The Fourth Demon War (ME 1832-1835)

The Fourth Demon War began in much the same way as the First.  Though the exact cause remains unknown, the Devil Queen’s armies marched on the holy city of Sarchelete in the spring of ME1832.  Much like the First Demon War, the invasion was stalled by the city’s high stone walls and staunch defenders.  Though the press of the Devil Queen’s army threatened to overrun the city by land and air, things did not proceed as they did in the First Demon War.

Reinforcements arrived quickly from Marsdale County, with naval ships out of Marsdale and Newport bringing much needed infantry and aerial cover.  Once the airborne attacks were brought under control, the walls and their defenders were better able to do their job.  Though Seril tried many gambits, and even once tried sapping the walls, her efforts were stymied again and again.  As with the First Demon War, time became her enemy, for though her armies were better prepared to deal with the deep winter around Sarchelete, by that time, reinforcements began to arrive in force from the eastern counties.

Sensing the tide was about to turn against her, Seril moved her forces north and into the mountains to the northeast.  With the higher ground under their control, and the deep Sandur Jungle at their backs, the Devil Queen’s armies turned the tide on their pursuers.  The first battalions to follow the serilian forces into the mountains were crushed, and the Devil Queen’s soldiers quickly dug in and fortified their positions.

Fearing a permanent presence of Seril and her troops, the defenders of Sarchelete moved north to try to root them out.  The first few attempts were disastrous, with the winged serilian warriors holding the high ground and using it to devastating effect.  Seril seemed to accept that her latest attempt to capture Sarchelete and Askies Island as a whole was a failure, but she maintained her troops’ position for nearly two years, inflicting untold casualties on anyone foolish enough to approach.

It wasn’t until arcanists from the far corners of Askies – Gareth Maelstrom of DarkWind, Kevin Terkani of Latalex, and Hristos Metaxas of Ceritopolonis – started to reinforce the armies of the north and east that the Devil Queen accepted a stalemate and withdrew her forces.  When the wizard-led armies arrived, they found the fortified positions of the Devil Queen’s army abandoned, and it was suspected she took them to the underworld, to prepare for her next scheme against the rir and human civilization.

After the Fourth Demon War, Citaria knew peace for over six hundred years, until a misinterpretation of a prophecy once again opened the door for the Devil Queen.  That war, known as the False Apocalypse, will be our next topic under the History of Citaria.

The Third Demon War (ME 1484-1487)

One of the side effects of the Succession Wars was a surge in emigration to Askies’ sister continent of Terrassia to the northwest.  The swelling of the population at the landing point on Terrassia – the city of Flora – quickly led to expansion, which upset the delicate peace between the human-rir civilization and the elven kingdom of Laeranore to the north of Flora, who preferred isolation.

Further complicating matters were the machinations of the Devil Queen who, for some reason, set her sights on Terrassia instead of Askies.  With her armies perfectly placed in the center of the continent, she was able to cut off the major kingdoms from each other, and grind all trade and communication to a halt.  With all of the major kingdoms or city-states effectively isolated, she started first by crushing the city-state of Solaris, and then began to push east toward Flora.

With the bulk of Seril’s army pushing eastward, the thinner rear guard was hit hard by an opposing force from the south, which turned out to be a new creation of Gori Sensullu’s that she hadn’t seen before: the shakna-rir.  These green-skinned rir, while not immune to fire, were much more resistant to heat and flame than their other rir brethren, and despite the relative youth of their species, had already formed a rigidly structured and efficient military.

The shakna-rir assault forced nearly a third of Seril’s soldiers to retreat northward, cut off from their stronger eastern units.  As they fled into the cooler regions of the north, however, the Serilian forces found themselves flanked by yet another new creation: the fures-rir.  The fures-rir pinned Seril’s units in the deep pine forests of the north, where they held them trapped until the deep winter set in and did their work for them.  The fures-rir, immune to the cold, destroyed nearly a third of Seril’s forces, and mostly without the need to engage in attrition.

With the rear guard being handled by the fures-rir, the shakna-rir army turned its sights eastward to pin Seril’s forces between themselves and the resistance from Flora.  Additional human and rir reinforcements from the northern city-states of Dira Ch’Tori and the Emerald City completed the counter-attack in triangulation.  Though Seril’s forces continued to fight for several months, they were eventually driven into the badlands, where they disappeared, presumably taken back to the underworld by Seril.

Shakna-rir soldiers returning from the warfront found another invasion happening in their jungle homeland.  A massive pyramid and city had been constructed in secret by the syrinthians, led by their demigod-like priest-king known as the Tempis’ra.  The shakna-rir attempted to overrun and wipe out the underworld invaders, but with the strength of the Tempis’ra, they found themselves badly overpowered and put to rout.

Due to the magical prowess of the Tempis’ra, the shakna-rir, fures-rir, and other kingdoms and city-states of Terrassia banded together to fight this newest threat.  Wizards and sorcerers from every society gathered to make arcane war on the demigod priest-king, and they were led by a brilliant fures-rir wizard who went by the name Rexis De’Tourga.  With a sizable army of wizards and sorcerers at his back, De’Tourga went to the southern jungles to eradicate the underworld threat.

The result was a decisive victory, but one with great cost.  Though the syrinthians were wiped out and their priest-king defeated, the southern jungles were completely incinerated in the ensuing magical war.  Where once there was lush rainforest, only a desert remained by the war’s end.  Even more troubling, De’Tourga and his allies found that they were unable to kill the Tempis’ra, and had to settle for sealing him inside his pyramid temple and forcing it to sink beneath the sands.

The results of the Third Demon War were many and varied, from the turning of the jungles into desert, to the establishment of the Khalarin Empire of the shakna-rir, the Tenari kingdom of the fures-rir, and the expansion of the city-state of Dira Ch’Tori to encompass more of the human and terra-rir cities and lands of Terrassia.  Though Seril’s defeat was hailed as another great victory for the human and rir civilization, the invasion by the underworld snake-people has continued to haunt the people of Terrassia for millennia.

The Succession Wars (ME 1422-1484)

As the rir and human society expanded to the four corners of Askies Island, centralized rule from the holy city of Sarchelete became less and less practical.  With each of the city-states gradually increasing in population and strength, leaders began to rise to power.  Disputes between the largest of the city-states caught the smaller ones between them, and drowned out the voices of reason from the holy city.

The leaders of the city-states, each with different moral codes and agendas, began to fight among themselves, at first with words, and then eventually on the battlefield.  These battles, though they lacked any sort of grand goal or climactic ending, became known as the Succession Wars.  With the holy city centered mainly around the spreading of the pantheon’s religious tenets, the leaders of the city-states sought to claim supremacy and crown themselves king of Askies Island.

The Succession Wars were, it is largely agreed, among the stupidest of events in the history of Citaria.  Most scholars and priests agree that it is either a matter of luck or divine intervention that kept Seril from attacking again while the collective mortal population was at its own throat.  Had Seril even the slightest hand in events, she could have easily tipped the balance in one side’s favor and then another, gradually weakening them all until she faced no unified or significant resistance.  How this opportunity escaped her notice is ever a matter of debate among scholars.

The Succession Wars, though not particularly bloody, did leave permanent rifts between the residents of certain cities, most notably Gnarr and Barcon.  The approximately sixty-two year “conflict” eventually came to a close not because any side could claim victory, but because the younger generations of leaders and rulers decided unity was far more important to the welfare of the population.

Though many forms of inter-state government were considered, ultimately the people chose a modified feudal system.  No king was crowned, but each city-state saw its leader granted the title of Earl, with the collective Earls in turn choosing one from amongst them to serve as Duke.  While they were called “nobility” with respect to these titles, and the titles were allowed to become hereditary, they were not considered a “divine right,” and the right of the people to remove and replace corrupt or ineffective “nobles” was enacted as part of the law.

Askies Island was divided into four duchies: Streka, Carinthia, Brunswick, and Sutherland.  The Jirtorex Kingdom, also known as the Bengal Kingdom, remained apart from the greater government of the rest of the continent, as the terra-bengal people were more content to rule themselves.  Streka would eventually become a democratic state, the Strekan Province, as its technological advances far outpaced the evolution of the rest of Askies Island society.

The Duchy of Carinthia, ruled from the seat of the Duke in the city of Ceritopolonis, is comprised of five counties: Sterling, Perth, Bristol, Kent, and Cantershire.

The Duchy of Brunswick, ruled from the seat of the Duke in the city of DarkWind, is comprised of four counties: Montgomery, Edinburgh, Kanvaria, and Eastland.

The Duchy of Sutherland, ruled from the seat of the Duke in the city of Gnarr, is comprised of five counties: Pelishire, Hartford, Southwick, Lajere, and Marsdale.

A king was eventually crowned in the Strekan Province, but the position is a curious one because of the division between Streka and the rest of Askies Island.  The king has authority to step in and settle disputes between the dukes, but otherwise has no real power with regard to the day-to-day lives of the people of Askies.  The Strekan Province itself is, currently, run by a Parliamentary government, over which the king has no power.

The only other portion of Askies Island that is not subject to the rule of either the dukes or the king is the holy city of Sarchelete and its minor territory, which are considered theocratic.

The Second Demon War (ME 822-824)

Bolstered by the knowledge and experience of the humans, rir civilization began to expand across Askies Island in the centuries following the First Demon War.  Many of the first settlements outside of Sarchelete would grow into the prominent cities of the southlands today: Barcon, Gnarr, Marsdale, Newport, Lajere, and Winter’s Bounty.

It was shortly after the establishment of the city of Gnarr that Seril once again attempted to eradicate the human and rir civilization.  Her forces attacked primarily from the north, and from the depths of the great forest that had come to be known as the Sandur Jungle.  In the over seven hundred years between the two wars, Seril had established an army of considerable strength, and even with the military might and training that had become a staple of the human and rir society, the conflict was bloody.

The Second Demon War lasted for nearly two years, and was punctuated by attrition-based fighting in the heartlands between the cities of Gnarr and Barcon.  What the serilian demons lacked in tactics, they more than made up for in numbers, and the death toll on both sides was staggering.  Still, the human and rir society had the advantage of being based within walled cities, and eventually, the tide turned in their favor.

Apparently fed up with traditional warfare, Seril herself laid siege to the city of Gnarr, hoping to break the northern-most outpost of her enemies’ society.  Victory should have easily been hers, but something miraculous took place, an event that scholars today have little more consensus in debating than eyewitnesses did at the time.

With the human and rir forces driven back inside the city, Seril was ready to crush them utterly, but she was engaged by a mysterious creature.  Some witnesses described it as a terra-dracon; others as a six-winged archangel; and still others described it only as a “being of pure light.”  Though it did not kill her, this being completely nullified Seril’s power, and drove her from Citaria.  It was believed she was driven to the underworld, and shortly after, the mysterious creature disappeared, never to be seen upon Citaria again over the next 2200 years.

Scholars have debated the identity of the mystery being for centuries.  Some believe it was Gori Sensullu in avatar form, while others believe it was an archangel in the service of the Creator.  The most curious thing about it, naturally, was the fact that different people saw different manifestations when they beheld it.  Humans tended to see the archangel form; the rir tended to see the terra-dracon form; and those who saw the being of pure light came from all different races.

The one thing that was clear was that the being, whatever it was, had ended the Second Demon War.