Battle of the Curag Fields
|Battle of the Curag Fields|
|Event Name||Battle of the Curag Fields|
|Dates and Times||August 20th, 303 AC|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire, Unknown faction|
The Battle of the Curag Fields was a surprising, unexpected, and still years later, mysterious, event in Regalian history when the warring nations of Arlora and Torse bore witness to an attack against the Torsians by unknown magical forces in 303 AC. Led by a statue who claimed itself to be Estel, Regalia responded to the threat with enormous speed, sending an army to battle against the foe on the windswept Curag Fields in Torse. By the end of the battle, the Statue had vanished, untold hundreds were dead, thousands were wounded, and many even today are left with the impression they caught a glimpse of beings and powers fighting a conflict from ages past.
The Battle of the Curag Fields was an unexpected event, not wished for or foreseen by any party. Its stage was set though with the long-held enmity between the nations of Arlora and Torse, nations of Eastwynd who had been fighting each other for decades in a bitter rivalry. Their manpower was often focused on their heavily contested border, and in the year 303 AC, with the First Songaskian War now over, mercenaries and Mages flocked to the disputed area to sell their services and earn glory. However, the quantity of Magic-users in this one region served as the lure for a grave threat. On the night of August 5th, a cloud of mist suddenly appeared over the ocean and rapidly approached the border. Bursting onto the Torse side of this barrier came an ancient statue and a host of strange, reindeer-like creatures, who tore through the Arizon Brag, an ancient Torse fortress, while draining the lifeforce of all they encountered, particularly targeting Mages. Their rampage turned inland, and chaos broke out as the king of Torse fled, and Arlora retreated, barely fending off the enemy who focused on the Torsians. Regalia acted with surprising swiftness to this threat, with Emperor Alexander I calling a state of emergency and canceling his vacation in Ithania to instead raise funds for the immediate dispatch of a Regalian army. Arlora spiraled into a deep debt buying a significant amount of military supplies from the Regalian Empire, while reports claiming the Statue pronounced itself Estel, the main deity of the Estelley faith, were roundly rejected by the Elves who followed that faith. The Songaskian Masaya, meanwhile, prepared for conflict, their significant Mage population no doubt putting them at unease.
Positioning of the Army
Having gained the required funds in Ithania and after a lighting-face recruitment drive throughout the Empire, the raised army sailed for Torse and landed near the chosen site of battle. The Curag Fields, an open plain bordered by a forest backing up to a small river, was selected by the Emperor himself, and work began immediately to prepare for the enemy. The Empire had brought several hundred Mages with them to serve as bait, chaining them to the ground at the center of field, the army established itself back from the site to lie in wait, a naked ambush but one the Emperor seemed assured this dark statue and its army could not ignore. He was right, as several days later, the alien mist appeared on the horizon and rapidly approached the Regalian position from the north. The army assembled itself quickly, a central column of sword-wielding levies with archers in the rear, flanked on the right by a wedge of horsemen hidden behind a small hill, and by a force of pikes on the left. Back from the frontline, the command staff remained in a grand tent with the Emperor, alongside a string of artillery pieces.
As the mist drew closer, the central column moved into the center of the valley and to the surprise of the levies, they were ordered to free the chained Mages. As the stakes were pulled up, and bonds removed, the Mages were given custom armor rolled out in carts with the Imperial sigil. Word spread that the bait had actually been paid Mage mercenaries, here to earn their coin, but a different rumor countered that this was an experiment for a possible Mage order the Emperor was considering forming. This speculation did not matter as, breaking through the now advanced fog came the first of the Fogmen, and as the archers from behind loosed their opening volley, the central column braced for combat.
The First Maneuvers
The Fogmen moved swiftly, and soon the central column was taking a heavy beating as wave after wave of mutated monstrosities poured out of the mist. Seeking to stop the ranged attacks, the Fogmen and their mist poured through the ranks to reach the archers. With the mist now thick around them, the Regalian fighters came face to face with strange balls of coalesced light which, while beautiful, began to pour out spouts of flame and bolts of lightning upon the archers. Fortunately for the long range combatants, the Mages in the column’s ranks helped to fend off many of these attacks and the Fogmen were pushed back into the main levies. Unfortunately, these warriors were beginning to break. The Fogmen were exceptionally fast, and fought with a maddenned ferocity, alongside a strange appearance of four eyes, and a faintly luminous glow. Attempting to seize the opportunity, the command tent signaled the nearby cavalry to charge down into the enemy. In hiding behind the hill, the group separated around the mound, one smaller unit going around a side which featured a large boulder, while the rest took a more direct approach cresting the hill. As they neared this crest, the Regalians were shocked to find the Statue suddenly before them, emerging out of the mist as it transported into thin air.
Hovering before them, the Statue waved its cracked stone hand and the Regalisn suddenly found that gravity no longer obeyed its normal laws. Hundreds of riders and their Mounts were sent up into the air. While the Statue looked on impassively with its carved visage, she began to wave her hands to and fro, sending the two groups crashing into each other in a grizzly scene. Some caught in the gravity field fell out of its parameters, and could only watch in horror as the cavalry suffered horrendous casualties. All of this happened in less than a minute, for as the smaller party rounded the boulder, they gazed up in horror at what had befallen their fellows, only to divert their attention as they had their own problems. Three massive Frosthorns, overgrown beyond anything scholars had seen before and since, loomed up from the mist before them. The beasts charged in, but filled with a mix of desperate determination and fear, the small cavalry unit threw their javelins, slaying one of the Frosthorns outright. However, this only enraged the remaining two, and the cavalry broke up to flee their wrath. Hearing of this abysmal failure, the command tent sent the signal for them to retreat before ordering the artillery to fire on the horsemen's old position, hoping to strike the statue.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the battlefield from the slaughter of the cavalry, the pikes, their officers and the retinue of these leaders waited for orders. It was a beautiful sunny day, the mist had seemingly backed off, but then dying swordsmen fell into the ranks of their fellow Regalians, and the flank realized what was happening. A massive, and powerful, illusion had been woven around their position, and they were mere meters from the center fighting for its life. Startled into action, the officers commanded a charge at the Fogmen, eager to aid the rest of the army, but this proved to be a tactical error. As they charged, the approaching Fogmen moved with unparalleled agility and grace to leap onto the Regalian polearms, and then spring off them into the middle of the flank where they began a brutal, close-quarters melee.
The Arken Appear
In the center, the Regalian troops continued to take a pounding as evermore Fogmen poured from the seeming endless mist that steeped itself everywhere. Suddenly appearing before a leader of the levies came two mysterious figures, an Elf and an Ailor, who conjured up two hulking ethereal forms around their bodies, and set to attacking the now terrified Fogmen. Meanwhile, the artillery strikes on the hill proved useless as soon after the first blasts hit the mound, the command tent observed that the Statue had gone. The explosions were enough to push the two hulking Frosthorns back into the mist though, with the remaining, shaken cavalry gathering themselves by the treeline. No sooner had they pulled together then an old woman suddenly appeared, walking from the forest beside them. Cackling with a manic and demented glee, she seemingly summoned a vast host of Vampires to her, pouring out from the treeline and smashing into the Fogmen. While many were felled, they did not stop coming, and the old woman proceeded to dance away with a cheery suggestion that the cavalry keep back to let her handle the situation. The remaining cavalry did so, withdrawing from the stream of Vampires.
The military staff in the command tent were left aghast and flustered by the reports of such huge numbers of Vampires, as well as the figures aiding the central column. Another problem increased their irritation soon after, as the artillery guns had gone silent. In a quick decision, one of the tacticians left the tent and approached their position, only to find everyone asleep at their posts. Turning his head, he suddenly found himself in the thrall of a beautiful young Elven woman who sat there, playing her harp and singing a soft song. The man promptly fell asleep, and the lack of his return prompted the tent to grow uneasy, with no one else leaving the grounds for fear of whatever was happening around them. Back on the battlefield, the pikes had gained a minor reprieve as the Fogmen drew back for another charge, and were granted their own saviors in the form of a Dwarf wearing glittering armor and an old Ailor man wearing the garments of a cloister. The two raised their hands and started to throw huge mounds of earth and stones at the enemy, which sent the Fogmen fleeing away.
The Final Confrontation
Throughout all of this chaos on the periphery and in the backline, the central column fought on. They allowed their guardians, still sheathed in their ethereal forms, to unleash their power on the Fogmen, this act sending the beasts into retreat, with the soldiers cutting down any stragglers or individuals bold enough to remain and fight. This run of luck seemed to come to an end when the Statue appeared before them, and the two figures reverted back to their normal size. As the central column rapidly retreated, stepping from their ranks came two new figures, another Elf and an Ailor, who summoned weapons and turned to face the now returning Fogmen. Seeing these two new figures filled the Regalians with bravery, and their numbers joined the charge against the magical foe. They had barely begun to engage the renewed Fogmen advance when the Statue raised itself up high, and began to speak, claiming to be Estel and stating all would now die for the pain the living world caused her. In response to this speech, the two newcomers launched bolts of energy at her, which she returned. However, the two figures who had been helping the central column earlier, a new Ailor, an Eronidas, and several others appeared to launch their own bolts and projectiles into the mix. The powerful magics on display were nearly blinding, with many on the Regalian side fully turning away or shielding their eyes, unable to watch. The flash of power lasted mere seconds though, and came to an end when a single elderly Qadir woman stepped forward. With a wave of her hand, a massive dark portal opened beneath the arcane combatants, seeing herself, the Statue, and all those who battled her falling in.
With their leader now gone, the Fogmen stood there, as if suddenly awoken to the world, or perhaps just stunned by the loss of their powerful leader. The Regalians though, now able to see, got over their shock quick easily, and promptly charged into their unprepared foe. The Fogmen swiftly retreated, fleeing back across the Fields and into the treeline as the mist around the battlefield began to settle and fade away with speed. On the right, the Vampires detached themselves from battle and fled into the woods with their elderly commander carried out of sight, while on the left, the Dwarf folded the earth up over himself and the cloister-member and vanished with nary a trace. As the battle began to come to an end, the Regalian generals, tacticians and commanders emerged from the tent, sounding out a victory, and the army began the slow task of regrouping, and recovering their casualties.
While it was not known at the time who these figures were, modern scholars can say with certainty many of the battle’s guardian angels were Arken. Which Arken is a mystery, and some believe gods, or Archmages, were also involved in the field of battle. Confirmed in the number though were Pride, Fury, Body, Compassion and Beauty, an alliance of Void and Exist Arken rare to see in the modern world though not unheard of since 300 AC. Arkenborn of these several also noted visitations and brief glimpses of their sires while on the battlefield, helping confirm their identities and presence in the field. Who the woman with the Vampires was, or the Dwarf and his companion remain a mystery. At the time though, the battle was hailed as a great victory, for despite hundreds dead and thousands wounded, this hostile threat had been defeated. The reality though, was far more negative. The Regalian Empire had paid a heavy price, physically, but also economically. While some Ithanian nobles or financiers had given out of the goodness of their Unionist faith at the request of the Emperor, many more gave their funds due to commercial deals involving taxes, tariffs and trade goods, causing minor headaches in the years to come. There were also many questions raised by this battle and the mere presence of the Fogmen. What were they? Would they return? How many of them actually were there? Finally, the more terrifying question sat on the edge of everyone’s lips: was the Statue really Estel as it claimed?
For the Regalians, the finer details were quietly brushed aside, and the state firmly stated the Statue was Estel, a hostile and evil force returned to the world, and now defeated in battle against the Regalians. What Fogmen corpses remained were dissected, and it was determined they were not Urlan, despite the surface similarities, with the general theory remaining today that they were mutated animals, much in the way the Frosthorns were mutated, made larger, smarter, but ultimately enslaved to the will of “Estel.” However, Elves, even those who had fought in Regalian ranks, denied that the Statue had been their slumbering god. They insisted on stark differences between the Statue and all known depictions of Estel, as well as finer points regarding her wording, and claims, as well as targeting Mages and the mist which accompanied her forces. The Allorn successor states, and reborn Allorn Empire, deny to this day that the being who appeared was Estel, in any way, shape or form, and insist it was an arcane abomination unleashed by some savage Ailor idiots from the lands of Ellador or Eastwynd itself. At the time of the battle however, this event only served to increase Allorn-successor unity against the Regalian Empire.
But by far the biggest loser of the entire war was Torse, and to a lesser extent Arlora. Torse as a state was virtually annihilated. Thousands of its people had died to the Fogmen and the Statue, with very few returning to their homes from neighboring states after the conflict. Its king was now a weak and nominal ruler for the Imperial Court of the Regalian Empire, and he would never return home. For Arlora, their economic fate was now bound to that of Regalia. They had practically sold the soul of their state for more weapons and supplies, and over the coming months, Regalia would insist on collecting. Backed into a corner, unwilling to submit to a power they ultimately found detestable, the Arlorans would go on to both fight Regalia, but also unleash the Bone Horror Crisis on the world in a desperate gambit to keep their freedom.
- Some believe the Dwarf who appeared was the Fornoss god Dáuw, though his companion has guesses ranging from other Fornoss gods to the two actually being Theomar and Thedmir, the first two Gods of Unionism.
- A rumor years later suggested the Statue had been destroyed by the Arken following the Bone Horror Crisis, and it had in fact been an Ordial entity running amok. Such statements are ignored by Regalian authorities as unreliable, given they have only just accepted the very existing of Ordial entities and power.
- The two Frosthorns were later felled in Arlora, and tales might be sung of the hunters who did so, had it not been for the Bone Horror Crisis a week later which slaughtered the Arloran populace.