- This article is about the First Battle of Vanna. For a list of other battles around or inside the city, see Battle of Vanna.
|First Battle of Vanna|
|Part of the Second Great War|
| Clergy of Shakkan|| Black Guard|| Southern Horde|
| Axikasha Keiran|| Adela al-Saif (POW)|| Iblis al-Djinn (POW) †|
|Second Great War|
The First Battle of Vanna occurred in Vanna in Libaterra in 1017 AE. The Grand Alliance, including the sirithai and the supporters of Emir Khalid al-Saif, fought against the supporters of Sultana Adela al-Saif for supremacy over the Sarquil capital of Vanna with other factions interfering in the conflict as well. The Alliance ended up victorious, deposed Adela and made Khalid the new Sultan in a grand coronation ceremony, thus gaining control over the city and the Sultanate of Karaganda as a whole. However, the peace lasted only for a few days before the Northern Horde arrived and besieged the city, leading to the Second Battle of Vanna.
- Main article: Journey to Xibalba
The Grand Alliance had been successful in finding Qadohi, the leader of the Sirithai lizardmen, as Sultana Adela al-Saif had ordered them to do. However, a treacherous member of the group had managed to doublecross his Alliance companions and seal the Sirithai god Shakkan's essence into a shard of Krystallopyr during the mission although the Alliance had managed to capture him before he could flee.
Axikasha Keiran, leader of the Alliance group, convinced Qadohi and the Sirithai, who were members of the Clergy of Shakkan, to help the Grand Alliance save Vanna from the Clergy of Artemicia and save the lives of the imprisoned Khalid al-Saif and Xerathas d'Zarnagon in exchange for freeing their god Shakkan and putting an end to the persecution of lizardmen in the region. Because no one had specified that Qadohi's head had to be cut off before returning it to the capital, Ax decided to bring her back to Vanna alive and intact. The lizardmen followed the Alliance's heroes underground and would help them if something went wrong in Vanna.
The heroes met Sheikh Miraj al-Zarar on the way to Vanna and heard bad news from him about how things were getting worse in Vanna. Miraj had also noticed that Adela had gone too far by trying to kill Khalid and told the heroes to seek his nephew Azriel al-Zarar while he would return to his hometown Kilm to rally support for the heroes.
Ax followed Miraj's advice and contacted Azriel as soon as the group returned to Vanna. Azriel was willing to help because he was unhappy that the Clergy of Artemicia had forced the Sarquil to adapt a new religion and he wanted to restore the old worship of the ancients among the tribes.
The heroes also learned from Dieter von Waldheim that their companion Nalaen Silverpond had been kidnapped and was held somewhere inside the palace where Adela and the Grand Vizier Iblis al-Djinn seemingly wanted to use her for some dark ritual. Concerned of the safety of Nalaen, Ax immediately led Qadohi and the heroes to the throne room of Vanna while Azriel remained behind to rally support.
Adela was not happy to see Qadohi alive and wanted to execute her on the spot. Ax steadfastly refused the offer, reminding the Sultana that the terms did not specify that Qadohi had to be imprisoned or dead and that she only had to appear in the throne room before the deadline ended. Ax and Ismail also said that Xerathas and Khalid had to be set free if Adela wanted to keep her face; after all, the heroes had done what they had been ordered to do and if Adela did not keep her word, she would dishonour herself and lose support from the Sarquil elders.
Artemicia had other plans, however, and appeared in the throne room to mock the heroes. She told them that she never intended to set Khalid free because she wanted to keep her high cleric Adela on the throne and thus keep the entire Sultanate of Karaganda under the control of her clergy. Now that her enemies had been gathered in one place, she would execute them all.
Just before time ran out for Khalid and Xerathas, the god Hephaestus arrived and released them, telling Artemicia that she would keep her end of the bargain whether she wanted to or not. The infuriated Artemicia challenged Hephaestus to a duel, and the two gods returned to the High Plane to settle the dispute, leaving their followers on their own.
The Battle BeginsEdit
With the two gods gone and Khalid free, Iblis realized that things had escalated to the point of no return. He immediately ordered the Black Guard and the clerics of Artemicia to kill Khalid and his supporters now that he had the excuse of doing so without upsetting the elders. He claimed that the heroes were trying to assassinate Adela, and used this "fact" to justify the use of force against them.
The forces of Adela and Iblis were joined by their new allies, the Totenkopfs, who also had a score to settle with the Grand Alliance. Ax had prepared for such a turn of events, however, and soon the battle became even when the Sirithai and Azriel's forces appeared and joined the fray.
However, not everything went as planned. The Vulfsatz led by Orestes appeared on the scene all of a sudden to the horror of the Fellowship of Maar Sul and attacked both sides. They rescued Hannibal Losstarot from Adela and challenged various people such as Khalid and Despard Silverbranch in the process, thus forcing the two other sides to divide their attention in order to face this new enemy.
Iblis used the ensuing chaos to his advantage and freed Awar, kidnapped Qadohi and snatched the shard of Krystallopyr which contained the god Shakkan. He, Adela and Awar fled up the stairway which led to a high tower of the palace, and the heroes found out that Nalaen was kept at the highest level of that tower.
The heroes decided to divide their forces. Some remained in the throne room to fight against Captain Razoul, the Vulfsatz and the forces that supported Adela while another group followed Iblis, Adela and Awar to the tower to stop them and save Nalaen, Qadohi and Shakkan before they would be sacrificed.
The battle had yet another twist when Xerathas, Varalia Earthhaven, the Shadow and Lobo, who had been working with the Grand Alliance ever since the journey to Libaterra began, appeared in the tower and demanded that Adela hand over the shard of Krystallopyr. Xerathas revealed his true colours when he explained that he had only used the heroes for his own ends. His plan was to possess the reforged Krystallopyr and use its powers to destroy anyone who threatened the Godslayer and his Grey Cult.
As if that wasn't enough, Iblis placed the shard of Krystallopyr into the Black Stone to recharge it and transformed into his true form while oddly mocking one of the heroes, Ronove. The shocked heroes realized that Iblis was in fact a powerful demon and for some reason he seemed to know Ronove from somewhere.
Iblis laughed at the confused faces of the heroes while he attacked them and Xerathas's group. The now-demonic Grand Vizier also told Adela to return to the throne room to finish Khalid off, and Marcus Sarillius found himself fighting against Varalia because he could not let the shard fall into the hands of the Grey Cult who had been deceiving him and his friends all this time.
Meanwhile the battle raged in the streets below between Azriel's forces and the clerics of Artemicia. Ismail and Razoul fought a fierce duel in the throne room, and Razoul eventually lost. Ismail used the opportunity to claim the title of Captain of the Black Guard to himself but was interrupted when Adela appeared and attacked Khalid. The duel between the two Sarquil nobles was fierce but Khalid eventually turned out to be victorious when he used the teachings of his late father Belial de Ardyn to subdue Adela with magic.
The defeated Sultana tried to convince her old flame Briss Phoenixheart to help her, reminding him of their former relationship and how she would reward him handsomely. Briss turned the offer down, however, although his mind was already formulating a daring plan which he hoped to put to use once the battle was over.
Fel Ridoon entered the north tower and told Refan d'Zarnagon that there was more at stake than anyone realized. He had recently discovered that Iblis's true plan might not be to sacrifice Nalaen to power up Krystallopyr but instead use Nalaen to lure Refan's friend Daventhalas de Mont Hault to the tower for some sinister purpose. Refan decided to do what he could to take Daven away from the tower but first he would have to save Nalaen because he could not let her die.
However, the two heroes were too late to stop the chain of events. Qadohi told Daven that she had seen this moment in her vision and that Daven would have to decide whether to destroy the Black Stone, which contained the almost complete Krystallopyr within, and thus change the course of the future for better or for worse, or let Krystallopyr be completed and thus witness the deaths of everyone he held dear. Daven was not willing to let anyone suffer for his sake and thus he chose to destroy the Black Stone and Krystallopyr with his advanced weapon, the Holy Shot.
A Sinister RevelationEdit
Fel's fears came true when everything turned out to have been Iblis's master plan all along. The demonic Grand Vizier revealed to the horrified heroes that he had used both Adela's faction and the Grand Alliance for his own ends and he was in fact the servant of Duke Hepnaz L'invrad of the demonic Southern Horde. The betrayal from Xerathas's posse and the arrival of the Vulfsatz had made things much easier for him to act as those sudden events had forced the heroes to divide their attention from the true threat posed by Iblis.
Iblis also revealed that it would have made no difference to him in the end whether Krystallopyr had been completed or not: his horde would have gained a new, powerful weapon if it had been completed but now that it and the Black Stone were gone, there was no other weapon powerful enough to pose danger to the demons anymore and a magical ward that had protected Vanna from a demonic invasion had disappeared when the Black Stone had been destroyed.
Things began unraveling fast in Vanna while Iblis was giving his sinister lecture. The heroes saw a glimpse of Yurius in a strange rift that had appeared when the Black Stone had been destroyed. Before the rift closed, the demon lord gave a prophecy that the world would soon be engulfed in flames of destruction. Nesa Mikoto sacrificed himself to the goddess Hivena to save Nalaen who had been heavily wounded during the battle, but this valiant attempt turned out to be futile because Awar succeeded in killing Nalaen only a moment later just to spite the heroes.
Iblis prepared to kill the remaining heroes but was suddenly injured by Shakkan who had managed to escape from Krystallopyr when it had been destroyed. The demonic Grand Vizier decided that it was time to retreat and teleported away with Awar before Shakkan could finish him off. Before he fled, however, he told the heroes that a far worse fate would await them once he returned with the Southern Horde to crush them all.
With Iblis gone and Adela and Razoul captured, the remaining Totenkopfs fled, the weakened Vulfsatz were forced to surrender, and the clerics of Artemicia and the Black Guard stopped fighting. Varalia had fallen into a coma when Krystallopyr had been destroyed, and Xerathas and the Shadow were nowhere to be found. Lobo tranformed into a human and was revealed to be none other than King Gerard Aurelac who had been previously missing and whom Xerathas had imprisoned into a wolven body to do his bidding.
Adela refused to believe that Iblis had been using her all this time but she understood that the battle was over and her nephew Khalid had won. As the former Sultana was escorted to prison, she swore revenge on the heroes.
The battle had been won but with a great cost: Nalaen was dead, Nesa was gone, the magical Black Stone had been destroyed, Xerathas and the Shadow were somewhere out there, and Iblis's ominous words still rang in the heroes' heads. Many of the Alliance members wondered what the future would have in store for them.
Despite all of this, they knew that they had to carry on their mission. They decided to divide their forces once more: one group would continue the journey to Alent whereas the other group would remain in Vanna to keep order until things calmed down.
There were also some setbacks when it turned out that Briss Phoenixheart had broken Adela out of prison and fled with her and that Hannibal Losstarot was missing as well. Someone had also set parts of the great Tomb of Tronin on fire while Briss and Adela had escaped, and many valuable tomes discussing the Blood Fever were burned before the Alliance could find valuable information from them.
Khalid and Ax were crowned as the Sultan and Sultana of Vanna after the battle and Khalid announced that the sirithai would no longer be persecuted. The dead from both sides were ritually burned in a huge pyre, and afterwards people celebrated the passing of their comrades in the Festival of the Dead as was the custom among the Sarquil. This gave everyone a chance to contemplate on what had happened and let them loosen up a bit before rebuilding the damaged city.
Unbeknownst to the people in Vanna, the Northern Horde had captured the fleeing Iblis and Awar. Once Dreadlord Leraje Thanadar had learned of the recent events in Vanna, he brutally executed the injured Iblis and decided to move the army of the Northern Horde to take over Vanna which was still recovering from the earlier, devastating battle.