Moreavan 30th in the year 887 by the New Imperial calendar (Wodemōnap 77th in the year 753 by the old calendar) was an usually cool morning in the area of the city Renwick in the Mauska region of northwestern Cymrile county. Mist rolled in from the Upper Scale River but quickly disappeared before sunrise. The sunrise itself was largely obscured by heavy cloud cover, dark flat clouds that promised rain that never fell. The sunlight also struggled to penetrate the persistent smoky haze that clung to the city, there were no active fires anymore but a untiring oily kind of “air grease” that hung low to the ground. This would later be attributed to the wide use of nerium fir trees in the construction of buildings in Renwick which burned during the fighting.
The river around the city was littered with the blackened husks of dozens of boats of various sizes creating a significant hazard to navigation through the area. Most of the charred bodies had already floated downstream, but there were still dozens pinned up against the docks or trapped amongst the wreckage. The western third of the city, called Ford Village by some at the time, was devastated – with nearly every building destroyed, even those made of stone. It was said that the stone was shattered by the intense heat of dragonfire. There was a stark line where the old city wall had prevented the fires from spreading to the rest of the districts. Even so in the other two thirds of the city there were several small clusters of burned buildings with one larger instance in the middle of the government district were a dozen buildings had been badly damaged.
There were signs of fighting in and around Renwick. Impromptu fortifications had been set between buildings on the west and north sides and there were bodies strewn throughout the streets – mostly concentrated along the outer wall of the blackened Ford Village – including the bodies of non-humans, mostly goblins, but a handful of trolls as well. Civil authority had been abandoned in Renwick with roving gangs of angry citizens traveling the streets while the few remaining soldiers and guardsmen attempted to mount a defense. Rumors were that the only ranking officer left was a third lieutenant and the defense effort was ad hoc and disorganized.
Before the sun was fully over the horizon an army appeared outside the city, although the term is applied loosely in regards to this incident. It was in truth a union of outlaws from the Faith Woods. Notable among them was the so called Bandit-King Nidus, whose band was reputed to be number more than a hundred, Sobolov the half-Kostelos renegade who led his band of outlaws with the help of his sister, a priestess of the Burning God, the rebel wizard Gemlin, Felara the turncoat road warden, and the goblin tribes of the Fellmar. Their exact numbers are unknown. Some scholars say there were more than two thousand brigands, others claim there were as few as four hundred – generally it’s assumed that there could have been no more than seven to eight hundred operating out of the Faith Wood at that time. This is still a staggering number of active bandits in one district.
This band was forged and held together solely by the personal power of Urra Bakor, the One with No Remorse, called also the Doom Wing. True name Ethotarthonhestimm in the Dragontongue, Urra Bako was at least two centuries old at this point, believed to be sired by Ethlore the Flying Flame and laid by Bias Iwan the Boiling Queen, somewhere in the mountains of the Northlands. Prior to this incident Urra Bakor is known to have destroyed the mountain fastness of Bysmar in 799 NIC over a perceived slight by the lord of Bysmar – it is from this episode that he earned the moniker the One With No Remorse. Anecdotal tales suggest that even for a fire dragon he was extraordinarily prideful and cruel. The one other fact known about Urra Bakor is that he sired, by unknown means, a great number of half-dragon offspring who were initially deployed as minions but were later abandoned. This reason for this is unclear, but there is no known instance of contact between Urra Bakor and one of these progeny later than 850 NIC.
Shortly after the outlaw army had assembled outside of Renwick Urra Bakor appeared and settled among them – legend says that in doing so he crushed several of his own men, but this was not confirmed by any eye witness to this event. A few minutes after the appearance of Urra Bakor a lone woman walked out of the city and towards the deadly dragon and the mob of cutthroats. The identity of this woman is hotly debated.
Many claim that she was Rouwen Arbequina, the grand-daughter of Sibbin Greenblade the known dragonslayer. Advocates of this theory insist that Urra Bakor was on a quest for revenge, already having killed Sibbin and all his known decedents other than Rouwen. Several contemporary accounts confirm that the city guard did look for a woman matching the description of Rouwen Arbequina but these same sources contend that she was sent out of the city under cover of night on a smuggling ship. The official position of the Renwick city government is that the woman could not have been Rouwen Arbequina.
Some scurrilous rumors suggest that Rouwen did not flee the city but that she could also not have been the women who appeared at the city outskirts because at the time of the appearance she was passed out drunk in a high class (in as much as the term applies) establishment that offers sex for pay. There does seem to be some legitimate information that indicates that a woman of Rouwen’s description was in the city and was observed to be heavily intoxicated in the late hours of the previous night.
There is a stubborn minority that promulgates the rumor that the woman who appeared outside of Renwick to confront Urra Bakor was the cousin of the Baroness Cisarovna Helandra Juost (nee Castrovel). They can give no name this this alleged cousin because she does not exist. Records show that the Baroness had no cousins who survived to adulthood as has been repeatedly confirmed by the Baroness herself. The reason why this type of pernicious rumor is so hard to stamp out as are other forms of peasant superstition will be explored in an upcoming work of mine.
There are a few records of a con artist who pretended to be the cousin of Baroness Juost during this time period but all indications are that she operated farther to the south and in any case what possible motivation could there be for an individual of such low character to confront Urra Bakor?
What is known is that after the woman appeared before Urra Bakor and his army the great red wyrm spent several minutes in self-aggrandizing speech – declaring that he was invincible and threatening a variety of deaths on any who dared oppose him. Certainly to those in in Renwick it seemed like these statements were simple fact and not boastfulness of any kind.
The details of what happened next are unclear. The dragon stopped his speech and became agitated. Some eyewitness accounts claim this is because of something the woman did, some say it was become of something she said, others claim that the woman attacked the dragon – this last item can be dismissed out of hand as implausible. What is known is that the dragon’s ire was raised and it quickly moved to deploy its deadly fire breath on the woman.
Her reaction is also unclear. Some say that she cast a spell. Others say that she disappeared. A few foolish accounts even state that she dove into the dragon’s gaping maw. The story that seems to be most likely true is that as the dragon drew in its breath to release fire the woman threw something into its mouth/throat. Certain scholars whose names are not worthy of mentioning maintain that whatever the woman threw in the mouth of the dragon blocked its throat and caused a fatal blockage of the rheem – the flammable vapor that allows the dragons to enact this devastating maneuver. And while they correctly surmise that the dragon’s fire is biological and not magical as many believe, this notion is laughable naive. The force at which the rheem travels is far more than enough to expel any item small enough to block the passageway in the throat.
Even more ridiculously some claim that the item thrown was a Necklace of Fireballs. Why this tactic would not be effective against a fire dragon is patently obvious. Few know that there is a similar item called by some the Necklace of Crystals which is a similar item that creates magical cold based attacks. If you could deploy it in such a manner this would be an effective manner of harming a fire dragon of course. This is not to mention that any number of magic items would be instantly destroyed by dragonfire and could potentially explode releasing all of their magical energy. The green dragon called Eunnurth the Mammoth, was killed in just this manner by Forjada Derro utilizing a magic staff of great power, which cost the brave warrior his own life as well. This however is the only confirmed instance of this phenomenon.
Regardless there is no confirmation that the woman threw anything so speculation on what might have been thrown is pointless. While her actions are unknown the effects are not. Urra Bakor was slain instantly by a detonation that was either internal or at extremely close range.
(Editor’s note, this assertion has since been proven untrue by Grgish Vicso – although Urra Bakor was badly wounded by whatever happened at this event he was not killed and is known to have escaped at least initially to the Faith Wood. Since he was never spotted again after this it is assumed he later died from these wounds or while weakened was attacked and killed subsequently by parties unknown.)
The woman was not seen again and no remains were found – it’s highly probably that the massive devastation of the explosion itself combined with the releasing plume of dragonfire disintegrated her completely. After an initial moment of shock the warriors of Renwick surged out of the city to counter-attack the men that had besieged them in the prior days. After a token resistance most of them threw down their weapons in surrender – the goblins were slain of course, and the trolls were able to flee the battlefield but most of the human outlaws were taken into custody. Their fate is covered in detail in the works of Neth Averdale regarding justice in the 9th century.
Behind the curtain – I wasn’t sure how I wanted to write this bit so I changed up the format. Interesting? Writing cheat? Both? You be the judge! Or you know don’t, I’m not the boss of you.