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Siege of Trembaloo

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The Siege of Trembaloo

 

While it is certainly true that the Siege of Trembaloo was the beginning of the end for the infamous Lord Kinlo, it was in fact the beginning of a great many Epic things.

 


 

The Axe Man Cometh

 

It was late in the year 18,079 (TLFotUM), and bad tidings had come to roost in Trembaloo. All across Battal, the Khith-Cohoris-Wutel alliance was spreading blood and fire and death. They had already swept north, following the coast through Parsonya-that-was, through the regions of Blee and Terle, raping and pillaging their way through Lol'thoriun and Rof'lhoriun and Kaladira before putting those great cities to the torch. And now, the scouts who were returning home tied to their mounts, arrows in their backs, sent a very clear message: the forces of Lord Kinlo were marching on Trembaloo.

 

It had been widely believed that Trembaloo's strong position would discourage the Khith-Cohoris-Wutel, who were not conquerors so much as barbarians. They did not wish to rule; they wished to terrorize and pillage and move on. And while Trembaloo Pass was indeed the shortest route to Mandleclang, Upsy Mountain Pass was not far, was significantly less protected, and would see Kinlo's forces through the Howling Mountains just as well. Knowing all of this, the people of Trembaloo had considered themselves safe.

 

But they were wrong.

 

First Blood

 

Dark tidings were soon followed by the dark armies of Lord Kinlo. Early evacuation efforts by the city elders moved slowly, however, for two reasons. First, many of the city's inhabitants did not believe that the Khith-Cohoris-Wutel could breach the outer eastern battlements. Second, even if said battlements were breached, there were two more rings that would have to be breached before the city itself could be assaulted, during which time the city folk could easily depart via the western gates.

 

For the first three months of the siege, it was not really much of a siege. Regular commerce continued through the western gates, while Kinlo's forces remained tightly bottled in the pass. Optimism briefly reigned supreme across much of Battal, for Lord Kinlo had finally, it appeared, made a fatal mistake. If his army turned to flee, the forces of Trembaloo would cut them down from behind.

 

This news, of course, attracted a great many would-be warriors, excited by the prospect of being personally involved in the "siege" that would surely end Kinlo's reign of terror. Much to the consternation of Earl Montgarte D'Raspcalligan, the Trembaloo Fighting and Drinking Guild was organized to coordinate these migrant warriors, and the increased commerce actually slowed the westward evacuation of the city's civilians.

 

Then S'yrf'yl the Immortal arrived with more bad news.

 

Cut Off

 

"Fools! You have had months--months--and not even one in ten have fled. Even now, a detachment of the Khith-Cohoris-Wutel come south from Graha to rejoin their master at the west end of the Trembaloo Pass. And when they do not find him there, they will come here. And then? Then you will be besieged in truth."

 

--S'yrf'yl the Immortal, in The Misplaced Givings

 

Unbeknownst to the residents of Trembaloo, Lord Kinlo had sent a large detachment to clear out any would-be ambushers who might be holed up in the Upsy Mountain Pass. This detachment was now marching south through the region of Graha toward the western end of the Trembaloo Pass. S'yrf'yl immediately took it upon himself to evacuate as many innocents as possible; however, for every one he saved, hundreds remained trapped behind. Among those he saved was a small child with a large destiny; a child named Wayjere Ovelkus, whose father, Elkus Ootvalley, commanded the forces on the second western wall.

 

Looking out into the sea of crabs which were surging forth in this assault, Elkus could see that the outer wall had already been breeched. The chitanous siege towers constructed by the attackers rose too suddenly from the midst of the attackers, invisible until they were pressed into service. This tactic had overwhelmed the first line of defenders.

 

His arrows exhausted, he redoubled his grip on the hilt of his blade and tensed his body, preparing for the fight ahead. "Goodbye wife, goodbye Wayjere my son. Keep safe." he whispered as the first Wutel began scaling the second wall, where Elkus stood.

 

-- The Misplaced Givings

 

The second wall repulsed the invaders, but now the siege had truly begun.

 

Epic Deeds

 

Lord Kinlo's next move was to unleash the arch-fiend Phgoorikus against the eastern walls. The first and second walls took nearly one year to breach, but while slow, Phgoorikus seemed unstoppable. The court Wizard Mardrangion pondered the problem, wondering aloud on may occasions how Lord Kinlo was keeping an arch-fiend properly fed and motivated in such inhospitable conditions. A scout finally observed certain weekly rituals atop the nearby Mountain of A'aa wherein various prisoners were ritualistically sacrificed.

 

Wielding Nhek'miggon'uil, one of the legendary 100 Swords of Sepathok, the mighty tragic hero Navrid the Unscrupulously Heroic set off to slay the arch-fiend. Navrid and his plucky companions fought an Epic battle with Phgoorikus on the Mountain of A'aa and bested him, only to have him return to life in a larger, uglier, and much more powerful 'true form'. Another battle ensued, even more epic than the first, but Navrid's comrades prevailed once more. This prompted Phgoorikus to reveal yet another, even more absurdly powerful 'true form'. Defeat seemed inevitable, until Navrid, with what his comrades would later describe as 'a really shifty smirk', casually drew Nhek'miggon'uil and stabbed the towering fiend in the big toe, destroying him utterly.

 

Encouraged by the success, the court Wizard Mardrangion's wife attempted to infiltrate Lord Kinlo's camp and slay him while he slept. She was not heard from again and this is widely accepted as the cause of one of her deaths. In his grief and rage, her husband destroyed a thousand Wutel in history's most uniquely inspired and singularly unbelievable execution of Magniloquent palavercation. The effort left him comatose; it is believed that he survived the rest of the siege only because the Khith charged with cleanup mistook him for a corpse. (More information about the remarkable lifespans of Mardrangion and Mau'de can be found in their respective entries.)

 

It was 18,085 before the third eastern wall finally fell. The Cohoris Guard took to the task with relish, acting as shock troops when the walls were finally breached. This surprise success helped restore what can be generously described as a "tarnished" reputation; half the remaining population of the city perished in the relentless onslaught. Women, children, and the elderly were slain alongside their men and their warriors. The streets ran red with the blood of the innocent.

 

The quick-thinking Elkus Ootvalley is credited with evacuating the survivors into the area between the second and third western walls. Navrid the Unscrupulously Heroic died executing Elkus' plan, but Elkus lifted Nhek'miggon'uil from the hero's body and used it to personally fend off Lord Kinlo while the last of the civilians escaped. Elkus ordered the gates closed, held Kinlo off for a short time, then threw himself from the side of the mountain to prevent his powerful weapon from falling into enemy hands.

 

The Fall of Trembaloo

 

It took another four months for the exhausted Khith-Cohoris-Wutel alliance to breach the last of the western walls. During this time, a small number of scouts managed to sneak past the western siege and reach Middleclang. Upon requesting reinforcements, these haggard souls were told that reinforcements would have been sent, but everyone was too busy preparing their own defenses. This dishonorable abandonment of Trembaloo is still a black point of shame in the history of Mandleclang and, indeed, much of central and western Battal.

 

Those residents of Trembaloo who were not immediately slain were taken prisoner and subjected to the twisted whims of the Khith-Cohoris-Wutel as servants and laborers.

 

Aftermath

 

It would be almost 11 years before 18,097 brought the end of the terribly brutal reign of Lord Kinlo. Weakened by the siege, the Khith-Cohoris-Wutel did not march on to Middleclang, instead plaguing villages and farms across the countryside for several years before returning to the full-scale butchery of entire cities. Shamed somewhat by their failure to help at Trembaloo, several rulers did eventually dispatch forces to directly assault the Khith-Cohoris-Wutel armies.

 

But for Trembaloo, it was too late. The city would rise again, but it would never be the same bastion of commercial and cultural magnificence.

 

Speculation

 

It does bear noting that Lord Kinlo made a few illogical strategic decisions, ostensibly leading to his ultimate defeat (albeit over a decade later). Some chalk this up to mere ineptitude; others call it a momentary lapse in judgment. But conspiracy theorists of Battal point out anient passages which note:

 

The powers of Temporal Elemenstation were sealed away on the highest peak of the Howling Mountains by The First Magic Sword King, King Ronard.

 

--Refound Factions of the Lost Factions of the Unknown Misgivings Trilogy (Quoted in The Misplaced Givings)

 

Did Lord Kinlo actually siege Trembaloo while pursuing one possible method of slaying his sworn enemies, the Four Underdogs? For certainly his was a history wrought by timesorc'ley, and what better way to pursue an enemy a thousand years in the future than to manipulate Timenes itself?

 

Canonically, the only certainty is that Kinlo's reign of terror ended in 18,097, and a thousand years later he also fought the Four Underdogs. But Fan Fiction has, as Fan Fiction inevitably must, explored the possibilities in somewhat more detail.

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