With the bah’qitur armies in full retreat, the guardian demon Serenjols took decisive action. Sensing the opportunity to strike a crushing blow against the Devil Queen and her forces, he engaged Seril’s son, Urukh, in single combat. Though Urukh was a formidable foe, well versed in his mother’s black magic as well as hand-to-hand combat, his mother had invested a significant amount of strength into the first of her guardian demons. Serenjols killed Urukh in a vicious battle that scattered the remnants of Seril’s army.
Enraged at the death of her son, Seril called forth the entirety of her armies and declared war upon the mortals once again. The full might of her army was never brought to bear, however, torn asunder by a split in loyalties between the Devil Queen and the recently appointed lord of the serilian demons, Kaelariel. In truth, Seril expected her new lord of demons to turn traitor after defeating and killing his predecessor, Gaelix the Shadowborn, but Seril never expected that a good portion of her army would turn against her as well. Kaelariel not only swore brotherhood with the twenty-one guardian demons, but drew the vast majority of the elite demons, several thousand brys, and hundreds of corlypsi to his service as well.
The initial efforts of the Devil Queen’s army were aimed at keeping hold of the destroyed port of Ceritopolonis, which had little armed resistance remaining, and to use it to crush her enemies between Ceritopolonis and her home city-state of Oge. The first year of the war went fairly well for her, and only then did the mortals realize her reasoning for taking Oge as her base of operations. With the Barrier Mountains separating the heartlands from the more populous regions of the west coast, Seril was effectively able to keep the bulk of her enemies before her, lined up along the east coast.
Seril’s forces were able to stonewall reinforcements from Gnarr and the other cities of the southern heartlands, using the Great Divide river to hold their enemies at bay. This allowed her to concentrate on the larger cities of Petersburg and DarkWind from Oge, and Nassau, San Miguel, and the Bay Cities from Ceritopolonis.
The mortals, now tentatively allied with Kaelariel and his loyal serilian demons, began a two-pronged attack against the entrenched forces at Ceritopolonis. The Royal Navy gathered for a concentrated assault on the Great Bay, and attacked by sea when Kaelariel arrived by land, having marched his combined forces from the city of Latalex. Hit from both sides, and exposed along the coast while they fought the other bay cities, Seril’s army – now lacking its best general, Urukh – fell to disarray quickly, and fled south through the Ceritan Mountains to rejoin the main force from Oge.
Seril’s final push was aimed at obliterating DarkWind, the greatest bastion of defense on the east coast. Ferried to DarkWind by the Royal Navy, much of Kaelariel’s army was able to arrive in time to help fortify and defend DarkWind, even through a lengthy siege. The losses on both sides were staggering, but the stoicism of Kaelariel’s loyal demons and their mortal allies allowed them to weather the storm until reinforcements finally arrived from the west. Now flanked by two superior forces, Seril had to pull back her perimeter defense along the Great Divide, which then added a third sizable force to triangulate the attack against her siege.
Seril was able to salvage a portion of her army and retreat to Oge with them. Kaelariel gave chase as far as Oge’s city walls, but withdrew without sieging the Devil Queen’s home city. Primarily concerned by the expected additional loss of life, Kaelariel was also concerned that with Oge being the Devil Queen’s home city, there could be portals to the underworld, from which she could call reinforcements or even allies among the demon kings. Instead, Kaelariel declared that he was satisfied that her army had been rendered inert for the time being, and he withdrew his forces carefully and safely back to DarkWind.
The mortals had won yet another great victory and, more importantly, found a new source of allies and leadership. One of the most inspiring and well-remembered events of the Fifth Demon War was the speech Kaelariel gave on the plains before the City of DarkWind, wherein he proclaimed that he cared little for what color skin or blood his followers had, as long as they were willing to lay down both for the greater good. He further pledged to bring peace between “his people” – his loyal serilian demons – and the mortals of Citaria. Though trust between the mortals and Kaelariel’s loyal serilian demons would not come to fruition until the Apocalypse, some serilian demons were able to integrate into normal mortal society, most notably the guardian demons.
Serenjols, credited with the first victory of the war, became a local hero around the city of Latalex, and settled down there to become the city’s premier blacksmith. Several other cities “adopted” guardian demons to both protect them and act as mediators between the cities and any resident or nearby serilian demons.
Kaelariel, meanwhile, was made god of freedom and death, and his lineage as the son of Gori Sensullu was finally revealed.
Only when the dust settled from the Fifth Demon War did people begin to realize what was happening on Terrassia at the same time…