The Battle of Yarathera occurred in 1802 AS when the forces of the necromancer Súlomyn the Black, aided by Iliya of Matlisan, tried to overthrow the Ashani stronghold and destroy the priesthood of Alqawen. The battle ended in a spectacular magical duel when the goddess herself made her presence known on the battlefield in answer to the demonic summonings of the necromancer.
Sulomyn always had a deep hatred for the Ashani, but especially for Kyriana Alqaviliya and Tarantar the Red, who were among those adventurers most irksome to his schemes. While Tarantar has vanished and is assumed long dead Sulomyn has focused his ire against Kyriana. Beginning in 1773 AS, not long after Kyriana's elevation to Selviliya, Sulomyn began to devise a convoluted plan to strike down his old foe and devastate the Ashani's most sacred place. Slowly, and carefully, the necromancer began to probe the defenses of Yarathera, gathering what information he could without drawing attention to his efforts. To this effect he investigated forms of magic previously of little interest to him. Thereby he came to use some animals as spies. Some time around the autumn of 1784 AS he discovered a fragile and ancient manuscipt containing details on Buer, an imprisioned demon of great power. The ritual required to release the demon and secure his loyalty was a costly one however, requiring numerous ingredients no longer common or easily obtained. Since the ritual was able to be performed in stages Sulomyn began the long process of gathering the supplies he needed. While consolidating his power deep within the Blackfang Mountains Sulomyn began to travel in search of those rare items needed to free Buer.
Simultaneously Sulomyn used his agents and subtle influence in an attempt to isolate Yarathera politically from its allies; while not wholly successful his efforts were not completely wasted. While he could not create rifts between Yarathera and her allies he was able to divert their attention to other matters.
By 1802 AS Sulomyn's forces were finally arrayed and prepared for battle. Orchestrated tensions between Akaryth and Almederi had focused the attention and military might of Keledon, Lathan and other nations elsewhere. Over the last two years he had prepared himself well, and had an agent within Yarathera.
BetrayalEditSeeking a way to acquire an agent within Yarathera, Sulomyn wisely elected to recruit an ally better suited to the task than he himself. Iliya of Matlisan was publically a wealthy hieress and socialite famed for her beauty and business sense but secretly, and known only to a very select few (including Sulomyn), was a powerful priestess of Kenetha. Iliya herself undertook the task of finding a possible target among the Selviliya's people and succeeded in 1800 AS. Elym sa-Selthera was a young Ashani man and son of Maryth sa-Selthera, a trusted priestess and confidant of the Selviliya. Chiefly, she also served as chamberlain of the Selviliya's personal quarters. Iliya was, naturally, incredibly skilled in the art of temptation and was easily able to divine the secret desires of her mark. Elym was a bitter young man, always feeling that his accomplishments went unnoticed, his skills as a woodsman unappreciated. Seeing his need for recognition, Iliya carefully concealed her true identity and appearance, and found him during one of his long and solitary walks in the lands surrounding Yarathera. Entranced by her beauty and kindness, Elym slowly began to slip under her spell. Over the next few months he came to visit her more and more often, complaining of his ill treatment at the hands of the world and seeking solace in her compassion. Slowly she planted a seed in his mind, an idea that he merely needed the right opportunity to show all his true worth. As he fell further under her spell she began to ask questions concerning the work of mother.
On the night before Sulomyn's assembling forces launched their attack Iliya entertained Elym at her she home in the forests. Knowing that the Selviliya and her closest companions were a few leagues distant on an isolated retreat with the shamans of the Emenashani, Iliya convinced the young man to steal the keys to the Selviliya's apartments so that they might visit her personal chapel within, fulfilling a lifelong dream of hers. Weakened by wine and the subtle suggestions of Iliya, he readily agreed. Soon after they found themselves within the small chapel, standing before the altar on which sat the regalia of the Selviliya (save the ring, which she bore still). In that place, Iliya made her move, luring Emyn in close with her kiss and slipping a dagger into his back. Wrapping the Staff in a cloak she swiftly fled back towards the forest, finding a high cliff from which to observe the coming battle.
In the middle of a bright afternoon in early Spring, 1802 AS, Sulomyn's forces attacked Yarathera in a two-pronged assault, approaching the town from both the north and south. Using the power of Buer, the necromancer was able to quickly capture and dispatch advance scouts before they could alert the tow. Hidden by a spell of invisibility Sulmoyn himself waited not far from the heart of the battle, preparing the final incantations to release the captive demon's full strength. Cunningly his lieutenants concealed the true power of their forces and were able to lure out the Ashani forces slowly over the course of the battle. Once beyond the safety of the settlement's walls the Ashani were quickly surrounded. Rather than obliterate them immediately, Sulomyn ordered his forces to slowly pick off Ashani soldiers, allowing time for the Selviliya herself to recieve word and arrive. Desperately the Ashani forces launched an all-out assault and found themselves making far better headway against their foes than they had imagined possible. It was a clever feint on the part of the necromancer, made possible by the magic of the demon that allowed him to wield his forces as one thing, like a blade in his hand. As the Ashani cut a wide swath through the attacking horde Sulomyn revealed himself and, raising his hand, unleashed a poisonous fog among the nearest Ashani. The skies dimmed as the dark sorcerer drew forth a great storm from the skies and lightning lashed the ground among the defending fighters. In response to this new challenge, the Selviliya herself came forth at last, newly arrived from her retreat and furious at the theft of her staff, which limited her ability to call on the Lady's power and made it impossible for her to manifest through her priestess. Nonetheless, Kyriana Alqaviliya was a mighty mage in her own right and, fighting powerfully among her people, she seemed almost able to turn the tide of things. At this moment of hope Sulomyn unleashed Buer from captivity. Towering over the field of battle the mighty demon rose up in a column of flame and lightning. He unleashed a mighty strike that drove the Selviliya to her knees. However she rose and countered with great magics of her own. The sky darkened further as the two strove against each other admist the chaos of the surrounding battle. Eventually even the might of the Selviliya can be exhausted, and she soon began to weaken under Buer's relentless assault. Simultaneously Sulomyn's forces pressed the Ashani back into the walls of their settlement and prepared to make a final assault on its gates. The sight of the Selviliya beginning to fall before her foe sent waves of panic rippling through the Ashani ranks and they began to break. Soon, the Selviliya fell and was captured, and her people were taken as well. Sulomyn's lieutenants ordered the prisoners bound but left alive, and gathered them together. The Selviliya was not among them.
When Iliya slipped her blade into Elym's back she fled immediately, and not wait to see if the young Ashan was yet dead. Seeing his betrayal, and hearing the alarms being raised throughout the town, he forced himself to his feet and staggered out into the courtyard. Beyond the walls the battle had already begun in earnest. Finding a horse still tethered there, he pulled himself onto its back and galloped towards the forest. There he found Iliya's dwelling empty. But Elym's skill at tracking was good, and he soon found Iliya standing atop the cliff. Wincing, he drew her dagger from his own back and silently approached the unsuspecting priestess. Springing forth he stabbed at her, driving the dagger into her back. She spun around to face him, wide-eyed, and gloated, telling him that he would finally have the fame and recognition he craved--he would known as the great betrayer of his people for all time. Clutching the wrapped staff, Elym turned back towards her, and with it, stuck her a mighty blow that sent her hurtling off the cliff. She was not seen again, though her body was never discovered.
Elym made his way back to his horse, the strength ebbing from his limbs and he raced back towards Yarathera.
The gates of Yarathera were rent assunder, the Selviliya fallen and captured, and her people gathered together as prisoners in the great central square of the city. As the light of day slowly began to fade Sulomyn strode forth onto the great stone plinth from which the Selviliya would address her people. Beside him stood the great form of Buer, twice as tall as a man, winged and ebon, with lightning crackling in his wings and through his mane. In his great fist he clutched a heavy chain. Tugging it, he dragged forth Kyriana Alqaviliya into the dying light. She collapsed to her knees, gagged, her hands bound before her. Naked she knelt before her people who saw the wounds she bore, the marks of torture that marked her flesh, and the tears of humiliation that carved clean streaks in the blood and dirt on her face. Laughing in the glory of his victory, Sulomyn called the demon's name, and he stepped forth raising a great, heavy blade in his right hand. The gathered Ashani fell to weeping, trying to avert their gaze and spare themselves the sight of the death of their lady.
At that moment, Elym arrived, leaping over the guards and pierced by several arrows from the sentries who now spotted him. Spurring his horse to a mighty leap, Elym himself leapt from the saddle at the apex of his steed's jump and, hurtling through the air, threw the bundled staff towards the lady of Yarathera. Seeing this, Sulomyn cried out to Buer to strike, but his prisoner threw herself to the side, avoiding the stroke, and caught the bundle in her bound hands as Elym fell among the guards who then set upon him and finally ended his life.For a moment there was eerie silence and a terrible stillness fell over the assembled armies. In the fading grey of evening, a glowing aura enveloped the Selviliya and with a cry of joy she stood. A flash of light blazed forth from her, and Buer and Sulomyn both staggered under its brilliance. Into the sky it leapt, and the chains that bound Kyriana burst asunder. She raised the Staff to the sky and the clouds above her opened, revealing the clear, young night sky. From the rising moon flashed forth a beam of light, and the Selviliya was transfigured. Her wounds healed, flowing white garments appeared on her and Buer howled. Kyriana Alqaviliya, Swandaughter and Ashani mage, stood before him no longer. Now he faced Alqawen herself, a goddess manifest in the flesh and arrayed in terrible rage. The chains fell from the Ashani prisoners, who immediately turned against their fleeing guards, filled with purpose and a lust for vengeance. Buer rose to his full height and struck down at the goddess with his hell-forged blade. With a gesture she turned it aside, and with a second bound him in the chains that had bound her vessel moments before. With a voice incredible in its beauty and terrible in its wrath she commanded the demon to depart and, with a scream of agony that seemed to echo in the minds of all gathered, he vanished.
As his forces fell to the Ashani, Sulomyn was fleeing far and fast, trying to reach the borders of Ashani lands where his necromancy would be greater in strength and his magic could lead him to salvation. But Alqawen is a goddess, and despite his power, Sulomyn was simply a man. She caught him on the shores of a river, destroyed the magic he wielded, and cast him away into another world beyond our own, from which he has not returned to the knowledge of mortals.
With the battle concluded, and the goddess turned and raised her hand, healing instantly the wounds of all those who still lived. Of those who had perished she said, "As for the dead, they have passed beyond the vale of Life, which is my domain, and I will not draw them forth from their slumber. For their blood, shed to defend home and hearth, kith and kin, will ever serve as a reminder of the darkness of this day and a call to vigilance among you." The goddess departed the body of her servant and, as she had declared, the Ashani blood spilled that day stained the earth and flagstones it touched. To this day, those patches of earth, grass and stone bear those stains and the Ashani of Yarathera have never yet forgotten the lesson of that day.
The Selviliya herself worked tirelessly in the reparation of Yarathera and, through the medium of the plants and animals of the area, learned the tale of her betrayal and the subsequent events. Grimly, she allowed Elym to be buried among his people, in honour of his eventual redemption, but transplanted some of the blood-stained grass onto his grave so that, in the future, all would remember the price of his betrayal. His mother, Maryth sa-Selthera, had fallen in the battle and was, mercifully, spared the knowledge of her son's betrayal.
A search was conducted for the body of Iliya and, although blood stained rocks were found at the base of the cliff, her body was never found.
Yarathera was slowly repaired, and today it bears no sign of the assault, with the exception of the bloodstones and bloodgrass that continues to be found throughout the town and the land surrounding it.