Siege of Ta'Ashrim

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The Elanthian Times, Vol. 3, Issue 1 [1]


The Siege of Ta'Ashrim

Recorded by Mage-Captain Ehrit alYari, House Faendryl

Translated to common by Mnar Akurion


Historical Note: The following text is the logbook of Ehrit al’Yari, Mage-Captain of the Faendryl Ship (FS) Black Heron, one of the four Command ships coordinating the Faendryl assault on Ta’Ashrim during the Faendryl-Ashrim war. This text is comprised of the near-daily entries of the captain into her logbook, and remains to this day the sole surviving written accord of the assault.

Following the siege and subsequent alienation of the Faendryl, al’Yari’s logbook was published and widely read throughout the Elven empire, where it became commonly known as ‘The Siege of Ta’Ashrim’. In particular, the final entries of the logbook have been extensively studied, and are one of the most recognizable pieces of Elven historical literature available today.

Translator’s Note: Several editions of al’Yari’s logbook have been translated into common in the past, however all of these translations are based upon subsequent Elven translations of the manuscript. This edition is based upon the original Faendryl language version, and in some places comes across as being markedly different from the Elven versions. Readers of the Elven edition will note that this translation casts the Faendryl in a less-villainous light, owing perhaps to a bias on the part of Elven scholars attempting to justify their hatred of the Faendryl with coloured wording.

For ease of reading and understanding, the translator has broken the logbook into four sections, titled ‘The Fleet’, ‘The Voyage’, ‘The Confrontation’, and ‘The Genocide’. They occur chronologically over the three week course of the Faendryl assault, and each comprises a major facet of the Faendryl-Ashrim war.


Part 4

The Genocide

9 Lumnea, 093

My mages and I have devised a plan that may get us out of this yet; an end-run towards Ta’Ashrim itself, with a landing and capture of the city our ultimate goal. I realize now that the reason for our failure has been our unwillingness to use the true power of our magic, to bend the Flows and make them do our bidding.

We will show these fishermen what true magic is.


10 Lumnea, 093

[No entry recorded]


11 Lumnea, 093

[No entry recorded]


12 Lumnea, 093

[illegible]...it wasn’t supposed to happen this way... I can’t write more, another void was just spotted to starboard, and [illegible]...

...

I can’t sleep, how could I ever sleep after this? Perhaps the Gods will be merciful and close my eyes forever... but there are no gods....[illegible]ow could any Gods allow this to happen?


13 Lumnea, 093

[No entry recorded]


14 Lumnea, 093

Things have calmed down enough that I can take some time to record what has happened the past few days. The half-day of rest I got after collapsing yesterday helped, though I don’t look forward to sleep and dreams again.

The attack began better than anyone could have expected; our mages timed their strikes perfectly, the Ashrim ships in our path sank beneath the waves with barely a murmur. Even the wind helped, blowing strongly off the Ashrim coast, slowing the Ashrim but hindering our magically propelled ships not at all. The landing went exactly as planned, with our longboats depositing over two-score of warmages directly upon the shores of Ta’Ashrim’s main harbour.

I wasn’t there for what happened next, so I can only surmise based upon what I saw from the deck of the Heron, nearly a mile offshore.

Our mages were supposed to make their way through the city to the Matriarch’s palace, killing or incapacitating anyone who got in their way. Once they captured her, they were supposed to Gate back to the Heron, where we would use her life as a ransom to escape back to Ta’Faendryl.

The mages seemed to start off well, a tower of smoke could be seen rising up out of the city where they landed, slowly moving towards the Palace as they blasted their way through buildings and the militia. After about ten minutes of this relative success, we received word that the mages had breached the Palace, and had managed to capture not only the Matriarch, but her son the prince as well! Immediately a Gate was opened back to the Heron, and the mages strode through it...

...except when they came out the other side of the Gate, they were still in the ruined palace. Gates had somehow been circumvented in the area; our assault team was stuck on the Isle with a rapidly approaching fleet and a small army of Ashrim mages quite capable of overwhelming ours with sheer numbers. Our last communication with the assault team was that they were preparing for a final strike, and that we would know if it worked.

It did, and we knew.

Never before since the assault on Maelshyve had our mages been given free reign to use their powers to the fullest, to grab the Flows and pull them as hard as they wished. It was always an unspoken rule in the academies that to over-use yourself in such a manner might not only kill you and everyone around you, but also set loose such forces that the world itself would tremble. At the Palace in Ta’Ashrim over forty of our strongest warmages did just that.

There were horrors unleashed upon the Ashrim then; the skies above us opened up and thousands of burning rocks hurled down upon the islands, rending the earth apart and flattening entire cities. A wave of intense heat settled down upon the main island, slowly increasing in intensity; first causing the air to shimmer, then igniting organic materials and sending them spiraling towards the sky in a brilliant firestorm, and finally making the very bedrock glow and run like molten wax.

The other islands were not spared. All across Tashel, the second largest of the Ashrim Isles, hundreds of Gates opened across the Veil, allowing the creatures of that plane to enter our world and wreak havoc. Thousands of specters and shadows appeared out of the air and proceeded to feed their hunger for life with the souls of the Ashrim trapped upon the Isle, unable to escape or fend off the abominations.

In the smaller port city of Angral, every living thing was instantly transmuted to stone. I don’t know if the spell was permanent or if they will someday return to life, but for now they are merely basalt statues still frozen in the positions they last occupied in life, some disfigured from the intense heat of the assault, others pristine and untouched.

The Isle of Aelv suffered the worst; rather than fire or stone, they faced the same magicks we used to destroy Maelshyve, the absolution of the void. Dozens of holes in the fabric of our world appeared, much like the Gates to the Veil that appeared over Tashel, but sucking substance through them rather than allowing access to ours plane. Worse, the voids moved uncontrollably, sometimes sitting still for minutes at a time, sometimes zipping across the landscape like the sped arrow, tearing apart anything they touched and sucking the air from the lungs of the Ashrim.

By day’s end the devastation was complete. Several of the islands had vanished beneath the waves, and others--bleak, desolate krags--had risen out of the water. The very maps will have to be redrawn.

When the next morning should have arrived, it was still dark. The sun was blotted out by a massive column of smoke and steam rising from the ravaged isles, soaring miles into the air before expanding like some obscene mushroom. A black rain fell for hours, turning the white sails of the Heron an ugly mottled grey. Around all of the isles--old and new--the water has been boiling for days, and shows no sign of stopping.

The Heron and the sole remaining survivor of our fleet, the light cruiser Dusk Skater, have spent the past three days tracking down and closing dozens of errant voids, still spinning across the water between the Isles. My weather mage informs me that it is unlikely weather patterns on the Southern half of the continent will ever be the same again, so thoroughly have we disrupted the Flows.

I had expected the Ashrim fleet--battered but not broken--to set upon us instantly, to annihilate us for killing their people. But instead their ships, including the poor, shattered Batholith, simply turned East and sailed away, passing quickly out of view. I don’t know if they knew of other ports out past the Great Ocean, or if they simply hoped to find someplace new to live alone. Perhaps they sailed East because they could not bear to die in sight of the smoking ruin that was their home.

Perhaps they sailed East because they could not bear the sight of the Continent, and we who dwell there.

Only two of the mages who called their magicks down upon the Isles survived, somehow forming a Gate back to the Heron after the spells of negation that held them failed, but before the palace itself was destroyed. One has been unable to do anything but weep since his arrival, aside from attempting to kill the other survivor, who doesn’t remember anything after the landing.

I should strike that, actually. My second officer just informed me that the mage who couldn’t remember anything about the assault was just found in his quarters, dead from a self-inflicted knife wound through his right eye. Perhaps he remembered something after all.

For the past nine hours I have had the Heron and the Skater inspecting each of the Ashrim isles we can reach, attempting to find survivors. Several of my crew became sick after the first isle, and there was some discussion of calling off the rescue mission. I have refused this; were it that being ill was the least of our penance.

I cannot imagine what will happen next. It is certain that the fires of Ta’Ashrim were visible even upon the mainland, and even the most untrained mage could feel the warp in the Flows that still rebounds across the Veil. I don’t know if we alone will bear the price of this genocide, or if we have doomed our entire race as well. Only one thing I am sure of; no price is high enough for what we have done, and our guilt will echo down the ages.

May our children forgive us.


Appendix A

Partial Faendryl Naval Rolls

<Class><Name><Crew Roster><Mage Roster><Officer Roster><Task Force>

Command Ships:

Heavy Carrier Korthyr (Flagship), 1347 crew, 341 mage-officers, 218 officers, Task A
Light Carrier Black Heron, 437 crew, 52 mage-officers, 19 officers, Task B
Light Carrier Trumpet, 398 crew, 51 mage-officers, 17 officers, Task C
Light Carrier Arc Hammer, 401 crew, 49 mage-officers, 20 officers, Task D

Cruisers:

Light Cruiser Dusk Skater, Task A
Light Cruiser Tarsis, Task A
Light Cruiser Blood Nova, Task B
Light Cruiser Absolution, Task C
Light Cruiser Maelshyve, Task D
Heavy Cruiser Veil Gazer, crew 1087, mage-officers 286, officers 91, Task A
Heavy Cruiser Starfall, crew 1041, mage-officers 280, officers 73, Task A

Frigates:

Support Frigate Grey Shift, Task A
Support Frigate Weave, Task A
Support Frigate Steppe Fire, Task A
Support Frigate Kuon’s Touch (Medical), Task A
Assault Frigate Liabo's Herald, Task B
Assault Frigate Dolphin, Task B
Assault Frigate Death’s Head, Task C
Assault Frigate Prominence, Task C
Assault Frigate Manticore, Task D
Assault Frigate Water Moon, Task D

Destroyers:

Destroyer Unfurled Wing, Task A
Destroyer Silver Wave, Task B
Destroyer Near Circle, Task B
Destroyer Unity, Task C
Destroyer Revenge, Task C
Destroyer Shadow Claw, Task D
Destroyer Dawn Cloud, Task D

Scout Ships:

Cutter Veil Shark, Task A
Cutter Tilaok Descending, Task B
Cutter Ghost Dancer, Task C
Cutter Sunfish, Task D