It has come at last, like a great storm, the final installment into this Lorequest series- the second part of the Agatha-Mason Civil War. This took me quite a bit longer than it should have, almost two-and-a-half months after the first half of this entry. But, I’m actually happy with how this turned out. I took a lot of liberties with characters and actions you don’t see in the game but of those, I am also pleased. Churning out a narrative altogether about three times larger than most short stories all about a game with little to go on has me feeling quite alright!
But even more than that, I hope that you all enjoy it! I hope those who come for the narrative and pretty pictures (and the blurry ones, can’t forget about them) will be satisfied as well as any fan of Chivalry who wants to find out some more about what a random guy on the internet thinks about the game’s nonexistent lore.
Despite hearing of Danum’s arrival at Hillside, Malric continued to harass the Agathian countryside with a personal cadre of vanguards and knights. Intent on securing slaves for the Mason’s forges and converts for their cause, towns and villages fell by the handful every week. Malric, depending on if the settlement in question resisted him, either wore the guise of a brutal warlord intent on bloody slaughter or as a pariah-esque saviour of the beleaguered Agathian people. Malric, despite his methods, still believed in his heart that Agatha could be sharpened and beaten, like a sword in a forge, to be stronger and more deadly than ever. If accomplishing that meant driving the common people into his arms as he spun lies to them (his favourite being a proposed Tenosia counter-invasion and the supposed brutal “reconquering” of Agatha by the Argon line), then so be it. Malric could see the degradation of his Order all around him, though. The Barbarian and relatively counter-chivalry cultural influences working in the Order’s members and the Order was becoming more bloodthirsty and violent, too much so even for Malric’s philosophy of strength. Strength needs a purpose to truly grow and for its growth to last- strength and violence for the sake of violence would accomplish only what Alfonso Argon had been trying to accomplish his whole life. Regardless, Malric was resolute in the Agathian Civil War and refused and thoughts of surrender or capitulation.
Sir Teach and his Mason forces arrived at Malric’s Citadel just as Danum’s forces were advancing southwest from Hillside. Through the Mason’s sympathizers and spies, Teach learned that Danum’s forces were slightly more numerous and experienced than the Agathians proceeding northwest. Malric was sure that the forces heading towards Old Agatha were the distraction instead of the other way around. Sir Teach, both tired and impetuous, was given command of a large amount of the total Mason Order forces and began his march southeastward from the Citadel. He hoped to catch the Agatha Knights out in the open terrain of the Agatha heartland where Mason hit-and-run tactics could openly harass them until they could crush the Agathians in one decisive battle. The small fortress of Stone Isle stood in their way, however. Positioned on a large hill and protected by heaving foresting , Stone Isle commanded an unparalleled view in all directions- any Mason movement southeastward would be seen immediately and Danum would be alerted.
Teach had learned since his time in Jaburdan to fully capitalize on the brutal rushing nature of the Mason Order’s warriors and to leave the blunt, chivalrous nature of the Agatha Knights behind. Thus, under the cover of a cloudy night, Sir Teach led a small but potent strike group of Mason warriors to Stone Isle. The Order quickly surrounded the fortress, cutting off all escape points. Even the secret escape routes were guarded, their secret nature having been uncovered by some of the continental Agathian traitors in the Order. The Battle of the Stone Isle was swift and bloody, with many of the Isle’s guards unable to even arm themselves before they were cut down by Mason vanguards and man-at-arms.
With the fall of the Stone Isle, the Mason forces began to advance again. Malric, who had been taking his personal cadre of raiders through the surrounding countryside, joined his warriors up with Teach’s main body. The critical failure of the Kingdom of Agatha’s intelligence in the wake of the fall of the Stone Isle, exacerbated by the haste that Danum was making towards Stonehills, left them vulnerable as they marched through the vast and flat expanses of Agatha’s heartland. The Mason Order’s first sortie was led by Malric himself. He had also crafted the battle strategy that would sculpt the entire Battle of the Moor, would become the largest single battle in the entire Agathian Civil War. At the beginning of the battle, the Agatha Knights were nearly ten-thousand strong and the Mason Order numbered only a few thousand fewer than that. However, as the Mason Order has shown throughout the war already was that it could rely on surprise, martial brutality, and ruthless tactics to remove any obstacle, regardless of its size or strength.
Using the hills and low mountains that ran like veins through the Moors to limit the Agathian visibility, the Mason Order led a series of powerful, piercing forays into the battle. Though the Agathians held their ground and rallied well at the orders of Danum and Sir Finnian Guld, eventually the battle seemed to be lost. The flanks of the Agathian armies were exhausted and the center force was started to collapse under the constant wave of Order soldiers. Again proving his strength of arms and conviction, Danum led his royal guardsmen in a desperate bid to break through the Orders encirclement. They were not only successful in doing so but he managed to create a large enough opening for much of his force to retreat through. From there, the Mason’s onslaught was eventually stymied thanks to the terrain of the Moors and to general exhaustion. The Knights of Agatha tactically lost the battle, losing more men than the Order. However, Malric failed to destroy Danum, so the Knights were strategically successful.
Moving southward, Danum left a strong force to occupy and fortify an old fort protecting the roads into Stonehills Valley named Argon’s Wall. It is also here that Danum stopped for a day to rest his men. Meanwhile, Danum went into the fort’s small chapel and decided to pay respect to his uncle Alfonso for the first time since his death in Tenosia. Argon’s Wall was constructed during the opening conquests of Alfonso’s continent-wide crusade for domination and was maintained by the then-young king for five months and held off many attempts by the Stonehills kingdom to bring it down. Danum admitted to himself in that chapel that, while his uncle was a man who lived by the sword rather by the mind, Danum could not deny the respect he felt for the man. After two close encounters with death and impossible choices in seemingly hopeless battles, Danum prayed for the strength of his ancestor in the coming days in hopes that Alfonso’ warrior spirit would empower him against the ever-growing fires of war.
One day later, the southern Agatha Knights continued further southward. Danum and Finnian Guld eventually took up residence in Stonehills’ Royal Palace and set about organizing their southern forces in preparation of the pincer attack that would inevitably be directed at the Malric’s volcanic Citadel.
Malric had indeed returned to his seat of power to govern his Mason realm and to help lead his troops in fighting off the northern Agatha Knights. Sir Teach is left in charge of the southern efforts and the Order sets off towards Stonehills Valley. Despite the exhaustion of the Battle of the Moor, deserters and traitors from the Agatha Knights
helped to replenish the Order’s ranks. Thus keeping with their momentum, they surprise Argon’s Wall with a sudden forward surge attack. Unlike the Battle of the Moor however, the Agatha Knights were ready and waiting for the Order to arrive. Though the wall did fall in the course of a single day, the amount of Mason soldiers slain were far greater than those of the well-trained and elite Agatha Knights left in charge of the wall. Despite the wall’s fall, messengers are able to outwit and escape the Mason archers and outriders and reach Stonehills with word that the Mason Order has not stopped its advance and is nearing Danum’s new stronghold.
Meanwhile, in the north of Agatha, the old Agathian capitol has been under a very efficient and effective siege since the northern branch of Knights were dispatched. With the majority of the Mason forces in the south and occupied with Danum, the young king’s plan of breaking up and distracting the Order is going well. The old capitol, though ruined and blasted outside of the walls, has not seen any fighting in its streets yet. The northern Agatha Knights had been besieging and choosing their battles very carefully. The Barbarian tribes, still very much loyal to the Order, are close to key northern positions and castles so avoidance of large battles was made a priority as the wilderness of the north offered too many advantages to the Barbarians who knew the land much better than the Knights. Moving around the coastline and in open fields, the Knights were able to move between key points such as the old capitol and the ruins of Coldfront without suffering decisive defeats. Indeed, the northern front was quickly falling to the Agatha Knights. Just as the Mason Order approached Stonehills in the south, the ruins of Coldfront fell to the Knights. The stress of the campaign in the south had weakened the Mason’s holdings in the north, so the Knights suffered relatively few casualties, thus keeping them strong for the battles to come and building bulkheads against Mason incursions in the north.
The Fall of Stonehills, as it came to be known, began in the early afternoon barely a week after the Battle of Argon’s Wall. Danum had taken the populace of Stonehills village under his protection, the castle town quickly turning into a kind of refugee camp for fleeing Agathians and loyalists. With this influx of manpower, Danum, at Finnian’s urging, dispatched sections of his men throughout the south of Stonehills valley in order to protect those villages from Mason raiders and recruiters. Also, and more secretly, King Danum sent men to defend the last (and infant) heirs of the Argon line living secretively in a castle high in the nearby forested mountains. Meanwhile, Danum held his position in the Stonehills Royal Palace, content to keep the attention of the main Mason force focused on him while the retaking of the north picked up even more speed. In fact, it seemed that Danum would soon be saved by an influx of reinforcements from the north, given the efficiency with which the north was being retaken and converted back to the Agatha cause.
However, Sir Teach was all-too aware of the situation in the north and sought to end the war with one definitive battle. So, starting in the early afternoon, the Mason armies attacked with their full force, streaming into Stonehills’ village and butchering the populace, despite the bravery of the Agatha Knights and their attempts to stymie the Order’s bloody tide. However, they were largely unsuccessful. It was only once the Order moved to assault the Royal Palace itself did the Agatha Knights mount an effective counterattack. There was no quarter being given in the battle- both sides knew that the other was desperate to end the war with this one decisive engagement. Lords and knights of both Agatha and the Order were slain without hesitation, the pragmatic sides of the codes of chivalry being abandoned in favour of the primal conflict of fighting for one’s life. Again though, despite the efforts of the Agatha Knights, the gates of the Royal Palace still fell and the battle moved to the inside of the castle proper.
Escape, for Danum, was not an option. Even though there were secret passages to spirit away people from the castle out into the forests and mountains, Danum refused to die the way Feydrid did- fleeing rather than meeting his fate. However, Danum did convince Finnian Guld and his best men to flee and guard the hidden fortress hiding the last of the Argon line (however distant or diluted their blood-claim may be compared to Danum). Begrudgingly, Finnian agreed to leave but promised Danum that, “[he] would not allow [himself] to be buried until those that buried [Danum] were in the ground.” The young King Argon accepted his advisor and friend’s promise and prepared to face his enemy.
It was said that Danum himself was the first in the battle as the Mason Order poured into the throne room and he was the last to die in the battle, pierced by no fewer than five Mason spears. Regardless of the details, the Agatha forces in Stonehills were all but obliterated, save for Finnian’s men and a few other stragglers who fell back to the hillside castle. However, something odd happened after the Fall of Stonehills. Sir Teach personally lifted up the body of King Danum Argon and placed him onto a specially-constructed pyre for Danum and Danum alone. Teach lit the fire and stood vigil over the young king’s body as it burned. After his body turned to ash, he scattered the remains of the king into the river that ran through Stonehills so that it would, as Teach is quoted saying, “carry [Danum’s] being all across this new Agatha].” However, within the next few days, Teach had rallied his Mason men and started to give chase after Finnian so that the last leader of real claim and esteem in the old Kingdom of Agatha could finally be put down.
However, whereas Sir Teach had spent most of his recent days fighting in castles and cities or in large, organized battles in open fields, Finnian Guld had intimate experience with fighting a guerrilla war, thanks to his time out in the forests around Coldfront and the forest home of the Barbarians. So, while Teach was expecting another battle in a similar vein to those he had fought recently, where the quickness and brutality of the Mason Order could overwhelm the Agathian defences, he certainly did not get that when facing Finnian. The experienced knight, having rallied all Agatha forces in Stonehills valley to him, set about picking apart the Mason Order as it tried to trundle its way through unfamiliar terrain. By the time the Mason Order located what they assumed was the final holding of the Agatha Knights in the south, also being unaware that the fortress was the secretive hideout for the last remnants of the Argon bloodline, they were haggard and exhausted. However, they still outnumbered the Agatha Knights fit for battle by about five to one. Sir Teach, despite wrestling rather uncomfortably with the idea for days, decided that a very particular idea of his needed to be enacted to help boost the Mason spirits and to help break those of Agatha. The corpses of the Agathian dead, both of the peasants and the soldiers from the Fall of Stonehills, were loaded onto wagons were which moved through the forests. The effect it had on morale was what Teach expected from the Mason side- it boosted their confidence significantly to parade the dead of Agatha’s elite and its populace in front of the only remaining southern bastion. However, the desired chilling effect on the Agatha morale did not go according to Teach’s plan. In fact, it had the exact opposite effect.
Under the cover of night, Finnian Guld every knight under his command in a single, devastating charge through the Mason camps and marching lines, using the knowledge of the locals to navigate through the trees. The suddenness of the attack mixed with the clearly enraged Agatha knights when they were suspected to be broken and beaten, had the Mason Order thrown into chaos. Through more clever planning and maneuvering on Guld’s part, his lighter troops, including men-at-arms and archers covered the northern end of the forested mountain passes. As the Agatha knights and vanguard scattered and slaughtered the Mason Order from the front, the lighter troops were in the perfect position to pick off the retreating men of the Order. It became a bloodbath as the Mason Order was pushed out of the mountains, past Stonehills, and hounded with outriders and light cavalry all the way back to Argon’s Wall.
Sometime during the ensuing chaos, Sir Teach and his bodyguard were cornered by Finnian and his own elite knights. Unhorsed and outnumbered, Sir Teach’s men fell rather quickly. However, Finnian challenged Teach to singular battle, claiming that would be how king’s fought honourably with each other. When Teach retaliated that neither of them were kings, Finnian retorted that Danum was dead and Malric was no king, but claimed to be. And if a man like Malric could claim to be a king than more honourable men like Finnian and Teach could as well. And so, the two men
fought. Fearsome warriors each, the two fought each other to a bloody standstill before Finnian, in one final and glorious flurry of blows with nothing but his side-sword (his axe had been broken in the battle), he struck down Sir Teach. As if the Mason Order’s southern forces needed any more reason to flee from the Agatha Knights, without their leader, they were utterly broken and fled to any safe haven they could find- which were certainly few and far between.
The pursuit and hunting of the Mason’s men continued for another two days until the killed and captured count reached nearly the same total number of Mason troops that were accounted for at the beginning of the Battle of the Hidden Fortress. Unlike Teach’s treatment of Danum Argon after the Fall of Stonehills, Finnian chose to simply abandon Teach’s body and leave it where it lay.
Less than a day later, the young heirs (one boy, four years old and one girl, six years old) of the Argon line came forward, presenting themselves to the remaining loyal Agatha Knights. Though many of the men were not even aware that the Argon line still lived on from within the fortress they had fought to protect (or perhaps, because of it), oaths of loyalty and revenge against the Mason Order rang out as the men acknowledged their new rulers. However, just as the knights and noble sirs were approaching the young monarchs to formally pledge their fealty, they were stopped. The brother and sister told their people that they must all act, for all intents and purposes, that they are without a ruling monarch. They reasoned that if Malric knew that the Argon line still lived on in secret, assassins would be out in troves trying to make sure that the Argons were wiped out permanently. Begrudgingly, the Agatha Knights obeyed. However, the brother and sister Argon gave their warhosts somebody just as inspiring to follow. They formally named Finnian Guld the “Lion of Agatha” and granted him all of the political and military powers as fit for a royal steward and regent.
Overjoyed with the news, Finnian and his men of Agatha departed northward, their morale restored from the disaster at Stonehills. Finnian had been out of contact with the northern Agathian forces for some time. However, he personally never doubted the strength of the northern strategy. At the very least, no Mason reinforcements had arrived in Stonehills valley to capitalize on the moment of Teach’s advance.
Malric, having learned of Teach’s defeat and the utter rout of his southern armies not long after Finnian broke camp, understood that the war needed to be concluded quickly before Finnian could further push forward the reclaiming of the north. Even within his own realm, the slaves that Malric and his men had taken were shoved into large iron cages whenever they were not working the forges. They were also chained to posts in the ground during their time working. Originally, this had been seen as unnecessary by Malric. Still committed to the idea of a stronger Agatha, he wanted his labourors (who were always, in all but name, slaves regardless) to appreciate hard work and the might of the Mason Order by working directly with its equipment and machines of war. However, with the news of the southern victory somehow reaching the prisoner’s ears, they were much less willing to listen to the Mason’s ideas of a stronger Agatha. Indeed, some thought that the Mason Order did indeed help to forge a stronger Agatha, one that was coming to crush the weaker Malric. To try to stem the growing dissention of his slaves, Malric told them all at once that Danum Argon was slain in the Stonehills Royal Palace and that the Argon line had certainly been ended.
For a while, the effect was what Malric desired- the slaves begrudgingly went back to work in the forges and mines. However, eventually, sadness gave way to anger. Danum’s death further enraged the slaves rather than force them into further despair. It seemed that they were willing to disregard Danum’s death on the grounds that Agatha itself still breathed and was soon to be breathing down the neck of Malric himself. Despite Malric’s re-education and disciplinary attempts, the slaves still managed to be rowdy and at times, even violent, turning on their Mason captors before they were swiftly struck down; those men were seen as martyrs, though, the true patriots of Agatha that Malric and his men claimed to be. Sensing that the end was coming for his Order, Malric began to slip into a deep depression. His mood only worsened when he learned that the Barbarian tribes which he and the Order had come to rely on so heavily were starting to brood with ideas of rebellion and independence from both the Masons and Agathians.
Since the reclamation efforts of the north had begun, Old Agatha was a subject of much conflict between the Order and the Knights. And since the beginning, the Knights had seen many battles and sieges go in their favour. From the smaller outlying towns and fortresses to the capitol proper, the Agatha Knights gained and kept the ground they reclaimed from the Mason Order with great success. And yet, the Old Agatha capitol held out with the Mason occupiers using the city’s high walls and defence emplacements to keep the Agatha Knights from mounting a final charge. While
Finnian Guld and his forces were still advancing from the south, the besiegers of Old Agatha were given the news about the defeat of Teach’s massive force and Danum’s death. Both of those events managed to inject a battle fury into the Agatha Knights as well as the people of Old Agatha. Irregulars of all ages and backgrounds flocked to the Agatha siege camps. It was the cunning of the common folk that gave Old Agatha the final push that it needed. In full view of Mason archers and siege engines, the irregulars snuck into the fields and markets surrounding the city and sit fire to them. Before the fires had burned out, the Mason defenders knew full well that they would not be able to hold the capitol for much longer now that their only source of food had been destroyed (their storehouses within the city had been emptied months ago as the siege raged).
After waiting almost two weeks, the besiegers decided to charge the city, secure in knowing that the defenders would weakened from hunger and broken morale. However, the Agatha Knights did not know how correct they were. After a token resistance by sorties from the city’s postern gates, the front gates were blasted down. Just beyond the gate were hundreds of Mason soldiers with their weapons dropped and their armour in piles. Their surrender, however, was not so quickly accepted. The leader the siege, a famed man-at-arms from Alfonso’s Tenosia campaign affectionately known as Foxfingers had expected the city to be much more violently defended and had led a flanking force onto the western walls. So, he was not there when the men assigned to attack the front gate had decided to take their sense of vengeful justice out on the Mason prisoners. Before Foxfingers managed to stop his bloodthirsty men’s massacre, almost half of the Mason men had been killed. Upon the words of their commander though, some of the guilty Knights fell to their knees in perfuse apology. There were others however, who stood straight and still, finding no shame or wrongness in their actions. It was those men who were laid out on chopping blocks in the city center and executed for their actions. A Mason prisoner remarked to Foxfingers that he had never seen so many of the city’s people out all at once since they had arrived. He then remarked, “They’re all even thinner than we are… maybe that’s where all the city’s rats went.” Foxfingers stood silently as his men were executed by his command and as he thought about what he may have wrought against the people of the capitol. However, Foxfingers found the strength to move on, re-fortifying the city to resist Mason counterattack, imprisoning the rest of his men who had taken part in the massacre and the Mason men, oftentimes in the same cells. He chose to ignore the reports of Mason prisoners strangling their Agatha cellmates during the night. Foxfingers also made it a point to reach out to nearby cities such as Hillside and request that they send any food they can spare to help put Old Agatha’s people back into sorts again.
Foxfingers met Finnian Guld in the Old Agatha capitol a few weeks later, learning that the Lion of Agatha had been appointed to the regency and, even more surprisingly, had not encountered even a single Mason patrol during his trek up from Stonehills Valley. Finnian suggested that, with the Mason Order in more or less total retreat across almost the entire continent, only Malric’s Citadel would be offering any kind of real resistance. With that in mind, the goal of the Agatha Knights became abundantly clear- Malric’s final bastion of power must fall before any semblance of peace could be restored to the land. And yet, before the Knights could even begin their advance on the Citadel, the remnants of the Barbarian tribes would need to be removed from the equation. Finnian was only too eager to return to the thick forests where he had his first, stinging defeat, and redeem himself.
Unlike the Mason Order proper, the leaders of the Barbarian tribes had been spared from destruction in battle. Their prowess and ferocity had preserved them during the worst of the conflict. Even so, as the Barbarian leaders began to notice the decline of the Mason Order, they contributed fewer and fewer men to Malric’s cause. Eventually, the vast majority of the Barbarians were pulled back to their forest homes in fear of the eventual Agathian counterattack. Their fears turned out to well-founded. High Chief Ulfric of the Barbarian tribes had fortified his lands well in preparation for the Agatha attack. And yet, he never expected to be assaulted with such unrelenting force. With the combined armies of the northern and southern Agatha Knight branches, the Barbarians found themselves beset by men who were far better armed, fed, armoured, and numerous. The Second Battle of the Outposts lasted less than a day and ended with Ulfric’s capitol in ruins and his head severed from his shoulders. Finnian and Foxfingers led their troops well, charging from the front with Agatha’s name as their war cries. So intense was their charge of conviction and steel, it was said that even some of the feared and fierce Barbarian warriors dropped their weapons and fled. After the battle had ended, the remaining chieftains signed a peace treaty with Finnian Guld. The treaty, however, was more of a temporary ceasefire than anything else. Agatha Knights would occupy part of the Barbarian’s lands but aside from that, there was no more administration to be imposed on the tribes. Finnian decided to defer the true punishment of the tribes’ belligerence to the lawmakers and council of lords of Agatha. And yet, Finnian was
convinced by Foxfingers to accept some of the volunteers from the Barbarian tribes into the Agatha irregulars. Some of the Barbarians had felt that Malric’s power-hungry crusade had doomed their people to ruination and condemnation and they sought revenge as appropriate. Finnian chose to separate the Barbarian volunteers into their own battalion though, so as to keep the conflict between the allied Barbarians and Agatha Knights as light as possible. Aside for some isolated incidents, Finnian’s foresight was mostly prescriptive and preventative.
It was a fairly unpopular choice for Malric to abandon his Barbarian allies to their fate; the lords loyal to the Mason Order began to fret about Malric’s strategy for continuing the war and his ability to lead the rest of remnants of the rebellion. However, ever since the defeat of Sir Teach and over half of the Mason armies in the south, Malric had become increasingly more despondent and depressed. He often exiled himself to his private chambers for hours on end and began to regulate much of the Citadel management to his loyal lords. However, because many of the powerful nobility who joined Malric had already perished or been captured in the war, most of the Mason leadership was composed of hastily-promoted from positions as soldiery and attendants of lords and knights. Their lack of political decorum and subtlety was what led the Citadel to eventually start to unravel with significant numbers of the Agatha slaves and prisoners being either executed or whipped and beaten until they fell down dead as they laboured in the mines. Malric simply allowed most of those incidents to happen though. He began to lament the fact that he had ever started the rebellion, not even finding solace in the fact that Agatha had become even more united and powerful as a result of the rebellion. For the moment, his mind was occupied with the blood and screams of thousands of Agathians and Mason men dying, thousands who he had promised a better future. His melancholy was not lifted in the slightest as he caught sight of the sea of blue and gold banners of Agatha being lifted over the hills and near the Citadel’s walls. With whatever strength he could muster up, Malric commanded his men to ready themselves for the “pivotal battle of this war.” He later wrote in his journal, “If we are to fall this day, and I think that we shall, then let us be buried wearing our sins like royal finery. Let no man say that the Mason Order did not adhere to what it preached, even as it burned and died to the last man.”
Finnian Guld and Foxfingers knew full well that the Siege of the Citadel was going to be the final battle in the war- the volcanic Terrowin Citadel had been designed with no means of escape aside from the hills leading southward, the same hills occupied by the Agatha Knights. The mighty Terrowin family always adhered to the belief that if one was beaten in battle, death must follow swiftly afterwards, lest the family be shamed by weakness. So, the Agatha Knight leadership spread the word amongst their armies; there would be no retreat and no surrender in this battle for either side. Either the Agatha Knights were going to end the Mason rebellion once and for all or none of them would live on to tell the rest of the kingdom how they had failed. Not a man in the Agatha Knights kept their voices to themselves as they shouted out with righteous fury- they vowed to have the news of their victory reach their homes, no exceptions made. With the two Agathian armies fresh and prepared with siege engines, the Siege of the Citadel began in earnest almost immediately.
In truth, the Siege of the Citadel was more of a storming. The rounds of catapult and ballistae fire had wracked the Citadel’s outermost walls for barely under a day when the first charge was made. Said first charge was made up almost exclusively of the Barbarian volunteers. Confused and frightened by their once-allies’ change of heart and ferocity, many of the remaining Mason defenders fled deeper into the castle compound. Those that stood to fight were cut down by the wrath of the Barbarian warriors. They were joined shortly afterwards by the main bulk of the Agatha Knights who bore battering rams to bring down the gate leading to the next ring of the castle. However, the charge against the castle gate proved to be disastrous. Molten iron, a commonality in the Citadel’s ever-burning forges, was poured en-masse onto the attacking men, combined with the dead-zone makeup of the space between the first and second walls (there was very little cover, it was almost entirely uphill, and the land was brittle and dry from the heat, making it hard for large numbers of men to move up it at once), caused the Agatha Knights to take very high casualties. However, it was Foxfingers’ ingenuity and his skill at rallying the Barbarian warriors that helped keep the hope for an Agatha victory alive. He and the Barbarian warriors uprooted the Mason ballistae which had been positioned on the walls for defence and moved them so that they could fire directly against the defenders of the second wall and directly into the next gate. It was an awkward, arduous process, but eventually the gate fell and the main bulk of the Agatha Knights streamed forward, deeper into the Citadel.
In the open volcanic plains, the Agatha Knights reclaimed their upper hand in the battle. With Finnian at their head, the Mason defenders were slowly beat back into castle’s towers and smithies. Even the famed Mason archers could hardly dent the ranks of the Agathians as they poured into what would be considered the Citadel’s castle town where the open spaces could allow the full brunt of Agatha’s might to be brought to bear. As the battle escalated, Foxfingers took a detachment of mobile troops to free the slaves in the Citadel from their chains of servitude. With most of the Mason force occupied elsewhere, many of the prisoners were freed with minimal resistance. And once the chains were shattered, the weapons of the fallen were taken up in newly-freed hands and were soon put to work repaying the Mason Order for their sins. And of sins there were plenty. With Malric still absent from the battlefield, the Mason lords and knights took it upon themselves to restore order to their breaking ranks. First, they executed the prisoners nearest to them, serving as an example to the Agatha Knights that any victory against the Order would prove costly. Secondly, fleeing Mason soldiers were similarly executed and the effect was similar. The Mason soldiers knew there was going to be no retreating from the battle, so they committed themselves evermore, even driving back the Agatha advance in vital places. Still, the strength of valour triumphed over the strength of fear, and the Mason Order was eventually driven into the Citadel’s inner walls.
On the inner walls, as the combined forces of Agatha Knights, their Barbarian allies, newly-freed prisoners, and irregulars from the common villages of Old Agatha, came into view, something remarkable happened. The Mason Order soldiers along the walls turned their backs to the Agatha Knights and began firing their arrows and bolts into the Mason ranks. Soon, others followed suit, opening the gates to the Knights and rushing alongside them, often stripping off their Mason colours and armour and falling in alongside the irregulars and Barbarians. Foxfingers made it a point to separate the prisoners from the Mason converts though, lest the two cause more harm than good on the battlefield. With that sudden changing of sides, however, the tide was distinctly against the Masons. And they knew this. This was why, when the combined Agatha forces broke down the door to Malric’s inner sanctum, Lord Terrowin himself was armed and armoured in all his terrible war attire.
With grim determination, he strode forth into the Mason ranks alongside his royal bodyguard and lords. Unbelievably, that small group was warriors seemed to be enough to shatter the Agatha ranks and push them outside of the inner sanctum. Even Foxfingers fell as he tried to fight off the storm of steel that was Malric Terrowin. Yet the Agatha Knights had come too far to be denied. The battle increased in deadly intensity until the numbers of Malric’s bodyguard finally seemed to thin. Then, seemingly by fate’s hand, Finnian Guld came to face Malric in single combat. The two warriors clashed with such ferocity that both of them had broken their favoured bastard swords and had to be re-equipped by the weapons on the ground left behind by the dead. Using everything from flails to pole-hammers to hatchets, the two dueled like none had ever seen before. Eventually, it seemed as though Finnian was on the verge of defeat. Barely able to lift his weapon or even his body, he sunk to his knees and Malric placed a scavenged broadsword at the knight’s neck. Before the blow could be struck, though, the thudding of crossbows was heard and when Finnian next looked up, Malric Terrowin stood with half a dozen bolts in his chest. And yet, it was said he had no anguish or fury on his face at that moment. Only a quiet, solemn acceptance. It was said he nodded in acknowledgement to Finnian and then at the Agatha and Mason men who he had been fighting against and then he fell onto his back, dead.
With that, the remaining Mason Order soldiers in the Citadel threw down their arms. The Agathian Civil War had come to its bloody, definitive end.
After the Siege of the Citadel had concluded, the rest of the Agatha prisoners were freed and the remaining Mason soldiers were made prisoners. However, before the prisoners and freed men could be moved back to the Agatha heartlands, one final effort remained. Finnian Guld demanded that the Terrowin Citadel be brought down completely. Crews were set up with bombs and siege engines to bring down the walls, buildings, and keep of the Citadel, reducing the entire fortress to rubble in less than a week. With that, Finnian’s commanders were scattered across the Agatha heartland to spread the word of the Mason Order’s defeat and to root out and remaining pockets of resistance. Many of the Mason Order’s soldiers decided to convert back to the Agathian culture. Despite the backlash of the Agathian peasantry who still had the harsh memories of the Civil War fresh in their minds, the Mason men endured, helping to rebuild the towns, villages, and castles they had damaged in the war. Meanwhile, Finnian proceeded back south at all speed into Stonehills Valley to gather the young Agathian Argon heirs and install them on the throne. When the heirs took power, still ruling under the regency of Finnian Guld, their first royal decree was to attempt a cultural integration of the Agathians and the Barbarian tribes, following the example of the Mason men who managed to befriend such a vastly different culture. As the rebuilding process began, the heirs and Finnian promised a brighter future and a stronger Agatha, one born out of the strength of living through adversity rather than strength through conquest and ambition.
So there it is children, the final nail in this coffin where I have buried several hours of my free time. Hopefully it enlightened some and entertained most! And if not, I always more more Lorequests I can do!
I think I’m doing Shadow of the Colossus next!
It’s going to take foreeeeeever.
Good luck, you brave writer folk!