The Battle at Alvang (also called "Witchking's Night") occurred in 62 b.S. when Ac'rónn Serveran, the heir and son of the Móch'rónn Saban Blackcloak, a dark elf mage and warlord, guided an enormous army to the enclave of Alvang, an immense fortress located on an island in the midst of the stormy and violent Ancythrian Sea. Serveran's goal was to put an end to the Móch'rónn's plans to conquer the lands of Sarvonia. Severan commanded a contingent of elite elven archers and was joined by the armies of the human Helcrani leader Corvas and hundreds of dwarven warriors led by the renegade dwarf Gonthrol. This joined alliance of the races would later be a precursor of the "Sarvonian Alliance" that would become the key to the unification of the races later when Santharia was formed.
Picture description. Scene from the notorious Witchking's Night where the members of the Alliance -humans, elves and dwarves alike - fought the Móh'rónn Saban Blackcloak at the now forsaken Island of Alvang. Image drawn by Jordy.
A Survivor's Account.
The following account of the battle comes from the writings of Arasinya
Tuarwen, one of Serveran's chief lieutenants and one of the sole survivors of
the catastrophic disaster that befell the Alliance army. Her journals were kept
hidden for many years until she felt safe that they could be published. Along
with a few other survivors' accounts, Arasinya's journal tells a mostly complete
account of the battle.
Prologue. The Móch'rónn Saban Blackcloak founded and built the immense fortress of Alvang on a small island in the midst of the Ancythrian Sea in eastern South-Sarvonia. The fortress and island were a place for Saban to build his power base and recruit and train an army to conquer the Ylfferhim leader Anthioullsn and his people. Some say that Blackcloak was drawn to the island by some magical essence, where that essence came from is not known and possibly it never existed. After Saban took over the island he named the fort that he built "All'valán" (Styrásh for "Above the Dream").
Saban believed himself to be the true Móch'rónn and demanded tribute and servitude of all the elven tribes. Whether or not Saban actually believed the elves would declare him their leader is unknown. Nevertheless, the elves rejected Saban's overture and placed a new leader of the High Elven Circle, Anthioullsn, a Ylfferhim bard. Enraged at being rejected, Saban set about with a plan to conquer the elven people by force. He moved his group of darkling followers to a small island in the Ancythrian Sea and built up a large fortress and surrounding small town to house his armies and servants. From here, Saban Blackcloak could build and send his armies to attack the Ylfferhim people and later the Quaelhoirhim and the Maeverhim.
The Ylfferhim elves have never since forgotten the time when Saban Blackcloak darkened their forests with his evil. A description of the dark elf as told by Arasinya Tuarwen who saw him still is told to this day:
"He is black as night, the dark one who descends upon our home like a violent storm. I have never seen such a beautiful dark one... his eyes shone like red jewels and his countenance was as midnight. I never saw him step upon the ground. It was like the very earth recoiled before him. As he turned his head to view the glorious home of my people, I saw his hair blow in the breeze and I feared for I thought I saw mists of sadness follow his wake. The very wind quieted around him and as he passed me by, I could not look away for his power held me in awe and I felt my very soul being pulled away by his gaze..."
Picture description. The Helcrani commander Corvas leading the Alliance into the Battle of Alvang against the Móh'rónn Saban Blackcloak. Image drawn by Arbaon.
"We had very little to see. The fog enshrouded us like a thick blanket. Everywhere I turned, the fog hugged me tight. I couldn't push it away and I felt as if my very breath was being taken from me. I pushed on, my crew pushed on and the Gale cut through the violent waves. It was our will alone that drove us forward. Our sister ships were torn asunder all around us as the waves ascended high above them and crashed down like a pair of steel jaws upon a piece of meat. We were fortunate... we suffered a loss of half the crew overboard. Never again will I sail that evil sea..."
When the ships finally made
land, planks dropped open from the sides of the ships and the foot soldiers
streamed out to storm the beaches of the island. They were then met with fierce
resistance as the dark elf defenders rained down thousands of arrows and bolts
upon the attackers.
As the dwarven and human soldiers took the brunt of the initial counterattack, Serveran's archers took their places on the decks of the ships and fired back. They had no good means of seeing the defenders, so they aimed where they thought an archer would lie. They also aimed for the nearest fortress buildings and windows hoping to hit something.
The attacking army, many of whom fell to the arrows, regrouped and made their way slowly up the beaches until they reached the edge of the town surrounding the fortress. From here, the Helcrani general Corvus led the charge. His men encountered hordes of dark elf warriors with which they engaged in fierce close combat.
The Helcrani men succeeded in
punching through the initial wave of defenders and began to spread out among the
small barracks and buildings that surrounded the fortress itself along the
northwestern side. Dark elf soldiers met them at every corner with drow archers
poised atop buildings shooting down arrows upon the
humans knew that without reinforcements, they couldn't spread out enough to
secure the area and a victory. The dwarven
foot soldiers should have been following the
Helcrani, but were nowhere to be
The dwarves were caught up along with Serveran's archers battling the many drow mages that were unleashing powerful bursts of elemental magic upon the invaders. The western and southern sides of the landing area had become a chaotic mess of Alliance soldiers attempting to close the gap between themselves and the mages on higher ground.
It was then that Serveran ordered the elven
archers to form up in a line and prepare a volley of arrows while the
dwarves provided a defensive wall. The
dwarves pushed upwards, many of them falling
quickly to the onslaught of fireballs and tremors of
earth beneath their feet.
The archers were prepared and Serveran's arm fell in a signal to fire. The arrows were let loose forming a thick cloud of raining death that fell upon the high ground and the mages formed up there. Using the temporary distraction, Gonthrol led the dwarves up the beach and over craggy rocks to the town border where they met with drow foot soldiers there.
Serveran's Charge. Serveran led his archers behind the dwarves and joined Gonthrol in hand to hand combat against the drow. As he rounded a corner, he saw to his left a few streets distant the Helcrani pinned down behind a crumbling wall. Drow archers and mages were firing off arrow and spell in an attempt to break the Helcrani shield.
Serveran cast about, satisfied that his area was secure, and motioned to
Gonthrol where the Helcrani were
trapped. The dwarves gathered up and formed a
line with the archers behind them. Serveran gave the order and the group charged
through the streets in a ferocious attack upon the drow defensive. Many of
Serveran's men moved to the rooftops to better gain a line of attack. The thick
line of dwarves weaved in and out of alleys
and streets and found their target and the slaughter began again.
Corvas appeared from behind the wall and approached Serveran for orders. The elf moved off to confer with the human about the next stage of the attack.
The Undead Army. After three hours of fighting, the border town was securely in the hands of the Alliance. Many dead and wounded of both sides lay in the streets. The pitiful wailing and screaming echoed throughout the night.
The Allied leaders took the time to regroup and plan the next stage of the attack - upon Alvang itself. Serveran chose to lead a group of archers and humans directly to the gates of the fortress and enter there. The dwarves were chosen to attack from the underworks and tunnels rumored to exist underneath the fortress as the dwarves were adept at underground movement within tunnels. Corvas was chosen to stay behind and secure the town further and provide reinforcement if needed.
With the plan in place, the Alliance moved forwards towards the gates. Gonthrol
and his men found a tunnel entrance and lined up to move down and under into the
fortress where they would meet the humans and
It was then that the sound of movement could be heard behind them. To their horror, the dead that lay in the streets began to move and stand. The corpses arose, still bloodied and fresh with dripping wounds. Elves, drow, dwarves and human corpses shuffled slowly towards the Alliance group.
Serveran knew full well the powers of his father and cast a defiant glare upwards into the fortress towers. There in the many windows dotting the walls, he saw cloaked faces and malicious eyes staring back at him. Necromancers.
The air was heavy with necromantic magic. Serveran knew that the necromancers were using foul magic to animate the dead into a second, larger army as a desperate attempt to keep the Alliance away from Alvang. Corvas, shocked, but undeterred, took up arms and rallied his men. They charged the undead. The corpses were not agile and did not fight as they once did when they were living and did not give the Alliance much trouble. But, it took time for the Alliance to fight off the undead giving the enemy time to regroup and form a final defense within the fortress.
The Trap. What happened once the Alliance reached the gates of the fortress is uncertain. The forces of Saban Blackcloak knew of the attack and also knew of the powerful magical trap that lay in wait once any intruders dared pass through the fortress's gates. What exactly the trap was remains subject to myth.
What the trap did, however, is clear. A traitor from within the army of Serveran had betrayed the elves and informed Saban of the impending invasion of the fortress. The fortress defenders prepared to meet the Alliance once they broke through. Serveran and Corvas succeeded in pushing back the undead and gathered at the gates. They broke through and poured into the open area within the fortress walls.
A Helcrani soldier later said this of the breeching of the gates:
"We broke the gates
through after what seemed like many hours battling the walking dead. Oh
how my memories are forever seared with watching my former comrades die
not once, but rise and die a second time by my own
blade! I still see the agony in the
eyes of the dead... their pain at having their torn and pierced bodies
trapped by dark magics and forced to walk
again against their will... how an undead can exist I shall never know.
The trap was sprung and
magical energy filled the island in a massive
blast of power that nearly destroyed every living being within the fortress and
the surrounding town.
Serveran, Corvas and a few others survived, however, and it is not know how they did so. Legend has it that the survivors possessed enormous willpower and resisted the magic that was unleashed. Some say that the gods themselves protected them. The remaining members of the Alliance had no time to figure it out. From the writings and symbols within the fortress walls, Serveran knew that his father was bent on taking the power of the Earth Titans and had to be stopped.
Aftermath. Serveran, Corvas and the remaining archers and soldiers conducted a search for the dwarves who had gone under the tunnels but could not find them. It is assumed that Gonthrol did not survive the mysterious magical trap that killed nearly everyone else. Sadly, there was little time to grieve or honor the dead. Serveran ordered all those alive to board the ships awaiting nearby for the journey to follow Saban and stop him.
Serveran left the island of Alvang littered with the bodies of the dead. The fortress and surrounding town was left to the ravages of time to be shrouded in myth and legend.