Bonden Crowley is the son of Frank, and Marja Crowley making him a member of House Crowley.
In his training he became a devesating oponent, and on the time they had off from training the first chance they got he and his brother Bonden went eastward towards Forks, and took part in a tournament where they fained being hedge knights, and it was here where Darius would gain his personal heraldry which would become the houses heraldy in the form of the laughing knight. Darius would pain a massive smile across his helmet, and his shield adorned in the same manner, and in this way the crowde fell in love with the laughing knight, and he and his brother finished very well before eventually being defeated, and leaving the tournament before they were unmasked and discovered. When he and his brother finally returned from their time with House Pump they found their home in Hillsbrad in tatters as their father had basically lost himself in his obsession over a mistress, and had been showering her with gifts and other accolades. The embaressment of his mother, his families shame, and the ruination of the houses finances led Darius and Bonden to conjure a plan where they would murder their father and then Darius would take control of the house. When this came to pass they hosted a massive dinner with all of their houses, and during the dinner men loyal to them gaurded the doors and before the eyes of everyone loyal to House Crowley they proceeded to first tie their father to a wall while they brutally tortured to death the mistress and then decapitated their father. All of this violated heavily the Guest's Right, but they had made a powerful statement that they were now in control of the operations of House Crowley. Over the next years they would engineer the massive regrowth of House Crowley, and create the dynasty that they both had discussed existing while they trained with House Pump.
Darius Crowley was born the oldest of the two sons of Frank Crowley and during his youth he became very aware that his house was different then many of the other houses, and he became very comfortable on the other side of what many would deem to be honorable work. His father would send he and his brother northwards towards their estate near Lake Fane, and during this time they were trained heavily by House Pump of whom was one of the Sworn Houses of House Crowley. In his training he became a devesating oponent, and on the time they had off from training the first chance they got he and his brother Bonden went eastward towards Forks, and took part in a tournament where they fained being hedge knights, and it was here where Darius would gain his personal heraldry which would become the houses heraldy in the form of the laughing knight. Darius would pain a massive smile across his helmet, and his shield adorned in the same manner, and in this way the crowde fell in love with the laughing knight, and he and his brother finished very well before eventually being defeated, and leaving the tournament before they were unmasked and discovered. When he and his brother finally returned from their time with House Pump they found their home in Hillsbrad in tatters as their father had basically lost himself in his obsession over a mistress, and had been showering her with gifts and other accolades. The embaressment of his mother, his families shame, and the ruination of the houses finances led Darius and Bonden to conjure a plan where they would murder their father and then Darius would take control of the house. When this came to pass they hosted a massive dinner with all of their houses, and during the dinner men loyal to them gaurded the doors and before the eyes of everyone loyal to House Crowley they proceeded to first tie their father to a wall while they brutally tortured to death the mistress and then decapitated their father. All of this violated heavily the Guest's Right, but they had made a powerful statement that they were now in control of the operations of House Crowley. Over the next years they would engineer the massive regrowth of House Crowley, and create the dynasty that they both had discussed existing while they trained with House Pump.
Main Article : The Journey
| The Meeting of the Western Lords|
My father made sure I knew three things going into that meeting. Firstly I was to be as rude to the Greymane`s as I could. Secondly I was to try and talk to the Brents and get a diologue going between our two houses. Finally I was to make it extremely clear that we would under no curcumstances assist William. Well atleast I talked to Franklin Brent.
With William Lovie III. leaving Lucerne for the event that would become later known as The Journey the rest of the Kingdom became increasingly positive about his actions, but also throughout the Valley of Lucerne there was significant discussion on what to do as the previous time someone had moved against Bill Lovie it had resulted in The Plague. In the city of Hillsbrad the Arch Lord in House Greymane would call an assembly of all of his vassals of which included every major house in western Hillsbrad without exception and without ability for the houses to decline invitation. Arriving in Hillsbrad the meetings began with Genn Greymane talking of the continued consequences of them allowing the current King to wield unending power, and that their only chance of survival was to find this William Lovie III. and help him achieve victory. Vincent Godfrey would openly support King Bill Lovie and said as a warning to all those around that the last time anyone tried to resist him they were destroyed in The Plague. Franklin Brent would stand on the other side openly speaking of supporting William , and these two would continue to argue for minutes as other lords stepped in siding with their respective lords, and this continued for some time. Demi Snow would stand up during this fighting and state that her family was one hundred percent behind William and was going to send forces to assist him immediately, and this information shocked the other houses as everyone had assumed that they were not going to do anything like they always did. Still without her Lord father`s support she would during the meeting commit to sending one hundred men immediately with the larger force being sent by the Greymane`s and after this promise there was little that her father could do to turn against it.
With the support of House Crowley the movement of some of the houses would change as all the Crowley loyalists quickly jumped on board with this plan as most had wanted to do this but didn't due to their belief that Vincent Godfrey would never have supported this.
Demi Snow following the ending of the meeting would take to staying near Andrew Garfield of whom accompanied her back to her families estate. Spending some time there getting the one hundred men she had promiced she would leave shortly after and return with Andrew to the assembling party outside of the eastern gate. By this point hours later her father learned of what she had done, and left the Crowley castle hours west of Hillsbrad and attempted to return to Hillsbrad. Demi realizing that her father was going to do something like that left with the hundred men of House Crowley ahead of the main Hillsbrad force heading for Forks.
Demi Hill Marries
Following the arrival of the Hillsbrad force in Forks Demi Snow would continue with the next step of her plan when she handed a letter of forged consent of marriage to Andrew`s father Harron Garfield of whom knew that his son desperately wanted to marry Demi, and knew that the match was perfect for his house so he jumped at the opportunity. Realizing that she couldn`t return unmarried or else her father would put an end to her scheming she persuaded Andrew and his father to have the ceremony in Forks so that she could truly be a part of their family during The Journey. Following her persuasion the marriage happened with the large Dragon Temple of Forks and Demi Snow became Demi Garfield and was now protected so she believed from the actions of her brother Dexter.
First Battle of Castle Stragnarax
Main Article : Battle of Castle Stragnarax
| Battle of Castle Stragnarax |
Everyone was moving on Westbridge when the monsters came to our doors. We were horribly outnumbered, but we had strength of our own. I would be damned if I let these monsters beat us.
Castle Stragnarax was designed as the center of the western defences of Lucerne, alongside the rebuilt Eyes, and the castles of Dragonhorn, and and it was during the period following the Invasion of Westbridge that its purpose and defences would be tested for the first time. Following the end of the invasion and with the armies of Lucerne retrurning to the valley after victory the Eyes caught sight of a large force of Orcs moving towards Castle Stragnarax. Commander Lothar Wornwayne would realize the severity of the coming attack, and thus The Eyes immediatly sent ravens and a single scout to Castle Stragnarax. Learning of the attack the defenders under the command of Thomas Brent would send out dozens of scouts and runners to the surrounding region both warning them of the coming attack, and also requesting immeiate assistence at the castle. The two main places that they sent requests for assistence were to Hilsbrad and House Greymane, as well as from the nearer forces of House Ordos and its vassals from Marburg. Alongside these two though the very powerful House Mountain would be sent word, and while they were not expected they would eventually prove to be one of the most steadfast comers into the conflict.
For his own part Lothar Wornwayne was forced to deal with the Orcs overruning the Eyes, and this forced him to recall many of his troops into the cave systems they had long set up. Lothar would send word to his second in command Rolly Reyne of whom would be commanded to follow as closely as humanly possible to the forces of the Orcs, and find out as much as possible about their numbers, while the rest of the Rangers either defended themselves or in the case of Lothar prepared to make the rest of the journey for the Orcs as miserable as he possibly could.
With the Orcs incoming the defences were prepared and all troops were called in from the villages and farms nearby. This swelled the defenders of Castle Strangarax to a force of some 5,500 men at arms along with the twelve training members of the Order of the Violet Dragon that had remained in Castle Stragnarax under the command of Benjamin Bradfoot. The castle itself was commanded by Thomas Brent but his percieved inexperiance meant that he left the defence of the city to his honor gaurd commanders and Benjamin Bradfoot, along with the council of his military force. One of the other premier commanders of the castle was the recently arrived Edric Summerwall, and his Knights of the Summerwall of whom had been commanded to move themselves from their previous home in Forks to Castle Stragnarax where they would be the official Knightly Order of the castle. The Plan for the defence consisted of holding on for as long as they possibly could while they waited for the army of Hillsbrad to arrive and relieve them, alongside the rest of House Brent coming as well. As the Battle reached the point that everyone knew it was going happen they would drain the women, old, and young from the town and they would make there way eastward towards Marburg of which was the closest nearbye town. As the old, women, and children were withdrawn, and in their place came wagon after wagon of supplies from the surrounding region they knew there preperation was about to end as the Orcs were nearly at the castle. Fionna Brent would be one of the few women that didn't leave the Battle and she would lead a contingent of Dragon Priests of whom preached the power of Glaurung and tried to raise the moral of the forces. Knowing how long they had before the attack the defenders would send out some two hundred cavalry of whom were tasked with further scouting the incoming Orcs and giving them some extra amount of knowledge when they would attack. In Hohenstein the leadership of House Mountain would make the decision to assist Castle Stragnarax after Baelor Mountain stated that he believed this would help to uplift them in the eyes of Lucerne, and specifically the King in Lucerne of whom was not exactly shy about his distain for those who sat on the sidelines. As the furthest away of those who cold come to the aid of Castle Stragnarax, there assistence unknown by most and they were going to arrive later then the others anyway. By this point Franklin Brent would marshal his personal knightly order, and while he did this his father would gather the forces of House Brent, of whom would meet with House Ordos outside of Marburg and prepare themselves to also assist Castle Stragnarax. Franklin Brent would lead his forces seperate from his father Frank, as he was still unwilling to forgive his father for being passed over, and while making the trip the sickly Frank Brent would be forced to return to the Brent Seat and thus left command to Franklin. The Knights of the Gilded Fell would also mount themselves and leave their seat at White Hill led by Desmond Hill and make their way southward, and their location meant that they would arrive hours before the Orcish army did and they were thus able to enter the castle before the Orcs blocked the routes in.
While the scouts did this it the Rangers of the Eyes were continueing to harass the Orcish Hordeas they moved eastward. Special attention was paid by the Rangers to the dozen or so Gronn that had accompanied the Orcish army. As the Orcs continued to move they lost four of the Gronn to hit and run attacks as the Rangers used hidden caves and cliff tops to rain arrows down on the Orcish army while retreating once they had done the damage they could. Lothar Wornwayne was constantly harrassing the Orcish force, and this only increased in intensity when he and Rolly Reyne finally met up days away from Castle Stragnarax, and in a join ambush during the night they killed some four hundred Orcs before they were forced to retreat southward and into Dragonhorn while the Orc army had finally reached the outskirts of the Castle Stragnarax.
The Orcs Arrive
It was nearly two weeks after the Raven fortold of the coming Orcs they arrived west of the castle and begin chopping down the trees that were there to use to construct ladders, and siege towers. The Orcs spent an entire day doing this and as they worked the defenders of the towers were firing long range balista shots at them which were able to destory one of the towers before it was able to be used the following day. Also during this day the Orcs attempted to push forward siege machines in order to batter holes in the walls but they discovered the accurasy of the balistas was extreme as each siege machine pushed forward was destoryed in turn with only a few shots getting off and dowing little damage to the wall. When the final batch of catapults were brought up defended by large trenches and by blocks of wood meant to shield from the Balistas it was Alann, and Bran Voil that had the entire Order of the Blue Dragon force set the field ablaze destroying the remaining catapults and hundreds of Orcs manning the trenches, shiels, and catapults.
As the day wore on the forces of Franklin Brent arrived at the Battle, and he would make his forces move towards the southern wall where he arrayed against the large southern Orc host. Sending word into the castle that they had arrived, this would greatly uplift the defenders moral who knew they were in some amount of trouble. Franklin constructed a series of trenches lined with anti-cavalry poles of which he planned to retreat into in case the Orcs sent an army to deal with his forces. After spending all of the energy constructing the siege machines they found that the catapults and such were destroyed the moment they got into range, with only a few actually able to launch a real shot at the walls. The Orcs were forced to place more forces in the southern end as the arrival of Franklin Brent meant they were now threatened by somone outside the walls and the mainly cavalry force was of great danger to them. Without any hope of launching their catapults the Orcs would move their forces forward and their seige towers that had been hidden would be pushed forward for the first attack.
The First Attack
With their seige machines set up the Orcs attacked in a vast wave of upwards of 25,000 of which the vast majority attacked the main gate while some 7,000 attacked the southern section defended by Marbrand Keep. The northern wall also had some two thousand Orcs attack it but these were extremely disorganized and the least of the problems of the Castle. Outside of the seven thousand sent towards the southern wall four thousand Orcs were sent against the army of Franklin Brent in order to keep them away from the fighting. Mainly Worgs this force would chase Franklin's forces into the trenches they had constructed, and suffered many casualties to this traps before fighting broke out between the two forces. Franklin Brent was forced to battle against a large Orc of which had killed two other men, and finally reaching the Orc he and the Orc dueled for several minutes until he shot the Orc with a hand crossbow he was finally able to reach off his back. Staggered by the shot the Orc would be sliced across the chest fatally by Franklin as he attempted to pull the crossbow from his neck. Following the large Orc's death the other Worgs became less threatening but there numbers still meant that Franklin could not advance agains the southern forces and aid the defenders. As the Orcs advanced they were devestated by the massive array of archer, and balista fire by the time they reached the wall they had lost significant numbers.
Attack on the Main Gate
The attack on the main gate went disastrously with all four of the Siege towers destroyed, and with the huge array of archers present the Orcs that massed on the ground trying to get up the ladders were caught in a killing zone and lost huge numbers before the Orcs retreated leaving behind the ruins of much of their force alongside the destroyed siege towers. The Balistas that sat on the towers continued to destroy anything that even resembled a battering ram, and because of the hoardings all along the wall the few Orcish archers that were on the ground found very few targets, and the few they did were unable to be struck because of the hoarding. Along the main gate though despite this horrifying aray of weapons the Orcs did manage to get several of their number onto the walls where the Knights of the Gilded Fell under the command of Orival Black would stand in the breaks and kill them as they climbed over the walls. The Magi of the Order of the Blue Dragon had been completely concentrated along this defence and had been responsible for two of the towers going down as they lit them on fire using spells.
Attack on the Tower of James the Vigilant
The Orcs attacked the three areas and it was only at the tower of James the Vigilant that they had any real success. The Orcs were able to keep their seige tower alive in this section and with its survival they were able to mass over the wall, and this caused the beggining of an intense fight over the tower. The Orcs slowly pushed them back into the tower, and forced the defenders to lock the gates into the tower, and block them outside. The Orcs attemtped to break through the gate, and during this time the Orcs begin to take fire from the inner wall as they were free to fire on them now that the defenders were gone. As they took heavy casualties they found themselves unable to break into the tower itself, and begin spreading throughout the walls of the western walls to the point that they attempted to break into the main forces at the main tower itself. During this time Thomas Brent would order the main reserve forces sneaking out through the more southern tower and behind the Orcs of whom were busy sprawling all over the walls. Now behind their lines the relief force set the siege tower alight and then was able to get back through the tower with minimal casualties. As the siege tower burned down the Orcs found their reinforcements ended and they were slowly wittled away at by the massive number of archers all along the James Towers. The final holdouts were to be dealt with personally by Benjamin Bradfoot of whom was directed to the castle under the command of Thomas Brent of whom was worried over the prospect of Orcs within the walls.
Attack on Marbrand Keep
Marbrand Keep was defended by Domeric Marbrand of whom defended the large keep with some three hundred men, while the main wall was defended by another three hunded. The men on the walls were designed to hit them with as many arrow barrages as they could, but the moment the Orcs manned the walls the force was to enter the heavily fortified gates and make their way into the keep. The Orcs would attack with some two thousand forces against the wall, and at first for the Orcs the Attack on Marbrand keep went well at first with the Orcs able to climb over the walls after suffering some three hundred losses to the defenders on the walls. With the ladders against the walls the defenders retreated into the towers and through the tunnels allowing the Orcs to get into the actual castle but once there the design plan went into affect with the Orcs now stuck in no mans land with no ability to get over the next defences. The Orcs attempted to follow the retreating defenders through the tunnels into Mabrand Keep but discovered the tunnels filled with nearly twenty feet deep gates that would be nearly impossible to break through without Magi, or some sort of explosive. The Orcs then attempted to charge across the field but the defenders of the keep were able to fire acurate shots into them and caused horrible casulties against them. By this point the Orcs were in panic, but begin to run past the Keep and into the city proper where the nearly five hundred remaining Orcs were confronted by a force led by Thomas Brent himself. Leading his most elite troops they would battle against the Orcs and defeat them causing them to retreat back as they came, and they were basically anihilated with very few returning to camp.
The Second Attack
The Orc army was still massive but it had suffered heavy casualties accomplishing nothing the first day, and in even worse news for the Orcish army was the fact that the reinforcements of the defenders had begun to arrive in heavy numbers. The full army of House Mountain led by Baelor Mountain had arrived alongside the forces of House Garfield and they were camped northwest of the battle moving in behind the Orc forces. Andrew Garfield would lead the forces of House Garfield into the fray as he was joined by several of his loyal retainers including Edmund Frotenhood, Esla Tollsen, and several other important knights of the region north of Hillsbrad. House Greymane had now joined the army of Franklin Brent bringing the southern army to more then ten thousand, and that number grew throughout the day as the southern vassals came north and more of the army filtered in. Realizing the main gate was a killing zone he didn't have the force to take down the Orc commander would move nearly his entire force to the southern wall of which caused most of the defenders to shift to the same wall. With this in motion the relief armies would move into place, and House Mountain was nearly completely behind them and was actually destroying the reargaurd of the Orc army as the Orcs attacked the Tower of James the Vigilant.
The Orcs charged the walls using three new siege towers and were this time unable to get any to the walls as the casulties of the previous attack, and the heavily increased defender numbers meant the three new towers took far too long to reach the walls. Stuck again with no towers the ladders went up and a great amount of fighting went all along the walls as the Orcs massed onto the ramparts. The defenders were hard up to resist, but as the battle reached a turning point the Orcs begin screaming as the forces of Franklin Brent, and Liam Greymane's army of House Greymane smashed into their rear. The commander of the Orcs would die during the inital assault, and as mass panic spread amongst the Orcs they begin retreating despite still outnumbering the human attackers, and nearly overwhelming the defenders at the tower. As they retreated westward they came directly in the path of the army of House Mountain and were cut down in their hundreds as the Mountain forces had entered the previously constructed Orc trenches and were in a great defence position.
With the Orcish army completely routed and on top of this most of the army had been destroyed in the field leaving the remaining elements to move westward where they were chased down by the cavalry force of House Greymane, and House Ordos and thus the victory was completed. Damage was heavy in the James the Vigilant region of the castle, but elsewhere the losses and damage was nearly non-existence but hours were spent burning the bodies of the Orcs so that they would not send out spores and cause a real problem for the humans of the area. With the clean up beginning the relief armies would camp, while the leadership all met within the castle. Thomas Brent was by this point hailed as a hero and became known as Thomas "The Orc Killer" in honor for what people saw as his great victory, and this was in spite of the two larger armies led by the Mountains, and Franklin Brent moving in and being the true changer of the battle. The story of the battle that had not been seen through the eyes of Franklin Brent were told at dinner, and the next day the armies prepared to return home. Franklin and Thomas would say one last goodbye as Franklin told his brother that he was going to take forces and lead expansion in the Westerlands alongside House Arryn. The two brothers who had constantly battled eachother for position understood that Franklin was accepting defeat and they hugged goodbye knowing they would probably not be meeting any time soon.