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    Posted: 19 Sep 2014 at 21:01
DARKNESS DESCENDED
A History of the TRO and Æsir vs. TLR Wars


Prologue

In the spring of 2012, Illyriad was much the same as it is now. Veterans assisted new players by sending out loads of resources and posting Global Chat links to beginner's guides. Trolls got the almighty banhammer and everyone complained about the new, coming 'soon.' There were differences, though. Harmless?, the game's first alliance was still the largest alliance. VALAR had yet to merge with The Crows. Those hawkish members of the Crow Confederation were still ostensibly neutral. It was a time before Trade 2.0, a time before The Broken Lands, a time of relative ease and peace within the Illyrian world.


1. Origins and Conspiracies

The first wave of veteran players had come and some had gone. The second wave of veteran players, many quite large were very much in charge. One of these newer veteran players, having already "retired" a few accounts, had by this time taken the guise of an elf and was calling himself Eternal Fire. Recently, he'd taken the slack reigns of an alliance called The Dark Knights, a wing of The Nightbringers. In the wake of its tumultuous origins, wherein its founder, Iofilip betrayed relationships and quit the game in disgrace, EF changed the name of the undistinguished alliance and set about recruiting. The Long Road was under way.

During its formative days, TLR made no secret their desire to cluster cities in an alliance hub (not unlike most alliances previous and since), however there were those outsiders who believed TLR's goals of regional dominance necessarily included the systematic harassment of smaller alliances and unallied players. Looking in from outside, as the rhetoric spewed from enemies past and present, taking into account the contempt many of the powerful continued to hold for EF, regardless of his incarnation, it was not an extraordinary conclusion to believe that TLR were waging a long term campaign of territorial acquisition. In what some felt could easily be seen as a counter move, a handful of Crow Confederates settled in and around the still developing TLR hub. This move, whether deliberate or simply a matter of synchronicity gave TLR pause. Many of her members now firmly believed there was good reason to suspect the Crow Confederation (or at least one or two of its wings) of conspiring against them.


2. An Orc Must Fight

By May of 2012, TLR had sidestepped one possible war, had successfully brought about the end of another just days prior to the ultimate ruin of their adversary and were already well established as the numerically dominant alliance in the Ursor region. At this point, a fairly new member, Rasptara began looking for inactive accounts against which to test his newly constituted armies. One such account, apparently inactive and to that point unresponsive to correspondence was Silrond. Unfortunately for Rasptara and TLR, after coming under attack, an actually quite active Silrond sought refuge in Thordor's The Red Order.

In a chain of messages between the orc Rasptara and the human Thordor, it is clear that Thordor is trying to be firm but polite, however he had already launched his army and this plainly upset Rasptara. Throughout the entire exchange Rasptara remained belligerent. He was angry and made his tone clear by his words. Thordor demanded he immediately cease his harassment of the smaller player but Rasptara affirmed his belief that it was none of his business. He declared that as an orc, he must fight. He based his case against Silrond on the fact that he was unallied when he found him and predictably, perhaps carelessly refused to back down. By the end of their dialogue Thordor dismissed him as "too low in your alliances ranking system for me to bother with." He had had enough. He gave the order and his siege army began their long, slow march towards Rasptara's capital.

On May 11, Thordor contacted EF and announced that he had sent his own army at Rasptara. After three days of silence, EF finally replied. He stated that he believed Thordor was overstepping and acting rashly. Instead of talking, he was attacking and EF believed that the massive 80 to 1 size difference made the act wholly unfair. To de-escalate the situation he proposed that Thordor appoint a 'champion' of equivalent size to fight in PvP combat against Rasptara. Both alliances could back their champions and let the chips fall as they will. Thordor would have none of it. He replied that he was acting to protect his new member, that he would continue to do so and should EF send armies he would "wipe you both out."


3. To War?

EF told the members to prepare for war but ordered a defensive strategy. He reasoned that because the distances between the respective sides were great and TRO lost troops while TLR would be seen as unaggressive, "brokering a truce" could ultimately be much easier. He also surmised that TRO's confederate allies would remain on the sidelines for fear of appearing overly aggressive.

Two days later, on May 16th, a player named Waywie, having heard about the incident from a third party contacted EF and told him that he was about to start sending numerous feints against Thordor's cities. He firmly believed in the philosophy of protecting smaller players against any sort of perceived bullying. He summed up his view with these words; "...we all invest a lot of time and effort into our accounts and cities and to have it destroyed just to prove a point wasn't kosher with me at all." Waywie was at that time a member of Worlds End but acted solely on his own because WE's leadership was not willing to get involved. He didn't know EF but was aware of his reputation. He felt it to be irrelevant and he would intervene.

Waywie next contacted Thordor to insist he recall his siege and immediately end hostilities. In that message, he granted that Rasptara had acted bad but condemned Thordor's actions as heavy handed. In his defense, Thordor claimed he had tried to contact EF before launching his army but received no reply. He also stated that he contacted TLR's second in command and though Bonfyr Verboo had responded, he said he had no power to act. In response to these claims, EF said he was offline for a few days due to internet connection issues but could not or would not produce any messages dated prior to Thordor's 'army on the way' announcement. For his part, BV, TLR's second in command categorically stated he had never received a message from Thordor. That same day Thordor agreed to end all attacks and recalled the siege on Rasptara.


4. THAT'S THE ONE!

Over the following month, tensions remained high. Rasptara behaved himself but on numerous occasions the two leaders of the respective alliances confronted each other on Global Chat. To the casual observer, it appeared that Thordor was trying his best to bait EF with ad hominem attacks and rhetorical insults. EF did not leave the taunts unanswered but he rarely 'fired the first shot.' While players like Jabbels, Zonera and Trilllian offered anything from a tacit approval to outright encouragement, Thordor posted comments like:

[18:40]<Thordor> Our reasons are our own, Sub (Subatoi was EF's other account), we don't need to justify ourselves to TLR warmongering dogs.
&
[18:41]<Thordor> Sub - I'd be happy to explain T.R.O reasonings to a real alliance, should asked. but we don't see TLR as any more then a band of quivering old women, so thus, we're not interesting in explaining ourselves to you.

On June 22, shortly after Eternal Fire appeared in GC, Thordor posted a new insult. EF, having him blocked at the time was unaware of it. After being told about the post, he logged on with Subatoi, his alternate account, saw the insult and responded in kind. Thordor, apparently looking for a reason, took the opportunity to declare war.

Following is the entirety of the exchange in context (minus most emoticons, which were deleted long ago):
[17:20]<Gimardoran667> hey EF
[17:20]<Eternal Fire> gim, you ever play dead space?
[17:20]<DeathKnell> Hi EF
[17:20]<Eternal Fire> hey death
[17:20]<OtterLatif> while I am grateful for the donations, I hate to make the donation go to waste.
[17:20]<Lidah> Have a good go at upgrading it in the meantime
[17:21]<Gimardoran667> no i havent EF
[17:21]<OtterLatif> it's lvl5 now and I am not going to have the resources to do so in time. how embarrassing.
[17:21]<Eternal Fire> aw
[17:21]<OtterLatif> :S
[17:21]<Eternal Fire> Go buy DS2
[17:21]<DeathKnell> what I had to so Otter was burn my prestige to expand the storehoues (and later the warehouse) as the shipments came in
[17:21]<Eternal Fire> it will scare the hell out of you
[17:21]<Gimardoran667> lol i dont scare easy
[17:21]<Thordor> btw, a quick note to all new players, don't listen to anything Eternal Fire says, he's a war mongering noob. :3
[17:21]<Gimardoran667> not by games or media
[17:21]<Eternal Fire> physiological horror
[17:21]<Eternal Fire> if thats the right word
[17:21]<OtterLatif> ahh. kk. thx DK.
[17:22]<_Emily> Best type
[17:22]<Flufflelufagus> But that is why we love EF
[17:22]<_Emily>
[17:22]<Eternal Fire> that is not the right word
[17:22]<Eternal Fire> what fluffle?
[17:22]<Flufflelufagus> lol
[17:22]<DeathKnell> a ladylike fart
[17:22]<Eternal Fire> Ok gim what do you expect in a horror game?
[17:22]<_Emily> quif
[17:23]<Flufflelufagus> Thordor said something really nice about you man
[17:23]<Eternal Fire> did he?
[17:23]<Flufflelufagus> you should be flattered dude
[17:23]<Thordor> Fluff he's got me ignored,
[17:23]<Subatoi> [17:21] btw, a quick note to all new players, don't listen to anything Eternal Fire says, he's a war mongering noob. :3
[17:23]<Subatoi> Don't listen to thordor, in a fight where he realizes he may lose he cries on gc for help
[17:23]<Thordor> THAT'S THE ONE!
[17:23]<Subatoi>
[17:24]<DeathKnell> Hi Subby
[17:24]<Subatoi> but anyway
[17:24]<Gimardoran667> EF, unless im back to work and actually under the threat of actually being Killed, very few things scare or get under my skin.
[17:24]<Subatoi> Gim, still there?
[17:24]<System> ** News flash: The Red Order [T.R.O] declares war on The Long Road [TLR™] Hostilities may begin immediately...
[17:24]<Thordor> Sorry what?
[17:24]<Subatoi> Bring it


5. To War!


The following day, June 23, the elf Le Roux, a member of Crow's Nest who had settled in and around the Ursor region dropped out of her alliance. There was likely a legitimate reason for this but to the members of TLR it appeared to go beyond coincidence and skirted the realm of intimidation. They saw it as a message, plain and simple. They believed she wanted to show them that she felt free to act unilaterally, possibly even join TRO in this war against them, while at the same time keep her allies out of the picture and their reputation a respectable one.

On June 25, EF called for TLR diplomatic missions to be sent against several TRO members, including Thordor. In the same message he declared that all small members of TRO were to remain entirely off limits. A day later, EF began planning a siege feint against Thordor. Conceived as a distraction, he hoped this mission would tie up some TRO troops in the process.

On June 28, Le Roux re-entered her alliance without incident. She had, during her tenure as an unattached player appeared in GC alongside a friend or two and made a few off hand remarks about joining TRO. Whether she and her friends felt it was all a joke or she was actually weighing the possibility of taking action against the members of TLR so early in their history, remains unknown.

Over the next 3 weeks, TLR moved against several TRO targets, systematically raiding cities and destroying armies in the field and at home. They, of course suffered losses of their own but managed to maintain enough of an onslaught to finally convince Thordor he might want to rethink his current stance. On July 17, Thordor asked a dwarf named Gimardoran667 of Steel Confessors to act as a mediator to end the war. The following day he hosted talks in a private chat room. At one point during the discussion Gimardoran667 stated that "...outside forces want to get involved and i havent been able to keep them out btw." Who these outside forces were, Gimardoran667 would not say. His revealing that he was unable to keep them out was puzzling given the fact that only TRO and TLR troops had been involved in the conflict.


6. The Troublesome Terms

That evening, EF announced to the members that TRO had accepted the terms of surrender, without debate, as first presented. These terms included two key points, which would soon prove to be troublesome, to say the least. They would draw criticism from the community, which would very soon lead to a second, somewhat chilling war.

The first point of contention read in part: "...prohibiting all TRO cities of three thousand population and higher within 700 squares..." This demand was soon deemed unrealistic by outsiders. Though it may have been extreme in its presentation, it was intended to keep the two alliances far enough apart that a future war would be quite difficult if not unlikely.

The other point, debated and derided and eventually pointed to as the key evidence of TLR's greedy and bully like nature in part read: "...TRO awards a medal pre-designed by TLR..." This term, like all the other terms of surrender were wholly affirmed by Thordor without debate. His apparent blind acceptance of these terms in their entirety took the members of TLR somewhat by surprise.

Of all the terms of surrender, that last stated point struck a resounding and dark chord within the community. Some believed it was flat out wrong to ask for medals. They believed them to be equivalent to actual real world money and the demand for them as tantamount to extortion. Because of the debate that followed, some members of TLR felt it was a bad move to publish the terms on the Illyriad Forums. They felt it led directly to the next war and could have easily dealt a blow to end the alliance altogether. Others believed that what followed was the singular event that cemented TLR's place in the Illyrian world and shaped her members into the cohesive, loyal unit their eventual reputation made them out to be. It may very well be that both views are valid. Regardless, the terms were published and here is a link to them, along with Thordor's post accepting them and a little taste of the debate that followed: http://forum.illyriad.co.uk/tro-accepts-terms-of-surrender_topic3822.html

Less than a week later, on July 23, Kenta Watai of Æsir sent 3 armies against Abraxox's city of Avendoraldera. The following day saurabhsahoo of Æsir launched an army at one of Fromfrak's cities. Shortly thereafter, Æsir declared war on TLR.


7. The Darkness

Immediately following the war declaration, BV's city, Cheese Enchilada came under siege from Vermino of Æsir. Vermino's cities were very near and his armies had a very short distance to travel. The siege began setting up on the same day as the declaration and in short order the city fell. Because of its isolated location in Arran, well over a thousand squares south of Ursor, there was little use in even attempting to save it. Any troops that could arrive soon enough would be crushed and most would likely arrive too late. Once it was all said and done, Cheese Enchilada was the first family member city lost in battle.

At the time, no one in TLR knew why Æsir was waging war against them. Most of the members believed it was the act of puppets, directed by a mysterious and omnipotent master. There had been absolutely no communication prior to the declaration. After the declaration, correspondence between members of the alliances were absent of any sort of real explanation and remained within the realm of 'trash talk'. In fact, most discussion of the war and whatever Æsir's reasons were took place in the Illyriad Forum. Several threads pertaining to this war can be found there still but here is a link to the first one, begun by LostEros, who was at that time the leader of an alliance called Fremen Society: http://forum.illyriad.co.uk/sirs-crusade-vs-tlr_topic3854_post49503.html#49503


8. They Are A Family

A day after the declaration, in a message to the members, EF offered this well meaning warning: "Staying (in TLR) may make you a target in this Cleansing, I won't be able to assure your safety if you remain..." No one took his dread advice.

Also on the 24th, Arakamis of Æsir began sending messages to various small members of TLR urging them to leave or they would be "treated as valid targets". An orc called Fediglio, one of the recipients of this dagger of a message forwarded the threatening warning to the entire alliance and responded to it the very next day. His reply, in part read: "Bones crush, flesh tears, but the spirit lives on. Leave TLR? Never again. The only madness I see comes from the very hand that offers an escape. Continue your unjust war. Strike me down if you must. I hope it satisfies. Your unjust war will bring you only contempt."

Fediglio's defiance resonated throughout the alliance. Words like his and all the deeds of those like minded individuals, repeatedly tempered under fire, had been forging a palpable bond. Now, as odds stacked against them and the darkness descended, in those few weary hours, before light might finally appear, a group of friends find they are a family.


9. And Now, The Light

The first rays of light came in the form of an elf named Myr. To this day a highly respected player, treasured by her allies and feared by her enemies. Over the previous year she'd stuck up a friendship with Eternal Fire, begun during his days in The Nightbringers. They carried on conversations through IGM's and had grown to know and like each other very well. She regarded him as quite young and an erratic player, yet remarkably resilient and a natural leader.

Æsir's actions had not gone unnoticed by Myr and her comrades. The declaration of the 23rd had come unannounced and remained without explanation. Myr expressed her outrage in a message to EF and declared that, regardless of their unstated reasons, Æsir had no leg to stand on. To those watching from the outside, it appeared as though Æsir were targeting a much smaller alliance in an unabashed power grab. She immediately announced that she and her comrades would, indeed stand and defend TLR.

Also a member of the second wave of veteran players, Myr was by this time leading The Nightbringers and the group of alliances called The Night Confederation. The confederation, in part consisted of The Nightbringers, The Night Crusaders and Skorn. Three days after the declaration, on July 26, the confederation (with the exception of The Nightbringers) declared war on Æsir. Though she decided to keep her own alliance overtly neutral, she believed a strong statement against Æsir's actions must be made. She left The Nightbringers in the hands of her trusted aides and joined TLR to directly assist them in their fight.

On the same day, while the Knights of Virtue also declared against Æsir, a message from Kilotov of Dwarven Lords arrived in EF's inbox. While maintaining that he had not yet received approval from Dwarven Lord's leadership, he made an offer of military support in exchange for a guarantee of future exclusive trade rights with TLR. While most of TLR's allies rallied, EF continued his effort to build support. In the first few days of the war he had sent out several messages seeking help. Along with those who had already stepped up were Black Skull Horde, who signaled their intent to provide support and Amicitia, who committed to intervening, should it become necessary.


10. Proposal In Motion

Less than a day passed when, on July 27, at 01:42 server time, Artorious of Æsir contacted EF in an IGM with the subject line "FW: Waves White Flag" announcing that a "simmering down proposal" is in "motion" and to expect a message from neutral leadership soon. Less than an hour later, Taron, leader of Æsir responded to a day old 'let's talk' message from BV. In it, Taron apologizes for the delay and the lack of any sort of firm answer and by way of explanation states that he makes alliance decisions after "talking to G0dsDestroyer." His message does not mention the proposal, and it is unclear if he was aware of it at this stage but his message firmly implied that he would not discuss the situation until he had had a chance to speak with G0dsDestroyer. Interestingly, he also states that "Other friends not in our alliance told us not to destroy you but only damage/hurt, but no complete destroying. Which we have agreed to."

About two hours after Taron sent his message to BV, Finrod of Rhyagelle, whom Æsir had asked to handle negotiations, contacted TLR to ask that a NAP be put in place, minimizing any future damage. Within another couple of hours, talks between Aviddriver of Æsir and BV of TLR began. Gimardoran667 again hosted the chat room with Finrod leading the discussion. The talks were friendly and both parties quickly agreed to end the hostilities.

Later that same day, Taron replied to a message in which EF showed he had ordered TLR to recall all armies and enter a state of ceasefire. Taron expressed his belief that EF "insults me and Aesir". He signs off with "Rill's friend Taron". It is possible, given the way it was written, that the message may have been meant for someone other than EF but it is clear to any intelligent reader that Taron is overreaching in an attempt to take offense and is also at least attempting to portray himself as friendly with players who, like himself seem to prefer that TLR were gone.


Epilogue

By August of 2012, The Long Road was already winding its way to its inevitable end. There were only four months left on the journey and much of the future was already beginning to materialize while many of its enemies were searching for the next opportunity to strike. As forces on the outside gathered, it was the power of the unpredictable, rising up from the inside that would ultimately turn the family upside down.




EDIT: FORMATTING

Edited by abstractdream - 20 Sep 2014 at 04:15
Bonfyr Verboo
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2014 at 22:23
obliged for this. at the time i thought the terms were harsh, but even then i appreciated very much that TLR posted them openly, touching off a very healthy community debate. it may be the last alliance brave enough to do this. the experience suggests to me that part of considering whether or not terms are "fair" might include whether or not the victor is prepared to have them posted publicly.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 00:37
Intresting to read Clap
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 03:44
Would this not be against the rules, adding supposed IGM dialogue?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 05:53
Originally posted by ToWhomItMayConcern ToWhomItMayConcern wrote:

Would this not be against the rules, adding supposed IGM dialogue?
is there igm dialogue? the section posted is from gc, which is public. the prohibition on posting igm is based on the premise that they are private communications.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 08:21
Originally posted by Angrim Angrim wrote:

Originally posted by ToWhomItMayConcern ToWhomItMayConcern wrote:

Would this not be against the rules, adding supposed IGM dialogue?
is there igm dialogue? the section posted is from gc, which is public. the prohibition on posting igm is based on the premise that they are private communications.


Yes, there are quite a few supposed quotes from personal messages posted.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 18:32
Originally posted by abstractdream abstractdream wrote:

"...Iofilip betrayed relationships and quit the game in disgrace."


This is an incredibly unfair assessment.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 20:35
Originally posted by ToWhomItMayConcern ToWhomItMayConcern wrote:

Yes, there are quite a few supposed quotes from personal messages posted.
ah, i see what you mean. not sure any of them do more than add flavour to the story, and none are presented in dialogue format, but i suppose we shall see if Rikoo is bothered about it. most are also to a wide audience. no secrets here.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 20:36
Originally posted by StJude StJude wrote:

Originally posted by abstractdream abstractdream wrote:

"...Iofilip betrayed relationships and quit the game in disgrace."


This is an incredibly unfair assessment.
would you care to tell the other side?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 21:15
The general rule about posting private discussions has to be a bit flexible. If someone posts a silly joke that was sent to them by another player, will that be seen as worthy of deletion? Of course not. If someone posts "This player sent me these rumors about this other player..." and it was filled with nasty stuff about a player's pet goat then, yes, that would be taken down.

We also do not want players posting a discussion between the devs and themselves (grammar, ftw) simply because it can be changed or edited or can even give away "private" information that can be used to hurt another player.

Long story short, I will read the above and see if it breaks the rules. Simply send me a message with the quote if you think it does.

Thanks!

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