- This article is about the Second Battle of Vanna. For a list of other battles around or inside the city, see Battle of Vanna.
|Second Battle of Vanna|
|Part of the Second Great War|
| Chaos Dwarves|| Akai Tora|
| Distreyd Thanadar XIII|| Alathor|
|Second Great War|
The Second Battle of Vanna occurred in Vanna in Libaterra in 1017 AE a few days after the First Battle of Vanna when the Northern Horde besieged the city. After a lengthy siege, the Northern Horde emerged victorious and took over Vanna, turning it into the horde's new base of operations for their Libaterran campaign while forcing the Sarquil, sirithai and Grand Alliance survivors to flee to Alent.
After the Grand Alliance had deposed Sultana Adela al-Saif in the First Battle of Vanna and installed Emir Khalid al-Saif on the throne of Vanna in a grand coronation ceremony. While their forces were still recovering from the earlier battle, they soon witnessed a new threat on the horizon. A big army had arrived and was rapidly approaching the city.
A cloaked assailant stole Axikasha Keiran's sword Dawn and vanished without a trace, Khalid had to deal with the new Grand Vizier Azriel al-Zarar who was unhappy about working with him, and Sarquil nobles were worried about a man ruling over the Sarquil tribes and constantly bothered Khalid with their questions. According to the nobles an old prophecy by Tronin claimed that any man who should sit on the throne of Vanna before the time was right would bring doom to the tribes.
To make things worse, the bad omen seemed to come true when a huge demonic army appeared on the outskirts of Vanna and besieged the city. This seemed to prove that the prophecy was right, but Khalid claimed it was just a coincidence. After all, the former Grand Vizier Iblis al-Djinn had threatened to return with a demonic army to finish what he had begun. However, no one had expected such a quick retribution from Iblis because the Sarquil and the Alliance thought that it would take months before such a large army could travel from Yamato to Libaterra.
When the demon heralds appeared at the gates of Vanna, however, it turned out that the demons weren't Iblis's allies; instead they were from a rival demonic faction, the Northern Horde. The leader of the demonic army, Dreadlord Leraje Thanadar, ordered Vanna to surrender or he would execute thousands of Sarquil prisoners whom he had gathered from nearby Sarquil towns which he had conquered earlier. He also revealed that he had imprisoned Sheikh Miraj al-Zarar, Azriel's uncle.
A Risky PlanEdit
Khalid was surprised by this dark turn of events and was incapable of deciding what to do on such short notice. Ismail, who was now the new Captain of the Black Guard after deposing his son Razoul in the previous battle, reacted quickly and used Leraje's arrogance as a means to buy more time for the captives. He challenged Leraje to a duel, and the amused Leraje accepted the challenge. They made a deal: if Ismail won, the captives would be released but if Leraje won, the demons would do as they pleased.
It was only a means to stall the executions until the Alliance could figure out how to save the prisoners, though. Ismail did not expect the demons to keep their promise even if he won the duel against the Dreadlord but it was necessary for his plan to make them think that he believed their empty promises.
Ismail suggested that the sirithai leader Qadohi and various Alliance and Sarquil warriors used the underground dirithai tunnels to get underneath the demonic army and then emerge from the ground and save as many prisoners as possible before anyone realized what was going on. Meanwhile Ismail would stall the demons and keep their attention on himself by dueling with Leraje.
A messenger, Xolkai, had also been sent to the remaining sirithai in Xibalba, and Ismail hoped that reinforcements from the sirithai would arrive in time to assist them in the defense of Vanna. Although it was a risky plan, no one could think of anything else to do and so they decided to carry the plan out.
Ismail released Razoul from prison and made him his right-hand man despite Khalid's protests. He told the Sultan that Razoul had more experience fighting against demons than anyone else and that he would be capable of leading the Black Guard while Ismail was busy fighting against Leraje. Although Khalid and Razoul despised each other due to past animosities, they reluctantly agreed to work together in order to save Vanna from total destruction.
First Duel with LerajeEdit
The time for the duel came. Qadohi's group entered the tunnels and headed for the prisoners while Ismail and Leraje began a deadly dance of swords right outside the gate of Vanna under the watchful eyes of thousands of soldiers from both sides. Ismail used Leraje's arrogrance to his advantage and caught the Dreadlord unaware with a skilled move. He stabbed Leraje whose bloody body fell to the ground moments later.
Ismail dropped his guard when he saw Leraje's still body. Before he could inspect the body just to be sure that his opponent was really dead, he was distracted by a person who stood next to Khalid. Suddenly the many questions that Ismail had pondered in the past few weeks became clear as he recognized this person as the traitor who had been mentioned in Shakkan's prophecy. The black captain tried to warn Khalid about it and forgot Leraje for the time being.
Leraje used Ismail's confusion to his advantage and managed to recover enough to stand up and sneak on his unsuspecting prey. Before Ismail could react to this sudden turn of events, the Dreadlord stabbed him. Leraje then ate Ismail's heart and cut his head off while taunting the shocked heroes.
Khalid was so affected by the brutal death of his guardian and friend that he almost leaped at the Dreadlord but was stopped in time by Razoul who was not willing to let Khalid sacrifice himself in vain against a superior opponent. However, the morale of the Black Guard went down when they realized that their captain Ismail was gone. Razoul took his father's title with a heavy heart, promising that he would not let Vanna fall no matter what happened.
The Siege BeginsEdit
Qadohi's group was unaware of Ismail's death and carried out his plan. The warriors emerged from the Sirithai tunnels and began saving the captives while a few heroes did their best to fight against the Chaos Dwarves and various other followers of the Northern Horde who were guarding the prisoners. Meanwhile the majority of the Northern Horde had not yet noticed these intruders and instead prepared their forces and machines for the siege of Vanna.
The enemy numbers were overwhelming, and they soon discovered what Qadohi's group was up to. Qadohi only managed to save a few hundred prisoners before being forced to flee from the demons' wrath. The demons wasted no time teaching the Sarquil a lesson. They slaughtered the remaining prisoners and used black magic to force everyone see the slaughter with their own eyes. After that they used the prisoners' severed heads as catapult ammo to lower the morale of the defenders of Vanna.
The second legion led by Legate Nobuo Iwasaki began a relentless assault on Vanna's sturdy walls. His black mages were able to break through the wall, and the horde tried to use the hole in the wall to enter the city. However, the Alliance bravely defended the hole against unspeakable odds.
The Northern Horde retaliated by using a catapult to send a squad of pissed-off Chaos Dwarves flying into the city and attack the defenders of the hole from within. While the defenders were busy with the Chaos Dwarves, the horde also released the Dominator, a colossal demon, to attack the wall. The defenders realized that they didn't have enough manpower to repel the already advancing second legion, the Chaos Dwarves and the Dominator at the same time. Vanna's fall looked inevitable.
Just as the defense was about to crack, help arrived from expected and unexpected sources. The Sirithai reinforcements led by Xolkai arrived and attacked the horde's warriors by using hit&run tactics from underground tunnels and sucking the enemy warriors into the sand. Meanwhile Garrel Isen's Aisonian knights called the Blades of Lysse and a cavalry unit consisting of Akai Tora and Forgotten joined the fray to lend a hand.
The second legion was caught unaware and had to retreat in order to regroup. Although the defenders of Vanna wondered who these three forces who accompanied the Sirithai were, they had to leave questioning for later because the Chaos Dwarves and the Dominator were still a threat that had to be dealt with.
The Blades of Lysse did their best to slaughter all nearby Chaos Dwarves while the rest of the defenders faced the terrible Dominator. Meanwhile the creepy antics of Titaniel Focker served only as a minor distraction to the demons. Around this time the Alliance delegates who had travelled to Alent returned by teleporting back into the city, thus giving the Alliance more warriors and mages with whom to defend Vanna.
Battle with the DominatorEdit
Despite the defenders' efforts, they couldn't harm the Dominator. As it was about to pummel through the wall, Azriel al-Zarar confronted it directly on the ramparts. Azriel accessed the power granted by who he thought was Tronin and entered the colossus's mind. The two froze immediately, thus giving time for the rest of the defenders to plan their counterattack.
The Sirithai dug a huge hole which sucked the lower half of the Dominator in. At the same moment the colossus broke free of Azriel's influence and was ready to climb from the hole in order to continue its attack. It was then that Marcus Sarillius took a literal leap of faith as he unleashed the full powers of his magic sword Dusk and hit the colossus with everything he got. Dusk's power reacted to the chaotic energy inside the Dominator and utterly annihilated it, only leaving a crater behind.
The few survivors of the second legion that had stayed near the walls attacked one more time in a desperate bid to finish off Marcus, Ax and Azriel. However, Alathor, the leader of the Forgotten, saved the trio and escorted them into the city while the rest of the demon legion decided to retreat in fear of facing the wrath of Dusk again.
A Hasty MeetingEdit
The demon army regrouped and began circling the city with the intention of blocking all escape routes. They were unable to attack yet, though, as they worried that Marcus could unleash the powers of Dusk again which they were weak against. Instead the demons decided to use Flavius Severus's newest invention, the Helepolis, to break through the walls of Vanna.
Khalid, who was still trying to cope with his losses as well as the appearances of new allies, organized a quick meeting between various leaders in order to figure out how to defend the city in the second attack wave. The leaders had trouble figuring out how to stop the demons whose numbers were overwhelming.
An idiotic suggestion from Ronove to let the demons into the city and bribe them with cake only fueled Khalid's rage. However, Alathor actually approved of Ronove's foolish plan. He explained that the only way to truly cripple the demon army was to slay its leader, Dreadlord Leraje Thanadar, and the only way to do that would be to lure the Dreadlord deep into the city and then attack him with everything the defenders got.
Other leaders were less than happy with this plan, though, because it'd involve risking the lives of thousands. Azriel then suggested that he'd travel to the desert to seek help from an elemental which he had recently discovered to be lying under the sand. Although the Sirithai were less than pleased about asking for a dangerous elemental's help, they understood that they would need all the help they got before the demon army and the Helepolis would break into the city. Xolkai took Azriel beneath the sand to meet with the elemental while the rest prepared to set a trap for the Dreadlord.
Azriel communicated with the imprisoned earth elemental. Although the elemental was suspicious of Azriel at first, it was when he sensed the power of "Tronin" that he eagerly chose to serve his true master's pawn. Azriel channeled his spirit guide's power and succeeded in helping the elemental break free, unaware of the connection between the spirit guide and the elemental. They returned to Vanna just in time to witness the awesome sight of the Helepolis attacking Vanna's walls.
The Helepolis had been a nearly unstoppable machine. No matter what the defenders did, its sturdy plating and magical defenses made it a weapon of mass destruction. It took the intervention of Azriel and the elemental to finally destroy the dreadful machine which almost succeeded in breaking into the city.
However, the demons weren't going to give up yet. Flavius and Distreyd Thanadar XIII increased the pressure on Vanna by sending various troops to attack the outer walls. Among them were huge flying demons called Deathwings, and subterranean assault wagons. The demon mages kept hitting the elemental with their most powerful spells. The spells were finally taking their toll on the elemental which decided to return to the High Plane and take as many demons with it as it could. Although this severely crippled the horde's forces, the elemental's explosion also left a huge hole in Vanna's outer wall, finally allowing the demons to enter the city en masse.
Nesa Mikoto, who had returned not that long ago, channeled his magic by casting the most powerful spells he could. He single-handedly stopped the Deathwings' advance on the other side of Vanna, but this act sucked him out of all his magic. In the end even Nesa's efforts weren't enough, and the demons broke through from another gap in the wall.
Now Vanna had been breached from two directions, and Distreyd's and Flavius's forces were slowly but surely surrounding the surviving defenders and forming a circle around inner Vanna which was protected by the last bastion of defenders. Nesa, Unithien Greyrain and the other defenders did their best to stall the demons, and Nesa channeled his and Unithien's magic to defeat a group of powerful demon mages who nearly succeeded in blowing the gate of inner Vanna into pieces. Still, they were fighting against the inevitable. Unless the Dreadlord fell, the horde would win.
Second Duel with LerajeEdit
While all hell broke loose in Vanna, at least some things had gone as the heroes had planned. They had succeeded in luring Dreadlord Leraje into Vanna and then forcing his small group to advance deeper into the city while the defenders blocked his possible escape routes. The Dreadlord went after Marcus and Dusk as planned and was ambushed by a large group of heroes.
However, Leraje proved to be a formidable foe. He single-handedly defeated Razoul, Marcus, and Khasra III and cut dozens of Sarquil warriors down while picking up Dusk with the intention of corrupting it into a blade of Darkness. Refan challenged the Dreadlord to a duel and turned into his demon form but quickly realized that the Dreadlord was more powerful than he seemed. Annoyed by the ambush, Leraje turned into his true, demonic form and easily trashed any opposition. He was about to finish the weakened Refan off when help came from an unexpected source: Ronove had somehow found his way into the heart of the battle.
It was then that Leraje revealed to Ronove that they were brothers and that he had been responsible for Ronove's amnesia. Years before Ronove had been a Dreadlord but had been betrayed by other demons who sought his power and funds. This shocked Ronove who refused to believe Leraje, and the demon lord used the advantage to knock Ronove out. He was about to decapitate both him and Marcus until Refan rejoined the battle. However, Refan's strength wasn't enough to beat Leraje who easily crushed his arm.
Things looked bad for the defenders. The horde was closing in on inner Vanna, ready to breach it and slaughter everyone within. The ambush against Leraje had failed, and the Dreadlord was about to kill the surviving heroes.
However, it was then that Ronove woke up and returned to the battlefield, now with a different attitude. It quickly became clear that the new bump on Ronove's head had helped him regain his memories and latent skills, and Leraje was pleased that he could finally fight against his brother while both could use their full powers.
The Dreadlord released all his powers at once and charged at Ronove. The demonic aura that the two produced was so huge that it became unclear which one of them would be the victor. Refan assumed the worst when he heard a horrible scream, and decided to avenge Ronove. He couldn't think that anyone could beat someone as powerful as Leraje. When he opened his eyes, however, he was surprised to see Ronove standing victorious over fallen Leraje.
A Dark TwistEdit
Ronove wasted no time after his victory over Leraje. He let out a demonic roar which summoned every demon in the vicinity to his location. It was then that he announced that he had defeated Leraje and thus had the right to take over the title of Dreadlord and command the horde. However, he also stated that he would take over Vanna and give the defenders three days to leave the city and never return.
The defenders could hardly believe what they had just heard, and they considered protesting. However, the immense demonic aura coming from Ronove shut them up and made them realize that if he had been so strong that he had single-handedly defeated a powerful foe like Leraje, they would not stand a chance against him and the rest of the horde in their current state. To many people's surprise Refan chose to side with Ronove and join the horde.
As the new Dreadlord Ronove, Refan and the Northern Horde retreated from the battered city to let the Alliance and the Sarquil have time to flee in peace, the defenders were left behind to figure out what to do next. The Sarquil didn't understand why the horde would just let them walk away alive after such a big clash, but they nevertheless wasted no time and left Vanna behind two days later while the the horde simply observed them. Marcus had taken Dusk back, grateful that it hadn't fallen into enemy hands.
The sirithai chose to stay behind in the desert to hamper the demons' advance in any way possible and buy the Alliance and Alent time to prepare Alent's defenses for the inevitable demon invasion in the future.
The Battle of Vanna as a whole had been both a success and a failure for the Grand Alliance. On the one hand they had succeeded in deposing Adela and installing Khalid on the the throne of Vanna as well as convinced the Sarquil to join the Alliance in the war against the Crimson Coalition, but on the other hand the Northern Horde had taken over Vanna, and Ronove and Refan had betrayed the Alliance. The Alliance now had access to detailed information about demons from the Akai Tora and the Forgotten, however, and would put that information to good use.
The Northern Horde now had a well-secured base of operations from which to launch a full-scale attack on the rest of Libaterra. The Alliance's and Sarquil's only hope rested on the Magicracy of Alent which they hoped would be able to repel or at least stall a future demon invasion as well as provide a sanctuary for the surviving Sarquil refugees. These hopes would end up being shattered in the coming weeks when tensions between the Sarquil and Alentians would escalate and lead into the devastating Threshold Riot.