|Event Name||Lo Occupation|
|Dates and Times||November 12th 304 AC - January 20th 305 AC|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire, Deathlings, Etosil|
Arguably one of the most traumatizing events the City of Light had born witness to was that of the Lo Occupation. During this time various magical horrors arose, the worst of them being the Deathling creatures who took on the appearance of fallen Regalian citizens both loved and hated, making nostalgia one of Lo’s greatest weapons. Fallen friends, brothers, and mothers were resurrected to make war against their living counterparts. The occupation lasted roughly three months and saw the destruction of a great deal of the capital city as well as growing national instability due to drained funds and questions of faith.
In the year 302 AC, Freya Lo had attempted to seize control of the Regalian capital but was eventually defeated and slain, her body buried in private. Unbeknownst to most, she was entombed within the Imperial Crypt shortly after the burial. The following year, Estel had seemingly returned to the world with a powerful army at her back, but ultimately vanished under unknown circumstances following the Battle of Curag Fields. Another incident in the summer of 304 AC caused even more concern when Estel returned once more, creating and unleashing the Midnight Court on the world along with the terrifying Bone Horror Crisis. In the months that followed the populace seemed to move on from the incidents, largely ignoring the horrors that ravaged the outside world. In their complacency, most missed the arrival of several members of the Midnight Court, who ventured into the depths of the Regalian Sewers and made it to the Imperial Crypt.
The Dark Queen Rises
Following an announcement to the public that there would be a city-wide mass held in the Grand Cathedral, many citizens both noble and commoner ventured to that night’s proceedings. After the crowds had amassed inside, a tunnel opened in the center of the Cathedral as multiple pale skinned guards marched out, forming a perimeter. Following closely behind these undead was the risen Freya Lo, her skin a similar pale color with piercing blue eyes. Announcing her ascent as Dark Queen of the Empire, Freya Lo ordered her Deathing guards to escort citizens who had remained back to their homes if they complied and to slaughter those who resisted. In the hours that followed, Lo’s Deathling forces had filled the capital city, taking control of and forcefully disbanding the Violet Order before replacing it with the Lo Guard, which was composed primarily of Deathlings and even living supporters of her cause who sported battered Crimson Inquisition armor. During the chaos the Imperial Palace sealed itself off to the madness outside, allowing the Deathling forces to cut down those who resisted their occupation. In the following days, Deathlings swarmed the Regalian countryside, occupying most regions bar a fort held by rebelling nobles and their guards. Around the same time, strange lights were seen coming from the decrepit Fort Blauberg near the Imperial Hunting grounds, though when inspected by Deathlings there was nobody to be found. The only sliver of hope for the rebelling factions was the rumor of Kade warships spotted by Poppy Rock, though they had allegedly moved back out to sea after several hours.
A Repeat of Calemberg
On November 16th the rumors of Kade warships proved true as a fleet of Kade warships supported by both Fong and Typhonus frigates made landfall in Allestrain Bay, convinced they could retake the capital and defeat Lo as they had done in the past. Rebel scouts were nearby to observe the landing, making note that the returning Regalian forces were aided by Undead troops, their presence an indication that some agreement was made between the Bone King and Regalia in order to end the ongoing crisis. Before the amassed Regalian force could so much as step up the beach the Deathlings sprung their trap, unleashing an unknown mage who had been chained and held by a squad of Deathling troops who prodded the mage into releasing a bright flash of light. What followed is viewed as a repeat of the Battle of Calemberg as the flash blinded many of the landing soldiers, allowing Deathling troops to emerge from sand pits on the beach. After only half an hour of intense fighting, the Regalian forces were forced to surrender with those who were able fleeing into the countryside to inform rebel strongholds of the incident. The important leaders and officers of the Regalian landing army were taken to Lo’s Imperial Palace while the rest were hauled off and imprisoned within the confines of Greygate. The following day saw the coronation of Freya Lo as Empress, and the announcement of an arranged marriage between her twin children as a bond of Houses Kade and Lo, ensuring lasting legitimacy.
A New Challenger
In the month that followed, little action was taken against the Deathling occupiers save small skirmishes from the Sewer Resistance groups and odd guerilla fighters. The twisted wedding between Lo’s twin children took place on December 9th, emptying other areas of the city as Deathlings focused security on the area surrounding the new Empress and her children in the Cathedral. Suddenly an explosion erupted between the Imperial Bridge and the Merchant District which sent the Lo Guard scrambling to respond. Upon their arrival on the scene, they found themselves being stared down by the now far eerier ex-patriarch of the House Lampero, the one Freya herself had almost stabbed to death following the events of Calemberg, only to survive and serve the Empire. Yet there was something off about the man; he was able to wield incredible power, but he seemed to ultimately be a distraction as Regalian vessels neared the harbor, shelling any defensible positions regardless of collateral damage to civilian homes. What followed can only be described as a masterful extraction of the Emperor who escaped aboard one of the Regalian battleships along with a small retinue of courtesans. In the escape, the Regalian battleships damaged the Imperial Bridge beyond use, keeping the Deathlings from their prize of the Imperial Palace. Following the Emperor’s extraction, the strangely gifted man carved a path into the Leutz-Vixe district where he declared himself a new god and an enemy to both the resistances and to the Deathlings of Lo before vanishing in a burst of black energy. Shortly after he rose in the ruins of an estate, converting it into a dark castle of sorts, converting even some of Lo’s own deathlings with his powers, twisting them into monstrous creatures. Meanwhile, the Emperor joined the blockade surrounding the isle, refusing to abandon the city entirely and instead remained on the ships to monitor the ongoing occupation.
Tumult on December 19th
On December 19th an attack was planned and successfully carried out to attack Fort Greygate in the capital city. Using an explosion as a distraction, several infiltrators freed imprisoned guards, soldiers and several major political and military figures such as Grand Marshal von Treppenwitz and Grand Vigil Harold. Greygate’s self-sold impregnability was damaged but the Deathlings and Lo Guard refuted the claims strongly, resulting in many not knowing what transpired until much later. However with this victory came a significant loss to the Regalian efforts when on the same day, the long held-out Viridian Castle fell to the Deathling siege. Fighting almost to the death, the Viridians suffered a casualty rate of nearly 90% which left the Imperial Palace as the sole hold-out close to the city walls. Several hours later, a ship managed to escape the Regalian harbor though when it neared the blockade, it was bombarded and forced to turn around, limping towards shore before ultimately breaking up in the harbor with those aboard escaping to safety in the confusion. The blockade was broken later that evening when a small boat neared the coast, dropping off personnel who immediately went into hiding. These anonymous individuals then established a secret system to relay messages back to the blockade, keeping them informed of goings-on within the City of Light. Meanwhile, Lo government officials (nobles who had sworn oaths of loyalty to the Dark Empress) informed her and other officials that the city’s stockpile of grain and other preserved foods was running low. This news reached the rebel strongholds in the countryside, though the public remained unaware, ultimately resulting in a highly tumultuous day.
The Marked and The Great Sewer Boom
In what seemed to be a response to the events of days prior, Tristan Keppkuula (the ex-patriarch of House Lampero) unleashed the Marked onto the city. The Marked were wolf-human hybrid creatures and their mission was to destroy the food and warehouses. They ultimately killed not only deathlings but innocent civilians in their mindless assault. When resistance groups attempted to seize the opportunity, the Marked attacked them as well, keeping to Tristan’s statement of non-support for the rebels, severely wounding many fighters. By the end of the day, the occupation knew one less support group. As the sun set on the first of January, the Lo Guard flooded the streets outside every sewer access point, descending down into the sewers and throwing barrels of an unknown substance into the sewers. The same evening, after a rousing speech to a small crowd, Empress Lo emerged, dropping a lit chandelier down a sewer drainage pipe. After a minute of anticipation the sewers ignited, the barrels (having been filled with gunpowder) which were scattered through the sewers exploded, lit by fuses or in reaction to the other explosions. The destruction was enormous and in one fell swoop, Lo had devastated the crime world. Those that survived the burning hell of the sewers were lead to safety by black-robed figures bearing the Imperial insignia. As the last of the sewer refugees escaped into the eastern tunnels, the western sewers collapsed behind them, leaving barely enough room for small rodents and sewer water to move about.
The Great Castle Crash
In the days following, another great destruction took place. Beneath Fort Greygate, a surviving group had been carving away at the cistern foundations of the structure with their progress greatly aided by the “Sewer Boom.” Unfortunately, their original plan was dashed as several mistakes resulted in the ceiling pillars breaking. Over half of the excavation group was buried as the fort collapsed in on itself, taking hundreds of deathlings, prisoners, and as the pit grew, nearby civilians in with the collapse. The collapse grew so bad that the fort’s gunpowder stores went up, causing even more damage. The plotters that survived the collapse retreated through their tunnel and into those that the black-robed figures had previously used to rescue sewer dwellers. The figures in black watched as the group fled before they too disappeared into the dark of the tunnels. The bodies buried beneath Greygate were never recovered. This devastation was the breaking point for the beleaguered city with riots sweeping the streets for several days only to be harshly beaten down by surviving Deathling guards. The total death count was roughly 1,000 with nearly 60% being prisoners and various men and women of political and military standing. Following the collapse, it was realised that the Violet Order was largely killed in the collapse as most of its members had been buried along with their symbolic fort. For the common folk, the destruction of Greygate was a blow to morale and a symbol of the systemic collapse Regalia seemed to now be suffering under Freya Lo.
Battle of Rothburg
A week later, Tristan Keppkuula was informed that the final bastion of rebel resistance at Rothburg Castle wished to surrender. Upon his arrival, however, he was captured by the resistance and kept prisoner with the help of Imperial forces who had now landed and joined with the rebels. Following his capture, the Marked led an assault on Rothburg Castle, supported by enthralled Deathlings and other creatures Keppkuula had formed during his time in his dark tower. The battle was fierce but ultimately resulted in the Marked being captured and killed if they neared escape due to many of them being nobles. One by one, the Marked Alphas and Betas were taken out by teams of elite warriors, often nobility, and whatever thralls were left died at the hands of the Regalian Army. Turning now to Keppkuula, an Evocarorum Scholar had helped design and craft a machine to take away his power only to then harness it as a weapon. Meanwhile, a Deathling army and whatever survived of their once enthralled brethren had halted nearby as they waited for orders. After having been hooked up to the machine, Keppkuula suffered a seemingly great deal of pain as it was activated, the device firing a beam of white energy into the enemy lines, destroying them all in a matter of seconds. The Emperor then emerged, giving a speech to those assembled and promised the end of Freya Lo and her deathlings was near, proclaiming the weapon and the Spirit on their side.
End of a Lo
As the short winter began to thaw on a fateful day late in January, Regalian Resistance forces made a targeted assault on the city walls. The Starlight Canon as it is now called made short work of siege engines and towers, effectively clearing the way for attacking forces. The main gatehouse of the city fell shortly after the assault began, allowing Loyalists to pour into the city proper and slaughter any Deathlings in their way. With the assault underway, the city erupted into chaos as looters, do-gooders and confused citizens swirled through the warzone with many stealing, preventing thefts or simply escaping the chaos where they could as the day progressed. As the battle raged, Empress Lo held court with those she counted as allies but by midday, the Loyalists stood across the front courtyard of Lo’s palace. With only a contingent of Lo guards in their way, one of the nobles leading the assault offered a handful of choices to the living among Lo’s Deathling ranks. They chose battle as fresh Deathling troops poured into the area with a massive melee beginning. The battle was fierce but the Loyalists proved victorious and were soon battering at the sealed doors to Freya’s throne room. Inside, Lo attempted to rally her court and personal guards when suddenly her daughter in life thrust a knife into her. With only a faint “Oh” escaping her, the Deathling Queen fell to the ground as no more than a pile of black dust. Deathlings across the city both alive and slain followed suit, with their dust disappearing into the air. When finally the throne room was breached the Loyalists found no Deathlings and arrested those still within, bringing an end to the long occupation and reign of the Dark Queen.
Freya Lo’s occupation brought devastation to the Regalian Empire with its treasury drained by her various needs and plundered during the looting of the capital. The occupation had many lives to be lost not only at the hands of Deathling forces but also during the “Castle Crash” and the retaking of the city. Those not outright killed during the fighting were for the most part seriously injured, scarred, or traumatized by the experiences, and many major structures around the capital city lay in ruins. Many questions remained in regards to the Deathlings and the Spirit, causing Unionism and other various institutions to be shaken to their core. The events certainly had an effect on the Emperor, and eventually, a plot by conservative elements within the Empire sought to overthrow Alexander I. The plot was defeated but as a result of the coup, Alexander abdicated and began a short succession search which ultimately ended with Cedric Kade being declared Emperor Cedromar I. In past, some argued that Freya was more destructive in death than she was in life and for most people, her resurrection certainly proved this.
- Many Unionist relics were looted from the various great cathedrals and churches throughout the city during the Loyalists restoration of order. While most were recovered in short order by the Tenpenny Army that soon occupied the city and upheld martial law, others remain lost in the resilient underworld.
- It is not fully known if Freya’s twin children were made to consummate their marriage but many cite proof of this happening in how her daughter has practically vanished from public life, with some more darkly suggesting she holds a child within her from the event. Others point out that she goes away for long periods anyway and this is nothing new.