Hohenstein the leadership of House Mountain would make the decision to assist Castle Stragnarax after Baelor Mountain stated that he believed this would help to uplift them in the eyes of Lucerne, and specifically the King in Lucerne of whom was not exactly shy about his distain for those who sat on the sidelines. As the furthest away of those who cold come to the aid of Castle Stragnarax, there assistence unknown by most and they were going to arrive later then the others anyway. By this point Franklin Brent would marshal his personal knightly order, and while he did this his father would gather the forces of House Brent, of whom would meet with House Ordos outside of Marburg and prepare themselves to also assist Castle Stragnarax. Franklin Brent would lead his forces seperate from his father Frank, as he was still unwilling to forgive his father for being passed over, and while making the trip the sickly Frank Brent would be forced to return to the Brent Seat and thus left command to Franklin. The Knights of the Gilded Fell would also mount themselves and leave their seat at White Hill led by Desmond Hill and make their way southward, and their location meant that they would arrive hours before the Orcish army did and they were thus able to enter the castle before the Orcs blocked the routes in. One of the final arrivals was the unexpected forces of House Darkmore, and House Darkwood of whom had been meeting in the Darkwood of seat of
While the scouts did this it the Rangers of the Eyes were continueing to harass the Orcish Hordeas they moved eastward. Special attention was paid by the Rangers to the dozen or so Gronn that had accompanied the Orcish army. As the Orcs continued to move they lost four of the Gronn to hit and run attacks as the Rangers used hidden caves and cliff tops to rain arrows down on the Orcish army while retreating once they had done the damage they could. Lothar Wornwayne was constantly harrassing the Orcish force, and this only increased in intensity when he and Rolly Reyne finally met up days away from Castle Stragnarax, and in a join ambush during the night they killed some four hundred Orcs before they were forced to retreat southward and into Dragonhorn while the Orc army had finally reached the outskirts of the Castle Stragnarax.
The Orcs Arrive
It was nearly two weeks after the Raven fortold of the coming Orcs they arrived west of the castle and begin chopping down the trees that were there to use to construct ladders, and siege towers. The Orcs spent an entire day doing this and as they worked the defenders of the towers were firing long range balista shots at them which were able to destory one of the towers before it was able to be used the following day. Also during this day the Orcs attempted to push forward siege machines in order to batter holes in the walls but they discovered the accurasy of the balistas was extreme as each siege machine pushed forward was destoryed in turn with only a few shots getting off and dowing little damage to the wall. When the final batch of catapults were brought up defended by large trenches and by blocks of wood meant to shield from the Balistas it was Alann, and Bran Voil that had the entire Order of the Blue Dragon force set the field ablaze destroying the remaining catapults and hundreds of Orcs manning the trenches, shiels, and catapults.
As the day wore on the forces of Franklin Brent arrived at the Battle, and he would make his forces move towards the southern wall where he arrayed against the large southern Orc host. Sending word into the castle that they had arrived, this would greatly uplift the defenders moral who knew they were in some amount of trouble. Franklin constructed a series of trenches lined with anti-cavalry poles of which he planned to retreat into in case the Orcs sent an army to deal with his forces. After spending all of the energy constructing the siege machines they found that the catapults and such were destroyed the moment they got into range, with only a few actually able to launch a real shot at the walls. The Orcs were forced to place more forces in the southern end as the arrival of Franklin Brent meant they were now threatened by somone outside the walls and the mainly cavalry force was of great danger to them. Without any hope of launching their catapults the Orcs would move their forces forward and their seige towers that had been hidden would be pushed forward for the first attack.
The First Attack
With their seige machines set up the Orcs attacked in a vast wave of upwards of 25,000 of which the vast majority attacked the main gate while some 7,000 attacked the southern section defended by Marbrand Keep. The northern wall also had some two thousand Orcs attack it but these were extremely disorganized and the least of the problems of the Castle. Outside of the seven thousand sent towards the southern wall four thousand Orcs were sent against the army of Franklin Brent in order to keep them away from the fighting. Mainly Worgs this force would chase Franklin's forces into the trenches they had constructed, and suffered many casualties to this traps before fighting broke out between the two forces. Franklin Brent was forced to battle against a large Orc of which had killed two other men, and finally reaching the Orc he and the Orc dueled for several minutes until he shot the Orc with a hand crossbow he was finally able to reach off his back. Staggered by the shot the Orc would be sliced across the chest fatally by Franklin as he attempted to pull the crossbow from his neck. Following the large Orc's death the other Worgs became less threatening but there numbers still meant that Franklin could not advance agains the southern forces and aid the defenders. As the Orcs advanced they were devestated by the massive array of archer, and balista fire by the time they reached the wall they had lost significant numbers.
Attack on the Main Gate
The attack on the main gate went disastrously with all four of the Siege towers destroyed, and with the huge array of archers present the Orcs that massed on the ground trying to get up the ladders were caught in a killing zone and lost huge numbers before the Orcs retreated leaving behind the ruins of much of their force alongside the destroyed siege towers. The Balistas that sat on the towers continued to destroy anything that even resembled a battering ram, and because of the hoardings all along the wall the few Orcish archers that were on the ground found very few targets, and the few they did were unable to be struck because of the hoarding. Along the main gate though despite this horrifying aray of weapons the Orcs did manage to get several of their number onto the walls where the Knights of the Gilded Fell under the command of Orival Black would stand in the breaks and kill them as they climbed over the walls. The Magi of the Order of the Blue Dragon had been completely concentrated along this defence and had been responsible for two of the towers going down as they lit them on fire using spells.
Attack on the Tower of James the Vigilant
The Orcs attacked the three areas and it was only at the tower of James the Vigilant that they had any real success. The Orcs were able to keep their seige tower alive in this section and with its survival they were able to mass over the wall, and this caused the beggining of an intense fight over the tower. The Orcs slowly pushed them back into the tower, and forced the defenders to lock the gates into the tower, and block them outside. The Orcs attemtped to break through the gate, and during this time the Orcs begin to take fire from the inner wall as they were free to fire on them now that the defenders were gone. As they took heavy casualties they found themselves unable to break into the tower itself, and begin spreading throughout the walls of the western walls to the point that they attempted to break into the main forces at the main tower itself. During this time Thomas Brent would order the main reserve forces sneaking out through the more southern tower and behind the Orcs of whom were busy sprawling all over the walls. Now behind their lines the relief force set the siege tower alight and then was able to get back through the tower with minimal casualties. As the siege tower burned down the Orcs found their reinforcements ended and they were slowly wittled away at by the massive number of archers all along the James Towers. The final holdouts were to be dealt with personally by Benjamin Bradfoot of whom was directed to the castle under the command of Thomas Brent of whom was worried over the prospect of Orcs within the walls.
Attack on Marbrand Keep
Marbrand Keep was defended by Domeric Marbrand of whom defended the large keep with some three hundred men, while the main wall was defended by another three hunded. The men on the walls were designed to hit them with as many arrow barrages as they could, but the moment the Orcs manned the walls the force was to enter the heavily fortified gates and make their way into the keep. The Orcs would attack with some two thousand forces against the wall, and at first for the Orcs the Attack on Marbrand keep went well at first with the Orcs able to climb over the walls after suffering some three hundred losses to the defenders on the walls. With the ladders against the walls the defenders retreated into the towers and through the tunnels allowing the Orcs to get into the actual castle but once there the design plan went into affect with the Orcs now stuck in no mans land with no ability to get over the next defences. The Orcs attempted to follow the retreating defenders through the tunnels into Mabrand Keep but discovered the tunnels filled with nearly twenty feet deep gates that would be nearly impossible to break through without Magi, or some sort of explosive. The Orcs then attempted to charge across the field but the defenders of the keep were able to fire acurate shots into them and caused horrible casulties against them. By this point the Orcs were in panic, but begin to run past the Keep and into the city proper where the nearly five hundred remaining Orcs were confronted by a force led by Thomas Brent himself. Leading his most elite troops they would battle against the Orcs and defeat them causing them to retreat back as they came, and they were basically anihilated with very few returning to camp.
The Second Attack
The Orc army was still massive but it had suffered heavy casualties accomplishing nothing the first day, and in even worse news for the Orcish army was the fact that the reinforcements of the defenders had begun to arrive in heavy numbers. The full army of House Mountain led by Baelor Mountain had arrived alongside the forces of House Garfield and they were camped northwest of the battle moving in behind the Orc forces. Andrew Garfield would lead the forces of House Garfield into the fray as he was joined by several of his loyal retainers including Edmund Frotenhood, Esla Tollsen, and several other important knights of the region north of Hillsbrad. House Greymane had now joined the army of Franklin Brent bringing the southern army to more then ten thousand, and that number grew throughout the day as the southern vassals came north and more of the army filtered in. Realizing the main gate was a killing zone he didn't have the force to take down the Orc commander would move nearly his entire force to the southern wall of which caused most of the defenders to shift to the same wall. With this in motion the relief armies would move into place, and House Mountain was nearly completely behind them and was actually destroying the reargaurd of the Orc army as the Orcs attacked the Tower of James the Vigilant.
The Orcs charged the walls using three new siege towers and were this time unable to get any to the walls as the casulties of the previous attack, and the heavily increased defender numbers meant the three new towers took far too long to reach the walls. Stuck again with no towers the ladders went up and a great amount of fighting went all along the walls as the Orcs massed onto the ramparts. The defenders were hard up to resist, but as the battle reached a turning point the Orcs begin screaming as the forces of Franklin Brent, and Liam Greymane's army of House Greymane smashed into their rear. The commander of the Orcs would die during the inital assault, and as mass panic spread amongst the Orcs they begin retreating despite still outnumbering the human attackers, and nearly overwhelming the defenders at the tower. As they retreated westward they came directly in the path of the army of House Mountain and were cut down in their hundreds as the Mountain forces had entered the previously constructed Orc trenches and were in a great defence position.
With the Orcish army completely routed and on top of this most of the army had been destroyed in the field leaving the remaining elements to move westward where they were chased down by the cavalry force of House Greymane, and House Ordos and thus the victory was completed. Damage was heavy in the James the Vigilant region of the castle, but elsewhere the losses and damage was nearly non-existence but hours were spent burning the bodies of the Orcs so that they would not send out spores and cause a real problem for the humans of the area. With the clean up beginning the relief armies would camp, while the leadership all met within the castle. Thomas Brent was by this point hailed as a hero and became known as Thomas "The Orc Killer" in honor for what people saw as his great victory, and this was in spite of the two larger armies led by the Mountains, and Franklin Brent moving in and being the true changer of the battle. The story of the battle that had not been seen through the eyes of Franklin Brent were told at dinner, and the next day the armies prepared to return home. Franklin and Thomas would say one last goodbye as Franklin told his brother that he was going to take forces and lead expansion in the Westerlands alongside House Arryn. The two brothers who had constantly battled eachother for position understood that Franklin was accepting defeat and they hugged goodbye knowing they would probably not be meeting any time soon.
Crisis in Darkhaven
Main Article : Pitch Black
| Crisis in Darkhaven|
You are all being lied to by this girl. She is a murderer. She killed her friends, and now she has a taste for lying. She got away with it once, do not allow this monster of a girl to trick you into believing her.
It would be Ephraim Black working under the commands of the Order of the Three Sins who would use the Battle of Castle Stragnarax to fufill the orders of his leader in the Lord of Gluttony. Using the battle he would be now able to move forward with their plot to take control of Darkhaven following his succesful killing of Harbard Darkmore during the Battle of Castle Stragnarax, of whom he killed by stabbing him in the shoulder and then holding him down for nearly an hour while the Lord of House Darkmore bled out, and then during the night he would drag him to the walls which made it appear he had died to the Orcs. House Darkmore following the death of Harbert Darkmore would have a succession crisis due to the fact that Harbert had died without any male heirs and his sister had not had any children. Realizing this the lords of Darkmore were preparing to make Amantha Darkmore the lady of House Darkmore when Ephraim Black arrived at Darkmore with the idea of a better male canidate in the form of Colin Black of whom was the son of Melina Darkmore and thus a cousin to the lord of House Darkmore. Shocked about the turn of events Leana petitioned against the change as Amantha was the closest blood relative, and Colin Black had never visited, or knew anything of the land he would inherit. Ephraim arrived in Duskenvale with Cellia Black and begin making plans with the nobles there, and found many willing to listen to him as there were many who didn't want to be ruled by a young girl, and during this time Cellia Black used her considerable beauty to convinse several of the nobles of Duskhaven. Colin Black who was at this point still in Forks would be met by his cousin Rebecca Black of whom told him about the reality of his father's plan and that his father planned to remove the Darkmore girls as they were nothing but a threat to Colin and needed to be removed if Ephraim was to rule through Colin. Colin didn't want to believe what Rebecca said, but would agree to travel to Duskenvale with Rebecca Black of whom together with Colin's friend Eric Weinbrum, and his wife Vanessa Black the group would meet Lyle Crakehall and a small troop of House Crakehall on the road and then made there way to Duskenvale. Thus arriving at Duskenvale with his friend, wife, Lyle Crakehall, and Rebecca Black he would be met by his father of whom was furious that he had come to Duskenvale and was going to command his son to return to Forks when he would be interupted by Rebecca Black and Lyle Crakehall of whom took Colin Black and left him with his cousin Amantha. During this time spent time with his cousin Amantha Darkmore of whom he liked very much he came to learn about the reality of what his father was doing and how much it would ruin Amantha, and hearing this he would leave her to find her father of whom he was able to find through the assistence of Rebecca Black. Finding his father in the tower of Darkmore his plan to talk to his father would change dramatically when he overheard his father discussing how he was going to murder the Darkmore girls once he had control so that they wouldn't trouble him anymore, and how after he married Colin off to some girl he would then murder Colin and finally finish what he truly wanted for someone he called the Lord of Gluttony. Overhearing this Colin knew that Rebecca wasn't lying at all and went to his cousin of whom he found kissing Lyle Crakehall and telling her what he had heard the group would go to Amantha and leaving Eric Weinbrum behind with her to protect her with a few Crakehall men the group would leave for Hillsbrad to meet with the Arch Duke of the region in the form of House Greymane.
Rebecca Black, Lyle Crakehall, Vanessa Black, and Colin Black would arrive in Hillsbrad and were given an audience with the new Lord of House Greymane in the form of Liam Greymane. Laying out the situation with Liam they were very open about what was going on, and while Liam was reluctant to believe the true extent of how nefarious Ephraim was being in Duskhaven he would agree to travel to Duskhaven in several weeks and he would decide the lordship of Duskhaven himself. Rebecca and the group returned to Duskhaven to find that several of the prominent lords of the province had arrived in Duskhaven including Jon Lowport of whom brought with him his wife, son, and daughter, while Edric Fordale arrived as the new lord of House Fordale accompanied by his sister, and wife, and finally Robin Highport arrived with his wife and sister, but Rebecca would quickly find that each of these lords had their own agendas. The arrival of House Darkwood would incense tensions as Kieth Darkwood, and his brother Derek Darkwood would bring significant forces in order to protect their niece Leana Darkmore, and upon their arrival blood was nearly spilled between Derek Darkwood, and Ephraim upon learning his plotting.
With the arrival of the Arch Duke only a week away the meeting in Duskhaven would be increased when Orival Crane arrived with two of his brothers and a sister on the request of his friend Jon Lowport II.
The Arch Duke Arrives