- This article is about the First Battle of Vulpengaard Keep. For a list of other battles around or inside the city, see Battle of Vulpengaard Keep.
|First Battle of Vulpengaard Keep|
|Grand Alliance|| Clergy of Mardük|
|Magicracy of Alent|
| Kagetsu II †|
|Distreyd XII †||Jemuel|
1st Vulpengaard Keep · 2nd Kageshima
The First Battle of Vulpengaard Keep was the penultimate battle of the Great War. It took place in 1006 AE on the outskirts and inside of Vulpengaard Keep, a bartizan which served as headquarters for the Clergy of Mardük. The forces of the Grand Alliance stormed the Keep, hoping to capture or kill High Cleric Distreyd Thanadar XII who acted as the supreme commander of the clergy and the Yamato Empire at that time. The Alliance emerged victorious after a brutal battle but not without casualties: many members of the Alliance lost their lives during the battle, including King Kagetsu II of Maar Sul who had been one of the leading figures of the Alliance. A raiding party from a third faction, the Magicracy of Alent, managed to assassinate Distreyd before the Alliance could get to him and looted the keep from many magical artifacts which they teleported to their base in Libaterra while avoiding detection from the Alliance.
- Main article: Second Battle of Lutherin
The Grand Alliance succeeded in taking its forces to the islands of Yamato by sea and had worked hard to liberate the islands one after another after the disaster and loss of forces they had suffered in the Second Battle of Lutherin which had forced them to abandon Libaterra. When the army of the Alliance had gained a decent foothold on Yamatian soil, Kings Marcus Sarillius of Remon and Kagetsu II of Maar Sul realized they were running out of reinforcements and time. To make the most out of their momentum in the war, they planned a daring assault on one of the most important locations in the Yamato Empire: Vulpengaard Keep, the headquarters of High Cleric Distreyd Thanadar XII who was the de facto leader of the Empire.
The Alliance hoped to capture Distreyd XII alive and thus end the war because they knew that the Yamatians and the clerics of Mardük would be lost without a strong leader. Vulpengaard Keep would be heavily protected, though, and the Alliance would have to cross a lengthy stretch of enemy territory to reach it, which would mean that any attempt at retreat would end up being disastrous. However, it was a risk that Marcus and Kagetsu II were willing to take in order to weaken the enemy forces severely.
A raid team led by Jemuel, Drishnek and Richelieu from the recently founded Magicracy of Alent infiltrated Vulpengaard Keep around the same time when the army of the Alliance reached the area. While the Yamatians and clerics of Mardük fought against the advancing Alliance, Jemuel's team managed to breach Distreyd's inner sanctum and assassinated the High Cleric who had been weakened in the aftermath of the Krystallopyr shard shattering in the earlier Reactor Core Explosion in Libaterra.
Instead of taking the mantle of High Cleric as he was supposed to, though, Jemuel who was being influenced by Drishnek rejected the mantle and instead looted the treasury of the keep from anything that was deemed magical and valuable for Alent's later use. Now leaderless all of a sudden and facing the wrath of Mardük who had been denied a new champion, the clergy went into disarray, which gave the Alliance a chance to use the clergy's momentary confusion to its advantage to push through into the heart of the keep.
This bold move wasn't without a cost, though: Kagetsu II lost his life while leading the assault on the keep. The Alliance's lines would've cracked had Marcus Sarillius not stood up and taken Kagetsu's place as a warrior king while Leon Alcibiates, his old mentor and friend, returned from his trip to the Isle of Yggdrasil to bring hope among the Alliance once more.
Jemuel's team used the ensuing chaos to their advantage and had already teleported away by the time the Alliance breached the heart of Vulpengaard Keep, leaving the Alliance and the defenders of the keep to fight among themselves while Alent reaped the rewards of the battle. The Alliance made sure to kill or capture any enemy it came across although it was unable to prevent some demoralized Yamatians and clerics of Mardük from fleeing by the end of the day.
- Main article: Second Battle of Kageshima
Although the Alliance was saddened by the loss of Kagetsu II who had been a wise and strong leader, they knew that time was running out. The victory at Vulpengaard Keep had weakened the Alliance's army even more than their losses in Lutherin, and not only had they lost one leader but had also failed to capture Distreyd XII alive. This would mean that the Yamatians and clerics of Mardük might still be able to gather enough forces to confront the Alliance one more time to crush them, so something had to be done before the enemies could rest and regroup.
Marcus decided to proceed with Kagetsu II's original plan and march straight to the Yamatian capital, Kageshima, where he would either capture the Empire's remaining authority figures, Shogun Masamori Hyuga and the Yamatian council, alive or kill them all in order to break the morale the rest of the Yamatian forces. It would be risky, though, because it would mean that the Alliance would be surrounded in the very heart of enemy territory with no hope of retreat if the Empire's forces overran them. Once the Alliance reached the capital, they would have to fight a battle which would decide the outcome of the brutal Great War and the fate of the entire world.