The World of DaNar
The Watchmen were founded as a result of the efforts by various small communities to protect themselves against the numerous threats present within the Wildlands. The first Prime Marshal of the Watchmen and the man credited as being the founding father, if one man can be given credit, was Marshal Archibald Heywood. As the organization expanded, acquiring dividends in both infantry and resources, they first gained recognition after successfully defending Anglers Cove from a troglodyte attack in 284 C.E..
Upon gaining enough resources, the organization eventually assumed control of The Ruins of Onthiliax Keep, on the Onthil Rise at the southern banks of “The Bath” (Lake Miiryn), transforming it into their main base of operations. Renamed as ‘The Keep’, the group re-purposed a large portion of the fort into an armory, also erecting a large signal beacon in the courtyard, replete with directional mirrors, with the purpose of notifying all members of the Watchmen about communities in distress all over The Sink.
After operating for a significant amount of time, in 344, the Watchmen were forced to abandon the keep, the reason being troglodytes suddenly assaulting Onthiliax with the intent to nest in and around it. Thinking it was a Bowmen attack (the Bowmen having started making power plays in the Northern Wildlands that had led to the two groups clashing a few years earlier), Marshal Cook locked himself deep into the armory behind a myriad of defenses.
The last leader of the Watchmen, Marshall Hornsby, was killed at some point after his appointment/election as leader in 387. Upon his death, the Watchmen began to experience internal strife, as the various groups couldn’t agree upon a successor. The loss of The Keep only exacerbated the problem, and this disagreement on a new leader caused the political landscape to become incredibly fragile. The entire situation came to a head following the Massacre at The Cascades, many of the battle groups making up the organization disbanding in disgust or turning to banditry, following the almost inevitable loss of popular (and its attendant material) support.
Following the whole ordeal, only remnants of the Watchmen and their supporters remained. With the exception of Patrick Shepherd, one of the few survivors to escape the massacre and thus still loyal to the cause of the organization, the Watchmen had effectively ceased to exist as a cohesive group.
The Cascades Massacre was a battle in the town of The Cascades, a settlement belonging to the Wildlands Watchmen, fought when the Bowmen launched an invasion of the town. The attack was very successful, leading to the destruction of the Watchmen with only twenty seven surviving (including Patrick Shepherd), and the occupation of The Cascades as a permanent Bowmen stronghold.
In September 391 C.E., in response to a vision of Old Nadya’s (an aging Thyani the Watchmen had taken in when her family and caravan had been wiped out by the Bowmen), Ulric Echo, the smithy, requested aid from the Watchmen. A small detachment of Watchmen under the command of Colonel Horace Willits, including in their number sergeants Gruendok Bladebreaker, Patrick Shepherd and Aldrich Hanssen, and Watchmen primarily from Three Cedars, Hemlock Field, Pulga and Anglers Cove, arrived to defend the town. This turned out to be in the nick of time, as a large force of Bowmen led by Ivar Trask were already laying siege to it. The Watchmen were initially able to drive them off by attacking from the rear.
Willits moved his force into the town, where Ulric registered his unease about how few of them there were. Colonel Willits requested more back-up from other units, sending his most seasoned and steady sergeant, Gruendok Bladebreaker. Gruendok initially refused to leave his commander and men’s sides in the face of such overwhelming enemy might, but after Willits and Shepherd drove home the need for reinforcements, and how this could be a defining and uniting moment for the struggling Watchmen, the sergeant grudgingly agreed to leave through the old catacombs to fetch reinforcements… none of whom arrived due to internal disputes. Aldrich, disgusted at the weakness shown by the Watchmen, defected to the Bowmen and revealed how they could easily take the town by attacking it from the old catacombs.
The Bowmen renewed their assault from the catacombs, attacking from no less than 3 points within the small town and opening the hamlet’s gates, turning the town into a literal Bowmen’s shooting gallery. The battle quickly devolved into a massacre for the Watchmen. All of the town’s civilians and Watchmen were killed except for Patrick Shepherd and twenty six others, who were able to escape to the high ruins of Oncul Moor, where they weathered trials for weeks. Willits was taken prisoner, and according to what Hershel and Xar’eth got out of Cutter’s man Jack during their “enhanced interrogation”, was not able to believe Hanssen’s betrayal until Hanssen killed Willits himself.
The battle dealt a killing blow to the Watchmen as they were, with the movement too few in number and rife with distrust to hold together. Those that remained who did not arrive to defend The Cascades faded away.
The Bowmen dispatched a further detail to finish off Patrick’s group. They killed several more of them at Oncul Moor, but were unable to stop the rest of them escaping. Chased throughout the Winter months and into the Summer, Patrick’s continued attempts to protect his group of survivors eventually took them to the ruins of Lochaid. Vourasche whittled their number down to fifteen, before Cutter’s raider band, lead by Bowmen Sergeant Torquil “the Ender”, killed a further three and forced the twelve survivors to take shelter in Lochaid’s ancient and decaying great hall.
Aldrich Hanssen was promoted to commander of The Cascades by Captain Bloodfire for his actions. Determined that the town would not be taken in the same way it had fallen to the Bowmen, he collapsed the catacombs, set up a beacon tower and captured two sets of Ironclad Armor in order to defend it.