The Massacre at Nendar Moor
After the fall of Arelean and the rise of a Demon Kingdom, the Four Kingdoms had declared war on the Demon King to liberate Arelean and restore the Empire. War in that time, much like this time, was something which required preparation. In order for the Four Kingdoms to launch an attack into Arelean it would require coordination, and grounds to stage the troops before the attack. That place was Nendar Moor.
Nendar Moor is a small section of eastern Kotkala near the border of Arelean. The border is hilly with several small mountains, making travel difficult but easing the ability to watch the few passable routes. The lands to the west of the hills were flat, and there was access from the Kabak river that ran along the southern part of Kotkala.
In the winter of 1023, King Therion of Kotkala had offered up the land as a staging point for the Four Kingdoms. The Kingdoms agreed and began to make plans to move troops and supplies to the region. The Kotkalan’s would be the first to arrive and scout the area during the early winter. Vaasari, being more adept in the winter, would move their troops south into Kotkala, and assist with the securing of the Moor and construction of a base. When the spring came and the Kabak river thawed, Stammiglin and Monatobe could move their troops along the Kabak into the Moor.
The plan was that by the summer of 1023, with armies from the Four Kingdoms in place, they could move over the hilly terrain, secure the high ground, and attack the Demon Forces in Arelean.
As we will see that plan would not come to fruition.
Winter is no time for human forces to fight. The dangers of the cold and the difficulty of travel makes warfare challenging. At that time we humans understood so little of the Demons that there was an assumption that they would have the same challenges. That assumption was wrong.
The Demon King had calculated that a counter attack in Winter was unlikely, and even if it was, it would have been in haste and easy to defend. He used this time to hold the borders of Arelean, and allow the Demon Forge to churn out more Demons. Before his coup he had secured enough Ebon ore from Stammiglin to last a year, but that stockpile would run out by the end of 1023.
The Demon King took a defensive posture, and feigned weakness. He positioned his troops along the major roads and at key border crossings, and held the border. He sent messengers to the Four Kingdoms, to deliver messages asking for the discussion of a peace treaty. These were all refused, but it gave the rulers the idea that the Demon King might be in a position to negotiate, instilling false confidence that a summer campaign was possible.
The Denos Clan
Before the Fall, Ebnus had created close ties with one of the Clans in Stammiglin, the Denos. The Denos Clan lived in central Stammiglin not far from the border with the Giants. The Denos were an insignificant Clan in the overall structure of Stammiglin politics, since most of their mines yielded Ebon rather than more precious metals.
Just before the fall, when Ebnus was looking to horde Ebon, the clan had a turn of fortune. Ebnus paid handsomely for all the Ebon they could mine. With that money, they were able to establish themselves over several other smaller clans in the region, and gain measurable political power.
During the Fall, Ebnus sent several Ebon Blades as emissaries to the Denos. There, the Daggers brought a treaty and a promise: If the Denos clan would pledge themselves to the Demon King and assist him in the eventual takeover of Stammiglin, the Denos would rule the kingdom. They accepted.
Like the other clans, the Denos were aware of the plans for a summer offensive, for which the rulers of Stammiglin asked for the clans to provide troops and ore. They provided this information to the Demons, which was relayed to the Demon King via arcane means, making him aware of the offensive.
The Denos clan would continue to gather information on the summer offensive, including the location of the staging area, which was then relayed to the Demon King, who began his own plans for the Summer.
The Denos also helped the Ebon Blades meet the Giants, where the Blades made a pact with the Giants that they could reclaim most of the central mountains from the humans in turn for support in an upcoming conflict.
The government of Stammiglin was never as strong as the clan system. The geographical nature of the Kingdom prevented any kind of central authority from controlling the area. Rather, Stammiglin has always been a collection of small clan holds. This challenge in terrain also allowed the Demons to move through this area without concern of detection.
The Spring of 1023
By the end of the Winter, forces from Kotkala and Vaasari had settled in Nendar Moor, had built a fort, and cleared the way for a larger encampment. As the Kabak river thawed, the camp was ready for the troops from Monatobe and Stammiglin.
The troops from Monatobe moved from the coastal region during the winter and camped in Ceradome. From Ceradome they would move west to the Azak river which flowed into the Kabak at a city called Indon. This had worked as planned, but had left the coastal cities of Monatobe weakened.
At the same time, the soldiers in Stammiglin began to stage in Fenalin with plans to move north to reach the Azak at its watershed. They would be a month behind the Monatobean troops as the mountains took longer to thaw for the roads to be passable.
The Demons, now aware of the coming offensive, made a counter plan. They maintained troops on the border near Nendar, but small enough as not to look threatening. They then moved the newly created Demons from the Demon Forge south to the Port cities. There they moved a portion of their troops to the south of Arelean, closer to the Monatobean cost. Another portion they moved through the center of Arelean and built a keep to the south of the Nendar hills. This keep would eventually become a place known as Firekeep, but like all tangents, will be talked about in a future lecture.
During this time, the spy network of the Curved Daggers was not established well enough to have detected this feint by the Demons. There were not enough Daggers to cover all of Arelean, and what Daggers remained were being actively hunted by the Ebon Blades, making spying difficult.
Early Summer 1023
As summer began in 1023, Kotkala and Vaasari moved more troops to Nendar. Boats of troops from Monatobe also began to arrive, and the troops from Stammiglin were soon expected. During this time, the troops began to determine formations, and their generals coordinated battle plans. The scouts on the border saw no movement from the Demons.
Unbeknownst to the armies in Nendar, the Demons and their allies took action. The Demons moved more troops to their keep south of Nendar, and began to march them into northern Monatobe. They would then turn north and into Kotkala, approaching Nendar from the East.
At the same time, the Denos clan with support from the Giants attacked the troops in Stammiglin on the Azak river. The attack was a success, killing the troops and seizing the supplies they were delivering to Nendar, including a large amount of iron ore and coal, to be used to provide replacement weapons and armor.
In the middle of the summer of 1023, the troops were awaiting the arrival of the Stammiglin soldiers to begin their final preparations. Instead, the Demons moved in from the East, as the Demons in the western hills began a slow advance. The humans were surrounded.
The battle lasted five days. The humans were bottled into the Moor and the Demons slowly advanced. The Demons were difficult to kill, they could fight wounded, and they did not rest to sleep or eat. The humans were organized, but smaller in size and were lacking supplies expected from Stammiglin.
The fight, as told from the few survivors who were able to flee north back into Kotkala, was brutal. Waves of Demon Soldiers, fighting in unison, advanced day and night upon the battered human lines, wearing them down. When it was over, all the human troops were killed, save the scant survivors which eluded the Demons.
At the same time, a force of Demons moved south and took over the coastal cities of Monatobe, where the majority of the Monatobean population resided. To the west, the Denos clan, along with the giants, started a civil war in Stammiglin.
Word of the Massacre reached Kotkala first, followed shortly by news of the civil war in Stammiglin, and then word of the capture of Monatobe’s coastal cities.
A New Order
By the end of the Summer of 1023, a new group of Emissaries reached Kotkala and Vaasari with new terms. The Four Kingdoms could remain intact if they submitted to the rule of the Demon King. Grudgingly, for the safety of the people of Kotkala, Therion agreed. Queen Rothrak of Vaasari followed suit shortly after.
The Demons solidified their hold on the coast of Monatobe, and removed the Sea Kings. A Demon Prince now took control of coastal Monatobe. The ports of Monatobe were used to set up supply lanes into Stammiglin, where the Denos clan received troops and other supplies to allow them to dispose of the rulers of Stammiglin and install themselves as the ruling clan.
Kotkala was forced to accept occupation. The Demon Prince Argus was given the responsibility to monitor Kotkala. A small force of Demons were moved just outside of Inekala, the Capital. A similar fate was in store for Vaasari.
Once again, humanity was defeated from within, with the betrayal of the Denos clan that lead to the massacre at Nendar Moor. There is much scholarly speculation, based on what we know now about Demons and their Arcane abilities, that had a force been launched from Nendar, could they have taken back Arelean? Even if they had been unsuccessful, the attack would have slowed the Demon King’s conquering of Elhal.
In our next Lecture, we will look at the Demons arrival at Ceradome and the supernatural change which had begun in Arelean.