Interchangeably called the Apocalypse and the Great War, the final battle between Seril and Gori Sensullu began in the year ME 3050, and spanned nearly eight years. While some mistakenly refer to it as the war to end all wars, the Apocalypse was, as its name implies, a revelation as much as a war of finality between the two deities.
The Apocalypse technically began long before the year ME 3050. Seril began laying the groundwork for her final attempt at usurping the world of Citaria well before then. She took advantage of the betrayal of Kaelariel and the defection of many of her serilis-rir, and began having her loyalists feign defection. These insurgent sleeper agents began working to turn mortals and Kaelariel’s loyalists to their side, worming their way into politics and economics to potentially destabilize society. When the War finally began, many of the cities and counties found themselves besieged from within by these insurgents.
The War itself began with an arcane duel between the Warlock Shawn Gobrae of Oge and the Archmage John Terkani of Latalex. The two were, at one time, the closest of friends and colleagues, advancing the spread of arcane magic across Citaria. Gobrae’s decision to tap into Seril’s black magic and attempt to use it against her predictably backfired, and the terra-dracon warlock found himself descending into madness that culminated with becoming mated to the Devil Queen herself. Finally fed up with watching his friend’s utter corruption, Terkani challenged his former friend to wizard war, and is believed to have been uncreated by Gobrae’s black magic after a long, fierce duel.
Seizing the opportunity with Askies’ greatest archmage defeated, Seril set her schemes into motion. The noble courts found themselves under attack from within, and most of the major cities were left in complete disarray. Only the holy city of Sarchelete and the northern city of Latalex remained completely free of the insurgencies, as the guardian demon Serenjols put a quick end to the uprising in his home city. Latalex then became the rallying point for resistance fighters, and Kaelariel set up his war camp there with his former mentor, the demon king Celigus Chinchala.
Much of the resistance military arrived by ship, which put a lot of strain on Latalex and its surrounding farms. Wasting little time, Kaelariel and Celigus began assigning leadership roles and setting up companies and battalions to go forth and do battle. Numerous veterans speak of the reunion between Kaelariel and his son, Kris Jir’tana, in the war camp. Kris, long absent from Askies, returned from the battlefields of Dannumore to join in the Apocalypse, and was subsequently granted a most important command.
Incidentally, this war camp is also where Karian Vanador made her first public appearance after her unexpected – and unprecedented – resurrection. Escorted to the war camp by the erestram defector Trigonh Cabra, her identity was verified by Kaelariel himself, and in an amusing scene, most of the generals began clamoring for her to be assigned to their command. While insults abounded about who wanted her for her combat prowess versus those who wanted her as a bedmate, Kris Jir’tana petitioned for and was assigned her services. She was granted the field rank of lieutenant colonel under Jir’tana’s command, and served in his brigade throughout the War.
The largest and most important command – the First Light Division – was granted to Kaelariel himself, and tasked with pushing eastward to recapture Ceritopolonis and the other Bay Cities. The Second Light Division, under Celigus’ command, pushed south to set up a defensive perimeter along the Ceritan Mountains, and Kris Jir’tana’s Thirty-fifth Light Division headed into and then south through the Barrier Mountains, tasked with liberating the west coast and blocking Seril from attacking the holy city of Sarchelete.
Resistance cropped up in the south as well, since the serilis-rir were not as prominent in the cooler climate. Led by Earl Lajere in the east and Earl Marsdale in the south, fighting grew more and more intense along Seril’s southern flank, which helped relieve some of the pressure around the city of Gnarr. Though the czarikk never officially took part in the War, Seril’s forces reportedly lost more than one battalion trying to cross the great swamp to aid their southern legions.
With most of the Light Forces with him, Kaelariel drove out the occupations of the Bay Cities, and Celigus drove the rest south out of the Duchy of Carinthia. With this large territory back under mortal control, along with the many port cities, the Light Forces were able to secure supply lines, bolster their ranks, and form defensive lines along the continent’s two major mountain ranges. Kris Jir’tana’s efforts along the Barrier Mountains sealed off the west coast as planned, and after only eighteen months, the Light Forces had Seril’s armies contained to the heartlands.
Victory would not come so easily, however. Seril’s army hit hard and fast in a three-pronged attack, led by her son, Taesenus; her mate, Shawn Gobrae; and the Devil Queen herself. The city of Gnarr found itself crushed under a siege led by the warlock, and he drove the defenders out of the city and east to the coast. Taesenus’ legions struck out westward and slaughtered the city of Seren to the man, leaving no survivors, and then circled south to attack Barcon, one of the links between Jir’tana’s forces in the Barrier Mountains and the resistance on the east coast.
Seril, meanwhile, besieged DarkWind, long the biggest thorn in her side. Reinforcements were constantly coming in from the Bay Cities, however, and the siege of DarkWind was a long and fairly unsuccessful one. Using her considerable power, and with her home city of Oge at her back, Seril dug in and stayed the course, determined to break the will of the Light Forces at DarkWind. This siege would last nearly the rest of the War.
Sensing an opening, the Third Light Division, under the command of James Jalar and the guardian demon Aegis the Spearhead, attempted to siege Oge and cut off Seril from her base of operations. Though the details remain unknown, the Third Light Division was destroyed with no survivors.
Taesenus attempted to cross the Barrier Mountains and besiege the holy city itself, but was soundly defeated by Jir’tana’s forces at the northern pass. Taesenus was believed to have been beaten by Karian Vanador in single combat at this time, and was reported to have abandoned his legions to return to his mother. Now under the command of the elite serilis-rir Atauridar, the western legion once again pushed south to attempt to capture and use Barcon as its base of operations. Though hit by a sneak attack from the town of Great Woods, the legion continued on in its path, but was rebuffed at Barcon, which had since been bolstered by soldiers from the county of Marsdale.
Impressed with his success in driving out the resistance at Gnarr, Shawn Gobrae continued his own trek, intent on destroying the city of Lajere, which the Light Forces were using as their beachhead in the southeast. Met by the Light Forces under command of the Earl of Lajere and the guardian demon Nikoltor, Gobrae decimated his enemies with black magic while his army sought to cut off the mortals from the seaport. Expecting just such an attack, however, the Earl of Lajere had his warships sitting just off the coast, prepared to bombard the serilian forces.
Pressed between the resistance forces and the water-borne attack, the serilian army suffered heavy casualties. However, the warlock was able to turn the tide back in his favor, creating a violent maelstrom off the port that destroyed many of the ships. Turning his sights on the ground forces, he prepared to unleash a spell that would obliterate the city and its residents with it. The timely arrival of terra-bengal archmage Percival Cintalas put an end to Gobrae’s magical siege, though, and the two wizards fought to a standstill. Afraid of his army being depleted for no realistic gain, Gobrae withdrew north with his forces, keeping well clear of the coast and the harrying navy.
Reacting to an unprovoked attack upon her forces, Seril left the battlefield around DarkWind briefly, and reportedly nearly leveled an entire city in the northwest Strekan Province. The details of this attack remained largely unknown to the Light Forces, as the Strekan Province was cut off and did not previously involve itself in any of the Demon Wars or the Apocalypse.
Atauridar turned his own forces inland, rebuffed at Barcon and unable to cross the Barrier Mountains. He returned northward toward Oge, where he waited to regroup and receive reinforcements from the Devil Queen. While holding his master’s home city, the elite serilis-rir nonetheless struck forward and obliterated a buildup of Light Forces at the nearby city of Petersburg. Atauridar tested his might and military maneuvering briefly against Celigus Chinchala, but after losing nearly a third of his soldiers with no gain, the elite serilis-rir general returned to Oge.
With Seril and Gobrae’s armies linked up, a great push was made to overrun DarkWind. The heroics of the Eleventh Light Division helped break the siege of DarkWind when the guardian demon Aeligos reportedly confronted and wounded Seril. Though he and his brigade were lost in the counterattack, Seril withdrew from the battlefield to Oge, leaving her son, Taesenus, in charge. With Seril removed from immediate conflict, the Light Forces advanced from behind the safety of DarkWind’s walls in force, and Kaelariel cornered and cut down Seril’s son.
Gobrae himself had returned to Oge to oversee the arrival of reinforcements, but there were nowhere near as many as expected. Faced with impending defeat, Gobrae began working on a portal to the underworld, by which he could call upon reinforcements from any or all of the demon kings. The Archmage Percival Cintalas once again confronted the warlock, and the two engaged in a vicious battle. Though Percival doesn’t speak much about the fight, it is widely accepted that he used a simple incantation to reflect one of Gobrae’s own black magic attacks back upon him.
With Shawn Gobrae and Taesenus dead, Seril found herself with only one major general remaining: Atauridar. Perhaps sensing the scope of their impending defeat, Atauridar abandoned his master and fled, leaving Seril to try to defend Oge alone. Besieged by the Light Forces from all directions, the city fell within days, and Seril herself met her end at the hands of Kaelariel rather than try to flee again. In a stunning turn of events, the death of the Devil Queen coincided with the unexpected death of Gori Sensullu, at last putting an end to the enmity and war between them, if not their creations.
All of the implications of the Apocalypse have yet to be chronicled, but several important things came to pass at the War’s end: Kaelariel took his father’s place as head of the pantheon; the remaining serilis-rir of the lesser types solas and kryon perished without the sustaining will of their creator; most of the remaining surviving serilis-rir swore fealty to Kaelariel; and the city of Oge was burned to the ground.
In the years since the Great War, Kaelariel has worked with the rest of the pantheon and directly with the people of Citaria to try to end all hostilities between the remaining serilis-rir and the mortals. Now, however, with the absence of the world’s creator, the demon kings of the underworld have been making bolder pushes to invade Citaria, ending any real hopes for lasting peace.
Up next will be a brief introduction to the demon kings of the underworld…