The Kotkalan Rebellion
Welcome back, students. I hope you enjoyed your time off as much as I did mine. In our last lecture we discussed the state of Elhal in 1024, after the Demons solidified their hold on Arelean. In that lecture we talked about King Therion’s plan to rebel against the Demons. Today, we will look more into Therion’s plan, and his foresight.
The Quiet Before the Storm
For six years, from 1024 to 1030, Kotkala prepared for a war with the Demons. During that time they captured Demons, dissected them, learned their weaknesses, and studied their magic. It was a slow process, one that was lead by a combination of the Curved Daggers and the Brotherhood of Steel.
At the same time, Kotkala raised an army in the northern-central part of Kotkala near the Vaasari border. The majority of the army were Kotkalans, with a minority of Vaasarians, who understood the threat the Demons posed. This army was geographically far enough from Arelean that the Demons would be unable to make a preemptive strike, like they did at Nendar Moor.
During that time the Demons were also busy fortifying their control over Elhal. The Demon Forges continued to churn out Soldiers. Demons were deployed into Monatobe, Stammiglin, and along the Kotkalan border. The Demon King’s focus was to control the areas with high populations, large cities, clusters of towns, etc. They were not interested in occupying empty lands. Thus their hold on each country was certain, in that they held the capitals and major cities, but it was incomplete because they did not control borders or strategic geographical regions. Members of the Ebon Blades were spying on Kotkala, but their effectiveness was hampered by Curved Daggers who watched over key areas of Kotkala.
A Call for War
By the year 1030, the people of Eastern Kotkala were growing restless with the Demon stalemate. They watched the amassing army to the east. At the same time, the Blight was taking root in the lands of Arelean, and Kotkalans were panicking – fearing that the blight would reach their verdant lands.
In the Spring of 1030, King Therion launched his first offensive at the Demons. The Kotkalan army moved down from the central lands and broke into three groups. The first group went southwest to fortify the Stammiglin border, to prevent attacks from the Denos clan. The second group went east to fortify the border. The larger army went south of Nendar Moor and attacked the central portion of the Demon Lands.
The Kotkalans had done a good job of hiding their numbers, and caught the Demons off guard. Their attack on the central lands was successful and the Kotkalans were able to take several outposts and fortify them, establishing a beachhead.
The Early Battles
For the first year, the battles went to the Kotkalans. The lines held to the east and in the southwest, allowing the human army to focus on central Arelean. At the same time, the Vaasarian Navy had sailed west and had arrived in western Stammiglin to disrupt the Ebon shipments. The Curved Daggers had also made contact in Stammiglin with several clans opposed to the Denos, and had begun another insurrection there.
While the humans were effective in their central campaign, it was in part because they were facing small numbers of Demons as well as taking large swaths of empty land, which the Demons were not protecting. In the Courts of Therion, the campaign was considered a complete success, and many expected a total victory over the Demons within the year; except for one young general, Chave. He had concerns that this was all going too easily, and that the Demons were planning a counteroffensive. He was dismissed by the more senior generals and his concerns did not reach King Therion.
The Demons were taking their defeats on the battlefield well. They were falling back, deeper into central Arelean. While their defeats were real, their latter ones were feints, used to stretch the human army thinner and thinner. It was all the plan of the Demon Prince Suldar, who was put in charge of the counteroffensive by the Demon King.
Suldar was one of the older Princes, and in his human life was a graduate of the Imperial Military Academy and an experienced leader. Suldar’s plan was simple, and played upon the desire of the humans to win the war quickly. Suldar had thinned the Demon troops from the central defenses, shifted them south into Monatobe and then had them board ships. The ships traveled east, opposite of where the Vaasarian navy was located. By 1032 the Demons and their ships had made their way to the Bay of Bengala, where the Nalvor river divided Kotkala and Vaasari. In 1032, the Demons landed in the Bay and broke into two forces, One headed south into Kotkala and the other north into Vaasari.
At the same time, troops from the Monatobean coast were moving north to the Fortress of Ceradome. From there, they moved east to cut off the Kotkalan supply lines, leaving the central force abandoned in central Arelean. To the west the Denos and their Giant allies attacked the southwest border, putting enough pressure on the Kotkalans that they could not shift forces to open up the supply lines. Finally, the Demons on Kotkala’s eastern border surged forth creating two eastern fronts for Kotkala.
The Demon army in Vaasari was successful. The Vaasarian’s over-reliance on their geographical isolation and harsh weather conditions had resulted in poor defenses, ones that were easily overrun by the Demons. The Vaasarian’s began to flee as the army moved north along the coast, heading for the capital.
By the end of 1032, the war had turned in favor of the Demons. Suldar’s tactics had disrupted Vaasarian support for Kotkala, while isolating their main force and getting them into a three-front assault.
A Legacy of Resistance
In the Summer of 1032, King Therion summoned his closest advisers to Inkala. There, within a secret chamber inside the royal castle, they met to discuss the end of the rebellion and to sow the seeds for a future rebellion. In that room was King Therion; Morganis, the King’s personal Curved Dagger; the Archmage Shankar, personal mage to the king and head of the Guild of Arcana in Inkala; and General Chave, the young general who predicted the turn in the war.
Therion knew the Rebellion was lost, and that he would be executed. His concern was that a future generation would be able to rise up against the Demons. The group laid out a plan that would provide some hope for their descendants. The plan was predicated on the survival of some members of Therion’s family, so he ordered them to go into exile and remain hidden in Kotkala or elsewhere in Elhal, until a time that they could raise an army and fight the Demons again.
The plan also dictated that all but Therion would flee and go into hiding as well. In order for things to be properly arranged, they would require time. Therion then made the hard decision to continue fighting the Demons, no matter how hopeless it looked. He would sacrifice the Kotkalan army to buy time for the plan to be put in place.
The Fall of Inkala
The Kotkalan army continued its losing battle. In early 1033, Vaasari had fallen to the Demons and its capital was occupied. The Kotkalan army kept fighting until the Fall. On the 26th of Last Leaves, the Demon army was on the edge of Inkala. Therion ordered his trusted advisors to flee the city, while he mounted his final stand. Therion was killed just inside the walls of the palace by the Demon Prince Argus, sent by the Demon King to end the war.
General Chave, now in civilian clothes, escorted several of Therion’s children out of the city and to the west. Morganis vanished and headed west into Stammiglin, his homeland. Shankar transformed into a bird and flew out of the city. Each of them would carry out their part of Therion’s plan, his legacy of rebellion.
On the evening of the 26th, Inkala fell to the Demons. Therion fought, falling at the blade of the Demon Prince Argus, who then claims Kotkala for the Demons. In weeks eastern Kotkala was under the control of the Demons, and by spring of 1034 the grain fields of Kotkala were controlled by the Demons as well.
I was in Inkala when it fell, and was one of a number of refugees who fled. Not everyone did, many resigned themselves to the coming reign of the Demons, but for the Scholars, the Priests of the All Father, and the Mages, we all knew that the reign of the Demons would be our death. We hid among the other refugees and fled into central Kotkala, and from there spread out to hide.
Not everyone who tried to flee the city escaped. Several of Therion’s children were captured. The three co-conspirators were able to escape. The members of the royal family that were captured were brought to Argus. As punishment the princesses were forced to mate with Argus to produce Fiends, who would eventually become the ruling class in Kotkala, and a similar fate had befallen the ruling family of Vaasari.
With that disgraceful end, the Kotkalan rebellion was finished. The Demons solidified their hold on the eastern part of Kotkala, occupying all the major cities. The Demon King’s reign was established.
The Fall of Inkala marked the end of resistance against the rise of the Demon Kingdom. With Inkala’s fall and Therion’s death, the Demons would grow in power and solidify their hold over the humans of Elhal. It was a dark time for humanity. The Empire was dead, and the All Father was nowhere to be found. Humanity began a slow decline. All the while, scattered about Elhal, seeds of rebellion laid hidden, waiting to take root and flower once again.
In our next lecture, I will talk about the Reign of the Demon King and how it transformed Elhal and its people. After that we will take a diversion and talk about magic and religion, before returning to our history when we find out what happened to those seeds.