The war took many as a surprise as the Imperium has just conquered the Land of the Cleavers and establishing order and consolidating power there could take years. It turned out that this invasion was actually a private military campaign funded in its entirety by Cassius Hardalio, the richest man in the Imperium (if not in the entire continent). Due to public opinion such an offer could not be refused so the Emperor gave him permission to take Rubia in the name of the Imperium.
Below are the notes of a contemporary Rubian historian about how these events unfolded:
Week 1 Edit
War! The Minthras Imperium has declared war on the Kingdom of Rubia citing Rubian aid to the Cleaver orcs against the empire as cause. Queen Merilda has issued a call to arms to all vassal lords and to her allies: the dwarves of Cascadia and the Free Cities of the south. The news of incoming Imperial armies caused mass panic among the orc refugees at the northern border who (in desperation) decided to enter Rubia by force. They looted Silverhill then fled to the Cascadia mountains and established a foothold there.
Week 2 Edit
Betrayal! Both the dwarves and the Free Cities have refused to answer Rubia's call. They believe that not even their combined might is enough to defeat the Imperium in open battle. Instead, the dwarves started fortifying their mines, while the Free Cities willingly submitted to imperial rule and became protectorates, only Feyburn remained defiant, under the protection of the great dragon Rhaegos. Meanwhile the Royal Army has started fortifying the eastern border of Rubia.
Week 3 Edit
Disaster at Kaedwen Crossing! The Imperial Legion somehow managed to sneak past the Royal Army and attack it in the rear. It was only due to the heroic sacrifice of the Knights of the Holy Flame that part of the Rubian forces managed to escape through the Willow Grove. None of the knights survived. May they rest forever in Pelor's Light.
Week 4 Edit
With the Royal Army in full retreat the Imperium is pushing into the heart of Rubia unopposed: the cities of Emberfrost and Oakvale have already fallen. Only Adamant the unassailable citadel of the monks of Heironeous (god of valor) stands in their way. Meanwhile Queen Merilda has decreed that all men and women of age are to take up arms against the invaders.
Week 5 EditAdamant, the unassailable citadel of Heironeous’s monks, has never been breached by an enemy and now it shall never be. Rather than facing the fearsome warrior monks in a costly assault the Emperor had an Edict of Storms cast on the citadel, summoning magical winds that rusted the steel, ground the stone and flayed the skin. Within a week the citadel of Adamant crumbled to dust, burying the surviving monks. At least they bought the rest of Rubia some time.
Week 6 Edit
Oringrad besieged! The Imperial Army has surrounded the capital, but before they could storm the walls, the remaining members of the Council of Mages had erected a magical barrier around the city through which nothing can enter or exit. Although Oringrad is safe for now, maintaining the barrier is exhausting, it is just a matter of time when it falls.
Week 9 Edit
The Imperium had brought all its might against Rubia and despite the efforts of The Faultless Arrow and the allies they had brought the Imperial Army took Oringrad. In desperation Rubia captured and unleashed the Edict of Fire on the Orin Valley. The firestorm destroyed everything within, including the Imperial Army and the city of Oringrad, home to forty thousand people, may their souls rest with Pelor!
Still, their sacrifice was not in vain as something historic was accomplished that day: for the first time the Imperium has been defeated, it has failed to conquer one of its neighbors. The Kingdom of Rubia survived but at a high cost.
With the battle lost and all their allies deserting her in the end Queen Merilda decided not to honor any of the deals made with them. It made her new “allies” furious but there was little they could do.
In recognition of the great service the party did for Rubia Queen Merilda has knighted all of them and granted them the barony of Aerlcliff that lies between Emberfrost and the Red Orin river.
Meanwhile the firestorm continues to rage in the Orin Valley. In the heart of the storm is what remains of the once proud city of Oringrad. None dare venture in the valley any more but those who approach its threshold swear that beneath the howling winds you can still hear the screams