The Barony of Sarcelfen is a cursed place in more ways than one. The land still suffers from a long ago arcane accident, and the lords of the barony are both impotent and impoverished. Tucked against the far eastern edge of Westridge, Sarcelfen is a wholly forested area. Concerning the climate, it is temperate and pleasant year round. The people of Sarcelfen are reclusive and superstitious. Wary of the forest, they prefer to avoid time spent outdoors. Most towns and all of the smaller villages have long since been completely abandoned with only two larger settlements remaining in the entire barony. It was ruled by House Lyon before the Sarcelfen Incident.
- 1 Lyonne
- 2 Canard
- 3 The Withering Woods
- 4 Tower of Sarceline
- 5 The Sarcelfen Incident
Lyonne is the largest of the two, and one of two locations the Lyons spend their time. Due to the presence of the noble court, the people of Lyonne still maintain some sense of fashion. Indeed, the town of Lyonne is quite odd in its attempts to remain fashionable and modern despite crippling poverty. Despite the Sarceline Accident, the town remains a center for magical industry. While the people themselves share none of the aptitude for magic, they have found a niche in supplying the many materials required by the tower. Parchment for scrolls, gems and jewellers, tailors for robes, and ink shops all share a close relationship with the Mage Circle. Due to Lyonne’s uncomfortable proximity to the Withering Wood, the people have erected a short wooden palisade to keep predators out of the town.
Located farther from the tower, Canard is a slightly smaller but unwalled town of much the same sort as Lyonne. Unlike its larger neighbor, Canard does not enjoy the presence of the Lyons very often and shares none of the close relationship with the Mage Circle. The people tend to be grim and sullen, prone to superstition against magic. Coin is hard to come by here. Hope is even more precious and rare. A disturbing rise in madness and upset humours has been noted, despite the best attempts of doctors and clerics. What is causing this plague of calamities is currently unknown, though of course “magic” is being blamed for it.
The Withering Woods
Within the exclusion zone drawn by the Montclairs around the tower is The Withering Woods, or ‘Witherwood’ for short. The forest has grown dark and wild here. Animals are more aggressive, brambles grow in excess in place of leaves - even on plants that don't normally produce thorns, while the trees seem to groan with anger. Children and fools who wander into the Witherwood rarely come back out, and hushed stories of monsters lurking in the dark are passed around Sarcelfen's remaining towns. While the very forest itself seems to disorient any who enter, those with enough skill to ward off the furious energies coursing through the very land itself can navigate through and find themselves at the isolated Tower of Sarceline. Aside from the Rangers who patrol the Withering Wood and the Circle Magi themselves - it is a rare occurrence for anyone to succeed.
Tower of Sarceline
The Tower of Sarceline is the headquarters for Westridge magi. While from the outside the structure appears to be little more than a simple stone watchtower of old Azerothian design, the interior is quite a different story. Finely tuned wards and spells have given the tower a whole new expansion of space to allow many large halls, libraries, and studies to fit within the small structure. Most mages choose to teleport in and out of the tower rather than approach from the forest for obvious reasons. The Tower of Sarceline, despite its turbulent history and many accidents, is a very well respected institution of higher arcane learning among Stormwind’s scholars and magi.
The Sarcelfen Incident
Sarcelfen's misfortunes were many, but there were few large incidents there and the barony remained relatively quiet for some time. However, Cassandra Lyon had long been brooding on how to reclaim her House's lost fame and power. She longed for the days she remembered of prestige, suitors, fancy dances, fine wines and food. Further, House Lyon's coffers were empty, used to prop up the House for many years but having been drained completely.
Cassandra worked with what remained of her fortunes, selling off family heirlooms, silver, gold, anything she could get her hands on in order to enact her plan. She had read about an old legend regarding Heartsgrove, a territory that had been stripped away from House Lyon and given to Thomas Reignsford to hopefully heal the damaged forests. She read about an ancient green dragon named Taerus who had once bestowed a gift on the residents of the forests; a flute born of the Emerald Dream that was used to create the Heartsgrove tree. This flute was said to "bring the Emerald Dream forth and restore the natural balance". Cassandra thought if she could reclaim the flute and use its powers to restore Sarcelfen's forests then she would be able to reclaim her lost political clout and prestige.
The Attack on Heartsgrove
And so she used her remaining funds to finance a group of mercenaries to enter Heartsgrove, find the flute and steal it. Knowing this would be seen as a veritable act of war against House Reignsford, she ensured no mercenary would be able to speak of her pact with them by paying one of the mercenaries a vast sum to kill anyone who was captured and himself, Cassandra promising his family would receive all the funds should he die. At the same time she beseeched the First Regiment for aid, saying she had caught wind of a plot against Heartsgrove and that bandits would soon attack the grove.
The group of mercenaries infiltrated Heartsgrove, slaying several Mirwood Rangers and attendants to the grove in the process, finding the flute within the Heartsgrove tree itself and stealing it away. Soon, they found themselves up against the Regiment's soldiers, led by Knight-Captain Roy Sebale, fighting tooth and nail to escape but finding no way out. The Regiment noted these were no ordinary bandits, but rather highly trained mercenaries who each seemed to have a specific purpose in the group, including a druid.
The Flute of Taerus
The Flute of Taerus was retrieved from the 'bandits', with one surviving and being captured, though he took his own life with a pouch full of poison in his mouth. The flute was retrieved and brought back to Cassandra at her manor. Cassandra explained that the flute was one of legend, and could be used to restore the forests, insisting that the Regiment needed to use the artifact to do just that.
The Regiment's magi and druids investigated the artifact in the Lyon Manor's tower, finding that the flute had been cursed alongside the forest. While the flute would restore the life of everything around it, the flute would drain the player's life force simultaneously. The flute also had another, more sinister, curse. A strange compulsion thrummed in the minds of those around it, beckoning them to play it, forcing them to once they had a hand on it. One of the Regiment's druids couldn't resist this compulsion, the flute flying into his hands and forcing him to play it.
As he played it, the tower nearly crumbled as trees grew out of it and an immense storm whipped up above the manor. Fortunately, the flute was contained by the Regiment's magi and its power stopped, the druid just barely surviving.
The Assault on Lyon Manor
The storm raged through the night, centered over the manor. The flute had seemingly awakened something by being played, and it was apparent the next day when the aberrations that called the cursed Withering Woods home began assaulting the manor itself. Huge, eight-legged cats, bears with multiple jaws and lizard tails, flying bat-like creatures with green scaled wings swarmed the manor. Their numbers seemed endless, and while the Regiment fought valiantly against them they were soon overwhelmed. The Lyon's two sons, both of them being knights, defended their mother and two sisters but were slain by a swarm of the green scaled bats who breathed emerald fire. Further, one of the sisters was slain before the Regiment could intervene.
The Regiment's magi opened a portal to Canard to retreat, ushering through the remaining Lyons and escaping the manor with severe casualties. From Canard they could see the manor, a dark storm centered over it with more creatures swarming towards it, beckoned there by the flute's call. Roy Sebale, Master Mage of the Sarceline Circle, surmised that these were a cursed and deformed version of dragonspawn. Normally dragonspawn were humanoids who were chosen to serve a dragonflight and bestowed draconic features and magics to do just that, but here it seemed the animals were turned into them.
Searching for Answers
Roy then led the Regiment on several expeditions after evacuating the remaining Lyons to their much more heavily defended city of Lyonne. The first was back into the Withering Woods, Roy attempting to find where the dragonspawn were coming from. Unfortunately, this expedition was met with staunch resistance, and the discovery of a large brush wall around Heartsgrove. Attempting to get through the barrier was met with attacks from the dragonspawn, along with attacks from other creatures of the forest. The wall itself eventually unveiled several flowers that bloomed to fire poisoned barbs into the Regiment, nearly killing several people. The Regiment was forced to retreat, the mission a failure.
The next day, following reports of disturbances in a nearby mine, the Regiment set out to investigate. Moving into the mines revealed a few things, a few members of the Regiment feeling dark magics permeating the mine. As they ventured further they discovered the mine was not man-made, but rather a natural cavern exploited by local workers to mine gold, some stones holding etchings that matched etchings on the flute.
These discoveries were cut short as they discovered a massive cavern filled with dragon eggs, all of them having been rotted and the whelps turned undead. A massive root structure was interwoven in the den, the Regiment fighting against whelps and oozelings until the root structure spawned flowers before absorbing all the corpses and whelps into itself, forming a massive tree with parts of whelps jutting out to act as biting thorns, the tree leaking acidic sap whenever struck. Several members of the Regiment were nearly killed in the encounter, but the cave was destroyed in its entirety.
The Second Battle at Lyon Manor
Roy’s next plan was an attempt to retake House Lyon’s manor and beat back the encroaching creatures to the Withering Woods. The manor was only host to two dozen or so of the creatures, and they were easily slain. However, the storm still raged above the manor, the source of the necromantic dragonspawn finally being revealed.
A massive and twisted ancient green dragon named Taerus descended from the storm, attacking the Regiment while exuding a necromantic aura that sapped the life force of every one of the soldiers. The dragon spoke in draconic that he had been reborn by death, and that he was Famine, renaming himself to reflect the curse that had twisted him and his immense power.
The fight was desperate as they were pinned in the Manor, the dragon summoning enormous roots from the ground that eventually completely destroyed the Manor. The Regiment just barely managed to beat the dragon back, forcing it to retreat. However, Taerus gave parting words promising that all life near the forest would be snuffed out, leaving the Regiment to figure out how to defend both cities in Sarcelfen, Canard and Lyonne, or which town Taerus meant to attack first.
Cleansing The Flute of Taerus
After researching the legend of Taerus and his flute, the Regiment surmised that the flute could be cleansed of its curse with the proper application of both natural and arcane magics. The power of the flute was immense, proportional to the dragon that created it, and the curse that infected it fought against the Regiment's efforts to cleanse it. Eventually, one of the druids managed to invoke the connection to the Emerald Dream and surged the flute with natural magics to purge the death that had seeped into the flute. Cleansed of its curse, it was hoped the flute could be used in the eventual battle against Taerus.
The Defense of Lyonne
Scouting parties were sent out into the forest in order to determine which of the two major towns would potentially be attacked first. The forests were littered with dragonspawn, but the scouting parties managed to uncover the direction the bulk of them were headed: Lyonne. Roy mustered the Regiment quickly and moved to reinforce the city. The crumbling walls of the city were shored up and defensive positions were drawn up. The people of the city were evacuated towards the central Cathedral of Lyonne along with Lady Lyon and her remaining daughter.
Sooner than they thought, however, Taerus and his hordes of undead and twisted dragonspawn attacked the city. The Regiment were initially pushed back by the dragon's flames and the swarming animals, but after regrouping further inside the city the Regiment gained the upper hand. Soon the flood turned to a trickle and Taerus retreated instead of fighting them directly.
The reason as to his retreat became evident later as Taerus channeled his powers of death and decay to raise all of the dead within the crypts of the city, and all of the dead bodies of his dragonspawn. These zombies and undead all started merging into a walking, tree-like structure that headed towards the central cathedral. The Regiment fought through the undead to get to the fighting at the center of the city, where House Lyon's remaining soldiers and knights fought to protect their Lady and the citizens.
When the Regiment finally arrived at the site of the battle, Taerus presided over it, his life draining aura causing the soldiers and knights of House Lyon to falter. The Regiment intervened, utilizing the Flute of Taerus to counteract the aura and chase away Taerus, but not before the great dragon flew into the cathedral, destroying its walls and collapsing it onto those within. Fortunately, Lady Cassandra Lyon had ushered most of the citizenry into the underground tunnels beneath the cathedral with a host of soldiers and her daughter, preventing their deaths. However, Lady Cassandra ended up dying in the collapse of the cathedral, her body found later.
Taerus' Demise and the End of the Sarcelfen Incident
The Regiment moved to the plains near Lyonne, using the Flute to call Taerus, challenging him to one last fight. The ancient, cursed dragon responded and attacked the Regiment. The Regiment had set up artillery near the site of the battle, along with equipping every soldier with weapons that would be more effective against the dragon's scales. It was the Regiment's plan to cripple the dragon and then unleash the artillery upon it, using the flute to counteract the dragon's magic and power in the process in order to slay him.
The dragon's power was not to be underestimated, however, and while he was crippled as the Regiment attacked his wings, his aura of decay caused many in the Regiment to falter and nearly die in the fight. The artillery was unleashed after his wings had been destroyed, the dragon's flesh falling off in large chunks before what remained was nearly just a skeleton. A sickly green concentration of power remained at Taerus' center but the combined power of the Regiment's remaining casters was poured into it, overloading the undead dragon and shattering his form.