Conflict & Date:The Battle of Emridy Meadows occurred in the spring of 569 CY.
Armies & Commanders:Allied army (1700 total)
Prince Thrommel IV, Marshal of Furyondy and Veluna.
Viscount Wilfrick of Verbobonc.
1200 humans, 200 dwarves, 100 gnomes, 200 elves.
Horde of Elemental Evil (@4570 total)
Unnamed cultist lieutenants from the Temple of Elemental Evil.
3500 orcs, 550 humans, 500 gnolls, 20 ogres.
Result:The allied forces of Prince Thrommel IV slaughter the Horde of Elemental Evil.
200 human, 55 dwarves, 25 gnomes, 20 elves
Horde of Elemental Evil
4500+ (Most survivors eventually fall at the siege of the Temple)
PreludeSometime in the late 550s the village of Nulb began to fester with all manner of evil folk, culminating with the founding of the soon infamous Temple of Elemental Evil. Before long local caravans, gnome clans and the neighboring village of Hommlet became easy targets for bandits from that region. Following many years of these simple raids and complacency among the rural folk, matters grew steadily worse by 568 CY. First was the construction of the Moathouse, an outpost east of Hommlet meant for further raids, then agents of Good also discovered that not only was the Temple mustering a small army but that the cult of Elemental Evil was actually under the direction of a powerful demoness.
News of this Evil quickly spread from the Viscounty of Verbobonc to the ears of Prince Thrommel IV, Marshall of the combined armies of Furyondy and Veluna and also a renowned paladin. Compelled into a quest, the Prince left behind his concerns to the north, and promptly called upon his most pious knights, clerics and his own picked guards to help bring down this profane temple. Shortly after crossing the Velverdyva River in the spring of 569 CY, the host of Prince Thrommel joined with waiting contingents summoned from Veluna and Verbobonc. Accompanying these forces was Serten of St. Cuthbert, the lone member of the Citadel of Eight to volunteer aid to Thrommel’s cause. Not long after the allied column began their slow march to the southeast they were met by a welcome council of demi-human bands from the Lortmils, Kron Hills and the Gnarley Forest, who had similarly decided to deal with the growing presence of evil at their borders.
When the allied forces closed to within a day of the Temple they first encountered the enemy on the open fields several leagues south of Verbobonc City and northwest of Hommlet called Emridy Meadows. The bulk of the Temple’s human forces, comprised of mostly mounted bandits, brigands and mercenaries had moved to stall Thrommel’s advance. Elven scouts then reported that a much larger than expected army of creatures was approaching from the south. Knowing the Temple might empty its entire horde early, Thrommel went with a contingency plan drawn up in council. In an attempt to draw this Horde of Elemental Evil away from any population centers, he ordered the withdrawal of the entire allied column north, to a strategic position near the east bank of the Velverdyva River. Despite some later historical accounts there was no significant fighting at Emridy Meadows, for the only action that day was light cavalry skirmishes screening the withdrawal to a more favorable battlefield. Outnumbering their foes by more than three to one and eager for their first combat victory in the region, the Horde of Elemental Evil predictably pursued Thrommel’s forces north.
BattleIt was at dawn when the horde was roused early from their rest by the signal horns of the allies preparing their formations for battle. The packed ranks of the allied contingents were arrayed so that 500 pikemen were protected on their flank by the Velverdyva River while at the center was displayed the colorful banners of 400 light cavalry and 100 heavy cavalry led by Thrommel himself. Finally, on the allied left were deployed blocks of 200 Lortmil dwarves and 100 Kron Hill gnomes, with about 50 elven archers of clan Meldarin positioned in between. The Horde of Elemental Evil was comprised of two forces. On the hordes’ left flank rode 550 human cavalry made up of bandits and Nulbish thugs with little experience in warfare beyond raiding lightly defended caravan trains. To the bandit’s right was a much larger force of humanoid infantry, a host of 3500 orcs drawn from the dark forests to the southeast and even the very depths of the Oerth. Also among them howled frenzied warbands of gnolls some 500 strong, and towering over all nearly 20 crudely armed ogres culled by the Temple from the surrounding wilds to provide heavy support.
With reckless abandon the cultist lieutenants commanded their human cavalry ranks to engage the right flank and center of the allied forces, not that the rabble of humanoids gave them much choice. The majority of the Horde immediately charged the allied left flank once they saw the shields and heard the taunts of their traditional enemies. The enraged mass of humanoids was allowed to push aside the smaller demi-human ranks in a hasty attempt to encircle the rest of the allied army. Thrommel’s pikemen and screening cavalry also allowed the charging bandit cavalry to penetrate their line leaving them between the bend of the Velverdyva River and packed in with the encircling mob of humanoids. This of course sprung the trap planned by the Prince. At once the whole allied army pivoted counter-clockwise to encircle the Horde in this pocket. As Thrommel’s knights quickly turned to counter-attack the humanoid main body from the rear, 150 more elven warriors came from hidden reserve in the Gnarley Forest to close the killing arc. With their backs to the river and their leadership in disarray, the Horde of Elemental Evil was completely routed. While most fought to the death, scattered groups did manage to break out of the allied lines only to be hunted down or drowned in flight. However some survivors were allowed to flee south back to their Temple as a message of what was to come next.
After the field was won Prince Thrommel wasted little time in rallying his weary troops and collecting their fallen. The most storied among those slain at Emridy was Serten of St. Cuthbert who fell during the final moments of the battle zealously defending the Prince to his last breath. This would later be a major loss to the allies’ plans for their next phase in the campaign, the siege of the Temple of Elemental Evil.
AftermathNews of the victory at Emridy Meadows spread fast to Hommlet, the first evidence coming as strange men dressed in ochre were sighted running through the village in panic. The Temple of Elemental Evil lay within a couple days march for the allied host. Their coming emboldened the local villagers and farmers, knowing the end of the Temple were at hand. The allied forces, having met no resistance on their march were refreshed and well supplied once they finally laid siege to the walled fortress of the Temple. Inside the cult of Elemental Evil futilely held out with a scant garrison of troops, falling within a fortnight as the army threw down the upper works of their fortress just short of damaging the central Temple itself. Only a few of the vile leaders of the Temple managed to escape, and it is said these vengeful individuals were later to blame for the sudden disappearance of Prince Thrommel IV in 573 CY.
Fearing a raid on the dungeons of the profane Temple would be too costly given the presence of a major demoness (Zuggtmoy), Prince Thrommel summoned all his mages and clerics to cooperate in creating great seals to bind this evil within the deepest parts of her own dungeon. Four pairs of large bronze doors starting with the Grand Entrance of the Temple were each bound with heavy iron chains and their seams filled with softened metal. Lastly runes were carved into the bronze portals bearing abjurations of arcane and holy power. With the final spells in place Evil was contained at last, but in the following years, agents of Good would remain nearby to keep an eye on the Temple for its inevitable resurgence.
Nearly inconsequential during the siege of the Temple, the raiders’ Moathouse was the last piece to fall before Thrommel’s quest was complete. While the Prince oversaw the binding of the Temple, he sent a splinter force with their leftover siege machines to take the small outpost. Remarkably a mob of villagers from Hommlet, long terrorized by the evils of this place, joined in to help surround and raze the Moathouse.
There was no shortage of heroes at the Battle of Emridy Meadows. Viscount Wilfrick attained fame for his part in commanding the campaign. His fortune and gratitude was shown to Hommlet through the construction of a temple of St. Cuthbert and the beginnings of a walled castle bestowed upon Burne the wizard and his friend the warrior Rufus, both veterans of Emridy. Another fighter earning fame at Emridy Meadows was Ricard Damaris who lost a finger on his left hand and suffered a wound that left him the distinctive triangular scar on his face. Ricard would later return to the Temple of Elemental Evil with the opportunistic Lord Robilar to help plunder its dungeons and earn enough to retire as the owner of the popular Green Dragon Inn in Greyhawk City. And brave Serten was given a grandiose funeral service in Verbobonc attended by many who fought with him at Emridy. Ironically, also in attendance were all his former companions from the disbanded Citadel of Eight whom for their own selfish reasons, had failed to take part in the most historic battle of the century.