Great Vampire Wars
|Great Vampire Wars|
|Event Name||Great Vampire Wars|
|Dates and Times||30 - 89 AC|
|People Involved||Skagger Horde, Dorkarth, Kingdom of Hedryll|
The Great Vampire Wars, referred to as the Unspoken Wars by some scholars, were a series of conflicts fought by the Vampires of Dorkarth against the weakened Hedrylli Empire, which ultimately attracted the attention of the Skagger Horde. The end result of these wars saw the Vampires’ hold on Ellador crushed and much of their population scattered forever across Aloria. This event is well known to traditionalist Vampires, who glorify it as the greatest time in Vampire history, but those Bloodlines more recently developed merely snort in derision and view the Wars as a weak time, when rather than spread wide, Vampire-kind got bogged down thanks to cultural attachments and almost destroyed themselves. To the Regalian Empire, the conflict is to be celebrated as a wondrous victory by the Glorious Chancellor, though only in private unless Vampires catch wind of celebrations of their greatest defeat.
Some claim that Vampirism is older than the Cataclysm but the truth of this is unknown. What is certain though, is that the first Vampires to emerge following the cataclysmic event did so in Ellador. Whether they were willing people, who let themselves be turned in order to fulfill their deepest desires for power or unwilling and cruelly afflicted people, the end result was the same; a new and savage Affliction for Aloria. These first Vampires roamed Ellador and eventually came to settle on half a dozen islands that would later become known as Dorkarth. The early years of this conquest by unnatural beings reduced the local Ailor population already reeling from the Cataclysm into a cowed and afraid people. They accepted their new overlords with little resistance and fell into their service. Soon, the Princes of Dorkarth, historically recorded as Stian Levir, Åastan Båandaveia, Hanz Wenzelstein, Petril Åaskilsta, and Sovbjorn Ytrehaug, ruled over the region absolutely. They twisted the Oldt Fayth into a horrific system of belief around the ideals of Vampirism that they had developed and embodied. Over the following years, the unnamed wives they married and bore children with, as well as the enslaved population, produced a nation of fanatics bent on spreading themselves across the north. These plans were interrupted when Hedrylli vessels arrived, exploring the new world in the name of the weakened but still significant Hedryll Empire. The crews of these vessels were promptly either turned, or killed, and the Princes now had a target for their first invasion.
The First War
The First War of the Great Vampire Wars is called by some as the False War, because it wasn’t much of a proper war. It was also false in its intentions, as the Dorkarth Princes had no intention of full-on invading a nation they knew relatively little about. So instead, they engineered a conflict using the newly arrived ships and their turned crews. They birthed a false rebellion, and sent the vessels back to the Empire to wage war against it in 30 AC. The Hedrylli king was not a fool, but his nation had been weakened by the Cataclysm, with a number of coastal regions devastated by the turbulent tidal forces of the sea, and so he let it go on for a time, sure that this uprising would lack support in places already hard-strunk and focused on rebuilding. Besides, they were all Velheim, and people of honor, surely these traitors couldn’t inspire the same disloyalty. But to his great anger, they did, and so he was forced to sail out and battle these turncoat sailors. This support for them though, was largely generated by infected individuals, who started to spread themselves across the Empire. When these enemy raiders finally fell, their leader executed, peace was joyously declared. But no one knew that their borders had been infiltrated, and at the fringes of the Hedrylli Empire, conclaves of Vampires now existed and worked to infest the very heart of the nation.
The Second War
The Second War is exalted by Vampires as their time of greatest triumph, when they were truly ascended and at their peak strength in the old days. Over the following decades, they infested hundreds, and then thousands of Hedryll’s citizens. It ultimately reached a point that Hanz Wenzelstein, one of the Princes himself, was able to move into the Hedrylli capital. He became The Pale Whisper, seducing almost all of the King’s council to his side, or into greed and weakening practices. But this could not continue forever. Finally, loyal Hedrylli noticed the Vampire threat, sounding the alarm. The ruler at this time was King Rickulfr, and he was young and brash, perfectly uncontrollable and able to resist the terrible council of his largely corrupted nobility. He ordered investigations, and by his adulthood in 50 AC, the threat this insidious infection presented was all too obvious to him and those of clear mind. But his advisors dithered and distracted, before finally, he pushed past them and declared the truth of the Vampires to his whole nation. He called upon everyone of true spirit to rise up, to find the Vampires, and purge them as a vile heresy against all the just and powerful gods of Oldt Fayth. He then rallied his forces upon hearing of massing Vampires, and moved to engage them on the field of battle in 52 AC. However, The Pale Whisper had done his work, and Rickulfr was betrayed in the middle of the battle. He and his retainers were all cut down with his crown given to the Dorkarth Prince in charge of the enemy army, Petril Åaskilsta. The Vampires then moved swiftly, but the late king’s wife and several children slipped from their fingers, reaching the southern islands of the Empire. The eldest, Eivind, was crowned king by the haggard but desperately determined loyalists and he personally burned with the desire to avenge his father. For now though, the Second War was over as the Dorkarth Princes fell into squabbling over treasure and land due to personality differences.
The Third War
The Third War saw the only major offensive action taken by the now Kingdom of Hedryll in the entire period of the Great Vampire Wars. With his father dead, and much of his nation in chaos as Vampires and loyal, unturned citizens did battle on the mainland while Vampiric raiders attacked the southern islands from the sea, King Eivind sought to rebuild and formed a daring plan. In 60 AC, he assembled his new small fleet and set out on the waves, while his younger brother and more ground-bound commanders headed to the Elladorian mainland to serve as a distraction. The Vampires focused on mainland Ellador, convinced the King was with his kinsman and best generals but suddenly, back in Dorkarth, there was chaos. King Eivind had landed on the Dorkarth main island and like lightning, had besieged the fortress of Marerittpalass. Within days, his forces had broken through and killed the youngest of the Princes, Stian Levir, before collapsing half of the coastal fortress into the sea by weakening its engineering. The Vampires were enraged, rabid for vengeance, and Sovbjorn Ytrehaug, the greatest and most physically imposing of the Princes, vowed revenge for “the plucking of our youngest immortal flower.” For over a year, King Eivind played a game of chess with his pursuers, raiding Dorkarth, slipping back to the Ellador mainland, and always keeping one step ahead of the major Dorkarth hordes. Instead, he picked off smaller groups, killing unturned Dorkarth Velheim and so weakening the homeland of the Vampires. He was supported by Velheim on the mainland, who were determined to get rid of the hostile forces raiding them for slaves, and in 62 AC, he again landed on mainland Dorkarth. He torched whole fields and killed several dozen Vampires in addition to a swath of the region’s fanatical unturned servants, but he was finally caught by Sovbjorn Ytrehaug. The Vampiric vessels came down from the rear, destroying Eivind’s own ships, and ultimately the young king died. However, he didn’t go down without a fight, and it is said he faced Sovbjorn personally as battle swirled around them and successfully killed the vile Prince but at the cost of his own life.
The Fourth War
Eivind’s younger brother was now crowned as King Jorstig, and the young man was wracked with paranoia and fear but was desperately determined to save his kingdom. He sent pleas out far and wide, to nations big and small over the course of his early reign, seeking aid. The Regalian Empire was unresponsive and convinced this was a Skagger deception to weaken their fledgling nation. However, his brethren in the Skagger Horde heard his call, and a sizable force departed to reinforce Hedryll. What came next is the long, grinding and inglorious conflict few like to speak of. Over the next decade and a half, Hedryll vessels and warriors worked with their fellow Velheim from the Skagger Horde as well as what few tribes remained on the mainland to gradually push the Vampires back. It was during this time that a “gift from the Gods” was discovered by the Velheim: Hallowed Lanterns. These tools of unknown origin singed the skin of the Dorkarth Vampires, and quietly, a number of the unholy creatures stepped out the back door, escaping through regional lines of trade or outright fleeing to other nearby realms like Cain and Essalonia. With this weakening behind the lines, the Vampires finally gave ground and in 87 AC, were forced off of mainland Ellador when Åastan Båandaveia fell. But that was not good enough for King Jorstig and the zealous crusaders against Vampires he had formed around him. He went to the place of his brother’s death, Dorkarth itself, and scoured the land. Thousands died, including the last openly present Prince, Petril Åaskilsta, and by 89 AC, the Great Vampire Wars were declared as complete. Hedryll had lost so much, but mass populations of Vampires wouldn’t rise in the north or indeed anywhere else for almost a century.
The smashing success of the Great Vampire Wars had the negative side effect of spreading Vampirism to all areas of the globe, as survivors fled to distant lands Regalia had yet to touch or conquer. Blows to the Vampires, however, were the destruction of much of their original culture, the loss of many of their ancient Dorkarth Artifacts, and finally, the demise of four of the five great Princes of their society. The nation of Dorkarth meanwhile, was greatly weakened. After the scourging, Dorkarth Vampires in hiding on mainland Ellador returned and reestablished the nation. It is now but a fraction of its former glory, namely due to the cravings onset by the effect of being cured, and to this day it remains to be a shattered fragment of a bygone era now ruled by a far more secretive and defensive conclave of Desprinces (inheritors and claimants of the Princely lines of the ancient Vampires) with no intentions of expanding outwards. As for the Kingdom of Hedryll, it was the end of their Empire as King Jorstig ceded what had been lost territory to various tribes who had fought with his people to throw off the yoke of the Vampires, while also freeing temperamental Ostryll to prevent further warfare. Today, this important legacy of the Velheim has largely been overlooked by the Regalian Empire as it is somewhat a source of embarrassment, but also because when the Vampires began to rebound in Regalian lands between 150 AC to the 190s, they used the Wars as a glorious event to invigorate and inspire a new generation of Vampires. The Crimson Inquisition committed a purge of Vampire knowledge on the subject, specifically targeting and destroying both Artifacts and survivors from that period. Thus, only learned or older Velheim, and noted scholars in the Scholar’s Court of Regalia know the full story of the Wars. For Vampires, their touch at greatness is lost to them as only the broad strokes and the great leaders of that period survive in their memories.
- A major target of King Jorstig was Hanz Wenzelstein, the Prince who commanded the Vampires that infected his father’s council. Never caught, Hanz is said to still be alive somewhere in Daen, sitting in the middle of a vast spy web, plotting revenge on Regalia for the death of his sworn brothers.
- Stian Levir and Sovbjorn Ytrehaug are said to have been lovers, which is why the normally stoic and dispassionate Sovbjorn burned with such hatred and a desire for revenge in the wake of Stian’s death. It is also used to explain why Stian, an immortal being, only had a single child in his 100+ years of life.
- Despite Regalia’s attempts to destroy them, a number of ancient Vampire objects survive to this day and are of intense interest to Vampire societies and Bloodlines Aloria-over.
- It is theorized that the Qadir of Farah’deen were contacted to help design the Hallow Lantern, namely because their records suddenly speak of the Vampires and their defeat during this era. The Velheim insist this is not the case, but the truth of the matter is unknown as the Hallowed Lantern remains a secret of the Regalian state and Velheim people.