The Riftwar was a decade-long war which culminated between two worlds, Kelewan and Midkemia. The major combatants were the Tsuranuanni Empire and the Kingdom of the Isles although other factions supported them, such as the Thuril and the Cho-ja for the former, and the Elves and Dwarves for the latter.
The war begun when Tsuranuanni invaded Midkemia by creating rifts between the two worlds; as a result of a series of political intrigues between the Tsurani political parties in the Game of the Council. The apparent cause of the invasion was the lack of metals in Kelewan, and their abundance in Midkemia, specifically the Grey Towers.
Upon the world of the enchanted Midkemia, the mighty Kingdom of the Isles arose, beside the vast empire of Great Kesh to the south. The Kingdom of Isles was then nearing an era of greatness; the nation spanned a continent, from the Sea of Kingdoms to the Endless Sea.
In the twelfth year of the reign of Rodric IV, in the westernmost province of the Kingdom, the Duchy of Crydee, an orphan kitchen boy named Pug was made an apprentice magician to the magician Kulgan. An indifferent student of magic, he rose to high station by saving the daughter of Duke Borric conDoin of Crydee, Princess Carline, from a dire fate and became squire of the Duke's court. Pug then found himself the object of Carline’s girlish infatuation and, as result, rival to young Squire Roland, a member of the court. At first Roland and Pug continually were angry at each other, but eventually, they both managed to settle their differences.
With his best friend, Tomas, Pug discovered a dying man of unknown nationality near an alien sailing ship wrecked by a terrible storm. The Duke's priest, Father Tully, used his powerful magic to learn that the dying man was from another world, Kelewan, dominated by a mighty empire of warriors, the Tsurani. They had reached Midkemia by a magic gate, a rift in space, and might be preparing the way for invasion. Duke Borric took council with the Elf Queen, Aglaranna, who agreed that some strange menace was approaching the far coast of the kingdom; the elves had seen strange warriors mapping the west, men who vanished mysteriously. Fearing this a prelude to invasion, Lord Borric and his younger son, Arutha, led a company of men to warn the King Rodric of the possible attack, leaving Crydee to the care of his eldest son, Lyam, and Swordmaster Fannon. The company numbered Kulgan the magician, Pug and Tomas, Sergeant Gardan, and fifty soldiers of Crydee. In the forest called the Green Heart the Duke’s party was attacked by the dreaded moredhel, the dark elves known as the Brotherhood of the Dark Path. After a long, bloody fight, the Duke and the other survivors were saved by Dolgan, a Dwarven chief, and his companions. Dolgan led them through the mines of Mac Mordain Cadal, where a wraith attacked, separating Tomas from the others in the company. Tomas fled deep into the ancient mine, while Dolgan led the others to safety. Dolgan returned into the mine to find Tomas, discovering that the boy had been given refuge by one of the last of the mighty golden dragons, ancient and near death. The dragon, Rhuagh vanished in a wondrous final moment of glory, a boon of the legendary magician Macros, and left Tomas with a special gift, magic golden armor.
Duke Borric’s company reached the city of Bordon, where they set sail for Krondor, capital of the Western realm of the Kingdom. They were driven by a storm to Sorcerer’s Isle, home of the legendary Macros the Black, and of other wonders. There Pug met a mysterious hermit, discovered later to be Macros himself. He hints that they shall meet again, but warns them not to seek him out.
In Krondor, Prince Erland, the king’s uncle and heir apparent, instructed the Duke to continue on to Rillanon, capital of the Kingdom, to see the King. While in Krondor, Pug met Princess Anita, Erland’s only child, and learned she was expected to marry Borric's son Arutha when she grew up.
In Rillanon, Duke Borric discovered the King to be a man of vision, and also a man of doubtful sanity, given to outbursts of temper and rambling discourse. Duke Caldric of Rillanon, Borric’s uncle by marriage, warned that the burden of repelling the Tsurani, should they come, would fall to the Western lords. The King distrusted the Prince of Krondor, dreaming of plots against the crown, and was even leery of Borric, who followed after Erland in the succession. He refused to allow the armies of the east to leave the Eastern Realm. Then came the Tsurani invasion and Rodric put aside his suspicions, giving Borric command of the Armies of the West. Borric and his companions rushed westward as the Riftwar began.
War with KelewanEdit
The Tsurani first attacked into the Free Cities, near Walinor, the elven forests, Stone Mountain where a garrison of LaMutians was overrun; and Crydee while Borric was on to Rillanon, but Prince Lyam had a total victory driving the aliens deep into the forest. Dwarves of the Grey Towers attacked the invaders seven times with assistance from Tomas who became a warrior of awesome power while wearing the armor of Ashen-Shugar. They decimated the aliens but they did not decrease in number, unlike the scarcely populated dwarves.
Borric was sent by the King to aid Duke Brucal at Yabon. In spite of their effort to dislodge them during the first two months, the Tsurani moved along a line from the eastern face of the Grey Towers. The Tsurani had dug strongholds with a minimum of 200 defenders and held there, with suspected reinforcement companies; any position attacked was quick to get reinforcements.
Heavy foot soldiers and engineers from Ylith and Tyr-Sog arrived near Yabon to man and create permanent fortifications. Walinor was reinforced and the Tsurani started to harry patrols from Crydee. Interestingly, the Tsurani had an encounter with goblins at the shore of the Lake of the Sky.
The pass between the Grey Towers and Stone Mountain was used by the Tsurani to move many soldiers, and Borric's forces had bottled it up at its east end. The Tsurani had advanced to the southern edge of the elven forests; the Elves had stopped them at the fords of river Crydee and denied the pass to the dwarves of the Stone Mountain, however communication between the Elves and the Kingdom camps was blocked.
During the early part of the war, a raid into Tsurani held territory was mounted in order to discover the Rift, and Pug was captured.
In a frantic battle in the Dwarven mines, the Tsurani forced Tomas and Dolgan’s company to flee into the forests. Having no safe haven, the dwarves struck out for Elvandar, home of the elves, seeking to ally themselves with the elves. Reaching the court of the Elf Queen Aglaranna, they were made welcome. Something in Tomas’s appearance caused the old elven spellweavers to be fearful, though they would not speak of it.
During the following years the Tsurani fought against four fronts: Elves and Dwarves in the north, Borric and Brucal in the east, Crydee in the West and moredhel and goblins in the south. They confined their activities near the Grey Towers where they performed some mining. They built enclaves outside the valley, from which they raided enemy positions and each year they would expand their areas. Seldomly they would mount an offensive against the fronts.
Tales of riches lured a number of politically neutral houses to join the Alliance for War and caused the War Party and the conservative Imperial Party to be in contention for dominance of the High Council.
Tsurani Warlord Almecho was camped in the valley in the Grey Towers.
The Tsurani forces under the Acoma were standing against a possible assault by soldiers from Zūn and LaMut, who were already in the field earlier than expected. The Warlord's Subcommander who had a feud against the Acoma, gave the order to attack the Midkemians without sending reinforcements. 2000 Acoma soldiers were killed, including Lord Sezu and his son Lanokota. Forces from Omechkel and Chimiriko came too late.
Three years into the war, Crydee was assaulted by the Tsurani; refugees were relocated towards Tulan and Lyam left Crydee to join his father in Yabon; and Swordmaster Fannon assumed command of the castle, with Arutha his second-in-command. The Tsurani once more raided Crydee, using a captured ship; during the battle, Arutha rescued Amos Trask, the Ship’s captain and a former pirate who was trapped under a broken yard. Most of the people left for Carse and Tulan.
The next year, the Tsurani besieged Crydee in the start of an attempt to gain control of the Far Coast. During a battle, Swordmaster Fannon was wounded and Arutha assumed command. After a terrible underground battle between Arutha’s men and Tsurani sappers. Arutha ordered the garrisons surrounding Crydee to co-ordinate for a final battle against the Tsurani.
But before that battle could commence, word came to the Tsurani lines that the Blue Wheel party withdrew from the Alliance for War. Commander Kasumi of the House Shinzawai, received orders to return home with his command and retreated; as a member of the Blue Wheel, he secretly wished the overthrow of the Warlord. If the war in Midkemia went poorly, it would reflect very poorly for the Warlord, who would almost certainly be stripped of his title and executed. Had Kasumi directly attacked, the siege and indeed the war, could have been won.
As Arutha comments, many times the Tsurani would have overrun the defenders had they pressed on, yet they would mysteriously retreat as Kasumi held back in his assault.
Tomas had by this time grown to a figure of stunning power, made so by his armor, once worn by one of the Valheru – a dragon lord. Queen Aglaranna, her son, Calin, and Tathar, her senior advisor, feared that Tomas was being consumed by the power of Ashen-Shugar, the ancient Valheru whose armor he wore; they feared an attempt at a return of Valheru domination. Aglaranna was deeply troubled, for besides fearing Tomas, she was falling in love with him.
The Tsurani invaded Elvandar and were driven back by Tomas and Dolgan’s forces, aided by the mysterious Macros the Black. After the battle, Aglaranna admitted her feelings to Tomas and took him as her lover, thereby losing her power to command him.
The Tsurani slowly advanced in the east by claiming, holding and expanding. Duke Borric's best guess is they sought to reach the coast, isolating the Free Cities from the north and attack Zūn or LaMut.
By the ninth year of the war, Arutha feared that they were losing the struggle, and then learned from a captive slave that new troops were arriving from Kelewan.
During the fall of that year he sent Martin Longbow out to survey the Tsurani forces and ordered the Wind of Dawn repaired. When Martin returned with bad news about a possible increase in Tsurani forces, Arutha decided to use the ship to sail to Krondor and seek additional aid from Prince Erland. During the journey, Amos discovered Martin’s secret, that he was Lord Borric’s bastard son. Martin made Amos swear never to reveal the secret until Martin allowed it. In Krondor, Arutha discovered the city under the control of Duke Guy du Bas-Tyra an avowed enemy of Lord Borric. Guy was clearly on some plan to gain the crown for himself.
Arutha then ran afoul of Jocko Radburn, Guy’s henchman and head of the secret police, who chased Arutha, Martin, and Amos into the arms of the Mockers, the thieves of Krondor. There they met Jimmy the Hand, a talented boy thief; Trevor Hull, a former pirate turned smuggler; and his first mate, Aaron Cook. The mockers were hiding Princess Anita, who had fled the palace. Jocko Radburn was furiously trying to recapture Anita before Guy du Bas-Tyra returned from a border skirmish with the neighbouring Empire of Great Kesh. With the Mocker’s help Arutha, his companions and Anita fled the city. During the sea chase, Amos lured Radburn’s ship onto the rocks and the head of the secret police drowned.
Upon returning to Crydee, Arutha learned that Squire Roland had been killed in a skirmish. By then Arutha was in love with Anita, though he would not admit as much to himself, counting her too young.
Tomas underwent a great change, bringing the forces of the Valheru and the human into balance. In a titanic inner battle, the human was nearly overcome, but at the end he mastered the raging inside him that was once the Dragon Lord and at last discovered peace within his soul. He became Prince-Consort to Aglaranna
Kasumi and Laurie came through the rift and made their way to Rillanon, where they discovered that the King had become thoroughly mad. He accused them of being spies, and they fled with the aid of Duke Caldric. The duke advised them to seek out Lord Borric, for it seemed civil war would surely come. Reaching Borric’s camp, Laurie and Kasumi met Lyam, who informed them that Borric was close to death from a wound.
Discovering that Pug is alive and prospering as a magician, the dying Duke Borric revealed that he had adopted Pug into his family, also awarding him an island to begin an academy of magic. At the last, Borric also revealed that Martin was his illegitimate firstborn son. Upon his death, Lyam became Duke of Crydee and commander of the Armies of the West. Shortly after, the King Rodric himself led a heroic charge against the Tsurani, breaking their ranks and driving them back. He suffered a mortal injury and named Lyam the heir to the throne. With his death, Lyam became King of the Kingdom of the Isles, and he sued for a peace treaty with the Emperor Ichindar. The Riftwar, which had lasted ten long years, was finally at an end, and everyone rejoiced. On the night before the peace treaty, however, in Elvandar, Tomas was warned by Macros that there would be treachery, and that the elves and dwarves must be ready to respond by force. During the peace treaty, the two rulers, with Pug as the interpreter, began on good terms by exchanging gifts. By chance, the elves and dwarves mistakenly perceived treachery, and the truce dissolved into an all-out conflict, this time with the full wrath of the Emperor against the Kingdom. Pug sought to close the rift, and with Macros the Black, succeeded in severing the connection between the two worlds, stranding four thousand Tsurani in Midkemia. With the threat of war over, all converged to the capital of Rillanon for the coronation of the new King. Though Lyam was the appointed heir, Martin was the eldest son of Borric. In order to avert civil war, Martin abdicated his claim and supported Lyam's ascent to the throne.