JERRIMORE PLAINS / JERRIMORE ESTATE
The Jerrimore Plains, lying between Galepath and Mareilon, were the
estates of the Jerrimore Clan as early as circa 275 BE. The beautiful
forests and rolling meadows of the vast Jerrimore Estate was punctuated
on its northern edge by an ancient, brooding wooden mansion.
The great Mage of Jerrimore himself left his home city in favor of a
voluntary exile to his country estates in the northlands of Frobozz,
estates so closely guarded and tremendously feared that no outsider was
to visit the area until the brief civil war between Galepath and Mareilon that scarred Quendor in 398
BATTLE OF THE JERRIMORE PLAINS (398 GUE)
The march to Mareilon was delayed for the Galepath armies when the
their Mayor Spildo had been taken ill, apparently experiencing a
painful reaction to the switch from rich city food to spartan military
fare. The highest ranking militia lieutenants, uncertain how to proceed
without the instructions of their leader, milled about camp aimlessly,
delaying the order to march. As dark came on the previous night, tents
had been set up in a convenient clearing, near a stream running from
steep, ridged hills to the east. These were the Jerrimore Plains, of
which lands had belonged to that clan for centuries, and the abandoned
Jerrimore Estate which no one dared to venture near.
Unbeknownst to any at the campsite, someone did still live in that
ancient place. Staring out at the newcomers, a mind angry and resentful
at the intrusion worked secret magical spells that wove themselves
among the sleeping soldiers that night. Many would wake the next day
filled with memories of discomforting dreams. Several even ran
screaming through the camp hours before the break of dawn, frightened
by some mysterious intrusion into their thoughts. Disrupted by the dark
images that had invaded the hours of sleep, many soldiers grumbled
openly, speaking out against the foolishness of naked aggression
against Mareilon. One even suggested that the only reasonable choice
was to turn back while they still had a chance.
Several days later, little progress had been made of Zarfil’s
armies toward Galepath. The Millucis gangs, familiar with little
more than their own back alleys in Mareilon, were unaccustomed to long
marches laden down with camping and military equipment. Zarfil’s
frustration at the slow progress was tempered by the intelligence that
Spildo’s own armies lay encamped a mere three bloits in the distance.
As the hours moved on and the sun approached its highest point in the
day, the Galepath army still had no decisive course of action. Looking
apprehensively to the east, Spildo’s men caught the first fleeting
gleams of metal as Zarfil and his forces filled the ridge above them.
A cry went up throughout the camp as it sunk in that they had been
caught unawares, surprised by the realization of Zarfil’s threats.
Several lieutenants immediately issued the call to arms, only to have
the order countermanded in the heat of confusion. Restless soldiers
raced for their arms, but the camp was in chaos, men separated from
their units, leaders unable to find their commands. Guards from the
southern periphery of the camp returned with even darker news,
mysterious frantic reports of the much larger Nezgeth force arriving
from the forests to the south. The Galepath commander, unaware of the
origin of this second army, accounted it to Zarfil, and wondered how he
had known to attack from two different sides.
The call to arms was given again, this time in a hurried rush to throw
defenses of any kind against the southern edge of the camp. Trees and
undergrowth stirred and the wind carried a hideously foreign battle cry
as the Nezgeth grew closer.
On the ridge above, unaware of the news that caused the disruption in
Spildo’s camp, Zarfil drew led the charge down the hill to give battle
with the enemies from Galepath. As the Mareilon tide swept down the
hill, the Galepath militia hesitated, their attention divided by two
different conflicts. With no guidance and no battle experience, much of
the force broke in panic and ran, hoping perhaps to find shelter in the
distant house or the forest beyond.
As Zarfil’s forces streamed down from the eastern ridge, the dark-alley
Hellhounds and Nightwings launched themselves upon the firm right flank
of the Nezgeth invader. No one had ever actually been to the hated city
of Galepath, and it would be some time before the rebel army would
realize that the Nezgeth warriors were not Galepath natives.
The massive tide of clashing humanity soon fragmented and broke into
clusters of heated action separated by ever-shifting barriers, marked
by the motionless fallen. Separate militia units in Zarfil’s makeshift
army split away from the main group, moved by the momentum of thousands
of different individual points of combat. The one Nezgeth spear that
hit home on the far southern side of the field created a few square
feet of vacuum as the companions of the Mareilon target backed away and
regrouped to find another point of attack. Their retreat inadvertently
forced the hand of an isolated band of Nezgeth encroaching behind them.
The resultant hasty motion sent a ripple across the eastern edge of
combat, forcing the Mareilon rebels nearly halfway back up the ridge.
Umberthar Spildo of Galepath made a desperate attempt to shake off his
worsening stomach illness to guide his troops. Leaving his tent at the
first sound of conflict, Spildo planned to muster the army to his side
with one trumpet blast and throw back the invading barbarians. But the
trumpet note lurched and died mid-breath, the trumpeter stabbed from
behind by a Nezgeth blade.
Spildo soon found himself surrounded on three sides by the forces of
the onrushing horde. Separated from the bulk of his force, which had
been drawn off into a vicious melee farther to the west, Spildo stood
with only his own personal group of guards to prevent the fatal wound
that would inevitably get through. Looking desperately for a way to
avoid the crushing grip of the surrounding force, he took the only
option available, shifting away from the three-sided advance and
backing even farther into the center of the battlefield.
Zarfil soon felt the irresistible tugging, the pull that guided him
towards the center of the Jerrimore Estates. Mayor Spildo continued his
desperate retreat, moving within feet of Zarfil and his men.
Fiery and elated Nezgeth warriors continued to tighten their grip on
the Quendoran armies, using their sheer numbers to divide the
defenders, preventing any effective counter-attack. More and more of
the Galepath army began to make a final attempt at retreat towards the
western edge of the clearing, filling that edge of the battle with a
growing calm. A few Nezgeth warriors broke off from the main group to
clean up the stragglers, while the bulk of the invading army continued
to circle around and engage the Mareilon militia.
Even the strongest member of the Hellhounds began to succumb to the
overwhelming Nezgeth pressure. Short street knives and leather tunics
were no match for the viciously barbed spears sported by the Kovalli
natives. One by one, Zarfil’s own guards fell to the ground, leaving
the rebel prince open to any who would attack him.
The day had begun with the two armies of Spildo and Zarfil marching
inexorably towards civil war. All thoughts of hatred between Galepath
and Mareilon long forgotten, the defenders soon found themselves
collapsing in fatigue, while the advancing hordes seemed to be further
invigorated with each successive skirmish. Both Zarfil and Spildo,
standing together side-by-side, both met their simultaneous end at the
hands of the Nezgeth warriors. The two armies of the two proud, ancient
cities, had suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth.
At the same time, the armies of Largoneth, which had been sent to quell
the rebellions arising in Mareilon and Galepath, arrived at the edge of
the Jerrimore Plains onto the ridge just above the Jerrimore Estates.
They had expected to find at most several dozen drunken Mareilon rebels
ready to be whipped into shape at the slightly verbal threat. But not
even one dozen of the Mareilon force still lived in the valley below,
but the ground was fresh with bodies of many times that number. The
civil war had already come and gone, the royal army merely late entries
in a finished game.
Standing victorious over the entire battlefield were the Kovalli
natives. The Nezgeth banded together on the field below, awaiting the
inevitable charge from the Quendoran soldiers. The royal force was to
be split in half, one hundred men waiting on the highest point of the
ridge, to advance only if the first attack proved a failure. Zilbo
reluctantly agreed to head the reserve force, allowing himself the
fleeting hope that a victorious Griffspotter would save Zilbo from
leading his men into battle. Griffspotter began the cautious march down
the ridge to the Jerrimore Estates.
So that the men of the Quendoran royal army might arrive in the valley
all at once, the order had been given to disperse the marching columns
and have the soldiers proceed down the hill abreast of each other, a
long thin line stretched across the horizon. In the middle of the line
and just slightly ahead of the rest strode the general, accompanied on
either side by one of the force’s several trumpeters and the Largoneth
standard bearer. As the approaching force arrived at the base of the
hill, the watching Nezgeth warriors silently arranged themselves in a
similar formation, a parallel line just as long but several times as
deep making its way across the scarred meadow.
Griffspotter’s army drew close. The two lines stared at each other over
an ever-lessening distance, neither enemy leader quite willing to give
the order to charge. Neither leaders saw the lone Nezgeth warrior ready
his bow, the arrow piercing the general’s chest and killing him.
The Nezgeth chieftain whirled in anger, seeking out the lone archer. At
the sight of the arrow hurtling toward the general, several of the
Kovalli tribe had edged into motion, ready to run at the enemy at the
sound of the order. Looking at their leader in surprise, it soon became
apparent that no order would be given.
From atop the ridge, a single trumpet blast called out to the Quendoran
army. Zilbo commanded for them to retreat up to the ridge. The only
hope now lay in regrouping and hoping to last long enough to greet the
arrival of the reinforcing units from the far north. The soldiers of
Largoneth in the field below heard the lonely sound of the trumpet but
sound not answer its call.
Across the small gap that separated the two armies, Ath-gar-nel began
spitting out orders at a furious pace. Again and again, several
clusters of the Kovalli tribe broke loose and headed towards the royal
army. Each time the Warrior held them back. For he knew that to fight
again on that day would be unholy, a blasphemy against the gods, to try
their patience. Soon the entire Nezgeth force waited peacefully.
The royal army, smaller now by one, reassembled on the ridge according
to Zilbo’s order. With the death of Griffspotter, Zilbo had been thrust
into command of the Quendoran royal army. Ath-gar-nel walked just
within earshot of Zilbo and his company, crying out in a tongue foreign
to them, all save Litbo (he had studied a variant of their dialect many
years ago). When Litbo conversed with the Nezgeth leader in his own
tongue, Ath-gar-nel assumed them to be “The Fathers from the East.”
Using Mumblehum as a willing intermediary, Zilbo managed to convince
the Nezgeth Warrior to abandon his worship and join in conversation.
Convinced he stood in the presence of the physical incarnation of
generations of tribal legend, the Ath-gar-nel introduced himself
haltingly and begged forgiveness for the ignorant attacks against the
sacred Fathers from the East. Zilbo was more than willing to oblige.
While the leaders of both armies consulted, the royal army and the
Kovalli tribesmen worked together at the task of gravedigging. The work
had been going on for some time and now the Estates were gradually
being restored to their former state. At first the Nezgeth had been
hesitant to help in the work, almost none of their dead being counted
in the number. However, Ath-gar-nel had insisted; they had slain the
holy men from the east, and to dig their graves would be only fitting
recompense for the misdeed. Afterwards, the armies of Largoneth and
Kovalli banded together to fight against Belegur, the true instigator
of this bloody battle.