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PostSubject: History of the Knighthood   Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:17 pm

History of the Knighthood

In the year 343 A.C., the Dragon Armies were setting the stage for the conquest of the world in the name of their dark queen. It was at this time that a young Talash Ashara was deemed old enough by his sister Tashana to serve the dark queen. His mission was to infiltrate the Solamnic armies, and gain as much intelligence that he could; in order to better combat the enemy.
It took him several months to make the preparations needed, but when all was ready; agents of the dark queen set up a small skirmish with members of the Solamnic forces in the guise of an attacked caravan of wagons. Every member of the Knights of Solamnia was killed in the attack, as well as the bodies of several bandits. Talash was beaten by the Dragon Army troops, and left for dead to complete the ruse. His disguise was that of the son of a minor merchant noble from Kalaman. It took several hours before other Solamnic forces came upon the scene, and by that time, Talash had lost a lot of blood and was near death. A cleric, among the Knights used healing herbs and kits to stabilize Talash, and the troupe took him back to their outpost to rest and recover. Talash was unconscious for several days; but when he awoke, he found himself among the knights of Solamnia being questioned on the events of the attack upon the caravan.

Talash retaled an account of a large force of brigands he knew to be operating in the area as the ones respocible for the attack. He gave a detailed account of the actions of the caravan guards as well as the Solamnic soldiers. His account was detailed enough, based upon the battle that unfolded, as to be above reproach in case someone decided to investigate the matter more thouroughly. As he suspected, the outpost commander did indeed send a detachment to investigate the battle scene further as well as the surrounding areas. Upon the return of the Solamnic investigators, Talash’s accounting was upheld by the evidence they found. After a couple of months spent recuperating, Talash was requested to Travel to Palanthus; in order to recount his tale for the superior Knights stationed there. He was escorted by a squad of Knights, all the while, he studied their movements and procedures, as well as how they set up fortifications, and the structures they used when dealing with each other. He did this over the few weeks it took to Travel to the grand city. Once he arrived, he did not have to feign astonishment over the beauty of the city, however, the voice in his head kept him grounded, and focused on what he must do.
He went before a Knights council, to again retell the account of the battle. He gave false troop sizes, and recounted false battle plans and tactics of the brigands, while not trying to sound too educated in the ways of combat, yet knowledgeable enough. While he tried to make it seem he knew enough, but not too much; his planning did not completely go unnoticed. One Knight in particular; Sir Eldric uth Valdis, took note that he was at least minimally skilled in the arts of warfare.

When his testimony was completed, as well as the testimonies of other Knights and the investigators was complete, Talash was released from the council, and bid best wishes. He was in the process of leaving the Lords Manor in the city plaza, when he heard the heavy footfalls of boots behind him. He slowed his pace and turned a corner, immediately stopping to await whomever he surmised was following him. It was Sir Eldric. Sir Eldric followed Talash out of the council chambers in hopes of speaking with him. The Knight was early middle aged, with barely graying temples, yet youthful passion still in his eyes. He was tall, and well muscled. He strode with confidence, and an aura of authority.
Sir Eldric spoke with Talash for a few moments, but was summoned back into the council chamber. Before returning, Sir Eldric invited Talash to his manor house to speak at length later in the evening. Talash nodded his agreement, and left the Palace. Hours later, just after sundown, Talash found his way to the uth Valdis manor. It was a smaller estate, but the size of the home did not diminish the grandeur of the grounds, nor the luxury of the house proper. By no means was the home overly exquisite or opulent, but was instead furnished with tapestries that depicted Knights engaged in honorable deeds, and battles told in song. The silver and gold trinkets were modest in display. It became evident to Talash that Sir Eldric was not a knight of title, but instead a knight of deed.

Sir Eldric and Talash spoke over a modest dinner of meats and vegetables, and drinks, well into the night. Talash was invited to stay a few days in the house as a guest, and readily accepted. Over those days, Talash was questioned over his life’s journey, his family, and his education. He spun tales of how things came to be, and it seemed that Sir Eldric believed him. Sir Eldric, at the end of the stay, invited Talash to stay on as a paid servant, and horseman, as well as a sword and shield bearer. Talash knew an opportunity when it presented itself, so he accepted Sir Eldric’s offer.

Over the next few years, Talash studied every aspect of the Solamnic knighthood he could. He read memo’s and manuscripts written by Sir Eldric, as a memoir. When action was called for, he accompanied Sir Eldric onto the field, caring for his horse, and maintaining the weapons and armaments. He studied the battle formations and tactics of the older and more experienced knights, making mental notes of the perceived weaknesses he found in their planning and tactics. Sir Eldric took note of the intense study Talash was taking into the daily lives of the Knighthood and how they waged war. Talash was now 18, and over the three years they had spent together, Talash and Sir Eldric had become friends. Talash felt a genuine affection for Eldric. Talash greatly respected his honor, and admired his spirit. Because of this Eldric felt Talash could be a great asset to the knighthood, and having the sponsorship of Sir Eldric would most assuredly grant him entrance.

Several months later, Sir Eldric approached Talash one morning as he was grooming and preparing Eldrics horse. Eldric was being summoned to the Palace. He was nominated for entrance into the Lords class of the knighthood. Sir Eldric approached Talash and offered his endorsement for Squire upon Talash. Talash, knowing what would happen if he accepted, was forced to gently refuse the offer; saying he was unfit for such an honor. Eldric was disappointed, but he did not press the issue. Sir Eldric left his home towards the palace. He was granted ascendance into the Lords class. This new position, came with it a new post. No longer was Lord Eldric to be living in Palanthus. He was granted an outpost in the lands west of Kalaman, on the very edge of the borders that the rising Dragon Armies were encroaching on. It was a small keep of stone. With a few small villages in the surrounding areas. It took about a month to pack up the manor house, and travel to the keep, but Lord Eldric was in as fine spirits as Talash had ever seen him. Upon arriving, Lord Eldric took a tour of the lands granted him lordship over. Talash, as always accompanied him, along with a squad of seasoned knights.

During this tour, the dragon army troops decided to attack one of the smaller towns. It just so happened that Lord Eldric was approaching the town as the Dragon Army attacked. Lord Eldric gave the command to attack, and rode off into the fray. The fighting was fierce, with many Dragon Army soldiers dying, as well as knights. Talash made his way into the town to observe the actions of both sides. Lord Eldric granted quarter to those enemies that surrendered, as was proper; however Talash noticed how the Dragon Army soldiers looted and pillaged with abandon. They had no care for their fellow soldiers, and how none of them gave praise to the Dark Queen after a victory. They were in the fight for themselves. Several soldiers set fire to homes, that contained only women and children. They slaughtered all they could, and took women by force, leaving children as young as babies alone crying in the streets, without care of their well being. Talash was sickened to see such disgrace being brought about in the Dark Queens name. After nearly an hour of intense fighting, Lord Eldric found himself isolated from the last of his knights; and facing down two DragonArmy soldiers and their sergeant. Lord Eldric, with blade in hand, lowered his visor and brought his sword up in salute to his enemy. The three soldiers attacked, and Lord Eldric went into a fierce attack routine. He layed low the two soldiers as they were sorely outmatched. But in they fray, Lord Eldric took his focus off the sergeant, which allowed him to attack from Eldric’s blind spot. Eldric was stabbed in the back with the enemies sword. Eldric tried to fight on, but his strength had left him. He slowly fell to the earth, and lay there bleeding, unable to defend himself. The sergeant, being the greedy opportunist he was, decided that he would take the armor, shield and weapon of Lord Eldric as a trophy; in hopes of gaining prestige, and riches. Eldric, still alive, tried to fend off the enemy. In turn, the sergeant kicked eldritch in the face, and spit on him. Taunting him with minor strikes, prolonging his agony. Talash could not abide this behavior in one of the emmisaries of the Dark Queen; so he charged in. The sergeant saw Talash coming, and backed off a few steps. Talash placed himself between Eldric and the sergeant. He made it clear in rough terms that if the sergeant wanted his spoils, he would have to fight for them. The sergeant saw this young man dressed in nothing more than lightly padded surcoat, figured the spoils were already his. He did not count on the ferocity and anger within Talash for his despicable actions. Talash leaned down, and picked up the sword of Eldric. The sergeant came on with supreme arrogance and confidence. Talash came on with the fervor of a man that witnessed a disgrace upon a knight that deserved respect, especially in death, as well as his friend. The two met with a clash of steel, Talash having an immediate advantage because of his concealed strength. His first strike was so fierce, it knocked the sergeant back a step, and left a pain shooting through his arm to the elbow. Immediately, the sergeant knew this youth was not what he appeared to be. Talash however knew the sergeant was exactly what he appeared to be. A few feints later, and the sergeant was lying on the ground with a gash in his side, and his head six feet away. Talash turned to Eldric, and embraced the knight who lay close to death in a show of respect. Eldric tried to speak, but no words found their way out. Talash knelt there, awaiting the final breath Eldric would take. He did not want a knight that was a friend to him to die upon the field alone. It was not long before the breath stopped in Eldric’s lungs. Talash closed his the eyes of the knight, and stoof guard over his body as the remaining knights routed the remaining Dragon Army troops.

When it was done, several of the other knights came over to see that Eldric was dead. Talash recounted the events that led to Eldric’s demise to the highest ranking knight present, as well as his own actions in defending Eldric. The senior knight nodded his acceptance of the situation, and began handing down orders for recovering the dead, and putting out the fires, as well as sending a messenger to the garrison at the keep for reinforcements. Talash turned to another knight present and asked for the knight to get Eldric’s horse in a tone that left no option for debate or refusal. The knight, a young, proud fool, from a rich and influential family, scoffed at being given a command from a whelp such as this and opened his mouth to refuse. Before the first word, Talash came with a left backhand, followed by a right cross that shattered the knights jaw, and sent him sprawling unconscious to the dirt several feet away. Other knights, not expecting that kind of action, immediately set to defend their fellow knight. Talash picked up Eldric’s sword, and held it in hand, but pointed towards the ground. He made a general request to get Eldric’s horse, with the tone on his voice and look in his eye that any argument would result in a fight where more would die, even at the cost of his own life. Another knight seeing the situation fast deteriorating, held up his hands and agreed, then ran off, returning a few moments later with the horse. Talash placed the body of Eldric over the saddle and turned the horse away and walked back towards the keep. He wasted no time in asking a priest to bless Eldric’s body. He then set out to collect Eldric’s personal belongings, and acquired a cart. He layed Eldrics body in the cart, and set off for Palanthus. His journey was speeded by unseen forces. He encountered no brigands nor monsters; and the trip lasted a mere tenday.

He approached the gate of Palanthus, and gave proper greeting to the gate guards. They granted him entrance to the city. Talash took the body to the Knights headquarters at the palace, and retold the accounting once more. The knights there took Eldric’s body, and informed Talash that things would be seen to. Talash returned to the Manor house in which Eldric owned to gather the rest of his own personal belongings. He spent two days preparing to leave. On the morning of the second day, a small unit of knights appeared at the house gates. Talash answered, and was commanded to accompany them to the palace. Talash figured that the council had heard of the altercation, and were going to punish him. He also knew it would be a fools errand to try and fight his way free of their squad, so he did as commanded. He arrived a short time later at the palace, and was ushered inside, through the halls, and into the council chambers. He had not been here in almost three years, but several knights of rank were in attendance. Talash however would show he was not intimidated by them, and strode boldly to the center of the room in front of the knights table, standing stiff and rigid. The older knights questioned him further about the events that led to the death of Eldric. Talash recounted the battle as it happened. He was also questioned about the altercation with the fool knight. He simply stated the facts that he requested the knight to retrieve Eldric’s horse so his body could be transported. He admitted that he did not ask in polite terms, but he explained that the grief for the loss of Eldric was fresh in his heart; as well as the haughty arrogace of the knight in question brought about the violence. The council listened to the tale with obvious disdain for him; being only a servant, and having struck a noble knight of means. After the recounting, Talash was escorted out of the room to an antechamber. He waited there for what seemed like days, yet in truth was only a few hours. Once he was recalled, he returned in the same manner as he originally entered. With no fear, and a bold defiance. He was informed that no charges were to be brought upon him for his actions with the knight; and that his grief most likely had led him to the point he arrived at. He took the berating for what it was, and turned to exit the hall, but was stopped as soon as he turned. The head knight stood and informed Talash that Lord Eldric’s wife anc child had died in childbirth many years before; and as there is no other family; Lord Eldric left all of his belongings to Talash. He did this for the years of faithful service, as well as the years of friendship, and the basic camaraderie shared between them. Talash was taken aback by this news. He was not expecting to inherit a manor house of a knight, who was not of his blood. He was grateful to the honorable knight and silently commended him for his gift, but he did not forget his assignment in being there. He graciously accepted the manor, and returned to his new home.

Talash lived in the Manor for four years. He built himself a small reputation of being a shrewd and hard nosed business man, dealing in whatever items were in demand; however his reputation was also one of fairness in the deal. He used his reputation to make acquaintances around the Solamnic territories, and was able to get word back to his sister, that he now had a strong base to work from. He requested she hand pick a dozen of her most trusted and loyal servants, and send them to him. Tashana agreed, and sent the troops to her brother. He immediately set them up in small homes in the various towns and keeps in order for them to gather intelligence. He used the records and tomes of the knighthood that Eldric had left, to study every aspect of the knighthood that he could. He compiled his own manuscripts and notes concerning the formations of various units. He also made preparations in late 351 a.c., to leave the manor in Palanthus, and return to Neraka, to finish his assignment by giving his report, and suggestions. On winter’s night 351 a.c., Talash left the manor, and headed east. He crossed the plains quickly, and made his way to Kalaman, which had been occupied by the Blue Dragon Army. He gained audience with the Highlord of the Blue Army. An arrogant dog named Vince Fendrik. He saw himself as the supreme ruler of the entire world. Talash informed him of his mission, and informed him of his need of transport to Neraka. Vince seemed as if he was about to scoff off the idea, but he relented and conceded. Talash was given a dragon, and made swift haste towards neraka, where he could begin the planning for the Queens new glory. Immediately upon landing, Talash dismounted his dragon, and hurried himself inside the Palace, and down into the bowels of the recess where lay the true temple of the Dark Queen.

His sister was in court dealing with issues that he recently arisen with the defection of the former Dragon Emperor to the gods of light. Upon seeing her brother, Tashana released those present, and cleared the temple of all but her most experienced clerics. Talash stepped forward and delivered his report. He detailed over several hours the state of affairs within the Solamnic armies. He told of how many of them were arrogant fools concerned only with title and benefits. He told of how many commoners starved in the streets while the knights ate lavish feasts within their keep walls, and how those commoners were growing tired of being promised aid, and support; but getting nothing. He detailed the lands and territories that were the most vulnerable, and layed out a few ideas to claim these territories, and subjugate them to the Dark Queens will. He also gave over his notes concerning the dragon army troops and their disciplines. He recounted the various battles he witnessed, and made his contempt for their lack of faith and loyalty in the Queen over the lust for gold and self glory perfectly clear. He requested permission of his sister to reform the armies, and make them a force of discipline. He was granted permission, and immediately knew where to start.

He took a few weeks to rest, and in this time, he also acquired the loyalty of a noble blue dragon named Storm. The dragons real name was Xanteirolix, but that was known only to Talash, Tashana, and the Dark Queen herself. Talash and storm spent the few weeks in Neraka together, discussing plans and forming a bond based on honor, and discipline. The dragon liked Talash’s manner, and Talash in turn admired the dragons dedication to upholding honor in itself. They both took their leave of Neraka, and made the way to Kalaman, where Talash, aided by Storm; would begin his cleanup of all things wrong in the Queens forces. They landed down in the courtyard of the magistrates estate, where the current Highlord of the blue army had set up residence. It was near midnight when he landed, and caught the sleepy Guards by surprise. They scrambled to make sense of this large dragon and dark armored warrior that just disrupted their lethargic day dreams, but one roar from Storm had them cowering in fear. Talash dismounted, and strode passed the door guards into the manor itself. He grabbed one guard and demanded directions to the Highlords bed chamber. Once he knew where to go, he walked with purpose there, and without regard for the privacy of the man inside, kicked the door off the hinges, and strode in the room. Hastening to get out of bed, and get dressed was Vince Fendrik, the haughty fool whom thought his purpose was the only purpose, and that attitude cascaded down to his troops. Talash surveyed the room and noticed Vince’s sword was across the room. Talash took long strides covering the room, and came face to face with Fendrik. A stream of curses, and sworn punishments that would last an eternity spewed from Fendrik’s mouth at Talash. Talash smiled at Vince, and half turned towards the door while Vince approached with clenched fists. He had a look of murder in his eyes, and Talash calmly waited for him to get close. When Vince was a merely two steps away, Talash leapt from his standing position and swung his leg around. Vince, startled; did not have time to react and was caught flush on his jaw with Talash’s mailed boot. The Dragon Highlord did two complete circuits before finally coming to rest on the floor, eyes glazed over. The woman yelped in fear, and it was then that Talash realized she was still there. Talash walked over to the bed, and removed the covers from her naked form. She was covered in cuts and bruises, with fresh lash marks on her back, and terribly frightened. Talash glanced over his shoulder at the prone man, and asked the woman if he had done these things to her. She nodded and told Talash that she had been kidnapped from her parents a month ago, and was being used as a sexual toy for Fendrik. Talash helped the woman to her feet, and gave her the blanket to wrap around her, then yelled for the guards. As the guards arrived, they noticed Vince on the ground, and hesitated, considering drawing their blades. Talash glowered at them and both got the message that they would both find peace in death should they continue. The guards came to attention, and Talash ordered the Highlord arrested, and put in the dungeon. He then ordered that a dragon rider be dispatched to the girls hometown, and that a wizard be sent along to bring her parents to the keep through the use of magic. Talash then turned to the woman and told her to sleep easy, that none would disturb her for the rest of the night. He then left the room, and had a tapestry placed over the broken doorway, to allow privacy. He gave instructions that called for two Sivak Draconians be placed at the door, and to not allow entry to any but himself; He then turned and headed downstairs and out into the courtyard. He found the soldiers barracks, and requested a bed. Many of the soldiers did not know what to think of this new person whom just appeared out of nowhere, and seemingly ousted the high lord. But they realized one thing; and that was he was not to be disputed. Talash slept with the common soldiery, as well as ate the food they would eat. He noted that the food prepared for the soldiers was less than edible; filled with maggots and flies. Bread stale, and molded. Water than was dark brown. Talash went to the cook, and procured a large bull, and commanded it be prepared for the soldiers. Many of the soldiers expected that he would get himself a fine meal, and be done with that, but were pleasantly surprised to see him thinking of them as well. Talash could see that he was gaining the support and loyalty of many of the common soldiers. It was what he intended all along.

Two days later, Talash had just dismissed the young woman and her family with a deed to a small amount of land for their own, and his deepest appologies for the mistreatment of the young lady. They left the keep with a song of praise for talash on their lips. Talash knew they would spread the word of his generosity, and it was as he planned. At noon, he called the main body of soldiers to assembly, in the fairgrounds outside the city. Well over 20,000 soldiers were in attendance. Talash had a tower fifty feet tall built, and the soldiers surrounded him. His voice amplified, he informed the soldiers that the time of lewd and lascivious acts was over. No longer would the things Fendrik allowed be tolerated. It was time for them to act as the blue wing should; with dignity and respect. He told them that the chaos of the region was at an end. The law would be enforced; and despicable acts commited by soldiers in the Dark Queens army would be met with death for disgracing the Queen. His speech was long, and detailed his plans for making the Blue Army great again. More than a few soldiers cried out in protest, only to have draconian troops grab them and drag them off. Talash however, did offset the new system, buy bringing forth accountants, and wagons of steel. He raised the pay of the army to 5 steel a month, instead of three, and immediately set the paymasters to giving the soldiers there pay, plus two extra steel to compensate them for the wait they had when Vince was slacking. A rousing cheer went up, but Talash made certain to let them know that from this point forward; law and order would be the paramount. Still the cheer rose. Talash had laid the foundations for his dream.

After the pay was distributed, Talash called everyone to order. He called forth to the keep, and a wagon came forth. It was holding the prone, but awake form of Former Highlord Fendrik. He was tied to a steak, although it wasn’t needed. Talash had a cleric and a mage use their powers to make him completely lame, yet able to still feel pain, as well as take away his ability to speak. The wagon was followed by several wagons of spikes made of wood. The spike wagons were set up into a large square pattern; and vince was brought forth. Talash spoke down from his tower, and accused Fendrik of treason. Treason in that his own desires became more important than that of the will of the Dark Queen. He accused him of heresy, in that Fendrik thought himself a god among men; and lastly, he accused him of being without Honor. He allowed his soldiers to disgrace the Dark Queen by their actions and his own. He commited acts of atrocity for no other reason than to boost his own power in the eyes of those he thought to subjugate. Talash then asked the army assembled if any would speak for Fendrik; none did. Talash then looked to Vince and asked him how he pleaded, but Vince was unable to answer. Talash declared him guilty, and sentenced him to death. The blue dragon Storm swooped in from the skies, and snatched Vince from the cart and circled up into the air a few hundred feet. Talash then spoke to the army, and told them that any whom did not act with discipline and honor, and follow the law would meet a similar fate. Talash then gave the command to Storm, and the dragon released Fendrik from his claws. The former highlord fell from the sky; and he approached the racked wagons of spikes, his decent slowed. He fell onto the spikes with enough force to impale him, but slowly. Talash wanted to dishonor him completely, and let him know the unnecessary pains he inflicted on others. The sound of his body being run through was wet. Many of the soldiers near to the scene vomited and turned away from the gore covered spikes. Again Talash reminded them of the penalty for disloyalty, and breaking the laws, then dismissed them to their posts, or to their beds. Talash assumed the mantle of high lord, and set about ridding the blue army of the rabble that brought dissent into the queens army.Within six months, the army was filled with men and women of honor and loyalty. Those whom did not conform were taken away never to be seen again, or exiled from the lands. Many of the Goblinoid troops were forced into submission, or killed. The army was made ready, and Talash unleashed his finely tuned war machine. He conquered much of Solamnia, leaving only there main strongholds to cower in fear. He then halted his forces, and set them to reinforcing their holdings, and resupplying.

In the spring of 353 a.c., Talash was called back to Neraka, and he left his chief lieutenant Shana Ashall in command. He arrived in Neraka within a week of the summons, and was told that it was time for him to ascend to the throne. He questioned the timing, and was informed that the Highlord of the red Army had been captured in Haven, and that his sister had emptied Pax Tharkas of troops to rescue him. As well, the green Highlord, whom was desperately in love with the woman, had taken a large force from the east to support her. Talash saw his opportunity, and gave commands that no dragons were to be involved in the rescue of the highlord. Talash sent word to attack Goodbay as a ruse. He sent word to Shana, that she was to send a sizable force south, to meet at north keep in Abanasinia. He knew the elves and dwarves close to Pax Tharkas would see the army depart, and seize that opportunity, so he decided to let it fall. He also knew the Minotaurs to the south would take the advantage to gain a foothold on the mainland. Let them deal with the nightmare of Silvanesti.

The dragons the Highlord and Highmaster were riding, dropped them off on the beach about an hours ride from goodbay, despite their continued protest. In the weeks it took for the green and red armies to move and assemble, Talash moved his blue army into position. The attack was bloody for the dragon armies of the green and red, having not prepared for the defence of the Solamnics that were heavily fortified in the city and the surrounding areas. However, they made progress. They weakened the Solamnic forces considerably; but still lost two men for every one knight. In the end of that battle, the red and green armies were forced to retreat, being severely depleted of manpower and supplies. As well, the solamnics were depleted. Talash saw his chance, and ordered his blue army to attack from the sea. The flotilla of ships entered the bay, and dropped off their soldiers whom stormed the town, while blue dragons circled above lending support, and white dragons used their terrible breath to freeze the harbor, cutting off escape, as well as reinforcements. This part of the battle was swift. The solamnics were forced to surrender, or were killed. Those whom surrendered were treated accordingly as prisoners of war. Much of the town suffered damage, but only minor damage. Few of the civilians were harmed during the attack, and they were told that they would be allowed to go on about their daily lives in peace so long as they submitted to Talash’s rule. Talash also promised them that food would be provided to them to ease their families hunger, and that the town would be rebuilt. Many agreed, seeing it as a chance to finally be protected. Those whom did not agree were allowed to leave to other areas if they so wished. A few did, but not many. Daily life had increased for the commoners. They had food, they were paid real money for the work in the fields. Those whom served in the army were given a signing bonus for their families, and some were even given lands to own. After two months, life returned to normal, it was just a different security force in the streets, and all knew the laws, and penalties for breaking them. As far as the majority of the commoners were concerned, life was easy and peaceful.

Talash called Shana to Goodbay to oversee things for a while. He knew from spies that the Solamnics were on the way to try and retake Goodbay. So he had a similacrum made of himself, and hid it in his personal room in the Lords Manor. Talash had set it up so he could relinquish the crown, without placing himself in danger. He was making the preparations to leave on the morning the Solamnics attacked. He gave his orders, and unleashed the similacrum of himself, while he was teleported to Neraka. He left the crown of power on the similacrum, for he knew it would fall, and someone else would take it, which would leave him free to do what it was he had been planning.

Shana Aashall managed to get the crown of power when the similacrum fell, and assumed the mantle of Empress. She managed to defend Goodbay, and fortify the area. This was good because by the time she returned triumphant to Neraka, Talash had already gone back to Abanasinia, and secured the ruin of Skull cap with a small handpicked force of loyal warriors. This was to be his base. The place he would build his new army. None were permitted in or out through conventional means. Spells were used for transporting supplies, and manpower in small groups. The halls were cleaned, and within two weeks, it was a fully functioning base of operations. Shana Ashall was left to the everyday meandering that accompanied the crown, which suited Talash just fine. He spent a year conscripting, and forming new laws, and orders. He took everything he learned during his time in Palanthus, and utilized it to the fullest extent of his capabilities. The forges he constructed were busy hammering and smelting out new armors and weaponry. Small groups of soldiers and officers whom were kept a close eye on were selected, and brought to skullcap to train and learn the new system that would soon be unveiled upon the world.
However, things were not as smooth as that. In the spring of 354 a.c., Shana Ashall tried to subjugate the black robes to her will; thinking to make them servants of the dark queen. This did not sit well with the master of the black robes, Archmagus Gilfaen. He refused to swear loyalty to the Empress, and the Dark Queen, instead offering a pact to the empress that the black robes would work in concert with the armies, lending aid when called for, while maintaining their allegiance to the tower and the black moon first. Shana, in arrogance and ignorance, cast those of the black robes out of Dragon Army controlled lands, and swore them as enemy. In turn, Gilfaen had taken, or destroyed the draconian eggs he and his brood helped to create. Gilfaen in turn, formed an alliance with the forces of light, through the white robes, and all forces quickly set to turning the tide of war back into their favor. Town after town fell to the new force, and the Dragon Armies were pushed back. Many in the Army, and the clergy of the Dark Queen were not happy at this new turn of events brought on by the foolishly thought out plans of the Empress. She had gotten word of the planning of Talash, and wanted to achieve the result he wanted before he did, to prove she was better. She did not anticipate however, nor really think the soldiers would rebel on her. She did not think that the loss of friends, and supplies, and pay and lands would be enough to cause their revolt. She figured their faith in the Dark Queen would be enough to sustain them. She failed to see the infallibility of humans. Several of the high ranking clerics, and dragon army officers staged a coup. Fortunately for Shana, she was able to escape the palace, and flee into the night. She fled all the way to Solamnic lands, but the perseverance of those charged with capturing her was greater than the promise of death. Shana fled all the way to Palanthus, thinking that she could gain asylum. She chartered a merchant ship from Kalaman, and ended up on the docks of Palanthus. Waiting for her, was Talash. None knew him for who he really was. He faced down Shana, and a fight ensued. Shana lost the fight, but was not killed. Talash had to relent so as to avoid the guards. He used a magical ring given to him, to teleport himself out, but he did mange to get the crown first.
After the fight with Shana in Palanthus, Talash decided to hide the crown in the deepest parts of the palaces temple. He declared none would have the crown until they proved their worth to the queen. He then gave final orders and instilled new commanders picked by himself and his sister to oversee the Armies, and ordered them all to fortify their positions, and make no moves, unless attacked. Shortly after, he returned to skullcap, and kept in correspondence with his sister; updating her on his progress. He used the events of individualism and greed coupled with arrogance to show that the system in place was flawed, and needed to be replaced by one more strict, and disciplined.

He secluded himself with the troops he had in skullcap. He trained, and administered edicts, and formed the system he would live by, and bring forth to the world as the new grand echelon. In the year 358 a.c., he convinced the Dark Queen, to break ties with the tower. Grant magic to some of her followers, free of the constrictions of the moons. At first the Dark Queen was apprehensive, but Talash laid out his plans and goals, and in the end, the Queen granted his request. She stole a portion of the art, and bent it to her own will, granting it to her followers. More than a few of the tower magi, sickened by the infighting of the orders, defected to the new military force, as well as those branded renegade by the tower were sought out, and given the offer to come to the new army, many did. Talash sent word to his sister that he needed those of the clergy to train them in the new way. For three more years he trained, and schooled those new to his forces in the way things should be. What would make them more formidable than any previous force to walk the land. In the spring of 361 a.c., he marched his new force, dark warriors, clerics and mages from the bowels of skullcap. All armored and clothed in new symbols. A black death Lily, A bare boned skull, and the thorns of a rose. They marched without incident north to North Keep; where they boarded ships bound for the east. Many marveled at this new force as they passed. But they did not attack any towns, nor disturb the balance of things as they were. He went back to Neraka, where he introduced his new Knights of Takhisis, and sent them out into the world to bring the will of his queen to the people, and he assumed the crown, to rule over her new empire.

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