The Tyranny of Dragons was an invasion war of the Eridanian Region on the world of Aresia by the Dragon Empire of Tharsis. The war lasted from 14 Next Age to 19 Next Age, though related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the nations of the world of Aresia – including all of the great powers – eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Dragon Army of Tharsis and unofficially the Ametian Alliance. It was the most widespread war in the history of Aresia. Marked by mass deaths, especially of humans, and a large number of dragons causing death and destruction, the war resulted in an unfathomable and uncountable amount of fatalities. This made the Tyranny of Dragons the deadliest conflict in the history of Aresia.
The elves from the Freelands of Martz had just founded their new lands and were still in conflict with the human Septarchy of Cimmeria due to events concerning the Ametian Alliance from the end of the 4th Age, but the war is generally said to have begun on 25 October 14 NA with the invasion of the human city of Greenest by the Dragon Army of Tharsis and subsequent declarations of war on Tharsis by Cimmeria and Harken. For years, Tharsis infiltrated Cimmeria with special agents called Explorators, which consisted mainly of humans but also a number of dragons. It was first after the Siege of Fallcrest, when the humans retreated south, that a military alliance was called for to fight against the Tyranny of Dragons, an alliance reminiscing of the Ametian Alliance that the elves had fought so hard to corrupt and dismantle, but which they now saw as a necessity for survival. During the invasion of Cimmeria, the Dragon Army of Tharsis recruited the conquered halflings of Harken and allied with the dwarves of Electris and Dawnforge to fight against the chaotic nature of the elves in the south, an alliance fueled by the Copernicus Ambush where dwarven leaders were assassinated by wood elves in retaliation for acts that were never committed by the dwarves. In 16 NA, the Dragon Army had conquered all of northern Cimmeria and besieged the capital of Fallcrest, which became the longest siege in the history of the world of Aresia, lasting more than 2 years. In 18 NA, the Dragon Army were able to push their forces all the way to Thunderspire Mountain, but eventually suffered a setback when the humans were able to close the entrances to the Underdark at Thunderspire Mountain, removing the strategic value of the passage.
The Dragon Army of Tharsis was halted in 19 NA when they lost the critical Battle of Winterbole, in the elven Freelands to the south. During the battle, the Dragon Army of Tharsis were surprised to face a military alliance between elves and humans, which had called upon the aid of giants and half-giants. To turn the tide of battle, the leader of Tharsis, the Grand Sire Alduin Archonae, summoned devils with the help of tieflings from the north, but this greatly lowered the moral of the humans and dwarves in the Dragon Army. Finally, the battle turned in favor of the elves when the giant skyship known as Skyreach, commanded by the elf Talis, arrived and began to bombard any non-elves. This marked both the end of the Tyranny of Dragons and the elven betrayal to both the humans and the giants.
The Battle of Winterbole was the last and most critical battle of the Tyranny of Dragons because Tharsian rebels took the opportunity to make a coup d’état in the heart of Tharsis while its forces were engaged on the other side of the world of Aresia. The Tharsian rebels, led by metallic dragons, took military control of Mount Olympus and slew the red dragon leader Archonae, Alduin’s father. When the Battle of Winterbole was lost, the Dragon Army of Tharsis retreated only to find that their supply line and homeland had suffered a coup d’état, leaving them no other choice but to retreat into the depths of the Harken jungle and leaving the rest of their invaded lands in the hands of the elves.
The Tyranny of Dragons altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. Any remnants of the Ametian Alliance was eradicated, and the victorious elves expanded their political and military influence throughout the southern parts of the Eridanian Region. The defeated chromatic dragons formed the Draco-Hobbit Empire of Harken transforming the Eridanian Lake and the Cimmerian Desert into a large borderlands between the elves and the dragons. The Dragon Empire of Tharsis had a political and religious shift which put the metallic dragons on the throne. The Tyranny of Dragons also marked a great change in the cultural perception of magic. Previously, magic was seen as originating from the elves. With the Pharaohs of the Ma’adim Empire being descendants of elves, any human who possessed magic were deemed to have royal blood. Tharsis showed that magic resided with many more than simply elves and elven descendants, and combined with the fall of the human Septarchy of Cimmeria, the elite status of arcane spellcasters was removed.
The start of the war in the Eridanian Region is generally held to be 25 October 14 NA, beginning with the Tharsian invasion of the human city of Greenest; Cimmeria and Harken declared war on Tharsis as soon as they learned what had transpired. The dates for the beginning of the war in the southern parts of the Eridanian Region 28 March 15 NA when the elves assassinated a number of dwarven leaders in the Copernicus Ambush.
Others follow sages who hold that the Copernicus Ambush occured much later in 15 NA, when the Dragon Army of Tharsis crossed the Cimmerian Desert. Some even believe that the elven assassins were Explorators sent by the Dragon Army of Tharsis to ensure that a war broke out between Dawnforge and Winterbole in order to ensure that Cimmeria wouldn’t be able to get reinforcements from the dwarves and teh elves. Other starting dates sometimes used for the Tyranny of Dragons include the end of the 4th Age when the Tharsian leader Alduin Archonae first came to Cimmeria. The human historian Anthony Beaver views the beginning of the Tyranny of Dragons as the Battle of Hammerfast, which occured after the Dragon Army of Tharsis crossed the Cimmerian Desert in 15 NA.
The exact date of the war’s end is also not universally agreed upon. It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended with the end of the Battle of Winterbole in 19 NA. Others claim that it was much later, when the Dragon Army of Tharsis realized that they couldn’t return to Tharsis. Tharsian Scribes say that the Tyranny of Dragons ended when the red dragon Archonae was slain in 19 NA. Everyone, however, agrees that the war ended some time in 19 NA.
At the end of the Fourth Age a military alliance known as the Ametian Alliance was created between the human Septarchy of Cimmeria in the Eridanian Region on the world of Aresia, the genasi Theocracy of Daedaloth within the Shadowfell, and the eladrin Empire of the Cordell within the Feywild. Other nations, such as the Dwarven Kingdom of Beldwhig and Dawnforge, the halflings of Harken, the goliaths of Chronium, and the elves of Winterbole joined the Ametian Alliance.
The primary goal of the military alliance was to pool resources together in order to make a preemptive strike against the elementals from the world of Aspenta, who was threatening the world of Aresia with a similar invasion as the world of Aspenta suffered at the end of the Third Age. To accomplish this, the Ametian Alliance built a series of portals between the various planes, teleportation circles between the nations, and a massive world portal between the worlds of Aresia and Aspenta. All of these were housed within a massive structure called the Maetia located on the outskirts of the city of Winterhaven.
Unknown to all, a secret elven organization was working against the Ametian Alliance, believing that it would give the humans too much political and military power on both worlds. The elven organization used corruption and assassination to ensure that their agents infiltrated the highest ranking positions within the human Septarchy of Cimmeria.
Through scouts and adventurers, the Dragon Empire of Tharsis learned about the Ametian Alliance and its goals. The heir to the throne of Tharsis, Sire Alduin Archonae, was sent to the Eridanian Region to discuss the possibilities of Tharsis joining the Ametian Alliance. Alduin met with representatives from various member states of the Ametian Alliance, including the leaders of the human Septarchy of Cimmeria, the dwarven Kingdom of Dawnforge, and the genasi Theocracy of Daedaloth. In this time, Alduin also met with a human noble house called House Nest, which was working against the Ametian Alliance, but independently from the secret elven organization.
During diplomatic talks between Alduin and the dwarven leaders, one of the leading noble human houses insulted Alduin’s honor by rejecting a trial by combat, a common cultural solution within the Dragon Empire of Tharsis. This insult pushed Alduin to make a military alliance with House Nest instead of the Ametian Alliance.
The transition from the Fourth Age to the Fifth Age was marked by the opening of the world portal within the Maetia. Upon creating a link between the worlds of Aresia and Aspenta, the raw chaos from the world of Aspenta flowed into the world of Aresia and changed the very foundation of existence, thus transitioning from the Fourth Age to the Fifth Age. In the chaos that erupted, the Ametian Army retreated from Winterhaven and the secret elven organization took this opportunity to take full control of the Ametian Alliance and ensure its dissolution. This led to the Shadowfell and the Feywild closing their portals and borders, cutting all ties with the world of Aresia.
As Alduin returned to Tharsis with a strong human military ally, the empire also suffered from the chaos caused by the opening of the Maetia. The leader of Tharsis, the red dragon Archonae, used this opportunity to claim that it was a sign from Drake that the followers of Bahamut should be purged from Tharsis and thus the Tharsian Civil War erupted with Alduin leading the followers of Drake and Balasar leading the followers of Bahamut. That Tharsian Civil War lasted for over a decade and formed the foundation of the Dragon Army of Tharsis. It also marked the ruling transition from the red dragon Archonae, to his son the Grand Sire Alduin Archonae, who would lead the Dragon Army of Tharsis against the Eridanian Region to bring law, order, and honor to a land that had offended and insulted him a decade earlier.
Due to the dissolution of the Ametian Alliance, none of the nations in the Eridanian Region on the world of Aresia noticed the mobilisation of the Dragon Army of Tharsis as they made their way to the souther edge of the jungle of Harken, following it west into the northern parts of the human Septarchy of Cimmeria.
Ametian Alliance (2011 FA – 2014 FA)
The Ametian Alliance was a military alliance created in 2011 FA and ended when the Fourth Age ended. The alliance was first conceived by the eladrin Glaeth Gisir from the Empire of the Cordell when he encountered a cultist of Lithor from the Theocracy of Daedaloth. The resulting military alliance organized resources throughout the Eridanian Region, but wasn’t well received by all of its inhabitants. The elves already had a strained relationship with the human Septarchy of Cimmeria, one of the member nations of the Ametian Alliance, and the military organization of resources in the region forced the elves to conduct more aggressive political intrigues to ensure that the region didn’t fall under complete human rule. When the Ametian Alliance opened the world portal at the Maetia in the Cairngorm Hills, it unleashed pure chaos and elemental forces that changed the laws of physics and magic, thus ending the Fourth Age and beginning the Next Age. Subsequently, the elves took advantage of the situation to strike at the political leaders in the Eridanian Region in order to disolve the Ametian Alliance. The elves were successful and the Ametian Alliance crumbled.
Striders (2013 FA – 2014 FA)
The Striders was a group of adventurers led by the dragonborn Alduin Archonae, who was the heir to the dragon throne of Tharsis. He led an expedition from the Tharsis Region to the Eridanian Region to evaluate the potential of the Ametian Alliance, and seek membership for the Dragon Empire of Tharsis. The representatives of the human Septarchy of Cimmeria didn’t support the membership of Tharsis based on the behavior of their ambassador Alduin. Since Alduin had saved a number of high ranking human politicians, human members of the House Padraig convinced the leaders of the Ametian Alliance to let Alduin prove his worth in military conflicts. Alduin’s expedition proved resourceful in helping resolve kidnappings by saving a variety of human politicians; internal corruptions by revealing that House Nest was actually a family of wererats in league with the elves; and border conflicts by assisting the dwarves against armies of orcs. After the Siege of Bordinrak in 2014 FA, Alduin withdrew Tharsis’ desire to join the Ametian Alliance because his experience with the alliance revealed a weak, corrupted, dishonorable, and unlawful treaty. Alduin and his expedition retreated from the Eridanian Region and returned to Tharsis to report back to the Grand Sire Archonae.
The Maetia (2014 FA – 0 NA)
Tharsian Civil War (0 NA – 10 NA)
When Sire Alduin Archonae returned to Tharsis civil war broke out. Alduin’s expedition to the Eridanian Region revealed to him that the dualistic religion of Tharsis was not something that needed to be nurtured, but instead that the weak, chaotic nature of Bahamut’s followers had to be eradicated in order to create a unified Tharsis that could take over the Eridanian Region in order to secure the world from the threat of elemental invasion. The size of the Dragon Empire made this campaign a long and arduous one, but in the end, Alduin prevailed and with his success he was appointed Grand Sire of Tharsis, which gave him the power to assemble the Dragon Army and march west towards the Eridanian Region.
The War of Three Axes (0 NA – 14 NA)
~ To be continued ~