|Ascensionist militants|| Kingdom of Calorum|
|Fydias Jarrow|| Arthus Divinorum|
During the 450s , a series of attacks on sites of strategic and religious importance took place throughout the heartlands of Lord of Fire worship across the northern central continent, particularly in Pryonia and Gunung. Starting in Pryonia, several temples were defaced or otherwise desecrated, with painted slogans calling on the people to abandon worship of the cruel Fire Lord.
These defacements were soon determined to be the doings of a previously unremarked but increasingly militant minority of Ascensionists within the kingdom of Calorum. Ascension had always been a doctrine vocally opposed to the Lord of Fire, and Calorum had been active in suppressing the Priory during the Wars of the Mandate.
The temple attacks gradually grew worse, with even the Temple of Fire's Birth in Gunung being targetted. Worse yet, the relic Sun-Quencher was stolen from Gunung custody by unidenfitied attackers.
By 459, a number of notices had appeared across the kingdom, calling on the people to throw off the oppression of the Fire Devil and achieve their own glorious fulfilment. It concluded: 'Cast down the heretics and blasphemers who have so long held your people in thrall! Shun the Fire Devil's priests and the fools who claim to speak for him! Rise up and take what is yours!'
All of this coincided with a time when the Hurosha Empire was undergoing internal restructuring, with Gunung being made over to rule from Calorum, such that by this time all the affected territories fell under High Priest Arthus's authority. Arthus responded decisively, unleashing a wave of fanatical priests upon the people, supported by the swords of the Burning Legion, to eradicate the Ascensionists one way or another. Though most chose to re-convert to the Lord of Fire, a few thousand hardliners remained and in 464 took up arms in Pryonia and Gunung. A larger number gathered in Calorum and marched on Caloxdur, proclaiming they would overthrow the Divinorums and kill the Blazing Avatar.
The royal army in Gunung was quickest to react to the appearance of the militants. In early 466 they fell upon them on the slopes of Acachto and made short work of them, the outraged berapi suffering only trivial casualties in the process.
Encouraged by their success, Arthus led out the army of Calorum to confront the militants marching on Caloxdur. The resulting battle was however indecisive, with a thousand Calorumites dying during the clash. A glimpse was however first attained of the man who appeared to be the militants' leader, a black-winged angel widely believed to be the renegade Jarrland prince Fydias, a notorious Ascensionist recusant and convicted traitor in his homeland.
Meanwhile, investigators pursuing the thieves of Sun-Quencher tracked them to Pryonia, where they discovered in 469 not only the thieves but the ancient Ice Heart of Pryonia, long thought to have been mere legend. The authorities were however too late to prevent the thieves from plunging Sun-Quencher into the Ice Heart.
A blizzard was said to have been unleashed by the frozen dying heart in Pryonia and though the investigators were able to dispatch the cultists the damage had already been done. A freezing chill swept through Pryonia and did not dissipate as spring returned; if anything the region grew colder and the effect seemed to be spreading to Pryonia's neighbors with each winter season. Crops wilted to barely self sustaining levels. In the midst of this unnatural winter, the Pryonian army was ambushed by militants, losing two thirds of their number.
When news reached the Kingdom of the Carmine Sea, king Elwyr, who had spent many years in Calorum and remembered how that kingdom had supported his own against Ascensionists some years previously, sent four tagmata, including much of the Calorum chapter of the Burning Legion, to assist his allies against the militants, with Prince Eldred in command. The Faedas Freehold also sent its army into Pryonia to hunt down the surviving militants and relieve the struggling native army.
These reinforcements were however too late to prevent the death of the Blazing Avatar, who was stabbed thirteen on the steps of the Temple in Caloxdur in early 470 and soon perished. Ascensionist involvement was assumed, though never proven.
The Faedas troops tracked the militants through the winter to confront them soon after the new year in 471, and wiped them out. The militants in Calorum meanwhile found themselves faced with a much larger and better-prepared force than they had in their initial engagement and were destroyed on the field, with very few survivors, the Calorumite casualties being attributed to religious fervour rather than the enemy.
It was believed that Fydias had been taken alive on the field and returned for questioning, but doubt was cast on his identity and though the man claiming to be him was executed, many including Eldred doubted that it was really him.
Arthus prayed to the Lord to end the long winter and was apparently answered when the Icy Hearth was burned to the ground. He was however reported never fully to recover from the wound he took fighting the militants and died in 480.
Faedas took advantage of the confusion, the change of regime in the Hurosha Empire and the Emperor's failure or refusal to assist his vassal to declare independence.
The uprising appears to have represented the last gasp of the church of Ascension as an entity of any political or global importance, although the Priory itself never condoned the actions of those claiming to act in its name.
- ↑ http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=18412526&postcount=785
- ↑ http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=18470570&postcount=813