The Second Winter War, as the name implies, was the second large scale series of military engagements between the cities of the Kareyn valley and the followers of Auril.
The Second Winter War
There followed seventy years of peace. The threat of the Aurilites was almost forgotten in Beldin, while Siluvan still kept a wary, though ever less vigilant, eye out. Yet the Aurilites were still hiding on Astrid, and no one had tracked them to their base. It had not occurred to anyone that the barren windswept top of Astrid could possibly be the fortress of Auril, and the Aurilites hid themselves well with wards and illusions.
But they had not hidden themselves from above. In 1334, a clan of Avariel arrived in Beldin, having been driven from the Crags to the south, and hoping to find a new home in the Spine. Aelfred II welcomed them in Beldin. On their way north, they noted strange activity on the Rock, and reported it to Siluvan. Beldin began suspecting that perhaps the Aurilites were more cunning than they had originally thought, and Kyle Ferret formed the Beldin Intelligent Agency—known ever since as the Ferrets—to investigate the matter.
Kyle’s hunch was not far off, and his timing was excellent. The Ferrets discovered that the Flurries—Auril’s spies—had infiltrated Beldin, and that the Aurilites were probably plotting an invasion. Adventurers were called in to deal with the Flurry threat. Aelfred, being the adventurous sort, is said to have joined in on these raids. While busy with these pursuits, and recovering from the wounds he received adventuring, Queen Audra and the young Avery took care of administrative tasks.
During the winter of 1336-1337, the Aurilites decided that, having been discovered, it was best to strike first. They began sending raiding parties against the newly founded Karenlynn, and the northern noble holdings. They would strike the outlying homes at night. The victims of these attacks were found frozen dead in the morning, and this tactic became known as being “iced.” But in the south, Beldin’s efforts against the Aurilites were more successful, and the Ferrets congratulated themselves on wiping out the Flurries—or so they thought.
It was decided that the Aurilites had to be dealt with decisively, and plans were made to besiege Astrid. Recruiting efforts outside the valley were increased, though the number of Adventurers so recruited was few. It was about this time, however, that a group of dwarven mercenaries known as Axel’s Axewackers came to Beldin. They were drawn, they said, because of a sudden attack of peace throughout the Sword Coast.
In 1338, Siege was laid to Astrid Rock for the first time. The rock was surrounded and the Aurilites cut off from the rest of the valley, but they had prepared themselves well. For the first time, Beldin faced the Biting Winds Fighters, and fared the worst in the battle. Still, they held on, and the siege lasted fifteen years. Many of Beldin’s lords and King Avery grew up and won their spurs in this siege.
After the siege was laid, the battle moved to the passages beneath the rock. The dwarves had discovered that the caves led all the way up to the summit of Astrid, and Beldin was hoping to use these to its advantage. The caves were potential death traps as well, though, and many lives were lost in their depths.
In 1347, an overly curious Halfling scout looking for another possible route to Astrid alerted the Yuan-Ti, which had settled themselves around the Astrid mythal years before. The Yuan-Ti attacked the intruders, both Beldin and Aurilite, bursting in upon an ongoing battle in one of the larger caverns. Both sides sustained serious losses, and were pushed back. The Yuan-Ti fought a small continent of Bounders down into the Siluvan Crypts, and all the way to Siluvan. The elves eventually pushed them back, but at great cost to the Jadys’Varines. Queen Iris’ parents were killed in this battle, along with many Siluvanite warriors who were caught off guard.
The siege dragged on for six more years, until the gnome Flubgrubber “Butterfly” Binklehiem came up with a brilliant solution which would enable Beldin to take Astrid from the air. Needless to say, the “brilliant suggestion” having come from a gnome, he had less than wonderful reception. After demonstrating his prototype, however—a rocket launched glider—he was commission to perfect it. Numerous adventurers were of great help to Flubgrubber in testing his device, though how they were convinced to undertake such a suicidal mission is not recorded. In the end, managed to perfect the device, at which point it was confiscated and given to the dwarves to duplicate. The fear was that Flubgrubber would add unnecessary improvements such as mood music, and the dwarves could be trusted to faithfully replicate it. These replicas became known as the “real axewackers.”
On the first of Marpenoth, 1353, twenty-five dwarves, fifty Uthgardt (known ever after as “The Clan that Flew amidst Brilliant Explosions), and three hundred Bounders were launched into the Aurilite fortress, aided by a few elven wizards with fly spells. Within a few hours, the fortress was taken. Very few Aurilites escaped, and after the Beldin troops had left, the elves leveled the fortress, and burned everything flammable in sight. It was assumed that the Aurilites had been defeated definitely.