The Tale of the First Cities

  • The Tale of the First Cities: A Written Record of the Crusade of Eden
    Written by Aaron the Righteous in the Library of the Southern Men in 1258
    Stored at the Library of the Southern Men in the City of the Citadel
    Revised in 2015 by the Historical Society of the Southern Men: 28th Edition

    The Tales of Aachen: The Battle under the Red Moon

    Many of you know my name as a sign of a great general, a great soldier, a valiant knight, a defender of the realm, and a man who stood at the gates of Hell and kept them closed against the flood of demons. However, I am no longer any of those, instead I am an old man locked away in a tower to recant the stories of his youth. These tales of the First Cities, as they have been so termed by their inhabitants, is meant to indulge the people of this nation to learn from their ancesters. To keep their sense of duty, their sense of purpose, their sense of honor as they stood in front of the Armies of Hell, and shouted “WE STAND HERE FOR OUR LAND” as a single people, not as people from a fragmented continent.

    The tales of the city known as Aachen begin with Pope Gregory VIII proclaiming the Crusade of Eden, while previous crusades were focused on the Holy Land in Israel this Crusade was focused on claiming new land for the Papacy itself. In dire need of new lands to supplant the growing population of Rome and its nearby town, the Papacy turned towards a southern landmass mainly unexplored due to reports of savage natives.

    Pope Gregory facing pressure from local peasants, and nobles across Europe over the drag that Rome was becoming called for the Crusade. He gave the rights to command it to Richard the Lionheart, as well as commanders from Miraco, Fremet, and Inquista. Promising additional cardinals to them in order to acquire their support. The Crusaders set sail in late 1185, hoping to land on the southern shores in a bay mapped out by previous explorers whose fates were grim.

    Landing on the beaches of the bay, which is currently named the Lion’s Bay, Richard the Lionheart lead the expedition of nearly 50,000 men to establish a settlement from which to base their operations. Known for his brilliant tactics, Lionheart sent scouting parties of a few dozen men at a time from his base of operations nicknamed the Lion’s Den to find the natives that were rumored to be so beast like.

    These natives, which still today we have no true knowledge about other than whispers, are in some ways related to the Night Men of the Southern Deserts. However, their culture and language are so savage like that not even the Miracans could communicate with them. Marking their faces with paint before heading into battle, the natives have no written language, so we believe that these markings are used as a way to possibly coordinate the battle for which they enter. Today the natives still control the Central Plains of Adam, as well as the Northern Hills of Eve.

    Lionheart’s scouting parties often encountered these natives, taking massive casualties, as time wore on into 1186’s summer, the 50,000 men brought into subjugate the lands of this so-called Eden had dwindled to 45,000 due to the raids of these Natives. At this time, James the Valiant arrived from Westminster, where he took charge from his father, Richard the Lionheart, on the frontlines. Lionheart ventured back into his den, planning out a massive raid party to capture a hilly area to the north. This hilly area would become what we today know as The Citadel.

    Lionheart’s raid ended in a hollow victory, with the 20,000 men he took with him to capture the area, only 7,990 survived according to our current records, however the area was captured with three times as many dead natives in comparison. Receiving backlash from the Miracan commanders over his folley, Lionheart intent on keeping the area for which thousands gave their lives, by establishing a wooden fortress carved into a base of a massive hill known as the Citadel, from which the first settlement outside of Lionheart’s Den grew.

    Nearing the end of the summer of 1186, the Pope sent in peasants to farm the lands, new supplies, and reinforcements for the Crusaders. From the roughly 32,000 men remaining, they grew into a force of 65,000. With a peasant population in Lion’s Den at 10,000, and the Citadel hosting a couple thousand family members of the soldiers stationed there. However, raids by the natives increased, as word of a large Native force numbering in the ten of thousands marching on Lion’s Den reached the capital of the newly established Kingdom of Eden. By late 1187, ten thousand men had died from raids on the natives, with no reinforcements sent by the Pope.

    Lionheart forged a letter from the Pope that requested that the Crusade end, as the lands of Eden turned out to be useless to the new Pope Clement III. Using this, the main Miracan, Inquistan, Fremetian commanders, and Lionheart himself left Lion’s Den. With them went 30,000 of the remaining troops who they could take with them. Those who remained had family at the Citadel, or Lion’s Den, or elected to stay to fight for the land their brothers gave blood for.

    James the Valiant stayed behind, being a bastard of Lionheart who was never legitimized or in line for the throne saw no need to return to Westminister. Myself just arrived in 1187, a strong, stubborn twenty year old dismissed my family’s wishes. I was born to a small noble family in Essex, so I saw the Den as the place to earn my keep in life. I do not recall much of my family, or my home in Essex. It was a lifetime ago, a lifetime where my home was a nice manor. Not the bloodstained fields of battle.

    James was appointed as ‘First Prefect’ by his father, in order to give his House claim to the Kingdom later on, as no doubt no pope would even hold the area Lionheart thought. James with the remaining 20,000 men at his disposal directly 5,000 to hold the Citadel, and 5,000 to serve as the City Watch for Lion’s Den. He appointed me First Captain based on letters he had received from my father, who in order to help keep myself alive funded James. The remaining 10,000 formed the Lion’s Army, for they were the ones who roared according to James.

    Small outposts miles outside of the Den had reported that the Natives main army had arrived, and to say an army is a bit of hyperbole. It’s size was great, however to the civilized man there was nothing organized about it. Most of the men wore rags, and there were even women in the ranks! However, with the raids becoming even more deadly as time drew near, James ordered all civilians into the walls of the Citadel or Lion’s Den who at this time became fortified with stone walls, and ramparts to match. James knew that the city would not last a long siege, as there was only enough food to last a few months at best, so he decided to meet the natives in open combat in order to help bide time for City’s Watch to set up an evacuation of the few thousand residents at the Den.

    Speaking to the 10,000 men before him, James gave the speech that most remember him now for. I was never there for it, doing my duty on the wall patrolling and helping the men move supplies, however my friends who did hear it put it to memory. Even today I can still imagine James’ booming voice declare the words: “God did not create this land for us to have, He created this land for us to fight for! This land may not be considered holy by the Pope, or any King in Europe, but it is our land! We are not flying the banners of my father tonight, we are flying the banners of our country. We are not the like the Northern cowards who left us here to die, we are the Southern Men of Eden! Tonight we face the demons at Hell’s Gate, and we shall keep it shut for the living!”

    Known as the Battle of the Red Moon, the battle was done mainly at dusk, where a full moon was rising, it was a Red Moon as well, which fit the blood spilled across the Fields of Serenity outside of Lion’s Den. Over 10,000 men faced a force believed now to be nearing a 100,000. James earned his title, the valiant, that night by fighting in the Vanguard, pushing through swathes of natives and ending their lives. However, the odds were stacked against them. As their numbers began to dwindle, and I knowing full well what it meant if the natives pushed through now. I rounded up 4,000 of the City’s Watch and took them into the fight, I had a Raven earlier in the day to the Citadel requesting for reinforcements to help move the civilians out of the city.

    By the time I entered the fray, thousands of my brothers had fallen, I began to slice, stab, cut, ripped through the hundreds of Natives in my way, I noticed James surrounded fighting off a dozen natives on his own. Exhausted he collapsed to his knees, ready to accept whatever fate became of him. Luckily, the Citadel’s reinforcements had arrived, taking 4,000 of their own men they had told the other 1,000 to help the civilians out of the city and bring them back to Lion’s den. They had abandoned the Citadel, in hopes that they could save the Den.

    James was rescued by a group of men I believed to be Miracan in origin, and was taken to the back of the line. I took charge of the forces remaining and kept on fighting. I can say to myself, and for the others who were there that night, hell was truly experienced.

    By the beginning of the following morning, of the nearly 18,000 soldiers who had in some way been a part of the battle, 10,000 survived. Comparatively, the natives who had numbers nearing a 100,000 were struck down by the grace of God. We estimate now that they had 80,000 deaths in battle that night.

    However, God while giving us the grace of living that night, gave us one sorrow. James had succombed to his injuries during the night. A heavy sigh was taken by all of us, for we had known we would lose many. Including him in that many, was the most upsetting thing. He had left a will for us to follow. He instructed us to set up a College of Watchmen, and while he would appoint the first fifty as set in his will, they would be in the future elected from wards. After I was named to be among those first fifty watchmen, I felt a heavy heart as I was chosen to be the Dead of the College by James. I lead the college in selected a new First Prefect, as I was instructed to by his will.

    After a day of debates, I was elected, even after I was hesitant I accepted the position. As my first act I read aloud to the people of Lion’s Den James’ last words from the will for them to know.

    “We are not a Kingdom of Eden, for God never meant Man to return to Eden. I know we will survive the battle ahead of us, so I take the name Aalen for our nation’s name, after the Greek town whose hero Aachen who guard and fought off the armies of Hades. As for the city of Lion’s Den, I always preferred the name Aachen to suit it. My time on this Earth may be over, however you must remain united, you must remain strong. For we are the people who stood at the gates of Hell and said no! Europe abanonded us, but we will not abandoned ourselves. ”

    The Tale of the First Cities is a blood one, one I had a part in each. Aachen was the one I had the least part in, however, it was the one which set all the others in motion. After the victory at the Battle of Red Moon, I began preparations for the retaking of the Citadel. Marching with the remaining men at my disposal, I looked to the sky, knowing that we were indeed in our own Eden.