Attack on Kratishold
The attack on Kratishold began the Purge of Fire, but despite the near-total destruction of the town, many of the town's inhabitants survived. Kratishold was to be the beachhead for House Xeduus forces, and would have fallen quickly if it had not been for a great deal of luck, and a number of errors by the Mandragora forces.
The destruction of the fishing fleet caused the House Xeduus forces already within Erilya to reveal themselves several days prematurely - they had been ordered to wait until the saw red lightning in the West, and they saw this as sign that Kratishold was falling.
House Xeduus intelligence also had the town as being relatively small - they had not taken account of the growth of the population over time, especially the building of Kratishold Keep after Stormwrack Keep was abandoned. Although this may have proved a minor hindrance, the Mandragora commanders were not prepared for the stiff resistance that they encountered. It is thought that a smaller town would have been overwhelmed in a matter of hours. If House Xeduus intelligence had been better, many more people in Kratishold would have died.
In The Dimwood, a Talon of Green Mandragora wiped out a Goblin camp and group of human brigands. After interrogating both groups, the Talon commander quickly realised his mistake and the group fled further into the wood, but maintained a watch on Kratishold. Their handiwork was discovered a few hours later by a hunting party from the town.
Under cover of a magical fog, the Mandragora Hammerships deployed longboats containing Red Mandragora shock troops and BattleMagi. In a two-pronged attack, Mandragora forces attempted to encircle the town, with a view to cutting off any escape by the townsfolk. Kratishold was celebrating a marriage that night and many of the inhabitants were still awake and celebrating, and the town was more alert than they would have been after the discovery of the massacres in The Dimwood earlier that day.
House Xeduus agents had failed to notice that there was more to certain members of Kratishold than met the eye. For a number of years, the Mandragora spy Hapalsharuss had been living in the town as a "retired" adventurer and wizard. In his Human guise as Sharn Ipahi he had been free to wander Volkrania - although a Mandragora, he quickly gained appreciation for the Kratisholders, accepting respect that he would never have received in Lonaraban as a Houseless outcast. Constrained by his oath as an informer, he was unable to act directly when he saw the first signs of the Mandragora presence in the Battle for the Shadows, but he did everything he could to hinder the House Xeduus spies and scouts using all the resources he had at his disposal.
When the mystic wards he'd set around the town were triggered by the invaders, he immediately teleported across to Kratishold keep, startling the Baron and his guests who were still celebrating a wedding earlier that day. Although the Baron was young, he had come to trust the counsel of the one he knew as Sharn Ipahi. Baron Kratys quickly deployed his troops and the alarm was raised.
The Red Mandragora swept into the town expecting little resistance; however they could not have been more wrong. Within the town, the militia and townsfolk had formed into units, prepared to defend their home to the end along with a large number of retired adventurers. For the first time since the Orcgate War, battle was joined on Volkranian soil.
The fighting on the streets was terrible. Red Mandragora are known for their brutality in melee, and magical blasts cast by Battle Magi shattered buildings and bodies alike. For every step back the defenders took, the Mandragora gained two more. The fog made identification difficult, and moments of quiet were interspersed with violence.
However, the valiant defence allowed many of Kratishold's citizens to flee, and bought valuable time - otherwise they would have likely been wiped out. The few veterans of the Attack on Kratishold speak of a desperate retreat as buildings exploded around them. Although Hapalsharuss was an accomplished wizard along with several other Kratisholders, he was facing a superior force - many who were also BattleMagi. Baron Kratys ordered the evacuation, but few of those fighting chose to flee, selling their lives to buy time for their loved ones to escape.
Nearly every building in the town was destroyed in the assault, and the townsfolk were forced to begin a journey to seek safety and shelter in Koshrak's View and Hammerfall Pass. A small band of adventurers lead the refugees away, fighting a desperate rearguard action.
The refugees were unaware that they were fleeing into a trap. House Xeduus wished a beachhead and no one to warn the rest of Volkrania of their arrival. By now the initial confusion among the Mandragora command structure had been resolved and Green Mandragora archers and BattleMagi were waiting to eliminate the survivors. The same band of adventurers that had helped the exodus sprang the trap, nearly getting wiped out. Whilst making their escape, they notified the doughty inhabitants of Koshrak's View, who quickly came to the Kratishold refugees aid.
The actions of a few defined the actions of a nation. The survivors were the unwitting heralds of the Purge of Fire.