The Shattered Realms
War of the Dragons
Events leading up to the War of the Dragons
During the Time of Troubles (1358 DR), when the Faerûnian gods walked the face of Toril, the goddess Waukeen tried to smuggle herself from Faerûn and back to the Celestial Realm through her many contacts as the Goddess of Wealth. In a desperate attempt, she made a deal with the demon lord Graz’zt. After handing over her divine power to her sister Lliira, Waukeen went with Graz’zt into his abyssal realm, hoping to take a circuitous route back to her own celestial home. The demon lord betrayed the goddess instead, imprisoning Waukeen in his dark palace for the next thirteen years.
In 1371 DR, Lliira finally learned the whereabouts of her lost sister. Disguised, Lliira joined a group of powerful adventurers known as the Heroes of Hommlet and convinced them to help her confront Graz’zt and demand the release of Waukeen. Graz’zt drove a hard bargain, but agreed to exchange the goddess for a powerful artifact known as Kaz’ul-thon.
The Heroes of Hommlet were able to retrieve the artifact from the Labyrinth of Madness, and returned to Graz’zt for the exchange. Grazzt, along with his lieutenants Koschtchie and Yeenoghu, betrayed the Heroes of Hommlet and attacked as soon as Graz’zt had the artifact in his hand. Using the dread power of Kaz’ul-thon, Graz’zt struck down the unsuspecting goddess and claimed the divine powers of both Lliira and Waukeen with a single blow. But before the demon lord could assimilate the enormous power, he was unexpectedly attacked and slain by five dragon heads snaking forth from the darkness beyond his throne.
Until then, Tiamat had been but a minor player in the Faerûnian pantheon. But with that opportunistic attack she stole the divine power of not one but two goddesses, catapulting her divine rank up into the Greater Power tier. Almost immediately the Dragon Queen used her newly-gained power to open gates between worlds, summoning forth armies of her devout worshippers, the draconari, from another world.
The Start of the Dragon War
On the 5th of Mirtul in 1372 DR, Tiamat used her newly-gained divine power to open five dimensional portals at various places scattered across the central and northern reaches of Faerun. These doorways connected this plane to another world, Takhis, where Tiamat reigns supreme and her armies of savage minions, the draconari, awaited the signal to attack the unsuspecting people of the Forgotten Realms.
The initial gates were temporary and only stayed open long enough for advance draconari scouts to enter Faerun. Five days later, the Gates opened permanently and readied draconari invasionary forces poured through.
The Red Gate
The Red Gate was opened amid the ruins of Zhentil Keep, where the sorcerers of the Red Wing quickly erected the walls of Khith Suroth (the Cathedral of Flame) from the rubble. Those still residing in the small southern section quickly fled, fearing this new and unknown menace (at least, the smart ones fled). The fools (mostly Zhentarim wizards) who tried to investigate paid the ultimate price for their folly. The Red Wing (and all the other Wings) unleashed its might upon Faerûn five days later, the Reds swiftly sweeping through the Dalelands like nothing ever seen before. The cities of Phlan, Hillsfar, Yulash and Voonlar fell virtually overnight.
The ogres of Thar were united under the rule of Uggrot the Mighty and enlisted to the draconari cause, and with the support of several flights of red draconari they made short work of the Ride, then tore Melvaunt, Thentia and even Glister and Hulberg to the ground. The legendary king Gareth Dragonsbane and his Damaran army finally stopped the ogre forces in Bloodstone Pass.
The main Red force blasted through Shadowdale, Daggerdale and Mistledale before splitting into three main attack groups: the first continued south through the Dales, decimating Battledale and Featherdale before meeting up with their Blue counterparts in the remains of Tassledale. The second group fought their way through Tilverton Gap, but with heavy losses. The third group was actually stopped when Purple Dragons, war wizards and the fighting men of Cormyr led by Filfar Woodband of Waymoot turned their force back in the Shadow Gap. Cormanthor was bypassed for the most part, but the Reds quickly seized control of the rest of the Dalelands before turning their attention to Cormyr.
The Blue Gate
The Blue Gate was opened on the Dragon Isle, the largest of the Pirate Islands in the Sea of Fallen Stars. Khith Ssathyrr (the Cathedral of Magic) was actually the last of the strongholds to be built, given its secluded and easily defendable location. The sorcerers and warriors of the Blue Wing made very short work of the Inner Sea pirates, taking control of every single sailing vessel that could make the trip from the island to the shores of Sembia. The attack was very tightly coordinated, with numerous claws of draconari teleported ashore to secure the beachhead for the invasion. Sembia was caught completely unaware and fell quickly. The Blue Wing split its forces, one group meeting up with the Red force in Tassledale, one following the coast and sacking Urmlaspyr as they traveled the Manticore Way into Cormyr. A third group moved through the Thunder Peaks, razing Highcastle and Thunderstone on their way into Cormyr. This group was the first to actually enter Cormyr, but a large force of elite Purple Dragons and war wizards led by the Steel Regent herself wiped out the group. The main army moved swiftly west through Archendale and Deepingdale through the Thunder Gap, but was held there for over a year by the might of Cormyr’s army. The southern arm of the Blue army was bogged down by the destruction of the great bridges over the river exiting the Vast Swamp and by the continued raids of Cormyrian nobles and adventurers on the encamped army.
The Green Gate
The Green Gate opened in the heart of the High Forest, upon the slopes of the Star Mounts. The clerics of the Green Wing called upon their dark goddess to carve Khith Khathoss (the Forest Cathedral) from the mountain’s side as the Green Wing swept through the High Forest, forcing the wood elves there to abandon their ancient home. While the Greens did control the forest, they certainly did not clear the High Forest of its inhabitants. Fey creatures still roamed the woods, most not even knowing that their home was ‘claimed’ by the draconari.
The Green army spread quickly through the forest, while envoys cut deals with humanoid bands in the Graypeak Mountains, the trolls of the Evermoors and the gnolls inhabiting the High Forest itself. Their greatest coup, however, was backing King Obould in his return to power over the orcs of the Nether Mountains. Obould united the orc tribes under his banner, and with the assistance of the Green Wing the massive army besieged Silverymoon. The orcs were denied Silverymoon until 2 NR, when green draconari clerics and blue sorcerers helped the orcs to finally breach the city’s defenses. Obould’s dream of an orc nation wouldn’t be realized until 73 NR, when Ghurrog the Strong successfully united the tribes under his leadership, creating the orcish nation of Gor.
One section of the Green Wing secured the towns along the Black Road and the lands from the High Moor to the Graypeak Mountains, establishing a stronghold in the Dawn Pass. The main Green force surged out from under the trees to seize the lands between the High Forest and the Sword Coast as their own, burning Secomber to the ground and taking control of Daggerford, the Trade Way and Dragonspear Castle. Once they had secured this position, the main Green army (bolstered by the gnolls of the High Forest and the trolls of the Evermoors) laid siege to Waterdeep herself.
That siege lasted until the very end of the Dragon War, and though the draconari army did gain entrance to the city several times over the course of the three-year siege, the Waterdhavians repulsed the attacks every single time. Many great heroes fell in the course of that titanic battle, including Durnan the Wanderer, Piergeron “the Paladinson” and the legendary Mirt the Moneylender. The Siege of Waterdeep ended at the Breaking of the World, when the Seven Sisters sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their goddess. Khelben ‘Blackstaff’ Arunsun, upon losing his wife Laeral, unleashed his rage upon the hosts of Tiamat and slew countless thousands of orcs, draconari and humans that day, breaking the backbone of the Green army and breaking his own mind that very same day. Khelben’s rage lasted for many days, and resulted in the destruction of much of the city as well as the deaths of the few remaining Lords of Waterdeep.
The Black Gate
The Black Gate opened deep in the heart of the Marshes of Chelimber, far from prying eyes. The Black Wing’s sorcerer-rogues built Khith Thossoth (the Dark Cathedral) around the Gate, then raced from the swampland to assault Evereska. The elves had almost no warning, and as a result they were decimated. The majority of the elves were killed, but some did manage to escape through a Portal to Evermeet. The Black Wing wasn’t satisfied with merely capturing Evereska, however, and burned the city to the ground.
After the razing of Evereska, the Black Wing turned to the other cities of the Western Heartlands. The Black Wing occupied Scornubel, Elturel and Berdusk in a series of strategic victories before encountering major opposition at [[Baldur’s Gate]], when King Haedrak III and the army of Tethyr broke their siege of that city.
The White Gate
The White Gate opened on the Glacier of the White Worm, where the armies of the White Wing quickly seized control and enslaved the Ulutian people. After the construction of Khith Ssekheth (the Cathedral of Frost), the White Wing descended upon the Free Cities of the Vast, razing Tantras and Procampur even as they allied with Mulmaster and Calaunt. Raven’s Bluff was spared, so the armies of the White Wing could be focused on the invasion of Impiltur and Damara. Gareth Dragonsbane led the combined armies of Damara and Impiltur to a resounding victory over the White draconari, pushing them all the way back through the mountains and out of their lands.
The End of the War, Sealing the Five Gates, and the Breaking of the World
The end of the War of the Dragons was brought about primarily by the release of Mystra and the Breaking of the World. Tiamat had come to Faerûn, her avatar spearheading the push by the combined Red and Blue army to destroy Cormyr’s defenses. While the goddess’s attention was focused in Cormyr, a group of adventurers known as the Heroes of Hommlet snuck into Khith Ssathyrr, the Blue citadel, and found their way down into the dungeons below the citadel to Mystra’s prison. The Heroes opened a portal that summoned the Seven Sisters, who then performed the necessary ritual to free their goddess. The Seven sacrificed their own lives in the process. The ensuing explosion distracted Tiamat on the field of battle, allowing the man known as Black Ash to use his spellfire to land the killing blow, stealing victory from the Dragon Queen’s grasp in the very last instant. The backlash of the death of Tiamat caused the Five Gates to collapse and a large part of Tiamat’s divine power to be lost, marooning the Five Armies here on Faerûn.
The Red army was routed from the field upon the death of their goddess, and Black Ash led the armies of the free people in chasing the Reds back from the Cormyr border, almost all the way back to Shadowdale. Gograh, a half-ogre adventuring associate of Ash, challenged the king of the ogres of Thar and won the crown. Gograh led the ogres in a surprise attack on the Red army, the flank attack coming just when it was needed to save his friend and halt the forward momentum of a huge draconari spearhead maneuver that would almost certainly have broken the Cormyrian defenses. Black Ash went on to found the kingdom of Manetheren in what was once Sembia and the Dales, but Gograh was killed defending his friend in that climactic battle.
The Green army was on the verge of breaking the city of Waterdeep after a 3-year siege, when both the city and the Green army were laid to waste by Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun in his rage and grief over the death of his wife Laeral (one of the Seven Sisters). The captains of the Waterdhavian army capitalized on the sudden destruction, and the Greens were routed from the field as well. The Green draconari still hold the lands around the High Forest, however.
The Black army suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of King Haedrak III, king of Tethyr. The blacks still hold the cities of the Western Heartlands, but their grasp on them has loosened with time. Khith Thossoth was quickly rebuilt, and the borders of Tethyr and the Black Lands have now been firmly established, with the Tethyrian Border Guard fighting off draconari and slaver raids periodically.
The White army was turned back by the armies of Damara and Impiltur, and now holds the cities of the Vast and the Glacier of the White Worm. The Ulutian people of the glacier are still enslaved, their numbers dwindling more every year. The populaces of Procampur and Tantras live in terror, humans dragged from the streets in broad daylight on a daily basis to satisfy the savage hungers of their cruel draconari masters. Both cities are on the verge of an explosion, the powder of rebellion just waiting for a spark to ignite it.
Much of the Blue army was lost when the Dragon Isle exploded, and more was lost in the defeat on the field by the Cormyrian army. There are substantially fewer blue draconari than any other color, but blues still hold prestigious positions as High Sorcerers of Tiamat. The Blue army (what little remains) currently holds the Melairkyn Mines and the surrounding area in an iron fist, working to rebuild and hoping to expand their area of influence to more respectable levels. The blues are also now allied with the orcish nation of Gor, and a blue sorcerer is an advisor to king Ghurrog. Additionally, the blues generally handle almost all dealings with the Zhentarim and the slave trade, and are much more active in other trade with outside races and nations. As a result, the blues are now far more knowledgeable of other races than the rest of the draconari (and most of what is known by goodly scholars of draconari has been learned in trade from magic-hungry blue sages).
After the war, the stranded draconari consolidated their forces and secured their borders. A very uneasy peace took sway, though there have been frequent small border skirmishes between the warmongering draconari and their neighbors.