|The Thorn War|
|Place: The Gilded Lands|
| Outcome: Elven victory
The Gilded Lands
|Commanders and Leaders:|
2000+ Elven defenders
10,000+ Troll Invaders
|Casualties and Losses:|
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The Thorn Wars is a series of conflicts between the Forest trolls of the Wild Woods, and the elves of the Gilded Lands. Whilst the rivalry between the two forces has continued for thousands of years, the greatest of their battles occurred at the start of what would be known as the Thorn Wars. This initial Thorn War, which occurred only some two hundred years after the Troll Wars themselves, nearly brought the Elven houses of the Gilded Lands to their knees. House Lancel was obliterated in the fighting, while the lands of House Eyvor, Wyrmstorm and Dawngrasp were battered, taking years to truly recover.
With the end of the Troll wars, many within the elven kingdom believed the Forest trolls too shattered to mount any form of attack. The Gilded Lands, which was largely untouched by the conflict save along it's eastern and southern borders, had grown complacent in the years to follow. While the battle hardened veterans of the Troll War still lived, many had, after the war ended, retreated into their domains to live amidst the titles and riches earned in the grueling conflict. Only the houses of Dawngrasp, Eyvor and Wyrmstorm remained vigilant, for their borders were often the source of skirmishes with the forest troll survivors.
It was not until the rise of a troll warlord named Taka amid the dominant tribe of the region, the Thornwood, that the true threat of the forest trolls was made clear. Taka's rise could not have come at a better time, for many of the elven houses had begun to let down their guard. Inter-conflict amidst the elven houses for power, land and wealth created friction amidst the nobility. So focused upon quelling their own turmoil, they could not mount a proper defense, and it would not be for some time before Taka was finally slain, taking with him the lords of several houses and a great deal of their forces.
Summary of Events Edit
In the aftermath of the Troll Wars, many of the elven houses within the Gilded Lands had been richly rewarded for their services. The names of Indaris, Dawngrasp, Aetherveil and more were lauded and well rewarded with all manner of titles and wealth. In particular, the House of Indaris was made one of the guardian houses of the new elven faith based upon the teachings of both arcane and the light. Such high esteemed praise did little to quell any sense of pride or ego these houses held.
The first sign of trouble amidst the elves came with the death of lord Aragas Indaris, who was slain in an ambush whilst travelling along the road to Ebonwood, home of house Wyrmstorm. The youngest son of Lord Alaran Indaris, his death spurred all manner of accusations against House Dawngrasp and that of its neighbor and progenitor, House Blackfyre. The House of Indaris claimed the two conspired to assassinate the boy in order to weaken an Alliance between Wyrmstorm and Indaris. After all, Alaran was travelling to meet with Wyrmstorm's youngest daughter Avaria in order to potentially secure both a marriage and alliance.
With the houses of Dawngrasp, Wyrmstorm, Indaris and Blackfyre at each other's throats, other houses began to seek out more power in the chaos. Saderis and Mournwood, longstanding rivals, launched a string of political attacks against one another in the hopes of claiming sole control of the trade within the Sin'dal river. House Indaris backed that of Saderis, while Dawngrasp aided those of Mournwood, hoping to undermine their efforts.
As chaos descended in the Gilded Lands, only House Eyvor was truly watching the borders. The house noted with increasing frequency as the forest trolls of the Wild Woods, thought pacified for two hundred years, had begun to grow more aggressive. Their warnings fell on deaf ears as for years the trolls continued to probe and probe the borders. With alarming frequency house Eyvor found more and more tribes had begun their attack. Fearing an assault, the house shored up its defenses and sent a warning to their allies of Wyrmstorm.
Start of the War Edit
The first attacks against the elves were little more than probing efforts, to gauge the defenses of the Gilded Lands. For years the trolls of the Wild Woods had been slowly rallying under the banner of a fearsome warlord named Taka. Born of the Thornwood tribe, the troll known as Taka looked upon the scattered remnants of his people who fought one another for scraps and found great fury. The legacy of the Amani Empire, nay of all trolls was the right to rule. His gaze fell upon the elves to the west, who fattened themselves on lands that belonged to the trolls. As his people starved, the elves never went hungry. As his people died, the elves never found hardship. So it was that Taka swore he would see the elves destroyed.
Taka went from tribe to tribe, preaching a message of unity bound in the bloodshed of their hated foes. Many of the tribes resisted; those who did not bend the knee were broken under the iron ruthlessness of Taka. As word of his victories spread amidst the Wild Woods, more and more swore their cause to the warlord, for he had one thing many trolls lacked; vision. Yet he did not attack right away. Instead for years he probed the defenses of the Gilded Lands, finding the weak points.
Coordinating with the chieftain of the Thornheart, a mighty warrior named Gambani, Taka decided to launch a two pronged assault. The bulk of his army would march from the east, shattering the lands of Dawngrasp and Blackfyre before spreading across all the Gilded Lands. In order to ensure no one would assist, Taka called for Gambani to lead a second force from the south in order to smash into the lands of Eyvor and Wyrmstorm. Once he was done there, Gambani's forces would travel north to surround Dawngrasp who was, at the time, the strongest of the border houses.
The assault came in the spring, two hundred and ten years after the end of the Troll War. Taka's assault could not have been better planned, for the elves had fallen into chaos and distrust of one another. Their focus was turned inward into politics and internal conflicts, and so the defenses of the borders had grown lax. Without warning the trolls struck against the South and the East.
The Southern conflict Edit
The Taking of Ebonwood Edit
As Taka's forces waged war upon the east, the trolls under the command of Gambani smashed into the defenses of house Wyrmstorm and Eyvor. Much of the borders were simply patrolled by rangers and warded by magic and totems, and so had little in the way of actual walls. Various towers lined the perimeter as well as two forts, but the main defense was that of the Silver Gates within House Wyrmstorm's lands, which served to funnel many of the troll's attacks into a smaller bottleneck, or risk being picked apart within the trees. So it was that Gambani's first target was the Silver Gates.
For years he had sent forces against the gate, testing its defenses and just how far the arrows of the elves reached. In the cover of night Gambani's forces worked on siege equipment to batter down the gates, aided by a shroud of magic not even elven eyes could pierce. The attack was swift as the elves suddenly found themselves assaulted by a massive trollish warband. Catapults battered the gate itself, while the vile alchemical magic of the rotvine tribe, ally of the Thornheart, weakened the foundation. In a matter of hours the gates were broken, and the trolls given access to the lands of Wyrmstorm.
So swift was the attack that Wyrmstorm's ruler, Lord Vandus, could not organize a proper defense. Realizing quickly that the trolls would pick apart his forces piecemeal, Vandus instead called for an evacuation of the outlying towns to his fortress of Ebonmere. Fort Greyrock and Steelstone held against the trolls as long as they could, buying the people of Wyrmstorm ample time to retreat to the safety of Ebonmere. In the end, both forts were demolished and its guards slaughtered. Gambani's forces besieged the fortress of Ebonmere, though found themselves unable to breach its walls. As the trolls ran rampant across his lands, Vandus sent a call for aid from the other houses of the Gilded Lands.
Eyvor's defenses Edit
The lands of Eyvor however held firm. For years they had watched the rampant trolls grow bolder and bolder. Though their warnings fell upon mostly deaf ears, they would not sit idly by as the trolls grew stronger. The house wisely stayed out of the political conflicts that occurred in the rest of the Gilded Lands, instead focusing upon strengthening its defenses. As such, Gambani's invasion found far stronger resistance in Eyvor's lands.
As Gambani ran rampant across the Ebonwood, the troll warlord sent even more of his army westward, in the hopes of smashing Eyvor's formidable defenses. Yet the lord of the south was far more cunning than the trolls had suspected. Lord Wyland Eyvor, a veteran of the Troll Wars, had prepared long for the return of the Forest Trolls. His keen eyed rangers were able to keep the trolls back, whilst his sorcerers dispelled their dark magics. Gambani was faced with a difficult decision. He could abandon the lands of Wyrmstorm and launch all his might against Eyvor, or travel north to aid Taka against house Dawngrasp. His pride and skill as a ruler was put into question by Eyvor's defiance. With great rage Gambani lifted the siege of Ebonmere, leaving behind a token force to keep the elves from leaving before he marched westward with the bulk of his army.
The Battle of Darkmeadow Edit
Over a week had passed and Eyvor's borders had yet to be breached. Furious at the failure of his subordinates, Gambani launched all of his forces against house Eyvor, burning their way through Ebonwood's towns and villages. Eyvor's tenacity however had bought time, and as the trolls marched they found themselves checked near the town of Meadowbrook, upon the lands of house Eyvor. The hilly meadow that bridged the lands of Eyvor and Wyrmstorm was a perfect spot for the elves to make a stand, for the grasslands allowed the elven army complete vision over their enemy.
If Gambani retreated he would have been slaughtered by the hit and run tactics of the elves. Yet if he could break the elves here, it would crack open the defenses of Eyvor and allow the south to fall in short order. With a great roar, Gambani ordered the charge. He outnumbered the elves, and confident in his victory, lead from the front. The archers of Eyvor took a horrific toll on the forest trolls, before the trollish army smashed into the elven line. Slowly the elves were pushed back under the overwhelming numbers of the trolls. The trolls had fallen into Wyland's trap.
With a blaring of horns the trap was sprung. As the elves of Eyvor were pushed back, reinforcements from house Aetherveil and Indaris, who had ridden hard from their lands for days, smashed into the backlines of Gambani. Having hidden themselves some leagues away in the nearby hills, their arrival was a shock to the forest trolls, who had believed Eyvor's forces alone. Atherveil's feared cavalry, under the command of lady Salaira, smashed into the army of Gambani like the hammer of a god, while the spears and swords of the Indaris guard under lord Alaran cut through the backline of the trolls like a whirlwind.
In the chaos of the melee Gambani was killed, riddled with arrows and skewered by the spears of Eyvor. With the death of Gambani the forest trolls broke, finding themselves surrounded and leaderless. With ruthless efficiency the elves of Eyvor, Indaris and Aetherveil slaughtered the retreating trolls, turning the meadows vibrant green black with troll blood. Having shattered the main army, the elven forces marched to relieve Ebonmere, breaking the trolls that yet held the fortress siege. Their attention then turned northward, where the bulk of the troll invasion was.
The Eastern Conflict Edit
The Fall of House Lancel Edit
The lands of House Lancel were the first to feel Taka's wrath. During the troll wars, House Lancel had inflicted a great many calamities upon the Thornwood tribe, and for generations the desire of Lancel's destruction grew. Lancel's lands were the smallest within the Gilded Lands, owing much of its protection to that of their allies, House Dawngrasp. Taka had decided to destroy their lands first to avenge the slaughter of his tribe countless years ago. Sending a small portion of his army to raid Dawngrasp's lands and keep them there, he marched with the bulk of his army to the lands of Lancel.
The forces of house Lancel were caught completely unaware. Despite aid from a cadre of rangers from Blackfyre, who were lent by house Blackfyre as a gift, Lancel could do little to hold off the large troll army. Their capital of Merrybrook was razed, and house Lancel's family was murdered by Taka, including that of its patriarch Calavant. Satisfied, Taka turned his army north to smash into the lands of Dawngrasp.
The Siege of Mornedge Edit
During the Troll Wars, the lands of House Dawngrasp were ravaged by the forest trolls. Their towns were burnt to the ground and forts besieged. Woefully unprepared, the eastern fort of Mornedge, situated on the southeastern edge of Lake Dawngrasp, was quickly demolished. In the aftermath of the conflict, the fort was rebuilt, stronger than before in order to ward off any troll attacks. Much of its garrison was made from veterans of the Troll War, who had long fought the trolls.
Without warning Taka's forces emerged from the forest's edge, smashing through the outer defenses of Dawngrasp as if they were made of little more than sticks. Caught unprepared by the slaughter of house Lancel, the lord of Dawngrasp, Valkoronas, scrambled his defenses. Realizing he could not defend all of his lands without heavy casualties and the risk of his capital being besieged, he abandoned the Eastern Grasp in order to mount a proper defense. As such, the forest trolls of Taka preyed upon the villages and people, destroying many of the towns. However in order for Taka to march westward around lake Dawngrasp, he had to either move north and waste days of travel, allowing his enemy to prepare, or smash fort Mornedge.
So it was that Taka's forces besieged the fort. Taka had heard the stories of how the fort fell rapidly during the Troll War, and believed it easy prey. As such, it was surprising for the great troll warlord to find the fort was not breaking to his iron might. he had underestimated the strength of the garrison, commanded by lord Nyvan Dawngrasp, a distant cousin to Valkoronas. For days his forces battered the walls of the fort, yet could not crack it. The element of surprise was slipping, and now time worked against him. He pleaded and threatened his hexxers, offering promise of vast wealth if they could use their magic to smash apart the fort.
Taka's wishes were to come true. Upon the sixth day a cabal of hexxers from the Hexbound tribe stood upon a rock outcropping overlooking the fort. In a chant of gibbering voices and otherworldly power that was alien to the land of Azeroth, the hexxers weaved their great and terrible spell. Fissures ran across the length of the fort, smashing apart its gate and releasing toxic, poisonous air into the fortress. In a horrific display of their magic the hexxers slaughtered the garrison, though the spell tore them apart. With the fort finally destroyed, Taka could turn his attention to the rest of Dawngrasp's lands.
The Battle of Fallen Crowns Edit
Fort Mornedge's resistance bought the elves valuable time. Nearly a week after Mornedge's destruction, the host of Taka found itself pitted against the elven army. Reinforcements from Blackfyre had arrived to aid their allies, while the forces of Indaris and Aetherveil, having aided their southern allies with securing their own lands before marching north, stood ready to defend Dawngrasp's lands. Despite the bitter rivalry the houses felt, they felt a common kinship in defending against the vile troll horde.
Taka was not perturbed. His army still outnumbered that of his foe, and with him marched all manner of tribes. Hulking berserkers and behemoth warriors fought alongside gibbering hexxers and blood mad priests. The elves however had chosen their position well to engage their foe; Dawngrasp lake sat to their left, securing their flank. The two forces assembled their battle lines, ready for bloodshed. The soldiers of Indaris and Aetherveil would hold the right flank, while Dawngrasp and Blackfyre took the center.
With a terrible warcry, Taka launched his attack. There was little subtlety in his assault, for he relied upon the overwhelming numbers of his army. Arrows and spellfire slaughtered his army, while his own hexxers and axe throwers took a bloody toll on the elves. With all the might at his command he smashed into the heart of the elven forces.
The cavalry of aetherveil and Indaris smashed into the trolls flanks repeatedly, while the spears of Blackfyre and Dawngrasp held the trolls at bay. The battle became a meatgrinder, as more and more on each side were slaughtered. Hoping to break the battle, Lord Dondarius Blackfyre, patriarch of House Blackfyre challenged Taka to single combat. While Dondarius was a war hero of the Troll War, he was cut down by the troll warlord. Dondarius' death weakened the morale of the elves, and slowly they began to give ground. Hoping to salvage the situation, Lord Valkoronas rode into the heart of the melee beside that of his son, Belon, in the hopes of killing Taka. They knew if the troll warlord were to fall, his army would be shattered.
Unperturbed, Taka smote the two with ease. With the lords of Blackfyre and Dawngrasp dead, the elven ranks were near ready to break. It was not until Valkoronas' second son, Lord Illureth, killed Taka that the elves found their courage once more. Eager for revenge for the death of his father and brother, Illureth charged against the unstoppable will of Taka. While reports are conflicting, it is clear that Illureth was able to finally kill the warlord. With the death of their leader, the forest trolls broke and ran, chased by the vengeful elves of Dawngrasp.
It is clear the Thorn War benefited house Dawngrasp in the long run. With house Lancel's destruction, the lands were given to the new lord of Dawngrasp, Illureth. His dominion growing larger, Illureth was able to negotiate the uncertain waters of the political landscape this new appointment gave, as well as settle past grievances with house Indaris. Reconstruction began on the various homes and forts destroyed in the conflict, with aid being sent to the beleaguered house Wyrmstorm.
Historians argue as to whether or not Dawngrasp was partially responsible for the rise of Taka. Their negligence in spotting the frequent attacks came under harsh attack by the court of Silvermoon, who had watched the events of the Thorn War and nearly stepped in to take control of the situation. Undoubtedly such would have caused all manner of tension with the more independently minded rulers of the Gilded Lands. What is certain is Dawngrap's domains grew and gained several key allies, including that of Wyrmstorm.
House Wyrmstorm was able to recuperate its losses and rebuild its battered holdings. Fort Greystone and Steelstone were rebuilt, with the latter being renamed Borderwatch. To recognize the deeds of Wyrmstorm's brave defenders and their sacrifice, Ebonmere was renamed to Thornbane Hold. Wary now of further troll incursions, the borders were reinforced with even more rangers. As well, the nobility began to mount incursions into the forest to gain honor and prestige as they hunted their trollish rivals.
It is a source of heated argument as to why Silvermoon did not intervene in the conflict. While the Gilded Lands, particularly that of its southern borders, are some distance away, there was no clear evidence as to whether or not Silvermoon had planned to march in assistance. Scholars within the Gilded Lands claimed Silvermoon had no intention of arriving until after the Trolls had caused massive damage, forcing Silvermoon to intervene on behalf of the notoriously independently minded houses of the Gilded Lands and by doing so strip some of their independence, forcing them to rely more and more on Silvermoon's aid. This belief was supported by some of the more notable houses, namely that of Indaris.
The Forest Trolls emerged battered and broken in the wake of their defeat. Without the iron will of Taka holding them together, the trolls splintered apart and waged war upon one another. Several tribes were destroyed or assimilated, and their attacks against the elves died down to a near peace like state. While warbands continued to strike, they never again had the same strength as they once did.
Yet within the Forest Trolls a new religion began to form. A priesthood arose in the wake of Taka's death that venerated the Troll warlord. His most loyal sycophants began to worship the dead warlord, believing his spirit became one of the trolls mysterious loa. It was believed that his spirit would be reborn again in a chosen warlord, born under a certain star in a certain time. There the reborn spirit of Taka would lead his people to victory over the hated elves.
In the years to follow, Illureth Dawngrasp formed a treaty amidst the various rulers of the Gilded Lands that would pledge their aid to Dawngrasp's defense, should the need arise. The treaty, backed by Silvermoon itself, ensured that so long as Dawngrasp remained part of the Gilded Lands, its borders would be protected and with it, the rest of the Gilded Lands. Known as the Dawnsworn Concordant, the pledge held for several thousand years. It was not until recently was it broken, with the dismissal of House Dawngrasp from the Gilded Lands following the mysterious absence of its patriarch Vaeldris in the wake of Prince Kael’thas’ betrayal. Orchestrated by House Indaris, this move ensured that Dawngrasp would remain alone in the conflicts that would arise.