The time had finally come for the long-awaited war against House Dasciya to transpire. House Ravnore’s forces arrived outside the gates to Dasciya’s compound near Chorrol on the 20th night of Morning Star. Most of the house’s combat forces were in attendance, in addition to the house army consisting of 100 mercenary legionaires and 30 velites. Gideon also brought along his formidable necromantic creations: a corpse army 100 strong, 3 bone giants, and Cerberus, a horrifying flesh atronach made of sewn-together transformed werewolves. House Dasciya’s forces consisted of 130 mercenary infantry, 15 armored and mounted Breton knights, and 60 longbowmen.
Moments before the battle was due to begin, Gideon called a meeting of the members of the house. After delivering a rousing speech about the imminent destruction of their foes, he summoned Olyviana to his side, took his concubine’s hand and asked her if she trusted him. Confused by the question in the face of the serious situation, the thrall and lady of the house answered with conviction that her trust for him was absolute.
In a shocking display, Gideon stated that the price he paid to the lords of Coldharbour was the soul of –every- member of House Dasciya, which included Olyviana. He stated he killed what he loved in order to secure victory for his house moments before plunging the dagger into Olyviana’s heart. Olyviana’s death was instant and the house ranks erupted in chaos, confusion, and outright mutiny for the next few moments as those closest to Olyviana—including Gideon’s other two thralls, Morriel and Shyllisyr--raged against her murderer. Much of the rest of the house debated abandoning Gideon in his moment of need for his actions, no longer certain if they wanted any part in his war.
In the end, though, Gideon managed to convince Morriel to stand down and, filled with anger for what Gideon had done, the house champion ordered the battle to begin. Gideon began channeling the ritual needed to reanimate the corpses he had ordered delivered to the battlefield while Shyllisyr cradled the broken body of her surrogate mother behind him.
The battle began by Gideon sending forth his corpse army against the enemy forces. Unfortunately, House Dasciya had the advantage in the form of high walls lined with longbowmen whose arrows devastated the reanimated zombies. The mercenary infantry made quick work of many of the shambling undead, only losing twenty of their own by the time the entire corpse army lie in ruin. At that point the house legionnaires were sent forward to engage Dasciya’s mercenaries, while the house melee forces followed suit.
The archers were as big a problem for the legionnaires as they had been for the corpse army, and many fell before the house’s few archers began picking them off. The trebuchets loaded with burning pitch also aided in taking out some of the archers, but victory was only assured when Gideon released Cerberus to wreak havoc on the battlefield. At once the hulking flesh beast climbed the walls and began rampaging, tearing archers limb from limb.
Shyllisyr, upon realizing how badly the archers were devastating what was left of her family, finally abandoned Olyviana’s corpse and downed one of her levitation potions. Gliding atop the wall, she took another potion which alchemically enhanced her body far beyond human limits, at the expense of her own health and sanity. She singlehandedly killed around twenty of the archers and in doing so turned the tide for the ground forces to begin carving their way through the knights and infantry.
During this time, the two house werewolves, Amaria and Talsgar, had transformed and were merrily romping through the battlefield, killing everything they could get their claws on. Finally, one of Gideon’s three bone giants made it to the gates of the compound and beat its way through, at which point the lines finally broke as House Dasciya’s mercenary army began fleeing in terror, only to be hunted down by the two werewolves.
The aftermath saw Shyllisyr barely alive, her mind shattered; 70 out of 100 of the legion cohort dead; the entire undead army decimated; two of the three bone giants destroyed; and nearly all of the house who had directly engaged in combat riddled with injuries of varying severity. It was a victory, but one which came at a great expense, something the bedraggled for ces were cognizant of as Shyllisyr and Olyviana’s bodies were carried to the command tent.
Day two of the siege saw the invasion of the compound itself. Nearly all of House Dasciya’s infantry had been expended the night before in their overconfidence they would win the battle. House Ravnore sent through the breached walls first to engage the few remaining guards in combat, and the House members engaged shortly after.
However, the true battle quickly proved to be against a trio of blood mages. These members of House Dasciya were incredibly skilled in their craft and warded themselves against damage while disorienting their foes with powerful destruction magic. Worse still, they began draining blood from the downed men in the courtyard and funneling it into a spire overlooking a building in the middle of the courtyard. It was quickly surmised that the spire was powering the Ayleid artifact they had been warned about, the one capable of creating bloodfiends on a large scale.
At the same time the mages appeared, a fire ward was activated around the perimeter of the estate, setting flame to a few of the smaller buildings and blocking those still outside the gates from entering. Their magic worked within, however, and Gideon and Sotha were able to provide assistance to those fighting against the guards and mages within.
Eventually Gideon and Niklaren were able to defuse the flame ward with frost magic long enough to step though, and Gideon summoned Cerberus from where the atronach had been guarding Olyviana’s corpse. Cerberus was set loose within the walls of the estate to serve as a distraction while the house frantically tried to stop the blood ritual that was constantly powering the terrible Ayleid artifact.
One of the blood mages finally fell and was replaced by something even worse—a vampire blood mage capable of inflicting the excruciatingly painful curses that some of the house had been subjected to during the Wayrest compound assault. Syrine, Ginevra and Carwen took the brunt of the blood curses as the battle raged on.
Eventually though, the House forces were able to wear down the blood mages, killing them both before turning their sights to the enemy vampire. It was an agonizingly close battle, with the Ayleid artifact nearly charged by the time the vampire was abruptly overwhelmed by Ginevra. Unfortunately, at that moment Cerberus reached his target—after slaughtering several of House Ravnore’s own velites along the way—and threw both the vampire and Ginevra through the air. This may have proved fatal for Ginevra had Syrine not distracted the rampaging flesh atronach with a blast of lightning, but unfortunately her own injuries from the lingering curse proved to great and Syrine wound up savaged by Cerberus’ claws and impossible strength, but she was able to successfully keep the beast focused on her rather than the rest of the house until Gideon finished disabling the artifact and brought the beast to heel.
During the altercation, a few civilians, most notably workers, were slaughtered by Sotha’s summoned Golden Saint until she managed to rein him in, but there were no other major casualties to the innocents on the compound.
It was a disturbingly narrow victory for the house and they retired for the day to tend their wounds while waiting for the final assault on the manor, and the house primogen, that was to come at dusk the following day.
On the third day, a small group of House members gathered in the command tent. Olyviana’s body was placed prominently upon the stone slab in the center of the room, her features appearing serene in death. Gideon spent time attending to Shyllisyr’s extensive injuries. The girl was still terribly hurt, but Gideon had begun the process of piecing her shattered mind back together, even though she was still too sick to move.
Yet suddenly Gideon’s attention turned towards Olyviana’s corpse, and the house rapidly realized the depths of his deception when the lady of the house rose as a vampire. Traumatized and overwhelmed by her murder at Gideon’s hands and unexpected turning, Olyviana was driven to lashing out at the antagonistic Aldalin before she calmed enough to come to grips with her new condition.
Still stunned and floating in a dreamlike state of confusion, she shared a touching reunion with Shyllisyr, under Ginevra’s watchful eye to ensure the fledgling didn’t lose control, before she was taken way to rest before the confrontation to come.
After Gideon reintroduced the newly arisen Olyviana to the house, the remaining forces breeched the door of House Dasciya’s manor and stormed the castle. The servants on hand were quickly rounded up and put under guard, and the house soon came face to face with House Dasciya’s primogen and Olyviana’s uncle—Edwyn Dasciya, the man responsible for countless deception and an attempt to destroy House Ravnore.
Once heated words were exchanged and challenges issued, the house attacked the three guards standing before Edwyn, though their efforts were constantly hindered by the silencing ward which kept the casters from using magic to any useful effect. Lelith’s skill with her silver arrows quickly came into play when she shot first one arrow into Edwyn’s shield ward, weakening it—and then fired a second, which penetrated the ward straight into the primogen’s groin.
Shocked by the agony and weakened considerably, Edwyn was forced to flee, but not before he set off a trap which launched shards of silver towards all in the room. Most of the house received painful slices or silver shrapnel embedded in their skin, but miraculously avoided serious or fatal injury. Edwyn’s mist form was followed by Ginevra’s own, and he reformed in an archive where he began hastily constructing a portal in an attempt to escape. The powerful yet cowardly primogen once again shielded himself with a terrible ward, and Ginevra had already begun attacking it by the time the rest of the house arrived.
It rapidly became apparent that damage to the shield caused damage to Edwyn himself. As the guild hacked and sliced away at the ward, Edwyn took more and more damage and his portal weakened further, until all at once the house redoubled its efforts and the primogen’s shield consumed him. The room glowed white-hot before fading to reveal a smoking pile of Edwyn’s bones moments before they crumbled away into ash.
The battle was over. House Ravnore proved victorious over House Dasciya, but not without great personal loss. The house army had been virtually destroyed, as had Gideon’s two years of work in building n undead army. Most of the house suffered injuries of varying severity, it was uncertain if Shyllisyr would ever fully recover, and Olyviana had been forced into unlife to fulfill a terrible pact. But in the end, what the house had lost in strength and protection it had made up for with a foothold within the Imperial heartland, a new business interest, and a future fraught with danger that still bore the potential to shine in the darkness.