Excerpt from The First RiftWar: A Primer (2271)

This raid marked the first time that orcs and ogres had trod upon elven lands in over two centuries and their sudden, unexpected presence threw the Ruling Council into chaos. According to their official record:

Fear stripped away our reservations. Fear and anger. Where before the Humans told a tale difficult to believe, here was a threat to our homeland that could not be ignored. To our great surprise the Humans stepped forward and quickly offered their strength of arms to aid in defense. The young Lord, whom we knew, stumbled upon his words but his armsmen – the Northlander, the Blademaster in white, the silent archer, even the ugly one who spoke so well – were stalwart and upright. We accepted this pledge with reservations but hope and they left three of their number – a grandfather, a priest and the blademaster’s apprentice – behind. We thought not to see these Humans again.¹

Military historians often complain that there exists insufficient historical information about this particular skirmish to track how it progressed. The above reference is, in fact, the most complete reference found to this orcish incursion and none of the official Council records from the time even reference Vasar involvement. It was not until the discovery of several Auditore journals nearly two decades ago that historians even realized the battle was linked to the wider engagement. Auditore wrote:

Through a hole in a tree we ventured with elves and met orcs in battle. Blood and fire hung heavy in the night but I danced the forms well. It was not until later when the last of our foes had kissed the earth that we saw the controlling beasts upon some bodies. Afterward the elven Council agreed to lend us aid out of fear though they tried to claim it was simply in respect to our strength of arms. ²

In recent years, students of this era have come to believe that the following stanza from one of the numerous Jak o’Shadows military marching song from Caithness can be traced directly to this battle:

We’ll dance all night until the elves run free,
And smite the orcs until they flee,
And then we’ll back thru the tree,
To dance with Jak o’ the Shadows.

Another reference to this engagement is believed to be referenced in the Master of Blades cycle of songs, which have been strongly linked to Auditore, in the following snippet:

Weapons scattered,
Columns shattered, standing their ground.
Great the havoc,
The Bladesman turned back the Orcish.
He duelled giants,
In the front ranks, in the spear-clash.
He laid beasts low,
Danced with beast, before they died.
Elvish land flamed
But the Master walked clear.

No records exist detailing how great the elven losses were or how significant a deciding force the small band of human warriors turned out to be.


¹ Modern linguistic experts debate the validity of this translation – ‘blademaster’ for example can be more poetically translated to ‘dancer of steel’ and the word ‘ugly’ has no actual Elven equivalent; most insist this should be ‘displeasing to the eye’ – but for ease comprehension, we have used the Low Tongue words.

² From The Collected Writings of Gabriel Auditore, published by Caemlyn University.