Rodorsceaft: Pillar of Heaven
Common term for a decades-long war fought between the Raptorans and the other sentient races of the Branchlands. So-called because of extensive use of summoned demons and other extraplanar beings by all sides. The war was the Raptorans’ last stand; it is widely believed that their race was utterly wiped out by the war’s end.
The war was grand in scale, involving even the Sun Elves. Its aftereffects had profound universal ramifications on the entirety of the Branchlands, leading to (among other things) the rise of the Solarian Empire.
Though tensions between the Raptorans and the other sentient races had been high ever since the Withering, open hostilities had been uncommon. However, towards the close of the pre-Solarian era, the Raptoran pursuit of demonology reached its pinnacle, giving them what they supposed was enough strength to take back all of their territories from the usurpers.
Solarian historians would later put the beginning of the war at pS 98, ca. Gnomish Year 2039. That was the year that the Raptorans’ demon armies began their aggressive campaigns, overrunning the border settlements and laying siege to outlying fortresses of all the anthaea. Their bold, excessively brutal tactics caught their enemies off-guard, and they were able to make significant gains in the early campaigns.
The Long Campaigns
In order to counter the fiendish armies, some of the anthaea turned to demonology of their own. Others sent out pleas to the planes of light for celestial deliverance. The next decades were filled with great conflict between agents of all the outer planes, as well as sorcerers, warlocks and great dragons and other monsters. Armies of all the major nation-states marched across the branches, and soon the entirety of the Branchlands was engulfed in the conflict.
The Draiocht did what it could to preserve the wild places from death, disease and destruction, but their numbers were far too few in the face of total war. Mam Coeden was suffering under the weight of the fel magics and the druids were powerless to help. So a small cabal, led by Cathmor Green-bond, met in secret on a remote promontory to develop the most audacious ritual ever seen: the Dance of the Fading Spiral.
The spell was cast, and a blast of primal energy, unlike anything anyone had ever seen, enveloped the whole of Rodorsceaft, branch and terrestrium alike. When the wave of Green had faded, every single fiend and celestial had vanished. The demonologists’ calls went unanswered, the voices of the celestials were silent. The ritual had cut the world off from the outer planes, and all that remained within were the creatures that belonged.
Except for one. During the war, a brother and sister named Suleimor and Refa, both extremely powerful paladins, had sent forth a plea for aid to hold an entire army of demons at bay. Their plea was answered in the form of the angel Samael, a Solar more powerful than any celestial anyone had ever seen. Samael’s appearance sent the army fleeing, and he had remained, lending his aid to the two paladins and to all who pledged fealty to the Light.
So it was that, when the Dance had faded, Samael remained. His might was too great for the ritual to push him home. However, he discovered that he now had no means to return back to the celestial realms. He was now trapped.
Utterly bereft of their power, the Raptorans were quickly pressed into full retreat. Inexplicably, they refused to surrender, keeping their final holdouts to the last. Despite their ferocity, it was not nearly enough to make a difference, and the war ended in mere months. No Raptoran is known to have survived the war.